Lizards in Love on the Love Shack Lanai

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Lizard

Before you begin reading this post, do your best to read it with the voice of Sir David Attenborough running through your mind.  It will make it sound intelligent and even educational, or John Cleese if you prefer absurdity.

My wife and I sit on our front Lanai every afternoon to enjoy the beauty of Kauai with a glass or two of wine, possibly a whole bottle depending on the entertainment unfolding before us. I put in a garden my first year here and now it is fully developed and loved by all the lizards.  So much, it has become a brothel of lizard love making.  They have no shame, they just do it right in front of us.  Let me set the scene.

Planet Earth III – The Kingdom of Lizards

There are two prominent studly males named Larry and Liam. Yes, that’s their names – deal with it.  Then there a host of slim and elegant streamlined tailed females named Lydia, Linda and Latisha.  Each day around 4:00 PM they come out into the open and begin a bizarre ritual of mating.  The female acts uninterested (as do all females) while Larry, the biggest stud, does about 20 push ups to gain her attention and at the same time he bleats the loose skin under his throat which is brightly colored red.  This is a signal by the male that he is interested and is also lizard love sign language for,

“Here Lizaard, Lizaard, Lizaard”.  Older people will get this reference.

Now if Linda is somewhat interested, she will curl her tail as an invitation, like a woman curling her finger seductively. Larry sprints over like Usain Bolt to Linda, all the while Lydia and Latisha are watching, calling Linda a sleazy slut and texting pictures to everyone at the bunko club.  Yes, we actually heard this conversation, oh the harsh words and body shaming.  Larry does 20 more pushups and then mounts Linda, where, I kid you not, they do 20 pushups together.  Larry is twice the size of Linda. If she starts to run she is carrying Larry for a ride (no pun intended).  Soon they stop and Larry, like a greco roman  wrestler flips Linda to her side and has his way with her.  Linda’s tail flutters for a few moments, then stops and both lizards go comatose.  They lie there in their loving embrace for about three minutes and then separate into the bushes for cigarettes, cocktails, and insect pupu’s, discussing how to make money on the videos Lydia and Latisha just socially shared on Repitlebook.

Liam then appears and both Lydia and Latisha also do the routine of complete disinterest.  Although I imagine there is fine aroma of pheromones wafting about.  There is no variation in the routine.  There’s no subtle dating, dining, dancing, candy grams, plush teddy bears, snuggy pajama’s presented, or any form of romantic gestures, it’s all about getting in and out and on with your life, because some bird just might swoop down and have a tasty combo snack.

Now this leaves out poor Latisha, who Larry hasn’t stopped watching, so Larry goes at it again, and again, and again. It becomes the Indianapolis 500 of horny lizards, with no evidence of reptile dysfunction.  Soon they are all exhausted and they all leave to climb their rock safe spaces to be alone and gather enough of the remaining sunlight to prepare for the harsh winter nights of Kauai.  Now each of the females have texted each other, shared videos on social media, all wondering why guy lizards are so unthoughtul,

“It’s 20 quickies, then they are off to the pool hall with the boys to brag about their conquests of the day.  All they think about is tail”.

Soon a host of baby lizards will be on their way, growing up quickly and questioning who is their father.  I hear lizard litigation on paternity issues is a growing and profitable trend.  This is when Larry and Liam migrate to the neighbors yard, effortless leaping over the newly constructed immigration wall,  where Lola, Laila, and Lulululupupupupumamamia are practicing their uninterested looks, yet eagerly awaiting. All’s fair in lizard love.  It’s a jungle out there, but hey, the Boys are Back in Town.

Now as Tracy and I migrate to Florida we might get to see alligators engage in the same manner.  I’ll report my scientific data to you then.

Absurd?  You betcha!

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Context & Construct

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I visited with my sister this weekend and we spoke about my trilogy.  She has a masters degree in creative writing.  She has tried to read my trilogy but states all the other authors and editors do not write the way I write.  That you must hook people quickly into your story.  I understand completely her viewpoint, this is what the majority opinion is.  But I have to ask a simple question.  How creative is this? If we all march to beat of the same drums, aren’t we just robots catering to the machine?  Do you ever feel like you are reading the same story over and over again, with just a few new character names and locales?  Don’t you know what sex is by now?  How many ways can you spin eroticism and vampires?  I’m not knocking these authors or readers, but don’t you want a change of pace?

I am a CPA.  I am analytical, linear and logical.  I have done computer programming which must be controlled by logic with “”If this, then this, else this” type construct.  I literally despise stories without context and logical construction.  I have heard people say,

“I want a quick and fun read.  I do not wish to think.”

If this is true then my stories will not appeal to you.  If you like books like the The Shack or the Life of Pi, then you are seeking a book with a deeper meaning of life and spirituality.  Yes, it has to be entertaining, but don’t you want the ground work established first?  Here is how I constructed my trilogy based on my love for J.R.R. Tolkien’s wonderful and mesmerizing world of Arda and Middle Earth.

Book 1 – Rise of the Fallen, Chapters 1-9 are the history of the universe and Allivar.  Think of the Silmarillion in a compressed form.  A mythology must have an origin narrative. There must be a narrative on the source of evil and the history to create the myths of immortals and heroic mortals. These chapters establish the construction of all that follows and provides subtle clues to the surprising ending of the story.  If you rush through this, you will definitely miss the point of the story.  Sorry, I didn’t spend ten years just to have battle scenes, sex and a pointless battle over a throne.  My story is much deeper than this.

Chapters 10-16 begins the story of the hero in the dawning of the seventh age of Allivar.   Like the Fellowship of the Ring there is the bonding of characters of various races on a journey the Chosen One was selected for, which is to determine if mortals are worthy of life.  If you wish, just jump to Chapter 10 and begin there.  Then maybe one day you will want to go back and have context of the origin of my mythology.

Now this book cannot be more exciting than book two, nor can book two be more exciting than book three.  There must be a crescendo of action and emotions.

Book 2 Bound to Forbidden Lands ratchets the excitement after all the ground work was established in book one.  The Two Towers gave readers the thought that all would be lost, but that the faith in men would rise to counter the acts of evil.   We were left begging for the conclusion with the Return of the King.

Book two introduces romance and the continued rise of evil, an epic coliseum battle, fighting with dark demons and a journey through lands, guarded by dragons and watchers, the hero has been told to avoid.  But he has no other option.  The ending of the story must compel you to read the third story, so it has a cliff hanger unlike any you will ever read. He lives!

Book 3 – Last Stand of the Living is the culmination of the entire mythology with the greatest mythological battle ever to be written, where the fate of the universe will be decided, and where mortal and immortal alike come to battle. Here you will finally understand all that was written in the first nine chapters of book one.  I recall the Return of The King’s influence on the ratcheting of the battle scenes and emotions with the arrival of the Rohirrim and the eventual defeat of Sauron.  Readers who have taken the challenge to read my trilogy are utterly exhausted emotionally in this third story.  For the creator of the universe makes his stand with the seven mortal races.

I can guarantee you this much; you will laugh, you will cry, and you will cheer.  You may even contemplate life as we know it, for it is allegorical to our times.

But I am not done with you yet.  Forthcoming are the Chronicles of Allivar, sixteen stories, equally as intriguing as the trilogy. It introduces a parallel journey of the Armies of Light and the heroes of the six ages.  Here the compressed history is expanded, laying a blueprint for the construct of an equally exciting series.

You see, I have constructed a mythology using a linear approach from origin to the end of time, with proper context so that you don’t end the series wondering what happened to certain characters who dropped out.

You have a choice. Follow the cookie-cutter formulaic stories and construct that the masters and literary gods tell us that must exist, or take a chance on something new, independent, original, and frankly – creative.

My final point is this.  Many people take life way too seriously.  They seek affirmation from others of their worthiness in this lifetime.  They wish to dominate life by determining who is allowed to participate in the private clubs of industry and intellectual institutions.  They control who will be successful and who will not, through regulation, etc.  The publishing industry loves to bully, yes I wrote bully, to tell you another person’s attempt at writing is garbage because they weren’t involved in the editing, distribution and profit-sharing aspects of your creativity.  They belittle every person or story that reaches success independently.  I do not like erotica, but I applaud E.L. James for dispensing, once and for all, that only the publishing Gods know what stories will interest you.

Self-publishing has provided an opportunity for those of us who love to tell stories, even with grammatical errors, to remain independent and reap the potential success of our own risk. This was once referred to as entrepreneurship, not vanity publishing.  Vanity should be described as the envy of others who have not found a way to piggy-back on your imagination.

In the end, it is you the reader who independently defines what stories are good or not.  I am going to keep writing because one day I can tell them to my grandchildren.  Like Tolkien, these are the stories I want to read, but are not being produced by the publishing Gods.  I hope one day you will find my stories appealing enough to tell to your children and others.

To my sister, I have to say this, do not waste another second of your life looking for the accolades and affirmation of others.  Their aim is profit-motivated and honestly, quite vain.  The only one responsible for your happiness is you.  Life is risk and by not taking any risk, for the fear of the opinion of others, including your own family, is not living.  Stephen King said it best in his story, The Shawshank Redemption:

“Get busy living or get busy dying.”

Faith

Unseen

Since late 2011, I have been promoting my trilogy, The Chosen One of Allivar.  The story is a mythology which requires creation, life and end of times.  I’ve sold quite a few, but reviews and ratings have been very, very difficult to receive.  I’ve been told it is very good, but apparently posting a review is too difficult.  I have restrained myself from marketing it as a faith based story, because too many would never read it.  Chapter one in Rise of the Fallen starts out very similar to Genesis.  The tale of the fallen Charafuse (Angels) is very similar to that of the Satan story, and there are many inferences to stories in the Bible.  I did this for a marketing purpose, to bring familiarity to my story of the three Abrahamic religions of which there are more than a billion potential readers, nothing more.  What may appear as a religious story, is not. Here is a definition of religion:

Religion is an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to the supernatural, and to spirituality.

Since we live in a period of history where mythologies, even with the slightest hint of a creator, is deemed religious by the secular society, I will then market the trilogy and the upcoming 16 chronicles stories as a series of stories of faith, hope and spirituality.  In the end, the story is about mankind’s ability to be proper stewards and provides thought on immortal life.  It revolves around free will, family, spouse, children, races, and even the animals.

In the year 1999, I was challenged by a friend to write a story centered around a creator as the source of good, rather than the benign references in many stories.  Stars Wars has the “Force”, Lord of the Rings had the power of the elves given to them by Eru (The One), and Narnia has Aslan the Lion who is a representation of Jesus.  Robert Jordan, the author of The Wheel of Time has a creation story very similar to Christianity. George RR Martin refers to the old and new gods.  Gods lay down laws and the expectations of their creations.

In the end, the story is one about faith in something greater than ourselves and how one man is chosen to deliver the enslaved and a message to all of the living. The words Chosen One, do not refer to Christ.  Christ was God incarnate.  My hero is a mere mortal, asked to rise to the greatest challenge of all – to unite the seven divided races and stand against evil, before there is nothing left but death, darkness and eternal silence.

You will notice many inferences to other mythologies such as King Arthur and that created by Tolkien.  You will see the influence of Dante’s Inferno and Milton’s Paradise Lost.  In its simplest of form it is derived from this popular quote:

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

It is spiritual, highly emotional and so very human of a story.  It is allegorical, it has meaning and a moral behind it.  Will we the living finally become the stewards we were meant to be?  This is the question and should challenge all those who have faith and hope that there is greatness in and after life.

So now I submit to all those who love stories of faith, whether it be Life of Pi, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Wheel of Time, or another story I have not yet read – take a chance on a timeless story of good and evil and faith in things unseen. I am not asking you to convert to anything, follow me, or start a cult, but to enjoy a story – that’s all.  I promise you will be crying and cheering at the same time.

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Why You Should Read My Trilogy – Spoiler Alert

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I just finished watching the Life of Pi and was moved deeply by the story. I have the book on my Kindle, but can’t seem to find the time to sit and read as I fulfill my professional duties and the little time remaining to writing.  The story to me is an exploration in faith, not necessarily about religion.  One can have a belief in a creator and not have a religion.  In my trilogy, the Kassaran race, which I relate to those of Asian races, practice the Jita, a form of spiritual meditation.  All the races on Allivar believe in the one creator, The Unseen, but how they practice their faith differs.

Since its release in late 2011, my mythological trilogy, The Chosen One of Allivar, has slowly garnered reader attention.  Many books have a prologue meant to entice a reader at the very beginning.  I chose not to include this, but an author’s note instead.  By including a prologue, the secrets embedded in the story are given up.  For those readers who cannot wait for the conclusion, I give it you now:

“The Lord of All has heard your cries. He has brought all the powers of the heavens against his foes. Witness them now and rejoice. The Lord has come to stand for you and you shall doubt no more.”

This pronouncement is given by the hero Arimar who appears when hope is all but lost.  He arrives at a pivotal moment with the armies of the seven mortal races and the armies of the ethereal world – the Armies of Light.  They converge upon the forces of evil. Here, the creator, The Unseen, The Lord of Light and Life, also engages in the decisive battle against evil.  Let me detail the themes of this epic adventure story for you to decide if the $2.99 price per eBook is worth your time.

Faith and History

This is a story about faith in something greater than oneself.  If you have no interest in such stories, thanks for reading this far. The first nine chapters of book one are devoted to the establishment of a mythical universe and the fall of immortals on nine of the ten heavenly worlds created.  This also chronicles the rise of evil through a condensed history, so that the real story can then begin. I often refer to these chapters as my “Silmarillion”, or J.R.R. Tolkien’s origin story.  Where did everything come from? How did we get to this point in the hero’s journey?  Context to me is very important in any story I read.

These first few chapters involve the origin of moral behavior and the concept that even the creator had to determine if life itself was worthy.  Those who are of one of the three religions of Abraham will definitely see many similarities.  But it is not a story of Christianity, Judaism or Islam. If you believe a story involving faith cannot be exciting or deeply moving, like the Life of Pi, then I hope to prove you wrong. In the end, I place myself into the mind of the mythical creator which provides a viewpoint I have never read. Therefore the story is unique and original.  However, I am not pushing any religion with all their rules and institutions, just the concepts of morality, mortality and immortality.

Free Will

The story revolves around the theme of free will and the consequences of our actions. Therefore it is also a thinking readers story.  If you like stories that are entertaining and philosophical in nature, you may truly enjoy this journey.  I did not write the story to question anyone’s beliefs or values.

Action, Battles and War

As the Lord of the Rings became progressively more exciting, so does my trilogy. Book one has action, but is mostly character and plot development. Book two ratchets the action and introduces more characters. Book three involves the greatest battle scene you may ever read, with continuing twist and turns.  Readers who have dared to complete the trilogy stated they were exhausted emotionally, as was my intent. As the excerpt above states “you shall doubt no more.” It is also a story on the futility of war.

Death and Resurrection

Like the Game of Thrones, I spare no character.  The story is about life, death and what might be a purpose of an afterlife.  I will say no more on this, because the ending would truly be ruined.  As Gandalf is brought back to life by the Valar to finish his task, so are characters in my story.  Death and resurrection are key themes to an epic hero’s story that evoke our deepest emotions. So if you feel the word resurrection applies only to Christian stories, do not read the story.

Emotional Attachment

I purposely set out to make a reader cry numerous times.  I do this by creating an emotional attachment to one or more characters, no matter your age. There is one character who I put more effort in than any other, Bothar, a gentle giant who has child-like thinking and mannerisms, and knows nothing more than wanting to be good and help. He is the representation of the best ideals of mankind.  I freely admit to crying while watching the Life of Pi.  It is story that will stay with me forever.  It is my hope this one will also make that mark on the reader.

Humanity

This a story regarding life as we know it, complete with hatreds and prejudices. It is story of racial reconciliation and living together as one human family.  It is often said that we don’t know what we had until it is gone.  This applies not only to family, but the loss of paradise.  In places, the story line is brutally honest.  We cannot hide from the ugliness of life, all we can do is to stand against it and support one another.

Family

It is a story with a major theme of family, not just our immediate family members, but of the entire human family which we take for granted. Allivar means – “The One Family.”

Monsters and Demons

The book involves the interaction between the forces of good and evil.  Therefore, central to the heroic tale is the battle with seemingly superior forces of evil’s creation or as a result of punishment by the Unseen.  As with any mythology there must be a narrative on the origin of the demons and monsters.

Love and Romance

Love is depicted throughout this story.  The main romance between Arimar and Elissia is a unique one that I hope both men and women can appreciate, for it involves an altruistic love.  At the center of Arimar’s love is his faith which guides him to the completion of the task given to him by the creator.  He must sacrifice his love for Elissia until he has completed his task.  Elissia too has to sacrifice her love for Arimar.

Conflict

Whether it is the conflict between the creator and the immortals, or the conflict of love over duty, or the conflict over our relationships with one another, conflict is a major theme of the story.  How do the characters overcome their weaknesses and rise to heroic feats?

Sacrifice

All great heroes or heroines sacrifice their own needs for a greater good.  In the end, they are usually rewarded or they carry a great burden. What will Arimar’s fate be?

Justice, Forgiveness and Redemption

It is a story that ends with justice and forgiveness of many characters actions who hold on to the smallest of their faith.

Surprises

I love reading books where I can say, “Wow, I never saw that coming.”  I can promise you this much, you may spend a lifetime tracing the clues I embedded.  I spent 10 years in the writing of this story, all 273,000 words of it, attempting to provide meaning or purpose for almost every sentence.

A Unique and Conclusive Ending

I do not like stories that leave me hanging.  I wanted a conclusive ending with very little questions unanswered.  Because it is constructed as a mythology, it has the elements of mortal creation, history, and end of times. What sets my story apart is the message given by the creator to the world of the living.

There you have it.  A story constructed around the basic themes present in all great epic adventures.  If you are looking for something new, give my stories a try. If you have questions before or after the story, contact me.

The trilogy is constructed so that future stories are not necessary for their enjoyment. If you like them and want more, just know the Chronicles Series is what awaits you next.  Sixteen stories to chronicle the condensed history of the nine fallen worlds and six for the ages of Allivar.  The final book, The Age of Light, will chronicle the behind the scenes story of the gathering of the seven armies and the armies of light as they appear in the final battle.

So if you enjoy the world of Middle-earth, mythology, and an exploration of faith such as the Life of Pi, you should give my trilogy a try.

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I am Elissia

Why do I love Arimar?  He had filled the dreams of my youth and appeared to me now past my prime, yet something draws me near to him. He has brought no army to free the enslaved, yet I trust him nonetheless.  He fought for the soul of my sister, Queen Narcissia, married by force to King Yubal. Her mind was overtaken by a hidden evil and blinded by lust and power, where even her own family had faded from her affections. He has freed my parents, yet he has not found his own.  I try to comfort him and show him my growing affections.  Surely he knows of my feelings, the touch of my hand, the smile in my face and the light in my eyes.  Why does he not say the words I so long to hear?

As we enter the deadly forbidden lands he recoils even further from me.  What have I said, what have I done? At every step we are attacked day and night and so many pass before my eyes.  Will I be one of them?  Will I never be near him again?  Will he hear the words  I so long to say?  As the king of the Gregorons draws out the power of my life, I feel my life has been wasted and love a meaningless emotion.  I awaken later to learn that he was the one who saved me with the water of life and now jeopardizes everything for this.  He does love me, but something drives him greater than need for me, even greater than himself.

When all around me is finding love, love eludes me.  Yet I will stand behind him. Twice now I have almost lost him. As I learn of the gatherings of all evil, I stand boldly in his defense and rise to encourage faith in him.  As I see the size of the enemy, I still have faith in him. As the battle rages and all the world begins to fade, death surrounds me and love slips away. I can no longer hold off the enemy. As I lay here on the ground mortally wounded, the one I love is not in my sight.  Has he died?  I have stood beside Arimar at every step waiting for the words I so long to hear, “I love you.”  These simple words do not come.   Please do not let me pass until I hear those words!  He finds me as my life slips away so swiftly and I confront him with my final breath.  Do you not feel?  Do you not know of my love for you?  Tell me what I need to hear!

Do you not see me? I am here. I am Elissia.

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I am Arimar

As I stand here overlooking the forces amassed against us, I ask how did it come to this?  I have now journeyed for two years and have faced evil at every turn.  Somehow I survived my journey north and freed those enslaved by King Yubal and aided in the freeing of his mind.  Yet at every step Haggarfuse and his minions watched and waited for me to stumble.  So many have looked up to me and so many times I have failed them.  Why did you choose me? What do you see that I cannot?

Our journey home through the forbidden lands cost us dearly and in those lands of death I almost lost Elissia, the one I love, yet the very one I cannot reveal my love to. Would their lives have been better had I not been born?  To carry the weight of prophecy as the chosen one of Allivar has been a struggle.  I am no immortal, even with these gifts I have been given. The immortals, these fallen stewards have risen against us all and their armies now stand before me, trembling the very ground and veiling the light of the heavens.  Their beasts and machines of war are about to be unleashed.  I fear the moment that this final war shall begin.

I have so many questions unanswered.  Who are my parents and are they still alive?  Do they suffer not knowing my fate as much as I suffer not knowing theirs?  Why was I chosen and why do the captains of the living races follow me?  Why should they lay down their lives to follow me?  I have sent out the word for aid and yet the message never made it out of the valley.  We are alone and outnumbered one hundred and forty thousand to four hundred million.  I cannot withstand this onslaught, or provide words of comfort, yet I have been asked to make a stand by the Unseen.  I do not see his purpose. Without victory all my efforts seem useless and meaningless.  Why am I here, what is to be gained?  As I turn to see my company, men and women ready to lay down their lives, I owe them everything that I am.  Why do they follow me?  Why did you choose me?

For forty days the battle has raged and all around me, all that I have befriended and loved as my own family, lie dead before me. They have fought beyond recall. I have been cursed by the sole survivors and now I stand alone.  My body is mortally wounded, yet nothing is as painful as my heart which now bursts. Have we, have I been forsaken by you my creator?  I have a choice, be taken by you now or stand for the last of the living.  By my death, should the last heavenly world of Allivar remain, then my purpose would have been just.  Just remember me, my creator, the one you named the messenger. What message shall I leave when the world succumbs to defeat and darkness, when I could not protect them.  I would give my life here and now, for peace and a new day’s dawn. Why did you choose me?

As the darkness almost takes me there a glorious light. My spirit is renewed and a voice calls out to me.  “I have chosen well.  You shall suffer no more doubts and all your questions shall fade.  You have stood as I have asked. Now prepare for my stand.  Now who are you?”

I am Arimar, the Chosen One of Allivar.

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Author Interview – Alana Siegel

Author – Alana Siegel

Book Titles:

THE CHARM (Olivia Hart and the Gifted Program, #1)

THE RETREAT (Olivia Hart and the Gifted Program, #2)

Genre:

young adult, fantasy, romance, and adventure

Publisher:

Self published

Date of publication:

THE CHARM was published on December 12, 2011.

THE RETREAT was published on August 12, 2012

Who or what inspired you to write in this genre?

Reading has always been my passion.  I am an avid young adult, fantasy reader, and I escape to Hogwarts, Forks, Camp Halfblood, or District 12 for a few hours each day.  I love getting lost in an adventure with characters who feel like old friends.  I began writing THE CHARM because I had a story of my own.  I wanted to extend the reading adventure and share it with others.

Tell me about your story(s):

Olivia Hart and the Gifted Program is a series that follows high school kids with special powers as they deal with everyday teenage drama and supernatural plot twists.  Olivia is easy to identify with, and she reminds the reader of the overemotional adolescent years that form who we become in adulthood. Nothing will prepare her, however, for the discovery that she can compel people with her mind.  Imagine how different high school would have been if you had the ability to charm your way out of trouble.

How long did it take you to write this book?

Writing has always been a hobby that was maintained on long train rides in and out of Manhattan between the hours spent at my day job.  I wrote the novel, THE CHARM, by writing emails to myself on an iPad.  Then, I would piece it all together over the weekends.  An engagement ring, a move 3,000 miles across the country, and one adorable kitten named Zeus later, the final edit of THE RETREAT, book 2, was conceived.  Both books took about four years to complete.

How did you find a publisher?(if applicable)

I didn’t find a publisher, however, I found two terrific editors instead.  Olivia’s world wouldn’t be the same without the help I received from Carol Weber and Maria Johnson.  Detail oriented and professional, they were spot on with their analysis of my work and supportive friends throughout the whole process.

Carol Weber’s website:  http://www.carolscorrections.weebly.com

Maria Johnson’s blog:  http://maria7627.wordpress.com

What made you self publish? (if applicable)

The publishing industry is changing for the better.  Great books can now be read by the masses without getting tangled up in the politics of the publishing industry.  With websites to post book reviews, the end users (the readers) are now the final judges of a book, instead of the large publishing houses.

How have you promoted your book and what is most successful?

Joining twitter, I was able to contact thousands of authors, and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that they were welcoming and willing to help.  They retweeted my novel to their followers, shared my story on their blog, and passed along helpful tips and advice.  Goodreads is also a fantastic place to connect with fellow readers and writers.

How do you combat writer’s block, if you indeed experience it?

Since writing is a hobby, writers block isn’t a main concern.  Instead, the issue is writing receives lower priority on my list of things to do, even if I would rather spend the afternoon escaping to my bedroom with my laptop.  It is hard to budget the time when you work in finance (just found out I passed level 3 of the CFA exam!), have a wedding to plan, and relationships to maintain.  However, the lapse of time just makes it sweeter when I actually key my thoughts into the computer.

What other writing do you do?

I try to post on my tumblr blog every few weeks (http:// makeeverymisadventureanadventure.tumblr.com).  The entries usually relate to writing, fantasy, or pop culture.  Oftentimes, I ask fellow authors to share their thoughts.

What methods do you use to plan/write your book?

Writing is the easy part.  Lately I have been debating the best methods for publishing.  I use Kindle Select Publishing, which allows me to promote the book for free 5 out of every 90 days.  The concern is that you need to be publish exclusively with Amazon and may miss out on other markets – nook, smashwords, etc.  I recently came across a company called Pubslush that works like American Idol for books, letting potential readers vote on their favorite ideas.  If you win, the company publishes your books.  Plus, for every book you sell, a copy is given to a child without access to books in a third world country – similar to the concept for TOMS and their shoes.  How cool is that?

What piece of advice would you give to debut writers?

If you turn writing into a hobby instead of a job, you will find instant gratification.  Enjoy the journey, and never give up.

Are you currently writing another book?

I am spending a few weeks marketing THE RETREAT, but I have a story arc for an Olivia Hart trilogy (possibly more).  I am also toying with the idea of creating a Kickstarter campaign to earn support to write/film a web series of Olivia’s journey.  Who knows, maybe The Gifted Program will be the next Pretty Little Liars or True Blood tv show!

Where can a reader purchase your book?

My books can be purchased on Amazon as ebooks.

THE CHARM http://amzn.to/THE-CHARM

THE RETREAT http://bit.ly/THE-RETREAT

Don’t have an ereader?  Download the free ereader app for any computer or smartphone! http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=1000493771

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Links

WEB http://www.oliviahartbooks.com

BLOG http:// makeeverymisadventureanadventure.tumblr.com

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/embed/fO7GhrerfgU

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Olivia-Hart/198744080212227

Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/AlanaSiegel

Thank you Alana for taking part in this interview.  It is my hope that readers and aspiring authors will learn something from your experience and writing.  Good luck in all your writing endeavors.