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Monday, October 22, 2012

Good Cop..An Interview with Stacy Eaton, Author of My Blood Runs Blue.

Some authors are privileged to get the opportunity to interview other authors. This one is special to me. Having had been married to a police officer for many years, I know the stresses that are put on the lives of our police officer's, and their families. I can empathize as a writer how having that kind of a profession, and then trying to write a novel, can be almost too much! I am honored to have Stacy Eaton, author of three novels, Whether I Live or Die, My Blood Runs Blue, and Blue Blood for Life, join me today to talk about her life as a police officer, and an author. Help me welcome Stacy, won't you? And feel free to pop over to her blog and thank her for joining me here!

Welcome Stacy! You're a police officer, right? How did you get into that profession?

Yep-I sure am. I made a major career change when I turned 30 and got into this field. I've been doing so for 12 years now and love it. In my late 20's I was working a great job for a manufacturing company. I worked with a bunch of great people, but I felt Like there was something missing, and couldn't imagine working there for another 25 years. I started wondering what I wanted to be when I finally grew up. On night, I was cooking dinner and listening to the news on television. They did a segment about how important it was to have female law enforcement officers, and as I watched the segment, I thought to myself, Hey, I can do that.
I started asking and researching it a bit more, and about 7 months later, I was in the police academy. While I went to the academy I continued working my full-time job and took my classes at night. When I graduated from the academy, I was one of the lucky ones who actually already had a job lined up. I've been there over 12 years now and love it. I can't imagine not wearing my badge.

How does your day job influence your writing?

Day job?....LOL...Don't you know that being a police officer is a 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week, 365-day-a year job? I call it 'the job that pays the bills', since I spend as much time working night shifts as I do working day shifts, but back to your question... My job is a huge influence in my work. All of my work is written into the law enforcement world and has a strong demale officer as the lead character, I use bits and pieces of what I have seen or done through my patrol years to weave bits of reality into my stories. In the series I have partially published, My Blood Runs Blue, I bring the paranormal to reality by mixing vampires into the human race to help the police. It gives them a sense of humanity that many authors have not included. Although I use my career a lot for ideas, I use some of my previous experience in life too. In Whether I’ll Live or Die, I dig deep into the world of Domestic Violence, something I have more knowledge about that I would care to have, not only as a police officer, but also as I victim. People have often said that authors should write what they know. I live and breathe my job so it only makes sense to write about it.

I so get what you are talking about! As you know, my own book, Run, River Currents, has a dark storyline centered on abuse. Who makes a good character for your novels? Do they have specific traits?

I have to be able to relate to my characters, pure and simple. Most of my female characters are very strong woman, I related heavily to that as I am that kind of a person. It seems that the more you put on my shoulders, the stronger they are and harder I work. In the My Blood Runs Blue series, Officer Kristin Greene is an intense woman with strong views and she expects people to listen to her and accept her; which does not always happen.

While most of my characters tend to be strong – there are times when a weaker character must be written to bring about the story. In Whether I’ll Live or Die, Amanda is such a young woman. Going from one abusive relationship to another, trying to find love in all the wrong places. At times she was very difficult to write, but at others rather easy. The easy parts were only because I had previous knowledge of the emotions and pain that she was going through.

I believe most writers write from that place of tension. So how do you create tension for the reader?

I’m a twists girl! I love to twist up a book, make you think I am going one way and then turn you in the other direction at an explosive moment. I did pretty good with my first book, very few people figured out where I was going with it, and those that did were hoping it would turn out that way.

In Blue Blood for Life, the twists and turns are so intense, no one sees them coming. I spend hours trying to figure out how to make those twists work so people don’t see them coming. I am not a fan of knowing the ending while still reading the first few chapters. I want people to think about the characters and the events when they set the books down.

In Whether I’ll Live or Die, there are not so many twists, but there is a moment in that book that will leave you taken aback. I have yet to find someone who said they saw that particular event coming and while people have praised me about it – they also ask a very strong question about it. I can’t tell you what the question is because that would give it away, but I will tell you the answer… It’s up to the reader.

I think every reader loves a good twist in a story. From the feedback you’ve received about your books, which novel has affected your readers the most? Why?

I have gotten a great response from readers on my series. While it does have a romance, there is enough tense and police procedural in it to keep men interested in it. Ironically, I have quite a large male readership on it.

Whether I’ll Live or Die was published in July 2012, so it is still a very new book on the market. Reviews are just starting to come in, and everyone who has taken the time to write a review has praised the book for touching on a subject that needs to be discussed. Some people have never been touched by Domestic Violence, while others have been affected quite severely. My hope for this book was to reach readers who were survivors, victims, family members and people who have no clue what it is really all about, and I wanted them to see up close and personal what happens behind closed doors. From what I am hearing from readers… I am doing just that.

Sounds like you have been pretty successful and pretty busy! What is your next project?

Would you believe I have 4 active projects right now? Well, I do. I am working on the third book in the My Blood Runs Blue series, along with finishing up a contemporary romance, a book about guardian angels and a new book that I just came up with recently that deals with alcohol and drug addictions.

It makes it hard with my work schedule to always find the time to write, but I do it when I can. I hope to get at least one of these book on the market later this year, only time will tell. If they don’t get out this year, I will be released several next year.

I swear that time is an author's biggest enemy, isn't it? Anything you’d like your readers to know about you or your writing style?

I write for adults. My books deal with real life situations although they might include fantasy elements, they deal with some very hard core events. It is hard not to write like that when you are talking about what happens in police work. While I try to keep the language to a minimum in most of my books, there are times when certain words just have to be used to fit the situations and the characters.

I also write from multiple first person perspectives. I want you to see into the minds of the main characters to know what they are doing and why they are doing it. That is what I like to read, so that is what I write.

I’d also like to thank you for allowing me to visit on your blog! I’ve loved answering your questions and I am always interested in hearing from readers! Thank you so much!

And thank you, Stacy! What a great way to get to know you! Thanks for stopping by!

So Friends, drop on over to Stacy's blog, and say hello. Then make sure you pick up her books for your reading pleasure! See you soon!

Whether I Live or Die

My Blood Runs Blue:

Blue Blood for Life:

Twitter: @StacySEaton


A New Interview Tomorrow!

As usual, my traveling days are keeping me running. You remember my last post on traveling, right? Junior got a quick lesson in carry-on luggage. Well, Junior made it to his destination, sans luggage and got another quick lesson on what the airlines do for you when your luggage doesn’t arrive with you. Being the seasoned traveler I am, I just sat back and watched. Couldn't help myself, as I need all forms of entertainment just to stay sane.

After about a half hour watching the baggage conveyor circle the stainless steel portal, Junior finally looks around to see that everyone, except he and I, are gone. He stares up into the hole of that conveyor never quite getting that his bags aren't coming out. You remember, I last saw them being tossed back into the moving gateway by the still smirking flight attendant whose instructions Junior decided he wouldn't follow.

Now again, I am the blonde. Junior mumbles a few words to me never asking any advice, I might add, and then storms off to the baggage office to "give them a piece of his mind." I knew he couldn't afford that, but let him go. I stood outside the office and listened to him as he ranted, raved and blamed everyone in sight for his luggage not arriving. The man behind the desk and I locked eyes in some knowing fashion. Maybe it was the smirk on my face, but he knew I knew the big mistake Junior was making. It's called courtesy. A traveler has to recognize that they have no power once they leave the comfort of their own home. A traveler is at the mercy of every service person they come in contact with. Armed with that knowledge, the savvy traveler can manipulate every person they meet with kindness. Poor Junior.

Long story, short. Junior left with no luggage and no chance of even seeing that luggage for the whole three days we were at the trade show. Every morning when he showed up, I had to smile. Same clothes, and no gel for his hair. I had my seat changed for the ride home, as he was smelling a little gamey. Yet another lesson from a road warrior. We can't help ourselves. Watching newbie travelers make mistakes is what we do to entertain ourselves.

Oh! His luggage showed up about two weeks later. Two wheels were gone. You do realize that airlines don't pay for wheels, don't you? I am still smirking.

Also, tomorrow I will be posting a wonderful interview with Canadian, Stacy Eaton, lady cop and suspense writer! Join me, won't you, for another great talk with another great writer!


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I'm a Traveling Man...oops, Woman!

By now, my readers understand just how much I travel. I've teased you with little tastes of places I've travelled to. I've also shared some of the very funny stories I've had on route to my work. This week, I'm going to share a bit about what I actually see along the way....This is part one..Boarding the Plane.

So, I'm just ready to board a flight to Houston, my new United/Continental hub. The flight is just over an hour, but my traveling companion has already asked 13 times, "Where is the gate?" "Do we have enough time to make it to the gate?" "Are they serving food?" Yup, you guessed it, a newbie traveler. He is just this side of me slapping him off the tiny steps we have to climb, (in the pouring rain,) to cram ourselves, along with 46 others into a small jet that reminds me of a sausage grinder. I knew there'd be trouble.

We have boarded first, as I have status with the airline. I bring the brat along, just to be nice. I immediately know it's a mistake. Of course, I am carrying one tiny purse, as I know the overhead bins are about the size of a walnut casing. The newbie traveling with me is heaving a 200 lb. trunk, three backpacks and a bag full of greasy-smelling burgers. I plop my rearend into a 6" by 12" seat, allowing my overhang to first drop, then expand through the armrests. Junior is headed toward the back of the plane, bags slapping the other passengers like they had all been fresh to him. I lean into the aisle to watch what he's going to do with all of the luggage I told him to check. He tries like mad to push the first of his chunky backpacks into the sliver of a hole, uniquely called "an overhead compartment." I've seen bigger holes in a new screen door.

I pull back into my seat and wait for what I know will come. The flight attendant now has a line out the plane door and all the way up to the check in gate, and she's just not happy at the time it's taking this young man to "stow" his luggage. I see her grab at the microphone and crisply say, "In order to make an on-time departure, we ask that you QUICKLY stow your luggage and step into your seat to allow others to pass by."

I stretch my nexk to see what he's up to again. People are jostling him, trying to weasle by, but his third backpack and oversized piece of luggage are wedged in the aisle, making it impossible to pass. He has his arms wrapped around the second backpack in what looks like a full Nelson and is wrestling with it as he tries over and over to squeeze it into the tiny opening. A big, burley man with a huge head and no neck is mumbling something to him. I vaguely hear the terror in the newbie's voice as he squeaks, "OK," and falls into the seat across the aisle from where he'd said he'd be sitting. The big guys then lifts the suitcase and drops it onto Junior's lap where he lays flailing as the big guys and numerous others squeeze by.

By now, the flight attendant's voice is pitched so high, I have no further need of new earring holes. She yells once more into the speaker she has clutched between her pure white fingers. "PLEASE STEP OUT OF THE AISLE TO ALLOW OTHERS TO PASS BY YOU, SO THAT WE MAY HAVE AN ONTIME ARRIVAL." My friend sheepishly rises, and tries once again to jam the remaining bags into a slot the size only an envelope could enter.

All of a sudden, in one big huff, the flight attendant wrestles past the passengers who have clogged up the aiseway, and pushes herself right into Junior. "SIR." Her voice is as sharp as cheddar cheese. "THAT won't fit into the overhead compartment. We'll have to gate check it." Junior protests for only a moment, his eyes catching the nasty sneers on everyone's face who is standing behind the curt attendant. She jerks the suitcase and the two remaining backpacks from his hands and hurls them one at a time back up the aisleway. The ensuing passing of the suitcases reminded me of a bucket brigade in an old-time fire department.

In just moments, the demeanor of the plane had changed from choas to peace. I leaned once more into the aisle to check Junior's status, before pushing my face up against the window to watch the gate agent pull back the covered gate. I heard the gate close and saw the ruffled flight attendant give the thumbs up to the agent. Feeling a little jerk, I knew we were on our way. I glanced back at the gate just in time to see three pieces of luggage, two backpacks and an oversized suitcase being heaved onto an open luggage carrier. The rain was beating on the suitcases as though they were an old rug. I wouldn't make the effort to tell Junior until we arrived that his suitcases were left behind. It would be a good lesson, don't you think?


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

An Interview with TC Avey, Christian Blogger & Book Reviewer

I'm always excited to have a chance to talk with others in the world of writing! Today, I have the great honor of interviewing TC Avey, a Christian Blogger and Book Reviewer. All authors know the value of a good review and the power of a bad review. Writers just want a fair shake. A review that gives the consumer a true look at the components of a story without passing judgment on the writer is a delicate balance for any reviewer. They are open to criticism for their opinion, but their words carry a mound of authority. I wanted to know a little more about one such reviewer, and was honored when she said she'd love to join me here. My interest was piqued about TC, as I'd heard her name mentioned several times recently by some of her loyal followers while I attended the Association of Christian Fiction Writers Conference in Dallas a couple of weeks ago.

First, TC, I'd like to thank you for joining me at Novel Travelers. 

Explain to readers a bit about your blog and its purpose. 

Wisdom of a Fool focuses on the struggles Christians face in today’s world. I do this in a variety of manners.  

Currently I do a Monday series on the book, “The Cost of Discipleship” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. It challenges Christians to be real in their walk with Christ, to surrender their will to His.  It also reminds us that our salvation costs God everything. We shouldn’t cheapen His grace by willfully continuing in disobedience.  

I devote a portion to my blog to reviewing books. And I like to offer my readers interviews with the authors when possible. 

I also post on current events relevant to the Christian community. I do this more in my monthly Newsletter than on my blog.  

Boy, you seem awfully busy! What made you start blogging?
It’s a God thing. I actually began blogging because I’m an aspiring author and read I had to create a platform. 
But what to blog about?  

I prayed about it and God gave me Wisdom of a Fool. I rarely mention I’m an aspiring author and I’ve almost completely forgotten about building a platform. This blog belongs to God. I write as He directs and all glory for anything good goes to Him. Anything that falls short is me getting in God’s way.  

I say I’ve almost forgotten about my platform. I do desire (and pray) to be published, but this blog really has little to do with that. This blog is for God, not to get my name known. I rarely look at my stats and have no clue how my platform measures up since I’ve stopped looking at like a platform and now view it as a ministry. 

I knew you had something special about you! So, what kinds of books do you review? 

I prefer to do Christian devotionals, historical books and books that make the reader think. The only fiction I do is based on true events.  

No offense to mysteries, romance or other genre’s, I enjoy reading those but that’s not what this blog is for. Like I mentioned above, this blog belongs to God and I currently don’t feel that is an area He wants me to focus- that could change.  

I know that limiting the books I review does impact my platform building since I’m cutting off a large segment of readers, but I’m not concerned with building my platform at the expense of following God’s orders for me. 

All this is ironic as I write fiction. The novel I’m currently hoping to publish is an Apocalyptic Thriller (or Dystopia) - Tentative title: A Long Run Home. 

You seem to have so many talents. What do you see as the most important thing you do?

Get people to think outside their boxes. Challenging them to move out of their comfort zones. I also encourage people of various walks of faith to share. We can all learn from each other, we shouldn’t cut people off because they don’t think like us or believe like us. I think one of the things killing the American churches is denominations. We can’t seem to see the bigger picture…the family of God, not what church you belong to.  

With everything you have going on I can't imagine you doing any more. But you write as well? /b> 

Yes. I am shopping my Apocalyptic Thriller/Dystopia, A Long Run Home.

Think ”Left Behind” Series meets Ayn Rand’s big brother government in a futuristic world where the United States doesn’t exist and being Christian gets you killed.  

I didn't expect that kind of genre from you, but it sounds interesting. From the feedback you’ve received about your blog, what affects your readers the most? Why? 

They like true stories. Things that make them think, things that tug on their hearts and nudge them ACT. They like to learn, to grow. They are open to listening and that makes them a great audience to write for. 

With your great love of books, it seems a natural thing then for you to want to review others. How do authors get you to review their books?
I began book reviews as a side item on my blog. I never realized it would grow to take up such a large portion. I first began reviewing for BookSneeze (a wonderful way to read books for free) but then I began having authors contact me via email or twitter asking if I’d be willing to review their books. I’m honored when they do this. Especially since I don’t guarantee I’ll write a good review- just an honest one.  

There are so many genres out there. Do certain stories move you more than others? 

Oh yeah. I love history. I love true stories. I love reading about how God moves in lives, how He changes us when we allow Him to. 

It's been such a pleasure to have you stop by. Before your leave is there anything you’d like your readers to know about you personally?
I have no clue what I’m doing. No clue where this blog’s headed and no idea how to get published. I’m just following God. It’s been an amazing journey so far and I’ve only just begun. I’m humbled to see God working in my life and those around me. I’m excited to find out where God’s taking me.
Well, I'm sorry I can't show a photo of TC. She's a bit shy! Thank you for taking the time to share with us. I want to encourage my readers to pop by your blog and leave a comment. And I want to encourage you to keep plugging with your book! Thanks again, TC!

 TC's blog: Wisdom of a Fool http://tcavey.blogspot.com/
Twitter:  @tcavey1

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A new interview tomorrow!

Excuse my quietness for the past week! I've been a bit busy, as life keeps adding challenges! I've just returned from Alaska, where I learned of an accepted practice so horrifying, I just don't know how to digest it! I'll be writing a lengthy essay on it shortly and will give you the heads-up as I decide how to best attack this subject. Tomorrow, I'll be interviewing T.C. Avey, a well-known blogger and book reviewer as well as an aspiring author. I hope you'll join us as we delve into the mind of a person who loves to read and review others works. She provides a fantastic service to new authors, and does it with such a caring heart! So join us won't you, and leave a question or comment! Ginger