Meet Julie Gilbert

Today on Paws 4 Thought I’m happy to welcome fantasy author, Julie Gilbert.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself, Julie.

I’m a high school chemistry teacher, a writer, and a Christian, not necessarily in that order. I also enjoy doing puzzles. Usually 1-2K pieces is a good amount. In my spare time, I review clean audiobooks in several genres. Pre-pandemic, I used to see a lot of movies in theaters. Perhaps I’ll return to that someday.

2. When did you first start writing?

The fascination with stories started when I was a kid, listening to my mom read to me. Eventually, that changed to me reading a lot on my own. Finally, around the time I was headed off to college, I decided to try to write something for fun. First story was pretty terrible, but the process taught me a lot. Taking that knowledge, I dove into a new project.

3. Who are your favorite authors?

That’s always a tough question. Brandon Sanderson and Dee Henderson come to mind as default favorites. They write very different kinds of books. Brandon Sanderson’s all about the epic fantasy, big worlds, cool magic systems, and so forth. Dee Henderson’s early works like the O’Malley series were absolutely amazing suspense books with a dash of romance.

4. I know you listen to a lot of audio books. What for you makes an excellent narrator?

While reviewing, I often change the speed, so reading cadence is a tad less important, but I still make snap judgment calls about whether I love their voice or not. In terms of skill, I look for whether the person can do a wide variety of credible voices for the characters.

I’m a tad pickier when it comes to choosing people for my own process. There’s the easy things like sound quality of the auditions and whether or not I like the narrator’s voice. Then, there are the more technical things like how many mistakes are made in the reading, what are their reading instincts (how they interpret the manuscript), and can they do a wide variety of character voices.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with nearly 20 awesome voice actors. Each has their strengths, and I’ve gotten a lot better at picking people over time. All have beautiful voices and immense talent. Of those I’ve worked with recently, Liz Brand (Reshner’s Royal Ranger, Shadow Council Series) and Reuben Corbett (Spirit’s Bane) stand out as people I would listen to read just about anything. I’m pretty sure they could make a calculus textbook sound good.

5. What inspires you to write?  

I love almost every aspect of writing. Once upon a time, I think it was about trying to prove writing could be just fun, not something that needed to have every little color of pants mean something. Over time, it’s grown into exploring the characters and the themes, and just telling an entertaining tale. There’s a fun challenge to the task of crafting a tale, then commissioning an audiobook and hearing it come to life.

6. Tell us a little bit about your process when creating audio books.

Having an audiobook created is an expensive, addictive hobby. It starts with obtaining a narrator. That begins with claiming the book and extends to the grunt work of putting in the details. The most important step of that process is selecting an audition script that will show off the main character, some normal reading sections, and a few different characters.

After choosing somebody there’s a bit of back and forth boringness about contracts and dates and such before one simply steps back and lets the narrator do their magic. I prefer having the raw files uploaded so I can listen for odd noises and places the audio differs from the manuscript. Sometimes, these variances are fine, and other times they change the intended meaning.

What happens next depends on the narrator’s process. Some outsource the editing, and others do it themselves. If there’s an outside editor involved, it typically takes longer because you have to wait for this other person to go through the files.

7. What are you currently working on?

In audiobooks, I’m nearing the end of the audition phase of Princess Melia’s Plight. I’ve chosen three people out of 112-ish. Just need to get that down to one.

As for writing, I’ve sort of put it on hold for a few months. I’m working on a super-secret nonfiction project that’s mostly being done for the cathartic benefit. Meanwhile, I’m throwing my efforts into learning to run amazon ads. I’d like to see if it can be done profitably with my current works.

When I return to writing fiction, I’ll finish Devya’s Children book 5, then re-evaluate my goals. If I’m truly in it for the money, I may see which genres are hot early 2021. If my attitude remains as it was, I’ll let my heart (not my wallet) decide which project gets aired next.

8. What do you like to do to relax?

Most of my review listening happens while taking long walks. That’s one benefit of the pandemic and this virtual teaching thing. I am in my room so much that I have to force myself to get out and move. Luckily, I like walking. Once all of the Mandalorian Season 2 is out, I’ll probably watch that in a week. Other than that, I occasionally do jigsaw puzzles. (Best ones have mostly been Ravensburger.)

9. If you could have any superpower what would choose?

I’m gonna be lame and say healing. While flying could be cool, I’d probably just get motion sick, which would be not so great for those below. Sort of afraid of healing as a gift though. I write about enough characters with the healing gift, that I’ve probably done more thinking about the costs and consequences of such a thing. Still, it would be awesome to be able to right some wrongs diseases have wrought upon the world.

11. How can readers connect with you?

The easiest way to catch my attention is to email devyaschildren @ gmail.com. However, the best way to stay on top of news, new releases, random musings, cool giveways, and such is to subscribe to the newsletter, which can be found on my website.

Thanks for taking the time to chat with me.

Very happy to have you, DMK

Do you like audio books? Check out two awesome promos this December, one for children’s titles and one for short stories for everyone. Click on the banners below for more details.

Meet YA author, Megan O’Russell

Today on Paws 4 Thought we welcome prolific writer, Megan O’Russell.

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  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself, Megan.

I am a Young Adult author with three series currently available: Girl of Glass, The Chronicles of Maggie Trent, and The Tale of Bryant Adam. I’m also a blogger at LifeBeyondExaggeration.com and the playwright/lyricist for Princess Camp: The Musical.

  1. When did you first start writing?

I first began seriously writing about seven years ago. I was in a show where I was really miserable, and I needed an outlet to keep me sane. Writing became a normal part of my life, and now I can’t imagine giving it up!

  1. Who are your favorite authors?

Madeline L’Engle is my all-time favorite author. I grew up reading her books, and they really shaped how I associate with fantasy. My more recent obsession is Leigh Bardugo. Her Six of Crows series is impeccable.

  1. What inspires you to write?

I really love storytelling. Bringing an audience into a world they haven’t experienced before is a truly amazing thing.

As for bits of inspiration that actually float into stories, those come from everywhere. I once made my husband stop at a gas station for twenty minutes because I couldn’t think of the right words to describe the way the flag was hitting the flagpole. I have a huge case of wanderlust, so things from Thailand, Ireland, and tons of other places both in and out of the United States have wiggled into my books.

  1. Tell us about your latest release?

Boy of Blood is my most recent release. Book two in the Girl of Glass  series, Boy of Blood dives deeper into a mid-apocalyptic world of chemically-induced vampires and explores the end of the world from the point of view of the privileged one percent.

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  1. I see you write both fantasy and dystopian. Do you have a favorite of the genres? And what is the main challenge when switching hats so to speak?

I love dystopian and fantasy, but if I had to choose one genre to write in for the rest of my life it would have to be fantasy. There are just too many enticing possibilities to give up magic and new lands.

The hardest part about switching genres for me is the subtle change in voice and mood. Finding first love while the end of the world is looming is a very different story to be told than finding love at a masquerade of fairies.

cover    Cover-The Girl Without Magic

  1. So when you’re not writing you do musical theatre I see? What has been your all-time favorite role?

That’s a tough one.

If I had to pick just one it would have to be Mavis in Stepping Out because who doesn’t love a play with tap dancing?

  1. If you could play any role what would it be?

I would love to be anyone in Come From Away. The music and story are both so compelling, I would be honored to be any role in that production.

  1. So what’s next? What are you working on?

Right now, I’m editing a new Young Adult manuscript for my agent, editing book two in The Tale of Bryant Adams, and working on the script for a new children’s musical. It’s a lot to have going on, but I am having a ton of fun.

  1. How can readers connect with you?

You can find me on my website: https://www.meganorussell.com/

Blogging my little heart out: https://lifebeyondexaggeration.com/

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ORussellauthor

On Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8061709.Megan_O_Russell

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MeganORussell

On Instagram as: ORussellMegan

And all links to audio clips from my lyricist work can be found at: https://www.russellcompositions.com/shows-music

Meet Bob Morris

Today on Paws 4 Thought we welcome sci-fi author Bob Morris.

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  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself, Bob.

I was born in Texas but grew up in Colorado. I have written for small-town newspapers for 20-plus years and held jobs in Rocky Ford, Colo., Raton, N.M., and Duncan, Okla., before settling into my current job in Kingman, Kan. Along with newspaper writing and novel writing, I write for the Denver Broncos website, Mile High Huddle and do other creative writing in my spare time – as you can tell, I love writing! Other than that, I volunteer at the Kingman County Humane Society, collect (American) football cards and do a lot of reading. I’m also a comic book geek and my fandom there includes the Arrowverse shows on the CW Network, the Marvel Cinematic Universe and a bunch of graphic novels.

  1. When did you first start writing?

Regarding writing novels, I first started with an idea that popped into my head a few years back for a group of teenage superheroes, but was lacking a premise for how they came together. The idea came from watching the TV series, Young Justice. As I mulled over my idea, I ran across The Hunger Games series and loved it. That’s when I asked myself the question, “What if a group of teenage superheroes emerged in a dystopian world?” And that’s what led to the inspiration for The Six Pack Series.

I started writing the first draft of the first book back in the spring of 2015. From there, I came across the Kansas Writers Association and got useful tips about writing and editing. I read a couple of books about writing from there, did more research, got feedback on my drafts and it took off from there.

My first book, Six Pack: Emergence, was released in March of 2018. The second book, Six Pack: Gyration, will be released May 22.

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  1. Who are your favorite authors?

I’ve loved Suzanne Collins’ work – she’s so good at character development and building tension. I’ve read a lot more books by Stephen King in recent years. Brad Meltzer is another author I enjoy. I also like S.E. Hinton and Douglas Adams.

  1. What inspires you to write?

What usually inspires me are current events or topics and how they could be twisted into a unique story. Also, some TV shows have inspired me to think about what they might look like if there was a different twist to them. And I do get inspiration for characters from people I have met in real life.

  1. Tell us a little bit about your upcoming new release.

Six Pack: Gyration is the second book in The Six Pack Series. It follows up on the events in the first book, in which our group of teenage superheroes is adjusting to a new life, but Tyler Ward, the main character, is worried for the safety of the people they left behind. When he learns that his professor from secondary school is in trouble, he encourages his friends to rescue him – but his decision has bigger consequences than he realizes.

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  1. What attracts to writing sci-fi?

Sci-fi allows you to explore different possibilities for what worlds may look like, how technology could advance and how people may interact with one another. It lets you use your imagination to think about what could be. Though some research is necessary, you don’t have to be as exact as with, say, historical fiction. The ability to think of your own ideas, so long as you keep them grounded in the worlds you build, gives you a chance to be more creative.

Also, I have an overactive imagination, so sci-fi is the best way to use that to my advantage!

  1. What are you currently working on?

I am completing the third novel in The Six Pack Series – it’s going through beta reading and final edits. I hope to have it released next year. I’m also doing a creative writing project on my blog called the Arrowverse, “Other World” in which I look at alternative versions of the characters in the four CW series. I have other novel ideas in mind, but just need to decide which one to pursue next! (This is what happens when you have an overactive imagination!)

  1. What do you like to do to relax?

I’m either reading or watching DVDs. And volunteering at the humane society is another way to relax – what could be better than spending some time with dogs, walking them, feeding them and caring for them.

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I also like to hang out with my parents dog, Ginger. She’s a good friend of mine.

  1. If you could have any superpower what would choose?

Oh, that’s a good question! I think I would go with mental telepathy, because I can imagine the possibilities that would bring. No more guessing whether or not a politician is being honest with you!

Seriously, the possibilities with mental telepathy could go beyond mind reading. I think it would be interesting to see how far that power could go.

  1. How can readers connect with you?

They may find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bwmorrisauthor. I’m on Twitter at twitter.com/sixpackwriter. I am currently building a new website at bwmorrisauthor.com. I hope to get that website launched in June to kick off a launch party for my newest novel. Until that website is launched, readers may visit my current blog at relaxingwithsixpack.blogspot.com. They may also contact me at bwmorris at mail dot com. And I am working to get a newsletter and mailing list started.

THE SIX PACK SERIES

By B.W. Morris

It all started with a drink – a drink that gave Tyler Ward and five of his friends superpowers. Now they must figure out how their new powers can change society.

But who can they trust?

Who has their best interests in mind and who has a bigger agenda?

And what cost comes with change?

The young adult, science fiction/dystopian series is published by Clean Reads.

SIX PACK: EMERGENCE

Available on Amazon Kindle and Kindle Unlimited.

Just weeks before Tyler Ward is to graduate from secondary school, he learns the truth about Novusordo and how a drink controls the population. After sharing this information with his five friends, they visit a professor’s house, take another drink and gain strange powers. It leads to them learning more about how the government controls people and the discovery of a movement against the government. Calling themselves the Six Pack, Tyler and his friends must learn how their powers can change society. But they first must learn to trust this movement… and even each other.

SIX PACK: GYRATION

To be released May 22, 2018

Months after the Six Pack has fled City 37N104W, Tyler Ward wonders how much longer the Underground Network can afford to wait to make its next move against the Novusordo government. The disappearance of five more students from Monroe Secondary School pushes his desire to take action. And when he learns that Professor Roger Woods may be in trouble, he is convinced he and the Six Pack must take matters into their own hands, even if it means defying the Network. But actions have consequences, and the decisions Tyler and his friends make will impact everyone they encounter — including themselves.

SIX PACK: UPRISING

In editing stages, targeted release in 2019. More info to be announced.

Need something more to read in the meantime. Check out the P.A.W.S. Saga box set (Books 1-3) – Just 4.99 for a limited time.

Meet Stephanie Barr

Hi everyone today on Paws 4 Thought we’re pleased to introduce fantasy author, rocket scientist and cat lover, Stephanie Barr.

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1) Which of your characters are you most like?

Most of my protagonist characters, including several side characters, are based on aspects of my own personality either gifted with traits I lack, taking that aspect to a much greater degree or both. Sometimes the aspects I lack are provided by people I know (a few exceptions like Lofar (short story) and Dante da Silv (Tarot Queen), both more based on my husband of the time).

Two in particular were focused on my being unusually bright (which does not get you friends) and my social awkwardness (not shyness) that makes me incredibly unpopular even today except among a few discerning folks. That’s Dylan Chroz of Saving Tessa and Nayna from the forthcoming Ideal Insurgent.

However, I’m probably most like Darma from Nine Lives. I know my own strengths, I’m smart, I’m not afraid to show it, but I’m also a dabbler, pushy, capable of quick changes of temper with moments of insecurity. And exceptionally protective.

2) What is important to you in your character building?

Strengths and weaknesses. Relatability. Depth. Growth. Sheesh so many things. Intelligence. Most of my characters are smart and I generally use brains over brawn to solve problems. Sarcasm is pretty popular, too.HUMOR! Too many books just aren’t funny enough.

I like characters that challenge stereotypes, that force readers to reexamine their preconceived notions or open them to new perspectives.

3) How much do you know about your characters ahead of time?

Before I put even one word to paper, I usually have a very good sense of who the character is, how they’d react, what shaped them, where they need to grow. Not what they look like. That’s rarely a key factor for me and I’ve had to be reminded a few times to even mention that.

I might not know everything consciously, but my subconscious will have it in my head and cough key details rationales, mindsets in the story that solidify my original thought. I’m a total pantser when writing a story, but not the characters; they’re always true to my original vision.

4) What genre do you admire but not write?

Truly well-researched historical fiction. Some of my favorite books are from this category (Hawaii, Shogun, etc) I’m a perfectionist and I’d have to have it exactly right, and I love research, but the amount of research to get every detail correct takes a lot of time and organization, two things I rarely have. It’s not that I couldn’t do it if I was really compelled, but, at least so far, I haven’t felt more compelled than I am for my speculative fiction that requires relatively little research.

5) What haven’t you tackled yet but plan to?

I’m a single mother with three kids–two at home and on the autistic spectrum. More than one person has encouraged me to take some of the little vignettes I’ve written on facebook and compile them into a book to encourage other parents of autistic kids, not only that they’re not alone for the challenging pieces but to really steep themselves in the joy of the fun and unique pieces.

Check out some of Stephanie’s books:

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Also Stephanie has an awesome story in Sins of the Gods – the most recent release of my Sins of Time anthology group.

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Maddox Files – Blog Tour – Meet R.J.

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Today on Paws 4 Thought we welcome R.J. Davis Mornix, author of the recently released Maddox Files.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself, R.J.

I was born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario; I had lived in Toronto for a few years (it is where I met my husband) and currently I reside in the Sault Ste. Marie. I have been writing since I was 8 years of age, (if you ask my mother she would say I was telling stories since I was 6) day dreaming, creating, developing characters, places and tales of woe. Attended Sault College, started out in Police Foundations and then graduated from Computer Engineering.

I am constantly researching story ideas, conversations, and scenes in ratty notebooks, napkins and slips of torn coffee stained envelopes. Most favorite questions start off with “What if” … what if this happens, what if that happens, what would it be like if this was real? Or what if that was real? I like reading theoretical physics books, science fiction and hanging out with my favorite minions, my husband Dave and two sons, Dave Jr. and Denziel (self proclaimed ‘Denziel the Best!’).

2. When did you first start writing?

I wanted to be a writer/author at the age of 8.

3. Who are your favorite authors?

There are just too many to name them all but some that have influenced me along my career has been:

Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, H. G. Wells, John Wyndham, Douglas Adams, Anne McCaffrey, Robert A. Heinlein, Russell T. Davies, Stan Lee, Margaret Atwood, Ursula K. Le Guin, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, as well as Stephen Hawking and Michio Kaku.  This is my short list.

4. What inspires you to write?

Everything around me can cause inspiration. My ideas will just pop in my head out of no where so it seems but then everything just comes together and makes sense as if it was meant to be that way to begin with.

 5. Tell us a little bit about your latest book.

Maddox Files: Back to Business is the first book of the Maddox Files Series. We get introduced to our main character, Dice Maddox, and some of her friends. This book is where she finds herself by getting back into a business she loves. She’s 26 years old, lives in Toronto, Ontario, had been a P.I. before but after her uncle who was her partner died in a car accident her family and friends urged her out of the business. Dice has some challenges in the first book but she’s stronger than she thinks.

I have seven books lined up for this series so far, 1-4 has been written, working on 5 now and 6 and 7 are fully outlined. (Wow, DMK)

6. What attracts to writing in your genre?

I have always loved Science Fiction even as a kid, particularly Star Wars and Star Trek. I gravitated towards those types of shows and books.  The sense of adventure and awe that comes with this genre appeals to me.

7. What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on the first draft of Book 5 for the Maddox Files Series, Maddox Files: The Light Snuffer.

8. What do you like to do to relax?

I love hanging out with my family, my husband Dave and our two sons Dave Jr. and Denziel. We watch anime or play video games. I also love reading.

9. If you could have any superpower what would choose?

Teleportation where I can travel anywhere and any-when would be awesome!

10. How can readers connect with you?

They can connect with me on any of my social media platforms. Facebook, Twitter, Email, etc.

Here’s the list:

Please sign up for my newsletters/giveaways/updates: http://www.rjdaviesmornix.ca

Follow me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/R-J-Davies-Mornix-Author-253530731521799/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rmornix

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rjdaviesmornix/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/rjmornix/maddox-files-back-to-business/

YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_YpKdxSmjjkNiQcYVeJoiw

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14997808.R_J_Davies_Mornix

 

Maddox Files: Back to Business – A riveting jacked-in dreamy mind-bender by R. J. Davies Mornix

 

Dice Maddox was once a great private investigator. As fate would have it, her partner died in a car accident. Dice ended up in a dead-end job with a cheating fiancé. She has had enough and would like to reclaim her old life or a piece of her old life. The problem is going back to work as a private investigator; she is facing many unforeseeable challenges. She wonders if she can do this kind of work again. Then Ryan Winters walks into her office; she isn’t sure if he is crazy or sane, but he needs her help. After a recent car accident, he finds himself married to a gorgeous woman he has never met before. She’s hiding something. The closer Dice looks into the case, the more she finds herself wondering whether the woman is a demon or an alien. What has she gotten herself into?
Maddox
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