Saturday, January 25, 2020

Kai Storm - Her books and an author interview!

1Guest Post:

    A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Getting Published

So Alani’s Bigger Hustle (my first baby/book) was set to be published in 2009 via a small publisher who I signed with. I was so excited to get a contract that I didn’t read it (mistake #1) nor did I research the publisher or talk to anyone they published previously (mistake #2). I didn’t know anything about the publishing process (mistake #3) I trusted everything the small publisher told me (mistake #4) and I was just happy with the thought of getting my book published. The only piece of good advice they gave me was to join Facebook and develop a following. With that following, I also connected with real authors who knew the business and were willing to give me pointers. I then read my contract and realized it killed itself after 2 years. Because the time on the contract expired I was able to sign with a credible company and my first book was published six months later.

Author Interview:

First I want to say thank you for taking the time to chat with me!

Thank you for having me, always appreciate an interview!
Where do you get your ideas?
Past experiences, my wild ass imagination and the overwhelming fact that people generally are comfortable telling me things so that I can turn it into a story. I don’t know why but I enjoy every bit of it.
What is your writing process like?
I have to see it in my head like a movie first…that way, I’m just writing what I see.
What advice do you have for writers?
Always push forward; if writing is your art and you’re not in it for the money/fame, always push forward because someone is watching and admiring your hustle!
What is the first book that made you cry?
I’m not that type no matter what it is….well…it has to be real or hit me in a soft spot where I couldn’t help it, but that doesn’t happen often.
Do you find it easier to write character and dialogue for the opposite sex because you are the opposite sex? (A woman writing a man’s part and dialogue for example). Either way, it doesn’t matter to me. I feel my natural grit comes off man-ish on a regular basis so I never have a problem writing from that perspective.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Hearing people praise my work but not paying for it or not writing reviews. The worst is someone telling you what to write lol like no, I’m the artist therefore I drive!

 Have you ever gotten reader’s block?
ALL THE TIME…but it goes away with inspiration.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing, if at all?
My first book was published via Twenty First Street Urban Editing & Publishing LLC in 2011 and my first book, Alani’s Bigger Hustle was a long time story in the making aka a movie that replayed itself multiple times in my head until I finally decided to write it. Publishing that book made it all real for me so I’m thankful for its birth.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? I love a bit of realness to my reads to I will use real places and because Google is the best snitch ever, I always have accurate information.

Thank you so much for taking the time to not only guest post for me but for chatting with me as well!

Kai Storm

Author of
Find me on Facebook/Kai.Storm2

Friday, December 20, 2019

#Review #Q&A The Kill Club by Wendy Heard

The Kill Club 
Wendy Heard
On Sale Date: December 17, 2019
9780778309031, 0778309037
Trade Paperback
$15.99 USD, $19.99 CAD
Fiction / Thrillers / Psychological
368 pages

A haunting thriller about a woman who attempts to save her brother's life by making a dangerous pact with a network of vigilantes who've been hunting down the predators of Los Angeles.

Jazz can’t let her younger brother die.

Their foster mother Carol has always been fanatical, but with Jazz grown up and out of the house, Carol takes a dangerous turn that threatens thirteen-year-old Joaquin’s life. Over and over, child services fails to intervene, and Joaquin is running out of time.

Then Jazz gets a blocked call from someone offering a solution. There are others like her, people the law has failed. They’ve formed an underground network of “helpers,” each agreeing to murder the abuser of another. They're taking back their power and leaving a trail of bodies throughout Los Angeles—dubbed the Blackbird Killings. If Jazz joins them, they’ll take care of Carol for good.

All she has to do is kill a stranger.

Jazz soon learns there's more to fear than getting caught carrying out her assignment. The leader of the club has a zero-tolerance policy for mistakes.

And the punishment for disobeying orders is death.

Review to come!

Author Bio: Wendy Heard, the author of Hunting Annabelle, was born in San Francisco and has lived most of her life in Los Angeles. When not writing, she can be found hiking the Griffith Park trails, taking the Metro and then questioning this decision, and haunting local bookstores.

Buy Links:

Social Links:
Twitter: @wendydheard
Instagram: @wendydheard

Facebook: @wendydheard

Q&A with Wendy Heard
• Do you plan your books in advance or let them develop as you write?
I plan them for a long time before I start writing them, and I’m constantly revising my outline, but the plot and characters do develop quite a bit along the way. 
• What does the act of writing mean to you?
It means everything to me! I have been writing for a really long time, since childhood. Words and stories have always been the way I’ve made sense of things. I’m constantly making up narratives for people and events around me.
• Have you ever had a character take over a story, and if so, who was it and why?
Jazz held THE KILL CLUB hostage for months because I couldn’t get her to talk to me! She just kept crossing her arms across her chest and glaring at me. She did NOT want a book written about her, and I really needed her inner monologue for that first-person POV! Eventually, I started mentally arguing with her, and then in fighting with her and hearing her side, I started to get ALL of her IM. It was an interesting experience, trying to engage with a character in different ways until they cracked open.
• Which one of The Kill Club characters was the hardest to write and why?
Sofia. Her story is so much like so many others I’ve known. It’s quietly and invisibly tragic, her pain at the loss of her child so sharp.
• Which character in any of your books (The Kill Club or otherwise) is dearest to you and why?
Jazz! By far, Jazz is my favorite character. In my mind, she’s kind of the spirit of Los Angeles. She’s been through so much, and her sense of humor and lack of entitlement gets her through it all. She just continuously makes the best of every hand she’s dealt, moves forward, and doesn’t engage in self-pity.
• Do you have stories on the back burner that are just waiting to be written?
Let me get out my banjo. YES. I have so many. I have a YA that’s waiting to be written after I finish this current work in progress, which I’ve stopped and started a bunch of times, really honing the concept to get it just where I want it. But I’m constantly coming up with book ideas and having to tell them “not right now, darlings!”
• What has been the hardest thing about publishing? What has been the most fun?
Publishing is not for the faint of heart. For me, the beast is always self-doubt, and in a business that is full of rejection, that can really eat at you. It’s so easy to get out of balance and give our creative projects the power to define us. It’s important for anyone selling their art to remember to nurture a healthy life away from it, because art is a fickle master. It will come and go over your lifetime, and it won’t always be kind. You have to accept the rules of the game, but you don’t have to let the game play you.
• What advice would you give budding authors about publishing?
You’ll hear this a thousand times, and you won’t believe it, but: the most important thing is writing a good book, and more than that, the right book. If you let the market and external forces tell you what to create, you’ll resent and blame them when it doesn’t go well. That said, keep an eye on the market, find a way to love something you think can sell, and then put your personal spin on it. No one can tell your story but you. Prerequisite skills for publishing: The ability to revise without having a tantrum; an interest in book marketing and publicity; professional written communication; the ability to hold your freakout moments and vent them far away from a public or professional setting; an addiction to caffeine. And for God’s sake, if you’ve been working on something for years and it hasn’t sold and you’ve revised it forty times, write a new book.
• What was the last thing you read?
All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban. It’s a 2020 book and has a fascinating timeline craft thing that you’re going to love.
• Your top five authors?
This is not fair because I have at least seven thousand favorite authors! How about this--here are some crime fiction authors doing some innovative things in the genre. Kellye Garrett, who’s doing sharp-witted, LA-based mysteries and winning a ton of awards. John Vercher, who talks about social issues while keeping it gritty and plotty. Rachel Howzell Hall, an LA native who does these rad investigative mysteries. Tori Eldridge has a recent and very feminist take on the action thriller with her recent The Ninja Daughter, which I highly recommend. Gabino Iglesias’ award-winning Coyote Songs is this incredible genre mashup, part folklore, part horror, all commentary, and I can’t recommend it enough. One more one more. Carmen Machado’s recent In the Dream House. It’s memoir told in all different genres, it’s chilling, engrossing, dense, and fascinating. Did you read Her Body and Other Parties? Just wow.
• Book you've bought just for the cover?
Wilder Girls. Because holy crap. 
• What did you want to be as a child? Was it an author?
I was torn between the visual arts and writing, and I always vacillated between them. I have a degree in art, and I wrote a book, then did my painting degree, then wrote some nonfiction, then got my art teaching credential. I was trying things on for size. I do wish I still had time for painting. I never intended to abandon it completely in favor of writing books, but there are only so many hours in the day. I hope to come back to it in a future existence in which I have some spare time. In the meantime, I try to write about artists and art as a means of hanging onto it.
• What does a day in the life of Wendy Heard look like?
Sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Just kidding. I wake up at five, do publishing stuff, go to work at my day job, get my kid, come home, arm-wrestle her into doing homework, go to the gym, etc. On the weekends I wake up at five (yes I’m serious), write for a few hours, maybe record or edit an episode of the Unlikeable Female Characters Podcast, and then, you know, parenting and life stuff. Whenever my daughter is on a playdate or doing something away from me, I’m writing.
• What do you use to inspire you when you get Writer’s Block?
I dive into the DMs and torture some writing friends, make them brainstorm with me until I feel better and I have a plan. Or I just step away for awhile. I actually have come to trust writer’s block. If I can’t move forward, I need to stop and consider. There’s something wrong, and my brain is trying to get me to stop and gather up the threads. We’re so obsessed with productivity and daily word count, but I actually find I finish books faster when I don’t force myself to write things I know are wrong and waste weeks undoing things.
• What book would you take with you to a desert island?
I have a massive volume that contains all the Sherlock Holmes stories in one. I’d take one of those collection type of books. See, it’s technically ONE book. 
• Favorite quote?
“If you work hard enough, you don’t need luck.” Hell yeah.
• Coffee or tea?
• Best TV or Movie adaptation of a book?
The Neverending Story.
• Tell us about what you’re working on now.
I’m doing a final round of revisions on my 2021 YA thriller, She’s Too Pretty to Burn. It’s loosely based off Dorian Gray and is about a teen photographer who takes a life-altering picture of her introverted girlfriend, sending them into a spiral of fame and danger in an underground San Diego art scene. It has a character who’s basically a fine art Banksy and lots of art crimes.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

HAP the Prize Winning Horse by Horace Crenshew Jr.

Hap The Prize Winning Horse_zpsp3us4zko.jpg

Christian Literature & Fiction

Date Published: November 2019

photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

Hap, the Prize-Winning Horse is such a positive, charming tale of triumphing over obstacles. There is so much heart and dedication in this novella, and you will feel invested in Hap's journey and Kemper County.

There was once a horse named, Hap. He was purchased along with several other horses by Bennett Wingate and he grew up on a farm in Kemper County, Mississippi. When Hap was young, he had aspirations of being great and becoming a great race horse. However, his owners, the Windgates, did not have much money to put him in the best races nor train him to compete for the big prize (s). These setbacks did not stop Hap from dreaming. He knew that if he kept the faith and maintained his determination that one day his dreams would be accomplished. This is a story of triumph over many obstacles and tragedies. But, the central theme throughout the story is that if you maintain a positive attitude, determination, hope, and perseverance you can dream big and those dreams can become a reality.

photo Hap on ipad and


Chapter 3: Setbacks to make the dream a reality

Even though, Hap had many setbacks early on it was the dream that kept him going. While sitting in Bennett Wingate’s barn each and every day, he would sit in his stall and constantly reflect on what it would be like to win a great race, perhaps the Kentucky Derby. But, the true reality was that his owner did not have much money and Hap realized this. The only true enjoyment that this horse would experience would be riding with his owner after he got home from work each day. However, Bennett had to share his responsibilities and love with horses, the young Hap and the older horse, Jackal. The older horse was quite stubborn and obstinate and at times posed several behavioral problems. But, Bennett and Delores adored this horse even more than Hap it appears. This made Hap especially uneasy because he knew that Jackal had a terrible attitude. He knew this because he was around this horse each and every day.

Matter of fact, Jackal harassed Hap, ate his food, and at times would use the bathroom in his stall. He knew that Hap was young and he took advantage of him on numerous occasions. Jackal told Hap one day that he was going to “kick him out to the wild” and off of the Wingate Farm if he did not obey him and follow his lead. Unfortunately, Bennett Wingate would not see this side of Jackal until the end, a tragic end at that.

Bennett Wingate was a simple man who believed in the simple things in life. He went to church on Sunday’s as a Deacon at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, then went home to sit down, drink a beer, and spit tobacco in the empty can. Pleasant Hill Baptist was a church that Bennett was born and raised, literally.  Most folks in the community knew him by Junior because he was actually born Bennett Wingate, Jr. He was name after his father. He was an avid hunter, fisherman and an all around outdoorsman kind of guy. But, believed in hunting deer in the Winter and turkey in the Spring time.

Yes, Bennett was a simple man living a simple life. But lately his fascination outside of his hunting and fishing was his adoration for his grandkids and horses. Every day after working long hours at the reservoir, he went straight home, fed his cows, and got on his horse. The majority of the time he rode the older horse, Jackal, and let his grandkids ride, Hap.

“Junior, you are always riding that horse” Delores exclaimed. “Do you ever think about others but those horses?” Bennett would state emphatically, “Now, Delores, honey you know that you are my first love”. “Besides after a long day riding around the reservoir, I need a little down time and this relaxes me.” He would say with a huge grin on his face. So, it was his passion and it was not lost on anyone who visited their home. But what Delores did not realize is that he would take his grandson, Curtis with him while he tended the fields and cows. This would have a profound affect on young Curtis because he loved his “ Pa Pa” dearly, and clinged to his every word.  How great it was to visit the Wingates, though because while Bennett was passionate about outdoors, animals, and wildlife his wife, Delores, was passionate about cooking. She worked all her years as a cook at several caf├ęs and restaurants around East Mississippi. Her pound cakes would simply “melt in your mouth” They were just that good!

About the Author

photo Hap Author
Horace Crenshaw Jr._zpsi58heney.jpg

Author, Christian, avid sports enthusiast, Tuskegee Univ., Webster Univ and The GWU alum.

Horace Crenshaw is an accomplished author, business consultant, and motivational speaker. He infuses core concepts such as focus, discipline, leadership and drive into every aspect of his life. He uses these same core concepts to help his clients excel at the highest level, and achieve excellence. Horace loves seeing other people thrive, and he enjoys being an active member of the community.

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