Friday, September 29, 2017

Interview: Donovan: Thief 4 Hire

Welcome to a very special interview today with Sean Donovan, main character 
from Chuck Bowie's series:
 Donovan: Thief 4 Hire

The Interview

As the new Communications and HR Director for Plenitude Winery, Beth McLean has asked Sean Donovan the winery owner (her new husband) to sit for an interview in order to sharpen her interviewing skills. As you can see, this ‘game’ of interviewing soon went off track.

Beth (Q):How long have you been a winemaker?
Sean (A): I’ve been a fan for years, but only at the bottle-to-glass part. I’ve become an owner—the soil to vine to bottle—this past year.

Q: What made you want to be a winemaker? Was your previous job not exciting enough?
A: (Grinning). Well, I was a contract thief. I bet you didn’t see that coming.

Q: (Feigning surprise). I knew you were a security consultant, but some of the ways you disarmed people and gathered up the valuables you sought made me suspect you had…hidden talents. Did you travel a lot, in your previous career?
A: Sure. Mostly North America and Europe. For many years I had an apartment in Montreal, but I seldom got to sleep there. There was always a contract, always a prize to chase on behalf of a client. Funny thing, though. I’d travel to all these cities of the world, but didn’t get to enjoy them, because it was always get in, do the job, and get out. This is not how you learn of the charms of Bucharest, or Nice, or…here.(Waves a hand to offer up the view of a vineyard.)

Q: It occurs to me you must have liked your job, to put that much effort into it. Was it the thrill of the chase, or the money?
A: I was raised poor, had no stability and had to leave home at sixteen. Cold and hunger will give you an appreciation for money. To be honest, though, I did derive satisfaction from using my skills and wits to separate people from their possessions. Especially the bad people.

Q: Bad people?
A: You’ll be surprised to know, Beth, that there are bad people in the world who have things they didn’t deserve to have. And if you enjoy watching Karma in action, you’ll get a kick over some very bad man losing everything he’s hurt people to get.

Q: And now?
A: Things are different, now. I’ve met someone, bought a business, and somehow feel as if I’ve got some measure of redemption. I don’t need or want to go back to that life.

Q: (Smiling). So you’ve retired, never to steal again?
A: (Deadly serious, his eyes unwavering). I’m almost there. But I recently came upon some information that leads me to believe my winery may be in danger. In cases like this, there are two options: fight or flight. I’ve grown fond of my winery, so…

Follow the exploits of Sean Donovan as he navigates the path from driven thief for hire to a man who’s found redemption. Book 4, the newest in the Donovan: Thief 4 Hire suspense-thriller series drops in 2018. It’s entitled The Body On The Underwater Road.


Chuck Bowie graduated from the University of New Brunswick in Canada with a Bachelor Degree in Science. He still lives in on the East Coast of Canada, an hour north or east of Maine. Growing up as an air force brat, his writing is influenced by the study of human nature and how people behave, habits he picked up as his family moved nineteen times in his first twenty one years. Chuck loves food, wine, music and travel and all play a role in his work.

His writing will often draw upon elements of these experiences to round out his characters and plotlines. Chuck is involved in the world of music, supporting local musicians, occasionally playing with them and always celebrating their successes. Because he enjoys venting as much as the next fellow, Chuck will at times share his thoughts with a brief essay, some of which can be found on his website.

To see his complete series, please visit: CHUCK BOWIE

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

It's All About Pride

We are absolutely thrilled to have another Kevin Craig novel with us. PRIDE Must Be a Place, Kevin's LGBTQ YA novel, releasing February 2018, is sure to resonate with many. 

Thank you, Kevin, for coming in and giving us some insight to your inspiration on writing this book.

It’s All About Pride
by Kevin Craig
Why did I take on the subject I took on in Pride Must Be a Place, my new LGBTQ novel with MuseItUp Publishing? That’s a hard question to answer. Not because I don’t know the answer, but because I’m still sort of tap-dancing around it.

Ezra Caine and Alex Mills are the two main gay characters in this story about the formation of a gay-straight alliance in a small-town high school. Ezra struggles with coming out at home, afraid of how his family—especially his father—will react to the news. Alex is flamboyantly gay and has been the victim of homophobic bullying at school one too many times. The story follows the two as they work with Ezra's best friend Nettie to make their high school safer for the LGBTQ students and allies, while Ezra navigates the reality that this will inadvertently cause him to be out at home. 

In short, I wrote this novel because, as an adult, I find myself constantly attempting to write the novel that would have saved ME as a teenager. I try to put books into my teen self's hands, to rescue him, to tell him he's not alone, to convince him he's not the monster he imagined himself to be. But as I contemplated writing this blog post, I realized I may still have a long way to go with that convincing. Perhaps I still need a little saving myself.

I realize that even though I'm essentially living my life as an out-gay man, I'm still not out in all the areas of my life. Not really, anyway. I'm certain this book (or possibly even this very blog post) may give me that final push I need to stop caring what others think about something as private as my own sexual orientation. The thing is, when you face a lot of bigotry in early life, you carry the legacy of that burden into your future life. You suspect every ally you discover along the way, you question their allegiance. Coming out is an ongoing process that constantly takes you out of your comfort zone. Who am I going to lose? What rights or conveniences am I going to lose? And then one day you realize you're becoming a happier, more authentic you. And then the threats you always worried about begin to evaporate. Happiness becomes more important than loses, real or imagined.

Some might say that gay-straight alliance high school stories are a thing of the past, but we have to keep reminding ourselves that we are not yet all on the same page. There really are still high schools in existence that do not have such a thing as LGBTQ support and alliance groups. There really are still gay teenagers suffering in silence, struggling to get through the day in environments that are not completely friendly towards them. High school is a battle zone in so many ways. It shouldn't be a hostile environment for those still coming to terms with their sexuality. Often, this is in itself an overwhelming obstacle. Especially if they are facing bigotry at home.

I wrote this novel because I think of those who may still be suffering in silence. The great American poet Emma Lazarus wrote, “Until we are all free, we are none of us free”. I believe that with all my being. It is true of racial discrimination, religious intolerance, and bigotry in all of its forms, including homophobia. As a gay man who isn't currently facing many instances of bigotry or intolerance himself, I can't simply sit back and relax in my bubble of acceptance. Not while others are still suffering. I can't coast on my own freedom. I wrote this book to keep the issues alive, to remind people that homophobia isn't only occurring in places like Chechnya, where gays are facing severe persecution. It is also alive and well in our streets and in our schools and in our childhood homes. Teens need to know they're not alone. I know this simply because it's what I always wanted to know as a teen myself.

We must continue to tell stories of coming out, of being out, of building bridges between straight and LGBTQ communities. I will continue to tell stories like this one until we are all free. I hope Ezra's story resonates with teens facing these issues today. I hope I have written a book that might go a little way in saving someone like me, someone who needs to be told they're life is worth saving.

Thank you, Kevin. 

Pride Must Be a Place is releasing February 6, and will soon be available at all online reputable retailers. But you can pre-order your copy today from MuseItUp Publishing.

Also make sure to check out Kevin's YA Summer on Fire.

Zach Carson is a loyal friend. But is loyalty enough to keep best friends together when one of them sets fire to the rural barn they use as the local hangout?

Zach, Jeff Barsell and Arnie Wilson struggle to pick up the pieces when news spreads that a body was discovered in the burnt out shell of the neighbouring home. When the word murder is used by the local police, the stakes grow even higher. When the police start searching for their most likely suspect—none other than Jeff’s older brother, and nemesis, Marty Barsell—the boys decide to join forces and come up with a way to prove his innocence.

But just how innocent is Marty Barsell? When Marty admits to being at the scene of the crime, the three friends enlist the help of Zach’s annoying sister, Sherry, as well as the sympathetic town eccentric, Ms. Halverton. But can they keep it together long enough to save Marty, and themselves, from eminent catastrophe? Summer on Fire is the story of friendships, and the lines we are asked to cross in order to keep them.




Wednesday, September 6, 2017

3 Important Writer Attributes

As an author, I always tell new writers they need to have a thick skin to survive in this business. The most important elements, at least for me, are:

·      passion

·      determination

·      perseverance

You need to believe in your passion for the written word, and continue educating yourself on the craft of writing constantly. Never become ‘that’ writer who thinks they know it all. Why? Because they fall flat, not on their ass, but their writing becomes stale, same thing, like rereading an old copy.

You need to be determined not to allow naysayers drag you down and out of your passion. And trust me, there are always naysayers out there, whether family, friends, or neighbors. They feel it’s necessary to tell you that you will never become the next Stephen King. Sadly, they don’t realize it’s not that as much as the gratification of knowing readers love your string of words. Fame is always the cherry at the top, but the passion to finish a book, have readers comment on it, there’s nothing like that feeling in the world.

And you, above all, must persevere any negative reviews, rejection slips that come your way. Take everything in stride, listen carefully what you are being told, then determine whether or not the suggestions/remarks/critiques enhance your book. But in order to ‘listen’ you must remove yourself as the author and now become the reader. 

It’s hard disassociating with your baby but that’s the only way you will be able to ‘hear’ what is being said. Leave your parent hat on and it’s like you have cotton balls stuffed in your ears. As soon as you realize you are ‘explaining’ and ‘defending’ scenes to critique partners remember that your reader doesn’t have the privilege of calling up the author and asking, “Hey, what did you mean in this scene?” So again, become the reader, listen to critique, and assess if they are right or wrong, objectively.

With hundreds of books nowadays being published every day, YOU becomes a speck among the tens of thousands of authors out there. In order to persevere, you need to be resilient, think out of the box, be passionate enough to believe in your work, and always remember it takes time to build a following. 

Regardless how tired I am, regardless how upset I am on yet another 'Why do you bother writing?' comment, regardless on time constrain...writing is my escape, my mini vacation from real life, allowing me the freedom to shape my fictional world the way I want to and meet characters that help me escape chores waiting once my feet touch back down on earth. 

Thank you for reading.

Does anyone have any other words of wisdom to offer new writers?

AUTHOR'S BIO: Lea Schizas is a mommy of five, referred to as Mother Hen by many writers. She discovered writing in her mom's womb when she believed the umbilical cord to be a really cool writing instrument. 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Seasonal Effects on Writers and Their Characters

Seasonal Effects on Writers and Their Characters
by JP Barry
            Dusk approaches where days often began mere weeks ago.  Soft colors vanish under the unstoppable control of new, daring, bright ones that are ready to invade a palate far too mild for their liking.  The light breeze once felt against our bare skin is gone, now replaced with layers of protection used as a shield from the elements.  An amber haze sets the sky on fire with striking shades of violet, orange, and yellow.  Instead of fresh linen and honeysuckle, we now take in an earthy, sweet pleasantness.  Lush green grass turns into crunchy leaves underfoot.  Within a moment, carefree days become filled with anticipation for new beginnings and holidays.  Some enjoy and embrace the boldness and the pumpkin spiced smells of everything, while others muddle through.  

            I’m okay with waving goodbye to spring and summer, mainly because I’m not a fan of playing daily games of hide-n-seek with the hot sun.  At the first sign of fall’s impending arrival, something awakens.  Exactly what?  I have no idea, but, the draining heat of those previous days vanishes, transforming into a surge of the senses.  Perhaps the colors, sights, sounds, darkness, and chill all work as one to inspire; but my soul comes to life and remains that way until spring returns.  In the midst of one of the busiest times of the year, my characters come back to life, much like myself.  Of course I write and edit April through September, but the fall and winter months have always been more intense, producing a far better output of work.  

            As time changes for the character, much like the seasons, each creation responds differently.  In The Nearer the Dawn Saga, many positive events occur for Nina, Chase, Gabriel, and Orifiel starting at summer’s end, while most of the major negative ones happen when winter closes.  Now, this isn’t to say, good things don’t happen in June or July for anyone in this series. It’s perhaps an unconscious glimpse into me, the author, and my preferences.  

Some characters, such as Olivia and Jax, in The Cain Trilogy never discuss seasons.  Life for them is one continuous moment.  Maybe they’re overworked or other elements of existence hold more importance to them, because they’ve never expressed the desire to speak about holidays or seasonal snapshots of time.  However, for someone like Cain, this wouldn’t be the case.  Holidays would be spiked with pleasure and pain.  Pleasure drawn from material gain from receiving presents, but pain because of family circumstances, being ignored by others whom are suddenly busier than normal with their own non-dysfunctional families, and distress over lack of customer’s money because they can’t afford to pay him a visit.  I’d imagine he’d loath the beginning of fall and the self-reflection it would cause, and much like a squirrel, would deem this a time to stock up and store not only cash, but an emotional supply of some kind to sustain the cold, long, winter.  

            Honestly, until this blog idea was pitched, I never thought much about this topic.  I’ve always been aware that this time of year was a personal favorite, but never put much stock into how seasons actually affected my writing, or if they even did.  Apparently, they do.  
            For now, as the air hints and teases with moments of cool crispness, this author will happily pack away her tank tops and flip-flops, eager to throw on a warm cozy sweater and pair of boots.  Goodbye, iced coffee.  Hello, hot pumpkin, spiced latte patiently waiting for me to sit in front of the computer as creativity once again bleeds through my characters in a way only fall will allow.  

J.P. Barry is a freelance writer from New York. Combining her passion for all things spiritual and romance, blank pages began to fill with the words for The Nearer The Dawn Saga.

One moment can change everything … Darkness is near. 

Hell hath no fury like a demon scorned. 

He'll leave an imprint so dark and deep you'll be branded for life with his mark - the mark of Cain. Are you ready to beg for mercy?