Monday, November 25, 2013

Senior Experiment: ARC Giveaway!

Andrew D. Carlson is the author of the science fiction novels Sue's Fingerprint and Sue's Vision. Senior Experiment is his debut YA novel, and he has generously offered to give Writing Belle readers advance copies of the book before it releases. He will ship internationally - so anybody can enter! Good luck, and check out the synopsis of Senior Experiment below.

Synopsis:
Anthony Cassano’s unique, A-plus idea for Senior Experiment in chemistry class is stolen by another student, Gregory Gray, who claims the idea as his own, impressing the teacher.  Anthony becomes furious and devises a plan to sabotage Greg’s experiment.

At the same time, Anthony starts a relationship with Amber Green, a smart and pretty classmate he’s had his eye on since the beginning of the year.  They both happen to be at Starbucks one day, their “lucky day,” and Amber takes the lead.

Anthony tries to separate his new love life with Amber from the conflict with Gregory, but his attention is often diverted from Amber when Gregory taunts him and shows up in the same places; the coffee shop, the basketball game, the jock’s party, and the mall.  These appearances haunt Anthony, further fueling his desire for revenge.

As the end of the semester approaches, Anthony’s quest for vengeance turns into obsession and continually disrupts his connection with Amber.  His thoughts delude and overwhelm him, pushing her out of his consciousness--even after a night of passion.  Not tolerating his repeated rejection, Amber finally shuts Anthony out her life.  He’ll only be allowed back once he agrees to “let it go.”


About Andrew Carlson 
Andrew Carlson is a scientist who writes fiction for young and old adults (and all those in between).

He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in chemistry from St. Olaf College and has worked in the biotech/pharmaceutical industry for over twenty years.  His books are all based on science, sometimes loosely, other times solidly. His first book is Sue’s Fingerprint; a soft science fiction novel.  It’s the story of humans cloned from alien goo that was sent to Earth, and the DHS agent that was assigned to contain them.  Can he control the "alien threat?"  The sequel, Sue's Vision, follows the clones as they start to live their new lives, all under the watchful eyes of DHS.  All is well until they get a message from the extinct alien species that sent the goo.

Andrew has taken a break from the Sue series to write his first YA novel, Senior Experiment.

To win a copy of Senior Experiment (Andrew is giving away paperback or PDF copies, and he will ship overseas!), enter the rafflecopter form below! 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 22, 2013

Bestselling Post-Apocalyptic Author G. Michael Hopf


If an EMP destroyed your world, what would you do? Does it sound like a familiar premise? Like me, G. Michael Hopf writes post-apocalyptic fiction. His New World Series have become Amazon bestsellers, which includes The End and The Long Road. I stopped to talk to Mr. Hopf about his career as a writer, his inspiration when penning this series, and what exactly an EMP is, in case you didn't know. 

Me: Introduce yourself! Who are you? And my favorite introductory question: Why are you a writer? 

Michael: Who am I? Isn't that the ultimate question in so many ways. The answer that is given is one that we ourselves use to define who we want to be perceived by the world. People tend to answer with titles or adjectives that they think are impressive. So here goes. I am a full time novelist who lives in sunny San Diego with my beautiful family, Tahnee, my wife and two daughters, Scarlette and Savannah. I have lived several other lives that have shaped the man I am today. From a combat veteran of the Marine Corps, commercial diver (not driver), bodyguard and entrepreneur. 

As far as writing goes, I began writing over 20 years ago. I kept a journal where I wrote wonderful short stories that no one ever read. I finally decided in 2010 to get serious about it and first came out with a children's book. After completing that task I set to writing my first novel in 2011, I completed it 18 months later and self-published it in April of this year. I write because I love the ability to create worlds, characters and situations and then shape those worlds and create outcomes that I hope others will find exciting.   

Me: Tell us about the first installment in your post-apocalyptic series, The End.

Michael: The End - A Post-apocalyptic Novel is the first book in a 7 book series that follows several point of view characters as they navigate a world where several super-EMP weapons have been detonated leaving the power grid destroyed and the population fighting for rapidly vanishing resources. The point of view characters take the reader around the world. You get to follow a man and his family in Southern California, a Marine in Afghanistan and the Speaker of the House as he finds himself pushed into the presidency. I take the readers on a journey to get an understanding how those three elements, civilian, military and government would relate to such an event.

Me: You write post-apocalyptic survival stories. So do I! I love PA fiction because it's exciting and plausible. Why do you write in this genre? 

Michael: I write PA fiction because I love it. I love reading and watching all PA fiction that exists out there. I think it is fun to see how other writers view, 'what could be, if'. I love how gritty and real it is, if done right. PA fiction shows true human interaction and emotion.  

Me: Like your books, my post-apocalyptic novels also deal with the effects of an EMP. Give us the rundown on what an EMP actually is, for those who may not be familiar with it. 

Michael: I used an EMP as my weapon that ushers in the apocalypse because of how plausible it is. With my years of research on the topic I found that EMP's are more science fact than fiction. We know that the sun can cause an EMP with a coronal mass ejection or it can be caused by a nuclear warhead detonated high in the atmosphere. In my novels I use the theoretical weapon known as a 'super-EMP'. This is where a nuclear warhead has been designed specifically to enhance the gamma ray output essentially enhancing  the volts per meter the EMP would be. So as to not bore the readers too much I'll give a brief explanation of a nuclear EMP. When a nuclear weapon is detonated high in the atmosphere it has three stages where gamma rays or radiation interacts with the high atmosphere and Earth's magnetic field. 
The reason I used the super-EMP is because in my research I found that a traditional EMP may not be universal or complete have a complete failure of systems across the country. There are many factors for a traditional EMP to have blanket coverage. Height of detonation, size (yield) of the device and location. With a super-EMP the volts per meter that is released is so high and the area it can effect is so immense that nothing electrical will survive. In my books I wanted nothing to work. I wanted all my characters thrust back to the 19th century with many not having the skill sets to live in the time period.

Me: Where did the inspiration for the New World Series come from? 

Michael: I have always been fascinated with end of the world scenarios. I can't say there is one thing that is an inspiration. For the most part I wanted to give the PA world my version of 'what if'. 

Me: According to your biography, you are "a combat veteran of the Marine Corps, a former bodyguard to the Saudi Royal family, entrepreneur and bestselling author."  How does your background affect your fictional endeavors? 

Michael: I definitely use my background to shape characters in my book. Professionally, I have spanned civilian, government and military. I wanted to have characters in my books that came from all three. I do feel that my background does give my characters depth specifically as it pertains to technical details. 

Me: How long did it take you to write The End

Michael: It took me 18 months to complete, The End, but my sequel, The Long Road took 4 months to complete and my new novel, I'm writing for Penguin/Random House will be completed in 3 months (first draft). 

Me: Fun questions! Do you listen to music when you write? What's your favorite writing snack? 

Michael: I always listen to music when I write. I specifically look for types of music, i.e. hard rock / heavy metal when writing  fight scenes. I share with my readers the music I'm listening to so they can get an idea of what scene I'm writing. I don't tend to snack when I write, I do drink though. In the morning, I'll have a large mug of french roast coffee and in the evening Ill enjoy one or two tall IPAs.  

Me: Any advice to aspiring authors that you'd like to offer? 

Michael: I give this advice to all aspiring authors, here it is...... just write. I know it might sound lame but I find most writers stop themselves before they even put one word down. So many will tell themselves they need education, classes. seminars, blah, blah, blah. Actually, you don't need anything like that. Just write. Get your story down on paper, give your idea life then work on it afterwards by going to classes, seminars etc. Fine tune it with editing. An editor is critical by the way. Find one. Your friends and family don't count. Don't let your head interfere with your hearts desire of writing. Just write! 

About G. Michael Hopf 
G. Michael Hopf is a combat veteran of the Marine Corps, a former bodyguard for the Saudi Royal family, entrepreneur, and best-selling author.
He is an expert on the threat of EMP and how to best prepare in the event. He wrote The End  and The Long Road (Books 1 & 2 in The New World series)to illustrate the effects our nation would suffer if ever attacked by this type of weapon.  

He and his family currently reside in San Diego, CA.

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Writing is ART: Don't Forget it! (Guest Post by Angela Kulig)


Angela Kulig writes. In fact, you might say that she writes a lot. She has penned several novels, and Pigments of my Imagination, a supernatural YA love story, is her most recent contribution to the world of books. It follows the story of a girl named Lucia who finds that perhaps this is not the only life she's ever lived...and maybe she's got more to worry about than passing her art exams. Angela understands that writing is a form of art, and today she's here to talk about that very subject, something I like to call the art of storytelling

Angela Kulig:

Writing is ART, Don't Forget It.

Sometimes I worry, people have forgotten that writing is an art form. If it was strictly for communication, the only fiction would probably be propaganda. Things like, Jill Didn't Pay Her Taxes, Then Jill Went to Jail. Thankfully, we haven't devolved to that; and writing is still art—even if people refuse to believe it.

It seems to me these days that people get so caught up in defining what is a good book and what is a bad book that they forget the reason for reading is actual enjoyment. I love art, and that's why I wrote my book Pigments of My Imagination. I love art, but that doesn't mean I like or understand every Degas piece. It doesn't mean that I don't secretly think my four year old twins have more raw talent that Pablo Picasso. It only means that I can like Amanda Hocking more than Steven King because of how their books make me feel, and I shouldn't be told I'm wrong.

You know that cliché phrase, “it's like comparing apples to oranges.”? How about comparing art to art? If you were to place a priceless Monet, next to a Rockwell—how would you score them if not by how they make you feel? How would you decide which was better?

Should their be a rating scale? Because that's how they do it with books.

So maybe we've over complicated things.

In my new young adult novel, Pigments of My Imagination, a group of artists lives life after life; loving, remembering, and leaving a trail of clues in priceless art that spans ages. It might be about art and love, but it's not more art or love than any other book. Some artists work in oils or clay, but I'm the kind of artist that works in words and emotions. So what's more real? Pages or paintings?

About Angela Kulig
Angela Kulig is an American Gypsy and former pirate. She's traveled from sea to shining sea, and though she is currently trapped in the desert against her will, she escapes every day in the form of many books. When not writing, or running her publishing cooperative, Angela can be found procrastinating on Twitter with the best of them.
Author Links 




Friday, November 15, 2013

Surviving the Apocalypse with Larry Kollar

Survival? I have a thing for it. My books are adventure novels, centered primarily on survival in a post-apocalyptic world. So I was pretty excited when Larry Kollar, the author of the post-apocalyptic "Truckalypse" Series offered to stop by Writing Belle and talk about the very subject that fascinates me. Looking to survive the apocalypse? Here are a few pointers from Mr. Kollar himself:

Larry Kollar:
My two-book “Truckalypse” series, White Pickups and the conclusion Pickups and Pestilence, chronicles the strangest apocalypse ever and those who survive to rebuild. What separates an "apocalypse" from a regular disaster is simple: only one of them is permanent. In Chapter 13 of White Pickups, Johnny lists the four primary needs for surviving either one: food, water, shelter, and fuel. These are the things that you need for any situation, from storm damage to apocalypse. (Weapons can provide both food and shelter, depending on the situation.)
The result of a Truckalypse scenario is similar to a hyper-deadly pandemic, as depicted in Stephen King's The Stand: the human population largely disappears without significant damage to structures. A zombie apocalypse would be similar as well, with the added wrinkle of hungry undead. In any case, with no people to keep utilities (power, water, sewer, natural gas) going, everything would cut off after a few days. So let's go over the basic needs and how to address them:
Shelter would be the least worrisome. As Johnny says in Chapter 13, "we have more shelter than we know what to do with." A middle suburban location like Laurel Hills is nearly ideal: a fenced subdivision keeps out things you don’t want around, and close proximity to gas stations and grocery stores (and other abandoned homes nearby) makes scavenging a low-effort activity.
Food is, in a Truckalypse scenario, abundant at first. But as our heroes continue to use up what's available, they have to replace those canned goods with hunting, gardening, and foraging. It's best to think of scavenging as an interim step, buying time to get food production under way. In places where rainfall is at least adequate, the number of edible plants growing wild might be surprising. In the US, many lawn weeds were introduced by European peasants, who used them for salad greens. Thus, those weeds are edible, or would be if not for the pesticides.
Without humans (who have all but eliminated competing predators in most places), "prey" animals would multiply quickly, and would often end up on the dinner table just to protect the gardens. This scenario is depicted in the upcoming sequel, Pickups and Pestilence, and addresses how feral dogs might fill the predator niche. The first summer after a Truckalypse would be a free-for-all outside the fences, and would be no picnic inside due to rats and insects looking for their next meal.
Fuel becomes a critical item quickly. It's needed both to cook food and to stay warm through the winter. Gasoline can be siphoned from fuel stations, but will go bad in a few weeks without adding some kind of preservative. If surplus food is available, ethanol production is feasible. Where I live, making ethanol is a long-standing tradition (they call it "moonshining"). Making methane from sewage is a simple process, and the heroes of White Pickups use it for cooking.
Firewood is a traditional heating fuel. It can often be found on the ground after storms, and is safe to store with minimal precautions. "Green" firewood (cut from living trees) doesn't heat as well as "seasoned" (dry) wood, so it's best to let green firewood dry out over a summer where possible. The heroes in White Pickups "produce" as much firewood as I do—barely enough to keep the fire going all winter—but I might have exaggerated their plight since I have a day job.
Water is a problem, and our heroes address it in the last two chapters. In north Georgia, it's not uncommon to go four to six weeks without significant rain during the late summer and early fall. Groundwater is always suspect in suburban and urban areas, due to pollution from runoff. Over time, if streams or rivers were not used to dump toxic wastes, they will flush themselves clean. However, that may not come soon enough for comfort's sake. Rural areas usually have safe groundwater, but limited opportunities for scavenging.
You need a minimum of a gallon per person per day, just for basic drinking, cooking, and washing needs. More, if you want a shower or bath. "Grey" water (from washing/bathing) can be safely used in gardens, so you can at least get double duty from that water. Still, unless you're in an area with predictable rainfall year-round, you can't depend only on rain barrels for your water supply.

If this has made you think about your own situation, and what kind of things might really happen in your life, the CDC has an entertaining zombie preparedness page that will let you be ready for just about anything. For brief (two- or three-day) outages, an older blog post of mine, 48 Hours in the Dark, might be helpful.


About Larry Kollar 
Larry Kollar lives in north Georgia, surrounded by kudzu, trees, and in-laws. His day job involves writing user manuals—some of which may have been fiction, but not by intent. He has had short fictional works published in the Hogglepot Journal, the Were-Traveler, and the anthology Best of Friday Flash, Vol. 2. Longer works include his first novel, White Pickups, and the popular Accidental Sorcerers series. For more of his strange fiction, and even stranger reality: 
           Author Links:

Blog | Books | Google Plus | Mailing List | Twitter: @FARfetched58


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Stay on the Write Track: Writing Fast

Thanks to NaNoWriMo, I've been doing a lot of thinking about novel-writing. Not that I don't normally, because hey. I am a career writer. But I've been thinking about the process of writing a book in the environment of deadlines. Yes, remember this: once you become a successful author, you no longer have the freedom to work on your book whenever you want. You must create, and do so quickly, because there are a lot of people waiting for the next book to come out. Not to mention the fact that as a writer, your business is selling books. So you better have a lot of books to sell, and they better be good

I guess the question raised here is, How do I write fast and still retain the quality of my work? This is the art that you must perfect as a writer. You must be able to work within  tight deadlines and intense pressure. Imagine college homework assignments on steroids. It's kind of like that. Kind of. Here are a few things you can do to stay focused and productive. 

  • Keep an outline. When you're working within a limited amount of time, it's important to know where you're headed with your book(s). Outline your basic story plot lines. When you're writing to catch up, you'll save a lot of time if all the major plotting is already done. All you have to do is write. 
  • Stay gold. Don't sacrifice quality for speed. Just because you're writing fast doesn't mean the writing is good. I can write for ten hours at a considerably speedy rate, but if I'm just writing to up my word count, what I'm really doing is regurgitating fluff. It's better to write a little bit less than write a lot more of lower quality work. You'll actually save time by slowing down just a click or two. It will save you rewriting, which is time-consuming. 
  • Stay quiet. Here's the thing. Even though I am definitely capable of writing in noisy places (my home office isn't always encapsulated in perfect silence...), it's not always the best idea. Sometimes, yes. But not always. If I am totally uninterrupted, I can write from the time I get up to the time I go to bed, and everything I create will be high quality creative awesomeness. Really. It's important to set aside "quiet time" to get the heart of your writing done every day. Especially when you're working with a tough deadline. 
  • Get your hours in. As a writer, I was actually finding myself losing track of how many hours I worked a day. Was it ten? Was it thirteen? I don't know. They all kind of meshed together...So I decided to fix the problem. I made sure I got so many hours of writing in every day, and in those hours I was to meet a word count goal. Then I could move onto other tasks, such as editing and all that good stuff. I started off in high school by working at least four hours a day. These days my itinerary has grown and it takes anywhere from six to ten hours to get everything done. Sometimes longer. 
  • Don't force it. Last but not least, if you're not feeling it, don't force it. Sometimes it can take me a full hour to warm up to writing something, so I take that "warm up" time to write something else. Then I come back to my primary task. It assures quality work and keeps my creative though process limber. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

NaNoWriMo: Have you caught the fever?

Two things: First, I can't believe it's already been one year since I participated in NaNoWriMo. 
Wow. I guess when you're busy, the days just fly by! Unless you have a cold (which I do). In that case, the days drag on, and on...and on. But that's not my point. 
Second, I find it fascinating that it's also been one year since State of Emergency was written. Yep. It was a product of NaNoWriMo. In the timespan of one year I have written five novels. I have also published two national bestselling books. Funny how 365 days changes your life, right? Like they say, life is best lived forward, but best understood backwards. 

(I got that saying in a chinese fortune cookie this past Tuesday, and I've been looking for an excuse to use it in a post. So there you go. Random bit of wisdom for you.) 

So now I'm participating in 2013's NaNoWriMo competition, and I'm having a blast! A stressed blast, but a blast nonetheless. So far I'm right on schedule. By the end of today I will have reached at least 13,336 words. Probably more. NaNoWriMo simply has that effect on me. I write more when I'm having more fun. I also think it's interesting to watch non-authors experience for a mere 30 days how hard it is to write and finish a novel. Not quite as easy as it looks, eh? Nope. Definitely not. NaNoWriMo makes novel-writing extra fun for the duration of its 30 days because so many people participate. You could call it the Christmas season for authors. 

I get asked the same questions about NaNoWriMo a lot, regarding how it works, who's in charge and so forth. Here's one of the most frequent: 
How do you write 50,000 words in 30 days? HOW?
You sit down and write. It's that simple. And that difficult. By the time you hit week three, you'll hit a slump, believe me. Because who wants to sit down and write when you've got places to go and things to do? Well...you do if you want to get 50K words in. 

And there's also this: 
What does NaNoWriMo mean? 
National Novel Writing Month. It's a non-profit organization, and you can go to their website to learn more about the cool people who run the competition. 

And this: 
What's the point of writing a novel? 
What's the point of breathing? Sheesh. Writing a novel is one of the most epic and equally difficult experiences you can ever have in your life. Seriously. Not a lot of people can say, "I totally wrote a novel last month. Just for fun." Yeah. It makes for a pretty cool conversation starter. Trust me. 

And lastly, this: 
How do you stay disciplined enough to finish the book?  
That's completely up to you. I'm used to the self-imposed stress and deadlines of being a career writer, so NaNoWriMo is like one extra piece of homework for me to do during November. But if you're not used to that kind of structure, this competition is one way to give yourself an awesome sense of focus. 


Are YOU participating in NaNoWriMo? Or are you an observer of this literary sprint? I like to think of myself as both. But now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go check the showtimes for Thor: The Dark World
Consider it my writing break. I won't get behind, I promise!
*wink*

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

C. Marie Mosley Guest Post: Never Say Never


Hey, guys! Hope your November is off to a great start! Today I'm going to let C. Marie Mosley, the author of the upper YA/New Adult romance Never Say Never, take over with a quick guest post about her upcoming release. 

C. Marie Mosley: 
Hey Everyone -
         My upcoming release, Never Say Never, is well on its way. Never Say Never is a mature young adult/new adult contemporary romance...a sequential stand-alone to This Side of Forever, where we are introduced to a whole slew of characters who definitely have substantial flaws and hidden truths. Both of these stories take place in the fictional town of Harden Fields, Alabama - a small town with a lot of drama.  
          In This Side of Forever, we get to see a little bit of Jonah’s protective gait and his love for his best friend, Laney Oliver.  But This Side of Forever was Laney and Jay’s story. And it was inevitable…we all needed more of Jonah Cutler. I could almost hear the chanting! *Jonah, Jonah, Jonah!* 
          Never Say Never is Jonah’s story…along with a special love interest. Jonah is a complex character underneath all of his sexy layers. He is a protector with a big heart…but, he also struggles to protect that heart with everything inside of him. 
          To Jonah, loving Laney was natural and safe. He had spent their entire lives protecting her. But when the chips fell in the end, Laney’s heart belonged to someone else – Jonah’s cousin, Jeremiah (Jay) Cutler.
          When Jonah decides to bring a distraction into his life, he never prepared for someone like Kasey Massoney – who we were also introduced to in This Side of Forever. Both characters have deeper issues than what happens to lie on the surface...and somehow they end up falling hard for each other, whether they intended to or not.
           In Never Say Never... Games are played and loves are lost...Hearts ache, long, and grow for the ones they love...and fears are faced, confronted, and comforted. With all of the drama that plays into their hands, will there be room for a happily ever after?
             Never Say Never is chocked full of love, lies, betrayal, and redemption. Everything you'd want in the perfect read.
 
You can follow me on Twitter @CMarieMosley, Like my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Christal-M-Mosley/249754218468618, or visit me on my webpage www.cmariemosley.com. You can also find me on Google+, Tumblr, & Pinterest!

Never Say Never.coming in December! This Side of Forever is available now at Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, & Apple

About the Author
C. Marie Mosley grew up in a small town outside of Birmingham, Alabama. When she’s not making up her own stories, she’s getting lost in someone else's. She has always had a funny or theatrical story to tell. Writing is her passion, but she also enjoys dance, music, and art, and is an avid reader. She loves to make people laugh, believing that it is the cure for all that ails. But most of all, she loves to spend time with her wonderfully awesome family. She lives with her family in Alabama, and continues to create lives and worlds for all to enjoy. You can visit C. Marie at www.cmariemosley.com, follow her on Twitter @CMarieMosley, visit her author page on Facebook http://on.fb.me/VXziVW, as well as catch up with her on Pinterest, Tumblr, & Google+.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Billie-Jo Williams, author of Destiny of Dragons


Literary alchemy just might be my new favorite term to describe the art of storytelling. Billie-Jo Williams, the author of the Destiny of Dragons Series, coined the phrase, and I think it'll stick. Her books are a fantasy series that focus on the internal turmoil and adventure of a mythical empire called Ay. She's penned four books so far, all of them available on Amazon and Smashwords. 


According to your website, you are a literary alchemist. Please introduce yourself to everyone!
Born Shrewsbury, England, died who knows where, I’m the Dragon-riding, Faerie-liberating, Mermaid-manipulating, Vampyre-slaying, Werewolf-taming mistress of the Destiny of Dragons series. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write and can’t imagine a time when I won’t. I write for the experience and the pleasure, for it is my passion, my religion, my parent, my councillor: my identity. I write because I don’t know how not to!  I’ve been an obsessive scribbler for over 20 years, with approximately sixty books impatiently waiting to be bought to life. I only self-published the first in my nine book Destiny of Dragons series last May, so I’m still learning, more every day!

You've written four books so far, correct? Can you briefly summarize the plot of the series?
The Destiny of Dragons is an epic fantasy series set in the mythical Empire of Ay. Initially conceived as a trilogy, it became so out-of-hand, it had to be split into a nine headed monster with a triple story arc (and a sabre. The sabre was particularly useful.)
The first three Destiny of Dragons books (first story arc) concern Valentin “Len” Vallely and Anastasis “Anna” Vallely, heirs to the Imperial Throne, which has ruled Ay for several centuries, at least until it’s decimated by a mysterious supernatural force no one understands or takes credit for. Len and Anna are both self-absorbed, spoilt brats, completely unworthy of adopting the responsibilities of an empire, however, they also happen to the charges of the highly skilled Commander Kai Canarbis, who believes in them unequivocally. Obsessed with restoring the Empire, with his two charges in power, Kai fights for them no matter the enormous obstacles, from allies and enemies alike.
The first three Destiny of Dragons books highlight the malady of poor leadership, stresses the need for a rational response during a struggle for survival, as well as what qualifies a leader to be worthy. However, with "A hell of a cast of characters, embedded in sharp imagery with myriad details that make their environments feel real," as one reviewer put it, the fight for the Imperial Throne is only a backdrop for a drama about human needs, identities and relationships.
The second story arc is a whole new adventure! It was launched July 2013, with one book released and the second due out 31st December 2013. I won’t give too much away about them!

In a rich tapestry of recurrence, renewal and the notion of never-ending time, where every end is another beginning, the Destiny of Dragons’ central theme is regret. What if we could do things differently? Also, just as integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful. The series builds to a climatic duel, dynamically exploring the will to live, survival against the odds, triumph even in defeat and how one soul can change the world.
Angels, Arachnids, Faerie, Gargoyles, Giants, Gypsies, Spirits, Vampires, Werewolves, Witches and more, there isn’t much missing from the series. Whether you’re interested in the human behaviour aspect or read merely for the sake of entertainment, suspense, mystery or magic, hopefully the books won’t disappoint. So far, four have been released upon the world from the nine book series, on Amazon, Smashwords and its many affiliates. All nine books stand completed and are to be unleashed at regular intervals over the next two years, so help us gods!

Destiny of Dragons. Are there really dragons in your books? Please say yes.
Yes! I would claim the series title actually relates to some two-legged characters, but the Cold Chaos Dragon, Gabbubunto the Earth Tyrant and Dangaoih, Lord of Light and Darkness, would disagree, and bite my head off if I’m not careful. They’re perfectly sentient and shape the course of Ay’s destiny throughout the series.

How did you come to write this series?
It forced me at blade point. No one else had written the story I wanted to read and my characters yearned to live and breathe, so I was forced to bring them to life. Actually, it was dreadful stress that inspired the series. Writing is cheaper than therapy, after all. If you read about my main character Kai Canarbis’ dreadful experiences, you essentially experience the pain I endured whilst working full time, attempting to fulfil four different roles, in an office that demanded too much from someone too young, whilst writing even longer hours in addition. I’ve always penned for pleasure, but The Destiny of Dragons: Book of Wrath was inspired by stress and then became an outlet for that same stress. Hopefully, readers can sympathise and even empathise with Kai’s issues.

How long does it typically take you to pen each book in the series?
I’ve completed books of 100,000 words plus in about three months, in the past, but The Destiny of Dragons is a bit of a diva and demands five months at least. And it doesn’t end there, as the series wasn’t published until I completed the last book, so I’m always polishing them up. They also feed into one another, so they’re constantly creating work for me!

WHY did you become a writer?
WHY isn’t everyone a writer? What do people who don’t write do!? They’re awesome readers, I suppose! I embarked upon this insatiable quest whilst living in a house without electricity, as it was easier to write than read in poor light. Prior to that, I was an avid action and fantasy reader, which was a great foundation for my own adventures.

What's your writing method? How do you get your ideas from your head and onto a manuscript?
Until I can afford a real many headed Hydra to help, I scribble on paper and then transfer to laptop (without internet access), where various files separate the many additions to numerous books! There’s rarely a moment when I’m not writing. I’ve been known to scribble on skin in the absence of paper (the horror!) From cartoons to opera, I can derive inspiration from anything and everything.

Favorite writing snack?
A never ending injection of tea is essential, but it’s a daily battle betwixt writing and taking a break, because the kitchen is on another floor to where I write. I need a Bat-pole! Food-wise, the Kit-Kat race has been sentenced to death and must be erased. Send them all to me for execution!

Any parting advice for aspiring authors?
What do I know? I’ve only just embarked upon this venture! I suppose write, write and write some more. Be confident in promotion and, be true to who you are and what your books stand for. Most importantly, be courteous with everyone you encounter, fellow writers and readers alike, for they are essential to success. Lastly, adopt advice that works for you. There are plenty of amazing people with astonishing knowledge and experience, however, no one possesses all the answers. We writers just make it all up, you know!

It doesn’t demand a Blood-Pact to get in touch with Billie-Jo Williams. Please use a Communication Crystal or ask a Messenger Fox. Alternatively (and probably a little more successfully) try these links:

Twitter: @acorok (author) and @destinyofdragon (book)
She can also be found meandering on Google+, Pinterest and Tumblr