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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Pets in Writing with Jeremy Higley


This week we’re going to find out a little about author Jeremy Higley. October’s theme is ‘Pets in Writing’ so Jeremy will be talking about pets. He’ll also tell us a little about himself and his writing, and answer some fun questions.

Jeremy Higley was born in California but now lives in Arizona. As of 2016 he’s a graduate student working on a master’s degree in English. He’s also an instructional aide at a local elementary school, a novelist, and a contributing editor for a nonprofit student success company called LifeBound.

Beverley: Are you a pet person?
Jeremy: You got me. I’m a pet person. One of those toy humans you can carry around in a purse. My owner’s a little sparing with the treats, but still... it’s a good life. No complaints. At least she doesn’t dress me up and take pictures for her Instagram. So unnatural. :-P
Beverley: Do you think pets (dogs/cats/birds/ horses/ etc.) belong in books? Why?
Jeremy: I think anything humans can be made to care about can find a place in human books, but animals aren’t just something humans care about. Animals are an important aspect of what makes us human. We need animals. They hold an irreplaceable role in the story of how humans came to be, and they continue to inform our humanness in ways both striking and subtle. Narrative worlds that don’t include animals tend to be barren and alien, stark and unfriendly. There are certainly stories out there that don’t include animals, but they are the exception. And a very strange exception at that.
Beverley: Should they be the main characters? Why?
Jeremy: They can be, and for more reasons than you can count. Animal characters have been an important part of the storytelling mythos for much longer than literature as we know it has existed. The first cave paintings, which could very well be interpreted as having a narrative aspect, were about animals. Why do we tell stories about animals? A cynical view would hold that we first told stories about them because it allowed us to hunt them better. With stories we could wear the animals as masks, and try to think as they thought. I like to think it was never so cut and dry, however. Animals have always inspired our respect and appreciation. Even as we took advantage of their presence in the environment, we’ve learned to respect the fact that not all animals can be tamed. Not all animals can be our friends. And the stories about the foxes, wolves, spiders, and tigers of the world... those have turned out to be some of our most interesting.
Beverley: Should animals in books talk?
Jeremy: It depends on the book, of course, but I would be disappointed if there were ever a day when people stopped writing stories about talking animals. And that’s not just because I’m a hardcore fan of Brian Jacques, Beatrix Potter, and A. A. Milne. Sure, anthropomorphism is a bit like recreating the world in our own image, but that’s only one of its many uses. It can also offer voices to characters who wouldn’t normally have a voice.
Beverley: Do you include pets in your books? 
Jeremy: Duskain, the continent on which The Son of Dark is set, is just coming out of an economic and cultural dark age. As a result, most of the animals you would truly call pets, in the modern sense, only exist in the houses of the aristocracy. Most of my characters have work animals, such as Zar’s horses and Mynjar’s elephants, who have an important function to serve. They’re both more and less than pets.
Beverley: Any other thoughts on pets, and pets in books?
Jeremy: Speaking of elephants, I made a point of making them the livestock animal in the land of Duskain, because it raised interesting questions for me. The characters acknowledge that there was a time when elephants were intelligent and wild, but generations of domestication and breeding have resulted in a creature that is much more like modern cattle. Cattle, meanwhile, continue to roam free in Duskain and have never been domesticated. They’re much more intelligent than the average cow you’ll encounter now. We don’t always realize it, but the way we humans treat animals has a profound effect on them, not just now, but far into the future. I think the same can be said for the way we treat each other.
Beverley: Which genre or genres do you write or prefer to write?
Jeremy: I’ve mostly written fantasy and space opera. Someday I think it would be fun to write historical fiction, and even some non-fiction. I have this clingy dream to one day write a book called Dating for Weirdos, for those who feel a bit different and even left out when it comes to romance.
Beverley: What prompted you to write in the genre/s you do?
Jeremy: I feel speculative fiction’s popularity is well-earned. It combines the sublimity of the fairy tale with the human interest of drama, leading the novel closer and closer to what epic poetry once was for the ancient. Is that really why I write in these genres, though? No. I write them because they’re fun to read and to write.
Beverley: What genres do you enjoy reading?
Jeremy: Well, fantasy and science fiction and space opera and other such speculative fiction are among my favorites, and they inspire a great deal of my writing. That includes such classics as Ray Bradbury, Robert A. Heinlein, H. G. Wells, Orson Scott Card, T. H. White, Tolkein, J. K. Rowling, and C. S. Lewis, with plenty of Rick Riordan, Brandon Mull, Brandon Sanderson, John Flanagan, David Eddings, and Robert Asprin thrown in the mix. But I also love Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mark Twain, and Percy Bysshe Shelley. An odd mix, I know.
Beverley: I’d love to hear what you think of the present genres, how they’ve been affected by self-publishing and where you think they might be headed.
Jeremy: I’m not convinced we’ve gotten to the point where self-publishing is a threat to publishing. If anything the situation is quite the opposite. As the Information Age grows and the varieties of media proliferate, people need industry gatekeepers more than ever. But who said anything about self-publishing and publishing being at odds? If anything, I think they cater to different audience needs. I go to Netflix for shows with a strong story, but I go to YouTube for variety shows, funny videos, and educational shows. Novels are still, by and large, much easier for a publisher to distribute widely than an author.  Some authors manage to break into the industry on their own, but most do not. It’s so much work that could be devoted to writing. Webcomics and blogs, on the other hand, are almost exclusively self-published. They’re a mostly digital media, and require a very different kind of marketing from a novel.
Beverley: How long have you been writing?
Jeremy: I made my first real attempt at writing a novel when I was fourteen. The story branched out and grew until it was so monstrous and the stakes were so high and the situation was so impossible that I just couldn’t write my way out of it. I’m going to have to revisit that novel, one of these days.

Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?
Jeremy: A very determined German lady, who wouldn’t award me my Communications merit badge until I could produce college-level prose.
Beverley: What obstacles did you have to overcome to begin creating your work?
Jeremy: There weren’t any obstacles in the way of beginning. I was first starting to make up stories when I was a toddler, just like most children. Storytelling is a very natural human ability. I think that was the biggest realization I had to make before I could start writing novels seriously, though. I didn’t need to wait for some vision of my best writing self to materialize. I just had to get started. Every author, great or small, has had to start in the exact same place. With a first word.
Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?
Jeremy: Disney villain songs. Those are some go-getters, I tell you. Very proactive. Know what they want. We could learn more from them, at least in terms of how to get things done.
Beverley: What will stop your creative muse the quickest?
Jeremy: Tooth pain and social anxiety.
Beverley: What do you have for breakfast?
Jeremy: Cold cereal, an apple, and an episode of Good Mythical Morning.
everley: What do you wear when you are writing?
Jeremy: Pajamas! Oh, I wish. More often than not, just whatever I happen to be wearing when I get some time alone to write.
Beverley: Where do you do most of your writing?
Jeremy: Lately, I’ve been writing at the local college library. There’s lots of silent study spaces, a snack vending machine, and decent wifi.
Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?
Jeremy: I think Aang, from Avatar: The Last Airbender, is one of the best-written characters in an animated show you’ll ever find. I recommend the series as a powerful example of high fantasy TV at its most accessible and engaging.
Beverley: Who would you love most to meet 'in person' and why?
Jeremy: I don’t have to admit to anything. You can’t make me! You’ve got nothing on me, officer!
Okay, okay. It’s Lindsey Stirling, because I’d like to thank her for how inspiring her music and the story behind her music has been to me and my art, and even my life.
That or Enoch. Don’t ask me why.
Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?
Jeremy: I’d spend it with people I love. Or characters I love. Or both!
Beverley: What are you working on now?
Jeremy: I’m working on the sequel to my first book. This one is titled: Tales of the Darksome Thorn: Dead Forsworn, and continues the adventures of Skel and his fellow adventurers. A war is brewing. The Irontree Forest is on the move, and the armies of Duskain must be gathered to meet it. Oblivious to all this, Skel’s team has fallen into the clutches of a tribe of rogue golems called the Trin. Greedy and inhuman, the golems prove to be a force too great for even Nynsa to deal with. Each team member will have to grow and adapt if they ever hope to reach the shores of Craun and break Marga’s curse.

Blurb for The Son of Dark (Book 1, The Darksome Thorn):

A thousand years ago, the wizards of the Nynsa  failed to follow the prophecy of the Darksome Thorn, and now the greatest evil of their time has survived into the next age. 
Now, the Darksome Thorn has revealed a new prophecy, and the very evil they failed to kill is working to use that prophecy to his advantage. Forces of evil run rampant in the land of Duskain. Ancient powers are stirring. A greater darkness is imminent...
...and Skel, the foster son of an elephant herder, finds himself caught in the middle of everything. Will Skel's newly developing powers be a help or a hindrance...

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Kindle-eBooks/b?ie=UTF8&node=154606011
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Son-Dark-Darksome-Thorn-Book-ebook/dp/B01IG983XC/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=U
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/650660

You can find Jeremy at:
Website: www.darksomethorn.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jeremy.higley.3?fref=ts
                https://www.facebook.com/darksomethorn/
LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeremy-higley-93b0b418
Google+: https://plus.google.com/100303315189666735431


YoutubeTrailer Link: https://youtu.be/svt6n7Rv2Lw



Don’t forget to check back next week for another author interview and discussion of pets in books.https://www.youtube.com/embed/svt6n7Rv2Lw

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Writing Prompts

Do you use any?

I’m not sure it’s a prompt, but they say you should write every day. I try, but don’t always make it. When I really has trouble writing I made myself write for ten minutes.  Then when that became a habit again I increased it to fifteen minutes and found that I was writing a lot more.
Other people start a new scene and write a line or two so they can pick it up from there the next day.
But there are also prompts that sound interesting. Good reads published first line/s for horror week. I’ve heard of this one. You’re given a few lines and writes a short story or a few paragraphs. I haven’t tried it yet, but the Halloween ones sound like fun.
Daily Writing Tips https://www.dailywritingtips.com/writing-prompts-101 says writing prompt is simply a topic around which you start jotting down ideas. The prompt could be a single word, a short phrase, a complete paragraph or even a picture, with the idea being to give you something to focus upon as you write. You can check their website for more info and other references.
Here are some of their writing tips.
  • He hadn’t seen her since the day they left High School.
  • The city burned, fire lighting up the night sky.
  • Silk.
  • She studied her face in the mirror.
  • The smell of freshly-cut grass.
  • They came back every year to lay flowers at the spot.
  • The streets were deserted. Where was everyone? Where had they all gone?
  • This time her boss had gone too far.
  • Red eyes.
  • Stars blazed in the night sky.
  • He woke to birdsong.
  • ‘Shh! Hear that?’ ‘I didn’t hear anything.’
  • He’d always hated speaking in public.
  • She woke, shivering, in the dark of the night.
  • The garden was overgrown now.
  • He’d never noticed a door there before.
  • She’d have to hitch a ride home.
  • ‘I told him not to come back too!’
  • His feet were already numb. He should have listened.
  • I'd love to hear if you use writing prompts. and maybe some you use.
  • Friday, October 13, 2017

    LIFE-CHANGING MOMENT


    October is Breast Cancer month. Trixie Stilletto is going to share a major moment in her life and her latest book.

    I’ve been professionally writing romantic fiction since 2000 when I signed my first publishing contract. Romantic suspense, comedy, time-travel, erotic but never a mystery. Until this year.

    Why I chose to break away from my comfort zone is based partly on the desire to challenge myself. I read as many mysteries as I do romances. Still, I probably wouldn’t have come up the character and idea for my latest story, Do Grave Harm, had it not been for a life-changing medical diagnosis in 2014. Do Grave Harm is a story about a middle-aged divorcee undergoing radiation treatment when there’s a murder at the clinic. She feels compelled to discover why a technician is killed and she’s being threatened. Because I do love a touch of romance, there is a hint of one in this story along with a long-time friend and an ex-husband, who may actually have redeeming qualities.

    Back to me. On my annual mammogram, the doctors discovered a lump in my left breast. It was tiny and we’d caught it early. That was the good news, along with the fact survival rates for breast cancer patients have really improved over the last two decades. Then came the bad news. My kind of cancer, known as triple positive, was not one of those with high survival rates. The really negative thing was this gene called Her2+. Cancers with this makeup have a high rate of recurrence and moving to other parts of the body. Oh joy. 

    When I was undergoing the first round of treatments – a year of chemo along with daily radiation treatments – I began to fear if I would ever write again. It was at radiation one cold winter’s day in 2015 that Jennifer Atkinson and the story for Do Grave Harm came to me. It took me a bit to actually finish this story but now it is available in all digital formats and in paperback through Amazon.

    I’m very proud of this story but it is certainly the most personal one I’ve ever written. I hope you will take a moment to check it out and read the excerpt. All proceeds from this book during the month of October, Breast Cancer Awareness month, will be donated to metastatic breast cancer research charities.

    BACK COVER COPY for DO NO HARM

    “Helpless” and “vulnerable” aren’t normally part of freelance writer Jennifer Atkinson’s vocabulary. But there’s nothing normal about her regularly scheduled radiation treatment, especially when she discovers that while she was fighting claustrophobia inside the massive machine aimed at her breast, someone was murdering the technician at the controls.
     
    As the gruesome scene plays over and over in her mind, small details that didn’t seem significant at the time start the wheels turning. Soon she’s asking more questions than she’s answering for the seriously attractive investigating officer, Blue Bald Falls Detective Ben Manteo.

    Despite Ben’s warning she should keep her nose out of it, Jennifer can’t resist using her limited energy to pick up seemingly unrelated threads that, inevitably, begin to weave themselves into a narrative. A story of lies, deceit, and betrayal that someone will go to any length to make sure never gets told…

    Note: The proceeds from this story during October, breast cancer awareness month, will be donated to metastatic breast cancer research.
     

    EXCERPT from DO NO HARM

    CHAPTER 1

    Something wasn’t right. I didn’t want to panic, but I was starting to feel claustrophobic. Having a two-ton radiation machine sitting only inches from your chest will do that to you, especially when it seems you’ve been forgotten.
    You’re not truly alone, Jennifer, I reminded myself. There were dozens of people down the hall in the waiting room. And this was a hospital. People were constantly moving around, even though they kept the radiation section closed off.
    Repeating these things and more didn’t help. At that moment, I felt abandoned, as if no one knew where I was.
    “Excuse me,” I finally called, hoping the radiation technician who’d brought me in here would answer, reassuring me.
    Robert. I picture his name tag in my mind. Raising my voice, I called again, “Robert?” Nada. The room was probably soundproof with the door shut.
     Panic sped up my breathing as I stared at the machine. It hadn’t moved after my radiation treatment had ended. That was the problem.
    In my mind, the six inches between me and it had shrunk to three. My arms were starting to go numb, as well as my feet and legs. No one was coming to help me. I had to do something. Now.
    Moving while under the machine was kind of tricky. I was a large woman, and I’d never been dexterous on my back, much to my rat ex- husband’s lament, I guess.
    I kicked my legs out of their rubber support and, after several tries, scooted my butt down the metal table. Then I did an ungainly slide, like I was slipping under a barbed-wire fence. Except this particular fence was the size of a VW Beetle, and it seemed to be inching closer to me with each passing second.
    When I moved enough that my head and neck were no longer in the plastic mold that kept me still during treatment, I banged the back of my skull against the table. “Ow, ow, ow,” I muttered, inching my way farther down it until I cleared the machine.
    Finally, my legs dangled off the end. I sat up, took my first relieved breath in eons, and waited for my head to stop spinning. Freedom! I looked around the room, and everything seemed normal. Walking over to the plastic chair to my left, I picked up my long-sleeved cotton jersey and put it on. Since I got topless for my treatment, most of the time I didn’t bother wearing a bra when I came here. It would be one more thing to take off.
    I moved to the doors. They’re made of thick steel and tightly sealed. No wonder no one answered me. They wouldn’t have heard me even if I’d shouted. I pushed on one a bit, staggering under the unexpected weight. When it opened a scant few inches, I peered around the edge. I don’t know why I was acting like a guilty person, doing something or going somewhere I wasn’t supposed to.
    I hid a giggle behind a cough. Jeez, Jennifer, get a grip. Something still wasn’t right. In fact, I felt an overwhelming sense that things were horribly wrong.
    “Robert?” Still no answer, so I pushed the door open a little wider. Now I could see the second lab and computer station. It was as dark as it had been when I came into the radiation lab at the Blue Bald Falls Cancer Center no more than ten minutes ago. I opened the door wide enough and stepped into the bright lights of the hall.
    Robert had his head down on the computer keyboard like he was napping. The scalpel sticking straight out from the side of his neck and the blood pooling on the table down to the floor told me sleep had nothing to do with it.
    ***
    “Are you Mrs. Atkinson?”
    The man standing in front of me was about five foot ten with a stocky build and blue eyes. His hair was cut close to his scalp with military precision, but what I could see was thick, healthy, and red. He wore khaki-colored pants and a dark long-sleeved polo sweater and scuffed boots. He looked like he could’ve been a boxer or mountain climber at some point in his life. He was either hospital administration or police.
    “Yes, I’m Jennifer Atkinson.” I stood with my left hand out, resisting the urge to run my right over my bald scalp. I’d worn a knitted scarf over it to treatment, but I’d stuffed the scarf in my coat pocket out in the waiting area.
    He shook my hand. The warmth of his skin against mine felt reassuring. After being stuck under the radiation machine for what felt like an eternity, and then left waiting in this tiny room for even longer, I’d been so focused on eventually getting out of here that I hadn’t realized I was chilled to the bone.
    Hospital security had deposited me here shortly after my scream brought about a crowd of people to the radiation lab. Since then, I’d been left alone wondering what the heck was going on and trying to keep from heaving my breakfast because I kept seeing all the blood pooling on the floor.
    I couldn’t believe someone had been killed while I was waiting to begin my radiation treatment for breast cancer. I was a middle-aged divorced freelance travel journalist. I went to radiation five days a week and got chemo every third week. Until this morning, my life had all the excitement of a woolly worm climbing up an oak tree on Blue Bald, the ridge between my little Tennessee town of the same name and the state border with North Carolina.
    “I’m Ben Manteo, a detective with the Blue Bald Falls police,” he said. He pulled out a wallet and flashed his badge for me.
    “Yes, sir.” I fell back on my manners, calling everyone I don’t know “sir” or “ma’am,” even if they aren’t older than me. Manteo looked to be in his late forties or early fifties. Something about his eyes told me he’d lived a little longer.
    “You found the victim?”
    I gulped, my shakiness returning. I closed my eyes, then opened them quickly. It didn’t help. Nothing was going to erase the memory of that scalpel sticking out of Robert’s neck. “Yes, sir.”
    “Mrs. Atkinson, let’s sit down. I can get you some coffee or something to drink.” His voice had a way of trailing up on the syllables of his words that told me he was native to Blue Bald Falls. The accent is part mountain, part Scottish from the first white settlers in this area, and part Cherokee.
    “No, they gave me something,” I said, pointing to the nearly empty bottle of water sitting on the tasteful small end table.
    “Good. Now, can you tell me everything that happened?” Manteo asked, leading me back to one of the overstuffed armchairs in the tiny room.
    I sat and opened my mouth, only to shut and open it again, this time with a nervous laugh escaping. “I honestly don’t know where to begin.”
    “You were here for treatment?” he prompted. He set a small digital recorder on the table and took out a notebook and pen from his hip pocket. For some reason, seeing the notebook reassured me.
    I took a breath. “Yes. I got diagnosed with early- stage aggressive breast cancer six months ago. I have a year of chemotherapy and daily radiation through March.”
    TMI, Jennifer. TMI.
    “Sorry, that isn’t important. When I arrived, I walked back from the reception area, and Robert met me halfway up the hallway.”
    “Is that the usual procedure? Someone meeting you on the way?”
    “No. But things were a little odd this morning.”
    “Describe odd,” he said.
    “Usually there are two technicians, and one meets me in the reception area and walks me out when I’m done. But today they are in training or something.”

    My throat was extremely dry. I wished I’d accepted his offer of coffee or more water. I cleared my throat again and continued.
    “That’s what he told me, anyway. I’d never met him before. Usually, I have women techs, not that it matters, just that I’ve only seen women techs working here with radiation patients. It’s a vulnerable position.”
    Sounds silly, I realized, but I was telling the truth. For such an unobtrusive procedure, radiation made me feel defenseless. Heck, I’d been feeling that way from the minute the doctor came in after my annual mammogram and told me they wanted to take a closer look at a spot. She’d assured me it was probably nothing. She’d kept up the positive attitude all the way through the needle biopsy. Then my world changed on a dime.
    You may not have figured this out yet, but I don’t do helpless. Yet with this cancer diagnosis, no matter how much I tried to change my attitude, my life kept spiraling out of control.
    “Okay. So you chatted a little? Small talk?”
    “Yes. They want me to relax, and the small talk helps. I don’t even know his last name. It just said Robert on his name tag.”
    “Yes ma’am. What happened next?”
    I shrugged. “The treatment is cut and dry. I lay down. They line up the machine, then they leave, the lights dim, and the machine does its thing. Once it’s finished, the techs come back, help me up, and out we go. It only takes about three minutes for the actual treatment. Five minutes total.”
    “What happened next?”
    “He left and the machine started the treatment. When it was over, the machine should have moved partially away from me. It didn’t. I thought I heard something, but maybe I imagined it.”
    Then I went on to explain how I’d found Robert at the desk and screamed. As I finished the story, I felt another wave of nausea building. I bit my lip and managed to keep my breakfast down. It seemed like I’d been here for days, but it’d only been a ninety minutes since I’d arrived for my appointment at eight this morning.
    “Okay, Mrs. Atkinson.”
    “Call me Jennifer.”
    “All right. Let’s go over it from when you were left in the radiation room. Did you see anything before the lights dimmed?”
    “No. It only took a second or two.”
    “You said you heard a noise?”

    BOOK LINKS:
    Amazon: http://amzn.to/2w68EVg
    BN: http://bit.ly/2fG5Msl
    iBooks: http://apple.co/2vC6EBQ
    KOBO: http://bit.ly/2w3Wuxa

    SOCIAL MEDIA
    Website: http://www.trixiestilletto.com
    Facebook: @TrixieStilleto
    Twitter: @TrixieStilletto 

    Wednesday, October 11, 2017

    Juanita Aydlette Talks Pets in Writing


    This week we’re going to find out a little about author Juanita Aydlette. October’s theme is ‘Pets in Writing’ so Juanita will be talking about pets. She’ll also tell us a little about herself and her writing, and answer some fun questions.

    Juanita Aydlette is from Shreveport, Louisiana, and now lives in Texas.  She’s the only girl in a family of four brothers. She love music, planting flowers and is a dog lover…that’s why she works at an animal clinic.
    Beverley: Are you a pet person?
    Juanita: Yes I am. As a matter of fact, I work for a Veterinarian.
    Beverley: Do you think pets (dogs/cats/birds/ horses/ etc.) belong in books? Why?
    Juanita: I think pets belong in books, because they will definitely draw the curiosity of the reader. Pet lovers—and there are millions, can relate to animals as family member. I think it's important to them to find an author that feels that way too.
    Beverley: Should they be the main characters? Why?
    Juanita: I think it depends on the plot. If it's a fantasy or science fiction story, then why not? In that case, the animal can be as intelligent as a human.
    Beverley: Should animals in books talk?
    Juanita: Sure. As I said, in cases of science fiction and fantasy, why not?
    Beverley: Do you include pets in your books? 
    Juanita: My first novel was published last year by Class Act Books, a fantasy romance/suspense,  and there are animals—not pets, but animals just the same.
    Beverley: Any other thoughts on pets, and pets in books?
    Juanita: If my husband didn't protest, I would probably try to acquire as many pets as I could. I think animals enhance a story, because they tend to bring out the soft side of most people.
    Beverley: Which genre or genres do you write or prefer to write?
    Juanita: So far, I have no preference. If I happen upon a situation that I feel will make a good story, then I plan to write about it. However, I do tend to lean more towards fantasy.
    Beverley: What prompted you to write in the genre/s you do?
    Juanita: I had a vivid imagination as a child, but no one to share it with. I have a lot of catching up to do as far as writing about it now. It's a little harder now that I'm older.
    Beverley: What genres do you enjoy reading?
    Juanita: I like thrillers, suspense, mysteries and romance also.
    Beverley: How long have you been writing?
    Juanita: I've been a closet-writer since high school; poems and such. I was shy and always worried about what people thought of me. Now, I don't care.
    Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?
    Juanita: Stephenie Meyer. I waited so long to decide to make this a reality, and after she did it, I felt like I could too.
    Beverley: What obstacles did you have to overcome to begin creating your work?
    Juanita: First, I started to write without any research on the publishing industry, so I took my first five rejections pretty hard. I had to go back and find out what I was doing wrong. Second, I work ten hours a day, so I have to squeeze time in for writing. That part really depresses me.
    Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?
    Juanita: Anything. I have ideas to pop up all the time—mostly at work, and I have little pieces of paper with notes on them stuck in my pockets by the end of the day.
    Beverley: What will stop your creative muse the quickest?
    Juanita: Constant disturbances by my husband and my dogs and also the phone ringing will drive me nuts.
    Beverley: What do you have for breakfast?
    Juanita: I will eat just about anything for breakfast, but if I have the time, I will stop at McDonalds and get oatmeal and a biscuit with butter.
    Beverley: What do you wear when you are writing?
    Juanita: Usually I'm in a pair of shorts or my night clothes, because after working all day, I have to make time for an hour or so to write before I go to bed. Other than that, I spend an hour of my lunch break to write.
    Beverley: Where do you do most of your writing?
    Juanita: I get most of my writing done at home on Saturdays.
    Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?
    Juanita: I use to watch The fantastic Four cartoons when I was younger, because everyone had special powers.
    Beverley: Who would you love most to meet 'in person' and why?
    Juanita: I would like to meet actor Anthony Hopkins--just something about Hannibal Lector. I took him as a date to a Facebook party once.
    Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?
    Juanita: I would either write or just relax and watch television.
    Beverley: What are you working on now?
    Juanita: I am working on part two of "It's in the Blood" entitled "Blood Ties." Hopefully it will be released early in 2018.

    Blurb for It’s in the Blood:

    Never stare at a green-eyed, shirtless hunk. Gabrielle Madsen is drawn in by such a pair of eyes that captures her soul and leaves her a prisoner of an addictive kind of love--not that she's complaining. But her educational trip turns out to be more than just a fun-filled summer escapade.

    She’s faced with a life-changing decision that could affect the world around her. Her discovery of this ancient, legend-come-to-life proves to be deadly, but her heart can’t break away. She and Josh Van Ness fall in love and must battle the forces that want to keep them apart.

    Buy Links:
    Publishers Website: http://www.classactbooks.com/component/virtuemart/cat-fantasy/it-s-in-the-blood-716-detail?Itemid=0

    You can find Juanita at:
    https://twitter.com/JuanitaAydlette
    https://www.facebook.com/juanita.aydlette
    http://thesouloffiction.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/Class-Act-Books-279355422086332/?fref=ts
    Twitter: @Juanita Aydlette

    Don’t forget to check back next week for another author interview and discussion of pets in books.