Author Interview from Words in Sync

My full tour schedule and links can be found at Dark Minds Book Tours (<–highly recommended).

The following interview was part of my bumper post for Day 3 of 7 on the BLOOD LIFE blog tour courtesy of on her personal blog. I am extracting the interview portion only here in case you missed it, but for the full experience and to read her impressions of my book, or to enter a giveaway, visit Words in Sync.

Otherwise, here’s the get-to-know-me-a-little-better part of it. Enjoy!

The Interview


The Personal Questions

  1. What’s your idea of total happiness?

Riding a horse bareback through the woods on a clear spring day.

  1. Which trait do you most deplore about yourself?

Sometimes I can be very indecisive, and I don’t like it at all!

  1. What do you consider to be the most overrated virtue?

Chastity!  haha

  1. What’s your worse vice?

Probably impatience.

  1. What do you most value in your friends?

Loyalty.

  1. Do you have a mantra or motto?

Don’t ever be afraid to make sure you’re happy, too, regardless of what that may mean.

  1. Which living, and which dead person, do you most admire and why?

Living: my mom. She is the strongest person I know and I love her and look up to her with all my heart.

Dead: Marilyn Monroe.  She was beautiful and tragic.  Intelligent and talented.  Never afraid to speak her mind, and despite her addiction and her past, she tried her hardest and gave everything her all.

  1. What is your greatest regret?

I guess I’m supposed to say I don’t have any, but that would be a lie.  I have a few regrets in my life.  But I’d say the greatest one so far was giving an ex a second chance that didn’t deserve it.  It ruined a great flow I had built in my life, and it was a mistake.  I lost things because of it.  One of those things being my horse.

  1. When are you most likely to lie?

When I might get in trouble if I don’t.

  1. What is your favourite (song) and why?

I have so many favorite songs!! This is a very hard question for me to answer because I really love music.  At the moment, it is Conjure One – “Extraordinary Ways.”

  1. What is your favourite cuisine?

Veggie burritos!!

  1. Have your personal experiences (or situations) influenced you, creatively? Give us an example.

Oh yes.  In all of my writing, there are personal experiences past and present scattered through the text.  For instance, Devendra, my witch/vampire heroine, is loosely based on me.  Her looks, her actions, her strengths/weaknesses, her favorite things.  She’s my inner witch.

  1. How much of your creative ability do you think is innate and how much is   learned?

Most, if not all, of my creative abilities are innate.  =)  Though, I always pay attention and learn things from others.

     14.  How often do you read? What are you reading now?

I read as much as I can.  Sometimes, I’ve just got too much work and life things that get in the way.  But I love to read.  Right now I’m reading: Possessing the Secret of Joy: A Novel

15. What other interests do you have?

Health and fitness, eating and cooking healthy vegetarian/vegan cuisine, horror films, animal advocacy, yoga.

16. What was the last movie you went to see?

Cabin in the Woods.

       17. Do you have a favourite genre?

HORROR!  =)

The Writer Specific Questions.

  1. What got you into writing?

My lifelong love of words, the paranormal, and storytelling.

  1. Are you an indie or traditional author?

Indie.

  1. Did you publish the first book you wrote?

Yes, I did, under my own imprint: Bright Eyes Press.

  1. What is your biggest problem with the writing process? How do you tackle it?

Finding the time. I do my best to put aside at least a couple of hours a day for writing, whether it is in a story I’m working on or blogging. Also, stress slows me down creatively, so making sure I’m taking care of my whole self is important.

  1. Do you feel writing is something you need to do or want to do?

Writing is hands-down something I need to do. It nurtures my soul like nothing else can.

  1. Whose writing inspires you most and why?

Edgar Allen Poe.  He was my first ever inspiration and will always hold that spot in my heart.

  1. If I gave you a license to brag, what would brag about? Give us the links.

Well, myself, of course! ;-)  I am a writer (obviously), so my first book should definitely be looked at, as well as my website: http://www.giannaperada.com – and I am also a proofer, light copy-editor, and book interior layout designer for small publishers and indie authors. I’ve been doing that for several years: http://www.brighteyes.org

  1. How does your creative process benefit you?

It allows me to write my stories with my own unique voice. I sit down at the computer and channel the muse. My fingers move to their own rhythm. I’m just along for the ride.  😉

  1. Do you believe that creativity and genius go hand in hand?

I think it depends on the person, but mostly, yes.  =)  You are your own creative genius.  Each and every one of you.  Whether you use it/see it or not.

Tour Stop #1: Sassy Book Lovers Interview

I’ll re-post any interviews that happen along the way for my Dark Minds Book Tour, just in case you missed them. But you should really visit the site if you’d like the full experience.  =) They all have giveaways to offer, and some give their review of the book as well.

This interview courtesy of Sassy Book Lovers.  Enjoy!  I’m always quite the candid one. 😉

Q1. What or who inspired you to become a writer?

Early on, I was drawn to paranormal stories and dark twisty movies. My family is full of creative genius; I guess it was always in my blood and there wasn’t one single trigger to get me going on the thought. Although, Blood Life was inspired by a paper I wrote on vampires in junior college. The professor hated my topic and gave me a D, even though it was a great paper. So, I left her class after telling her off and went home to start writing the first draft. 😉

Q2. Who is your favourite Author & what is it that really strikes you about their work?

I have many favorite authors. I guess the author that truly inspired me to write about vampires was Anne Rice. Her intricate, romantic, and dark alluring worlds intrigued me. Her way with words really spoke to me and resembled mine (at least I thought so).

Q3. What was the hardest part about writing your book?

Letting it be finished. I couldn’t let it go. I kept revising and reediting it. That’s why it took me 15 years from start to finish. That won’t happen with the next book. The first born is always a little special.

Q4. Has the paranormal been something that has always interested you?

Always! Ever since I can remember; even as a little tiny girl.

Q5. What was your favourite chapter to write and why?

I’d say my favorite was the first sex scene between Roman and Alexandria. I am a very passionate person, so writing erotica like that came so naturally and exciting. I’ve toned it way down since the first draft, let me tell you… only because I felt what is there now is enough for that story. Had it been a straight erotica story, I would have left it as it was originally.

Q6. What was the most surprising things you’ve learned in writing your book?

That I can really tell a story from beginning to end! It was such a trip to piece it together, and this particular book, since it was written over the span of 15 years, has undertones that tell the story of my life and growth as a writer and a person. It’s pretty cool if you think about it.

Q7. Do you ever experience writers block?

Yes! Usually when I’m stressed out in my daily life. Stress really affects my writing.

Q8. What is the last book you read?

“Inside the Outside” by Martin Lastrapes. Excellent book!

Q9. If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional. with whom would it be?

My inner witch, Devendra. She’s the bomb. I love everything about her.

Q10. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Exercise. Watch movies. Have coffee/tea with good company. Watch live music. Read. Cuddle.

Q11. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

The first thing I wanted to be was a nun (I went to catholic school). That quickly turned into a bus driver (WTF?) and then a veterinarian. Writer came next and stuck. =)

Q12. If Hollywood made a movie about your life, whom would you like to see play the lead role as you?

Me… Or Madeline Stowe. Or Sherilyn Fenn. Or Monica Bellucci.

Q13. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Yes, always remain true to yourself. Don’t write for others; write for you. And write with all your heart.

Q14. Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers and fans?

Thanks for giving my debut a chance and for your amazing support! More to come, even stronger than the first, so stay tuned! =)

Some quick questions…

Q15. Light or Dark chocolate?

Dark

Q16. Sunrise or Sunset?

Sunset

Q17. Dogs or Cats?

Cats

Q18. Tea or Coffee?

Coffee

Q19. Favorite Colour?

Purple

Q20. Favourite Disney movie?

Old Yeller

Blood Life is currently on tour!

Dark Minds Book Tours is currently hosting a 10-stop tour of Blood Life. So far the reviews are very mixed, from a 3-star “sick and twisted” to a 5-star “amazing read!” I’m loving this roller coaster . . . and it’s only day three of 10.  😉

You can find the complete tour schedule here: http://ow.ly/cuJuo

An Excerpt from DEVENDRA

The prequel to my debut novel, Blood Life, is Devendra, which I am working hard on at present. I decided, just to test the waters a bit, that I’d post a few excerpts until its release. Things may change a little, but these excerpts are very close to final form, if not final.

My planned release date for Devendra is Halloween. Of course, life gets in the way sometimes, so that hopeful date could be pushed. However, if I can help it, Halloween it is.  I’ll keep you posted either way. For now, an excerpt of Devendra. Please feel free to post your thoughts! They are not only welcomed but encouraged. And, above all else, ENJOY!

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“Nooo!” she screamed, the tone reverberating off the stone walls, vibrating in her chest. “Leave him alone!!”

The sound of jingling keys echoed down the hallway as footsteps drew close to her cell. There was a moment of hollow silence before a burly, iron-clad guard moved swiftly in her direction. He unhooked the keys that dangled at his side, used one of them to grant himself entry to her cell, and moved squarely in front of her. Without warning, he raised a powerful arm into the air; she had only a moment to think to lift her hands to guard her face before the back of his right hand landed hard across her cheek.

Devendra saw a white flash behind closed eyes before she lost her footing and fell to the side. In the eerie silence of the strike, with ears ringing, she fought to pick herself up from the ground as quickly as possible, to show him a semblance of strength. Devendra ignored the enclosing darkness and tiny dots of light in her vision, struggling to steady herself in front of him. Her head spun gently as she fought the urge to faint, lifting a cool hand to comfort her injured cheekbone. It felt good resting against the swelling, a cool and cold palm to soak in some of the heat.

In her magical mind’s eye, she willed the fluid of the swelling to be reabsorbed by surrounding cells as quickly as it had risen. But, as bad luck would have it . . . nothing happened. She swallowed rising fear, feeling naked suddenly before her jailer.

The man they called Stoughton towered over her, a shadow of evil, threatening to strike again. His hair was short but full against his head, peppered with grey and black, collecting at his temples in white cotton wisps. If not for his malice, he was quite a handsome man, strong and lean standing at what she gauged at about a foot and a half above her own five-foot-four stance. But he was infused with evil. He carried a scent of it that sickened her. It hovered around him like a dense fog, suffocating to those with an ability to sense it.

Releasing her incapacity to conjure up the protective magic she needed to resist another strike to mere happenstance, she tried again. She reached inside her soul and called up a force, a mystic shield to protect herself so that his hand might just fall asleep and he would merely decide not to hit her again.

Devendra found that mental manipulations worked well when a quick, secret summoning of magic was necessary, but this didn’t work either. He repeated his attack with even more vigor than before. Reeling as she picked herself up a second time from the hard stone ground, she realized she was empty. Her magic, usually responding with vibrant force at her cue, made no attempt at all.

She panicked, quietly, fighting to maintain a mask of calm before him. Once maybe, but twice? Her magic refused to move two times in the matter of seconds. Instead it whirled within her solar plexus, the eye of a great storm, watching and waiting. For what?

Quickly coming to terms with the newfound failure to call on her gifts, Devendra made the decision to ignore the stinging vibration of the hit. The will of a mortal was strong, but the will of a witch had to be stronger. At least strong enough to will away pain. Strong will demanded no illusion, only focus and determination. But even this didn’t work. A new little sack filled with fluid under the original tingling warm spot left behind on her face. She could feel it rising, throbbing with her heartbeat.

“Stoughton!” a voice rang out, ricocheting off the walls, causing Devendra to flinch. Their eyes remained locked for a moment before he whipped his head in the direction of the call. “Give me a moment,” he yelled over his shoulder.

Turning his head to look back down at her, he said, “I’ll deal with you later,” and turned to walk away, leaving her to as much peace as she could find in her current situation.

Sobbing in whispers, Devendra closed her eyes and lowered her head, muttering, “Oh Viktor.” Lifting her head once again and inhaling deeply, she curled her right hand into a fist and pounded hard on her chest once, twice, leaving behind a pink mark. She pounded a third time, hoping the action might begin to calm her racing heart. Her heart muscle responded by palpitating fiercely in her chest.

Moving on, she reached down with both hands and clutched at her dirty ivory chiffon dress, pulling on it fiercely, feeling crazed. She wanted desperately to ease the anxiety by ruining something beautiful. She ripped and tore at the dress until Stoughton returned to her cell, his eyes ablaze, lustful even. She stared back at him, defiantly, daring to challenge him in silence. Her hatred hung in the air between them like stagnant tobacco smoke, seemingly connecting them in the space.

“Don’t look at me like that, Witch,” he warned in a dangerous tone, moving so close to her that she could feel the heat rise from his body. His pheromones tried to seduce her, unseen tendrils daring to reach out and request an audience. Repulsed, she averted her eyes slightly, just enough to ease his stance, but not to indicate submission.

Stoughton reached down for her arms, lowering his face in line with hers, and clutched her wrists viciously. He squeezed them until she looked up into his face again. Her sapphire eyes burned bluer than they had ever been, but there was no lust there, only pure, unadulterated hatred. His eyes held hers confidently for a moment before tossing her wrists away with a snarl. Satisfied with the moment, feeling in complete control of his witch prisoner, he smiled wickedly before leaving her once again to herself.

When Stoughton was gone, Devendra exhaled dramatically, shifting her thoughts to her magic, or lack thereof. Since it was somehow blocked in that awful place, she could not use any spells to release herself from captivity. She could only watch and swallow the rage. She chewed on her nails, looking once again to Viktor’s cell across the dark stone-tiled hallway from her own.

Devendra’s sad eyes traced over her battered lover, caressing him. Viktor sat in a slump against the stone wall. His torso hunched over and his legs slayed out in front of him. He was completely motionless in the corner of his musty cell, half hidden in the shadows and light that crept in through the small window above, reflecting onto the walls around him.

She didn’t need much light to adore his beauty. His chocolate brown hair and olive skin lived bright and beautiful in her memory. She craved the morning look she received each time she opened her eyes for the day to his vibrant hazel eyes. Even in captivity, Viktor was magnificent. Pulling her hand from her mouth, she moved slowly to the bars and extended it across the empty void that separated them, longing to touch him, to save him.

Book Review: INSIDE THE OUTSIDE by Martin Lastrapes

In addition to writing, I also love to read! They do go hand-in-hand, after all. And I just finished reading this fabulous debut horror novel by Martin Lastrapes about a teenage cannibal living the first 15 years of her life in a cult in the San Bernadino Mountains of California.  It was easily a 5-star rating from me. I had trouble finding anything really wrong with the story that was worth mentioning. It read like a dream and any teeny tiny slights were easily overlooked. See my full review below. And if you get a chance to pick this one up, DO IT! You won’t be disappointed, especially if you enjoy darker fiction varieties, tending toward cult classics.

REVIEW: 5 out of 5 stars!

“Hold on a minute… you hear that? That is me taking a nice, deep, refreshing breath. Why, you ask? Because I just finished reading something truly new and exciting! I’m a huge horror fan, both to read and to watch, and seldom lately do I find myself as anxious to review something. INSIDE THE OUTSIDE had me hooked from the first page. The author, Martin Lastrapes, has successfully written a debut novel with an exquisite voice that expertly paints an effective picture of his characters and their surroundings. You feel their emotions. You fight their inner battles along with them. You identify with them. You even feel like you are speaking their words. You really get inside. Martin has done this with rare expertise and I applaud him.

Timber, the main character, is both endearing and creepy. You love her in her strengths and in her weaknesses. You want to protect her (at least I did) from the world at large. You agree with just about every single thing she does. You feel elated when she wins and heartbroken when she loses.

Martin also teases you throughout the book. He throws out reveals but you feel like you never get to them and it’s maddening!! In a good way, mind you, because it keeps you hooked. You finish a chapter and think you can put the book down, but NOOOOOOO, he tantalizes you and forces you to keep going. That is part of the genius in his writing style — the way that he strings you along but doesn’t necessarily provide until later on or until the very end. And speaking of the end: NO HOLLYWOOD ENDING HERE. Well, partly, but not fully. You get some, you lose some, and you want more. I highly recommend this story to anyone that likes dark fiction or cult stories — or even drama! There’s a lot of drama that pulls at the heart strings and anyone/everyone can identify with. Horror fan or not. I absolutely loved this book!”

So there you have it. Great book, amazing new author, impeccable writing, creepy storyline. Enjoy!

My First Author Interview

I am so excited this morning.

I woke up to an email from Martin Lastrapes, award-winning author of Inside the Outside, letting me know that he had posted my first-ever author interview. That’s right. I’ve now been officially de-virginized and you can “read all about it” on his blog.

He asked me 10 questions which I answered with raw honesty, added links and pictures, and truly made me feel like a star. I can’t thank him enough for being a great new friend, an amazingly talented author, and a generally super cool person.

So if you have a few minutes this morning (or afternoon or evening), please check out my interview and let me know your thoughts. Ask me anything and I will answer honestly. ❤

Growing Pains (of life and writing)

By now, if you are following my blog at all, you’ve learned that I am a writer. Duh, I say it constantly (haha!). Also that I wrote and self-published my first full-length, horror fiction novel, Blood Life. In case this is your first visit, the book is about vampires, witches, magic, violence, and sex. It is set in a fictional world (which was designed to be forgiving of language style and surroundings). It is much different than Twilight, and there is no sparkling Edward Cullen. There are, however, weak protagonists, like Bella Swan, but mine become much stronger with time, aging like fine wine.

Character interactions are vast and intriguing, maybe even infuriating at times. There is Roman and Devendra, Roman and Alexandria, Roman and Alethea (he sounds a little slutty at this point, but when you read it, you’ll see how that works). There’s also Lokee and Lorien. Seth and Lorien. Lillith and Silas.  Just throwing names out there because I love these characters and their crazy relationships.  My point being, there’s a lot to this book. It is a deep, multi-faceted thriller adventure in disguise. It’s magical and unique for a debut, but also true to form, there are some issues with the plot and I’m not too proud to admit that or to point them out.  It’s part of becoming a better writer, after all!

Although I pull everything together nicely in the end, I’m prepared for heavy critiquing from some readers, and just plain love of the story from others who are just reading and getting hooked (and not reviewing, per se). I let the book out there knowing this full well. I had to release it, because I had been writing it for such a long time, and until I finally let it go, I could not focus on anything else.  It was almost therapeutic to do so. And if you read it closely, you might see the 15-year span of growth in me as a writer peppered throughout in rewrites.  If I’d tried to revise any more of it, I may have just scrapped it, and it was too good of story to do that.  😉

Why am I saying all this? Well, because the prequel, Devendra, is coming out so well! It is written completely in my present frame of mind. And I don’t think it would have been channeled from brain to fingers quite as deliciously had I actually written it first.  As I write it now, I’m moved in a way I cannot describe, and moving yourself is key (moving others is the ultimate goal, but you catch my drift). And I have so much more to come: two more vampire/witch books, a female serial killer by the name of Z (you’re gonna love her), and a phantom ghost lover of a girl living in a place much like hell on earth.

So as the reviews are rolling in for Blood Life, I’m feeling motivated and fulfilled. I’ve heard things from “It reads like a movie!” to “I don’t read this genre normally, but the story really hooked me!” to “I love your mind!” to “Please keep writing!” All of those bits of feedback have really satisfied my ego. And not in a conceited way, but in a pleasing, humble way. I’m very proud of myself for what I’ve accomplished. And most of all, I thank you, the reader, for reading my story and giving it a chance! Whether you love it, like it, or hate it, I appreciate you for taking the time to look at it and consider it. Hats off to you. ❤

Free download of BLOOD LIFE!!

I hate to sound so spammy but it’s true! I’ve decided to offer my novel, Blood Life, for FREE at the Kindle store. Good for only a few days this week… Go get it!! And then review it there after LOVING it. Or just really REALLY enjoying it. 😉 hehe

Kindle version can be read on the Kindle, as well as the Kindle App offered to iPhone and iPad users!

Get it here: http://tinyurl.com/8857h9x – and then PRESS THIS or tweet it or facebook it to your own little space to help me spread the word – offer ends at the witching hour (or a minute before) on June 1st. xoImage

The Inner Muse(s)

Last night I got to thinking: How crazy must I sound to people when I try to explain that Devendra, the heroine of my vampire / witch series, kept chattering away at me (picture my arms up next to my face mimicking chattering mouths with my hands and a crazy look on my face), keeping me up at night, until I agreed to write her story? CARRAAZZZYYYYY?! Seriously, when I say it, I feel a little nuts, especially in the moment of silence it produces to the unknowing and understanding person. There’s a look in their eye, a faint glimmer of a question, but it never comes. That action, or lack thereof, causes this curiosity for me.

Do I really care? No, not really. I mean in all honesty, as a writer, I know this is normal behavior. I realize that without Devendra’s constant chattering, I’d have no story. Doesn’t matter how creative I think I am or can be, without her as an inner voice, a character to channel, I’d more likely be a dry well.  I have everything to thank her and the other characters for. They help my stories come to life. I do not write outlines; I sit at my computer, wait for them to make an appearance, and my fingers move to their rhythm. Period.

Also yesterday it occurred to me – aside from a few glorious hours spent with an old friend I rarely get to see – that Z is trying to fight her way into the forefront. She’s resurfacing too soon, as Devendra is at center stage in my mind just now. Z is another character from another world in a completely different story. She is not a vampire or a witch. She is psychic, in fact a psychic profiler for the San Francisco Police Department’s homicide division (specializing in serial killings)… but she is YET TO COME! Her story is only in the infant stages, a whisper in my mind’s eye, sitting in the to-write filing cabinet. And although extremely important and close to my heart, Z needs to wait her turn! What to do, though? She’s being very demanding. She threw out some great ideas yesterday as I was having my eyebrows threaded (nice timing!) and I did not write them down if nothing else but to tell her NOT NOW. And as I sit here thinking about it, refusing to give her that moment to write down her musings only hurt me. I wonder if she will repeat herself? Poo. I still have two vampire books to write before I can get to her story. Unless I take a break after Devendra and piss off my readers by making them wait an extra year before Book 3 comes out. Dare I chance it?

While patience is a virtue, I don’t believe my characters care, much less abide by the thought of patience or virtue. They want out, all at once, caring not for my time or my lifestyle or the money-making priorities. They say, “Eff all that. It’s time to write all the time.” Nice. Thanks, guys. Love you, too. ❤