Category: A Writer’s Life

Graphics by Carol Marrs Phipps

Graphics by Carol Marrs Phipps

The Newest Name in Graphics

I’ve long been impressed by Carol Marrs Phipps’ marketing on Twitter. I’ve always found her artwork eye catching and compelling and let’s face it, that’s what marketing is all about. We want our target audience to stop whatever they’re doing, read our ads and potentially, buy our books.

With this in mind, when I discovered Carol had started her own graphics business, I jumped at the chance for her to create posters for me. I’m quite pleased with the results. 

Below is a response from Carol regarding her new business; also enclosed are samples of her work. Just to give my two cents, Carol is amazing to work with and is highly responsive to your needs on a budget most Indie Authors can afford.

CMP – I’ve always been a bit of a do-it-yourselfer, so when I needed more graphics than I could comfortably afford to purchase from graphic artists to adequately promote my books, I decided it was time to learn how to use Photoshop and make my own. 

And so the adventure began. Once I became much more adept with the program I started turning out better and better promo ads for my books, and people began commenting about how good my banners were. A few suggested I ought to earn some extra money and charge people to make banners for them.

 

After much consideration I decided, “why not?” and opened up Carol’s Posters, Gifs & More (which I recently re-named Carol’s Banners, Gifs & More) http://www.niarg.com/carols-posters-gifs-more/.  My rates are very reasonable and customer satisfaction is my highest priority.

 

Interview w Fantasy Author Carol Marrs Phipps

Interview w Fantasy Author Carol Marrs Phipps

Please welcome brilliant author Carol Marrs Phipps from the writer team of Carol Marrs and Tom Phipps

 

Hello Carol, welcome and thank you for doing this interview- 

Aside from all the help and support you’ve given me regarding my own work, I know so little about you. Would you mind sharing a little about your background? Where are you from? How did you and your partner/husband Tom Phipps get started in writing? Have you always written fantasy?

About the Author

Carol Marrs Phipps – I am a mother, grandmother, wife and doting pet owner. I say this first because my husband is always telling me that if I didn’t have anything else, I would mother a rock   Apparently my students agreed with my husband, because when I still taught elementary school, many of them often referred to me as “mom” rather than Mrs. Phipps.

My pets include six cats, a cockatiel, a raven and a blue-fronted Amazon parrot. (Though, anyone who has ever hand-raised a parrot understands they are far more like having another child, than a pet, particularly if they talk). 

I also love the outdoors where I enjoy walking, hiking, swimming, biking and picnics in the woods. Movies, traveling and family get-togethers are also an important part of my life.

 I was born and began life in Trenton, Missouri, but my parents moved to Illinois when I was very young. My husband Tom and I lived in the Southwest (Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada) where we taught on a number of Native American Reservations until we decided to move back to Illinois.

The Evolution from Teacher to Writer

Carol Marrs Phipps – I haven’t taught since our return, concentrating on our writing instead. Tom is retired from teaching, but now has a part time job (three 12 hr, days a week).

I am a fantasy writer and a dreamer. I love to weave the visions which play out in my imagination into fantastic tales for my own amusement and the enjoyment of others. If not writing I am a voracious reader.

I had a number of short stories I had written for my creative writing classes and the yearly anthology which I read to my husband and step children. Tom was impressed by my writing and encouraged me to take it up again.

Since writing had always been my first career choice, I was easy to convince. However, I discovered along the way that Tom also had a great writing talent, though he was more of a non-fiction writer. We soon decided that combining our skills would make some realistic fantasy stories that all ages could read and enjoy. Thus, we became a team.

The Troll Language

I just finished Elf Killers and like with WHAM!, could not stop reading. My only pause in the book was trying to decipher the troll language. That is until I found the glossary. Big help, by the way! Thanks for adding it.

How did you come upon the troll language or was this something you created?

Carol Marrs Phipps – Yes…and, no. As I mentioned earlier, Tom and I spent the bulk of our teaching careers on the Native Indian Reservations. The troll language evolved out of native Navajo…with some creative adjustment, mostly exchanging one consonant for another. The word meanings, however, remained the same for our book.

Elf Killers and Other Stories

Regarding Elf Killers, your world creation was highly detailed, your adventure compelling and fast paced, and your characters so fun to read, I absolutely lost myself in the book. Such an amazing story. Is Elf Killers a standalone novel or do you plan a sequel

Carol Marrs Phipps – Again I must answer yes…and no to your question. Although ELF KILLERS is our first published work, it was not actually written first. Tom and I had written four or five of the HEART OF THE STAFF books before we decided to do ELF KILLERS.

In STONE HEART, the 3rd book of the HEART OF THE STAFF series, the elf killer trolls are actually introduced, and they appear in each book of the series thereafter. ELF KILLERS is more or less a prelude to the series, even though it is not so labeled. Most of the trolls and elves from the series appear in ELF KILLERS, too.

Then in WHAM! the readers who have read ELF KILLERS and/or the HEART OF THE STAFF series will discover in book 2 of the TIMEWALKER series, that the troll barber is a descendant of Thunderman Veyfnaryr. Yes…all of our books are “connected”. WHAM!, book 1 of the TIMEWALKER series takes place 700 years after the HEART OF THE STAFF series, but you’ll find some of those “eternal” fairies and long-lived elves cropping up from time to time.

What other books have you written?

Carol Marrs Phipps – To date we have written: ELF KILLERS, GOOD SISTER, BAD SISTER (book 1 of HOTS), THE COLLECTOR WITCH (book 2 of the HOTS), STONE HEART (book 3 of the HOTS), THE BURGEONING (book 4 of the HOTS), THE REAPER WITCH (book 5 of the HOTS), DOOM (book 6 of the HOTS), the HEART OF THE STAFF: complete appendix (a companion book for the boxed set, HEART OF THE STAFF: complete series. Amazon would not allow us to attach the appendix to the boxed set because they said their policy did not allow a work of that size to be sold for only 99 cents. At he time we were adamant about the 99 cent price as we were still relative unknowns and we hoped to develop a bit of a readership.), and WHAM! (Book 1 of Timewalker)

What is your favorite genre to read? Write?

Carol Marrs Phipps – Fantasy is my answer to both questions.

Regarding your series, Heart of the Staff, please tell us a little about it?

Carol Marrs Phipps – The HEART OF THE STAFF series is a true epic fantasy saga which spans four complete generations in the life of a wizarding family.

Two evil sorceresses are on a path to rule the entire world; one from the shadows and the other from the throne she “inherited” early by killing her adoptive parents, the former king and queen, shortly after her sixteenth birthday. The wizarding family, headed by the most powerful wizard in the land, Razzmorten Dewin , who had previously lived in a  peaceful, even idyllic land, now find themselves and their very world in great peril.

In Closing

Thank you so much for taking the time to meet with me, Carol. I know you’re short on time. Is there anything else you’d like to add:

Carol Marrs PhippsThanks the opportunity, Ingrid. Yes, there is.  To wrap up, I offer the following reader review for this series:

“I very highly recommend this “Heart of the Staff” epic

fantasy series. If you like fantasy stories, set in a time

of kingdoms and castles, loaded with evil witches, wizards,

elves, fairies, trolls, unicorns, dragons, kingdoms with

marching armies of war, this series has it all. I absolutely

loved these books!!”

A Great Announcement!

Many thanks to Author Carol Marrs Phipps for joining us! I have long admired her marketing efforts on Twitter, creating these elaborate detailed and colorful posters.

 

Click on this pic and get a great Christmas Wonderland Surprise!

 

Here’s one she designed for me –

 

For more on Carol’s great new venture, stay tuned for next week’s post!

and for more about Carol and Tom Phipps and their marvelous stories, use the following links –

Amazon                         Niarg Website

Twitter                           Smashwords

Facebook                       Goodreads

Splintered Love No More…

Splintered Love No More…

The Sad Demise of Splintered Love

 

I am sad to say, Author S.J. Hermann has ended the existence of his amazing dark-love collection, Splintered Love.

Now for the good news. The stories will live on, each available as a single story!

Coming Soon to Amazon

Leap of Faith – Could one find true love again and if you can, what if it came from an unusual place.

Inner Beauty – Today’s society is based on a person’s looks and not what they carry on the inside.

Desperate Souls – What would you be willing to give up for love?

Reckless Thoughts – You find your true love, then you carelessly throw it away.

Forever Love – Love is eternal.

 

From my interview with S.J. Hermann, an excerpt from my personal favorite, “Leap of Faith.”

For more on S.J. Hermann, including his amazing series soon to be on the big screen, The Morium Trilogy

Website: www.authorsjhermann.wordpress.com

Twitter: @Writing_Novel

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SJ-Hermann-250758318466659/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/s.j.hermannwriter/

Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/+SJHermann

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9784255.S_J_Hermann

Coming June 2018

Coming June 2018

Two Great Interviews!

Coming in June, two great interviews with two great authors. Be sure to check them out –

 On June 4th – Vanessa Ravel

Author of the brilliant and surreal Gothic Horror FOUR O’CLOCK ALICE – 

A little girl. An ancient enemy. A shared past.

Alice Davies wouldn’t hurt a fly, but death seems to follow her everywhere. And as the body count rises, people in Dolwicke start to whisper.

Little do they know, Alice is the least of their worries.

A diabolical entity lurks in the shadows, finding nourishment in the ravages of war and plague. The insidious being also hungers for Alice, who is safe so long as she obeys the mysterious four o’clock curfew imposed by her parents.

But she’s a curious girl.

Desperate to uncover the truth behind her predicament, Alice embarks on a frightening journey of self-discovery that will lead her to face an ancient enemy and to discover a world she not only belongs in, but where she reigns supreme.

If you like ancient myths and portal fantasies, you’ll love this surreal tale that will pull you down the rabbit hole for the adventure of a lifetime.

Takes you by surprise and leaves you wanting more. A captivating read unlike anything I’ve ever read before! – Ingrid Foster

 

June 18th – Kevin Ansbro 

Author of the exciting, exotic and intensely captivating KINNARA –

“Sawat, I want to go into the water…”

Phuket, Thailand, seemed to be the perfect getaway choice for twenty-two-year-old Calum Armstrong:

What he saw, and did, on that holiday proves to have far-reaching consequences; not only for himself, but also for those closest to him.

In Germany, uncompromising Frankfurt detective, Otto Netzer, is leading the manhunt for a brutal serial killer who preys on heavily-pregnant women…

Neither Calum, nor the killer, yet realise that their destiny lies in the hands of a mythical creature who resides beneath the turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea.

Intriguing and exotic, Kevin Ansbro’s novel explores how our actions can come back to haunt us in the most unexpected ways.

A unique blend of old world mythology and new world travel. Ansbro skillfully enables the reader to feel and relate to the gentle and caring Thai people as they experience the monster tsunami that all but levels Phuket. – Ingrid Foster

 

Fantastic News!

Fantastic News!

Hello my Friends,

Just a quick note to let you know I’m off to a fantastic start writing-wise in 2018. I just released my novel, My Father’s Magic, in print form. It’s currently available for purchase on Amazon.

Also today thru Sunday, my short stories, “Fresh Meat” and “A Home for Rose.” are both free on Amazon. In addition, the price on the eBook version of My Father’s Magic has been reduced. Or, you can get it for free when you buy the print version!

I’ve done all this in preparation for my upcoming new books! Later this year, I plan to release book two of the Esme Bohlin Suspense Series, Revenge of the Dark Queen. And, in 2019, I plan to release Dark Desert Tales: The Collection. Featuring three brand new Dark Desert Tales and alternate endings for A Home for Rose and Fresh Meat.

Needless to say that after a problematic year in 2017, I’m so glad to be busy doing what I love, writing. Thanks for reading and I hope your 2018 is phenomenal!

 

 

How NOT to Write a Horror Story –

How NOT to Write a Horror Story –

What I’ve Learned So Far –

For more than seven years I’ve been working on this one horror story, off and on. It’s a story that shows great promise. Truly remarkable and unforgettable characters, one of which scares me witless, but for the life of me, I cannot get this story right.

This morning, I decided that there are a few things I’ve learned from trying to write this story, especially after publishing three others during the time I’ve been working on this one:

  1. Every story is different –

    What works for one story, does not necessarily work for another and as a writer, I must be honest enough with myself to recognize that.

  2. As a writer, I must face my fears –

    Especially while writing horror and, in this case, my fear is my antagonist. While interviewing him before writing this story, he truly unnerved me and unfortunately, I believe at some point, I chickened out.

  3. Don’t listen to other people’s well meaning advice –

    Wait, before you go off the deep end, allow me to clarify. Yes, some writing advice is good and noteworthy. But in the case of your story, no one knows your story better than you do, even if it’s still inside your head and in this particular case, part of it was research.

    In the original story, the focus was on Native Americans, Apaches to be exact, and during a research trip I interviewed a so-called Apache expert on the reservation near Flagstaff. The result of this bound me up creatively so bad that I scrapped the story.

    The other problem I had was taking the story to two different writers’ groups over the years, both of which were helpful in one fashion, but totally confusing in another. So, I put the story on the back burner to “cook” some more.

    In the meantime, I tried changing the layout of the story, adding a prologue, taking away the prologue, because prologues are “bad” right? I’m laughing now, but not then. Then to make the story fit I added two more scenes completely changing the dynamics to fit the new story. Sheesh! Crazy stuff…

  4. When all else fails, rewrite –

    Which is what I am now preparing to do. The first seventeen pages are great and then I get off track. So, that’s where I hope to pick up this afternoon. Sound be interesting as I’m working on the Esme Bohlin series this morning.

  5. Relax. Meditate. But, whatever you do, stay true –

    To your characters and your story. Maybe that’s how Stephen King does it?

    I don’t know. Yeah, I’ve read On Writing, maybe I need to reread it.

    Bottom line, in the process of writing the first version of my story, I knew I’d lost my antagonist somewhere along the way, but had no idea where. Then, to make matters worse, I made him into a love-obsessed “clown.” Maybe he really is a clown…

    Nah, he’s a seven-foot effin’ bone-obsessed, angry, red-eyed dude that can scare people into sticking knifes in their bodies… He’s definitely no clown!

    (Disclaimer – this is in absolutely NO reference to Pennywise in Stephen King’s IT, even though he really was more than just a clown.)

    Venting Over –

    Okay, thanks for listening. Now onto writing and rewriting and hopefully I’ll finally get this horror story done…hopefully, this year. Of course, if you find me with a long, sharp knife sticking out of my chest, you’ll know why.

    As for the picture above, yeah, there’s definitely a cave involved…

 

Never Settle for Second Best

Never Settle for Second Best

Years ago, at seventeen, I sought an outlet. Something, anything, that would allow me to give voice to my thoughts, a way to “visualize” the pictures and the “movies,” that ran through my head. The medium I chose was what came naturally to me, words.

With words I could paint a picture, with words I could share my thoughts, my ideas and explore the unknown universe within my mind…with words I could stretch and expand my creativity, thus providing the outlet I so badly needed.

…and so, a love affair began, my love affair with words.

Today, I was reminded of why I can never settle for second best when it comes to my own creativity. This movie, this delightful and entertaining movie, Words & Pictures, reminded me of why I started writing. It reminded of that innermost desire to paint with words.

Press Release January 6th 2017

Press Release January 6th 2017

Recently learned that as an author, I should have a media kit. As I just got a new cover for my novel, MY FATHER’S MAGIC, I decided to start with that. What do you think? Feedback is always welcomed and appreciated.

New Cover!

My Father’s Magic: An Esme Bohlin Suspense Novel

  • Genre: Fantasy Suspense
  • Publication Date: April 22, 2016
  • List price: 2.99
  • ASIN: B01E4R1IDW, 369 pages
  • Label: Lucky Nut Press
  • Available on Amazon Kindle

 

 About the story:

Her memory blocked at age six, Esme’s first memory is of visiting her mother in the sanitarium, the morning after she was committed, and the pretty stones her father called charms when he taught her how to create them. The charms were to be a gift for her mother and their “little secret.”

Eighteen years and many more charms later, upon her father’s sudden and mysterious death, Esme discovers a key within his desk; the key to an old family home she doesn’t remember. There, she meets strangers who claim to have known her as a child and her father’s secrets, so well guarded by a young woman with a blocked memory, begin to unravel.

 

Reviews:

C. Michael Bennis, Author, Signs of Destiny and Ralph’s Place, A Magical Experience

I couldn’t put down this narrative of mystery and intrigue that clings to you like stepping into a spider web in a dark and haunted house. …This is a great story with many plot layers that you will enjoy from this very creative and imaginative author.

 

Carol Marrs Phipps, Author, The Heart of the Staff Series and WHAM!

What a treat! My Father’s Magic is the first fantasy novel I have read by Author Ingrid Foster, but rest assured, it won’t be the last. Flawless writing, intriguing storyline and realistic characters that are easy to love, or hate, in some instances, are just a few of the reasons I adored this tale.

This book grabbed my attention from the start, held it in thrall to the very last page and then left me to anxiously anticipate the release of the next book in this addictive series. I can only say, “Ms Foster, please write quickly!”

 

PS Winn, Author, Phases, A Gradual Decline and the Parallel Adventure Series

This is a really great read, it’s like a female Harry Potter for adults. Readers meet Esme Bohlin Hermanus when her father dies. Esme’s mother Elizabeth has been placed in an insane asylum and has been there since Esme was a child. Not knowing much about her mother, Esme goes to a house of her father’s to grieve. What she finds there is going to take readers on a magical fantasy adventure of good, evil and family ties that will have you sitting on the edge of your seats. The author does a wonderful job linking the past to the present and to ramifications for the future. I found myself lost in the story and I think readers are going to love this tale.

 

About the Author:

Fantasy Suspense Author Ingrid Foster lists Farm Girl, Veteran, World Traveler, and Desert Dweller among her many descriptors. Having wrote her first story at eight, she officially got the writing bug January 2005. Often homesick for her native Pennsylvania, she currently resides in the Sonoran Desert with her husband and two furry babies. IngridFoster.com  Twitter Facebook

The Other Side of the Ocean

The Other Side of the Ocean

I’ve been reading my aunt’s book, “The Other Side of the Ocean.” Her words so fresh, so alive, I feel a newfound sense of who my grandparents were (my American grandmother and German grandfather, both pacifists) during a time of turmoil and “madness” in their beloved Germany. 
Upon the first mention of Hitler and what would later become his Nazi party, shocks ran up my arm as a sense of foreboding enveloped me. Until that point, the story, which chronicles the lives of my grandparents and their young family from 1899 until 1946, had been full of hopeful aspirations. It had been a love story. But as the reality of life outside their marriage began to change, the strain was reflected in my grandmother’s letters to her family in the States.
Nine years before the start of World War II, was the first mention of Hitler in the book. Under his leadership, his fledgling NSDAP party gained 107 seats in the German Parliament. Germany became torn between three political parties, the Social Democrats, the Communists and the National Socialists (NSDAP.) History tells us who became the victors in that struggle. What it seems to overlook is that as early as 1931, it was dangerous to publicly voice opinions contrary to Hitler’s party.
My Grandmother – Ellen Hayes Schulz
 
January 1933, Hitler became the German Chancellor. By the end of March, up to six thousand Social Democrats, Communists, trade union officials, heads of radio stations and newspaper columnists were arrested. On April 1st, Hitler declared a boycott of Jewish businesses, but then cancelled it due to negative international press.
 
One of Hitler’s first new laws was the, “Law for Restoration of the Civil Service and Aryan Clause.” Under it former Social Democrats, former Communists, and Jews lost their right to teach in public schools. My grandfather lost his job and his status as a civil servant.
My Grandfather – Paul Schulz
During all of this, my young grandparents were raising a family. My mother was born in 1928, her sister, Barbara, in 1929, and two more sisters (Sonia and Gudrun) were born years later in the 1930s. All this turmoil and still life, somehow, went on…
My mother, Kathleen, and her sister, Barbara (Author)