“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.
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 Mention– Electric Bluesby: 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.
10– Bird Wingby: 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- Ascendby: 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 Glassby 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 Paradoxby: 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 Skyby: 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- Postscriptby: 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 Hatredby: 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.
Upon entering into this book, I was magically swept away into a dimension created by the mind of Rebecca Hefner. It was a very beautiful place.
Johnny– Hello Rebecca! Thank you for taking the time to talk with me. The title of your book is: The End of Hatred: Etherya’s Earth, Book 1. How many books did you envision when you start writing this?
Rebecca– I wasn’t sure exactly how many books it would turn out to be. All I knew was that the characters were so vivid in my mind. Miranda and Sathan appeared first in my imagination, followed shortly by Lila and Latimus. I knew immediately that the second book in the series would be about Lila and Latimus. In my mind, the first four books of the series were really one long book in my head!
Johnny– What inspired you to write this book?
Rebecca– I’ve always been a voracious reader. My two favorite genres are romance and sci-fi/fantasy. I love steamy romance, because I think that seeing two characters get intimate is the deepest you can go into their soul. However, I need a slow burn, where I really get to know the characters, and see their relationship develop, before I see them get to those intimate scenes. I also really like a fantasy world, filled with creatures with magical powers and mysterious history.I wanted to write a book that combined a sweeping fantasy with the intimate romance that I loved
Johnny– I’m glad you mentioned that you are a fan of steamy romance, because there are parts of this book that get SMOKING. Do you find yourself having to re-editing some of your “spicier” scenes, to keep them from getting to hot? I ask because your romance scenes get super vivid but never really get explicit.
Rebecca– Great question! I have always loved a steamy love scene, and believe that this is a natural thing that everyone experiences, so I want the scenes to be vivid. However, my mother reads these books, and that’s always in the back of my mind when I’m writing them. I’ll usually go back over my love scenes as I remind myself, “Mom will be reading this…”, and edit from there. I don’t want to sacrifice the steam and intimacy, but I also want to be tasteful. It’s a fine line that I’m always working hard to balance!
Johnny– In the prologue you wrote that Etherya had created a flawless species, the Slayera, but since she was imperfect, the universe objected. How was the Goddess flawed? Or are you saving that for something later?
Rebecca– Oh, yes. As the series progresses, we definitely begin to see Etherya’s flaws. In Book 4, The Reluctant Savior, there’s a big revelation about Etherya’s past. But I love a good twist and don’t want to give that away, so keep reading!
Johnny– What visual references did you use when you created the Vampyres and the Slayera?
Rebecca– I just knew that I wanted the Vampyres to be tall and hulking and I wanted the Slayera to appear more human-like. That physical discrepancy would help cement the Slayera’s dependency upon the Vampyres for physical protection.
Johnny– Obviously from your description the Vampyres would be noticeable, Slayera, I’m guessing more human-ish, how do you picture them in your mind?
Rebecca– In my mind, the Slayera were created as the best version of humans. However, due to Valktor’s murderous actions, they lose their almost-perfect status and become fallible. I equate it to death of Icarus in Greek mythology or the fall of Sampson in the Bible. These age-old stories exist to remind us not get too complacent in our “perfection”. The Slayera had become so and, once their kingdom fell, they were thrust into a thousand-year war.
Johnny– I really love that this book occurs inside the boundaries of a parallel universe. You’re obviously a well read and well thought out individual, what are your thoughts on interdimensional travel and parallel universe?
Rebecca– I love that you asked this question! I’m a super-science dork—I went to Space Camp when I was a teenager and went to Governer’s School for physics when I was in high school. To say that I love all things to do with relativity (time travel!) and parallel universes (string theory, anyone??) would be an understatement. In fact, the current series I’m working on has a heroine who’s a theoretical physicist trying to figure out time travel. I believe that we, on this pale blue dot (as Carl Sagan would say), represent such a dichotomy. We are conscious beings, who feel so deeply and contemplate our existence but, in the vastness of the universe, I truly believe we are only a small, insignificant speck of dust amongst other universes and dimensions. This isn’t to say that we’re not important. Instead, it’s an opportunity for us to see everyone on the planet as one species: human. If we allow ourselves, our shared moment in time on this planet could be something so beautiful. I think we’re at a precarious moment in our evolution right now where we have the opportunity to choose unity or division. One will further our species and one could extinguish us. I love to write about these themes in my books!
Johnny– Well said. Super-science dork authors are the best! Do you have a release date planned for your current series?
Rebecca– I don’t have firm dates yet. I’d like to have my next two books out by Spring 2020. That would be Book 5 in the Etherya’s Earth series and Book 1 in my new series. But I also don’t want to rush the writing. That leads so underdeveloped plots and characters, and it’s important to me that everything is well thought out. Also, it takes my editor about a month to edit, then I have to revise, and then my proofreader takes about another month, so it’s a long process to get these books from my computer into reader’s hands. But I’m furiously working on them and am really excited to get them out there!
Johnny– If you were casting this as a movie, and could choose anyone you want, who would your stars be?
Rebecca– Oh, I play this game on Instagram
sometimes with my followers. It’s so
fun! Okay, here we go:
I mean, it’s not like I’ve thought about this or anything… 😊
Johnny– Ah, Evie, please tell us something about Evie. (Great cast btw, Nichole Kidman as Lila, be still my heart) ❤
Rebecca– Ha! Yes, those are some great actresses. Evie has been my absolute favorite character to write in the series (followed closely by Darkrip). At first glance, she seems so evil and broken, but over the series the reader gets to know her. By the time we reach Book 4 in the series, we really see inside her mindand understand how complex she really is and why she became that way. Her journey is a really interesting one, and it was extremely fun to write.
Johnny– This book deals with a few topics that are (sadly) relevant in the world today, two of them being, racism and gender equality. I once read that Gene Roddenberry had used racism and culture intolerance when he was developing Star Trek. Was this an intentional goal of yours?
Rebecca– Absolutely. It was really important to me that we see Miranda’s journey against sexism in this book. One of the main themes is her gaining the courage to defy her father and claim her throne. As someone who grew up in the South, there was constant “programming” of what roles a woman should play (wife, mother, college graduate, etc.). Those are all fine if the person chooses them, but they shouldn’t be forced. I wanted to show Miranda coming into her own and gaining the strength to claim the throne that was rightfully hers. And yes, I wanted to use the two different species as metaphors for the racism we see in our society. In the beginning of the book, we learn that the species stay separate. As Miranda and Sathan fall in love, they contemplate what that will mean for those age-old traditions. They must have the strength to realize that they are one people—immortals—instead of two different races. It goes back to what I was saying above about our planet’s place in the universe. No one looking at the human race from outer space would identify us as black, white, Mexican, Indian or Asian; they would identify us as humans. Eventually, Miranda and Sathan begin to understand that their people are much stronger as Immortals rather than separating themselves into Slayers and Vampyres.
Johnny– What was the first book you ever written? Did it get published?
Rebecca– This is the first book I’ve ever published! I’m a self-published author and that was definitely the right path for me. There are many advantages to being self-published and to being traditionally published. I firmly believe that each author must research and determine what path is right for them.
Johnny– Do you use beta-readers?
Rebecca– I don’t use beta readers, just because I’m so ready to get the books out once they’re back from my editor and proofreader, that I usually get them up for sale when they’re ready. However, I have a group of awesome readers and reviewers who will accept an ARC copy of my book and leave honest reviews. They are the first people I reach out to when I publish a new book and I always welcome their feedback.
Johnny– Are you a self-editor?
Rebecca– I definitely am, but I also like to let the story flow. I’ll usually write a section or chapter, and let the words flow onto the page, and then go back and read and edit it. I also have an amazing editor who I send my books to once they’re ready. She always comes back to me with great edits that make the story even better!
Johnny– What advice do you have for unpublished authors looking to get started?
Rebecca– Wow. Such a loaded question. I might actually write a book like this one
day and title it something like, “What I Wished I’d Known Before I Published My
First Book.” I made so many mistakes in
the beginning but now, I’ve pretty much figured it out. My advice would be a few things:
Go on YouTube and search “self-publishing”. There are about a million videos on there by people who want to help fellow authors just starting out.
You can also search for “better writing” and learn how to write more efficiently. The written word is more concise than conversation and learning how to compose your thoughts on paper effectively makes all the difference.
Join the #writingcommunity on Twitter and interact with everyone you can. I’ve met so many other amazing authors there!
Johnny– Good tips, how do you plan your book once you’ve locked in on an idea and have decided to write it? What’s your process?
Rebecca– I do a rough outline, and reference that as I write, but I usually just let my fingers tap and let the characters lead me. They always lead me to a place that is a thousand times better than what I originally plotted. They’re like real, live people who live in my head!
Johnny– Tell me something about yourself that not everyone knows.
Rebecca– Hmmm. I love solo traveland have visited many places in the world. I spent the entire month of September 2018 in Japan and that’s where I wrote most of The Elusive Sun! I also saw the most amazing sunset of my life while I was there and used that exact backdrop for a scene in The Darkness Within. There’s something about travel that just refills my soul.
Johnny– What an amazing story, now when I read those books, they will even be a little more special. Have you got any other wonderful journeys planned?
Rebecca– For now, I’m just excited to head to Colorado for Christmas with my family. My brother, his wife and their daughter live there, and my mother and I will be flying in to spend the holiday with them.
Johnny– What is the everyday Rebecca like?
Rebecca– I’m a tireless perfectionist who’s decided to pursue a full-time writing career. It’s so fun, but extremely challenging. I write a lot, and also focus on marketing my books, but I also take time to ensure that I’m doing yoga or taking some time to be active. This is the first thing I’ve ever done that isn’t an “active” job, so I have to remember to get up and get the blood moving. But that’s pretty much it right now—writing and living each day to the fullest. I really want to build this into a career and am trying my best to do that every day!
Johnny– There is an internal battle that Miranda struggles with, does she follow tradition or follow her heart. We know which path she chose, now, are you a traditionalist or are you someone who follows her heart?
Rebecca– Someone who follows my heart, definitely. It’s so important to remember that no one is going to live your dreams for you. Although it’s tough and scary, it’s important to listen to your inner-voice and pursue your passions. Although I believe in taking calculated risks, I believe that challenging yourself and stepping outside of your comfort zone only makes you better!
Rebecca Thank you for taking the time to talk to me, you have been an absolute delightful!
I don’t think it would take a rocket scientist to figure out that I love this book. To be perfectly honest it blew me away.
There is something about Rebecca’s writing that leaves me in awe. It’s both comfortable and yet somewhat familiar.🤷♀️ We spoke about it during our conversation, using fantasy, science, and adventure her manuscript speaks to us in metaphors, and if only we would listen, it would make us all better at being human.
I’m hooked. I’m more that hooked I’m enamored.
I can not believe that before I read this book I have never heard of Rebecca Hefner. After reading her book I feel like I’ve known her my whole life. Very few authors can make their readers that comfortable. Yet, Rebecca makes it look easy. That is a beautiful thing that has came from a beautiful mind that has only begun to blossom. I’ve already started book two, The Elusive Sun 🔥🔥🔥🔥 and love it just as much.
I’m giving The End of Hatred five stars⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ on Goodreads and Amazon because it’s a smart Sexy fun book to read!
If you haven’t read this book you should, I highly recommend it. Follow the link below to enter the wonderful world of Rebecca Hefner. You won’t regret it. 😉
Be on the look out for the rest of this 🔥 series… ❤❤