Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Interview with Chrystalla Toma - author of Rex Rising

Barbara: Hi Chrystalla, welcome. You just published your YA science fiction novel Rex Rising, and in the story summary you mention parasites. How did you come up with the idea for the parasitic element of the story?

Chrystalla: Science fascinates me; science magazines like American Scientist are crazier than any fantasy book I’ve ever read. Having a biologist as a husband means I have free access to lots of biology magazines and books and I get to see strange things first hand. Somewhere along the line we were talking about parasites and my husband bought a book called Parasite Rex describing all sorts of parasites and the way they affect their hosts. The rest, as they say, is history. The book opened up a brand new world for me and gave me ideas for my novel. Using parasites in science fiction is of course nothing new. A famous example is the movie Alien (and its sequels). My story isn’t horror/thriller like Alien, but the parasites do play a very important role nevertheless, changing the behavior of the characters and shaping the world of Rex Rising.

Barbara: Did it take you long to write?

Chrystalla: Novels are big animals, so they take time to take shape. From the moment the first idea about Rex Rising popped into my mind until it was published, a few years passed. That doesn’t mean that every novel takes so long, but this one was born in stages. First came the idea about the world of the Seven Islands, that was in 2001, I believe. Then came the parasites and the way they might change the world and the people in it. Finally came the characters and their story. So it took me a few years, but in fits and starts. I wrote down the first draft in 2008, and revised it over the past year.

Barbara: Is YA literature your first love?

Chrystalla: Fantasy/science fiction is my first and true love. When I started writing, I didn’t think I wrote for a specific public – after all, as a child I read literature meant for adults and as the years passed, I saw adults read literature for teenagers (like Harry Potter and Inkheart). However, once I started writing my own novels, it was pointed out to me that they have many elements of YA literature, and only then did I realize that I was indeed writing YA. The young age of the protagonists, their inner conflicts and issues with sexuality, love, family and purpose in life, they are typical of YA fiction.

Barbara: I think readers would be very surprised that English is not your first language - do you think in English when you write?

Chrystalla: True, my native language is Greek, but I feel quite confident writing in English, since I studied it and have been reading it for many years. As to your question, absolutely, I do think in English when I write. I even hear the voice of my characters in my ear as I write, their inflection and tone.

Barbara: Your cover is fantastic. Did you do it yourself? - (I know you did)

Chrystalla: Thank you, Barbara. Yes, I made the cover myself. I bought a stock image and changed it to my taste. I love the idea of making my own covers just as I want them to be. I guess this is one of the main advantages of self publishing.

Barbara: Who are your favorite authors?

Chrystalla: Right now I love Cassandra Clare for YA paranormal, but also Patricia McKillip and Cecilia Dart for epic fantasy, and for science fiction I think Ray Bradbury’s stories (I especially love the Illustrated Man) are wonderful, even if they are old.

Barbara: Do you write full time?

Chrystalla: I wish! :) I have always written in my free time after work. At this moment, I just resigned from my job due to stress-related health problems and plan to look for freelance jobs as a translator (which is my profession), hoping that way I will have more time to write and publish. That would be really lovely!

Barbara: When is the next book out!

Chrystalla: Well, I have set myself a deadline for the first draft of Rex Cresting (sequel to Rex Rising): end of 2011. I do hope to have finished it earlier, though, but by the time it is ready to be published, more months may pass. Therefore I aim for January for the release, but it could be February or March.

Barbara: Thank you for telling us about yourself and your stories.

Chrystalla: Thank you for having me here today!

Visit Chrystalla’s blog for more information on the world of Rex Rising and her other works:

You can find Rex Rising at the following distributors:
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon DE
Watch the book trailer:


Friday, September 23, 2011

Free on Smashwords

Four writer friends and I have got together to produce five little paranormal stories and we're offering them free!!!!!!!!!


When night falls. you never know what creatures prowl in the shadows…

A guardian angel… with an ulterior motive? Dragons… racing? A girl… with an unusual offer? A gargoyle… searching for love? A charity run might mean a run for your life.

Only you hold the power to control them by reading… Love Bites.

Classified by Jay Di Meo
Sefu's guardian angel is supposed to keep him safe, but who'll keep him safe from the angel?

Dragon Race by Barbara Elsborg
In this race between lovers, who wins and who loses?

Jacquelyn in the Box by D.L. Jackson
What would you give up for love?

Laying Claim by Cate Masters
A curse for one means salvation for both, Celia finds.

Run by Arlene Webb
A run for charity turns deadly, and two strangers learn they have a lot more to give than blood.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

All Romance e-books - my story!!!!

I made it through to the last 32 in the All Romance ebooks Just One Bite competition. Yippee. Voting doesn't start until the 1st of October and it will be a head to head competition - in other words 16 individuals against 16 others for one week, then 8 against 8 etc I already know who I'm paired against and have read her story. Gulp! If you register on the ARe site you can read all 32 stories but you can't vote yet, but if you'd like to read mine - it's there.


If you feel mine is the best, I hope you'll vote for me on the 1st October!

Not me on the picture, by the way - I can't jump that high!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cover for my INS with Decadent publishing!!

On the right track
Hollie has very specific requirements for her New Year’s Eve 1NightStand—a tall, fair-haired guy, who’s organized, sensible, likes small-breasted brunettes and can deal with any crisis life throws at him. Except what seemed like a good idea when she set off, turns into the worst idea ever as the snow falls thickly, her fingers clench the steering wheel, and she veers off track.
Dark-haired Nick is on his way to a party with hopes of connecting with a busty blonde—assuming he’s even on the right road and can dig himself out of a heap of snow before he freezes solid. Too bad he never plans ahead, no coat and no shovel in the car, and soon he won’t even see a road at all, let alone any vehicle barreling down it.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Dragon Race

Finished a little short story that will go into an anthology with several of my writer friends. This is a do-it-ourselves venture that will be out soon. I started to write this story for the All Romance e books competition but it felt wrong so I stopped. Started another and that didn't work either - the third was the charm and it made it into the last 32 - voting starts in October!Came back to Dragon Race and liked it again, so turned into something I hope is readable.
Now I have no excuses about delaying work on my sci fi romance. Weather is crap, no pile of books to read - I can start right away - er, after coffee, after breakfast, after taking dog for a walk, ooh I need to vacuum, empty the dishwasher, send pics of the dog in the pool to husband... should be free to write about lunchtime - oh and darn it, kids need to use my computer so I'm going to have to wait a while before 'A New Life' gets going. (Temporary title - I have to call it something other than - this piece of crap)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Jet lag

Bad enough that humans get jet lag but when the dog has it too..... poor little critter spent 4 hours in his crate before take off, over nine hours in the air, another two hours waiting in the cargo place before we opened the door to let him out. Hyper dog alert!!!! Five hours difference in time to the UK so he's waking in the night wanting to pee and I'm probably freaking out the neighbours by wandering around outside in my nightie. Can't let dog out on his own as we'd do at home, I'm worried a raccoon will get him - or an alligator.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Into the last 32!

My story 'Two birds, one stone' has made it to the last 32 in All Romance e-books 'Just one bite' short story competition. All 32 will be published in e-anthologies but in October, the judging will start to find a winner. It will be a one against one vote off to get 16, then 8 and so on.
I'll let you know when the judging starts so you can read the stories! But I'm thrilled to have got this far.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Decadent open for submissions!!!

Decadent Publishing is actively seeking stories that fit our new Honor
Guard line.

The Honor Guard line is composed of contemporary multi-national romance
stories with a heat level of 3-5 and word count between 10k-30k.

Setting: US embassies around the world. The hero can be any alpha male
having to do with embassy operations: Marines, MP, CIA, Homeland
Security, NSA, etc.

The heroine can be an American or foreign national. Her age should be
25+ (can be Late Escape--romance between couples age 50+--as well). If
your setting is in India, Australia, Norway or wherever, we need "local
flavor". Tap your travel experiences!

If you write about the military, make sure it's accurate. Give us fun,
adventure, romance, interesting settings, strong characters and hot
lovin' combined with cultural insights. HEA is mandatory.

Decadent is also taking submissions in our popular 1Night Stand line and
is open for general sunmissions in the following catagories. Please keep
word count between 5-50k at this time.
See SUBMISSIONS page on the website for details.
http://www.decadent publishing. com/index. php?osCsid= 084930d6cc456d4a e1915\
b6958c5a3e5& content=submissi ons
5b6958c5a3e5& content=submissi ons>

Historical paranormal romance
Late Escape romance (couples who are 50 years of age or older)
May-December romance
Comedy (romance or mainstream fiction)
Time travel (romance or mainstream fiction)
Erotic Romance
GLBT (especially F/F)
Non-Fiction (Biography, historical, memoirs, autobiography)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

One day

I read the book One Day quite a while ago, long before the hoopla and I really liked it. Today I went to see the film and whilst there were bits I didn't like, generally I enjoyed it. I didn't flinch at Ms Hathaway's accent - it didn't detract from the film and I think critics were wrong to pick on it. Just as they were with Kevin Costner in Prince of Thieves.Even though I knew what was coming in the film - won't say what because I don't want to spoil it - gosh it made me jump!! I still prefer the book but I loved Dex in this. Just as I'd pictured him and he'd be perfect for Charlie in my book Strangers. I wish I knew a film producer to send Strangers to. Sigh.

But I did have a problem and it had nothing to do with the film. I've realised going to the cinema makes me feel ill. I was REALLY ill after 3D Avatar and thought it was just the 3D effect but One Day made me feel ill too and now I'm thinking maybe I can't go to the cinema any more. That's disappointing. I suspect it has something to do with my focus on the screen but unless anyone has any suggestions, I'm doomed to wait until films come on the TV.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A very long walk

Walked with son and his partner along the Leeds-Liverpool canal - a distance of around 10 miles. Winnie the dachshund came too and his little legs are now even shorter. Had to run to catch the train back and then walk another mile to get home up a long hill. Consequently - I might not be moving from this chair for the rest of the day. Did have one thought on the way - not easy to hide a body in a canal - too shallow and too clean.I like to keep a list of possible sites!