I’m Entering the Harrowing World of Marketing…Advice Needed, Please!


Hello, all! As you might have read, I am now an indie published author of a lovely Latino Christian fiction novel entitled, Vivir el DreamI am excited to announce that I have sold over 100 books so far! And readers have expressed an overwhelmingly positive response. People are asking what’s next. And while a great part of me wants to work on that next project, there are still plenty of people who haven’t read this book yet and I must find a way to get to there. So, to quote Shakespeare, “Ay, there’s the rub…must give us pause…”

I have a few leads on what to do for marketing but I would love to hear from friends and other bloggers about what has worked best for you.

So, comment away!!!

A War of Deception: An Interview with Local Author P.A. Duncan


When retired U.N. spy Mai Fisher leaves a diplomatic reception on a cold, rainy night early in the new year of 2001, she dashes for the first cab she sees. The driver has a tattoo Mai has seen before on Serbian paramilitaries. Suspicious, she forces him to admit he was waiting for her–to deliver her to the Russian Mafiya.

After almost 40 years as a spy for the United Nations Intelligence Directorate, Alexei Bukharin is glad to be alive to enjoy time with his wife, Mai Fisher, and to finish raising his college-student granddaughter, Natalia. When Mai calls him out of bed to bring her dry clothes after she takes an information drop from a Serbian diplomat, he discovers she’s suffered something that can be death for a spy, retired or otherwise: Someone knows her true identity.

A raid on the Mafiya apartment where Mai was to be taken uncovers something more devastating. The thugs have a photograph of Natalia at her university. The investigation becomes two-pronged: Who burned Mai, and why is the Russian underworld interested in Natalia?

Their investigation uncovers a Russian mole in the FBI, one who has been selling America’s secrets to the Soviets and the Russian Federation for more than 20 years. When Alexei discovers the reason behind the interest in Natalia, he realizes a decision he made in 1974 has come back to haunt him.

Personal needs, professional standards, and a choice from the past collide in a war of deception.

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Hello there! I’m so glad you are joining me today to learn about your first full-length novel, A War of Deception. Tell me a little about the book.
A War of Deception is about a retired spy getting burned (i.e., her true identity revealed), and the investigation into that leads to two subplots that end up being related. The tag line is: “Past and present. Fathers and sons. Retribution and revenge.” That pretty much sums it up. It is based on a real event in 2001, the discovery of a Russian mole in the FBI who’d been selling secrets for almost three decades.
You have also written several novellas and short stories. Are the same characters in all of them or are they different?
The same two principle characters, U.N. spies Mai Fisher and Alexei Bukharin, show up in all of them (except for a collection of literary short stories titled Fences), and they’re joined by a large cast of supporting characters: analysts, enemy agents, friends, lovers, adversaries. It’s a lot of work to keep them straight.
Where do you get the ideas for your stories?
From recent history and current headlines. I’m a student of history and politics (domestic and international), and world events appeal to me. I’ve written a lot of fiction about the Balkan wars in the 1990s and the Troubles in Ireland. My characters start out as spies in the Cold War and have to make an adjustment after the fall of the Soviet Union, and I deal with that in my work as well. And, of course, this past presidential election is fodder for all sorts of fiction. I’m sure every thriller writer is salivating over what comes next. Indeed, I’ve written (and published) a short story (“Brave New World” in Spy Flash II) and a novelette (Who Watches the Watchmen? and its soon to be published sequel, Hidden Agendas) about the 2016 election.
Do you have to do a lot of research or is this subject area one you have extensive knowledge about already?
Well, I’m not a spy–or maybe I am. LOL. I have to research tradecraft in different eras extensively because I want the stories to be authentic. My history degree helps, but I still have to research technology, customs, clothing, etc., for the time period I’m writing in. In my case, a lot of it is a walk down memory lane, especially looking at 1980s and 1990s fashions. Did I really wear things like that?
If your book was made into a movie, who would you like to play your main characters?
I’m a big fan of Viggo Mortensen. A great actor and easy on the eyes. When I saw him in Eastern Promises, he became my model for Alexei Bukharin. Imagine Mortensen with hair like the scientist Michio Kaku, and you have Alexei. Mai Fisher has always been harder for me to “cast.” I’ve seen her in Angelina Jolie (Lara Croft movies and Salt) and Cote de Pablo (formerly of NCIS). Having recently seen Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot would be a great contender for Mai in the 1980s and 1990s. Other people have suggested a young Helen Mirren.
And in theat movie, would the Russian parts be dubbed with thick accents or subtitled? (Okay, this is just a personal bias of mine. I want Russian with subtitles! hahaha!)
Well, Alexei has a slight Russian accent, but there are long exchanges of dialogue in Russian, so subtitles would work. 🙂
So what’s next for you? Do you have more novellas or short stories coming out or more novels? Anything in the works?
I’m always working on short pieces. They are great diversions when I get blocked on a novel. I have a couple of straight literary fiction novels I’d like to pitch to agents, but the big announcement is starting in April of 2018, a four-book series (aka a tetralogy) will begin, based somewhat loosely on the siege at Waco and the Oklahoma City bombing, though both those events have been “moved” to other locales for decency’s sake. I’ll continue to do NaNoWriMo, so I’m pretty much set with a backlog of manuscripts.
So, you’ve pretty much had one of the coolest careers prior to being a writer of anyone I know. Can you tell us a bit about this?
I held a number of jobs in the Federal Aviation Administration for thirty years, including reporter, editor, aviation safety inspector, and finally Flight Standards chief of staff. I was your basic bureaucrat for most of it, but I got to do a lot of interesting things: accident investigation, task forces, special investigations, and so forth. It was a good career, and I still keep my eye on pilot and flight attendants when I’m on an airplane. LOL.
Tell us something interesting about yourself that people might not guess.
I’m certified in the Commonwealth of Virginia to perform weddings. I specialize in nondenominational or humanistic weddings. A lot of the couples I’ve married have been from mixed religious backgrounds but who want a ceremony that’s spiritual but doesn’t favor one religion over the other.
If you had to go undercover as a spy, what would be hardest for you and why?
The lying–to your family, to the people you’re trying to recruit. I’m a lousy liar myself, so I’d likely not be successful at it. The deception, particularly with a spouse or your family, is something I’d find hard to overcome.
Thank you, P.A. Duncan!!!
Get your copy of A War of Deception here: http://bit.ly/PADuncan

Maggie - Me

P. A. Duncan is a retired bureaucrat but one with an overactive imagination—at least that’s what everyone has told her since she first started making up stories in elementary school prompted by her weekly list of spelling words.

A commercial pilot and former FAA safety official, she lives and writes in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. A graduate of Madison College (now James Madison University), she has degrees in history and political science. Politics and history manage to work their way into her writing.

She is president of the Virginia Writers Club, one of the oldest writer organizations in the country.

Her fiction has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies. When not writing, reading, reviewing books, singing in a UU choir, watching the Yankees, or cheering on Dale Earnhardt, Jr., she delights in spoiling her grandchildren.

Connect with P.A. Duncan here:

Http://www.facebook.com/unspywriter (Facebook author page)

@unspywriter (Twitter)

@PADuncan1 (Instagram)

The Demon Duke: An Interview with Local Author Margaret Locke


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Behind every good man is a great secret.

Banished to Yorkshire as a boy for faults his father failed to beat out of him, Damon Blackbourne has no use for English society and had vowed never to return to his family’s estate at Thorne Hill, much less London. However, when his father and brother die in a freak carriage accident, it falls on Damon to take up the mantle of the Malford dukedom, and to introduce his sisters to London Society–his worst nightmare come to life.

He never planned on Lady Grace Mattersley. The beautiful debutante stirs him body and soul with her deep chocolate eyes and hesitant smiles. Until she stumbles across his dark secret.

Bookish Grace much prefers solitude and reading to social just-about-anything. Her family may be pressuring her to take on the London Season to find herself a husband, but she has other ideas. Such as writing a novel of her own. But she has no idea how to deal with the Duke of Malford.

Will she betray him to the world? Or will she be his saving Grace?

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Thank you, Margaret, for you allowing me to interview you today!!! Tell us a little bit about your newest book The Demon Duke.

How did you get the idea for the book? 

My son has Tourette Syndrome. A few years ago, he announced he’d never have a girlfriend, much less get married, because “nobody would want him.” It broke my heart – and still does. So I decided to craft a book in which a duke with Tourette’s (though it wasn’t called that in the Regency period) finds the love and acceptance he’s always wanted.

If your book was made into a movie, what actors would be in it?

 Oh, this one is easy! Ian Somerhalder and Nina Dobrev of Vampire Diaries fame were the physical inspirations behind Damon Blackbourne and Grace Mattersley. J

 Bradley James and Colin Morgan would play James Bradley, Duke of Arthington, and Morgan Collinswood, Marquess of Emerlin, respectively. Hugh Jackman inspired Deveric Mattersley, and Reese Witherspoon makes a perfect Eliza Mattersley.

 I have other family members cast in my mind, and have pinned many of them to Pinterest boards – though of course I hope readers make up their own people in their minds if these names don’t fit for them!

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Should people read the other books in the Magic of Love series or is this a stand-alone book?

The Demon Duke is the first in my Put Up Your Dukes Regency series and is a stand-alone, without any of the magical elements that pop up in my Magic of Love series. However, our bookworm heroine Grace is the sister of Deveric Mattersley, the hero from A Matter of Time. So if you’ve read that book, you’ll have fun seeing familiar names and places in this one, but it’s not necessary to have done so to enjoy the story on its own.

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You are starting to become pretty popular and winning some awards. What is that like for you?

 Surreal! That I have readers who rave about my books still feels totally bizarre. Though I think I have a ways to go before you could truly call me popular. But it’s a dream come true to have people read my work and like it enough to want to read more. I hope I can keep living up to their expectations!

What would be your favorite and least favorite things about living back when The Demon Duke lived?

Favorite? Likely the furnishings. Yeah, I’m a weirdo. The furnishings, that is, if I were rich – more likely I’d be a barmaid or a seamstress or something, and then life would be much less fun. My least favorite thing? Lack of air-conditioning, modern medicine, and showers. Oh, that’s more than one? Well, they’re all important! 😉

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 What else are you working on right now? Will there be more Magic of Love books coming soon? 

 I do have at least one more in the Magic of Love series planned, maybe two, but as to when it will appear, I’m not sure, as I’m thrilled to be part of an upcoming series of books based on legendary figures with fellow Regency authors, and so therefore I need to work on that first so I don’t let the crew down! My contribution will be The Legendary Duke, set to debut in June 2018.

 I also want to write a short story or novella about the origins of the magical manuscript that first appears in A Man of Character.  And then there are several side characters in both my Magic of Love series and my Put Up Your Duke series whom I feel need their own stories told, but whose tales likely won’t contain magical elements or dukes, so, well, new series remain to be born!

 Thank you, Margaret! Can’t wait to read it! Get your copy today by clicking on the link below!

Amazon: http://bit.ly/TheDemonDuke

B&N: https://www.books2read.com/u/4DAddP

iTunes: https://www.books2read.com/u/4DAddP

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-demon-duke

Margaret - MLPic
A lover of romance novels since the age of ten (don’t tell her mom!), Margaret Locke declared as a teen she’d write romances when she was older. Once an adult, however, she figured she ought to be doing grown-up things, not penning love stories. Turning forty cured her of that silly notion. Margaret is now happily ensconced back in the clutches of her first love, this time as an author as well as a reader.
Margaret lives in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley in Virginia with her fantastic husband, two fabulous kids, and three fat cats. You can usually find her in front of some sort of screen (electronic or window); she’s come to terms with the fact that she’s not an outdoors person.
Margaret loves to interact with fellow readers and authors! You may find her here:

Website/Blog: http://margaretlocke.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorMargaretLocke
GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/MargaretLocke
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/margaret_locke
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/Margaret_Locke
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Margaret_Locke

COVER REVEAL: Vivir el Dream


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Vivir el Dream, my Latino Christian fiction novel, is set to release on Amazon in book print and ebook on May 20th.

It’s been over five years and literally thousands of hours of work to get it ready for this moment. And it’s starting to feel real! I got the cover, I’m picking out dingbats and fonts for formatting, and I’m only six chapters away from the end of the final edit. One day soon I will hold the completed book in my hand (I’m sure there will be a post for that day as well!)

I am thankful for my husband for painting the picture for my cover. He did an awesome job! 🙂

If you want to follow what’s going on with my book more closely and find the buy links, head over to my Facebook author page.

Embrace the Fire: Interview with Local Author, Tamara Shoemaker


Wanted by King Sebastian, Kinna, the long-hidden daughter of the assassinated King Liam, flees for her life, determined to seek out her twin brother and free him from Sebastian’s dungeons. Meanwhile, the King holds Kinna’s adopted father as collateral to ensure she keeps her betrothal to a man she does not love.

Once cursed by King Sebastian to turn everything he touched to ash, Ayden suffers from new, searing pain that heats his flesh in a different way. Searching for answers, he digs into the histories of West Ashwynd’s Clans, and his discoveries lead him to the Amulet he’d thought had rid him of his curse. When he finds a rare Mirage Dragon, hope for vengeance upon Sebastian fills him again.

Captured and stripped of his power as Dragon-Master, Cedric resists using his Dragon-speak to advance Sebastian’s political aims. When he escapes the King’s clutches, he resolves to find his twin sister, Kinna. But the enemy has a long reach, and Cedric’s chains are unrelenting.

Ice and agony torment Sebastian, King of West Ashwynd. His fury rages unabated as he prepares for war. When treachery leeches into his ranks, he turns against everyone he trusts. Sebastian believes he cannot be outwitted, but…

Kingdoms rise and fall; wars transform nations—but who can survive the fires of Dragons?

Well, hello, author friend, Tamara Shoemaker, how lovely to interview you again. 🙂 I’m excited to hear all about your newest book, Embrace the Flame. What is the Heart of a Dragon series about and what can readers expect from this second book?

My Heart of a Dragon trilogy dips into the traditional fantasy realm with a medieval-esque setting and fantasy creatures galore (including but not limited to dragons, griffons, sirens, phoenixes, direwolves, ogres, centaurs, and pixies). It follows the footsteps of four main characters, three of whom find themselves oppressed beneath the rule of the fourth, the King of West Ashwynd, a man named Sebastian. Throughout the trilogy, passions collide as Kinna, Ayden, and Cedric fight to bring justice and equality for the mistreated and downtrodden under Sebastian’s rule. Building to an roiling climax, nations clash in epic warfare until the skies light with Dragonfire and justice finds its end. But will those who seek what is right find it without perishing in the attempt?

You’ll have to read the trilogy to find out. 😉

Embrace the Fire readers can expect an uptick in action from the first book, Kindle the Flame. There will be tastes of two countries embroiled in war, more fantasy creatures introduced, a good in-depth look at dragon psychology and reproductive habits, and an increase in romantic tension for two certain members of the cast. Overall, I think it’s one of the best books I’ve written; I can’t wait to hear how readers enjoy it!

 

Will readers need to have read the first book or can they just embrace this new one, hehe?

Haha! How very punny of you. 😉 Granted, Embrace the Fire will make much more sense if you’ve read the first book and are familiar with the world and the characters introduced in Kindle the Flame. That said, each of my books follows an intrinsic plot-line, meaning there is a plot that rises, peaks, and falls in every portion of the trilogy while at the same time maintaining the overarching plot. Readers will be able to follow and enjoy the single-book plot-line, although they may get a little confused about terms like psuche (a person’s soul-connection with a creature) or taibe (magic) or the various kinds of Dragons (Mirage, Ember, Poison-Quill, Nine-Tail), etc. They would still be able to pick up the storyline fairly quickly, though.

 

If your book was made into a movie, who’d play the main characters?

Oooh, I love questions like these! 🙂 And how handy that I made a storyboard for myself complete with the movie characters I picture in these roles. Hence:

Kinna: Emma Watson (aka Hermione Granger of Hogwarts)

Ayden: Jensen Ackles (aka Dean Winchester of Supernatural)

Julian: Ben Barnes (aka Prince Caspian of Narnia)

Lincoln: Chase Crawford (aka Billy LeFever of Blood and Oil)

Ashleen: Priyanka Chopra (aka Alex Parrish of Quantico)

Lianna: Amanda Seyfried (aka Karen Smith of Mean Girls)

Nicholas Erlane: Liam Neeson (aka Oskar Schindler of Schindler’s List)

Sebastian Andrachen: Christian Bale (aka Alfred Borden of The Prestige)

Cedric: Zac Effron (aka Jason of That Awkward Moment)

 

When did your crazy obsession with dragons begin?

It’s a fairly recent thing. I’ve always enjoyed reading about them, of course, but in the same way I enjoy reading about the action that a predator brings to a scene (most of the dragons I met before my trilogy were Tolkien-esque). When I started thinking about this trilogy and figuring out my plots and storyline, my Dragons started taking on sympathetic traits. I view the ones in my books much as I would a pet dog. I just want to hug them, scaly though they are. They’re adorable.

 

If you were a dragon, what kind of dragon would you be and why?

Hahaha! Who says I’m not? 😉 I would totally have to be a Mirage Dragon, as they are, by far, seriously superior to their brethren among the Embers, Poison-Quills, and Nine-Tails. All four kinds have some really cool abilities and traits, but the Mirages are just kick-tushie wonderful. Why would I be a Dragon? I think you’re asking the wrong question. Why would I not be a Dragon? I mean, really. How cool would it be to soar through the skies all day with an almost impenetrable defensive coating that no one would dare attack? 🙂

 

I know I’ve asked this question before but I find myself continuously surprised at your ability to churn out writerly (and let’s not lie, personal) awesomeness time after time. How do you find the time to be such a prolific writer?

Tama ReadingI don’t. I mean, I am a prolific writer, but you’re asking me where I find the time, and I have no idea. I have three young kids and a husband who occasionally enjoy eating and/or a clean house, and I have no idea where my writing time comes from. I sit down during any snippets of freedom I get to write, and sometimes the words come and sometimes they don’t, but I always, always keep plugging away at it. I sometimes feel that if I stop, I’ll never start again, and I can’t imagine that happening, so I never stop.

This is good and bad. On one hand, many books of mine find their way through the publishing process, but on the other, my life seems to have hit a permanent fast-forward button, and I can’t seem to find the normal play option anymore. 🙂

 

Also, as a budding novelist myself, I’d love to hear about how you cracked into the market and how you built up your fan base.

Tama at Book Signing

I’d love to say that I hit the jackpot with millions of readers suddenly lining up at the bookstores for the first copies of my new releases, but that’s certainly not true. In reality, it’s a gritty, slow, tiring, frustrating process. It’s talking to one person and finding later that day that they’ve “liked” your Facebook page. It’s contacting an old friend and telling them what you’re doing, and finding a month later that they’ve read your book and left a review. It’s day after day after day of seemingly fruitless tweets and posts and interviews and contacts, and maybe never hearing anything back.

In the end, it’s the peace of knowing that you’re doing what you love most to do, which is creating a work of art that is truly worthwhile to yourself. If others happen to enjoy it, that’s icing on the cake. 🙂

 

Last but not least, please craft a haiku about dragons. 7/5/7 in case you’re rusty…:-)

Roaring smoke and flame,

Betwixt jaws of all the same…

Roasting marshmallows. 😉

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Tamara Shoemaker lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with her husband, three children, a few jars of Nutella, and a never-ending carafe of coffee. She authored the Amazon best-selling Shadows in the Nursery Christian mystery series and Soul Survivor, another Christian mystery. Her fantasy books include the first two books of the Heart of a Dragon trilogy: Kindle the Flame and Embrace the Fire, as well as Mark of Four and Shadows of Uprising, the first two books in the Guardian of the Vale trilogy. In her spare time, she freelances as an editor for other works of fiction.

Follow her on social media:

Twitter: @TamaraShoemaker

Website: www.tamarashoemaker.org

Facebook: www.facebook.com/tshoebooks

 

 

Interview with Tamara Shoemaker: Author of Mark of Four


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  1. Tell me a little about who you are and what you write.

I’m a bookworm masquerading as a wife, mother of three, writer of books, freelance editor. Imagination is my middle name. Or chocolate, one or the other.
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  1. How did you get into writing?

It’s always hard to know how to answer this. I’ve doodled stories from little on up, but didn’t actually finish a novel until 2006. It took me six years to find a publisher, but I loved the creation of novels so much, I haven’t stopped making books since.

  1. If you were on a deserted island, what three books would you bring with you and why?
    1. How to Build a Boat and Other Interesting Things You Can Do with Palm Fronds – for obvious reasons.
    2. 1001 Travel Games – in case of boredom
    3. 400 Ways to Cook Seaweed – for, you know, the meals I’ll need to host.TamaraShoemaker-300dpi-3125x4167(1)
  2. Give us an idea of what Mark of Four is about.

Seventeen-year-old Alayne Worth wields four elements in a world where all other Elementals wield only one, and every force on CommonEarth, both good and bad, wants to use her talents with fire, air, earth, and water. How will she survive the struggle for the power she possesses?

  1. What books are similar to Mark of Four?

A test-reader just got done reading Mark of Four yesterday and gave me his opinion. “It’s Harry Potter meets Avatar,” he said. As a lifelong Harry Potter fan and a loyal follower of Avatar, I’ll take that as high praise.

  1. If your book gets made into a movie, who would play the main characters?
  • Alayne – a slightly younger Adrianne Palicki (Bobby, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
  • (Diving into the cartoon world) Marysa – Rapunzel from Tangled (with shorter, dark hair)
  • Jayme – Flynn Ryder, also from Tangled
  • Kyle (Departing from the cartoon world again) – Luke Mitchell (Lincoln, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
  • Daymon – Theo James (Four, Divergent)
  • Manders – Robert Downey, Jr. (Tony Stark/Iron Man, The Avengers)
  • Malachi – Woody Harrelson (Haymitch, Hunger Games)
  1. What are some of the other books you have written?

I have four mysteries out: my Shadows in the Nursery series, and another mystery, Soul Survivor. This past summer, I released the first book of my Heart of a Dragon trilogy, Kindle the Flame, and its sequel will follow in March of 2016. Mark of Four is the first book of my Guardian of the Vale trilogy.

  1. How do you juggle being a stay-at-home mom and an amazing author?

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Sheer insanity. Lots of coffee. And an understanding and supportive husband.

  1. Name your favorite animal and why…(this was a sneaky, three-point question…) 🙂

Gorillas fascinate me. When I visit the zoo, they are the one animal that I would sit and watch for hours, if I could. Of course, I’ve never cuddled with a gorilla, so if I ever had the chance, it’s possible I would choose the more normal cat or dog answer.

  • Could you give me three words that say what you like about a gorilla?
    • Gorilla: Three words or three phrases? I’m having trouble coming up with anything besides big, hairy, or funny for the words. Phrases could be: a.) He plays peek-a-boo with my kids and saves me a whole lot of energy, b.) he picks his nose just like my son, and c.) he uses his toes like fingers. Wish I could do that. 🙂
  • Okay, so using your phrases about your fav animals (big, hairy, funny, plays peek-a-boo, picks his nose, uses toes like fingers) – tell me how those characteristics relate to you.
    • Hahaha!! Hmm, I’m not very big or hairy, but I do have an occasional funny moment. I play peek-a-boo with my kids, but not as well as said gorilla. In shocking news, I have picked my nose before, but have trouble using my toes like fingers–they just don’t have that piano flexibility that I’ve developed with my hands. 🙂
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  1. Who inspires you?

I am amazed every week by the work of the Flashdogs, writers from around the world who come together online to offer pieces of absolutely stunning work on various flash fiction sites. When I hit writer’s block, I go search for their work, and generally reading over their stories shatters the wall, and the stories begin flowing again.

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Tamara Shoemaker lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with her husband, three children, a few jars of Nutella, and a never-ending carafe of coffee. She authored the Amazon best-selling Shadows in the Nursery Christian mystery series and Soul Survivor, another Christian mystery. Her fantasy books include the beginning of the Heart of a Dragon trilogy: Kindle the Flame, as well as the upcoming Guardian of the Vale trilogy.

Follow her on social media:

Twitter: @TamaraShoemaker

Website: www.tamarashoemaker.org

Facebook: www.facebook.com/tshoebooks