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.

YASH is coming!

Hey folks! It’s that time again. The YA Scavenger Hunt will start on September 29th on this blog, or to make sure you don’t miss out, you can head over to the YA Scavenger Hunt page, scroll down, and sign up for notifications with your email on the right.

Sadly this is the last YASH as the awesome hunt is being retired, so be sure you visit all the participating blogs for a chance to win oodles of prizes. I’m going to be on the purple team. Look at all those awesome books!

New to the YA Scavenger Hunt?

That’s totally fine. We have a YouTube video that explains the process and we will be checking in on the YASH website during the hunt to answer any and all questions you might have.

Need something fun to read in the meantime? Check out these awesome promos over at Story Origin:

Child of Chaos

YA Author and award-winning game designer, Glen Dahlgren is pleased to present his newest release, The Child of Chaos!

Check out the stunning cover and blurb below! Also, get to know the author with Glen’s bio and social media links.

And last, but not least, read the amazing reviews this book is getting from today’s largest authors industry pros!



Galen loves dreaming up stories, but he never expected to be pulled into a nightmare.

An irresistible longing drags Galen to an ancient vault where, long ago, the gods of Order locked Chaos away.
Chaos promises power to the one destined to liberate it, but Galen’s dreams warn of dark consequences.

He isn’t the only one racing to the vault, however. Horace, the bully who lives to torment Galen, is determined to unleash Chaos–and he might know how to do it.

Galen’s imagination always got him into trouble, but now it may be the only thing that can prevent Horace from unraveling the world.

 

You can get your copy here:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08BN6S5R2

 


Meet Glen Dahlgren

Website:

http://www.mysterium.blog/

Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gdahlgrenauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GlenDahlgren

Amazon: https://amazon.com/author/glendahlgren

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20441786.Glen_Dahlgren

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/glen-dahlgren

 


Editorial Reviews

“There is a quality of imagination and detail here that impresses me. This is no ordinary sword and sorcery story. [Glen Dahlgren] is a novelist who I think will become more widely known as his skill is appreciated. This is what fantasy fiction should be.”
Piers Anthony, New York Times bestselling author of the Xanth series

“It’s rare that a fantasy story – and a YA one at that – manages to be both familiar (in terms of fantasy conventions) and yet strikingly fresh and original at the same time. But this one does… and the ultimate conclusion is very satisfying.”
Michael Verdu, one of the founders of Legend Entertainment, designer and producer of Mission Critical

An immensely satisfying page turner with some profound things to say about friendship, responsibility and true courage.
Lee Sheldon, award-winning writer of Star Trek: The Next Generation and The Lion’s Song

The book managed to surprise me with clever twists and turns, and as a lifelong fantasy reader, that’s a tough trick to pull off.
Christy Marx, award-winning writer of Conan, Red Sonja, and Elfquest, and author of Writing for Animation, Comics & Games

Super 99 cents P.A.W.S. Sale!

Hi folks, I hope everyone is doing well and I have a treat for you all. For a limited time ALL 6 of my P.A.W.S. books including the brand new JHARA are on sale for just 99 cents/99p each on Kindle (or free to subscribers of Kindle Unlimited.

Stock up today!

Also I’ve got together with some awesome indie authors to bring you the best of summer reads. Click on the banners below for details.

YASH is (Almost) Here!

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Yay! It’s almost time. I’m excited to announce that once more this spring I’ll be participating in YASH in purple team (my favorite color). Look at all these awesome books you could win. This year because of the coronavirus authors will be donating audio or ebooks of their titles.

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I’ll also be running an extra rafflecopter giveaway on this blog with a chance to win a box set of P.A.W.S. ebooks or audio books.

Hunt starts on March 31st. Want to find out more about the hunt? Hop over to YASH organizer, Colleen’s blog for all the deets.

Need something to read in the meantime? Check out this awesome group of speculative short stories, all free over at Story Origin. (Reviews much appreciated.)

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YA fantasy/sci-fi paperback giveaway!

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Hi folks – some exciting news! I’ve got together with a bunch of other cool YA fantasy and sci-fi authors for a huge giveaway. One winner will pick up all 14 of these awesome paperbacks!

Take a watch of this video by Sara Crawford where she highlights all of the awesome prizes!

Want a chance to win? Sure you do!

Click to enter here:

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Good luck!

Oh and one more thing. All my P.A.W.S. Saga books are still on sale for 99 cents each on Kindle for just a few more hours. Pick ’em here before the price goes back up.

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St. Paddy’s Day Deals and Steals!

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day P.A.W.S. fans!

I’ve got a few special deals and steals for you today to check out. First off all 4 of my P.A.W.S. Saga are currently on sale for just 99 cents a piece. This is perfect time to pick up the ones you are missing before book 5 comes out in the summer.

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Next up – how about some dragons?

Saving another’s life may save her own.

As the child of the kingdom of Salia’s most powerful mages, Lex’s future had seemed bright. That is until she lost everything. Her dreams. Her parents. Even when she thought her life was changing for the better, she lost her husband. When a mysterious stranger turns up nearly dead on her doorstep, Lex must make a decision. Either fight for her future or lose more than her own life.

For Amell, time is almost up. He has spent nearly thirty years searching for the balance to his magic he needs in order to survive. After an unexpected attack, a twist of fate hands him what he has been searching for in the form of someone that could threaten everything.

When the choices are made, will they find a future they could have never hoped for, or will they uncover plots more sinister than they imagined?

Now on sale for just 99 cents for a limited time.

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Dragons not your thing? How about some werewolves. Holly Hook’s Wolf Bound is free for a limited time.

A young woman with a need to protect.
A young man drawn to her acceptance.
A rival pack threatening to destroy all they love.

Loner, misfit, wild. Everything about Cayden should push me away. Deep down, I know the explanation for his graceful walk, his ability to fight off guys twice his size, and his amazing hearing. Especially when the wolves appear in the woods around town and a beautiful male shares Cayden’s dark hair, red highlights, and his wild, hazel eyes. I should fear him, but he draws me in. Until Cayden, no one else around me understood what it’s like to be radically different. But Cayden warns me off though his eyes yearn for me.

Pick up your copy today!

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Meet YA Author – Mindy McGinnis

Today on Paws 4 Thought we welcome Mindy McGinnis, eclectic YA author and kitty-lover!

Hi Mindy, so happy to have you here today. Tell us a little bit about yourself:

Mindy

I write across multiple genres – everything from post-apocalyptic survival to fantasy to contemporary and mystery. I have lived in Ohio my whole life and absolutely love it here.

So when did you first start writing?

I wrote when I was a child, experimentally. I never finished a novel until I was in my mid-20s.

Who are your favorite authors?

I grew up reading Stephen King. Some of my more recent favorites would be Frances Hardinge and McKenzie Lee.

What inspires you to write? 

I’m fortunate in that ideas just seem to fall out of the sky. They can occur out of nowhere, and I don’t question that.

Which is favorite title you have published so far and why?

Sea  Earth

Probably my fantasy titles, GIVEN TO THE SEA and GIVEN TO THE EARTH. Fantasy is by far the hardest genre I’ve ever tackled. The world building is key, and I found that executing that took every ounce of talent I have.

If you could hang out with one of your characters who would you choose and where would the two of you go?

Probably Lynn from NOT A DROP TO DRINK and we would just hang out in the woods.

Drink  Dust

What are you currently working on?

I’m in between books, having just turned in the copyedits for my Winter 2019 release, HEROINE.

What do you like to do to relax?

It’s so rare for me to get to do so, but… reading.

Tell us about your kitties? I hear you have quite a few?

Kitty3

I have NINE cats, if you can believe that. I had the normal amount of cats (four) until one of the farm kitties abandoned a litter and I ended up bottle raising a group of five. You can’t do that and then “find a good home.” So yeah… now I have nine cats.

Kitties  Kitty2

How can readers connect with you?

The easiest way to find me is to check out all my social media on my site:

 http://mindymcginnis.com/books.html

YA Scavenger Hunt

 

Looking for Blogging from A to Z? For the next few days while this blog hosts YASH my A to Z posts will be over at my sister site, Paws 4 Puzzles.

 

Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!

Team Purple

Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are SIX contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the PURPLE TEAM–but there is also a red team, a gold team, an orange team, a red team, and an indie team for a chance to win a whole different set of books!

If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.

SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE
 
Directions: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the PURPLE TEAM, and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!).
 
Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.
Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by Sunday April, 8, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.
SCAVENGER HUNT POST
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Today, I am hosting HEATHER DAVIS on my website for the YA Scavenger Hunt! Heather Davis is the author of Never Cry Werewolf and its two novella sequels, Sometimes by Moonlight and Always in Shadow. Her other books include Wherever You Go, and The Clearing, a RITA Award finalist for Best Young Adult Romance.

Heather loves writing about strong, smart heroines and the dark heroes that challenge them. In every book you’ll find suspense, a touch of humor, and tons of heartfelt romance.

She is obsessed with good coffee, books, indie bands, and perfect chocolate chip cookies.

Visit her at www.heatherdavisbooks.com

 
Find out more information by checking out the author website or find more about the author’s book here!
EXCLUSIVE CONTENT
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Secrets don’t stay buried forever.

When ravens lead werewolf Lily Turner to the site of Pioneer Falls most famous unsolved murder, she’s drawn into a vintage mystery, complete with a restless ghost. Freeing the trapped soul who’s causing trouble might be the only way for Lily to stop the outsiders digging into the recent paranormal activity in town––and protect the local packs.

Morgan McAllister, the handsome wolf who’s captured Lily’s heart, resolves to do what he can to keep Lily safe as she begins another quest for the truth. But Lily’s father seems reluctant to accept Morgan as one of the Turner pack. Despite Morgan’s attempts he hasn’t been able to win her pack leader over, but his love for Lily is growing.

Determined to dig into the old case, Lily’s sure that if the ghost can rest in peace, so will the town. But there are evil forces at work, including the rival werewolf pack deepening their roots and hunters regrouping for more violent attacks on suspected wolves endangering the town.

Trusting outsiders may be the only way for Lily to get to the truth. But trust comes with a deadly cost, one that Lily may not be prepared to pay.

As the past rises with a vengeance, Lily must face her greatest test in the dark woods where evil once triumphed. Before the moon rises again, a death must be avenged, and not everyone in Pioneer Falls will make it out alive.

Join Lily and Morgan for another romantic, suspense-filled adventure in the dark forests of the Pacific Northwest. Book Three in the Pioneer Falls series.

Now here’s Heather who talks about how she created her Pioneer Falls series:

 

 A Light So Cruel – Behind the Scenes of a Series

By Heather Davis

Many YA readers dream of writing books of their own. I know, because that was me once upon a time. It can be daunting just to think of how to begin, so I thought I’d give you a behind the scenes look at how I created my Pioneer Falls series, which includes the latest release, A Light So Cruel.

In the writing world, you often hear about structured “plotters” who do a lot of planning before they write, versus people who write by the seat of their pants, the “pantsers.” Neither side is better or worse, just different. I tend to be a little of both, but when I’m writing a series, I favor my plotter side.

Why? Well, there’s a ton of planning that goes into a series. I want both the character and plot arc of each book to be satisfying, as well as the overall series arc.

So how do you even figure out what a series arc might be?

For me, I journal about the concept and characters. What is the main character’s journey going to be about? In the case of Pioneer Falls, I thought about what I wanted Lily to learn in the course of the series. She’s an average girl who learns her father’s been hiding a terrible curse from the family. After an initial shock, she undergoes a physical and emotional transformation.

I realized I could split out her evolution into three books.

Book One was going to be about the discovery of her family’s curse and the existence of the supernatural world. Book Two would be about learning the rules of her world, the friends and foes. Book Three, A Light So Cruel, would be about Lily connecting to the supernatural world. And of course, all three books have mystery elements, which I would work in.

Sounds like a lot of stuff to keep track of, right? It was.

So, for each book, I plotted out the story on notecards tacked to a cork board. It’s a little labor-intensive, but worth it when you’re writing a lot of mystery or action. On the cards, I charted out the plot points (where fresh information causes the story to turn in new directions) and important character growth moments.

Here’s a section of the board for A Light So Cruel.

board photo

I know you’re thinking that so much planning stifles creativity, but it’s the exact opposite for me. It frees me to be more creative. I understand what needs to happen in the scenes, but not necessarily how it’s going to happen. That equals less pressure and stress.

And the best part is I don’t have to stick to the notecards, or the exact plot as I’ve planned it. I can change the order or write new cards if I need to. But having a sense of direction, of knowing where the story’s headed, gives me focus.

Two other things are helpful when I’m writing a series.

A  style guide that lists and describes all the people, places, important terms of the story. How many times did I mix up what color eyes Lily’s sisters have? None. All I had to do was refer to the style guide for confirmation.

A physical map of the story world. I invented a whole town for this series. It only exists in my mind and the reader’s. So Lily’s house, the cemetery, the nearby river, the coffee shop where she works after school––all of these were important to get geographically right. The characters are moving through this world in all three books. You have to have continuity.

map photo

So all of this is planning is great, but you might be thinking–– how do I know if I’ve got enough of a story to start writing a book?

Well, that’s where the pantser in me shines.

For all of my books, I started by free-writing an opening scene. A what if… beginning. Then I set it aside, let things marinate a bit. Meanwhile I’m collecting more bits and pieces of ideas for the story.

A little while later, I pick the opening back up and do another free writing session. Then another. Once I’ve got a full chapter’s worth of scenes, I’ll have the feeling if this is a project to continue or if I should move along to another “what if?” hanging out in my head.

Anyhow, I wish you happy reading AND writing, if that’s your dream. All you need is an idea to get started… cork board totally optional.

Thank you Heather – and be sure to check out A Light So Cruel on Amazon.
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And now onto the contest for a chance to win a ton of books by me, Debbie Manber Kupfer, and more! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is. Well for those of you who regularly follow this blog you might know that my all-time favorite author is Douglas Adams, so my favorite number is of course the meaning of life, the universe and everything –

42

Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the PURPLE TEAM and you’ll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!

But wait there’s more! I’m also running a Rafflecopter. Enter for a chance to win a bundle of YA audio books from a host of awesome authors. These include:

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I’m also giving away one ebook box set of P.A.W.S. books 1 to 3. Enter the Rafflecopter for a chance to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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CONTINUE THE HUNT
 
To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author! JOSHUA DAVID BELLIN
Note: some authors will offer an additional, individual giveaway. If you want to do this, please feel free to do so.
 

purple team 2018

 
 

Meet S.T. Sanchez

Today on Paws 4 Thought we welcome Fantasy author, S.T. Sanchez. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

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Thanks so much for having me!

I was born in Dallas, TX. I love Texas. The weather is crazy, but the people are friendly.  I graduated from the University of North Texas with a BA in Spanish. Mexico is my second home.  My husband is from there, and I have family down there. I love the culture, the people and of course the food.  I have three wonderful children and I love hiking and spending time outdoors when I am not writing.
Fantasy is my preferred genre to write in. There are no limits in fantasy beyond my own imagination.  Anything can happen. Sunwalker is my debut novel. It is a YA vampire novel. The first in a trilogy. Nightwalker, book 2, is set to be released in Spring 2018.  I also just released a MG fantasy novel entitled The Portal Keeper, in December 2017.

I love fantasy too. So tell me when did you first start writing?

 I really didn’t start writing until college.  I am terrible at grammar and never really thought about becoming a writer.  But I decided to try my hand at it.  It was horrible and childish, but I wrote something longer than I ever had.  It gave me some confidence and I decided that I could always find a good editor to polish up my grammar.  That first novel is hidden in a dark abyss and well never see the light of day.  But I kept at it and got better.

 Who are your favorite authors?

 I love Brandon Mull.  He is a fantasy author. I love reading his stories out loud to my children.  They are just so much fun and very imaginative.

 So awesome to read aloud to your kids. I have very fond memories of my father reading to me when I was a child and have done the same with my own children. So on to writing now. What inspires you to write?

Everything.  Sometimes questions that I don’t see answers too will spark an idea.

 Tell us a little bit about your YA fantasy Sunwalker.

Sunwalker Final Front Cover Only 5-17-16

 Sunwalker is the first in a trilogy.  It has action, romance, and you won’t know what’s coming.  I try not to be predictable.  I hate books that I can predict the entire storyline after only reading the first couple of chapters.

It is a story about a vampire named Lilly.  She is an unusual kind of vampire, one born from human parents due to a rare genetic disorder.  The world she lives in is aware of her kind, and hunts them down.  She lives her life pretending to be a human, wishing to one day meet another one of her species.  When Tread, another vampire, shows up, it turns her world upside down.  Lilly has to decide which world she belongs in, the human or the vampire, or risk tearing them both apart.

It was fun to write because Tread and Lilly are complete opposites.  Lilly knows and loves the human world, and knows practically nothing about her own species.  Tread was raised loathing humans, and thinking of them as nothing more than food.  He is fascinated that someone would choose to live as one and subject themselves to their rules.

You can read the first chapter for free on Amazon, or the entire book for free on Kindle Unlimited.

Nightwalker is the second book in the trilogy and should be coming out Spring 2018.

 What attracts to writing YA?

 In YA novels the characters are just starting to figure out who they are or who they want to be.  I like being able to watch them and discover that as the stories unfold.

 What are you currently working on?

 I have a few different projects at the moment.  I tend to get bored and I like to jump around a bit.  I have a new children’s series I am working on, it is currently in the hands of four 7 year old beta readers.  Nightwalker is with the editor. I have just started Darkwalker the third and final installment of the Sunwalker trilogy.  I have a short non-fiction book with beta readers about getting out of debt and finally the last item on my list is to start the outline for book two in my MG series entitled the Keeper Chronicles.

 What do you like to do to relax?

I play games with my kids, read and watch movies.  The Greatest Showman was a great film if you haven’t seen it.

Definitely going to have to check that one out. So how about a fun question now? If you could have any superpower what would choose?

This one is easy. I would love to speak every language.  I speak English and can get by with my broken Spanish.  Knowing two languages even to the poor extent of my Spanish speaking skills has taught me one thing.  Some things can’t be translated.  They just lose their beauty.

Thank you so much for taking your time to answer my questions. So how can readers connect with you?

Goodreads

Facebook

My blog

 

Email  authorstsanchez@hotmail.com

Pick up Sunwalker from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

and The Portal Keeper on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.