DR. MEL'S MESSAGE - From my novels to my other projects, no telling what you will read. This is the only place you will get to read about how I developed a screenplay into a novel and what is the driving force. I will talk about many things from films to books to acting to producing. It really will depend on where my mind takes me. I hope you will join me on this journey.
Today I woke up in a great mood after a wonderful night's sleep. However, I did have this really strange dream. You know one of those you know you had, but can't remember. Usually, I remember my dreams vividly and most of my novels have come from my dreams. So, it drives me crazy when I don't remember one. I also get to pack today. Yep! Another working vacation. I am leaving on a cruise to Cozumel with books in hand ready to read. I have a couple of books on my agenda. First, I will finish reading Neuro Confinement by Sophie White, published by Absolute Author Publishing House. This book is awesome and I can't wait for it's September release. So sit tight as we learn more about this book and watch the introductory book trailer below.
I also have another book on my agenda by author Sierra Storm called "Taken by Nightfall." I love a good mystery and a cold case murder story. Learn more about the author and her book below,
Author - Sierra Storm
Name of book: Taken by Nightfall (Book 1 of The Midnight Valley Saga)
Midnight Valley in northern California has more than its fair share of disappearances and cold case murders–usually involving canine bite marks and blood drained from the victims. Violet Miller has every reason to panic when her friend Tristan’s growing obsessions lead him to join the mysterious forest cult in the woods. His personality changes gradually, and he insists that the time for him to back out has already passed. He has become one of them, a creature of the night, as he claims.
Violet sets out on her own to rescue him, but she might already be too late. It isn’t long before she discovers that this group of people are far more dangerous–and enticing–than she could ever have guessed.
Tell your readers a little about yourself, where you grew up, where you live now, where you went to school etc. Let them get to know the personal you.
Where did I grow up? Here and there. No, seriously--I've moved an average of once every two years throughout my life. I've lived everywhere from Southern California to the heart of the Democratic Republic of Congo to where I live now, in beautiful New Hampshire. All that time sitting in airplanes and the cramped back seats of cars taught me to be obsessed with reading and writing, my two constant companions.
Fun facts: the first word I read was the word "lift" on an airplane seatbelt. Years later, I started writing my first book while looking for a way to defeat boredom in a hotel room. It was the one thing I could do that didn't cost money, electricity, or many resources, but could entertain me for hours. And it still does!
What inspired you to author this book?
The Midnight Valley Saga started out as an experience. I first tried my hand at self-publishing four or five years ago (has it really been that long?). I tested several different styles and genres at the time, and I really enjoyed the mystery and allure of paranormal romance. It seemed a fun blend of all the weird fantasy I like with a more grounded setting. I also used the early drafts of the series as a way to practice crafting more memorable characters and balance more emotional story-lines. After putting the series away for a couple years, I decided to re-visit it, fix it up, and get it back into the spotlight. I'm very glad I did!
Where did you get the inspiration for your book’s cover?
I come from a family of professional artists, and I'm not one of them. When I first self-published Taken by Nightfall, I mashed together a couple of cheap stock photos and got mediocre results. This time around, I got to work with an actual book cover designer. I wanted this cover to reflect the mystery and romance of the story but also to hint at the beautiful background of the forests in northern California, where the story takes place.
Who has been the most significant influence on you personally and as a writer?
This is a difficult question because there have been many people in my life who encouraged me to write and grow as a writer. I will say that my husband was the one who really pushed me to out-perform myself. He's a tough critic but very honest, and he really helped give me some more perspective on the emotional growth of the characters and the flow of the plot as a whole.
What were your struggles or obstacles you had to overcome to get this book written?
Where do I start? There was the distraction of other stories I'm also writing. There's been a day job that drains me of energy. For one year I also had carpal tunnel in one wrist, and I still have some atrophy that keeps me from writing as much as I want. I've come to realize that if I want to be successful as a writer, I'm the one who has to prioritize it and practice it. If my day job is hectic, I wake up early to ensure I have time to write. If my wrist is bothering me, I handwrite using an electric pen. I believe the decision to write and to remain active as a writer shouldn't be swayed by circumstance--it's something I have to pursue.
Tell your readers about your book.
Taken by Nightfall is the first book in a series--The Midnight Valley Saga. Our protagonist, a high school senior named Violet, is pulled into the middle of the action when her not-really-boyfriend Tristan announces that he decided to join the strange group that meets in the woods outside of town. It turns out the group is far more than they appear.
A lot of the action in the series revolves around wendigos, werewolves, a sassy seer and a reluctant spirit guide. There's also plenty of moonlight, romance, and a side of vengeance. I'd say more, but then I'd spoil it.
My target audience is people who love paranormal romance and want a slight twist on the stereotypes. I left vampires out because I wanted to write something slightly off-beat but familiar enough for fans of the genre to enjoy. I also have fun world-building and working out the technical and even bureaucratic links that would build a world with many different creatures of the night. I would hope my audience would enjoy learning why a spirit guide might call out sick when meeting a new client--or watching a werewolf laugh at the idea of a human's assumption that vampires also exist.
What do you consider your greatest success in life?
This is another hard one. I think the answer would come down to balance if I had to pick. I know what I love in my life, and I know what I want to protect. I want time to spend with my family and my husband. I want to read, write, and see the world. My greatest success has been my ability to preserve what I hold sacred even when the universe conspires to take it away.
What one unique thing sets you apart from other writers in your genre?
I don't write fan fiction. My stories aren't based on any one thing I've read but on my desire to build characters who will tamper with a well-known genre and find magic around its limits. As a writer, I tend to shy away from comparing my writing with anyone because I don't want to be anyone other than myself. I believe I make that clear through my writing, and that certainly makes it different from the myriad other books available.