Friday, September 28, 2012

Author Interview with Raynetta Stocks: The Grim

Today as a treat we have Raynetta Stocks, a friend, and author of The Grim.

How you doing today Raynetta?

Doing great Ahmad, thanks for having me here.

My pleasure of course. Been looking forward to sharing you with my readers for awhile now.

Tell us about your latest novel in 20 words or less:

Jaycee must recall a murder she doesn’t remember committing to be released from incarceration at a psychiatric hospital.  Wait, is that 20 words…?

No worries, we’re moderately flexible here.

What has been the most exciting part of being a published author?

The best part of authorship is seeing your work in print.  When the first copies of my book arrived on my doorstep, and I held my masterpiece in my hands, it was that surreal, “silver lining” moment when the heavens part and a golden beam of sunlight hits your face.  Suddenly, everything I went through to get here was worth it.  And I’d do it all again.

How poetic.

And we all hope you will do it again as well.

What do you do to prepare for a writing session?

For me, I need peace and quiet in a cool, well-aerated place.  I need serenity, so that I can watch the movie playing out in my head.  Then I take what I see in that movie and put it to words.

Great description for our readers.

Does writing get easier with each project?

Yes, the writing does get easier, because with each project, I learn a bit more about my craft and my own writing style.  I get giddy with each work; I don’t waste time writing stories I’m not passionate about.  So that excitement is a catalyst to finish the book and have the reader share in what had me so excited in the first place.

You have some interesting posts on your blog. Tell us how you come up with your ideas.

Blogging is hard.  You’re like a magazine: your subscribers are looking for consistency, but it’s difficult coming up with topics so I concentrated my efforts.  What do I like, and how can I translate that to readership?

I created three features: Soapbox Spotlight, Book to Movie Classics, and Author Tips.  Soapbox Spotlight airs every Wednesday and features fellow indie authors looking for exposure and an audience for their work.  I’ve met a lot of really interesting people and been introduced to awesome books, some of which I’ve reviewed.  Book to Movie Classics is a last Friday of the month feature where I compare a movie to its novel inspiration and rate each on different points.  Author Tips is a post I do, usually around the first Monday of the month to talk about things I’ve learned in authorship.  I have an occasional piece called “When Inspired” that I write whenever something moves me.  Of course, I try to keep up with National Poetry Month, National Reading Month, and Black History Month every year as well.

What books have influenced your writing?

There are really too many to count.  I read a bit of everything; there’s no genre unrepresented on my bookshelf.  My favorite books, however, are The Color Purple by Alice Walker, The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander and The Young Landlords by Walter Mosley.

Are you currently working on any other projects?

Actually, I’m in the process of writing Books One and Two of my new young adult series, The Lova Chronicles.  It’s about a set of fraternal twins who find they are endowed with the power of the gods and are expected to use them to defeat an evil overlord and prevent a miniature Armageddon.  The series is tentatively outlined, and I don’t have titles on the first two books yet, but One and Two should hit the market circa May or June of 2013.

We’re excited!

What is the last thing you read?  Did you like it, hate it?

The last thing I read was Memoirs Aren’t Fairytales and Scars of a Memoir by Marni Mann.  Both were fantastic!  They are gritty and passionate, even with all the dark elements that make you want to hide your face from the horror of it all.  She is a brilliant writer.

I’ve heard great things about her. I will have to check her works out.

What was the last movie you watched?  Did you like it, hate it?

The last movie I watched was Think Like a Man, based on Steve Harvey’s book Act Like a Woman, Think Like a Man.  It is my October Book to Movie Classics piece so check it out on my blog on October 26th!

Where can readers find your works and follow you (links)?

Everything about me and my books can be found at  Links to my books, blog, and social media accounts are located on my navigation bar.

Thanks for having me, Ahmad!

Loved it. Hope you will come back soon and catch us up.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tag Team in Space... Episode 8

Tag Team in Space continues...

The episodic tale of Dr. Jerry Waldman (The Two Moons of Rehnor) and Sgt. Derrick Thomas (Dark Side of the Moon) continues:

Check out Episode 7 (Jerry) from J. Naomi Ay here

Episode 8


“Light doc… Turn on the damn light please!” I yelled over to Jerry as I tried to fend off the onslaught of slimy hands groping for me all at once.

The smell in the air was almost more overwhelming than the amount of force being thrown at us by this group of Martians. I did my best to keep my footing as I fought off the creatures that kept coming one after another.

I was shockingly surprised to learn that the consistency of a Martian Big Head body was not unlike Earth creatures. Their bodies were thin and bony, their heads were hard like a traditional skull, except they had a large layer of what I can only assume is fat at the top of their heads like a whale might have. They also had several rows of sharp teeth in their mouths, as I came to find out the hard way. I thought of all the shows I watched growing up about sharks and how they had rows of teeth that came in yearly to replace the last set of damaged or missing teeth in their mouths. I wondered if this was an applicable similarity with the Big Heads, meaning that like sharks, their teeth were fragile and while formidable, also easily removable. I tried to process all these thoughts in a moment’s time and decide my best course of attack, as one lunged toward me, head glowing I could see his mouth agape and I reacted.

I extended my right leg in an instant, bringing the sole of my boot straight out at its face. I connected with its jaw, if these things even have jaws, and I could feel a hard crack. The Big Head squealed a moment as it came crashing to the ground and I knew something had indeed broken. Several sets of teeth oozed out of its mouth and onto the floor, and I knew I had found a weak point.

I quickly spun to connect a kick with the face of another Big Head trying to bite me, and the result was nearly identical. I fought off at least ten, but realized that there were too many more coming my way. I wouldn’t be able to keep up this effort for very long, and once they swarmed me as a whole I would be finished.

I turned to retreat and tripped over something and came crashing to the ground. I hit my head against the tube wall and became very dizzy. I could hear the Big Heads organizing and with my misstep, the glow from several dozen heads grew brighter in my direction. I tried to shake off the haze in my brain and get to my feet to defend myself.

As I got to one knee I could see what I had tripped over in the first place. The glow continued to grow brighter, and the requests for help from Jerry grew more intense, and I knew I had to take care of this right now or else neither of us would make it get help.

I frantically pawed through my bag, throwing the contents everywhere. I needed one item, and I needed it now. The creatures began chanting in unison like a crowd at a cyberball match back at home when a penalty shot was taken for the win.

“Chip, chip, chip, chip…” they all began reciting as they approached. I had no idea what chip they were referring to, and if it was something the doctor had, I would have to hurry up and save him to find out.

Finally, I found what I was searching for, and not a moment too soon. I placed my thumb on the safety release and powered it on. The distinctive glow of my plasma blade stopped almost all the creatures right in their tracks. It was apparent that they had had some experience with this weapon and knew enough to fear it. They all began to back up slightly, even the ones on top of Jerry moved away slowly.

I held the blade out in front of me and turned side to side to try and ward off any Big Heads trying to sneak up on us. I cautiously walked over to the doctor who was gasping in pain on the ground. He had several opens wounds and the bruises to his face looked pretty rough, but he was conscious and functional from what I could tell. 

“My glasses Derrick, I need my glasses…” he muttered, and I was able to find them just off to the side. I placed them on his face while still trying to keep my eyes on the group surrounding us. Jerry suddenly seeing the large mass of creatures around us yelled; “Holy Cow!” and scurried backward across the ground. He only made it three feet, but with his injuries I was surprised he was able to move that fast at all.

“Listen buddy, you have to stay calm alright? These things are very dangerous and very intent on getting this chip from us, so stay calm, tell me where you have this thing, and I’ll negotiate our escape from this mess.”

“What chip Derrick, I don’t have any chip. I assumed government agent man would be the one hiding some chip or whatever.”

I looked at his bruised up face and wanted to bash it in after his smug response, but I remembered the large group of Martians bent on harming us and I chose to put the urge on pause for the time being.

“Well I don’t know of any chip doctor, so what is our next option? ‘Cause the way I see it, we are way outnumbered, and outmatched since you seem pretty useless in fighting circumstances, and I doubt that I can take them all out without a mild bit of assistance, so what do we do here doctor?” I asked, swiveling my eyes side to side so as not be snuck upon.

The doctor pulled me close to his face and placed his mouth against my ear. I was less than comfortable with the closeness our relationship had taken, but was very pleased with what had been whispered to me. I grabbed a piece of stone that was on the ground next to us and placed it in Jerry’s hand and gave him a nod. He nodded back his understanding and I leapt into action.

The squeals came one after another as I plowed my way through the group of Martians. The stench of seared flesh permeated the air in all directions. To some it would have been nauseating, but I knew what my blade could do, and to me the scent as intoxicating. One of ARCA’s finest inventions for agents in the field, a plasma blade glowed white hot and was truly an amazing source of controlled energy. It simultaneously opened and closed wounds as I cut a path straight through to the main Big Head. I tackled it, and held my blade out over its main eye on its enormous head.

While I was not truly a fan of the doctor, I was a fan of living, and his idea worked enough that we might actually get out of this mess alive.

“Now you call off your swarm, or gang, or school, or pod, or whatever the hell you call this group. You tell them to back off right now, or I and my blade will perform a real alien autopsy right here, right now! We don’t know anything about this chip you are looking for, so back off and let us be” I demanded, praying that this one Martian was important enough to the thirty or so others left, that they would indeed trade his safety for ours.

For the next minute as I held this creature down, I listened to a very elaborate tale of this chip and what its purpose is. I looked up in anger and disbelief across the tube at the doctor as the creature concluded; “…your human friend has many secrets from you Earth man!”

I sat back and with rage screamed; “Jerry?!?”

Check back for new episodes from J. Naomi Ay soon

Author Interview w/ Allison Merritt: The Sky Pirate's Wife

We're here today with author Allison Merritt. 

She has a new release: The Sky Pirate's Wife and she's here to talk about it with us.

Thanks for stopping by Allison.

Thanks for having me Ahmad.

Where do you currently reside, and why did you choose this place?

I live in the Ozark Mountains. I didn't choose it, I was born here and my husband was born here too, so we're pretty comfortable. Moving away would involve actual moving . . . no thanks! I told him the last time we moved, which was about forty miles, that's it, no more because I moved in and out of different dorms while I was in college and I'm sick of it. Besides, the Ozarks is a great place. We're sandwiched between a tourist town and a real city, so there's plenty of entertainment and good places to eat and shop, three lakes close by, and my favorite: nature.

Tell us about your latest novel in 20 words or less:

An airship captain with a deadly secret. An heiress longing for true love. A legend that could tear them apart.

If you could talk to your former self, what advice would you give her?

Read up on marketing and get over that introvert personality. Marketing is one of the toughest parts of novel writing. I never guessed there was so much to it. And while I'm not afraid to write goofy things on my blog or in an interview, I'm terrified to show that kind of personality offline. I'm never going to successfully sell books unless I overcome that fear.

Words of wisdom, I agree.
What is the last thing you read? Did you like it, hate it?

The last book I read was actually a YA novel called Rush For The Gold by John Feinstein. 
Erm, let's say I wasn't crazy about it. I love YA and I'm usually into sports novels, because I feel really jazzed to exercise after I read one, but in this one, the heroine is competing for a gold medal while her boyfriend investigates a possible scandal her agent is trying to pull off. There wasn't much deep POV, it felt more plot driven than character driven, which is fine if that's your writing style. I would rather have read about the heroine's journey toward Olympic gold and her relationship with her boyfriend. That's the hopeless romantic in me.

Where can readers find your works and follow you?

Well thank you for sharing a bit with our readers Allison. We hope you'll come back soon and update us on your book and your other works.

Thanks for having me and thank you to your readers.