Author Interview and Giveaway: J.D. Brown

Long and Short Reviews welcome J.D. Brown, author of Dark Heirloom and Dark Liaison. Leave a comment for a chance to win a digital copy of Dark Liaison. Enjoy this blurb:

12_5 Dark Liaison 200x300Ema Marx wishes her life would go back to normal, but there’s nothing normal about being a Romani-Vampyre with an ancestor who wants you dead. Apollyon is back, wreaking havoc on the lives of everyone she cares about while plotting her demise.

Ema thought she would find a new best friend in her trainer, Bridget, until the exotic vampire vies for Jesu’s attention. Jesu can date who he wants, right? Ema has more important things to worry about, like honing her powers. When Apollyon’s thugs appear out of the shadows to attack her, Ema knows it’s time to take action. But everyone else has other plans in mind.

One thing is for certain, being under house arrest in the German vampyre king’s castle was not part of her plan to save the day.

Dark Liaison is the second book in Ms. Brown’s Ema Marx series. The vampires in this series are also shapeshifters and there are a few zombie vampires too.

J.D. started writing because she wanted to read something that hadn’t yet been written: a vampire story where all the characters were vampires–not just the brooding guy.

“I like paranormal for the paranormal characters (duh!) so why would I want a bunch of puny humans ruining the party?” she explained. “Instead of searching for such a book I decided to write my own. That project ended up my first novel, Dark Heirloom.”

She started writing three years ago, and Dark Heirlooms was published in 2012. She’s working now on the third book in the series, Dark Becoming.

J.D. is very active on Facebook–she’s there every day. She and her readers mostly discuss the latest vampire craze, argue over who’s sexier (Stefan, Damon, or Klaus?), share books they’re reading, and usually end up agreeing that Spike is the hottest of all.

“If you could keep a mythical/ paranormal creature as a pet, what would you have?” I wondered.

“Oh, I would totally have a dragon! Or maybe some sort of flying gargoyle thing. Or Spike. Can I keep Spike as a pet?”

She would love to travel to Finland one day, because that’s where her main characters are from–and she’d love to have the paranormal gift of super fast healing.

“I think that would lead to immortality. That’s how it works for my vampires at least,” she told me.

“Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?” I asked.

“Yes, I do, all the time, but I hate calling it a ‘block’. It’s more like a ‘break’ and for me it’s a necessary part of the creative process; one that I embrace and (usually) enjoy. You see, my creativity needs to take breaks to re-charge and re-fill. I actually feel more productive when I’m actively thinking about my current manuscript and working it out in my mind than when I’m sitting at the computer trying to force the words onto the page when I know my brain is running on empty and needs a re-charge. Some of my best work is done while washing dishes or walking my dogs rather than on paper.”

As a child, though, she didn’t want to be a writer. She wanted to be a veterinarian.

“I love animals,” she said. “I never made it to vet school, but I did become a certified companion dog trainer, and I worked two years at a vet clinic where I managed the boarding kennels, was a grooming assistant, and occasionally a helping hand for the technicians.”

Finally, I asked, “What is the hardest part about writing for you?”

“It’s all hard,” she said with a laugh. “I am my own worst critic and my own toughest boss. I want to please my readers but I also have to stay true to the characters and to myself and ultimately that means not everyone is going to like the final product. But I still fight myself like a rabid beast to try and get as close as possible to the best book possible for both my readers and my characters. I try to write a story that keeps them at the edge of their seat and characters they can’t help but fall in love with.”

About the Author:12_5 Once Upon a Vampire author pic 2012J.D. Brown knows that vampires exist because she’s dating one and no, he doesn’t sparkle. Unfortunately, he’s not immortal either (or maybe her standards are too low). A magnet for subcultures and weirdness, J.D. was that socially awkward girl with more fictional friends than real ones. As a child battling a hearing loss and a medical condition with no name, J.D. found comfort in books where strong women always saved the day and got the guy. An obsession with Charmed, Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Heroes lead J.D. to believe that her mutated chromosome made her something more, not something less. Thus her stubborn flare to persevere was born. A lover of fine cuisine, coffee, and shoes, J.D. never understood why shoe stores don’t serve Starbucks and soufflé. She resides in Wisconsin were she writes urban fantasy—aka vampires for adults—and has political debates with her dogs. She loves to hear from fans and is active on Facebook.com/AuthorJDBrown.

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter: @AuthorJDBrown ~ Amazon Author Page

INTERVIEW: F.E. FEELEY, JR

Long and Short Reviews welcomes F.E. Feely, Jr., , whose debut novel The Haunting of Timber Manor was recently released from Dreamspinner Publishing. He’s currently working on a book inspired by Meatloaf’s song “Objects in the Rear View Mirror.”

” Meatloaf’s Bat out of Hell 2: Back into hell was one of the first cd’s I ever listened to and fell in love with,” he told me. “Jim Steinman was an incredible writer and the theatrics and passion of the music touched my heart. The one that really did it, the song that still sends chills down my spine, is Objects..and I hope I can write something that is as awesome as that song. ”

F.E. has wanted to be a writer since he was a kid. He used to devour books—they provided window for him to climb out of and into another world to escape from being bullied at school and other issues he had.

“I loved to disappear in those pages, soak myself in the mind of an author and disappear. As an adult, there are still times when I want to go back and do the same thing. Growing up, sucks sometimes and so instead of reading someone else’s work, I want to disappear into my own imagination and translate that to the page so If there is a person out there like me, the journey that I go on wont have go alone,” he explained. “It’s a pretty awesome feeling really.”

He’s been writing, off and on, since he was in high school. Every year, for Halloween, one of the English teachers would host a scary story contest. The two years he entered, he won. He thought it would just be a hobby for him—he would start, stop, and discard whatever he was working on. However, when he was writing The Haunting of Timber Manor, the manuscript became so long he considered submitting it.

“I googled a publisher, finished the manuscript, submitted it, and then *poof* the rest is history,” he said.
F.E.’s favorite author is Stephen King. He began reading the Dark Tower series when he was in the sixth grade and he was hooked.

“His series was probably my ‘Tolkein’ and a series I have read over and over again with the same enthusiasm,” he told me. “The Stand, The Shining, The Dark House, The Regulators, Desperation, and on and on all these books I just loved. I love the intricate world he creates, the characters that you see as three dimensional, the chills, the thrills, and heartbreak and humanness of people. M-O-O-N that spells humanness. ”

“What is the hardest part about writing for you?” I asked.

” Writing isn’t easy. One of the worst things an author hears is ‘oh, I can write a book’ from people who haven’t sat down to actually try. It’s like climbing a mountain and understanding that bringing the plot together is like a mountain climber being careful with each and every single step he or she may take knowing that if one misstep could lead to disaster. It’s a sleepless, fevered, sometimes excited, sometimes mundane, sometimes mind numbingly challenging task. Yet when you finish, you look back on your mountain and nod to yourself saying, ‘Yep. I did that.’”

He tries to write 3,000 words a day—sometimes he makes the goal, and more, and some days it’s like pulling teeth. Usually, it takes him all day.

“The house is empty, the house is quiet, I do my work out, shower, and start writing,” he told me. “If I can’t seem to get started on the first try Ill take a break and return or if I am on a hot streak I just keep going until I’ve exhausted myself and then I stop. Everyone has their own way of doing things and that is simply mine.”

“When did you first consider yourself a writer?”

“I think the moment I got my first contract and nearly fell over dead from shock. It was so surreal and …..breathtaking and mindblowing. I mean, I had always been writing here and there, bits of ideas, and then walking away from it. So I have always been a writer, but then I realized, ‘Holy Crap I can get paid for this.’ I felt like I had arrived in the land of the writers. Then you have that freak out moment where your like, ‘What if nobody likes it?’ Then you have to take a step back and remember that you write for you, not for them — I don’t mean that in a bad way but in that as artists you’ll always turn back to that medium in which to communicate and express your heart.”

When he’s not writing, he loves listening to music, being political, educating himself, talking with his partner, grocery shopping, and cooking.

“God, I love to cook!” he exclaimed. “It calms me down. It’s something that lets me think. I have this insatiable need to feed peoples so when I cook, I cook a lot and love it when I have people over to eat my food. It’s very satisfying. ”
F.E. is a political person and refuses to toe party lines.

“I feel like, if one party gets too much power for too long they become fat and bloated and out of control so I am usually bitching about something or another. My partner and I actually met one day and the first thing we did was debate politics. It was love at first sight and we have been together almost three years now. I think one of the things we were able to come together on, given our sexuality and relationship together, was marriage equality. I love the law and reading legal crap and sometimes get caught up in the passion of Constitutional questions and such so, recently, with the Supreme Court taking up PROP 8 and DOMA we have been really paying attention to not only the cases themselves but the reaction of people out there. You know, I don’t think in history anyone who ever lived a single day on this planet would figure that sometime in their life they would find themselves or their peers in the middle of a civil rights debate or find that their future rested in the hands of politicians or the nine wise people on The Supreme Court. It’s a very interesting , personal, and bothersome thing to listen to people speak so passionately about this subject. It’s one thing to be commenting on a bit of law and giving an opionion on it, but when you actually have a dog in the hunt, so to speak, it takes on a whole new level of involvement. It isn’t an easy thing to listen to when people want to equate you or your relationship to some pretty awful things. But, I think in the long run, gay people will eventually win over the hearts and minds of the country and come out on top…so to speak.”

About the Author: F.E.Feeley Jr was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan and lived there for twenty years before joining the military. He is a veteran of the U.S. Armed Services, having done a tour in support of Operation Iraq Freedom in 2002-2003, turned college student pursuing a degree in political science. He now lives in Southeast Texas, where he is engaged to the love of his life, John, and where they raise their 1 ½ year old German shepherd, Kaiser. As a young man, reading took center stage in his life especially those novels about ghosts, witches, goblins, and all the other things that went bump in the night. His favorite authors include such writers as Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Anne Rice and whose work allowed him to travel to far off places and meet fascinating and scary characters. As a gay man, he wishes to be able to write good fictional literature for those who love the genre and to write characters that the readers can relate to. All in all, he is a cigarette smokin’, whiskey drinkin’, rock and roll lovin’, tattoo wearin’, dreamer of a man with a wonderful partner who puts up with his crap and lets him write his stories. Enjoy!

4_12 Interview Color coverWhile recovering from the recent loss of his parents, Daniel Donnelly receives a phone call from his estranged aunt, who turns over control of the family fortune and estate, Timber Manor. Though his father seemed guarded about the past, Daniel’s need for family and curiosity compel him to visit.

Located in a secluded area of the Northwest, Timber Manor has grown silent over the years. Her halls sit empty and a thin layer of dust adorns the sheet-covered furniture. When Daniel arrives to begin repairs, strange things happen. Nightmares haunt his dreams. Memories not his own disturb his waking hours. Alive with the tragedies of the past, Timber Manor threatens to tear Daniel apart.

Sherriff Hale Davis grew up working on the manor grounds. Seeing Daniel struggle, he vows protect the young man who captured his heart, and help him solve the mystery behind the haunting and confront the past—not only to save Daniel’s life, but to save his family, whose very souls hang in the balance.

Buy the book at Dreamspinner Press

INTERVIEW: MARIE MACPHERSON

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Dr Marie Macpherson. Her historical novel, The First Blast of the Trumpet, Book One in The Knox Trilogy, about John Knox, releases today.

She’s currently working on the second part of the trilogy with a working title of The Second Blast of the Trumpet, unless she can come up with a better one.

“What I’ve found surprising is that John Knox, the author of that notorious polemic The First Blast of the Trumpet against the Monstrous Regiment of Women was not a rampant misogynist,” she told me. “In fact he loved women and perhaps, more surprisingly, women loved him. So, in the next part I want to continue exploring his relationship with the women in his life; two wives, an interfering mother-in-law, several female correspondents, including one who leaves her husband to join his ever-increasing household, his godmother and, of course, members of the monstrous regiment. Perhaps John Knox – Ladies’ Man would be a more appropriate title?”

Since Dr. Macpherson writes historical novels, the plot has more or less already been written, leaving her free to focus on the main players.

“Historical accounts rarely give insights to what they were thinking, how they were feeling: exploring the personal relationships and often hidden motivations of historical figures drives my interest,” she explained. “For example, while reams have been written about the Scottish Reformation surprisingly little is known about its founding father, John Knox. God’s Trumpeter he may be to some people but in the popular imagination Knox has become a caricature of himself – a cartoon Calvinist who hated women, a pulpit thumping tyrant who banned Christmas and football on Sundays.

“Knox was notoriously tight-lipped about the first 30 years of his life and this fired my curiosity to find out more about the man behind the myth. But while doing so I came across a dark secret and a surprising love story.”

She’s had people stop her on the street to tell her how much they’ve enjoyed The First Blast–and especially because they can identify local historic locations mentioned in the novel. If you can’t travel to Scotland, you can view the mini-documentary made to accompany the novel—Dr. Macpherson narrates it herself.

“One book group wrote to the local paper to suggest: ‘We unanimously agreed (and the unanimity is unusual!) that Marie MacPherson’s, The First Blast of the Trumpet, should be included in any book list (and not just in Scotland!),’” she shared with me.

Dr. Macpherson told me that as long as she can remember she would make up stories in her head—what her mother would call “falling into a dwam,” or daydreaming. And then, when she learned to read and write it was magical for her.

“That marks on paper could form words that then conveyed a story hit me like a thunderbolt – that’s what I wanted to do, and not only when I grew up,” she said. “I was bitten by the writing bug when I won a prize at primary school (aged 10) for a story about my pet dog. Before at last turning to fiction, I relieved the itch with academic writing: the topic for my PhD thesis was the Russian writer Lermontov, said to be descended from the Scottish poet Thomas the Rhymer, another famous daydreamer.”

“If you could have one paranormal ability,” I wondered, “what would it be?”

“Apart from being able to ‘see myself as others see me’ -– time travel would be a fantastic paranormal ability. I’d love to be able to go back in time and see what life was like in the past, particularly the 16th century. It would be great to snoop on the characters in my novel to see how they actually lived in their castles and hovels, what they ate, wore, how they dealt with sanitation and disease … On second thoughts, perhaps not – it would be just my luck to catch the plague,” she told me. “But, I’d like to spend the day with the daughter of debate, Mary Queen of Scots, but one day might not be enough for all the questions I’d want to ask her. Did she love him James Hepburn, Lord Bothwell? Was she forcibly abducted by? Was she already pregnant by him? Who strangled Darnley? Did she know of the plan to assassinate Elizabeth 1? What did she think of John Knox?”

When she’s not writing, she spends a lot of time reading—not only for research, but also Scottish and Russian authors for enjoyment. A favorite historical fiction writer of hers is Dorothy Dunnett. Dr. Macpherson admires her clever wit and ability to spin a complicated web of deceit in a plot.

“I usually tell everyone that seeing the film Dr Zhivago inspired me to study the Russian classics in the original language – but I blame Omar Sharif. Still, it led me to Tolstoy and Dostoevsky arguably two of the greatest writers ever,” she said.

Many people find it surprising that she doesn’t have a television, but she feels it gives her more time to indulge in other activities. She had dreamed of becoming a tap dancer, but in school they only did Scottish Country Dancing. She’s since taken tap dancing lessons but admits she’ll never be able to match the skill of Ginger Rogers, who not only danced backwards but in high heels.

“Now I’m happy to rediscover the joys of jigging and reeling at Scottish Country dancing which is not only great exercise for the legs and feet but, with its complicated moves, keeps the old grey cells ticking over,” she told me.

About the Author:3_6 Marie Macphersonjpeg Hailing from the historic Honest Toun of Musselburgh, six miles from Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, Marie Macpherson (née Gilroy) developed a love for literature and languages from an early age. Brought up on the site of the Battle of Pinkie and within sight of Fa’side Castle, she was haunted by tales and legends from the past. The Ballads of the Scottish Borders stirred the romantic in her soul and the works of Sir Walter Scott kept her enthralled during the long, dark winter evenings (and more often nights, reading with a torch beneath the bedclothes).
While she studied French and German at school, followed by Spanish and Italian at university, none of them enthused her so much as seeing the film, Dr. Zhivago, which sparked a desire to read the works of the Russian literary giants in the original. After gaining an Honours Degree in Russian and English, she spent a year in Moscow and Leningrad (St. Petersburg) researching her PhD on the work of the 19th century Russian writer, Mikhail Lermontov, said to be descended from Thomas the Rhymer of the ancient Scottish family of Learmont. Though she has travelled widely, teaching languages and literature across Europe from Madrid to Moscow, she has never lost her passion for the rich history and culture of her native Scotland.
Now retired from the hurly-burly of academia, her life in the foothills of the Lammermuirs is hardly quiet. With all the various activities organised in her village, from reeling at Scottish Country Dancing to hill-walking, from book clubs to film shows, she has to make time to research and write.
Having attempted various genres, she has found her niche in historical fiction which combines her academic’s love of research with a passion for storytelling. Her inspiration not only comes from historical records and documents but from the landscape of the Scottish lowlands where she tries to conjure up what life was like for the inhabitants of those now ruined castles and deserted abbeys. Exploring the personal relationships and often hidden motivations of historical characters drive her interest.

3_6 INTERVIEW history other TFBTemailHailes Castle, 1511. Midnight on a doom-laden Hallowe’en and Elisabeth Hepburn, feisty daughter of the Earl of Bothwell, makes a wish – to wed her lover, the poet David Lindsay. But her uncle has other plans. To safeguard the interests of the Hepbum family she is to become a nun and succeed her aunt as Prioress of St. Mary’s Abbey, Haddington.
However, plunged into the political maelstrom and religious turmoil of the early Scottish Reformation, her life there is hardly one of quiet contemplation. Strong-willed and independent, she clashes with those who question her unorthodox regime at St. Mary’s, including Cardinal David Beaton and her rival, Sister Maryoth Hay.
But her greatest struggle is against her thrawn godson, John Knox. Witnessing his rejection of the Roman Catholic Church – aided by David Lindsay – she despairs that the sins of her past may have contributed to his present disenchantment.
As he purges himself from the puddle of papistry, Knox finds his voice, denouncing everything he once held dear, but will that include his godmother, Prioress Elisabeth? And by confessing her dark secrets, will Elisabeth steer Knox from the pernicious pull of Protestantism or drive him further down the fateful path he seems hell-bent on; a path that leads to burning at the stake?
In a daring attempt to shed light on a wheen of unanswered questions about John Knox’s early, undocumented life, this novel throws up some startling claims and controversial conjectures.
Book one of The Knox Trilogy.