Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Read About the Thriller in Utah--KINGDOM Book Two--and Read About my fellow Solstice Publishing Author, Shawna Ryan

About Shawna:
"I was born and raised in the Northwest United States. I have been a corporate attorney and a trial attorney. Though I’ve traveled extensively, my home is still in the Northwest. I recently retired from practice to devote more time to writing. Always having been interested in the philosophies of religion, I enjoy researching and writing about the histories behind them. I descended from Catholics, Mormons, Methodists, Baptists, and other Protestants and I try to be both critical and objective about them all. The inspiration for the research that led me to the KINGDOM series were my great grandmothers, who converted to Mormonism in 1854 and who were among the first European converts to immigrate to Utah. Some of the anecdotes in KINGDOM were based on their own stories.
KINGDOM Book Two is my fifth thriller. I have also authored Kingdom Book One, Destiny’s DamnedSatan’s Scat, and Triumvirate of the Damned, a thriller trilogy. The initial inspiration for the trilogy was the writings of Joseph Campbell, a well-known and respected mythologist who was brilliant in his fields of comparative mythology and comparative religions.
My goal is to write thrillers that are fun to read and that inspire conversation."


Seeking to build a Kingdom by claiming as its own most of the western United States, the Mormon Church settles in Utah in the mid-1800's. Its goal is to take complete control of the territories and people there. The punishment for any church member who questions the faith, disobeys them, or interferes with that goal is torture or death. Under threat of torture and death for disobedience, John reluctantly joins the Mormon’s murderous vigilantes and attacks his own people. Having survived the church’s reign of terror against its own members, Anna bears witness to the Mormon’s slaughter of an entire wagon train of unarmed men, women and children. In modern day Utah a biological researcher, part of a conspiracy to achieve that goal, has been tortured and murdered for betraying them. His wife is kidnapped. Her sister, his friend, and a professor of mythology are being hunted as they search for her.

Published by Solstice Publishing/Solstice Shadows in May 2015

Purchase KINGDOM Book Two on Amazon

Purchase KINGDOM Book Two from Solstice Publishing 

Contact Shawna and read a sample chapter


An interview with Shawna


What kind of books do you love to read? Why?
I like thrillers that are a little different. My favorite author is Douglas Preston. He’s also very nice. One of the downsides of being a writer is that I don’t have much time to read except when I’m doing research for one of my books.
What type of music do you enjoy relaxing to?
I love blues, but overall, I’m pretty flexible. If the music is good, I generally like it, no matter what type it is.
What is your stress buster?
Walking along country trails.
What is your favorite food? What food do you seek when you==re sad, sort of a comfort food?
My comfort food is Lay’s Sour Cream and Onion Potato Chips.
Describe yourself in one word.
Your writing
When did you write your first book? How long did it take you to write it?
My books kind of evolve. I begin thinking about them long before I start writing. I jot down some notes as I think of potential plot lines. When I know where I want to go, I begin my research while continuing to jot down notes for possible content. Then I draft an outline. Not one I’m bound to if I want to change, but one that gives me a direction. I add to it as I write, sometimes going into detail so I don’t forget my ideas. The process to completion can take me a couple of years.
Where and when do you write? Tell us about your favorite work place and time. Any special reason?
I write in the morning when my mind is fresh. I have a set schedule so I get into a routine. I also have a habit of jotting down ideas during the day, no matter where I am. If I’m driving, I pull over at the first safe location, park the care, and write it down there. I do most of my writing at home in the center of house. I don’t like isolating myself. But I do write during the times when I’m home alone. If that doesn’t work, I find a good coffee shop..
How do you write? Do your characters come to you first or the plot or the world of the story? How do you go on from there? Maybe you can give us an example with one of your books.
I start with the subject, a topic I’m interested in. I develop a general plot from there, guided in part by my research. Then I chose my characters. If they are characters I’ve used before, it’s easy. I just adapt them to my story. As I add supporting characters I shape them to accomplish what I need them to accomplish in my story. What is it about them that would make them interesting to the reader?
Your books
What genre(s) do you write? 
 I write thrillers that challenge the general concepts of religion and the good and bad in them.
Have you ever wanted to write your book in one direction but your characters are moving it in another direction? What did you do in such a situation?
Yes, it happens as the stories progress. Sometimes I have to go back and rewrite events to accommodate the situation. I never hesitate to do that even if it takes me longer to finish the book.
Tell us more about your latest release: Kingdom Book Two.
Kingdom Book One and Kingdom Book Two are thrillers that examine the Mormons’ ambitions to cut a Kingdom out of the western United States. The books are both historical and contemporary fiction. They follow Anna who converted and emigrated from Europe. Her first husband is murdered aboard ship because he has come to question the secrets and lies that were told to them by the missionaries who converted them. Her second husband is forced to join a murderous militia who kill or maim Mormons who did not obey the priesthood and to massacre over a hundred non-Mormon and unarmed men, women and children passing through Utah.
Any new projects, work in progress?
Yes, I have a half completed draft of a thriller I’ll probably entitle: “Murders in Blue-Violet”.
How much research was involved in writing your book?  How did you go about it? 
It took me nearly a year to research the Kingdom series, continuing the research           while I was writing. I read and took notes from two non-fiction books  devoted to the topics I was going to write about and relied on the Internet for the other information. I made certain before I used a controversial fact that it came from at least two reliable sources.
What else have you written already?
My first books were a thriller trilogy, Destiny’s Damned, Satan’s Scat, and           Triumvirate of the Damned. A reincarnated serial killer continues murdering    the innocent while drawing closer to the church. Patrick, an out of favor priest, and Alicia search for the “Issue”, the only surviving proof that the “New Testament” as we know it was written by a pagan plotting to destroy Christianity and the western world. Captured, Alicia is imprisoned in a    dungeon with women who descended from women imprisoned there hundreds of years before for hiding Christ’s true last instructions to mankind. 
Visit me on my websitemurdering the innocent, all the while drawing closer to the Church
Were you “born to write” or did you discover your passion for writing later in life?
I discovered I wanted to write in fourth grade when I wrote my first essay.



Monday, July 20, 2015

Marie Lavender Gives Us A LITTLE MAGICK and an Interview--with her and Little Rosie!

Marie lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for over twenty years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. She is a multi-genre author. Since 2010, Marie has published twenty-one books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, fantasy, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry. Her current series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Magick Series and The Blood at First Sight Series.

Marie is the bestselling author of UPON YOUR RETURN and 20 other books. Poetry winner of the 2015 PnPAuthors Contest. Honorable Mention in the 2014 BTS Red Carpet Book Awards. Finalist and Runner-up in the 2014 MARSocial's Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader's Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013 and 2014. Top 50 Authors on AuthorsDB.com. Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.

In the children's fantasy A LITTLE MAGICK, Little Rosie goes to stay with her uncle. There she meets some new friends and some enemies. She doesn't know that her emotions will trigger something unusual. So far from home, suddenly Rosie has become a full witch like her mother. For a time, it is great fun to use her powers the way she wants, but can Rosie figure out how to use these newfound powers for good or will she be lost to the dark side forever?

I just love this stunning cover!

An excerpt from A LITTLE MAGICK

After some searching, she found the theater room. She looked around curiously. She wanted to watch a movie like Frozen, but she didn’t know how to operate the system. Mama and Daddy only let her use the remote occasionally; she imagined it was to control what she watched. There was an extra button on the wall though. It was yellow and she wondered what it did. With a frown, she approached it. She flicked the overhead light off and turned the knob.

Then her mouth dropped open as the most amazing thing happened. The ceiling lit in a series of glowing stars, but the room remained dark. As she stared up above, she was reminded of that field trip she’d been on with her class when they went to a planetarium. The only difference was that the planetarium was dome-shaped and the stars had covered the space from floor to ceiling. She recalled her teacher pointing out the constellations. Since then, she’d been fascinated with stars and had gotten many books from the library about them. 

"There you are," she heard a voice behind her and she jumped. The overhead light flickered on and the star show was gone. "I’ve been looking for you. Trying to give your uncle a scare?" he teased.

"No, you scared me. You never told me you had stars!"

"Well, you never asked." He rested his hands briefly on her shoulders. I" think this house is too big, Rosie. I may have to put a bell on you so that I can find you more easily."

She giggled as she’d only ever seen such a thing on pets.

"You laugh, but I think it’s a brilliant idea."

"You’re silly, Uncle Adam."

"Am I? I guess we’ll see about that. Would a silly man have your dinner ready? Imagine my dismay as I went to dinner and you weren’t there. I sat there, calling Rosie!...Rosie!…but, you never came."

She knew he was teasing, but still felt bad that he’d been worried. "I was exploring. I didn’t know where everything was."

"It’s okay. You’ll get used to it eventually." He smiled. "I can’t blame you though. Do you know, sometimes I wake up in the laundry room and I have no idea how I got there?"

She laughed. He was being silly again.

"Come on, Sweetheart." Selena fixed something great for dinner.


He took her hand and led her downstairs to the nice dining room, where she saw two plates with food. Her uncle pulled out a chair and she got on, grateful that he helped because she was so short. After he sat down close to her, she took the liberty of inspecting her food carefully. You never could tell with an adult what they’d make you eat. There was a sandwich, French fries and a glass of milk.

"I am told that sloppy joes are a kid-friendly food."

By the look on his face, she could see he was trying to joke about it, but it must be important to him. She suspected the food was healthier than he claimed. It was a tactic that both of her parents used as well. Rosie didn’t really mind as long it tasted okay. She took a bite of the sandwich and nodded.

"You made this?" she asked.

"Don’t talk with your mouth full," he chided.

She made a face. "You sound like Mama."

* * *

Click Here to Enjoy the Trailer

Character Interview with Rosie from A Little Magick

Character:  Rosanna Hamilton (little Rosie)
Welcome, Rosanna!
Rosanna: (Makes a face.) It’s Rosie. Only my parents or teachers say that, and usually when I’m in trouble.
Diana: Forgive me. Rosie it is. And I’d better be careful because your mom is nearby. Or should we both be careful?
So, Rosie, can you tell us how old you are?
I am nine!
And when is your birthday?
It’s in November.
I see. That would mean you’re a Sagittarius. I’ve read that children of this sign happen to be a little prankish. Is that true, Rosie?
(Looks down at her white and turquoise tennis shoes.) Well, I don’t try to get into trouble. It just happens sometimes.
All right. What do you like to do for fun, Rosie?
I love climbing trees and playing sports like softball. Mama made me try ballet once, and I guess it was okay. I liked the dress.
What else?
Oh, I guess I like music and reading some books. And I love stars!
Do you? They are pretty.
(Nods and smiles.)
What are your favorite foods?
(Lips twist into a thoughtful look.) What my Daddy calls Italian food.
Like what?
Pizza. I love Daddy’s homemade pizza, and his spaghetti.
I have heard some interesting things about your family. Your mother is a witch, right?
(Frowns.) She’s a good one, I promise!
Are you one, Rosie?
Not yet. I…I don’t think I can be one. I’m not Mama.
Is there something you do that you know you probably shouldn’t?
(Blushes.) I get caught daydreaming a lot, but I can’t help it!  The worlds in my head are so much better than…(clamps a hand over her mouth.) I say too much sometimes. That’s what the adults say, anyway.
Is there something you do at school that no one else does?
(Nods.) I tried to stop Jeremy Suthers from picking on other kids. He didn’t like me for that.
That was kind of you, to help other children.
What sort of house do you live in, Rosie?
It has two floors. Mama calls it a ‘cottage’. It is white with dark red…shutters, I think they’re called. Mama has a garden and flowers around the house, and there is a greenhouse in the back. I’m not allowed to go in there.
Why not?
Mama does her spells there.
You’re not allowed to watch?
(Shakes her head.) She says I’m not old enough yet.
What city do you live in, Rosie?
Yachats, Oregon. But, I’m going to Seattle soon to stay with my uncle.
Your hometown looks lovely, a blend of forest and ocean.
Oh, it is! I do love that. I love the forest.
I think sometimes about other worlds.
Ah, the daydreaming.
(Looks sheepish.)
Do you have any friends?
Yep! My friend Lisa and I play a lot.
That’s great! Well, I think we’ve run out of time. Thank you for coming to visit, Rosie!
(She peers around the corner and nods.) Mama wants me to say ‘thank you for letting me’.
Well, you’re welcome. It was a pleasure to have you here, to meet you and learn all about you and your interesting family.

 * * *

     Tell me three words that describe yourself starting with A, B, and C.
Able, Breathing, and Creative. LOL.
     What are your three favorite things?
Pretty journals, gel pens, and chocolate.
          Are you self- published or with a publishing company (if so, which one?)?
          Actually, a bit of both. I have self-published before, but am also a happy author at Solstice Publishing.
What for you is the best part of writing?
The best part is learning about the characters, and getting into that writing zone where the scene is flowing perfectly. The world around me just fades into the background, and I feel like I am a part of what’s going on in the story.
          What is the worst?
          It depends on the book. With every manuscript comes a different set of challenges.     Sometimes it's a plot conflict or knowing you have to learn more about a character or fact before moving forward. At times research can be a pain if you can't find what you're looking for. Then I have to get creative and locate the right sources to answer that specific question. 
           Is there a process you stick to, or do you just write as it hits you?
I start out pretty random. The scenes come to me whenever they like. Then when I am really focused on a project, I take a good look at what has been written. A bigger plot forms in my mind. I break down and really do a detailed plot outline. That keeps me organized. I can’t stray too far from the outline, but I still allow my characters free reign if they need to go in a different direction to tell the story.
Music is a big influence on my writing. I have certain songs that inspire each chapter, or the whole book.
What helps to inspire you?
I often go back and read the previous chapter or even print it out to form the picture in my mind so that I can keep writing. I look for inspirational pictures that help depict the scenes or characters. And yes, I do play music to calm me down or express my current mood. I’ve found that music can really turn a scene in one way or another, depending on what it is. Harder tunes can express anger or any kind of rampant emotion. Slower songs are for softer emotions. I once used Celtic music to color a scene for a historical romantic fantasy. The two characters were dancing around a hardwood floor, sort of a country dance at a town event. Even smells can be inspiring. Flowers, fresh air, essential oils, really anything. I am also an observer of people and nature. I like to really see how people tick.
When not writing, what can you be found doing?
I read or promote interviews or guest author posts. Beyond that, I watch TV or films, sometimes go out with my fiancé for a nice evening. I also like to cook. I experiment with different recipes.
Favorite item of clothing in your closet?
Probably my writer/author collection. I collect t-shirts with different sayings about being a writer or author. I just feel a little more inspired when I wear them. LOL.
Favorite writer, book?
I’d better keep this one kid-friendly. I remember my mother reading to me as a small child, before I could read on my own, and this sparked my imagination. I have to give her a lot of credit for my love of reading. When I was younger, I used to read The Bobbsey Twins series and The Boxcar Children series. When I got a bit older, I read the Baby-Sitters Club Series by Ann M. Martin. Even the Baby-Sitters Little Sister Series, about Karen, which was targeted for younger readers, was pretty good. I also liked The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, a sort of historical adventure about a thirteen year old girl on the seas.
When writing, which do you prefer to write with, computer or paper and pen?
I will do both, but I prefer putting pen to paper. For some reason, I can tap into a scene more easily and really get into the character.

 * * *

Goodreads Link

Marie's books and pen names:

Marie Lavender: Upon Your Return; Magick & Moonlight; Upon Your Honor; Second Nature; "Lovers Like Us" (from the book anthology, Poets & Writers in Action); A Little Magick

Erica Sutherhome: Hard to Get; Memories; A Hint of Scandal; Without You; Strange Heat; Terror in the Night; Haunted; Pursuit; Perfect Game; A Touch of Dawn; Ransom; Leather and Lace

Kathryn Layne: A Misplaced Life

Heather Crouse: Express Café and Other Ramblings; Ramblings, Musings and Other Things; Soulful Ramblings and Other Worldly Things