Toni Lesatz: On Being an Award-Winning Blogger, Author, and Her Love/Hate Relationship with Halloween

There was no way I could do this annual post without including Toni. Not only is she a fellow author and blogger, award winning I might add, she’s also my Internet friend. We all have them; that friend you met online and wished they lived next door.

When I was starting out as an Indie Author, Toni one of the first Bloggers to take a chance on reading my book and leaving me a review. That might not sound like a big deal to some, but for a fledging author, it’s big news! Especially when that blog is My Book Addiction.

My Book Addiction started 4 years ago this week! Happy Blog-iversary, Toni! Tired of food blogging, Toni started a book blog and the rest is history. I think it was the right decision considering how many followers she has and winning, not one but two, awards at UtopYA. Just like with anything an artist creates, her blog is her “baby.”

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Toni Lesatz is a wife, mother, author, reader, blogger, gamer, coffee addict, and lover of the culinary arts. Her short stories, Ashes to Ashes and Dead World, published in fall 2014. She is currently writing full-length novels to continue both stories, as well as a YA dark fantasy book.

Toni lives in Michigan with her husband, children, and her dogs – Lucy (Chihuahua) and Harley (GSD). If she’s not writing or curled up with a book, you’ll most likely find her playing with her kids, baking cupcakes, or killing zombies.

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After Tomorrow Anthology on Goodreads

Author Questions

A. When did you realize you wanted to be an author?

T. I knew I wanted to be an author when I was about twelve years old. I carried a notebook around with me, always jotting down short stories and writing poetry.

 A. In what genre do you write?

T. Horror, post-apocalyptic, and paranormal

 A. Is there a genre you haven’t written in, but want to?

T. Science Fiction, but I’m too afraid I’ll screw it up. Ha!

 A. What is your writing process? Such as, outlining, freehand, computer vs paper and pen?

T. My writing process is a mess. 🙂 I’ve tried outlining, and sometimes manage to do it successfully, but I’m more of a just-start-writing kind of girl. I hate writing by hand now, which I wouldn’t have guessed when I first started writing. All of my writing must be done on a computer.

A. Who are your writing inspirations, famous or not?

T. Jonathan Maberry, Melanie Karsak, Claire C. Riley, Colleen Hoover

A. How much research, if any, did you have to put into your novel(s)?

T. Sometimes I don’t do any research. Some stories just pour out effortlessly. I was, however, writing a YA dark fantasy novel that is now gone forever because my computer died and I didn’t back it up. *queue the ugly cry* That book included a great deal of research. More than I’ve ever done for any project. I get a bit weepy whenever I hear about the area my story was set in, or get Facebook notifications from the gallery I handpicked from Google maps. I’d love to write it all over again, but I’m not quite ready to climb that mountain just yet.

A. Oh man, that sucks! I too have lost a good bit of writing due to technology (or maybe it was me) failing. It will make you cry!

A. Do you listen to music while you write or edit? If so, who do you listen to?

T. I do not listen to music. I write in absolute silence. While I love music and find it very uplifting, it distracts me when I’m writing.

A. When you’re not being an amazing author and writing away, what do you for fun?

T. Spending time with my husband and kids doing just about anything is fun for me. We spend a lot of time at church, and love to spend the day shopping – even if it’s just window shopping.

A. What has been the most exciting experience for you since starting your writing career?

T. The most exciting experience was being published. There’s no feeling more intense than the adrenaline rush mixed with nausea that washes over you in huge waves the night before a release. It may be a tie between that and attending UtopYA in Nashville for the first time and winning two awards for my book review blog.

A. I remember that! You do have an amazing blog so it was well deserved!

A. Who created your amazing cover art?

T. I had nothing to do with the covers for either anthology, but my next cover will be created by Lori Parker at Contagious Covers.

A. I love Lori’s covers! She’s the best!

Halloween Questions

A. This is a Halloween blog post so you must tell us, do you enjoy Halloween? Why or why not?

T. I love Halloween and hate Halloween. Ha! I love the idea of Halloween, but hate that it’s usually cold and raining here in the Metro Detroit area. It also upsets me that stores sell kids Halloween costumes for $50 each (minimum) for two hours of use, and it’s usually something that’s inappropriate or it’s too cold to wear without a coat over it anyway. But I love baking pumpkin seeds (hate carving pumpkins) and I enjoy handing candy out and checking out the costumes.

A. Do you have any Halloween traditions?

T. Baking pumpkin seeds happens every year at my house.

A. What is your favorite scary movie and/or book?

T. The most current movie to scare me was The Conjuring. An older movie that scared me is the first Nightmare on Elm Street.

Books? Wow, there are just too many to start listing them. I love the horror genre, so I spend a lot of time with my nose in horror books.

A. Most importantly, what is your favorite Halloween candy?

T. Hmm. I don’t know. My daughter’s can’t eat peanuts so, as parents, we have to eat the Reese’s cups and Snickers bars for them. Hehe. I love candy corn, but can only tolerate a handful before nausea sets in.

A. Reese’s rocks! 🙂

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Happy Little Horrors Anthology on Amazon

Reader Questions

A. What author would you geek out over if you met them in real life?

T. Jonathan Maberry and Isaac Marion

A. Hands down, what is your favorite book of all time and why?

T. I don’t understand the question. Ha! There’s no way I can pick just one book. One book that comes to mind is We are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt. It has nothing to do with horror or Halloween, but it has stuck with me since reading it in 2014. As an author, I wish I could write something like that.

A. What book would you like to see in film or do you believe that books should be left alone?

T. I would LOVE to see Until the End of the World by Sarah Lyons Fleming made into a movie. I’d also love to see The Harvesting by Melanie Karsak and Odium by Claire C Riley. Oh, and Donners of the Dead by Karina Halle.

I’ll stop now. So sorry. 🙂

A. As a reader, what about a book turns you away?

T. Sex, for no reason at all. I’m not a fan of adult books, honestly. I love middle grade and YA books. I realize there is sex in YA, but it’s not over-the-top sex just to have sex on a page.

A. I agree! Why does it have to be over the top anyway? *shrugs*

A. If you find you can’t get into a book, do you put it down or be a trooper and finish it?

T. I used to try to be a trooper, but I have so many books that if I tried to finish every book that didn’t interest me, I wouldn’t only have to leave my TBR list to my children in my will, I’d have to leave it to their children as well. Ain’t nobody got time for that. 😉 Ok, I never say that. I don’t know why that just came out.

A. Do you stick to one genre or do you like to read around?

T. I read a lot of different genres. Horror, paranormal, fantasy, science fiction, contemporary, romance. I have to mix it up now and then or it gets stale.

A. Are you a book-in-your-hands reader, e-booker, or both?

T. I used to be a book-in-my-hands reader, but now if I have the hard copy it sits on my shelf to look pretty next to all of my other books and I will buy the Kindle version to read.

 Random Questions

A. Favorite movie?

T. Star Wars (most of them)

A. Favorite TV show?

T. The Walking Dead

A. Love this show. Even when it rips my heart out, I love this show.

A. If you could eat one dish for the rest of your life, what would it be?

T. Hummus and garlic paste with fresh, warm pita bread.

A. What’s your favorite dessert?

T. Lemon anything and Crème Brule

A. What band or musician can you listen to over and over again? You can list more than one.

T. John Mark McMillan, Bethel, Twenty One Pilots

A. What’s your hidden talent?

T. It must be hidden really well. I have no idea. Sleeping for long periods of time? Binge-watching shows on Netflix? Oh, I can paint my nails on both hands without issue!

A. You can paint your nails on both hands without a problem?! Tell me your secret!

A. What is your dream vacation?

T. Anything that doesn’t involve camping! Lol. I’d love to travel to overseas. I’ve never left the states.

 

Contact Information:

Author Name: Toni Lesatz

Blog: My Book Addiction http://mybookaddiction.com 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tonibookaddict/

Twitter https://twitter.com/Toni_BookAddict

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8936634.Toni_Lesatz

Book Links:

Happy Little Horror: Freak Show – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23381058-happy-little-horrors

After Tomorrow Anthology – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23718387-after-tomorrow-anthology

 

Rhiannon Frater: Zombies, Vampires, and Ghosts, Oh My!

Asking Rhiannon Frater to be a part of this Halloween themed Author feature was a no-brainer. Her book, The Living Dead Boy, has stuck with me from the moment I turned that last page. The world(s) and characters she creatures is evidence of her immense talent. I have been a fan of the zombie genre for so long that it’s hard to surprise me, much less, impress me. When a friend (thanks Elyse) suggested this book I went into it with an open mind, but still not expecting much. I was so wrong! The story was fresh and mature despite the young age of the main character. I became an instant fan. There is much more to her writing credits than zombies. What else does she write? You’ll just have to find out!

Rhiannon Frater is the award-winning author of the As the World Dies zombie trilogy (Tor) as well as independent works such as The Last Bastion of the Living (declared the #1 Zombie Release of 2012 by Explorations Fantasy Blog and the #1 Zombie Novel of the Decade by B&N Book Blog). She was born and raised in Texas where she currently resides with her husband and furry children (a.k.a pets). She loves scary movies, sci-fi and horror shows, playing video games, cooking, dyeing her hair weird colors, and shopping for Betsey Johnson purses and shoes. She’s the co-host of the ZCast, a Z Nation Fan Podcast.

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Here are some free books by Rhiannon. Thanks for sharing these with us!
The Tale of the Vampire Bride – http://bit.ly/talevb1
the-tale-of-the-vampire-bride
In Darkness We Must Abide- http://bit.ly/RFindarkness1

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Author Questions

 

A. When did you realize you wanted to be an author?

R. From the moment I understood what a book was. So…toddler age? As soon as I learned to talk I was telling stories. As soon as I learned to write, I was writing stories. I was born to do this.

A. In what genre do you write?

R. I write under the umbrella of speculative fiction. I used to classify myself as more of a horror writer, but the genre, as defined now, leans more toward the slasher/gore type stuff. That isn’t my style. I don’t like writing for shock value. I love writing about people facing horrific situations, and fighting back.
So which genre do my books fit into? I’ve had long discussions with readers, and have discovered that they slot my books it different genres. Urban Fantasy, paranormal fantasy, dystopian, post-apocalyptic, science fiction, and even paranormal romance. I honestly think the only series I’ve written that fits paranormal romance is In Darkness We Must Abide, but people interpret the books as they see fit.

So I wave the speculative fiction flag and let readers decide for themselves.

A. Is there a genre you haven’t written in, but want to?

R. Well, I used to say science fiction, but I’ve now written a few books that fit into that genre. It is my first love, and I have a soft spot for it. I love writing stories with something otherworldly in the mix. I’m not really interested in genres outside of the ones I’ve already explored. I’ve had requests for erotica and romances, but those are just not my thing.

A. What is your writing process? Such as, outlining, freehand, computer vs paper and pen?

R. I dream a story. I write down the details I remember in Workflowy. I let the idea germinate. When the time is right, I flip on the movie screen in my mind, watch the action, and type it out in yWriter. I don’t outline, I don’t plot. Whenever I hit a snag, I ruminate while playing Guild Wars 2. I try to write every day when working on a book because that’s the best way to keep the story flowing. I now keep Pinterest boards for my works in progress, and I noticed that really helps anchor me solidly to the world of my imagination.

Long, long ago, I wrote by hand, and destroyed my wrists and my basal thumb joints. I can barely write by hand anymore, so I’m strictly an ergonomic keyboard girl.

A. Writing can do a number on your wrists! 

A. Who are you writing inspirations, famous or not?

R. The Bronte sisters, Jane Austen, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Agatha Christie, and Neil Gaiman.

A. How much research, if any, did you have to put into your novel(s)?

R. It depends on the book. If they take place in the modern world and in Texas, it’s pretty easy to just bang that out on the keyboard. The Pretty When She Dies trilogy and As The World Dies trilogy were a lot easier to craft because they both fit that criteria. The Mesmerized was inspired by my honeymoon in Las Vegas, so I kept images of the strip and a map on my screen while writing. The Vampire Bride Dark Rebirth trilogy was a lot more demanding because it takes place in Eastern Europe during the Regency Era. I did probably a year of research before I even started the first book. My husband often helps me with weaponry and tech. Though my science fiction books are pure speculation of the future, I do try to base it off of stuff in development now.

A. Do you listen to music while you write or edit? If so, who do you listen to?

R. It really depends on the book. For Pretty When She Dies it was a lot of PJ Harvey, Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, and music like that. For my recent book, The Lament of the Vampire Bride, it was the Jane Eyre soundtrack. It’s always changing, book to book.

A. When you’re not being an amazing author and writing away, what do you for fun?

R. I binge-watch television shows with my hubby, read, play lots of video games, and hang out with loved ones. I was really ill last year and still recovering, so I’ve been a homebody. I do hope to get out more and do some traveling when I’m back to normal. I miss the convention circuit.

A. Conventions are so much fun! I hope you get back to it soon. 

A. What has been the most exciting experience for you since starting your writing career?

R. I was invited to the South Dakota Book Festival, and that was just an amazing experience. I was interviewed on television about my books for the first time, sat on some panels, did my own presentation, and did a mass book signing. For some reason, that weekend made me feel like a “real” writer.

A. Who created your amazing cover art?

R. Claudia McKinney of PhatPuppyArt has done a lot of my covers, including the ones from Permuted Press. My Tor covers are done in-house by their art department. My foreign editions are also done by my publishers’ art departments.

Recently, my husband has been creating covers for my indie books.

A. Is there an artist, book blogger, editor or anyone else that you want to give a shout out to?

R. Well, I love Felicia Sullivan. She’s an amazing editor. And Kody Boye always makes my indie books look amazing. He’s an awesome formatter.

A. Give us a brief description of your WIP (work in progress) or your newest novel.

My newest release (as of October 25th) is Lost in Texas: The Living Dead Boy 2. It’s the sequel to The Living Dead Boy. It’s a zombie book geared at all ages. I would describe it as the Goonies versus the zombies. I wrote the first book for the youngest zombie fans, but adults really love it, too. The books are about Josh, a twelve-year-old zombie fanatic, and his friends. They’re part of the Zombie Hunters Club, and love all things zombie. When the undead invade their school, the kids have to rely on their knowledge of zombies to survive. Though the books are not as gory as my adult zombie series (As The World Dies trilogy, The Last Bastion series), they’re pretty scary. I’m currently working on the third book in the Living Dead Boy trilogy, Journey Across Zombie Texas, to round out the series. After that, I may take a break from zombies, and write a gothic horror novel.

A. I’m so pumped for book 2 for The Living Dead Boy!

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The Living Dead Boy on Amazon

Halloween Questions

A. This is a Halloween blog post so you must tell us, do you enjoy Halloween? Why or why not?

R. Halloween is a way of life for me. I love it. I’m Goth so it’s basically Christmas for me. Furthermore, I was married on Halloween so it has additional importance.

A. Married on Halloween!? That’s awesome! 

A. Do you have any Halloween traditions?

R. My hubby and I usually go to a nice dinner together, and if it’s on the weekend, we hit the local goth club. If it’s a weekday, we usually watch a Halloween themed movie like The Nightmare Before Christmas.

A. Do you believe in the spiritual realm?

R. Absolutely. I have zero doubts about that.

A. Have you ever had an encounter with a ghost or something happen that you just explain?

R. Yes. More times than I can relate. I lived in two haunted houses. After a while, the paranormal stuff became normal. I remember we had guests over one day and were chatting in our living room. From the kitchen came the sound of every single dish, pan, glass, silverware, etc., falling out of the cabinets. It was deafening. But to my family, it was the same old, same old. We ignored it because we knew if we went into the kitchen nothing would be out of place. Our guests were surprised when we shrugged off the noise. They ignored us when we said it was nothing, and ran to the kitchen. When they saw that not one plate was out of place, they freaked out and fled. And never came back.

We just carried on as usual.

A. That’s freaky! 

A. What is your favorite scary movie and/or book?

R. I have too many favorite scary movies to pick from, but the scariest book I read was Salem’s Lot by Stephen King. I couldn’t sleep with the lights off for a few days after finishing it.

A. I’ve never read the book, but the 1979 movie really freaked me out! 

A. Most importantly, what is your favorite Halloween candy?

R. I avoid sugar, but I used to love candy corn.

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Pretty When She Dies on Amazon

Reader Questions

A. What author would you geek out over if you met them in real life?

R. Anne Rice. Without a doubt.

A. Hands down, what is your favorite book of all time and why?

R. Jane Eyre because of Jane Eyre. Jane is just an amazing woman, and one of the first feminist characters I read about. She’s wonderfully complicated and smart. I just adore her.

A. What book would you like to see in film or do you believe that books should be left alone?

R. I regard films as alternative universes to books. In a way, they’re fan fiction films. The one book I really wanted to see as a film is now in production. That’s The Gunslinger by Stephen King.

A. As a reader, what about a book turns you away?

R. I have a long list. LOL. I really hate when author’s make a woman angry all the time with a chip on her shoulder to make her appear “strong.” No, that just makes her an asshole. I hate when a plot depends on a misunderstanding that would be resolved in a one minute conversation. I also don’t enjoy books that depend on violence for shock value, or use rape of a woman as a plot device so the male character can get revenge.
A. I agree. I don’t think like senseless, unnecessary violence. 

A. If you find you can’t get into a book, do you put it down or be a trooper and finish it?

R. Life is too short. I have learned to walk away. As a writer, I’m aware that a book is not for all readers. Each one has its own audience.

A. Do you stick to one genre or do you like to read around?

R. The books I read for enjoyment have a supernatural or science fiction element. When I research, I cast a wider net.

A. Are you a book-in-your-hands reader, e-booker, or both?

R. Since I wrecked my hands by handwriting my first books in my teens, I use a Kindle. It’s a lot easier to hold. The last time I read a regular book, I was in so much pain I had to buy the Kindle version to finish.

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Pretty When She Kills on Amazon

Random Questions

A. Favorite movie?

R. Night of the Living Dead, Aliens, Rear Window, That Touch of Mink, Mad Max Fury Road, and so many more.

A. Favorite TV show?

R. Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

A. If you could eat one dish for the rest of your life, what would it be?

R. My mom’s spaghetti and meatballs.

A. There’s no cooking like mom’s cooking.

A. What’s your favorite candy/dessert?

R. Chocolate gelato served in Italy. Nothing compares.

A. What band or musician can you listen to over and over again? You can list more than one.

R. Nine Inch Nails, The Cure, Depeche Mode, and PJ Harvey are default.

A. What’s your hidden talent?

R. I’m a damn good shot with a pistol.

A. What is your dream vacation?

R. Venice in October. I can’t wait to go back.

A. Me too! 

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Pretty When She Destroys on Amazon

Contact Information:

You can find her online at:

Website: rhiannonfrater.com

Twitter: twitter.com/rhiannonfrater

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/rhiannon.frater

Tumblr: http://rhiannonfrater.tumblr.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=340109912&trk=spm_pic

Google+: https://plus.google.com/113336058823746385572/posts

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Rhiannon-Frater/e/B0027DLFL6/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2310121.Rhiannon_Frater

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/rhiannonfrater/

Email: rhiannonfrater at gmail.com

 

 

Call For Submissions-What Lurks in the Dark Anthology

What Lurks in the Dark

Halloween Anthology

 

Authors A.G. Porter and E.A. Kelso are compiling a Halloween themed anthology and we want to add your story to our collection!

You’ve heard the stories, read the books, and watched the movies, but we want to know which classic monsters keep you up at night.

Is it vampires, werewolves, zombies, or maybe even ghosts?

Whatever it maybe, we want your take on these classic ghouls. Tell us what monsters lurk in your darkest fears!

But, here’s the deal, it has to have a modern twist or a new spin.

Meaning, it can range from having your monsters set in the modern world or something we’ve never seen before.

Submission Open: February 1, 2016
Submission Close: June 30, 2016

Release Date (Estimation): October 1, 2016

 Payment: $10

Length: Max 15,000 words

*Will accept Horror, Supernatural, Science Fiction, Fantasy, or anything relating to a classic monster theme.
NO EROTICA
PG-13 Rating

 Submission Guidelines:

1. Word document submission
2. Times New Roman
3. Font Size 12
4. Double spaced
5. In subject line: E&A’s Halloween Anthology, Title of your story, Your name
6. Email to: whatlurksinthedarkanthology@gmail.com

*Any manuscripts submitted incorrectly will be rejected
*We reserve the right to refuse any story submitted without explanation

What Lurks in the Dark

Femnista~A Family Affair and Beyond Blood with The Winchesters

In December I was able to contribute an article to the wonderful online magazine Femnista about my favorite TV show Supernatural! I can’t thank Charity Bishop enough for letting me sneak in at the last minute on this issue. There was no way I was going to miss out on the chance to write about the Winchesters!

Before you get in the to wonderful magazine, please take a moment to check out more of Charity’s work. She is also an author who is beyond talented!

http://www.charitysplace.com/

To see the full magazine that is full of articles that are focused on this month’s theme, “A Family Affair”, go here:

http://issuu.com/femnista/docs/nov_dec_femnista_2014/0

Beyond Blood

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For some, there is nothing we wouldn’t do for our families. Without a doubt we’d walk through fire for them, take a bullet them, or walk through hell and back. If you’re a Winchester then you’ve probably done all of the above and more than once. That’s because The Winchesters aren’t your average family. They come from a long line of Hunters, people who make it the family business to hunt things (monsters and demons) and save people.

S6

The dynamics of the Winchester family can seem to be all over the place. John, father of Dean and Sam, is more or less a absent parent after his wife, Mary, is killed. He is so consumed with finding the demon (you read that correctly) that killed Mary that at times he leaves his young sons to fend for themselves. While this forms an unbreakable bond between the boys it also creates a strain that same relationship.

S1

Dean sees his father as the man who did what he had to do to find justice for his mother’s killer even if that meant leaving him to take care of Sam from time to time; at least for a while. Sam can’t seem to see past the fact that his dad was gone most of the time. Their relationship is rocky from the start, but regardless of that, Sam loves his father.

S11

S5

Dean, who is several years older, starts looking out for his younger brother Sam (Sammy) at such a young age that it is pretty much ingrained in him. When his mother is killed, it takes place in their home; Dean must take Sam, a baby at the time, outside to safety. From that moment on, Dean feels that he must take Sam under his wing and keep him safe. In any situation that the boys are in Dean is always looking out for his brother. That is why he sacrificed so much, even his own soul for him.

S10

For Sam, he wanted to get out of the monster hunting business and live as normal a life as possible. For a while, he was able to, but he’s a Winchester and a Hunter and happiness just isn’t in their cards. Sam, as goodhearted as he is, is marked from a child to do bad things and be a dark person, but he chooses the light and overcomes his fate. While he is the baby brother he is smart, selfless and brave; Sam works just hard to prove himself as a worthy Hunter as well a human being.

S9

As opposite as Dean and Sam are, there is one thing that both of have in common, it is the love they have for their family. Here’s the thing about the brothers, family is more than blood to them. They’ve adopted family members along the way and those same people have adopted them. From a surrogate father in Bobby Singer, brothers like Kevin and Cas, to a kid sister like Charlie, the brothers give love and love in return. So, yes, Supernatural is about brothers who fighter the forces of evil and happens to look fantastic while doing it, but it is also about brothers who have given their all in every way imaginable.

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*I do not own the rights to these photos