The Day The Sun Stopped Shining Blog Tour…

…has been live and in full effect since Dec. 26th.

Good thing it lasts until Dec. 31st. Gives me plenty of time to jump on the train and visit the following awesome blogs by some awesome authors.

Gives you plenty of time too. Join us for fun activities and contests by visiting the blogs! Also, check out the author interview links and book covers below.

BLOGS TO VISIT:

Johanna K. Pitcairn http://themanicheans.blogspot.com/

Matthew C Wood www.sunstoppedshining.wordpress.com/

Micheal Rivers http://michealrivers.com/blog/

Axel Howerton http://www.axelhowerton.com/

Renee Pawlish http://tobecomeawriter.com/

Andy Holloman www.andyholloman.com/

Tim Ward www.timothycward.com/

Tim Ward podcast www.audiotim.com/

Jason McKinney http://jasonmckinney.wordpress.com/

Keith Weaver http://www.aboutkeithweaver.com/dream-weave-blog.html

Andrew Bell www.flightofman.com/

Dicey Grenor www.diceyblog.wordpress.com/

Rae Lori http://raelori.blogspot.com/

Marie Harbon www.marieharbon.com/

Amanda Haulk Taylor http://www.backwoodsauthor.wordpress.com/

Joseph Pinto http://josephpinto.wordpress.com/

Julie Jansen http://juliejansen.blogspot.com/

Kelly DeWitt http://ravencsmccracken.com/

Kim Koning http://kimkoning.wordpress.com/

Caitlin Hopper http://caitlin-thefreelancingwriter.blogspot.com/

Alesha Escobar http://www.aleshaescobar.com/

Marissa Farrar http://www.marissa-farrar.blogspot.com/

Cecilia Robert http://cecereadandwrite.blogspot.com/

Edward Owen http://dangerunfilteredcontent.wordpress.com/

Georgina Kamsika http://www.kamsika.com/

James L. Hatch http://cookinwithmisshavana.blogspot.com/

Lindsay Edmunds http://www.writersrest.com/

P.R Mason http://agirlwithacomputer.blogspot.com/

Qwantu Amaru http://qwantuamaru.com/

Shelley Workinger http://bookfare.blogspot.com/

Nadina Boun http://nadinaboun.wordpress.com/

Julia Antione http://juephraime1.blogspot.com/

Charles Jones http://bizzarofiction.blogspot.com/

Michelle Franklin http://thehaanta.blogspot.com/

Brian Johnson http://fatherthunder.blogspot.com/

Sheila Lamb http://sheilarlamb.com/

Diane Hartsock http://diannehartsock.wordpress.com/

Eileen Clemens Granfors http://www.authoreileengranfors.blogspot.com/

Andrea Pearson http://andreapearsonbooks.blogspot.com/

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AUTHOR INTERVIEWS:

Since I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing several of these authors prior to the tour, I’ll add links to those interviews here along with their book covers:

Alesha Escobar: Warlocks, Wizards, Occult Powers…and WWII?

Georgina Kamsika: Blood, Corpses, and HELL.

Nadina Boun: The Woman Behind “The Thinking Man”.

James L. Hatch: Lucifer’s Match Wear Heels…And Teaches.

Julia Antoine: Black Top Hat, Summer, And An Eagle.

Micheal Rivers: Ghosts On The Coast…Of NC.

Cecilia Robert: Beware. The Grim Reaper Has A Novice.

Kim Koning: A Writer With A Charitable Heart.

Black Top Hat, Summer, and An Eagle.

The next author interview I am happy to feature on my blog is with Julia E. Antoine. She has several blogs for you to learn more about who she is as an author: Julia Antoine, Ju Ephraime, and Ju Ephraime1. You will also learn more about her books: The Man In The Black Top Hat, State of Ecstasy, and Temptation to Sin.

This interview will appear differently than the others because the questions did not originate from me, but the answers are still informative about the author. And it’s just in time for our The Day The Sun Stopped Shining Blog Tour that officially begins today.

Let’s get started…

Q. If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future?
A. I would most definitely go back to the past. I like the past and the way some things were. The simple life.

Q. If you could meet one person who has died who would you choose?
A. My father. I had a very close relationship with my father, and sometimes I miss him terribly.

Q. What is one book everyone should read?
A. I would have to say, Oliver Twist. It has something for everyone.

Q. Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
A. The Man In The Black Top Hat, is based on a true story, and it’s disturbing, dark, and cutting edge.

Q. Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
A. Yes. I am currently working on finishing my novel, Loving Therese. It won the NaNoWri this year, and it’s the follow-up to my first novel, State of Ecstasy.

Q. What inspired you to want to become a writer?
A. My love of reading, which took me to all the different places I could not go to in real life. It was my escape.

Q. Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
A. Receiving positive reviews from my readers, and knowing they were patiently awaiting my next release.

Q. What is your favorite Quote?
A. “Perseverance is the key to success.” Julia E. Antoine

Q. Who are your favorite authors of all time?
A. Lisa Kleypas, Karen Hawkins, Gaelen Folly, Christine Feehan and Sherrilyn Kenyon. There is something unique about each one.

Q. If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be?
A. Driven To Endure

Q. What’s your favorite season/weather?
A. Summer. I love the heat of the summer. There are so many fun things to do in the summer.

Q. How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?
A. I went out to dinner.

Q. Hidden talent?
A. Interior Designer.  I can walk into an empty space and visually see the finished product, when no one else can.

Q. If you were a bird, which one would you be?
A. An eagle. I admire the graceful elegance of the eagle.

Q. Favorite places to travel?
A. Europe, the Caribbean.

Q. Favorite music?
A. Classic Rock.

Q. In your wildest dreams, which author would you love to co-author a book with?
A. I’m not going to put the name out there; I’m very superstitious that way.

Congratulations on winning the NaNoWri this year, Ju! Thanks for sharing these answers and giving us a glimpse into who you are and what makes your books special.

Lucifer’s Match Wears Heels…And Teaches.

Missed me? Well, I missed you, dear reader. Been itching to get back to this blog all week, but circumstances prevented it until now. Oh, yes–my family’s trip from Texas to North Carolina for the holidays was H-E-double-hockey-sticks, but we finally made it safely.

Speaking of HELL…

I had the pleasure of interviewing James L. Hatch, author of The Substitute,where Lucifer meets his match in a high school substitute teacher. James has written several books, but since we’re discussing HELL, I thought this one was highly appropriate. Plus, James is one of our wonderful authors for The Day The Sun Stopped Shining Blog Tour, which begins tomorrow.

So…

1. My, goodness. Who does your covers? They are stunning. Do you tell your designers what you want or just see what they come up with on their own?

James: There’s an interesting mixture of creativity—some mine and some others. The cover for The Final Experiment was created entirely by the publisher, xoxopublishing.com. The covers for The Judge and Infinity Quest were collaborative produced between xoxopublishing.com and me, whereas I worked with a local studio to create the cover for The Empress of Tridon (an image of my daughter’s face is superimposed atop a Hubble Space Telescope image) and Aftermath Horizon (I took the mountain picture from Mt. Rainier, and the studio later used Photoshop to add crater images from the Nevada Test Site web page). Solstice Publishing was entirely responsible for the covers for The Substitute and Oh, Heavens, Miss Havana! Likewise, Eternal Press created the cover for Kill Zone with no input from me. The amount of my involvement has been driven entirely by the creativity of the assigned artist, and the publisher’s willingness to accept input from me. Xoxopublishing.com was very flexible when their artist was a little overwhelmed, so I helped where I could. To my surprise, my favorite covers (The Substitute and Kill Zone) were developed by publisher artists with little to no input from me. In both cases, the artists read the book, and then used their own impressions of the text to create the cover.

Dicey: Wow. That seems like an involved process. And it works, especially for The Substitute. I made sure to link to each book. I’ll be happy to update this post with the link for Oh, Heavens, Miss Havana! when it’s released.

2. With seven novels and one short story, which one did you enjoy writing most and why?

James: Without question, the most enjoyable to write was The Substitute. I had completed my Sci-Fi trilogy and my contemporary fiction works, and wanted to make a change in genre. The concept for Miss Havana, a stunning substitute teacher who everyone loved to hate, struck me in a dream, and I immediately got out of bed and started writing. It was a case of the main character (Miss Havana) taking over the author in quite a literal sense. I laughed almost the entire time I wrote that book – for about two months. Solstice accepted the novel in less than 24 hours from the time I pitched it (the editor wrote that she could not put it down). The only purpose for The Substitute is to make people laugh; however, all the biblical references in it are real. What struck me funny, while Miss Havana outwitted Lucifer and her daughter, Lilith, was the wild interpretations I could give to the biblical references. I tried to be accurate relative to the twenty-seven indicators pointing to the rise of the Antichrist, but every “rule” has a humorous (and a bit twisted) implementation.

While The Substitute is definitely my favorite, Aftermath Horizon runs a close second. Aftermath Horizon intertwines two love stories with a load of adventure. Instead of focusing on the doomsday scenario that kills almost everyone on earth, the novel concentrates on the recovery about 180 years after the end times. The heroine is a sixteen-year-old girl who is brave, honorable and quick on the uptake. Her adventures take her into a world of unbelievable peril, where every scrape with death brings her and her mate closer together. I loved the irony of writing about a time gone by, while presenting one potential future for the human race.

Dicey: Your concepts are intriguing, indeed. I can see why these are your faves.

3. In a recent blog post, you wrote: “In The Substitute, Miss Havana proved more conniving and evil than Lucifer, and eventually caused him great pain. People like it when the devil is defeated; it was easy to get laughs at Lucifer’s expense.” Which one is the real villain in your story? Miss Havana or Lucifer, and which one was more interesting to write? Why?

James: An excellent question! The answer to the villain question is “neither.” The real villain is the daughter of Lucifer and Miss Havana, Lilith. The daughter inherits the evil nature of both Miss Havana and the devil, making her twice as caustic as her parents. As to which was the most interesting to write, that would be Miss Havana. I loved her complex, two-faced nature and the fact that no one could guess what she’d do next. Her quirky nature means no one will guess the end of the novel, even within a couple of paragraphs from the conclusion.

Dicey: Hope I didn’t force you to reveal a spoiler about the daughter. 😉 Then again, I guess that’s not the big secret since no one will guess the end even right up to the conclusion. I like surprises…in literature, that is.

4. In that same blog post, you wrote: “On acceptance of the manuscript, the Solstice Publishing editor offered, ‘I found it to be a humorous, gory, graphic, moral and ultimately satisfying tale.’ That is exactly what I intended.” How did you insert morality into the story without losing the humor, gory, and graphic nature of the book?

The quote is in reference to the sequel novel to The Substitute, called Oh, Heavens, Miss Havana! The book is written like a saw tooth, with sharp teeth of humor between each horrifying social issue I addressed. To add humor, Miss Havana’s spirit haunts a beautiful advice columnist known as “Miss Jackie.” Of course, no one in their right mind would take the advice Miss Havana dispenses, but her multiple stints offering advice is a great opportunity for humor. As advice columnist, Miss Havana is guided by two basic tenets. First, that ‘everyone is entitled to her opinion’, and second, that she reached the point in life where everything was a lie; therefore, she is able to discern the truth. When her spirit is not destroying Miss Jackie’s career, it occupies various felons, and she exacts retribution from almost everyone she stumbles into. She makes a great assassin as she comes to see herself as “The Angel of Death.” As in the case of The Substitute, no one will guess the end of Oh, Heavens, Miss Havana! That ending is the most poignant I’ve written, so much so that one reviewer stated, “And what an ending…! I won’t give it away but if it doesn’t give you at least one sniffle, in the midst of all that dark laughter, then you’ve got Lucifer’s sensitivity.”

Thanks for having me on your blog, Dicey. Your questions are by far the most insightful I’ve addressed. Your readers can find more about me and my books at http://cookinwithmisshavana.blogspot.com/, where I will also be posting inputs from other “The Day the Sun Stopped Shining” blog tour authors. There are also free books and a cool contest there.

Dicey: With “Sharp teeth of humor” and “Lucifer’s sensitivity”, I can see you have a way with words that is both witty and entertaining. Thank YOU for taking the time to answer my questions with such depth. I’m glad you found them insightful. Your passion for your books showed through.  It’s been my pleasure. I’ll stop by your blog to check out the contests and other author features.

Merry Christmas to all!

Ghosts On The Coast…Of NC.

I have a loooooong ride ahead of me today from Houston, TX to Greenville, NC. With my hubby and two little ones. We have DVDs, satellite radio, snacks, and designated stops along the way. And when we get there, my dad will see my sixteen-month-old son for the first time. Exciting stuff.

Very appropriate to have Micheal Rivers, a seasoned writer and native North Carolinian, interview on my blog today since he writes about things that kept me up at night when I was younger.

Micheal: Thank you very much for having me with you today, Dicey. It is a very great pleasure. To you and all of your readers I would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Dicey: It’s my pleasure. So glad you took the time to do this. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours.

I’m always excited to chitchat with authors from my home state. There are more of us than Nicholas Sparks. 🙂

Let’s dig in…

Q: With over thirty years investigating and collecting paranormal stories, is Ghosts of the North Carolina Shores intended to be informative, historical, frightening, or entertaining? Or is there something else you want your readers to gain from reading it? Please explain.

A:  Ghosts of the North Carolina Shores is actually all of the above. This book gives the reader information on the areas the hauntings were witnessed in. Historically speaking there are many of the spirits who came from a particular era and the areas they derived from are of great interest to many people. There are some frightening moments as well as entertaining and a bit of mystery. This book was made approved reading for the North Carolina Public Schools reading list for its geography, English, and historical value. I wanted the readers to not only know some of the mysteries of the state of North Carolina but also its historical significance in the shaping of our country. These are just a small number of things our younger generation should know to identify with their heritage as true Americans.

Dicey: Impressive. A textbook and Halloween campfire tale combined.

Q:  Did having a co-author for The Black Witch make it easier or more
difficult to write and why?

A:  There is actually no co-author for this novel. When it was posted by Amazon they listed my editor as a coauthor and wouldn’t remove it per my request. So it remains to look as though I have a co-author. All of my novels are written by myself and an irritable keyboard.

Dicey: Wow. Thanks for clearing that up.

Q:  As someone who served in the United States Marine Corps during Vietnam, I imagine you experienced a lot. Of the genres you write in, which do you think is most influenced by your military experiences: Fiction, Horror, Thriller or Paranormal. How so?

A:  I never use anything I have experienced from my days in the military. I usually draw my characters and stories from paranormal experiences from over the years. Each character is a compilation of many characters, or people I have been associated with over a lifetime. Fiction, Horror, Thriller or Paranormal they all have a life of their own.

“Be the host to your ghost”

Dicey: Don’t worry, Micheal. I host several ghosts in my head daily. 🙂

Micheal is also part of our The Day The Sun Stopped Shining Blog Tour, so you know he’s good people.

And may I add: Micheal, thank you for your service to our country.

Now, I gotta load the car with my precious cargo. Happy Holidays to all!

The Woman Behind “The Thinking Man”.

The Day The Sun Stopped Shining Blog Tour is approaching fast, just like the holiday season and end of the year. In preparation of the tour, I’ve interviewed several authors and shared their works with you. Nadina Boun is another of our creative authors and she has granted me the following interview:

1. Since your novel The Thinking Man, Paralysis By Analysis is a comical compilation of rules in a man’s head, by what method did you channel your character as a female writer?

Nadina: Interesting question! Just a matter of observation and analysis really, and a minor understanding of the male’s point of view. However the rules or scrolls in the book extend to emotions in general, thus relating to us as human beings as opposed to a certain gender.

Dicey: Fascinating! I imagine it would have to be comical to spend time analyzing a man’s thoughts, which you do a good job of, based on the sample I’ve read. Football…beer…women… You mean there are emotions in there somewhere too? 🙂

2. In Earth and Venus you mix science fiction with romance. Which audience are you hoping to appeal to more, sci-fi or romance lovers and why?

Nadina: Well, I did not think about it when I had plenty of fun writing it. But I suppose it would suit more the science fiction audience than it would romance lovers. The use of words is still somewhat cosmic related:)

Dicey: Science and fun in the same book? Who knew. 🙂

3. As a writer of poetry, short stories, fiction, and plays, which do you find the most challenging to write and why?

Nadina: I find longer stories to be challenging because they require a longer amount of time and concentration. So fiction novels I have began writing always ended up incomplete. It is a challenge to finish them!

Dicey: Interesting how we have the opposite challenge here. I find it difficult to keep something short. A short story for me is 70k words. Anywho–I think it’s awesome that you’re able to do a little of it all.

Thanks for the interview, Nadina. I wish you much success.

A Writer With A Charitable Heart.

Next up on my pre-The Day The Sun Stopped Shining Blog Tour author interview list is author/poet Kim Koning.

Let’s just dig right in, shall we?

1. Since most writers never achieve their dream of having a full-time writing career, what is your best advice to authors on how to make it happen?

Kim: I think the most important advice for going full-time writing is planning for it. This is not something I just up and decided to do. I planned ahead, put away savings in a nest egg bank account. You also have to have a strong support system, whether this be family or friends or both. For me, this is something that I had been working, planning and saving towards for a quite a few years already. When the time comes that you decide to take that big step, you will know. Signs will just show up confirming this decision. This is what happened for me. It is the best decision I ever took. I am now happier and more fulfilled than I ever was trying to squeeze in time to write.

You also need to treat your full-time writing like a proper job. You have to show up for it every day. For me, I also put a plan of attack into motion and scheduled a writing projects plan. Also, make sure you get out into the real world and away from your writing at least once a week. It is very tempting for us writerly types to lock ourselves away at the back of a writing cave and get lost in out created worlds. But don’t shut yourself off from the social world. There is nothing stopping you sometimes other than yourself.

You can go full-time writing with the right amount of planning, determination, decisiveness and discipline.

Dicey: Good advice, Kim. I know some people have been hit hard in this economy and may not be able to save right now. But that’s where all the other things you mentioned will help. Having a plan and support system and being determined and disciplined during the difficult times will make way for a full-time writing career once times improve.

2. Your short story Ring of Fire is included in a charity anthology Tales For Canterbury where all profits are donated to the Red Cross Earthquake Appeal. How did you get involved with this project, and what has it been like to share your art AND give back to the community?

Kim: Well, a writing buddy of mine alerted me to this anthology. I contacted one of the editors and then the ball started rolling.

This project was particularly special to me for two major reasons. One, it was my first published short story included in an amazing line up of authors. Two, 100% of all proceeds were going to Christchurch for the RedCross Earthquake appeal. This was incredibly important for me to be part of as not that long ago Christchurch had been my home. There is something particularly special about that city and the way the whole country rallied behind Christchurch in the aftermath of two major earthquakes just goes to show that I am one of many who feel that way about Christchurch.

In times of crisis, one feels so helpless but still you want to reach out and help in any small way you can. This anthology gave me the perfect way to reach out and help. Writing is what I do and to be able to write a story that will shine with hope and be read by people who need hope, there is no greater reward than that. I was honoured to be included in this anthology and I am pleased that a story I created helped even in a tiny way by being part of such a fantastic anthology.

Dicey: Kudos to you! You can always tell what people are made of during times of crises. The fact that you had the spirit of giving rather than selfishness, despair, superiority, or ambivalence says a lot about you.

3. As a YA dystopian writer, please explain what that is and what inspires you to write in this genre?

Kim: Strangely enough, The Ring of Fire was my first foray into writing YA dystopian. I had not thought of it as that. I write paranormal specializing in ghostly tales and suspense. But at the end of the day I write stories that speak to me regardless of their genre. The story came to me in a specific scene and developed from there.

Dystopian fiction is about a controlled or repressed society often built upon the guise of creating a Utopia or a perfect society. However in every dystopian I have read, there is a resilient evidence of hope that shines through in the actions of the hero or heroine. For me that theory resonates with raw honesty.

YA is a natural conducive for dystopian as teens do find themselves living in a controlled environment where all they are trying to do is struggle to find out who they really are and what their place is in the world. I think we all sometimes feel like we are being controlled, either by circumstance, finances, society, work or personal lives so we can all relate to a dystopian world. But more importantly I think we all need hope and the best place to grow hope is where you have to dream of a world that is better. That is what dystopian fiction means for me.

The Ring of Fire published in Tales for Canterbury is a prequel to a full length novel I will be working on in 2012. I also don’t think The Ring of Fire is the only novel I want to do in dystopian fiction. I definitely see myself writing more YA dystopian fiction in the future. There is just something about this genre that just speaks to me.

Here is the link to the Anthology…Remember 100% of all profits go to the RedCross Earthquake Appeal…Buy an ebook or print copy to own stories by the likes of Neil Gaiman and Jay Lake and my debut short story – The Ring of Fire.

Dicey: Thanks for explaining what dystopian is. I can see how it would appeal to YA and adult readers. For some reason, I want to call it disturbia…but that was a 2007 movie with Shia Labeouf. So, never mind. 🙂

Good luck as you write the full length novel. And thanks for the interview.

Beware. The Grim Reaper Has A Novice.

Wow. These indie author interviews have been amazing, if I may say so myself. Hell, I DO say so myself. And we haven’t even started The Day The Sun Stopped Shining Blog Tour yet.

Today, Cecilia Robert is going to razzle and dazzle us with more information about her book The Grim Reaper’s Novice: Soul Collector Series Volume 1.

1. When it comes to writing about the Grim Reaper, death, and collecting souls, do you find yourself depressed or sad while writing these scenes? If so, how do you overcome this, yet still write compelling scenes?

CeCe: Actually, writing the Grim Reaper’s character was fun. I tried to lighten him up a bit by adding a fun part of him so it’s not all depressing and dreary, move away from the sickle carrying Grim. For example: He doesn’t like people calling him Grim, he prefers being called Ernest and has no problem reminding anyone who tends to forget, he enjoys matchmaking. His motto; everyone  needs some love, even the ghosts and djinns. His door is always open to dinner guests.

Writing the death-scenes was not easy for me. For example, there’s a scene on the first chapter when Ana Maria – the MC – goes to collect the soul and has to watch as life fades from the lady she is meant to collect her soul, and her taking her last breath. Man, that wasn’t easy.

Music goes a long way to clear my head and of course chase away the heaviness in my heart. And not the angry kind of music. No. Something danceable and cheerful, of course.

Dicey: The Grim Reaper prefers to be called Ernest and enjoys matchmaking? Ha! That’s different. And probably more appropriate for the YA genre than the vision I have in my head of him.

I know what you mean about death scenes not being easy. There’s a scene in my taboo fiction that I cried while writing and every time I read it. When you think about someone being here one day and gone the next, it can be really sad. Lively music certainly helps.

2. As a writer in the Young Adult genre, what do you mostly want young adults to gain from reading your book?

CeCe: First and foremost, I’d like readers to enjoy reading my book, to have fun. I’d also like readers to know  they can succeed in whatever they put their mind to, and overcome any challenges that come their way. My Mc does make mistakes, and bad decisions. In order to become wise, one needs to learn from their mistakes.

Dicey: Preach!

3. As an assistant nurse, does your experiences in your profession enter in to your writing? For instance, do you see patients die and think about what happens to their souls? Or is there some other way your profession impacts your writing?

CeCe: In this story, I’d say the experience as an assistant nurse does play a part in my writing. I have been in a room when a patient takes their last breath, and I have to say it is the hardest situation to be in, to see the life fade from someone who moments ago was smiling at you, or chatting with you. Yes, the thought has once occurred to me. Where do souls go when someone dies? I seriously have no idea, but I can only hope someplace good.

So, yes, my profession does play a part in this story. It does help in creating believable scenes, I’d say.

Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Dicey. It’s been fun.

Dicey: I hope our souls go to a good place too, CeCe. If I see Hitler there, I’ll know I went to the wrong place.

Thank YOU for sharing your work with me and giving a unique perspective on The Grim Reaper Ernest.