#ThrowItForward Thursday: Meet Gina of Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

GinaRYes! It’s Thursday! And I’m so pleased and proud to bring you another #ThrowItForward Thursday. #WriterWednesday is for honoring fellow authors; #ThrowItForward Thursday shines the spotlight on those who help us authors in innumerable ways: book bloggers, editors, cover designers, etc. Because without y’all, we authors would be toast!

Today, we have Gina from Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers. I just love the fact that her blog combines two of my favorite things: books and food. Okay, so the books are the food on her delightful blog, but, well, you get the picture. Gina very kindly reviewed A Man of Characterbut believe you me, she’s got a lot more going on than that. So grab your favorite beverage, settle back, and get to know Gina a little bit more!

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What was the impetus behind starting Insatiable Readers? How long have you been a book blogger?

SFIR took root when I first started working at our local chain bookstore.  I had always had a love of reading and scoring that job, even if it was a 2nd to my full-time position, was a dream.  A fellow coworker and I were discussing a title and the conversation led into her current blog.  I was clueless…had heard the term but had no earthly idea what it was.  She kindly explained the basics and offered to help me set one up.  I agreed, but being impatient (our schedules were conflicting), I struck out on my own to discover the WORLD OF BLOGGING via BlogSpot and the rest is history!

What is your favorite genre to review? Any genres that really aren’t your cup of tea?

background made from opened booksFavorite genre is Fiction in general; more specifically Young Adult, Children’s, Contemporary, and Literary.  I can do some Sci-Fi on a limited basis and Romance as long as it stays the Contemporary line of things (not so much Johnny! Marsha!).  I’ve been known to dabble in Biographies, Memoirs, Pets, Christian Fiction…I’m sorry, it would have been MUCH easier if I answered the LATTER question first.

The two genres I do not dabble in are Sports and Erotica.  No jokes on that either….I can see them brewing in your mind.  😉 

[ML: *innocent face*]

Do you have a preference regarding accepting requests from traditionally published vs indie published authors? Do you notice a quality difference in the materials you receive from each (generally speaking)?

Personally, I don’t have a preference.  I know some readers are hardcore one or the other, but I’m equal opportunity in that area.  If a book sounds good, and captures my interest, I’m more than happy to take a trip through the pages.  Quality wise…honestly I’ve seen errors and opportunities in books I’ve received from both sources.  It can happen more frequently in smaller publishers (or to self-published authors) that don’t necessarily have the manpower or are splitting resources, but generally by the final product, it all turns out for the best. 

How many review requests do you receive a month, and how many are you able to accommodate?

Ooh…the million dollar question.  I really don’t know exactly on the numbers, though I try to tackle them as I see them.  As far as how many I can accommodate, it’s dependent upon the type of post (review, spotlight, teaser, giveaway, excerpt, etc)…and my scheduling.  I’ve been known to stretch myself a little thin from time to time.  *-*  What can I say?  So many GREAT books, so little time!  I’m trying to do better, but I won’t miss a deadline.  That I can promise.

What’s one thing you wish authors knew about approaching book bloggers? 

We’re people, not robots.  Tell us about yourself and the book.  If we’re not interested, please don’t take offense.  We do this on our own time because we love reading and the magic that books bring into our (collectively speaking) lives, not because we’re obligated to take on every one that comes our way.  Also, many bloggers have Review Policies on their sites.  Take a moment to read them before sending the pitch; it may save yourself some time (ergo my preference to NOT read Erotica…and receiving a request to review one *-*).  Oh and if you’re going to use a “form pitch” at least personalize the opening; getting a “Dear <insert name here>” (which I’ve actually received before)…or one that’s addressed to the wrong person (ditto on the comment) can be a little irksome. (Wait you asked for one thing…oops!)

What’s your biggest pet peeve in a story? Dialogue issues? Saggy plot? Unrealistic characters? Typos?

Biggest?  Typos and grammar issues.  It interrupts my train of thought when I’m reading if I have to go back and try to figure out what the author was trying to say over and over again.  Most other things I can work with…I realize that every work is the author’s “baby” so I try to give each one their time to shine.

Where do you see yourself and your blog in 5 years?

Me?  Well, I’d LOVE to be in Publishing…specifically the Editorial aspect of it all.  The idea of helping to bring new titles to the forefront and assisting in them reaching their full potential really makes my heart flutter.  The chances…I wouldn’t say nonexistent but they are slim simply geographically speaking.  As for my blog, I’d love to see it continue marching forward like a story you just can’t get enough of, with the readership expanding to spark some conversations in the blogosphere.  *daydreams*

[ML: The internet makes all sorts of things possible, you know! My editor lives in England, my cover designer/formatter in Australia. Don’t let geography limit you!]

What are one or two relatively undiscovered books you think people should pick up and read?

alicewonderOh man…one or two?  Eek!  I could probably fill a book with them to be honest.  Umm, let’s see…two, two, gotta pick two.  Alright, I’ll pick…but it doesn’t mean that the others in my head right now are any less on the totem pole of reading.

ONE:  Lot’s Mountain by N.R. Allen

TWO:  Alice Takes Back Wonderland by David D. Hammons

…both are YA fantasy picks that really left their mark in my mind, but I mean there are SO MANY MORE!

How much time do you devote to your reviews and blog each week?

I try to have a new post every day which may mean scheduling in advance (when possible…not always), but each review generally takes about two hours from start to finish.  So I guess that means at least 14 hours, not including reading?

Is there any type of story you have yet to read but would love to see?

You know, I’m not certain.  Every time I think I’ve read most types of stories, something new crops up and surprises me, like this Picture Book I read earlier today, Dewey Bob by Judy Schachner.  I thought it was going to be this story about a cute little raccoon who collects things but in actuality, it was SO MUCH MORE!  (Can’t tell you what, that would spoil the surprise for YOU!)  I leave the writing and creating to the authors…I’ll take ownership of the enjoyment factor.  ^-^

What’s the book blogging community like? Do you interact regularly with fellow bloggers, reads, and/or authors?

The book blogging community for the most part is the most welcoming I’ve seen in reality or virtually.  There’s always going to be a few that push people’s buttons the wrong way, but the majority are kindhearted, happy to answer a question, offer their words of wisdom for a problem you’ve encountered, or simply share a good conversation about what you’re reading now or perhaps should be reading. 

Interaction-wise, it’s more of a hit and miss.  There are a few bloggers that I regularly chat with (Tracey at Pen and Paper, Jess of Nayuleska’s Reading Corner, to name a few), other bloggers and authors I catch in passing.  Some over the years have fallen out of touch whether it be us missing each other time wise, losing interest in blogging, or perhaps their star of fame shot so high so fast that staying in touch wasn’t the easiest of things.  It’s all good though…the memories stay with you even no matter what.

Is there anything else you’d like us to know?

I can be long-winded at times…like in this interview.  ^-^  As I’ve said before, I LOVE READING and sharing my experience through the pages is something that really touches my heart.  The more connections I make with authors, publishers, publicists, and readers, the merrier…and if something I’ve written speaks to you, feel free to leave a comment!  Each one is another ray of sunshine in my day.

Also….THANK YOU for the opportunity to visit and say my piece!  Though it may have been larger than anticipated, it was wonderful to share a bit of myself with you and your readers.  ^-^ – Gina

Want to connect further with Gina? Find her here! 

gmrSatisfaction for Insatiable Readershttp://insatiablereaders.blogspot.com
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/GRgenius
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/GRgenius
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/insatiablereaders

Thank you so much for sharing your time and self with us today, Gina – I loved reading all about you and your experiences as a book blogger, and just have to say thank you again for all you do for authors.
You clearly invest your whole self into sharing your love of books with others, and it shows!

#ThrowItForward Thursday: Meet Rebekah Postupak of Flash Friday Fiction!

I cannot tell you how excited I am to feature Rebekah Postupak for this week’s #ThrowItForward Thursday, for if anyone deserves recognition for all she does to promote writing, writers, and writing community, it’s Rebekah.

rebekahBack in the fall of 2013, I was a lonely writer desperately seeking writerly connections. I stumbled upon the Shenandoah Valley Writers Facebook group, and through it met co-founder Rebekah, who also happens to run a little weekly Flash Friday Fiction contest some of you may have heard of. I entered the contest, got kudos for my writing (first public praise of any fiction I’d ever written), and kept participating, both in the contest and the FB group. I met Ms. Postupak in person. I met her again. I hung out with her again and again and again and . . . okay, you get the picture.

See, Rebekah Postupak is one amazing human being. She is one of the most talented writers I know, and yet she spends hours every week helping other writers achieve their dreams – through running Flash contests, featuring authors like me in Spotlight interviews, promoting the heck out of people wherever she goes, the whole shebang. Her spirit and generosity are endless.

I’m so grateful, therefore, that she somehow found the time to answer my nosy questions. And I’m fiercely proud to call her my friend. Read on for insight into Flash Friday and Ms. Postupak herself. (And if you haven’t ever given flash a whirl, come write this Friday!)

When did you start Flash Friday? What was the impetus behind it?

Oh, what a merry party the weekly flash fiction contest circuit was when I first (thanks to my dear friend, editor/publisher Susan Warren Utley) stumbled across it: a contest (or two, or three!) for every day of the week. Alas, by the end of 2012 many contests were petering out as their hosts started paying attention to (gasp!) their own WIPs. But it was too late for me, as I was already obsessed with this sharp, brilliant form of storytelling. I had no choice but to launch my own contest, which I did that very December.

ffbadgeHow has running Flash Friday impacted your own writing?

I’ve the greatest advantage of anyone, sitting at the gate week after week and watching the stories flood in: it’s like having eighty tutors. You writers are the masters, and I your wide-eyed student. Each Friday y’all teach me something new about just how mindblowing flash fiction can be.

Do you have any idea how much you’ve affected the writers around you?

I’m the one who’s indebted to the flash fiction community. Beyond their consistent writing excellence, they have faithfully supported me by encouraging me in my own writing, and by turning up weekly to write and thus sparing me utter humiliation (like that horrific day shortly after I moved to the United States when I fashion-mistakenly wore yellow socks and a matching yellow sweater vest. I didn’t knoooooooooooooow! Saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaave me!).

Tell us one favorite story about a Flasher, and seeing them grow through their writing for FF.

Oh, I have so many rich, beautiful stories I could share! So many brave writers for whom FF is the first place they’ve shared their writing publicly; others for whom FF represents the first time they won anything for their writing. It’s infectious: such gorgeous confidence and skill can’t help but keep growing and spreading across the community. Like Tribbles, except useful.

Why, yes, I AM the proud owner of one of these vintage Flash Friday victory badges!
Why, yes, I AM the proud owner of one of these vintage Flash Friday victory badges!

What do you wish people knew about being the figurehead of flash?

I was going to say, “I wish they realized I don’t know anything at all,” except I suspect everyone already knows that. 🙂

Where do you see FF in five years?

Tough question, as we’re already past the average lifespan of this sort of thing. Let’s just say that I love the community so very dearly, and it will be my privilege and joy to continue running Flash! Friday as long as there’s a need for it.

Where do you see your own writing in five years?

In a completed novel or three. But as a fantasy writer, I usually see things that aren’t there…

You’ve emphasized to me a number of times how you value FF as a safe space for writers to come and be validated for their writing. What’s your opinion on feedback? Better when framed positively, or more baldly?

May I be a rascal by answering “neither” to that? 😀 I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately about diversity, and one thing that’s become abundantly clear to me is the universal ache for authenticity and humility. So for me “positively or negatively framed criticism?” misses the heart of the problem. Instead, I need to ask myself, How can I pass on to this writer what other writers have taught me? I need to remember not to command, but to share. Not to impose, but to offer. As long as I am careful to approach critiques in this way, then the frame almost won’t matter: an authentic, humble heart will be the only voice heard.

Writers Selfie!
Writers Selfie! Margaret, far left; Tamara Shoemaker, Rebekah Postupak, Kim. Front: Allison Garcia and Annika Keswick.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give aspiring writers?

Don’t be afraid; you’re not alone.

What’s one piece of advice you yourself wished you’d had before launching a venture like FF?

Don’t be afraid; you’re not alone. 🙂

Tell us about your own writing career: when did you start? What’s your preferred type of writing? What are your goals for the future?

I started the moment Princess Periezade leapt on her horse to go fetch the Talking Bird, the Singing Tree, and the Golden Water after her brothers failed (Arabian Nights), when the four Pevensies plunged deep into the wardrobe (Narnia), when Frodo danced naked on a sunny hilltop (Lord of the Rings), when Harimad-sol raised Gonturan to the sky (The Blue Sword), when Anne saw Barry’s Pond and knew it for The Lake of Shining Waters (Anne of Green Gables), when Caderousse looked into the river to see his hair turned white (The Count of Monte Cristo)…. Which is all to say I fell in love with writing by reading: as a child, on long, hot, monsoon-drenched afternoons when writers across the ages opened the world to me. Since then I’ve been a fantasy writer hobbyist, spinning mostly short stories and flash. I dream of finishing writing one of my novels. It’s a beautiful dream, isn’t it?

writingAre writing flash and writing novels compatible? How does writing shorter pieces aid in constructing longer works?

Oh yes, flash writing boosts novel writing in the same way sprints help in training for a marathon: you learn economy, efficiency, resourcefulness, persistence. Thanks to flash, you can also learn one rarely needs the word “that.”

What’s the most difficult thing about running a venture as large as Flash Friday? What’s the most rewarding thing?

Flash! Friday is a hungry beast: she devours as much time and energy as I’m willing to give her (and often more). Not surprising, however, given the glittering hoard she guards! Your tales, your friendships, your personal and public triumphs, make the whole thing worthwhile.

Thank You Word CloudLast one: with everything else you do, how on earth do you find time to write anything, much less run a huge flash community?

See # 7! It’s a struggle; I’ve yet to finish even one novel. But look at how marvelous all of you are! I feast on your stories week after week after week. Even if I never write “The End,” I will still end my days the richest writer in the world.

My eyes are teary after that last answer. But I guarantee you, Rebekah, your impact stretches far and wide.
Thank you for joining us today.  

#ThrowItForward Thursday: Meet Joy of Lankshear Design!

Joy Lankshear#ThrowItForward Thursday. I love it. I love being able to shine the light back on those who help authors, to give credit where credit is most certainly due, and it absolutely delights me to honor Joy of Lankshear Design today.

Sometimes I meet the coolest people in the most unusual ways. I met my husband via my (late 90s) Elvis website. I met Joy because of our mutual love for the BBC show Merlin. We stumbled across each other on Twitter, started talking about the show, then about other things. She learned I was a writer hoping to someday publish a book; I learned she was a graphic designer.

Kismet? I think so. One look at her work, with its beautifully clean, classic designs, and I decided she was the designer for me. Given the reception to the covers for A Man of Character and A Matter of Time, it was clear I made the right choice (though I knew that the minute I saw the designs!).

If you’re looking for high quality, custom designs, whether for a book, a magazine, brochures, you name it, I highly recommend you contact Joy. She’s so fun to work with, her work impeccable, and the final products brilliant. I literally could not be happier with my books, for Joy did both the covers and the interior formatting, giving me a final product leaps and bounds ahead of anything I could have produced in terms of quality. Thank you, Joy!

A Man of Character Cover Margaret LockeHow long have you been doing graphic design?

I’ve been working full time as a Graphic Designer for 24 years – wow, that is a long time.

How did you decide to become a graphic designer? Had it been a long-term dream?

I’ve always loved art and creating things with my hands, so my interest in design grew out of that. I received a Bachelor of Graphic Design from La Trobe University in Victoria, Australia in 1991.

You work from home. Do you love it? Is it hard to balance family needs when your work place is in the same space as your home place? (I know many authors face this challenge – I do!)

I love the flexibility of working from home. I’ve worked in large design studios in Sydney for many years, but since having a family, I have worked from home. It is the ideal job to do while working from home. I’m the kind of person who can’t sit still, I love multitasking, and this is a great environment for that.

ld2What’s your favorite kind of work to do? Book covers? Brochures? Posters? Logos?

My favourite work is book design and magazine design. It’s great to finally see the printed thing in my hand and to have helped an author or publisher to create it.

I also design virtually anything that will be printed, bill boards, banners, product packaging, annual reports, brochures, logo signage and stationery. I also design websites and web gifs.

You live in Australia, but are working with me, an American. Is it odd to be doing work for clients who live far away, whom you’ve never met in person?

I love this about my work, the variety of people I meet. I have several clients in America and have worked with clients in England, Singapore, New Zealand and Malaysia, just to name a few other countries. Many of my clients I’ve never met in person; however, we Skype and email so often we have become good friends.

ld8How long does it take you to design your average book cover?

I usually try to turn a cover design around in a week. But I’m very flexible and work hard to fit in with my clients’ schedules.

From where do you get your ideas? (Yeah, I totally have to ask that, even though authors roll their eyes at that one, too, because, really, do we always KNOW from where the ideas come?)

24 years as a designer brings with it a feeling for what my clients want. Sometimes an idea will jump out at me within seconds. Other times I really have to work and experiment and play around with ideas until something gels.

I try to get out often and look at what is happening in design so that I stay relevant. Being in touch with other designers and ad agencies is also a great inspiration, as we can bounce ideas off each other.

ld4What other sorts of services do you provide for authors?

Just about anything. Cover design, typesetting and promotional graphics. A lot of my clients request web graphics, slider banners and gifs, which they can add to their websites.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

I would love to go to Europe and London, especially. We don’t have all those ancient buildings and history in Australia in the way that Europe does.

Name two things people don’t know about you:

I was born in a fishing village in South Thailand where my parents worked as medical missionaries.

I took up jogging 3 years ago and am still persevering with it, though I’m the world’s slowest runner. I saw a t-shirt that said, “I run … I’m slower than a herd of turtles stampeding through peanut butter … but I run!” That about sums it up.

Front Cover of A Matter of Time by Margaret LockeDo you have a fan base built up? (I know quite a few people who’ve expressed their admiration for A Man of Character‘s cover, and I’m always quick to tell them who designed it!)

Only really my Lankshear Design Facebook page. Which I haven’t done a lot with, so far.

Anything else you’d like us to know?

I’m flexible with work. I’m generally happy to work with my clients budget.

Aren’t those covers gorgeous? I look forward to seeing what Joy will do for my third book (The Demon Duke, which will debut sometime in 2016).
What can she do for YOU?

#ThrowItForward Thursday: Book Reviewer Becca from Becca The Bibliophile!

beccaSay THAT three times fast: book reviewer Becca the Bibliophile!

Yes, it’s Thursday! Which means around these here parts, it’s #ThrowItForward Thursday. Who needs pics of me as a kid (though I was a darn cute toddler) when we could be honoring those who honor, help, and promote authors, like romance reviewer Becca The Bibliophile.

Becca was the first major book reviewer to take a chance on A Man of Characterand I shall be forever grateful! (Want to read her review?)

Becca graciously paused in her whirlwind schedule to answer a few questions – so I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know a little bit more about the woman behind the review site.

Bibliophile Logo3What kind of romance do you most enjoy reading, and why?

That’s a really tough question! I love sports romance (hockey, baseball, football, race car drivers) I’m not so sure why LOL. I guess growing up with all girls in the family and my dad had all sisters so he was never really into sports… An athletic man – most are sarcastic and cocky yet can have a tender side, a romantic side once love hits them — I just kinda love that in a hero. And extremely close second is childhood friends that grow up and fall in love. There something about really knowing someone, all their secrets, all their insecurities and yet saying…despite all that…you’re my person. Love that!

For how long have you been reading romance?

I’ve only been reading romance for about 2 1/2 years. I’ve always been an avid reader, but always read classics or thrillers, mysteries. And like everyone else, I kinda fell into romance around the time Fifty Shades of Grey hit it big. I didn’t start with Fifty, though. I got an iPad for Mother’s Day in 2012 and our family was about to take a cross country road trip – 38 hours on the road to California (from Texas). I had no clue what type of books to download and so I went to the free books on iBooks and at the time the #1 downloaded free book was Perfection by R.L. Mathewson. I started reading the book and LOVED it. Funny, romantic, steamy…so by the time we hit San Antonio and lost wi-fi across the prairie… I bought her entire library (7 books at the time) and read all of the them by the time we hit Los Angeles. I was hooked! I asked friends of mine in LA for recommendations and they bought some more books for me… and I was off. Nora Roberts, Sydney Landon, E.L. James – I read the entire two week vacation and all the way back to Texas. As soon as I got home, I found a book club on FB and my whole world was opened up to the Romance world and Indie Authors.

Fountain penWhy did you decide to start a book review blog?

That book club I belonged to, well people started noticing that I read A LOT. Both of my kids were in school and I worked part time, so I had the time to read – and I’m a speed reader and so people started asking for recommendations. I started getting more and more emails heading my way and then I started fan clubs for authors I really loved on FB. So I started one for Raine Miller and The Blackstone Series. Ethan Blackstone was my husband in the alternate universe… I couldn’t get enough of him. I started up a friendship with Raine and she asked me if I ever thought about blogging. I really had no clue what it was and she warned me it was a lot of work…but she thought I would be good at it. So to launch my blog, she gave me the first ever interview with Ethan Blackstone and I had over 2000 hits that first day! And before I knew it… I was a blogger 🙂

What’s been the most fun thing since starting the blog?

For me it’s meeting all the new authors and traveling to signings and meeting other fans like myself. The book world is a magnificent world and there are so many different types of people who share this common passion — which amazes me.

What’s been the most surprising thing since starting your blog?

That people and authors recognize me. Ask for my autograph…That still blows me away.

How many review requests do you receive a month, on average?

At one point I was getting 20-25 requests a day from new authors or authors that I hadn’t read. Now I still get about 10 a day through email and 2 or 3 through my FB blog page. There are so many of you out there and I wish I had the time for everyone!

How many books are you able to read a month?

I average 8 a week so 32 a month. One month while on vacation for three weeks… I read 62 books that month. I easily hit 350 books in a year.

[ML notes: Jaw. Drop.]

Do you want to write romance, or stick to reading it?

I’ve had several people tell me that I should write. I am a storyteller…but I’m not a writer. I grew up moving so much (27 schools by the time I graduated) that I always seemed to miss grammar. LOL. I always had literature…thus my love for reading. I’m just not confident enough in my writing. And I’m ok with that.

Tell us two things about you people don’t know.

1. I play the violin and have since I was 5 years old.

2. I sing and have won several awards and competitions in singing and my dream job would be to sing on Broadway.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give aspiring authors?

old-books-11281939505MsrnWrite for you. Don’t write because you think you’ll be famous and get rich. Don’t write because your fans want you to write this way or that way. Don’t let people bully you into being a writer you’re not. When you start to write for anyone other than yourself…it shows. As long as you are proud of what you did – Own It. You can’t please everyone, but as long as you please yourself, you’ll make it far. Also when reaching out to blogger… Introduce yourself first. Know something about the blogger. Show your passion about your work. I get so many requests and the ones that I respond to the most are those you don’t just send me a “Hey my book’s on sale – can you post that for me?” I don’t even know who you are!! A nice “Hey! I’m so and so and I really appreciate you taking the time to look at my books…if they look like something you would like to read, I would love to talk to you and get on your schedule…..” That goes a LONG WAY!!!

Is there anything you want to talk about that I didn’t ask you?

Well, I could talk all day about a number of subjects!! Thank you for inviting me to hang on your blog! I truly loved A Man of Character and I can’t wait for book 2!

[ML notes: Eliza’s book, A Matter of Time, is coming this late fall!]

Woot! Wasn’t that fun? (I’m still trying to recover from the 350+ books-per-year revelation; I LOVE to read, but sadly these days am ecstatic if I manage 50 a year…). Want to stay in touch with Rebecca? Find her here:

Becca the Bibliophile https://www.facebook.com/beccathebibliophile
     Bibliophile Productions https://www.facebook.com/bibliophileproductions

Twitter: www.twitter.com/becbibliophile

Instagram: www.instagram.com/becbibliohile

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/becbibliophile

YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/BeccaTheBibliophile

And of course, on her review site: http://www.beccathebibliophile.com


Thank you SO much for joining us today, Becca!
We wish you the best in all your future endeavors (and maybe a nap after reading all those books),
and look forward to all the reviews to come.
Bless you for being such a supporter of indie authors!


#ThrowItForward Thursday: Author Interview with Paranormal Romance Author Tabitha Barret

tifthursIt’s Thursday, and we’re Throwing It Forward (not back!) again, to honor and give thanks to those fellow authors, book bloggers, reviewers, fans, etc., who take their time and energy to promote authors.

Unbeknownst to me, paranormal romance author Tabitha Barret not only read A Man of Character, she reviewed it on her website, much to my delight! Then she asked if she could do an author interview with me. Squee!

After such unexpected promotion, I totally wanted to return the favor, and was thrilled when Ms. Barret agreed to answer a bunch of nosey questions about her writing and her books. So settle in for this awesome Author Interview, and leave a comment or go say hi to Tabitha when you’re done, won’t you?

What inspires you to write?

Fountain penI have enjoyed writing ever since the 6th grade, when we would receive random writing prompts and have to come up with stories on the fly. I find that I am able to lose myself in the subject and let my imagination take over. Once I create a character that I like, I tend to revisit him or her whenever my mind wanders. That’s how the Third Throne series came to be. The main characters came to me as I fell asleep one night and they stuck with me. That was about twenty years ago. Over the years, their world and lives became more elaborate, so I finally decided to write them down.

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

I enjoy reading all types of romances, as long as there is passion between the characters, except science fiction. I have trouble reading it, though I can watch science fiction movies. I love tear-jerkers. I love dominant men who just need to find the right woman to tame them. I love happy endings. When I write, I prefer urban fantasy / paranormal romance.

Have you always wanted to write urban fantasy / paranormal? What draws you to this genre?

When I tried writing what would become the Third Throne series, it started as a full-on fantasy book with strange creatures and gargoyle-looking things. It was a disaster, so I left the draft in the attic. After reading what I call my gateway book into the paranormal genre, Twilight, I wanted more out of my romances than Young Adult could offer. That’s when I discovered Sherrilyn Kenyon and the Dark Hunters series. I was hooked on Paranormal Romance after that. Once I had a feel for the genre, it dawned on me that the Third Throne would fit into this style of writing. I tried the genre on for size and never looked back.

Name one interesting thing you learned in researching/writing your last book.

Creative Commons - - Flickr - Alex Panoiu
Creative Commons – – Flickr – Alex Panoiu

I did a lot of research on Romania, since the second book mainly takes place there. I fell in love with one of the castles and used it as my model for Castle Mortea. I went to so far as to use their 3D virtual tour to get a feel for the layout. I was so obsessed with it that my husband offered to take me there. I was so afraid that my expectations couldn’t come close to the real castle that I declined. I learned about the history of the castle, though I didn’t use much of the actual history in the book. It was interesting to read about the ghost stories and the visitor experiences. One day, when I work up the courage, I hope to visit the castle.

Name two things people don’t know about you.

1) I’m very shy by nature, until I get to know someone, but I try to be more outgoing when I have my author hat on. I tried to sound more confident than I really am.

2) My characters live more interesting lives than I do. I’m a homebody who enjoys watching movies and hanging out with my family. I don’t travel much, even when offered a trip to Romania, though I have been to Italy.

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

As a book reviewer, I have read a number of interesting self-published or indie published books that have captured my attention. I loved reading Erin S Riley and Jessica Jefferson, both of whom write historical fiction / romance that draws the reader into the stories and time periods. Viola Estrella and Gina Ardito also have great paranormal romances that pull at the heartstrings.

My favorite traditionally published paranormal romance authors are Christine Feehan, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Laurell K. Hamilton, and JR Ward because of their dark men with mystical powers.

What one piece of advice do you wish you’d had when first starting out?

Don’t be disappointed if things don’t happen overnight. Self-publishing will only bring the results that you work for. It requires patience and the ability to try new things. Everyone gives the same advice: write more books and promote them. Promoting is not an easy concept to figure out. There is no cookie cutter recipe for success. Not every reader will be interested in reading your book and not every book reviewer will review it. It’s all about trial and error. You have to figure out what will work for your book.

Where do you see your writing career in 5 years?

 In five years, I hope to be getting closer to the end of The Third Throne series. I have twelve books planned out and I write them simultaneously when time allows. My character, Anjali, needs ten different Fallen Angels to accomplish her task of ending the world, so I have plenty to keep me busy between then and now.

What’s your favorite thing about being a romance writer?

I love telling stories about all sorts of things, but being able to add emotions such as love, lust, or desire is challenging. Fear and anger are easy to invoke in a reader, but to make the reader feel the love that two characters feel isn’t easy. I’ve read romances that come off as flat. They talk about loving each other, but you don’t feel it. It’s not as easy as it sounds. It can come off as cheesy or fake if you can’t get the right mix of emotions. I like the challenge and hope that people can connect to my characters.

The Third Throne: Angel of Darkness (Book 1) and The Third Throne: Angel of Death (Book 2) are both available now!

thirdthrone1The Third Throne: Angel of Darkness:

Michelle Black lives an average life, but she is not an average woman. Plagued by nightmares of Hell and the unusual ability to see the sins of men, she stands apart from those around her. Deceived by a voice controlling her mind, she finds herself trapped in the place of her nightmares, Hell.

The Angel of Darkness tells her that she must now serve him, and she is forced to face the Realms of Torture. Strange things begin to happen when she senses that she is meant to be more than just a servant. Will she learn the truth about who she is and what she is destined to become before it’s too late?

The Third Throne: Angel of Darkness is the first book in the steamy Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance series that introduces us to Michelle Black and her dark destiny. She must fight to survive in Hell as she searches for the terrifying truth about the darkness that resides deep inside of her.

thirdthrone2The Third Throne: Angel of Death Book 2:

Anjali has embraced her destiny to end the world, but now she must find her ten Harbingers, known as the Predznak. She is determined to find Alazar, the Angel of Death, the former leader of the Predznak, before her other angels. She fears that he has lost hope and is close to becoming a Rogue Angel.

Alazar has spent too many centuries waiting for his Master Anjali to come and claim him. Deception and lies have kept them apart, but now it’s too late. He has vowed to the other Predznak that he will kill their Master so that they can be free.

During her search for Alazar, Anjali meets the Spirit Experts, paranormal investigators who are on a collision course with the Angel of Death. Anjali finds herself strangely attracted to one of the Spirit Experts and decides to become a part of their group in an effort to keep them safe from her dangerous angel. Can Anjali stop Alazar from killing the Spirit Experts and destroying the surrounding town? Can she keep Lucifer in the dark about her affections for the mortal man? Will unseen enemies destroy all that Anjali holds dear?

The Third Throne: Angel of Death is the second book in the steamy Adult Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance series.

Find them on Amazon!

Author bio:

tabithabarretTabitha Barret is a paranormal romance author who lives in New Jersey with her husband, two children, and three crazy dogs. She met her husband in Creative Writing classes in college, though it took a little convincing for him to ask her out. In her free time, of which she doesn’t have much, she reviews books by other authors, and writes a blog about tips and suggestions for future authors trying to publish their works. She is currently working on her “Third Throne” Series.

Connect with Tabitha here:

Blogger: http://tabithabarret.blogspot.com/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/TabithaBarret
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TabithBarret
Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/thethirdthrone
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Third-Throne-Angel-Darkness-ebook/dp/B00TMMEKZI
Website: http://www.thethirdthrone.com
YouTube Angel of Death Trailer: http://youtu.be/KlIAw8HWHAA