Nicole Luttrell, Author.

Nicole Luttrell writes about dragons, aliens and ghosts. “Sometimes,” she says, “I write about ghosts of dragons who are actually aliens.” Nicole, you are a welcome visitor to the New Writing Hangout. Tell us all about yourself and what you get up to when you aren’t writing.

I’m pretty much all about stories. I love reading from all genres, and watching way too much sci-fi tv. I have a special soft spot for mythology and fairy tales. I’m also kind of a political and news junkie. How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?
All of myself goes into my writing. My faith, my relationship with my family, my love hate relationship with my home town. Everything eventually gets woven into my stories. For example, I live in a steel town. There are coal mines everywhere around here, it’s a part of my heritage. It comes up again and again.

Tell us about where you live.

I live in a small town that’s trying to come back up. Over my life I’ve seen this town breath in and out, releasing businesses and traditions that are outdated and adopting new ones. I don’t think enough people consider the evolution of their towns. They’re living things.

If you could travel anywhere in or out of this world, where would it be?

I want to go to Japan and see the blossoms and Shinto shrines. And the Aokigahara forest, which I have a weird fascination with. I would also love to go see Prypiat. Imagine a while city just abandoned like that. It’s horrifying but fascinating.

I’ve always wanted to go there! Where do you come up with ideas for your stories?

The Woven trilogy started with one thing, a boy who wove. I grew up reading Tamora Pierce, and I love the thought of magic with thread. I wanted to write about a sensitive hero with an unexpected power. As I started writing about Devon, the main character of Woven, the story evolved. I had to give him an outspoken older sister, a loud older brother. Then they needed someone to protect them. They needed a world in which to exist. And that world has sparked so many more stories. The more I write, the more characters come up and introduce themselves.

What can we expect from you in the future?

I’m working on a few things right now. I have a science fiction series called Station 86 that I put up episodically on my website, Paper Beats World. I’m also working on a new trilogy in the same universe as Woven. And a companion novel for Woven. I can’t stick to one project for very long, so I’ve turned that bug into a feature. I’m also hoping to start writing a series of horror novellas later this year or early next year.

Here are links to the first books in Nicole’s two series.

First, Broken Patterns, her fantasy series with Woven.


Second, Seeming, the first book in her science fiction self-published novella series. “Seeming” is free to download.

Nicole’s Website: https://paperbeatsworld.com/author/nicoleluttrell/

Nicole’s Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Nicole-C.-Luttrell/e/B01NCOKB74

Nicole, many thanks for dropping by the Hangout.

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Justin Alcala, Author

It is our honour to welcome author Justin Alcala to the Hangout. Justin “grew up near the South Side of Chicago in that haunted house every neighborhood has.” As well as writing novels he is a blogger, folklore enthusiast and nerdologist. Most of his tales take place in The Plenty Dreadful universe, a “deranged supernatural version of the modern world.” His latest novel “Dim Fairy Tales” will be released in late 2019 by AllThingsThatMatterPress.

Justin, welcome to the Hangout. Tell us all about yourself and what makes you tick when you aren’t writing!

            Just look up peculiar in the dictionary and you’ll find my picture. I grew up near the South Side of Chicago in that haunted house every neighborhood has. I wrote homemade comics and read Halloween library books year round. I played Dungeons and Dragons, ran a local monster hunting group and watched horror movies. To be honest, not much has changed.

            Fast forward ten years, and after my father’s death, I decided to go through life all solo artist style. I worked full time in order to attend several different colleges, but eventually settled on majoring in English at Roosevelt University in order to continue my passion of being weird. I worked through corporate world (yuck) while being an alleycat with friends, always a closet case nerd at heart. Then I met my wife and life truly changed.

            My wife, who has her own fantastic story, wasn’t the pediatrician she is today. We met during her last year of college in performing arts. Yes, she was a bookworm-actress, and our second or third date was me going to see her play a fairy queen in some twisted storefront stage performance. This woman was just as unique as me, and today we have our beautiful daughter, Lily who is just as wonderfully outlandish.

            Today, when I’m not with my beloved Adams Family, I’m off doing something extremely nerdy. I’ve been blessed to have the opportunity to write full time, and even when I’m not writing…I’m writing. I still play roleplaying games with my buddies, dreaming up epic plots for them. My two year old has one upped my addiction for books, and we go to the library at least once a week for new fairy tales. I read books (Andrew Smith, Christopher Moore and Jim Butcher to name a few) in my happy place on the porch and work out daily in my array of superhero shirts. Like I said, just look up peculiar in the dictionary and you’ll find a picture of me.

How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?

Great question. I’d say there’s a lot of the people and places I love in my stories, in addition to my own personality. Chicago, the city I’ve loved for thirty plus years, is in the main backdrop of The Plenty Dreadful universe. However, it’s more the wonderfully offbeat people that I meet daily that creep their way onto the pages. As for experiences, I’ve had a lot of them that people might not believe, from being hunted by a supposed vampire at a goth club to being on a reality tv show in Las Vegas. I try to incorporate that awkwardness, excitement or eerieness into tales for readers to love. 

Tell us about where you live!

I’m still kind of adapting to my new home. I lived in Chicago for all of my life, except one wild year that I spent in Las Vegas with my sister and niece. That is until today. My wife’s career sent us to Augusta GA, home of the Masters. While there’s been a period of adjustment in culture, landscape and people, it’s starting to grow on me. They’re just as weird as Chicagoans, which is delicious.

If you could travel anywhere in or out of this world, where would it be?

Where do I start? I’m going to Coruscant to meet the diverse races and cultures of the Star Wars universe, then to Faerun in order to party with Elminster. I might stop in Middle-earth, but I’m definitely not going to Westeros. Everyone there dies.

Where did you come up with the idea for your story?

Sorry dudes and dudettes, but this is going to be a cliché, but honest answer. There’s no one place. It’s mostly the books I’ve read, grounded and peppered with gritty real life experiences. I add entertaining people and places I’ve stumbled into so that readers can enjoy these same mavericks of life. Then there’s Zorgon, the elemental in my basement. He gives me some great ideas too.

What can we expect from you in the future?

I can never say this enough. I love storytelling. I get a real kick out of the idea that I can create stories and then give it to other people to enjoy. It’s fantastic. Stories entertain, teach us truths and let us understand ourselves. In my first decade of writing, I’ve been fortunate enough to have four novels published and multiple short stories in articles magazines/blogs. I don’t look to stop now, and will likely have to have my Spiderman decal laptop pried from my cold stiff fingers, and in a hurry, because I totally plan on coming back as undead.

Justin, thank you for dropping by the Hangout. Where can we find you online?

My personal website’s blog:
https://www.justincalcala.com/blog

My Twitter handle is…
https://twitter.com/JustinAlcala

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/Justin_Alcala

Cindy Keen Reynders, Author

Our interviewee Cindy Keen Reynders

It is our distinct pleasure to welcome author Cindy Keen Reynders to the Hangout. As well as writing novels Cindy has written non-fiction for magazines like “True West” and “Wild West.” She talks to the Hangout about her life , her writing, and her new novel, “The Seven-Year Witch.” The book tells the story of novice witch Miranda Rose, the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter.

Cindy, thank you for dropping by the New Writers Hangout. Tell us all about yourself and what you do when you aren’t writing!

When I was around 10, I’d sit on my parents’ front porch and read stories from the newspaper, pretending to be a TV newscaster. That was my first major life goal. In fourth-grade, my class read a history book about Wyoming by a local author and I loved it so much, I decided to be a writer. I’ve attended so many colleges around the country I have enough credits for a bachelor’s degree, but I’ve never received a diploma! I’ve got five children and eight grandchildren, and I feel so blessed to have a my family. When I’m not writing, I love reading, crocheting, crafting and walking. When the weather’s good, I love going to garage sales with my sister and brother-in-law. It’s cool to run into people I know or work with and meeting new people.

How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?

There is so much of me and my experiences in every book. I’ve travelled extensively so I can include information about people and places from locales like the Caribbean, Hawaii, New Zealand, the Philippines, Canada and numerous U.S. states. My sister is my best brainstorming partner and together we can really cook up some great plot ideas that often include stories from the past. A character based on one of my brothers is in my first book. But that is Top Secret information. You can’t tell him!

Tell us about where you live!

I live in the cutest western city, Cheyenne, Wyoming, home of Cheyenne Frontier Days. It’s the perfect size, not quite 60,000. Cheyenne residents are generous, and they support charitable giving of all kinds. We have a nice mall, great restaurants, several museums parks and lakes. Cheyenne Botanic Gardens recently added a huge new addition. I could sit in the conservatory for hours admiring the flowers and listening to the water features.

If you could travel anywhere in or out of this world, where would it be?

I’m fascinated with the American West and how settlers would pull up stakes and leave home for places they’d only heard about. Sometimes they never saw their family again. I’d love to be member of the first space crew to colonize Mars. It would be exciting to help build a whole new world.

Where did you come up with the idea for your story?

“The Seven-Year Witch” plot came to me in a dream. I know, that sounds cheesy, but it’s true. In my slumbering state, I envisioned all these beautiful young ladies wearing bright, flowing gowns. My mind was probably thinking about all the strong women I’ve known like my mother, my three sisters, my daughters, my granddaughters, my daughters-in-law, my sisters-in-law, my nieces and many others. All have achieved incredible goals. When I woke up, I felt compelled to a story with seven beautiful, nature spirit worshipping witch sisters who are tasked with watching over humans and protecting them.

What can we expect from you in the future?

I’ve completed another witch sister book titled, “A Witch at Midnight.” The next book “in the series is, “Witch Tease,” which I’m almost finished writing. It will need a couple of final polishing drafts, though. I have a mystery set in the Caribbean and a contemporary romance set in Wyoming that I’m currently marketing. Plot ideas are swirling!

What can we expect from you in the future?

I’ve completed another witch sister book titled, “A Witch at Midnight.” The next book “in the series is, “Witch Tease,” which I’m almost finished writing. It will need a couple of final polishing drafts, though. I have a mystery set in the Caribbean and a contemporary romance set in Wyoming that I’m currently marketing. Plot ideas are swirling!

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About the “The Seven-Year Witch,” from Solstice Publishing :

The Seven-Year Witch

Ebook: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07P7HT6YD

Print: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1625268777

Novice witch Miranda Rose’s seventh and final task for the Supreme Witch’s Council is to find the legendary Philosopher’s Stone. Once that is achieved, she’ll accomplish her lifelong dream—to become a High Witch of the Wysteria Hedge Haven Clan. In a last-ditch effort to locate the precious gem, she travels through time to 1877.

Hidden within a dilapidated castle tower, Balthazar, a powerful young wizard, refuses to relinquish the stone. In a fit of pique, he zaps Miranda into a field just outside of Merry Olde London.

Sir Maxwell Chadwick is the sole witness to a fiery ball of light streaking across the midnight sky. Curious, he investigates and is surprised to discover a beautiful young woman among the smoldering ashes. Captivated by her alluring beauty, he cannot deny his instant attraction.

As for Miranda, she appreciates the handsome duke’s assistance. However, she finds his well-intentioned interference annoying because it delays her mission. It doesn’t take her long to realize Sir Maxwell holds the key to her heart, as well as her future.

A combination of fate, impractical magic and the Seven-Year Witch disease take the lovers on a rollicking, star-crossed adventure.


Connect with author Cindy Keen Reynders

www.cindykeenreynders.com (website)

https://wyomingfreelancemuse.blogspot.com/  (blog)

www.facebook.com/cindy.k.reynders (Facebook)

https://twitter.com/littlewing1959 (Twitter)

William Fripp, Author.

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Welcome to the New Writing Hangout. Tell us all about yourself and what makes you tick when you aren’t writing.
I’m a 53 year old child in the body of a giant…
…I love classic Sci-Fi and horror, NFL football and black cats. I guess what makes me tick is not knowing…I can’t stand NOT KNOWING, and when I believe I’ve learned it all, maybe I’ll stop, but probably not.
How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?
100%. Every character has a piece of me in them, and most of the horror sequences are taken from dreams I’ve had, or visions I’ve experienced.
Tell us about where you live!
I live in Lincolnton, North Carolina with my wife Valerie and two cats, Gimmie and Putter.
If you could travel anywhere in or out of this world, where would it be?
Back to the beginning. Then forward to the end. Then back again. Repeat.
Where did you come up with the idea for your story?
I am a great fan of the genre, and a HUGE fan of Coast to Coast AM. George Noory and the late Art Bell are like longtime companions to me, and it is listening to them for twenty years that inspired me to build the worlds I borrow from in my novels.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I am currently in production and under contract for my third novel in the Sojourner Saga, Ad Astra. I also have outlines for a western, a dystopian epic and a three book series based on Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Barbarian.
William Fripp, thanks for dropping by!

Virginia Babcock, Author

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Virginia, welcome to the New Writing Hangout! Tell us all about yourself and what you do when you aren’t writing.

I work a real job. I am a die-hard quilter, painter, and reader. So that’s what I do when not writing.

How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?

I put some personal experiences in my books. Mostly it’s places and feelings I’ve experienced. I try to put my spin on things by having my characters look at or talk about their situations like I would. Some of my characters display some of my personality quirks. For instance, I cuss a lot when venting. Most of my heroines do this too.

Tell us about where you live!

I live in northern Utah. I was born here, but stay for my job and also my husband. We have a temperate climate and varied topography. I can be in the desert dune-buggying and in the mountains hiking on the same day. Sunny skies in the winter keep me here.

If you could travel anywhere in or out of this world, where would it be?

I would travel the entire US. I want to drive the length of the Gulf Coast, but also want to eat a lobster on the beach in Maine before I die. I’ve done the Redwoods and July 4th in DC. Hiking the Appalachian trail or getting to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan are other bucket list trips.

Where did you come up with the idea for your story?

I wrote Bum Lambs and Red Tractors based on the thought, “What could have happened to me if Mom had married a rancher instead of my CPA dad.” The whole book is a treatise on where I grew up and how I would live a rural lifestyle in today’s modern world.

What can we expect from you in the future?

I write constantly. Currently, I’m working on another contemporary romance where I explore a hero that pines for the girl he’d spent a no-promises, steamy week with. I am exploring the idea that “hot sex with no strings” could turn into enduring love. I also have a good start on a book redeeming my mad bomber from my first book. It speaks to redemption and how far can someone come back from being “evil.”

Where did you come up with the idea for “Bum Lambs and Red Tractors?

I wrote Bum Lambs and Red Tractors based on the thought, “What could have happened to me if Mom had married a rancher instead of my CPA dad.” The whole book is a treatise on where I grew up and how I would live a rural lifestyle in today’s modern world.

“Maddy has always been different, but lately she’s been lonely. Even those who love her avoid her because of her “gift” and the strange things it makes her do. Then one night, a ghostly visitor warns her to go with the handsome stranger who shows up at her door before dawn. Jacob needed a change in his life, so he quit his job. Before he could head out on his next adventure, his brother reached out to him for help. Will he ever know why a haunting dream told him to leave to help his brother now? On his way, he meets the beautiful Maddy. Together Maddy and Jacob help those they are called to help. Through triumph and tragedy they find their own way and try to blend two varying paths into one.”

 

Virginia’s books on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Virginia-Babcock/e/B00K8P259G

Viginia Babcock on Facebookwww.facebook.com.VirginiaBabcockBooks

 

Linda Lingle, Author

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Linda,  Welcome to the New Writing Hangout! Where did you get the idea for “Dear Heart”?

I awoke on the morning of my fortieth wedding anniversary thinking about all of the ups and downs my husband and I had survived, and about how love had changed for us as we weathered the bad times and the challenges of day-to-day living. Then, I began to wonder how life would have been if romantic love had lasted forever. The next thing I knew, I was sitting at my lap top, writing the first chapter of Dear Heart.   Since I couldn’t see how romance could survive the daily assault of pressures and problems, I knew when I started that the main characters would be separated for a long period of time, but would ultimately get back together because, well, when I read a love story, I want there to be a happily ever after.

Where does Sweet Heart differ from Dear Heart? 

Dear Heart is told from Deirdre’s point of view and Sweet Heart is told from Lee’s perspective, so right away, the voices of the narrators are different.  Plus, Lee’s story is much more soulful and melancholy. That’s not to say that it’s sad or depressing, but Lee’s life without Deirdre is harder than hers without him, and you get a good sense of that in the book.

Was it as exciting to publish Sweet Heart as it was Dear Heart? 

I was very excited and, frankly, relieved, that the rest of the  story would be published, but there was a lot less hoopla surrounding the publication of Sweet Heart than there was DearHeart.  I didn’t lose my mind and call everyone I knew, screaming, when Sweet Heart was accepted for publication and I didn’t have a big launch party for it.  I just posted the news on social media and sent out emails to close friends and family, which was much more low-key.

How do you write through writer’s block?

I don’t sweat it. There’s always research to do, or another book to work on. And on those rare occasions when I’m mentally exhausted and the thought of opening my laptop makes me want to run screaming from the house, I don’t force it. I say, why torture yourself? Conventional wisdom is that writing in 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. But for me, writing is 100% about the inspiration, because when you’re inspired, you won’t have to break that much of a sweat. I’m not saying you won’t have to work, but the fact is that a truly inspired story will tell itself, while a story light on inspiration and heavy on perspiration will end up hopelessly contrived.

Do you have any advice for unpublished Writers?

More than anything else, believe in your story. Don’t listen to anyone who tries to dissuade you from writing it. Don’t let anyone convince you to self-publish if you believe you can place your book with an actual publisher. Don’t let anyone scare you about copyright issues or lawsuits. Don’t let anyone try to minimize what you’re doing. If the person you want most in the world to love it doesn’t want to read it, or the person you most want to share the experience with changes the subject every time you bring it up, shrug it off. It will be hard and it will break your heart, but don’t let it derail you. Believe in your story and believe in yourself.

 

DEAR HEART and SWEET HEART by Linda Lingle

Can love survive a nearly-forty-year separation? Can passion? And what happens to lovers who are separated for a life time? See how their destiny unfolds as the parted lovers dream about finding their way back to each other’s arms, and an unlikely guide emerges to light the path of their journey.

Deirdre Reid and Hartley (Lee) Tate feel an immediate attraction when they meet at the office where they will work together and fall in love.   There is only one problem:  they are married to others and Lee has four daughters to whom he is devoted.

For 15 months Deirdre and Lee carry on a passionate affair.  Then Lee’s wife is offered a big promotion across the country.  With his heart breaking, Lee leaves Deirdre in San Francisco and moves East with his family so his wife can advance her high-powered career.  

Soon, unforeseen circumstances have Deirdre second-guessing her insistence on a clean break.  She resists every impulse to fly to Lee’s side, but on the first anniversary of their parting, Deirdre grows increasingly regretful and melancholy. Then she receives a surprising Christmas present which sets in motion a 38-year ritual that, against all odds, keeps alive the love she shared with Lee. 

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Get Deirdre’s story on Amazon

 

Heartbroken and resentful, Lee has a difficult time adjusting to his life without Deirdre and struggles to settle in to his new surroundings. Knowing he made the only decision a father could make does little to lessen Lee’s profound sense of loss. Although he tries to be upbeat and optimistic for the sake of his daughters, in the dark and quiet of his lonely nights, Lee relives the fifteen heady months that he spent with Deirdre and gives free rein to the anguish and bitterness he feels because he was forced to leave her.

Then, his youngest daughter enlists Lee to help her find an elusive Christmas gift for her favorite teacher and everything changes.

As if guided by fate, Lee stumbles across a poignant reminder of his time with Deirdre and sets in motion the 38-year ritual that eased his heartbreak and sustained his hope for the future.

In this companion book to Dear Heart, we meet the people who populate Lee’s world, and learn the shocking secret he promised never to reveal.

 

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Get Lee’s story on Amazon

Linda on Facebook

 

 

 

 

Jeff Botzenhart, Author

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Jeff Botzenhart, author of “Indestructible”, welcome to the New Writing Hangout! Tell us all about yourself and what you get up to when you aren’t writing.
I guess Clark Kent’s (aka Superman) artistic alter-ego could best describe me.  From 7 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday, I’m a mild-mannered office clerk.  After 5, I become a writer and painter, when not spending time with my wife and sons.  Every August and September I coach soccer for autistic and special needs kids and will start this coming spring as an assistant for a Special Olympics track team.

How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?
I think a piece of me is in every story I’ve written.  In one story I loaned to a character my own experience with being bullied in high school.  For the most part, though, my imagination is the driving force behind my stories.  I’ve written many different genres, romance, fantasy, horror, dystopian, etc.  I haven’t lived even a fraction of these, but I’ve dreamed of them.  That’s what readers get from me, my dreams.

Tell us about where you live.
I live in Girard, Ohio, a small city in northeastern Ohio.  It’s a great town to live in, populated by awesome people. I live on a quiet street, surrounded by nice neighbors.  A few blocks away is my favorite place in town, our public library.

If you could travel anywhere in or out of this world, where would it be?
If I could travel, and someday I hope to, I would love to visit places like England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales.  Australia, New Zealand, and Canada would also be placed I’d like to visit.

Where did you come up with the idea for your story?
For my story, Indestructible, I was inspired by my love for the stories of master storyteller, Jules Verne.  And being a hopeless romantic, I had to include two star-crossed lovers in this tale.

What can we expect from you in the future?
As for the future, my next release from Solstice Publishing will be a post-apocalyptic story titled, The Edge of Night.  Blending in with end of the world themes are dystopian and steampunk elements which I hope readers will find unique.  After that, I’m hoping to get a techno-thriller featuring artificial intelligence, terrorism and murder to readers.

 

Indestructible:
Soaring to the edge of Earth’s stratosphere, a 1912 scientific expedition traveling aboard a uniquely designed dirigible sets out for advanced observations of the moon and stars. Yet lies, hidden agendas and personal conflicts threaten the mission. Amidst all this, an unexpected love affair draws two passengers together. Daschle’s heart has been shattered by one who did not return his love for her. Irina could be his salvation as their journey takes them to the edge of Heaven and back.

Jeff’s links:
https://www.facebook.com/jefferymartinbotzenhartwritingjourney
https://twitter.com/JBotzenhart .