Friday, June 17, 2011

Welcome, Deb Riley-Magnus

1: Thank you so much for being here, Deborah Riley-Magnus.
First up is the obligatory question. When did you first begin writing?

Wow, I’m not sure I even remember! I’m not a spring chicken and I recall, way back in the sixties, reading Taylor Caldwell novels and loving them so much I started writing stories. I still have binders full of those hand written stories. During my twenty-odd years of working in the advertising, marketing and communications industry, I wrote constantly, but that was brochures, press releases, radio and television commercials. I didn’t actually begin seriously writing and focusing on it as a career until about eighteen years ago when I left advertising and became a culinary chef. During my breaks, I’d think of ideas. I worked from ten in the morning until ten in at night in the professional kitchen then I’d run home, make a pot of coffee and write until the birds started to chirp.

2: A chef, how interesting. So, tell me, Deborah, what inspired you to write?

What always inspires me is the “what if?” There’s no reinventing the wheel and it’s true that there are only five or six plots in the whole world. The only way I get inspired is when I can look at mythology or standard accepted truths and simply say “why can’t I do it completely different?” That’s when a story comes to life for me. I’m inspired by the alternative possibilities for events, characters, and plot. I’m not exactly experimental; I follow all the grand genre rules. I just like to show the world a little askew of what we’re used to.

3: Oh, I love the “what if” factor too. What do you like the most and least about writing?

I love getting lost in the writing, even when I’m not physically writing. I love when the ideas take form while I’m cleaning the house or grocery shopping; I love how they develop when I’m washing clothes or taking a walk. I love most that writing goes on ALL THE TIME. What I like least about writing? That writing goes on ALL THE TIME, lol. There are moments when I’d love to just experience something without my mind floating to one of my characters and wondering how they’d feel about the situation. Maybe I need a shrink?

4: Oh, that’s so true. I think all writers experience the same thing. That’s what makes us writers. Then what do you for fun and relaxation when not writing?

Seek a good shrink. No, what I love to do when not writing is cook and entertain and of course, read, read, read.

5: I enjoy reading also. Which authors do you like to read?

Too many to list. Love Barbara Kingsolver. Love Sara Gruen. Love Charlaine Harris. Love non-fiction business and history and self help books. It’s an eclectic list and far from complete.

6: A very diverse list. What’s the one thing you’d most like people to know about you?

That I strive to find a different way of seeing the world, telling stories and teaching success techniques. That would make me happy.

7: Great! Tell me about your current novel, where I can find it and your website/blog.

Cold in California is an urban fantasy about a double dead vampire with a problem. See, he’s been given one last chance to earn heaven and this poor, confused dude has to do it while living out purgatory in a West Hollywood warehouse with sixty other dead supernaturals. Being good is not exactly within these creatures’ repertoire so what they’re attempting is seriously against their nature. Twice Baked vampire, Gabriel faces all kinds of dilemmas. Of course, being handsome, he falls in love, deals with jealousy and naturally, saves the world from evil. Cold in California is the first in a five book series. The website is and Gabriel’s personal blog is - he certainly has his own opinions about things.

8: Wow, sounds interesting. Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?

Thousands! In fact, I have a non-fiction book coming out in August/September entitled The Author Success Coach: Strategies for Success in a Turbulent Publishing Landscape. I teach workshops on everything from Creating an Effective Book Business Plan to Building Platforms, Cross Marketing, Publicity and Promotions for authors. My blog, Writaholic covers many subjects like this, all taking advantage of over twenty years of marketing experience before becoming a chef. (Sheesh, no wonder I’m so tired!) My best tips to aspiring authors are to think about sales, even as you write your book. Think about readers, where they are and how to reach them. Think about cross markets, publicity and promotions by observing great promotions outside of the publishing industry. And oh yes, remember to talk to more than just other authors as you’re writing your book and learning the platform ropes. Be aware that you will eventually have to sell those books, even if it’s just by being able to talk about them. This is a GREAT time in publishing. An author can be very successful!

9: Great advice. Do you base your characters on real-life people?

Absolutely. For example, the Soul Eater in Cold in California is a former boss. Ain’t sayin’ no more ‘bout that.

10: LOL Good idea. Don’t want to get into trouble. Where do you get your ideas and what inspired you to write this book?

My ideas come from everywhere, much like every other writer in the world. It’s how I see those events that make it my story. For example, for five years I lived and worked in Los Angeles, CA (just moved back to the east coast last month). While in West Hollywood on Sunset Boulevard one afternoon, a strange Hindu gentleman stopped to chat with me. When he walked away I noticed a dwarf across the street. This man was looking right and left and very suspicious and I watched him slink into the door of what appeared to be a deserted warehouse. And I thought … was that a troll? Are there other trolls inside? Maybe other supernatural creatures? What are they doing in there? Vampires? Werewolves? Pixies? Maybe they’re all dead and trying to make their way to heaven and … there you have it. True story. By the time I drove the 405 back home, I knew the plot and started writing Cold in California.

11: Isn’t it amazing how seeing one person can trigger a story. What are you currently working on?

At the moment I’m gearing up for the Cold in California launch and the Author Success Coach launch and speaking engagements, but on the computer screen is a woman’s fiction entitled 36 Full Moons. It’s the story of a professional woman who mysteriously loses her power to speak for no physical, emotional or psychological reason. The book is her journey into learning how to truly communicate and live her live again. Also, of course, I’m working on Monkey Jump, the second in the Twice Baked Vampire Series.

12. Wow, you sound busy. Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?

Just that I’m thrilled to be writing, helping other writers be successful, writing, cooking, writing … well living!

Author Bio

Deborah Riley-Magnus is an author and an Author Success Coach. She has a twenty-seven year professional background in marketing, advertising and public relations as a writer for print, television and radio. She writes fiction in several genres as well as non-fiction.

Deborah produces several pieces weekly for various websites. She also writes an author industry blog, and teaches online and live workshops as The Author Success Coach. She belongs to several writing and professional organizations. In 2011, she has two novels and one non-fiction, “The Author Success Coach”, being released.

She’s lived on both the east and west coast of the United States and has traveled the country widely.

Excerpt from Chapter One

Gabriel wondered if he’d stumbled across his first ‘familiar’ human since 1931. No one had ever suspected he was vampire before. No one. Ever. Had she known his kind? Perhaps fed them? This could be easy, it should be pleasant and it might solve a multitude of problems. Gabriel was tired of moving around so much. Something a bit steadier might be just what the doctor ordered. Any relationship required a boatload of lies and apologies for his seeming accidental, over-zealous biting. Cursed by the life he lived, hit and run was the norm for his sexual encounters. Keeping his secret demanded he leave sooner than he liked, before things got out of hand like they did in Omaha. There’s a boredom that comes with complete variety whether one believes it or not. Living forever had its drawbacks. The mere idea of seeing the same face and tasting the same blood day after day for a while nearly charged his batteries to overload. It also raised his radar.

She may be the answer to an undead’s prayer, but she could very well be the opposite. He’d never crossed paths with Buffy the Vampire Slayer but that didn’t mean she didn’t exist. Still, he felt an imaginary warmth under his skin and relaxed into the possibilities. Gabriel tried to be an optimistic kind of guy. He knew that if things went bad, his host went to heaven. That was a positive outlook, now wasn’t it?

Through the boring innings they chatted casually about the weather and various cities they’d seen. If, or in that case, when Chicago lost, they’d end the year in dead last but hope reigns eternal. It was the only reason the crowd was so big. At the bottom of the ninth, Brent Tittler struggling at the plate, and right in the middle of describing her best friend’s cowboy-themed wedding, Starling made a statement that would have caught Gabriel’s breath, if he breathed.

“I always wondered about the wounds. Do they heal?”

His eyes were cold and hard, he didn’t dare show his intrigue. She didn’t even flinch.

“I mean, do you leave a bad mark, and does it have to be where people can see it … when you … you know … drink? Will I need to take out stock in antiseptic?”

“You’d like to be …”

“Oh yes, especially with a great looking guy like you. You are a man, right? In every sense of the word?”

Gabriel glanced around. Behind them sat a row of nuns, all dressed in medieval black and white habits and clicking rosary beads in their gnarled fingers. Chicago Cubs caps were precariously propped, tilted on their heads over ominous black veils. No doubt they were serious, biblical Cubs fans. Like God, if there even was a God, really gave a damn where the Cubs ended the season. Gabriel could hear their whispered Hail Marys and wasn’t sure if he was more uneasy talking about sex or his unholy nature in their presence. He drew close and spoke quietly in Starling’s ear. “Are you asking if I can perform intercourse with a woman? Yes I can. Antiseptic optional.”

She giggled a nervous laugh. “So, no infection?’

“Not that I’ve ever caused.”

“Maybe we can go now?” she suggested in a husky low voice, leaning closer even though he could have heard her whispered indecent proposal from across Wrigley Field. “This will be so cool!”

By the look of her, he could only assume she’d voraciously read Anne Rice. He just as voraciously hoped he could meet her expectations. A shiver rippled over his body like a minor earth tremor. Gabriel stood, smiled and reached to grip her hand. This was more than promising and he actually felt giddy for the first time in decades.

They had great seats, third row, just past the dugout on the first base side. Sweet seats, even with the Cubbies losing. Her warm hand gripped his as the crack of the bat resounded and he turned. It was a high pop up, but unlike all the other fans around him, Gabriel wasn’t watching the ball, illusively hidden in the lights. He was watching the sharp shard of a broken wooden bat soar … at breakneck speed … right … at … his … chest …

Well, this sure as hell wasn’t supposed to happen. Staked in the heart by a fucking broken bat? Who does that happen to? His hand shot to the wood, it was buried deep and he was weakening by the second. Agonizing sensations of explosion and implosion flooded through his body, noise blasted in his ears and suddenly he was staring up at the lights. Behind them, black night. There were stars but he couldn’t see them. The pain was excruciating and Gabriel begged any god who’d listen to make it end quickly. Heat. Searing. A stench. Then came the blackness and peace he had dreamed of for nearly eighty years. Finally, an end to it all. Dead as he was meant to be.
Amazon Link for Cold in California

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I should be sooo tired!

Ireadiwrite Publishing Link


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