Welcome to my blog spot- grab a cup of coffee and a good book ;-)
Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am a HUGE fan of anything horror! I fell in love at an early age with movie monsters. My favorite movie at the age of eight was Silver Bullet and I’ve always been fascinated with the unknown and unexplained- UFOs, cryptids, ghosts, mysteries and the paranormal. So when I saw WB advertising her book on Twitter back in December, I knew immediately from reading the blurb that it was going to be right up my alley! I finished Blood Drops in early January (you can read my lovely review of it here: http://shannaswenson.com/my-blog/review-of-blood-drops-by-wb-welch)
After finishing this incredibly poignant and very well-written collection of horror stories, I was curious to know more about WB and her work, so I recently got with her and interviewed her about her debut horror collection and what her writing life is like.
Here’s what she had to say:
Me: Hi WB, tell me a little about yourself? When did you know you were going to be a writer?
WB: A little about myself? I’m short, I love coffee and tea and kombucha, and my favorite shoes are my slides. When did I know I was going to be a writer? That’s a kind of hard thing to nail down. I had dreams of being a novelist when I was seven or eight years old, but that wasn’t a practical or guaranteed career choice, so I didn’t start actively taking steps towards full-time writer status until about four years ago. I continued to self-study fiction writing after college, but when I re-read Stephen King’s On Writing in 2015, it lit some kind of new fire under my butt. Within a couple of months, I was starting my first novella.
Me: Awesome! What inspired you to write Blood Drops?
WB: I created a small, hand-printed anthology called “Blood Drop” a couple of years ago. That was inspired by a burlap coated book I came across in a bookstore one day. My boyfriend said it would be really cool if I printed some of my stories and made my own little book, so I did. Then later last year, I realized I had a bunch of stories I could pull together for a new collection, only this time, I printed it with Amazon so the potential for reach was greater.
Me: Nice, so which character in your collection is your favorite? Why?
WB: Ooooo. That’s tough. I guess I would have to say Her. We never learn her name, in the first story, but she is such a free-spirited, present, trusting, and experience-driven person.
Me: Yes, I can see that! Did anyone in real life inspire your characters?
WB: Yes and no. For me, I am always observing people and their tendencies, from relatives to strangers I see. While no character was directly inspired by one person, I am sure bits and pieces of lots of people reside in the pages.
Me: Haha, yes. I understand that well! Now, what are you working on currently?
WB: A few things actually. I am working on a zombie novella with Tory Hunter that we are both very excited about. We have some surprises lined up and some announcements coming soon, and we can’t wait to share more. I am also querying one novel while working on another, AND I recently started a short secret project that I hope to announce soon.
OH. Also, I’ll be starting stories for Blood Drops II sooooon!
Me: Yaayyy! How exciting! And Zombies…oohh, I’ll be checking that one out for sure! So, tell us a little about your writing process?
WB: I actually have an important technique I haven’t talked about too much publicly, so I’m glad you asked. I always, always, always find a photo of a person who I feel could represent my main character. I usually do this with my antagonist too. Now, this isn’t always true for short projects, but for anything over about five to ten thousand words, this is important. For some reason, it helps me connect with the MC…whenever I feel stuck, I stare at the photo, try to feel what they would feel, think what they would think. Maybe this helps me ‘not be myself,’ to cause some separation, so I don’t just feel like all of it is in my head. If I can stare at this real person and believe they are my MC, I can dive much further into their consciousness. Is that weird? I hope it’s not weird.
I also grab a thin, ruled, Moleskin journal for all new projects I start. This is where my story ideas go, as well as any notes I take when I am researching. Going off the idea that writing things down helps you remember them, I feel like this helps me retain the important details to access them when I am writing.
Me: That’s such a unique and interesting idea! I LOVE it! What drew you to the horror genre?
WB: I am drawn to all kinds of genres, but horror has always held a special place in my heart. I couldn’t tell you why. I saw my first scary movie when I was young, younger than ten at least. It terrified me, but I was hooked; the horror shelves at Blockbuster became my favorite. I collected and read Goosebumps, too.
Me: Who are your favorite authors/books?
WB: So many. Stephen King, Koontz, Lovecraft, Chuck Palahniuk, Joe Hill, Patrick Rothfuss, C.S Lewis, Thomas Ligotti…I’ve read some good ones lately by Paul Harding, Edan Lepucki, Jennifer McMahon, Kiersten White, and Bryce Andrews.
Me: All great ones! What do you love about writing?
WB: I love surprising myself. I love when I finish writing, read back over it, then find myself wondering where it came from. I love when I am able to get into the zone so well that the writing starts writing itself.
Me: Haha, yes, I know the feeling and yes, sometimes I read back through and I’m like “Man, that’s good stuff!” WB, final question: What are you looking forward to in 2019?
WB: All of it. You might have been expecting a more specific answer, but I don’t have one. There are a lot of good things happening, and I feel like there are many more still to come. Life is one surprise after another, and all we can do is take it as it comes, but I am willing, and I am ready.
Me: Agreed! That’s wonderful! Well, thank you so much for being my guest tonight, WB. It’s been a pleasure! I wish you all the best in your upcoming endeavors and look forward to checking out more of your future works!
You can find WB Welch’s Blood Drops on Amazon or order a signed paperback copy from her website. The links are below.
WB Welch often focuses on the darker side of human emotions, striving to write honest fiction with texture.
WB had always loved learning and new experiences. She worked for her college paper, at a law firm, in the family dental business…she rented a photo studio for a year, started a natural beauty and skin care line, was a certified personal trainer, and she recently completed a full-stack web development program. Thankfully, during all that time, she found her way back to fiction and is very happy to call herself a writer.
She is a contributing author on, Oh my Darlings, and Tory Hunter Books.
Follow her on Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Shanna Swenson, author of the Abundance series
Shanna enjoys a good book that thrills, chills and warms her heart. She also enjoys supporting her fellow indie authors.
5 nostalgic stars for Clover Creek
The cover was what drew me into this adorable book with all the feelings of home.
Claire Cunningham left Clover Creek, Texas years ago for more reasons than just a broken heart, but she comes back to her hometown when she’s notified of her Gram’s “accident”. As it would just so happen, so does her ex-boyfriend from high school, Jayce Sterling, for unknown to him, his dad is part of the reason for Claire’s sudden arrival.
The two collide again as fate would see to it to intertwine their destinies.
From the first page, I was laughing at this wholesome and funny tale of two lovers who are hopelessly bound to their hometown and one another, despite being separated for the last thirteen years.
I enjoyed the characters, the dialogue, the author’s description of Gram (she sounds like the perfect grandmother) and the element of surprise with the secret Jayce has kept from Claire in his attempt to protect her. It was sweet, nostalgic and made me want to own my own B&B :-D
Heather Michelle actually gives you another SWEET surprise in the back of the novel too, I won’t tell you what, you’ll just have to read it to find out ;-)
If you love small town, sweet, second chance romance novels then this book is definitely for you!
Shanna Swenson, author of the Abundance series
Shanna enjoys a good book that thrills, chills and warms her heart.
4 stars- Great premise for a book!
Jacob Rundle has written a unique action-packed urban fantasy novel with lovable characters.
Henri is a young teen, who after moving to NY following the death of his father, learns that his life isn’t quite as ordinary as he thought. After meeting the incredibly attractive Simeon, Henri feels an instant connection, but Simeon is also more than meets the eye. He shows Henri what his “dreams” actually mean about him and that he is a highly gifted individual; an augur. He can teleport and project through time, among other incredible things too ;-)
I won’t give too much away, but after teaming up with Etlina, the bruja, this threesome become the Destined, the three (of possibly 4?- wink, wink) individuals that are to save the fate of the cosmos from the Old ones.
This book was unique in that it touched on all kinds of “controversial” elements. It deals with grief, loss, love, religion- well sorta, the end times, coming out and coming of age. You will meet angels, demons and deities, travel to exotic places, and be caught up as these three “kids” who were chosen by their destiny take on unbelievable odds and dangerous missions.
I enjoyed this book. The dialogue and wording at times was repetitive and the scenes where Henri projects got a bit confusing, but all in all, it kept my interest and I loved that it was such a one-of-a-kind idea. I enjoyed seeing Henri find himself as the tale weaved on and overcome the obstacles that he had to face in the literal face of adversity; the strength that he possessed. This book was hopeful, encouraging and adrenaline-pumping. If you enjoy apocalyptic young adult reads then this book is for you!
I look forward to seeing what the team encounters in the next installment!
Shanna Swenson, Author of the Abundance series
Shanna loves a good book that thrills, chills and warms her heart.
I met the kind and comical JD Park on Goodreads and we became quick friends. JD is a busy wife and mother who writes sweet, clean romance novels. Her debut novel Coming Home was like taking a trip into a Hallmark movie. It was such a cute and endearing read that I wanted to know more about what inspired it and her Home series.
Here's what she had to say:
Me: Hi JD, tell me a little about yourself? When did you know you were going to be a writer?
JD: Hey Shanna! I am a stay at home mom with a 6yo boy and 3yo girl. I’ve been married to my husband for almost 8 years but have been with him for nearly 17. When did I know I was going to be a writer? Probably when my first book was published, haha. Really, though, I started reading a lot when my son wouldn't sleep at night. I read mostly romance and found that KU and .99 books were my jam. But with that came some not to thought out or edited books. I found myself saying “I think I can do this” and “I might be able to do it with fewer errors”, so I tried.
Me: LOL! That’s how it goes, you don’t know ‘til you know, right? So, what inspired you to write Coming Home?
JD: By the time my daughter arrived, I needed an outlet. Something that was just mine. Coming Home came from an idea I had. It ended up totally different than when it started. It just grew from there. The characters decided where their story would go and I was just along for the ride. It took over two years to get Coming Home finished and published.
Me: LOL! It’s so true, the characters kinda take the story away how they see fit, don’t they? (Shrug) Writers are the only ones who can say, “I do what the voices tell me to,” without being committed LOL!!! So, which character in your Home series is your favorite? Why?
JD: This is a tough question. I love so much about each of the characters. I guess I would say, Cole. He’s just good. Not because he has to be but because he can’t be any other way. It doesn’t hurt that he's a dreamboat ;)
Me: Haha! Yes, he is! ;-) Now, did anyone in real life inspire your characters?
JD: Bits and pieces of my friends and family are in each one. They aren’t based on any one person. I have a lot of myself in my MC’s but they are not.
Me: Agreed. We can’t help but put ourselves into our characters… What are you working on now?
JD: Well, Finding Home is just about ready for publication, so I’ve switched my focus to Kira’s story. It doesn’t have a finished title yet, but I am leaning towards Building a Home.
Me: Aww, that sounds cute! How many books are there going to be in the Home series?
JD: There will be three. Coming Home, Finding Home and Building a Home. I never intended to have these books become a stand-alone series. Heck, I never intended to write more than one! But the characters took on a life of their own in my head and demanded to have their stories told.
Me: Ha ha, yes, they tend to do that! Now, I have to ask: As a busy wife and mom, how do you get any writing done?
JD: It’s not easy. I am not a morning person, so I don’t get up before the kids. I am a night owl but find it hard to get into the groove once the kids are in bed. I do a lot when my daughter goes to my mother-in-law's house to play. I can do it some afternoons when the kids play outside. It’s very sporadic. My dad is also ill and that took most of my December through early February. The first draft of Finding Home was done in November, but here is it April, and I am just now able to get to the publishing step.
Me: Aww, yes life tends to get in the way. I remember that about your dad, I hope he’s doing better. Tell me a bit about your new book, Finding Home, when is its debut?
JD: Finding Home is Jo’s story, who we met in Coming Home. She has a very cynical view of marriage since her mom has been married seven times! She believes in happily ever after just not the traditional way for her. This is a problem since the man she has chosen to build a life with is the marrying kind. Struggles arise, inner turmoil ensues, girlfriends come to the rescue. You know, a Hallmark movie. I have a release date set for April 26th barring any issues!
Me: Oooh, SO exciting!! It’s coming up soon! Now, what drew you to the romance genre?
JD: I love a happy ending. I’ve always been a huge sap. And the Hallmark channel is the greatest thing ever. It was a no brainer for me.
Me: Yes, happily ever after is so heart-warming!! Who are your favorite authors/books?
JD: When I was younger I read all the Nicholas Sparks book. Now that I’m older, the stories are a little too close to home. Once I started reading all the time, Maggie Shayne was a favorite for a long time. I love Lauren Blakely, Addison Moore, and Erin Nicholas. I don’t think I will ever be able to write the style of books they do, but I love reading them. The biggest bonus to becoming an indie author is being around so many great authors and finding their work. I love your books and can’t wait for Escape From Abundance! And of course, JK Rowling.
Me: Aww, well thank you! I’m excited to share Dallie’s story! It will be premiering soon! (Squeee) So, what do you love about writing?
JD: I love that it’s just mine. As a mom, there is almost nothing that isn’t shared. My husband, my food, and most importantly, my time. Writing is just for me. I also love being able to show my kids they can do anything. I’m a firm believer we lead by example and I want my kids to have a love of books and a drive to succeed.
Me: Aww, that’s so inspiring! I LOVE it!!! Now, what are you looking forward to in 2019?
JD: I’m looking forward to a lot! The release of Finding Home this month! Finishing up with Kira’s story and getting it published sometime this fall. But mostly, summer vacation! My husband is an Organic Farmer and the summer is our busiest season; It’s nice to have the freedom from school and the luxury of seeing dad when and wherever possible.
Shanna, I want to thank you for this interview and all the others you’ve done. It is such a great way to learn more about our fellow indie authors and the inspiration behind their characters. I also want to thank you for your continued support of the indie author community. You have been an integral part of my journey, and I know that many out there can say the same.
Me: Aww, well, I certainly try and thank you, JD. We are all in this together after all. Supporting one another is as vital as any other aspect of our process, I believe.
It’s truly been a pleasure getting to know all you wonderful authors and your works. I have made lasting connections and discovered some amazing books. I look forward to continuing these interviews and reading lots more indie books this year. I’m already up to 13 now. That’s gotta be a record for me as I’m a slow reader! I can’t wait to see how many I end up reading before the end of the year :-D
You can find Coming Home on Amazon in Kindle, Kindle Unlimited, and in paperback formats. Finding Home, book 2 in the Home series, comes out on April 26th, so be sure to catch up now!!!
JD Park is the author of Coming Home and Finding Home (set to premiere on April 26th). She is a stay at home mom and wife of an organic farmer. She started writing to prevent her brain from turning to mush as the ABC’s, colors, and shapes weren’t stimulating enough. Her stories became her outlet. You can find JD on Twitter, Goodreads and Facebook. You can also email her at: email@example.com and be sure to visit her website for all the latest!
Shanna Swenson, Author of the Abundance series
Shanna enjoys a good book that thrills, chills and warms her heart. She also enjoys supporting her fellow indies.
Veronica and I met on Twitter last year when I first joined up on the #WritingCommunity there. I was "bedazzled" by her book teasers, tags and "glamorous" GIFs. I just read her debut cozy mystery novel, The Crown for Castlewood Manor, this month and wanted to talk with her about her book, her series and what inspired her to write it!
Here's what she had to say:
Me: Hi Veronica, tell me a little about yourself? When did you know you were going to be a writer?
Veronica: Hi Shanna, thank you for having me as your guest! I’m a full time writer these days who loves to travel (the colder the destination the better!), read, and have a good time with friends and family (which includes my two cats, Daisy and Ebbie 😊).
I’ve always done technical writing during my engineering and software careers and have been an avid reader since I was a little girl. I was fortunate enough to ‘retire’ early and decided I was going to go out on a limb and see if I could put my little gray cells to work and write a cozy mystery. I started in 2016 and haven’t looked back!
Me: That’s wonderful, Veronica. How awesome! What inspired you to write The Crown for Castlewood Manor?
Veronica: I’m a huge fan of Downton Abbey, and after the 6th season ended I had to find a way to still experience the joys, adventures, sorrows and dangers that I had come to depend on from my beloved show. I have always heard it was best to write about the things you love, so that words will flow. I took inventory of all the things that made me feel inspired, thrilled, and delighted as a watcher of DA, and reader in the cozy mystery world, and transformed them to fit into my fictional world at the Cherrywood Hall estate in the English countryside. I asked the question, “Would you want a period drama series filmed at your home?” My writer’s mind took off from there…
Me: So cool! Which character in your series is your favorite? Why?
Veronica: I love my main character, Gemma Lancaster Phillips, PhD. I can empathize with some of her personal dilemmas (love life, career) and I thoroughly enjoy the world she’s fortunate enough to live in! She’s a young woman of privilege who finds herself by going back to her ancestral home, re-connecting with her British family members, meeting some very nice (and not so nice) people, and just maybe, find the man of her dreams. I love seeing how she reacts to the situations I put her in—I have to say, I’m quite impressed, LOL!
Me: Ha ha, nice! Did anyone in real life inspire your characters?
Veronica: I have bits and pieces of me in all my characters (I kind of know where Gemma gets her love of boots from, ahem). I use traits, mannerisms, and personalities from people I’ve met, both the good and the bad. I keep a log of expressions, phrases, etc. that I think are unique—you never know when they might be used!
Me: So true! I think we put a part of ourselves into each character! It just sorta happens. So, what are you working on now?
Veronica: I just finished the 4th book in the My American Almost Royal Cousin Series. I’m in the editing phase now…dun-dun-dun!
Me: Ah, yes the lovely editing phase…(banging head against a counter! LOL) Now, how many books are there going to be in the My Almost Royal American Cousin series?
Veronica: Initially I was planning for 7-10 books. I love writing a series because you get to know the characters and watch them develop. I know how I will end the series, and I may try an off-shoot for the next book—I’m still deciding 😊. Need to keep things interesting for myself and readers!
Me: Yes, series are so much fun! Love how they kinda spin off on their own! LOL! So, you write full time now? When do you get your writing in?
Veronica: I do write full time these days. I like to write early in the morning, but when I’m in full book mode, you just never know. The cats are used to coming downstairs with me at 1am or sleeping during the day. I’ve learned to strike while the inspiration is hot!
Me: Yes, agreed! Gotta take advantage of when those ideas when they are flowing. Now, tell me a bit about book 4. Does it have a title yet? When is its debut?
Veronica: Book 4 sees some major changes occurring at Cherrywood Hall for many of the characters. There was a big cliffhanger at the end of the 3rd book, Deadly Receptions; the Debut of Castlewood Manor. It was decision time for me as a writer—how far should I go? I’m still going back and forth with the title, hope to decide soon. As for the release, I’m shooting for an early July date. The 4th book takes place during Christmas/New Year’s, so we’ll have a ‘Christmas in July’ party!
Me: Ooh, sounds exciting! What drew you to the mystery genre?
Veronica: I’ve always loved mysteries—started with Trixie Belden when I was a girl and went on from there. I prefer cozy style mysteries vs. true crime—we get enough of that in real life, IMO. In the cozy world bad things happen (really bad things…) but life goes on around them, usually sipping tea or sherry, LOL. I have a lot of food scenes in my stories—the characters are often together at breakfast, lunch, tea or dinner. It’s a good way to get the dialogue flowing, and clues/insights exchanged.
Me: Ah, ha, yes! Who are your favorite authors/books?
Veronica: I adore Dame Agatha Christie, especially her Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot stories. Rhys Bowen is another favorite (Her Royal Spyness series). Since I became active on Twitter in 2018, I’ve been able to read many other authors and genres (including you, LUV Abundance!), and I love it! I try and read 1-2 books/week and do reviews. It’s my way of staying current and giving a little thank you to the #WritingCommunity.
Me: Yes, agreed! I’m so glad I found all these amazing writers… and their work! It’s been fun and exciting! Aww, thank you so much! I’m so glad you enjoyed my book :-D So, what do you love about writing?
Veronica: I love meeting new characters and their worlds. I try and give a lot of detail in my books and being able to travel helps a lot with the setting descriptions. I enjoy sneaking to the locations my characters go to in my stories. It’s fun to sit in the ‘exact’ spot where events/conversations take place in your books, seeing the room from their perspective.
Me: That’s awesome! I can tell you put a lot of detail into your settings ;-) Alright, final question, Veronica: What are you looking forward to in 2019?
Veronica: For my writing life: I’m looking forward to the querying process, which I hope to start in the next few weeks (agent and publisher). It’s time to see how far my series can go. I will continue with the marketing and promos for the series (I just had book trailers completed for the 3 published books, I love them!). Most likely book 5 will be started too. 😊
For my personal life: Travel, travel, and more travel. Hubby and I have some fantastic trips lined up this year for our 20th wedding anniversary and I can’t wait!
Thank you very much for inviting me in as your guest, Shanna!
Crowns and Kisses,
Me: Wonderful! And thank you, Veronica! Happy travels and best of luck to you in your book ventures! It’s truly been a pleasure.
You can find Veronica’s books, My American Almost Royal Cousin series, (click on the pictures below) on Amazon in Kindle, Kindle Unlimited, and paperback formats.
Veronica Cline Barton earned graduate degrees in both engineering and business and has had successful careers in the software and technology industries. Her lifelong love affair with British cozy murder mysteries inspired her to embark on a literary career. The Crown for Castlewood Manor is the first book in the My American Almost Royal Cousin Series, followed by Cast, Crew, & Carnage; the Filming of Castlewood Manor. The third book in the series, Deadly Receptions: the Debut of Castlewood Manor was released on February 1, 2019. When not traveling and spinning mystery yarns, she lives in California with her husband, Bruce, and her two cats, Daisy and Ebbie.
You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Goodreads and Bookbub as well as her blog.
Shanna Swenson, Author of the Abundance series
Shanna loves a good book that chills, thrills and warms her heart. She enjoys supporting her fellow indies authors too.
5 stars for Ballers with Benefits!
Well, readers - unsurprisingly - she did it AGAIN! Nicole Rodrigues has hit another one out of the ball park….
As if two swoon-worthy book boyfriends weren’t enough (from books 1 and 2), be prepared to meet three more in the next book of the Double Play series!
We get to catch up with a grown-up Bella Daniels-Gavinwood as she now has both a PT company, thanks to her aunt Savannah and her dad, and she’s playing softball for the US team too. Talk about one ambitious young lady! She’s drowning her anger and pain away in a bar after catching her boyfriend of four years cheating on her - she obviously breaks it off.
Enter the cocky and suave pro baseball player, Damon Johnson (swoon-worthy book bf #1) who too is chasing away his own regrets after his girlfriend broke up with him over his injured knee, via text message (Ouch!)
Two broken hearts are about to collide!
And boy do they! Nic takes you on a journey of their stories as they both enjoy the “benefits” of their arrangement. Bella starts to break out of her shell as she comes into her own and explores her “bad” side and Dirty Damon starts to see this “angel” of his has some dark wings that need to be unfurled. It’s a battle of wills as they both fight their fears, past heartaches, and desires of making this “friends with benefits” deal just that, but will their hearts have other plans?
Dirty Damon is sexy, funny and completely swoon-worthy as he tries hard not to fall for the girl he’s admired from his pinup calendar and now has in the flesh. Bella is admirable, strong, sweet and resembles both her mother, Charlotte, and her aunt Savannah, in her fortitude. I loved getting to catch up with Bella’s family, the Gavinwoods and the Turners and meeting Damon’s, the Johnsons. I loved the sisterly relationship between her and Lacey (loving and fighting each other as sisters tend to do) and the budding relationship that’s simultaneously going on between Lace and Nico (enter swoon-worthy book bf #2) and I just adored the brother and sister connection portrayed when Bella goes to see Devin (her twin brother) - aka book boyfriend #3 - in Texas and the protective side that he shows. (You also get a protective dad moment with Gabe which I also loved.)
This book was sexy, funny and simply swoon-worthy (how many times am I allowed to use that word in one review? - Ah, who cares, it’s true!)
So, if you’re looking for tough and ruggedly handsome guys who will have you eating out of their hands, these books are definitely for you.
Shanna Swenson, Author of the Abundance series
Shanna loves a good book that thrills, chills and warms her heart.
5 Stars for Castlewood Manor