*Featured Author of the Month…Ronald Malfi* Interview & GIVEAWAY!

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Praise for Ronald Malfi and his novels

“One cannot help but think of writers like Peter Straub and Stephen King.”
—FearNet

“Malfi is a skillful storyteller.”—New York Journal of Books

“A complex and chilling tale….terrifying.”—Robert McCammon

“Malfi’s lyrical prose creates an atmosphere of eerie claustrophobia…haunting.”—Publishers Weekly

“A thrilling, edge-of-your-seat ride that should not be missed.”—Suspense Magazine

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Ronald is a 38, a native New Yorker who transplanted to Maryland when he was just a kid, married to a psychologist (read into that what you will), and the father of two young girls.  His newly released book “Little Girls” is amazing and you should check it out!!

(Click on the book to read my review!)

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(Click on the book to read my review!)

Sierra:  When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

Ronald:  I started writing, at least with some sort of discipline, when I was around 10 years old or so. I had an old manual typewriter and would hammer out scores of short stories, for which I would draw covers and staple the “books” together so I could pass them out to friends and family to read. My first published book was released in 2000, a year after I graduated college—it was a desperate attempt to stave off having to get a real job after graduation—but I had written several novel manuscripts much earlier than that. I was probably in my early teens—maybe 13 or so—when I finished my first novel-length manuscript. I still have all of these stories packed away in steamer trunks in my basement.

Sierra:  Tell us a little bit about your newest book, “Little Girls.”

Ronald:   Little Girls is about Laurie Genarro’s return to her childhood home after the apparent suicide of her mentally unstable and distant father. Along for the ride are her husband Ted and daughter Susan. While staying in the house, Laurie begins to uncover secrets about her family’s past while Susan befriends a peculiar little girl living next door—a girl who is the spitting image and, as Laurie comes to believe, the possible reincarnation of a terrible little girls who had lived (and died) next door when Laurie was a child.

Sierra: How did you choose the genre you write in?

Ronald:   I’m not sure any writer actively “chooses” their genre. I’ve always been attracted to dark things, even when I was younger and afraid of those very same things that also piqued my curiosity. I’ve written some more “mainstream” fiction in the past, but even these stories tend to have a darkness about them.

Sierra: What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write?

Ronald:  Very interesting question!  There’s a section late in the novel where Laurie ruminates on the fears she had when she first learned she was pregnant with her daughter Susan.  There’s a passage where I relate those fears, and describe how she began to see young children in the wake of those fears—children as horrid, disgusting, tiny people, so strange and unappealing that they’re depicted almost like aliens or monsters.  For some reason, I love that passage.  I think I managed to touch on some of the things childless people might think about other people’s children—the rudeness of them, the brazen effrontery, the grubbiness of their little hands and dirty clothes. It was a lot of fun to write.

Sierra:  Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

Ronald:   There’s always a little bit of real life that seeps in—the occasional anecdote or character trait, something like that. But for the most part, the characters are wholly fictional creations, and the stories that they populate come from that place where all stories come from—which is to say that, perhaps subconsciously, there are parts of real life tucked away beneath the veneer of fiction. But I rarely use real life experiences in my fiction.

Sierra: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

Ronald:  Oh, there are so many. I’m still influenced by authors and books, almost every time I read a new author or a particularly wonderful book. Early on, Stephen King was a huge influence, of course. Later, I grew to love the works of Peter Straub. And while I still adore Ernest Hemingway’s fiction, there was a period of time, right after college and a few years thereafter, that I was obsessed with his work and reread his novels until the pages of the books fell out. “The Sun Also Rises” still stands as my favorite novel.

Sierra: Do you ever experience writers block?

Ronald:  You know, I used to joke that I was too unimportant to suffer writer’s block. I think maybe that was a glib answer at the time. I’ve gone through periods of stagnancy, questioning what I’m writing, if it’s good enough, if it fits what my current editor is looking for, that sort of thing. But at the end of the day, I somehow manage to get over that hump and get back to the stories.  And once I start writing, I’ll go off and knock out maybe 20 or so pages at a time.  When I’m really cooking, I can finish a whole novel in about two months.

Sierra: Is there an author that you would really like to meet?

Ronald:  I guess it would be something to meet Stephen King, more for bragging rights than anything else.  I’ve met Peter Straub, albeit very briefly, a few years back in New York, but I would certainly welcome the opportunity to sit down with him and pick his brain about his books.  His writing is very layered and seems to allude to hidden truths between the lines, and I’d love for him to wink conspiratorially at me and let me in on all the little secrets that make his books so brilliant.

Sierra: Will you have any new books coming out soon? If so, can you tell us about it?

Ronald:  Next year will see the release of a novel called The Night Parade. It’s about a father and daughter on the run from the government and police during the final stage of a disease epidemic that has wiped out much of the population.  While it’s arguably an end-of-the-world novel—something I thought I’d never write—it’s much more intimate in its scope and is really about the relationship between the father and his daughter. I’m very happy with how it turned out.

Sierra: If you could go back and do it all over again, is there any aspect of your first novel or getting it published that you would change?

Ronald:  I think my drive for having a book published superseded my ability at the time. My first novel was a thing uncooked, and should have remained in the steamer trunk with the other early attempts. However, it was published and was instrumental in starting my career, as it helped me gain a small audience and ultimately led to my second book deal with a better publisher. Thankfully, that first novel is long out of print, though I’ve been alerted to a few copies for sale out there on the secondary and tertiary markets for exorbitant and ridiculous prices. Save your money, folks.

Sierra: Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Ronald:  The advice is always the same—if you want to write, you must read.  Read everything, and read a lot. And when you’re not reading, you should be writing, of course.

Sierra: Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Ronald:   I’ve just been overwhelmed by the positive responses from my readers and with the wonderful emails I receive from fans.  The horror community is a wonderful brotherhood (and sisterhood) of supportive peers and dedicated fans. It’s great to be a part of it.  And thanks for your time, too, Sierra. Much appreciated!

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Links to Purchase

Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Little-Girls-Ronald-Malfi/dp/1617736066

Barnes and Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/little-girls-ronald-malfi/1120137979?ean=9781617736063

Or pick up or ask to order at your local independent bookstore or anywhere e-formats are sold!

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Sign up to win one of two paperback copies of Little Girls by Ronald Malfi by clicking the link to the Rafflecopter link below. Be sure to follow the specifics you can do each day to gain more entries.

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Or the code is

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Little Girls by Ronald Malfi

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

I would first like to thank author Ronald Malfi for sending me his book!  I love a good ghost story!  Keep an eye out as Ronald will be my featured author of the month in August and you can enter to win a copy of “Little Girls”!  I will also have an interview to share with you all!

This is a ghostly story with an eerie ending.  Laurie has returned with her family to claim her fathers estate, which she has not visited since she was a young girl.  Her father passed away from a bought with dementia, but it was other demons of her fathers that truly lead to his untimely death.

She remembers her childhood wasn’t ideal and she can feel the dark memories lurking in every corner of her childhood home.  At first she thinks she is overwhelmed with the situation of having to go through her fathers personal items to prepare them to sell and accredits her strange feelings to that.  Until she meets her daughters new friend Abigail who looks exactly like another little girl who used to live next door.  Not only does she look exactly like Laurie’s old neighbor girl, but the idea that she passed away when she was young is what is getting to her.  When she finds an old photo of her and her friend, the resemblance is uncanny.

Everyday, Laurie’s nervousness and uneasiness is growing and her memories are coming back to her.  She wonders if she is inheriting her fathers illness, but starts to learn otherwise.  There is a dark mystery unfolding with unspeakable truths coming out of the cracks.  Why did her father insist on locking the doors and windows, while keeping others padlocked?  Was it to keep someone or something out, or to lock out secrets he’d been hiding for years?

“Little Girls” was a phenomenal read!  I’m going to admit that I read this book in ONE WHOLE DAY!  Skillful writing and a unique, chilling story will keep your eyes peeled to the pages!  I hope to read more from this author in the future!

Author Interview with Michael Pang, author of “In the Eyes of Madness” – *BOOK GIVEAWAY*

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Michael is 31 years old and is married with two kids. He was born in Hong Kong and moved to the US when he was about 3 years old.  Michael grew up in Central Florida and went off to Atlanta for college. He graduated from Georgia Tech back in 2005 and worked for an energy company as a project engineer up through 2013.  In 2014 he started working for an IT company as a project manager.

“I am a person that gets bored extremely quickly, so I like to dabble in a lot of different things.  I have many passions in life that keep me from being idle.  Writing and reading, of course, being two of my passions, have taken up much of my time.  Other passions that indulge upon are Cooking, Eating, Singing, and teaching.”

Sierra:  When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

Michael: I’ve always been very addicted to reading urban fantasy novels.  After a long day at work, it feels great to be able to dive into a book where I can be drawn into a world that parallels my own, but filled with magic and wonder.  If I had a good book in front of me, I used to be able to stay up all night reading (gone are those day though; I have kids now and I try to get as much sleep as I can get).

Although, I’ve always wanted to pursue writing, I didn’t really attempt writing a book until one night when I had a very strange dream about 4 years ago.  My wife and I had our first baby. Months of sleepless nights went by and we both looked like zombies. Then, one night a very strange dream (more like a nightmare) came to me about a teenager working in a mental asylum. The patients there were all gaunt and ghastly with very abrupt demeanor changes. Some of the things the patients were doing were fairly odd and supernatural (like levitating, retrieving objects via telekinesis, and speaking with multi-vocal projections). And I remember wandering to myself, are these people all just insane or demon possessed. Then the teenager went into a room and called the patient residing in the room, “mom.”  She turned around abruptly, and the expression on her face was terrifying as she pounced on him. I woke up immediately. As shaken from the dream as I was, I couldn’t help wanting to find out what happened to the teenager.  I tried to go back to sleep in hopes of getting the dream to continue.  But it didn’t work.  The next morning, I told my wife about the strange dream and how I had hoped that it had continued when I went back to sleep.  So my wife told me that it sounded like it would make an excellent novel and that I should write my own ending.  And I did.

It took me about two and a half years to finish the story.

Sierra:  Tell us a little bit about your first book or the first book in the series.

Michael: .It is a Young Adult Paranormal Urban Fantasy that is book 1 of a book series called Declan Peters Chronicles.  The story is about a 17 year old boy who had an traumatic experience when he was seven.  His mother went insane and tried to drown him.  Now that he’s graduated from high school, he starts working for the institution here is mother is being cared for.  Strange things start happening around him, and he afraid that he might have inherited his mother’s mental illness.  The story surrounds all the different discoveries that he makes about himself during this time.  Are there really supernatural things happening around him, or has he truly inherited his mother’s condition.  You’ll have to read the book to find out.

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Click the Photo to see A Simple Taste for Reading’s Review!

Sierra: How did you choose the genre you write in?

Michael:  Since the whole story came about from a nightmare I had, I’d have to say that I didn’t choose it; it chose me.  I hope I didn’t sound too much like a mystic there.

Sierra: What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write?

Michael: My favorite part in the book (without giving too much away as a spoiler) is the scene where Declan comes to a realization about his own state of mind and what he can really do.  That feeling of being free from all the baggage that he had been carrying for 10 years, made me leap a little bit as I was writing it.  I’m sure that there is always something about yourself that you are self conscious of or you don’t like (whether it is something that has happened in your past or something about yourself physically).  And sometimes, you can get obsessed about it so much that it consumes you. But learning to like yourself for who you are and how you got there is probably one of the most freeing experiences of your life.

Sierra:  Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

Michael: The story is mostly imaginary, being that it originated from a dream.  However, there are a lot of moments throughout the story that has very intense emotions, that are reflections of the emotions that I’ve had in different parts of my life.
Sierra: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

Michael: I’m a big paranormal fiction fan. A few of my favorite writers are Jim Butcher, Simon R. Green, Cassandra Clare, and Rick Riordan. Jim Butcher has definitely influenced some of the ways I write my fight scenes in the book as his books are always so packed with supernatural action.  And Simon R. Green always has such witty characters that are very unique.  And Cassandra Clare and Rick Riordan simply have a way of creating a world that draws you in.  These are all amazing writers and I really hope that one day I can attain their level of excellence.

Sierra: Do you ever experience writers block?

Michael:  I’m not sure if it really counts, but I honestly cannot sit and write for more than two hours at a time.  My brain feel like a bowl of pudding after that.

Sierra: Is there an author that you would really like to meet?

Michael: Jim Butcher!  The Dresden Files is my absolute favorite book series of all time.  I’ve probably re-read the entire series at least 4 times.  The world that he built in his book series is so intricate that every time I re-read it I realize that I had missed something important the previous times.

Sierra: Will you have a new book coming out soon? If so, can you tell us about it?

Michael:  Not quite in the near future.  I’m still in the beginning stages of writing book 2 of the Declan Peter’s Chronicles.  And concurrently, I’m working on a spin-off book series that goes back to the genesis times, starting with the first Nephilim.   And yes, there will be crossover characters.  You have to read it to find out how.

Sierra: If you could go back and do it all over again, is there any aspect of your first novel for getting it published that you would change?

Michael: No, I like the story as it is.  However, I’d like to believe that my writing has improved since then, and just rewrite the whole thing!  Haha!  But I feel like, I’m always going to feel that way as I continue down my writing journey.

Sierra: Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Michael: As my wife was reading some of my first drafts, I kept hearing sighs and grunts.  And I ask her what was her deal, and she told me “Don’t just flat out tell the readers what is going on all the time, you have flirt with them.”

You don’t’ want to be so cryptic where you readers are confused about what’s going on in the story, but also don’t just give it all away!  Tease them! Make them work for it! 😉

Sierra: Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Michael:  I’d just like to thank all the readers for their support.  I know that some of the topics touched upon in the novel can be quite taboo in certain arenas.  But, I feel that it’s what makes for an intriguing tale!  I hope you enjoyed the first book enough to continue with the series because it’s really about go deeper into the madness!

Click On the Book Cover to Enter to Win a  Digital Copy of “In the Eyes of Madness”!25466295

In the Eyes of Madness by Michael Pang

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

I’d first like to thank author Michael Pang for sharing his book with me!  I was very impressed with his writing and visionary in this book!  It is full of twists and kept me wanting to read faster to find out what was going to happen next!  If you like suspense and paranormal genre, you must read “In the Eyes of Madness“!

The story starts out when Declan Peters is with his mother, who is in an institution where she is being held after a tragic incident.  The incident has left Declan alone and full of questions.  Declan has been trying to find a way to get answers and to be closer to his mother, so he takes a job at the institution where she is being held.  Just when you think this was a smart decision for Delcan, we soon come to realize that Declan’s life may still be in danger and not just from his mother.  This is not your normal danger either, what Declan starts to realize has him questioning his grasp on reality.

I don’t want to give away the entire story as it was so good, I just want to tell you everything that happened!  What Declan finds out about himself is terrifying and interesting at the same time.  He had no idea that he would be dealing with demonic possessions and beings so sadistic that even I was terrified for him!  Declan’s determination to find the answers he has longed for since the incident with his mother is strong.

You will find yourself on journey that you may want to turn back on, but find yourself rooting for Declan has he takes on the paranormal to find the answers to secretes that inhabit the institution and all who live there, including Declan himself!

Author Interview with Allan Stratton, author of “The Dogs”

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I am in the process of getting a copy of Allan Stratton’s book, “The Dogs“.  I had read an excerpt of the first few chapters and now I need to find out what is going on!  I decided to contact the author for an interview.  I hope you all check out his writing.  If you have already read “The Dogs”, please let me know your thoughts!  I can’t wait to read it!

Allan:  I’m a happily married full time author who likes spending time with friends and my four cats. All the blah blah blah about my work is at my website: www.allanstratton.com

Sierra:  When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

Allan: I started wqriting before I could spell, sounding out the letters. My first professionally published work was a play written when I was eighteen and produced on our Canada’s national radio network. My first novel, Leslie’s Journal was written in 2000.

Sierra:  Tell us a little bit about your first book.

Allan: Leslie’s Journal is about an at risk girl who falls in with a very dangerous boyfriend. It was an American LKibrary Association Best Book and has come out in the states, Canada, Korea, France, Germany and Slovenia.

Sierra: How did you choose the genre you write in?

Allan: I write in a variety of genres. Each  depends on the subject matter, characters andpremise that attracts me to the project.

Sierra: What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write?

Allan: The car ride Cameron has with his father. It creeped me out.

Sierra:  Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

Allan: My dad was an abuser. My mom fled with me when I was a baby. But fiction always messes with what’s real and what’s not.

Sierra: Is there an author that you would really like to meet?

Allan: Shakespeare, Dickens, Emily Bronte, Dostoyevsky and Fielding. Sadly they’re all dead.

Sierra: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

Allan: No, although the authors I mentioned above have all written books that make me think about life.

Sierra: Do you ever experience writers block?

Allan: Sometimes. It’s usually a function of fear. Deal with the fear of it and it disappears.

Sierra: Will you have a new book coming out soon? If so, can you tell us about it?

Allan: The Dogs comes out in the US in September. It’s about a boy on the run with his mom from a psychotic father. At the rented farmhouse where they stay, our hero, Cameron, becomes convinced he’s talking to the ghost of a boy who was murdered years ago by his father. Is Cameron solving a cold case or is he un hinged and projecting the ghost because of his own father-fears.

I’ve been lucky to get a starred review in Kirkus. “A monstrous, stalking father, unhinging nightmares, a ghostly boy, wild dogs, and a moldy basement add creepy deliciousness to a murder mystery and tale of a boy who, in trying to solve a mystery, may just discover what a loving family might be. An engrossing blend of murder mystery and family story.”

Sierra: If you could go back and do it all over again, is there any aspect of your first novel or getting it published that you would change?

Allan: I never re-read my work after it’s published, except when doing public presentations. Too busy working on new stuff.

Sierra: Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Allan: Read, read, read. Write, write, write.

Sierra: Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Allan: I hope you have as much fun reading my books as I’ve had writing them.

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