Interview: Maya Tyler, Author of A Vampire’s Tale

Join me in welcoming Maya Tyler to the blog! She’s the author of A Vampire’s Tale, a paranormal romance. She’s also written the more sensual Dreamhunter, also a paranormal romance.

If you could be an extra on a TV show or movie, what would it be and what would you be doing?

I recently discovered Outlander on Netflix and it has quickly become a favorite show. I’m completely enthralled, borderline obsessed, with it. The show combines my love of romance with my fascination of historical and paranormal.

From IMDB… Outlander is a British-American television drama series based on the historical time travel Outlander series of novels by Diana Gabaldon… It stars Caitriona Balfe as Claire Randall, a married World War II nurse who in 1945 finds herself transported back to the Scotland of 1743, where she encounters the dashing Highland warrior Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) and becomes embroiled in the Jacobite risings.

If I were cast as an extra on Outlander, I would love to play any role which has a close encounter with the dreamy Jamie Fraser.

If you could give any literary villain a happy ending who would you chose?

I would choose a happy ending for Captain Hook of J.M. Barrie’s Peter and Wendy, otherwise known as Peter Pan. I happily bought into the “reformed” Captain Hook that ABC’s Once Upon A Time portrayed, seeing him more as a tragic hero than an evil villain.

The public library of your dreams has arrived! What special collections does it hold? 

The library has ceiling to floor bookshelves, a sliding, wooden ladder, a vaulted, gothic cathedral ceiling, and a gas fireplace. The floors are worn, wooden planks. Warm sunshine filters in through tall windows, and the room smells wonderful—a combination of musty books and fresh coffee (or tea, if you prefer). In this classic space, I’d curl up in an oversized leather club chair and read a historical romance novel. This dream public library has an inviting atmosphere, a magical space that fosters book love, with the latest in children’s and adult’s fiction and non-fiction books. It contains literary classics, but also the film versions. Books which have been turned into film, and the associated films, will be a feature collection.

If you had to choose someone to rescue you from the jaws of certain death would it be a superhero, supernatural creature, or a space alien?

I’d pick a superhero, the gallant Thor, the Chris Hemsworth version, to rescue me! <<sigh>>

If you could, what book or movie or TV series would you like to experience for the first time all over again and why?

I have had the great fortune to experience so many fantastic books, movies, and shows so it’s hard to select just one I would like to experience again. What story continues to make my heart stop and my breath catch? After much thought, my choice would be my new all-time favorite TV series Outlander. I’m in the middle of season 2 right now, and I can’t watch it fast enough. After I finish season 2, I’m going to read the books—hopefully this will re-create a first-time experience for me.

What makes you fall in love with a story?

I fall in love with a story that makes me believe. And, with that belief, I become entrenched in the story and invested in the outcome. I absorb it as quickly as I can—reading non-stop or binge-watching—and re-live it again in my imagination. I hope my stories have the same effect on my readers.

If everyone came with warning labels, what would yours say?

A warning label is more of an external observation. It’s not always easy to identify your own faults or short-comings. That said, I asked the person who knows me the best—my husband. He immediately said, “Sensitive.” I asked him why, and he hesitated. I knew he didn’t want to offend me. This potentially explosive question could create a dicey situation—similar to the “Do I look fat in this?” scenario. I explained why I asked him, and he elaborated enough for me to determine that I’m…

Sensitive, reacts with emotion.

What were you like as a kid? Did your kid-self see you being a writer?

I was a quiet, shy kid. I liked school, and I got good grades. I had a few close friends, but, as a bit of a homebody, I also liked to spend time by myself. My favorite hobbies were writing—fiction, poetry, songs—theatre, music, and reading. I wanted to be a writer, an actress, or a lawyer when I grew up. I had even planned on studying journalism in university, but life has its own ideas, and I didn’t return to writing until my twenties.

Places to Follow Maya Tyler

Website

Blog

Twitter

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Facebook Book Page

GoodReads

Book Blurb for A Vampire’s Tale:

A paranormal romance author who doesn’t believe in vampires? An ancient vampire who wants to tell the world his story?

A Vampire’s Tale

What happens when Marisa Clements, writer of vampire stories, non-believer of vampires, meets Corgan Halton, an actual, real “live” vampire? The unexpected, of course. Picture a cascading journey which propels Marisa into a world she never believed in and exposes her to a danger she never imagined existed. Picture an untold tale about the non-Hollywood vampire. Are you ready to uncover the truth?

Amazon

Author Bio:

Maya Tyler is a romance author, blogger, wife, and mother. She has a degree in Commerce, but writing is her true passion. Her short story “Just for Tonight” is included in an anthology called With Love from Val and Tyne and her debut paranormal romance novella was Dream Hunter, published in December 2014. Her second paranormal romance novel A Vampire’s Tale released in March 2017. She writes paranormal romance with a twist and all her books have a common theme – happily ever after. When she’s not writing, you can find her having fun with her husband and sons.

Ebook Giveaway & Interview: Geetanjali Mukherjee, Author of Will the Real Albert Speer Please Stand Up?

MukherjeeWillTheRealAlbertSpeerPleaseStandUpFolks, please give a warm welcome to author Geetanjali Mukherjee. Her books range from self-help to poetry to history. She’s offering a giveaway of her book Will the Real Albert Speer Please Stand Up? The Many Faces of Hitler’s Architect. You can read more about the giveaway at the end of the post. Now, on to the interview!

If you could be an extra on a historical documentary or historical drama, what would it be and what would you be doing?

Definitely, I would like to be anything, anyone, to get on the set of Downton Abbey! Unfortunately, the show is over, but maybe since this is wishful thinking, it’s still possible! Failing that, I would want to be in War and Peace or something. But to be really honest, acting isn’t quite my forte; (even though once in college, I played Joan of Arc in a play!) I would much prefer to be behind the camera, maybe as a script writer or director.

It’s time for you to host the book club. Who do you invite (living, dead, fictional, real)? And what 3 books will you be discussing?

I’m not really into book clubs, unless its one of those ones where you eat chocolate and drink wine and talk about anything but the book. In that case, I would invite the most scandalous and/or interesting people I can think of – Oscar Wilde, Elizabeth Bennet, Hercule Poirot and Oprah (because who doesn’t love Oprah). And with such scintillating company, we wouldn’t need to limit ourselves only to books, but talk about a wide range of topics, which I imagine most book clubs do anyway.

MukherjeeIllusionsIf you could, what book/movie/TV series would you like to experience for the first time all over again and why?

The Harry Potter series. I came really late to them, holding out for ages and then finally succumbing and wondering why it took me so long. I would love to re-experience them again for the first time (I do read all the books every few years). In terms of TV series, I have a long list of series I would like to re-experience – some to have an excuse to watch them again, and some like Friends, because they are so familiar to me that I have forgotten what it was like to watch an episode where I didn’t know every single line of dialogue.

What has been your worst or most difficult job? How does it compare to writing?

I haven’t had enough jobs yet to say which might have been my worst one. I did have a few very tedious ones that I hated at the time, but now realize that boredom is probably not the worst quality in a job. I have also had ones where I worked with people I didn’t particularly like, or ones where I constantly felt like I didn’t know what I was doing or felt inadequate. In hindsight, those are the situations where I learnt the most, so in a way I am glad I had those experiences.

In some ways writing is the hardest job I have ever had, even though it’s one that I have chosen. I think the aspect that makes it the hardest is not having someone to show you the ropes, not having a blueprint or a pre-existing path that you can follow. This combined with the fact that you often don’t get feedback on your work for long stretches of time, makes writing for me much harder than anything else I have done, even other creative work. If you design a book cover or create a piece of choreography – within a few days, even a few hours, you can show your work to someone else and get feedback. As a writer, especially of books, I find that I am reluctant to show my work to anyone unless it is as polished as I can make it, which means for weeks and months I work in a vacuum, with no idea whether my work is good or not. On the other hand, one is just sitting at a laptop or scribbling in a notebook, so one really shouldn’t take it all that seriously, compared to the dozens of dangerous, grueling or plain difficult jobs that are out there.

MukherjeeFromAudenToYeatsWhat nonfiction works have you found useful in researching your own work?

I write mostly non-fiction at the moment, although I am experimenting with writing memoir and fiction as well. The number of nonfiction books that have influenced my work are too numerous to list here. I read extensively while researching each book, but additionally I am sure I was influenced by all the books I have read before. Writers assimilate everything, and no matter how we try to make something original, everything that has gone before has an impact on our work. In a bid to get better at writing nonfiction, I have been reading the best examples of each genre that I can find, which although is quite educational, can be an intimidating exercise, as I realize how far I still have to go in my skill and craft.

What are the top 3 historical time periods and locations you would like to visit?

The aristocratic Russian society that is depicted in Anna Karenina or War and Peace – I would give anything to be a fly on the wall of those parlors and listen to those conversations. I would equally love to be a guest at Downton Abbey, or perhaps at Blandings Castle, in their heyday. The third time period would be Calcutta, India during the first few decades of the previous century – I have heard countless stories about that time, and the lives led by my great-grandparents.

Which ancient or historical works have you not read and periodically kick yourself for not having made time for them yet?

Almost every book that appears on the 100 books to read in this lifetime sort of lists that I wasn’t forced to read in school, and therefore haven’t read yet – including most of Shakespeare’s plays, many of Dickens’ novels and classical works such as the Iliad and the Odyssey and the works of famous philosophers. I have read excerpts or abridged versions or seen adaptations of some of these works, but I have this recurring fantasy that one of these days I will read them all. Actually I recently read a book by Steven Pressfield where he describes going through a phase while writing his first few novels, when he was also reading the classics to become a better writer, and it made me realize that I will soon have to stop kicking myself and just dive in. The problem also is that along with the classics there are many contemporary books that I want to read, and end up prioritizing them instead.

MukherjeeAnyoneCanGetAnA+What does your Writer’s Den look like? Neat and tidy or creative mess? Can you write anywhere or do you need to be holed up in your author cave?

I am not really a neat person, although I like the idea of being one, so I am forever making a mess, then neatening up, then reverting to that mess not much later. I have recently moved, so haven’t quite set up my writing space yet, but I have many potential writing nooks in my new place (which was one of its main attractions).

I used to have my writing table facing the sea, an ideal space for working, but somehow I found I couldn’t write first draft there. I tend to find writing easier in temporary writing spots – such as coffee shops, planes, and even the living room sofa. Where I can write depends to a large extent on the kind of book I am writing and how it’s going. I am always on the lookout for the perfect cafe or restaurant to turn into a writing space, mostly because it’s rare to find any coffee shops with comfortable seating and a guarantee of finding an empty table where I live. In the meantime, I write when and where I can, mostly on my bed, and spend far more time thinking about and preparing to write than actually doing it. Editing on the other hand, I can’t do anywhere other than in a quiet room, usually at my desk or sitting up in bed. I have tried editing at the library or in coffee shops, but usually I can’t concentrate or make the kind of progress I need to.

What is the first book you remember reading on your own?

My aunt had given me a large selection of children’s books that were basically abridged versions of fairy tales and other common children’s stories, beautifully illustrated, and each of them came with a recording so that you could follow along with the book. My parents used to read to me from those books, and I remember reading Peter Pan aloud by myself one day, and then eventually, all of the others. I still have those books, because I couldn’t bear to give them away.

Author Bio

GeetanjaliMukherjeeAuthorGeetanjali Mukherjee is the author of 6 books, and her latest book Anyone Can Get An A+: How To Beat Procrastination, Reduce Stress and Improve Your Grades was written to help students of all ages improve their study habits and get better grades with techniques based on the latest scientific research. She has a law degree from the University of Warwick, UK and a Masters’ in Public Policy from Cornell University. Geetanjali also interviews authors and writes about creativity and productivity on her blog Creativity@Work. 

Places to Connect with Geetanjali

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Book Blurb for Will the Real Albert Speer Please Stand Up? The Many Faces of Hitler’s Architect

MukherjeeWillTheRealAlbertSpeerPleaseStandUpHe presented many faces to the world, but which one was genuine?

Over the years Albert Speer has been given several titles – ‘the good Nazi’, ‘Hitler’s architect’, ‘future Reichchancellor’, and even ‘the only penitent defendant at Nuremberg’. There is no doubt that there are many faces to Albert Speer: he was a man who had far greater power during the war than any other aside from Hitler, and was widely believed to succeed Hitler; his tremendous powers of organization raised German production to its peak at a time when resources were at an all-time low; and it was expected by all, including himself, that he would receive the death sentence like the other Nazi leaders, instead escaping the noose with only twenty years.

In light of his extended involvement in the Nazi party, both as Hitler’s architect and the Minister for Armaments, and his contributions to the illegal war waged by the regime, the question naturally arises: did Speer receive adequate punishment? Did the verdict reflect the perception that Speer was somehow ‘less culpable’ than the other defendants, or did he mastermind his defence in a way that reduced his sentence? The events leading up to the Nuremberg trial, and the trial itself, provides clues to answering these questions: what can we learn about the personality of Speer from the evidence available, and why does it matter?

GIVEAWAY!

Geetanjali is giving away 5 ebook copies of Will the Real Albert Speer Please Stand Up?, in any format, worldwide. You can do the Rafflecopter thing below or answer these questions in the comments: 1) What is a historical time period/location you would like to visit? 2) Leave a way for me to contact you. Giveaway ends January 16, 2017 midnight my time.

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Giveaway & Interview: K. A. Finn, Author of Nomad Series

FinnAresEveryone, please welcome K. A. Finn to the blog today! She’s here to chat about Stephen Leather books, special effects, a fanciful obstacle course, and plenty more!  If you want to find out about the GIVEAWAY, then scroll to the bottom.

Reality in my fiction: how important is it? Lengthy travel, cussing, and bathroom breaks happen in real life. How do you address these mundane occurrences in your writings?

I think reality is important to a point. Unless the long journey is vital to the story or something exciting happens along the way, I try to leave it out. The same goes for bathroom breaks and things like that. It’s part of life but there’s no need to write it into the story (unless vital to the plot of course!) Anything that takes away from the flow of the story or stops the reader from turning the page to see what happens should be taken out – toilet breaks included!

As for cussing, I’ve left that out of my series so far. ‘Damn’ is as bad as it gets. My characters curse but I just say that they curse. I read and listen to a lot of books that use curse words so have no problem if it adds to the story of the characters. Each book is different 🙂

Who are some of your favorite book villains? Who are your favorite hero duos from the pages?

This a tricky one. I prefer villains that have genuine motive behind what they are doing. Villains that just want ‘world domination’ don’t excite me. Villains are people too with good and bad sides to their personality. My favourite has to be Hook from Peter Pan. There are different sides to his personality – he’s believable as a person and a villain. I try to write my villains that way – I want the reader to understand the motivation behind what everyone is doing.

I’m not sure if my favourite hero duo can technically be described as a duo but I love when they get together. It’s Dan ‘Spider’ Shepherd and Jimmy ‘Razor’ Sharpe from Stephen Leather’s Spider Shepherd series. I am completely hooked and can’t read/listen to them fast enough. The banter between the two characters is so natural but the real buzz is when they are working a case together. They’re a great team – can’t get enough!

If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you chose to do?

I’d love to get involved in film production. I’m fascinated by special effects and what filmakers today can do. I think it’s great you can sit down to watch a film with giant talking turtles, space battles, elves and wizards or aliens and be convinced by the effects. The level of detail is so good the fact you’re watching aliens battling in space doesn’t come in to it. You believe what you’re seeing. That’s pretty amazing!

In this age of publishing, self-promotion is really necessary for the author. What do you enjoy most about advertising yourself and your works? What do you find most challenging?

Self promotion is vital but I find the whole process challenging. There’s a fine line between advertising yourself and your work and irritating potential readers by bombarding them with ‘buy my book’ posts. I think you have to offer useful content (writing tips, self publishing advice, retweeting helpful information etc). I do post any reviews I get or comments on my writing. I really enjoy hearing what people have to say about the series and like to pass their comments on.

If you could sit down and have tea (or a beer) with 5 fictional characters, who would you invite to the table?

Spider Shepherd (Stephen Leather character)

Nick Stone (Andy McNab character)

Rhage (JR Ward BDB series)

Zsadist (JR Ward again – not sure what he’d offer conversation wise but would definitely make it an interesting meeting!)

Gryffin (my main character – again, he’s not great at conversation but he’d be someone for Zsadist to grunt with or beat fists with)

FinnNemesisWhat do you do when you are not writing?

I work as a freelance proofreader so I’m either writing or editing other people’s writing – not a bad way to spend the day 🙂 I don’t proofread my own work though. I find it impossible to track down every error. I think it’s because I ‘know’ what should be written so I don’t notice the errors. I always get someone else to check my writing.

What is the first book you remember reading on your own?

It was a book about two characters called ‘Ann and Barry’. It was a popular series in Irish schools when I was younger. I can’t even remember what it was about. Growing up, I’d read a lot of Famous Five and Secret Seven books. I always wanted to go on adventures like that. Never really happened, but at least I get to send my characters on crazy adventures – not a bad consolation!

You have to run an obstacle course. Who do you invite along (living or dead, real or fictional)? Will there be a tasty libation involved?

My character Gryffin because with him on side I’d definitely complete it. Alan Rickman (amazing actor) to commentate. Spider Shepherd and Nick Stone as their SAS training will come in useful. Finally Captain Jack Sparrow to provide the post-course rum (hopefully he’ll leave some for the rest of us)

About K. A. Finn

I grew up on the South East coast of Ireland before moving to a rural smallholding on the Welsh marches. After studying media RWP_0784bwproduction, I enjoyed a working career in veterinary nursing, financial services and, most recently, in the electrical and engineering industries. Opportunity offered me the chance to write and publish the first book of the Nomad Series, Ares; a concept that had been written and re-written (and re-written again) for more than 20 years, evolving, and developing with each year. My writing incorporates science fiction with elements from past and present, and hints of Celtic mythology.

My passion for writing science fiction integrates with a busy family life, freelance proofreading and agricultural interests.

Any free time is spent reading Stephen Leather, Andy McNab, J.R. Ward, Lee Child, James Rollins, and J.D. Robb.

Find K. A. Finn and her works online

Website

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Audible.com

Amazon US

Amazon UK

FinnAresSynopsis of Ares, Book 1 Nomad Series

He wasn’t expected to survive — no one else did — and for twenty years, he has managed to stay off their radar. Until now. Until her…

Gryffin was the sole survivor of The Foundation’s experimental project to transform human children into hybrid cyborgs – half human, half machine. The program failed and he was sent on a one way trip into The Outer Sector where he was left for dead. He has survived for twenty years by suppressing his human emotions and embracing his machine side.

Officer Terra Rush believes in her duty to the Foundation. The Sector needs to be prepared for colonization, and nothing can stop her from doing her job…except him. When Gryffin saves her from an attack, Terra uncovers a terrible secret. The Foundation has been lying to her…and maybe they still are.

They have labelled Gryffin a killing machine, yet he acts more human than many of The Foundation’s leaders. He has awakened intense feelings in Terra that throw her loyalties into question, and even though he pushes her away, she is determined to find out the truth about the cyborg program.

Gryffin refuses to be a mindless soldier, yet escaping The Foundation’s control and stopping the colonization of his home will require Terra’s help. Can Gryffin overcome the machine inside and trust her? Or will getting in touch with his human emotions destroy him once and for all?

GIVEAWAY!!!

K. A. Finn is graciously offering up 1 Audible.com or Audible.UK Audiobook of Ares.  To enter, do the Rafflecopter thing below, or answer the following in the comments:  1) Do you have an Audible.com or Audible.UK account? 2) What hero duos are your favorites?  3) Leave a way to contact you (email or twitter or facebook). Giveaway ends midnight June 10, 2016.

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Captain James Hook & the Curse of Peter Pan by Jeremiah Kleckner & Jeremy Marshall

KlecknerMarshallCptJamesHookTheCurseOfPeterPanWhere I Got It: Review Copy

Narrator: David Stifel

Publisher: JeremiahKleckner JeremyMarshall (2015)

Length: 4 hours 56 minutes

Series: Book 1 Captain James Hook

Kleckner’s Page      Marshall’s Page                    

This is the story of how young bookish James Hoodkins became the wicked pirate Captain Hook. It’s a tale full of tricks, escapes, defeats, captures, treasure, Never Never Land, and lost love. After giving this book a listen, I, too, wanted to hunt Peter Pan down and tie him to the main mast.

The story starts off in Port Royal in the Caribbean, probably in the 1600s or 1700s. At first, it reads a bit like a historical fiction, which I enjoyed. Young James is a scholarly kid and much more into books than into sword fighting or sailing. His mother quite enjoys telling him fantastical tales right before bedtime or during his bouts of illness. So, of course, when Peter Pan makes his first appearance in James’s life, he has no problem believing.

James’s father is not the coddling sort and makes a final decision, against the wishes of both wife and son, to take James on his next sailing venture. James’s best friend will be going with him, so at least he has that. James makes a  sweet farewell to his friend (and perhaps more than friend) Emily. As you might imagine, the venture doesn’t go as planned and little by little we see how the quiet, timid, sweet James Hoodkins turns into the bold, wretched, determined Captain Hook.

There’s death and romance, sword fights and alligators, pirate treasure and the English Navy. The fantasy elements are firmly grounded in events that could have really happened in our world. This lent a gravity to the story that made me appreciate it all the more. I read Barrie’s original Peter Pan novel sometime ago. I enjoyed it, though it was written for its age and contained touches of racism and sexism. It was very refreshing to have all the awesome bits of the tale without the disappointing bits in this fascinating retelling.

There are only two female characters in this tale but the authors write them well. We only get a few glimpses of James’s mom but she is her own character. We see much more of Emily and she has even more personality. Both women leave an indelible mark on the man who becomes Captain Hook.

I received a copy of this audiobook at no cost from the narrator (via Audiobook Blast) in exchange for an honest review.

Narration:  David Stifel did an excellent job bringing this story to life. Over the course of the book, James goes from a pretty mellow kid to a hardened pirate. Stifel hardened the character’s voice as the tale went along and that was well done! He also had this great voice for Peter Pan being a youngish, mostly oblivious voice. His female character voices were believable.

What I Liked:  A great retelling of a classic; a villain’s origin story!; starts off like a historical fiction; great cover art; great narration; the development of Cpt. Hook; the ending leaves room for a sequel.

What I Disliked:  Nothing – I thoroughly enjoyed this book!

What Others Think:

The Gal in the Blue Mask

Fantasy of the Silver Dragon