Saturday, May 29, 2010

Where Have I Been???

This is for all of my readers, friends, family and all you other unknown cyberstalkers out there....

The move from NC to KY went well. The week after we moved however, not so much, was ruined by the Midwest Flood. My grandma had just had knee replacement surgery and two weeks later the flood ruined her house. 10 more payments and the house would have been paid for. The flood water reached the roof of the house and they basically lost everything. Some things were salvageable but most things were irreplaceable and held too many memories to be washed away. Our house was fine. The town itself was deemed a disaster area by FEMA. There were so many people willing to help in any way possible: food, clothes, toys, accessories, decorations, toiletries. If it was house worthy or a necessity or not, someone had it. It was such a horrible tragedy, yet it was like a cleansing in a way. The community was brought together in a way nothing else can do but tragedies and Creator. The town is still recovering and I'm sure with the poverty and the economy in the state that it is; it will be recovering for quite a time.

Yesterday was one of my baby brother's weddings. It was such a wonderful experience to be a part of his joy and love. I now have another sister to add to the collection, and soon another niece courtesy of my new sister-in-law and brother. With all the stress and anxiety I've been dealing with over the past year this was a much needed event. To add to the tragedy list, my aunt now has cancer, seems to be doing quite well with aggressive chemo treatments. My youngest sister was in a horrible accident in Alaska and is in a coma. She's still unconscious but the doctors say things are looking up. As stubborn as she is I hope she can use that for her instead of usually using it against herself. She can use all the prayers you can send. Sometimes you have to just know when it's Creator's choice to do what is to be done.

In regards to the book reviews/interviews I unfortunately have to put them on hold until the phone companies main office is up and running appropriately in the aftermath of the Midwest Flood. I do have over 11 reviews that are finished, just need typed up, and quite a few interviews to post as well. About the contest I was running I am going to continue it until June 1. The winner will be chosen then.

Thank you all again for your love, prayers, support and joining of this endeavour.

If you're an author or publicist inquiring me to do a review on your book, an interview or both you can send your inquiry to me at:

Steven Foley
c/o Steven's Cybrary
535 Rose Fork
Olive Hill, KY

Author Susan B Pfeffer Interview

At some point in April, I was in a Walmart store in the book section. A previous author I had done a review for- her book was on the shelves and at the time I didn't have my cell phone with me to snag a picture for her as she had asked. A second trip I had my cell in hand. After I fought through the many books looking for it, I was stopped at a book titled "This World We Live In" by Susan B Pfeffer. It had a compelling synopsis and I took a pic and sent it to her. As soon as I got home I sent the picture to her and inquired about an ARC and an interview. Below is the interview with Ms. Pfeffer. I want to thank her for the time and opportunity she has given myself and my readers. I can only hope you make #77 and surpass that! Thank you Susan.

You began your writing career back in 1970. Did you ever think you would have written this many books to date?

I always knew I'd write a lot of books. I'm a quick worker and I never had any other job.

There was a point when I thought maybe I'd hit 100 books, but then as I got older, I realized that wasn't going to happen.

I gave myself a party when the dead and the gone was published, since it was my 75th book. At that time, I didn't know I'd be writing This World We Live In (#76) and I certainly didn't anticipate I'd write another book (as I am right now).

But if my career ends with 77 books, I'll be more than satisfied.

As such an accomplished author have you any future plans for a website?
Every now and again, I think about it, but it seems to take work. In addition, I'd have to know what I'm doing. So it's on my maybe list, but not on my gotta do it list.

You've written over 60 books for children and young adults. What is it about this age group that is so interesting for you?
Writers have different themes they return to numerous times. Mine is Family In Upheaval. It fascinates me to take a family, put them in an unexpected situation, and see what happens.

Writing about children and teenagers gives me a strong opportunity to examine families.

Also, I like writing relatively short books, and my vocabulary level died in fifth grade. So I'm particularly suited for writing children's and YA books.

"Just Morgan," your first book was written in your last semester at NYU. Did you ever think it would get published?
When I wrote Just Morgan, I wasn't thinking about getting it published. I wrote it because I'd been told writing a book would be a good way to get a job as an editor.

I gave the manuscript to one of my professors, who said he thought it was publishable. He sent a letter of inquiry to a small publishing house he knew. They agreed to read the manuscript. After they had, they met with me, made some suggestions. I did what they told me, resubmitted the manuscript, and they accepted it.

After my professor read the book, but before it had been submitted, my father (who never wanted me to get my hopes up), said it was very unlikely it would be accepted. My older brother said he thought the publishing house would make suggestions and then accept it.

My brother was delighted to be right and my father was delighted to be wrong.

And I was delighted I was going to be a writer and not an editor.

In regards to the age group you write for, what do you wish for them?
What I wish for everybody. Satisfaction.

On your blog you offer writing tips and advice. Do you do workshops also?
I haven't done a formal writing workshop in many years. But sometimes when I do a school visit, I'll include a writing workshop as part of my presentation.

Have you done any readings for children and YA? If so, what is the experience like for you?
Mostly when I talk to children or teenagers, I discuss my writing and answer their questions. So I almost never do readings for them.

Poor Scooter! Cats are infamous at veterinary appointments. Do you have any other pets?
For most of my life, I've had two cats. I had the same two for more than a decade. Then they died within a few months of each other.

A few months after that, I adopted Scooter. He's a year old now, and a total lunatic. But I love having him (and my guess is he love's having me).

Is it frustrating when you are doing queries for your new books? Doing one for each novel has to be exhausting?
I love talking about my books and I thoroughly enjoy discussing my career. So, while I do find other aspects of writing books to be frustrating (rewrites, waiting for the money to arrive), handling queries doesn't bother me.

Is it hard to sell rights to your books with foreign publishers, as opposed to American ones? Or is there really no difference?
I have no idea. I really don't. For the vast majority of my professional life, I've worked through a literary agency, and someone there sells the foreign rights.

I assume they work pretty hard, so I don't have to!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Author Jen Nadol Interview

After reading about "The Mark" I contacted Jen in hopes of a copy to review. Unfortunately there wasn't one available, but she happily offered to do this interview with me. See what she has to say. Thank you Jen for your time.

What inspired you to become a writer?
I’ve always loved to read and find writing both challenging and soothing. It always seemed like a dream job, but I only actively pursued it when I stopped working to stay home with my first son.

How long have you been writing?
On and off – my whole life. With intent to publish – almost six years.

Of your work, which is your favorite, or that you hold dear for one reason or another?
The Mark is my first novel and probably will always hold a special place because of that.

As an author who is your favorite to read from?
I tend to have favorite books rather than favorite authors, but a few writers I’ve read and really enjoyed multiple books by are Stephen King, John Irving, Nelson DeMille and Scott Westerfeld.

What is your favorite genre?
I really like paranormal, historical and contemporary stories – either adult or YA. I’m not that into fantasy, sci-fi, chick lit or romance.

What do you like to do in your spare time? Writing isn't an answer! :)
Eat good food and drink good wine.

Have you ever collaborated with another author? Or plan too?
I haven’t and doubt I will. I don’t think it suits the way I write or develop a story.

Do you have any pen name(s)? If so, why do you choose to use a pen name?

Any words of wisdom for your fans and readers?
Carpe diem and enjoy!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Author Selena Robins Interview

Poor Selena. This woman has been sick for too long. She has been trying to get this interview to me for months now. Selena was one of the original Samhain authors who had contacted me offering to do this interview. I am happy to do this with her. Selena hopefully by the time this interview has been posted you will have finally kicked this bug you have. Thank you again for your time. Get well soon. :(

What inspired you to become a writer?

I’m the youngest of five in a boisterous Italian competitive family, the rest of them are musically inclined and I’m not. None of the others write. Also, my mother was a great storyteller and I always wanted to follow in her footsteps, although I still can’t bake bread as well as she did, but I like to think I inherited her love of stories and writing.

How long have you been writing for?
Pretty sure I tapped out a story in my mother’s womb.

Of your work, which is your favorite, or that you hold dear for one reason or another?
This question is always so hard to answer. I love them all, but I think right now it would be my current book, “What a Girl Wants,” because I want it to sell well. :) Also, I’ve come a long way from my first book, and have learned a lot about self-editing and polishing.

As an author, who is your favorite to read from?
How much room do you have for the answer? Too many to really list here and I’d hate to leave anybody out. My goal is to re-read the classics a few times per year, and also try one new author every month.

What is your favorite genre?
A great story that goes with a cup of Earl Gray tea.

What do you like to do in your spare time? Writing isn't an answer.
Spending time with my family and friends as much as I can and indulging in some guilty pleasures (reality tv – Dragon’s Den, American Idol and that Model show…there I admit it). Spare time to a writer is rare, especially when we’re promoting, writing, reading and socializing on Facebook and Twitter.

Have you ever collaborated with another author? Or plan too?
I haven’t up until now. Of course if Joy Fielding or Dean Koontz contacted me I’d definitely think about it. :)

Do you have any pen names? If so why do you choose to use a pen name?
When I first started writing and learning about Internet etiquette it was common for people not to put their real names out there, and many writers adopted a pen name for privacy reason. I thought it was a good plan.

Any words of wisdom for your fans and readers?
Save a tree and buy an ebook. Save your sanity and eat chocolate.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Author Kimberly Derting Interview

Kimberly is a part of my 2010 Debute Author Challenge. I read the synopsis of the book and I was like "MAN I HAVE TO READ THIS!" I contacted her in hopes of getting a review copy, unfortunately there weren't any available. However I did get to do this amazingly & awesome interview with her. She made me laugh quite a lot, and I anticipate reading "The Body Finder" as soon as I can get my hands on it. Thank you Kimberly for this fun interview I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did?!

Where did you come up with the idea for "The Body Finder." a dream, or did it just come to you, or....?

It all came to me in a dream and when I woke up the next day, I wrote the entire book on the back of a napkin! Ok, so that didn’t happen, but how cool would that have been??? Actually, my husband came up with this random idea about a boy who could find dead bodies. As soon as he said that, I immediately started creating Violet’s creepy ability and of course, changed the main character to a girl. Of course if you ask my husband, he will still tell you that he’s my co-author!

Your book is YA. Are you like Stephen King, not allowing your children to read your work? Which is funny because you reference him in your Q&A's.
Wow, my first comparison to Stephen King! Ok, so maybe you didn’t actually compare me to him but I’m going to pretend you did! My oldest daughter read the book when it was still in manuscript form and my 16-year-old probably never will! He’s such a teenager (meaning that anything his mom does is flat-out embarrassing)! My nine-year-old has been begging me to read it, and so far, I’ve only let her read the prologue and first chapter. I don’t have a problem with her reading it in a couple of years, though; she understands that I made it up.

How did you feel on your first book tour, surrounded by vast talent?
I haven’t actually gone on the Supernatural Summer Tour yet, but I’m super-excited to be included with such a talented group of HarperCollins authors. I did go to one of their signings last year when they stopped in Seattle , but only has a crazed fan-girl! I may have been a little nervous when I met Kim Harrison because I introduced myself as a “Harper Arthur” instead of a Harper author. :)

How stressful was it to write your "first" book? First being loosely titled since you had a previous unpublished novel. Do you feel the sequel is going to be more or less easier, and why?
Before The Body Finder was picked up by HarperCollins, I was about half way finished with Desires of the Dead so there wasn’t a lot of pressure to write book two then. I do think that any time you write a sequel, there’s a lot of pressure not to disappoint your readers. Now that it’s all done, though, I’m very very excited about the sequel and can’t wait for it to be released!

Can you recall the first book you ever read? What was it about?
I still have my very first “favorite” book, the one that I used to read over and over again. It’s called “The Sesame Street Book of Puzzlers”. (My grandparents gave it to me when I was four.)

What was your first reaction to your very first review?
For me, it was a dream come true! I couldn’t believe that someone had actually read my book and (fortunately for me) loved it! What made it extra-special was that it was from a blogger who lived in the same state as me, and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting her several times now…and even her dad has read my book! How cool is that??

The unpublished FIRST novel, what was it about?
I wrote my first horror novel when I was 19, called ONE OF THEM. It was about a town of people that were basically a secret cult, and there a little bit of a supernatural twist as well. To be honest, it was a complete mess! Let’s just chalk that one up to good practice. :)

Three minutes to pitch a script? I can't imagine anyone subjecting themselves to that amount of stress.
I was so nervous that I confused the words “urban” and “rural” when my agent (who wasn’t my agent at the time) asked me about the setting for the book. Umm…DUH! Fortunately, she saw past my nerves and signed my anyway, but yeah, it was incredibly nerve-wracking!

Any heads up on the sequel?
Desires of the Dead will be release in 2011! We will get to see the love story between Jay and Violet develop and there may or may not be a dead body or two!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Author Kristina McBride Interview

Kristina has this book titled "The Tension of Opposites." The name caught my attention and after reading about it, I emailed her in hopes for a review copy and interview. Sadly there weren't any copies available. She was eager, tho, in doing an interview. I think she has the record timing so far in finished author interviews! LOL! Thanks Kristina for this interview and congratulations on all your success!

What inspired you to become a writer?
Books! They were my fist true love as a child, and I’ve never grown tired of them. In fact, I’ve always felt like I can’t get enough. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to write a book of my own. My parents, both book lovers themselves, certainly had a lot to do with this.

How long have you been writing?
Most of my life, though I started to be more consistent in high school as I got into journal writing (lots of poems back then). In college I moved toward the short story, and by the end of my college education, I was all about writing a novel. But then I started teaching high school English, which leaves little time or energy for writing a novel. It wasn’t until I had my first child several years ago, when I quit my job to stay home with my baby, that I actually found enough time to dive into my writing.

Of your work, which is your favorite, or that you hold dear for one reason or another?
I’ve written several novels, but The Tension of Opposites is my favorite. The plot and characters were very important to me, and I simply could not give up until this story was told, and told the right way. This novel is my first, so it will probably always be a front runner for questions like this. The Tension of Opposites snagged me an incredible agent, was my first sale, will be the first of my books I will actually hold in my hand . . . you get the point.

As an author who is your favorite to read from?
I’m not sure I can answer this one – it’s like asking me to choose the best of all my wonderful friends. I love so many authors out there! I’m just going to fire off a few names that come to the top of my head: Laurie Halse Anderson, John Green, Sarah Dessen, Jay Asher, Dean Koontz, Stephen King . . .

What is your favorite genre?
YA – no question!

What do you like to do in your spare time? Writing isn't an answer! :)
I like to spend time with my family and friends. There’s nothing like getting lost in a good conversation. I also like to be alone – we have a nature reserve near our home, which is actually a very important setting in my novel, where I love to spend time walking through the woods.

Have you ever collaborated with another author? Or plan too?
I have been part of some very beneficial writing groups, and find that the feedback I get from other authors is invaluable. But I doubt I’ll ever write a novel with someone else. I think that would be too difficult for me!

Do you have any pen name(s)? If so, why do you choose to use a pen name?
I am writing under my maiden name. It flows well and seemed like the best name to have on the cover of my book.

Any words of wisdom for your fans and readers?
Read books. Lots and lots of books :)

Thank you Kristina for doing this interview for my readers and Follower's. Congratulations on "The Tension of Opposites." I am looking forward to doing a review on it for you this year. May this year reward you with even more good news. Keep us posted on any future novels!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Author Michael Beres Interview

I wanted to do this interview with Michael mostly because of my interactions with Medallion Press. This company has been so wonderful to me. Michael is one of the four authors I have the blessing to work with. The other reason is because of his novels being set in the Ukraine. My brother-in-law, Olexiy, is from there, and of course the whole Chernobyl disaster. I had contacted Michael in regards of doing a review for his books "Chernobyl Murders" and its sequel "Traffyck." He kindly obliged my reading obsession and sent me a copy of each novel. I really enjoyed this interview with him. He has some very profound things to talk about. Thank you for your time and generosity Michael!

You're a Chicago native. On your site you have pictures of the Ukraine, where your father is from. Did you ever visit there?
I have visited Ukraine in spirit many times. There is a Ukrainian Village in Chicago, and I am a member of Friends of Chernobyl Centers US and have participated in fundraisers. Another Ukrainian writer I know wrote her book before she was able to visit Ukraine, and recently she was able to go there. This is how it is with many writers who are not famous. We must settle for research and conversations with friends and relatives. All of my relatives on both sides of my family came from Hungarian, Czech, Ukrainian, and finally Russian areas of Western Ukraine. As a boy I was told many stories of growing up there, went to ethnic picnics and other festivities, and was therefore educated in the culture. So, this is why I can say in spirit, I have visited Ukraine and other parts of Eastern Europe many times.

With numerous short stories and a collection of books, have you ever doubted  yourself? Thought of not writing at some point?
Of course. I think all writers have this feeling at some point in their writing career. But with some of us, it is an obsession. We feel we must put down this material, even if it is only for future generations to read. We can’t all be famous, but I think a writer does want to be read. When a writer says they are only writing it for themselves, I am skeptical. Writers want, and sometimes need, to be read. So, when there is a dry spell, and no interest is being shown—when the mailbox is devoid of even a rejection slip for days on end, I start to wonder if there is something else I should be doing with my short time on this planet.

Are you a fan of the "Bourne" series?
Yes, I am a great fan of the “Bourne” series. I have watched the films many times and each time I am struck by the detail, especially in non-action scenes, of all things. When he is thinking, walking—when we see his face, it is as if I can put some thoughts there. It is as if I can write in something of what is going on in his head. A lot of writers watch movies this way. We can’t help it.

You lucked out on Vietnam. Were you relieved? Or did you want to be involved in one of histories major wars?
Those were uncertain times, and I almost enlisted right our of tech school. I thought, like a lot of others, that it would be better to get it out of the way. It seemed so inevitable at the time that eventually I’d be in the service one way or another. It was a complete surprise to me that once I started working at a National Lab I would be assigned to a department working on classified material very critical to the US position in the Cold War. Even when I had my physical with the other guys my age, I thought I’d be going. And then I found out that what I had learned during my short time on the job had made me a risk, if I was ever captured. And so, there it was. Yes, I was relieved. But also, I felt guilty. Guys I knew went, and some did not come back. I especially recall a good friend from high school not being at the class reunion and finding out only then that he’d been killed.

Is "Sunstrike" out of publishment? Or has another publisher resurrected it?
The paperback publisher who published SUNSTRIKE went out of business and when I got back the rights to the book, iUniverse was just coming online with their program. At that time they would put published books back into print at no charge as part of a program to launch their business. So, SUNSTRIKE is still available as a print-on-demand book from iUniverse and can be ordered at Amazon and other distributors.

How did you go from being a "top-secret government member" to becoming a writer?
My writing actually evolved from my Catholic grade school experiences. While working for the Atomic Energy Commission, I began writing in the evenings, mostly short stories revolving around what I look back on now as a wild and crazy time. I was an altar boy; the end of the world was around the corner with all the nukes piling up. So as I matured, a lot of my boyhood fears and concerns went down on paper. And then, because of the nature of my AEC work, my writing began evolving into scenarios of suspense, mystery, and drama. I found a workshop back then in the University of Chicago area called The South Side Creative Writers, and while in this group I began publishing and won some awards.

I love the cover art on "Chernobyl Murders." Was any of that your inspiration?
Yes. I referred the cover designer to some actual photographs of displays at the Chernobyl Museum in Kiev. At the museum there is a setup of one of the first responder firemen in his rubber suit and mask. The mask on the cover is a very accurate drawing of the terribly inadequate protection these poor men—many of the dead—had to protect themselves. Also, I saw in the mask the emptiness in the glass coverings of the eyepieces.

Have you ever collaborated with another author, or worked on any anthologies?
My work has appeared in anthologies. These include short stories in The Automobile and American Culture from The University of Michigan Press, American Fiction from New Rivers Press, and Alfred Hitchcock’s Tales of the Supernatural and the Fantastic. Although I have edited work for new writers and taught a few creative writing classes, I have not collaborated.

What kind of novels do you enjoy reading?
I enjoy novels that are character-driven. What I mean by this is that I want to be deeply in the mind of one or more viewpoint characters.This method of writing is what I strive to do. By staying in the mind of the characters and revealing the narrative through their sensibilities, a reader experiences fewer author interruptions. I find author interruptions very distracting. Any time readers think to themselves, “Oh, the writer is filling me in on some information,” that is bad news. The thing is, this happens much more than should be expected. I guess you can call it formula or hackneyed or whatever. In conclusion, I love writers who make me forget I’m reading about something or someone, and actually make me feel I’m there, on the scene. Good mysteries and thrillers must do this in order to succeed.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Author Carrie Vaughn Interview

 I contacted Carrie in hopes of doing a review for her newest novel "Voices of Dragon's" and an interview. Unfortunately she didn't have a copy of the book. However the publisher sent me a copy in her honor. This is Carrie's first YA book, but she is most known for her "Kitty" series. Thank you Carrie for your time and generosity in doing this interview with us!

"Voices of Dragons" is your first YA novel. Why the switch?

It's not really a switch -- I'm still going to be writing Kitty novels. But Voices of Dragons needed to be a young adult novel. I tried writing it as a straightforward fantasy and it didn't work. The main character is a teenager, it has themes of rebellion, growing up, and learning to stand up for what you believe in that really resonated with that teenage character, so it just seemed to suit the YA market much better.

You do your own laundry! Do you seperate and such?! :)
Probably not as well as I should.

I think you top previous author's in short story stats!....
I've been writing for a long time. . .

Where did your fascination for werewolves come from?
To be honest, I decided to write about werewolves because I was bored with vampires. I didn't think I had anything to add to the vampire mythos, but I had a lot to say about werewolves -- they've been sadly neglected.

Your site says "Dragons" is your first YA, but your blog says "Steel" is? Ok Carrie, which one is it the chicken or the egg?
I think there's a misunderstanding. . . Voices of Dragons is my first YA book. People have been asking about a sequel to that one, but on the blog I mentioned I had a different YA, Steel, I wanted to write first. So, Steel isn't first, it just came before the sequel to Voices of Dragons. But after Voices of Dragons. All clear now?

Do you have a graphic artist you can't wait to work with on doing one of your novels cover art?
Well, I don't really work with the cover artists for my books. They work with the publisher's art department. They usually have a really specific plan in mind, and I don't get much input. That said, I'm working on a superhero novel now and I think an Alex Ross cover would be just dandy.

Have you ever been to Comi-Con?
I've been to San Deigo Comic Con once and New York Comic Con once. I wouldn't mind going back to either.

What genre do you despise?
I don't despise any. Genres are tools that let you tell a wide range of stories. I've been able to use horror, thriller, mystery, a little science fiction, a little romance, and so on, in all my writing. Anything is fair game, and I can learn from all genres.

Do you find it's easier to complete a piece after you have done so many?
I don't know that the actual writing is easier. What's a little bit easier is the confidence. When I encounter a problem, I can usually take a step back and say, "Ah yes, this happened before, and I got through it the last time so I'll get through it this time."