Monday, September 7, 2015

Angel M: Author Interview & Spotlight

Please welcome to my blog, Angel M, fantasy author of The Maze series.

The Keeper: The Maze Series: Book 1

The Keeper is the story of Gabriel, his inner voice, and how he became the newest keeper of the maze. On his adventure, Gabriel befriends a serial killer, dodges an arranged marriage, fights jaguar warriors, rediscovers his imaginary/childhood friend (aka, the voice), and finds his niche in life.


Kieran stood in the doorway, his hell-depth eyes boring into mine. “Murder,” he repeated.

            Thunk! Yep! That would be the other shoe, the voice jittered. And may I point out how calmly he said that? As if we were discussing the weather.

Underwater City (The Maze Series Book 2)

Underwater City is the story of Ann who’s, less than graceful moments, are legendary. With her two friends reluctantly following, Ann immerses herself in the underwater life of Jeritza where she discovers she is not totally immune to grace. When battles ensue over territorial rights, the three newcomers do not hesitate to aid the city in order to protect their harmonious way of life. Amid the chaos, love blossoms, new friendships develop and old friends part ways in search of their own adventures in the maze.


            Her eyes fell to the only article of clothing Jace had on and she smiled. “Do you know your shorts are on backwards?” she asked.

            He looked down at his shorts and then back to her. “Do you know the door is wearing your shirt?” he replied and they both began to laugh.

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From story dabbler in the 1980’s to published Author as of July 2013, it only took me 46 years to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. In between my full-time job and family matters, I can be found tapping away at my computer, working on my next book. If not there, then I am promoting; The Keeper, Book 1 of The Maze Series and now; Underwater City, Book 2 of the Maze Series. Each book in this series will be a new adventure for a different cast of characters, so they do not have to be read in order.As a multi-genre Author, I will publishing a fictional comedy titled Pawper to Pedigree and a dark comedy titled Gold Dust, in the coming years.


1. I noticed your first book is described as an Adventure, Suspense, Crime-fantasy. I am really fascinated by the fantasy part of this. Where does that come in?

The series is actually Adventure/Fantasy. I think the “crime” part is due to the fact that the bad guy in The Keeper, Book 1 is described as “best bud or budding serial killer”.
The fantasy part of the series involves the maze as it is the catalyst that sets each new adventure into motion. When a person, or group of people walk into the maze, they are sent off world on an adventure. This adventure is designed for a specific person or persons.
For example:
The Keeper is about Gabriel who loves adventure but doesn’t know where he fits in. He enters the maze and off he goes to hike on another world with cliff dwellings, rain forests, and caverns. Along the way he befriends Kieran who enjoys killing a little too much, escapes an arranged marriage, fights jaguar warriors, meets up with a group of Druids which provides a bit of laughter and magic, a water nymph who hates company, and by the end of the book Gabriel’s story comes full circle with him becoming the newest keeper of the maze.
Along on this adventure is the voice, which I have been known to describe as a cross between Jiminy Cricket and Dennis Leary, minus all the curse words. At least, this is the way I heard it in my mind when I wrote the book. The voice is a very different character and takes a little getting used to, but it has a purpose which you will discover by the end of this book, as well as later on in future books.
The Keeper is written in first person because it is Gabriel’s story. Future books will be written in third person.
Underwater City caters to Ann’s love of the sea. More calamity than Jane, Ann cannot walk down the street without falling over something, but in the water she has the grace of a dolphin. So, the maze sends her to a world comprised mostly of water with her two friends, Jace and Meridia, reluctantly following.
Jace is like a cat when it comes to water and Meridia is a nasty piece of work who never has anything good to say about anyone and thinks way too highly of herself. Unfortunately, Ann is a tender-hearted soul and Meridia’s only friend. Jace, flat-out, hates Meridia and it is fun to listen to them go at each other.
The sea life characters in this book are comically entertaining. There’s Hawk and Spit, to miniature cleaner shrimp who serve as Ann’s personal dental hygienists, Manny the moray eel who has a pattern of freckles on his head in the shape of a bunny that he is real sensitive about, but Jelly is by far my favorite and I’ll leave readers to experience him. The fast-paced harvest games help to feed the city’s residents while providing play time with the dolphins and is a popular sporting event with a unique arena.
Ann’s love interest is Ian, the aquamarine-eyed, hunk and leader of the Jeritzian people. The story behind their meeting adds a small bump to their relationship. You will understand this statement more, if you read the book. I can’t give everything away.
And, of course there are bad guys. Meet the Crustaceans: compact car sized lobsters and crabs who have come to negotiate (yeah, right) for a section of reef to destroy with their over-populated numbers and destructive behavior. They have zero respect for anyone or anything while the Jeritzian people nurture and replenish dying reefs.
Society rules are strict when it comes to population, the safety of the environment, and the people. Those who refuse to comply are cast out and eventually becomes human slaves to the Crustaceans.
Ann’s adventure comes full circle in the end while Jace and Meridia find adventures of their own in books to follow.

2. What books/authors influenced you growing up?

My high school literature teacher assigned The Hobbit and it hooked me right away. I really did not care much for reading prior to that, but it only takes one special book to pull you in. Of course I read the series then The Sword of Shannara. Love that Terry Brooks. Everything escaladed from there. Anne McCaffrey, Dragonlance Series, Forgotten Realms, David Eddings, I could go on forever.
Then I became an adult (HAH!) and got a job where I was able to listen to recorded books while I worked. This opened a whole new world to me. I, literally, have spreadsheets on Excel with authors and books that I have listened to over the past 24 years. I had to do this to keep from getting the same books over and over again. Now, I am sampling many genres and have just as many favorite authors that influence my writing every day. Janet Evanovich is my favorite. If I could be half as funny as her with my writing, I would be perfectly happy with that. Diana Gabaldon, Jeffrey Archer, Jennifer Crusie, Peter V. Brett, the list goes on.
I will confess that I only read fiction. Non-fiction holds no interest for me as I have little time between my full-time job and writing, and there are so many more fiction books I want to listen to.

3. Ten straight, perfect 5 star reviews. That's not something you see every day and I noticed many are verified purchase reviews. What's been your experience trying to get the word out on your books?

My experience has been very slow in coming. My books, word of mouth, and I were my only promotion for the first book. I was barely on Facebook, had no idea what Twitter was, no web page, new to all the stuff a cellphone could be used for and nobody to show me anything.
I am 52 years old, live in the country where the nearest big city is an hour drive north, east, and south; west is 3 hours and cell service is spotty in the foothills of the Appalachians. We live a simpler life here so none of my friends and family could introduce me to the world of technology and I did not have the financial resources to pay someone or take a class. So, I jumped in, feet first, arms flailing, while the voice inside my head screamed “are you crazy”.
Sometimes, that’s how you have to do it. You will make mistakes along the way, just own up to them and move on. I live for right now and the very near future. Anything outside of that spectrum, clutters my brain. I had to start somewhere or else I was never going to hold my book in my hands. I’m still making mistakes, but I’m learning.
My original goal was to write and publish a book. The first book was a financial disaster because I spent money on things I did not need, but it was a necessary learning experience. I’m doing the second book much smarter thanks to all the authors I have met along the way. Most self-published authors are great and eager to help with “how to” information. Use the free help without over-taking advantage. You still have to do the work, but an arrow in the right direction will get you started. Then share your knowledge with the next newbie.
I was happily surprised at the 5 star reviews and that my writing was able to pull in people who would not normally read this kind of fiction.
Social networking is great. I met my cover guy, Jamie Noble, for Underwater City on Twitter, I have personal, author, and series pages on facebook, I am on Goodreads, and this will be my second online/blog interview. Not sure I used the right terminology there, but I’m still learning.
The downside to social networking is the amount of time it consumes and I find a lot of it confusing. However, everything has a learning curve. If it takes 6 months to fully understand one small aspect, then I can check that one off the list.

4. I notice your first book looks like it was published through a publisher and the next one is not.  Tell us about your experience with the publishing side of things.

I began with the usual query, synopsis, sample chapter emails and 4 years ago, some agents and publishers were still on snail mail. It’s crazy how quickly the process changes. I sent out over 80 queries and got back over 60 rejection letters. However, not one of them said “don’t quit your day job”. They were actually quite pleasant and encouraging, so I saw this as a good sign. The worst one I received said, “Not for me, but thanks anyway”. Not bad, I thought. So I started looking at self-publishing.
The Keeper was self-published through Abbott Press. I had heard about Createspace, but was so new to publishing that I ended up paying to have my first book published. I learned a lot and am still very happy with the book they produced.
At the Toronto Festival of Arts I met Dave Core, local self-published author, and we got together at the Toronto Library where he showed me Createspace. When it came time to publish Underwater City I emailed Jamie around the end of May 2015 about the cover, he said he could do it now, and armed with the information Dave gave me about Createspace, I figured, “what the heck”. Jumped in.
Everything went so quickly, I’m still in a daze. Within the past year, I joined IndieBooksBeSeen and they put out a fantastic catalogue of indie authors, then Fox Echo Books offered to do an online interview, you (Rose) at Fantasy Fun Reads made a second wonderful offer, and Author Promo Co-op threw an online party for me (another first). I never would have been involved with any of this had it not been for social networking. Yes, it takes time away from writing, but well worth it.
I am pretty happy with my current social networking connections and doubt I will take on any more for some time. I need to get back to working on The Larpers, Book 3

5. What have you learned about being an author that you wished you knew first starting out?

Everything, but then learning the process is more beneficial. Plus, I’m not much on looking back.

6. Tell me three exciting things about your books that you want folks to know about.

The Maze Series books do not have to be read in order because each adventure wraps up for the main character by the end. Secondary characters may appear in books down the road, but their adventure will have little or nothing to do with previous appearances.
I write strictly for entertainment purposes. No deep thinking or hidden messages you have to ponder or figure out. If you feel like you had a good time while reading one of my books, then that is what I set out to do.
Since I tend to write whatever pops into my head, I am a multi-genre author. Future publications include Pawper to Pedigree a fictional comedy. Marnie owns a mobile dog grooming business and is a dog whisperer who helps clients sort out problems with their owners. Gold Dust a dark comedy. Ava gets even with her abusive husband with the aid of her best friend and a golden nugget with a curse.

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