Category: Interviews


Hi all, Ressa Empbra here.

Imagine, if you will, one of our independent books becoming the next big thing. It’s always possible, of course, but the secret to best-seller success is to ensure that a book has a good combination of the following: 1: Amazing story-line. 2: Well written. 3: Placed into the hands of the right readers. 4: Promoted and marketed to the right target audience in a consistent manner. Blog hops offer the opportunity for authors to focus on the last two.

This blog hop consists of hopping from one blog to another, and discover new works of literature, as well as works in progress. As a blog hop participant and/or visitor, it’s almost impossible not to find some fantastic works of fiction that you will hopefully enjoy. Some of which are still being written, whereas some are just being released. I would like to thank Scott Prussing, for inviting me to participate.

In this blog hop, each authors answers a few predetermined questions, which will reveal bits and pieces about their current novel or their next big thing. As always, I not only welcome but encourage comments, feedback, and any questions you may have.

Below, please find a list of the authors-bloggers I have tagged for next week. Stop by their blogs next Wednesday, November 14th, to read about their works in progress and/or new releases:

List your five selected author’s:

1. Karen Dales

2. Elizabeth A. Lance

3. Tianna Scott

What is the title of your new release? The Dragon Dimension (Caught in the Dragon Cove)

Where did the idea come from for the book? My mind.

What genre does your book fall under? Science Fantasy (and yes, it does exist, lol, look it up).

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? Ooh, great question! I’d choose Jensen Ackles to play Mazar, my male-lead, but I’m not yet sure who could play Iax, my female-lead. I’ve actually been thinking about this lately, just for kicks. 😀

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? That’s impossible but I’ll try: Hot dragon-male-shifters, kick-ass independent females, adventure, action, steamy passion, emotions–both good and bad–and even humor; it’s like the spaghetti sauce TV ad says, ‘It’s in there.’ Now you’ll have to get a copy to appease your sudden curiosity.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? I self-published just over a month ago.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? Just over three months, and it’s approximately 446 pages long, and only available in Kindle version for now. I’m diligently working on getting my print copy out. I can’t wait to hold my own book in my own hands, and with such gorgeous cover art (thank you Dave J. Ford) I hope others will also purchase this book. You won’t regret it.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? My new release has recently been compared to The Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey. Talk about the mother of all compliments!

Who or What inspired you to write this book? Nothing, really. It just came to me.

What else about your book might piqué the reader’s interest? Readers have all had one comment in common; my story makes the unbelievable seem possible. And that the male characters know how to treat their females. Both of those things aren’t always easy to bring together, and I’m grateful to those who say I did, and did very well.

Thank you for checking out my blog. I hope to have much more to add soon.

Interview with Ellie James, author of the Midnight Dragonfly series, conducted by Angela McCuen, from Mystical World of Books on Facebook.

Ellie:  Hi, Angela…thank you so much for your interest in the Midnight Dragonfly series, and for these terrific interview questions!

Angela:  First off; when did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Ellie:  I think I’ve always known. I’ve been concocting stories as long as I can remember….I still have several of my earliest creations, such as Monster Falls In Love, and Jacquie and the Swamp. In middle school and high school I was always writing little poems (and even songs!) for my friends, usually about something romantic, and something dangerous! Growing up in Louisiana, my stories always took on a mystical feel, featuring ghosts and danger and all sorts of things that couldn’t be explained, and always, always a healthy dose of star-crossed lovers.

Angela:  Where did you get the idea for the Midnight Dragonfly series?

It was one of those bizarre, unplanned things. A few years ago I wasn’t getting much sleep and woke up one early one morning from one of the most incredibly detailed, vivid dreams I’d ever had. I’d more than just seen a group of teens sneak into an old abandoned mansion–I’d been with them.  I’d gazed into the darkness, and smelled the decay. I’d felt the fear, and the crazy blast of excitement at the prospect of a game of truth or dare.  My heart was still racing when I woke up. The images lingered. I kept thinking about what I’d seen, and from the questions came: What happened next? What if one of the teens was a psychic? What if she saw something…something bad? What if she had a premonition? What if what she saw actually happened?  What if no one believed her, or at least, no one but the last guy she should let herself begin to fall for?

As I answered those questions, the Midnight Dragonfly books were born!

Angela:  What kind of research did you have to do for this series?

Ellie:  Tons! There was research on my characters, with which my nieces (to whom the first book is dedicated) helped me out enormously. I laugh when I think about the random texts they received at all times of the day and night, and graciously responded to, all the way from “what would you say/do if XX happened, to kind (what?) of graffiti is on the bathroom walls at the clubs you go to, to what do you find most romantic in the whole world?

I also did a good bit of research into psychic phenomenon and New Orléans, post Katrina. It was incredibly important to me to paint a portrait of how badly Katrina hurt New Orléans, but also the resilient spirit of the city and the people, and how rebirth and rebuilding is everywhere. As it turned out, resiliency, rebirth, and rebuilding became powerful themes throughout the series.

Angela:  What does the dragonfly amulet symbolize & why did you choose a dragonfly?

Ellie:  It’s one of those serendipity things, actually. I didn’t sit down to write a series with dragonflies playing a key role. But during the first book, Shattered Dreams, I needed Trinity to receive a talisman that belonged to her mother, and the image of a dragonfly popped into my mind. I began researching dragonflies and was blown away at how mystical they are, in particular, how they represented existing in two realms at the same time–and dreaming. For my teenage psychic, who communicates with The Universe through her dreams, this was PERFECT.  A lot of this is explored in the third book, Fragile Darkness, particularly a Native American legend about what dragonflies really are. 🙂

Angela:  Are any of the characters in the MD series based on real life people?

Ellie:  I think there’s little bits and pieces of real people in almost every character I write. It’s not a deliberate thing; it’s just the way characters evolve. I did give Trinity my birthday and made her an Aries, and I do have a lot in common with her, but at her core, Trinity is based on my amazing niece, who I call my daughter from another mother. It is she who insists that Aunt Sara is one-hundred percent me. I didn’t necessarily intend that, but now that my niece has pointed out the similarities, I can see them. As for the guys…aspects of Chase come from guys my niece has dated. And Dylan, well, Dylan is drawn from the qualities I love about a very special guy in my life. 🙂 And then there’s the villains. I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying: Warning: Not only can I put you in my book, but I can kill you, too. 🙂

Angela:  I know you have written under the name Jenna Mills. Why did you decide to change your name for these books?

Ellie:  Its kind of like Bath and Body Works versus Victoria’s Secret: Did you know they’re the same company? There’s some overlap between the two, but the Parent Company wanted each brand to have its own unique identity. This is the same philosophy at the root of Jenna Mills versus Ellie James. My Jenna Mills identity was a well-established romantic suspense brand. My YA novels, while incorporating many of the same elements—mystery, suspense, romance—are targeted to a different audience, so we decided it would be a good idea to create a separate brand and completely delineate the two offerings.

Angela:  What authors are your idols and/or mentors?

Ellie:  Soooo, so many. Early on it was Judy Blume. Later, Stephen King slipped in to dominate the mix. I love the way he does freaky. And I love the way Nora Roberts does relationships. I’m a big fan of thriller author Linda Castillo, and YA author Suzanne Collins. And then there’s JJ Abrams; he’s not a novelist, but he writes TV shows and movies, and wow, do I love the way he tells a story.

Angela:  Where does you inspiration come from for writing?

Ellie:  Everywhere. There’s barely a day I go through when a situation or scenario doesn’t cause my mind to wander, and my imagination to soar.  I have an ongoing Note on my phone where I’m constantly jotting story ideas and question, character profiles, even dialog snippets. I’m a huge What Iff-er, and a huge believer in following your dreams,—my dream has always been to tell the stories that play through my mind. I have a plaque in my office that reads: You’ll always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. That totally resonates with me. You have to try. If you don’t, you’ll never reach your full potential, and you’ll never know what could have been. Each of us is capable of extraordinary feats.  I had no idea what, exactly, to expect when I began exploring the stories in my head (and my heart), but I knew the only thing worse than failure was never trying.

Angela:  What is your favorite book?

Ellie:  The Stand by Stephen King. I love the scenario. I love the drama. I love the characters. The human struggle. The story of good versus evil. Of survival…

Angela:  In the MD series, Trinity has visions. Do you believe that there are people who have the same ability in real life?

Ellie:  I don’t simply believe that—I know it. I have so many firsthand examples, it’s impossible not to believe. When I was fifteen weeks pregnant, a friend “who knows things” told me I needed to prepare myself because my baby would be born early, very early. She told me he was a boy and had an amazing sense of humor and a will of iron, and that he would be okay. Smiling, she tongue-in-cheek warned me about how his bigger-than-life personality would simultaneously turn my life upside down and light up my world.

Two weeks later, at a routine sonogram, the doctor pulled back and informed us of a problem with my pregnancy, gravely warning us that in all likelihood the pregnancy would terminate. I was oddly calm, and refused to believe any of his grim assessments.  My son was born early (30 weeks at less than 2 pounds) but he stunned all the doctors and thrived, and he’s now an amazing, rambunctious four-year old, whose bigger-than-life personality has simultaneously turned my life upside down, and lit up my world.

I could give so many other examples–dreams of family members passing away, and of planes flying into skyscrapers,—I’m absolutely convinced there is far more to the human mind and existence, to our abilities and the invisible bonds that connect us, than Modern Science is able to explain.

Angela:  Just for fun, what is your most quirky habit?

Ellie:  Ummmmm, you really want to know?  I think it’s a tie: I don’t mix my food. Ever. I, um, pretty much eat all of one item before moving onto the next. Even with salads. I’ll eat all the cucumbers, then the tomatoes, then the olives, before finally eating the lettuce. I crack my husband up. 🙂 The other is…my closet. I color code my clothes, and arrange the colors from light to dark, starting with the whites and ending with the blacks. I, um, basically thought everyone did this, but in college I learned that wasn’t the case. It still baffles me that people don’t. I mean, it’s so much easier to find what you want when everything is organize. 🙂 🙂 🙂 Yeah, I know. OCD, a little?

Lol! Well, there you have it folks!! Thank you so much for doing this interview Ellie!! You have given us, especially me, a real in-depth look into who Ellie is and what the Midnight Dragonfly series is all about!! I especially love this series and it has been really awesome to be able to jump into your brain and learn how it all came together!! Below is some more info about Ellie James, such as where you can follow her on Facebook, and info on the second book, Broken Illusions. Be sure to check it out!! 🙂

~Angela, Mystical World of Books

About Ellie James:

Most people who know Ellie think she’s your nice, ordinary wife and mom of two young kids. They see someone who does all that normal stuff, like grocery shopping, walking the dogs, going to baseball games, and somehow always forgetting to get the house cleaned and laundry done.

What they don’t know is that more often than not, this LSU J-School alum is somewhere far, far away, in an extraordinary world, testing the limits of possibility, exploring the unexplained, and holding her breath while two people fall in love.

Regardless of which world Ellie’s in, she loves rain and wind and thunder and lightning; the first warm kiss of spring and the first cool whisper of fall; family, friends, and animals; dreams and happy endings; Lost and Fringe; Arcade Fire and Dave Matthews, and last but not least…warm gooey chocolate chip cookies.

You can follow Ellie on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Midnight-Dragonfly-Books-by-Ellie-James/154988421236309

Her current book, the second in the Midnight Dragonfly Series, BROKEN ILLUSIONS, is available from Griffin Teen May 8, 2012.

About the Midnight Dragonfly Series:

Glimpses. That’s all they are. Shadowy premonitions flickering through sixteen year old psychic Trinity Monsour’s dreams. Some terrify: A girl screaming, a knife lifting, a body in the grass. But others–the dark, tortured eyes and the shattering kiss, the promise of forever–whisper to her soul.

They come without warning. They come without detail.

But they always mean the same thing: The clock is ticking, and only Trinity can stop it.

Find out how in Broken Illusions!

 Please click here to see my awesome interview conducted by my friend and fellow writer, Samantha Combs. What a wonderful and positive personality she has, and so generous, too! Check it out, comment if you will, and please let us know what you thought of the interview. While you’re there please take a look around to see her other interviews, and check out everything else she has to offer on her blog… 

Bored and need new reading material? Check out Samantha Combs‘ debut novel; I know she’d be thrilled if you took a gander at Spellbound (on Amazon.com), or went to Astraea Press to get your own copy of her book. When you’re done with that, hop on over and visit her Facebook Fan Page!

Thank you and enjoy!

*Daily Journal* – July 6, 2011, Live Interview via Facebook Chat, with Ressa Empbra, Author of

Caught in the Dragon Cove:

Interviewer: Mellenee: 

I’m here to visit with the Author, herself, who’s agreed to do an interview:

Welcome Ressa.

Ressa Empbra:
Hi, Mell. And thank you for doing this interview.

Mellenee:
Not a problem, I’m glad to be doing this.

Ressa Empbra:
Me, too!

Mellenee:
So, Ressa, would you like to tell us a bit about your book?

Ressa Empbra:
Certainly. Where would you like to start?

Mellenee:
Well, start off with the fact that you’ve done everything backwards.

Ressa Empbra:
*Laughing* How do you mean?

Mellenee:
Well, you started off with your chapters, before your prologue, or introductions. Why is that?

Ressa Empbra:
Ah, I think I get what you mean. Well, it’s kinda strange, I’ll admit, but for some reason when I write a novel, I’m usually a good ways into it before the prologue actually comes to me. I was awake reading another author’s novel 1 night, at about 4-am, when inspiration hit! All I had was my BlackBerry, so I used the ‘notes’ feature, and entered almost 5,000 words, which ended up being my prologue. I wasn’t even thinking about my novel at the time, but when it hits, ya gotta run with it…

Mellenee:
Well, thank you God for your BlackBerry.

Ressa Empbra:
Amen sister! *laughs*

Mellenee:
And yes when ideas hit, you gotta run with them.

Ressa Empbra:
Absolutely.

Mellenee:
So, Ressa tell me a little bit about your protagonist, and what made you choose her and her background.

Ressa Empbra:
You’re speaking of Iax?

Mellenee:
Yes, I am.

Ressa Empbra:
Every time I start to write, I truly have no idea of what’s going to come out. I just start
typing, and it’s like watching a movie playing in my head, I don’t know from one word to the next what’s going to happen. After I get really rolling, obviously things start coming together and I get more of a base to create a story-line.

Iax, to me, is kind of a representation of so many women in the world these days. Whether it’s how someone actually is, how they want people to perceive them, or simply how one would love to be. Personally, I would love to be more like her. She’s tough, smart, strong, doesn’t take any crap from anyone, and just in general, fun to be around…

Mellenee:
She sounds like a very interesting woman, to say the least.

Ressa Empbra:
Yes, to say the least…

Mellenee:
So, now I’ve also read in your book about the girl called Gemma. She is a traveling companion.

Ressa Empbra:
Yes, LOVE Gemma! She doesn’t even know some of the most important things about herself, yet, but on this particular journey, she finds out some of them. She’s more of an anomaly; as Iax can travel, or rather, ‘appear’ in different Realms and Dimensions, Gemma just always happens to be there to help guide her through whatever job she’s there to do. She’s also saved Iax’s life several times, and the pair have become pretty close friends. Yes, she’s kind of a space-case, but extremely wise and knows all the things Iax doesn’t, about where they are and how to get the jobs done.

Mellenee:
Yes, so I’ve read. Gemma seems to be pretty lost in her own thoughts sometimes. Also, to quote Iax from your book:

“You’re on the money honey. Men pull some pretty lame shit to get women. I don’t know what the hell they’re thinking, either. If some jack-fuck decided he wanted me, and I was already taken, he wouldn’t stand a chance. What a dick-move, I can’t stand shit like that. Stealing me would only serve to piss me off, not to mention my own man… if I had one.”

What do you think men who read your book will have to say or think, about that passage?

Ressa Empbra:
If men do read it, like actually read the whole novel, and I hope they do, I think they’ll
be fine. But, initially, I think they’ll see that she has trust issues, amongst others. There are many things not revealed in the first couple chapters, and many more that haven’t even been put into print, yet. I feel it’s similar to many novels out there; men who don’t trust women; women who don’t trust men, then ‘things’ happen and feelings can change. *shrugs*

Mellenee:
Yes, I can see where this comes from. So, tell me how did you think of the landscape?

Ressa Empbra:
I think men and women alike have mixed feelings when it comes to the opposite sex, some deal well, others, not so much. Sometimes it takes huge events to change that. As for the landscaping; again, I just saw it in my head. I love greenery, bright colors and all of that, so it was sort of easy.

Mellenee:
Did you get inspiration for other books, maybe books that you would tell others to read? Also, how many chapters are you really planning on doing, and is this going to be a series?

Ressa Empbra:
Yes, I’ve already written another novel before this one. I’m still in the editing process,
but hopefully it won’t take much longer to get into the publishing part. As far as this novel, I don’t know exactly how many chapters it’ll end up being. At this point, I can guess that it’ll be at least 25-30. And yes, this is the first in the series.

Mellenee:
Well then, for your readers, I’m sure that is great to hear. I’ll be looking forward to reading more of your works. I personally enjoyed this.

Ressa Empbra;
Thank you. I’m looking forward to writing more, and I really hope people do enjoy my works. I’ve enjoyed it, too!

Mellenee:
But let me ask you this: how long have you been in love with Dragons?

Ressa Empbra:
*Laughing* I’ve always loved Dragons. Not sure why, but they’re fascinating to me. So mysterious and beautiful… What’s not to love? *smiles*

Mellenee:
Yes, that is true, many fantasies have Dragons in them.

Ressa Empbra:
Yes, and that’s what I meant, ‘fantasy’ Dragons. I’ve seen pictures/drawing of some that are utterly terrifying, lol!

Mellenee:
So, what is in the works for your next novel? What other novels are you thinking about writing? Maybe some Romance, or Drama, or even Darker Fantasy?

Ressa Empbra:
I plan to do the second in this Dragon series. I’m still on the fence over who’ll be the main character. But, I can say, it’ll either be Gemma, or a character who’s only in a small portion of this novel named Jolsynn.

My other novel that I’m still editing; The Krascheam Chronicles: Guided, (read the prologue and first chapter at the link), is actually pretty dramatic, a little darker, definitely hard to describe, there’s a lot to it. But, yes, I plan to do all of those. In time.

Mellenee:
Well, I’m looking forward to this.

Ressa Empbra:
Thank you, so am I.

Mellenee:
Then, I will keep everyone up to date on your latest works, when they come out. Your readers, as well as myself, are sure to anticipate their arrival.

Ressa Empbra:
I appreciate that. A self-publishing author can use all the help she can get…

Mellenee:
Is there anything else you’d like to add before we wrap this up?

Ressa Empbra:
Yes, and thanks for asking. To even contemplate just how deep and mysterious Gemma really is, just check out her full name. It should give everyone a small idea of how great a story I can write on just her: Leua-Menarius-Gemmall-Naustaurial-Hannah. That’s not even in this novel, just a sneak-peek for Gemma’s story… *winks*

Mellenee:
Thank you for sharing that tidbit with us, Ressa. It is a very nice, very long name .

Ressa Empbra:
The naming of characters is one of my favorite parts. *Laughs* You’re welcome, and yes, it is quite long. Just as ‘different’ as she is…

Mellenee:
Well, being unique is good, makes you stand out.

Ressa Empbra:
I love unique. I pretty much base all of my works on unique. *smiles*

Also, I would love to urge everyone to check out my group page, and read what I’ve posted there. Passing the word around would also be greatly appreciated. I’m so excited to get it done and published, and I only hope everyone likes it!

Mellenee:
Well, thank you for joining with us today. That was Ressa Empbra, Author of Caught in the Dragon Cove.

Ressa Empbra:
Thank you for doing this interview. I am forever grateful and appreciate your time!

Mellenee:
Again, not a problem Ressa, I’m glad to have you with us.

Ressa Empbra:
Wonderful! No problem. And, you conduct a great interview!

 

Everyone, please check out my blog and my FB Group Page below!!

https://ressaempbra.wordpress.com/

http://www.facebook.com/groups/206315256073749

THANK YOU!!!!

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