It’s another Friday here on my blog and as always I have a special author spotlight for your enjoyment. This one is a bit different, since it will be part of Speculative Fiction author Stephanie Ayers’ blog tour for her new release, The 13: Tales of Macabre. Today I will be featuring Stephanie in an in-depth interview and including some awesome images to give you an inside look into this collection of horror stories along with her WIP Elven Games. Let’s have some fun and get this party started. 🙂
Above you can see the line-up for this blog tour. In a bit I will get to the interview, but thought I would share a few spooky excerpts from The 13: Tales of Macabre.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and why you decided to become a writer?
I bleed ink. I know you’ve heard that before, but it’s true. If I’m not writing, I’m helping someone else who is writing. I love the author community, all of it, traditionally published or indie. I didn’t decide to become a writer until 2010 when I wrote the first word to my new blog, The Scoop on Poop. It was a humorous look at my daily living, which then belonged to 4 children, 2 of whom I inherited by marriage and were raised to hate me. Blogging introduced me to some writing circles, and that got me writing fiction regularly again. You see, when I was in 3rd or 4th grade, I discovered my love of writing (and my knack for it) with my first assignment based on a dancing peanut. I entertained ideas as a child about being the next Stephen King, but I also wanted to be an actress, a singer… anything that made me famous. My love of writing never quit though, and now I call myself a full time author. I also do content writing on the side to help pad the empty pockets us authors always seem to have.
What genres do you write?
While most of my published writing has taken a turn towards horror, I consider myself a speculative fiction author. I just made my debut into the world of fantasy with my short story titled Wings, a stand alone from the upcoming Destiny Defined series.
Where are you from? Does your area have a good writing community? Tell us about it.
I was born and raised in Virginia, outside of DC. The area I lived in had a growing writing community with some workshops and writing groups gathering at the local library branches, and the libraries offering author spotlights and book signings. The first local book fair happened two years ago. When I moved to Ohio this year, I noticed a huge difference. While I haven’t sought out writing groups, I have already joined in a local book fair with 3 more scheduled for this year. There’s a popular book store in Columbus that will sell my books and is known for regular author appearances. There seems to be much more for an author here in Ohio than there is in Virginia.
What do you do besides being a writer? Do you have a day job? Tell us a bit about this or hobbies you enjoy.
When I’m not writing, I’m promoting other authors, playing around in Photoshop, watching my son play football (go Titans!), or binge watching a beloved TV show. On the weekends, my husband and I can usually be found haunting flea markets and antique stores.
How often do you write? Do you have a page/word count? Do you set goals for yourself? Tell us a bit about your writing and how you keep things going.
After two years of focusing on the author community and other authors, I have to find my mojo again. I haven’t set word count goals. I’ve set “must get this book ready” deadlines instead and then stress myself out meeting them. Apparently I work best under pressure. I always thought that silence was the best way for me to focus and write, especially as an almost deaf writer, but recently discovered that the right soundtrack makes for really good writing and big word counts too.
How long does it take you to write a novel?
Well… Elven Games began in 2012. It still needs an ending. I have only completed one novel during NaNoWriMo. Destiny United sits at 54k words and is in need of serious revision. On the other hand, because I spent a lot of time answering writing prompts, I have folders full of short stories. Putting together a story collection can be done in 2 weeks to 30 days. Not sure that really answers the question. I’m cursed by procrastination and easily distracted.
What are your goals as an author? Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years? I don’t think that far ahead. Its a daily process for me, just getting to the next month with whatever plans I have going on. Right now, I have two live events in October, this book blog tour for the release of one book, while celebrating the first book birthday of another. November is nice and quiet, but December has high hopes for the release of Elven Games and another book fair. Next year, I already have 4 events lined up, and plans to publish at least 2 more books.
What is the biggest obstacle you face as an author and what do you do to overcome it?
Procrastination is my biggest obstacle, closely followed by marketing. The first one I don’t have a solution to yet, but the second one I’m working on. No time like the present to try marketing tips.
What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received? Who was it from?
The best advice I ever received was to set myself up with the beginning to the next scene before I walk away from the story. This makes it so much easier for me to begin the next day. I don’t remember who told me that, but it stuck with me.
What is the worst writing advice you’ve ever received?
You have to grow lizard skin. No you don’t. Criticism can be given in a manner that is doesn’t have to sting so bad you need lizard skin to receive it. Everyone needs negative criticism to grow. It’s just all in the delivery.
What are you working on now? Do you have any upcoming releases we should watch for?
My newest release is October 26, the second collection of horror stories focused on the supernatural and paranormal. I’m working on Elven Games and having it released in December or January, and slowly inking away at that huge unfinished pile I have. I have started planning the 3rd collection for Halloween 2019 as well.
What are your current WIPs about?
They are fantasy. Tribba runs a B&B for her dwarven village. Her customers are going to the fancier elven castle next door instead. She challenges them to the Elven Games, in hopes to get rid of them once and for all.
Catching Dragons is the conclusion of Edgar’s story, the human who champions Tribba for her first two games. He must defeat the dragon queen Soren and save his kingdom.
The Destiny Defined trilogy follows River’s journey to collect five magical relics, connect them with their matching gemstones, then destroy them before Rtharo gains all his strength and takes them. It;s an epic fantasy series that happens in the world of Savania across several generations.
What do you have going on in the next 6 months? Can provide awesome author events, book releases, etc.
October 21 I’ll be doing an author meet and greet and signing at The Book Loft of German Village in Columbus.
In December, I have a local book fair where I’ll be signing books. I also hope to release Elven Games in late December or early January.
In late March, I’ll be in Lexington, KY for the Lexington Legendary Book Bash, and in April I’ll be at the Dayton Book Fair in Ohio. That’s all I have lined up for the next 6 months currently but that could change as I am always looking for new places to show my face.
Do you have any advice for other authors?
I do. I always like to share the whole start the next scene bit, but also, don’t be intimated by the blank page. It only takes one letter, one word to defeat it.
Do you have anything specific you’d like to say to your readers?
Without my readers, my stories wouldn’t be alive. Thank you for breathing life into my stories and making them real.
This interview is done and we have so much more to enjoy with this feature. In a few you will get a special sneak peek into Stephanie’s WIP Elven Games. This sneak peek will be unedited since it hasn’t begun its editing journey just yet. But, here is another fun excerpt for you from Stephanie’s up coming release, The 13: Tales of Macabre.
WIP SNEAK PEEK: ELVEN GAMES
“What are you doing?” Edgar asked.
“Strange things have been afoot, so I’m making you a protection elixir.” Tribba said, the words rolling off her tongue distractedly.
“You do all this yet you need me to champion you?” Edgar said. His voice held a twinge of accusation. Perhaps he had strange dreams, too.
“Yes. See this book?” Tribba picked it up and waved it in front of him. It was the same book they used to banish the werewolves.
“If I didn’t have this book, I wouldn’t…no, I couldn’t…be doing this now. I am not a magical dwarf. Every spell I’ve tried to concoct from imagination has backfired drastically. Hence I married a greeter dwarf and became a greeter myself.”
Edgar’s eyes widened at Tribba’s revelation. Suddenly, it became clear how Tribba understood him so well. She, too, had felt an embarrassment to her people. He walked around the kitchen and gathered both of her hands in his. When she turned to him, he looked straight into her eyes.
“Until this moment, I haven’t understood why you chose me and why you had so much faith in me. Thank you for sharing that with me. I won’t dwell on the past anymore and will embrace this challenge with all of my being. If you can believe in me, so can I.” His chest puffed out as he finished. “I am your champion and I will win.”
Tribba smiled in response to Edgar’s words. She had waited weeks to hear confidence in his voice. The timing was perfect as the games were scheduled to begin in a fortnight. She thought back briefly over the boy who had wandered to her front door and considered the man he had become almost overnight. Whether he won or lost no longer mattered. She knew she had played an important role in the future, whatever that may be. She had strengthened a man she knew would matter someday. She had instilled self worth in someone who would save the world someday. If that was her legacy to this life, she would die a complete, happy woman.
“Take your tunic off and turn around, Edgar. You mustn’t see what I am doing.
Edgar did as instructed, turning his back to her. She dipped her hands into the cauldron and let the liquid within cover her hands. She waved them in the air, faster than the eye could see. When she stepped away, the liquid soaked through Edgar’s tunic and dripped onto his boots.
Edgar turned around, a look of curiosity and apprehension on his face. “What did you do, Tribba? I suddenly feel…” He chewed his lower lip as he searched for the words, “…infallible, undefeatable, and incredibly brave. I feel as if I could slay a dozen dragons with my bare hands!”
Tribba merely smiled in response. “It’s time for breakfast. Let’s eat,” she said, skirting around his question with ease.
To follow Stephanie’s journey as she finishes “Elven Games” you can sign-up for her mailing list. You will get an introductory story into this world titled Wings, along with other freebies delivered right to your inbox.
A published author with a knack for twisted tales, Stephanie Ayers is a coffee guzzling, word whispering, world building creative ninja and unicorn living in Ohio disguised as a human. She mothers her children, loves her husband, attends church, and avoids all things housework and zombies. When she isn’t doing any of these things, she can be found stretching her creative wings designing book covers, promotional graphics, logos and more.
Stephanie has been a regular contributor and leader for Bloggy Moms and Just Be Enough, and currently writes content for Blogmutt. She is a strong supporter of the indie author community.
Her debut novella, Til Death Do Us Part, was published by Bannerwing Books in 2013, and her work appears in several anthologies and collections, notably Precipice 2, Flash Fiction: 1x50x100, and Endless Darkness. Her poetry has been featured in Ambrosia: A Poetry Anthology, and the first volume in her serial short horror story collection released in October 2017. Her fantasy debuted with “Wings,” a free short story from the Destiny Defined series, which will begin late 2018, early 2019.
“The blank page is a canvas on which the writer paints a story.”-Stephanie Ayers
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