Psychic Revelations

As we enter the last week of the Heart Search: Betrayal blog tour, I can’t believe how quick the last two weeks have gone.

Anyway, today we have an excerpt hosted by author, Michelle Birbeck. We’ve been friends online for three or four years and I actually met her at FantasyCon in York last year. She’s a lovely lady! Click here to read it.

You’re also running out of time to enter the FREE giveaway. If you’ve been following my posts you’ll have seen the fantastic items available. So don’t delay, enter now while you still have a chance. Just click the link below.

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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: 

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Video Trailer:



Wading Through the Publishing River

Michelle Birbeck was my next fabulous hostess on the Heart Search Blog Tour. She wanted me to write on the subject of publishing and this is what I came up with.

You’ve spent untold hours writing your story. You’ve lovingly crafted your character and skilfully designed your plot. Having gone through editing and beta reading, your manuscript is now as perfect as you can make it and now comes the hardest decision of all – how to publish it.

As writers, most of us dream of getting an agent and being contracted to one of the ‘Big Six’ publishers, but it’s not as easy as that, is it?

Basically you have three choices; attempt to get an agent who will tout your masterpiece until you get a publishing contract, go through an Indie Publisher, or self-publish.

Traditional Publishing:

These days, it’s even harder to get an agent than ever. They are inundated by manuscripts and you can wait months for a response. The wait is agonising – I know, I’ve been there! You have to pen a killer query letter which will grab them in the first couple of sentences (no longer than one page), write a single page synopsis which will highlight the most exciting parts of your book and send in two or three chapters for them to consider. Writing a query letter which will have the desired effect is, in some ways, harder than writing the book itself. You need to research your potential agents thoroughly and adhere to their submission requirements to the letter with every ‘i’ dotted and every ‘t’ crossed. No mean feat that!

Having done all of that, you send it off with hope in your heart and wait. Several weeks or months later comes the email you’ve been dreading – the rejection. However, if this is your dream, you keep trying other agents and wait some more. It’s like a never-ending circle. Maybe you’ll be one of the lucky ones who gets picked up by an agent, but there’s more waiting in store as your agent suggests possible changes to the book and you may have to re-write sections and then there’s the time to kill while your agent tries to get you a publishing deal. While all this is going on, you are depriving potential readers of your work of art. Still, if that’s your dream you must follow it.

Indie Publishing:

This is a similar process to traditional publishing except that you submit direct to the publisher. Again, you need to do your homework and ensure the publishers you choose want the genre your novel is based in and most of them only accept submission at certain times during the year. If you send your submission in speculatively outside of their ‘open window’, it will either be deleted or thrown away.

Again, it’s important to follow the submission guidelines to the letter, and you still have to wait and be prepared for rejections.

Self-Publishing:

This is, by far, the quickest and easiest way of getting your book out to the public. You can sign up to Kindle Direct Publishing on Amazon and upload your manuscript. It’s a simple process and quite quick. If you want a paperback as well, CreateSpace or Lulu are the best, and again the process is simple. You can get free or cheap ISBN numbers through both (an ISBN is not needed for e-book through Kindle, but it does limit the availability – more on that in a minute). However, you may be limited to their distribution networks only.

If you purchase your own ISBN number, you have the flexibility to place your novel in so many more sales channels for either your e-book, paperback or both, and is something I would recommend. However, if you don’t have the time to place your book on Smashwords, Kobo, Barnes & Noble et al, you may be content to go with the distribution packages offered by these print on demand companies. Your choice!

One word of caution – don’t think about putting your novel out there before getting it professionally edited. Readers will be put off by typos and inconsistencies and ultimately this could be the kiss of death for your work. The money spent on getting your novel edited will pay off in the long run when weighed up against a tarnished reputation which is unrecoverable.

I’m lucky – I have the best of both worlds! I’m self-published under the banner of an Indie Publisher, Myrddin Publishing Group. This means I own the legal rights to my book and not the publisher, but I have the support of the team behind me.

Whatever you decide to do, you will still have to be prepared to market your book yourself. This takes time and dedication and where some authors fall down – they have no idea where to start. My advice is to look around on social media platforms and see which individuals or companies offer advice on marketing to authors and learn fast. Marketing is a whole different post so I’m not going to go into that now.

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At the end of the day, only you can decide what’s best for you and your book. I have one or two theories of my own which are yet to be put to the test, but ultimately you need to follow your dream. Good luck!

I hope you found this useful!