Guest Author Jo Sparkes

Today our guest is Jo Sparkes author of yesterday’s book The Birr Elixir. Here is a link to my book review if you missed it. http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-5dY

Jo Sparkes

Let’s find out more about Jo and her writing.

1) Where is your home town?
Rison, Maryland. Right next to Washington, D.C.
2) How long have you been writing?
Since before I could read. I actually use to scribble on paper, and tell my mother I was writing. I wrote my first full length book when I was twelve years old. For some reason, it was rejected by the publisher.
3) Do you have a favourite genre to write in and why?
I don’t think so — although there are those I doubt I’ll ever attempt. I get caught by a situation, a character in a circumstance. Somehow everything else springs up from that. I do think there should be various elements in any good story — some humour in a drama, adventure in a horror, etc. That lends it depth.
4) What was the one idea which sparked the Gamesmen Legend series?
I knew a very great athlete — and was mesmerized by his spirit. I suppose it was an easy step to create a young apprentice, a girl trying to make her place in the world, who reaches past her ability to help him. And in doing so triggered an amazing adventure.
5) How many books are you planning for the series?
Three. The second one, The Agben School, comes out end of July.
6) Can you tell the readers a bit about Mistress Britta, was she an Agben?
She was in the past, but had left. In the second book, we may wonder exactly what her role was in the kidnapping of the Prince.
7) For readers who might be tempted by the book can you give us a quick guide to the game of Comet?
There’s a basket and four balls. The basket is in the centre of the field of play, and each ball is worth certain points when sunk — but that value is hidden beneath a sticky dust that slowly comes off as the game is played.
And there are four teams of four men — which can make it a rather violent game.
8) Why is the Mark of Health necessary for travel in this world?
On the Great Continent, the Skullan race is disdainful of the Trumen race in general, and believe Trumen from the desert continent to be little above animals. They claim they fear some sort of desert disease, although the cost of gaining such a mark is so high it naturally keeps most from ever leaving the desert.
9) Can you give us a few hints as to what to expect in the next book? Do you have an expected publication date for it?
Tryst gets to Missea — but finds getting into the Palace to see his father is not easy. The conspiracy goes to the highest levels. For Drail, his dream comes far too easily — and then blows up in his face.
And Marra finds herself in deep trouble after trying to help Tryst — and has nowhere to turn but the mysterious Agben School.
Book 2 is called The Agben School, and will be released soon — at the end of July.
10) What else have you written? Where can readers find out more about you?
I have a few non-fiction books, including Feedback  How to Give It  How to Get It. It’s what I’ve learned in writing for some interesting producers — about handling feedback properly.
You can find more about me here: http://josparkes.com/  or talk to me on twitter, @Sparkes777.
Thanks, Rosie. It’s a pleasure talking to you.
It’s been a pleasure Jo, Good Luck with the next book.
The Birr Elixir
Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com
This book is part of the book review challenge, do think about giving it a read.

Guest Author Randy Mixter

Today our guest is Randy Mixter, he has written several books and I came across Randy when I read and reviewed  “Summer’s Passing” click here for a reminder of the review. http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-2SQ

Image of Randy Mixter

Let’s find out more about Randy;

1) Where is your home town?
I grew up in Baltimore, Maryland. I now live outside of Annapolis, Maryland with my wife, Veronica, and our five cats.
2) How long have you been writing?
I began writing as a teenager, poetry and short stories mostly. I went on to write movie reviews and articles for a local newspaper. My first published novel was The Boys Of Northwood, an autobiography in short stories about life as a teenager in Baltimore. Since then I’ve written and published seven additional books, with more on the way.
3) You went to Vietnam as a member of the military police, tell us about your book “Letters from Long Binh”
While I was in Vietnam, I wrote letters to my girlfriend (now my wife) on an almost daily basis. When I returned home, I discovered she had kept every one of them. A couple of years ago I had the idea of incorporating some of those letters home into a book that reflected my daily experiences as a military policeman in a faraway and dangerous land. Letters From Long Binh was the result. I believe the novel accurately represents my year in Vietnam with selected incidents remembered, and forever preserved, in words.
4) You have at least 11 books available for purchase on Amazon in a variety of styles; short stories, memories, novels, which do you enjoy writing most?
I enjoy writing fiction novels and short stories. Each one is an adventure that I undertake with the characters of my stories. Quite honestly, most of my books begin with a simple plot idea and expand from there. I like to create unique characters and send them off to strange places where mystery and intrigue hide behind each shadow. In other words, I let my characters do my work for me. I’ll put them in certain situations and let them work their way out.
5) Tell us about the detective series featuring FBI agent Jack Stanton.
I introduced Jake Stanton to the world in my novel Swan Loch. In that book he was a secondary character, but I liked him so much I decided to give him more to do. I wrote Sorcerer based on his exploits with an eccentric magician and a device that allowed time travel. I also put him on the trail of a serial killer in the short story, Red Moon. Next up for Jake, A Gunman’s Destiny, about a master criminal and his personal vendetta against the FBI agent.
6) “Summer’s Passing” has a mix of two stories, one from the past which twists with the present, have you considered a sequel to tell us more of the character’s stories?
I recently published a sequel of sorts to the story in the novel involving Rachel Cain and the adventurer, Morgan Reid. The novel, Scarlet And Gold, concerns their adventures at land and sea during a time of the pirate wars long ago. The book is the first of a planned trilogy. The second chapter, Coronado’s Treasure, will be released in early 2014.
7) Several of your books relate to the 1960’s, tell us briefly what going up in that time period in America meant to you.
The years of my youth were spent in the community of Northwood which had everything a young man could want; a woods nearby, ball-fields, shopping centers, and alleys to play in. The 1960s were  magical  years of innocence and mystery, where adventure was as close as the summer morning outside the door of your home. I have always believed I could not have grown up in a better time and place.
8) Would you say that you have passed your memories down to the next generations in some of your work? Which of your books in particular relate to this?
I would like to think that the books I write now will be my legacy for many years to come, passed down by family member who many years from now might say, my great great grandfather was a writer and this is one of his books. I think The Boys Of Northwood  will be remembered because the book relates to a specific time and lifestyle that no longer exists. I’d like to think that Letters From Long Binh would also have meaning in the years ahead when, hopefully, war is but a distant memory.
9) Do you self publish your work? What are your experiences with getting your work to an audience? Is it changing rapidly?
Although I have had some of my earlier works published, I felt that self-publishing was the best way to present my books to my readers. I now have complete control over the book’s content, cover art, etc. I enjoy promoting and advertising my stories. I make certain that all my works the best they can be, and are properly proofread and edited before they are published. I owe my readers that much.
10) What are you working on at the moment? Do you have an expected publication date?
At the present time I am working on a novella entitled A Girl Of The Paper Sky. It is about a young girl and her ability to visit a dreamworld where there is much beauty, and possibly a dangerous malevolent evil. I hope to have the story published later this year. Then its on to the sequels of Scarlet And Gold and Sorcerer, with others to follow. No rest for the weary, but I love every second of it.
Summer's Passing
Summer’s Passing; Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com
Thank you Randy, it’s been a pleasure meeting you.

Romancing September Author Juliette Hill (Day 9)

Welcome to Day 9 of Romancing September Across The World Tour. Today we meet Juliette Hill, one half of writing duo Charlotte Kent, we’ll be meeting her writing partner on Tuesday. Don’t forget to stop by Stephanie’s blog later and catch up with Juliette’s views on writing romance in today’s society.

Juliette Hill

Let’s find out more about Juliette;

1) You are one half of the writing name of Charlotte Kent is that correct?

Yes, absolutely!  Back in January, my indie publisher and editor, Annie Acorn and I were discussing future writing projects for 2013.  She mentioned that I should think about starting a romance series.  We have always taken note that our writing styles are very similar and to make a long story short we put our heads together and decided to embark upon a new collaborative project of a contemporary romantic women’s fiction series under the new pseudonym of Charlotte Kent! And the rest is history as they say.

2) Can you tell us where your hometown is?

I live in Frederick, Maryland, a medium-sized town with a quaint and historic downtown area, about 35 miles north of Washington, D.C.  I was born in Washington, D.C. and raised and lived most of my adult life in Bethesda, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, so I have visited the eastern shore of Maryland where the Captain’s Point Stories series is placed many times.

3) How long have you been writing?

I have loved to write all my life, but I have been seriously writing as a full-time profession for the last two years, thankfully with the guidance and support of Annie Acorn Publishing LLC.

4) How does writing with a partner work?

Writing with Annie Acorn as a partner on the Charlotte Kent Captain’s Point Stories series has been an amazing experience.  Our partnership has worked so well! I really attribute that to the fact that our styles are so similar, and we literally think alike in many respects when it comes to our total vision for the series and what we want to accomplish.  We have defined roles when starting one of our novels, but the lines soon become blurred as each of our creative and literary energies feeds off the other.  Right now, Annie has been mastering the role of head writer, and I of copy editor with the added responsibility for writing several sub-plots and relationship storylines.  I also spearhead all of the public relations/marketing efforts for the series.  We tend to fill in roles as needed for each other, which allows us to maintain a very open, fluid and creative partnership.

5) “A Clue for Adrianna” is the first book in the “Captain’s Point Stories” Series. What was the inspiration behind the books?

Living in Maryland, one of our state’s classic vacation spots is our Eastern Shore.  Many resorts are located along the banks of the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean coastline.  These areas are picturesque and full of history.  When thinking of writing a contemporary romantic series, naturally we gravitated to the Eastern Shore as our setting.  A Clue for Adrianna was the brain child of my partner, Annie Acorn, who had had a clear picture in her head of a young, modern contemporary woman coming to an American small town that still held on to an old-fashioned style and way of life, allowing her and a cast of diverse, complex characters to bring progress and positive change to create a thriving modern community.  The inspiration behind the series was also to work in a little bit of mystery and a little bit of humour and contemporary issues in all the books.

6) It is a mystery romance, which takes off at the reading of a will with a mystery clue, can you tell us what that clue was?

The story does take off at the reading of the will of Adrianna’s Great-aunt Martha who has tasked her with fulfilling some unusual requirements before she can rightfully claim her inheritance under the strange terms of the will.  The only clue she is given to achieve these is a cryptic letter from her great-aunt.  You’ll just have to read to book to find out exactly what it was and follow Adrianna’s search for the answer which leads her to many interesting discoveries along the way.

7) What or where is Captain’s Point?

Captain’s Point is a fictional town that we created.  Located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, it is positioned where the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay meet, so it is a picturesque setting with ocean views and access to water.  Our town is full of historic Victorian homes and rich farmland, with a quaint downtown area that is comprised of interesting shops and restaurants along the thriving waterfront.  We have also incorporated many cultural elements such as art and music to complement the environment.

8) Reviewers have loved the descriptive narrative saying they can really picture the places being described, how easy is it to get the descriptions right?

Annie and I both love creating this fictional town and describing in detail the unique aspects of the old historic homes that we have placed in Captain’s Point.  Set against the backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean, we really wanted the reader to be able to place themselves in each residence or business with as vivid and specific a description as possible.  It was pure joy creating the environments of Captain’s Point.  Our goal was to place the reader there as much as possible and invest them in the characters, so that they would never want to leave such a wonderful world.  So far, the feedback that we’ve received indicates we’ve been successful in our endeavours.

9) What was the hardest part of the writing of this book to get right?

For me, the hardest part of writing A Clue for Adrianna was to make sure that our main character could renew old relationships and create new ones, while at the same time finding her way in a distinct cultural environment, deciphering her great-aunt’s clue and tending to the everyday needs of the decaying physical environment for which she suddenly found herself responsible.  Basically, the hardest part was to create a contemporary romance incorporating the demands of modern times with vestiges of the past.

10) Tomorrow we are going to meet the other half of Charlotte Kent, so do you mind if I ask you about a writing group that you helped found called “From Women’s Pens”? What is it all about?

The group “From Women’s Pens” was established by Annie Acorn to bring a group of talented women writers together in promotion of their work, with the first publication being an anthology or collection of holiday stories, Annie Acorn’s 2011 Christmas Treasury. This year’s Anthology will be the third the group has published.  We also support each other’s marketing endeavours by tweeting out new releases and participating in blog tours within the group.

A-Clue-for-Adrianna_revised2 (1)Find “A Clue For Adrianna” here on Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Thank you Juliette, tomorrow we meet the other writing half of Charlotte Kent, come back and meet Annie Acorn.