20 Questions With...

20 Questions with…T. Haven Morse

She wears so many hats that I don’t even know where to begin.

But I guess that explains her poetry since it too has a million different perspectives.  I suppose it’s because T. Haven Morse perfected the craft of performance before she delved into the art of the written word.

When she’s not enjoying time on her ranch with her husband and children, she’s the girl Friday for Spider Road Press.

I’m so glad to have her on my side, so without further adieu may I introduce you to T. Haven Morse.

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Twenty Questions With…T. Haven Morse

  1. Every writer has that one book that made him or her want to be a writer, what’s yours?

 

When I was eight, I took a small, thin book from my grandmother’s shelf: “Angel Unaware” by Dale Evans Rogers. The tale is written in first person, from the point of view of Dale’s sick daughter. Robin talks to God, sharing the story of her brief time on Earth. That was the first time a book brought me to tears. As Maya Angelou says—make them feel and they will remember. I’ve never forgotten.

 

  1. How old where you when you started writing?

 

In 1987, at the age of eleven, I published my first article for the Jones Gazette (our family newsletter). Titled “Grandparents Coming,” the piece was short but informative. My first paid gig was to write a script for a Six Flags Astroworld show in my early twenties. However, I didn’t actually go “pro” until my late thirties.

 

  1. Name four authors that you’d love to have lunch with.

 

  1. Paulo Coelho—although we might need a translator
  2. Elizabeth Gilbert—she’s a writing idol of mine
  3. Maya Angelou—though we’d require a medium
  4. Holly Lyn Walrath—she’s local and we have lunch every Tuesday, so she’d be an easy one to arrange and I love talking writing-shop with her

 

  1. What would you eat?

 

Would it matter? No, but for the sake of this questionnaire and my longtime vegetarianism, let’s say veggie sushi and tempura with Boston Cream Pie for dessert (it’s my favorite).

 

  1. How do you plot out your work?

 

Each piece is different. Sometimes the story or poem just spills out like an uncontrollable gush of words, characters, and plot. Other times I actually outline the story with a set beginning, middle, end, theme, twists, and beats. However, even with those more structured creations, I always stay flexible for the unknown, alert to unexpected yet ever-present input from the characters or my muse.

 

  1. Do you write in the morning or evening?

 

Every day is my life is different. On certain days, I write first thing in the morning—before the sun is up. Other days, the writing happens in a hammock at high noon. And some days, words meet page after dinner or dark.

 

  1. Is there music on?

 

Almost always. Either the Hans Zimmer channel on Pandora or the DirectTV Movie Soundtrack channels usually. I’m not a fan of lyrics when I write but love emotion-filled music.

 

  1. What inspired your last story?

 

For the first time, I’m actually working with a Story Guide on a fantasy yarn based on a true experience in my life. My guide is the Amazing Alysia Seymour and the story is a metaphorical novelette about my daughter’s birth and the heart-wrenching trials of spending a week in the NICU. Leyna, my counterpart, deals with some nasty demons—inside and outside—as well as meets some extraordinary spirit guides along the way. It’s, by far, the most cathartic and honest work I’ve ever written.

 

  1. Name three books so good you wish you wrote them.

 

  1. “By The River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept” by Paulo Coelho
  2. “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert
  3. “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio

 

  1. What television shows, movies, or albums do you believe are written well?

 

There are many! Currently on TV, I’m loving “The Alchemist” and “The Good Doctor.” In films, one of my favorites that I can’t believe wasn’t a book first is “The Age of Adeline.” I’m pretty much a fan of any screenplay by Darren Aronofsky (my first love of his work was “The Fountain”—still a regular go-to film for me) and Guillermo Del Torro. As for music, having work with Houston Grand Opera for six seasons, I’m a huge opera fan—especially of Iain Bell’s work. He’s incredible, as a writer and a human being.

 

  1. Which actor would you cast in the protagonist role of your most recent piece?

 

I have a number of pieces in progress at the moment, and at all times. Cressida, my romantic fantasy lead for book one of the Feathers of the Phoenix series, would be played by India Eisley or an undiscovered talent with dark-hair and green-eyes. Leyna, fantasy protag in my based-on-true-life novelette, would be played well by Natalie Dormer from Games of Thrones/Hunger Games. Finding the lead for my historical fantasy WIP, “Tales of Tuttleman” might be tougher—Tuttleman is a two hundred year old talking pug. Not sure how we’d manage that one on screen!?! If animation or not, Paul Bettany would do his voice. No question!

 

  1. Which of your pieces was the hardest to write?

 

“Cressida”, book one of a romantic fantasy, has been the hardest because she and I started together before I had a clue what I was doing. She went from hardcore romance (verging on erotica) to straight fantasy and has now pendulumed back to somewhere in the middle. But once we’ve figured out the right balance of sexy and fantastical, she’ll be amazing—as will her offspring in the Feathers of the Phoenix series.

 

  1. Which was the easiest?

 

My first poetry collection published, “Flooded By”, simply poured out in about 45 days. That collection is way more muse than me. The persona poet in me took over and ran for the finish line, dragging me behind.

 

  1. Which of your pieces did readers ‘get’ when they told you their thoughts on it?

 

I just finished a flash piece called “More Than a Pigg” for a contest. With the exception of one beta reader, everyone else who has read her, has absolutely loved the story. They were engrossed, sad to see the end, and were still reeling days later. Hopefully, she’ll win the contest and be published later this year. If not, I will definitely shop her around more. People need to hear this story.

 

  1. What are you working on now?

 

Lots of things! See above. 🙂 In a nutshell, book one of a romantic fantasy series, a free-standing fantasy novelette based on a true event in my life, a novella about a two hundred year old talking pug (think Forrest Gump meets Frank from Men in Black), and a series of chapbooks based on writing prompts called “Splintered Musings.” No, I don’t sleep. And when I do, I dream in epic storylines!?!

 

  1. What story do you have to write before you die?

 

All of them. I will write until my last day, I have no doubt. My muse is faithful and will guide me to the stories I need to share.

 

  1. What’s your best fan story?

 

One of the poems in “Flooded By” is a glimpse into the love between a ghost-woman named Melody and a Catholic priest. It’s pure and complicated and lovely. I’ve had many readers, including some esteemed writer colleagues, tell me how much they love that poem. I love it too.

 

  1. What sentence have you written that you feel encapsulates your style?

 

This is hard for a multi-genre writer like me, whose style is all over the place. But let’s go with this one from “The Tales of Tuttleman”:

 

“Although we were about the same age when we first met, I matured much faster than he did and achieved an adult perspective while he was still foundering with pimples and discovering what to do with his Wee Willy Winky.”

 

  1. Have you ever based characters off of real people?

 

Sure. In one of my current works-in-progress, there are three fantastical bird-women that are based loosely on my great-grandmothers (the three I knew). I’ve loved spending time with them while writing the story.

 

  1. Who’s your favorite character?

 

Wow! That’s a wide-open question!?! In my own work, I have a serious writer-crush on Tuttleman—the two hundred year old talking pug—right now. He’s funny and charming and British with a wealth of knowledge and life-experience. Plus, he’s introduced me to Mary Shelley, Jack the Ripper, Nina Simone, Nelson Mandela, and a number of other famous and infamous people from history.

 

As for characters that aren’t mine, I absolutely love Odd Thomas—created by Dean Koontz. He’s young but wise, funny but poignant, and laidback but polite. A well-rounded twenty-something who sees ghosts and helps solve murder mysteries. What’s not to like?

 

 

 

You can find out more about the author on their blog “The Bountiful Balcony Buzz” (https://www.bountifulbalconybooks.com/blog) and purchase their work from the Bountiful Balcony Bookstore (https://www.bountifulbalconybooks.com/bookstore) and Amazon.

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20 Questions With...

20 Questions with…Andrea Barbosa

I can’t say that I’ve met anyone ‘famous’ per se, but I have met a silver medal winning poet, which is as close as I might ever get.

And that’s totally okay with me.

Andrea Barbosa is a throughly talented author and I’m so very proud to have my own work included alongside hers.  We’ve even entered many of the same contests and the only way I’m able to accept the loss of first place, is because she won it.

 

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Jennifer Leeper, Andrea Barbosa, and Melissa Algood (me) accepting our awards for the Spider Road Press Flash Fiction Contest 2016

It’s  not only amazing that Andrea is award-winning poet and author; but English is her second language, and yet she strings together prose that is pure magic.  The Brazilian born, high powered business woman never lets anything get in the way of her beloved son; not even her fictional characters.  Every time I see her she tells me about the latest in his life, and is always an internal part of his life.

So yeah, she’s a great mom too.

I’m so happy to bring author Andrea Barbosa to you, and to have her answer my 20 questions.

 

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Twenty Questions With…Andrea Barbosa

  1. Every writer has that one book that made him or her want to be a writer, what’s yours? I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a child, so it’s hard to remember what book exactly incited that desire within me, for I loved all fairy tales. One tale that I particularly recall is Oscar Wilde’s The Nightingale and the Rose.
  2. How old were you when you started writing? 12, 13, maybe earlier.
  3. Name four authors that you’d love to have lunch with. Shakespeare, Hemingway, Henry Miller, Anais Nin. Of course, they’re all dead but it would be a fantastic gathering.
  4. What would you eat? Anything vegetarian.
  5. How do you plot out your work? The characters take control and I plot as we go, usually.
  6. Do you write in the morning or evening? Evening.
  7. Is there music on? It depends. I like the silence but sometimes I need the music for inspiration for a particular scene or for a particular mood.
  8. What inspired your last story? My love for Greece and Greek history.
  9. Name three books so good you wish you wrote them. The Colossus of Maroussi (Henry Miller), The Name of the Rose (Umberto Eco), The Picture of Dorian Gray (Oscar Wilde).
  10. What television shows, movies, or albums do you believe are written well? One movie that comes to mind as being well written is Arrival, as it conveyed a poignant story.
  11. Which actor would you cast in the protagonist role of your most recent piece? To be Nikos, my Greek character in Olympian Passion, I always look at British model David Gandy. But since Gandy’s not an actor and wouldn’t have a Greek accent that Nikos needs to have, I’d choose Greek actor Apostolis Totsikas.
  12. Which of your pieces was the hardest to write? The romance novels are the hardest to write because I find the steamy scenes hard to describe.
  13. Which was the easiest? Poems are the easiest pieces that I write.
  14. Which of your pieces did readers ‘get’ when they told you their thoughts on it? The romance novels usually. In the second novel in the Olympian Love trilogy, Olympian Heartbreak, I did a lot of research about Greece. Several readers wrote to me praising the way I described the country, one even daring to say she felt that Greece was like it’s own character in the book, that I did such a good job that she felt she was in Greece while reading the book.
  15. What are you working on now? The final and last book in the Olympian Love trilogy.
  16. What story do you have to write before you die? Haven’t thought about that… ideas come and go but the one I had to write was my psychological thriller Massive Black Hole and I’m glad I was able to have it published.
  17. What sentence have you written that you feel encapsulates your style? Since I write poetry, short stories, fiction, and romance novels, it’s hard to find a particular sentence for my style. So I’m giving you a verse that I really like from one of my poems: “and the images vanish like soft clouds up high, transforming the colors of my rainbow into the dark loneliness of my night.”
  18. Have you ever based characters off of real people? Not entirely but I believe there’s a little bit of people I know in every character.
  19. Who’s your favorite character? From the ones I’ve written, Nikos, the protagonist of the Olympian Love trilogy. I love writing him. He’s complex, enigmatic, a little mysterious, and of course, extremely handsome, a typical alpha male, and a Greek archaeologist.

 

Thank you!

 

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Chantell Renee, a wonderful reader, Myself, and Andrea Barbosa

You can find out more about the author on their blog http://massiveblackholenovel.blogspot.com/ , and purchase their work from Amazon. Andrya Bailey (romance): https://www.amazon.com/Andrya-Bailey/e/B01667R2D8.

Andrea Barbosa (fiction, short stories, poetry): https://www.amazon.com/Andrea-Barbosa/e/B00DGXPK6W

 

 

 

Mad Girl's Publishing, pictures, short stories

A sneak peak of ‘Hair Raising Tales of Villainous Confessions’

After a ton of hard work (not only by me and Chantell Renee but 4 other indie authors) the newest anthology from the Hair Raising Tales series, and the first collection from Mad Girl’s publishing is now available for pre-order!

‘Hair Raising Tales of Villainous Confessions’ will go live on Valentines Day (2/14/2018) and is perfect for the reader that you love, or even the horror reader within.

Inside you’ll b enraptured by thirteen stories from six indie authors that make you think beyond the fairy tale image of ‘evil’.

Tales ranging from murderous children to a mother’s never ending love, ‘Hair Raising Tales of Villainous Confessions’ will make you think of the wicked in a whole new light.

This collections includes words from award-winning authors like Jae Mazer, and emerging writers like Kyle D. Garrett.  Available for preorder NOW on Amazon.   https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07969BKMF

 

To get a taste of what you’re in for I’ve posted the beginning of one of my pieces ‘The Orchard’ which is (at least right now) the darkest story I’ve ever written.  Please be aware the story contains MATURE CONTENT!

The Orchard

By Melissa Algood

“I got her.”

“Bullshit.”  A metallic click, a hiss, then I put the can of rock gut to my lips.

“I can show you.”  A plume of smoke followed his words.

“Show me what?”

“I kept her, so you could see.”

“You think I’m some kinda freak?”

For a second his eyes glazed over before his irises took hold of me.  “You think I’m a freak?”

“Nah, man.”  More beer oozed down my throat.  “I mean I know you’ve been talking about it, but talking ain’t doing.”

“I told you, I got her.”

“Fine.”  I threw the empty can into the trashcan.  “Show me.”

All the roads in our town were dirt, not a stoplight to speak of.  Everyone that lived out here knew where they were without street signs.  Which was good considering we only had a handful of those.  Jerry and I had lived together for a couple of years.  He’d never brought a girl home, as far as I could remember, but he paid his half of all the bills on time.  Up until now I didn’t mind hearing him talk about the women in town, one in particular, but I never thought that he’d really do anything about it.

“It was late, you know after the ball game, so she was out.  I got into the back window.  It was open just like you said…”

My jaw clenched. “I never said anything to you, Jerry.”

His hands were still on ten and two when he turned to me.  “Don’t you remember, Noah?  Back when we were looking at the yearbook a few months ago?”

Jerry’s words bounced around the inside of the Silverado.

“Shut the fuck up with that,” I said. The memory of the both of us drunk enough to admit our deepest desires, but sober enough to make a plan, boiled in my stomach.  “Don’t ever talk about that night again.  You got it?”

“Yeah.”

“Say it.”

“Say what?”

“Jerry you’re so fucking stupid.  Just keep your damn mouth shut.”

The out-of-towners that came to see the leaves change could never tell the difference between one tree and another, but I was born here so each piece of greenery was its own landmark.  I could smell the crisp apples in the air long before Jerry made the turn into the orchard.  The acres that spanned before us were more than a food source; teenagers used them as a local spot for parties.

The first time I came out to the orchard was in fifth grade when the word around school was that the Buckhill brothers were going to rage on each other over the head cheerleader of our town’s only high school.  I could still feel the rush when one brother knocked out the other’s front teeth.  Iron still lingered in the air, although this time I knew that Jerry was the cause.

 

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20 Questions With...

20 Questions with…Kyle D Garrett

 

Although I’ve never met him in person, I’m sure Kyle D Garrett real.

Or at least I’m sure that his alternate persona is real because he’s narrated my  award winning story ‘Hair Dying’ (avaliable on You Tube)  as well as ‘The Silencer’ a fan favorite of mine and ‘Going Home’ from the multi-talented D. Marie Prokop (all of which are available in ‘Hair Raising Tales of Horror’ ) on his podcast The Dark Narrative(subscribe on iTunes).

Anyway he’s cool and has way too much going on to be completely fictional.  Kyle hails from California and somehow manages to do all that narrating, writes some pretty terrifying stories, all while being an awesome dad and husband.

He might not have any titles under his belt currently, but Mad Girl’s Publishing will have the pleasure of publishing his piece ‘A Madman’s Manifesto’ in the upcoming anthology ‘Hair Raising Tales of Villainous Confessions’ (stay tuned for release dates).

Kyle is sure to have a promising career in the writing world and it has been really cool to be any part of that.  So until you can get you hands on a copy of ‘Hair Raising Tales of Villainous Confessions’ the answers to his 20 questions will keep you going.

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Twenty Questions With…Kyle D Garrett

  1. Every writer has that one book that made him or her want to be a writer, what’s yours? It’s hard to say since I started writing at such a young age, but I do remember loving the Fudge books by Judy Blume as well as the Encyclopedia Brown books– those definitely ignited my love for stories
  2. How old where you when you started writing? Around 6 or 7– I wrote stories about my stuffed animals hehe
  3. Name four authors that you’d love to have lunch with. Stephen King (of course), Ted Dekker, and (were they still living) Frank Herbert and Ray Bradbury
  4. What would you eat? Probably burger and fries or steak and potato
  5. How do you plot out your work? What’s that? Haha, I have a bad habit of just picturing my story in my head completely then trying to write it. It can make for some challenging sessions especially when your typing can’t keep up with your thoughts.
  6. Do you write in the morning or evening? In the evening.
  7. Is there music on? Sometimes. I listen to some dark ambient piano by a very talented pianist named Nicolas Gasparini, known as myuu on YouTube.
  8. What inspired your last story? The one I’m currently writing was the question of what a woman would do to be a mother if she was desperate enough (She can’t have her own children). It goes into some delightfully dark territory.
  9. Name three books so good you wish you wrote them. Desperation by Stephen King, Thr3e by Ted Dekker, and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.
  10. What television shows, movies, or albums do you believe are written well? I believe a lot of the Marvel movies have been well done, as well as the shows on Netflix. I watch a lot of the superhero shows hehe. As far as albums I’m pretty nostalgic and tend to listen to older stuff like Metallica– Load and Reload are two of my favorite albums that I thought were really well done, and I will always love Hybrid Theory by Linkin Park.
  11. Which actor would you cast in the protagonist role of your most recent piece? I honestly think an unknown would be more fun than a well known actor/actress.
  12. Which of your pieces was the hardest to write? All of them lol. I am notoriously scatterbrained and have a hard time staying focused, so each piece can be pretty challenging.
  13. Which was the easiest? Refer to the last question, haha.
  14. Which of your pieces did readers ‘get’ when they told you their thoughts on it? I have yet to write that kind of piece.
  15. What are you working on now? Two short stories, and a slew of voice narration projects (I also do voice narration on YouTube).
  16. What story do you have to write before you die? A fantasy series I’ve been working on since high school. My wife calls it my life’s work.
  17. What’s your best fan story? My old high school history teacher coming all the way down from Oregon to SoCal to attend the launch party of my first novel. I cried.
  18. What sentence have you written that you feel encapsulates your style? Still working on that sentence hehe.
  19. Have you ever based characters off of real people? Almost all the time.
  20. Who’s your favorite character? I love Paul Atreides from Dune– his tortured conflict of whether or not to accept his destiny definitely kept me drawn in.

 

 

You can find out more about the author on  Kyle D Garrett’s blog

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Everything That Counts, pictures, Signing Events

Celebrations and Zombies

I’m totally one of those girls that loves Pumpkin Spice.  It’s the only time of year that I change my Starbucks order-and it is well worth it.

Needless to say I will be busy this winter (I’m a hairstylist in the ‘real’ world (and I’m really damn good if you want your hair looking amazing during any of these events then book with me here.))  So I’m going to attend some really interesting events this fall which I hope you’ll enjoy as well.

The first is in support of the indie publishing company Spider Road Press (check them out they donate a portion of their profits to charity).  Harvey ruined the first date, but us indie authors can’t be kept down, so it’s been rescheduled for October 17 from 7-8:30.

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The food is amazing, the company will be friendly, and the readings will be hauntingly memorable which will include my piece ‘Julia’ (which will be included in the upcoming ‘Hair Raising Tales of Villainous Confessions’ from Mad Girl’s Publishing out 2018).

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Patricia Flaherty Pagan with ‘Approaching Footsteps’ which includes my piece ‘Thomas’ and myself with my debut ya novel ‘Everything That Counts’.

 

 

 

 

Second will not only be a blast for all ages, but part of the profits will be donated to a scholarship for a Houston child.

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I could go on and on about this event but to find out more about the Houston Zombie Walk and how they’re donating to education click here.  

Myself, Chantell ReneeJae Mazer, and Jessica Raney will be in there Saturday October 21 from 5pm until they kick us out. We’ll have candy, razor sharp wit, and a pen to sign copies of our work.

Hope to see you there!

 

20 Questions With...

20 Questions with…Carla Conrad

When I think of this writer the first word I think of is class.

She is a true Southern beauty, highly educated, graceful, stylish, and kind.  Winston Churchill had many famous quotes, but Carla Conrad is the embodiment of “Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip.”  Thankfully she’s never asked me to take that particular trip.

Carla is one of the many authors whom I’ve worked with in a critique circle setting, and helped shape ‘Everything That Counts’ into the novel it is today.  Although she is a romance writer (she’s been awarded over three times for her work in the genre) Carla is not afraid to read stories about bloodsuckers, or mass murder and give you valuable information on how you can enhance your story.

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I can’t count the many times that Carla has helped me out of a creative jam, but I’ll never forget what a true friend she is when it comes to my personal life.

Carla Conrad is a writer that every reader should be on the lookout for if you like mystery, intrigue, with a heart pounding hunk of romance to boot.  So without further adieu I give you Carla Conrad and her answers to my 20 questions.

 

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Twenty Questions With… Carla Conrad

  1. Every writer has that one book that made him or her want to be a writer, what’s yours?
    1. Probably one of the Nancy Drew mysteries.

 

  1. How old where you when you started writing?
    1. I began my first mystery story when I was 11 years old. I think I titled it Treachery on the Amazon. I seriously doubt that I completed it. I still have a problem completing stories. I think I just don’t want them to end.

 

  1. Name four authors that you’d love to have lunch with.
    1. You should enjoy this since it would require zombies. Two of the writers are dead:
      1. Dorothy Dunnett (deceased)
      2. Frank Yerby (deceased)
      3. Sylvia Day
      4. J.K. Rowling

 

  1. What would you eat?
    1. I’m more worried about what they would eat. Don’t zombies chow down on brains?

 

  1. How do you plot out your work?
    1. I need to be better at this. I straddle the line between being a plotter and a pantser. Plots percolate in my head for years before I conquer my inertia enough to put them on paper. Once I reach that point my outlines are more of a sequence of events I try to push, shove, squish and squash into a cohesive narrative resembling the three-act structure. I’m afraid that’s as good as it gets before I dive in.

 

  1. Do you write in the morning or evening?
    1. I’m actually most productive in the afternoon. Since I tend to be lazy, it takes me most of the morning to get going.

 

  1. Is there music on?
    1. I’ve tried several times to write to music, but I love it too much and find myself listening more than writing. However, I do find songs that inspire scenes and create a soundtrack appropriate to the book. The selections can be highly eclectic.

 

 

  1. What inspired your last story?
    1. The genesis of the idea came from a television special many years ago featuring David Copperfield. Like my heroine, I’ve always been fascinated with magic acts.
    2. I nicked the idea of large cats from Siegfried and Roy, who primarily performed with tigers. Not to appear a completely shameless thief, I gave Julian lions he named for artists he admired (or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles).

 

  1. Name three books so good you wish you wrote them.
    1. I can do better: any books in the following three series.
      1. The Lymond Chronicles: (historical)
        1. The Game of Kings
        2. Queens Play
        3. The Disorderly Knights
        4. Pawn in Frankincense
        5. The Ringed Castle
        6. Checkmate
      2. The Crossfire Novels (contemporary)
        1. Bared to You
        2. Reflected in You
        3. Entwined With You
        4. Captivated by You
        5. One With You
  • The Harry Potter Series (YA fantasy)
    1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
    2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
    3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
    4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
    5. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
    6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

 

  1. What television shows, movies, or albums do you believe are written well?
    1. My current favorite television show is Lucifer. The concept is unique and I love the tongue-in-cheek humor.

 

  1. Which actor would you cast in the protagonist role of your most recent piece?
    1. The visual I used for Gigi isn’t an actress. Arizona Muse is a model who did a series of print ads for David Yurman jewelry. She’s done many other fashion features, magazine covers and ad campaigns, but the Yurman ads are the ones I used for Gigi.

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  1. Which of your pieces was the hardest to write?
    1. Always the one I’m currently working on.

 

  1. Which was the easiest?
    1. The one I haven’t started yet.

 

  1. Which of your pieces did readers ‘get’ when they told you their thoughts on it?
    1. I have an excellent critique circle as you know, so I pay attention to their feedback.

 

  1. What are you working on now?
    1. Finishing a draft of Devotion and Deception, the first book in the Now and Then trilogy. It’s due to the editor the end of August. Book three, Forgive and Forever, is partially written. The big gap is book two, Reunion and Revenge.

 

  1. What story do you have to write before you die?
    1. Whatever I happen to be working on when the Grim Reaper appears. I’ll be like Anthony Hopkins in Meet Joe Black. Me: “Uh, can you hang on a moment, I only have 1,000,000 pages to go.” Don’t laugh. Completing his Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) series may be what’s keeping George R.R. Martin alive.

 

  1. What’s your best fan story?
    1. Sadly I don’t have any fans yet. (sniff, sniff. Pass me a tissue for my tears, please). I haven’t published, but I’ve won and placed in a few RWA contests.

 

  1. What sentence have you written that you feel encapsulates your style?
    1. It’s either the first line of Forgive and Forever: Disappearances can be deceiving.
    2. Or when Julian asks Gigi where she’s from and what she’s doing in Paris. “I’m from Houston, Texas, and I came to Paris to lose my virginity. Are you busy tonight?”  I could be more subtle, but where’s the fun in that? Besides, I liked the image of Julian choking on a swallow of espresso and spewing it back into his cup.

 

  1. Have you ever based characters off of real people?
    1. Not intentionally, but there are probably elements of my personality – or who I’d like to be – in both my male or female characters, and some of my husband in Julian.  I think most writers unwittingly or intentionally infuse different characters with aspects of themselves. How could we not? We spend years trying to impose our belief systems and values on our children. Thankfully, they usually retain only what they want and become separate individuals.

 

  1. Who’s your favorite character?

I presume you mean a character I didn’t create. I’m partial to many male characters, but Frances Crawford in the Lymond Chronicles may be my all time favorite.

For female characters, number one has to be Scarlett O’Hara. Except for her inexplicable (and ridiculous) obsession with Ashley Wilkes, Scarlett has it all: courage, determination, self-focus, and defiance.

If you mean characters I have created, it better be one, or more, of those I’m writing currently.

Everything That Counts, Signing Events

‘Everything That Counts’ Release Party

It was amazing to finally have my novel out and available to the public, although Mother Nature had other plans.

For those of you that don’t live in Southern Texas like me (although I’m assuming Harvey is on national news) we’ve had some weather issues thus on Thursday evening many people were getting their homes prepped for the impending hurricane.

Thankfully I’m fine as is everyone that I’ve spoken to and I did have some great friends visit me at River Oaks Bookstore while I signed copies of ‘Everything That Counts’.

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Rebecca Nolen is a dear friend and fellow writer who has been integral in ‘Everything That Counts’ and really helped me get the editing process of the novel started.  Jason Brandt Schaefer took it home so without both of them then the book would not be as incredible as it is.

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Carla Conrad spearheaded one of the critique circles that I brought Blake’s story too, and she’ll be highlighted in next months 20 Questions.

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Patricia Flaherty Pagan has been one of my longest writer friends and she has started her own publishing company Spider Road Press which I’ve had the pleasure of working with.  She not only was in the critique circle that I brought ‘Everything That Counts’ as well, and my flash fiction piece ‘Thomas’ not only won an honorable mention in the Spider Road Press contest but it’s included in the thrilling ‘Approaching Footsteps’ available on Amazon and from Spider Road Press.

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Last, but not least, is my handsome man Izzy who has been with me through every draft that made me want to give up on writing completely.  All my love to you.

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I will have another release party-not during hurricane season-at a later date which will include a reading but I do greatly appreciate all those that did attend (including Chantell Renee which although I somehow forgot to get a picture of my fellow hairstylist author bestie!) (But we are working on another anthology (and looking for authors) for ‘Hair Raising Tales of Villainous Confessions’ out in ebook early 2018 )

 

Until then ‘Everything That Counts’ is available on Amazon as well as River Oaks Bookstore.  And don’t forget to leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads.IMG_1991

20 Questions With..., Everything That Counts

20 Questions With…Melissa Algood

 

This is usually the time that I tell you how much I love the author that’s answering my 20 questions, or how we met, but this time I’m taking over.

I’ve throughly enjoyed reading my friends answers, because they all have done it so differently.  Honestly I didn’t expect them to put so much thought into their answers, or trying to figure out the ‘right’ answer, when in fact there is not right or wrong.  I intended for the author to interpret the questions however they wanted to, not for my ‘permission’ on how to answer.  Therefore I did cheat on pretty much all of the questions (if there is a way to cheat on questions that don’t lead to a grade).

So thank you to all of the authors that I’ve highlighted before, not only for being good sports, witty, and insightful, but for being my friend.

The first time I remember saying that I wanted to be an author was when I was about eleven or twelve.  I never imagined that people would really read my stuff, I mean at least not while I was alive.  Sylvia Plath has always been a favorite of mine, hence naming my publishing company Mad Girl’s Publishing after her poem ‘Mad Girl’s Love Song’.

I am very happy to announce that I’ve publishing my first book-which will be officially released on August 24 at River Oaks Bookstore.  I hope that you’ll join me to celebrate the release of ‘Everything That Counts’ from 4-6 pm.

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I don’t really know what else to say-other than that writing isn’t something ‘fun’ for me-it’s a necessity due to the people that live out their lives in my head.  Thankfully at least some people like to join me on the journey – thank you for that.

So without further adieu I answer the infamous 20 questions

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Twenty Questions With…Melissa Algood

  1. Every writer has that one book that made him or her want to be a writer, what’s yours?   ‘Watership Down’ by Richard Adams.  I remember reading the introduction (yes I’m such a dork I read the introduction to novels) in which he said that the story of Fiver and Hazel was originally something he told his daughters as he put them to bed and they begged him to write it down.  Also ‘Fool On A Hill’ by Matt Ruff-it throughly transported me and I wanted to take a ride like that as often as possible.
  2. How old where you when you started writing?  Young, maybe 11.  In middle school a tutor mentioned how detailed a piece I wrote for English was (I described a door creaking open as if a rat were being crushed in the frame).  I also wrote little short stories for my first boyfriends mother (a dramatized version of a woman crossing the street was my first).  In high school I pledged to write a poem a day which helped me the most overall, and I still read the poems if I want to go back in time.
  3. Name four authors that you’d love to have lunch with.  Richard Adams, Matt Ruff, Nicola Yoon, and Courtney Summers.
  4. What would you eat? Probably not rabbit…I’m picturing a sleep over environment which includes pizza and sodas.
  5. How do you plot out your work? I usually don’t.  I get a scene in my head, and I’ll play it over and over again until it is as clear as an Oscar winning film and then I write it.  Although this often causes a lot of work once I’m ‘done’ with the first draft so from now on I really need to do an outline first (but I did do that for ‘The Bakery Assistant’ which I have yet to complete and I lost the outline).  
  6. Do you write in the morning or evening? Whenever I can, but usually after I’ve had my coffee.  But I have written many a scene while a color client of mine has been processing (I’m a hairstylist in ‘real’ life)
  7. Is there music on? This is the most important part of the writing process for me-I will spend more time on a playlist then virtually any other planning of a piece.  It will get so intense that a song will forever be intertwined with a character or scene.  I have posted the playlists for ‘Blood On The Potomac’  and ‘Everything That Counts’ on this blog.
  8. What inspired your last story?  A client inspired ‘Everything That Counts’ but I’ve been working on a lot more short stories which seem to be inspired by the copious amount of true crime podcasts I listen to (My Favorite Murder, Up And Vanished, Serial, Undisclosed, True Crime Garage, Last Podcast On The Left)
  9. Name three books so good you wish you wrote them. ‘All The Rage’ by Country Summers and ‘Thirteen Reasons Why’ by Jay Asher because both stories are so fucking important for everyone on Earth to read especially young adults.  ‘All The Rage’ is so poetically written although the content is something most people won’t read because it’s a difficult topic.  Similarly Asher’s novel does shine a light on many things that American society wants to put in the dark and he does it so intelligently that you’re enraptured.  ‘The Sky Is Everywhere’ by Jandy Nelson is achingly beautiful more like an epic poem, or a song, than a novel.  And I wish I could create another world like George R.R. Martin, but I can’t plan ahead that well.
  10. What television shows, movies, or albums do you believe are written well? ‘The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’, ‘House of Cards’, and ‘Master of None’ on Netflix.  I’m also the biggest fan of ‘Breaking Bad’, ‘Sons of Anarchy’ (which I binge watched while writing ‘Everything That Counts’), and ‘The Sopranos’ and my all time favs ‘Daria’ and ‘My So-Called Life’ and ‘Lost’ (which I binged while writing ‘Blood On The Potomac’).  As far as films I love ‘Donnie Darko’ although I’m not really sure what happened, and anything by Wes Anderson.
  11. Which actor would you cast in the protagonist role of your most recent piece?  I kinda like Miles Teller for Blake, but I’m not sure if he’s tall/lanky enough…maybe he’s more of a Nat Wolff. Rachel Hurd-Wood or Daisy Lewis for Sophie, Britt Robertson for Zoe.  
  12. Which of your pieces was the hardest to write? I would say all of them, but for different reasons.  ‘The Bakery Assistant’ needs more research (so if you’re a lawyer on the east coast lemme know) ‘WinterGull Lane’ because it took me to such a dark place.
  13. Which was the easiest? Most of my short stories are quick as lightening, which might be why I write them so much more often.
  14. Which of your pieces did readers ‘get’ when they told you their thoughts on it? ‘The End’ is a short story I won an award for about a young boy who grows up during the apocalypse.  I didn’t get hung up on how it all went down, but what it’s like to actually live after everyone else is dead.  At a book release the wife of another author told me that she loved that George still found it important to look at the artwork that still existed on the walls of the hotels in Las Vegas, because what’s the point of living if you don’t have the opportunity to enjoy art.
  15. What are you working on now? The novels that I mentioned before, and to write enough short stories to publish my collection called ‘Everyone Dies’.
  16. What story do you have to write before you die? All of them
  17. What’s your best fan story? When I sold an anthology to a teenage girl at a Comic Con in Houston and she shared with me her journal of poetry that she carries with her, then later that day came by to told me how much she loved my story.  Or when I read my piece ‘Thomas’ at the Spider Road Press award ceremony and one of my friends told me that it was the only piece that made her cry.
  18. What sentence have you written that you feel encapsulates your style? ‘We trudged onto the darkened stage covered in blood and glitter.’ from the story ‘Even Aliens Watch Reality T.V.’ my man’s favorite story that I’ve ever written.
  19. Have you ever based characters off of real people?  There are attributes that are based off real people, and I talk a lot so I listen to how people talk and infuse that into my work.  So yes, but not enough to have anyone worry.
  20. Who’s your favorite character?  I’m gonna cheat and say that I have a fav from each piece-Samantha Locke ‘Blood On The Potomac’, Blake Morgan ‘Everything That Coutns’, Claire Fisher ‘The Bakery Assistant’, and Stormy O’Dell ‘WinterGull Lane’

 

 

You can follow me on this blog, on TwitterFacebook, and you can buy all my work on Amazon

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Everything That Counts, pictures, Signing Events

Party Time for ‘Everything That Counts’

A novel takes a long time to come to fruition, and the story of Blake Morgan’s last year of high school was no exception.

I began writing ‘Everything That Counts’ as an escape from my heart pumping novel ‘Blood On The Potomac’, but it ended up taking on a life of it’s own, and I’m very proud of  this novel.  It is my love story to Annapolis, geeks, and for anyone that’s made a big mistake yet is attempting to redeem themselves.

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If you’d like to see a snippet of the novel you can check out First Chapter of ‘Everything That Counts’ (although it has been edited since then so it’s going to be even better!  And get your playlist ready because music plays a big role in the novel, get your headphones ready when you click Soundtrack to ‘Everything That Counts’  

 

I hope you’ll join me on Thursday August 24 from 4-6 pm at River Oaks Bookstore in the heart of Houston.  I will do a few readings, and I did buy a new dress just for the occasion, so please join me for the birth of a novel.

 

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20 Questions With..., pictures

20 Questions with…Gay Yellen

She’s an actress, assistant director, journalist, an award winning novelist-and she’s also a dear friend.  Gay Yellen has a shrewd eye for detail, in fact I wanted to hire her as my editor, she didn’t have time (I mean look at her credentials she’s a busy lady) but encouraged me to really go through my manuscript.

Later I still had to hire an editor, but at least my tenses were correct, and without Gay encouraging me to tackle my greatest writing fear-editing- I wouldn’t be as strong as a writer as I am.

I’ve had the pleasure of having my poetry published along with hers in the collection IN THE QUESTIONS from Spider Road Press and we were in the same critique circle for several years which was educational and fun.  I highly recommend her Samantha Newman mystery series (her Samantha is much different from my Samantha Locke in ‘Blood On The Potomac’ in which we joked often during cc) not only does it keep you on the edge of your seat, but Yellen’s descriptive quality, especially with food, is so precise that your mouth begins to water.  Needless to say I think that she needs to come out with a cookbook.

And now I’m going to introduce you to the woman who’s done it all, and now is sharing her stories with the world, thankfully I had the chance to live during the same time as her thus able to meet her characters.

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Twenty Questions with Gay Yellen

  1. Every writer has that one book that made him or her want to be a writer, what’s yours?     I can’t really pick one. Writing seemed to be a natural extension of reading, and as a child, I read voraciously. Family lore has it that when I was a toddler, I would turn magazine pages and babble words as if I were reading them.

  2. How old where you when you started writing?    In my baby book, my mother recorded a poem that she swears I made up at the age of three.

  3. Name four authors that you’d love to have lunch with.   Anthony Doerr. Hank Phillippi Ryan. James Michener. Theodore Geisel.

  4. What would you eat?      Fries. Vanilla malts. Maybe Green Eggs and Ham.

  5. How do you plot out your work?      I’m not much of a plotter, except for the bare-bones structure. Once I have the main characters and what the story is about, the rest more or less falls into place, although it takes quite a while to get to The End.

  6. Do you write in the morning or evening?      I start in the morning and work as long as I can.

  7. Is there music on?       Not for my mysteries. I’m also working on a historical fiction, and I use music of that period to help immerse me in what is otherwise a distant and underexplored era.

  8. What inspired your last story?       After The Body Business was published, I regretted cutting the ending short, leaving readers hanging. I wrote The Body Next Door to continue the story. Now that it’s won the international Chanticleer Mystery & Mayhem Award, I’m glad I made that decision.

  9. Name three books so good you wish you wrote them.     All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr. Housekeeping, by Marilynne Robinson. The Book Thief, by Marcus Zusak.

  10. What television shows, movies, or albums do you believe are written well?    TV has some of the best writing ever. Veep, Silicon Valley, Life in Pieces, Better Call Saul come to mind.

  11. Which actor would you cast in the protagonist role of your most recent piece?                        Emma Stone would be a perfect Samantha Newman.

  12. Which of your pieces was the hardest to write?     The next one.

  13. Which was the easiest?    The Body Business. I’d just helped the author of an international thriller polish his book, Five Minutes to Midnight, which did very well, according to The New York Times. That success led me to try writing one of my own.

  14. Which of your pieces did readers ‘get’ when they told you their thoughts on it?              I love to hear from readers, whether they leave a question for me on my website, or I get to meet them in person at a book club or other public appearance. It’s a thrill for a writer to learn how the characters on the page come alive in a reader’s imagination.

  15. What are you working on now?     Book 3 of The Samantha Newman Series.

  16. What story do you have to write before you die?     The historical fiction has been in my heart for years. I started it years ago before my first mystery was published. The opening chapters actually won Best Historical Fiction in a Houston Writers Guild contest in 2013.

  17. What’s your best fan story?         I love meeting new fans who tell me that my book brightened a few hours of their lives. And when a long-ago friend discovers my books and reconnects with me, it’s a plus I hadn’t counted on, and I love it. That’s a long way of saying I have no best fan story, just a lot of wonderful encounters with readers.

  18. What sentence have you written that you feel encapsulates your style?   Here’s one from The Body Next Door. Samantha is talking about the little girl she’d befriended a few days earlier: Anyone but Lizzie would have annoyed me beyond endurance, but somehow, we vibrated at the same frequency.

  19. Have you ever based characters off of real people?   A writer’s head is filled with experiences, some we’re conscious of and some that seem to bubble up from nowhere. I’ve never consciously based an entire character on any real person, but some character traits may resemble those of people I’ve observed.

  20. Who’s your favorite character?   Lizzie, from The Body Next Door. That sad, lonely little girl in need of a friend. I have no idea where she sprang from, but I fell in love with her at first sight, as did Samantha Newman. I think that relationship helped define Samantha in a good way. I still think about Lizzie. She’ll definitely be in Book 3.

You can find out more about the author on her website: http://www.GayYellen.com and purchase her work from Amazon or Barnes & Noble or your favorite indie bookstore.