Indie Author Spotlight #9: Thomas Fenske Writes “With a Slice of Life”

Indie Author SpotlightHere in our ninth edition of the Indie Author Spotlight I am aiming to keep bringing positivity despite what’s going on in the world, which I’ve pretty much withdrawn from for a bit. Today I’m chatting with Thomas Fenske, who I’ve mentioned here at The Edifying Word many, many times over the years; most recently I reviewed his latest work, The Hag Rider, which released just this week. I’ve been a fan of Fenske since I read his first book, and I hope you will be, too.

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thefensk

Thomas Fenske now has four published books and one more coming out this summer (yay!). As he is one of my favorite authors, I’m always thrilled to feature him and his books and I’ve had the great pleasure of writing advance reviews for the last two, which are included in the books (and that makes me feel special). His first three books and the upcoming release are Adventure/Mystery, while The Hag Rider is historical fiction. Good historical fiction, that manages to be obviously anti-racism (which we all need right now) despite being told from the point of view of a Confederate Cavalryman. Now THAT takes some writing skill, my friends, and you should check it out! Now, let’s let him speak!

Thanks for joining us here for the Indie Author Spotlight! Let’s start out with this: what do you want readers to know about you?

My biggest goal is to entertain readers and get them to think. I try to add a little humor and always add as much human realism as I can, in small snippets. I call that writing with a slice of life.

I LOVE that phrase, and I think it perfectly encapsulates what I love about your writing. Please tell us about your published books and any upcoming projects! 

As of this writing, I have four books in print and one more coming out this summer. The Fever, A Curse That Bites Deep, and Lucky Strike represent the inaugural trilogy of my Traces of Treasure series. The Hag Rider released this week, and the fourth book of the Traces of Treasure series, Penumbra, will be released in August. A fifth story in the series is planned, and I have a couple of science fiction plots I’ve toyed with for a while, one of those might pop to the surface soon… but with two releases coming out in quick succession I’ll be consumed with marketing for a short while.

Ooh, I’m so excited for Penumbra, book five, AND your sci-fi plans! You’re becoming quite prolific, and I appreciate that you can write well across genres. Have you always been a writer?

I majored in English and took a lot of creative writing course, because it was an upper-division course you could repeat! I dabbled in writing over the course of about 35 years, then finally about ten years ago I dug in my heels and wrote my first (still unpublished) full-length novel. I’ve kept hammering away and managed to interest a small publisher, through which I’ve published all of my books.

Can you tell us about your writing process?

Writing has become a compulsion. When I start a new story, I tell my wife my brain has shifted into novel mode. I have a hard time thinking of anything else when I get into novel mode. I like to fast write, NaNoWriMo-style (sometimes during NaNoWriMo), and work from a loose outline. I find fast writing to be extremely creative because as I push forward, the story tells me where it wants to go. **Quick note for all of you who are wondering what on EARTH NaNoWriMo is — the writing community has an annual “National Novel Writing Month” each November, where participating writers aim to pen an entire novel in one month, with the community to help keep them accountable.

So do you read the same genres you write? Do you have any other hobbies?

I like hard history, and fill in with science fiction, mostly, although I have an abiding appreciation for a masterfully told cozy mystery. I don’t have many other hobbies outside of writing these days. I collect cookbooks, but I’ve run out of space. It loses its appeal when most of your new acquisitions are relegated to tubs.

Sounds like you’re quite busy writing and marketing these days. Are you living your author dream?

I just want to keep writing and publishing. Success? Not sure what that entails. Like I said before, my primary desire is to entertain readers.

And he does! Find Thomas Fenske’s books exclusively at Amazon, visit his website, and look for him on social media: Twitter: @thefensk  —  Instagram: @thefensk  —  Facebook.  

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Would you like to be featured, too? Please contact me at kristin@theedifyingword.com!

Indie Author Spotlight: It’s Launch Week for Aimee Shaye

Indie Author SpotlightWelcome to week EIGHT, which is awesome! I’m still learning so much and loving getting exposed to new indie authors on a regular basis. I’m definitely opening myself up to different genres, and I hope you will, too. My favorite part, though, is to get to know the person behind the books – what makes them tick? As I learn more about them, it’s a lot of fun to see how parts of each author emerge in their writing. There’s a lot more to come, so please keep coming back and supporting the wonderful people who have signed up to chat with me!   

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Aimee's NEW NEW Logo V3.jpgToday I’m bringing you a conversation with Aimee Shaye, whose new book, The Broken Daughter, launched this past weekend after Aimee took a two-year hiatus from publishing. You’ll find Aimee to be very open about her struggles, and how they shape her life, which is so brave and encouraging to others (like me) who battle our own mental illnesses. In the spirit of full disclosure and to follow Aimee’s lead, I have to be honest and say I did not finish reading The Broken Daughter; the book has a lot of emotion tumult and dark magic, and I’m in too emotionally-vulnerable of a place right now. I felt like I was taking on all of Aymeri’s fears and insecurities, which is a testament to the fact that her character is powerfully written. So, I made the difficult decisions to DNF, but still wanted to share Aimee’s work with all of you because I am impressed by her strength and honesty. When I asked her what she wanted readers to know about her, this is what Aimee said: 

I want readers to know that I am just like them. I’m not anything special. I suffer from depression and anxiety. I have made many bad choices in my life. But I stay grounded by my family, by my husband. To me, family is everything and to find friends in your family is magical. I write for myself, not for what is going to sell. I want them to read my books and get a semblance of what my life is like beyond the pages. 

Wow. Thanks for joining me, Aimee, and being so candid. Can you start by telling us what genre you write?

I write fantasy, and just published The Broken Daughter. About two years ago, I published two romance books based on a previous emotionally abusive relationship because I needed it out of my system. Then I took two years off to recuperate and find my true self. I also have stories in a few anthologies; you can find all of my published works on my Amazon author page.

Have you, like many authors I’ve profiled here, always written? 

I was very young when I started writing. I started making up stories when I was eight years old. One particular memory I have is going to my mom’s bank where she worked. It was summertime and it was take-your-daughter-to-work day. I was sitting at Mom’s desk and wrote a story about a girl going on an adventure with animals. Everyone in the office asked for copies so my mom taught me how to use the copy machine. I have no idea where the original copy is, though! I wish I did! Then it got really serious in high school. I published a poem and short story under my real name in a high school catalog of writers. Then in 2014, I published again. It was my first fantasy novel and I did it because my ex told me I’d never amount to anything. It got stellar 3-5 star reviews but the poor editing (due to my rush of proving him wrong) was always commented on. I finally took it down this year and I am rewriting it.

That is so brave of you, and I look forward to seeing your rewritten book! You mention that you wrote your romance novels to get things out of your system. Is writing cathartic for you? How do you fit writing time into your life? 

It is. I write because it makes me happy. When I get depressed or anxious, it helps me to cope. Whenever I have free weekends, I spend as much time as I can writing. My day job is as a teacher and I plan my lessons a month in advance, making small tweaks here and there. All of my grading gets done at work. So I also write during the week when my night winds down around 9 or 10. 

You clearly devote a lot of time to your writing! What else is important in your life?

I am married and live with my parents so these are two very important things in my life beside my job and writing. It’s an easy balance because my husband is a graphic designer and he helps me write (he’s a great writer who refuses to admit it). I also have three nephews who are constantly at my house since my siblings live mere blocks away!

Ok, now please tell us about your new release! 

The Broken Daughter (The Cursed Kingdom Book 1) by [Aimee Shaye]Of course! The newest book I am releasing is The Broken Daughter. It is the first novel in a trilogy titled: The Cursed Kingdom. This book took me six months to write and I could not be more proud of it! The main character in the book is Princess Aymeri Maudlin. She believes she is an ordinary princess, until it turns out that she is not. She’s actually the Princess of a Sentinel Kingdom, Dramolux, whose royalty has long protected the world from all magick. At the start of the novel, she finds her mother dead and things go downhill very quickly from there. I don’t want to give too much away but there is magic and strong female leads. The men take a backseat here.

All right, like I said, the emotions are powerfully written, and I think a lot of people will be able to identify with Aymeri (even though we’re not magical). Can we wrap up by hearing your author dream?

Just to sell books. As long as I sell a couple, I consider it success! I just love writing so much.

Ok friends, let’s help Aimee Shaye’s author dream come true and buy her books. You can find Aimee at the following places: 

Website  —  Facebook  —  Twitter  —  Instagram  —  Pinterest  

And the following cover images will take you directly to where you can purchase her books:

The Broken Daughter (The Cursed Kingdom Book 1) by [Aimee Shaye]  Silenced by [Aimee Shaye]  Have Mercy by [Aimee Shaye, Matthew Picinich] If You're Listening...: A Short Story Collection Kindle Edition  

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Would you like to be featured, too? Please contact me at kristin@theedifyingword.com!

New Release: Scaredy Bat and the Sunscreen Snatcher

My oldest read and really enjoyed Marina J. Bowman’s two Legends of Pineapple Cove books, and so I joined the Code Pineapple email list on her behalf. Not too long later, I got an email inviting people to apply to part of the Scaredy Bat #2 Launch Team; I applied, was accepted, and read the e-ARC with my 8 and 6 year old daughters. And today, on Launch Day, I’m sharing it with you! Get your copy FREE or $0.99 from today through May 31!

Scaredy Bat and the Sunscreen Snatcher (Scaredy Bat: A Vampire Detective Series Book 2) by [Marina J. Bowman]

“Scaredy Bat” is actually a 12 year old vampire named Ellie, who loves solving mysteries. But she scares easily, and when she does, she turns into a bat. Each installment of the book follows Ellie as she both solves a mystery and overcomes a fear, while working closely with a group of supportive friends. In Scaredy Bat and the Sunscreen Snatcher, Ellie overcomes her fear of clowns, learns not to judge people by appearance (or, rather, smell), and remembers the importance of working closely with others as a team.

My kids LOVED it, and each gave it five stars. My rating is more like a three – it was a fun book for the kids, with some wholesome and important lessons. It made a great read-aloud and bridged the age difference between my girls, which is hard to do sometimes. The publishers describe the book as an early chapter book geared for kids ages 8-12, but it feels more appropriate to me for the 6-8 crowd, and kids who are ready to move up to early chapter books like the early Magic Treehouse series. Advanced readers and older kids will likely find it simplistic to read on their own, but the storyline will hold their interest as a read-aloud.

I guess to be fair I have to average the ratings, which gives us four stars!