Melissa Reads :: Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

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Career of EvilSynopsis:

When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman’s severed leg.

Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past who he thinks could be responsible–and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality.

With the police focusing on the one suspect Strike is increasingly sure is not the perpetrator, he and Robin take matters into their own hands, and delve into the dark and twisted worlds of the other three men. But as more horrendous acts occur, time is running out for the two of them…

Career of Evil is the third in the highly acclaimed series featuring private detective Cormoran Strike and his assistant Robin Ellacott. A fiendishly clever mystery with unexpected twists around every corner, it is also a gripping story of a man and a woman at a crossroads in their personal and professional lives.

My Rank: 5 stars

To say that I liked Career of Evil would be a gross understatement. I freakin’ loved it. The sort of love that leaves you shaking after the final page — that sort of love.

By far my favorite in the Cormoran Strike series, Career of Evil is more thriller than detective, which is one of the big reasons why I enjoyed it so much more than the other two. (I’ve always had a lukewarm relationship with detective/murder mysteries.) But it isn’t just the burning desire to unveil the sadistic killer that makes this book delightful. It’s the ‘ordinary’ characters. The growing camaraderie and building tension of unspoken desires between Strike and Robin, the manipulative, controlling, possessive undercurrents of Matthew, the smelly old Land Rover, the inviting pubs with their beer-battered fish and chips … Galbraith paints a vivid picture of characters and setting with one seriously creepy plot and hits a home run.

Favorite Lines:

“All right, who d’you know who likes chopping up corpses and sending them through the post?”

—-

A woman had died in what were likely to have been terrible, brutal circumstances, and nobody seemed to care as much as Robin did. Death and a hatchet had reduced the unknown female to a lump of meat, a problem to be solves and she, Robin, felt as through she was the only person to remember that a living, breathing human being had been using that leg, perhaps as recently as a week ago…

—-

This, he thought, was how women roped you in. They added you to lists and forced you to confirm and commit. They impressed upon you that if you didn’t show up a plate of hot food would go begging, a gold-backed chair would remain unoccupied, a cardboard place name would sit shamefully upon a table, announcing your rudeness to the world.

—-

 

New Writings and Other Ridiculously Exciting Things

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Hello World! It’s been forever since I’ve actually written up a post, but here I am, at the keyboard…

I’ve had a bit of a dry patch with the writing, but things have changed these last few months with two projects that I’m pretty pumped about. I’ve always thought I work better later in the year. Also I will be dusting off THE ORPHAN AND THE THIEF and giving it a serious going over. See below for further details…

If you follow me on facebook or twitter (and I just joined Instagram–Yay!) you might have noticed an excitement regarding a certain literary agent and myself. I have signed (SIGNED) with Molly Jaffa (CO-DIRECTOR OF FOREIGN RIGHTS AND ALL AROUND AMAZING PERSON) at Folio Literary Management (AN AGENCY WITH AGENTS AND ME!!). As you can surmise, I’m thrilled and pinch myself three times a day.

Harry PotterAnd to all my fellow Potterheads who bought the Jim Kay illustrated edition: Isn’t it the most stunning, impressive, delightful, amazing, gorgeous, makes-you-giddy-about-Harry-Potter-all-over-again-book you have ever seen? I can’t stop flipping the pages and staring.

Harry PotterHarry PotterI need Chamber of Secrets, Jim.

Guest Author Lin Stepp

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Yesterday Lin Stepp’s novel SAVING LAUREL SPRINGS was featured. It’s out in stores now!

Lin SteppThank you so much for chatting with me today. Why don’t you introduce yourself.

I’m Dr. Lin Stepp, a native Tennessean, a businesswoman, and educator—and now an author with Kensington Publishing. I’ve taught psychology courses and research for 16 years with Tusculum College … and worked in marketing, sales, production art, and regional publishing for over 25 years. My latest novel SAVING LAUREL SPRINGS just released with Kensington on September 29th and to date I have eight published novels set in the Smokies, a novella in Kensington’s 2014 Christmas anthology When the Snow Falls and a hiking guidebook THE AFTERNOON HIKER, co-authored with my husband J.L., describing 110 trails in the Great Smoky Mountains with over 300 color photos throughout.

You can find me via my website, Kensington Publishing’s website, and on Facebook and Twitter at:

WEBSITE: www.linstepp.com

AUTHOR FACEBOOK PAGE: www.facebook.com/Lin-Stepp/715932788428635

My FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/linstepp

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE: http://www.amazon.com/Lin-Stepp/e/B0028OJMPA

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/linstepp

KENSINGTON: http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/author.aspx/27477

Give me a random tidbit about you. It could be anything. Anything at all.

I grew up in East Tennessee near the Smoky Mountains. My relatives trekked down the Appalachian Trail to help settle this area and I have explored the mountains and loved them all my life. One of my greatest joys is to bring readers to visit in the Smoky Mountains I love so much through my books. One of my readers said: You are without doubt east Tennessee’s best ambassador for tourism (don’t tell Dolly though!) that I know of. I cherish that comment and the idea that I make readers yearn to visit the mountains of east Tennessee. The comment “don’t tell Dolly though” comes from the fact that Dolly Parton sent me a wonderful endorsement for my first Smokies-set novel, which my publisher and I loved, and she asked that I send her a copy of every Smoky Mtn novel I published, and I have. It’s fun having Dolly Parton as a book fan!

Wow — Dolly Parton! That is fun! How long have you been writing? How many books have you written? They can be published or not published.

As a younger woman I wrote copy as a production artist and occasional articles in business and academic fields—and dabbled with fiction—but I never seriously pursued writing until mid-life. This should be an encouragement to many reading this, and one of my favorite quotes is: “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”

I have ten published novels; I made the USA Today and Publishers Weekly Best-Seller lists last year and went international with my books.

Making Miracles by Lin SteppCongratulations! Which genre do you prefer writing the most? What challenges do you face in this genre?

I write contemporary Southern fiction with a bit of romance, a touch of suspense, a sprinkling of inspiration, and a big dollop of Appalachian flavor. To date, all my novels have been set in different regions around the Smoky Mountains … and another is due out in March 2016 titled WELCOME BACK. I love taking readers to a different location around the mountains in each book with a new, stand-alone story and a new set of characters in every novel. My 2014 book DOWN BY THE RIVER was set on the quiet side of the Smokies in Townsend, Tennessee, MAKIN’ MIRACLES (Jan 2015) was set amid the charm of downtown Gatlinburg, SAVING LAUREL SPRINGS (Sept 2015) takes readers to the rural community of Cosby on the northeast side of the Smokies, and WELCOME BACK (coming Mar 2016) is set in Maggie Valley on the North Carolina side of the mountains.

Challenges in writing books in a specific locale are in bringing that setting to life for the reader in a “real” way –with actual places, bits of factual history, characters true to the region, and an engaging story. My publisher even uses one of my hand-drawn maps in the front of each of my books to bring the setting to life for my readers.

Saving Laurel Springs by Lin SteppYou make me want to book a trip to Tennessee. Tell me more about
SAVING LAUREL SPRINGS.

In studying Appalachian history, I enjoyed reading about the many resorts and campground that built up on old assembly grounds, mineral springs sites, and mountain retreat areas. In their prime eras, many were visited by dignitaries and famous names and were truly elegant places. A few still remain, although many have disappeared or declined. I liked the idea of setting a novel on one of these old assembly-campgrounds and creating a story around it, which is what I did in the novel set in the fictitious Laurel Springs Camp Assembly Grounds.

Characters Rhea Dean and Carter Layman had grown up at Laurel Springs and always dreamed of bringing it back to its old glory. But Carter went away and married someone else, with Rhea staying on, trying to keep Laurel Springs going. When Carter returns, widowed with a small son, wealthy and determined to turn Laurel Springs into the place he and Rhea once dreamed of … the two face many challenges. The big question is: Can they forgive the past and trust in each other again? And can the old love they once knew find life again?

Around Carter and Rhea’s story spins the story of Laurel Springs, the Cosby area of the Smoky Mountains, the families and friends of the couple, and several unsolved mysteries and problems going on at Laurel Springs.

How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or see where the story leads?

I am a consummate planner. Once I envision and lay out the general idea, main characters, and conflicts of a book … I spend about three months researching, planning and working on a book’s characters, setting, and plot before starting the writing. I create a chapter-to-chapter outline, locate photos of characters and places that may be in my books (I’m very visually inspired) and I visit the books’ settings to saturate myself in the feeling of the area. Once those stages are complete, I write my books, each taking about three months to finish. So, around my teaching and other jobs, it takes me about six months to write a book.

Editing can be quite the challenge. How do you go about editing your work? Do you have any tips you’d like to share?

For me, writing and editing are like wearing two different hats. Writing is highly creative – so when I write I wear that “artist” hat and I write. Except for minor editing, the main task is to write the book. I read through the chapter I finished the day before to get back into the flow of the story and then move on into the next chapter or section.

When my book is complete, I lay it aside for a time and then return wearing my analytical “professor” hat to edit. Now I’m reading with an outside view to tighten, correct, and improve the work previously created. Usually as a final edit—preferably a few weeks later—I read the book out loud to myself to do the final edit before submission to my publishing editor. It’s amazing the things an author can “hear” that are wrong when reading a book out loud.

When I work with my publishing editors, I understand, always, that they are trying to help me strengthen my work to make it even better—and I value their input. Every book needs to be edited and every author needs to self-edit prior to submission and to work with good, professional outside editors before publishing a book, no matter what publishing route is pursued.

The Afternoon HikerTalk to me about your marketing strategies. Any tips?

A favorite phrase of mine is: “Your book is your business.” It’s your product. It will sell if it’s good and it will sell if you advertise, work, and market it. No one comes to your door knocking to look at your book. You have to get out there to work—to find and connect with your readers to help your book be successful and to build readership for your writing.

Each author is an individual, but most successful authors utilize: (1) a good website; (2) social media used regularly; and (3) marketing both in-office and out of office to make their books successful. In-office marketing could be connecting with reviewers and bloggers, gaining interviews for newspapers, magazines, and online sites, calling libraries and bookstores to tell them about your book and its availability. Out-of-office marketing means doing book signings at bookstores and other venues, calling on book sales locations to drop off order information and to tell them about your product, doing radio and television interviews, and speaking for book clubs, civic groups and organizations, literary festivals, and other events.

I truly believe we all ‘reap what we sow.’ … If you sow little and sit back expecting your books to sell themselves or for your publisher to do it all for you, you’ll reap scantily. If you sow more, and work diligently to promote and market your books, those efforts will multiply and you’ll see good results and a good return.

What advice would you give a writer who is just starting out?

Be teachable. Writing and publishing books is a business – and an author has to learn that business as they go. Just as you might go to school to learn nursing or some other profession … you will have to work hard to “learn” the business of writing and publishing from other professionals – but in a more “self-educated” ever-growing, ever-gaining way, being willing to study and learn, and without a “know-it-all” arrogance.

Some people will truly help you and some will exploit you, knowing you are green, young, and growing. But persevere. There is nothing more joyous to an artist of any type than sharing their creative work with others.

Thank you again, Lin! I wish you all the best!

If you are an author and would like to be interviewed, check out more at Be My Guest.

Book Spotlight: Saving Laurel Springs by Lin Stepp

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“A charming portrait of the Smokies, their people, and a wonderful way of life.” –Deborah Smith, New York Times bestselling author

Saving Laurel Springs by Lin SteppIn a heartwarming novel set amid the lush splendor of the Great Smoky Mountains, Lin Stepp reunites two kindred spirits in a charming story of first love and surprising second chances. . .

See ya later–and love you forever, Rhea Dean. Those are the words Rhea’s childhood sweetheart, Carter Layman, used to say whenever they parted. Not that she places much stock in words anymore. After all, Carter drove off to college in California, promising to make a fortune to help save their families’ vacation resort. Instead he stayed there and married someone else. It fell to Rhea to keep Laurel Springs going and she’s done just that, working long hours on the camp grounds, buoyed by the beauty of her Smokies home.

Now a widower with a young son, Carter has achieved huge success as a games developer. But he always planned to return to the spring-fed lake and the soaring mountains, to the covered bridge where he and Rhea made wishes and traded kisses. He’s coming home to turn Laurel Springs into the place they planned to build together. And as he reveals the truth about his past, Rhea must decide whether to trust in the man–and the dreams–she’s never forgotten.

Where to Purchase

Amazon ~ Goodreads

Follow Lin

Facebook ~ Website ~ Twitter

 

If you are an author and would like your novel featured, click here to find out how.

Roses. Who knew.

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Life on the farm is calming down and the itch to write is returning. (I keep trying to tell myself that it’s been a very long and lovely break, but honestly I am thrilled to be enthused about my writing again.) Book four — can I actually call it book four? — is in infancy and I’m excited about it. This morning I was flipping through an old rose encyclopedia and stumbled upon some fun names that might find their way into the book. Check out the pic:

CM2-PCmXAAA5mSgWhat about you? Where do you find names for those tricky characters and places?

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Told in Art

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Warning: Excessively long with excessive spoilers.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Told in Art:

Harry sat down on his bed and grabbed Errol’s package, ripped off the brown paper, and discovered a present wrapped in gold, and his first ever birthday card.

Keith James

Keith James

Harry scanned the moving photograph, and a grin spread across his face as he saw all nine of the Weasleys waving furiously at him, standing in front of a large pyramid.

Marta T

Marta T

He bent over his trunk again, but almost immediately stood up once more, his hand clenched on his wand. He had sensed rather than heard it: someone or something was standing in the narrow gap between the garage and the fence behind him.

Tealin

Tealin

With a yell, he rolled back onto the pavement, just in time. A second later, a gigantic pair of wheels and headlights screeched to a halt exactly where Harry had just been lying. They belonged, as Harry saw when he raised his head, to a triple-decker, violently purple bus, which had appeared out of thin air.

Evan Wakelin

Evan Wakelin

“It’s my rat,” he told the witch. “He’s been a bit off-color ever since I brought him back from Egypt.”

Glockgal

Glockgal

“And what about Scabbers?” said Ron, pointing at the lump in his chest pocket. “He needs rest and relaxation! How’s he going to get it with that thing around?”

Marta T

Marta T

Harry, Ron, and Hermione set off down the corridor, looking for an empty compartment, but all were full except for the one at the very end of the train. This had only one occupant, a man sitting fast asleep next to the window.

Jenny Dolfen

Jenny Dolfen

And then the thing beneath the hood, whatever it was, drew a long, slow, rattling breath, as though it were trying to suck something more than air from its surroundings.

Vildamir

Vildamir

“Really, what has got into you all today?” said Professor McGonagall, turning back into herself with a faint pop, and staring around at them all. “Not that it matters, but that’s the first time my transformation’s not got applause from a class.”

Heather Campbell

Heather Campbell

A few cauldrons away, Neville was in trouble. Neville regularly went to pieces in Potions lessons; it was his worst subject, and his great fear of Professor Snape made things ten times worse. His potion, which was supposed to be a bright, acid green, hand turned–

“Orange, Longbottom,” said Snape, ladling some up and allowing it to splash back into the cauldron, so that everyone could see. “Orange. Tell me, boy, does anything penetrate that thick skull of yours?”

Tealin

Tealin

[Professor Lupin] raised the wand to shoulder height, said, “Waddiwasi!” and pointed it at Peeves.

With the force of a bullet, the wad of chewing gum shot out of the keyhole and straight down Peeves’s left nostril; he whirled upright and zoomed away, cursing.

Heather Campbell

Heather Campbell

“When the boggart bursts out of this wardrobe, Neville, and sees you, it will assume the form of Professor Snape,” said Lupin. “And you will raise your want — thus — and cry ‘Riddikulus‘ — and concentrate hard on your grandmother’s clothes. If all goes well, Professor Boggart Snape will be forced into that vulture-topped hat, and that green dress, with that big red handbag.”

Hallie Lu Ya

Hallie Lu Ya

“George caused a diversion by dropping another Dungbomb, I whipped the drawer open, and grabbed — this.” …

“Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs,” sighed George, patting the heading of the map. “We owe them so much.

Vira13

Vira13

It was a Firebolt, identical to the dream broom Harry had gone to see every day in Diagon Alley. Its handle glittered as he picked it up. He could feel it vibrating and let go; it hung in midair, unsupported, at exactly the right height for him to mount it.

Tealin

Tealin

“My dears! which of you left his seat first? Which?”

“Dunno,” said Ron, looking uneasily at Harry.

“I doubt it will make much difference,” said Professor McGonagall coldly, “unless a mad axe-man is waiting outside the doors to slaughter the first into the entrance hall.”

Heather Campbell

Heather Campbell

“Malfoy is not having hallucinations,” snarled Snape, and he bent down, a hand on each arm of Harry’s chair, so that their faces were a foot apart. “If your head was in Hogsmeade, so was the rest of you.”

Tealin

Tealin

“Go! Go! Go!” Harry urged his broom. He was gaining on Malfoy — Harry flattened himself to the broom handle as Bole sent a Bludger at him — he was at Malfoy’s ankles — he was level —

Glockgal

Glockgal

“Hermione!” said Lupin, startled. “What’s the matter?”

“P — P — Professor McGonagall!” Hermione gasped, pointing into the trunk. “Sh — she said I’d failed everything!”

Heather Campbell

Heather Campbell

“Not a dog,” Ron moaned. His teeth were gritted with pain. “Harry, it’s a trap –”

“What –”

He’s the dog … he’s an Animagus …

Tealin

Tealin

“Going to kill me, Harry?” he whispered.

Tealin

Tealin

“What?” Ron said again, holding Scabbers close to him, looking scared. “What’s my rat got to do with anything?”

“That’s not a rat,” croaked Sirius Black suddenly.

“What d’you mean — of course he’s a rat — ”

“No, he’s not,” said Lupin quietly. “He’s a wizard.”

“An Animagus,” said Black, “by the name of Peter Pettigrew.”

Amanda Grazini

Amanda Grazini

A cloud shifted. There were suddenly dim shadows on the ground. Their party was bathed in moonlight … Harry could see Lupin’s silhouette. He had gone rigid. Then his limbs began to shake.

Tealin

Tealin

The dark ward dissolved. Harry had the sensation that he was flying very fast, backward. A blur of colors and shapes rushed past him, his ears were pounding, he tried to yell but couldn’t hear his own voice–

Jess Siswick

Jess Siswick

And out of the end of his wand burst, not a shapeless cloud of mist ,but a blinding, dazzling, silver animal. He screwed up his eyes, trying to see what it was. It looked like a horse. It was galloping silently away from him, across the black surface of the lake. He saw it lower its head and charge at the swarming dementors…

Sharpfish

Sharpfish

“He’s there!” Harry said, spotting Sirius as they rose up beside the window He reached out, and as Buckbeak’s wings fell, was able to tap sharply on the glass.

Tealin

Tealin

“We did it!” said Harry breathlessly. “Sirius has gone, on Buckbeak…”

Dumbledore beamed at them.

“Well done. I think –” He listened intently for any sound within the hospital wing. “Yes, I think you’ve gone too — get inside — I’ll lock you in –”

 

Tealin

Tealin

He and Hermione were waiting, listening, their nerves jangling … And then, as they both took a fourth pieces of chocolate from Madam Pomfrey, they heard a distant roar of fury echoing from somewhere above them…

Tealin

Tealin

Dumbledore alone looked calm. Indeed, he looked as though he was quite enjoying himself. Fudge appeared angry. But Snape was beside himself.

“OUT WITH IT, POTTER!” he bellowed. “WHAT DID YOU DO?”

Tealin

Tealin

Snape stood there, seething, staring from Fudge, who looked thoroughly shocked at his behavior, to Dumbledore, whose eyes were twinkling behind his glasses.

Tealin

Tealin

“Why so miserable, Harry?” [Dumbledore] said quietly. “You should be very proud of yourself after last night.”

“It didn’t make any difference,” said Harry bitterly. “Pettigrew got away.”

“Didn’t make an difference?” said Dumbledore quietly. “It made all the difference in the world, Harry.”

Tealin

Tealin

Harry quickly pulled down the window, stretched out his arm, and caught it. … The owl dropped its letter onto Harry’s seat and began zooming around their compartment, apparently very pleased with itself for accomplishing its task.

Tealin

Tealin

“What do’you reckon?” Ron asked the cat. “Definitely an owl?”

Robin Edwards

Robin Edwards

Harry read and reread the letter from Sirius all the way back into King’s Cross station.

Wacca

Wacca

Melissa Reads :: Uprooted by Naomi Novik

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UprootedSynopsis:

“Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

My Rank: 4 stars

This is the kind of book that sticks with you: lush imagery, intriguing characters, bittersweet, and at times, very, very sad. In my opinion, the strongest character is Kasia — the relationship between the two girls is one of the aspects of Uprooted that I loved the most. Oddly, the Dragon lost his appeal for me in the later half of the book. He was much more fascinating and dominating in the first half with Kasia taking up the more powerful role in the later part. The magic was unique and ancient in vibe with loooong chants. I loved that Agnieszka went about her magic in a polar opposite fashion from the Dragon, with intuition and emotion rather than strict discipline.

And the Wood. Holy smokes. The Wood is terrifying. When Agnieszka says to the Dragon: “Will you go into the Wood with me?” this was pretty much my reaction:

giphyFavorite Lines

And I wasn’t old enough to be wise, so I loved her more, not less, because I knew she would be taken from me soon.

>>>>

…truth didn’t mean anything without someone to share it with; you could shout truth into the air forever, and spend your life doing it, if someone didn’t come and listen.

>>>>

“What an unequaled gift for disaster you have.”

>>>>

“Let her out!” I screamed at the tree. I beat on its trunk with my muddy fists. “Let her out, or I’ll bring you down!…”

>>>>

Guest Author Francis Powell

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Francis PowellPlease introduce yourself. Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?

I am Francis H Powell, author of Flight of Destiny, a book of 22 short stories.

Born in a commuter belt city called Reading and like many a middle or upper class child of such times I was shunted off to an all-male boarding school aged eight, away from my parents for periods of up to twelve weeks at a time. In such an institution, where I was to rest until my seventeenth year, there was no getting away from the cruel jibes hurled at me from taunting tormentors. My refuge was the arts room, where I started to find some kind of redemption from the stark Dickensian surroundings, whose aim was nurture the army officers, businessmen, and gentry that dominate the class ridden world I was born into. The seeds were sown, I was an outsider. Happier times were to follow. I went to art school, where I attempted to exorcize my time spent at school. At eighteen I turned my back on a parental enforced weekly visit to church and my head was filled with a range of nonconformist ideas. While at my first Art college through a friend I met a writer called Rupert Thomson, who was at the time in the process of writing his first book “Dreams of leaving”. He was a bit older than myself, me being fresh out of school, but his personality and wit resonated and despite losing contact with him, I always read his latest published books with not only great expectation and unabashed admiration, but also a fascination for a person I had really looked up to, his sentences always tight, shooting arrows that always hit the mark. My yearning to be creative stayed strong and diversified, from my twenties through to my thirties and forties I made electronic music, doing concerts, in front ecstasy infused crowds, at a point I was making videos and short films. When the age of the internet arrived I was really able translate my creative endeavors into something really tangible. To earn a living I have worked as a teacher. I moved to Austria where upon I thought I would try writing. It is sure that my writing at that time was rough and rugged and without direction. I dived into a story about immortality, the story remains vegetating on some dusty floppy disk. Then tried short stories for children with illustrations to go with them. It wasn’t until I was in my mid-forties that my writing took shape. I was at this point living in Paris, France. I spotted an advert for short stories. The magazine happened to be called Rat Mort (dead rat) I sent off a short story, in the hope it would match the seemingly dark world the magazine seemed to embroiled in. I got no answer. Not put off I sent two more stories. Finally I got an answer. It seemed the magazine editor was a busy man, a man prone to traveling. It seemed my first story really hit the right note with him. His name was Alan Clark. He had a flat in the Montmartre area of Paris, where he seemed known to all, especially those who frequented his favorite drinking haunts. He offered me many words of encouragement.

I can be found at

http://theflightofdestiny.yolasite.com/

https://www.facebook.com/flightofdestinyshortstories

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwNl0F6095Q

http://www.prlog.org/12443660

http://www.amazon.com/Flight-Destiny-Francis-H-Powell/dp/0988664097/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Give me a random tidbit about you. It could be anything. Anything at all.

I was born in the UK, but have lived in two foreign countries. I am presently living in France, I previously lived in Austria. I was once on Austrian TV, wearing a kilt, pretending to toss a caber. I was at the time very skinny and did look the part of a caber tossing Scot.

How long have you been writing? How many books have you written? They can be published or not published.

I have been writing on and off for a long time. I have had short stories published in magazines and on internet websites. I have had poetry published in anthologies. Flight of Destiny is an anthology of my short stories and includes 22 illustrations which I also did.

Which genre do you prefer writing the most? What challenges do you face in this genre?

I write dark surreal stories, that have an element of wit. The challenge is to get the reader hooked from the start, with a powerful opening line. For the stories to build and build and move in the direction of a powerful ending. With my endings I like to give them a dramatic unexpected twist. With short stories, you need each sentence to be very precise and to serve a function. You need to establish the main plot and characters very quickly. At the same time I like some of my stories to have a certain amount of ambiguity, so the reader asks…is this real?

FODFrontCoverMed.jpg.opt221x331o0,0s221x331Tell me more about Flight of Destiny.

Flight of Destiny is a collection of short stories about misfortune. They are characterized by unexpected final twists, that come at the end of each tale. They are dark and surreal tales, set around the world, at different time periods. They show a world in which anything can happen. It is hard to determine reality and what is going on a disturbed mind. People’s conceptions about morality are turned upside down. A good person can be transformed by an unexpected event into a bad person and then back again to their former state. The high and mighty often deliver flawed arguments, those considered wicked make good representations of themselves. Revenge is often a subject explored.

How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump straight in with the initial idea?

I don’t really create outlines. Ideas come to me suddenly. I live with my stories in my head, working where they are going. I establish characters very quickly within the stories. I suppose I am more of a dive straight in person.

Editing can be quite the challenge. How do you go about editing your work? Do you have any tips you’d like to share?

Editing was complicated to say the least. E mails were sent back and forth, between me and my editor. There is always a danger of over editing and the editors interpretation and an author’s interpretation is not always the same.

Talk to me about your marketing strategies. Any tips?

I am going through the process of marketing at the moment. I am exploring any avenue possible. I am learning as I go along. You often have to depend other people’s (often other writer’s good will). I do an author to author interview exchange, I post interviews with other authors on my website. I am also promoting my book trailer. I am trying to build up the number of followers I have on twitter.

And I wish you the best of luck! Thank you so much Francis!

If you are an author and would like to be interviewed, check out more at Be My Guest.

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