Author Interview: Misha Burnett

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Say Hello to Desiree Scott

Desireeda

Today on Paws4Thought I welcome suspense author Desiree Scott. Desiree recently released the charity anthology Shades of Fear in which I also have a story. Tell us a little bit about yourself, Desiree.

Well, I am a single parent to a six year old girl, the light of my life, and live waaaaaayyyyyyy out in the country, on 40 acres. I take care of my parents, work full time, attend college for creative writing and English, and write when I can. I love to go to the lake, swim, anything outdoors, and in the spring and summer, to sit outside on my deck as the sun crests the sky and watch the dawn erupt with colors as the story comes to life before me. In other words, to write in the early morning hours when everyone is asleep.

When did you first start writing?

I’ve been writing since I was sixteen (almost 15 years and yes, I think I just gave away my age! *laughs*). I would really like to take this time to talk about something that, over ten years later, I still think about and thank one special lady for the influence that she has had on my life. When I was eighteen years old, I wrote to ten VERY well-known authors, Julie Garwood and Nora Roberts, just to name a few. Now keep in mind, I wrote very long letters, asking for advice on writing and so forth. My letter was more gushing than anything else but still, ONE author wrote me back! By hand no less. Her name was Andrea Kane, a suspense writer who crafts the most amazing stories and plots. But because of that one small act of kindness, she not only has my respect as an author but as a wonderful person who took the time to let me know about a few organizations and to wish me luck in my goals and ambitions through life. It meant the world to an eighteen year old girl and still does, as I have gotten older and continued my dream. So when did I start writing? When I was sixteen. Why did I start writing? Because of the encouragement from friends, family, and strangers who believe in me and because of the voices that without me, would never come to life. Writing is a necessary aspect of life; it’s something that I HAVE to do, not something that will sit patiently while I try to FIND the time!

Who are your favorite authors?

I have multiple authors that I really look up to and some of them include Cynthia Eden, Karen Rose, Lisa Gardner, Nora Roberts, Lori Foster, Linda Howard, Laura Griffin, and Andrea Kane, just to name a few.

What inspires you to write?

I honestly can’t think of a time that I’m not writing. There is no definite inspiration or motivation beyond the need to write. The voices are loud, the plots extreme, and my sleep’s been interrupted on multiple occasions. I guess I would have to say that the inspiration lies within the need to entertain the readers.

How did you come up with the idea for Shades of Fear?

I love to write anything suspenseful, to give the readers a thrilling ride as they walk through the minds of evil, so to speak. I knew of a lot of great writers through our writing group, Write-On Nanos!! And figured, “hey, couldn’t hurt to ask or put the thought out there, right?” And wow, I was literally blown away by the reception of interest, the support, and the intense desire of everyone involved. The stories were great and so varied. When you think of fear, you don’t realize the different shades of fear that are out there, both emotionally and physically and I sincerely hope that Shades of Fear reflects that.

Your story in the anthology is Shadows. How did you come up with the idea?

When I write, my stories take over and short stories are extremely hard for me. Short stories turn into novels and when I started writing Shadows, it was supposed to be a short story! *sigh* It is now the prologue to Shadow’s Prey, as I have continued the plot line and characters. I don’t really know how I come up with the ideas in general; it’s like a light blurb. For me, it’s easy to come up with the plots. It’s continuing and drawing a satisfying conclusion that is a lot harder.

I hear you are planning to continue the story in a novel. When would we expect to see this?

I have actually set myself a deadline for this month and will hopefully have the first draft completed by March 25th. I will then be editing in April myself before I hand it over to my wonderful editor, Dara Rochlin. So I would say by the end of May if everything goes according to plan!! J

What have you learnt most from putting together this anthology?

Honestly, I have really learned the complications of formatting and publishing a polished and completely formatted kindle novel. Everyone was so easy to work with and Dara Rochlin and Tom Deady were absolute GEMS to work with!

Tell us a little bit about the charity the proceeds are going to?

We aren’t allowed to mention the name of the charity due to legality issues on THEIR side but will say that “all proceeds from Shades of Fear go to benefit pediatric cancer research and patient care.”

What are your greatest fears and how do you deal with them?

I think one of my greatest fears lies with the fear that I will wake up one day and not be able to write a single interesting and thrilling sentence! How I deal? By writing every day or as often as possible.

What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on two projects at the moment: Shadow’s Prey and Saving Sarah, another romantic suspense that should be done around June of 2014 so I’m pretty excited about it as well.

Connect with Desiree on her Facebook page or Website

Shades of Fear is available on Amazon.

 

ShadesofFear

Introducing Jeff Scoggin and Tuffy

Tuffy

 

Today on Paws4Thought we welcome Rocking Horse author Jeff Scoggin. Jeff’s first book Elf: OFF the Shelf was published by Rocking Horse Publishing in 2013. Now in February 2014 he is releasing a children’s picture book, How Tuffy Got His Bark. Tell us a little bit about yourself, Jeff.

Let’s see—I was born in Detroit, but moved to the Dallas area shortly after turning 6 and have been here ever since. I guess my Texas roots run deep, as I’ve never even given leaving Dallas any serious consideration.  Even with the summer heat, Texas is home.  My mom and two of my three sisters still live in the area, as well.  I have a number of interests other than writing, including sports, advocating on behalf of shelter dogs, and volunteering with children and young people.  I also love to cook, but have trouble cooking for just myself.  Not a good thing, considering that I don’t care for leftovers.

When did you first start writing?

I started writing early on, probably around 6th grade.  I always enjoyed writing assignments in Junior High and High School—it wasn’t until college that I came to understand that professors, like critics, could be a little sharp in their critiques. I would often write stories or poetry just for fun, but never gave being published any serious consideration for a number of years.  Why?  Because I didn’t believe my compositions were good enough…

Who are your favorite authors? 

Katherine Kurtz, who wrote in the Fantasy genre back in the 1980s, is probably my all-time favorite author.  I also enjoy Mark Helprin (a true master at painting pictures with words), Wally Lamb (a truly under-rated author, in my opinion), Pat Conroy (Beach Music should be in everybody’s personal library), and Kim Harmon Gatlin (another Dallas author).

What inspires you to write?

 For the most part, I’m inspired by day-to-day events. Even if I don’t actually start a story that day, I’ll make mental notes that will, eventually, lead to a story. I should probably carry a notepad with me, as I’m sure a number of story possibilities have slipped by me.

Tell us a about Tuffy.  

I’m very excited about Tuffy!  He is based on Brutus, a small dog who adopted me in January 2014.  I noticed Brutus seldom barks, and was inspired to write the story about Tuffy while watching a local news story about bullying.  I’m presently volunteering with younger children (aged 4-6), so I naturally wrote with that age group in mind.  One interesting thing about Tuffy is my writing style also appeals to people to whom English is a second language. This came out in one of my first test reads.  I’d not anticipated that!  I try to include a lesson in each of my Tuffy stories, but do it in a fun way that will hopefully stick with the young readers.

Brutus

What are you currently working on?

I’m mentally story-boarding the fourth Tuffy book, which will touch on how we deal with differences between ourselves and others.  I don’t want to give away too much, but I will say that Tuffy and his friends will be going to farm and making new friends there.

What do you like to do to relax?

I’m very much into volunteering and good works—not to draw attention to myself, but because my growing writing career continues to open doors for serving others. I’m passionate about shelter rescue, and am working with my local shelter to both increase adoptions and to find ways to improve the shelter itself. I foster for several different local rescue groups, and wish I had about 10 acres of land. I’d literally have a zoo!  I also love to cook, as I mentioned above I (have a recipe for a chilled chipotle macaroni salad that is wonderful in the summer), and spending time with my girlfriend, Carrie.

Are you planning any release events?

 I’m working on a release party sometime in March.  My thinking is to do a “soft” launch on February 25, and celebrate a few weeks later.  I want the launch party to be family-oriented, which presents an entirely different set of challenges regarding both location and time. If I could, I’d just rent out one of those pizza buffet places with games and stuff and just let the kids go nuts!

Tell us about your dogs.

What can I say?  They actually own the house—I just live there with them (laughs)!  Seriously, my dogs are my kids.  All of them are shelter rescues or strays, and each has had to overcome past abuse or neglect.  I refer to them as the Bumpus Hounds (after the neighbor’s dogs in “A Christmas Story”), and all of them have a name that starts with “B.”  There’s Baby (a 12 year old Doberman), Buddy (a 10 year old German Shepherd), Bonnie (a 4 year old Lab/Pitbull mix), Brigid (a 3 year old Lab/St Bernard mix), Brutus (a mutt of unknown age, who was the inspiration for Tuffy), and Bella (a female Chihuahua who was surrendered to the local shelter because she was “too loving). Bella has her own story coming out later in 2014, with all of my royalties being donated to The Colony Animal Shelter. As you can imagine, it’s a full house!

Jeffcaninekids

How can readers connect with you?

 I don’t have a website (yet), and am learning how to use Twitter.  Readers can follow me on Twitter (@JeffS_Writes), and will hopefully soon be able to follow Tuffy on Facebook.  I just have to figure out how to set up a profile for him…

How Tuffy Got His Bark is available for preorder from Rocking Horse Publishing.

Tuffy

It’s Time Again to WIN Free Books

Over at Schevus Osborne’s blog he’s having a contest. Your chance to win an ebook of either Fauxpocalypse or Garden of Eden.

Nascent Aspirations

I promised it would be happening soon, and I’m not one to disappoint. It’s time for another book giveaway. On offer this time are 2 ebook copies of either Garden of Eden or Fauxpocalypse. I like to keep things pertinent and interactive, so we’ll go with something similar to the last contest. This time around, all you have to do is comment and answer either of these questions:

  1. What would you do upon learning that you would live forever?
  2. What would you do if you knew the world was going to end within one year?

Everyone who comments and answers a question will be entered into the random drawing to receive a copy of their choice of Fauxpocalypse or Garden of Eden in any available ebook format. Let’s say we’ll close out entries at 11:59 PM Central Time on Saturday March 1st.

I look forward to reading all the answers…

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Homework – a rant!

ScienceFairO

OK, today I’m going to rant, because well I’m a blogger I’m allowed to rant! What I’m going to rant about is homework – more specifically the homework that is not really for the kids it’s rather for the parents.

It all began in preschool, when a week or two after my three year old started preschool a letter came home. I don’t remember the exact words anymore that was many years ago, but it went somewhere on the lines of please prepare a timeline of your child’s life – include photographs, birth announcements, your child’s likes/dislikes, firsts, etc. etc, etc.

The following year there was another of these and then another in Kindergarten plus now they added a 100 days of school project for you to work on with your child. They’ve been cooperative math games, a huge project about Missouri, and on and on and on. And now in fifth grade the ultimate parent/student project – the science fair project. And I hate them every single one. And so do my kids.

And get this. When I was a  kid, I don’t remember my parents EVER having to do any of this. Actually I’m pretty sure I didn’t really have regular homework in Elementary School. And the teachers certainly NEVER gave homework to the parents. NEVER!

OK, end of rant. Enjoy your day!