Extra! Special Guest Interview: Elisha N. of European Geeks Publishing

ElishaNWoo hoo! Special guest in the house today … Elisha from European Geeks Publishing! She was so kind to host me on her blog right before A Man of Character debuted. I desperately wanted to ask her a bunch of questions based on the whole geek thing alone (I doth do hearteth the geeks!), and luckily, she obliged. We delved into other topics, as well. Settle in and enjoy!

I love the Tardis on your (old) blog’s header, so clearly you’re a Whovian. What is it about Doctor Who that appeals to you? What other shows have sucked you in? (Please say Merlin… ;)) 

Doctor Who is the anti-super hero. He is a hero in his own right, but without using any violence or weapons. He saves the world, which is not even HIS world, time and time again simply by using his brain. He is very active in the belief that all lives are important and tends to remind his friends to never give up their morals – no matter how bad the situation is. I am a big fan of Orphan Black and Torchwood (of course). I also enjoy some lighthearted romps, such as Two Broke Girls and Mike & Molly. I did follow Merlin for a long time, but, unfortunately, fell behind when we moved into our new house and haven’t caught up yet. 

ML: You’ve just summed up why I also love Doctor Who – although you articulated it twenty times better. 

You call yourself a “self-proclaimed nerd.” I love it. What does that mean to you?

Nerd used to have a negative connotation when I was in high school. Before geek became chic, my friends and I began to call ourselves self-proclaimed nerds. If we took control of the term, those ‘popular’ cheerleaders and football players couldn’t use it as an insult anymore. Fat Amy in Pitch Perfect does the same thing. When asked why she calls herself Fat Amy, she responds: “So twiggy bitches like you can’t do it behind my back.” If you retain control of the term, it loses any derogatory meaning. Nowadays, nerds rule – so the term has become a positive anyway. 

What are you writing? Tell us about your novel.  

I have a few things in the works. My children’s book is currently being illustrated. I’m still penning my baby at the moment. My novel is called RED, and it is a blend of Grimm’s fairy tales, pagan and Celtic rituals and history, and much more. It focuses on Roslyn, a twenty-four-year-old who is plagued by nightmares, visions, and a strange feeling that she is being watched. As her twenty-fifth birthday approaches, her visions become more intense, revealing a startling truth about her family history that has been kept from her for years.

I’m hoping to have it completed by the end of the year.

writingHow does your work as an editor inform your own writing?

It both helps and hurts. Most authors tend to just hammer the words out. They feverishly write the story out and then go back and make their edits, or ship it off to someone else to tidy up. I will rewrite the same sentence thirty times before moving on. I also find that I can’t just sit down and write – every time I sit down, I end up editing the chapter I’m working on.

On the plus side, I’ll find most of the errors, plot snags, and unnecessary phrases before anyone else gets their hands on it.

What’s your take on indie vs traditional publishing?

I used to be all for traditional publishing, but over the last decade I have lost my faith in the system. I see so many amazing authors who can’t get an agent or publisher to look at their work, but yet books like Fifty Shades are pouring onto the shelves. I believe indie publishing is the new medium for truly gifted authors to get their talent acknowledged. It is also much better for the authors, who get to regain more control over their work. 

Do you prefer to read digital or physical books? 

I am a huge fan of holding a real book in my hands. I have adamantly refused to get an eReader. Unfortunately, my toddler cannot stand to see Mummy holding a book, so I have commandeered my husband’s Kindle until further notice. 

How did you end up in the US? 

My father is actually American. He was in the US military, stationed in Germany. My parents met at Octoberfest. They divorced when I was just under two and my mother and I left Germany and went home to the UK. When I was older, I wanted to meet my father… and here I am. 

silverkissWhat are your top three favorite books of all time?

Oh, that’s difficult. I would have to say my number one favorite is called The Silver Kiss, by Annette Curtis Klause. It’s a young adult book, but it was the first dark fantasy book I read as a child and it drew me in immediately. I sometimes pull it out to remind myself of that feeling that I’m looking to portray in my own work. Of course, the iconic Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams because, well – you never want to forget your towel. The Last Vampire by Christopher Pike would be my third. As with The Silver Kiss, it is one of my top favorites strictly because of how they made me feel – it drew me in as a child. I was so addicted to the entire series that my middle school friends would get mad at me for not spending any time with me. I always had my nose in a book. 

Which writers influence you most?

Joss Whedon is a huge influence in my life. Although he is a screen writer, he is one of the most genius storytellers. The way that his stories and plot twists could make me feel is something I would love to emulate one day. Otherwise, my cousin – Alastair Swinnerton (http://www.toonspace.co.uk/) is high on the list. His resume blows away most writers and after decades, he is still going without fail. A few others are Alex Marwood (author of Wicked Girls and The Killer Next Door), J Edward Ritchie (Fall From Grace), and Ian Thomas Malone (A Trip Down Reality Lane, Five More College Dialogues). I’m impressed by their drive, talent, and the fact that they are down-to-earth people. 

Tell us about your new company, European Geeks Publishing…

European Geeks Publishing is a new, exciting, small press that believes in the support and promotion of its authors. We partner with our authors, making sure they are involved in the entire process – from cover art to marketing. 

At European Geeks Publishing, we focus on a smaller catalog to ensure that we spend an adequate amount of time with each author from the beginning steps through to the marketing and promotion of each book launch to ensure maximum success for each project.

We specialize in science fiction and fantasy – in picture books, Young Adult, New Adult, and Adult genres.

ML: So, authors, head on over to the European Geeks website to find out if you’re a good fit with their vision!

Thanks so much for stopping by today, Elisha, especially since I know you’re busy with your new Publishing House. Always nice to find a fellow geek. 

All About YA Fantasy Author Tamara Shoemaker – and her latest release, Kindle The Flame!

Tamara ShoemakerWoo hoo! Recently I sat down with friend and oh-so-talented author Tamara Shoemaker and asked her all sorts of questions, because I’m nosy like that. Luckily for me, she put up with it and didn’t incinerate me, like the dragons in her latest book Kindle the Flame might be wont to do.

So sit back and get out that chocolate bar, because we’re all in for a treat.

What was the inspiration behind Kindle the Flame?

About a year ago, my then four-year-old son wanted to know where he went when he slept. I didn’t understand what he meant at first—“Uh, you stay in your bed, silly.” He was bowled over, shocked that his dreams were not reality (he may or may not have inherited a teensy amount of my own weird imagination). After that conversation, I couldn’t get the idea out of my head; it was a great jumping-off point for a novel. Of course, now that it’s all said and done, there’s absolutely nothing in my book about moving anywhere while dreaming—sleep-walking, world-travel, or otherwise. But it was the first spark that started me building my world.

Which magical beast from Kindle the Flame would you choose to be and why?

Looking at West Ashwynd’s roster of creatures, I think I’d really enjoy being a Pixie, which is why I spent so much of my time with them in the Pixie Glades. They seem like a fun group of creatures, and they can make magic with their words. What author doesn’t dream of doing that?

If you HAD to pick between Kindle the Flame’s Ayden and Cedric, who would you want and why?


Oh, that’s a tough one! When I write a character, I fall in love with every single one of them, whether good or bad, because I get to know them so intimately. I enter into their struggles so completely that it tears me apart when they blunder, and I dance around my kitchen when they succeed. Ayden and Cedric both come from very different backgrounds, but both hold such appeal for me, because they both are lonely, unloved, and uncared for. Over the course of the book, however, that changes. When I first meet them, I pity them, but then that pity slowly morphs to love. Since someone, who shall remain unnamed, is forcing me to choose one over the other *glares pointedly in Margaret’s direction*—I’d probably go for Ayden. His silver eyes get me every time. 😉

How long does it take you to write your fantasies?

I cranked out Kindle the Flame‘s first draft in under a month (a product of National Novel Writing Month—or NaNoWriMo), and put the spit and shine on it for the next five months. What’s that—six months all told? That’s not normal for me. I do write fast, but NaNoWriMo lit a serious fire under me. I’ve never seen smoke coming from my keyboard like that. 🙂 This is a longer book—112,000 words. My shorter 90,000 word fantasies take a little less time.

What’s your favorite kind of character to write? Male/Female? Hero/Anti-Hero? Villain/Lover?

Ooh, that’s a tough one. Male/Female: I think I enjoy female just a bit more. They’re so amazingly complex and confusing and they make absolutely no sense, so they can go off on rants, and no one is surprised. If I sound like I’m speaking from personal experience, well… maybe I am.

Hero/Anti-hero: I think I may like writing the anti-hero’s point of view just a teensy bit better. Evil characters often have so much more complexity than a simple wish to do well, to better the world. As noble as those things are, and as necessary as they are to any plotline, the angst and struggles of an anti-hero are often more intriguing to me. 🙂

Villain/Lover: Again, villain, mostly for the reasons I listed above for the anti-hero. Lovers have a fairly simple, straight-forward mind-pattern (mostly ushy-gushy, ooh-la-la train of thought). Oh, the possibilities of a villain—there’s a reason they are the way they are, and I love to explore that.

Tell us two things people don’t know about you that we wouldn’t expect.

Thing one: I’m extremely ticklish. Like the kind of ticklish that if you take a swipe at one of my feet, you’d better be prepared for a broken nose. I have NO control.

Thing two: I hate to answer my phone. Or anyone’s phone. I really, really, viscerally hate talking on the phone. I love to spend time with people, hang out, have fun, text, email, etc. In general, I have loads of friends, but if my friends know me well, they won’t call me. There are one or two rare exceptions to this, but in general, this is the case. If you ask me what my problem is… yeah, I have no idea. It is what it is.

(ML’s note: This is one of the reasons Tamara and I are soulmates. Of a sort. Phones suck.)

From Amazon.
From Amazon.

You are locked deep in a cave (but luckily have a sun lamp and self-generating chocolate) and may only have three books with you to read. Which would you choose and why?

First, thank you for allowing me the self-generating chocolate. It’s the important things in life… I’m assuming a Kindle is out of the question, because a.) that would be cheating, and b.) I have never learned to love e-readers. So moving on to my essential three books.

a.) The Bible. Because that’s the one book that has gotten me through everything and on which I base my entire belief system.

b.) Anne of Green Gables – because as I noted in a recent blog post, I am Anne. It is one of the few books that I can read… and read and read and read and read and never tire of. Although, I admit I’d struggle for a while choosing it over Pride and Prejudice and/or Jane Eyre. Still, I believe it would win out.

c.) Harry Potter (um, series? Does that break the three book rule)? – The bespectacled wizard was the first character to truly help me realize my love of fantastical magic. I owe a lot of my love of this genre to those amazing books.

If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring writer, what would it be?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: persistence is key. Plugging away, day after day, is what gets you through. It doesn’t sound fun, and sometimes it isn’t. I find that writing a novel is like journeying from one mountain to another. You start out on the peak of that first mountain. You’re excited; your idea is fresh and new, and you can’t wait to start laying those words on that paper (or that laptop). You look forward to completing the dream—a novel with your name on it! You take your first steps—the first chapter, or two, or three. The characters are new and fresh; the inciting incident is power packed and vivid. Loads of ideas roll through your head. You hit the first 12,000 words, and you’ve descended into the valley. Staleness sets in, and you lose the vision for your book. You follow a million rabbit trails, and your focus slides sideways. The only way you can finish that book is that consistent, persistent plugging away, climbing that second mountain, step by arduous step, 500 or 5,000 words every day, day by day, until at last, your book is finished. You’ve reached the second peak! The world lies at your feet, yours for the taking! Never give up, never.

What’s up next in your fantasy writing? Any hints on Kindle the Flame Part II? Or new books coming down the pike?

Yes, I’m currently working on the sequel to Kindle the Flame (with the idea of making a trilogy). Hints? Um, let’s see. Lots more Dragons. You get to know Chennuh and Ember pretty well in book one. There will be others in book two. Epic warfare. An evil king that only increases his horribleness. Love triangles, more than one! A huge twist ending (which I’m super excited about and have been planning for months).

Oh, and I have to tell you about a new release I have coming up in November! Mark of Four is an urban fantasy about people who can wield the four elements (earth, air, fire, and water), and most especially about an anomaly of a girl who can inexplicably wield all four elements, something no one else has ever been able to do. There’s a delicious villain in that one, as well. And here’s a secret. I really wish I could be that girl. Hmm, maybe that’s not so secret.


KTFCoverNow that we’ve sparked your interest in Kindle the Flame (hardy har har; yes, I love corny word play), here’s the blurb:

A girl who never fit in, a young man forced into an outcast’s life, a boy raised without a community, and a ruler who holds the key to their destinies…

Kinna has a Pixie she can’t train and a head full of doubts. Her worst fears come true when she fails the Tournament entrance test. She flees her Clan in disgrace, inexplicably drawn to a Mirage, a rare Dragon she has no business training.

Ayden is cursed—anyone he touches turns to ash before his eyes. He hides amongst the Dragon Clan with the only creatures he cannot hurt. When Kinna frees his favorite Dragon, his world turns upside down.

Cedric grows up in isolation, fostered by an outcast Centaur. When tragedy strikes, he ventures into a strange new world of Dragons, political intrigue, and magic.

Sebastian’s country hovers on the brink of war. Chased from his rightful throne, he schemes to retake his kingdom by any means possible, even if it threatens an ancient agreement that underpins the foundation of his realm.

Only by examining their pasts will these four find their futures. But will they survive the fires of discovery?

Tamara Shoemaker lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with her husband, three children, a few jars of Nutella, and a never-ending carafe of coffee. She authored the Amazon best-selling Shadows in the Nursery Christian mystery series and Soul Survivor, another Christian mystery. Her fantasy books include the beginning of the Heart of a Dragon trilogy: Kindle the Flame, as well as the upcoming Guardian of the Vale trilogy.

Follow her on social media:

Twitter: @TamaraShoemaker
Website: www.tamarashoemaker.org
Facebook: www.facebook.com/tshoebooks

Thanks for joining me, Tamara!
Now hand over the rest of your chocolate, and nobody gets hurt…

Writer Wednesday: Meet April Holthaus

Welcome to Writer Wednesday! This week we bring you April Holthaus, author of Scottish Historical Romances. April lives in Minnesota with her husband and son. When she’s not working, writing or taking care of the baby, she loves being outdoors and going to the cabin.

She joined me today to share a little about her writerly self:

Which type of romance do you love most, and why?

I love Historical/Medieval Era romance. To me, I find that era to be the most romantic era to read and write. Yes, life was hard and wars broke out constantly, but the characters I love are those who fight for honor and passion and have the strength to overcome hardships.

 What’s your favorite romance novel of all time, and why?

My favorite romance novel is Tempted by a Highlander Warrior by Michelle Willingham. I have never read a book with so much passion, love and devotion.

What fellow romance author do you recommend reading, and why?

I would highly recommend Vonda Sinclair. Each of her Highland Romance stories weaves a tale of heroism, love and compassion. The heroes are unforgettable. Fierce yet passionate. 

Legend of the Fae Cover April HolthausApril’s Books:

My latest book is Legend of the Fae. Book One of the Fae Chronicles. Find it on Amazon!

Visit April’s Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/author.april.holthaus

Find her at her website: http://aprilholthaus.blogspot.com

 Thanks so much for joining us, April!