Interview with Author Rick Outzen

1 Can you please introduce yourself?

I’m the publisher and owner of Inweekly, an alt-weekly newspaper in Pensacola, Florida, that published its first issue on July 1, 1999. I’ve been profiled in The New York Times and had my investigative reporting highlighted on Dateline NBC and the ID channel.

2 What does your family think of your writing?

They’ve dealt when my investigative reporting for two decades and like to see me try my hand at mystery writing. They each play a role in the editing process.

3 Please tell the readers something about Walker Holmes thrillers.

Walker Holmes is the publisher of a weekly newspaper in Pensacola, Florida. He struggles to keep his paper in print and deals with the internal demons his reporting has unleashed. The thrillers are Walker trying to achieve redemption and never quite doing it.

4 Which format do you prefer the most – audio books/paperback/cover/kindle and why?

I love the paperback format – perfect for beach reads.

5 What was your dream job when you were younger?

Governor. I was student body president at Ole Miss and loved politics.

6 Where do you live and what makes your city special? 

I live in Gulf Breeze, Florida, a small bedroom community across the bay from Pensacola, Florida.  It’s Mayberry – everyone knows their neighbors and sees each other at the schools, ballfields and grocery store. Pensacola is an interesting town because it’s the site of the first Spanish settlement, but lost out to St. Augustine as the our nation’s first town because the Pensacola settlement was wiped out by a hurricane and abandoned. Pensacola has always been on the cusp of greatness but never achieving it.

7 Can you share something your readers don’t know about you?

I love dive bars and jukeboxes with Motown music.

8 What advice would you give to an aspiring novelist? 

Practice your craft. More writing leads to better writing.

9 Why and where do you write?

I write because I love to tell stories and entertain readers. I can write almost anywhere but prefer a place with classical music playing and a window.

10 In life, what is the source of your motivation to keep you going?

I hate bullies and injustice. My words can make a difference.

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Author Interview with Victoria Lorrekovich-Miller

1 Can you please introduce yourself?

I’m Victoria Lorrekovich-Miller and I love stuff that begins with W: Words, Writing, Wine, Women activists, Wagging tails and my World of family and friends. I am an APA style-certified editor and the founder of http://www.LocalEditors.com, which helps high schoolers craft their college application essays and graduate students polish and publish their theses and dissertations. My published pieces have appeared in print and online in The Bark,Dog and Kennel, Animal Wellness Magazine, WOW-womenonwriting.com, YourTeen.com, Diablo Magazine, Thought Catalog, Cricket Magazine, and more.

I am the guardian of a menagerie of critters—two dogs, two cats, a bearded dragon, and of course, a few exotic praying mantises. When I’m not writing, editing, or sheltering-in-place, I work as a wine educator in a Livermore Valley winery on the weekends. I write for both kids and adults and am currently working on a novel about a female-centric winery. I live with my incredibly fun and supportive husband, Martin, and we are parents to four talented children: Ari, Justin, Logan, & Kaitlin, who are all making the world a kinder and more interesting place to live. Visit me: www.VictoriaLorrekovich-Miller.com and check out my Instagram for my new children’s book, If a Mantis Finds a Fly in the Sky: mantis_picturebook

2 What does your family think of your writing?

They are very supportive. My husband is my tech support, social media director and all-around best hype man. My two sons also help me with tech support and are accomplished chefs so when I’m writing on a deadline, that’s a huge help—and a delicious one. My older daughter, who actually works as a social media director, has given me all sorts of great advice. She also reads all of my work and offers gentle critiques of my writing. When my children’s book was officially launched, she surprised me with a beautiful bouquet of flowers. My younger daughter, age 14, is a great proofreader!

3 Do you have a mantis as a pet?

Yes, I do. My husband has always raised praying mantises for pest control because they eat aphids, beetles, crickets, termites, as well as spiders (which were biting our kids). Then we began raising exotic mantises as pets. They have included Giant African Mantises, which is what Jade was, Ghost mantises, Orchid mantises—which are gorgeous, Devil Flower Mantises, African Twig Mantises, and others. Our kids loved watching the mantises hatch and evolve into little assassins. Eventually our kids outgrew their “insect phase,” but my husband and I just got more into it!

4 Which format do you prefer the most – audio books/paperback/hardcover/kindle and why?

This is a tricky question because I like different formats for different reasons. For long car rides, nothing beats an audio book; the Kindle is convenient for vacations so I don’t have to lug around several books, but my favorite thing to buy is first edition hardcovers. I love the way they feel in my hands—the durability and the quality. Plus, they also work as artwork on my bookshelves. My dream is to have an entire room filled with books from floor to ceiling.

5 What was your dream job when you were younger?

I used to imagine myself in all sorts of jobs: teacher, journalist, author, artist, geologist, philatelist (I’m not sure how I was going to make a living collecting stamps), psychologist, and college professor. I would also have an alter ego in the form of Wonder Woman or the Bionic Woman.

6 What is the inspiration behind your book – “If a Mantis Finds a Fly in the Sky”?

My favorite pet mantis was a Giant African Mantis named Jade who lived for an entire year. I was transfixed by her and was also thankful that she was only four inches long. She was this intrepid insect that was one part patience and one part daredevilry! When she died, I couldn’t believe how sad I was—crazy!! I knew she would need to have a story to memorialize her.

I decided to use a simple couplet rhyming scheme so that preschoolers could begin to develop phonological awareness as they’re building a foundation for literacy. I have a surprise ending that is also a gentle reminder about the cycle of life (hopefully it makes kids laugh). The last page offers 10 fun facts about praying mantises.

7 Can you share something your readers don’t know about you?

I have degrees or certifications in: Fashion Design, Human Development, Research Methodology, Dog Training, and Creative Writing. I’ve worked as an assistant fashion designer at Fritzi California, a graduate researcher in an aging and cognition lab at UC Davis, an adoption manager for Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation, a foster dog coordinator at Maddie’s Fund, and the founder of www.LocalEditors.com.         Throughout my journey, the one thing I always tell young people who think that having the right major and getting into the right college are the most important things in determining their later success is this: “Your path will twist and turn in ways you can’t possible fathom from where you are at this point in your life. Nearly ¾ of college graduates actually end up working in fields that are not related to their majors.” I tell girls that they, in fact, can “have it all,” just not all at once.

8 What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

One of my favorite quotes is by author, Richard Bach: “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” I also love Anne Lamott’s notion of “shitty first drafts.” One can’t get to a polished draft without starting with a poorly written first draft. Also, as writers, we should be first and foremost students, always writing, always reading, always learning. When we are lucky enough to receive feedback on our writing from a trusted source, learn from it and revise, revise, revise.

9 Why and where do you write?

I have carved out of a section of our master bedroom as my office—it’s the only place in the house that is quiet. (Once one of my sons moves out, I will turn his bedroom into my writing lair. Shhh). My husband made a sign for our bedroom door that says: “Mom is working. Do not disturb unless the house is on fire.”

10 In life, what is the source of your motivation to keep going?

Writing has always been cathartic for me, but to be successful, it has to be more than just therapy. I love creating stories that will make people laugh but also leave them with something of import. I’ve got a rough outline now for a middle grade novel and the one thing I knew I wanted to have was a diverse cast of characters—including a trans girl.

My biggest motivation is my desire to learn and to be surprised by what I unearth. An example is when I was writing my children’s book about my mantis, Jade, I was doing research about praying mantises so I could include 10 fun facts at the end of my book. One thing I learned (which isn’t in the book) is that the late RBG (who I was—and still am—obsessed with) has a praying mantis named after her: llomantisginsburgae. Apparently only male genitalia had been used for insect species classification until researchers Sydney Brannoch and Gavin Svenson were able to correct a mistake. They found that two genera that had been lumped together were actually separate species, based on the female characteristics as well as other traits. This certainly underscores the need for entomologists to equally consider both sexes of praying mantises. I knew female praying mantises were bad asses but I had no idea that my favorite feminist icon had one named after her!

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Author Interview with Samantha Caprio Negret

1 Can you please introduce yourself? Readers would love to know about you.

I graduated with a BS in Journalism from Florida International University in 2003. I wrote and reported entertainment scripts that were aired on FOX WSVN 7 in Miami, FL and OWL Radio at Florida Atlantic University in Boca. I’m passionate about writing and have been writing short stories and poetry since I was a kid, after learning that my favorite grandmother was a poet. I began writing children’s stories in 2004 and have completed a 62,000 middle-grade, fantasy called, RAINBOW CRYSTAL, which was released on May 15, 2018 with CLEAN READS (ASTRAEA PRESS). The sequel, RAINBOW CRYSTAL: THE SPECIAL BOY WHO COULD, released on April 28, 2020. I also completed a 18,000 humorous, animal-talking, chapter book called MURPHY: THE PHAT CAT. In addition, I co-wrote and finished a screenplay based on a true story about my Italian great-grandparents, which is currently being shopped in Hollywood.

2 Please share something about Rainbow Crystal series.

My RAINBOW CRYSTAL series was inspired by the loss of my best friend. I wanted to write a book and create a world where I felt I could see her again. It was also my therapy at the time…to write. So, I created a magical world called Raiven — between heaven and earth — with mystical and mythical creatures. The books are about friendship, loss, grief, hope, magic and adventure. However, the central message is that no one is ever lost to us, and the end is never really the end after all. Never lose hope; there’s a rainbow at the end of the storm.

3 Do you have any new series/standalone planned?

Yes, I do. I am currently in the process of writing a middle-grade, teen-witch novel who goes on a mystery mission with a stuck ghost. It’s also a time-travel piece. But it’s still in the very early stages.

4 Which format do you prefer the most – audio books/paperback/cover/kindle and why?

I’m old school, and love to feel, smell, and hold the book in my hands. So, I’d have to go with paperback for sure! I have never read on Kindle or listened to Audible before. Shhh! Our little secret.

5 What was your dream job when you were younger?

I was and still am obsessed with books and film. So, I knew from a very young age that storytelling and writing them was my passion – always my dream job!

6 Where do you live and what makes your city special?

I live in Davie, FL, which is a town in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. It has a reputation of being a “Western” town. It has a significant horse-owning population, and it’s home to many cattle and horticulture. It also is in the heart of South Florida where there is fun, entertainment, great restaurants, beach-life, club-life, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and Hollywood beaches are all nearby. There are endless things to do in our tropical paradise of a sunshine state. We also have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world!

7 Can you share something your readers don’t know about you?

I am also the VP/Director of PR for a charity called RAINBOW GUARDIAN, which serves the intellectually challenged/developmentally disabled population, including autism. I own and assist my family over-see a residential facility in Southwest Ranches, FL, which houses up to eight, special-needs’ females, ranging in age and disability (including one of my older sisters). Mainly, I’m a busy bee being a wife and mother to two children, Bella (10) and Lorenzo (6), who is on the spectrum of autism. Me and my family are advocates for the special-needs’ population.

I have two bulldogs (Bleu and Buster), one white, fluffy cat named Gracie who is the princess of the castle, two new kitties named Marlo Brando and Willow Nugget, and a bunch of exotic fish, corals, and albino iguanas.I have a lot of love, abundance, and activity around me; I feel blessed — and even sometimes stressed — every day for it all.

Also, I’m going to be designing a jewelry line inspired by my books called RAINBOW CRYSTAL COSMETICS, LLC.

8 Please tell us something about Raven. From where did you have the idea to build this fantasy world?

I think I answered that in question #2 of the “idea” to build it. But to embellish, it’s a magical world between heaven and earth. A world inside a rainbow. A place where we can see fairies, unicorns, mermaids, elves,dragons, wizards and sorcerers, etc…A place where magic exists.A place where our loved ones who’ve passed on can visit us. A place of hope. A place of every color realm of the rainbow. A place with pixie dust. A place where children’s dreams and wishes come true. A place of endless possibilities. 

9 What are your hobbies?

I enjoy reading, watching movies, working out, blogging, spending quality time with family and good friends, and/or traveling, whenever I can find extra time (usually one of those activities accompanies a cup of coffee or glass of wine), minus the working out part.However, there are always exceptions.

10 Any message that you would like to give to your readers?

Find your passion and live it every day because life is too short not to. Never let anyone tell you that you can’t achieve something. Go after it and never ever give up! You’ll get knocked down over and over, but the goal is to keep getting back up. Dream big! Shoot for the stars — the sky is the limit!!!

Author’s Profile on Amazon

Interview with author Danielle M Orsino

1. Can you please introduce yourself?

My name is Danielle M. Orsino, I am a competitive martial artist and Nurse. However, I have left that all behind  to write the Birth of the Fae series. I have two rescue pups Carlos which anyone who has read Birth of the Fae: Locked Out of Heaven, may know him as “Los” the dragon.  Penelope my other little dog the readers will meet later in the series as “Lady Penelope” a member of the Aubane Faction. The Aubane are oversized white deer with gilded antlers but of course, Lady Penelope will have something extra special.       

2. From where did you have the idea/inspiration to write ‘Birth of the Fae’?

It started in an IV room far far away.  A patient was becoming antsy with his Lyme treatment and asked me to entertain him. I asked  him to tell me something interesting about himself. He mentioned he was recruited by the CIA  and the match was lit. The story of the Fae fell from my lips. My patient was the one who  encouraged me to continue with the story, and what started as one book 9 months later became four.  

3. What does literary success look like to you?

That is tough, I want to bring a sense of escapism from today’s problematic world and a chance for the readers to find themselves in the Veil. If I can give just one reader some solace and a few moments to catch their breath from reality that is a victory. Would I like to be on a bestsellers list? Of course! A dream of mine is to see Birth of the Fae made into an Anime and the later books into a series live action series.      

4. What are your hobbies apart from reading and writing?

I adore cosplaying, it’s a passion of mine. I feel cosplaying is a way of paying homage to the characters that have influenced me over the years. I also Box and kickbox at a phenomenal gym, Lone wolf boxing. My coach- Manny is the best that I have worked with. It is my sanctuary, I can go and just work out my aggressions for a while. It’s the best therapy.   

5. Where do you see yourself in next 5 years?

My hope is I will be releasing Book four or five? And have a bookish merchandising line inspired by Birth of the Fae. We have a few items in the works which we will be introducing soon.   

6. How do you select the names of your characters?

The characters pretty much name themselves, it sounds odd, but they do. They come into my brain (usually with a theme song ) and just introduce themselves.  I’ll share a secret there is a character the readers will meet in book three named Indiga. She woke me up in the middle of the night with the song “Cherry Bomb” blasting in my head, she appeared in my brain with blonde golden curls and big indigo clear colored eyes and just said “Hello my name is Indiga so write my story.”  I could see her vividly and her eyes were so vibrant her name made sense Indiga like the color Indigo I didn’t question it.

As for Jarvok, originally his name was going to be Varjok but my dyslexia got the best of me and I typed Jarvok instead. I liked it better and the Dark Fae king did too.  King Jarvok was born. However, in the oral version it was Varjok.          

7. What is your favorite Quote?

My favorite quote is in the first chapter by Xi who later becomes Queen Aurora,  “I will rise again and it will not be by your blessings but by my own mastery.”

8. What are you working on next?

I just finished the final edits for book two and it is in copy and proof reading. I am working on the final story edits for book three.   

9. How long on average does it take you to write a book?

That depends I wrote four books all at once, the first drafts were finished in 9 months. However, i have learned what to do and not to do. I think book five will be a very different process.      

10. Lastly, who inspires you the most in life and why?

Wonder Woman and my pups. Wonder Woman has been my hero since I was a child. She is the epitome of grace, power and kindness. She is everything i strive to be in life.  The moment I saw Lynda Carter twirl onto my TV screen I was in awe. She was classy, smart but kicked butt. She demonstrated as a girl I didn’t need to be rescued by anyone, yet she always looked to show compassion before violence. I wanted to be just like that. Her ideals of compassion, wisdom, fighting for those who could not stand for themselves and  not letting anyone step on you stuck with me and still do to this day. Wonder Woman seeped into my female Fae characters.  

My pups Carlos and Penelope show unconditional love and fun each and every day. They look to each day with a new sense of hope and fun with no qualms about the day before, as a writer that is something I need to learn. I can’t get upset about a bad review or hang my hat on good reviews. Each day is new, full of possibilities, I can learn more from my pups.       

Interview with author Edwin Betancourt

1 Can you please introduce yourself?

Hello, my name is Edwin Betancourt and I am from the Bronx, New York. I am an Independent Author who loves to write stories that not only entertain people but also is full of twists and turns.

2 What does your family think of your writing?

They are very supportive of me and any venture that I do. I wrote a play last year that debuted here in the city and both my mother and brother went to see it and they enjoyed it. Of course, I wasn’t sure if they were just saying that but considering they were crying in a certain part of the play, really proved they enjoyed it.

3 Do you have any new series/standalone planned?

That is a very good question because I do. Many writers (myself included) tend to focus on more than one story unconsciously. It’s a bad yet fun habit to have. Currently I am writing the pilot screenplay and formatting the season of “Jayson The Witch” because I have so much faith in it and I think a story like this would entertain so many people if it was on tv. I am also working on introducing another Witch in the story that will get a spin off but I’m trying to see how that would fit cohesively into the world that is “Jayson The Witch”.

4 Which format do you prefer the most – audio books/paperback/cover/kindle and why?

I personally love to read paperback books because I’m very old fashioned and I don’t have a Kindle or Nook. When writing I always aim to publish my stories in Paperback and Kindle because I know that many people prefer these options. I am able to work with Amazon to keep the Kindle books free–like right now my book is free to people in India, The United States and Canada.

5 What was your dream job when you were younger?

My dream job was to be an actor. I grew up watching tv and I always got immersed into the story lines. But I wanted to focus on theatre acting  because it isn’t as shallow as on camera acting. Now I aim to write stories that will one day become tv shows or movies and give opportunities to people like me and show the younger generation that there is a special place for them.

6 Where do you live and what makes your city special?

I live in the Bronx, New York. It’s definitely a special place to me because people always assume the Bronx is full of nothing but rundown buildings and craziness but there are so many beautiful and quiet locations that gets people to appreciate nature.

7 Can you share something your readers don’t know about you?

Hmmm, I’m the eldest of five boys which is why I focus so hard on appreciating family and being able to enjoy their craziness. It also helped that I was taught about responsibility at such a young age.

8 What advice would you give to an aspiring novelist?

I have a few. When writing a story -or even plotting it out- always ask yourself, “Who are the people in this story?”, “What is going on in this story that is different from anything out there?” and my favorite question, “Why am I writing this story?”

Rejection is hard and it can be difficult but never let it alter how you feel about your story. If publishers won’t accept it, then self publish it.

And last but not least, this is very important, avoid Vanity Publishers. Writers should never have to pay a publisher to publish their manuscripts.

9 Why and where do you write?

I write everywhere to be honest. I write my stories in a notebook so I take the notebook everywhere and I can write on the train, bus, bedroom, living room, kitchen, while doing laundry at the Laundromat etc.  As for why, I don’t know. I just write to tell the stories that are living rent free in my mind.

10 In life, what is the source of your motivation to keep going? That would be the fact that not many of us, LGBTQ+ people, have stories that are not sexualizing or painting us in a bad light. I always aim to represent the community and show us in a light that isn’t demeaning or rude.

Buy Jayson The Witch by Edwin Betancourt from Amazon.

Interview with author Kimmey Fitts

1 Can you please introduce yourself?

Hello readers.  My name is Kimmey Fitts.  I love writing short stories, simple poems, and blogging.  I am 54 years old.  I’m a Christian.  I’m happily married to a very handsome man.  We’ve been married for 29 years and have one very talented son who is 22 years old.  I began writing to find something to do that is flexible and can be done at home.

2 How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?

I have written 24 books… of those, I wrote 1 novel, 1 novella, and 2 trilogies.  My favorite is my first trilogy, Idella’s Journal.  It may not be everyone’s favorite, but I put a lot of love into it.

3 Do you have any new series/standalone planned?

My current book is a book about the Bible.  I am writing about different topics in the Bible.  After that, I may write another short convicting Biblical book.  Then, I plan to escape back into my fantasy fictional books.  The Vampire Salvatore and Dybbuk Spirits both need a part 2.

4 Which format do you prefer the most – audio books/paperback/cover/kindle and why?

I like using my kindle, whether on my kindle or my phone.  With my phone, I can take books anywhere.  I really like that I can take more than one at a time.  I am usually reading a Christian book and a fictional book at the same time.

5 What was your dream job when you were younger?

Actually my dream job would have been to be a journalist.  I even began going to a university and taking journalism classes.  However, I couldn’t work and go to school at the same time.  God had other things in plan for my life.

6 Where do you live and what makes your city special?

I live in a small city located right outside of Nashville, Tennessee.  There isn’t much that is “special” for most people about our city.  However, for us it is beautiful.  We have the Cumberland River running through our city and plenty of boat ramps and parks.  We have so much nature here.  It’s a lovely place to live.

7 Can you share something your readers don’t know about you?

I don’t put a Christmas tree up in my house.  However, if you want to find out why, you will have to read my next book about Christmas topics.

8 What advice would you give to an aspiring novelist?

Don’t think of yourself as aspiring.  Remove that word from your mind and write. 

9 Why and where do you write?

I write in our small den in a recliner using my laptop.  During the day, there is a large window that looks outside.  If I write at night, it’s a small quiet room and I can get a lot done.

10 In life, what is the source of your motivation to keep going?

My family is my motivation.  I hope one day that one of my books sells a ton of copies, and my husband is able to quit what he does and find a better job.  I also hope that through these books, I have something to leave for my son.