Q & A with D.G. Kaye, featuring Y.A., Romance and Paranormal Author, D.L. Finn

Welcome to my Q & A this month. I’m delighted to be featuring friend and author, D.L. (Denise) Finn here today. Denise is a multi-genre author who writes in the genres of Y.A., poetry, paranormal and memoir. Today we’re going to get to know a bit about Denise and her featured new release – A Voice in the Silence.

About Denise:

D. L. Finn is an independent California local who encourages everyone to embrace their inner child. She was born and raised in the foggy Bay Area, but in 1990 she relocated with her husband, kids, dogs, and cats to Nevada City, in the Sierra foothills. She immersed herself in reading all types of books but especially loved romance, horror, and fantasy. She always treasured creating her own reality on paper. Finally, surrounded by towering pines, oaks, and cedars, her creativity was nurtured until it bloomed. Her creations include adult fiction, poetry, a unique autobiography, and children’s books. She continues on her adventure with an open invitation to all readers to join her.

Blurb:

Drea Burr has experienced more than her share of loss when a stray dog, cat, and rat enter her life. Although the animals start to mend her broken heart, there is something very unusual about them. During a snowstorm, Drea discovers a chilling set of footprints leading to her front window. Both the police and a ghostly messenger warn her about a killer stalking widows. Help comes from her late husband’s best friend, Adam Hale. As the two try to discover answers, more questions arise— about a killer, ghosts, and animals experimented on in a lab.

Can Drea and Adam survive the threats coming from so many directions and save themselves and the animals they’ve grown to love? Or will more tragedy destroy her second chance at happiness? Find out in this thrilling, cozy paranormal adventure.

So great to have you over Denise!

So nice to have you over here today Denise!

Welcome

Let’s get to know more about Denise!

What’s your favorite mode of writing – computer, hand written, dictation, and why?


What I write on, depends on what I’m writing. I love to hand write poetry in a journal. This
allows me the freedom to write in the forest, riding on the back of the Harley, in a plane, by the ocean, or even in bed. Later I put it on the computer.


All new ideas are usually jotted down on paper as soon as I wake up or whenever they come to me. Now, if I am away from paper and pen, I will type myself an email with the ideas and then send it on my cellphone.  


After I get started on a story, though, I’m at my laptop or computer typing away. I always email current WIP to myself, so I never lose anything.


I have always thought it a good idea to dictate ideas, but speaking the words doesn’t work as well for me as writing them down does.

D.G. – Good idea to email yourself notes. If I’m out and think of an idea I want to write about, I’ll use voice recording on my phone so I don’t forget my great ideas. .😁

..

If you could have any of your books made into a movie, which one would you choose and why?


My first choice would be my latest story, A Voice in the Silence. I would love to see that up on a screen. My only concern would be giving a voice to the animals. If that wasn’t done right, it would pull away from the story and end up silly. But there are so many parts that I could see in my mind as I was writing, and I know a viewer could fall in love with not only Drea but the trio of animals. A setting in the forest in a storm could be powerful and beautiful, too.


My second close choice would be A Second Chance. Bringing not only an angel to life but her opposite the evildwel who’s a dark creature with red eyes, would make for some interesting viewing. Plus, the spirit, Eddie, who is helping the angel, is a favorite of mine. I could see his famous smirk up on the big screen as he teases a very serious angel, Zelina. Being set in not only a beautiful Bay Area coastal town but in Hawaii would be an amazing backdrop.


In both stories, it’s the other-worldly creatures that I would love to see come to life on a screen.

D.G. – Those scenarios you shared would indeed make good viewing. 😀

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Do some of your own character traits or personal experiences spill into your book’s characters?


Yes, I weave some of my personal traits into my characters. A few of my dislikes and likes come through, but they also develop their own personalities and likes as I write. Drea and I both love animals. I would take in a stray without question. We are both writers and love family, but her obsession with coffee isn’t mine. I’m a tea drinker.


As for personal experiences, I use my knowledge of riding out a snowstorm or driving in it. I have the same reaction to driving on ice. I avoid it if I can. But if forced to drive in it, my hands are glued to that steering wheel, making it a white-knuckled drive like Drea had.

My belief in the afterlife has become a part of a lot of my stories. I believe in angels, fairies, and ghosts. Bears visit often, and we’ve had trees and branches fall during storms, but I haven’t dealt with a serial killer.


Although I have things in common with some of the characters, they take over and become their own person. One thing is for sure, they are much braver than I am.

D.G. – I’m so captivated by everything afterlife. I look forward to reading more of your books.

..

Denise is sharing an excerpt from her new release – A Voice in the Silence

A slight breeze wove through the pine trees, making them sway to nature’s song, but Drea and the dog didn’t join in the flowing movement. Instead, they maintained a tense pose, as if studying each other from a safe distance.


Drea made the first slow movement of setting her newspaper down. “Are you lost?” The beautiful brown eyes pulled her in. It was like they could peer into her soul. There was no threat or fear in those eyes as the fluffy dog sat down. Encouraged, Drea stepped back into the garage and grabbed the pink leash and collar still hanging on the wall. The dog watched her every move with a slow tail wag.


A can of dog food she hadn’t donated to the shelter yet caught her eye. “Hungry?” It wagged its tail harder.


She opened the can and shook the smelly chunks onto a white paper plate she kept under the cans. Holding the offering, she moved cautiously to the dog. Using a soft tone and a smile, she kept moving forward. “It’s okay. I won’t hurt you.”


The dog blinked and nodded as if it understood her. The sun fully abandoned the sky, leaving behind the encroaching darkness lit by a half moon. But the sadness that had weighed her down seeped out into the night with each step she took toward the pup. She wished she’d brought a flashlight, but the evening offered its remaining luminescence. Soon she was within a foot of the dog. The posture and build indicated a golden retriever mix like her Lady, but this was a male, and he was beautiful.


“I don’t recognize you. I know all the neighbor’s dogs. You have a home?” The dog blinked and shook his head as her feet crunched through the dry pine needles. The sound reminded her of when Robbie would place bubble wrap on the ground and gleefully jump on it. She would clean them up—tomorrow. As she got closer, the dog’s condition was more apparent. He hadn’t eaten in a while.


“Here, this used to be Lady’s food. I lost her a little while ago.”


He licked his snout as though he understood. Smart dog.


“No collar. Maybe you have a chip.”


She set the food down and backed away. He lunged toward the plate and wiped it clean in seconds, then sat down, licking his chops. She inched her way toward him. Each step toward the mutt brought him closer to her heart, which was beating like she’d run a marathon. She slowly reached out and rubbed his fur. The dog didn’t flinch. In fact, a small sigh escaped him. Drea gently searched for injuries. Other than a small gash on his neck, he appeared healthy and wasn’t afraid.


“You must have someone who loves you. What happened?”

She wished the dog could answer.

..

A Review for this book:

I loved this story! The author’s imagination was entertaining. The talking animals were endearing, especially how they protected Drea from the evil in the woods. After the death of her husband and her son leaving to live with his horrific wife, Drea felt lost and alone. This all changed when three animals showed up on her doorstep. She needed their companionship, especially when she found out that someone seemed to be killing single women in the area and she was next on his list!


The author did a phenomenal job in keeping the reader guessing who the bad guy was throughout the entire story. Was it the cop with the attitude? Was it her deceased husband’s best friend who just happened to be making the moves on her? Or was it someone else in her life that had it out for her?


With the help of her talking animals and the ghost of her deceased husband, Drea slowly puts the pieces together. And just when you think you have it all figured out, the author throws another loop into the web she weaved!


This is a great story, and I highly recommend it!— Yvi MC

More books by Denise:

Find Denise on her blog and social links:

Twitter
Facebook
Instagram
Pinterest
D.L. Finn blog
Author Amazon Page

©DGKaye2022

Q & A with D.G. Kaye – Featuring #Sci-Fi Writer – Wendy Van Camp

Welcome to my June Q & A. Today I’m happy to be featuring author Wendy Van Camp who writes Sci-Fi, speculative fiction, and offers up a weekly ‘Writers Links’ information post for writers with some great collaborated shares on her blog at Nowastedink. Wendy recently released her newest book where she is the editor and contributor to the anthology – Eccentric Orbits – Book 3 in the collection of anthologies of science fiction poetry – Scifaiku, and today we’re going to get to know a little about her.

About Wendy:

Wendy Van Camp is the Poet Laureate for the City of Anaheim, California. Her work is influenced by cutting edge technology, astronomy, and daydreams. A graduate of the Ad Astra Speculative Fiction Workshop, Wendy has won Honorable Mention at the Writers of the Future Contest, is a twice nominated finalist for the Elgin Award, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Dwarf Stars Award. Her poems have appeared in: “Starlight Scifaiku Review”, “Quantum Visions”, “The Junction”, and “Far Horizons”. She is the poet and illustrator of “The Planets: a scifaiku poetry collection” and editor of the annual “Eccentric Orbits: An Anthology of Science Fiction Poetry” by Dimensionfold Publishing.

Blurb:

The function of speculative poetry is to engage the mind to a new understanding, not rehearse the past or the ordinary. This anthology of science fiction, fantasy, and horror poetry explores new concepts, folklore, myth, and the fantastic, by some of the most exciting, speculative poets of our time. Discover the insights of these contemporary wordsmiths that are surging from the pages of science fiction into the reality of our world.

This speculative poetry anthology is perfect as a gift for poetry lovers, readers of science fiction, fantasy, or horror literature or to complete your own book collections.

Speculative Poets represented in this anthology:

JANUARY BAIN * STEWART C BAKER * ROBERT BEVERIDGE * CATHERINE BROGDON * FARUK BUZHALA * DALE CHAMPLIN * LINDA M. CRATE * BILLIE DEE * KENDALL EVANS * GARY EVERY * MARK A. FISHER * JEAN-PAUL L. GARNIER * LEE GARRATT * KEN GOUDSWARD * FIN HALL * MICHAEL HOFFMAN * DEBORAH L. KELLY * DEBORAH P. KOLODJI * DAVID C. KOPASKA-MERKEL * BLAISE LANGLOIS * GERRI LEEN * RICHARD MAGAHIZ * JACK MASSA * ALLENE NICHOLS * MICHELLE OUCHAREK-DEO * RK RUGG * RYFKAH * JUSTIN SLOANE * JOSHUA ST. CLAIRE * SEAN STUBBLEFIELD * REX SWEENY * LISA TIMPF * LAMONT TURNER * WENDY VAN CAMP * MIKE VAN HORN * RUTH E. WALKER * TD WALKER * LYNN WHITE * JEFF YOUNG

Welcome
Wendy

Let’s get to know more about Wendy!

..

Did you have a passion to write as a child? Do you remember the first thing you wrote?


Thank you for having me on your blog, Debbie. To answer your question, I suppose I was born a storyteller, although I come from a family of non-creatives. I was always telling stories verbally, even at a young age.


Some of my earliest memories are of writing “books” all in child’s scrawl on cheap loose-leaf paper. My first effort was about mermaids and was a comfortable 150 pages. I wrote it when I was four or five years old. My second “novel” was a Tolkien inspired fantasy that I wrote on a broken typewriter when I was sixteen or seventeen years old. The carriage return didn’t work, so I had to move it manually with one of my hands. I learned to type quickly with one hand due to this. My parents never thought to fix the typewriter since this might encourage me to write.


During my pre-teen years, I wrote poetry. I purchased a small deep green journal with my allowance, which I had fallen in love with from the stationery store. I handwrote short poems with no real knowledge of how to write poetry. I simply wrote what I felt. However, my younger brother discovered the poetry journal and ran through the house reading my poems out loud, laughing at my private musings. As a young pre-teen, it humiliated me. I gave up on poetry for a very long time due to this incident. Thankfully, I did not give up on writing.

D.G. – Wow Wendy, it sounds like we have a common thread between us with our young writing, and our ridiculing and unappreciated talents by our family members. I am sorry to hear, but applaud you on following your passion.

..

Do you find your writing is geared toward a specific audience or do you just write what inspires you to write?


I do think about my audience when I plan my projects. I am a science fiction author and a speculative poet. I also dabble in Austen Regency historicals because of my love for Jane Austen’s work, but honestly this is more of a one-shot effort and I have no plans on becoming a romance writer. I have been part of the speculative community for two decades. I write reviews of classic science fiction novels for journals, have read the genre extensively, and have met many of the A-list authors whose work I love. I am a regular panelist at science fiction literary conventions all over the United States and teach speculative poetry workshops. I suppose this is why I breathe science fiction concepts and most of my work, both prose and poetry, are speculative.

D.G. – That is commendable work Wendy. I should think it’s not only inspiring, but fun to be part of such a big community of this specific genre.

..

What’s your favorite mode of writing – computer, hand written, dictation, and why?


I use all three methods, but at different times in my writing process. I use dictation to get ideas from my thoughts onto the page for both novels and short stories, and for longer form poetry. None of this ever makes the final cut of my writing, but I find sometimes verbalizing a concept can bring out ideas you didn’t realize were in you.

I am a power-user of Scrivener for my novel organization and revising. I tend to not draft in Scrivener, for that I use an Alphasmart typewriter, google docs, or other word processing programs, but wherever the draft is done, I always put it in Scrivener in the end. Scrivener also can create an epub of my work which I find handy.


I write poetry in an unlined A5 journal with my fountain pen. I love the messy way the pages fill up with words and cross outs. I rewrite the lines, count my syllables, and then bracket my poems. When I feel the poem is done, I type it into digital storage. I used to keep my poetry on Evernote, but lately I’m trying a new filing system in Scrivener. It allows me to print up a poem if I have a reading. My specialty is scifaiku, which is science fiction themed haiku and haiku style astropoetry which you can read in my Elgin Nominated poetry book, “The Planets”.

D.G. – I love how you are so versatile with your writings and collections. I commend you with Scrivener. I purchased a lifetime license for Scrivener a few years back, and I still cannot grasp the hang of it.

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Would you like to share with us what upcoming projects and/or ideas for books you’re working on?


I am working on a couple of projects this year. I am continuing the work on my Austen Regency Historical series. The final three books are close to completion. I fell behind schedule due to the pandemic, but lately I am gaining more speed and feeling more creative. It helps that I’m able to get outside the house to write again. Besides the Austen books, I’m writing poetry for several literary magazines that I support and for a new poetry collection that I am tentatively calling “Time, Space, & Technology”.


I am editing three poetry anthologies in rapid succession during 2022 and 2023. My next one is “Eye To The Telescope” which is published by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association. I am to be their Fall guest editor. When that one is complete, I begin work on a literary poetry anthology for the City of Anaheim where I have recently been named the Anaheim Poet Laureate. I plan to make this an annual project and do two books during my two-year term. Finally, I will start next year with the fourth edition of “Eccentric Orbits”, an anthology of science fiction poetry, which is published by Dimensionfold Publishing. This will be my third year as its poetry editor.

D.G. – You are certainly busy with so many projects on the go. And interesting that you feel you get your best writing done outside of the home.

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What hobbies do you enjoy when not writing?


Life is not all writing and poetry! Over the past few years, I have branched out from my black and white poetry illustrations to ink & wash urban sketching. The urban sketching is done when I am on the road. When I speak at conventions and conferences, I find I like to sketch the hotels and surroundings of where I am working. The vivid watercolors and the mathematics of getting perspective correct appeals to me. I wish I had more time for painting, but these days I fit it in when I can.

D.G. – You are a multi-talented creative Wendy, very commendable that you can also write, sketch and paint. I can’t even color in the lines, let alone draw.

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Thank you so much for visiting with us today Wendy, and sharing your work with us. I do hope my sci-fi, fantasy and horror readers will check out your work. I wish you much success with all your projects.

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Follow Wendy on Social Links:

Website – https://wendyvancamp.com
Blog – https://nowastedink.com
Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/author/wendyvancamp
Medium – https://medium.com/@wvancamp
Twitter – https://twitter.com/wvancamp
Instagram – https://instagram.com/nowastedink

©DGKaye2022

Q & A with D.G. Kaye featuring Award Winning Author, Jan Sikes

Welcome to my May edition of Q & A. Today I’m happy to be featuring friend and fellow author, Jan Sikes. Jan is a multi-talented, multi-genre author and dabbles in tarot, runes and gemstones articles on her blog too, besides the blog tours she hosts and the books she reviews. So today we’re going to get to know a little bit more about Jan and her latest release – Jagged Feathers, Book 2 from her White Runes series.

About Jan:

Jan Sikes writes compelling and creative stories from the heart.
She openly admits that she never set out in life to be an author. But she had a story to
tell. Not just any story, but a true story that rivals any fiction creation. The entertaining
true story comes to life through fictitious characters in an intricately woven tale that
encompasses four books.
And now, this author can’t find a way to put down the pen. She continues to write fiction
and has published numerous award-winning short stories. She published her debut
paranormal romance novel, Ghostly Interference, Book 1 in The White Rune Series, in
2020, which won a bronze medal award from Reader’s Favorite. Jagged Feathers
released on January 31, 2022, as Book 2 of that series, and Saddled Hearts will release
later in 2022.
She is an active blogger, an avid fan of Texas music, and a grandmother of five. She
resides in North Texas.

Blurb:

Vann Noble did his duty. He served his country and returned a shell of a man, wounded inside and out. With a missing limb and battling PTSD, he seeks healing in an isolated cabin outside a small Texas town with a stray dog that sees beyond his master’s scars. If only the white rune’s magic can bring a happily ever after to a man as broken as Vann. On the run from hired killers and struggling to make sense of her unexplained deadly mission, Nakina Bird seeks refuge in Vann’s cabin. She has secrets. Secrets that can get them all killed. A ticking clock and long odds of living or dying, create jarring risks. Will these two not only survive but find unexpected love along the way? Or, will evil forces win and destroy them both?

Jan shares some wonderful quotes from her book:

REVIEW QUOTES:


“Wow! One of the top books I’ve read in a while. I’d give it more sparklers if I
could. The author had me from page one and didn’t let me go until the end. She
starts off hard and fast, then things kind of work out and the book goes into a
“safe” lull, which is where most romantic suspense stories would end. But no. She
doesn’t let you rest as the danger ramps up again before our hero and heroine
are really safe and have a satisfying ending that leaves you happy for them.” V.
Burkholder


“What an amazing and phenomenal book. Jagged Feathers has become my
favorite suspense book I’ve read in 2022.
Jan Sikes has a talent that mirrors the authors, that’s on top of the Best Sellers
List.” T. Lucas


“Wow! Few books grab and hold me as quickly as Jagged Feathers. I can’t say
enough good things about this story that’s brimming with heart. It has everything-
-an ex-soldier dealing with trying to heal from wounds and trauma left by the war,
a woman confused and scared by her psychic gift and running for her life, and a
dog that’s suffered horribly but hasn’t lost his ability to love.” L. Broday


“This is a high octane thriller and romance, with some intriguing paranormal
elements which draws the reader in, and sweeps them along with the action and developing love affair. And then there is also an adorable dog who despite his
own past mistreatment gives love in abundance.” S. Cronin

So, let’s get to know a little more about Jan!

Welcome

Thank you, Debby, for inviting me to visit with you today. It is truly an honor!

D.G. – Thrilled to be featuring you here today Jan. Thanks for coming!

How has writing changed your life?


That is a great question. After my husband passed away, I was still working full-time. But honestly, I was lost. I didn’t want to stay in the home we’d built together. Too many memories and too much property to take care of. So, I transferred my job to another town where one of my daughters lived. I withdrew from the world and hid behind my children and grandchildren. That was my safe place. Then, when I realized I was the one that would have to write the story of our life together, it forced me to step out and reinvent myself. It took several years before I could comfortably call myself an author. It wasn’t until after my second book won an award that it felt right. Writing not only changed my life completely but gave me a therapeutic way to rejoin the land of the living. It has given me a whole new career and I have met some of the most wonderful people— authors and readers!

D.G. – Do I ever hear you Jan. I know well what you mean about ‘hiding away’ after such a great loss. And no doubts writing was your therapy. 🙂

Do some of your own character traits or personal experiences spill into your book’s characters?


Oh, for sure! Of course, the first four books I wrote were biographical so that was me all the way. But when I started writing fiction, I drew from a lot of my personal experiences, philosophies, and beliefs and instilled them in some of my characters. I think the biggest example was Jag Peters’ mother, Charlotte, in Ghostly Interference. There is a lot of me in Charlotte. She is a smart but gentle lady who is a vegetarian and teaches yoga. She also instills in her son a lot of the same beliefs I have about Karma and the afterlife. The love of Charlotte’s life is a musician. So, I put a lot of me into her. Someday I want to tell her backstory.

D.G. – Only makes sense that we as writers will instill some of ourselves or other people we know when it comes to creating characters. 🙂

If you weren’t a writer what else do you think you would do?

That is a question I ask myself often. I work really hard at not only continuing to learn and grow in the craft of writing but in marketing as well. There are times when I stop and ask myself if this is what I really want to be doing. All the hard work results in little to no monetary rewards.
But, so far, the answer is the same every time. As long as story ideas and inspirations keep coming, I am duty-bound to keep writing them. And, if I wasn’t writing, I don’t know how I would be filling my time.
For now, this is what I want to do. It’s a chapter in life I am enjoying letting unfold.

D.G. – Once again, I couldn’t agree more! 🙂

I know you have a very active blog. What can you tell us you’ve gained from blogging as an author?


Blogging has created a whole new online family for me. I am connected to people all around the world. That is how I met you, Debby. So, I’ve gained a network of supportive and uplifting people as well as made what I consider to be friends. Even though we may never meet in person, through reading others’ blogs, I feel as if I know them. Besides this incredible network, blogging gives me a great platform to talk about my stories, accomplishments, failures, and everything in between. But my greatest joy is featuring others on my blog. I do lots of book reviews and have guest posts often.
Another way my blogging platform has enriched my life is through sharing metaphysical things such as Tarot cards and Rune readings, uplifting meditations, and my passion, Gemstones and their healing properties. It’s a way of sharing something that is a huge part of my daily life. It helps keep me grounded and focused while hopefully helping others at the same time. We are all on this journey together. So anything we can do to uplift each other is wonderful!
While blogging takes time away from writing, it is worthwhile all the way around. I can’t imagine stepping away from blogging, although it’s healthy to take a short break now and then.

D.G. – We share the same philosophy on blogging, once again. And of course we share a mutual interesting in the spiritual and metaphysical. 🙂

Share with us a book that moved you so much it stays with you.


This is probably the hardest question of all to answer. I’ve been an avid reader since I could decipher words. As a child, I devoured fairy tales and believed life would have a fairy tale ending for me. As a young adult, I read books by Harold Robbins that taught me so much about relationships between men and women.
“The Grapes of Wrath” is a book I have read multiple times. I think it has stayed with me because of stories my parents shared about the Great Depression. But a powerful book that changed the way I view worldwide governments is “The Captains and The Kings.” Taylor Caldwell depicted corruption among the leaders in such a way that I’ve never forgotten it. It’s a book I highly recommend to everyone.
A book I’ve read within the past couple of years that has stayed with me is “Where The Crawdads Sing.” And now I see that it has been made into a movie and will be showing in July. You can bet I’ll be at the theater to see it. And I want to add one more to my list of lingering stories. “If The Darkness Takes Us,” is such a chilling and realistic tale of what happens when the grid collapses and people are left to figure out how to survive on their own without any resources. Unfortunately, I feel that it may be more realistic than imagined. But there are lots of good survival tips shared in the book.
I’ll stop there with an apology. You only asked for one book. 🙂

D.G. – Had to laugh as the only books I could find around my house (in my mother’s room) were Harold Robbins’ books, lol. That was an education. And I loved Where the Crawdad’s Sing! I will now be checking out those other books you mentioned too. Thank you!

Follow Jan on her Social Links:


WEBSITE: http://www.jansikes.com

BLOG: http://www.jansikesblog.com
TWITTER: http://www.twitter.com/jansikes3
FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorJanSikesBooks
PINTEREST: https://www.pinterest.com/jks0851/
GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7095856.Jan_Sikes
BOOKBUB: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jan-sikes
LINKEDIN: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jansikes/
AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE: https://www.amazon.com/Jan-Sikes/e/B00CS9K8DK

I hope you all enjoyed learning about Jan and her beautiful books.

©DGKaye2022

Q & A with D.G. Kaye – Featuring Artist, Jerry Rubin

Today I’d like to welcome artist, Jerry Rubin to my blog with the first Q & A of 2022. I met Jerry this year in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Jerry is a fun guy. His humor just clicked with mine. Even his logo signature on his email says, ‘Ciao for now’, one of my favorite goodbye slogans. He’s a casual guy with a kind heart and has the perfect relationship with his other half, Wendy.

We all met in the pool. Jerry is an interesting guy with lots of talents and when I saw his art I was really taken in with his painting style of which I call somewhere between Warhol and Picasso -ish with elaborate colors, which attracts my eye. So one day in one of our afternoon group visits in the pool, I asked Jerry if he’d like to come over to my blog to be featured and he was happy to.

Jerry has done a lot of different entrepeneurial things in his career and was successful at them all, while having fun at what he was doing. To name a few, Jerry sent me this in an email, I wasn’t sure if he was telling me this stuff or wanted me to put it in his bio. And since he’s told me many stories about his glory days, this doesn’t surprise me:

About Jerry Rubin:

I have been virtually everything in my life except a “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” and my journey is not over. For the last 10 years the evolution has been to full time artist, with many artistic and stylistic digressions along the way. My paintings now have a more graphic arts look, while maintaining my signature “bold and brighter than bright” colour palette. I intend for every one of them to make a statement, to be eye catching, and to be conversation pieces. My latest series titled “Animalia” captures the fun and joy I had painting them… and that the viewer hopefully shares.

I am a lifelong proud Winnipegger with paintings hanging in homes and offices worldwide. I have exhibited in galleries in Canada, the USA, and Mexico and am overjoyed to have been “The Artist in Residence” at “The International Gallery” in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for the past 7 years; sweet gig eh?

Jerry Rubin

A Bit more About Jerry:

I always had 2 or 3 businesses going while teaching: food manufacturing company, ice cream parlour owner, acrylic shelving manufacturer, sold 3,500 new items a year in the early eBay years, food concession for 17 years at the local fair (think PNE), day camp director, home renovation company, jewelry importer, author, and more. A college text book called “Small Business Entrepreneurship” had a chapter about my ventures. When I retired from teaching I took the little jewelry biz and pushed it… maybe too hard. It became a national coast to coast company with approximately 1,700 retail outlets that carried my products. I did about 30 wholesale trade shows yearly only for retailers two or three times a year in each of Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Toronto (I had dozens of retailers in Toronto with the ROM being one of the biggies), Montreal, Ottawa, and Halifax. During my business career, due to my experience in marketing my jewelry biz, I was recruited by a division of K-Tel to be their marketing consultant. Turned to art only after I sold the business. So, while I loved teaching it’s just a fraction of who I am.

.At 18 I entered the Faculty of Fine Arts but after 2 weeks I said, “Someday I’d like to eat for a living!” and switched to the Faculty of Education. Taught for 35 years while entrepreneuring, then full time biz once I “retired”. I loved and worked hard at teaching but loved business and probably worked harder then. Took up art only once I sold my business, about 10 years ago. 

~ ~ ~

Jerry the artist has a quote he mentioned to me a few times in one of our pool chats: “I’d rather write than paint.” And I said, he can do both!

Jerry has done lots of writing for national business trade magazines in Canada and the US, always with a sense of humour/fun. He did a biweekly full page article for the PV Mirror at one time. Book reviews for the newspaper and a few articles for them. Articles for teacher magazines, etc. 

“Honestly I think now that I’m busy messaging and texting people 8 hours a day on social media it has filled that need!” ~ Jerry Rubin.

Below are just some of the beautiful artworks of Jerry Rubin:

I do lots of dogs and cats… cuz dogs and cats sell; also fun to do. This shows some of my signature colours and kinda out-of-box squiggles, lines, shapes and forms that make my stuff unique. – Man, Woman and Children’s best friend.

Let Sleeping Bears Lie – OK, besides dogs and cats, bears, lions and tigers are always in demand. The lettering add distinctiveness to this piece, but I also create that through the lines, squiggles, shapes, etc.

Rhino – This guy (these guys) could have sold 3 times in 10 minutes. It was in a prominent gallery here in Winnipeg and the gallery sent out this image to their email list. The phone rang immediately and someone from Calgary bought it. In a few minutes another call, this time from Regina from someone who wanted it, then a good customer of the shop walked in wanting it. I was there at the time and we were all hooting and hollering. – Oxpecker on Dinner.

A painting commission I did for a big Buddy Guy fan in Chicago who saw Guy perform in many clubs there. He took this painting to a club and between sets had Buddy sign it; I have the pic somewhere. – “I’ma Look Around and I’m Gonna Find Me A Mojo Hand.”

This one is my favorite because something about the color and especially the title draws me in. My husband used to call me, The Lady in Red.

The Lady in Red

Now, I’ll welcome to Jerry to my blog. I hope you enjoyed just some of his artwork. Now we’ll get into some Q & A and get to know more about Jerry.

Do some of your own character traits or personal experiences spill into your art?

“I yam what I yam and that’s all what I yam”… OK so I’m not Popeye The Sailor Man but I yam irreverent, outspoken, colourful, creative, and with much enthusiasm uncurbed. Trust me I’m a whole hell of a lot nicer/kinder person than he is, but some of my friends call me “Jerry David” and I can see it.

DG – Lol Jer, you are a doppelganger for Larry David!

What type of art do you create and what is your favorite medium for painting, and why?

I have coined the phrase “Art That Pops” to describe my style cuz it’s sorta pop art and sorta not pop, but it definitely pops. Colour and lots of it is typically my trademark, in fact the depth of colour that I aim for is not available in a commercial form so I generally recoat each colour 4 times to achieve what I want. That’s painstaking and very labour intensive (nuts also comes to mind): the first coat is fun, the second coat not so much, the third coat is drudgery, and by the fourth coat I just wanna shoot myself in the head. I did a painting with an umbrella in it which had 17 different colours, so 17×4+=68 coats with drying time in between!!! Crazy.

DG – Wow, that is fascinating Jer. Who knew how much goes into a painting!

I love how you title your art. If feels as though you so effortlessly come up with appropriate titles. Am I right, or do you struggle with captions?

I have more fun thinking up the titles than actually doing the paintings, and once the title hits me the painting somehow gets better! A painting is much joy mixed with struggle, stress, frustration, and more brain power than anyone, other than an artist, can ever imagine. I go to sleep working things out in my mind and wake up the same way. I have occasionally solved an issue in my sleep; a subconscious “Eureka” moment. As Picasso famously said, “If the painting doesn’t give you trouble it’s no damn good.”

DG – I love that!

What spurs your creativity to paint?

Excitement is the stir stick. When I finally arrive at what I want to paint and have juggled the logistics around in my mind so I can pretty well picture it, I get almost (strike out almost!) giddy with excitement and can’t wait to begin. The fun never lasts through the entire work but it always begins and ends with that.

DG – I would have to add, just like writing. 😊

Is there an overall theme your collective art presents, or do you paint on a whim?

I go in themes and for the past year I’ve been doing a very unique form of Animalia art which has taken on a life of its own. By that I mean a few things:

1. I love every piece; before, during, and after

2. They are incredible fun to do

3. Everyone has a favourite animal so the appeal is broad and instant

4. They sell faster than anything I’ve ever done (how’s that for incentive?)

5. They are well priced; more expensive pieces require decisions but at their price range they can be impulse sales

6. I have been in galleries and shot the lights out with them

7. I even sold a piece to someone in Tehran! Tehran of all places!!!

DG – Seems to me you are a great marketing man too!

If you had a redo chance, would you have put art ahead of teaching?

Let me tell you about my teaching career and then you can decide. Usually I taught either grade 4 or 5 and my technique of hooking kids on learning was to tell stories, dance, sing, laugh, entertain… make the day a blast that they’d want to come back to. The kids thought I was God and it worked cuz I didn’t tell them I wasn’t.

DG – Lol Jer, you are so funny, but I don’t doubt for a moment how much the kids enjoyed you.

How do you promote your work? Do you find marketing overwhelming like many of us writers do?

Are you kidding? I’m a self promoter and believe that success in art isn’t necessarily based on talent but on “A Cult of Personality” ie: Andy Warhol, Dali, Picasso. There are millions of artists more talented than I but I’m much more successful than most because I market myself and my art through who I am. Sure I was a teacher but I had a huge success after teaching in creating a national company with 1,700 retail outlets and I did that the same way. That success led to a career as a marketing consultant for a division of the telemarketing industry giant K-Tel ,the the formation of my own marketing company BizBuilderCanada.

DG – You are definitely a ‘cult of personality’, and like I pegged your art when I first saw photos, Warhol/Picasso, and yes, definitely some Dali!

Thanks so much for visiting with us today Jer. Your artwork is so inspiring and I’m thrilled to be able to share it here with many readers and writing friends. I also hope they will visit your website and get more inspired.

Find Jerry on Social Media:

Facebook

Jerry’s Website

Instagram

©DGKaye2022

Q & A With D.G. Kaye – Featuring Deborah Jay and her Hot #NewRelease – The Prince’s Heir

Welcome to my last Q & A post for 2021. I know I have been sparse this year with Q & A features due to my world turning upside down, but  I couldn’t end off the year without sharing the news here from one of my oldest blogging friends, Deborah Jay, who has just released Book 4 in her 5 Kingdoms series – The Prince’s Heir.

About Deborah Jay:

Deborah Jay writes epic fantasy and urban fantasy featuring complex, quirky characters and multi-layered plots – just what she likes to read.

Fortunate to live near Loch Ness in the majestic, mystery-filled Scottish Highlands with her partner and a pack of rescue dogs, she can often be found lurking in secluded glens and forests, researching locations for her books.

She has a dream day job riding, training, and judging, competition dressage horses and riders, and also writes books and magazine features on the subject under her professional name of Debby Lush.

A lifelong fan of science fiction and fantasy, she started writing her first novel aged eight, and has never stopped. Her first published novel is epic fantasy, THE PRINCE’S MAN, first in the Five Kingdoms series, and winner of a UK Arts Council award. #2, THE PRINCE’S SON and #3, THE

PRINCE’S PROTEGE are both available with the concluding book in the quartet, THE PRINCE’S HEIR, released December 14th 2021.

Blurb:

Read the gripping conclusion to The Five Kingdoms series…

King Marten’s reign balances on a blade’s edge. Chel’s Casket, symbol of his right to rule, is missing. Can master spies, Rustam and Risada, recover it before someone notices its absence and challenges Marten’s sovereignty? Or is there a more sinister motive behind the disappearance of the casket—a relic that could be used to raise the demon god, Charin.

As a series of natural disasters besets the kingdoms, evidence points towards interference by the meddlesome deity, and the terrifying prospect of war between its two opposing aspects.

When Marten’s beloved wife, Betha, and their infant daughter vanish, Marten faces a stark choice: save his family, or try to save his kingdom from a conflict that threatens all humanity.

Excerpt from Prince’s Heir

“Risada,” said Marten in a tone that sent ice crawling down her spine. “There’s something we didn’t tell you last year. We thought it would never be an issue once we’d destroyed Charin’s Cult.”

The king paused, pursing his lips. Blood pounded through Risada’s head, filling the silence. She felt nauseous. What had they kept from her, and why?

Marten drew a deep breath, then continued. “You know they wanted our child. What you don’t know is that things came to a head when you returned with Halson. Charin wanted a child of the royal bloodline, and it seems Hal’s would have satisfied Him as much as mine.”

Risada gripped the back of a nearby chair, clinging to that spot of reality in a world turned hazy.

Halson! Charin wanted her son!

A fierce rush of protectiveness blasted through her. She would die before she allowed that to happen. Staring into Marten’s eyes, she saw the same intent reflected there. Of course, he and Betha had been willing to sacrifice themselves before, and now he feared Betha might be forced to make that call again.

“We won’t let it come to that; I promise.” She took one of his hands and squeezed it, but he shrugged and disengaged his grip.

“Sadly, that’s not something you can promise. Not where Charin’s involved. I’ve faced Him, remember? I was lucky to survive, and I don’t give much for my chances if it comes to a rerun.”

“Marten.” Risada employed the same tone she used when Halson was being difficult. “You’re not alone in this. You will never be alone to deal with such an attack again; that I can promise.

Let’s get to know more about Deb’s writing and dressage life in our Q & A session:

How many books have you written? Do you have a favorite of your books and if so, why?

Nine so far, plus novellas and short stories. Two non-fiction books on horse training (my day job), one SF (not published), five epic fantasy (one not published) and one urban fantasy. The unpublished books were where I cut my writer’s teeth, learning about plot, pace, and technique. One day I’d love to revisit them, but with so many other projects on the go, who knows if I’ll find the time?

My favorite book will always be the last one I finished. If you are anything like me, as we write more books our style changes, develops and (hopefully) improves. I am still proud as punch of my first published novel – THE PRINCE’S MAN – which in the early days before self-publishing, netted me two agents and a slew of positive feedback from the Big Six (as they were in those days) publishers, although no contract. Now, I’m really happy it didn’t sell – I would never have been allowed to write the sequels the way they’ve turned out, and I wouldn’t have control of my own career.

D.G. – You’ve certainly come a long way my busy friend. And yes, you are spot on, the more books we write, of course, our styles change as we learn new things. How many of us would like to go back and rewrite all our published books? Lol 🙂

What’s your opinion on self-publishing?

As a hybrid author – both traditionally and indie published – I can definitely say the latter is far and away my preferred route. Not only do I get to write what I want, when I want, I also earn a markedly higher percentage of the income from my indie published books (70% from Amazon, 60% from some other platforms, paid each month) than I do from my trad published books (10% from my publisher, paid annually).

Sure, traditional publishers can get you into bricks-and-mortar stores, but that’s far less important since Covid struck, closing so many, or forcing them to sell online. Publishers also have extremely limited funds available for marketing, and contracted authors are expected to do most of the grunt work themselves – marketing, networking, selling in person, etc. – so I’d rather put my efforts into my indie books for a higher return.

D.G. – My sentiments exactly Deb. And I’ve heard same thoughts from a few different authors who left trad to take control of their own books. 🙂

Did you have a passion to write as a child? Do you remember the first thing you wrote?

I don’t know about a passion, I just always assumed I would write. It seemed the natural progression – read other people’s stuff, then write your own.

As a child, comics took my interest, and my earlier attempts at writing were accompanied by awful illustrations (I’m no artist). When my mother died a couple of years ago, in amongst her papers (she was also a writer) I found what must be my earliest attempt, aged about 6 – ‘The travels of Sammy Snail – Scotland here I come’. Weirdly prophetic, as at that time I had never been to Scotland, nor had any of my family, and yet that’s precisely where I now live.

After that, came ‘The Adventures of Galloper’, another illustrated comic book, and then ‘Samantha the Adventurous Poodle’, a novel which failed at chapter 3 because it had no plot!

D.G. – What a gorgeous find! I know you have tons on your plate and agenda, but wouldn’t it be fun if you revised and published her work in a children’s book someday, authored by both of you? Food for thought. 🙂

Would you like to share with us what upcoming projects and/or ideas for books you’re working on?

While this week’s release brings to a conclusion the main story of one set of characters, I still have plenty of other tales to tell about them. One of the best aspects of self-publishing is the option to publish books of any size. I already wrote one short story that fits in between books #1 & #2, with another underway. I plan to write a set of them, with the ultimate goal of gathering them into a book of their own.

I have also plotted out and started a novella, telling the back story of a minor character who grew to become a major force in books #3 & 4. In addition, years ago, I wrote the novel that takes place before this set, so I plan on going back and rewriting that to a publishable standard too.

Beyond that, I have a rough outline for the next sequence of books, featuring the next generation. I’ve set up a lot of worldbuilding ready for them to walk right into, so, although the over-arching plot appears to end in book #4, it has a lot further to go – I’m thinking maybe 10 books in all?

Next up is putting together a boxset of books #1 – #4, and start editing for audiobook production – something I still have to dip my toe in. I also have one novel and a short story published in an urban fantasy series, with 6 chapters of the next book already done and just waiting for me to pick it up again.

Finally (as if that lot wasn’t enough!), I am currently writing a commissioned non-fiction book on horse training to go with the two already published, and sketching out two new in-person presentations now we are allowed to do such things again.

I’m certainly never short of stuff to do!

D.G. – You’re a machine girl! I hate to add to your plate, but I was hoping you would come out with a sequel to Desprite Measures with your Cassie character. 🙂

Do you edit and proofread your own work solely or do you hire an editor?

Neither!

I’m really fortunate to have worked with an awesome writer’s group for many years – thirty, to be precise! Members have come and gone, but the core has remained. New members have to put in an audition piece, so we can assess the standard of their writing. If we feel they aren’t ready to join us yet we point them towards where they can find more basic help to develop.

The group consists of (almost) exclusively published authors – some short fiction writers, some novelists. We do include a uni student, reading creative writing (what else?), but fundamentally we all write professional pieces that sell. We used to meet in person once a month, now we do it on Zoom, which means a couple of former members who moved away have rejoined.

One of the best aspects is that between us we cover a wide range of professions and interests, such as a medical doctor, a computer programmer, a travel writer, and a stand-up comic! Between the lot of us, we’re pretty darned good at the whole gamut of editing. And knowing we will all be on the receiving end at some point, we’ve become well practiced at constructive critiquing – the best sort of group.

D.G. – Sounds like a great plan and a wonderful and eclectic bunch of writers! 🙂

What was the inspiration behind the series you’ve just completed?

I was always frustrated that the super-spy, James Bond, was never allowed (until now!) to develop as a character. Enter my leading man, Rustam Chalice – a shallow, womanizing, spy. During THE PRINCE’S MAN, alongside the action and politics, everything he thought he knew is challenged and proven to be false, bringing about profound changes to his life, which continues to develop through the entire series.

I chose a fantasy setting partly because of my love for Lord of the Rings, but also because of the incredible scope available to my imagination. I can do whatever I want with the world (provided it’s consistent and makes sense), which allows me to put my characters through a crucible unlike anything they would experience in a real-world setting.

Out of these two things came tagline for the series: Think James Bond meets Lord of the Rings.

D.G. – Brilliant concept! 🙂

It was a pleasure having you over today Deb. I wish you much success with your new release, and no doubts the Prince’s Man fans for this series are anxiously awaiting this new release.

Connect with Deborah:

Newsletter sign up and FREE short story: http://eepurl.com/bPZcmT

https://deborahjayauthor.com/

https://www.facebook.com/DeborahJay

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7172608.Deborah_Jay

Amazon author page: https://viewAuthor.at/DeborahJay

©DGKaye2021

Q & A with D.G. Kaye – Featuring Lauren Scott – #NewRelease – More than Coffee: Memories in Verse and Prose

Welcome to my Q & A for September. Today I’m thrilled to be featuring my friend and author, Lauren Scott and her beautiful new book – More than Coffee: Memories in Verse and Prose. Lauren writes beautiful poetry and short story memoirs. I’ve been following her blog for a few years now and as Lauren has recently released her newest book, she’s on blog tour now, so I thought I’d jump in on her booklaunch tour with doing a little Q & A here with her. Enjoy!

 

 

Lauren Scott

 

About Lauren:

 

Lauren has authored two collections of poetry: New Day, New Dreams (2013) and Finding a Balance (2015). In the last couple of years, she began exploring memories from her past, penning them into short memoirs. She lives in Northern California with her husband, Matthew, and their lovable canine, Copper; they have two adult children. Family has been an aspect of life she has always held dear. From her experiences over three decades: raising a family, grieving through loss, finding joy in the smallest things, and the many backpacking and camping adventures, her writing takes a magical path of its own.

 

The marvelous wild world that surrounds her: the smell of the woods, the sound of a babbling brook, and the chorus of birds never disappoint in providing inspiration. Recent backpacking trips with Matthew along the California coast and Sierra Nevada have stirred up thoughts to write about love, lost friendship, family, and the possibility that anything can happen. Hikes along the Paper Mill Creek remind her that life is fragile. From trout hatchlings to swallowtail butterflies, Lauren is marveled at how the world is interconnected and that every living thing matters. She is a poet, short memoir writer, and nature lover who hopes her readers will find a little nugget of delight, comfort, or understanding in her poetry and stories – some detail that resonates with them beyond her words.

 

 

 

Blurb:

 

From the early woes of childhood and teen years, this collection of stories and poems paints a picture of young dreams and fears. But as adulthood sets in, these dreams and fears change. More than Coffee touches on love and loss, nature and endurance, marriage and parenting. In these memories, humor diffuses fear and taking risks proves to be a powerful method in boosting self-confidence. Through it all, whether in the wilderness near a sparkling lake or in the comfort of home, there’s nothing like a good cup of coffee. A poignant and reflective collection of verse and prose that is best enjoyed sipping your favorite coffee roast.

 

 

Welcome

 

 

Let’s get into a little Q & A and get to know more about Lauren!

 

Where do your book ideas grow from?

 

Inspiration is derived from a simple walk around the neighborhood with my dog: flowers blooming in springtime, bees buzzing in the distance, clouds forming art in the sky, or a subtle touch of a breeze. Family is most important to me, so I write about the love of my life, my husband of 32 years, who I met in a comical manner. My parents who have since passed away have been the fodder for poetry and short memoirs – losing one parent is difficult enough, but both is beyond surreal. It’s like the family foundation slipped into a sink hole. I find inspiration from my son and daughter who have turned out to be compassionate, amazing adults, and how it took some getting used to when my husband and I became empty nesters.

 

I write about loss and grief – the importance of letting those tears flow – but also the necessity of occasionally giving freedom to your silly self. Camping and backpacking have played an integral part of our life, so living in the wilderness near a sparkling freshwater lake encourages a plethora of thoughts eager to be written. Hiking five miles further up the mountain to a lake filled with lily pads is like entering a fairyland inspiring a new level of ideas for my muse.

 

When work on my memoir began, my mind transported to the past: recalling formative childhood years, finding forever love, becoming a mother, and taking on challenges that I never would have attempted before. I strive to convey the value of slowing down and reveling in surrounding beauty, feeling gratitude, meeting a challenge head-on, and living in the here and now. We’re only gifted one ride around the sun, so why not make it the best possible ride?!

 

DG: Even your response here is beautiful prose Lauren. Yes, writing about truth in life is all about the moments we take in and how we interpret them. 🙂

 

 

What are your writing goals for this year?

 

I had set a writing goal to publish my memoir, More than Coffee: Memories in Verse and Prose which was released in early September. What a feeling of accomplishment, especially because my first two books were collections of poetry. More than Coffee speaks of memories from the past written in freeform poetry and in short memoirs. The process took longer than I anticipated, and I thought the editing would never end. Eventually, the point of confidence that every comma and verb was written correctly was finally achieved. I am thrilled to check that box off, but in the process, I was able to relive many wonderful moments from my childhood into my adulting. When loved ones have passed on, it is the gathering of fond memories that sustain us and bring them to life.

 

DG: I’m glad you accomplished what you set out to do Lauren. I know how life can get in the way of our good intentions. Writing memoir is certainly reliving the moments. 🙂

 

 

Would you like to share with us what upcoming projects and/or ideas for books you’re working on?

 

As I inched closer to the finish line with More than Coffee, the wheels in my mind started turning again, and I wondered what will come next? I have written more than a dozen new poems I would love to see in print, but those may have to wait. I recently pulled a children’s book idea from my archived computer files. This book or a possible series commenced over two decades ago. And then life happened, raising children took precedence, and that idea became complacent in the archives. I feel now is the right time to breathe some life into this project. However, I don’t know the first thing about writing a children’s book. For now, though, I’m enjoying the ride on Cloud 9 from the release of my new book and the positive feedback I’ve received, along with the generous support from wonderful blogging friends. Once this ride slows down, the children’s book research will begin, and I’ll see where it takes me.

 

DG: That sounds fantastic Lauren. I could definitely see you as a children’s writer. That will be a wonderful project to dive into no doubt!

 

 

Do you have any advice you can share for new writers?

 

My advice is to simply write! Don’t think too hard! Years ago, I allowed intimidation to prevent me from pursuing my writing passion – intimidation from not holding that BA or MFA in Creative Writing. However, several years ago, I attended English classes required for an associate degree at our local community college (baby steps to a bachelor’s degree), and I’m proud to say that I aced those classes. I loved the writing and the experience. But what halted me on that path to a two-year degree was the requirement to take other classes that might not interest me, then to spend time doing that homework. Instead, my son nudged me into starting a blog. I slowly began to share my writing, feeling a little timid in the beginning. At the same time, I followed many talented authors. Before I knew it, WordPress transformed into an online classroom. I learned about various formats of poetry. I read compelling fiction with authentic dialogue. I laughed and let the tears fall when reading memoirs. I delighted in immersing myself into charming children’s books.

 

Thus, I made another choice, pouring my heart and soul into writing for my blog, a wonderful platform to engage with other like-minded bloggers. Regardless of age, learning is infinite, as well as growing in one’s craft. Maybe I’ll step foot on a college campus again? Whether that happens or not, I’ll continue to read, letting myself be drawn into fantastic tales of fantasy, mystery, and romance. I’ll feel the myriad of emotions when reading beautiful poetry, gaining more knowledge along the journey. And when inspiration moves me, I will write. So, follow your writing passion regardless of credentials or age.

 

DG: I’d say that is the best advice for new writers afraid to take the plunge. Oh yes, it can be so intimidating when we first begin. But the blog gives us our own platform to experiment with our writing and a great audience to inspire us to keep writing. It’s all about community for us writers. 🙂

 

 

Books by Lauren Scott

 

Lauren Shares an Excerpt from her story – Ascent

 

When we reached the top and I looked down that sleek granite dome, I was amazed at what I had achieved. Never underestimate our abilities. On the other side of the dome, Shealor Lake was in full view. We gave our legs a short rest, drank some water, then headed downhill with the enticing pull of the lake’s beauty. As we neared the bottom, my emotions ran wild. I was relieved that we finally made it, but a sudden wave of grief washed over me. We removed our packs and sat on a log for a time-out. I was so overwhelmed that the tears found freedom. I didn’t fight them. I cried for the loss of Dad. I cried for having completed this hike that I didn’t think I was capable of. I would’ve backed out graciously had I known the details.

 

After a few minutes, I composed myself and looked to the lake. The water, a jeweled phenomenon. It sparkled, inviting us for a swim. While we set up our back-country camp, the orange-hot sun blazed down on us as if we had drastically turned up the thermostat, so the cool lake water soothed our sun-kissed skin. The fact that we were all alone in this canyon full of forest and smooth granite was beyond welcoming. The tranquility offered me the chance to reminisce about Dad and my parents together. The solitude afforded a perfect destination to grieve, think, remember, and cry. Mourning the loss of one parent was difficult enough but losing both felt surreal – a new stage of life had begun.

 

I hope you all enjoyed getting to know a bit about Lauren, her writing and her new book. Visit Lauren at her blog and at her Amazon author page to discover some of her other books.

 

Visit Lauren:

 

BLOG: https://baydreamerwrites.com/

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE:  https://www.amazon.com/~/e/B08NCRH4MK

 

©DGKaye2021

 

Q & A with D.G. Kaye, Featuring #Thriller Author, Leyla Cardena

Welcome back to my author interview series – Q & A with D.G. Kaye. It’s been quite a turbulent year for me, but as I’m slowly getting back to regular program blogging I wanted to bring back my Q & A series. And to kick off the series, I am thrilled to have over my lovely Swiss author and friend, Leyla Cardena. Leyla recently released her newest thriller book – Existing Creatures, Living Dragons, and today we’re going to get to know a little about Leyla, her writing, and her books.

 

Leyla Cardena author

About Leyla:

Leyla Cardena was born on the 2nd of August 1990 in Geneva, Switzerland. Since her childhood, she became fascinated by all creative mediums such as cinema, writing and theater plays, which drove her to write since the age of eleven. At 23, after night school in the domain of Swiss law and working as a corporate assistant, she followed her dream to become an author and wrote her first novel in French titled “Karmicalement Vôtre”, published in France in 2013. She then, in 2019, published her second novel written in English “Becoming Insane”, and its sequel “Existing Creatures, Living Dragons” in July 2021.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blurb:

Underneath the earth, John Crane’s bones are cracking and his flesh is burning. His memories are at present as alive as his body, a body, preparing itself for metamorphosis and freedom. In the black box of Jack Vain’s mind, his belongings explode, his past life is an illusion, and ultimately, is a tower destructed by his unfulfilled desires. The recurring nightmare, the hand on Dr. Brooke Ashley’s thigh, is now a warning sign against danger, an appropriation that leads her instinct into the right directions. The djinn that Hassan Maroun met, is the little and magical voice that makes him wonder if the current events can be clearly and scientifically explained.

The creature from John and Jack’s dreams and fantasies, is the master of their evolution. Will the two childhood friends be able to accept their transformation in order to make the investigation advance?

 

 

Let’s get to know more about Leyla!

 

Where do your book ideas grow from?

 

I believe that book ideas can grow from anywhere at any time. For creators, I suppose they come from subjects they are passionate about, the same applies for me. For Becoming Insane and its sequel, Existing Creatures, Living Dragons, my ideas came from my personal experience with panic attacks and OCD which I suffered from for a period. It came during a time where I chose to leave my job behind (and a lot of other things) to start new and become an author. The issue of taking a risk without any guarantees, while also not taking any and feeling suffocated is the first main theme in Becoming Insane. The creativity that my main characters, Jack Vain and John Crane possess, becomes during their adulthood the unfulfilled and hungry creature that haunts and stalks them. The need to create comes back with a vengeance. Also, for those two novels, psychology is a very important subject. Probably because I have a great passion for it and did my best to convey my own emotional experience and a scientific point of view in the books. In other words, I would be reading books about psychology like the DSM when I was a teenager instead of doing my math! For the novels, it’s important to understand that what my main characters are going through, and what happens to them in a “horror and fantasy” way, is interpreted through a Jungian lens. The reason for that is Jung’s works which revolve around archetypes, mythology, and their interpretation, gives the novels the fantasy and fairy tale atmosphere which breaks reality. I thought it fitted well with my characters, who are creative.

 

D.G, – Sounds fascinating Leyla. I love psychological thrillers and looking forward to reading both your books. 😘

 

 

Did you have a passion to write as a child? Do you remember the first thing you wrote?

 

Always, however, it came first by simply wanting, then needing to create a story by using my toys when I was a child. To the point where my parents would go crazy because I would ask for so many dolls and plushies and whatever I could find that I could use as a character for the story I had invented. As I was only a very young kid my stories were still very basic, with a main character, usually a woman that had to go on a quest of some sort to save someone or the world. Or a more fairy tale-historical kind of story about a character climbing up the social ladder and becoming a leader. Also, some science-fiction when I felt like it. A child’s imagination has no limits! But I adored preparing the set before playing out my story. The first story I ever wrote was when I was about nine years old which I never finished. It was a very simple one about a young ballerina (because I used to do ballet and returned to it a few years ago) who witnesses some ghostly apparitions of another ballet dancer and must discover the secret behind her disappearance. Nothing original I’m afraid!

 

D.G. – You were certainly gifted the creative bug as a child Leyla. No surprise you became a writer. Maybe you should consider going back and rewriting that ballerina story? 😘

 

 

What would you like to see change to make the world better?

 

I’m extremely sensitive to children’s causes and cannot point out enough how much education is important. I unfortunately had to witness some degree of violence when I was very young, and then quickly was on my own to take responsibility of my own life when I was only sixteen. To the point where I could relate to a lot of the characters in Dickens’ books. That’s why I always say that every century and generation will have their Oliver Twists and David Copperfields. I cannot insist enough on how it’s important, and in some places urgent, to not only give knowledge, but understanding and love. And of course, a good and stable family structure so that the child can be emotionally fulfilled and feel good about himself/herself before diving into the adult world. Yes, I’m very sensitive to that. It’s always good to remember that we are not just raising children, but future adults, and that no matter the hardships and the struggles, to make sure that they have enough self-confidence to follow their dreams and avoid bad situations. The subject of childhood is immensely present in my two novels so yes, children, education and having people around them to help them grow and possess good health (physical and mental) is one of the things that can (or should) evolve for a better world. I suppose it will seem strange coming from me, as I’m not a mom and still haven’t considered becoming one.

 

D.G. – I’m with you on your thinking about children. I particularly liked, “we are not just raising children, but future adults” so much truth! It sounds like we both lived ‘interesting’ and colorful’ lives as children. 😘

 

 

Does anything you watch on TV prompt ideas for your own writing?

 

I haven’t watched TV in years! Except maybe for the daily news. I watch everything on Youtube and for movies I watch them on Netflix. There are a lot of subjects I’m passionate about that I explore by watching a documentary, then reading a book about the subject I chose to get more details and information about it. The subjects I usually enjoy discovering are (apart from psychology as mentioned above) history, true crime, nature, mythology, and its relationship with theology. There are so many things to learn about, and as I’m a curious person by nature I just can’t stop. I think it comes from my background. I come from a family with many origins, my father is Moroccan, and my mom is half British and half Catalan. My grandmother (on my mother’s side) is half Swedish too. So, I would be transported into different worlds and scenery just by being read a story to by my parents. It’s extremely enriching and makes a child open minded about different cultures while also spotting the similarities we share in storytelling. Music is also one of my greatest inspirations. I love all kinds of music, as it helps me visualize scenes and characters before translating all of it into words.

 

D.G. – What a fascinating mix of ethnicity in your bloodline Leyla. And good for you for not watching TV, lol. Seems we enjoy reading same subjects too! 😘

 

 

Would you like to share with us what upcoming projects and/or ideas for books you’re working on?

 

I’m currently working on a series of novels entitled “God, Men and Beasts”. We’re still in the thriller/horror genre, but the theme is about survival. Survival in society paralleled with survival in the wild. In Existing Creatures, Living Dragons, my main character John Crane, introduces the first chapter of God, Men and Beasts as his own work as a writer. This new series is about a journalist that must write articles about crime or court cases involving different people that are mysteriously linked to each other. Even though they live in different countries, have different lives, and have lived in different ages and decades, they share something between them that the journalist will discover later (I’m not telling what it is). These future novels are heavily influenced by the geographical location of the characters. For example, if I take England or the north of France, the story happening in this specific location will have a European fairy tale kind of atmosphere, in which the dark woods play a big role, and will represent the mystery, magic and horror of the story. You can also add in an air from the Arthurian legends. However, while Becoming Insane and its sequel Existing Creatures, Living Dragons talks about childhood, inspiration, imagination and even fantasy and how to implement them in our lives and not forget them, God, Men and Beasts is about reigniting our senses and instincts. Talks a lot about different species of animals and our relationship to them, what they used to represent before (which was power, freedom and a specific quality depending on the culture) and now. I’ve been diving into a lot of documentaries about animals, animal behaviorism and animism, which came before paganism and its different mythologies. I’m also continuing a story that is an homage to a Swiss artist that I admire a lot. But I won’t tell you who it is until the book is published!

 

D.G. – Wow, you have so much on the go! Good for you. All subject matter sounds fascinating to me. I love that your stories all encompass the element of human nature despite that there may be horror or fantasy with their themes. I wish you lots of success! 😘

 

 

Leyla is treating us to an excerpt of her book, Existing Creatures, Living Dragons

 

CHAPTER 8
Laughing Dragons

 

Too much pain, for too long. Worse thing is, it’s for free for everyone. Even if John knew that he wasn’t alone feeling such, and that there were far worse tragedies in the world, the suffering wouldn’t disappear, and now, it became physical, as he could feel each inch of his body itching and then burning every time his skin would peel off, revealing his red flesh exposed to the air. He cried, putting his two hands on his face, realizing that there wasn’t any skin left there either. He screamed, nearly fainted, hoped he would never have to see his face in a mirror again. The pain was constant, and sometimes came in violent shots to different parts of his body. But he knew that the suffering hadn’t climb to a climax yet, and that he could still do something to avoid it. In order to do that, he gazed around, crawling on all fours like an animal, staring at the grass, the trees and the earth, searching for any tool sharp enough, so that he could get rid of the pain, and eventually, himself.

 

“Help me!” John screamed. Only desperation was left in him as he could not find the tool that would release him, he suddenly felt another kind of physical pain in which he could feel something inside his back trying to get out, it wasn’t a beast, a creature, just something that was part of him…which frightened him even more. He crawled again far from the cabin where the hobo had sheltered him, he then found a dead tree with a hole in the ground beneath it, he ran to it.

 

“The pain will kill me before I cut it away!” John mumbled, tears streaming down the flesh of his face.

 

When he wished to dig the hole deeper, he saw that his hands, skinned, had long dark nails at the tip of his fingers, and had now become claws, which helped him dig the hole further into the ground.

 

“I’ll die inside of there. Like that no one, Mom, Robert, nor Jack will see me like this…” he thought to himself. When he felt that he hadndug deep enough, he inserted himself inside the earth with some agility that was left in him, which surprised him for just this onemsecond in which he didn’t think of his suffering. Once inside, he continued his journey into the depths, and breathed the air of nature.

 

“No one must see me…” John didn’t understand that it was his pain that was repugnant, not him. He would have given anything to disappear. Which was happening, but not as he wanted.

 

“Why do you think you can control death?” It is the most painful thing everyone has to go through.” said the voice of the creature inside John’s mind.

 

“I’ll wait to die in here…and while doing that, I’ll pray, and remember the best of my life…” John answered.

 

The suffering, the beast that devoured every centimetre of John’s body, the cancer, the virus, began its works, and inside the earth, underneath the dead tree, no one could guess, that a metamorphosis was taking place. It was by remembering what John considered the best times of his life that he could comfort himself inside his earthy refuge, like a story to be written, he made the effort of remembering each detail of the beginning until the ending, even though his brain would inadvertently follow the logical path of the story, even if it wasn’t a happy ending. It was an evening in which he and Jack were heading to Martha’s ballet repetitions to pick her up, as they would then have a drink together for Jack to introduce his best friend. They entered the corridor giving into the classroom, sitting down on the benches where several other people (probably friends and parents) were gazing at the dancers.

 

“Here she is!” Jack exclaimed trying not to be heard by others to John, pointing his finger towards a young and pretty Martha, standing on the dancefloor with the other dancers, waiting for the choreographer’s instructions.

 

“She’s beautiful!” John answered.

 

“Isn’t she? She looks like Audrey Hepburn…” Jack added joyously and proudly, hearts in his eyes and his mind on cloud nine.

 

Thirty minutes passed where the two friends stayed to watch the dancers prepare for their next representation, which was, as John recognized by the music playing on the piano, Swan Lake. Their main professor shouted, interrupted the dancers, made them do it all over again until each little detail was done at the utmost perfection, giving the pianist, that John had looked to for a couple of seconds, a bad time, having to stop and begin again. While Jack was beginning to be impatient for the repetition to finish, John continued to gaze at the frustrated pianist, staring at him with full admiration for his talent at the piano, and his handsome face. Elegant and classy brown hair combed back, golden skin and the most beautiful hands John ever saw…the hands of an artist. John guessed the pianist must have been in his late twenties, which agreed with him, as he was now twenty-five. He was so taken by the beauty of the musician that he could not even realize that the repetitions were finished, and that Martha was advancing towards them. She embraced Jack and said:

 

“I’ve got some wonderful news darling!”

 

“Really? What is it?” Jack asked unable to come back from her wonderful kiss.

 

“I’ll tell you later once we get out of there. I’ll just go and change.”

 

While they embraced again, John stared at what the pianist was doing. He was now talking to the choreographer while putting away his partitions, talking about the dancers and certain changes in the group. He got up, revealed his wonderful body, put his partitions in his suitcase, walked in front of John, said “Hello” rapidly, and vanished from the classroom, leaving John desperately lovestruck, and unable to say a word to anyone until he got a drink in his system at the restaurant.

 

“I was chosen to be the princess in Swan Lake!” Martha exclaimed happily. They raised their glasses when hearing the excellent news. John, who had previously introduced himself, asked by mere curiosity:

 

“What happened to the other dancer?”

 

“Well, I don’t know if you saw during the repetition, but she continued making the same mistake for her entrance so…they decided to have me play the Swan Princess!”

 

“Oh…” John could only say, as he realized that he hadn’t listened to what happened during the repetition as his attention had been fully taken by the pianist.

 

“I told you she’s the best dancer!” Jack added proud and in love.

 

It was one of the best evenings. An evening of joy, laughter, drinks, good food and love. Maybe even for John. They left the restaurant at 11 pm and dropped Martha to her parent’s place by using Jack’s car. They got out in front of a big residence, where John left the two lovers to say goodbye while smoking a cigarette near the car. Jack came back with a big smile on his face, and most importantly, hope for the future in his eyes and attitude.

 

“I’m so glad you got to meet her!” Jack exclaimed while lighting up a cigarette.

 

“Me too. She’s respectful, elegant, has a good vocabulary. She’s great,” John answered.

 

“If only I had my apartment now! If only I lived alone! I wouldn’t have to end my evenings with like this!”

 

“Listen don’t be too eager for that. The contrary is fine, she’ll have more confidence in you! And I find that romantic not to have to hit the sheets at the first date.”

 

I hope you all enjoyed this edition of Q & A with Leyla Cardena, and the excerpt. I hope you will check out her books!

 

Find Leyla on Social Media:

 

Blog: Blog | Leyla (leylacardena.com)

Twitter: Leyla Cardena (@CardenaLeyla) / Twitter

Instagram: Leyla Cardena (@leylacardena) • Instagram photos and videos

Facebook Page: Leyla Cardena – Becoming Insane | Facebook

Amazon Author Page: Amazon.com: Leyla Cardena: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle

 

©DGKaye2021

 

Q & A with D.G. Kaye – Featuring MJ Mallon and #NewRelease – Lockdown Innit

Welcome to my March edition of Q & A time where today I’m featuring another Fey Sister, friend and author, Marjorie Mallon.  I recently published a review for Marje’s lastest release – Lockdown Innit, and today Marje will share her journey to writing her latest book in prose and poetry here in her second book she felt compelled to write about how Lockdown has affected her personal world.

 

Marjorie Mallon author

 

About Marje:

My alter ego is MJ – Mary Jane from Spiderman. I love superheros!

On the 17th of November I was born, in Lion City: Singapore, (a passionate Scorpio, with the Chinese Zodiac sign a lucky rabbit.) My early childhood was spent in Hong Kong. During my teen years, my parents returned to my father’s birthplace, Edinburgh, where I spent many happy years. As a teenager, I travelled to many far-flung destinations. It’s rumoured that I now live in the Venice of Cambridge, with my six-foot hunk of a Rock God husband. My two enchanted daughters have almost flown the nest, but often return with a cheery smile to greet me.

During the day, I work in an international sixth form with students from around the world. I’m the meet and greet lady who welcomes them to their new college and issues them with late slips when they don’t get to their lessons on time!

I write YA fantasy, paranormal, horror/supernatural short stories, flash fiction and short form poetry. More recently, I have produced and compiled an anthology/compilation set during the early stages of COVID-19 entitled This Is Lockdown. Following on from this, in February 2021 I will be releasing Lockdown Innit, poems about absurdity which will be available in kindle and shortly after release in paperback.

I’ve been blogging for many moons at my blog home Kyrosmagica, which means Crystal Magic. From time to time I write articles celebrating the spiritual realm, inspiration and my love of nature, crystals and all things magical, mystical, and mysterious.

My eclectic blog shares my three loves: reading, writing, and creativity. I adore reading and have written over 150 reviews on my blog: https://mjmallon.com/2015/09/28/a-z-of-my-book-reviews/

 

 

Blurb:

Lockdown Innit is a poetry collection of eighteen poems about life’s absurdities and frustrations during lockdown. Wherever you live in this world, this is for you. Expect humour, a dollop of banter and ridiculous rants here and there. Amongst other delights, witness the strange antics of a swan posing by a bin and two statuesque horses appearing like arc deco pieces in a field. Check out the violin player on a tightrope, or the cheeky unmentionables wafting in the lockdown breeze!

 

Lovely to have you over today Marje. Let’s get down to some Q & A!

 

 

 

Where do your book ideas grow from?

Normally, my book ideas grow from a massive surge of creative energy that I
experience upon wakening. I grab my notepad by my bed and jot down ideas before they vanish! These notes become my initial story idea. From that point, I develop the concept and see how it develops and perhaps transforms.

D.G. – Have to laugh Marje, I do the same – notebooks everywhere, because we never know when inspiration strikes – and forgotten shortly after, lol.

 

Do events in your daily life inspire your writing ideas?

When I started writing daily life events didn’t inspire my writing as much as they do now. I’m more aware of current affairs, the world around me, how this pandemic has affected people. So, yes, events in my daily life have taken centre stage for the moment and pushed my fantasy writing aside for a while. I’ve written two books inspired by our struggles during this time, the first This Is Lockdown is a compilation of my personal diaries, poetry and flash fiction plus 28 contributions on the topic of ‘isolation’ from the perspective of authors, bloggers and creatives, including your good self, Debby. These contributed pieces include poetry and flash fiction pieces from different parts of the world. The anthology has an international feel, with thoughts not just from the UK, Ireland, Scotland, but from Italy, Australia, USA and Zimbabwe too. Working on the anthology was a wonderful way to connect with the writing community, to bring us together and lift our spirits in a shared goal at this time.

D.G. – I loved that book too Marje, and thrilled to be part of what will undoubtedly become a piece of history in years to come.

 

What are your writing goals for this year?

I expect that my latest release, a collection of poems about the absurd experiences
I’ve encountered during the pandemic: Lockdown Innit, Poems About Absurdity,
might be the last Covid19 related book that I release. The muse will decide! There are eighteen poems in the collection on all manner of subjects, some absurd serious, some light-hearted absurd. Themes such as: jogging, disregard for others safety, face masks carelessly thrown away, poems written to family members, genuine fears and some pure humorous like Lockdown Breeze, Swan’s Confusion, Horses Like Statues and This Face.Lockdown Innit Poems About Absurdity releases February 26th.

For the poem: This Face, the image was kindly created by fellow poet and author
Sarah Northwood who is starting to introduce graphic skills to her repertoire:
https://www.sarahnorthwood-author.com/

 

Pink face

 

This Face

Here’s my face, I’m in the pink,
A shade lighter here and there,
Black glasses, hint of eyebrows,
Smile of lipstick, small detail of nose,
Black border for my chin and hair.
Sweet perfection, not a hair out of place!
Sweet perfection, without any disgrace!
Could that really be me in there?
I didn’t even brush my hair!
Or wipe the gunk off my specs,
Those eyebrows, freshly tweeked,
My hair bobbed, cut to perfection.
Which angel darling created this?

© M J Mallon

Sarah Northwood’s image also graces my paperback cover, (which I designed
myself,) to be released shortly after the kindle.

Lockdown Innit cover

 

My writing goals in 2021 are to complete my YA fantasy – The Curse of Time #2
Golden Healer, my poetry and photography collection Do What You Love, and to
work on an autumn inspired book for release around Halloween, with my Spiritual
Sisters: Debby, Colleen, Adele and Sally. I’m so excited about all my projects, 2021 is going to be some year!

D.G. – I love your determination to plow through this pandemic and not lose your writing mojo like many of us writers have endured. And thrilled to be part of the upcoming ‘Sisters’ book too. ❤

 

What is the most intrinsic part of being a writer?

That’s an interesting question, one I am pondering about… Perhaps, its akin to being reborn again. For me, my experience has been like that to a degree. My younger self was lacking confidence, unsure who I was supposed to be. Since becoming a writer, I triggered that imaginative spark in my creative brain, embraced fulfillment and became a little crazy – in a good way! Maybe, writers experience the world on a muchdeeper and more profound level and once we do we can’t return to the person we used to be.

D.G. – Experiences do change us Marje. And no, we will not be going back to the world we knew. Let’s hope we’ll all make it a better world.

 

Do you watch TV? If so what is your favorite show and why?

I tend to be fairly juvenile in my choice of TV! My eldest daughter and I have been
watching episode after episode of the American comedy-drama television series,
Gilmore Girls which I love. The mother daughter vibe is fabulous as is the
wickedness of the grandmother. I’m always so jealous of Lorelei’s (the mum’s) lovely fashion sense. She is the coolest mum out there! She’s kind of wacky, (which I relate to,) speaks so fast (like she’s got an abundance of thoughts whizzing in her brain,) and loves her daughter Rory (I’m so close to my daughters and family too.) The characters are all so wonderfully relatable and the series is addictive.

D.G. – I am so not surprised you connect with that show Marje. I’ve only ever watched a few episodes – long ago when it was on primetime. But no surprise coming from a YA writer. 🙂

 

Connect with Marje: Links and Social Media

Authors Website::  https://mjmallon.com

Visit my Author Amazon Page for all my books:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/M-J-Mallon/e/B074CGNK4L

MJ Mallon books

 

Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon

#ABRSC – Authors Bloggers Rainbow Support Club on Facebook :
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1829166787333493/

Goodreads::  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17064826.M_J_Mallon

BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/profile/m-j-mallon  

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mjmallonauthor/

 

©DGKaye2021

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