Cool Things Happening! – My Books in Stores (Kinda)

The coolest thing happened a couple days ago! One of my fans, a cool chick named Stephanie, messaged me. First of all, I LOVE when my fans try to contact me, so that in itself made my day! *Waves* HI STEPHANIE!!

Okay, so Stephanie messaged me to tell me that she had gone into a bookstore, Books-A0Million to be exact, and mentioned Core to the main manager of the store. And the manager responded by saying that people had recently been coming in and asking for the Core Series and the System Series by Teshelle Combs.

I don’t need to tell you that I lost my mind!! I couldn’t believe it! People? Asking for MY BOOKS?! Like…people I don’t know?! I wouldn’t be surprised if that came from my mom, or my nana, or my husband, but a fan?! I don’t know why I was so shocked. My fans are AWESOME and I can’t believe I get to interact with them as often as I do. And apparently, some of them thought I was awesome right back.

Oh, the other cool thing? This Books-A-Million is located in Ohio!! I live in Florida (pretty far away, I’d say). So now my crazy brain is imagining BAMs all across the country where fans are going in and demanding they carry my books. *We want CORE We want CORE!* I don’t know if that’s happening or not, but I’ll let myself believe it is.

When I read Stephanie’s message, I dropped my phone, ran into Nate’s (my husband) studio and commenced my crazy happy dance–think a lot of thrusting, flailing arms, and very rapid footwork. My crazy happy dance, henceforth referred to as CHD, tends to frighten people, so Nate was not so receptive to my news at first. But now that I’ve calmed down, he’s very excited for me, like he has to be (because he married me, he married my books; package deal).

So, thank you to Stephanie for messaging me and making me whip out the CHD! Thank you to my other fans in Ohio asking for my books in stores! Thank you to everyone who’s read my stories and liked them! Thank you to every single reviewer and commenter and liker and follower! You make this whole author thing worth it. You are my adventure!

My books aren’t in stores yet, but they will be someday, all thanks to all of you!

Grab the ebooks or paperbacks of my books here 🙂

-TC

Should Authors Sign Up for Tsu?

Tsu.

No…I didn’t sneeze.
Yep…there’s another something for us frazzled authors to keep up with.

But this one just might stick around! Tsu is a brand new social media site, just launched by some serious experts this past October. And it’s getting a lot of buzz.For those who are technologically simplistic (you like how I worded that? Heh heh…), here are the bare basics of tsu, according to my understanding and investigative prowess.

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1. Tsu is an invite only site. If you want to take a look around, here’s an invitation from me: https://www.tsu.co/TeshelleCombsAuthor

2. Tsu is great for people who spend their time promoting or branding themselves. So, if you’re an author like me, you may want to consider that invitation above.

3. You can earn money! Actual money! 90% of the revenue tsu generates is given back to its followers.

4. The more popular you are on tsu, the more money you make. There are two ways to make money: (1) get people to view and engage with your posts (2) get people to accept your invites so you can build your “family tree”

5. Tsu doesn’t pay much, it seems. You will probably make a little coffee money once in a while if you’re good at it. But it’s the opposite of Facebook in one important way…tsu pays you for using it to display your content. Facebook asks you to pay to promote your content.

6. Tsu is new. So it’s hard to explain to people why they should join. At times I feel like a creepy cult leader…”wanna join?” Hopefully this information helps dilute the weirdness of a new thing.

7. Tsu operates with likes, shares, comments, follows, pics, hashtags, and friend requests, but the networking component (family tree) is way more advanced and a little more complicated than expected. You can pick up on it quickly enough, though, and everything else is easy!

In all, tsu is a free service that pays its users for displaying their content. It’s revolutionary and I think it’s rather delightful so far. If I find any snags, I’ll be sure to update you! I’ll post the invite link one more time…and don’t forget to friend and follow me, okay?!

https://www.tsu.co/TeshelleCombsAuthor

Why I’m Excited to See Divergent

Divergent

I’ll confess something to you.

I sort of have a crush on Veronica Roth.

And by crush, I mean she’s my hero and I wish I was her in a lot of ways. Yes, I’m indie all the way and she’s a Harperteen chica, but other than that she’s living and breathing my dream.

What dream? She wanted to write. She wrote. And people can’t stop reading it!

Miss Roth started in her early twenties, fresh out of college with her English degree (just like me!). And she does what she loves for a living. She made it. And the example she’s set as a dreamhunter makes me work hard every day.

Veronica Roth

Miss Roth inspires me to keep writing. Why? Because it actually happens…this crazy dream can actually come true. And someday, someone will read one of my books and believe they can find their dreams, too. In fact, it’s already happening. Right. Now.

So, this Sunday, I’m buying a ticket, plopping down next to two of my squealing-with-anticipation best friends, and supporting Veronica Roth’s baby. I’ll tell you what I think when I see it!

Interview with Steven O’Connor

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Steven O’Connor is the author of EleMental and its sequel, MonuMental. He writes ” Thriller sci-fi/young adult fiction… with a bite of romance,” which to me sounds delicious! He’s also a father, and a social worker (and a pretty nice guy).

So here’s the conversation we had!

1.    Let’s start at the beginning. Tell us about your “aha” moment. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I know exactly when. Spring, 1968. I’m not sure how Aha! it was, though. And it’s a bit of a sad story too. I was at Junior school and I was put on the spot by a teacher who asked me in front of the whole class what I would be when I grew up (not even what I wanted to be). I had been successful with some daffodil bulbs I’d found and planted back at home (another story), and I enjoyed gardening with my mum, so I said, ‘A gardener’.

The teacher proceeded to ridicule me, saying that was a woman’s job. Very wrong on so many levels.

At that time, I had also just finished reading my first ‘proper book’. So I decided I would be a writer instead. But I kept that to myself.

2.    Your debut novel, EleMental, and its sequel, MonuMental, both seem to have very heavy gaming influences. Are you a gamer? If so, what’s your all-time favorite game and why? Do games influence your work?

I haven’t got time to game as much as I’d like to, and I don’t know if I have the right to call myself ‘a gamer’, because, truth be told, I’m not very good. I need plenty of save points. But I’ve been playing video games since Space Invaders. My all-time favorite has to be any of the Halo games and I can’t wait to get into the latest. I particularly love video games where I can immerse myself in another world. It’s like reading CS Lewis or Tolkien. I also love Bioshock and Skyrim. Games that feature amazing other worlds. They are so imaginative. I have also enjoyed all of the Lego games. The last one on Lord of the Rings was a lot of fun.

If you read either EleMental or MonuMental, I think you’d spot a real appreciation of video games from me, both in content as well as in the way I have structured the stories. I have written some scenes in a way that simulate certain video games, such as Super Mario Bros and the Lego games. It was a lot of fun doing that. I won’t say which scenes. Readers should find them themselves. But there are plenty.

I also like stories with depth as well as action. So in the first book, EleMental, I am exploring the idea of someone who has become so addicted to a video game that it kicks in around them at unexpected moments. In the next book, MonuMental (which can also be read by itself) I explore the idea of confusion about who is real and who is a video game character.

I also had a lot of fun describing how video games of the future start up and shut down. In fact, I am keen to make some audio recordings of myself reading some of those moments – so beware!

By the way, I’m in my 50s – I can quite genuinely say I don’t know anyone else my age who games.

3.    So I hear that you’re a social worker, Steven–quite a noble profession. Can you tell us how social work influences your writing and vice versa? Is it difficult to juggle both careers?

Thank you, I feel very committed to my social work. I’ve principally worked in the areas of drug addiction and HIV/AIDS. I now work with schools.

Growing up, I have always loved sci-fi and fantasy stories, but my experience as a social worker is very much present in my writing too. The whole idea of exploring addiction in EleMental comes from my time working with drug users and alcoholics. The complete pattern of addiction right through to recovery is present in EleMental. In my latest book, which is still in draft form, I am writing about a young HIV positive boy who finds himself in a fantasy land. I’m loving writing it.

It certainly is difficult juggling both my writing and social work, and also my family life. They very much blur into each other. I drop into bed at night very late and spring out of bed again before sunrise every day to try and stay on top of it all.

4.    Tell us about the main character of EleMental, Willis. How did you come up with him? How do you think readers will relate to Willis?

Thank you for all of these great questions! I think readers will relate to Willis because he is such a regular kid. He’s not especially brilliant and can be easily swept along by other ‘louder’ kids, especially Zeb. But in the end, Willis has strength and abilities he did not know he had. We’re all like Willis, to some degree. I certainly am, and that’s probably how I came up with him. That little story I told you above about the daffodils (above), for example, is about me, but could easily have happened to Willis.

I have some Zeb in me too, as I reckon we all do. And I think we all strive to be like Arizona. She’s pretty wonderful.

5.    Bring it home, Steven. Give up-and-coming authors one piece of advice, perhaps something that has helped you through your writing career or something you wish you’d known when you started?

Don’t be shy about your writing. I was, for way too long. Shout about it and live it, integrating it into your life. To hell with those who say they are sick of hearing you talking about it. Your writing is a part of the package that is you. Show others. Ignore those who say silly things, don’t get upset with them. But listen first in case what they say does make sense, and you missed it the first time. Sometimes great writing advice can come from others who don’t know a thing about writing. You have to learn to read between the lines, because they do not always know what they are saying either. They simply know they did not like this or that in your writing. And you need to think through to why and decide if you want to make changes based on what you have concluded.

After a while, you’ll come to know how to learn from others’ responses, and grow as a writer. One should never stop growing as a writer.

And finally, always make sure your writing is your absolute best. Reread, edit. Reread, edit. Reread, edit.

Oh, and (fnally finally) grab a good book on writing and read it thoroughly.

 Seriously, some good advice! Thank you for sharing about your work and about your writing process and career! I wish you tons of luck with your upcoming projects and I’m sure we’ll be hearing from you again.

If you want to learn more about Steven or if you’d like to take a peak at his work, visit his website! Also, check out and like his facebook author page to keep up with him!!

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Interview with David Rashleigh

I had the pleasure of dialoguing with accidental author David Rashleigh. David wrote “Sciron,” an interesting tale of history and mystery. Though it’s different than “Core,” Sciron seems like it’s a fantastic read!

About Sciron:

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How can a ghost haunt the top floor of a new building?

A murder victim’s spirit cannot escape the former railway line where he worked and was killed. Other victims of the same incident haunt a young Yorkshire man. A former soldier is researching his father’s disappearance when he stumbles across a wartime act of sabotage. A young couple and their son, unaware of the history of the huge stone wall that faces their flat, receive terrifying visitations. But who was the spy, codenamed Sciron, who was responsible for destruction, betrayal and death?

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Here’s how my talk with David went!

1.      You’re an accidental author, David, which no one will argue is a pretty cool concept. But now that it’s happened, can you tell us how authorship has changed your life?

It might sound like a cliché, but it has opened up a whole new world. I had no idea just how many indie authors there are out there, and how friendly they all are! It has also swept away my avowed intention never to get involved with social media, especially Twitter. It also led to me being invited to speak at a community history event (now that was scary). On top of that, I have made a whole new circle of friends, both online and in person. My family are, of course, totally unimpressed with the whole thing.

 

2.      Your novel, Sciron, seems to be a paranormal tale drenched in history. Can you tell us what the concept of “history” means to you? How did your love of history lead to your accidental authorship?

Technically, yesterday is history. I think that to any individual, the definition of history is itself defined by their own experiences. For anybody under the age of thirty, for instance, the moon landings happened in a different age. For me, they were a time of great excitement; I was six years old when Neil Armstrong uttered that immortal line.

I’ve explained in one of my own blog posts how the original idea for Sciron came about. Essentially, close to where I live are many remnants of a railway line that was closed nearly fifty years ago, and I couldn’t help wondering if the people who live near them, or drive past them, had any notion of what they might be.

3.      Tell us about your upcoming book. Genre? Do you have a potential release date? What should readers expect?

The next book, “Mindblower: Assassin”, is the first of a trilogy. I’ve stuck with a paranormal theme, but it’s a political thriller rather than a ghost story. It’s currently with the editor, but I’m hoping to get it out by the end of July. You can read the prologue on my website.

It is different to Sciron in that it is more graphic. I wrote my first book on the basis that I might want an elderly aunt to read it: the result of that is that it is entirely suitable for almost any age. The Mindblower trilogy is definitely adults only, though.

4.      If you could be one character in Sciron, who would you choose to be and why?

Now, that’s a hard one. I’m torn between the two older protagonists, Jack Rimmer and Cedric Morgan, who have led the most interesting lives. I don’t really want to say beyond that, because the book is a bit of a whodunit and I don’t want to give any of the story away!

5.      Give the writing world one bit of advice, David. What is the one thing you want a hopeful author, accidental or not, to remember?

Get an editor! They are expensive and annoying (no offence, Dea) and seem to delight in taking the outpourings of your soul and ripping them to shreds. But, and it’s an important but, they will have a different perspective on the story and will point out any flaws in the plot. They will also correct your spelling, punctuation and grammar. It’s so exasperating to read a great story that’s badly written.

***

Thank you, David! It was a pleasure interviewing you. Good luck with Sciron and your future endeavors!

And please check out my debut novel, “Core,” before you say goodbye!

Interview with Jennifer Snyder

This week I had the pleasure of interviewing the very kind Jennifer Snyder, NA/YA author of such works as Catalyst and the Marked Duology series.To learn more about her or how you can preview and purchase her work, visit her website! (Also, if you’re interested, please check out my debut novel, “Core!“).

Here goes my conversation with Jennifer:

1.      Why do you think you became a writer? How did you know?

Writing was just one of those things I’d always had a passion for. When I was little it was silly poems and short stories. As I grew older the stories became longer. I pulled away from it for a few years or so (think teenage years), but then dove right back in head first in my early twenties. At this point in my life, I can’t imagine myself not writing. It’s a part of who I am.

2.      Of all those you’ve created, who is your favorite character, and why? Can you describe that character’s birth story (how you thought them up)?

 This is a tough question! I really have to go with Seth from my debut novel Shattered Soul. He was the very first character to literally enter my mind via a talking voice in my head. Sounds nuts, but oh so true. I was folding laundry one day and this male voice popped in my head. It was a pivotal scene from near the end of the novel. His first word to me was ‘NO!’ and then the scene continued to unfold in my mind. It ended with him saying this to me “The girl I loved was becoming a stranger, and I knew this moment, the moment her soul first began to shatter, would haunt me forever.” From there I just had to know more about him and this girl he was so desperate to hold on to. This girl who was slipping through his fingers.

3.      Have you ever had an “I’m-A-Failure” moment in regards to your writing or your writing career? If yes, how did you cope? If no, how did you manage to stockpile that kind of self-esteem and where can we get some?

 With every novel one (sometimes more than one) occur  I think every author who has those moments are the ones who care most about their stories as well as their readers. As for coping, that’s where family and friends come into play. It also helps to have other author friends who ‘get it’ and can give you that extra pick me up to help dig you out of that funk.

4.      On your blog, you mention that chocolate may be a possible cure for writer’s block. What kind, quantity, and dosage of this antidote do you recommend?

 Ha,ha! Yes, chocolate. Some days it’s a handful those little Dove dark chocolates. Sometimes it’s Halloween chocolates from last year. And others it’s a warm mug of coco. Either way, I’ve come to learn chocolate in any form and any quantity is a necessity while writing.   

5.      In just two years, you’ve released six novels, two novellas, and a short story, quite an impressive feat. Can you offer a bit of advice to hopefuls? 

Thank you! Write what you want to write. I’ve been doing this for long enough to know that if a story isn’t coming…don’t push it. Set it aside and work on something else. Whether you’re just jotting down ideas for another novel or actually writing out scenes, nine times out of ten, the story you were stuck on will begin to flow again. Especially if you add in chocolate. 😉 Also, carve out time to write at least something everyday. Even if it’s only 100 words…at least it was something. 

Thank you for offering to have me on your blog! Best of luck with your novel (and future novels) as well as your author journey!

Thank you, Jennifer, for taking the time to answer my questions!

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