Posted in Barbara Avon, CC Luckey, Crystal Kirkham, Dreena Collins, Evelyn Charters, Gabrielle Olexa, indie author, Jennifer Irwin, Jessica Conwell, LM Gose, Random stuff about my blog, Rebecca Hefner, Uncategorized

My 2019 Top 10 Picks

By: Johnny Swanson

“Don’t use the phone. People are never ready to answer it. Use poetry.”
― Jack Kerouac

HAPPY NEW YEARS EVE!

I’m not for sure how many books I read during 2019, I know it was a few. Around the end of August I had decided to start this blog honoring and featuring Indie Authors, it was then I started logging and reviewing through Goodreads and Amazon, Goodreads has me down for reading 52 between the months of August thru December.

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/13688308-johnny-swanson

Although my site reviews Indie Authors and supports Indie Books there were a couple on books on my reading list that did not fall into the Indie category, in the end only Indies made the list. This list does not reflect that the book was written or published in 2019, it just happens to be when I read them.

After reading so many good book this year it can almost be overwhelming try to only pick 10 as the top picks. There are so many others that deserve an Honorable Mention. However, in the end there could only be 10 and these 10 have made a lasting impression on me unlike any of the others.

Honorable MentionElectric Blues by: Shaun O McCoy, Although it didn’t make it into the top 10 it defiantly deserves to be mentioned. This is a futuristic tale about a depressed out of work A.I. named Arty that is sure to put a smile on your face. Gabrielle Olexa had recommended this book, said that it was a cute book, and she’s right. It’s well written and Shaun is a fascinating individual that I had the privilege to interview. Defiantly worth a look.

TOP 10

10Bird Wing by: Dreena Collins, This is a book of Flash Fiction and I love it. It was way back when I first read Black Coffee Blues by: Henry Rollins, that I realized how much I enjoy reading flash fiction. This book brought it all back to me. Thank you Dreena!

9- Ascend by: Leia Gose, Fun and Magical are two words that best describe Ascend. Leia has done a ridiculously good job creating this world that I want to live in, written for YA this book is fun enough for everyone. Good news is that she’s writing a sequel!

8- The Desert in the Glass by C.C. Luckey, This book is surprisingly good. If not mistaken it is a debut novel and CC brings it. I’m really excited that I had the opportunity to interview her in 2019 and can’t wait to see what she publishes next. If you haven’t read it you should, it’s a lot of fun!

7- Jenny of Lebanon by: Gabrielle Olexa I know Gabrielle takes a lot of heat because this book is identified as literary fiction. Looking at the reviews for Jenny of Lebanon readers either hate it or love it, if you are looking for something to rival Twilight or Harry Potter, this book will be a waste of your time, however, if you love words and wordplay I highly recommend this book.

6- Depths of Darkness (Saints and Sinners Book 2) by: Crystal L. Kirkham, this is book 2 of the Saints and Sinners series and I found it to be just as good if not better than the first. I consider Crystal to be a writer on the move, she is as talented as she is creative and her new book Feathers and Fae will be reviewed on my blog in early 2020.

5- Three Sharp Knives by: Jessica Conwell, This was a pleasant surprise to me, Three Sharp Knives introduced me to my first transgender main character as well as the struggles within their community. I love the book as well as Jessica and her writing style. The interview I published with her on 12/8/19 is my favorite of the year, hoping to have her back after reading her other novel, Cluster. My advise, Read this BOOK!

4- The Van Helsing Paradox by: Evelyn Chartres, This is such a fun book, the flow is incredible and very engrossing. There will be more about Evelyn during 2020 on my site because I think her writing is phenomenal, I will be reviewing her work in the near future.

3- A Dress the Color of the Sky by: Jennifer Irwin WOW! is about all I can say about A Dress the Color of the Sky. Jennifer also will be my first interview / review featured in 2020. Really impressed with this book!

2- Postscript by: Barbara Avon, I love Barbara! Her writing JUST does it for me. Every time I finish one of her books it has become my new favorite. I picked Postscript because the evolution of her writing style has STOLEN MY HEART with this tale, it’s also filled with hidden gems that kept me on my toes. ❤

1- The End of Hatred by: Rebecca Hefner, this book has earned my number one spot because it was the book that stole my soul to romance, it’s not just this book either, it’s the whole series. I love it and can’t wait until she writes another. Rebecca is going to be a writer that we will hear of for a long, long time.

✌❤

Posted in LM Gose, Uncategorized

Ascend: Children of Lilith Book One by: L.M. Gose

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”
–Benjamin Franklin

L.M. Gose is a writer, wife, mother, editor, (Horse whisperer lol) She can be found on Twitter @LaPetiteWolfe and her website www.authorlmgose.com She’s a busy lady who recently published her book titled Ascend.

Johnny– Hello Leia welcome and thank you for taking some time to talk with me, you recently released Ascend, was this your first book?

Leia– First published. I’ve written others that didn’t make it to this stage.

Johnny– That being said, the “others that didn’t make it to this stage” are you ever tempted to revisiting those earlier books and fine-tune them into something that works? or do you move on, possibly reviving and integrating them into other ventures later?

Leia– I’ll likely go back eventually but it’s not a concern at the moment. So far I’ve plenty of ideas before I need to recycle some.

Johnny– I noticed, at one time that you listed on your Twitter bio that you’re an editor… did you edit Ascend yourself?

Leia– I sent it to someone but I felt it wasn’t thorough enough so in the end, I did red ink everything myself. I have also edited three other books by other authors as well as a few Thesis papers and many graduate level papers.

Everyone needs to make their own choices.

Johnny– That is remarkable, and very well done might I add. Is it safe to say you’ll be editing your future books as well?

Leia– With the help of my BETA readers.

Johnny– Self-published?

Leia– Yes, it was preferable to the defeatism in the industry.

Johnny– Would you recommend self-publication to somebody that is looking to get published?

Leia– Everyone needs to make their own choices. They have to be confident with the decision to publish however they feel is best for them. I prefer creative control so this works for me.

Johnny– I’m a huge fan of cover art, do you design your covers?

Leia– No, actually, my niece-in-law LeÁnne Pelletier did. You can find out how to contact her on my website.

Johnny– How fortunate to have that kind of talent in the family. When your picking your cover, did you go to her with a certain design or style in mind?

Leia– Yes, I knew exactly what I wanted but lack the skills necessary to create. She was able to make my vision come to life perfectly.

Johnny– This is really a fast-paced book that covers a lot of territory, Biblical, Gnostic, Mythology, Folklore, there are a lot of references / research that had to happen in order to prep for this book. How long did it take you to develop and write Ascend?

Leia– I honestly believe this book has been trying to come out in one way or another for years, but I did zero research specifically for Ascend. It took me about 5 months from start to finish to write, edit and publish.

Johnny- That’s astounding, has writing always been easy or “naturally” for you?

Leia– I’d say yes. Writing, and reading, has always been linked to my survival in this world.

Johnny– This book caught me by surprise. I really wasn’t expecting the “depth” that you brought with it. What inspired you to write Ascend? Was it an idea that just come to you out of nowhere?

Leia– I can’t say there was any one thing except this year, I took a really long trip and reconnected with family I’d long since lost touch with. It was healing and I think that healing helped inspire me.

Johnny– I’m a fan, please tell me that there is another book coming out in this series.

Leia– Yes, I’m currently working on Descend, which is the sequel to Ascend and picks up right where the first book ends.

Descend: Children of Lilith Book Two

Johnny– Do you have an ETA for Descend?

Leia– Spring 2020.

Johnny– “Ascend” has so many good characters, (descriptions for each is spectacular), do you have a favorite?

Leia– Madoc Weatherly. I love his personality and ever-changing beard.

Johnny– Defiantly one of my favorite characters as well. Was there a specific inspiration behind your creation of Madoc?

Leia– I had a German Teacher that was a bit unusual who inspired the depth of the character. His beard was Pride parade inspired. I loved the idea of an ever-changing mood beard.

Johnny– Do you use family or friends when you developed your characters? You’re a mother with four kids, (and two horse), was Arya and Xavier inspired by any of your children?

Leia– Yes and no. The relationship between a boy and girl twin was inspired by my older two children, who are Irish Twins (but honestly, everyone has mistaken them for twins for 11 years now so it counts). I wanted to have a story that wasn’t focused on romance or even had the kindling of a spark of romance between the Main Characters. Having siblings allowed me the freedom from that.

Johnny– How are your horses? They had to have inspired you in this book, lol. Especially when creating Persephone.

Leia– I love my horses, and yes, I have to admit, they did help, but more my connection with horses my entire life. In Canada, my uncle and auntie who helped raise me have a herd of 12 strong and I was able to spend a lot of time with them in early February. Persephone actually inspired me to get a horse. I adopted my mare, Molly, in early June, which was about a month before I finished Ascend. I adopted my gelding, Durango, right after.

Durango and Molly

Johnny– What is your process? When you have a story or idea and you decide you want to make it a book, do you journal it down, let it percolate, or go to your computer and start banging it out?

Leia– I am terrible about explaining my process, but I’ll try. I write when I’m inspired and I sit down for about an hour a day to try to write something, but that’s very structured and I’m not. I like to use guided dreams to help me sort out issues with my characters. It inspired the battle scene in Ascend.

Johnny– We you say “guided dreams” are you talking about meditation?

Leia– No, it’s a therapeutic technique I learned to help me cope with nightmares. I’ve learned to use it to explore ideas that needed more development before writing.

Johnny– I think you had mentioned earlier that you use beta readers as part of your writing process? are these friends of yours?

Leia– Yes and yes. I wouldn’t trust anyone I didn’t know with my brain-babies. They earned the right to be part of my group though because they’ve me such amazing feedback. I’ve included a few others in my group this time too, to help make Descend even better.

Johnny– Some writers say that they edit and/or send to beta readers in chunks during their writing process, others wait and do both after completion so not to interfere with their flow. How do you handle that?

Leia– I do a chapter at a time. This allows me to focus on the chapters as a whole. I don’t edit until after the book is halfway at the minimum though. Otherwise, you get stuck in a horrible habit of hating your work.

Johnny– Any advice for any young writers that might be looking up to you as a role model?

Leia– Be kind in your life, not only to others but to yourself and that includes how you rate your own writing.

Johnny– Great advise, what genre do you enjoy reading?

Leia– Fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction and dystopias are some of my favorites.

Johnny– In today’s world, how important is a “Social Media presence” for Indie writers?

Leia– It’s obviously very important. Social Media is a real aspect of this world.

Johnny– Very generic question, who inspires you?

Leia– It might be generic but it’s very difficult to answer. I’m inspired by so many different people. I’ve been gifted with an extraordinary life of travel and met so many incredible human beings on this planet, from different countries and from different cultures and backgrounds. I’m inspired by them all.

Johnny– Where do you want to be in 10 years?

Leia– In the house I’m about to move into and in my third series, maybe. I hope to be successful enough to pay the mortgage at least once a year.

It took me about 5 months from start to finish to write

Johnny– Thank you Leia, it has been a pleasure talking to you. Best of luck to you. I loved Ascend and anxiously awaiting Descend due out Spring of 2020. Hopefully you will come back and talk with me again…

REVIEW

This book has everything that is desired when digesting, the story flows like a river, I don’t remember it dragging once, descriptive characters, I felt like I knew everyone that was introduced  in this book. In the beginning I remember thinking I would have liked a little more description about Morningstar, however, in the end it all worked out.

So why mention it?

I said that to say this, stick around, about every question I had was answered during her telling of the story.

Going down the list, Ascend has something for everybody. It contains Heroes, Villains, Damsel in distress, a King, a Queen, Vampires, Werewolves, Witches, Warlocks along with an assortment of mythical creatures, just an all-around good time and good read.

About my only complaint turned out to be my only regret and it was that it had to end. 😒

Que Sera, Sera, I suppose that’s why there are sequels. 😉

Great job Leia! 🎉 I can’t sing your praises loud enough. You captured my imagination and made me a FAN.

Written as YA Fiction, Ascend joins the ranks of mainstream novels that will be enjoyed by all ages.

I’m giving Ascend 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ on both Amazon and Goodreads. **If you enjoy indie authors as much as I do please be sure to buy their books, leave reviews, share and retweet.

You’ve met the writer – Leia M Gose

Now read her book – Ascend: Children of Lilith Book One (you won’t regret it). ✌❤