THE KATY’S BEST OF 2015

I hope everyone had a wonderful Holiday season and New Years! I took off of one of my jobs so that I could spend more time with my little family. It was awesome.

Now that I’m back to the grind, I thought I’d share some of my favorite books, posts, and other highlights from 2015!

This may get long…2015 was a great year!

Let’s get the longest category out of the way: BOOKS.

2015 Fave books

I’m not really sure if I had a completely #1 favorite book of 2015. There were so many to choose from that I could talk about for hours, so in no particular order here are my top ten! …They are pretty much all Sci-fi/dystopian lit!

  • Killshot by Aria Michaelsbookcover
    • Aria was my first author interview EVER. She wrote such an awesome book, I knew I needed to hear more about it. I’m so happy she agreed to answer a few questions!
    • Killshot is about a girl named Liv and how she goes from being a normal high school girl (with legit problems) to fighting for her life and the lives of those around her. Read more in my review.
    • Buy link
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
    • I’m sure this book is on everyone’s “best of 2015” lists, but I had to add it. It’s awesome! (See review) I added it to my “read yearly” list on Goodreads, which only has two other books on it right now. I received “Ready Player One” from a LootCrate! Best month ever!
    • Buy link (At time of post, the paperback was cheaper than the kindle edition!)
  • UPDATED EBOOK COVER WITH TAGLINESThe Treemakers by Christina L Rozelle
    • This one is classified as YA, but definitely has some scarier parts. I loved it. It was definitely dark, yet remained hopeful through all of the horribleness. Read my reviews and interview with Christina here.
    • Christina is a great author, but also a kind and generous person. She agreed to an interview and I look forward to getting to know her more over the years!
    • Buy link
  • Prep for Doom anthology by Band of Dystopian Authors and Fans
    • This anthology was unique because all the stories intertwined even though multiple authors wrote them! (I was lucky enough to be asked to join the Band of Dystopian team as an assistant in 2015 too. I love BOD!)
    • See my review here.
    • Buy link
  • Tails of the Apocalypse by various authorstsils
    • One of my favorite anthologies I’ve read by far! Not sure if it’s because it followed animals or what, but I loved each story in a different way. Review here.
    • Buy link
  • Anything written by Sarah Noffke in 2015
  • Between Life and Death series by Ann Christy
  • halfwaydeadHalfway Dead by Terry Maggert
    • A story about a witch. I’m usually not “into” witch books, but this one is awesome! It gave me an “Odd Thomas” vibe, which is one of my all time favorite books!
    • Read more HERE and see Terry’s interview here.
    • Buy link
  • Dark Bishop by Casey L Bond and Rachael Brownell
    • This is a suspense-type romance released as a serial series. It is NOT YA. But I love it. Check out Casey’s other books as well. She writes in all different genres and I loved each world she’s created.
    • Interview with Casey here.
    • Buy link
  • Sand by Hugh Howey
    • This one was SO good. I think I liked it even more than Wool. Hugh has a way with words. I felt like I was buried in the sand, in a good way…if that’s possible.
    • Buy link

AGH! That’s ten already? How about some honorable mentions? I really could go on and on. Last year was a great year for books and I cannot wait to read more in 2016!

MORE GOOD BOOKS

Author Interview: Terry Maggert

Today on THE KATY’s author spotlight is Terry Maggert, author of such amazing titles like “Banshee” and “Halfway Dead”. You can read my reviews on those books HERE and here.


Thank you for joining me today, Terry!
What compelled you to become an author? Any certain experiences, authors, or movies that spurred your creativity?

terrymaggertI’ve always written. And I was atrocious. I actually wrote a sort-of romance that had the hero earning his fortune from a Swedish meatball inheritance. Yep. That really happened.  So, somewhere in my early 40s I got serious, and began to think about writing in terms of complete novels. My first book, “The Forest Bull”, was written primarily while I was up with my infant son from 1-4 in the morning. The house was quiet, dogs were snoring, and VH-1 was on the television, repeating the same five videos in order, hour after hour. I envision the entire story arc, sit down, and begin typing, and the story takes shape from there in a linear fashion. I think all writers are, first and foremost, readers. As a kid I had a book in my hands at all times that I wasn’t fishing. Or swimming. Or chasing fish
while swimming. You get the picture.

What made you choose to self-publish?

At a certain point, I started to wonder if I couldn’t use my own experience to find good people and hire them. That’s really what self-publishing comes down to. Find a good editor. Go big on your cover. Connect with readers. Don’t spam. Be real. Since I was convinced I could do those things, after a few months, I took the plunge. We’re watching the dissolution of the traditional publishing model, and it couldn’t happen to a nicer group of people. Traditional publishers– who are purely for-profit– fancy themselves as arbiters of taste, or gatekeepers. They’re neither, and watching them erode in an event that the music industry endured a scant twenty years ago (Napster, anyone?) is delicious. Trust me, the market will find good books, and you don’t need an archaic system to determine who or what goes viral.

I’ve read two of your novels, “Banshee” and “Halfway Dead” and they are so different! Do you dabble in different genres usually? Do you prefer write any genre over reading it?

I fancy myself one of those Big Idea Writers, but I’m not. I like dragons. I like it when bad guys get smushed. I like winners. In that sense, Banshee is my passion project, but Carlie (from Halfway Dead) is one of those people who I root for at every turn. I have a love affair with good horror, which explains a great deal of my “Fearless” series. One could also argue I have a thing for naked women, based on reading that series. They would be correct, but I do so in manner that (hopefully) doesn’t lead readers to believe I own a creepy van that reads “Free Candy” on the side. I sum up my books in my tagline (I write things my wife would prefer I not do), and let the readers decide if they want to stand close to me for a picture. Or not. Heh.

Do you feel that your characters are a piece of yourself or that you’re writing about someone else completely? Like, I’m pretty sure you aren’t a dragon rider or a witch, but maybe you’re hiding a secret…

I would be a terrible witch. I would wear a shirt that read, “WITCH, SUCKAHS!” and go around town firing spells off like they were disposable. My main protagonist in “The Fearless” is tall, likes beer, fishing, Great Danes, redheads, and Thai food. While it is true I like all those things, my character is two inches taller than me. Hence, WE ARE TOTES DIFFERENT. But to answer your question, there is some of me– and my experiences– in all of my characters, with the exception of Annalise Wimple. She’s that person we’ve all met— you know, the manager at some place who insists that “Rules are meant to be followed!” and then proceeds to ruin your day. So in that sense, even the characters who are unlike me will be, to the reader, easily recognized.

What is your method for writing? Are you a plotter or panster?

Unsure. I “see” the whole arc, sit down, and cut loose at the keyboard. Sometimes characters will bloom– Delphine, my 2400 year old succubus is one such person– and when that happens it’s a wonderful surprise.

You are very active of social media. I saw that your wife recently gave you an idea for a new story. Where else do you draw your inspiration from for your writing?

My books come from being a middle aged male. By the time we hit forty-five, we’ve seen A LOT. In my case, I was busy traveling, drinking, and raising hell. That makes for a deep well from which to pull stories. “The Fearless” series came from something as simple as driving past a lonely roadside cross. “Banshee” was spawned from other dragon books (God Bless Anne McCaffrey) and the sudden realization that I had moved to an area sitting on one of the largest seismic faults in the world. From small things come big books, it would seem.

Which do you choose? Magic, like Carlie of Halfway Dead or a dragon like in Banshee?

DRAGON. SERIOUSLY. I had a conversation last month with the fine writer Martin Powell. We are in COMPLETE agreement about how amazing it would be to have a baluchitherium  as a pet (think of a giant, long necked rhino). I often speak of wanting a giraffe. I have large dogs, and would cheerfully adopt a wildebeest or any other enormous creature, but if I’m given a choice, it’s dragon all the way. Think about it– you fly your kid to school on a dragon. Or to the movies. Or the mall. Or London. Basically, you’re going to have the Best Day Ever seven days a week.

The imagery of the moon and magic in Halfway Dead were so beautiful. Do any of those scenes come from your own experiences?

When we bought our current home, I watched an eclipse traverse the floor of the kitchen, and the image was so– it made me feel small, you know? I’ve never forgotten it. So, yes. The moon and magic is something that I feel is so close I can nearly touch it.

Any future projects or announcements you’d like to share with THE KATY audience?

Halfway Dead will be available on Audible.com next week. My actress, Erin Spencer, is wonderful. I told I her I was Very Important and she was so busy she couldn’t google me, thus assuring my listeners of absolutely stellar talent, just like my other two team members (Rebecca Cook and Henry Mcnulty, who voice my other series). I am well into the sequel to Halfway Dead, and can reveal here that the villains are–well, there’s no easy way to say it, so I’ll just type this one word and leave it at that: Clowns.

Any advice for aspiring authors?

Ask yourself one question: what does your book do? Is it cathartic? Is it confessional? Or, do you want people to read it? If it’s the latter, then you want to be a professional writer. That means: be a pro. In that sense, you must treat your craft with great respect. To be clear, writing is work. I am a mechanic– I assemble sentences to evoke what I am seeing within the imagination of the reader. That’s a romanticized form of engineering, but I always, always treat it as something I am privileged to do.

Thank you very much for agreeing to an interview! I look forward to future projects from you, Terry!

My pleasure being here, and kind thanks for such excellent questions– and for not judging me because I don’t like wearing pants.


FIND TERRY MAGGERT ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Find Terry Maggert on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Goodreads, and his website.

Review: Halfway Dead by Terry Maggert

“Come for the waffles. Stay for the magic.”

synopsis: halfwaydead

Carlie McEwan loves many things.
She loves being a witch. She loves her town of Halfway, NY—a tourist destination nestled on the shores of an Adirondack lake. Carlie loves her enormous familiar, Gus, who is twenty-five pounds of judgmental Maine Coon cat, and she positively worships her Grandmother, a witch of incredible power and wisdom. Carlie spends her days cooking at the finest—and only—real diner in town, and her life is a balance between magic and the mundane, just as she likes it.
When a blonde stranger sits at the diner counter and calls her by name, that balance is gone. Major Pickford asks Carlie to lead him into the deepest shadows of the forest to find a mythical circle of chestnut trees, thought lost to forever to mankind. There are ghosts in the forest, and one of them cries out to Carlie across the years. Come find me.
Danger, like the shadowed pools of the forest, can run deep. The danger is real, but Carlie’s magic is born of a pure spirit. With the help of Gus, and Gran, and a rugged cop who really does want to save the world, she’ll fight to bring a ghost home, and deliver justice to a murderer who hides in the cool, mysterious green of a forest gone mad with magic.

Review:

I give this book a 5 out of 5 stars for characters, interesting plot lines, cover design, memorable lines, and for Terry writing such a memorable and amazing story!

Carlie is a white witch. And even though I know absolutely nothing about witchcraft, I found myself enthralled by the descriptions of how her magic was a piece of herself. She didn’t come off as entitled or uppity because she had power, but instead loved being a down-to-earth cook at the local diner. She really reminded me of Dean Koontz’s “Odd Thomas,” which is one of my favorite books of all time.

The story was enthralling and drew me in immediately. If I didn’t have a job, husband, or kids, I would’ve read the story straight through! Curse you, responsibilities!

Memorable lines were placed naturally throughout the book. I won’t spoil any that relate to direct plot points, but these are a few of my favorites:

“Even sitting, he towered over me, but not in threatening way, unless you consider good customer service to be a menace to your person. I did not, so I smiled.”

“when my hair gets crazy, it becomes an alien life form that can threaten cities.”

Carlie is full of great lines and passion for her craft. Imagery of the moon and scenery puts the reader directly into the story.

SO, to sum up, if you like waffles, magic, evil, the moon, love, deceit, and just an all-around great read, pick up “Halfway Dead” by Terry Maggert!

Stay tuned. Next week, I’ll be interviewing Terry about his writing!

find terry maggert on social media

Find Terry Maggert on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Goodreads, and his website.

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