Tuesday, 23 August 2016

The Popish Midwife Book Tour

One of the best things about having written a book? People reading it. And enjoying it!
One of the worst things about having written a book? Finding those people who're going to love it!
So, this is where a book tour comes in...

The Popish Midwife
Annelisa Christensen
In 'ye olde days', I would have had to wait for my publisher to organise a book tour. I'd have to load the car with books, prepare for reading, and signing (and hopefully having enough to sign I'd get hand-cramps holding the pen ;-) ). I might have turned up and there were loads of folk waiting for me, or I might arrive and find every seat empty, and the only people around were some half-curious readers looking for their next book on the shelves, wondering what was going on, and when it would start... not realising it should've already started (wow, I hope that never happens to me!)

Annelisa Christensen displaying The Popish Midwife in the Wine Rack, Wadhurst, arranged by
manager & ex-bookshop worker, Tara Lawlor

And, say you, as an author, do have a reasonable turnout, and those who've heard of you are interested in your book, and what you have to say about writing it, and researching it, you'd have to speak to an audience... of actual people! I don't know about you, but I've never been a big one to speak in front of big groups. Funny, really, because I was made Head Girl at school, and had to frequently make announcements to a whole hall full of students and teachers. And I've done plenty of things since, where I've spoken in front of groups.

One of the biggest (and, now, I think bravest) things I did was to have my head shaved off for cancer research in front of the whole school. No, I didn't have to speak then, but I spoke in front of everyone several times to let them know why I was doing it  (in this post, I changed the name of my best friend, Julia, at the time, for her privacy). The students were marvelous, and were so moved, they all went out with their collecting pots and dug deep in their pockets for spare change every break time! - all in all, over a thousand pounds was raised!)

Annelisa Christensen before, during and after
head shave for cancer research

Anyway, I digress. The point is, I've had to stand up in front of a lot of people many times, for one reason or another, but it still makes me nervous. I still have the memory of me, a painfully shy student at university, having to do a talk about my project in front a lecture theater of students. I can still remember the sweaty palms, the glazing eyes, the coughing when I started talking. I asked for a drink of water, and choked on it. The shame as, scarlet faced, I rushed out of the lecture hall. The further shame when the professor later found me and told me I should do a course in public speaking. Yeah, don't know why I felt bad about that, but I did. Maybe it was because I'd embarrassed myself in front of a lot of people and would rather forget about it, or maybe it was because I somehow felt inferior, because I had failed to do what everybody else in that room had done. 

The memory of that talk (or lack of it, as it turns out) still rears up every time I think of standing in front of people. Do I feel judged? Yes, I guess so. All eyes are on you and everything you do, from stuttering or forgetting what you were saying to unconsciously scratching your bum! For a short while, you are the bug in the jar.

Public speaking -
like a bug in a jar

So, I've been dreading, a bit, my first real book shop talk. I'm sure I'll get used to it. However, I am really, REALLY, looking forward to doing a virtual blog tour - how amazing is this! I can reach out to readers anywhere, focusing on the audience who'll like The Popish Midwife, and who love a good historical fiction based on a true story. I can find the folk who love to learn a bit about history, while being entertained at the same time. I can chat to people, answer questions, without actually standing in front of them - I could even be in my PJs with a glass of wine and who would know? (oh, unless I did a video interview, of course - I'd put my day clothes on then... ;-) )

The tour is just coming together, dates not yet finalised, but I would love to have you along to keep me company on my first step into the book-book tour world. The tour is being organised (even as we speak, by the wonderful Amy Bruno (@HFVBT). Please say hi to her! :-)

From October 17th to November 11th, please come and say hello. My itinerary will be posted at Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours soon - watch this space!

I'm posting a Mister Linky, in case any visitors to Script Alchemy are having their own virtual blog tour and would like to share...

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Interview: Paul Crampton (Author)

Today, I've invited Paul Crampton to interview with me. A highly respected expert on historical Canterbury and author of novels, Paul - kind and affable and an absolute gentleman - tells about his books and how he deals with depression and anxiety whilst writing them. It's a pleasure to invite him along and get some answers to a few questions I've been dying to ask!

Paul Crampton: Novelist and expert on Canterbury
Hi Paul.  Before we talk about your latest book, let's hear a little about yourself. Tell me, what are your passions?

I love the history of Canterbury, of course and the cathedral in particular.  I’m passionate about music: classical, jazz, folk and, my schoolboy love, prog-rock! I also love my garden, where I grow wild flowers and old roses.  And then I have my modest orchard, which is only three years old but doing well.

What's prog-rock? I've never heard of that :-D

Prog-rock is short for progressive-rock, which was a name given to classically influenced album bands in the early 1970s, such as Pink Floyd.

Lol that's me showing my ignorance :-) I believe, as a local historian, you occasionally give people tours of some of the old sites in Canterbury. You're a bit of a jack-of-all-trades, aren't you! Did I hear you say you also have your own weekly column in the local newspaper?

Ah yes, the tours are only for friends, when they show an interest. The column is something I’ve been doing, in one form or another, since the late 1980s. It’s currently called ‘Paul Crampton’s Canterbury’, and I get a lot of feedback from it. It’s also nice to help people trace, for example, a photo of their grandparents’ house in the city. So many old houses were pulled down in the early post-war years. In fact, demand for these pictures was so high that I produced a book specifically about them called: Canterbury Suburbs and Surroundings. In 2010, I won the John Hayes Canterbury Award for that one.

Paul Crampton, local historian, giving his friends
an informal tour of his favourite places in Canterbury

Wow, that's awesome, Paul! And it's so great that you can help people discover something about their past. So, I know the answer to this, but let me get to what you're dying to talk about. I know The Dream Messiah isn't your first published novel so, tell me, what else have you had published?

Well, The Dream Messiah is the first one to be published in the mainstream, and certainly the first one to reach a, potentially, worldwide audience.

But, yes, let's talk about the other books first. As you know, I'm well-known for local history books, particularly about Canterbury, and have published around 18 titles to date...

Eighteen? That's impressive. Sorry for interrupting. Please continue...

Paul Crampton's local history books of the Canterbury area

That's okay... As for novels, I self published ‘Strangers in Focus’ (2005) and ‘Ronnie Darwin was my Uncle’ (2006), both by Pen Press, which has since gone out of business… not, I hope, due to my books! After that, I won a writing competition, which saw two novels being published: ‘I want to be Half Jewish’, in 2008, and ‘Toby’s Burden’ in 2009. Sadly, both sank without trace, as there was no follow-up, or publicity whatsoever.

Paul Crampton's novels including his latest The Dream Messiah

That was just over six years ago. Was there anything between Toby's Burden and The Dream Messiah?

There were a few non-fiction books, but there were some rather unpleasant personal issues and also some mental health problems to sort out. You know... life.

Yes, I know a bit about that. Maybe, if you feel like it, we can talk a little more about that in a moment? Just for now, let's talk a bit about The Dream Messiah, which seems to be gathering a lot of positive attention in the press... I believe there's a story behind the book. Please tell.

Yes, there is. This goes back to my personal reaction to 9/11. I hadn’t thought much about Islam until then, so I began to research it. And, to my surprise, I found out that the three main monotheistic religions: Judaism, Islam and Christianity, had much more in common than they had differences; after all, it was the same God. And, I had to question, why is there so much mutual hatred and mistrust? It was then I decided to say something positive about the whole subject.

I can see from your overwhelmingly positive reviews that your message has certainly reached an audience that agrees with you! And part of that reason is your carefully chosen characters, and the events that bring them together. For a start, your main characters couldn't be more different from each other, could they. Your female character is Muslim, isn’t she?

Yes: Hamila Rashid is a young, black, Somalian refugee, in her 20s, who lives in modern-day London. The premise of The Dream Messiah is that she and my main male character, Tony Hammond-Jones – a white, Bishop’s son from rural Hertfordshire – begin having the same recurring dreams featuring each other. And, as the blurb says: when they finally meet, they slowly realise they share a destiny that has the potential to change the world forever.

Model for Hamila during photoshoot
for the front cover of Paul Crampton's

The Dream Messiah

Is that a heavily pregnant Hamila on the cover illustration, and is that a clue to their shared destiny?

Yes and yes; as is the book’s title itself! 
Hamila and Tony: main characters of The Dream Messiah
So what do you feel about such a great reaction to The Dream Messiah so far?
I am delighted it’s been a very positive one: 27 reviews currently on Amazon are anything to go by. I would love to thank everyone who's read the story and left such good reviews. I really feel they've connected with the characters and understood what I was trying to convey. And I was very careful to be respectful in every way when writing the book; after all, I want to convey a positive message, and causing offence is not my aim, in the least.

Did you find the book easy to write?

After a period of research, the first draft took me about six months to complete, which was fine. But writing fiction doesn’t always come so easily for me. As I mentioned earlier, I have a mental health condition that means my life is governed by chronic anxiety and depression. I've had therapy for this, and I found CBT invaluable. But I refused any medication.   

Any particular reason for that? I meant to come back to your mental health problems (thanks for talking about them openly. I know readers will appreciate that).

Well, I feel my condition has also given me my creativity, so it’s not all bad, and I don’t want to blunt the creative edges with drugs. Mind you, I occasionally self-medicate with alcohol, but have got a better handle on that one recently. In fact, I don’t drink at all at the moment. All in all though, I wouldn’t change the way I am. I write furiously when I’m in the mood, which is the way it is at the moment, thank goodness. Last year though, I just couldn’t touch my new work-in-progress. And the longer I left it, the more of an issue it became; the more I was afraid to pick it up again. But I finally managed to resume work in early 2016.

That's really interesting about the anxiety and depression actually being a source for your creativity. I recently saw a post on Bustle, talking about the link between depression and creativity in some famous authors, including J. K. Rowling. I suppose there's nothing worse than dulling something that, ironically, makes you happy. Are you working on anything at the moment?

I am in the advanced stages of a major project that began in 2009. This is a trilogy of novels called: ‘The Canterbury Apocalypse’. It’s another religious thriller but, this time, it’s a conspiracy trilogy that blends fact and fiction. Should I mention a slight similarity with the writing of Dan Brown? Well,  perhaps, but that’ll be one for others to decide. In any case, I am having enormous fun writing this. The first book is now ready, and I am currently putting the finishing touches to the second volume. For the first time, I'm really able to merge my love of Canterbury history with my fiction writing.

Another appearance: Paul Crampton in the Kentish Gazette

The perfect combination :-) So, how do you see your life in five years time?

I would love to be earning my living as a novelist. I don’t aspire to J.K Rowling’s heights but, having said that, I’m not setting any limits to my ambitions. In a recent interview, with my local history hat on, I was described as a novelist and writer, and it looked very good to see that title in print.  

Finally, where can we find you on the Internet?

Amazon Author page (getting round to it)
Twitter: @dreammessiah

Facebook pages:

Cordelia the cat curled up withThe Dream Messiah

Monday, 4 July 2016

Interview: Lexi Miles (author)

Folk on Twitter know Lexi Miles for her cheeky *giggles*, good humour and positive vibes.  She's always there with upbeat comments and a smile. She is one of those adorable people who you just wanna hug. She's also an author so crazily in love, she spent her life pursuing her passion - writing.
I discovered, she's also got a lot to say on this... :-)

Author: Lexi Miles

So, Lexi, hello and welcome to Script Alchemy. I'm delighted to have you come and answer some questions about you and your books.

Thank you so much for having me Annelisa. It is my pleasure to be with you today. I love your website Script Alchemy, and we get along so well, so I am happy, honored, and thrilled that you invited me to do this!

Thank you. Let's find out a little about you first, before we talk about your books. I've been checking out your bio, and see you've lived all over the place - Vegas, Los Angeles, Reno, California - where in the world is the spot that holds your dearest memories?

Oh, that’s a tough one. For my best and most precious memories, it is a bit of a tie between California, the Bay Area (near San Francisco), and Reno, Nevada. Those two places are where I have spent the most time and where I grew up. And, the weather is perfect in those two spots and the people are incredibly friendly. And to me that is important. (giggling a bit as I respond here)

Downtown Reno, Nevada, one of Lexi Miles' favourite places

And, where does your heart most desire to take you?

My heart most desires to take me out of the country to tour Europe or the United Kingdom. I also would like to go a little closer to home, back to Hawaii and Napa, California for some rest and relaxation.

Tahoe Shore

I see you have a lot of things you love, including, of course writing and reading, but also bowling, cooking, the beach, photography, spa days, fitness, dancing... and two sweet pups. If you had one day - one glorious day - how would you spend it? (It might be your last ever, so think of all the things you'd love to do and who you'd spend it with)

If I had to make one day count—really count—I would spend it with my loved ones, including my pups and best friend Chloe Quinn, at the beach. Not doing anything except for giggling, talking, and wiggling my feet in the sand. I would be appreciating this magical immense world with profound beauty all around me. I would just be thankful for every moment and giggle that I had with them. That would be perfect! (Those are my favorite days, time with my love ones, beach or not.)

Lexi's Silver Yorkies, Harley Quin and Poison Ivy

So, let's talk books. You've recently released a novel - Custom Fit - and a book of poetry - Focused on Love - and, I believe, you have a further seven (yes seven!) books to be released in 2016? 

Yes, I do have seven that are very near to being released. I just find that so many things inspire me. That is code for 'I have a lot of ideas that dance around in my brain and I love sharing them'.

First, give us a quick run down of what Custom Fit is all about. 

So, you want to know about Custom Fit. Hmmm, how do I give you a snapshot of what it is all about? I have a structured synopsis, but today I will give you a fresh account of it, since I believe you are game.

What would you do if you found yourself walking into work and then being tasked to take clothes on and off of the extremely sexy man you are crazy about and have been for years? Well, that is what Sunni, our main character, faces at the top of the novel. Let me clarify, I know you are wondering with that sounding a bit spicy, Sunni is a style specialist and consultant with a long list of high profile clients. At the firm that she is working for, there is only one rule: no romantic entanglements with the professional contacts. However, throughout the book, even with the assignment only being for the couple weeks preceding and following the holidays, Sunni finds this to be harder and harder to uphold. What adds to that challenge is that Striker Clint, the alarmingly sexy actor and singer she’s adored from afar, is her ultimate crush, who is even more gorgeous and chivalrous than in his movies. She soon has to decide, is a shot at being with him, her ultimate desire, worth giving up the career she has worked so hard for? What will she decided? Or will the blue-eyed dreamy Striker decide it for her? Will she cave to his persuasive charm?

Cover: Custom Fit by author Lexi Miles
This romance novel about actors and fashion was a blast to write and has a load of twists, scandal, humor, and sexiness. It’s a highly fun read set during the time of Thanksgiving through the New Year, but is fun no matter what season. It involves fun social media references, romantic set-ups, and friendships.

Throughout all of the madness, I really like most how it is centered around and shows a sweet and intense love as they both deal with some pretty serious issues (past relationships and risk taking). There are some troublemakers, past and present, you are going to love to hate as well as some surprise characters that make you smile. Returning to the main characters, their forbidden relationship is a wildly sexy romance, making frequent trips to the brink of hot sexy love and will have the reader craving for more. It is a nice combination of attraction, strength from love, deep emotional connection, and searing passion.

That sounds awesome. We need that kind of honest synergy between love and the sensual side of romance. They are not exclusive of each other, as some think. Are your other seven books in this same genre?

Yes, the seven books that are coming out are all romance novels and in that sexy hot vein as Custom Fit. Each of the novels are so fire-hot you may need aloe as you read them! To answer your question further, some books are a part of series and others are stand-alone features. Although for the most part the novels are incredibly sexy that I write, outside of the handful coming out, the intensity of the hotness of each novel does change. I write a range on the spectrum of an arc from sweet to erotic. I do have to say, I ENJOY and most definitely like to spend my time—a lot of time—living in the land of highly sensual.

Do you want to tell us a bit about the other books?

Sure. Here's a quick break down of the seven coming to Amazon soon (not in order of release):

Dangerous Listing: A realtor named Piper rents out a listing and stumbles into a dangerous situation. She soon finds herself holed up with the ever sexy and mysterious Marko, and she’s not complaining. Is danger just the thing they need to kick off their sexy romance? (Vol 0.5 in the Sensual Protection series, proceeds Private Lessons)

Too Much Trouble: A lawyer named Sela steps in to help her scam artist brother with a legal issue and ends up having to work for the powerful family that he has wronged to keep him out of hot water. More specifically, Sela has to work for the egotistical head of the family, the oh-so-sexy, Gavin Brooks, who she has butted heads with on more than one occasion. But will she find that the arrangement has its advantages? (Vol 1 of Sexy Law series)

Private Lessons: Dorian DeVain, a travel agent, gets tricked into taking much needed self-defense classes by her best friend Piper. She is apprehensive, even given the looming threat of her past, until she meets the ultra-sexy brown haired instructor Jimmy Jalin. Will there be sexy benefits included with his training? (Vol 1 of the Sensual Protection series)

Convince Me: Josephine Summers, a feisty red headed chef has just been blacklisted for declining her boss’ romantic advances. Determined for a fresh start, Jo has a chance meeting with the dreamy lawyer with the penetrating blue eyes, Roger, who convinces her to become his live in chef. After that things really heat up. Is Jo going find it difficult to keep things strictly professional? (Vol 1 of Seductive Recipes series)

Mix Matched: Maxi is a bartender at a bar that the mega-hot Wolf Crane owns. Wolf, off the clock, is known for giving romantic help to others so they find their romantic match. She gets the idea to have Wolf use his skills to help her until she can get him to realize that she is his perfect match. Can she sway him to see her daydream for them? (Vol 1 of the Happy Hour series)(NanoWrimo Nov 2015)

Behind the Scenes: After an awful breakup, Markie has sworn off relationships. That is until a brief encounter at a café where she meets a devilishly handsome Johnny who steps in to help her shake a problem. Per her friend’s prior suggestion, Markie has just started one of the hottest romance novels out and Johnny notices it. Horrified when he picks it up and starts reading it aloud they soon fall into reading the story to each other. But will the love story stay within the pages of the book? (Stand Alone Novel)

Assisting Love: Dixie, tired of not living to her potential, quits an assisting job and gets commandeered for an upgraded executive assisting one. She is under the impression it is for someone else but ends up working for and living with the reclusive Cliff, a fundraiser whisperer. She soon finds that she helps him let his guard down and he helps her tap into who she once was years ago. Can she manage to keep her desires for him in check or will she risk it all to see if they have a chance at love? (Vol 1 of Romancing the Roommate)

Books by Lexi Miles, author

All of the stories, that are coming soon, show challenges that couples face and how they evolve as individuals and couples because of them. I think that love makes us the best versions of ourselves. You know, the most courageous people that we can be because we know that we are loved and accepted deeply. In my opinion, romantic love, centers us and makes everything about life more vibrant and beautiful. Love, in many ways, is like that spice of a secret recipe in cooking that makes life taste better!

What made you start to write this genre? And what do you feel, knowing others are reading it? 

Honestly, there are four main reasons I write romance.

The first, I love the romance genre. I am a mush. I adore scribing the magic of opening up oneself to another. That metaphoric nakedness is beautiful, raw, peaceful, and like art. Love, in all of its forms, especially romantic, is worth writing about and I love doing it.

Secondly, I got tired of reading about the bickering or “mommy-ing” that some of these books act like is sexy or romantic. I personally am annoyed by too much of that. I hate it when a woman picks apart a man or he acts as if he dominates her. Granted, I do love a good DOM book and write some sexual tension with a bit of spunky flirty quip dialogue, but not that whiny stuff. Or the brain went out for lunch stories or immature actions I can’t identify with. So, I was inspired to write because I wanted to do it, to add to the other books out there, and support that different view and offer a more unique alternatives for romance readers. I wanted to write something where women weren’t so meek damsel in distress, stubborn, not independent, or gripe focused. And on the flipside I want to write men positively where the men weren’t so one dimensional, negative stereotypical, emotionless, or jerks. I wanted to write something that gave more depth to each gender.


My next reason, I write romance because I like the naughty and fire-hot stuff. Some people may shy away from the beauty and physical fun you can have with your partner, but I think it is beautiful and thrilling to capture. Sex, sexual tension, and all of its spiciness is fun to write about time after time!

Finally, I just find it completely rewarding to weave together this fictional world and to sculpt something out of it. Creatively typing whatever my mind can come up with is refreshing. And really making it basic, romance is so fun to write! That’s why I write!

What do I feel knowing that others are reading it? Honestly, I hope they are enjoying it. I am happy to share the sexy and romantic stories that I do. My stories are also inclusive of all the genres, in a way, from mystery, quests, jumps through time, and strong storylines about all things in general with a definite emphasis on romantic love. I love that. I love what I write—the super sexy beautiful part of life. To me, knowing people are reading it feels as if I am sharing a good recipe with a friend. And it would be wrong to keep it to myself!

You say in your bio you make all your male heroes 'confident with a good sense of themselves'. What other characteristics do they have in common? 

Hmmm, good question. Let me think about this for a second. What do most of my male characters have in common?

They all have flaws, openness (once their walls come down), and are innocent in some areas (may not know how to cook, or they blush at things). Yet, still with that innocence, they are witty, sharp, intelligent, and knowledgeable (great at their jobs or handling the worst kind of threat). My male characters tend to all be incredibly strong (reader understands by the end of the story where that strength was forged in a younger part of his life). In some of the books, not all, a few of my male leads may have a frosty exterior (reputation of aloofness) or come across like jerks to others, but due to her spunk (or something else that jars them out of their routines) they warm up to their female counterparts.

In addition, for the most part, they have a good sense of humor, are gentleman, and see the best in my female characters. A common thread each male character possesses is that they are in the process of evolving in one way or another, just like the female characters.

I like that idea...that the male characters are evolving too :-)

The idea of my writing is that the couple as a whole balance one another. It is a case where each uniquely answers or satisfies something that is missing that the other needed. It is kind of like they are the “perfect” or imperfect recipe, if you will, blending together to have, her the sugar or him the spice, that makes sense for each individual couple created within the books. For example he may be super serious and she is a free spirit, yet each brings that brilliant balance to each other. It may not make sense to everyone around them, but it is exactly what the couple is craving for their life to be happy.

Cover: Focused on Love by author Lexi Miles

Do you think romances often create an image of men that perhaps a real man can never live up to, or an expectation in women readers that men should be like this and, so, all other men fall short and they find it difficult to find this 'perfect' man?

I loved reading romance growing up, I love reading it now, and in the back of my mind, I always thought of the characters as real in some moment of time; accordingly, in my head they were all flawed or more realistic than what was written down in the pages(for concise and story flow purposes). Which is why your question of “perfection” caught me off guard. Let me explain, when I read (and now write) books it is not in terms of 'is the guy perfect?' I know they burp among other things that all people do, but I view it more like a snapshot of moments the author is writing. 

Snapshots are to highlight someone and not to show their flaws. Like when looking at a picture we all understand that the beautiful and deep layers (including the flaws) of a person are there, but we are capturing a moment of life. And now as I write, I try to think of the characters as stepping out of the pages—living and breathing—and I know the strengths as well as the flaws exist. (I do a whole character flesh out process and scenarios thing before I sit down to write. It is so that I really have a chance to get into the headspace of my characters, and so I know they aren’t perfect. I am giggling as I say it, they're far from it.) And I try, as much as possible, to pull back the curtain and share the flaws as well as the silliness (or any other true feature) of the person to give a true to life texture to the characters in the book, so that they don’t feel “perfect” but real, as if you are living their life as they are living it.

Having said that, to actually answer the question, can “real” men live up to the hot book guys?

On a real guy’s worst day, they are better than the guy that does everything right, so to speak. Flaws are hot, perfection, in that sense, is a snore. If I define perfection, to me it is the combination of a guy’s strengths and flaws. When men are striving to be the best version of themselves, no matter the bumps as they go, that is even hotter than that “perfect guy” held up in some books. I think “fictional perfection” cannot scratch the surface of how awesomely unique and ultra-hot fellows are in real life. They are like diamonds and each part of them good or bad is like the glimmering facets that highlight the diamond’s handsomeness and shine. In my opinion, men are pretty darn amazing and sexy and—despite how I try—I can’t come close to writing how incredible they are in truth within the pages of my book. But I still love trying to do it. (I am giggling here.)

Do imperfections make for perfection?

Now returning to the subject of the “perfect” man of the books, I think my most exciting characters are the ones that are “perfection in their way” not some idea of it. You know, they may have to have the last word type, but a great sense of humor that outweighs it. That is better than a “yes honey” guy any day. I am giggling here because I know some people who prefer those, but I am not that way. I think that a couple should have the freedom to be exactly who they are and be loved by their partner for it—celebrated even.

And, moving on to this, do I think women find it difficult to find this “perfect” guy in “real” life? Hopefully not. At least I think of it as an aim for this type of guy deal that “us” ladies look for. But to me, flaws are beautiful and as women we should prioritize what’s important to us (of the characteristics that make those book guys so appealing) while we are looking for our match. And I think if you do that, use it as rough guidelines to what you desire, you’ll find it. That perfect man, for you in real life (unpredictable, layered, sexy, and refreshing) will be even better than anything that you have read. At least that is what I have found.

Well, that's given me a lot to think about. Thanks Lexi. Can you let us in a little on your plans for the near and far future? Let us know where you'll be and when in the upcoming weeks and months? 

Yes, I’d love to.

Coming up, I have the seven romantic releases I mentioned earlier, to be released in the next couple of months. These are: Dangerous Listing, Too Much Trouble, Private Lessons, Convince Me, Mix Matched, Behind the Scenes, and Assisting Love.

Cover: Food Party by Chloe Quinn & Lexi Miles
I also have another project that I am excited about, because I love to cook! I am co-authoring a cookbook with romance author buddy, Chloe Quinn. The cookbook will be jam-packed with tasty recipes, cooking hacks, and something that sets the book apart from other cookbooks, it will include recipes that we mention in our books. It is our spin on 'dinner and a movie' which, in this case, is 'dinner and a novel'. Anytime I get a chance to work with Chloe on anything or to cook together, it's a blast for me, so I hope that you will pop out and grab a copy to share in the fun when it's released. Release date is a few weeks away, so I am really excited!

Chloe Quinn & Lexi Miles, authors of Food Party

More details are listed on the press page of my website that I will include at the conclusion of the interview. In the early part of November, I will be participating in a signing in Las Vegas. I will be running a promotion around this as it gets closer, so stay tuned for the details!

And finally, in the not so distant future, July 13-27, I will be doing a special two week promotion “Christmas in July” around my holiday books, where readers will get their first in depth look at Close Quarters Vol 2 of the Holiday Fever series as well as a few other surprises!

What to expect in the future are lots and lots of sexy and sweet romance books!

Then, in the further reaching future? What are your dreams for in a year or two?

Dreams, and my focus for a year or two, is to write scripts for TV and Movies. I am working on two right now. For one, think sweet Hallmark meets Pretty Woman and the other Criminal Minds meets Person of Interest. They are in the story-boarding process, and I am very excited about each of them! Also, I will be writing a couple books in a few other genres (That is code for 'I am dusting off my mystery and suspense skills'.)  I am a romance lover all the way, but I do like the pulse racing action too!

Something else I wanted to ask you, what is this Heat Zone people are talking about?

Well, I absolutely love and was raised on soap operas, so I decided to write a free weekly serial of that nature on my website, posting every Friday (when not on hiatus). It is my way of regularly engaging with readers in a fun way as they wait for the novels. Currently, the second season is winding down and I just opened up the ability to subscribe to it. There are a lot of enjoyable insider things, like character backstories, with the “Heat Zoners” who are the diehard readers of the soap. They are a fun bunch, you should hear some of our super silly chats, groans and feedback on the episodes! I am so happy this came up so that I can give them a quick hello!

Author: Lexi Miles *giggles*
(For those who can't see, Lexi is waving) You were saying to me earlier, you have a lot happening on your blog you're rather proud of?

Yes, as I mentioned, I host it on my website and post twice a week, sometimes more often.
On Thursdays, I post blogs about random things or a blog within a series. Lately I have been sharing writer tips consecutive in the series and posts of that nature. Past blogs have included personal advice that has helped me: exercise information, past events, and extra cool and refreshing subjects like that! So, like I said, it ranges.
On Sundays, I post a recap of the events of the week and what I call a power quote to empower or encourage the person reading it. Kind of like 'powering up' the person like (careful my gamer side is about to show) in the video game Mario Brothers. You know, give them a powerful boost of support at the top of their new week!
In addition to these posts, I often post birthday shout-outs once a month, reviews, and other special events like November’s NanoWrimo writing event. The blog can be subscribed to as well.

Before we go, I think you just wanted to say something about your newsletter?

Yes, I'm glad you asked, because I typically forget to mention it. I touch in once a week with the individuals that follow my newsletter. There are giveaways, recipe shares, FREE content, oh and book release information. That’s important to say too. There are a lot of special things that happen in the VIP readers and friends list, but it is secret handshake stuff so that’s all that I can say here—*giggles* Everyone is welcome! And it is a fun way to stay in touch! I know that you are a part of it, Annelisa. I hope that you don’t mind sharing, what is one thing that you enjoy about it?  

Lol Well, isn't that just typical of you, Lexi, to turn the interview round on me! I must admit, one of my favourites has been the inspirational quotes. They cheered me up and were nice to have in the mailbox. A great way to start the day :-) 

Thank you so much for answering all my questions.

Oh, I am so delighted and happy to answer your questions Annelisa. They were all fun, refreshing, and it was just nice to hang out with you like this.

Thank you. Likewise :-)  To finish off, let's let readers know, where can they find you?

Lexi Miles still giggling :-D
I am on social media. I love Twitter (@leximilesbooks) (daily chats, author writing events, randomness), but few know that I am also on 
Facebook (author info posts, blog links, smiley touch-ins), 
Pinterest(recipes, romantic quotes, giggles), and 
Instagram (covers, day in the life stuff, fitness). I mix it up for each of the social media websites to keep it fun so that all of the information is fresh! I’d love to see everyone there too!
Press Page: www.leximilesauthor.com/press

And, what was it you were saying about reviews? You don't want any? <wink>

Are you kidding? I love reviews! It’s so fun, refreshing, and reenergizing (especially while doing intricate or tedious edits on another project) to hear the feedback from someone after they've taken that book journey with you on something you have written. So yes, whenever you can please drop a review on AmazonTwitter GoodreadsFacebook , or any social media. I appreciate those! And please do me a favor and let me know about it so that I can share them!

Ha ha... nearly had you there. Thanks again for stopping by, Lexi. It's been a pleasure.

Thank you again for having me pop in to do this Annelisa!

Another of Lexi's Favourite places: Santa Cruz

Bonus: extra places you can find out more about Lexi:

Lexi Miles Author Bio

Interview at Silver Beans Cafe

Confessions of a Writer Tag

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Announcing Winners of the 3-Book Giveaway!

Thank you so much for everyone who took part in the Giveaway!

Yesterday, the Giveaway ended, and three random winners were picked to receive a signed copy of The Popish Midwife. And they might even receive it before everyone else, because I get to have advance copies! :-D

The Popish Midwife winners announced

The three lucky winners of the signed book, in the order they were drawn, are:

(1) Jennifer Stone (@JenStone4485 ) from the UK

Winner of The Popish Midwife: Jennifer Stone
(image: Twitter)

(2) April Parker (@AprilDParker ) from the United States

Winner of The Popish Midwife: April Parker
(Image: Twitter)

(3) Heather Wardell (@HeatherWardell) from Canada

Winner of The Popish Midwife: Heather Wardell
(image: Twitter)

Thank you to everyone who entered. If you didn't win this time, keep an eye on my Twitter page for other ways to win or get your copy in the future, or sign up to my mailing list (no spam, only good stuff - latest is my never-before transcribed poem written by Elizabeth Cellier, who was the Popish Midwife)

Monday, 20 June 2016

Interview - Shellie Blum (Author)

Today, the book description of my guest, Shellie Blum, is a spot-on introduction to her and her life:

Shellie Blum
Escaping instantaneous death and paralysis from a hangman's broken neck, and shattered right jaw endured in a horrific watersking accident is only part of this unbelievable story. Follow Shellie on her journey from the Ozarks to Egypt and even the back alleys of Hollywood streets as she perseveres through more than her share of grueling set backs. You don't have to be a waterskier to enjoy this inspiring true story told by the first female freestyle waterski ramp jumper in the World!

Hi Shellie and welcome to Script Alchemy. I'm honoured to interview you today and highlight your memoir Waterski Girl Wonder. I'd like to look behind the behind the book, behind the horrible accident, and find out a bit more about you.

On the Channel 7 interview back in the 1980s, before your accident, we get to see your skill on waterskis - not only were you fantastic and daring, but you look like you were really enjoying it. Are you able to ski now? Do you do any water sports at all, or are you unable?

Shellie Blum interviewed for Channel 7 1980s
(image: YouTube)

Thank you Annelisa, that’s the thing about professional show water skiing. It’s our job to make it look easy and fun. After all, we are performing. It’s a skill to be working so hard, but be able to smile and enjoy yourself. It’s an underrated sport for the athleticism it takes to do what we do, the audience is busy just watching and enjoying it. In competition water skiing no one cares or notices if you’re smiling. Performance show skiers are expected to ski anywhere, any time, in any kind of conditions, sometimes doing 4 to 5 shows a day. It takes a lot more stamina and athleticism than they get credit for, which leads me to the second half of your question.

I could ski, but don’t! I wouldn’t know how to hold back. I have never held back and, unless I can do “my thing”, it really wouldn’t be enjoyable for me. For all of my water skiing days, I was performing. I was pushing the limits. I don’t think I could ever hold back and, having been told that if I took any high velocity falls I would be endangering my life, I just can't take the chance. I do enjoy the water though. We have a Sea Doo and I play around on it. I get my water fix through the speed, sights and smells while riding my personal watercraft.

Shellie Blum on her Sea Doo

That's a shame you can't water-ski now, but I'm glad you found a fun way to carry on enjoying the water (I'd love to try that - it looks so cool!). Apart from this, what other pastimes do you most enjoy now?

I spend a lot of my time on Social Media. Is that considered a pastime? I guess not really, but most of my day is spent communicating with my newfound family (friends) that I’ve made online. I’m also trying to get exposure for my memoir. I try to find a not so annoying way of connecting with people but at the same time self-promote my book project. It’s amazing the advice I get from fellow writers and even laypersons. Some of the advice is good and inspiring, some of it, not so much. In the beginning, my feelings would get hurt, when someone would say, “You know, I wouldn’t… (do this or that)'. Now, I just shrug it off and chalk it up to, “You can’t please everyone.”

Shellie meets King Hussein
(image: Shellie's Twitter)

Thinking about other ways the accident affects you, I understand from your LinkedIn page that, even now, you still suffer pain from your accident? How harsh is that pain? Do you feel that that reminder is a good or a bad thing? I mean, do you ever feel the pain, curse it, then remember where it's taken you today?

I deal with chronic pain yes but, compared to other people and what they have to go through, I try not to complain too much about it. I am blessed to be able to deal with it, and hope that maybe I can inspire others. I mean, you hear so much about people becoming addicted to pain pills. Not to sound too braggadocios about it, but I’m proud of how I’ve been able to deal with my chronic pain.

Shellie Blum x-ray after neck surgery
(image:Waterski Girl Wonder)

Do you feel that you developed the determination that had you trying over and over until you achieved your 'forward moving back flip', and was it that learnt determination that helped you work so hard at recovery after your accident? Or, did you always have determination to do what you planned to do, whether it was a really nifty ski move or whether it was to recover and live a normal life again?

This is one of those “chicken and the egg” questions, or even, “nature versus nurture” questions. Did I learn determination or can some of those traits be inherited? Perhaps a little of both, everyone grows up with their certain set of experiences. And everyone is endowed with a certain set of genes. I do think, though, that a person’s strength of will can ultimately be the determining factor towards success or failure. And even more importantly is that the labels of success and failure are determined by a person’s own perception of reality. What one person considers failure might be another person’s success. (a nifty ski move learned or living a ‘normal life’) I’ve always gone with the idea that if I never give up, within my physical and mental limits, no one can say that I’m not successful.

Shellie Blum practicing the Back Flip (the Gainer)
 that eventually caused her accident
(image: Waterski Girl Wonder)

That's very inspirational, Shellie. But not everybody is so positive. In Susanne Jenkin's interview Waterski Girl Wonder – Shellie Blum you say you are disappointed how some people close to you haven't been as supportive as you'd hope them to be. Who has been supportive, and would you most like to thank?

Well, to be honest, I’ve grown past expecting support from people that I thought would be more supportive. This whole process of self-publishing has been an uphill battle. My expectations were likely too high, especially in the beginning. I’ll admit I’ve been somewhat Pollyannaish about the whole process. And I’m glad that I have been. It’s been a protective shield that I think I’ve had all my life. To not see the negative in others, to always be expecting the best and most positive sides of people. I don’t even realize to this day when someone is put off by my enthusiasm for my memoir. I find myself naturally gravitating to the positive people. And in return, I think they have been gravitating towards me. They know who they are, and they know I am grateful for their support.

Bob Forgiana - one of Shellie's best buddies after the accident
(image: Waterski Girl Wonder)

What would you like to be the main message people take away from reading your book?

Keep on keeping on…

Waterski Girl Wonder (book cover)

I have to ask, now you've written a book, and your readers are giving it a big thumbs up (I've seen the reviews on Amazon!), you say in your interview on Ledger.com that you'd like to make the film of your memoir next. Do you have plans to write another book? Perhaps another non-fiction stemming from this one or, perhaps, an inspirational novel?

I think I might have another book in me, but I’m really busy with trying to self-promote this first one. The ultimate success for it would be a movie. Wouldn’t that be awesome? A true story action adventure movie with a female lead that never gives up, I’d pay to see that movie! And see… some people will read that and think, “Who does she thinks she is?” And other people will read that and say, “That’s Shellie, she’s Waterski Girl Wonder.” And I’ll just leave it with, “Hey, a girl’s gotta’ dream!”

Shellie Blum reading
(image: Pierre Ducharme, The Ledger)

Where else can we find you?

I am trying to line up being part of a couple of book fairs. If I can make that happen I will post about it on social media. Plus, I’m trying to convince a couple of brick and mortar bookstores to add my book to their inventory. We will see how that goes.

Other places to connect
Website: Waterski Girl Wonder
Goodreads: Shellie Blum
On LinkedIn
On Twitter: @shellieblum
On Facebook
On Amazon: Author Page  Book: Waterski Girl Wonder
On Google Plus

Read more about Shellie (then buy the book! ;-) )
Waterski MagazineWaterski Girl Wonder, Shellie Blum's Memoir
The Right Perspective: Introducing Author Shellie Blum (An Author Spotlight)
Susanne Jenkin: Waterski Girl Wonder – Shellie Blum
The Ledger:  Shellie Blum's memoir details life of stuntwoman on skiis
Curves Welcome: Interview with Author Shellie Blum
Just Fooling Around With Bee or The Bee Writes: The Bee Talks with Shellie Blum
Betrayal of TrustAuthor’s Corner: An Interview with Shellie Blum

Friday, 17 June 2016

Interview - Madeleine D'Este (Author)

Today, I have the gorgeous Australian author, Madeleine D'Este, for an interview about her book launch of Evangeline and the Alchemist, a novella with a steampunk twist set in 1880s Melbourne.

Madeleine D'Este (Author)

First of all, Madeleine, before we talk about your book, it would be lovely to know a little about yourself. 
I see from your website bio that you list your interests as 'podcasts, knitting, forteana, indie films, kettle bells and long blacks', so let's hear a little about these pastimes. What kind of podcasts do you enjoy?
I do a lot of walking (to counteract the vast amounts of sitting), so I love my podcasts. At the moment, I like writing podcasts e.g. The Creative Penn or So You Want to be a Writer or Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast. I also like other non-fiction podcasts on personal development/entrepreneurship, films, health/wellbeing and forteana.

I understand 'forteana' is to do with Charles Fort (I remember the Fortean Times when I was younger) - what most interests you about this man, and how does it affect your writing?
Not Charles Fort so much but his legacy. I’ve been interested in the “unknown” for as long as I can remember, from aliens, ghosts, folklore and the unexplained.

And now, I'm dying to ask, what are 'kettle bells and long blacks' :-D ?
Kettle bells are cast iron weights with handles, originally Russian – fabulous for strength training workouts.
A long black is a black coffee in Australia, like an Americano but stronger. We take our coffee quite seriously in Melbourne.

Let's move to your writing career, and a little about you as an author. What was the first thing you ever wrote, that set you off on your writing path?
I might need to check with my mum about this one. I have been dabbling with writing for years and years, with countless unfinished novels in the drawer. I’ve also tried multiple genres, at one time I was trying crime, then urban fantasy but it didn’t seem right.
I was doing some soul-searching and realised that writing a novel was my number one goal in life, so I decided to get serious and have a proper crack at this writing thing.

I understand you have several other projects than your current release on the go at the moment (I'm sure you're dying to talk about your latest...patience, we'll get there in a minute ;-) ). What are they, and how have you managed to write them?

I’m currently querying with a dystopian female-led novel, Return to the Monolith which I wrote with the assistance of an editorial consultant. This is part of a trilogy. I also have seven other episodes of Evangeline in the works.

So, now we know a little about you, how about you tell me something about your book, Evangeline and the Alchemist?

Evangeline and the Alchemist (cover)
by Madeleine D'Este

In 1882, "Marvellous" Melbourne was flush with gold-rush cash and the British Empire’s second biggest city. Evangeline, a seventeen year old reformed urchin and acrobat, is settling into a new comfortable life in Melbourne with her long lost father, Professor Caldicott. But, learning to be a lady is awfully dull. Then, one day, the police arrive, seeking the Professor’s expertise in catching an Alchemist. Is this a chance for Evangeline to test out her new invention and save the day? With regular breaks for tea and cream buns, of course.
Cream cakes and inventions, fake gold and kung-fu, Evangeline and the Alchemist is a fun short read, perfect for a flight, commute or lazy afternoon.

That does sound fun. Have you any plans to write more about Evangeline?
Evangeline and the Alchemist is the first in a series of novellas of mystery and mayhem set in steampunk Melbourne. Other upcoming episodes in The Antics of Evangeline include Evangeline and the Bunyip – where Evangeline faces a mythical Aboriginal monster. I’m planning eight episodes in total.

Why Melbourne, and what was it that attracted you to setting the story in 1880s?
Steampunk stories are generally set in London but I was inspired by the history I see around me every day. In Victorian times, Melbourne was a major city, hosting the 8th World Fair in 1880. Even today, the streets of inner city Melbourne are filled with grand sandstone buildings and houses from this era.

I wanted to explore Victorian sensibilities in the Colonies, the clash of classes and cultures in the new world and the ridiculousness of wearing full coverage dresses with bustles in 40’C summers. All with a dash of science fiction fun.

What is steampunk?
Steampunk is a science-fiction genre based in the Victorian era but with anachronistic technology, generally steam-powered.

Steampunk creates an alternate world where Victorian innovations are taken to new heights and fun inventions are inserted alongside the Victorian clichés of parasols, whiskers and London pea-soup fogs.

Cool, so now we know a little about it, where can we find Evangeline and the Alchemist?
It's now available on Amazon and through Kindle Unlimited. 

Thank you so much for taking the time to join us, Madeleine. 

Read more about Evangeline and the Alchemist, including an excerpt 

Madeleine D'Este

Other places you can find Madeleine are:

Website: Madeleine D'Este
Twitter: @madeleine_deste

Goodreads: Madeleine D'Este