Conversations With Colleen: Meet Author, Vashti Quiroz-Vega, @VashtiQV

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is conversations-with-colleen.png

Hello everyone! This week I’m thrilled to bring you one of my favorite award winning authors, Vashti Quiroz-Vega. I asked her to pick three or four questions from my huge list HERE which she did. But stayed tuned… Vashti and I have a candid discussion behind some of the themes she explores in her books!

I love Vashti’s writing and believe me, I know what I’m talking about! I’ve read and reviewed, The Fall of Lilith. Read my review HERE. I’ve also read and reviewed, Son of the Serpent. Read that review HERE.

Please meet my guest author, Vashti Quiroz-Vega, who is also an accomplished poet.

Author, Vashti Quiroz-Vega

Vashti Quiroz-Vega is a writer of Fantasy, Horror, and Thriller. Since she was a kid she’s always had a passion for writing and telling stories. It has always been easier for her to express her thoughts on paper.

She enjoys reading almost as much as she loves to write. Some of her favorite authors are Stephen King, Michael Crichton, Anne Rice, J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling and George R. R. Martin.

She enjoys making people feel an array of emotions with her writing. She likes her audience to laugh one moment, cry the next and clench their jaws after that.

When she isn’t building extraordinary worlds and fleshing out fascinating characters, she enjoys spending time with her husband JC and her Pomeranian Scribbles who is also her writing buddy.

Amazon Author Page

Hi, Colleen. Thanks so much for this opportunity to share my books. I’m really looking forward to our chat.

I’m thrilled to learn more about you, Vashti. I’ve loved your Angel Series books, and I know you also have a new novella out. I’ll share more about that later.

Sounds good. Ask away. I’m happy to share.

Your Angel Series books deal with some dark subject matter. Do your readers ask if you Are a devil worshiper or Satanist?

Absolutely not. My stories are not about the devil, he happens to be a character in my stories but the stories are not about him and even if they were it wouldn’t mean I was a Satanist.

Not that it really matters, but Do you believe in God? The devil?

I believe in God and angels, so I believe that just like there are good entities there must also be evil ones. How can people like Ted Bundy, Tsutomu Miyazaki, Jack the Ripper, Ahmad Suradji, Adolf Hitler, Andrei Chikatilo among others exist if there wasn’t a devil?

So, I have to ask… are you a witch?

Witches have gotten a bad wrap through the years. Remember the evil witch from “Hansel and Gretel” who snatches up children to eat? How about Bette Midler’s character in “Hocus Pocus”?

In real life, a witch can look like anyone else. To me a witch is simply someone who is aware of her own power and puts that power into action.

Your Angel books share some of the mythology surrounding angels. Are you a religious person?

That would depend on one’s definition of what being religious entails.  I believe in the Golden Rule, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. I’ve also added, “treat others like you would like others to treat your children, parents, spouse, or friend.” If you would like others to treat your children with patience and kindness, be patient and kind to other children. If you want your elderly parents or grandparents to be treated with respect and dignity, treat every elderly person you come in contact with the same way.

I believe in doing good deeds and being kind and fair.  I don’t believe that going to a church every week or every day makes one a good person. Although there are many good people who attend churches, synagogues, mosques . . . there are also many self-righteous people who wear the facade of good, caring individuals when in fact they are nothing but selfish hypocrites with their own agendas.

I have no doubt that there are many lovely churches and temples with wonderful congregations but churches and temples are merely buildings. I’ve always felt closest to God surrounded by nature.

Vashti, why do you write?

Why does a person eat, sleep, or breathe? To live. That’s the same reason I write––to live.

What is it about dark fantasy, horror, and thrillers that draw you to those genres?

These have always been the genres that I’ve been attracted to since I was a child.  We all have a dark side, dark thoughts. I believe writing dark fiction helps me purge the darkness inside me in a positive way.

Do you read only dark fiction books?

I’ve always loved reading fantasy (High, Epic, Dark), horror, thriller, and science fiction, but I have read books in other genres from time to time. However, since I joined the Rave Reviews Book Club I’ve read many books from different genres. I’m always surprised at how much I enjoy them. Some of those genres have really grown on me.

Do you associate yourself with any of your villains?

No. As a matter of fact, I have at times asked myself, what is the opposite I would do in a certain scenario, in order to determine the villain’s next move. I have done research on serial killers, tyrants, and the criminally insane in order to come up with the personalities and traits of my villains. I’m not a perfect saint but I’m also not evil.

You’ve shared with me that some readers have been offended by the way you portray angels and for writing Your take on heaven and hell. Does that bother you? What would you say to these people?

I probably wouldn’t say anything, but for the sake of the interview, I would first remind my readers that my books are not religious, non-fiction books. They are fantasy fiction. Some readers just can’t differentiate fiction, from non-fiction. They believe everything they read, and I consider that to be dangerous.

I would also tell them that if they do not like my portrayal of angels, maybe they should write their own book depicting angels in the manner they feel is right.

And lastly, I am neither the first nor the last author to write about angels and demons or to create my own version of heaven and hell. There’s “Inferno” by Dante, “Paradise Lost” by John Milton, “Eric” by Terry Pratchett, “The Screwtape Letters” by C.S. Lewis, “What Dreams May Come” by Richard Matheson and many more. I’m in good company.

Some people claim to be religious while knowing very little about their own religion. I’ve also discovered that the people that are truly religious and knowledgeable about the doctrine and scriptures of their faith don’t have a problem with my books, or any books like mine. Many readers have enjoyed books like mine because they see them for what they are––works of fiction.

I love your answer! Now, Do you believe in magic?

I believe in magick. I believe the mind is a powerful instrument and people can achieve miracles with the power of positive thinking. You may call it prayer, faith . . . People have cured themselves from incurable diseases because they thought it possible. I have experienced both the power of positive thinking as well as the power of negative thinking. Positive thinking is like a spell of protection. Magick is about raising and directing energy to fulfill your intentions.

As a writer are you a dark and moody person?

I have my dark moments like everyone else, I suppose. I do my share of brooding, but I do not consider myself a dark, moody or pessimistic person. On the contrary, I always try to see the glass half full. I have actually been accused of smiling too much or being too happy at times. I try to see the good in people because I believe there is good in most people. I don’t hold grudges. I rather confront someone who I believe has done me wrong and tell him or her how I feel because then I can move on and forget about it.

Thanks so much for stopping by for a visit, Vashti. Before I forget, what is the name of your new novella?

It’s called, Memoir of a Mad Woman. Who can explain how madness begins? Thanks for the fun interview. ❤

HOW TO CONTACT Vashti Quiroz-vega


k luv u bye

 Thanks for stopping by to meet Vashti! You’re going to love her books!!

Conversations With Colleen: Meet Author, Laura Sansom, @louboop

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is conversations-with-colleen.png

Hello everyone! This week I’d like to introduce you to a new author, Laura Sansom. I asked her to pick a question from my huge list HERE. We all aspire to be successful authors and the best way to learn some of the tricks of the trade is to ask questions.

Author, Laura Sansom

First, please meet my guest, Laura Sansom.

Laura is an aspiring writer whose projects have, and will continue to include poetry, article/ content writing, flash fiction and short story. Her works in progress being a new mixed media project, scripts for TV and film.

Recently published works include an article for the intern247 website and regular postings on O-Posts website and ap2hyc.

See her blog – as well as her reviews appearing on the website, amazon and Goodreads.

 Current creative projects awaiting confirmation /publication are novels, scripts, third poetry anthology, children’s story book and comic strip. Also some craft and photography work. As well as a mentor to a student through the Arkbound project.

Laura has a wide range of interests in film, T.V/ film and theatrical drama, Sci-fi, fashion, music, photography and a variety of crafts.

 Laura has attended many a networking event and this year attended Henley on Thames literary festival. She has previously attended London book fair, London film and comic con, Soho create and more.

Always looking to broaden her horizons as she attends many networking events and has previously attended Henley on Thames Lit-fest, London book fair, London film and comic con and Soho create.

Hi, Colleen. Thanks so much for this interview. I’m really looking forward to our chat.

Hi, Laura. It’s nice to meet you. As a writer, does writing energize you or exhaust you?

My writing is my energy to get through life – Who needs Red Bull? They say every writer has a story to tell and I have had a yarn or two that would be worthy of a soap opera plot but that’s my inspiration, not my exhaustion.

 Living through life through moments of interest and drama, good or bad, some mediocre and with the bad choices made there’s most definitely a plot twist or two. From this you evolve your own sense of perspective, opinions and beliefs – everything from wellbeing, health, anthropology and society and then yes the every discussed politics of the day means I am often feeling the need to get up on my soapbox.

 Structuring the before mentioned inspiration can be the exhausting bit. Every creative model starts with formulas and formats that have been in place since time began when people needed entertaining. So we are all instructed to follow some bare essential rules but we then decide that we have a right of interpretation and poetic licence – that is us being creative. Sometimes trying to fit the box is the exhausting bit.

 What energises me is the very cathartic effect the before mentioned events had on me and the way I get to deal with it through my writing. In dealing with my own problems I don’t do it as a day in the life of or a true life story but something more contrived and covert with added creative flair. The Jeremy Kyle effect is only present in my own creative head space, then transformed to something more fantastical.

 I think there’s always been an interest in creativeness and therapy, it doesn’t have to be as creative as a work of fiction but the great outdoors and what nature has given us. Anything that sits under the umbrella of creativity has a beauty in it, perhaps a moral story to it, goodness and that can be as simple as a silver lining in the adrenaline of a moment or as simple as staring out at the green of the garden. However my therapy is putting pen to paper or tapping at the keyboard.

You have a healthy attitude about writing! Tell us about your books.

Print copy on LULU.COM

Laura’s first collection is titled “Between Devils and Goalposts” and is about the choices we have to make as we are growing up. Do we stick with the path we have already chosen, or do we let the little devils distract us?  


The second collection, “Exit the Nunnery” – All that slightly less than legit and the slightly illicit stuff even the good girls have to contend with. An online anthology on the theme of bullying by L Sansom and CJ Walls – “Sticks and stones may break my bones but we carried on writing the anthology anyway.”

Laura has some experience with performance poetry with the Metroland poets. We presented work at High Wycombe / Woburn festival as well as the local publicised launch of the self-published book “Lines from Metroland”.


Twitter: Laura Sansom: @louboop

LinkedIn: Laura Sansom

k luv u bye
Thanks for stopping by to meet Laura Sansom

Conversations With Colleen: Meet Author, Marie Lavender

Conversations with ColleenThe December Edition

Hello everyone! This week I’m happy to bring you an author I’ve seen throughout social media but didn’t know. I love meeting new people so, when I asked her to pick three or four questions from my huge list HERE, she jumped right in! We all aspire to be successful authors and the best way to learn some of the tricks of the trade is to ask questions.

First, please welcome my guest, Marie Lavender.

Marie Lavender Logo

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for a little over twenty-five years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Since 2010, Marie has published 24 books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, dramatic fiction, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry. She has also contributed to several anthologies.

Her current published series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Eternal Hearts Series, The Magick Series, The Code of Endhivar Series and The Blood at First Sight Series.

Hi, Colleen. Thanks so much for this interview. I’m really looking forward to our chat.

Hi, Marie. You’re a new author for me. I can’t believe all the books you’ve written. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Both, actually. When I’m in the real flow of writing a scene, it is exhilarating. Afterward, and especially if I choose to type it all up right away, I can feel drained mentally. The real job of writing a book, though, takes its toll. Some of my books take up to a year to write, and it is hard work. Getting each chapter written, the subtle nuances of dialogue, exploring a character’s background – all of that takes time.

Understandably, I take a break away from work after writing a book, at least before I dive into the editing process. And that isn’t easy either. But when the muse finds me again, I feel blessed to be visited by it.

What are some common traps for aspiring writers that you’ve come across?

One that comes to mind for me, and probably many other writers, is the old adage that you should ‘write what you know’. I think the notion can be incredibly intimidating. But, really, why write what you know after all? It’s true that we come from different backgrounds and house so much life experience, thereby contributing to our own sense of the human condition. We should funnel all of that into our writing. But, beyond that? I think that researching a specific topic can open a world you never thought possible. Suddenly, it creates a spark, and you have something new to write about. Something you didn’t exactly ‘know’ beforehand. So no, I don’t believe we should always write what we know.

What a great point to make. Do you want each of your books to stand on their own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

A little of both, actually. Because I write in different genres, I do want them to stand on their own. To speak for themselves. At the heart of each book, I aim for the characters and the story to touch readers. With so many works in progress, there are going to be books that stand alone, and that’s okay.

However, if a book is part of a series, the novels are naturally interconnected. I often choose a family or friendship theme to each series. I’m also working on loosely connecting a few of my series, at least the ones with paranormal or fantasy elements.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning your writing process?

That depends on the project. I always use reputable online sources, and sometimes I fall back on nonfiction books that I own or buy for extra material. For my historical novels, it takes a lot of effort to find the right information. Especially to get a real sense of the scene. There are so many elements that comprise the whole picture – fashion of the time period, social events or activities, politics, locations to include, and the list goes on.

I take my time and study old-fashioned photos to paint the scene the right way. I imagine myself there, and how I might react to what’s going on. For more contemporary work, I just do enough research to set the scene and explain the character’s profession. The rest is creative license. But in most cases, I write some of the story first and add the finer details later.

Wow! I’m learning so much about how you approach your writing career. What was your hardest scene to write?

I think the emotional scenes are the hardest, whether that comes in the form of dramatic dialogue or a character’s internal dilemma. But I know I haven’t done my job unless I’m wiping tears away at the end of the writing process.

The hardest scenes I wrote were for Directions of the Heart, in the novella ‘A Touch of Dawn’ – those fragile moments experienced by Caitlyn and Jack, as they dealt with their past traumas, and how they could confront their fears well enough to create new lives for themselves. Every character touches my life in some way, but those two? Unforgettable for so many reasons.

Thanks, Marie. I will have to check out some of your books!

Thanks for the interview, Colleen. I’ll see you around.

What if you found out that you weren’t exactly…human?

Genre:  Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy (with a Slight Futuristic Angle)

Release Date:  May 30, 2018

Enter the Other World at your own risk…

What if you found out that you weren’t exactly…human?

Myah Sullivan is suddenly living that nightmare. There are Others in the world, dangerous, supernatural creatures that make her mind spin and cause her to question the reality she’s always known.

Oliver King is her savior, a vampire who tries to show her the way. Through her journey, she learns far more than she ever thought she would about herself, and about the past. Soon, she discovers that there is so much more to meeting Oliver than mere happenstance.

Can Myah accept her new reality, or will she retreat into that normal, safe world she once thought was her own?

Purchase Links:

Amazon Universal ebook & print link:

Add to Goodreads bookshelf:

Marie Lavender banner - Facebook

Marie Lavender: Multi-genre author of Victorian romance, UPON YOUR RETURN, and 23 other books. Reached the Top 10 Authors list on for the last 3 years. Voted TOP BLOGGER for August 2018 on the Romance Lives Forever Blog. TOP 20 Authors of 2018 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART was nominated and made it past the first round in the 2018 Author Academy Awards. UPON YOUR LOVE and THE MISSING PIECE placed in the TOP 10 on the 2017 P&E Readers’ Poll. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART was nominated for the 2017 Reader’s Choice Awards. The I Love Romance Blog became a finalist in StartDating DK’s Romance Blog Awards of 2017. ILRB landed on Feedspot’s 2017 TOP 100 Novel Blogs and TOP 100 Romance Blogs. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART placed in the TOP 10 Books of 2017 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. TOP 20 Authors of 2017 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. Mystery Blogger Award for 2017. A to Z Blog Challenge Survivor in 2016. March 2016 Empress of the Universe title – winner of the “Broken Heart” themed contest and the “I Love You” themed contest on Poetry Universe. SECOND CHANCE HEART and A LITTLE MAGICK placed in the TOP 10 on the 2015 P&E Readers’ Poll. Nominated in the TRR Readers’ Choice Awards for Winter 2015. Poetry winner of the 2015 PnPAuthors Contest. The Versatile Blogger Award for 2015. Honorable Mention in the 2014 BTS Red Carpet Book Awards. Finalist and Runner-up in the 2014 MARSocial’s Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader’s Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013, 2014 and 2016. 2013 and 2014 Amazon Bestseller Ranking for UPON YOUR RETURN. Winner of the Great One-Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.

Social media

How to contact Marie Lavender:

Official Website:


Social Media:

Amazon author page:


Sign up for Marie’s Newsletter:


k luv u bye Thanks for stopping by to meet Marie Lavender. ❤

Conversations With Colleen: Meet Author, C. S. Boyack

Conversations with ColleenThe October Edition

smileys-pumpkins-044068Hello everyone! Happy October!smileys-pumpkins-044068

I’m thrilled to bring you a speculative fiction author, C. S. (Craig) Boyack. I asked him to pick a few questions from my huge list HERE. We all aspire to be successful authors and the best way to learn some of the tricks of the trade is to ask questions. The answers might surprise you.

I think I’ve read almost all of Craig’s books. He is one of my favorite authors because there is always a great story wrapped up in his writing. My favorite book by Craig is called Panama. Check out the review HERE.

Please meet today’s guest, C. S. Boyack:


Author, C. S. Boyack

I was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times, and other ways of getting by. Some of this bleeds through into my fiction.

I moved to Idaho right after the turn of the century, and never looked back. My writing career was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups I jumped in with both feet.

I like to write about things that have something unusual. My works are in the realm of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. The goal is to entertain you for a few hours. I hope you enjoy the ride.


Hi, Colleen. I’m so excited to see this new feature popping up. There are a lot of avenues for an author, but not many free ones, and it’s important to support them when someone starts a new feature. I know from my own experience how hard it is to start a feature like this and keep it going.

Thanks, Craig. You’ve always lent your support to the authors in our community. I’m happy you’re here. Tell us a little about your self.

I am a speculative fiction author and refuse to limit myself to any one sub-genre. Since this is October, I’ll try to focus on my paranormal works.

That’s right! We share a love of the paranormal! I LOVE October, too. 

Halloween fun

So, as a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

I’m probably unique here, but I have a mascot that represents my blog. She is Lisa Burton, the robot girl, the main character in my first novel. She acts as a spokesmodel for my publications, and I commission posters of her to support each book. She also makes regular appearances on my blog and hosts the interview slot I mentioned up above.

So, I heard a rumor that you even have Lisa Burton paper dolls on your site. I had to check that out. LOOK BELOW:


Do it  CLICK THE LINK: Sometimes, ya gotta try new stuff!

Lisa also appeared in one short story, and there is a rumor that she may be returning in a novel sometime fairly soon.

Here I was focusing on paranormal, and we’ve drifted into science fiction.

It’s all good, Craig. How long on average does it take you to write a book?

Ha, ha, ha! Define write? I have an odd process. My stories usually come to me as a vignette of some kind. I dwell on them, and those that have merit get put in my notes app. If things fill out, I start a storyboard.

I have a couple of storyboards that are approaching three years old. I just keep adding to them as ideas come up. What this does for me is keeps projects developing all the time. My storyboard is what I use as an outline.

Sometimes I jump the gun and start writing before I have a complete storyboard. Other times, the characters will take the story in a different direction after I start drafting.

I hold a full-time job, and writing happens on the weekends. When I’m drafting a project, it takes me three to six months. My opinion is drafting isn’t the entire writing process. I could answer this as years, or three months depending upon the definition.

That’s a fascinating process. I would love to hear more about how you use a storyboard for planning, but over the years, what would you say has improved significantly in your writing?

Wow! Everything, I hope. Writing is kind of a zen journey for me. I’m as motivated by self-improvement as anything else about the process.

As an attempt to offer something worthy, learning about story structure was massive. When we start out, we usually just wing it, at least I did. This is an important part of the process, because we are learning discipline, and enjoying ourselves.

Then we learn more about character arc. All stories are about people, and we have to be able to relate to the characters going through whatever the main story issue is. They have ups and downs too, and this makes our stories stronger.

Learning a bit about deep point of view also proved super helpful.

Now you’ve got me really interested… Can you share anything about your current projects?

I’ve recently finished drafting and some personal editing passes on a fantasy novel. This one is a pirate fantasy, so no magic wands and such in this one. There are monsters and a witch doctor though.

I expect to release this one in early 2019. I really enjoyed writing this one, and hope readers will feel the same.

I’ll be looking forward to your new book, for sure. In the meantime, which of your books would you want to be adapted to the silver screen?

This is hard because I think several of them would make fun projects. I’m going to mention some of my paranormal stories to get back to the October theme.

I think Will O’ the Wisp would make a fun movie. It’s about a teenage girl who is being stalked by an ancient evil. This film would involve some fun settings, and make a great film for young adults.

I really enjoyed “Will O the Wisp,” Craig. Folks, you can click HERE to read my review.

The Playground would also make a good film, but we might need Quentin Tarantino to get involved. This is because it’s actually three different stories written around a central theme. They all come together at the end. It involves a crazy businessman who turns to the occult to advance his evil plan. If you would enjoy some Halloween reading that might be like Pulp Fiction or Sin City, this is for you.


Panama is one of my older tales, but it keeps selling. This is set during the construction of the Panama Canal, so it’s a period piece. You could almost think of it like a western, but with witchcraft, hoodoo, and a mysterious man at the crossroads.

Overall, I think The Hat would bring the most commercial success. This one is supposed to be fun and has a comedy element to it. It could also have a killer soundtrack because the main characters are a musician.

Yes, you read that right. They have a symbiotic relationship, and both of them bring something to the table, and musical performance is one of those things. This one is a paranormal, almost superhero, kind of story. It might lean a bit more toward a Guardians of the Galaxy or Deadpool style, than Batman or Captain America.

“The Hat,” was a fun read, Craig. I also read and reviewed that book. It would make a fabulous movie! 

Colleen, I’m so glad to see another venue to promote our wares. I wish you all the best with it and hope more of my fellow authors will take part.

Thanks, Craig. It’s always great having you as a guest on the blog!


Here’s how to get in touch with Craig:


Blog My Novels  Twitter Goodreads Facebook 

Pinterest BookBub

Amazon Author Page US


k luv u bye Thanks for stopping by to meet C. S. Boyack. He is at the top of my list for Halloween reading. ❤

Conversations With Colleen: Meet Author, Staci Troilo

Conversations With Colleen

Hello everyone! This week I’m thrilled to bring you an Amazon Best Selling Author, Staci Trolio. I asked her to pick three or four questions from my huge list HERE. We all aspire to be successful authors and the best way to learn some of the tricks of the trade is to ask questions.

First, please meet my guest, Staci Trolio:

Troilo Color Photo RT smaller

Author, Staci Trolio

Staci Troilo grew up in Western Pennsylvania writing stories and poetry in her free time, so it was no surprise that she studied writing in college. After receiving creative and professional writing degrees from Carnegie Mellon University, she went on to get her Master’s Degree in Professional Writing, and she worked in corporate communications until she had her children. When they had grown, she went on to become a writing professor, and now she is a freelance writer and editor living in Arkansas with her husband, son, daughter, and two dogs.

Staci is a multi-genre author and an Amazon bestseller. Her fiction combines dark, dangerous heroes and strong, capable heroines woven together into a contemporary tapestry of tantalizing romance. Compelling villains and gripping mysteries engage the reader from page one of her novels and her short stories feature ordinary characters conquering the odds in extraordinary situations.

When she isn’t reading or writing, she’s probably playing with her dogs, relaxing poolside, or working in the kitchen. She loves to cook and bake and is an award-winning recipe developer.

Hi, Colleen. Thanks so much for this interview. I’m really looking forward to our chat.

I’m so glad you’re here. Are you ready? So Staci… You are an accomplished author. How long on average does it take you to write a book?

I’ve always found it difficult to answer questions that ask for averages. Probably because I don’t have “average” work days. If I have a month where I have several editing projects to complete (I’m an editor as well as an author), I might not get to spend much time on my WIP. If I get to a point in the plot that requires intricate maneuvering, I’ll write slower. In those cases, I’m probably doing more thinking and less writing. But in general, I try to write 5,000 words a day on my writing days, more if I really hit a groove. And if I don’t stop for editing projects (or if I move those to the weekends), I can write a novel in just under a month.

That’s astounding! I haven’t found that groove yet. Have you ever written a story you wish you hadn’t?

I’m sad to say I have. My first published novel was an experiment, mostly to get a title under my belt. I was one of many authors writing in a world created by the publisher. The plot was mine, and the outline had to be approved by the publisher in advance of them offering me a contract. The rest was theirs, though—main characters, setting, even the type of crime.

I hated giving up control, but I really wanted the experience of completing a work and having it published, so I went with it. Once my outline was accepted, I thought I’d be fine.

Here’s where that lack-of-control thing comes into play. My book was the fifth or sixth to be published in the series. Due to lack of planning on the publisher’s part, my outline had a number of plot points (and two crucial characters) that didn’t work because a book published before mine impacted these things.

Okay, I’ll just go ahead and say it. Characters that were necessary for my story had been killed in an earlier book. You’d think the publishers/editors would have caught that in the planning stages, but they didn’t. And now I was under contract. So I had to revise my outline, restructure my plot, and make it work.

When I read the final draft, it was a disjointed mess. Ultimately, I got my first published novel, but it was nowhere near as satisfying as I’d hoped it would be. I refused to write anything else in that world. From then on, I wanted full control over my stories.

What an awful experience. You know, I love fantasy whether I’m reading it or writing it. Here’s a question I bet you haven’t been asked before. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

I’d have to pick the otter. When they go to sleep, they all link arms so they don’t drift away from each other. I think authors are a lot like that. We need the support of our colleagues, or we’ll get lost.


But otters also have a ruthless side to their personalities. They can be vicious, cut-throat. Pursue something with a single-minded determination and not give up. And I think writers need a little of that resolve and fortitude if they want to complete one, let alone several, stories. We need to be callous and merciless when we revise our work, or we’ll let sentiment stand in the way of deleting useless drivel that might sound pretty but adds nothing to the plot. We need a thick skin to deal with rejection.

It doesn’t hurt to be cute and playful, though, too.

Do it(CLICK HERE to learn more about the symbolism of the otter as a spirit animal).

 Which literary character do you most resonate with on a personal level?

I tend to relate to the main characters in every book I read. A well-written story makes you find a way to empathize with the hero. But if I were to pick just one, I’d choose Dorothy Gale. She was a bored girl looking for adventure, wanting to get away and see the world. But when she traveled over the rainbow, she realized just how wonderful home was. I took my hometown for granted until I had to move away. I’m 1,000 miles from home now, and if I could click my heels together to return there, I’d do it in a heartbeat. Travel is fun, and other cities are what you make of them, but to me, there’s no place like home.

You must be busy writing all the time, Staci. Can you tell us about your current projects?

I just finished the Medici Protectorate series, but I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the Brothers just yet.

Medici Protectorate covers

So I’ve started writing a spinoff called the Nightforce Security series. The series follows former Navy SEALs who form a security firm.

0-3 Nightforce Security

The first book’s hero (Danny Caruso) is a secondary character from the Medici Protectorate series. My new series doesn’t have any of the supernatural elements the original series did, but I’m happy to say the brothers, and sometimes even the Notaro sisters, make cameo appearances.

NOTE: (The Medici Protectorate series is written under the name Staci Troilo, but the Nightforce Security series is written under the name Keira Beck.)

I’m well on my way through the series. I have an introductory story (One Ugly Mug) and two titles (Hideaway and Gamble) already published. The next (Overboard) is scheduled to be released on September 27, and the rest will follow roughly one month apart.

Thanks, Staci. It’s great to learn more about your writing. I do want to share your newest release, “Tortured Soul,” Book 4 in the Medici Protectorate Series. I hope everyone will enjoy a sneak peek!

Staci Troilo writes because she has hundreds of stories in her head. She publishes because people told her she should share them. She’s a multi-genre author whose love for writing is only surpassed by her love for family and friends, and that relationship-centric focus is featured in her work.


How to contact Staci Troilo

Web | Blog | Amazon Page | BookBub | Goodreads | TwitterOther Social Media Links

Universal Purchase Links

Medici Protectorate Series: Bleeding Heart | Mind Control | Body Armor | Tortured Soul

Nightforce Security Series: One Ugly Mug (free w/newsletter signup) | Hideaway | Gamble

k luv u bye Thanks for stopping by to meet Staci! ❤

Thoughts and Ideas from Deanie Humphrys-Dunne: The Heart Stone Chronicles by Colleen Chesebro



Deanie Humphrys-Dunne, an awarding winning children’s author, kindly featured me on her blog where I could discuss my motivation in writing about the swamp fairies. Many thanks to Deanie for a great time! ❤ Enjoy!

Source: Thoughts and Ideas from Deanie Humphrys-Dunne: The Heart Stone Chronicles by Colleen Chesebro