Enough rambling! Let's get going.
Jo: LIZ! Welcome to the blog of Jo! It’s super awesome to have you here, and I can’t wait for my readers to get to know you. Ready?
Liz: So ready! Let’s rock this interview!
Jo: And the congregation says, "Amen!" So, a little bird told me your book made it to the semi-finals in the KBR Best Indie Book 2014 Awards. Congratulations! How did you feel when you found out, and which book was it? Why did you enter?
Liz: First off, thank YOU because you were MY little birdie who told me the good news! My standalone title WITCH HEARTS was the submission that made semi-finals and I am beyond blown away by that fact. With nearly a thousand submissions, the fact that my book made it into the Top 20 is a huge honor. I entered mostly just to see how I’d do – I honestly don’t think I expected to make it that far! LOL I think the day I found out, I double- and triple-checked the website to make sure I wasn’t reading it wrong (you know 500 times in a row).
Jo: I know what you mean. The Bird hit the semi-finalist list last year and I stared and stared at the title; wondering if it was really sitting there. How exciting for you! *squee!* Tell me about the section of your website that gives authors tips and tricks on writing (my readers are totally your audience). How did the idea come about, and what do you hope to accomplish with it?
Liz: Part of the reason I write those pieces is for authors like me who are just starting out. I remember googling every little question and sometimes there’s so much information out there you aren’t really sure where to start. My background is in marketing and I’ve been writing for publications on and off since I was a teen, so I’m relatively familiar with tricks we should all learn as indie authors. There’s always room to grow, so I’m always hoping to learn something new to pass along to my readers! I’ve had such great feedback from both writers and readers who get something out of those posts and I’m always tickled to receive an email thanking me for one of them. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy!
Jo: I love to see Indies helping Indies. It makes me happy how we all share. You have really great reviews on Amazon! I have to ask who your editor is. Everyone talks about how well written the books are.
Liz: Thank you! Actually, my editor is my best friend from high school, Morgan Wall. She was a newspaper journalist and editor for several years after college and is now a high school English teacher, so I’m really lucky to know someone with such a keen eye. We’ve always gotten on well due to her blunt honesty and similar humor, so not only do I understand how to take her critiques but I always know that she’s doing everything she can to make the book better (because eventually, I will have to pay her!).
Jo: It's awesome to have such a killer editor in your corner, huh? I have one, too! *shoutout!* She knows who she is. *nods sagely* So, I must know! What magazine do you work for, and how did you get the job? What kinds of things do you enjoy most about working there?
Liz: I am the Social Media & PR Strategist for LeisureMedia360, and we publish several publications, including the Virginia Travel Guide, THE ROANOKER, BLUE RIDGE COUNTRY, and BRIDEBOOK magazines. I’m really lucky in that I love my job – it’s a great 8-5 M-F gig that not only gives me a great writing schedule at nights and on weekends, but also gives me opportunities to meet great people in the area for interviews and networking. It sounds weird to my ears, but here in Roanoke, I’m supposedly a social media expert, so it’s also a good way to tie in what I learn with marketing my writing. I really love supporting my city in such a big media-based way and of course being a magazine writer is pretty much a dream come true!
Jo: What a perfect job for a writer. Hell yes, dream come true. Rock on, lady! Talk to me about getting your BA in English (yeah, I cyber-stalked you a little - don't judge). *grin* What prompted you to major in that subject, and what were your favorite classes?
Liz: I actually started out as a Communications major at Longwood University; I wasn’t crazy about the program, so I figured the next logical step was English because obviously I wasn’t too bad at it ;) I had a few fantastic classes I still think about years later, including my YA Literature class and American Literature with a tough-as-nails teacher who really shaped a lot of my senior year. My creative writing courses were of course favorites too, even if the homework wasn’t for the faint of heart!
Jo: I did almost the same thing (but with different majors). Ha! Cool. Okay, I’ll stop harassing you about your personal life for a moment. *bats eyelashes* Rapid fire question time! Lime green or hot pink?
Liz: Hot pink!
Jo: Sparkles! Amen! Toilet paper - over or under the roll?
Liz: Oh god, over. I’m totally in the middle of a toilet paper war with an unknown coworker who is a MONSTER and puts it under. She doesn’t know about the war, but it’s there.
Jo: I'd be doing the exact same thing. Only I'd call it to her attention. Haha! Puppies or kittens?
Liz: Puppies. My family raised dogs when I was a kid, so my entire childhood was based around puppies!
Jo: Puppy breath! *awwwwww* Now for the time travel question of the interview! Hey, we gotta have a theme, no? If you could go back in time and meet just one person, who would it be and why?
Liz: For real?! Oh my god, that’s too much pressure. Um…normally my celebrity is Justin Timberlake, but I feel like that’s inappropriate here. Someone dead…hmm…how about – no he’s a fictional character, Long…let’s go with Queen Elizabeth I. Can you imagine a woman in her time ruling an empire? I’d love to hear her advice on how to deal with bitchy coworkers. (Fun fact: In kindergarten, I brought in old coins for show and tell, one with Queen E on it. Because I’m also an Elizabeth, my clever classmates called me Queenie until the 8th grade!)
Jo: Now what are the odds that you and I would have the same historical figure? I freaking LOVE Elizabeth I. Obsessed a little. Wrote a huge paper on her in college and made a family tree and everything. Awesome. Oh, and you shall now be called Queenie for the duration of this interview. *evil laugh* Which of your books was the most difficult for you to write? What was so hard about it?
Queenie: That’s a tough one! I’d probably have to say BURNED, the second book in the Donovan Circus Novel. It was a bit tougher than I expected having to pick up in a series – not only do I want a reader to be able to pick up any title out of order and still understand what’s happening, but I also knew there’d be some choices readers would be annoyed about (ie a boy choice when I have two teams) – so I have to leave things open-ended for the third book to let them know a lot more will be going down! It’s fun to think about how things will develop for the characters over time, but you can’t reveal too much or too little. There’s a balance I had to find, but luckily, I think I found it in time for publishing!
Jo: I get the reading out of order and leaving dangles requirement. It's a fine line. Where’s one place you’d like to visit if you had unlimited money? And would you set a story there?
Queenie: I’ve been watching a lot of Outlander lately, so Scotland is pretty high up there. Then again, some of my family is old Irish, so Ireland has always been at the top of my list. And you bet your bonnet I’d set a story there once I visited and had plenty of details to go off of!
Jo: My husband is Irish, and we're planning to visit there later in life. Hope it's all I've built it up to be. Haha! Remember, if you base a book there, you can probably write the trip off on your taxes as research. *grin* Did I miss anything? Something you’d like to add?
Queenie: I’d actually like to let everyone know I’ll have a new book release coming out October 30th called A REAPER MADE. It’s a clean NA Fantasy about a new Reaper who has to go back and save her family from demons. It’ll be available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble in time for Halloween!
Grace had finally gotten used to her new afterlife as a “Made” – a Reaper who used to be human. When Made Reapers and souls begin disappearing, however, Grace and her mentor Tully suspect demons. Grace’s worst fears are confirmed when her living family is threatened.
She’ll have to break every rule in the Reaper book to save them, including using a little magic to become temporarily human. With the help of Tully and her witchy friend Tessa, Grace goes undercover to save the fates of kidnapped souls – only to discover that demons aren’t working alone. Betrayal and distrust runs deep and Grace discovers that sometimes even Reapers are prone to humanity.
Jo: Sounds amazing. I'll be sure and check it out! Thank you so, so much for joining me on the blog today. It was awesome having you here and I can’t wait to squee with you at UtopYA 2015.
Queenie: Thank you for having me! Expect a tackle hug in June!!
Now, it’s time to tell all you lovely readers about the featured book of the week!
Title: WITCH HEARTS
Author: Liz Long
Length (print): 212 pages
Buy links: Amazon ~ B&N ~ KOBO ~ $2.99
How does a witch stay safe if a killer can get through her protection spells?
Witches like Ruby and Courtney can take care of themselves. So when Courtney is murdered, Ruby’s world crashes to a halt. The only thing keeping her grounded is the return of Courtney’s brother, Cooper. He seeks revenge, but Ruby wants to help other witches stay alive. To do that, she’ll have to reunite with her old coven’s High Priest, who also happens to be her cheating ex-boyfriend.
If that wasn’t awkward enough, when the killer gets too close, Cooper temporarily moves into Ruby’s place while a police officer tails her every move. Cooper’s presence distracts Ruby as they fight their desire against their need to stay safe. Then Courtney begins to haunt Ruby’s dreams and secrets are spilled, things from Cooper’s past that could get them both killed. The killer continues to stalk Ruby and the more she discovers, the more she fears she won’t be able to keep her heart in her chest.
While your fingers are in the clicking mode, why not give Ms. Long a follow on alllll these awesome social media sites?
Facebook: Liz C. Long Author
Google +: LizCLong
Goodreads: Liz C. Long
Amazon: Liz Long Author Page
Wait! Don't go yet! Liz has graciously offered to give away a copy of Witch Hearts for one lucky reader.
No, there was no torture involved! Okay, maybe a little...
Now that you know I could get in trouble for my persuasion tactics, don't you want to enter even worse? Perfect! Here you go:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
If you have any questions, pop them into the comments below!
Well, that’s all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!