Author Interview – Michelle Birbeck

 

As part of The Stars Are Falling Blog Tour, it is my very great pleasure to be interviewing the author of this fantastic new book, Michelle Birbeck. If you’re a sci-fi fan, you really must get this book! Now, fanfare please . . . no, louder than that . . . please welcome, Michelle Birbeck *APPLAUSE*

CC – Hi Michelle, thanks for joining me today. Are you ready for me to grill you a little?

MB – So long as it’s for no more than eight minutes on a medium heat, otherwise I’ll burn.

CC- Oh, very good, starting off with a little joke, ha ha ha! I can see what sort of interview this is going to be *laughs*. Okay then, let’s make a start.
What inspired you to create the story and take it in this particular direction?

MB – The Stars Are Falling started with one image and three titles. The image was shooting stars filling the night sky and a young girl running away from something. The titles were The Stars Are Falling, The Stars Are Shining, and The Stars Are Rising. Obviously I went with the first one, because it fits the book so well. About eighteen months after I first had the idea, I came back to it. There was something I wanted to enter, but I didn’t have a finished manuscript that wasn’t part of a series.
So I decided to write one.
Despite only having thirty days until the end of the submission period.
Between the Skype text conversations, cooking dinner, and the Skype phone conversations, I had a full plot and all my research done the day I decided to do it. Ten days later, I had a fully written manuscript and two of my best friends reading it through for me to give me notes.
Intense is about the only way I can describe those ten days. I had 40 Marilyn Manson on repeat for the entire time (I have a thing about repetition when I’m writing). And all I did was write. Maybe eat a little, too.

CC – Wow! That does sound very intense. You did incredibly well to get it all done in ten days. I’m guessing you lived on caffeine and got hardly any sleep! Now onto the next question. Are any of your characters based on real people?

MB – Although I try not to directly base any of my characters on real people, I am absolutely positive there are bits of everyone I know in there somewhere. My character’s personalities come together as I write, instead of me writing them down before I begin.
With the characters for The Stars Are Falling, that is especially true. I had such little time to write it in that most of the planning I did was surrounding the Stars themselves and the plot line. The characters just all sort of fell in together and developed their own traits. Fortunately, most of them were pretty evident from chapter one!
From Alexis stumbling up the stairs, and Mark following with his cat calls, to Dale helping the pair home, and Jenny ditching them for a night under the stars. And they worked so well as a group, too, which I liked. They each had their own area of expertise, and they each had their own issues.

CC – I know exactly what you mean about characters just coming together and developing their own traits as that’s what happened with my books. Now, is there anything you would love to expand more on in your book that you couldn’t?

MB – I’ve had a lot of people give me strange looks when I say that The Stars Are Falling is a science fiction book. A lot of those tell me that they don’t like science fiction. To which I say, that’s ok, because it’s science fiction for people who both do and don’t like sci-fi. It has alien invasions, plenty of action, and a fast-paced, fun storyline, but isn’t full of advanced technology and spaceships.

CC – I must admit, it’s usually the advanced technology stuff that sometimes puts me off sci-fi, but your story is so much more enjoyable to read! Is there a message in your book you would like readers to grasp?

MB – The main part of the book is the reason why the Stars fall to Earth and start killing everyone, and that’s because we’re killing the planet. So there is a big message there about saving the world, but there are also several other messages hidden in there that came about as I was writing. One of those is that it really can take just one person to save the world.

CC – I agree we’re slowly killing this planet and yes, it can just take one person to change things – if only they could get the right people to listen. So, do you have a   favourite character in The Stars Are Falling?

MB – Dale! Hands down, I am completely and utterly in love with Dale. He’s been through a lot of stuff, and he’s still standing tall and taking everything in his stride. I love his strength in the face of everything. And he is so cute and adorable! He’s tall, dark, and handsome, with a dash of geek thrown in.

CC - Tall, dark and handsome? Ooo any chance of throwing him my way when you’ve finished with him? *Laughs* What are some of the books you’re really into right now?

MB – I’ve recently started reading Agatha Christie. I’m not very far in, but I love Hercule Poirot! And I can’t wait to read more. I’m hoping to be able to read some more after the launch for The Stars Are Falling.

CC – I’ve never read Agatha Christie – you’ll have to let me know what you think of them.  So now you’ve got me wondering. Is there a certain author you admire and if so, why?

MB – I adore Richard Laymon. And this is where all the people who know me groan. I’ve answered this question the same way for year now. But the answer hasn’t changed. No matter what other books I read and how much I love them, Laymon in the one that I love the most. I still have all of his books, every last one, and there isn’t anything that I dislike about them. From the characters to the plot to the location to the way they are written. They are all fantastic.

CC – Hmm I think I remember reading something of his many years ago but can’t remember what it was. What author do you hope to meet one day?

MB – It would be nice to meet Richard Laymon, but that’s not going to happen unless ghosts start popping out of the afterlife. So other than him, I would love to meet JR Ward, especially if she’d be willing to dish some secrets about my favourite characters!

CC - If you’re in a cartoon, which character would you be?

It’s been a long time since I sat and watched cartoons on a regular basis. So I’m going to go with Berk. I’d like to be Berk from Trapdoor. Just because he is awesome, and I have his plushie sat on my bed every night.

CAM00309 with Michelle interview

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CC – Oh, he’s cute! Name one superpower you would like to have.

MB- Flying! Think of the money I’d save on international flying. Not to mention the calories it would burn flying that far! Though I expect customs would be interesting.
“And how did you arrive today?”
“I flew.”
“With which airline?”
“None.”
“But you said you flew.”
*Me doing chicken actions.* “Yep. I flew.”

CC – Is there a supernatural being you would like to be and why?

MC]like to be a werecat. A giant, cuddly kitty cat that can run around scaring people. Also, just because I adore big cats, and I’m not fond of the sight of blood, so being a vampire is out for me. But being a werecat sounds like fun.

- If you could travel through time, where would you go?

Ohh, this is a question I have been asked before, a long time ago. And my answer is still the same. I’d go to Rome. Because I want to hear the song Nero played as Rome burned. I expect it would be a heart-warming occasion. (And yes, I will stop with the bad jokes now.)

And Five Fun Shorts!
1) What makes you cringe?

Cracking bones. People breathing on me. People touching their eyes. The sight of blood. There’s a whole list of things!

2) Favorite dessert?

Cake. A nice, moist cake with strawberry and cream filling, and marzipan and icing on the top.

3) Dog or cat person?

If my husband asks: cat. If not, I like big, fluffy dogs.

4) Savoury or sweet snacks?

Depends on my mood. Although, I am always in the mood for cold roast chicken with a bit of salt on.

5) Favourite season?

Late spring. It’s not as hot as summer, the nights are getting longer, and it’s not as cold as spring. And there are so many pretty flowers!

Thanks again for joining me today, Michelle and good luck with ‘The Stars Are Falling’.

BLOG BLAST – The Stars Are Falling by Michelle Birbeck

The Stars Are Falling
By
Michelle Birbeck

“Is saving the one she loves worth killing the whole world?”



Release Date: 3rd July 2014

Genre: Young Adult/Sci-Fi
Published by: The Writers Coffee Shop

Available from: AmazonKoboBarnes and Noble, and TWCS PH

Summary:


Jenny is content trying to survive university and sneaking glances at her housemate, Dale, in between hours spent watching the night sky. When the first meteor streaks through the night, landing close enough to shake the house, however, everything changes.
What’s left in the crater isn’t a lump of rock from outer space, but something that looks like a man. Soon after, the killing begins. Anyone who gets in their way is disintegrated with an all-consuming light so hot nothing remains.
Hundreds more descend from the heavens, bleaching the night sky, shaking the ground. They want to eliminate all threats to Earth, starting with the biggest one: the human race.
Jenny and Dale know a way to do both: save Earth and stop the human race from being wiped out. They just have to stay alive long enough to convince the falling stars to spare the human race.

Author Bio: 


Michelle has been reading and writing her whole life. Her earliest memory of books was when she was five and decided to try to teach her fish how to read, by putting her Beatrix Potter books in the fish tank with them. Since then her love of books has grown, and now she is writing her own and  looking forward to seeing them on her shelves, though they won’t be going anywhere near the fish tank.













Connect with Michelle Birbeck on: 
Facebook, TwitterWebsite and Goodreads



Giveaway Link: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway 


Video Trailer:



LAUNCH DAY EXCLUSIVE: Huw The Bard by Connie J Jasperson

Well, today’s the big day for the mega talented Connie as Huw The Bard, her latest book, officially launches.

On Friday, I revealed the cover and blurb, Saturday saw the book trailer, yesterday I gave you my review, and now I have an exclusive excerpt to share with you. So, drumroll please . . . no louder . . .That’s better *clears throat* . . . Ladeez and Gentlemen, for your delectation and enjoyment, I give you - Huw the Bard:

Excerpt from ‘HUW the BARD’ by Connie J. Jasperson, Copyright 2014 All Rights Reserved

“With Lackland helping as well as he could, Huw saddled Farroll while he drank; all the while Lackland warned the horse to be sure not to drink too much. Once watered, the unhappy horse desperately munched on grass while Huw began getting him laden with numerous heavy saddle bags and weaponry. “I know entire families who don’t travel with this much baggage,” muttered Huw, as he made a third trip with yet more of Lackland’s luggage. “No wonder you require a horse of this size!”

“Now, now, Jak! You sound like Chicken Mickey, clucking away at me like that,” replied Lackland cheerfully. “It’s all necessary, I promise!”

“Chicken Mickey?” Huw was at a loss. “I don’t believe I know this person.”

“Of course you don’t. The man is our provisioner, and he’s an absolute genius at it,” replied Lackland, lobbing the last saddlebag atop the horse. “You just reminded me of him. He’s always accusing me of overburdening Farroll with my luggage.”

“I see his point,” Huw said, struggling to hold the horse still while Lackland finished tightening the last straps. “I have no idea what a provisioner is, but he sounds interesting.”

“Interesting? Mick is definitely that!” His face lost its mirth as he considered the task of mounting his horse. His legs could barely hold him up, and he had to lean on Farroll just to stand. “I’ve no strength in my legs, and I doubt you could lift me to the saddle. I’ll have to walk as best I can.”

Nodding, Huw jumped nervously as pre-dawn sounds of birds alerted him to the danger they were in. He began to panic. “Lackland, we must get your horse moving! We must be away from here now!” He picked up his kit and looped his arm around the knight, half carrying him with Farroll supporting his other side. Then, at Huw’s urging, Lackland walked as swiftly as he was able. Farroll was not happy about having to walk when he wanted to eat. Huw grabbed the startled horse’s bridle and tugged, saying “Come, Farroll! They’ll have you back in the hellhole we just left if you don’t help me get your master out of here!” The occasional call of the birds spurred Huw as nothing else could have. The eastern horizon began to glow a fiery red, heralding the imminent advent of the dawn. “There’s the gate! Hurry!”

Almost running, Huw dragged Lackland and Farroll down the street and out of town as fast as he could. They stumbled to the opening just as the sun’s first ray pierced the sky, and with the light, the gates shuddered and began to close, creaking and groaning. Struggling desperately, Huw pulled the knight and his horse through. With a loud thunk, the gate swung closed behind them, catching the horse’s tail.

Farroll kicked at the gate, but although his tail was stuck fast, his hooves passed through the wood as if through fog. Skeletal hands began pulling the great beast backwards by the tail. He whinnied and his eyes were wild; Lackland struggled to keep him standing still. Quickly Huw raced back and, dodging Farroll’s stamping hooves, with a flick of his knife cut the tail free. He slapped Farroll’s rump and the horse shot forward, knocking Lackland down.

“Gah! They nearly had us!” Overcome with terror, Huw pulled Lackland to his feet. Grabbing Farroll’s harness, he dragged the two down the rutted overgrown road as fast as he could. He kept urging them on until they could no longer see the village.”

This is just a little taster of the adventures Huw experiences on his long journey. To buy this amazing book click on Amazon to be taken straight to the site relevant for your country. Well, don’t just sit there, CLICK ON THE LINK!!!!

Review: Huw the Bard by Connie J Jasperson

I have to say, this is one of the most unusual fantasy books I’ve read in a long time. Set in an alternate medieval dimension, it is chock full of adventure, treason, rape, murder, and magical creatures the like of which I’ve never before encountered.

HTB New Front Cover copy

The main strength of this book, apart from the wonderful storytelling, is the depth of characterisation given to Huw. He is an eighteen-year-old bard at the height of his craft when disaster strikes and he is forced to flee the city he has called home since before reaching double digits. With nothing but the clothes on his back, Huw, now a wanted man, must make his way to safety if he wants to survive.

As you take every step with Huw, you feel his pain, desolation, joy, and sorrow, and by the end of the book, he’s become a friend to treasure. Jasperson has crafted her main character richly; you see his transformation from a talented, spoilt, and somewhat vain young man who’s used to being fawned over and adored, to a humbled, desperate, penniless one who finds courage and a good heart.

At no time is the emotion overdone; it is layered with sufficient detail for the reader to empathise with each situation Huw finds himself in and, in my opinion, strikes just the right balance.

Each of the supporting cast is given definable personalities and, along with Huw, leap off the page.

The world-building is expertly designed and described in colourful detail. The magical creatures are, in some ways, the stuff from nightmares yet in the author’s skilled hands, they are believable and realistic.

The plot is adventurous and well outlined. There is never a point when a reader will not want to turn the page to see what’s going to happen next, yet it’s not a ‘fun and frolics’ type of adventure (although there are a few amusing bits). There’s plenty of sadness, guilt, anger, and revenge, to accompany the bravery, battles, romance and light-hearted banter.

Already a big fan of Jasperson’s work, Huw the Bard, took me in an unexpected direction, showing what a versatile fantasy author she is. I loved this book and it gets a solid 5 stars from me.

Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for an exclusive excerpt from this great book!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Connie 2014

Connie J Jasperson lives and writes in Olympia, Washington. A vegan, she and her husband share five children, eleven grandchildren and a love of good food and great music. She is active in local writing groups, and is the Olympia area municipal liaison for NaNoWriMo. Music and food dominate her waking moments and when not writing or blogging she can be found with her Kindle, reading avidly.

You can find her blogging at: Life in the Realm of Fantasy

http://conniejjasperson.wordpress.com

Tower of Bones Series – Book I, Tower of Bones takes the reader to the world of Neveyah, where the Gods are at war and one man holds the key to winning that battle. Book II, Forbidden Road is the follow-up, and picks up the story six years after the end of Book I, Tower of Bones.

Tales from the Dreamtime, a novella of new fairytales told in a traditional style, consisting of two short stories and one novella.

Billy’s Revenge Series Huw, the Bard takes you to the world of Waldeyn, and a medieval alternate reality. Fleeing a burning city, everything he ever loved in ashes behind him, penniless and hunted, Huw the Bard must somehow survive.

 

Book Trailer – Huw The Bard by Connie J Jasperson

Yesterday, I revealed the unusual and striking cover of Connie J Jasperson’s, Huw The Bard, her latest book which officially launches on Monday 31st March. Now I have another little treat for you – the book trailer.

So let’s have lots of applause, whistles galore, and plenty of yells of excitement for . . .

 

I don’t know about you, but I think the music is quite haunting, and believe me when I say it’s very fitting for a book which gives you adventure, magical creatures as well as sadness and injury. Huw’s journey through this book is laced with love, laughter, despair, triumph and revenge!

Now, don’t forget to pop back on Monday for the exclusive excerpt on launch day and by then I should have the links to take you straight on over to Amazon to get your hands on a copy!

 

COVER REVEAL: Huw the Bard by Connie J Jasperson

Every now and then, a fantasy book comes along that’s really different and unique. As a principle editor at Eagle Eye Editors, I’ve had the pleasure of being involved with the editing of this novel, but I’m not allowing this to colour my judgement. If it wasn’t truly special, I wouldn’t be bringing it to your attention.

Huw the Bard, the first in the ‘A Tale of Billy’s Revenge’ trilogy, is being launched in a few days and I’m so pleased to be able to share this cover reveal with you. It’s a lovely piece of artwork – so eye-catching. So without further ado. Fanfare please . . .

Check out this blurb:

Huw Owyn is the last true bard in Waldeyn.

Fleeing a burning city,

Everything he ever loved in ashes behind him,

Penniless and hunted, no place is safe.

Abandoned and alone, eighteen-year old Huw the Bard must somehow survive

It’s two-hundred leagues to safety,

And then two-hundred more.

A lot can happen to a man on a journey like that.

Piqued your interest yet? On the launch day of this medieval fantasy, I’ll be featuring an exclusive excerpt so check back in about three days. Believe me, you won’t want to miss it!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Connie 2014

Connie J Jasperson lives and writes in Olympia, Washington. A vegan, she and her husband share five children, eleven grandchildren and a love of good food and great music. She is active in local writing groups, and is the Olympia area municipal liaison for NaNoWriMo. Music and food dominate her waking moments and when not writing or blogging she can be found with her Kindle, reading avidly.

You can find her blogging at: Life in the Realm of Fantasy

http://conniejjasperson.wordpress.com

Tower of Bones Series – Book I, Tower of Bones takes the reader to the world of Neveyah, where the Gods are at war and one man holds the key to winning that battle. Book II, Forbidden Road is the follow-up, and picks up the story six years after the end of Book I, Tower of Bones.

Tales from the Dreamtime, a novella of new fairytales told in a traditional style, consisting of two short stories and one novella.

Billy’s Revenge Series Huw, the Bard takes you to the world of Waldeyn, and a medieval alternate reality. Fleeing a burning city, everything he ever loved in ashes behind him, penniless and hunted, Huw the Bard must somehow survive.

 

 

Burdens of a Saint – Character Interview

Last week, I treated you to my review of Joan Hazel’s latest book, Burdens of a Saint, the second novel in The Guardian series (click here for a reminder). When I asked Joan if I could interview one of her characters, she very graciously agreed. My biggest problem was choosing which one.

I made Joan chuckle with my choice - I picked the one she least expected!

Let me tell you a wee bit about him. Fergus Wolfe is the Delta pack leader (or Alpha), the oldest shapeshifter at Theriontrope, weapons specialist, power-house, and elder biological brother to Saint. He’s the sort you want on your side if there’s trouble, but he can be quite terse as you’ll see from some of his responses.

Joan, thank you for bringing Fergus here today – I hope he’s in a good mood!

JH: You are most definitely welcome.  I hope he is in a good mood too!

CC: Welcome, Fergus. I’m very interested in your relationship with Ghost. Why are you so short-tempered with him?

FW: Because he is a pain in the arse. He knows exactly what to say to irritate me, and he takes pleasure in doing such.

CC: He’s still a ‘youngster’ compared to you – can you not cut him a little slack?

FW: Cut him some slack? Excuse me, Madame, but in all honesty, I believe that is his problem now. You must understand when I found Ghost he was only 10 years old. He was near death and his mother had given custody of him to Haven and the guardians. Often, I would find it difficult to discipline him due to his fragile state. That is his problem.

CC: Do you think there’s a particular reason why you let him get under your fur to such an extent?

FW: Although, as you say, Ghost is a youngster, he is well past 100, and it is time he accepts responsibility for his actions and his words. So far, he has done neither of those things.

CC: Okay. Changing the subject – I admire you for how much you care about Saint. However, you don’t seem exactly pleased about his burgeoning relationship with Janet. Why is that?

FW: Really? I did not realize I gave that impression. However, Saint is already dealing with many complications in his life. I suppose I don’t want to see him add to that.

CC: What are your thoughts on Eric? He obviously has some quite strong powers – are you concerned by them at all?

FW: Eric is an interesting boy. So far I find no reason to be concerned about his burgeoning powers. Hopefully with our guidance, there will not be an issue.

CC: I can understand why you worry, bearing in mind what Bridget did to Saint. What are your plans for dealing with her? Are you really intending to kill her?

FW: Death? Yes. That is my only plan for her.

CC: Well, that’s pretty final! What about Bridget’s son, Mingon? Are you going to ostracize him because of who his mother is?

FW: I believe the human Bible states, “The son shall not suffer the iniquity of the father” or in this case, mother.  He cannot help who his mother is anymore than I can help who my parents were. Mingon will be given every chance to prove himself as his own person.

CC: That sounds fair. Has it crossed your mind that Mingon might be Saint’s son too?

FW: Not possible. Next question please.

CC: Hmmm, touchy subject? Uh-oh! The look on your face speaks volumes. Ok, I’ll move on then. How do you think CJ has settled into her new position?

FW: CJ is settling in well. I think it is good to have a female presence within our pack.

CC: Do you think she’s a good guardian or do you feel she still has much to learn?

FW: I believe she is doing well as guardian. Yes, there is still a great deal for her to learn, but all in due time, and what she doesn’t know, I am positive Saint will be able to assist her.

CC: Are you pleased about CJ and Mika’s wedding? Will you be giving the bride away?

FW: I have no feelings either way on the subject. I am pleased if Mika and CJ are pleased. No, I will not be giving the bride away. Actually, I do not believe anyone will be.

CC: What are your aspirations for Haven and the pack?

FW: The pack will continue to do what we have always done, protect the guardians and take on whatever mission Theriontrope has for us. Our immediate goal is to destroy the Alliance.

CC: Thank you so much for being here and answering my questions with such candour. It’s been a pleasure to get to know you better.

FW: You are most welcome.

* * *

See what I mean about terse? And he doesn’t really respond to compliments either. There is actually a softer side to Fergus – he just likes to keep it hidden – bless his furry paws.

To learn more about Fergus, Theriontrope, the Delta pack of shapeshifters at Haven, and the guardians, click on one of the links below and pick up the books. If you love paranormal and fantasy, you won’t be disappointed!

The Last Guardian (book one in the Guardian Series) :  Amazon US / Amazon UK

Burdens of a Saint (book two in the Guardian Series) : Amazon US / Amazon UK

About the author:

Joan Hazel Pic

Joan Hazel has written three novels that range from paranormal fantasy to contemporary to historical fiction. An accomplished actress and vocalist, she has performed with companies across the eastern United States. In her spare time, she plays with a colorful cast of characters who live in her head. She currently resides in DeLand, Fla., with her husband, Ricky, and their two fur kids.

Joan’s contact info:

Website: www.joanhazel.com

Blog: http://joan-hazel.blogspot.com/

Twitter: @guardianwriter

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Joan-Hazel/362411800440684?ref=hl