Blog Hop: 4 Questions Answered

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted something original here at Ye Olde Blog. I’d like to think that today’s post will be the creative kick-in-the-ass I sorely need to keep this blog going. I’d like to think that. We’ll see.

Because this was fun. My fellow Paper Rat and buddy, Kristen Tsetsi, invited me to participate in a Blog Hop. It’s kind of like a Sock Hop, but without the socks or music or poodle skirts. Or maybe it’s a writing exercise in which an author answers four question, then links to the blog of the author who invited her (or him) who has previously answered those same questions, as well as the blog of an author she (or he) has invited to answer the four questions. Hop, hop, hop!


You can find Kristen’s 4 Questions Answered post here. You can find her other places online as well:

Kristen J. Tsetsi, Blog/website:
Twitter: @ktsetsi

I’ve invited my friend (and Friend Of The Blog) Danielle Bannister to participate, which she will do next week. I’ll edit this post to include her answers then. In the meantime, you can read more of her stuff here and here.

Here are my 4 Questions Answered:

1) What am I working on?

Currently I’m working on my third novel, temporarily called WINGING IT. It tells the story of a single mother, Kara, whose only child, a recent college graduate, has moved to New York to pursue an acting career, much to Kara’s dismay. It’s about what happens when what you thought was your raison d’etre suddenly and unexpectedly disappears.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My characters are unapologetically rural, without being stereotypical hicks, and I think that makes my stuff stand out from other women’s fiction. My fictional world is populated with cleaning ladies, carpenters, and cashiers who struggle to pay their bills. Professionals in suits and high heels who drive nice cars are the outsiders here.

3) Why do I write what I do?

Most of us will never be called upon to save the world or fall in love with a prince or fight political corruption, but we still each discover our own moments of courage and passion and triumph. Those are the stories that interest me, the stories I like to tell.

4) How does my writing process work?

I don’t outline, but I do make notes. A lot of notes. They’re all over the place; in notebooks, on my laptop, on scraps of paper, in my cell phone, sometimes scribbled on my arm. Eventually I gather them up (along with some wine or Nyquil), crank some music, and hide away in my office to try to piece them into something coherent.


As a bonus, here’s the first paragraph of my current work in progress:

If you know where to look, you can find me on Wikipedia.

Kevin Michaels (born Michael Joseph Chouinard, February 9, 1974) is an American actor from Portland, Maine, best known for his role as Henry Dempsey in the Broadway play Last Rights. Michaels currently lives in Manhattan with his wife, Victoria. He has an adult daughter from a previous relationship.

I am the previous relationship. What Wikipedia doesn’t tell you, in addition to my name (Kara Parker) and my adult daughter’s name (Gabriela), is that the relationship lasted a grand total of three minutes. Maybe three and a half, if you count the time it took to pull our pants off. It took place in our high school drama club’s wardrobe room after the spring play of 1990. We were caught pulling our pants back on by the Vice Principal (which, I suppose, would round the relationship up to four full minutes), ensuring that when I showed up to school the following fall with a very pregnant belly, everyone knew exactly where and when the deed had been done. And what the article gets flat out wrong is that Mike—or, rather, Kevin Michaels—isn’t actually from Portland. His parents moved him there from our considerably smaller hometown (New Mills, population 2200) when they found out he’d knocked me up, insulating him from the burden of responsibilities that come with having a baby and ensuring him a bright future on the stage and screen. That’s how you get your name in bold typeface on Wikipedia, instead of a generic mention at the end of someone else’s article.


Author Danielle Bannister has something to share with you…

Brand NEW Covers for her Twin Flames Trilogy: Pulled, Pulled Back and Pulled Back Again.


Danielle, WHY did you decide to change your covers? Did you not like your old ones?


Oh no! I LOVED my old covers. I wish I didn’t have to change them. Sadly, the images are stock images, which means anyone and everyone can use the same image as me. And they have. I have seen no less then nine covers in the last year with the cover I used for PULLED since 2011! It just got to the point where I didn’t like seeing my cover with a different title on it. Haha. So, I got a a photographer and a few willing models and we did a shoot. At first I wasn’t sure how they would look, but after playing around with the edges and wording, I fell in love with them.

Since you had the ultimate say in the photos, what feeling were you trying to get out of them?


Pulled CoverPulled Back Cover

Pulled Back Again Cover









Well, for Pulled, I wanted to show Naya with her boyfriend, Seth. I wanted to see his fingers digging into her flesh, so I tried to make that the focal point of the image. I’m hoping it is subtle, but I wanted that to be on the cover. That possessiveness.

For Pulled Back, there is a tenderness that I wanted to capture, but also a sense of waiting for the other shoe to drop.  You know those moments when things are just going along too well?  That’s what I was trying to get with that one.

And Pulled Back Again, well, that other shoe drops. Ha!

Where can people get your books?


Amazon Link


ibook links





You can also  her website at:

or find her on Facebook at

or Twitter @getpulled


Danielle Bannister lives with her two children in Lincolnville, Maine. She holds a BA in Theatre from the University of Southern Maine and her Masters degree in Literary Education from the University of Orono. Both PULLED BACK, Book 2: A Flame Reborn and PULLED BACK AGAIN, Book 3: The Final Flame, are both available online. She has a collection of short stories called: SHORT SHORTS. In addition, her work can also be found in the following anthologies: 2012 Goose River Anthology, 2012 Writeous Anthology, 2013 Maine Writes: Maine National Writing Project Anthology; and, 2013 The Stroke of Midnight: A Supernatural New Year’s Anthology. She is currently working with fantasy author, Amy Miles on a new trilogy due out in early 2014.  Book One of that series will be called: NETHERWORLD.

100K – Guest Post By Craig Lancaster

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If you haven’t read 600 Hours Of Edward yet, do it now! Seriously! You’ll thank me for it. Now here’s Craig. (-RJK)

When it comes to the book business and how I comport myself, I’m a man of guiding principles:

1. Write what’s in my heart, not what I calculate to be the quickest route to sales, notoriety, etc.

2. Connect with readers, not other authors.

3. Don’t get in back-and-forths with critics. They have their role, I have mine.

4. Don’t yammer on about sales figures.

600 Hours Of EdwardFor much of my novel-writing career, still in its adolescence, No. 4 has been easy to honor. There wasn’t much to say. Beyond that, trumpeting one’s sales has generally struck me as unseemly, unless it’s for educational purposes (see J.A. Konrath, who has been transparent about how his life and career have been changed by self-publishing) or some truly remarkable threshold has been met.

I hope the latter is the case here, as I deviate from my self-imposed rigor.

Because of the vagaries of sales numbers—this month’s sales could be eroded by next month’s returns—I won’t know exactly when I cross this threshold, but sometime in the next week, I should reach 100,000 books sold since my first, 600 Hours of Edward, was originally released in October 2009.

In some significant ways, it’s no big deal. I haven’t spent a day on any of the big bestseller lists. My books aren’t released with big multimedia marketing campaigns. I haven’t managed to keep an entire publishing division afloat with any single title. And, hey, it took me four releases in almost four years to accumulate those numbers. (And that doesn’t even get into sales numbers being a poor arbiter of book quality. We’ve all known crap books that sold in crazy quantities and wonderful books that never found an audience.)

On the other hand …

Edward Adrift

Edward Adrift

Before 600 Hours came out, I never expected to sell one book, let alone 100,000. In the years since that first release, some remarkable things have happened. I’ve been able to write more books and leave my job, dedicating myself full-time to being a professional author. I find now, at 43 years old, that I am what I dreamed of being back in high school: a self-sustaining, satisfied, working-man author. That was the aim when I started. Not awards (although they’re definitely nice). Not being the toast of the tastemakers (not bloody likely, ever). I just wanted to be a guy who put in the work and made a living.

That’s the significance of the sales, that I’m there and can now dream bigger. More, that’s the significance of all the people who’ve been so kind to buy the books, read them and tell their friends. My gratitude is bottomless.

To mark the occasion and to say thank you, I’m doing some giveaways over at my author page on Facebook. Among the goodies:

  • The chance to lend your name to a character in the novel I’m currently writing and receive a signed first draft of it.
  • Signed copies of all four books.
  • A coffee date with me. (Obviously, if you don’t live in Billings, Montana, or Montana at large, I’ll probably just send you a coffee card, which is the better prize anyway).

Follow the link above and comment on the giveaway post on my Facebook page. That’s all it takes.

You can click on Craig to get to his Facebook page for the giveaway.

Meet the Indies Blog Tour with Amy Miles and Danielle Bannister

Today, I’m pretty excited to be hosting the third stop on Amy and Danielle’s blog tour. Amy is the author of The Arotas Trilogy and Danielle is the author of The Twin Flames Trilogy. The three of us (The Authors From The Boonies Of Maine Trilogy?) will be among the 35 writers attending the Stamford Author Event on August 10 in Stamford Connecticut (we would all LOVE to see you there). Danielle and I have been good friends for several years (you may remember her from this interview a few years ago) and I’m looking forward to finally meeting Amy in person. But without further ado, allow me to present Amy Miles and Danielle Bannister…

Between the two of you, you have a pretty large fan base. What would you say is the ONE question they want answered most, and are you willing to answer it here?

Forbidden  Amy: There are several burning questions that I hear quite often.  Will Gabriel and Roseline end up together? Does Sadie live?  Will Bastien return in the sequel to Defiance Rising?  Am I Team Bastien of Team Eamon!

If you have read my books, you know that I don’t make romance easy for my characters.  Life happens, people get hurt, hearts get broken.  I love a happy ending just like the next gal, but I also like realism.  If my characters are going to be happy in the end, they are going to go through some tribulation along the way.  Also…I hate to be predictable.

 Danielle: I think most people want to know if Pulled Back Again will finally deliver the happily ever after ending they are looking for. All I can say is…maybe? Ha!

 What is one thing you wish fans would ask you more about?

 Amy: What my favorite food is.  Seriously?  I’m willing to take bribes for sneak peeks into my upcoming books. Haha.

Um…this is a hard one to answer because I’m pretty open about things happening in my life.  If you follow me on Facebook, you know I’m rather vocal about my obsession with Game of Thrones, my love of movies/books and I’m always bragging on my guys.  I’m an open book!

Danielle: I guess what I’m working on?  This is a hard one.

 Okay, then. You are currently working on a couple of projects. Can you tell us a little bit about them—spoiler free of course.

 Amy: Oh my, I am always working on something.  Usually more than one thing at a time.

I’m currently diving into the final draft of a new novella, FACELESS, that will jump start readers into my Cherished Hearts inspirational romance books.  I’ve always had a passion for inspirational romance, but up until this point have always remained in the fantasy realm.  It’s great to break out of that every once in a while.


I’m also obsessing over the completion of my Arotas Trilogy.  REDEMPTION has a lot going on, with several POV shifts and tons of action so it’s kicking my butt right now!  As soon as I finish with REDEMPTION, I will be jumping straight into the prequel, IMMORTAL ROSE.  I hadn’t actually planned on writing this book but so many of my fans wanted to know Fane and Roseline’s tale, so I caved.

I’m also currently working with Danielle on NETHERWORLD.  This joint venture has been a lot of fun, melding romance with fantasy and of course banshees ROCK!  I’ve having a blast designing the underworld and playing around with some mythology.  It’s a good thing Danielle loves writing about human’s cause there is no way I would give up working on the hot and steamy, Aed, god of the Netherworld!

Danielle: Amy and I came up with the idea to co-write Netherworld almost as a joke. A sort of ‘We should totally write a book together!’ But the more we chatted about it, the more it makes sense. We write in completely different genres, I do romance she does fantasy. So we thought what if we had a fantasy sort of character fall in love with a human character?  We tossed out some ideas and soon the Netherworld was born. We’ve just started drafting the early scenes and I’m really excited about what we’re coming up with! The Netherworld puts us into the world of the Banshees, the mythical creatures sent to carry the dead to the other side. The Banshee’s are supposed to be unseen by the living, but one mortal sees a banshee. What happens when they fall in love?  It’s soooooo cool!  She writes the fantasy parts, I write the human parts! It’s perfect!

What is one goal yet unaccomplished in your life?

Amy: I want to see the pyramids in person.  I have always been fascinated by mythology, no matter the race it pertains to and Egypt is on the top of my list.  As a kid, I used to write notes to a Reckoningfriend in hieroglyphics.  Yes, I was that child!

Danielle: I want to go to Greece. I want to walk on the first stages!

 If you were trapped on a desert island with ONE of your characters and ONE endless supply of one type of food, what would they be?

 Amy:  Oh dear.  How do I choose?  My characters are all so much a part of me that it would be hard to pick just one, but I think if forced to I would choose Bastien.  He’s hard core but compassionate.  He makes sacrifices when he must for the woman he loves.  Plus he’s H O T!!!  Yeah, I would go with him.  Food…oh goodness me.  I would totally go with Ranch Doritos. Those suckers are worse than Chinese food filled to the brim with MSG!  Oh phooey, now I’m craving Chinese food!  Do you think they deliver?

Danielle: This is so not an easy question! I guess I’d wanna be stuck with Etash, so I’d have a warm body to snuggle up against! As for food…hmmm…I suppose wine doesn’t count as food, so I’ll have to go with egg salad. Love that stuff!

What drives you to write?

Amy: I fully believe that writers are born, not created.  Just like painters are born to move beyond stick figure people (which I have not!) or chefs are moved to create culinary excellence.  The gift is within you.  Sometimes it can take years to unearth it, but the talent is still there.

I write because I have to, I yearn to.  Sound a tad dramatic?  Trying living in my head.  Haha.  I’ve got four books worth of characters fighting to be heard at the same time!

Danielle: The tiny voices in my head of course! Seriously, I ache to make people feel something. Maybe that’s the actor in me, but there is something satisfying in making people react internally to something you’ve written. It’s magical.

Pulled Back

Is there anything unique about yourself that you’d like your readers to know?

Amy: Washing dishes grosses me out.  I have a different favorite color each day depending on my mood.  I adore 80’s rock.  I love to eat my mashed potatoes mixed with KFC coleslaw.  I go to Cardinal’s baseball games for the food. I despise Opera music.  I’m a firm believer that vampires don’t sparkle.  I’m terrified of spiders, no matter their size.  I’m not a lover of chocolate and I can spin an entire book plot in less than 5 minutes.

Danielle: Reading Amy’s list I don’t feel so crazy now! Um, let’s see. I suck at all things sports and math related, I have a really bad memory for important things but can tell you exactly where that balled up sock is you threw across the room two weeks ago ended up, and I’ll eat the chocolate Amy won’t.



Amy's Author Photo

Amy Miles has been a carbaholic since birth and is hopelessly addicted to Dr. Pepper. When she’s not chatting with fans on Facebook she can be found goofing off with family, traveling or stomping her husband at Scrabble. She is an obsessive writer and an avid reader and loves to chat about all things books.

Her teen paranormal romance books, Forbidden and Reckoning, have been on several of Amazon’s Top 100 lists as well as best seller lists in both America and the UK. Her highly anticipated final book in the Arotas Trilogy, Redemption, is due out 2013.

She is currently hard at work on a two new series, The Rising Trilogy and The Remnant Trilogy.


Danielle Bannister

Danielle lives in Mid-Coast Maine with her two children and husband. She holds a BA in Theatre and a Masters in Writing and the Teaching of Writing. She has two novels currently out, Pulled and Pulled Back and is working on several others, including Pulled Back Again, releasing soon, and Netherworld which she is co-writing with author Amy Miles, which is due out in December, 2014.  She also has a collection of short stories, brilliantly entitled, Short Shorts, and her work is also featured in several anthologies: GooseRiver Press 2012 Anthology and the Maine Writing Project’s anthology, Writious. Both titles are available on Amazon.  When not writing, she can be found pouring her heart out on the stage.

Ermahgerd! Serx!

I read this article about sex in fiction this morning (via The Passive Guy) in which author Julian Barnes is quoted as saying:

“Writing about sex contains an additional anxiety on top of all the usual ones that the writer might be giving him- or herself away, that readers may conclude, when you describe a sexual act, that it must already have happened to you in pretty much the manner described.”

I know he’s not alone, because I’ve heard other writers say similar things. I’m probably a freak of nature, but writing sex scenes doesn’t affect me this way. I assume that my readers assume – because my author bio broadcasts the fact that I’m an adult, married woman with children – that I have had sex. Similarly, I assume – because statistics and human nature have thus informed me – that the majority of them have had sex as well. If, after reading some of the steamier parts of Waiting For Spring, my readers conclude that what’s written there must already have happened to me in pretty much the manner described, so what? Should that make me ashamed? Chances are it’s happened to them in pretty much the manner described, too…and high five! Good for us! I’m much more concerned that my readers may conclude that I, like Tess, had once been an accessory to murder or discover that I, too, sometimes shop at Walmart.

I think we, as a society, might need to reexamine our priorities and, maybe, grow up a little.

I’m a big fat liar

I said I would blog every day and then I didn’t. Here are the reasons:

1. I was sick for awhile (seriously, I was).

2. I was working on my book for a change.

3. Then I forgot about the blogging every day thing.

Sorry. To make up for my big fat lying, I’ll…well, I’ll try to not be sick, to work the blogging in with the writing of books, and to stop forgetting about blogging. Honest.

I love the smell of bigotry in the morning

A group of bigoted concerned citizens, parents, and students in Sullivan, Indiana are protesting the inclusion of gay students in their high school’s prom festivities by hosting a straight-only prom of their own.

“We want to make the public see that we love the homosexuals. But we don’t think it’s right, nor should it be accepted,” said one student. Because, naturally, the best way to demonstrate your love for the homosexuals is to exclude them from your straight party. And then brag about it on the local news.

My reaction would have been a sigh and disappointed shake of my head if it wasn’t for the fact that one of the bigoted concerned citizens is a special needs teacher at the school, Diana Medley. “We don’t agree with it and it’s offensive to us,” she said. “Homosexual students come to me with their problems,” she added, “and I don’t agree with them. But I care about them.”

WTWO news screencap

Offended teacher Diana Medley

I’m sure the homosexual students are really feeling that loving care right about now. Seriously, look at that face. It just reeks of love and stuff. She then went on to say:

“It’s the same thing with my special needs kids, I think God puts everyone in our lives for a reason.”

Reporter Paige Preusse pressed her, asking: “So the same goes for gays? Do you think they have a purpose in life?”

She made the squikky face you see in the photo above then, totally missing the chance to redeem herself, said, “No. I honestly don’t. Sorry, but I don’t.”

It’s important to note that this little storm was set into motion because two girls wanted to go to the prom together. That’s right. This teacher is speaking out publicly, not against a general policy of the school where she currently teaches, but rather against two specific students – whom she cares about – who attend the school. Where she currently teaches. I don’t know about you, but if I were a parent of a student at Sullivan High School, I’d be working hard to see that this bigot was a former teacher, and that right quick.

An Interview With Dr. Albert Sparrow

The Liminal manI had planned to post an interview with Todd Keisling today as part of his blog tour promoting The Liminal Man (the very excellent sequel to the page-turner A Life Transparent). He was supposed to call me earlier in the week to answer some questions I had. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that it was Dr. Albert Sparrow on the line instead. I’m a roll-with-it kind of gal so I, well, rolled with it. Fortunately Todd’s giveaway is still going on even in his absence. (I sure hope he’s okay…) Enter below for a chance to win:

  • Signed hardcovers of A LIFE TRANSPARENT and THE LIMINAL MAN
  • A t-shirt sporting The Limanal Man’s “Leaping Man” cover design
  • An “I Am Donovan Candle” Coffee Mug
  • An eBook package that includes books by R.J. Keller (hee!), Anthony J. Rapino, Moriah Jovan, and others
Click HERE to enter the contest at Todd’s Facebook page. You can like his page HERE (and you should).


RJ Keller: I appreciate you taking the time to speak with me today. Can you tell us a bit about yourself? Just who is Albert Sparrow?

Albert Sparrow: Predictably a loaded question, but I suppose inquiring minds want to know. I’m Dr. Albert Sparrow. I earned my doctorate in Sociology, but my interests range from philosophy to human psychology—and perhaps a little metaphysics as well. I used to fashion myself as a self-help guru, but lately I’ve expanded my focus to other, more lucrative passions. In fact . . . you might say I’m an old man who wants to be a god. Metaphorically speaking, of course. [He chuckles.]

RJK: I’ve heard great things about your first book, and it was even a bestseller a few years ago. Tell us a little about A Life Ordinary: A Comprehensive Study in Human Mediocrity.

AS: My book—ALO, as I like to refer to it—is both a reflective study of our culture’s decline into mediocrity and a self-help guide meant to direct readers through a series of steps toward personal fulfillment. Throughout my studies, I’ve discovered a certain lack of desire in our culture to achieve our full potential. When we’re young, we have so many dreams and aspirations, goals which we want to achieve; as we age, we lose sight, settling for a paycheck, settling for . . . less. We find ourselves slowly fading into life’s many gray areas. These negative spaces are stagnant pools into which we will lose our dreams. My book offers a way out of those middling spaces—for only $29.95 in hardcover. I hear the paperback is due out next spring, but admittedly, I haven’t been “in the loop” for about a year now.

RJK: It’s funny you mention that, Dr. Sparrow. That was going to be my next question. A year ago you seemed to vanish from a book signing event at Harrison & Main Booksellers—

AS: Oh. Yes. I suppose I did—[Static.]

RJK: According to the news reports, you interrupted your reading, abandoned the lectern for a trip to the restroom, and just disappeared.

AS: Disappear isn’t the exact way I’d describe it—

RJK: Can you tell us what happened? Why have you decided to speak out about it now?

AS: What happened? [static] I’ll tell you what happened, Mrs. Keller. Donovan Candle is what happened. That arrogant son of a bitch thought he could disrupt everything I’d worked so hard to accomplish, and— [His rant is garbled by electronic interference.]

RJK: Dr. Sparrow? I’m losing you. Are you still there? Hello?

AS: —Of course I’m still here. I’m everywhere. In your phone, in your television, a paragon of mediocrity ready to consume the world—I am the Monochrome King!

RJK: Uh . . . right. Can we get back on topic?

AS: If you prefer. Don’t fucking ask me about that day at the bookstore. Strike that from the record. Understood?

RJK: Sure. Whatever you like. May we continue?

AS: Please, Mrs. Keller. Continue.

RJK: Right then. You mentioned being the “king” of the “Monochrome?” What is that?

AS: The Monochrome is a metaphor I use in ALO for the gray areas of reality. The place beneath the murk, where your dreams go to die. The place that will consume society one bite at a time. [He pauses for a moment.] Or, Mrs. Keller, perhaps it isn’t a metaphor at all. [His laughter dissolves into static.]

RJK: Hah, very funny, Dr. Sparrow. I just have one more question before we wrap up this interview: Who is Donovan Candle?

AS: [Silence.]

RJK: Dr. Sparrow? Hello?

AS: [Static.] Donovan Candle is a worthless man. He is a coward. He is the reason I’m stuck in this place, and I will have my retribution. There are only gods and insects, Mrs. Keller. I am not an insect. I am the King of the—

RJK: The Monochrome. Right. Got it. I think that’s about all for now. Thanks for your time, Dr. Sparrow.

AS: DO NOT MOCK ME— [His words fade into a garbled mess. The line goes dead.]