Friday, September 23, 2016

Interviewing Bestselling Author Elle Casey - Part One

Have I got a real treat for you today, dear readers!  I stumbled upon Elle Casey during one of her freebie promotion days for her sci-fi space opera adventure series DRIFTERS' ALLIANCE (read my review HERE).  It was such an enjoyable read, I quickly downloaded books two and three in the series and devoured them.  Her characters are rich.  They're flawed.  They have pasts, presents, and are dreaming of futures yet to be realized - and I can hardly wait to jump back on board the spaceship DS Anarchy for additional adventures with Captain Cass and Company.

While I was in full geek-out mode, I took a chance and contacted Elle through her website (www.ellecasey.com) to see if she'd be willing to let me interview her for the blog - and she graciously agreed, answering not just some but all of my questions.  Thus, please join me today for part one of this interview and get to know bestselling author, Elle Casey.

DAB:  Welcome, Elle!  You’ve been an attorney, a teacher, and now a bestselling author.  Tell us a little of what the progression was like through your various careers, and how it prepared you for the life you’re living as an author today.

EC:    I’m the kind of person who gets interested in a particular topic or subject and then I research the heck out of it. And if it interests me beyond that, sometimes I turn it into a career. I've done that several times, in fact. (stock broker, insurance sales, restaurateur, medical devices, etc.) But I'm also the kind of person who, once I have mastered something, I get bored with it. That goes for jobs and it also goes for places where I live. So I guess you could say I've been a bit nomadic in both my work and private lives. Most of my life, the people who love me would make offhand comments about me being flaky (“She can’t settle down, she’s always starting something new.”) But as it turns out, this kind of life can turn a person into a great storyteller. I've met many kinds of people, I've worked in a lot of different environments, and I've lived in a lot of places. You will see bits of that in all of the books I write.

DAB:  Well here's one reader that hopes you won't give up this particular writing career anytime soon.  You’re an American living in France.  How did you arrive at the decision to make the move, and did moving to France influence your decision to pursue a novel writing career?

EC:    My husband and I decided to take a one year timeout with the kids so that we could all learn about another culture and take a break from the rat race. But once we were here, we didn't want to leave. So that put me in the position of having to figure out a way to make a living here. At first, I was working as a teacher, but as everybody knows, teacher salaries aren't so great. Self-publishing came along at just the right moment.

DAB:  I come from a family full of teachers, so I can definitely appreciate that aspect.  Was it exciting, frightening, nerve-wracking, or simply business-as-usual to move from the corporate/business environment to self-publishing?

EC:    It was just plain exciting! I did it while I was also working as a teacher, so I had nothing to lose and everything to gain by trying.

DAB:  So I guess we could say teaching was your transition career between being an attorney and an author.  So at this point, which of your novels is your favorite?

EC:    They all take a piece of me to put together and they all pull from my life or my history in one way or another. My favorite might be Apocalypsis because I dreamed of a post-apocalyptic world often as a teen, wondering what I’d do to survive. I also love War of the Fae because the characters are so crazy and I adore supernatural stuff. There will always be a part of me that believes vampires, witches, elves, and fairies exist here with us. No one will ever be able to convince me they don’t.

DAB:  Maybe they're all part of that world in a galaxy far, far away. Speaking of other galaxies, I’ve read your DRIFTERS’ ALLIANCE series and loved the three books thus far.  Where did the germ that sprang into the idea for this series come from?

EC:    I’m a big fan of the television series Firefly. My husband and I were always looking for something similar on TV, but there's not much out there. So, I decided to write my own story. I would love to see it on television one day.

DAB:  Me too!  Total Firefly geek. Personally, I'd love to see your DA novels become the next space opera TV series.  Now who would play the ginger twins???

But sci-fi aside, you write in a broad category of other genres such as romance, mystery, etc.  Have you experienced unexpected challenges to writing under and juggling so many hats?

EC:    I write in several genres including action-adventure, contemporary urban fantasy, romance, romantic thriller, paranormal, paranormal romance, science fiction, and post-apocalyptic dystopian fiction. I really believe there are no genre or subject matter limits to what indie authors can publish. Indies can write in any genre, and that work will be accepted by readers around the world. In fact, I believe that indie writing lends itself to a much broader spectrum of fiction than what has been accepted by the traditional publishing world.  Right now indie authors are setting the trends, and traditional publishers are playing catch-up.  But there’s a valid reason for it. It’s all about the cost of doing business. Traditional publishing companies like to make sure that their marketing money is being spent as efficiently as possible, therefore they limit their authors to a specific genre so that every dollar they spend can be focused on a single group of readers that’s very easy to find and identify and “speak" to. If an author were to write in several genres, that marketing money could be wasted, in that they’d be talking to the wrong people sometimes and they’d have to build up and attract a new audience for each genre. I’m sure they see it as re-inventing the wheel over and over. It’s true to say that reader-fans don’t always cross over and read other genres written by their favorite authors. Many of my readers have told me that they will read all the romance novels I write, but they won't touch the other genres that I write in; and, on the other hand, I have readers who will only read my fantasy or paranormal work and nothing else.  From a marketing dollar perspective, it's very expensive to have to build new audiences for each genre, but indie authors don't really worry about this kind of thing, in general. Indie authors write what excites them, write what they're interested in reading, or write what they think their readers are looking for. Indie authors are not limited by a company head above them telling them what they can and cannot do. Personally, I like to read in all these genres, and I also get bored writing in the same genre all the time.

DAB:  I second that.  It's nice as an indie to be able to write what we enjoy without all of those restrictions. You've mentioned many different genres in which you write, so that's got to translate to quite a few books.  How many total books written/published are you up to now?

EC:    I currently have 44 published works (this includes full-length novels, serials and short stories).

DAB:  In three/four years as an author?  That's incredible!  Have you found certain genres perform better than others?  If so, what’s your take on the reasons for this genre performance?

EC:    The romance genre performs better than any of the others because the market is so big and readers of romance tend to be very voracious. They read more books in a the year than any other genre reader, I’m convinced of that. A close second would be mystery/thriller readers, but that genre is more popular in the UK than the US. Lately, science fiction has started to jump, and I'm really excited about that. It's one of my favorite genres to watch on television and in the movies. My Drifters’ Alliance science fiction space opera has been really well-received.

DAB:  Uh, big fan here if I've yet to make that clear.  What project(s) are you currently pounding out that we might see later in 2016/2017 (please say DA4)?

EC:    Yes! DA 4, 5, and 6 actually—they’re coming next year. I have more War of the Fae coming this year. I also have a 4th book in the Bourbon Street Boys series in process right now. You can check my website for my full publishing schedule: http://www.ellecasey.com/publishing-schedule/.

DAB:  Okay, here's something I ask every interviewee who visits the blog, and I get some very interesting answers sometimes.  Are you a plotter or a pantser (i.e. to outline or not to outline, that is the question)?

EC:    I don’t use outlines to write; I’m a total Pantser. I’m never in control of my stories. Never ever. I just take dictation of what I see and hear them doing/saying in my head. My stories go wherever the characters take them. When I try to outline it ends up being a waste of time.

DAB:  I'm so glad to hear you say that!  I'm a Pantser as well, but most Plotters shake their finger at me and tell me they get a much higher output when they outline.  However, your reported word count output per day is astounding.  Tell us what word count you’ve been running lately, and advice you would give other authors on how to increase their daily volume.

EC:    It totally depends on how close the deadline is. If I set a short deadline, I can do as much as 10k a day for several days in a row. I can do more than that but it’s mentally exhausting and then I need a break. 5k a day is very reasonable for me. I would say that practice makes perfect. Getting into the swing of writing is like anything else; you have to do a lot of it before it starts feeling natural. I’ve also started doing dictation using a dictaphone and uploading to Dragon. That makes it much easier to hit my targets.

DAB:  Hmm, I might have to try that too.  To get all of this writing done, do you keep a regular writing schedule or do you write all hours of the day and night as the muse nags?

EC:    I have a schedule but it’s flexible. I write at all hours of the day and night depending on what else is going on in my life.

DAB:  Do you ever write to music or do you prefer silence?

EC:    I need either silence or white noise. Anything that can distract me, will! So anything with lyrics is out, anything I can hum to, etc.

DAB:  Uh-oh!  The writer's death knell.  That reminds me - I've read references on your site about what you call ‘squirrels’.  Care to explain this term to our audience and how to deal with these pesky critters that plague us as writers?

EC:    Squirrels are, quite simply, distractions. The reference comes from that movie Up where there's a talking dog who’s having a conversation with somebody and then stops and whips his head to the side and says, “Squirrel!” Most dogs are distracted by those little critters. And writers are distracted by Facebook, Twitter, email, laundry, spouses, kids, etc etc. The list of writing squirrels is endless and ignoring them is a daily battle.

DAB:  Which is why my desk is covered in notepads.  Squirrels are an insanity-inducing challenge some days.  Speaking of which, did your husband and children ever question your sanity when you told them you were going to quit your day job and write novels?

EC:    Never, because I think it had been pretty well established already that I wasn't sane in the first place. Haha. Ask anyone who loves me. . . they’ll tell you I’m a little crazy. My husband’s favorite line is: “Life with you is never boring.”

DAB:  Well, hey - if life got boring, what would you write about?  So that brings us to another big question.  You could've gone the traditional route and spent time writing and sending out queries to agents and publishers instead of taking such a big risk and publishing on your own.  What advice would you give someone considering traditional publishing versus self-publishing?

EC:    My advice to other people considering self-publishing is to absolutely jump in there and do it. Nobody's going to come knocking on your door asking you to write a book for them, but there are plenty of people out there who want to read what you have to write, I promise. And they’ll pay you for it! Also I wouldn't bother with the traditional publishing process because it takes so long, and the market is flooded with people doing that. Besides, you really don't need a gatekeeper between yourself and your readers. Let the readers decide if you're a good writer. Let the readers give you the very valuable feedback you will need in order to improve your skills; and then, after you've had some success as a writer to the real people who matter—  that is the readers —  go ahead and send a query letter out if you still feel the need. At least following this path you will have the confidence you need to push through the closed doors you’re apt to find. The most pleasing aspect of self-publishing for me has absolutely been the reader response to my work. I suspect that had I sent out query letters to agents, I would have run into a lot of closed doors. I never had to deal with that as an indie writer. I love being able to speak directly with my readers about my work and to share in their enthusiasm over it.

As I mentioned before, Elle was so gracious to answer every question I posed to her, I decided to break the interview up into two parts.  Stay tuned next week for some additional insight into the world of Elle Casey, self-publishing, and what it takes to become a bestselling author.

In the meantime, happy reading!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Love Space Opera? Try DRIFTERS' ALLIANCE

Have I got an intriguing series for you!

If you're into the whole sci-fi space opera genre (think Firefly, Star Trek, etc.) then you need to pick up Elle Casey's DRIFTERS' ALLIANCE series.  Thus far it's only three books, but more are on the way - and I can hardly wait.

Now onto the show.


Book Blurb:
One hand of cards and it's all over but the crying...

Cass Kennedy finally gets what she's been dreaming of for the past ten years: a drifter ship to call her own. All the sim time and battle training is going to pay off in spades as she sets her course for the future. She'll be living on her own terms, not those of her father.

But drifting through deep space with a crew of nutty strangers on the DS Anarchy carries a lot more surprises than she bargained for. Nobody told her that her ship is falling apart, that dead chickens are something you really want to hang on to, and that the OSG has big plans for the universe that don't necessarily jibe with her plans for herself.

Jump onboard with Cass and her crew as she charts a course toward an alliance that will either make her or break her as Captain of the DS Anarchy.

My Review:
Through a game of chance, Cass Kennedy has done the impossible - become captain of her very own drifter ship at the ripe age of nineteen.  Now she can explore the far reaches of dark space with her crew and escape farther from the clutches of the OSG - and her father, a major general of the Omega Systems Group elite command.

But the title of captain comes with its own set of challenges - and mutiny doesn't just happen on the Bounty.  Throw in a questionable stowaway, and Cass' maiden voyage at the helm of the DS Anarchy might just be her last.

Especially if she can't avoid the OSG's warships and those hunting her down for escaping their elite clutches three years ago.  Her only hope?  Become a member of a freedom alliance of other drifter ships.

DRIFTERS' ALLIANCE has a great cast of characters in the vein of that short-lived TV show Firefly.  Cass is no wilting flower and has a closet full of skeletons that threaten to expose her and the crew to the mighty and merciless hand of the OSG's ruling order.  But all crew members, both old and new, hide behind secrets of their own.  Each is drawn as unique, three-dimensional individuals which makes them feel like they could leap from the pages into the real world.

The action takes time to ramp up, but the characters drive the plot forward in the interim, which keeps the pace from bogging down and avoids devolving into a bunch of telling.  The reader is simply dropped into the characters' lives where they are without resorting to a bunch of world-building info dumps.  Instead the world-building is nicely interwoven into the storyline as it plays out.

Editing is smooth and clean, with only one tiny error I noticed in the entire story.  DRIFTERS' ALLIANCE is a quick and entertaining read, with each of the three episodes thus far at just around two hundred pages - and yes, I've already read all three books and am anxiously awaiting the next release.  Five stars from me.

Content Warning:  Strong language is sprinkled throughout, but it fits with the characters and the nature of the story.  Some mild sexual jokes but nothing you wouldn't hear in school or the office.  The following books in the series have some violence and blood with danger to the characters, but again not terribly graphic.

Books one through three can be purchased by clicking here on AMAZON, B&N, and anywhere else books are sold.

Author Bio:
ELLE CASEY, a former attorney and teacher, is a NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY bestselling American author who lives in France with her husband, three kids, and a number of furry friends. She has written books in several genres and publishes an average of one full-length novel per month.


Want to get an email when my next book is released? Sign up here: www.ElleCasey.com/news

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Dark Thriller Review - All Good Deeds

Hello again, dear readers.  I've got a review for you today for a dark, twisted thriller.  Stacy Green's Lucy Kendall series book one ALL GOOD DEEDS deals with the subject of pedophiles and human trafficking of children.  Oh yes, and murder - Old West style - so this isn't for the faint of heart.  My review is for book one in the series, but I bought and read the package deal of all four books in the series (not including the prequel novella) and recommend you do the same.

If the free first book doesn't make you squirm too much.

Book Blurb:
She's no killer. She's just taking out the trash.

Don’t call Lucy Kendall a serial killer. She’s fighting for the innocent, and she’ll do whatever it takes to bring justice.

When a child disappears, Lucy quickly discovers the link to a predator she’s faced before–a man the state of Pennsylvania decided to turn loose on the streets. Determined to find the little girl and put a criminal behind bars for good, Lucy forces her way onto the case.

As the search for the kidnapped child pulls Lucy into a web of evil beyond her darkest imagination, she’ll have to face her own dark truths to save the little girl–and herself.

Packed with suspense, All Good Deeds is a dark psychological thriller with a finely crafted mystery that takes readers into the deepest recesses of the human psyche.

My Review:
This would've been a five star if not for all of the editing errors (missing words, transpositions, wrong words used, etc.).  As is, I'm giving it four and ahalf stars because everything else about it is fantastic - if you can stomach the subject matter.

Lucy Kendall is a former social worker who quit the system when child pedophiles kept going free because of legal loopholes.  Since then she's obtained her PI license and been on a quest of her own choosing - finding and killing these repeat offenders before they can destroy any other lives.  Lucy practices justice like they did in the Old West - vigilante style.

But killing - even for honorable reasons - is taking a toll on her psyche.  Then someone discovers her secret.

Chris tags along with Lucy in hopes of stemming his own fascination with serial killers - and he has secrets of his own he can't keep in the closet.  When another neighborhood child goes missing, Lucy and Chris discover there are worse things out there on the World Wide Web - and they're in a race to bring down this child trafficking site before another little girl is lost in the ether forever.

Such dark subject matter we have here, but handled so well without short-circuiting and holding back too much or going over the cliff and showing us everything so awful about such a topic.  The plot and pacing races along, just as a thriller should.  Point-of-view is handled well without a bunch of head-hopping in each scene.  Then we are shown all the way along the gut-wrenching ride instead of resorting to a bunch of telling or info-dumping.  This book has everything a great thriller should have.  Like I said, four and ahalf stars from me.

Content warning:  Because we're dealing with the subject of child pedophiles and human trafficking of children, it's difficult to read at times and the emotions it brings out (especially for someone who has been abused) can be devastating.  There's also plenty of language and a few uses of strong language (which seemed a bit overreaching and unnecessary at times), so be aware if you dare.

Book one is free by clicking here on AMAZON.

Author Bio:
Stacy Green is the author of the Lucy Kendall thriller series and the Delta Crossroads mystery trilogy.
ALL GOOD DEEDS (Lucy Kendall #1) won a bronze medal for mystery and thriller at the 2015 IPPY Awards. TIN GOD (Delta Crossroads #1) was runner-up for best mystery/thriller at the 2013 Kindle Book Awards. Stacy has a love of thrillers and crime fiction, and she is always looking for the next dark and twisted novel to enjoy. She started her career in journalism before becoming a stay at home mother and rediscovering her love of writing. She lives in Iowa with her husband and daughter and their three spoiled fur babies. Stacy loves to hear from readers! Visit her website at stacygreenauthor.com, or Facebook at www.Facebook.com/StacyGreenAuthor.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Spotlight on "A MATTER OF TIME"

Book Blurb:
The world's greatest evil stalks the world's greatest ship, and the only one who can stop him hasn't been born yet.

Jamie Collins is a junior at Santa Clara University in 1986. He has friends, a professor who mentors him, and a promising future as a writer.

Then the dreams begin - nightmarish memories that transport him back to a time and place fifty years before he was born: Titanic's maiden voyage in 1912.

When Jamie discovers a foreign cell in his blood that links him to the famous vessel, the two timelines begin to overlap and he realizes an unimaginable truth - something supernatural stalks the ill-fated ship, something that will kill him if he can't stop it first. And the only way to stop it may be to prevent Titanic from sinking.

But even if he can figure out a way to do that, should he? What will be the effect on history if he succeeds? And what about the lady he wasn't supposed to fall in love with? As her destiny becomes entwined with his, Jamie discovers the value of friendship, the power of love, the impact of evil, and the vagaries of Fate.

Prices/Formats: $2.99 ebook, $12.95 paperback, $14.95-$21.83 Audible
Genre: Historical Fiction, Suspense
Pages: 340
Release: March 2, 2012
Publisher: Outskirts Press
ISBN: 9781432787110

Amazon buy link:
https://www.amazon.com/Matter-Time-Michael-Bowler-ebook/dp/B007GOAC9C?ie=UTF8&tag=tributebooks-20

Barnes and Noble buy link:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-matter-of-time-michael-bowler/1109296752?ean=9781432787110

iTunes buy link:
https://geo.itunes.apple.com/us/audiobook/a-matter-of-time-unabridged/id1035392958?mt=3
Follow the Tribute Books Blog Tour:
http://amatteroftimeblogtour.blogspot.com

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Saturday, July 9, 2016

Books and Bindings Reviews THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK

Well it's two-fer-one week here at the blog.  Empress DJ over at Books and Bindings enjoyed LOOK BEFORE YOU JUMP so much, she immediately jumped right into book two of the Bartender Babe Chronicles.  Her fabu review of THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK can be read by clicking HERE.  Many thanks once again to this belle from Hawaii.  Mahalo!

And don't forget, you can still pick up book one in eBook format for free on Smashwords only through July 31st by clicking HERE and using the coupon code SFREE at checkout.  If you're a Kindle user, click on the MOBI file.  For Nook, use the EPUB version.

Happy reading!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

A Review of LOOK BEFORE YOU JUMP from Books and Bindings

Books and Bindings has a wonderful review of LOOK BEFORE YOU JUMP, book one in the Bartender Babe Chronicles, over on their blog.  Thanks much to Empress DJ for taking the time to read my book and for the great review.  When you have a chance, run on over and check it out by clicking HERE.  Reviewers are so appreciated here at DA Bale Publishing, because I understand the investment of time it takes not only to read the book but to write a concise review as well.  I look forward to reading her thoughts of book two.

And don't forget about the Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale 2016, where you can pick up an eBook copy of LOOK BEFORE YOU JUMP for free by using the coupon code SFREE at checkout.  Click HERE for the product page.

I hope your summer is going well, dear readers.  I'll soon have a few reviews of my own to share with you soon.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Happy July Housekeeping Updates

Happy July, dear readers!

Just a how-dee-do housekeeping post today to update you on things both new and old.  After writing and publishing two novels so far this year, I haven't done a good job keeping you up-to-date on what's happening in the little blogosphere corner that is DA Bale Publishing.  So here goes!

As part of the Smashwords summer reading promotion, I've offered up LOOK BEFORE YOU JUMP for their free campaign promotion.  From July 1st through July 31st, you can pick up a free copy of this first novel in the Bartender Babe Chronicles through Smashwords - and only through Smashwords - by clicking HERE and using the coupon code SFREE at checkout.

I've also enrolled my short story THE STUDY for this promotion as well,which you can click HERE to pickup - just use the same coupon code at checkout.


If you take a gander to your right here on the blog, you can also enter the latest Goodreads giveaway for a chance to win one of five autographed print copies of PIERCING THE DARKNESS, the second novel in the Deepest Darkness series.  This opportunity is slated to run from July 1st through August 15th, so sign up before it's too late.

Lastly, we have an Independence Day sale going on here at DA Bale Publishing for the month of July.  We recently partnered with a digital media specialist to offer affordable, professional book cover designs.  You can click on the tab above or HERE to see some of the currently available options.  The good news for the authors in the audience is that during this sale, you can pick up one of these pre-made covers for the low price of $35 - a savings of $40 over the custom design price.  Just email dabalepublishing@cox.net with your cover of choice and your book title and author name, and we'll get a PayPal invoice sent over to complete your purchase.

Watch for some upcoming reviews of some great books I've read the last couple of weeks.  As always, happy reading and have a safe and happy Fourth!