Category Archives: Confabs

A Confab with author Carma Haley Shoemaker

Hey there, Brownies, guess what’s back? That’s right, I’m starting up the confabs again! This time we’re talking to uber-creator Carma Haley Shoemaker.

Carma has four upcoming releases (like I said, uber-creator) in the next two months, starting with her story Code Red in the Moonlight Mist Box Set.

You can also pre-order the Rite to Reign Box Set for only a buck, and that has over twenty stories, PLUS, if you pre-order, you get some delicious free shit, too. What? Well, how does a free spellbook and more free books strike you? Good? Then click that link and pre-order, then click here and get your free stuff.

I’ve rambled enough about her newest stuff, so let’s see what Carma has to say, shall we?

Chris: Starting off these conversations is always fun, right? Like what question is really the best first question? But, I’ve known you for years, and I imagine some of the Brownies don’t… so, let’s get some of that out of the way. I know you were a magazine writer for a long time, are you still doing that? And with your fiction, what genres do you write in and how long have been writing?

Carma: Actually I am. I do more for online magazines now, but I still write nonfiction on a regular basis.

I guess I’m what they’re calling a cross-genre writer. I write mainly paranormal and urban fantasy, but some of my stories have been known to walk on the dystopian side of things, or mingle with a bit of sci-fi tech. 

How long have I been writing? Well, like many other authors will tell you, I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I still have stories and poetry I wrote in sixth grade! But if you mean in a more professional sense, I started writing magazine articles in 1999, and published my first novel in 2015. 

Whispers of Winter Box Set

Chris: I recently did a blog post on how words matter, where I talked about language and the words we choose or don’t choose impact readers. What was your earliest experience where you learned that language had power?

Carma: I attended a poetry slam (do they still do those?) years ago. One person got on the stage and talked fast, loud, and it was emotional driven. It was impressive. However, the next person took the stage and said five words, using varying tones and emphasis, pausing between each one, and I was moved to tears.

Chris: Following up on the prior question, working within your genres, what type of impact do you want to have on readers? Are you just there to entertain, or do you believe/want your fiction to impart something deeper?

Carma: Does it sound too cliche to say I want to do both? I want my readers to be entertained, smiling, laughing, even gasping as they read my words. But I truly want to offer something deeper. Not a moral lesson or anything, but maybe a better understanding of various situations and issues that they may apply to real life.

Chris: It’s definitely not cliche to want all those things for your readers. Speaking of want, though, let’s lighten it up by going even deeper… What’s your best tip for writing a sexy kissing scene?

Moonlight Mist Box Set

Carma: Oh, great question! My best tip for writing a steamy, sexy kissing scene is to close your eyes, and imagine it’s you. How would you want to be kissed? Think about how it feels, how it makes you feel. Where are your hands? Are you breathing heavy? (You should be!) Now … open your eyes and write it all down.

Chris: See, that was fun, right? Talking dirty for a cause is a great thing. But let’s go back to the serious questions. You’re extremely active in your local writing community. You run several writing groups, you’re an ML for your NaNoWriMo region, plus you’re doing convention appearances now… considering the Great Divide in this country at the moment, how important is it to have a group of not necessarily like-minded creative people working toward a common goal of helping each other succeed?

Carma: I believe it is extremely important to have other creative people around you. The groups I belong to are wonderfully diverse. The members vary in age, race, nationality, sexual orientation,  and backgrounds. We have poets, novelists, and screenwriters. I believe all members benefit from having a variety of insights and opinions. Our diversity contributes to our success.

Chris: Of your new releases coming in the next few months, which are you most excited to see hit the light of day and why?

Carma: I’m really looking forward to the feedback on A SHIFT IN DESTINY, but I would have to say that I am the most excited about TOUCHDOWN DANCE. I allowed myself to open up more with this story and wrote from a place deep inside. It is also my first attempt at writing a “perfectly flawed” (that’s what I call her) character. Sure, my characters have all had flaws, but with Peyton, her flaw is an actual “disorder.” I hope everyone loves reading it as much as I loved writing it.

Scales and Flames Box Set

Enjoyed this interview? Be sure to follow Carma on Facebook and Twitter!
To find all of Carma’s writing, click the link for her Amazon Author Page.

Don’t want to miss another Confab? Use the links on the right to subscribe!
Be sure to LIKE this interview and click those awesome buttons below to share with your friends! (you know you want to…)


A Confab with author Tim McWhorter


Tim McWhorter is one of the quietest, nicest guys I’ve met in quite some time. But you know they say it’s the quiet ones you have to worry about and, with Tim that may be closer to the truth than most people care to acknowledge.

Tim’s third novel, Blackened, just released a few weeks ago and it’s the sequel to the popular (and scary as hell) Bone White. Shadows Remain, a supernatural tale, was released in 2013, and earlier this year saw the release of his short story collection, Swallowing the Worm and other stories. To say he’s been busy is an obvious understatement and I’m grateful he was able to take time out of his schedule to answer a few questions (some serious, one pretty asinine) for me.

Chris: You’re a busy guy. Part of that is, as an independent artist, you have control over every aspect of your work: formatting, layout, and cover design. As a guy with a publisher, I have zero control over format and layout, unless it’s integral to the story, and minimal input on cover design. I love your covers, so tell me where the ideas for those come from. Do they come before the story is down, during the writing of, or are they something you worry about once the writing is done? Also, do you do all the art yourself or do you hire an artist?

Tim: First of all, thanks for the compliment! I appreciate it. Designing my own covers is something I really enjoy doing. It provides an avenue to create visual art to go with my words.

The ideas themselves usually don’t come until the writing process is well underway. As I start to get a feel for the story, potential images and designs start running through my mind. If not a full-blown design, then at least a concept. For example, I’m roughly fifty pages into my next book and as of yet, have no ideas whatsoever for the cover. But that’s okay. It’ll come when it’s ready. I’m a long way off from needing it. When I finally sit down to create the cover, it will most likely end up being a mashup of both original design and maybe a stock photo or two.

For Bone White, I wanted the cover to be clean, portray a sense of innocence and be worthy of making a statement. For the sequel, Blackened, I wanted to show the transition from innocence to a world that has been tainted, while still calling to mind the Bone White cover. I get compliments all the time on both of them, so I think I accomplished what I set out to do.

The only cover I didn’t fully create is Shadows Remain. For that one, I photographed the photos that ended up being used, but hired someone else to put it all together. Even though I’m not solely responsible for that one, it was fun putting it together because I was constantly scouting for possible photo opportunities. After taking over a hundred photos, we ended up using two, and I think the cover came out great.

bonewhitecoverChris: On the subject of artistic inspiration, where did the idea for Bone White come from? After reading it and letting it settle, it had a definite “Turistas” feel to me, and I wonder if it was influenced by any particular news story, movie, or something else.

Tim: I’m glad you asked that question. I love telling this story. The idea for BW originated about twenty years after similar events happened to my friend and me. Let me explain…

In high school during the late 80s, my friend, Rick, and I loved to fish, and we spent a lot of our spare time on the water around central Ohio. There was one evening in particular where we spent a little too much time out. We were at Hoover Reservoir and a big storm was rolling in, and I mean rolling in fast. By the time we realized our motor wouldn’t start, and resorted to paddling, the sky was about as dark a grey as I’ve ever seen without being straight black. The wind had gone from 0 to 60 as fast as a sports car. It was whipping up whitecaps on the water and was threatening to overtake us. Talk about ominous. We obviously hadn’t eaten our spinach that day because no matter how hard we paddled, the wind kept pushing us further and further to the far side of the lake, separating us even further from Rick’s truck. By the time we reached the shore, we were soaked through, exhausted and had no idea where we were. Keeping in mind this was long before cell phones, our only choice was to set out on foot in search of a house with a phone. It all ended well enough. We found a phone, called Rick’s father and we somehow managed to navigate him to the house.

So not only are some of the events in BW pulled from real events, but some of the locations exist as well. Without giving away too much of the plot, the parking lot with the lumpy road leading from it, the long and winding driveway cutting through the woods, even the small cemetery that isn’t quite as described, does exist and still served as inspiration. All of it is out there at Hoover, and I visited several times for inspiration while writing the book. Combining what happened to us with the creepiness of the locations, I just thought it was a great backdrop for a scary story. Hey, maybe I should give moonlight walking tours of all the sites like they do in Salem and New Orleans!

Continue reading