Sunday Surprise


And it’s a guest! Not really new for whoever has been following this blog since she was already interviewed here waaay back in 2011  and  then again in 2015 for her wonderful series… And even her characters were interviewed on this very blog! Anyhow, for those of you who don’t know Mighty Jo, let me present you Amaranthine creator Joleene Naylor!

Where do you live and write from?

I live – and sometimes write – in the midst of chaos; a Victorian house that we’re very slowly redoing. We have three rooms finished, the rest are in various states of stacked boxes, displaced furniture, and partially stripped wallpaper, with copious amounts of dust bunnies and a few skulking cats.

Why do you write?

I’d love to say that I write because I have a story to tell, but honestly I write for two reasons. 1) It’s fun. 2) I have people who want to read what I’m writing. If the day comes when those no longer apply, I’ll quit and find something else to do. Maybe glut on anime.

When did you start writing?

I started writing stories before I could spell. My first “book” was a fully illustrated masterpiece about a girl who gets a phone call and goes roller skating. I didn’t do too bad for a three year old, though I hadn’t grasped vowels, so the spelling is pretty creative.

What genre(s) do you write?

I write the paranormal Amaranthine universe. Though it’s vampires, I lean on a lot of fantasy-style tropes – including epic quests, evil wizard-like figures, and sort-of magical abilities – because fantasy is my favorite genre.

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?

I see so many authors with great answers to this question. They want to help people, or save the world, or change someone’s life. Me? I just want to entertain people. Nothing is more amazing to me than when someone tells me they were thinking about my characters.

As far as what I’m doing to achieve it, I’m trying to relax and not get caught up in the numbers game. Author communities put so much emphasis on sales numbers, on making money, on getting votes, on having a 1,000 member email list, on and on, by saying that we have to do these things in order to be “legitimate” authors. There was a time when I happily said, “Sure, I’m a hobby author, and I don’t care.” But, after listening to the same routine for years, it got to me. My sales aren’t good enough. I’m not making enough money. No one votes for me (or nominates me) in contests. I have a very small email list. Those kind of thoughts sap all the fun out of the craft, and make you not care whether you’re entertaining anyone or not – why should you care when they can’t even click a vote button? That’s why I decided to back off novel writing for a year and reevaluate if I want to keep at it. To fill in the gap, I’m writing serial short stories for a blog group. The blog group is fun, and if I write – and publish – shorts from the Amaranthine Universe I can use them to stay relevant, just in case I want to keep at this writing gig (a year vacation can make an author’s sales disappear, and mine were pretty low already). I’ve been at it for five months, and I’m starting to remember why I liked writing. Since the stories are free, there’s no sales numbers for me to worry about. Dropping out of most authors’ groups has also helped a lot, not to mention I refuse to read any “You MUST do THIS!” articles. I’m once again happy to be a “hobby writer”, and am planning some longer works in the future.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

Usually I’m an improviser, though I’ve outlined a couple of times. As for speed, I’m sloooooow. It takes me a year to get a novel done.

Tell us more about your book in the bundle

I have two books in the bundle: Shades of Gray and Legacy of Ghosts.

Shades of Gray introduces us to Katelina. When her friend with benefits is murdered, she’s dragged into the world of vampires. Dodging an angry coven, she falls under the protection of Jorick. But what happens when her knight in shining armor turns out to be one of the monsters?

Legacy of Ghosts picks up where Shades of Gray ends. Healing from their previous battles, Katelina is afraid to go home covered in bandages, so she agrees to go to Jorick’s house to heal. If only they’d get left to recuperate in peace, instead of getting dragged into another war…

Tell us about your latest book

I’m working on a year of short stories right now, with at least two free shorts released every month. Currently I’m writing Tales of the Executioners, short stories about the elite police officers of the vampire world. You can find all the details – including links to all retailers – on my website http://joleenenaylor.com/freebies/tote.php

Any other projects in the pipeline?

When my short story year is up, my next novel will star Micah and Loren on a road trip to California. Then I have a trilogy planned that takes place sixteen, or so, years after the original Amaranthine story ends, and stars Paylin and Jayleth. I also have plans for a gothic-style novella, and a half idea for a standalone mystery with Jamie and Verchiel. We’ll have to see about that one, though.

Barb’s note: I totally agree on the point of being a hobbyist writer so one doesn’t have to care about sales numbers and MustDo – it’s probably where I’m going too (keep writing but not publishing). As for the projects after the sabbatic year… erm… Jo… Sorino and his pet human (no spoilers) pleez? (Yes, I’m a fan of Amaranthine, my favorite being Verchiel, followed by Jorick)

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Writer Wednesday


I have added a couple of rewards (at the lower tiers) for writers. So if you’d like to hear some tips or experiences or other writerly stuff by yours truly, you can do so by supporting me on Patreon. If you’re just a reader who enjoy my fiction (bless you), you have even more choices. Either way I’d greatly appreciate it, even if you pledge only 1$ a month! 🙂

Last week of may and I’m prepping for the Novel Challenge while writing a fan fiction – clearly a crossover between vampires mythologies! 😉 I won’t say anything about it, but anyone familiar with my vampires will recognize my submission when it goes live. The voting is anonymous, so feel free to vote for somebody else, LOL!

This week writerly links. A hot steaming sack of business advice for writers by Chuck Wendig. Although I should take him off my blogroll, since he enjoys hunting unicorns. The Lady of the Unicorn, here, can’t really allow that, can she? 😉 And you probably all know that I don’t agree on anything about agents, but if that’s your thing…

I’m still studying the series about branding. That homework is tricky, though. It will need some percolating in my slow mind. I think I said 2011 was the year of the Sloth, but this year things got even worse, haha! 🙂 I have worked on a cover this weekend, and I’m keeping the fonts consistent for the series and sub-series (like you can see in the Silvery Earth trailer, each sub-series had a different font and frame).

If you still need some motivation, and while you wait for my own post on the topic (I hope I can write my own in 3 to 5 years, but I’m not there yet, haha!), here’s 20 things learned from writing full-time for three years. Wait, I actually do write full time (except for those wasted hours at the part-time office chair), but I don’t earn a living from it… mm, complicated stuff.

Anyway, if you need a boost on productivity but don’t want to pay an online workshop, that post is excellent advice. And don’t get depressed when you read “You’re going to get hacked!” or someone’s frustration and disappointment. Re: Amazon (I guess that author went through this Amazon Alert and decided to back out of it) I also had problems with them in the past.

When I was publishing SKYBAND with Lulu, I had someone selling it on Amazon without buying it from me at 100$ (a 10$ single issue) and the representatives weren’t really helpful. One of my ebooks is still in Draft form because they didn’t receive my copyright ownership and had blocked my KDP account.

Life is too short to worry about pirates and Amazon and whatnot. Like I said more than once, I might one day give up publishing and start another kind of business, keeping my writing private and/or for my few readers. One day. I’m still trying to think long term. It can’t be considered a career until 10 years have gone by, and they have not. Not yet. They’re flying by, but I still have a few years of experiments and attempts at finding my readership.

Ending on a non-writerly note because Da Muses’ alerts were kinda funny lately for opposite reasons. One is reknown for his immortality (yeah, right) hence the only 50+ worth watching and the other was given for dead at 43… I’m sorry I missed that Facebook hoax! 😀

Hoping I made at least the ladies smile with the last paragraph, I wish you a wonderful week! 🙂

Random Friday


While finishing Astrid’s story – and being not very efficient in spring, since it’s cold in the morning and hot at lunch time and I don’t sleep well and blah blah blah – I’m currently re-reading Ann Rice’s Interview with the vampire, which I read 20 years ago (just before the movie came out and maybe once more after, to compare)… I’ve rewatched the movie quite often (I had the dubbed version on VHS and bought the DVD as soon as I could), so I remember it quite well (it is the movie that made me fall in love with Brad after all! 😉 Pity for Mr Scientology, I’d have happily lived without him even 20 years ago).

The book was sort of forgotten in the meantime. So I thought I’d re-read it to start thinking vampires for my own upcoming story. So after Amaranthine book 7, I’m back to the roots (I haven’t read any other vampire literature between Ann Rice’s first 3 books and Joleene Naylor’s Amaranthine series) and will read also Bram Stoker’s Dracula (seen the F.F.Coppola movie, but not read the book yet). And probably rewatch the vampire movies I have – all 3 of them (I have Lost Boys to stand in for the movie version of Amaranthine, LOL!).

And then I’ll have to talk to my cover artist about the title, since mine will be a humorous tale, not a gothic horror story. I wouldn’t want it to be confused with an unusual, erotic, sci-fi, romantic vampire adult fiction story! I know there’s no copyright on titles, but I’d still prefer to avoid any confusion, so I’ll probably have to stick to the long version of the title, which means the characters will have to pop up on the graphics of the title itself or something. I’m sure between me and Shafali we can come up with something, LOL!

Next week I’ll be in London, probably writing the other B.G. Hope story (I know I need to do some research on the vampire story, so writing in a contemporary setting is probably easier while traveling) and then I’ll start an online workshop… craft, for the first time in years. I guess I’m not really business-minded this year. But as long as I have fun writing… there’s no hurry to publish! I have 99 books in the “my books” folder on my Kindle… and I know the 100th will be Kay-low’s story sometime next month!

Stay tuned and have a Happy Easter!

Sunday Surprise


sog advertAnd it’s a guest! And an old friend, since her first interview came out with her first book that I loved (and it came out before more famous shades of gray was published – and it’s a completely different genre!)! So, here we are again, almost five years later, another six books for a great series I keep recommending whenever someone asks me. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome back fellow indie author and beta swapper Joleene Naylor!

Where do you live and write from?

We recently moved back to southwest Iowa, which is where I grew up at it. There are things I miss about southern Missouri, like the warmth, but there are things I’m enjoying. Like autumn was much autumn-ier here. The change of location hasn’t had any impact on my writing, except that the moving and house renovations put me behind.

Why do you write?

Hmmm. Everyone asks this question and I usually give one of the standard answers, but the truth is I don’t know. I took a writing break for a few years and I got back into it because I wanted to join a Harry Potter fan fiction/role play group. Then I started the vampire series because I wanted to write something dark…I guess I write because I can.

When did you start writing?

I used to write “books” when I was a kid, which went into my teenage and early adult years. (I have several novels stacked up in notebooks) but as I mentioned above I quit for a while and it was the Harry Potter Fans Around the Globe Yahoo group that got me going again. Wow, looking back on it those first few posts were terrible! It just shows if you don’t use it, you lose it.

CoL advert1What genre(s) do you write?

Speculative fiction. I have vampire series Amaranthine, but I have been considering doing a second fantasy series on the side if I ever get time, and then there is the meg project I have with a co-author. We may never finish it but by God we’ve made a go at it.

What does your writing routine consist of?

I need a routine, but alas it’s all very random. Everything I do is random. Sometimes I think a schedule would be great, but I never manage to stick to one.

What do you feel are your strengths as a writer? How have you developed these qualities?

I’m good at torturing characters. I’d actually like to torture them more than I do, but I try to stay lower key. I think that’s why the unpublished Patrick prequel had issues from beta readers – because I torture him a LOT.

Where do you find your inspiration? Do you put yourself in your stories?

This is where I am supposed to tell you about all the vampire series I read, but truth is I’m bad and I don’t. Most of my inspiration comes from anime. I’d love to see the Amaranthine series as anime or manga.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

Improviser most of the time. If I do an outline I feel like I’ve already written the book. And I’m slow. Mind numbingly slow. Probably because I lack that writing routine…

CoL for amazonTell us about your latest book

Clash of Legends is the seventh book in the series. It’s the end of a story arc and wraps up a lot of things that readers have been waiting for. Or I hope they’ve been waiting for it. For new readers, it could be read as a standalone if you don’t want to invest in six previous books.

The explosive seventh installment in the Amaranthine series brings blood, ruin, despair, and hope, for even in the darkest night there is still a moon.

After the battle in Indonesia. Katelina wakes in Samael’s domain. Though her memories are tattered, she knows someone is missing: Jorick.

Her vampire lover gathers an army to save her from the ancient, but his master Malick interferes. For five hundred years Malick has manipulated and ruined Jorick’s life. When he leaves Katelina broken and bleeding in the bowels of his oasis, it’s the final straw.

While Malick sets up his glorious war with a living legend, Jorick plans the ultimate taboo: to kill his master. He’s tried before and failed. Will this be different, or will he and Katelina be crushed in the carnage of a greater battle, between two whose blood goes back millennia?

Links:

amazon – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00TR7IA36

B&N – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1121251968?ean=2940046584363

smashwords – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/520737

apple – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/clash-of-legends/id968843228?mt=11&uo=4

kobo – https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/clash-of-legends

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

Indie. I like to control everything, and this way I can.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

I’m planning to rework that Patrick sequel I mentioned and give it away to people on my mailing list (you can sign up at http://www.joleenenaylor.com/books/newsletter.php ), There’s a short story collection I’d like to finish (Tales of the Executioners), and then the eighth book, of course. There are some people who think I should quit the series after the next book because it’s too many books for one series. What do you think?

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?

I’m going to be honest again. I don’t ever expect to make a living from my books – it was hard before and is only getting harder. Many traditionally published authors don’t make a living wage, and there are even fewer indies who do. I just want to know that there are people who enjoy my stories. Sure, I’d like there to be hundreds, but you know what? When I had seven fans I was happy, too. So as long as people are enjoying it I’ll keep plugging along.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?

That’s a tough question. I guess the best is to never give up and not to expect too much. Having goals is great, but none of us will be the next Stephen King just by putting a book on Smashwords. Be realistic, and then work towards whatever your goal is, whether it is to be the next Stephen King or just to entertain people.

joleene naylor 2About Joleene

author blog: http://joleenenaylor.wordpress.com/

FB author page: https://www.facebook.com/joleenenaylorbooks

twitter http://twitter.com/joleene_naylor

website- http://JoleeneNaylor.com

good reads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3165393.Joleene_Naylor

facebook profile – http://facebook.com/joleene.naylor

pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/joleenenaylor/boards/

google + – https://plus.google.com/102925915756209535618/posts

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