Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Author Interview: J.E. Taylor

I recently sat down with J.E. Taylor and had a conversation about her books, her own publishing house (Jet-Fueled Fiction), and her duties as an assistant editor for Allegory E-Zine. In case, you couldn't tell by all the book covers in this post, Mrs. Taylor is a busy woman, so I'd like to thank her for taking the time to do this interview! 
Speaking of the many titles listed here...You have quite a few books and short stories under your belt already, do you find that the ideas come easier as you go along?

JET: Yes and no. I had over twenty years of stories bottled up in my head when I started writing in 2007 and those stories came barreling out at mach speed.  I’ve since slowed, letting the new stories percolate while I polish up the ones already written.   I’ve got a few that are nagging at me and I’m writing a YA horror novel with my eleven-year-old son.  He had a fantastic idea and we flushed out the plot together and I’m “ghost writing” it under his name.  It’s a great endeavor, one that he is uber-excited about. 

You've previously released Dark Reckoning and Vengeance with FIDO Publishing. Both books have since been re-released under your own title, can you explain what prompted the change and how that change has affected you, your books, and the future? Also, tell us a little about your publishing title now, is this something that will continue to grow, (representing others) or is this simply something you are doing for yourself?

JET:Fido made the decision to close their doors on new titles and by that point in time, I had enough experience in formatting and uploading and such to take this endeavor on myself.  There really was no marketing done by the publishing house and I don’t even think they sent the books out for review.  It was a very different experience than eXcessica even though it was a sister company.  I figured instead of shelling out their cut, I could do a better job of this and jumped ship.  How has it affected me?  Well right before I jumped ship I had an ad run for Vengeance that bumped sales.  I lost that ranking, but I did gain some of it back during my May and June blog blitz for the release of the third book in the series - Hunting Season.  I figured my own label would be JET-Fueled Fiction – nice and catchy.

As for branching out to others, well right about the same time that I went out on my own, another FIDO author, one that I had done editing for, contacted me about starting our own label – our own e-publishing house.  Thus Novel Concept Publishing was born and we have three authors in the pipeline for Fall releases now.  Of course our work is highlighted there as well.

You work as an assistant editor for Allegory E-Zine, can you tell us a little about what it is like going through other authors' submissions? As an author yourself, do you find it tough to weed out the work of others, or do feel that being a writer helps your decisions?

JET:  Before I traveled the writing road, I couldn’t articulate the particulars of what constitutes a winning story from one that just didn’t do it for me, but I knew how to recognize it.  That feeling of losing yourself in a story, of the world disappearing around you and rebuilding based on the words in front of you.  You know that feeling when the writer has completely captured you in the story – well that’s what I look for, even now.  And as a writer, I know how to direct those that don’t quite get there with their prose.  I think it helps that I’ve been in their shoes, that I’ve received some very touch critiques on my early stuff, stuff that when I wrote it I thought was the best thing since sliced bread but then I took a writing course or two and realized just how lacking the stories were.  With my rejections, I usually try to give guidance on what needs work as well as tell them what they’re doing right.  But even then, there are some that are just beyond all redemption and for those I default to the standard form letter. 

You've had a bit of experience now with the world of small/self-publication, what is the number one piece of advice you would give to other authors who are just starting out?

JET: Actually there are two major items that go hand and hand.  Learn the craft and find a good editor or critique partner that will be brutally honest with you about whether your story works and what your strengths and weaknesses are - one that will push you to become better.

Of all the characters in your various books, which is your favorite and why?

That’s not an easy question to answer. I absolutely love Ty Aris (a.k.a. Chris Ryan).  He is by far the most complex of my characters and he’s a bad boy trying to find redemption which makes him so much fun to challenge.  Then there is Steve Williams, my FBI agent who is a bit of a cowboy himself but at the core he is a good man, pushing him to the edge and beyond has been fun.  I honestly have a hard time choosing between the two of them and so I got creative and threw them together in Hunting Season.  What a fun ride throwing my favorite undercover cop with a criminal mastermind that’s hidden from the law for fifteen years.  Imagine Criminal Minds meets Supernatural and you’ve got a taste of what Hunting Season brings to the table.

For those readers out there who are already fans, what do you have on the agenda for the coming months (sequels, new releases, etc)?

JET:  The next Steve Williams Novel Georgia Reign is coming in early November.  This book brings a whole new set of challenges to Steve and the case he is investigating introduces him to a heinous serial killer that is targeting the children of Atlanta.

As a reader, what is your favorite genre of books?

JET:  Thrillers and horror.  I’m an adrenaline junkie and love a good thrill ride.

Authors are all about taking over the world - one story at a time! So, tell us, if you were to have an amazingly cool super power, to aid you in your world-wide literary domination, what would it be?

JET:  You’ll have to check out Hunting Season to see exactly what that might be, specifically the endowments of Chris Ryan.  J

Since we are discussing taking over the world this next question is of utmost importance. If there was one food in this world that you couldn't live without, what would it be?
JET:I debated on this one between a good steak and chocolate.  Seeing as chocolate is my weakness, I’d have to say this ends up being the winner in this category.   However, I could live without it if I had to.

We couldn't possibly end an interview on a better note than chocolate! Thanks, once again, to J.E. Taylor for taking the time to share a few things about herself and her work!

JET: Thank you for having me Christine!

For you curious souls out there, I am including a few back of book blurbs for the Steve Williams Series:

Dark Reckoning:
A sadistic killer stalks the secluded college town of Brooksfield, New Hampshire.  With bodies piling up and rumors of the murders being part of sacrificial hazing rituals, the FBI plants Special Agent Steve Williams in a fraternity at Brooksfield University.  His investigation takes a ninety degree turn into the bizarre when he’s introduced to Jennifer, a clairvoyant co-ed who swears the killer isn’t human.
Steve considers the plausibility of the extraordinary, the unspeakable, even the inconceivable when his notebook starts bleeding cryptic messages.  Messages that indicate Jennifer is at the heart of the darkness in Brooksfield.

When she describes her latest vision, a trail of violent deaths, including his, Steve asks the million-dollar question:  Is Jennifer trying to help . . . or is she actually the one responsible?

Living large in New York City as a corporate lawyer for the most savvy drug lord on the East Coast, Special Agent Steve Williams carefully plots Charlie Wisnowski's downfall.  His plans go to hell when his wife Jennifer survives an attack by a serial killer.  With her life in jeopardy and his undercover guise threatening to unravel, he orders Charlie’s arrest.  But the sting goes woefully wrong and Steve becomes the target of a mafia assassin hired by the biggest crime boss in America.

Escaping from the city, Steve and Jennifer settle back into their quiet life on the banks of Mirror Lake. Their peaceful existence shatters with a crippling loss and Jennifer’s visions escalate, forecasting a brutal assault on their family.    

Armed with scant details from her dreams, Steve trudges through a litany of past connections, searching for the key to stop the course of fate.

What he uncovers chills him to the core - a brother with a grudge, a serial killer and a mafia assassin are all on his trail.  The hunt begins . . .

Hunting Season:
Special Agent Steve Williams trials begin when serial killer Kyle Winslow escapes from custody. Winslow systematically eliminates everyone close to Steve, including his new partner.  When Steve delivers the bad news to his partner’s family, he discovers his partner’s stepfather, billionaire Chris Ryan, is a criminal mastermind topping the FBI’s most wanted list.
The only thing stopping Steve from arresting the man is Chris's arsenal of psychic gifts - gifts that could give Steve the edge in the hunt for Winslow.
Steve must make a decision. Join alliances with Chris, or arrest him and lose his best chance to catch the bastard who destroyed his family.
The following are ADULT ONLY titles!

Review: (preview) Wormwood

Content From:

I NEVER do this! I NEVER give a review for a book that I haven't read from cover to cover, however; I am going to give you all a heads up about a book I think will be the next BIG thing! 

Wormwood is a post-apocalyptic novel by D.H. Nevins.
I happened across D.H. Nevins website thanks to Twitter. While I have perused many a websites and never been tempted to hang around long, I can safely say that Ms. Nevins held me captive for quite some time as I read through the first five chapters of her post apocalyptic tale, Wormwood. I read often, turning the pages of several books a week, and not since I picked up The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, have I been so enraptured by what I was reading! Ms. Nevins writing is sheer genius, well thought out, extremely well written, and polished to perfection. I have been left ready to beg for the next few chapters, the rest of the story, and sorry for the fact that I will have to wait to finish this amazing bit of fiction! Wormwood is a book I want on my shelf, in my collection, to be able to pick up and return to on a whim, and I have only read the first five chapters! I can only imagine the impact the rest of the book will have!

Wormwood is slated for release in Sept. 2011. September is going to be an extraordinary month indeed!
Do yourself a favor and go read the first five chapters, then wait patiently with the rest of us as we queue up for that Sept. release!

Wormwood Website
The Publish Wormwood Facebook Group
D.H. Nevins' Twitter

Back of the Book options that the author is trying to decide on (you can give your opinion on her website):

Option One:

Tiamat and his brothers, a legion of one hundred Nephilim, have orders to send all humans on to their final judgment. Yet in a moment of weakness, Tiamat risks his life to rescue a hiker named Kali from the very destruction that he initiated—a choice that thrusts Kali from the safety of her world into the boundless hell of his.

Set across the landscape of a freshly devastated Earth, Wormwood follows the intertwined paths of the high-ranking, but tormented half-angel named Tiamat, and Kali, a woman who will do almost anything to survive—even if it means facing a devastating truth.

Option Two:
 I always believed that I was nothing special. Now, after The Cleansing, I am left to wander the wasted landscape alone. Yet I am continually tormented by one of the Nephilim—a half-angel named Tiamat—who claims that I must stay alive to fulfil some purpose.

He risked his life to rescue mine; a seemingly virtuous deed. It also appears as though every task Tiamat is ordered to carry out tears at his soul; but how can I know if that’s true? How can I trust him, if he’s the very one that destroyed this planet in the first place? 

Kali, thrust from the surety of her world into the boundless hell of Tiamat’s, must try to find a way to survive in the Earth’s vast, devastated landscape. Plagued by a legion of Nephilim bent on sending her on, she is forced to trust the one being that could prove to be her greatest enemy.

Review: From the Farther Side of Beyond

Content from:

From the Farther Side of Beyond is a collection of horror short stories and novellas by Peggy Randall Martin.

From the back of the book:
"from the farther side of beyond (a collection of novellas to keep you up at night),” is a book of thrillers by Peggy Randall-Martin, author of "So Far Behind.” You asked for a collection of her works and she was listening. This book includes one true life experience and five of Martin's favorite tales that will take you to the edge and teeter on the razor-thin line between what is real and that unknown place inside us where fear thrives and curls ready to strike.

“For Whom The Phone Rings,” is based on a true life event, late 1999, in this author’s life. The occurrence puzzles her to this day and no one has been able to offer a viable explanation. If it happened to you, would you have answered the phone? (Not sold independently of this collection – kindle book readers who have already purchased this book will be invited by e-mail to download the updated version free of charge.)

“A Good Sleep 4 Murder,” is the story of Adam Duncan who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. During the final days of his marriage, he developed a mind-bending plan to save his matrimonial union. If it works who will save his wife from him? And when will it spread to a home near you?

“Are You Scared Yet?” When O’Neal Bradley discovered the body of her best friend, she didn’t know her name was next on the killer’s list. And she couldn’t have known that her home was the looking glass through which the killer could place her in the cross-hairs of a sniper rifle and watch every move she made. Her life was no longer her own and she hid in the only place available – in plain sight.

“Backside of the Mirror,” When Whitley Wickingham received notice of her grandmother’s death, she traveled to Wickingham Farm. The day after her arrival she discovered an antique mirror in the attic. It was her plan to move it downstairs that disturbed the order of things in the old house and the definition of normal took on a whole new meaning. Nothing was as it seemed and no one appeared to be who they said they were. Whitley had no idea of the terror that lay in wait. In her worst nightmare she would never have danced so closely to insanity and she would’ve awakened before sheer evil forced her to run for her life. But this wasn’t a night terror and she would try to go without sleep for fear when she closed her eyes it would be for the last time.

“Death Takes a Highway,” Have you heard the old saying, "Be careful. You could wake up in the morning and find yourself dead?” Sounds preposterous, right? What if you went out for a nice dinner at your favorite haunt and no one recognized you? And the conversation at the table next to yours was filled with rumors and innuendos that you were seen in places unknown to you. Would you blow it off as a series of crazy coincidences or launch a search for absolutes? But all roads don’t lead home so plan your travel carefully because when death takes a highway the consequences could leave you dying to know the truth.

“So Far Behind,” In a place, condition, or time previously passed or departed from… Anna-Jake Constan grew up in her parent’s little house on Maple Street in Garner’s Rest, Oklahoma. Her younger siblings moved away right after high school and never returned until the day of their papa’s funeral. At 38 years old Anna-Jake resided there alone, and the horrifying events that took place in the house one dark frozen winter night are what the locals called, “the happening.” They said it was the coldest day in hell...

While I wouldn't go so far as to say these stories scared the pants off of me, they certainly did entertain! The stories contained within "From the Farther Side of Beyond" are well written and worth the time. The thing I love most about collections is you can take your time with them, read a story here and there and pick up the book again later to find something new and different.

The author, Peggy Randall Martin, has a fantastic imagination and it shines through in her stories. These are the kinds of stories I grew up listening to. These are the kinds of stories that made me want to become a writer in the first place. They have an urban myth / Twilight Zone feel to them that brought me back to my roots. The stories told in Peggy's collection could have fit right in with the stories my cousins used to tell to scare me as a child. I felt as though I was welcoming home an old, albeit scary, friend. From the Farther Side of Beyond is what that old school style of storytelling is all about! Those stories with a hint of truth blended with just enough fantasy to make you wonder, and perhaps even look over your shoulder as you see similarities creeping up from behind you in real life!

For more information about Peggy and her books, check out her website: Pieces of Peggy

Review: Being

Content from:

Back of the Book: For elite extraterrestrial pilot EBN-Reyoz-X, awaiting rescue while hiding out in a trailer park is a grueling nightmare. She’s injured, lacks proper supplies and can’t blend in with the indigenous population because she’s seven feet tall and can’t control the trail of wildflowers blooming in the wake of her footsteps. She’s unprepared to begin sexual maturity in the alien land and when she develops feelings for Shale, the mute teenage boy next door, she’s convinced circumstances can get no worse.
Except rescue never comes and once word spreads that her touch holds miraculous healing abilities, EBN must find a way to fix her ship, evade capture by the United States Air Force and survive long enough to return home. 

I enjoyed EBN's story. It took me a little bit to get into it, but once I did, I was hooked. 
The author, T.R. Mousner, put a lot of thought into the other worlds that she describes in this book. Not only that, but her description of Erox (Earth) through an alien's eyes was pretty nifty too! The aliens have their own language, or more to the point their own words they use for things like miles/kilometers and solar cycles. It was a very creative addition to the story, however; I find too many fictional words to be slightly off-putting when I read. It slows me down, as I have to either interpret the meaning or remember what something was supposed to convey. While I hate being slowed down, I also understood their use. Despite my own personal pet peeve for fictional word usage, I found the story to be engaging, entertaining, and even educational.

This is not just another pretty and entertaining story, it also tackles several issues, from pollution and global warming to bullying, and they are seen both through human and alien eyes. It was interesting to see how someone not of our world would react to how we care (or don't care) for our planet and each other. T.R. Mousner did an excellent job looking from the outside in at our various human failings!

If you love Sci-fi/Fantasy books about alien invasions - buy this book! It is definitely a fresh take on the topic and one that you will enjoy reading. T.R. Mousner's imagination is obviously boundless,  so I can't wait to see what she comes up with next!

You can find out more about T.R. Mousner and read some pretty interesting things on her blog!

Review: Killer Temptations

Content from:

Let me start with the age warning. This is an erotica novel, ages 18 and up only.

With that out of the way, let me also say, I don't normally read erotica. To me "erotica" means one big sex story tied together with a loose plot. 

Killer Temptations is not your typical erotica. The story was phenomenal. We've all been in some deep dark places in our lives and this book explores the "what if" side to a person's desperation. What if you were made an offer you couldn't refuse, when you needed it most?

Danity O'Shae doesn't skimp on the detail, nor does she shy away from building her characters, or setting the scene. There are no shortcuts. I found myself truly involved with the characters, something I didn't think would happen from a book in this genre. 

While the book ties up the loose ends, I still want to know more. What happens to the characters in the long run? You know that you've just read a good book when you still care about what is going to happen to the characters long after that last page has turned.

Danity O'Shae has a very clean writing style that seduces the reader further into the tale, until you are completely enthralled as the pages continue to turn! Killer Temptations was a great read that may have just turned me on to a little more erotica in my life! If you already read in the genre, then this one will be a treat!

Review: Molly September

Content from:
I've always had a fascination with Pirates. I loved to play a swashbuckling maiden as a child - the princess in me loved the dresses and the tomboy in me loved the swords and guns. I was even known to dress the part for Pirate Week when I lived in Key West, FL. Imagine then, my pleasant surprise when the novel, Molly September, fell into my lap for review. 

I was at once swept away with Molly, the beautiful redhead with a taste for adventure.  I turned the pages and sat faithfully by waiting for Molly to be rescued from her dull and boring life, having been all but sold off to a foppish man rumored to have killed his last wife. Then Dick Prentiss whisked into her world,  dazzled her with the promise of adventure, and together they set sail on a privateering adventure the likes of which I never could have dreamed, but was oh so glad to have enjoyed through this book!

Steamy scenes, swordplay, and drunken folly abound in Molly September. I laughed, I cried, and laughed some more. Maggie Secara set in place a fabulous world based on historical elements and places laced with fantastical adventures and heartening romance. Her book has quickly risen to my favorites shelf, where it shall remain, well worn for its many reads!

If you enjoy adventure on the high seas, a little bit of romance, and a lot of fantastic characters in your books, then you simply must go pick up a copy of Molly September! And while you're at it, go say hello to Mrs. Secara, because anyone who can transport me ship-side on such a believable privateering journey deserves a personal hello along with the purchase of her wonderful novel! 

You can find Maggie Secara at The Literary Underground, Twitter, or Facebook!  

Review: Wither

Content from:

Wither - Book one of The Chemical Gardens Trilogy by Lauren DeStefano

From the Book Jacket:
What if you knew exactly when you would die?
Thanks to modern science, every newborn has become a ticking genetic time bomb - males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.
When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and priviledge. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape - to find her twin brother and go home. 
But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant she is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.


I've been wanting to read this book for some time and this week it was handed to me in a store - a present from a friend. I do love presents! So, of course as all children do with their new found toys, I ignored everything else until I was finished devouring this book. 

Wither is told from the first person perspective of Rhine Ellery. At 16 she is taken by the Gatherers and forced to become a wife, along with two other girls (ages 18 and 13). Throughout the story you hear what life was like for Rhine and her twin brother after their parents are killed and you begin to wonder if her new life - the one where she is kidnapped and forced to marry against her will - is actually better than the one she was living. You almost think that, and then through Rhine you realize everything in her new life is just an illusion and what lies beneath is too scary to contemplate. 

I was completely enamored with the characters and their plights. From the dying Rose to the little girl Cecily who wanted to be a wife and mother so bad to Jenna, the girl who simply waited to die, you are drawn into these characters through Rhine. They are the story as much as the main character is. Through them you understand what it must be like to be so young and yet nearing the end of your life span. 

The world Lauren DeStefano has created is so disturbing you want to look away, and yet you can't because you become invested in her characters. They are so real in their flaws, hopes, dreams, and despair. It's not just the characters themselves that captivate. It's the world with all its illusions and the seemingly broken planet that is possibly waiting for humanity to die off that draw you in and demand a little of your attention along the way too. This book simply leaves you at a point where you can be hopeful for some of the characters and at the same time wonder what if?

I am personally hoping that my "what ifs" are answered soon with the second book in the trilogy, Fever. Apparently, I will be waiting until February 2012 though. ~SIGH!

More information about The Chemical Gardens Trilogy can be obtained HERE!