17 Aug

In Constant Bloom

I’m back from a relaxing vacation, and kicking off this return with a breath of fresh air. I tell you, this is one of my favorite author interviews because not only is she full of life, she has so much to share, and behind the scenes, showed me her big heart. Laurette Long has spread her wings in life, and this is one interview you won’t want to miss. Please take a seat, enjoy a warm drink, and give a warm welcome to Laurette.

Describe yourself in 150 words or less.

I’m a gregarious hermit. A wobbling Libra.

The best of times: When not in hermit mode, locked in the study, daydreaming in the garden, I like to fling the doors open. A houseful of people-family, friends, different ages, nationalities, opinions, all enjoying wonderful food, wine, laughter and conversation. Throw in songs, a fandango and a brass band–perfection. I’ve been lucky to share many experiences like this, with my Yorkshire family whose doors were always open, in a graduate student community in the USA, and for several years in SW France where the tradition of hospitality is alive, well, and doing the cancan.

The worst of times: Any kind of disharmony. When the knives come out, I’m off. Though I must confess to being hooked vicariously–House of Cards, wow! Game of Thrones, ooh là là! So long as it stays on the page or screen.

Do you think book covers are an important factor in choosing a book? Explain.

As someone who loves art, a striking cover is the first thing to catch my eye when I’m browsing bookshelves, virtual or real, on the lookout for new authors. Certainly the consensus today is that they’re particularly important in terms of commercial success. A friend recently gave me a lovely present, a box of 100 postcards featuring book covers from the Penguin imprint. Fascinating to see how styles have evolved over 70 years.

Tell us about your published works.

I started off with non-fiction, a course book for Advanced Learners of English for Oxford University Press, then a translation into English of a work of literary criticism. Lots of fun, lots of hard work. But my first love, my childhood passion, had been writing fiction (those old notebooks are mouldering somewhere in the junk room) and a series of holidays in the French Basque country rekindled that flame. I’ve always been a fan of the Romantic writers and the way in which nature is such an essential element in their work. Gradually, as I got to know this part of France, its mysterious history, its stunning beauty, dramatic landscapes and changing weather, the idea was born to use it as the setting for a series of novels where it would be woven into the stories, become a part of their identity. Biarritz Passion, came out in 2014, followed by Hot Basque in 2015. They’re contemporary romances following the adventures of a group of women from different backgrounds, with different lives, different passions, who all at some point fall under the magical spell of le pays basque. (Go visit!)

If you didn’t decide to become a writer, what else would you like to be when you grow up?

I was torn between librarian and actress. The hermit loved the idea of becoming a phantom of the library, flitting about those warm, hushed spaces, surrounded by thousands of books opening up worlds of fantasy. The extrovert wanted to be on the boards, declaiming and showing off.

At one time or another, we’ve all received a poor review. How do you think authors should respond to them?

The minute we agree to let our precious ‘baby’ out into the big bad public world we must be ready for anything. But…ouch, the first one’s like a personal insult, isn’t it? A kind of slap out of nowhere. Who is this unknown person who hates me so much?? Then a blackbird tunes up in the garden and puts it all into perspective. After a while you notice there are two kinds of critical review. There are those where the reader says something genuinely helpful that enables you to do better next time. The others? I think ideally we should be noble and remain silent. Genetically speaking I’m supposed to have an advantage (the British stiff upper lip).

If you could meet any character you’ve written, who would it be? Why?

It’s got to be Antoine Arantxa, the Hot Basque himself, naturellement! Handsome, funny, warm, caring, spontaneous, generous, loyal, a sympathetic listener, a shoulder to lean on. Not to mention other assets, as heroine Jill reminds herself:

Antoine is waiting for you, in his wetsuit, with his smouldering eyes and sexual techniques known only to the Basque nation.’

Obviously I would only be meeting him for a friendly cup of tea and a literary chat. (Just in case the Master of the House is reading this…)

What comes to mind when you think of France?

France seizes the global imagination like no other country. It manages to combine the best of earthly delights-its cuisine, its fashion–while moving and inspiring us intellectually and aesthetically. In November 2015, after the 2nd terrorist attack on Paris in which 130 were killed and 368 injured, tributes poured in from across the world. I wrote a blog ending with a true story. During World War 2 Allied planes flew over Nazi-occupied France dropping weapons for the maquis, the resistance fighters. But not just physical weapons. Fluttering down from the sky came thousands of copies of a poem. Its title was ‘Liberté, j’écris ton nom’ (Freedom, I write your name). Written by poet and resistance member Paul Eluard, its famous celebratory stanzas end with the following lines:

And through the power of one word

I begin my life again

I was born to know you

To name you

Freedom.

(And I cry every time I read it!)

In regards to writing, what are you working on now?

Last summer I made a start on the final book in the French Summer novel series, Villa Julia. Then I got side-tracked by the idea of a prequel, a novella, which is now in the editing stages. It tells the story of Alexandra, the mother of the two main female characters in the series, Caroline and Annabel. It’s been very challenging to write. Apart from the constraints imposed by the novella form, it’s almost like aanother genre, more dramatic, darker, a different narrative style. A lot of it is seen through the eyes of Caroline, aged 7. I am feeling afraid, very afraid…(Any tips about multi-genre writing, Denise??)

Where in the virtual world can people find you and/or meet for a chat?

I’m on Facebook. But the place I like to be most of all is my blog. That’s where I chat about things that really get me going-books of course, but also animals, planets, art, music, aviation pioneers… It’s a real pleasure to hear from readers sharing their own passions.

Why do you like gardens?

garden 1Gardens are part of English nostalgia. There must be hundreds of songs about them, lilacs, apple-blossom, nightingales. Here in France, when we moved from city flat to country house in 2011, we finally got our ‘garden’. Actually it was a sort of warzone, impenetrable brambles and nettles covering a dauntingly steep slope. We had it cleared by a fearsome machine, then scratched our heads: can we really turn this into a dream, not an English garden but a Mediterranean one, full of lavender, rosemary, cypresses, poppies? We attacked. My partner ended up with a new shoulder and me with a new hip. But it was worth it. Watching things grow, sitting in the middle of all those colours and scents, there’s nothing like it. Endlessly fascinating. My favourite flower would have to be lavender (the perfume, the healing properties, the associations with the south, with the ancient world). At this time of the year we let it go mad. It’s home to an orchestra of bees and a dazzle of butterflies.

garden 3 garden 4In conclusion I’d like to say a big ‘merci!’ to Denise for inviting me to chat with you all on her blog. If you’re ever in SW France there is a beautiful garden waiting, with a glass of bubbles to say ‘Santé!

Writing, Conversation, and Wine,
Baer Necessities

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28 Jul

Vacation, All I Ever Wanted!

Hello Everyone!

I hope you’re enjoying the summer vacations. I’ll be taking several weeks off from blogging to take advantage of the rest of my husband’s summer break. During this time, I plan on taking more bike rides (our longest one this summer only being 24 miles), reading, writing, doing daily excursions, and taking in the views of South Wales, UK.

See you at the end of summer!

Resting, Excursions, and Vacation,
Baer Necessities

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20 Jul

A Melody of Talent

There are dimensions of writing and Lyra Shanti dabbles in many of them. She loves immersing herself in a magical world, so be prepared to enjoy this enchanting interview.

Describe yourself in 150 words or less.

My name is Lyra Shanti, and I am an author, songwriter, poet, and playwright. I was born in San Francisco, but raised in Bellingham, Washington, which was a beautiful place to grow up with its tall trees, lakes, and mountains in the distance. I currently live in ultra-sunny Florida with my soul-mate and partner, Timothy, and my two insane cats.

If you could create a unique t-shirt, what would the t-shirt have on it? Describe.

I already own a few hand-made T-shirts I’ve created on places like Zazzle, such as a shirt for my musical, “#chat,” and an Arthur Rimbaud shirt with a quote from his amazing poem, Eternity.

Tell us about your published works.

I have books 1 and 2 of my Shiva XIV series out on Amazon for kindle and paperback with book 3 coming out very soon, probably this autumn. Shiva XIV is the epic coming of age story about a boy named Ayn. Raised in seclusion by priests on the planet Deius, Ayn is prophesied at birth to be the messiah of his planet. When a great enemy throws his destiny off course, he is forced to decide if he really is the one to save their galaxy or if everything the priests told him was a lie. A blend of sci-fi and fantasy, Shiva XIV has adventure, romance, political intrigue, and magical creatures; it’s unlike anything you’ve ever read!

I also have a novella called The Rainbow Serpent, which is a spiritual fairy tale loosely based on the Garden of Eden. My poetry collection, Sediments, is out on paperback as well.

If you were a tree, what type would you be?

I’d be a cherry blossom; they’re just so beautiful and relaxing. Then again, I love weeping willow types. The way they hang down and sway in the wind is so breathtaking.

What is your writing process?

I don’t have one. Ha! No, seriously, I don’t have a set regiment or anything. I need basic things like ice cold water and some kind of peace and quiet, though the latter isn’t always possible. I usually try to make myself do at least a little writing every other day, even if I’m not feeling up to it. When I was younger, I allowed myself way too much procrastination and insecurity; I let myself get eaten up by such setbacks. But now, I know better. Books don’t write themselves, and if I want them finished and read by readers, I have to push myself as hard as I can to write until the story is done. Sometimes, it’s just planning out the outline, and other times, I am in full on typing as fast as I can mode. It just depends on my mood.

What does success mean to you?

As long as I am being true to myself and doing everything I can to express my feelings and inspire others, as well as myself, I feel that I’m the best person, and writer, I can be. I don’t know if that’s “success” exactly, but it is my personal best.

How would your best friend describe you?

I think she’d say that I am a very determined, strong person who doesn’t let adversity keep me down. She often tells me that I am brilliant as well, which always helps my ego, especially when I’m feeling like an insecure wreck, which happens more often than I’d like. (Writers are such vulnerable creatures.)

When you’re not writing, where can people find you hanging out in the virtual world?

Disney_small

When not writing, I’m browsing on Disney park sites or checking out what’s new on Goodreads. I also keep up on my favorite manga online, specifically Yona of the Dawn.

Where is your favorite place to go and relax?

Disney2_smallMy favorite place to relax, besides certain spots at Disney World (it’s like a home away from home), is definitely Panera cafe. There is one close by, and I’ve hung out with my other half, written new works, or just relaxed with a mocha. I love most cafes, but that particular Panera just feels right.

I’d like to thank Lyra for participating in an author interview and sharing herself with us. It was a pleasure getting to know her along with her inspiring accomplishments.

Dabble, Words, and Magic,
Baer Necessities

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06 Jul

Think Before Inking

Tattoos are an extension of our creativity, desires, or tributes. It’s a personal choice to design our bodies with pictures or inspirational words. But sometimes, someone we don’t know and trust— tattoo artist… or tattoo botcher can distort our visions of the perfect tattoo. If you’re considering inking your body, here are a couple things you should keep in mind.

1)  Make sure your tattoo artist can spell. Spellin’ iz da most impotent thing when it cums to sayins. Have them write it down or make an outline of it on your body so all they have to do is trace it. This avoids any spelling mistakes… except if you don’t know how to spell the word. If that’s the case, bring a dictionary.

The botcher must be studying phonetics.

I wonder what her mother’s angle is regarding this tattoo.

A little too much information.

Your (belonging to or associated with person) You’re (you are) You (just you). This is why we should all know the difference.

Can someone help me out here? Is this supposed to be ‘absolutely ridiculous’?

I bet Bon Jovi knows how to spell it.

This person obviously didn’t remember how to spell before they forgot.

2)  Make sure the tattoo artist is actually an artist before they start drawing on you. This is very important if you plan to put a famous person on your body or a tribute to someone who died. You want people to be able to identify the person and hear how beautiful it is, not gasps or giggles. Your body is a temple; don’t let the tattoo debauchery desecrate it. Here are a few artists gone mad.

Maybe he got confused and thought the guy wanted a caricature of his gal?

If I were Sheleen, I’d be hunting this tattoo butcher down.

Perfect example of ‘you get what you pay for’.

Yeah, I totally see it. Good thing it’s on her back.


Was this a joke?

Which horror movie were these kids in?

Now, if you have thought about getting a tattoo, here are a few creative ideas for you to consider.

Quite ingenious to create humor from loss.


Your love becoming part of you.


Gorgeous


Awesome!


Here’s a way to clarify it.


The old fashioned way, except ‘coment’ is more like a Twitter revision.


Nice message.

What do you think of tattoos? Do you have one?

Botched, Beautiful, Tattoo,
Baer Necessities

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22 Jun

Let Me Have It!

endorsementOkay, you asked for it. Today is promotional blog day. Yes, yes it is. We all must take time to promote, and promote I shall. I’ve had some of these on my sidebar, but not everyone looks through them. If you do, I appreciate it, and apologize for the repetition. If you don’t, well then this post is for you. Stop rolling your eyes. Focus!

Monthly Newsletter

Baer Books Press sends out a monthly newsletter! Check out the sample, http://us10.campaign-archive2.com/?u=0a3772c2e67cd9690fd20a574&id=97659b2dd0, and if you want to keep updated, click on “Subscribe” in the top left corner.

U.S. Amazon Giveaway

I have an Amazon Giveaway going for both of my books. Another one will follow this one, so if you don’t win, you’ll get another chance. If my books are just not your kind of reads, pass the giveaway onto someone else.

Enter to win Fogged Up Fairy Tale Kindle – https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/195445aa60a0ee0f

Enter to win Net Switch Kindle – https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/1d187fa875e9780f

To enlarge, click on the below bookmarks I created.

fuft18 ns13

Book Cover Contest

My book covers are also entered in the 2016 Cover Contest on Authorsdb. If you have a few seconds, please click on both of the below links and vote for my book covers. And to go a step further, share them on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.

Net Switch – http://authorsdb.com/2016-cover-contest-results/21534-net-switch

Fogged Up Fairy Tale – http://authorsdb.com/2016-cover-contest-results/21533-fogged-up-fairy-tale

Interviews

I’d love it if you stopped on over to read past interviews I gave at Pebbles in the Still Waters and Coffee with Architects of Worlds Afar. Both interviews have interesting questions and answers.

For updates on my books, please head on over to my Amazon Author Page and click on “Follow”. I also like to connect with authors and readers, so please don’t hesitate to connect with me on Goodreads.

I think that’s it for now. The promotion pain has ceased.

Promoting and Sharing,
Baer Necessities

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