Author Vivienne Hart #interview

Please give a warm welcome to

Tell us a bit about yourself… 

I have my MFA in Creative Writing, and I write all things magical and mysterious. Captivated by fairy tales from a young age, I gradually began to create my own worlds filled with fantastic creatures and monstrous beasts, and it’s my great joy to now share those worlds through my books.

In addition to spinning a good story, my loves include chocolate, reading good books, and taking as many bubble baths as I can. When I’m not writing, you can find me roaming around the southern U.S. with my husband and two very fluffy cats. I’m the redhead in pajamas.

Have you always wanted to become an author? 

Yes. I love making up characters and worlds, and I think writing is the thing I’m best at. I’ve had a series of boring jobs, and I’ve also worked with books in various other capacities, including publishing, but none of it really spoke to me. My favorite thing is getting out a pen and paper and playing around with weird ideas, mashing up things that seem like they don’t go together, and finding ways to use my favorite words. I really love words, and I have a lot of fun molding them into tales.

I’m an only child with two creative parents: my dad made up endlessly hilarious bedtime stories when I was little, and my mom was great at helping me with unique homework projects, like creating board games and building dioramas. So I think I inherited that creative spirit, and because I was the only kid in my house, I spent a lot of time in my head, making up stories and worlds. I also saw a UFO when I was about eight, and I think that instilled a sense of possibility in the fantastic that has stayed with me. (I’m not saying I had an alien encounter, but I definitely saw something weird, round, and unidentified hovering in the sky!)

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What was your inspiration for your current book/series? 

I have a deep and abiding love for and interest in fairy tales. When I was getting my MFA, I did my graduate project on fairy tales and the enduring nature of retellings. Then I had the opportunity to explore alien romance, so I thought it would be really interesting and fun to take traditional tales we all know and give them a science fiction spin. Hence, my Interstellar Fairy Tales series was born. The first book, Aura Awakened, is out now. The second book in the series, Zella Unlocked, will be in Alien Embrace. It’s a space retelling of Rapunzel, complete with a xenophobic colony, a detention tower, and an alien military force. There are more books to come in the series, so interested readers should stay tuned to my newsletter or social media for updates.

What are you working on now? 

A few different things. Zella Unlocked releases in August 2021, so I’m busy putting the finishing touches on it and gearing up for promotional stuff. I’m also working on the other books in the Interstellar Fairy Tales series, as well as some non-SFR fairy tale projects and some standalone SFR books. I have years’ worth of books planned; I wish I could write faster so I could release them all right away. I’m working on epic fantasies, paranormal mysteries, urban fantasies set on other worlds, different kinds of retellings, and so much more!

Coming Soon

Do you have any quirks while working? 

I almost never work at a desk. I’ve always been this way, and I don’t really know why, other than I find desks/tables inherently uncomfortable. Instead, I make work nests. I’ll settle on the couch or bed with a bunch of pillows, my favorite throw blanket, and some water. I snuggle into my nest and get lost in worlds and words.

I also can’t write to music. I know a lot of authors like to create a playlist for each project to help them set the mood and tone of the book, but that doesn’t work for me. I’m so connected to words that I immediately get distracted by the lyrics, which interfere with the words I’m trying to write. I suppose I could write to instrumental music, but honestly, it’s just not for me. I will write to rain and storm sounds, though.

What are your hopes for the future? 

I hope that I can continue to do this as my career for many years to come, that I continue to find new readers, and that my books resonate with people. I love telling stories, and I genuinely hope that more and more people discover my books and love reading them.

Do you have any advice for new authors about the publishing world? 

When it comes to indie publishing, authors have a lot more control than they do in the traditional publishing world. You don’t have to get through the gatekeeping of agents, editors, and publishers, and you can (mostly) control royalties, covers, release schedule, and more. All of that is really alluring. However, indie publishing comes with its own challenges. You may have all the control, but you also have to do all the work. There are no agents or PR teams backing you and spreading the word. 

A career in indie publishing is about so much more than just writing. I was naïve when I started and thought that as long as I could tell a story and had solid writing mechanics, I could be successful. But if you want to truly succeed and make a living, you have to learn how to run a business. There are so many behind-the-scenes business factors to consider: popular trends, writing to market, bookfunnels, how and when to offer freebies and giveaways, newsletter networking, social media, marketing and advertising, and more. I’m still learning about the business part of the indie publishing industry every day. New authors should be aware of how much work it really takes!

Do you have anything to say to your followers?

First and foremost, thank you for sticking with me and reading my books! I wouldn’t be able to write for my job if it weren’t for my readers, and I’m so grateful to them. I’m always encouraging readers to sign up for my newsletter, because I don’t spam and I do offer news, updates, cover reveals, giveaways, freebies, and more! I try to make sure my newsletter always has something valuable for the subscribers, to serve as a thank you for supporting me.

I’d also ask readers to take the time to review their favorite books, especially on Amazon. Positive ratings and reviews help authors immensely; conversely, three stars or fewer can be very damaging to an author’s career and visibility on the platform. If you don’t enjoy a book, that’s more than fine, but if you genuinely like it, I encourage you to go give it four or five stars. It’s more important and beneficial than many readers realize, especially for indie authors. Also, if you find errors or typos in a book, it’s best to reach out to the author privately. Reporting it to Amazon can get the book permanently removed from the site, which is something many readers don’t realize. They’re trying to be helpful, but might inadvertently damage the author’s platform. 

That’s part of what I meant before when I said that indie publishing as a business is more complex than many people realize. Authors can’t just write whatever they want and expect it to sell, and they’re often forced to rely on factors outside of their control — like reviews — to be successful. The relationship between authors and readers is a symbiotic one, so I always try to give readers the best bang for their buck, but also ask them to be aware of how their actions — even small ones! — can help or harm indie authors.

Author Alexis B. Osborne #interview

Please give a warm welcome to author Alexis B. Osborne

Tell us a bit about yourself…

I live in NY with my wife, step-son, and a small army of furry, deadbeat roommates. I love taro bubble tea and Thai food. My favorite book is If I Pay Thee Not in Gold by Mercedes Lackey and Piers Anthony. I’m a big fan of villains, anti-heroes, and the morally gray. I adore monsters. 

Have you always wanted to become an author? 

I’ve always been a writer. I started writing fan fiction in high school. My first fic was a terrible Escaflowne smut filled romance that I made my friends read. It has since been deleted. A college professor encouraged me to really think about writing. I always knew that if I wrote, it was going to be romance. He was… not encouraging in regards to the genre. I started to take writing more seriously about five years ago. After starting about 10 different stories without having a plan, most of them fizzled out. But I published my first novel last year. Since then, I’ve been learning as much as I can and as quickly as possible about the art of storytelling.

What was your inspiration for your current book/series? 

I have two series that I’m working on right now. One is a near-future sci-fi omegaverse series, and the other is a far future alien romance series. The latest novel that I just finished the first draft for is called Engineering Fate. I can’t pin point any one particular inspiration. I’d say that it was inspired by all of the works of the romances with aliens that look like aliens genre. I knew that I wanted my heroine to get stuck in a cage, and I knew that I wanted my hero to find her while he was working undercover in a smuggler’s ring. The story took off from there. Sasha and Ardalon were very bossy characters who told me exactly how they wanted the story to go.

 What are you working on now? 

Engineering Fate is getting alpha read and I’m working on writing the first draft of a novella that’s going to be in the Alien Embrace anthology which comes out in August. It’s called Ice Planet Prison, and as you can guess, it’s about a prison planet. The hero is an alien ice bear shifter. The planet might be cold, but their chemistry is going to he H-O-T.

Do you have any quirks while working? 

I don’t let anyone look at what I’m writing until the first draft is done. A lot of authors have their alpha readers review each chapter as they write them, but I like to have a solid first draft done before I let anyone else look at it. I think it’s mostly because I’ve started so many stories that I never finished. I’ll run plot holes and snags by my author friends, but that’s it.

 What are your hopes for the future? 

My hope is to one day see omegaverse novels in a physical bookstore. I’m not sure that the traditional publishing world is ready for it just yet, but it’s becoming quite popular with indie publishing which is how I’m publishing my Omegas of OAN series.

Do you have any advice for new authors about the publishing world? 

You will have to do so much marketing. It can be very overwhelming at first, but I feel like I’m finally starting to get the hang of it. I had zero marketing experience before self publishing and I’m still learning something new every week. I’m so grateful to my fellow indie authors who are very supportive. It’s nice to be able to ask them questions and share information with each other.

Do you have anything to say to your followers? 

Thank you so much for reading my books and reviewing them. A review is an author hug and somedays reading your kind words is what makes all of the frustration and temporary set backs worth it. 

Author Cynthia Sax #interview

Please give a warm welcome to author Cynthia Sax

Tell us a bit about yourself…

Hi! I’m Cynthia Sax. I am a USA Today Bestselling Author and I’m currently writing very steamy cyborg romances and alien romances, building a huge fantastical combined world. 

The romances I write tend to feature love at first sight/instalove/fated to mate storylines because that’s the only type of romantic love I’ve ever known. The Dear Wonderful Hubby and I fell in love at first sight over 20 years ago and we’re still very much in love today. 

I also adhere to common ancestor theory in my writing. That is the belief that all humans and humanoids originate from common ancestors (which is why they can have babies!). That means I often use variations of existing Earth languages, customs and myths in my stories. 

Have you always wanted to become an author?

I have written stories since I could hold a crayon. I was a daily diary writer when I was a kid until blogging became cool. Then I moved to that format and I remain an enthusiastic blogger today.

I didn’t realize writers actually earned a living until a newspaper asked me to cover an event for them while I was in high school and they PAID me. (grins) I wrote for a daily newspaper and a weekly newspaper covering things like town council meetings. It helped pay for a few books at university. 

What was your inspiration for your current book/series?

I wrote Releasing Rage, the first book in my cyborg series (it should be FREE everywhere), purely for myself.

Two of my all time favorite cyborg romance authors (Eve Langlais and Laurann Dohner) were taking a break from their respective series at the same time. I know! That is a disaster for any reader. And it certainly was for me. 

I bellyached about the lack of new cyborg romances for a while. Finally, the Dear Wonderful Hubby told me I was a writer. I should write my own.

So I did.

When Releasing Rage was completed, I thought fellow cyborg romance reading buddies might enjoy the story also. They were enduring the same cyborg romance dry spell as I was. I self-published the story and it is, by far, my bestselling work. 

What are you working on now?

I am just about to start B Free, the fourth story in the Rebel Cyborgs series (likely releasing in November). B is an early model cyborg. He’s primitive and less humanlike and he’s the last of his kind. His loneliness, his secret dream of belonging pulls at my heartstrings. 

Rebel Cyborgs is the third subseries in the greater cyborg series (Cyborg Sizzle and Cyborg Space Exploration are the first two). All the series can be read on their own and all of the stories, unless noted otherwise, can be read on their own. Each story features a different couple (or more).

Do you have any quirks while working?

I don’t have many quirks. I like to write at home because I tend to act out some scenes, move while the characters are moving, and that is often unappreciated in coffee shops and other public places. (laughs) 

What are your hopes for the future?

Cynthia Sax – I hope to write in the cyborg world forever and eventually write the next generation’s stories. I also have many alien romances I’d love to write.

I maintain a list of my top 100 story premises. Ideas are added and dropped from that list all the time. I would have to live forever to write them all. My quest for immortality has been unsuccessful thus far but I haven’t given up on it! (grins) 

Do you have any advice for new authors about the publishing world?

All we can really control about this wonderful career is our happiness levels. Write stories that feed your soul, that make you feel good about yourself. 

Those stories can be marketable. That’s often best. We can feed our stomachs as well as our souls. If you have a list of 10 story ideas and 1 of those ideas involve, say, a vampire, and vampires are all the rage in Romancelandia, consider writing that vampire story next.

And not all parts of the publishing process will bring us joy. Revisions are necessary, for example, but they make me cry. I complete them because readers deserve the best story possible, because it makes me a better writer, and because it is part of this awesome job. It is the broccoli I have to eat to warrant the chocolate (which, for me, is that exciting first draft). 

Something, however, in the writing/publishing process should give us pleasure. It should light us up, make us happier to be alive.

Do you have anything to say to your followers?

I love you. (big hugs) I truly do. There’s a deep connection that happens between writers and their readers. It is special. It is wonderful. It is to be cherished. 

I’m always only an email (or blog comment) away. I read every message I receive (when the computer deities allow me to view those messages). Contact me if you have comments or issues or you feel like chatting. 

I might not answer the same day. Sometimes I’m deep in the writing cave, the words are flowing and I can’t immediately escape. But I eventually answer every legit message I see (and, by legit, I mean you’re not contacting me about enlarging male body parts – grins).

About Cynthia Sax

USA Today bestselling author Cynthia Sax writes steamy Cyborg, Alien and Contemporary Romances. Her stories have been featured on TV, in Star Magazine, and numerous top ten lists.

Sign up for her dirty-joke-filled monthly newsletter and visit her on the web at http://www.CynthiaSax.com

Author Lizzy Bequin #interview

Please give a warm welcome to author Lizzy Bequin

Tell us a bit about yourself…

Hi, I’m Lizzy Bequin, and I write sci-fi, reverse harem, and omegaverse romance. I’m an only child, which probably accounts for my overall weirdness. And I’m also a southern girl. I was born in Alabama, and I’ve moved all over, but now I’ve settled back in the South in Chattanooga, Tennessee, a city that I absolutely love. It’s a fairly small city, and it’s surrounded by mountains and woods which is nice for me because I enjoy having fun outside–hiking, paddle boarding, camping when the weather is nice.

Have you always wanted to become an author?

Pretty much. Even when I was little I was always making up crazy stories, and I’ve loved to read for about as long as I can remember. I’ve always loved both romance and sci-fi. My mom used to read romance paperbacks, and my dad read sci-fi, and I would steal their books and devour them. But it was only recently that I discovered sci-fi romance, and that’s when I found my calling.

What was your inspiration for your current book/series?

The book I just published is titled Alien Meat Market, which is kind of a crazy title for a romance, right? I was brainstorming titles for a separate series, and that was one of the titles I came up with. Well, it didn’t quite fit that other series, but something about the title stuck with me, so I just had to write a story to go with it. I came up with the idea of a woman who gets abducted by aliens and auctioned in a literal meat market, but luckily the highest bidder wants her for reasons other than food. And the story just kind of flowed from there.

What are you working on now?

So, I just published Alien Meat Market, which is a reverse harem alien romance, and I’m planning to follow that up with a sequel. But in between that, my current project is an enemies-to-lovers alien prison romance titled Brute Force (I like my hard-hitting titles).

Do you have any quirks while working?

I often cackle loudly whenever I’m writing a particularly twisted or dirty scene. Sometimes so loudly my poor cat bolts away into the other room in fear. Oh, also, I’m addicted to LaCroix sparkling water, and by the end of my writing day I usually have a little pyramid of empty cans on my desk. Ah, the glamorous life of a writer.

What are your hopes for the future?

Mainly just to keep doing what I’m doing, to keep growing as a writer, and hopefully to sell even more books. It’s taken me about two years, but I’ve finally been able to go into writing full time, and I feel really fortunate for that. I guess my big dream would be to hit the bestsellers lists some day. But in the meantime, if I can just bring entertainment to people, then I feel pretty good about that.

Do you have any advice for new authors about the publishing world?

In terms of writing, I would say, just don’t give up. Writing and publishing can be really scary, but you can’t ever let your fear or self-doubt stop you. I’m a big fan of the author Dean Wesley Smith, and he has this motto: “Dare to be bad.” I really like that. Even if you do write a bad book, that’s not wasted time. It’s an opportunity to grow and improve and write a better book next time.

In terms of the business and promotion end of things, I would say, prioritize building an email mailing list. I have two short novellas which are free for my newsletter subscribers, and that has brought a ton of readers to my list. There was an investment of time in writing those stories, but it has definitely paid off in terms of helping me build my fan base and get more sales of my books whenever I have a new release or run a promotion. I also use a service called Bookfunnel to build my mailing list.

Do you have anything to say to your followers?

Thank you, thank you, a million times, thank you! My readers and followers are like my entire reason for being. If nobody was reading my books, there would be no reason for me to write them. I get emails and Facebook messages from my readers, and it’s always incredibly gratifying. 

It’s so strange to think about it. I imagine these stories in my head, then I turn that into a bunch of squiggly black marks on the page, and someone I’ve never even met before can read those squiggly marks and experience the story and be entertained. It really is a kind of magic.

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Author Stacy Jones #interview

Please give a warm welcome to author Stacy Jones

Tell us a bit about yourself…

Hi! I’m Stacy Jones. Ok, talking about myself… umm, basics! I’m 32, I live in the beautiful state of Arkansas with my middle school sweetheart and our rambunctious handful of a son, and I spend my days creating fantastical worlds and hanging out with my imaginary friends. Ha, that makes me sound crazy. I’m a romance author, which doesn’t mean I’m not crazy, it just means I’m productively so 😉

What has happened work wise since our last interview?

What’s happened work wise? Books, of course. Secret projects. 2020. Writing during the stress of a pandemic and the horrors that were virtual schooling was… interesting. Ha. I’m attempting to be diplomatic, but it was terrible. Being able to escape into my stories saved my sanity. I genuinely hope my books helped others cope with that dumpster fire of a year.

What was your inspiration for your current book/series?

I’m working on the fourth book in the Chosen Series, Native. It was, as all the Chosen books have been, inspired by a dream. Lily, the FMC, surprised me in the epilogue of Tribe Protector (Chosen #3) by snagging herself a new love interest.
I hadn’t planned to write more in this series… and then I had a dream about Lily and Atuk. So, here I am, writing their book! Which releases soon!

Do you have any quirks while working?

Oh, yes. I still have many quirks while writing. I’ve upgraded from writing at my local coffee shop to a writing shed which is absolutely amazing and I recommend all my author friends get one. I still listen to music while writing and have amassed so, so many playlists, some specific to books some for particular types of scenes. I need one leg pulled up at all times. I have an unapologetic addiction to sticky notes. And I collect notebooks, some of which are just too pretty to ever be written in.

What are your hopes for the future?

My hopes for the future are, and always will be, to continue writing books people love, and supporting my family by following this crazy dream.

What have you learned about publishing since our first interview?

What I’ve learned about publishing since our last interview… it’s always nerve wracking. I genuinely thought it would become easier or less stressful at a certain point. I’m still waiting for that. Maybe someday! And, yet, that feeling of pride, accomplishment, and elation when I publish a new book is worth all the stress of release. Every time.

Do you have anything to say to your followers?

To my readers, whether you’re just discovering my books or whether you’re an avid fan, I couldn’t do this without you. The love y’all have shown and continue to show my books has been just… mind blowing. I’m so, so grateful. I hope you keep loving my stories. I hope you keep devouring my books so I can keep writing more. This has been one hell of an incredible journey so far, and I’m beyond excited to see what the future brings.

Author Tamsin Ley #interview

Please give a warm welcome to author Tamsin Ley

Tell us a bit about yourself

I’m Tamsin Ley, but most people call me Tam. I was born and raised in Alaska, and currently live here with my husband and five very noisy chickens. I enjoy adult coloring books, gardening, crocheting, cooking, and prepping for the zombie apocalypse. 😉

Have you always wanted to become an author?

I used to pretend to be a writer when I was a kid, but my love of science drew me toward biomedical engineering when I entered high school. I went on to university and discovered that many scientists spend tons of time in the lab, and I knew I didn’t want that sort of life, so I switched my major to English. My senior thesis was to write a novel – which, by the way, is not possible when your professors believe submitting five pages a week is a good pace. I aced the thesis, but didn’t complete the book until ten years later! Twelve years after that novel, I’d written six more manuscripts (five of which will remain in a drawer until I die) and finally entered the Indie publishing world with a post-apocalyptic sci-fi novel under another pen name. I now write steamy sci-fi with a pinch of pixie dust as Tamsin Ley.

What was your inspiration for your current book/series?

My most recent release is part of the Galactic Pirate Brides series, and was inspired by my love of science. An evil corporation destroyed an alien race’s females through genetic modification gone wrong. The aliens turned to piracy and are now looking for human mates, but they have to overcome a lot of obstacles to become compatible. But I have always been intrigued by mythology and monsters, too, and started out writing fantasy romance with mermen and centaurs in my Mates for Monsters series. I also have a steamy Alaskan shifter series with two of my closest author friends here in Alaska.

What are you working on now?

I’m writing the next shifter book, Wild Child. I’m still working out the details, but here is the premise: Pregnant and single, Melody Rush is hiding in Alaska from her family. They want her to marry the pack Alpha-hole who knocked her up. Melody would rather live on welfare than spend her life spreading her legs for a man she detests, even if it means she’ll never inherit the family fortune. But hiding from wolf shifters is far from easy, and Melody steps out of the pawn shop straight into the arms of a bounty hunter.
He’s huge, tatted, and flies a plane that looks like it will never make it off the ground. But once they’re in the air, he tell her he has no intention of returning her to her family.
He plans on keeping her for himself.

Do you have any quirks while working?

Not really. I stare into space a lot, lol!

What are your hopes for the future?

I really hope to be able to surpass my husband’s income so he can retire in a few years with confidence that we’ll be okay. He’s always been my rock, supported my dreams and my writing, and I’d like to be able to return the favor before he’s too old to enjoy life. I will probably keep writing books until the day I die because I will never be able to complete all the ideas already swimming around in my head!

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Do you have any advice for new authors about the publishing world?

First of all, I recommend self-publishing for anyone who wants to make money writing romance. (If money is not your goal, it is perfectly fine to pursue a traditional contract, but expect it to take years before your book is published.) Second bit of advice is to write in a series and complete writing at least three books before you put the first one up for sale. The non-writing side of Indie publishing can be a brain crusher and often make it hard to be creative while writing that second book. If you have several books already written, you can learn the business side without the pressure of needing to write at the same time.

Do you have anything to say to your followers?

I want to give each and every one of you a hug! You allow me to live in my head and give me a reason to keep sharing my stories. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for enjoying my books and spreading the word to your friends.

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Author Aria Winter #interview

Please give a warm welcome to author Aria Winter

Tell us a bit about yourself

Hello! I live near Fort Worth, TX with my husband, 2 cats and 1 dog. In addition to reading and writing, I love biking, travel, and sitting on the deck drinking coffee or tea when it rains.

Have you always wanted to become an author?

I love writing, but the idea of becoming an author always seemed like such a faraway dream. My husband was the one who encouraged me to publish. At first, I was full of so much self-doubt, it seemed impossible. But he and one of my sisters kept encouraging me until I caved and finally decided to go for it.

My husband learned how to do all the “behind the scenes” stuff so that I can focus on writing. He’s been so supportive, it’s amazing. If it weren’t for him, I’d probably still be writing fanfiction for myself.

What was your inspiration for your current book/series?

The one I’m working on now is a cowrite with Jessica Grayson. It’s a fairy tale retelling series. With the crazy state of the world today, I’ve found myself drawn to fairy tales as an escape. Especially Disney movie fairy tales. So, we decided to do a series of retellings based on our favorites.

I love fairy tales, but I also love steam in my books. So, we decided to combine the two. Our fairy tales are full of love, have plenty of steam and smexy times as well as plenty of interesting twists to keep the readers guessing. We loosely follows the fairy tales, but we also wanted to make sure they could stand on their own instead of just being a rehashing of what’s already out there.

Our first one is already out on Amazon KU. It’s a Dragon Shifter Beauty and the Beast Retelling called “Taken by the Dragon.” I cannot tell you how much I fell in love with those characters while writing their story. They have a cameo in the 2nd book in the series “Captivated by the Fae: A Cinderella Retelling” that I think readers will really enjoy. 😊

What are you working on now?

I’m working on “Bound to the Elf Prince: A Snow White Retelling” with Jessica Grayson. I love Elvish Romance and I’m really enjoying fleshing out this world.

Each of the fairy tales are all in a shared world and loosely connected to each other. Characters from each story make cameos in the other books. I really love how it’s all tying together.

Do you have any quirks while working?

I have a different song that I choose as a theme song for each book. I write about 20k words/day. If I get stuck on one project, I switch to another so I can get my word count in. So, the theme song helps get me back in the head of the characters and also helps me really immerse myself in that particular world before I dive back in and start writing in it.

What are your hopes for the future?

I have a million stories in my head and I want to get them all out into the world as quickly as possible. I love writing and immersing myself in other worlds. I wake up each morning excited to begin and I can’t wait to share all these stories that I have in my head with my readers.

Do you have any advice for new authors about the publishing world?

I know it’s hard, but do your best to silence the voice in your head trying to convince you that you cannot do this.

Jessica Grayson shared a quote with me that helped her with her writing process. It really inspired me as well. “I’m writing a rough draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.”   

That is such a powerful quote. It’s also the reason I’m able to write as quickly as I can. It really helps silence my inner critic when I’m writing a rough draft so that I can produce it that much faster.

Do you have anything to say to your followers?

Thank you so much for all your support and encouragement. It means so much to me when someone messages me about how much they loved a particular story and/or the characters. These books are really close to my heart and I love knowing that people enjoy them as much as I love writing them. 😊

Author Heather Relken #interview

Please give a warm welcome to author Heather Relken

Hello everyone!! I’m Heather Relken; I write romance in fantasy, paranormal, and (mostly) scifi subgenres! I’ve always had a rampant imagination and once that manifested into creative writing back in 7th grade, I’ve never looked back! I like to tell stories about realistic characters in unexpected scenarios, and my love for creating cultures, toying with taboo, and creating languages has made me fall in love with scifi-romance.

I lost my job to covid this year, which was a blessing in disguise as it gave me the opportunity to dive headfirst into my writing and pursue my authorship full-time! My husband has been so supportive and willing to help my writing however he can, and I’m now about to publish my second novel within four months!!!!

Honestly, it’s a dream come true. ❤

Have you always wanted to become an author?

Wanted to, yes. Did I think it was ever going to actually happen? Mmm, no.

I started writing in 7th grade thanks to a creative writing homework assignment for my history class, and soon enough I would daydream about sitting outside in the sun, sipping iced tea and writing the day away without a care in the world. That was always how I envisioned “my best life”.

Unfortunately I live in the midwest so sitting outside all day is bound to get me frozen to death!!

So I’ve always dreamed of being a full-time author but at the same time, I’ve also always struggled with self-confidence and all that, so I never actually believed I’d be able to make it happen. I always figured I’d do writing as a hobby and have some other job to make money with. When I say doing this is a dream come true, I really, really mean it!

What was your inspiration for your current book/series?

Man, I’ve been working on this series for so many years now it’s hard to go back to that initial, singular seed that grew into this universe.

The Aethercurrent Chronicles is a massive 20+ book endeavor. I plan on each being fully standalone, with Easter Eggs for those who have a sharp enough eye to catch them! I’ve been cooking this series for probably 5 or so years now, and I think the initial inspiration was probably after reading Amanda Milo’s series and realizing what the genre of Scifi-Romance was and how perfectly it was suited to my interests. So naturally, I wanted to create my own universe to play around in!

As for individual books though, I tend to get inspiration from my dreams. I have some really weird dreams and when I wake up, I’ll take one or two neat or interesting aspects and disregard the outlandish stuff that would never work, and I mash the ideas together until I get a cohesive sort of dough I can start to cook with! It’s honestly a chaotic mess, but I’ve learned it’s how I work best!!

What are you working on now?

Right now I’m working on a series-within-a-series, The Baron’s Hand Saga. This saga is about the curious case of amnesiac men & women who wake on a foreign planet and are sold at auction–no memories, no name, no language. These romances span the question of humanity–if other sentient life forms are capable of empathy, caregiving, humor, and love, does that not mean they too have humanity despite not being human?

Which is an elaborate way of saying it’s a romance between humans and aliens.

My newest book is actually the first in the saga, wherein a woman flees the man who bought her at the auction and stows away onto a stranger’s ship and eventually lives with them on their farm, trying to heal and learn who she is despite not having memories of her life before being sold. It’s a heartwarming story about family, identity, and forgiveness. ❤

Do you have any quirks while working?

Well, I’m a pantser through and through (meaning, I don’t plot or organize ANYTHING before knuckling down to type the story). I tend to pop on some music and just sort of word-vomit all over a document, and then afterwards I finger-paint the mess into art to make it look like I knew what I was doing all along lol my system is crazy, chaotic, and spontaneous!! Not knowing where I’m headed in the story keeps that zest of excitement in my fingertips and helps me to keep moving forward. If I know all the details and I know how it all goes down for every single chapter, that spark of interest is just…gone.

I find that my Muse (who I compare to Howl from the famous Studio Ghibli movie) works best in the early, early hours of the morning when I’m still somewhat asleep, so I try to get out of bed as early as possible to do my writing in the dark, by candlelight. Different candles for different scenes!! Earthy scented candles for adventurous scenes, floral candles for romance scenes, musky and masculine candles for the, ahem, REALLY romantic scenes…

What are your hopes for the future?

I have so many little goals, some of which I’ve already reached. “See someone recommend my book to another person”, or “be interviewed about my writing” (thanks Helle for fulfilling that one!!), or “have a reader draw fanart of my characters”, things along those lines. Reaching those little checkpoints always puts a smile in my heart!!

Long-term though, my hope is that I’m able to get enough solid ground under myself that I can stand on my author platform fully and not have to go back to a standard 9-5 once this covid nonsense calms down. I want to be able to thank my husband for his unerring support and belief by helping support the household in return, and make him proud that I put myself and my work out there, and that there’s actual people in the world who love what I write.

My fanciful answer, though, is that I hope sometime in the future someone will say, “This is my FAVORITE book!” about one of my novels. That would, I mean, that’d be absolutely incredible. I could die happy lol ❤

Do you have any advice for new authors about the publishing world?

I always give the same advice whenever I’m asked this, because it’s the only advice I DIDN’T get when I was starting out!

Every writer has their own way of doing things, their own system that works best for them. Stephen King’s routine probably wouldn’t work for Jane Austen. And it might not work for you. You have to find your own way, find the environment and schedule in which your Muse works best!

I recommend that you listen to EVERY piece of advice you come across, and also NONE of the advice! Try out each piece–plot instead of being spontaneous, be spontaneous instead of plotting, write at night instead of in the morning, write on your phone instead of a computer, etc etc etc. Taste each method and try every recipe for success, and only keep the ingredients that work for you. Disregard the rest. Build your own, personalized recipe of what you’ve found works or helps out, and eventually you’ll be able to churn out content in a very effortless and natural way that feels satisfying to the soul, rather than stressful.

Your Muse is yours and no one else’s. Be open-minded to other’s advice, but remember not to compare yourself or become a copy of anyone else. Their stories are already out there.

We want YOUR story ❤

Do you have anything to say to your followers?

Sometimes I stare out the window and look at the horizon and go “It’s so crazy to think there’s people out there, somewhere, who have read my stuff and really liked it.”

You guys aren’t obligated to enjoy my writing, but you do anyway. That boggles my mind and makes my heart do somersaults around my ribcage. I’d love to line you all up and go one by one hugging and squeezing you all and saying “thank you so much” a hundred thousand times, and KNOW that YOU KNOW I really mean that every time I say it.

Commenting “Thanks so much!” on each facebook post that says my work is good can come across as fake, or scripted, or empty, and honestly even though it’s my job and passion in life to write words and evoke emotion, when it comes to thinking of my readers? My fans?

I’m speechless.
Thank you so, so much.
You guys give my life purpose and I’m so happy that the stories I put out there can offer you solace, an escape, a laugh, or anything in between. ❤

Always feel free to reach out! I’m an open book and love chatting with folks about anything readerly, writerly, or really just about anything lol

Blog post edited 29th June

Author Jessica Grayson #interview

Please give a warm welcome to author Jessica Grayson

Tell us a bit about yourself

Hello, World! I live in San Antonio, TX with my husband, cat and dog. I love swimming, biking and all things dark chocolate.  When I’m writing, I love coffee. But when I’m reading, I love a good cup of chai.

Have you always wanted to become an author?

I’ve always loved writing, but it was more a hobby for me than anything else. But after losing my parents and oldest sister unexpectedly a few years ago, I started writing as an outlet for my grief.

Writing helps me to channel all my grief into something creative and beautiful. To be honest, I feel like it gave me my life back. It helped me to rediscover my joy after going through so much devastating loss.

I never thought I’d be an author but now that I am, I know it is something I will do for the rest of my life.

What was your inspiration for your current book/series?

I love slow burn romance and getting lost in a beautiful love story—the kind of book that leaves you thinking about it for days after you’ve read it because the characters and emotions were so deep and intense. I also love Vampire, Alien and Elvish Romance. I kept searching for a story with all these things included in it, and wasn’t really finding what I was looking for. So, I decided to write what I wanted to read. That’s how my V’loryn Series (Vampire Alien Romance) was created. 😊

What are you working on now?

My Vampire Alien Romance (V’loryn Series), Dragon Shifter Romance (Mosauran Series), and Fae Alien Romance (Aerilon Fae Series) are all set in the same universe. Each series can be read independently, but it makes for a much more immersive experience to read each one to get a richer understanding of this universe and all the characters that live in it.

Right now, I’m working on my Aerilon Fae Alien series book: “Trace the Sky.” It is about Al’aneo (Tr’lani’s brother) and his Terran (human) mate Holly. He saved Holly from slavers in “The Shape of the Wind,” and I fell in love with the idea of giving them their own HEA.  

Do you have any quirks while working?

I have to write at the kitchen table. My husband set up an office for me in one of the spare bedrooms, but for some reason the words just flow better when I’m in the kitchen, in the middle of everything going on in the house.

Also, I love listening to music when I’m plotting. It’s amazing how much music helps in my creative process. When I hear a song that inspires me, I can literally see the plot playing out in my head like a movie.

The ending of “Lost in the Deep End” was inspired by the song, “Indian” by Sleeping at Last. The scene in “Beneath A Different Sky,” when they land on Marek’s planet and then step off the ship together was inspired by “Believe with Me” by Raign.

I’m not sure why my mind works that way, but I’m glad it does. When I get stuck on a plot issue, I start listening to music and it helps me to figure it out. 😊

What are your hopes for the future?

I have quite a few stories/HEAs I want to write in this share/expanded universe. Several side characters are speaking strongly to me and I can hardly wait to get their stories out in the world.

Do you have any advice for new authors about the publishing world?

Write what you love and keep writing.

Do you have anything to say to your followers?

Thank you so much for all your kind words of encouragement. These stories and these characters mean a lot to me. You have no idea how wonderful it is to know that readers love these characters as much as I do. I cannot thank you enough.