Author Interview – Micki Street

micki streetToday I’m excited to have Before the Daisies Grow author Micki Street in the hot seat, talking about her Glamour Grans and what the future holds for this fun-loving trio in her first-ever interview!
I have to ask. What made you decide to write this story? I don’t see many stories about 60-something-year-old women these days.
My characters are similar to three of my very close friends, who each live in a different African country.  It was on Boxing Day evening  – after a luncheon celebration at friends, we arrived home full of the joys of the festive season. I was in the kitchen making the much needed coffee for everyone when my dear sixty-seven year old friend splayed her beautiful manicured hands and said, “I had the most amazing sex with…” I’ll call him Bob Wishes! I dropped the kettle – it smashed onto the floor. You see, Bob Wishes was fifty-two years old and I’d never thought of him as a ‘stud’. This is how Dotty Crowdy came to life.
Is Brazzina culture and society based on a culture you’re familiar with or did you do some investigative research?
Up until a few months ago, I lived in Africa – I now live in the Philippines. I was born in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe and lived most of my life in Malawi ex Nyasaland. My career path for many years was in the Malawi tourism industry – promoting this beautiful country. So yes, Brazzina became a country of my imagination and based on my experience of living in Africa.
What was the most challenging part of writing this book?
You know I actually loved writing this book. The challenging part was writing a query letter to Agents which earned me many rejections! Then I found out about self-publishing and haven’t looked back.
Did you have a favorite Glamour Gran? (We won’t tell them. Don’t worry.)

No I don’t. I love all three. They are such good sports although they do ridiculous things at times, especially Dotty.  Nora can be stubborn and naive. Wilma just goes with the flow.

What can you tell us about future projects?

The sequel to Capers of Glamour Grans is nearing completion. It’s titled ‘Sixty in the Shade’. Of course Dotty is up to all sorts again. Since I started writing the sequel, I got sidetracked, and wrote Grace the Maid which is set in Johannesburg, South Africa. This is being edited at the moment – I have a very patient editor who pulls her hair out. –  However, this book should be out at the end of May. The third book on the Glamour Grans has been penned– this story will take place in Malawi. I have to admit there are quite a few stories still inside my head.
I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for this interview and to also thank my friends and readers who have bought Before the Daisies Grow. You are all appreciated.

And we would like to thank Micki for joining us!!!

About Micki:

Micki Street lives in Lilongwe, Malawi with her husband, her German Shepherd and two crazy cats. Her three daughters fled the nest years ago, all married and delivered her four amazing grandsons, now aged between 6 and 21 years. After her career in tourism, Micki briefly transferred her creativity to chilli farming in Mozambique. Not a ‘hot’ person, her friends surprisingly submitted as guinea pigs for her chilli concoctions – none, thankfully, resorted to the ER. A couple of years on, Micki began a novel evoking her travel experiences: her publication debut, Before the Daisies Grow, follows the capers of three vigorous English grandmothers who travel into the unknown. The sequel, which will be available toward the end of 2012, continues with the Grannies’ holiday farce. Micki has also written Seduced by Deceit, currently in the editing process. Yet the bulk of her writing to date is humorous: Grace My Maid, a jestful work in progress that portrays a segment of suburban Johannesburg; Marmaduke the Jewel Thief; and The Travel Writer Conman.

Before the Daisies Grow is available at Amazon.

 

Review: Before the Daisies Grow – Cate’s Take

Genre: Contemporary

Rating: Yay

When Dotty gets the brilliant idea to go away on a holiday, her two friends are onboard until she decides to spend their vacation on a remote island off the West African coast. But Dotty, the leader of her trio of biddies, convinces them with the help of her quick mind and maybe one too many glasses of sherry.

 The book itself is actually quite amusing. Dotty, Wilma, and Nora are sixty-something “glamour grans” who act like they’re much younger—which is both a help and a hindrance to the story. Desperate to have fun, they end up unwittingly in the hands of a con artist opium dealer who has nefarious plans for the trio, and they’re none the wiser. I feel like their willingness to trust Lucas was more as a way to move the plot forward than a character flaw (can you really call a willingness to trust people a flaw?). Granted, Nora has her misgivings concerning him, but Dotty steamrolls her and she ends up going along with it anyway.

 I expected a little more action. Not necessarily RED or Expendibles-esque (though I could easily see Helen Mirren as Wilma), but something. Three older ladies are caught in the middle of a drug bust, and they see none of the action. The book remains relatively quiet and gives the feeling that the Glamour Grans could have had their adventures pretty much anywhere.

I did enjoy the interplay between the three and the budding romance between Dotty and Ramsey, and I love the general concept of the book—three older women getting out and enjoying themselves. It’s a great reminder that, even as we age, we have the potential for fun, adventure, and love.

Before the Daisies Grow is available at Amazon.

This Week’s Read: Before the Daisies Grow by Micki Street

Toss the bloomers, get a bikini wax and slip into a thong: life begins at sixty!

When sixty-something Dotty and her two friends accept an invitation to a holiday on a west African island, they have no idea their host Lucas is a drug lord using them as cover. Nor does Dotty have any idea that her new acquaintance, the delicious Major Ramsey Milestone, has an ulterior motive, too–he’s there on a covert mission to break up Lucas’s operation.

Covert or not, Dotty finds out and quickly gets her wires crossed. Even though the Major’s making her hormones do the tango, she’s convinced he’s the bad guy. But in her harebrained attempts to “rescue” herself and her friends she makes things worse for everyone but Lucas. When she learns the truth she not only has to clean up her mess, she has to make it up to–and hopefully make out with–the Major, or be left alone with her trusty vibrator.

Before the Daisies Grow is available at Amazon.

Author Interview: Fit to Kill

Donnie kindly took the time to answer a few questions for us about his novel, Fit to Kill. Thank you, Donnie, for taking the time to chat with us!

DonnieWhetstoneWhy did you choose to write this story in present tense, third person omniscient? What does it bring to the table that other perspectives didn’t for you?
Well, Fit to Kill is my first novel but I’ve been writing for years, primarily articles on training and nutrition, which is generally written in present tense. Because I’ve been writing that way through my other works for so long, it was only natural to do the same with Fit to Kill.

What drove your interest in fitness, and the dark sides of it?
To make a long story short, an eleven year old fat kid had a defining moment in his life to never be a laughing stock…ever! That was forty two years ago and I’m still training…with clients to boot. The dark side is merely the result of long training days that after awhile, takes the mind to sick, demented places no moral person need know about…but you write them in a book anyway.

Any current aspirations for taking Tara further on?
First, I must say I liked Tara a lot and she was definitely my favorite character. I left the book open to go further with her but I’m really caught up in my current project.

Were there any things you really enjoyed writing or researching that didn’t make it into the book?
No not really.

What are your future writing endeavors?
Right now I’m working on a paranormal thriller entitled Night Spear. Maybe after that Tara and I might hook up again.

About Donnie:

I am a full time personal trainer with nearly twenty years of experience and over 70,000 training hours in homes, gyms and my own private training studio.  I currently co-own Fit Stop 24, a 24 hour fitness center in Olympia, Washington.  I also have 13 years of military service in both the US Marines and US Army serving as a platoon sergeant and acting first sergeant.  My experience as a trainer and veteran were extremely helpful in writing Fit to Kill.

Fit to Kill is available from these retailers:

StoneCart Books

Amazon

Smashwords

Nook

Kobo

Diesel

Fit to Kill Book Review

Genre: Mystery/Crime

Rating: No

 

This book has quite an interesting premise. Detective Tara Tanner is a strong yet flawed female policeman, who suffered a hard break at the last big case, which has hurt her confidence and other’s belief in her. As a resident of Le Flore, she is caught up in the fitness craze as well as everyone else – everyone FitToKillCoverin this town has a personal trainer, or at least a gym. While the premise of this story is very interesting, the execution of it is lacking.

I read a LOT of police procedurals. Although I am by no means an expert,  I do know some about how the police work (thank you, Police Handbook, Citizen’s Police Academy, and the many fine police who’ve given me book advice over the years), and it drove me absolutely up a wall not having any of the procedures followed correctly. Particularly in the beginning chapters. There was little that made sense in today’s modern-day ways of handling evidence, persons of interest, and so on. I was able to make excuses up to a certain point, but there were so many obvious, logical choices she could have made and didn’t that after a certain point, I couldn’t push it aside anymore.

Additionally, the tense of the book shifted between present tense omniscient to the occasional third person. And while second tense can work, it just didn’t here.  It made certain areas awkward—I couldn’t tell whose brain we were following—while many new characters, some of whom weren’t terribly important, we received a backstory rundown as we received a brief scene from their POV. It clogged up the story and dragged out scenes which were ultimately unnecessary in terms of attention to time/detail. I would have really enjoyed this as mostly Tara’s POV, and with little or no others.

I did enjoy this book’s ability to give a whole picture about the main character, Tara. We saw her life at work and home, her hopes, her fears, and even her personal sins. There are so many things haunting her from her past and present, and each layer revealed an intricate, believable character who was relatable.

Overall, while this book has merit, it really needs more work to be a solid story which can stand on its own.

This Week’s Read: Fit to Kill

FitToKillCover

How do you stop a personal trainer, who fantasizes about killing his clients, then carries out his gruesome desire on someone else? Making matters worse, how do you stop desires for your own trainer, jeopardizing your marriage? More troubling, do you want to? That’s what Detective Tara Tanner must solve in this crime thriller.

La Flore is renowned for its elite personal trainers. This model city however, faces a crisis. Someone is on a killing binge. The killer is vicious and cunning. He harbors a profound irony for one of the nation’s fittest cities, and the way he selects his victims makes him untraceable, but this predator has a weakness.

Fit to Kill is a non-stop thriller of fantasy, temptation and redemption, a deadly game of chase, in which the line is marred between predator and prey, a game that reveals how far one will go to kill, and how far the other will go, to survive.

 

 

Fit to Kill is available from these retailers:

StoneCart Books

Amazon

Smashwords

Nook

Kobo

Diesel

Author Interview: Liz Long

Liz LongToday I have the author of The Gifted here to answer a few questions I had about her first Donovan Circus Novel. I didn’t pull any punches and I hope my questions spark some more interest in her work. 🙂 Without further ado:

1. This book involved a wide range of characters, yet you only told the story from the first person perspective of Lucy. What was your motivation for that POV? 
 I’ve always been more comfortable writing in first person so when I started writing my first book, it was just a natural decision. I wanted a strong female character who was well aware of her talents and what she could do, but I wanted her to be reintroduced to the gifted world in a way that would still give readers explanations as to how everything worked. Plus, she’s a good girl, learning about all new bad things, and I wanted to show the progression of her coming in, new and naive, while at the end, she’s a bit tougher and knows she should be careful about who she trusts – while still retaining her optimistic attitude about things.
2. I love all the powers and descriptions of the different abilities. Do you plan at some point to offer a glossary of the different powers within this universe?
 I actually do have a glossary listed on my website! It’s only the beginning of what powers I’ve thought about and even includes a couple that aren’t from GIFTED and instead are from another story based in a gifted world.
3. You also recently released a second book, Witch Hearts, which sounds really interesting a bit different than The Gifted. Is this book set in the same universe as the characters from Donovan Circus? 
 Witch Hearts is completely different from Gifted – it’s a stand alone title and is about a serial killer hunting witches for their powers. Same idea of magic, murder, and mystery, but with a completely different world and group of characters.
4. In The Gifted, Lucy finds herself at the center of a love triangle. While we see a ton of love triangles in young adult books and a few in New Adult, I was surprised there was one. I really thought Lucy was gonna go for Gabriel all the way. Was this planned or is this how the story progressed? 

 Honestly, it’s just how it progressed. When originally writing Gifted, Lucy was supposed to end up with Keegan (or at least show interest and hints at a future relationship). However, when I started writing the relationship between Lucy and Gabriel, I found myself liking their chemistry more and more. He’s not afraid to call her out and make her face reality, while she brings out a side of him that he didn’t realize he had. Plus, their conversations are really fun to write! It was a natural progression that made sense to me – and to a lot of readers as they told me how much they loved Gabriel! People keep asking me who she chooses and sometimes I go back and forth so much that I don’t even know yet!
5. In the book Lucy and several of the other circus performers speak of the comic book series The X-Men and compare themselves to characters. I take it X-Men was a bit of the inspiration for the idea, but what other inspirations did you have for this novel and what future plans are there for The Donovan Circus? 
 X-Men was certainly an inspiration, though I try to deviate as much as possible from that world. The group acknowledges their similar powers to the comic books (a completely tongue in cheek mention), but that’s as far as I wanted it to go. I’m a visual person, so along with the PBS documentary “Circus,” I definitely watched a lot of YouTube videos of circus acts or Cirque de Soleil to get ideas for the performances!
The Donovan Circus is meant to be a series, so there will definitely be more books! I am hoping to have the second title out in late 2013, early 2014. Because of what Lucy’s done to protect her circus family, there will be repercussions heard around the gifted world. It brings other enemies out of the shadows and hints at a bigger fight than Lucy or even the Donovan group. She’ll also have to accept her family history and what it means to be Lenny Sullivan’s Firestarter daughter. Let’s just say that in the second book, Lucy and her friends will be taking a road trip, where, as usual, there are more problems than answers!
I can’t wait to see what comes next for Lucy and her friends for sure. Thank you for dropping by Liz.
The Gifted is available at:
Also check out The Gifted on Goodreads

Liz Long is lucky enough to have a dream career in magazine publishing as an editor and writer, yet still have time to create adventures on the side. If you catch her staring off into space or talking to herself, don’t worry – it’s just her imagination at work.

Liz graduated from Longwood University with a BA in English, though her professors might be disappointed to hear she reads more fantasy fiction than literary novels. She also loves action and thriller genres. This book probably won’t change your life, but she hopes it steals you away from reality for a while. 

Her newest release, Witch Hearts, will be for sale on Amazon on April 30th. Her first book, Gifted, a Donovan Circus Novel, is also available for paperback and Kindle on Amazon.

To learn more about Liz, visit her website: http://lizclong.com

Author Links:

Website: http://lizclong.com

Twitter: (Handle: @LizCLong) https://twitter.com/#!/LizCLong

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/lizclongauthor

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/LizLong

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