Interview with {Eli Constant}: Part Two

Woot, woot!  Eli Constant is in the house. She’s releasing The Water is Sweeter as a part of The Falling in Deep Collection. Here is Part Two of our interview!    (Get This Now)

The Water is Sweeter Cover with FiD logoWhat is your favorite writing music?

Quiet. Ha-ha. Yeah, I’m not really into having music on while I’m writing. Sometimes, I’ll stick a favorite movie on the television- one I’ve seen so many times that it just becomes a background hum, but rarely do I listen to music.

Where is your favorite place to find inspiration?

There’s no magic place for me – it happens whenever and wherever it wants. Quite frustrating actually – to be sound asleep and get an idea, to be driving down the highway with no way to jot it down, desperately fumbling with your phone to hit the sound record function, to be in the shower soaking wet and suddenly have a brilliant notion pop into your noggin. I wish I did have a special place that inspired me. Life would be easier.

What was your inspiration for The Water is Sweeter? Tell me about the story.

Female empowerment. Finding the will to improve your life, even if it’s daunting and scary and hard. Realizing that love, although imperfect and difficult, is not ugly and cruel.

Here’s the blurb actually:

When the land becomes a desert, the water will quench your soul

Orphan Lena McMillan used to think that what she shared with Truman Kent was real. Now she sees their relationship for what it really is- controlling and abusive.

She has to choose to die slowly from ‘love’ or say goodbye to the family she’s always desired. Leaving scares her though, so much so that dying seems like her only option.

But fate won’t let her quit life and Truman won’t let her quit his love. Not without a fight.

Under the layers of a lonely childhood and an adulthood romance gone wrong, a starfish holds the key to Lena’s parentage and the answer to the mesmeric ocean dreams that haunt her.

If she can find the strength to leave the only life she knows, Lena will discover the truth. And she will find a new world, one that will cleanse her of the memories of false love and abuse.

One that will finally lead her home.

Any advice for new writers (like me)?

Keep at it. If you stop for a while, force yourself to get back in the saddle as soon as possible. Don’t take crap from anybody. Just because you’re a new author – that doesn’t mean that you don’t have an opinion or perspective worth listening to, that doesn’t mean that your voice isn’t good enough already. I will agree that the more you write, the more you work at it, the better you’ll get- It is talent and skill combined, not one or the other. Getting better doesn’t change the core of who you are as a writer, it simple hones your voice and makes it clearer, so people can recognize it through all the other noise.

Be honest with yourself too, on the things you know need improvement. Again, this doesn’t detract from your God-given talent, it doesn’t mean you aren’t good enough, but what it does mean is that you’ll keep working and pushing yourself. And pretty soon, you won’t be ‘new’ at all; you’ll be an old hat giving others advice (and probably feeling awkward when you do, because a good writer should retain a modicum of humility. It makes them more real, human and approachable).


Blurb:

The Water is Sweeter Cover with FiD logo

When the land becomes a desert, the water will quench your soul

Orphan Lena McMillan used to think that what she shared with Truman Kent was real. Now she sees their relationship for what it really is- controlling and abusive.

She has to choose to die slowly from ‘love’ or say goodbye to the family she’s always desired. Leaving scares her though, so much so that dying seems like her only option.

But fate won’t let her quit life and Truman won’t let her quit his love. Not without a fight.

Under the layers of a lonely childhood and an adulthood romance gone wrong, a starfish holds the key to Lena’s parentage and the answer to the mesmeric ocean dreams that haunt her.

If she can find the strength to leave the only life she knows, Lena will discover the truth. And she will find a new world, one that will cleanse her of the memories of false love and abuse.

One that will finally lead her home.

Make Your Library Happy ❤


EliConstantAbout the Author:

Eli attended USC-L, Columbia College, Texas A&M, & George Mason University. She studied everything from Mariculture to Differential Equations. Settling on Biology, Eli participated in research fellowships in Texas and at NIH, worked a few random jobs, and finally settled into a Virginia lab where she focused on mastering diagnosis procedures and implementations of histology and pathology.

Choosing to be a dedicated homemaker after the birth of her first child, Eli rediscovered her passion for writing. She’s never regretted the decision. Not only are her kids the most amazing creatures, but writing fulfills her soul the way science never did.

******

Eli is the author of Dead Trees, Dead Trees 2, Mastic, DRAG.N & Z Children: Awakening. She is a contributing author to Let’s Scare Cancer to Death, State of Horror: New Jersey, State of Horror: Illinois, & Fading Hope. Her books are available in eBook, paperback, & audio formats.

Meet Eli:

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#Digital #Days #Experiments with #Light { #Cherished #Blogfest }

***Presented as a part of the #Cherished #Blogfest***

***Here’s the Linky; be sure to visit the other awesome bloggers.***

I’ve been working hard on a book proposal I’m pitching this weekend. Planning a marketing strategy for a release August 4, and my words are not coming easily today due to nerves. I’ve decided instead to do make each post a collection of images. Enjoy!

Experiments with Light and Long Exposure

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Stirring the Flame

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Me, Myself, and I

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Bonfire After Hours

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Moon Over July 4

Playing with Flare

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***Presented as a part of the #Cherished #Blogfest***

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My #Grandmother’s House { #Cherished #Blogfest}

***Posted as a part of the #Cherished #Blogfest***

***Here’s the Linky; be sure to visit the other awesome bloggers.***

DSC_0370I’m at my first Writers Conference today (DFW Writers Conference), trying to run head-long into a dream I’ve had since I was small.

I wrote my first poem when I was six or eight. I could barely write; my penmanship was terrible. Through the years, my grandmother would always ask, “How’s the writing?”

She taught me to love reading, love the mountains, and she made me believe that I am able.

She loved daffodils. I love daffodils. She had them planted all over her property.

It won’t be long now. Her home – the place I loved – will be sold to someone new. I’m glad I had a chance to visit once more. So many lovely places live in my memories because of her home in that little valley. I’ll miss it. I cherish the place.

It’s not quite the same without her in it these days, so I cherish the memories.

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Morning Coffee on the Back Porch

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Sunrise over the Woodshed

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Somewhere in Oklahoma


***Posted as a part of the #Cherished #Blogfest***

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My #Nikon #Camera { #Cherished #Blogfest }

***Posted as a part of the #Cherished #Blogfest***

***Here’s the Linky; be sure to visit the other awesome bloggers.***

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Conservatory at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens
Digital images. Ugh.

For three years of my life, I was disgusted by digital cameras.

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Fort Worth Botanic Gardens
In college, I spent hours arguing with dark room mechanics, playing with exposure, processing, and fouling up so many images. But when I did everything correctly, I fell in love with the experience all over again. The success of the one outweighed the excess of screw ups.

I’d spend evenings and weekends wandering – looking for that particular shot: nothing specific, but something old in a new way. Anticipating gorgeousness, as it coalesced on the matte paper, as I tipped the shallow dish back and forth, washing chemicals across. I’d know then. I got “the shot.”

Japanese Botanic Garden, Ft. Worth, Texas
Japanese Botanic Garden
Then came digital.

I was slow to come ‘round. The hard work of art felt cheapened by the instant gratification digital provided, the manipulation programs making it too fast, too easy.

My favorite camera broke. It wasn’t cheaper to buy a film camera anymore, and then spend all that money on processing.

I had growing babies snuggled in my arms, but it took two years of being without for the lens itch to catch up and strangle my loyalty to the 35 mm.

I bought a point and click. It didn’t satisfy the lens itch. The manual settings were a bokeh tease, but I tolerated it.

Two years went that way. It was November; the leaves were gorgeous, and I wished out loud for something more proficient capturing the memories.

Medieval Times Dallas, Texas
Medieval Times Dallas, Texas
Enter: my husband. The hero. The Nikon knight in shining armor.

Three lenses, a Nikon body, a bag to put it all in, and I professed my undying love for two lifetimes.

I spent months traipsing all over, shutter-clicking until I was gorged on creativity.

I might be a digital sell out, but I’ve collected some amazing memories in thousands of images with my cherished digital camera. (: Enjoy!

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Beaver’s Bend State Park, Oklahoma

Japanese Botanic Garden, Fort Worth, Texas
Japanese Botanic Garden, Fort Worth, Texas

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Medieval Times, Dallas, Texas

Medieval Times Dallas, Texas
Japanese Botanic Garden, Fort Worth, Texas

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Conservatory at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens

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Children Running After Dark, Emory, Texas

***Posted as a part of the #Cherished #Blogfest***

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Interview with {Eli Constant}: Part One

The Water is Sweeter Cover with FiD logo Woot, woot!  Eli Constant is in the house. She’s releasing The Water is Sweeter as a part of The Falling in Deep Collection. On to Part One of our interview!

Tell me about you. What do you write?

I’m 29 and was voted ‘most likely to succeed,’ but I haven’t fulfilled my perceived potential by a long shot; I haven’t fulfilled all the dreams I had as a kid. I’m definitely in a different place in my life than I expected to be and it isn’t what I thought I wanted as a child. I realize now that I’m not sure those wants were right for me. I’ve a family now and once I thought I’d be this worldly loner researching X in the middle of nowhere. Could I live without my children now? If it meant becoming that loner with such life experience and travel? No, probably not. So- this is me- a stay at home mother who is about to be 30, who gave up the research lab for diapers and bottles and writing. I couldn’t be more myself if I tried.

I’m not one for fluff or mindless reading/writing. I don’t just want to entertain people; I want to make my readers consider things deeply, from different angles. That doesn’t mean I don’t want them to also be entertained, just that I want the experience to delve deeper than surface pleasure. That means that I bring them into the way I see reality which sometimes isn’t an escape from their own reality. Does that make sense?

My style is a mash-up in every sense of the word – genres, characters, & point-of-views are all mixed and blended until something unique can be poured out onto the page. I tend towards dark concepts and even my most lighthearted pieces usually have a flipside full of shadow.

When did you start writing? When did you start publishing?

Grade School- I won a contest for best creative fiction. It was a ridiculous piece about space ducks stealing a little boy’s umbrella. Very Howard the Duck inspired. I’ve been scribbling ever since, but never took it seriously until I transitioned from work place to home place. I self-published my first piece back in 2012.

Has there been a progression through genres in your writing?

I started out in the Dystopian & Horror genres with my debut Dead Trees – many of the authors I knew wrote in that genre and it felt natural to follow suit. Now, I’ve pieces that edge towards Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Mystery, etc. I like experimenting.

What authors do you like to read?

Indies: Claire C Riley (Odium, Limerence, Thicker than Blood), Jack Wallen (I Zombie, Shero), TW Brown (The Dead Series, That Ghoul Ava), Ivan Amberlake (The Beholder), Ken Mooney (GodHead), Mike Lee (Starfire)… There’s so many more; I could list them all day.

Traditionally Published: Orson Scott Card, Tolkien, L’Engle, Crichton… again, so many more. I’m an avid reader and can’t imagine life without a book by my bed at night.

You have something coming out very soon. Tell me about that.

‘The Water is Sweeter’ is part of the Falling in Deep Collection. It’s supposed to be about a mermaid(s) and it is, in a way. Lena is a woman who realizes that the relationship she is in is emotionally abusive, but because she’s an orphan, someone who has craved a family her entire life, she has a hard time walking away from her fiancé Truman. She finds freedom in her head (or is it only psychological?) where she can drift away and become a mermaid. There’s a lot more to it than that, but I don’t want to spoil the story line.


Blurb:The Water is Sweeter Cover with FiD logo

When the land becomes a desert, the water will quench your soul

Orphan Lena McMillan used to think that what she shared with Truman Kent was real. Now she sees their relationship for what it really is- controlling and abusive.

She has to choose to die slowly from ‘love’ or say goodbye to the family she’s always desired. Leaving scares her though, so much so that dying seems like her only option.

But fate won’t let her quit life and Truman won’t let her quit his love. Not without a fight.

Under the layers of a lonely childhood and an adulthood romance gone wrong, a starfish holds the key to Lena’s parentage and the answer to the mesmeric ocean dreams that haunt her.

If she can find the strength to leave the only life she knows, Lena will discover the truth. And she will find a new world, one that will cleanse her of the memories of false love and abuse.

One that will finally lead her home.


Eli Author Profile

About the Author:

Eli attended USC-L, Columbia College, Texas A&M, & George Mason University. She studied everything from Mariculture to Differential Equations. Settling on Biology, Eli participated in research fellowships in Texas and at NIH, worked a few random jobs, and finally settled into a Virginia lab where she focused on mastering diagnosis procedures and implementations of histology and pathology.

Choosing to be a dedicated homemaker after the birth of her first child, Eli rediscovered her passion for writing. She’s never regretted the decision. Not only are her kids the most amazing creatures, but writing fulfills her soul the way science never did.

******

Eli is the author of Dead Trees, Dead Trees 2, Mastic, DRAG.N & Z Children: Awakening. She is a contributing author to Let’s Scare Cancer to Death, State of Horror: New Jersey, State of Horror: Illinois, & Fading Hope. Her books are available in eBook, paperback, & audio formats.

Meet Eli:

Twitter   Facebook   Books on Amazon  Goodreads   WordPress

Eating Rotten Tomatoes: Guest Post {A.R. Draeger}

**Brought to you as a part of the Paranormal Love Wednesdays Blog Hop**

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When a Reviewer Throws a Rotten Tomato: Moving Past Your First One Star Review

By A.R. Draeger

Learning to take, let alone welcome, constructive criticism was a hard lesson for me. Writing is a very personal endeavor, and although we do our best to distance ourselves from it, our ego is wrapped up in every word we leave on the page. For some of us, it takes years to lower our defensive walls.  Some of us never do, and this is in response to words that, for all intents and purposes, are meant to grow our abilities, strengthen our stories, and build us up on the whole to be the authors we have it in us to be.

Yet it still stings.

The day comes when you throw your first book out into the wide open world, and it’s terrifying. Your stomach will twist in knots, and despite however many times you have reminded yourself that you will keep writing regardless of what people think of you, your heart will skip a beat when it comes to your attention that someone has left you a review.

Don’t read reviews. Don’t pay attention to them. There’s a reason celebrities don’t Google themselves.

You repeat this mantra, but still, the temptation is there, feasting on each incoming review until you can no longer help yourself. Perhaps you were trying to get ACX set up for an audiobook audition when you looked down and realized your star rating was lower than you last checked on Amazon, as was my case. Perhaps your mom calls you from four states away to tell you, as was the case for another author.

You click, and you find it. Maybe there’s more than one. Maybe there is a whole mess of them.

They are one-star reviews, and they are ugly. They will have subject headings, such as: “Awful! Eye-gouging horrible!”

You’ll find hate-spewing, author-bashing, insult-flinging trash. Those are the more polite ones. The rude ones will spoil everything they can possibly find in your book, deride you for issues that – had they actually taken the time to read the book – would not have been ‘issues’, and proceed to blast not only you as a writer, but every writer that you may or may not be associated with.

The ones that are belligerent are the easiest to digest. They feel little more than bullies on a kindergarten playground. The better written, more eloquent ones are a bit of a gut-punch when you look over them. When you are new to the writing world, those are the ones that take you by surprise – the ones that punch you in the gut, that make you wonder and doubt if you should be writing at all.

It’s those you have to dust off, and believe me, it’s not easy.

How do you recover? How do you cross the bridge when the trolls come out to play?

Simply put: one foot in front of the other.

  • Write, and don’t stop. Why should you care about their opinions? Why should you care about anyone’s but your own? Write because you want to. Publish because you want to. They can hate it, they can love it, whatever.
  • Realize that you may have touched a nerve. Everybody has baggage, and their reactions to you may be from the stuff they are carrying and not what you’re writing.
  • Remember everyone gets bad reviews. Look up the classics. Yikes.
  • Perceived value may also play a part. More independent writers are noticing that when they place their books on sale at $0.99 or give it away for free, it attracts more negative reviews in proportion to the positive. The more we pay, the more we tend to value something.
  • Also remember that the internet provides a mask for bullies. People who are jaded, perhaps failed writers themselves, too afraid to strike out on their own or try again, that hide behind the anonymity of a screenname. Feel sorry for them. I guarantee you they spent more time drafting that so-called review they left you than what they spent reading your book, or what they probably even spend smiling in a day.

The truth of it all is that this situation will come about with every work you release. With time and perseverance, your skin will thicken to the point that you’ll find such reviews completely laughable – and with any luck, you’ll be laughing all the way to the bank.

In the meantime, look up authors reading their bad reviews online and know, with pride, that you have joined a club of sorts that not many have the dedication, determination, or courage to join: that of published authors. So let them throw their rotten tomatoes. They can’t take away your books, nor your hard work, and truth be told?

They just wish they could be you.

Keep writing.

Author Amber (A.R.) Draeger

**Brought to you as a part of the Paranormal Love Wednesdays Blog Hop**

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~ Of Ocean and Ash ~

Of Ocean and Ash on Amazon now.

AmberHeadshotA.R. (Amber) Draeger resides in rural Texas with her husband, Josh, and son, Logan. When not writing or reading, she is watching reality TV shows or tromping through the nearby woods.

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Interview with {Blaire Edens}: Part Two

oam-cover-finalHAPPY RELEASE DAY (to an all around awesome lady)!

Enter the Giveaway

Blaire brings An Officer and a Mermaid to our Falling in DeepCollection. Make your fins happy, and order the novella here. She’s a talented author and an all-around lovely lady.

What is your favorite writing music?

It changes with the book.  Strangely enough, with An Officer and A Mermaid, I started out with watery music, like Pachabel’s Canon in D, but my characters just weren’t that into it so most of it was written with Pink Floyd blasting in my ears. For longer books, I will develop a play list and listen to it while I work. Fergalicious was part of my playlist for a book I wrote in 2013 and I still know all the words. For better or worse. Ha. I also like to binge watch Netflix while I write. I need background noise. It’s hard for me to write when it’s too quiet.

Where is your favorite place to find inspiration?

I’m a hard core people watcher. I often get inspiration just from a phrase I overhear at the gas station. People are just plain fascinating. They say all sorts of things that just BEG to be explored and written. I’m also a bit of a Sporty Spice (nineties flashback, sorry) and I love to be outside. I hike and bike and walk a lot so I’d say nature is a big inspiration, too.

What was your inspiration for An Officer and A Mermaid? Tell me about your heroine.

When I was invited to write this novella, I found Mami Wata and I was hooked. For some reason, before I discovered the Afro-Caribbean version of a mermaid, I imagined all mermaids as being white, in cold water and somewhat passive. I have no idea where that perception came from but when I found Mami Wata, I knew immediately that she was a mermaid I could work with. The legends, most of which originated in Nigeria and moved to the Caribbean on ships and with slaves, cast as her a powerful force, totally in touch with and comfortable with her sexuality and gender. I like that in a girl. My heroine, Syreena, is the daughter of an eighteenth century sugar plantation owner. Because of imminent danger, a servant uses voodoo to transform her into a mermaid to save her life. In the two hundred and twenty plus years she’s forced to swim alone, she becomes her own sort of Mami Wata and the legend plays out in some expected ways. I like the idea of using legends that have been around for centuries to teach us things about our current world.

Any advice for new writers (like me)?

Write, write, write. Then repeat. For most writers, it takes thousands and thousands of words to find voice and style. Words on the page are never a waste. Even if the book is never published or ever seen by another human, we learn something every time we write. It’s okay to experiment, it’s okay to make a mess. Take constructive criticism graciously and use feedback as a way to get better and better.

Read Part One, and buy An Officer and a Mermaid.

Enter the GIVEAWAY (:

oam-cover-finalAn Officer and a Mermaid:

When a slave uprising threatens the life of Syreena, the daughter of an eighteenth century plantation owner, a servant uses voodoo to transform her into a mermaid. The spell will be only broken when she returns to the beach where it was cast. After three hundred years of swimming, she’s ready to trade fins for legs.  The only problem is she can’t find her way.

Dylan, a twenty-first century Coast Guard Officer, has sworn off love for the sea. When a wave throws him overboard, Syreena uses her amulet to ward off the sharks and save his life.

With Syreena and Dylan stranded on a remote cay, Dylan has the know-how to build a raft and navigate but his near-drowning has made him terrified of the water. Syrenna will use every charm she has to convince Dylan to take her home.

Even if it means falling in love. . .

About Blaire:

edens_blaire_600x600Blaire Edens lives in the mountains of North Carolina on a farm that’s been in her family since 1790. When she’s not plotting, she’s busy knitting, running, or listening to the Blues. Blaire loves iced tea with mint, hand-stitched quilts, and yarn stores. She refuses to eat anything that mixes chocolate and peanut butter or apple and cinnamon. She’s generally nice to her mother, tries to remember not to smack her bubble gum, and only speeds when no one’s looking.

Meet Blaire:

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Love mermaids? Looking for a great beach read? The Falling in Deep Collection, a collection of 15 unique tales of creatures of the deep, is rolling out the first novella in their collection at the end of May.

From mermaids to sirens, Miami to Athens, dark paranormal romance to contemporary stories with steam, the fifteen award-winning and best-selling authors of the Falling in Deep Collection are bringing you mermaid tales like you’ve never seen before.

Every week beginning May 26th, 2015, we’ll be releasing one unique, never-before-published novella! Each novella will feature our favorite creature of the deep: mermaids.

The Falling in Deep Collection (May – September Releases)

Scales by Pauline Creeden

Ink: A Mermaid Romance by Melanie Karsak

Of Ocean and Ash by A. R. Draeger

Deep Breath by J. M. Miller

At the Heart of the Deep by Carrie Wells

The Mermaid’s Den by Ella Malone

How to be a Mermaid by Erin Hayes

The Glass Mermaid by Poppy Lawless

An Officer & a Mermaid by Blaire Edens

The Water is Sweeter by Eli Constant

Cold Water Bridegroom by B. Brumley

A Beyond the Sea Prequel by Emily Goodwin

Immersed by Katie Hayoz

Siren’s Kiss by Margo Bond Collins

To Each His Own by Anna Albergucci

Never miss a release! Join our newsletter for behind the scenes information and release updates:

Join the Mermaids!