How would your friends describe you? Utterly insane! Seriously, they would. But they also tell me I'm a great friend, a good supporter, and a loyal fan.
Who is your hero / heroine and why? While my husband is my soul mate and best friend, I have to give the hero title to my Dad. He served in the U.S. Army for 20 years and on top of that, he's just always been there for me. He's definitely my hero.
Who are your favorite authors? Or authors you aspire to? Funny thing is that some of my favorites are not fantasy authors like myself - or if they are, they're YA fantasy writers. Beth Barany (Henrietta the Dragon Slayer) is one of my favorites, not only is her writing spectacular but she's also a very strong woman and someone I admire on both a personal and professional level. David M. Brown (Fezariu's Epiphany) is one of the few non-YA fantasy authors I enjoy.
I would read anything he published! Then, my two crit partners - Charlene A. Wilson (Cornerstone Deep) and J.D. Brown (Dark Heirloom) - I would read anything they published as well. Charlene has beautiful prose that poets can envy and J.D. has the most unique vampires I've ever seen. But if I were to choose an author that I don't know personally, it would be Marry Higgins Clark, hands down. I love her mystery/suspense novels and can't read enough of them! I wish I had more time to read her books these days, but with my own book out now, helping other authors, and chasing after my hyper toddler, there isn't much "relax" time for me!
Do you have a day job? Well, yes and no. I don't have a day job in the sense that I leave my house and go punch the clock somewhere. I run my own business, Anastasia Creatives (http://anastasiacreatives.com), that works almost exclusively with authors. I format books for e-book and print, design book covers, set up and design full websites, and also give indie publishing tips and advice. My office is in my house, so I get the wonderful privilege of working in my pajamas and setting my own hours!
Do you have any strong beliefs in anything, like Karma, reincarnation, everything happens for a reason, astrology, anything like that? I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Example for you. My husband and I owned a Honda Civic - well we were still making payments at the time. Some paperwork with the dealership got mixed up and they told us we were behind on our payments and were going to repossess the car. We weren't behind, they found the mix up, and told us not to worry about it. Well, they came and took the car anyway!
Oh yea, we were SO upset about that. So, we bought a Chevy Silverado pick up truck. Just a few months after we got the truck, we were in a major car accident, with another big pick up - at 75 miles an hour. If we had been in the little tiny Civic, I would have been crushed by that truck when it hit us (it hit on the passenger side, my side of the truck) and my son would have probably died or been severely injured too. So, while it was the worst thing ever to have them take our car, having the truck instead I'm convinced saved our lives! So yes, I definitely believe that everything, no matter how small or insignificant it seems, happens for a reason!
What other creative outlets do you have? Do you play music, draw, sing and when you're stuck in your writing, do any of these other outlets help get you writing again? How long do you want this post to be? Let's see, I design websites, book covers and do other graphic art types of things. Definitely gives me some inspiration working with other writers and artists to design their websites for them. I like to sew, carve wood, build model cars, crochet, design houses, and design medieval dresses. I don't do much of that anymore as I just don't have time, but my writing still allows me to do some house and clothes designing as I create places and outfits for my characters. I sketch them out and keep them in my three ring binder where I keep all my notes for the book. I like to sing, though I usually just stick with singing while I'm along in my office or putting my son to bed. No complaints from him at least! But I do love music and have it playing often.
You have mentioned you're a recovering alcoholic. What was your wake-up call to pull yourself together again? Wow, tough question! Warning, this isn't going to be pretty and will be a little longer than my other answers. I was sitting there one day in June 2006 and realized that I had pushed away every single person in my life - family and friends a like. I literally was alone. I couldn't look at any area of life and say "Okay, that part is doing good, let's focus on that." I literally had nothing and no one. I don't know how to describe the utter feeling of loneliness I felt at that time. It was more than just "feeling alone" like many feel sometimes when life gets tough. This was literally like, being in a locked room where no one came to visit you, or check on you, or anything. I was ALONE. You see, for a long time, I wanted to die. Literally. And I tried.
With the amount of alcohol and drugs - in dangerous combinations - I shoved into my system, I prayed every day for years that I would go to sleep and not wake up. I was so wrapped up in my own problems and simply just existing for so many years, that I crushed people along my way. I took advantage of them, manipulated them to get what I wanted, used them and then threw them away. I know; I was not a very nice person at all. When I was sitting there in June and realizing that I was at fault for being so alone, I cried for days. From guilt, from loneliness, from the pain I felt physically. I had two "friends" that attended AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) meetings. So I gave them a call and asked if I could live with them (I was homeless at the time) and that I wanted to start going to meetings with them.
I didn't believe even then, that I was a alcoholic, but I was so desperate to be rid of the guilt and pain I felt, that I was willing to try anything. They gladly accepted me into their home and helped me get back on my feet. I'll be grateful to them everyday for the rest of my life. That was seven years ago. I still struggle with feeling guilty over the things I had done back them. But the more I help people, the more I try to make up for those mistakes, the less guilt I feel. I try to look at each day as a miracle - because it is. I have a wonderful husband, a beautiful son, and a great life. It's hard, don’t get me wrong. So often do the sins of my past sneak up to haunt me again. But today, I can face those problems head on, without drinking and without hurting other people or myself. I don't want to die and I enjoy every minute of life - even the tough parts. By rights, I should have died many times over before I even reached the age of 22. I just celebrated my 29th birthday in May.
When did you discover your love of writing? I don't remember a time when I didn't love it. I suppose when I was younger I was more into reading. I fell in love with fairy tales, ya know, happily ever after, knights in shining armor, true love conquers all, etc. As I got older, my reading styles changed of course. Now I’m more into action flicks, crime dramas, and of course some fantasy and scifi. Somewhere while growing up, I thought "I want to write stories like THAT." That touch on people's emotions in some way. And tada, there it was.
In high school, when everyone else was talking about college and careers, and in college it was all about jobs and getting married, all I thought about was being a writer. It was hard going for a long time because, ya know, life gets in the way. But when my husband and I were expecting our son, we agreed that I should be a stay at home Mom. In the almost five years since then, I've written more stories than I ever had before - and loving every minute of it.
Do you remember the first story you wrote? What was it? I think it was a story about a Mommy bird and a Baby bird. I was maybe 5 or 6 years old so it was a little on the cutesy side of course. I don't remember much of the actual story line, but had something to do with the Mommy bird trying to teach the Baby bird how to fly.
What genres are your favorites to read? How about to write in? I love to read almost anything really, but I love action thrillers. The more "explosions" the better I say. I prefer going to see action movies, rather than chick flicks. And the same applies to books. In fact, my husband once told his friends, "My wife's idea of a chick flick is going to see Transformers and crying when Optimus Prime dies." Of course I write fantasy – always have and always will – but, I always throw in a lot of action, fight scenes, chase scenes, and explosions!
Who is one of your favorite characters that you have written? Please tell us about him/her and what book they are in. This is a tough one! I have so many that I love for different reasons. But, for the sake of this post, I'll go with Derac Vidor, Captain of the Kinir Elite. He is from my debut novel, Cleanse Fire. He's a warrior elf, fiercely loyal to his country and her people. When in uniform, he's often a prickly sort of character, coming off as too serious and rarely smiles. But, get him around his mom, siblings, and nieces and he's a playful, relaxed sort of guy. I think he's my favorite just because of all my characters, he's the one that 'talks' to me the most! Plus, he's 6'4 and full of muscles. How can I resist that?
GIVEAWAY: Deadline is July 23rd at 11:59 pm Eastern Time!
Win an e-copy of Cleanse Fire!
To enter, answer ONE of the following questions in a comment on this post.
1. "Do you think you'd be better as a strategist (planning missions/a thinker) or are you more action (aka following orders/a fighter)? Why?"
2. "Who is your real life 'super hero' and why? (Can be anyone!)"
**If you answer both, you’ll be eligible for a SPECIAL BONUS PRIZE!**
Names will be put into a hat and drawn randomly! I can’t wait to read your answers and good luck!
Win a signed paperback OR an audio book copy of Cleanse Fire!
Two Winners! Winners choose which prize they’d like! You can read or hear a sample of on the Kinir Elite website.
Head over to the Kinir Elite Website to enter! http://kinirelite.com/cleanse-fire-event-july-2013
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Genre - Fantasy / Military
Rating – PG13