Tag Archives: interviews

Reader Interview Ramblings

As part of the Worlds of Wonder blog hop, today’s post is an interview with an avid reader. Lily of Bookluvrs Haven was gracious enough to join the Ramblings and answer a few questions about being a reader:

What is your favorite genre?  What about that genre appeals to you the most?

This is such a difficult question because I am a really diverse reader. I enjoy so many genres it is hard to pin point a single favorite. However, after reading ‘The Hunger Games’ series, which I really enjoyed, I began to search for more dystopian novels that are similar to read.

And for some reason, I can’t stop myself from reading anything and everything that has zombies and/or apocalyptic situations. Not sure why, because the idea of either completely freaks me out. Maybe I enjoy reading a good scary story. That would certainly explain my teen obsession with Christopher Pike and R.L. Stine books!

What is your favorite book or series?

So much to choose from, but I will have to hand the title of favorite to ‘The Game of Thrones’ series, by George R. R. Martin. I went through a reading phase of just fantasy novels at one point, I couldn’t get enough.

A co-worker of mine was also a big reader, and we started exchanging books, and he lent me the first book of the series, ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’. Once I got through the first chapter, I was a goner. Everyone ceased to exist around me whenever I had one of those novels in my hand. I will never forget when I walked over to a park during my work lunch hour to do some reading.  I burst out into tears on a park bench when I read that one of my favorite characters was killed, and having to explain that to a couple of people that were concerned and asked if I was alright.

I was incredibly excited when I heard that a tv series adaptation was being produced, and love every episode so far.

If you could have lunch with one author still alive today, who would you pick and why?

Being a blogger you get to meet and communicate with many independent authors, published authors and publishing house representatives via the Internet. It has been one of the best and interesting aspects of blogging, to actually interact so much with the people that bring you those stories.

I really can’t choose only one. But the first picks that come to mind are Kenya Wright, author of ‘Fire Baptized’, the Habitat Series and Alicia Wright Brewster, author of ‘Echo’ and ‘Don’t Call Me Angel’. Every interaction with them has been filled with laughter and fun, and I would LOVE to have lunch with them one day and just chat.

How do you feel about movie or TV adaptations of your favorite works?

I get ridiculously excited, but then very nervous. For the most part, there have been very few adaptations that I have found worthy of the novels that inspired them.  Once important sequences of events are changed, I become an outraged, ranting beast. When I went to watch “Queen of the Damned’ in the theatres, a movie adaptation of the same titled book by Anne Rice, I almost got up and walked out, because so much had been changed from the book. And I was not happy about it at all.

On the other hand, if you ask me how I like ‘The Game of Thrones’ series, I won’t shut up about how awesome they are. Because so far, they remain true to the books, and to me that is important.

If you as a reader could give advice to young authors, what would you tell them?

Please edit, edit, edit. Don’t be too anxious to publish or cocky with your draft that you don’t put it through the editing cycles. For me, poor editing is distracting and it becomes challenging to connect with the story when you are distracted by editing issues. For others, it is an outright pet peeve that can earn you a really negative reaction. Take the time to edit. You deserve to publish, and we deserve to read your very best final draft.

How often do you write reviews for the books you read?  If often, are you more likely to review books you love or hate?

Since starting Bookluvrs Haven with my friend, Erin, in April 2012, I review 99% of the books I read. Whether I liked the book, or hated it, I will review it.  I always try to be gracious and sometimes comedic with my thoughts.  Writing reviews for books that I ended up not liking is always tough, because you want to be respectful but at the same time express your feelings on the book.

Reading to me is my mental break and brings me enjoyment. Therefore, I ALWAYS choose to read a book that I think will entertain me and that I will really enjoy. Most of the time, I choose well. Sometimes, not so much.

Worlds of Wonder

Character Interview Ramblings

I’m playing a little catch up today.  As part of The Worlds of Wonder blog hop, here is a character interview with Roskin from The Brotherhood of Dwarves series

Dianne from Washington – Roskin, tell us about your home and what made you leave?

My kingdom is a wonderful place, full of talented, intelligent dwarves.  We have some of the finest poets, musicians, artists, jewelers, and masons you could hope to meet, but for me, I always felt there was more out there, above ground, and I needed to see for myself what the bigger world was like.  Maybe it was the elf in me calling me to the forest.  Maybe it was youthful curiosity, but the drive to experience the upper world was incessant, so I had to follow it.

I hear you’ve had a difficult time along the way. Did you ever lose sight of your goal?

It’s not so much that I lost sight of the goal as the goal changed.  At first, I wanted to find the statue.  Then, after I was taken into bondage, I simply wanted to escape.  Once Crushaw and the other liberated the plantation, my goal became to return home and make things right in my kingdom.  I learned that my original goal was selfish and superficial, so that goal became insignificant to me as I realized that my kingdom, the Kiredurk people, and my friends were far more important.

What was the biggest hardship you faced and why?

 Being beaten by the overseer for trying to escape.  I was helpless to do anything, and the pain was indescribable.  These scars on my back are a reminder each day of the orcs’ cruelty and of the reality of slavery.  It was also the first time in my adult life I “met” my mother, so in a way, something good did come out of it.

Tell us about the most interesting person you met, and why he/she was valuable to you.

I can’t narrow it down to one, so I’ll give you the top four in no particular order.  Molgheon because she taught me what real courage and loyalty mean.  Crushaw because he taught me about leadership.  Kwarck because he taught me to embrace my elven gifts.  And Rewokog because he taught me a better system of government and economics for my kingdom.

Andi from Georgia – What was the one moment that you would say has changed you the most?

Being captured by Torkdohn and sold into slavery.  Up to that point, I was spoiled and pampered.  Then, everything was stripped from me, and I was reduced to scrounging for rotten scraps on bare earth.  While I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, it was the best experience that could have happened to me because it forced me to appreciate the blessings of my life.  I needed humility to see clearly and learn the lessons Kwarck and Crushaw were trying to teach me.

If you could go back to the beginning, before anything had happened, would you still have made the same choices?

Yes, because all of my choices, even the worst ones, have led me to who I am now, and the person I am today is much better than who I was then.  I’ve learned valuable lessons along the way and am smarter, wiser, and stronger for them.

Scott from Tennessee – Who do you consider to be the most dangerous threat to your existence?

Without a doubt, Torkdohn.  He is a traitor to all dwarves and doesn’t deserve to be called one.  Some day, he will pay for all his treachery.

Carolyn from Georgia – When you become King, what is the one thing you would change or do?

I hope to encourage a system of commerce like the Marshwoggs employ, one where each Kiredurk is more than just a subject to the king, but an active, free member of society with tangible ownership of his or her trade and skills.  That is my goal for the kingdom.

Alicia from Texas – Being a poet, You would probably have your own opinions, observations, philosophies of life and the world around you, what are some of those?

Life is either pain and sorrow or triumph and joy, and the only difference is attitude.  Everyone gets knocked down.  Everyone suffers.  Some choose to wallow in misery, but others choose to rise and overcome.  I hope at the end of my time for others to see me as a beacon of light and hope, as one who has learned and grown from mistakes, as one who overcomes turmoil, as one who leads by example.

You were once looking for a legendary statue that represented the brotherhood of the dwarves. Do you think it would help stop Master Sondious and return your father to the throne?

I can only say Master Sondious is bound by his oaths.  By Kiredurk law, if he violates his promises, his claim to the throne is gone, so if my father awakens, he reclaims the throne.  If Master Sondious denies him treatment or causes him harm, the throne reverts to me.  The statue is a symbol of kinship and camaraderie among all dwarves, but a symbol is not as powerful to a Kiredurk as the rule of law.  To us, laws are what separate us from cave trolls and rock wolves, beasts that live off base instincts.  Laws are higher reasoning, tried and tested through ages to be fair and impartial.  The rule of just law will restore my kingdom to its proper balance, not a material object.

Kristie from Tennessee – So I get to page fifty, barely into chapter three and I’m thinking to myself, “Holy crap, what is this guy thinking?” I know you seriously considered turning back early in your adventure. Did you ever take a moment sitting in that cave and asked yourself, “What have I done?”

I have since suffered self-doubt and questioned my own decisions.  But at that point, no, I was too blinded by my own ambitions to second guess myself.  It took the humility I mentioned before for me to accept my foolishness and learn from my mistakes.  Sitting in that cave, I would’ve sacrificed all of my friends’ lives to fulfill my quest because I was fixated on external possessions and personal glory.  I had to learn the value of what’s inside and accept the fact that the good of others is greater than the good of self before I could see beyond my own desires.

I’m curious about something. I mean no offense, but seeing as your father is Kiredurk and your mother Loorish, did knowing this exacerbate your fear of sitting on the council and eventually the throne? It seemed interesting to me that you have this taste for adventure, but was hesitant about leaving the kingdom? Or, was it the simple thought of filling the boots of the great leaders before you? I can see how the Kiredurk part of you would want to stay and be duty bound, but I can also see how the Loorish part of you colored your perspective of responsibility.

I’m a living paradox of duality.  The dwarf in me yearns for the stone and darkness of underground, but the elf craves sunlight and greenery.  I’m bound by a sense of duty to law yet enticed by freedom.  It’s an exhausting tug between two poles that I struggle with daily.  I’m not sure what the future holds or if I’ll ever find balance between these two halves of myself, but I promise that I will strive to make sure the choices I make are always what’s best for the people who depend on me.  In that manner, I search for wisdom first and hope for the clarity of thought to see beyond my own desires into the larger scope of what will benefit both my kingdom and my elven kin.  There are many hardships left to overcome, but I will face them all with the courage and dignity of my ancestors.

Worlds of Wonder

This character interview first appeared on Bunny’s Reviews, May 5, 2012.

Thursday Morning Ramblings

May has been a great time for the series.  It started with the free promotion at the beginning and has continued throughout the month.  Again, a huge thank you to everyone who shared links and helped out during the campaign.  We’ve reached more people this month than ever before, and hopefully that momentum will continue to roll throughout the summer.  I also attended the convention in Morristown and have had several online interviews.  For today, I thought I’d share links to some of the reviews and interviews, just in case you missed them.





Author Interviews:



Character Interviews:




Hope everyone has a great day.

Friday Morning Ramblings

My apologies to anyone who tuned in last night to hear my interview on Dragon Talk News.  Apparently there was some kind of technical glitch, and the interview wasn’t audible to anyone except Les Johnson, Jon Klement, and myself.  It’s a shame, too, because we had a pretty fun thing going.  Hopefully, the folks at Dragon Talk News will get the issue resolved, and we can try again in the future.

I’ll be swamped with grading and graduation for the next couple of days, so if I don’t get to write another entry before Monday, I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.  Next week, I plan on resting for a day or two but then getting back to work hard and heavy on book four.  That’s all for now.

Thursday Night Ramblings

Catch me tonight at 10:00 PM Eastern on Dragon Talk News in a live interview with scientist and science fiction writer Les Johnson and myself, hosted by Jon Clement.  Should be a fun time.   Tune in and find out what kind of shenanigans we come up with!


Monday Afternoon Ramblings

Tonight at 7:00 PM, I’ll be a guest on Ali’s Bookshelf, answering questions about my writing and the series.  After reading through the prep questions, I think this interview should be a lot of fun, so please, stop by and listen.  I haven’t done a live interview in a while, so I’m pretty excited about the opportunity.

I also need your help.  Seventh Star and I are about to start a promotion in early May to boost exposure for the series.  If you’ve read any of the series and enjoyed the books, please go to Amazon and leave reviews on the Kindle versions of the books.  The more reviews we can have in place before the promotion starts, the more effective it will be, so please, if you have a couple of minutes, follow the links below and leave reviews for each book in the series you’ve read.  Most importantly, please be honest.  Obviously, I prefer higher ratings, but what I really want are honest reviews with honest ratings so other readers can make an informed decision on whether or not to try the series out.

Many of you have taken the time to send me messages or post on Facebook or comment here about the books, and some of you have left reviews on older versions of the books, but if you can please find the time to write reviews on the Kindle versions, it would mean the world to me.  Again, I’m only asking for people who have read one or more of the books to write a review, and I want honest opinions.

The Brotherhood of Dwarves

Red Sky at Dawn

The Fall of Dorkhun


Harry Crews Ramblings

I was 19 or 20 when I met Harry Crews.  I was a junior at Memphis and a member of the Honor’s Program in the English Department.  Gordan Osing, a poetry professor, wanted to organize an interview with Crews, who was there as part of the River City Writers series, and the decision was made to find volunteers among the Honors students to each read at least one of his novels and then develop 3-4 questions for the interview.  I had never heard of Harry Crews and knew nothing about him, but the picture above was the promotional photo for the River City poster, so as a young, aspiring writer, I figured he looked like someone I would dig.

The book I read was Karate is a Thing of the Spirit, and I was blown away by the gut-wrenching grittiness of the narrative.  Because I had no clear understanding of how to interview anyone about anything, the questions I came up with were pretty lame, and I don’t think any of mine made it into the final draft of the interview.  At the time, my feelings were a little hurt, but now I recognize that I was out of my league at that point of my development.  For me, however, the real highlight of that experience was getting to have breakfast with Harry Crews the morning of the interview.

We were supposed to meet him at the campus dining area around 8:30 or 9:00, and when I arrived, he was sitting at one table and talking to two people I didn’t know.  My fellow interviewers were at another table, staring at him with a combination of fear, frustration, and awe on their faces.  I asked what was going on, and they responded that he was already there and talking to the other two people when they arrived, and none of them wanted to interrupt him.  One even admitted to being scared of him.

Maybe I was just young and foolhardy.  Maybe I was driven by my ambition to learn the craft of writing.  Maybe my life experiences up to that point gave me a boldness they lacked, but I walked straight over to him, introduced myself, and explained that we were waiting for him at the other table.  He shook my hand, and even in his late 50’s his grip was like iron.  He explained politely but sternly that he would only join us if his new friends could come with him.  I told him no problem, and the three of them rose from the table.

Back then, I was still in pretty good shape from years of lifting weights and working, and as he stood, he commented to me that I either had good genes or had spent a lot of time in the weight room.  I told him that and chopping wood, and he slapped me on the shoulder and said, “Hell, that’s even better, boy.  Me and you’ll get along just fine.”  I thanked him and called him Mr. Crews, but he insisted that I call him Harry.

At the table, the other interviewers barely spoke to him, but he and I talked for nearly the entire hour, covering everything from tobacco farming to lifting weights.  We got pretty in-depth on the subjects of football, steroids, and Lyle Alzado, who had been a friend of his.  He described seeing Alzado shortly before his death, how the once 290 lb slab of muscle had been eaten down to a 150 skeleton by cancer.  There was a look in his eye and a tone in his voice of true sadness as he talked about him.  That conversation is one of the pivotal moments of my life and career, and I hope as age and decay take me that the memory will stay with me until my end.

Growing up in a rural, fairly impoverished area made me feel often like an outcast in college.  Yes, I had intelligence and skill, but more than once I heard classmates utter pejoratives about my hillbilly upbringing.  Few if any of them had been raised in an environment similar to mine, so few of them could relate to me.  Before meeting Harry, I often doubted if I could ever make it as a writer, but during that conversation, I heard a man who spoke a lot like my grandparents and parents, who had been raised a sharecropper, who lifted himself out of poverty far worse than I had ever known to become an internationally renowned novelist.  In short, he was one of my biggest idols.

Those couple of days he spent at the university were the only time I ever got to meet him, but over the years, I’ve read and reread virtually everything he’s ever written.  There are two or three of his newer works I haven’t gotten to yet, but I’ve read most, and his writings have been one of the greatest influences on my writing style.  So I’m hurting that he’s gone, even though he probably wouldn’t have remembered me and even though he had gotten pretty sick there towards the end.  One of my heroes has passed on, and my heart is heavy for him and his family.

Rest in peace, Harry.  You were one hell of a unique man, one hell of a writer, and one hell of an inspiration to this hillbilly.

Harry Crews: June 7, 1934 – March 28, 2012