Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Author Interview with Mikayla Kayne

I am excited to introduce you to a good friend and author, Mikayla Kayne. She and her husband Gregory have an amazing book out called The Angel Crest Deception. Thanks so much for joining us, Mik!

1. Tell us about your book. The Angel Crest Deception is a near-future speculation about coming events on the world-stage, grounded with personal stories of spiritual footholds and challenging questions of faith and culture. It’s a fast paced thrill ride that gets uncomfortable at times, depending on the sensitivities of the reader. The themes, subcultures, and historical characters are pulled from reality, making ACD almost as much fact as fiction.

Aware believers are noticing the political stage being set for God’s end of days drama, but we often miss the subtleties, the small steps between one major prophetic fulfillment and another. The Angel Crest Deception digs into one such intricacy as it pertains to the implementation of the Mark of the Beast, a massive global undertaking that won’t be mandated with one act of one dictator’s pen, but will require a cooperative effort between hundreds of governments organized under one unifying body. For a Christian in a position of influence, it becomes a challenge to discern where to attempt to intervene, and where to step back and allow evil to progress unfettered. One of the characters in ACD is just such an evangelical heavy-hitter, and has to decide how to use that influence and where to direct the focus of his massive ministry. 

This issue will become personal to many of us in the months and years ahead as we see prophecy unfolding faster and faster. We must discern how to pray, whether and how to take action, and how to provide for our families. The first step for each of us will be to get right and stay right with the Lord, which can involve breaking down spiritual strongholds. The book gives several testimonies from all walks of life showing a variety of doors oppression can be invited through, and how those footholds can manifest in lives.

2.  How did you and your husband come up with the idea for Angel Crest Deception? 

To be honest, we didn’t come up with it, it rather happened on its own. The finished book is so dramatically far from the idea we began with, that it’s quite interesting to look at our early notes. For years, people have shared their supernatural stories with us. For whatever reason, we’ve amassed a fairly large collection of testimonies from all kinds of people who have witnessed, experienced, or suffered from supernatural encounters. Some were Christians seeking help with demonic manifestations, some were non-believers excited to have a ghost story of their own to tell, some were in the midst of their experience, and others were successfully past it. There came a point when Greg and I tallied up all these stories and thought they needed to be shared.

The Angel Crest Deception began as a fictionalized retelling of those accounts, but in the end, that portion of the book shrank dramatically as God expanded the story from personal battles to His global purpose. I’ve always been a news junkie as part of my calling as a prophetic watchman, so when we began writing this novel in 2006, the news and its dovetailing with Scripture helped broaden its scope. We didn’t write it using conventional tools like a completed outline, which was not the best idea in retrospect due to the editing mess we made, but that did give us flexibility to grow with the story as time marched on and technology advanced towards the fulfillment of prophecy.

The characters revealed themselves to us much like they reveal themselves to the reader, and I’ll never forget the two key moments when we realized the two major “gotchas” that wrap up the book. We were both taken by surprise, partly because we didn’t think it was normal for authors to be shocked by their own characters. I’ve since learned that it’s fairly common.

 3.  Will there be more books in the series?

There is a sequel currently being written, called The Mandate. We had hoped to have it finished by the end of the year, but we haven’t had as much time to dedicate to writing it as we’d like. Until we finish The Mandate, we’re not committing to a third book, but we’re not ruling it out either. We have other projects we’d like to focus on, so if there is ever a third book it will likely be after some of our other concepts are published.

4.  What are you working on now?

Personally, I’ve been blogging more than anything, although I have a non-fiction companion to The Angel Crest Deception that I’m anxious to finish. In The Angel Crest Deception, there is a book referred to called The Independent Soul, and that’s what I’m working on. But with all that has been going on in the world, in God’s timeline, I’ve been held back from working on that book in favor of these teaching blogs. Light in Dark Corners is where I’ve been the most active, but I’ve been walking through the Sermon on the Mount at 1000 Year Plan as well.

5. What advice would you give aspiring authors? 

Get started, and write anything! When I began writing, I had no idea I’d ever end up with a finished novel, or publish anything. I just wrote. Journals, blogs, letters, comments on news articles, posts in interest groups…and eventually, my skills began to take shape, my ideas began to congeal, my style began to emerge, and viola…I am a writer!

I don’t think you have to stay so hyper-focused on one project that you only work on that one thing until it’s finished. Writer’s block can be a result of one-track thinking, but many authors are afraid to diversify in case they forget where they’re going on their main project. I believe that blogging and article writing are great distractions that can build an author’s brand, and keep their ideas flowing.

“Finished” is also a relative term for writers, because there are many levels of “finished.” Re-writing, editing, re-writing again, more editing…these are all part of the process for any major project. Partly for that reason, I think it’s helpful to start with small projects, because tackling a novel as a first project can be overwhelming, and you run the risk of becoming so consumed with it that if/when it’s categorically rejected (as is much of our early work as writers) you will be utterly crushed and discouraged.

Start small, develop your style, improve your skills, study your craft, and work your way up to big projects. Don’t hold on to those little projects either, put them out there in the world to be read, criticized, lauded, or lambasted. It will help you develop thick skin and not to be married to your writing products. Use every interaction as a learning experience and you’ll emerge stronger and better equipped for the day that you offer your first “baby” to the world, because nothing is more terrifyingly exhilarating than the day you release your first novel and realize “people” will be reading it!

6.  Any insights into going traditional publishing versus the ever-expanding self-publishing route?

These days, being in charge of your own career and your own finances is easy as a self-published independent author with no managers, agents or publishers to take cuts of your royalties, and the power to set your own release dates, prices, and marketing strategies. What most newbies don’t know is that every publisher relies on the author to do serious marketing footwork, but many make it difficult by overpricing, not understanding the ebook market, or putting restrictions on what kinds of promotions an author can do.

The stigma that used to exist around self-publishing is falling away as more quality books are hitting the market from independent authors. There are so many great low cost resources for indie authors as well, like editing services, cover design, video trailers, web and social networking setup, marketing co-op groups, and even general emotional support – which you won’t get from any traditional publisher.

7.  What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview?
One question I get asked often in person that doesn’t usually come up in interviews is, “As a mom of three boys, how do you have the time to write?”

How would you answer that question?
My husband worked a full and a part time job most of the time we worked on Angel Crest Deception. He wrote during any crevice of time he could eke out of every day for three years straight. And I eked out the night crevices for the next three years. The lessons we learned have made a big difference in our efficiency, so the sequel to ACD won’t take us nearly as long!

Mikayla Kayne enjoys writing and performing with her husband Gregory and encouraging others. She spent fifteen years in marketing and advertising before she chose to be a stay at home mom and discovered her love of writing and teaching.

The Angel Crest Deception is the Kayne’s first novel, now available at all online and major retailers. This edgy near-future conspiracy thriller follows agnostic media producer Chris Malone as he sets out to destroy the career of a pompous religious figurehead. Will he be able to deliver the scathing exposé or will he get sucked in by the secret world-shaping group that just bought his old network?

For more about the book, and to view the video trailer,
Click Here.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Indie-Giving Blogfest

What a whirlwind of a year (it went by too quickly in many respects) and there is no better time to reflect and thank God for our blessings than on Thanksgiving.

One of the amazing things about this year has been the opportunity for me to connect with Indie writers and readers. I am in perpetual awe of the men and women I have met who write, edit, and then publish their books and book covers. 

The hard work doesn't stop there. They market their books, maintain their blogs, websites, FB pages, and in between it all, they continue to encourage and hold a hand out to other authors trying to find their way into and through the publishing game. 

Being on the fringes, I want to say thank you to all the Indie authors that make the effort to mentor others. Several Indie authors and readers have banded together and have giveaways on their blogs. YOU can also get in on the fun by hosting a blog post and may possibly win a free book cover in the process.  (Click on picture link below to join.)  

As my contribution, I invite anyone who would like to have an author interview to leave a comment below. I will enter you in a drawing and pull the winning author on Tuesday, November 27th.  I will email you the author interview questions* and your interview will be posted with links to your FB page and website or blog in December 2012 with promotion by me on my blog, FB groups, and twitter.

*I reserve the write to edit out content I don't think is suitable for our audience. Thanks and good luck!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Author Interview With Beverly Nault

I have the pleasure of interviewing author Beverly Nault. She has written numerous books with the two most recent releases just out in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas! I loved Hearts Unlocked and am in the midst of reading Christmas Bells. They are both available in paperback or for kindle. Thanks for stopping by, Beverly.

1. Tell us about your book.
HEARTS UNLOCKED is a novella-length romance set Thanksgiving week. I thought it would be fun for romance to spark during the holiday while the pies are baking, and folks are gathering for family festivities. Since the main character, Stephanie Allan, is far from home working hard to establish her independence, the backdrop of all the families gathering together really emphasizes her alone-ness. And it was really fun to use the senses of the season, with the pumpkins, and corn mazes, as well as winter’s approaching cold as her story moves along. As in my other titles, the setting becomes a character in the story.

2. How did you come up with the idea for Cherryvale?
I wanted to create a small town where “neighbors care, gardeners share, God allows do overs, and the pastries have no calories.” LOL So I cherrypicked, ahem, I selected the very best features we all want in our own communities, and then peopled it with real, but friendly, characters. They’re not perfect, just folks doing their best in a world that throws some curveballs. I sprinkle in “Kodak moments,” lots of animals, and a touch of faith. I believe a cozy read should provide a beautiful setting, funny moments, and encouragement for your day. Many fans tell me they purposely read slowly so they won’t finish too soon, and that they’d love to move to the ‘Vale. I call them my honorary ‘Valers.

3. Will there be more books in the series?
Yes, there are already several, and are all written so you can pick them up and start with any one. You don’t have to worry about missing something. Already on the shelf are FRESH START SUMMER, GRACE & MAGGIE ACROSS THE POND, and AUTUMN CHANGES. CHRISTMAS BELLS is also fresh off the hard drive and available. ALOHA GRACE (you can guess where that one takes place!) and SPRING BLOSSOMS will release sometime in 2013.

4. What's a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
I still work part time, and we’re empty nesters, so I have the luxury of having several hours a day to write in my home office I call my cocoon. That said, it still takes several cups of hot coffee and a little buzzing around the social media sites before I work up the self-discipline to sit down to write. But when I get started, I remember how much fun it is to make stuff up, and as long as my characters are behaving, it’s the best gig in the world.

5. What are you working on now?
I need to get Grace Harkins, and her husband Mark, to Hawaii. ALOHA GRACE will be the first full-blown mystery in the series, and my husband and I just took a fact-finding trip to Oahu, so you can tell there are also sacrifices we writers make. >cough< And I already have SPRING BLOSSOMS plotted, so finishing that’s on the to-do list. FRESH START SUMMER is being converted to audio for release in the spring, so I am preparing to market that. (Marketing is also a big part of being an author these days, no matter the genre or publishing process.) When the Cherryvale series is complete, I have several titles already brewing. I have a rough start on a romantic suspense that is set during the production of a community theater production of THE WIZARD OF OZ called MURDER, MOST SINCERELY.

6. What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Have your head examined! Seriously, it’s an exciting, frustrating, wonderful, grueling, creatively-challenging pursuit. If you can’t stop yourself no matter the obstacles, then read everything you can in your genre and also read excellent titles not in your genre. Take classes, go to conferences, join a critique group of brutally honest, scary people wielding red pens. Announce to the world that you are a writer, and then sit down and write. Then re-write, maybe dozens of times. When “finished,” make sure you have an excellent editor. I have had books traditionally and self published, but the process is never complete without excellent editing. And be careful not to lose your joy, because if you do, your words will not resonate from the depths of your unique, writerly soul.

7. What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? Where do you get the details for your stories?
Because of my husband’s military and aerospace career, we’ve lived in two countries and six states, and more cities than I can count. I have shown horses competitively in America and England, and I worked in a British riding stable, so there are always horses in my stories. Along with our kids, Lindsay and Evan, I’ve been involved in the entertainment industry, both in Hollywood and local community theater. I was a set dresser and props mistress for years, so all those details are fun to incorporate. Oh, and we’ve just taken up photography on a semi-obsessive basis. I already have some credits in the local paper and in an internationally distributed brochure. Also, my husband’s a pilot, and we travel a lot. I guess my point is that being an older seasoned writer, the sum of my busy life helps me draw on lots of experiences to enrich the action and events in my stories. It’s the way I apply the old advice to “write what you know,” and take it a step further to add detail and information from around the world that I’ve gleaned just by making it this far.

Thanks so much for having me, I look forward to introducing Grace & Maggie to our new friends who find us here.

Beverly Nault can be found in the following places:
Twitter @bevnault
Beverly's Facebook
Amazon Authorpage

Check out her books on Amazon here:

Spongebob, The Magic Conch Shell, and God

Let me first state I am a Christian. I believe in God. But as I looked at the episode on tv this morning, I see how people could look at how I believe in God and how crazy it is like Spongebob and Patrick beliving in the magic conch.

If you haven't seen the episode you probably have no idea what I'm talking about. Spongebob and Patrick would ask this magic conch questions and depending on what the answer was, they would or would not do things according to it.

I am a Christian. I believe in God. But as I looked at the episode I see how people could look at what Patrick and Spongebob believed and think they were off their rocker (which is what Squidward believed). They said the magic conch gave them food when it was indeed an airplane dropping the load it was carrying at that exact moment. There was an instant where I believe the ranger that found them said, "The magic conch sent me" or something like that.

We as Christians truly believe in our God. We believe He hears our prayers, clothes us, provides for us...our jobs, healing, most facets of our lives.

As I was standing in the kitchen, I saw the absurdity. I saw the "foolishness" of my beliefs. Could I say I had a moment of doubt, hmm maybe a twinkling. And then I looked back. I looked back at the moments He revealed Himself to me. Not just to the "feelings" or the untouchable.

BUT to when He actually tried to change the course of my life. The day I had a voice (in my head, like a thought) telling me to close the window. It was so insistent I finally had to say out loud "L:eave me alone, there is only one window in the house open, it is hot in here and I am not closing it". Little did I know, as a young Christian, that that was the Holy Spirit's voice.

THAT NIGHT an intruder entered our home through that window.

Or the time years later (you think I would have learned) when that little voice was telling me to lock my car door. I had my hands full of groceries. I reasoned my way not to. That night all the cars were broken into in the neighborhood.

I could go on and on with examples of warnings or prompts to pray, or even greater, Answered Prayer...most times answered in the way I hadn't imagined.

It truly is about relationship. This belief. This Christianity. AND it isn't about what God does for me or can give to me but a greater thing. This relationship. This love I have searched for my whole life, in all the wrong places most of it. The feeling that no man or material possession could fill up the hole that was inside of me until I found Jesus.

I often wonder why people don't take a chance. They buy a lottery ticket even though it costs them. They take a chance on love, a job...all sorts of things that cost them so much financially or personally.

I asked the Lord into my heart as a teenager watching Pat Robertson on TV. I didn't know all the places it would lead me and how Jesus would reveal Himself to me personally through the Holy Spirit, which is our "deposit" until He returns.

Take a chance. Ask Jesus into your heart. You doubt Him revealing Himself? Well, it won't cost you anything. Just maybe your pride when He proves Himself very much alive and real.

I have posted the Sinner's prayer below if anyone would like to take a chance on Love.

“Father, I know that I have broken your laws and my sins have separated me from you. I am truly sorry, and now I want to turn away from my past sinful life toward you. Please forgive me, and help me avoid sinning again. I believe that your son, Jesus Christ died for my sins, was resurrected from the dead, is alive, and hears my prayer. I invite Jesus to become the Lord of my life, to rule and reign in my heart from this day forward. Please send your Holy Spirit to help me obey You, and to do Your will for the rest of my life. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.”

Home by Laura J. Marshall

Their weight sinks into the carpet then the floorboards beneath, permeating slowly into the concrete and the earth. Footprints of time and m...