Sunday, December 11, 2011

Interview with Author Lee-Ann Graff-Vinson

It is a beautiful and cold morning in Dallas, Texas and I'm holding a cup of coffee in my hand while my eyes are fixed on my Kindle. In my home, this very moment belongs to Author Lee-Ann Graff -Vinson’s book 'Callie’s Fate. '

In some point of our lives many of us invested time, emotions, and money in relationships that became disappointing and painful. The question is how many people after this experience found it hard to move on with their lives? Regardless of the answer, there is something we all can learn from Callie--never close your heart to new opportunities and never stop believing in true love.

It is my pleasure to welcome author Lee-Ann Graff-Vinson to my blog.
      Many writers I know either write early in the morning or late at night, what time works best for you to unleash your creativity?

Writing occurs at night after the kids have gone to bed (and preferably to sleep). It is then I relax and focus my thoughts properly with little or no interruption (at least for an hour or so until the puppy demands my attention).

          Every November thousands of writers take part in a month long challenge, write a novel in 30 days. What is your opinion about this “speedy” writing and how much time do you think is needed to write a quality book? 

NaNoWriMo was introduced to me around September. I’d never heard of it prior and wondered if it was truly possible to create a novel in 30 days (or less). Not being one to back down from a challenge, I accepted and actually managed to complete it in 29 days.

What is my opinion as to the quality of work produced? Well, with no time for research, an outline or character descriptions, it was just pure writing with zero chance for editing. I opened up my brain and thoughts spilled out. As I typed the last sentence of the first draft of my novel, I knew there were errors, places where I would need to do a lot of research, rewrite, or simply cut all together. However, the final outcome is one I’m happy with. Dare I say proud of? I haven’t looked at the manuscript since completion, so my pride may dispel quite quickly once I do.

The challenge to write a novel in that short span of time, truly gave me a sense of what I can accomplish if I put my mind to it. Now, I find writing one chapter such a simple task, even relaxing, as there is no push to get it done in one night (even though I know I could if I had to).

     Could you tell us more about “Callie’s Fate?” In what way does such an appealing book cover match the story?

My books generally touch on subjects that are realities of life. Sometimes I can be a bit harsh in my character situations. I have been told to tone them back because people won’t want to read the truth as I see it. Fair enough. ‘Callie’s Fate’ was born out of the current reality of internet romance. We know it happens, so why not write about it?

As for the book cover, well, I bow down to my fabulous editor/book cover designer extrodinaire. Judging by the amount of “likes” the cover has received, I do believe she’s worked her magic yet again.

        You are currently attending Winghill Writing School. In this field, what do you think is more important, talent or education? 

Talent is definitely a must. No amount of education will enable you to write an exciting tale if you have no talent for storytelling. However, education is the backbone to polished and knowledgeable work. When I began my path, I believed anyone could write. I was na├»ve. Anyone who is talented can write, but not necessarily publish. Education and talent go hand in hand in producing a work that publishers want and readers can’t get enough of.

       Most of us have some pieces of work somewhere on the back of our shelves that we hope one day we will get back to it. Do you have any of those too?

I have two. The first novel I wrote is about my Mother -- her life and her death. After writing “the end”, I have not opened the cover of the printed, copyrighted manuscript that sits in a box in my basement. The piece is close to my heart and one which I want to honour. When I have the “education” I’m seeking, I will go back and edit. I suspect it is a work that will take me a very long time to perfect.

        If you were to be creative in some other field, what would it be?

There is no other field. Writing is my passion.

      You favorite book/author?

I still seek my muse. However, there are a couple of GSP Authors who get my vote.

       Do you have current work in progress?

I have a few. The book completed for NaNo, ‘Love Under Fire’, is the sequel to Love and Liberty (to be out in 2012 through Gypsy Shadow). I am currently working on the third book in that series. As well, I have begun writing a paranormal military romance novel with my critique partner. I will also be editing a memoir for a friend for publication. Just enough to keep me out of trouble…

Here is a sneak peak at Callie’s Fate:

When Callie takes the red-eye home to surprise her husband for their anniversary, she finds the surprise is on her. She watches as a blonde tart in six-inch heels teeters out from her home and toward a cherry-red Mustang, which is parked in her spot.

Enraged, Callie does the only thing she can do. She drives to her favorite coffee house, scrolls through divorce lawyers who claim to eat cheating husbands for breakfast, and cries. Her only consolation is Christian, a Marine, whom she befriended on a chat site almost a year earlier.

While waiting for her marriage to end, Callie agrees to finally meet Christian in person. She has always been a woman in control, but the mere touch of this man has her begging for more. Christian is only too happy to oblige, leaving Callie agreeing with the motto ‘The Few and The Proud’. She has never experienced a man who could make her see stars, but Christian does his duty, and does it well.

Unhappy circumstances bring them together. A week of sexual bliss makes it impossible for them to part, leaving them to wonder how they can, once again, test the hands of fate.

All of Lee-Ann Graff-Vinson’s books are available through Gypsy Shadow Publishing,, Smashwords, OmniLit, Barnes & Noble and many other fine sellers of e-books. The following are some of the links where readers can connect with this incredible author.

Thank you Lee-Ann for sharing with us today and I wish you all the best of everything.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Interview at Author Lee-Ann's Blog "Writing Commando"

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Author Snjezana Marinkovic was 'Born In Sarajevo'

Ah, Sunday. It has quickly become my favourite day of the week. Why? Because I get to interview incredible authors, such as Snjezana Marinkovic -  woman who experienced life’s atrocities and lived to tell the tale.

Welcome, Snjezana it is an extreme pleasure to host you today.

When you moved to the U.S., you studied criminal justice. At what point did you decide to become a writer?
Writing was not on my forecast (even though, it first appeared with rain and it still often comes with it). This journey of words, papers, erasers, a few acceptances and many criticisms and rejections, started for me when I was twelve years old. As Alice, I stepped into Wonderland and here I am still searching, seeking, and more than ever enjoying every step of it. In a world full of disconnectedness I was lucky to find something to reach out to people, and that’s what writing is for me.

What would you describe your greatest strength to be at this point in your life?
Crossing barriers -- from war barricades to different languages, cultures, beliefs, and many other “borders.”

Who inspires you?
People. Especially when they rush to collect more of material goods while forgetting that inside of them are things that matter most. Love, peace and those little cells which defend our systems from that “enemy” cell. What else is needed? Pen and paper certainly for me (I will not mention keyboards because they belong to those material goods too).

You have done several readings over the past few years. Do you find them difficult to do?
As mentioned earlier, I like to connect with people. It is interesting, but when you are able to make an eye contact with your audience and you realize that at that particular moment they are not doing anything else but listening to you, your thought appears to be much richer, and more beautiful to you.

In 1996, you were awarded the Lazne Prize for Literature. In 2006, you won third place for your poetry. You’ve written poems, short stories, and now have a published novel with my fellow publisher, Gypsy Shadow. As an accomplished author, what advice can you give those just starting out in their writing careers?
I think we all have our own tactics and tools in this process of “shelving” our creative thoughts with different ideas. This as well applies to the stage when we are presenting our work to people other than our family and friends. Don’t be discouraged when someone says your “baby” has big ears, funny eyes, and her words make no sense. Anyway, you are a writer you are not suppose to frame rejection letters you receive in your mind, rather hang them on your walls so they can bring a smile on your face on that day when your qualities are recognized.  

Tell us why you decided to write ‘Born in Sarajevo’.
I started writing ‘Born in Sarajevo’ when I was able to retrieve from my memory some of my writing which was burned in war. Fortunately, I was even able to remember some of the dates. I guess because I was somehow trying to prove to myself that my life existed before I found myself in the middle of havoc.

Here is a sneak peak at ‘Born in Sarajevo:

When first barricades and first gun shots occurred in the capitol of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo, I was seventeen years old. It was the year 1992, and one of the worst mass killings in the history of mankind began. At that time, my family, my friends, my neighbors, and I were still unaware that we will lose all privileges related to peace. People of this country, which was called Yugoslavia, proudly holding the title of the biggest and the wealthiest Balkan country, started losing their freedom, their homes and their lives. I, as any other teen, knew about war only from movies and video games until my first encounter with those whose intention was not to act or play but to overpower, destroy and kill.

 Here is the link for the trailer:

Where can we find your latest achievements?
You can find me at my blog:, my Facebook page: , as well as at Twitter @pjesnik. I just love this virtual world. Recently, a couple of my articles were published at:  

What is next for you?
I am finishing my two books. Both of them fit under the roof of criminal justice. “If” deals with domestic violence. “Just Point At Him” is a true crime story about a man whose voice, after eleven long years, reached the Innocence Project of Texas, and me, to write his story with my hope to knock at a door of ignorance and pierce through the silence that surrounds it. 

Thank you so much for allowing us into your world, Snjezana. It’s been my extreme pleasure to host you today. I wish you every success in the world.
Thank you for coming into my world and visit again I am always open to share a word, unless you see that big sign “Don’t disturb, I am writing.”