Day: March 18, 2014

Author Interview: Ninja Mom and Author R. J. Crayton

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Starting with this issue, I plan to periodically showcase outstanding Indie authors. R.J. Crayton, who describes herself as a Ninja Mom and author, and who has penned the ‘First Life’ series that can be found on Amazon and other retail book sites.  Rather than bore you with my ravings, though, let’s allow R.J. to introduce herself.


1. Tell us about yourself and what you write.

My name is RJ Crayton and I’m your typical All-American gal. I literally come from an All-American city (Peoria, IL, 4-time winner of the “All-America City” award).  so far I’ve been writing thrillers with a touch of romance. My first published novels are part of my Life First series. That book is set in a dystopian future whose society lives by the mantra of “Life first.” As such, they put the preservation of life as a whole, above any specific individual and mandated organ donation to needy patients. Kelsey is not game for giving up her kidney, when called upon and flees.

These books were a lot of fun to write, and in them, we really get to know Kelsey, her best friend Susan and Kelsey’s boyfriend Luke. I’m also about to release a short story collection, which is about four different mothers. It’s not really a thriller, but the stories all raise really interesting issues, just like Life First.  For example, one story in the collection looks at a woman facing a crisis of faith after her daughter nearly dies from choking, and another looks at a mother-child relationship when the child repeatedly doesn’t live up to the mother’s expectations.

2. What in your life most influences your writing?

They say to write what you know, so I think just everything that’s happened in my life goes into the mix when it comes to writing. Ideas for stories tend to pop into my mind as a kernel or nugget and if it sticks, it will slowly form into a story. My novel Life First was inspired by a news story I saw on a woman who refused to get a c-section because she didn’t want to get “gutted like a pig” and her baby died. There was lots of talk about whether doctors should have done the procedure anyway and the mental stability of the mother, and the like. For me, it led to the question of whose rights do we give precedence to when we’re asking one person to sacrifice their body integrity to save the life of another. Would we ask a man to slice open his body simply to save the life of his child? While the health of an in-utero child and mother are tied to each other, I think the broader question is still applicable. And I wondered what would a society look like if we demanded citizens slice open their bodies and be “gutted like pigs” to save the lives of others. So, Life First was inspired by a news story and my reaction to it. My reaction was probably based, in part, on my own pregnancy, which had some potentially life-threatening complications. Ethically speaking, pregnancy is a really interesting time, because doctors are always measuring the impact of what they do on the health of two people. As a related aside, I’ve been offered morphine twice in my life, and both times were while I was pregnant. Doctors felt my discomfort being alleviated outweighed any potential impacts morphine had on my in-utero baby (I was around 8 months at the time of the offer during each pregnancy). So, life in general impacts the way we process information and think about stories to write.

I’m actually publishing a short story collection next month, and the appendices will discuss my personal connection to each story. For short stories, I tend to write things that are emotionally meaningful to me, rather than riffing off the nugget of an idea I got after reading a news article.

 3. What do you enjoy most about writing? What is your biggest challenge?

Most? That’s a tough one to answer. I’ve always loved writing, so I think what I like most is just letting the ideas out, letting what’s in my head flow from me to the keyboard. It’s a nice release. The biggest challenge is editing. It’s always hard to look back over what’s come out and realize it’s not as awesome as it felt coming out. That said, editing is usually where the story starts to shine and really come into its own.

4. Do you outline, or do you just let it flow?

I’m more of a let it flow type. However, when I start a novel, I usually have a general idea of where I want the trajectory to go. I rarely just write without some type of end goal, even if it were to change somewhat by what is written.

 5. Where do the ideas for your stories come from?

Hopefully I didn’t misinterpret the earlier question, as I feel like this is touching the same area. But, my ideas tend to just come from life. I’ll just be doing something or reading something, and a thought will come to mind for a cool story.  The idea for Life First happened after reading a news article. I have been working on a young adult paranormal story, loosely titled Scented, and the idea came for that when my son (3 at the time) just walked up to me and told me I stank, though I didn’t. It was creepy and weird at the time–at least in my mind; and my mind is all that really matters for the purposes of my writing–and shortly thereafter, I started writing Scented. (Though, I put it aside to write other things; which is good, because it was another 4 years before the other main character in that story emerged in my imagination; That character was also based on a life event).

6. How do you market your work?

Marketing is tough, because it requires platform building and social media and other time-consuming things. I’d prefer to spend time writing, not marketing, but you don’t sell if you don’t market. So, the primary things I do are blog (my own and guests), author interviews, social media (tweeting, facebooking, pinning and recently, tumbling) and the occasional paid advertising. They say the best marketing is to write more books, so I’m trying to do that. It’s one of the reasons I thought I’d release a short story collection.

 7. What are you currently working on?

Right now, I’m in a major editing phase. I am editing the third book in the Life First series and I’m editing my short story collection. I need to finish both in the next two weeks. Once I do, I’m going to send my Life First finale (I have yet to give book 3 a name) to beta readers, and the short story collection (called Four Mothers) to an editor. After that, I need to finish writing Scented. I know what I want to happen. I just need to execute it.

8. Where do you see yourself, in terms of your writing, five years from now?

In five years, I hope to have at least 10 books published and to have amassed a good number of readers who enjoy my writing.

 9. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I think you’ve covered a lot, Charles, so nothing to add by way of general content. However, my dad said it’s always good to close with a joke.  So, here’s one my daughter told me the other day. I thought it was cute.

Q: Why is it easy to weigh fish?

A: Because they come with their own scales.




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Turning the Pages YA Blog Tour: Intangible by DelSheree Gladden

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Intangible (The Aerling Series, #2) by DelSheree Gladden

Intangible Front Cover Olivia-1

Mason is not imaginary.
He’s not a ghost, either.
And he’s most definitely not a hallucination.

Mason is an Aerling, and the Sentinels’ number one target.

Separated to keep each other safe and alive until Mason’s eighteenth birthday when Olivia is expected to guide him back to the world of the Aerlings, neither one was prepared to be stripped of their best friend, of the person they love most. The pain being away from each other causes is the least of their worries, though, as the Sentinels intensify their search for Mason and bring the threat of danger to a whole new level.

DelSheree Gladden fires on all cylinders – a critical review

I love fantasy and science fiction, and I am particularly fascinated by stories that combine elements of the two genres. DelSheree Gladden’s Intangible does just that, and in a way that kept me flipping pages of the advanced review copy I was provided until I reached the end.

Gladden has created a cast of characters that make suspension of disbelief an easy task. Mason, an Aerling who is approaching his eighteenth birthday, the time when he must be prepared to be guided back to the world of the Aerlings, has been separated from his guide and best friend, Olivia Mallory, and is being moved from Caretaker to Caretaker, finally ending up under the tutelage of seven-year-old Molly, another Aerling. Switching point of view from Mason to Olivia, Gladden takes the reader on a roller coaster ride of suspense as Mason struggles to master the skills he must have to return home – before he is killed by the Sentinels, a race bent on his destruction.

Intangible is, though, more than a mere fantasy story. It is a tale of the indomitable spirit of love and Gladden allows the characters and their actions to show us the relationship that has developed between Mason and Olivia, and its importance to their mutual survival against seemingly insurmountable odds.

Characters that the reader can identify with, settings that seem tangibly real – Intangible has it all. High octane action from beginning to end. This is a book that has to be high on your list of must-reads. A four-star, high-performance offering from an author who laps the competition and gets the checkered flag.

About the Author


DelSheree Gladden lives in New Mexico with her husband and two children. The Southwest is a big influence in her writing because of its culture, beauty, and mythology. Local folk lore is strongly rooted in her writing, particularly ideas of prophecy, destiny, and talents born from natural abilities. When she is not writing, DelSheree is usually reading, painting, sewing, or working as a Dental Hygienist. Her works include Escaping Fate, Twin Souls Saga, The Destroyer Trilogy, and Invisible. Look for, Wicked Power, the next book in the Someone Wicked This Way Comes Series, and Soul Stone, book two in the Escaping Fate Series, coming 2014.

Website / Blog / Twitter / Amazon / Goodreads


Invisible cover

Invisible (The Aerling Series, #1) by DelSheree Gladden

Olivia’s best friend is not imaginary. He’s not a ghost, either. And she’s pretty sure he’s not a hallucination. He’s just Mason.

He is, however, invisible.

When Olivia spotted the crying little boy on her front porch at five years old, she had no idea she was the only one who could see him. Twelve years later when new-girl Robin bumps into the both of them and introduces herself to Mason, they are both stunned.

Mason couldn’t be more pleased that someone else can see him. Olivia, on the other hand, isn’t jumping at the chance to welcome Robin into their circle. Jealousy may have something to do with
that, but honest fear that Robin’s presence will put Mason in danger is soon validated when a strange black car shows up outside Olivia’s house.

The race to find out what Robin knows in time to protect Mason from whatever threats are coming becomes Olivia’s only focus.