Hazel Hart, Award Winning Author Interview

Snapshot Hazel Hart, for blog


Author of
The Survivalist’s Daughter (published in June 2013)
The Night before Christmas
Family History
Possessing Sara

Thank you, Hazel, for the honor of allowing us to interview you for Minecraft Books.


Hazel Hart, a member of Kansas Authors Club, has won awards for her short fiction, including “Amanda Marie,” published in Kansas Voices, and “Confessions,” in Words out of the Flatlands. Both stories have also been included in a collection of short stories, The Nancy Nolan Show.
Hazel has two published suspense novels, The Night before Christmas and Like Mother, Like Daughter , one young adult novel, The Survivalist’s Daughter, and co-authored two books of short stories, Dark Side of the Rainbow and Edge of Nowhere with Bonnie Eaton aka B.J. Myrick.
Hazel has taught English composition for a community college since 1998 and is currently working on a series of books that focus on helping students better understand the rules of writing.

1. What was your first published book?
“My first published book was The Nancy Nolan Show, a collection of short stories about a talk show host and her effect on viewers and guests.”

2. Why do you enjoy writing as an indie author?

“I enjoy the freedom to publish my book when it is ready. When I was submitting to agents and editors in search of a traditional publishing contract, I had to wait months for a reply. In my last attempt, I met an editor at a writing conference, pitched my novel, and received his permission to send it to him for review. After eight months or so, I wrote a letter asking if he had reviewed the book. He did not respond. A couple of months later, a news story broke that was connected to my novel’s story line. I wrote again, pointing out the connection and how the time was right to market the novel. I asked for the return of the manuscript if the editor was not interested in publishing it. He did not respond. About fifteen months after the original submission, I sent a letter demanding the return of the manuscript. When I received it with a form rejection, it was obvious the novel had never been read. Not a single page had a bent corner or any other evidence that it had been touched. That experience had me saying “never again,” to the traditional publishing process.”

3. The biggest challenge to being an indie author in today’s publishing world?
“My biggest challenge is connecting with readers. I think it might be a bit easier for genre and nonfiction writers, but my stories do not fit neatly into bookshelf categories. Most have a female protagonist who is somewhat of a loner and a storyline with an element of suspense.”

4. A favorite fan review or memory?
“When I published the e-book of my fourth novel, The Survivalist’s Daughter on Kindle, I offered it free during the launch. About three weeks later, someone published a review, and my heart sank. “Preachy!” the heading said. The brief paragraph explained why. I was in shock as I had been trying to encourage people to think, not tell them what to think. Not only was it rated two stars, it was the only review!

Then a few weeks later, someone posted another review, this time with five stars and a heading that read “A hidden treasure! Great book!” followed by a paragraph of praise. Talk about ecstatic! I didn’t come back to earth for several days. At last, there was something to offset that horrible first evaluation.”

5. Advice for new writers?
“Write and then rewrite. After you have written, find a circle of writing friends. Critiques groups are wonderful if the members are honest and kind. Both qualities are important. If your friends tell you only what you want to hear, you may end up publishing something before it is ready. If they are not kind, you may become discouraged.

“Relentless” is how I refer to B.J. Myrick, one of my close writing friends, a term that best describes her persistent reminders that it is time stop procrastinating and get back to work on a book. Every writer could use a relentless friend like her.”

6. Goals for writing in the next year?
“My first goal is to keep to a writing schedule. Nothing gets done without that. I am working on two very different series. The first series chronicles a family of women and their adventures. The first book is set in 1855, Kansas Territory. The second series is my first attempt at nonfiction. The working title for this series is Write to Fit and will consist of brief books that concentrate on specific areas of writing, from the basics of putting a sentence together to the fine points of an effective style.”

7. Anything exciting or new coming out soon?
“To borrow and twist a saying: Excitement is in the eye of the beholder. The plan is for the first book in my Write to Fit series, Basic Sentence Structure, to be published in September, 2014. I’m excited. Are you? If you are a student struggling to get rid of the sea of red marks on your essay saying “run-on sentence” or “fragment,” you should be.”

To check out my books, visit my Amazon author’s page at

To find out what is happening now visit my blog at http://seasonedaspirer.wordpress.com/


Author Interview with Amazing Children’s Indie Author Jocelyn Murray

Minecraft Books is delighted to interview Jocelyn Murray! Thank you, Jocelyn, for this unique privilege.

Could you tell us a little about yourself?

“Jocelyn Murray is a professional travel writer who also writes fiction. She is the author of Khu: A Tale of Ancient Egypt, as well as the teen/young adult historical fantasy fiction series The Gilded Mirror. She holds two university master’s degrees in both English and Education, along with an undergraduate degree in Economics and European Studies. She also has a teaching credential and taught elementary school in the Los Angeles Unified School District.”

1. What was your first published book?

“My first published book was The Gilded Mirror: Corfe Castle.

2. Why do you enjoy writing as an indie author?

“I love the freedom writing as an indie author provides.”

3. The biggest challenge to being an indie author in today’s publishing world?

“The biggest challenge to being an indie author in today’s publishing world is not being taken seriously. Indie authors do not have the same credibility that a publishing house provides.”

4. A favorite fan review or memory?

“A favorite memory: my daughter’s initial reaction to reading my first book The Gilded Mirror: Corfe Castle (which is dedicated to her): ‘“I can’t believe you wrote this!”’

5. Advice for new writers?

“Advice for new writers: write what you love. Don’t write what you think will sell. If you write what you love, it will sell itself.”

6. Goals for writing in the next year?

“My goals for writing in the next year: more of my professional writing – articles on family-friendly travels and venues.”

7. Anything exciting or new coming out soon?

“My 4th book was recently published in February of this year: Khu: A Tale of Ancient Egypt. It is an historical fiction book that takes place at the end of the First Intermediate Period over 4,000 years ago, and is based on real events.”


Amazon Indie Author Interview with Arlene Lagos

Thank you Arlene Lagos for allowing us at Minecraft Books to interview you!


Lagos has written poetry, stage plays, screenplays and short stories for over 20 years. In addition to writing the Beyond Earth Series, a YA Science-Fiction Fantasy Trilogy, she also has twelve short stories published in the Giant Tales anthology. Lagos currently resides in Massachusetts with her husband and their daughter.

1. What was your first published book?

Beyond Earth, Book I of the Beyond Earth Series, a Young Adult Science-Fiction Fantasy Novel.

2. Why do you enjoy writing as an indie author?

I really enjoy the freedom of writing in my own time frame. Also, being able to bring a book to life from an idea to a published work is cathartic. I’ve always been a “soup to nuts” kind of gal, wondering how things work, the roles people play in each facet of a creation. Being an independent self-published author has given me great appreciation for what agents, marketers, bloggers, street teams, public relations professionals, editors, cover designers and publishers do everyday.

3. The biggest challenge to being an indie author in today’s publishing world?
The biggest challenge is having to do the job of 10 people with your own money! Growing a fan base and making sure your work is great takes its toll, but its all worth it in the end.

4. A favorite fan review or memory?
One of my favorite memories was when I was attending the Rhode Island Comic Con with my Sci-fi series, Beyond Earth and a gentleman that had bought my first book, “Beyond Earth” at the Boston Comic Con found me and was very excited because his friend had taken his copy and wouldn’t give it back so he needed to buy another one! He was even more excited when he found out I had released book 2, “Beyond Planets” so he could buy one for both him and his friend and have them signed there!

5. Advice for new writers?
Everyone starts out in their garage, so to speak. You are going to be awful. We all start out that way. But you can’t give up. Don’t let anyone tell you that its not worth your time. If it is in your heart, keep writing. Never stop writing. You will get better.

6. Goals for writing in the next year?
I’m going to be spending the next year revamping an old piece of middle-grade fiction I’d been wanting to publish as well as starting another Butterflies novel.

7. Anything exciting or new coming out soon?
Yes! On June 24th, I’ll be launching my new novel, “Butterflies Wake” – an underground female mafia rights the wrongs of an unjust society. You can join the online launch at https://www.facebook.com/events/708632445823978/

Here are some other links:

Website: http://www.butterflieswake.wordpress.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Butterflieswake
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/arlenelagos
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5819544.Arlene_Lagos
Book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJ6NulqdZsw

Great Indie Author Interview, Micheal Diack

Thank you Michael for allowing us to interview you today. Can you tell us about yourself?

“My name is Michael Diack and I’m from the UK, but currently living in Denmark.

I studied geology at the University of Manchester and, after graduating, I was lucky to find a job in the Middle East working for a geophysical company. I enjoy table tennis, squash, football, Lord of the Rings, sailing, skiing on the green slopes only, and the card game Cribbage. I also enjoy computer games and playing a four hour game of Risk or anything Game of Thrones related with my friends.

My favourite authors are Murakami, Tolkien, Markus Heitz and an Italian author Niccolo Ammaniti. I love fantasy but I’ll read almost any genre that catches my eye. I always wanted to be a volcanologist, like Pierce Brosnan in Dante’s Peak, but I enjoy my current job and lifestyle. I write because it makes me happy, but it doesn’t quite pay the bills yet, perhaps enough for a chocolate bar every month based on my current sales!

Reviews have been positive so far for all my books, which is a relief and I’ll happily interact with any readers through Twitter (@michaeljdiack), my website (michaeldiack.com) or on Facebook.”

1. What was your first published book?

“My first book was ‘The Super Spud Trilogy’. A satirical book for all ages featuring magical crisp packets, called Super Spuds, who come alive once their sell-by date expires. They grow arms and legs and are free to live forever, away from humans in our rubbish tips where they partake in all kinds of adventures and sporting events. The key aspect of the story is that the personality of the Super Spud is determined by their flavouring, so Steak and Spinach flavours became super strong, with a military persona; while Salt and Vinegar become cocky and arrogant because they know they are the most popular flavour with the humans.

It’s very quirky and original, and the reviews have been mainly positive. You just have to remember they are crisp packets when reading it and take it all with a pinch of salt.”

2. Why do you enjoy writing as an indie author?
“I write to escape. It makes me happy just getting lost in an environment I’ve created while listening away to music. I certainly don’t do it for money, and I think if I was trying to make it as an author without a normal job, it would be not only highly stressful but most likely impossible. I also enjoy meeting new people and interacting with readers and fellow writers.”

3. The biggest challenge to being an indie author in today’s publishing world?
“I think it’s a very competitive market, especially getting reviews. But the best and most professional thing to do is to always be kind and courteous with any reviewers, or when interacting with people on forums. I think it’s hard to get noticed and to build your profile in the beginning. I’m treating it as a very long term plan, where I hope that after 5-10 years I’ll have a decent enough following. I think there is also a lot of dross out there, people putting stuff out with cheap covers or poorly formatted books, and of course, unedited manuscripts. I always pay the extra mile for an editor, they see things us writers don’t and correct the typos and grammar. That’s essential.”

4. A favorite fan review or memory?
“Fantasy is my favourite genre and Tolkien is my favourite writer. I’ve had reviews for my fantasy novel ‘Shadows in the Sand’ state that there are shades of Tolkien within the writing, which is an unbelievably flattering comment to receive. Getting the bad reviews, which are meaningful and not just one-line ‘I hated this book’ are also very useful and constructive too. I also enjoy the excitement of being featured on advertising websites and seeing your sales rank rise high; although it’s just for one day before you’re back in the half million zone…”

5. Advice for new writers?
Michae’s Writing Blog
“The link above is to my blog where I wrote a detailed guide and advice to being an indie writer, so there is plenty of reading on there. Quite simply though: keep writing! Marketing can be overwhelming and try not to get too bogged down by it.”

6. Goals for writing in the next year?
“I’m very slowly working on a new supernatural fantasy, set in a graveyard and dealing with spirits. I’d like to have it ready and published by the end of this year. I’m aiming for two novels per year, but if I end up writing one decent one in five years rather than ten average ones then that shall do too!”

7. Anything exciting or new coming out soon?
“I’ll be releasing a factual account of my year of unemployment after I graduated. Basically it was me making a fool of myself at interviews or assessment centres because of my lack of experience and unpreparedness. I’d hope people can relate to it and learn from it, and it would be great to know it helped someone out in the job process by not doing the mistakes I did!

Thanks for having me on your blog.”

Thank you, Michael. We are very excited about your future books coming out!

Stephen B. Fraser – Outstanding Amazon Indie Author Interview

Thank you Stephen for allowing us to interview you. We are excited to learn more about you today!

Stephen B. Fraser (1971- ) was born in Sacramento, California. While growing up in North Idaho and Western Montana he learned to appreciate the outdoors and the naturalist lifestyle. He is a confirmed realist, and student of human nature. He has written several short stories under a pen name. His first book was released in Feb 2012 under his own name. Stephen currently resides in beautiful North Idaho with his dog Ollie where he enjoys camping, fishing, and continues to work in the Healthcare field. When he is not writing he is pursuing his other interests.
I am an avid reader and reviewer. I also write on my Blog athttp://stephenbfraser.blogspot.com/ or my author page atamazon.com/author/sbfraser 

1. What was your first published book? 

“My first published book was http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007B44V4E. I wrote it as an answer to people who always asked me about politics and then wanted to argue about it. Within a year of its publication the Political Science teacher at the local College added it to his book list because it covered a lot of the topics his class covered in a refreshing point of view that you don’t find in academic books.”

2. Why do you enjoy writing as an indie author?

“The thing I enjoy most about being an indie author is that I am in total control of my writing. Prior to being a book author I wrote articles for magazines and trade journals. (Mostly in the Computer and Information Technology field) In that world you write your article and send it to your editor. They then chop it up and correct things and omit things and bang it appears in a magazine; often never even looking like the article you submitted. As an indie I am in total control my books come out exactly how I want them to. However on the flip side if I could find a decent editor that doesn’t charge excessive rates I’d be happier.”

3. The biggest challenge to being an indie author in today’s publishing world?

“I would have to say the stigma that comes with being labeled an indie. Many people tend to lump all indie’s into a group and paint them with the same brush. They assume all indie’s produce sub-par work that is riddled with typos and grammatical errors and then publish it just because they can. While I agree that there are a lot of books out there that are like this. It isn’t fair to judge all because of the works of the few. With technology where it is there is plenty of ways to see what a book is like before you purchase it.”

4. A favorite fan review or memory?

“After I had released the book http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009YLVNCU , I had a reader send me an email. She started out by saying that she couldn’t believe how much it described her boyfriend. She followed by saying it really helped her to better understand not only her boyfriend but all the men she dealt with. What really stood out about this was that it really had helped her. It was even more rewarding for me than I think it was for her.”

5. Advice for new writers?

“This is simple: Follow your own voice too many new writers try to write like the authors they like. I have had an author say Tom Clancy is one of my influences and when I read their book it reads like a Tom Clancy novel. The problem with that is you are stifling your own creative forces by trying to imitate another author. Listen to your own voice and tell your story from your own voice. You and your readers will happier.” 

6. Goals for writing in the next year?

“My hope is to get at least one of my projects published this year. With my availability the way it is it is attainable. However it is still early and things can change. I also am working on the Second Edition of Politics 101 which will delve into more government issues and hopefully make for a better reading book. “

7. Anything exciting or new coming out soon?

“I am writing my first fiction title (or titles) since I tend to work on four or five projects at once to help avoid bouts of writers block. These are the projects in the works. Titles are subject to change.

Cowboy Up – This is a collection of short stories about rodeo life and people.
An Erotic Novel – A project that just kind of blossomed when I let the characters write the story.
Down Range – A book about a Special forces soldier and his experiences in the field. Based on true stories collected from interviews.
Rubber Chicken – A sci-fi mystery with cyborgs, robots, and a planet ruled completely by women.
Cult of Superman – An in depth look at the psychological syndrome known as the Superman complex. More commonly seen in Males than females.”

We look forward to your upcoming works! Thank you for this interview.


Interview with David Carter, Amazon Indie Author

Thank you, David, for sharing with us today. Our blog readers always enjoy interviews with famous indie authors.

Tell us a little about yourself, please.

“My name is David Carter and I am based on the south coast of England. The sea is only a mile away and I try to get down there and walk along the cliffs most mornings, so long as it is not lashing down. I find I can think well there, and often come up with some half decent ideas, leastways I hope they are. On a crisp sunny morning like today, after the wet winter we have had, it’s a real treat.

I am a bookseller by trade – I have around 12,000 titles in the house, and don’t ask me where they are, because they are everywhere! But it would be nice to sell a few more of “my” books, as opposed to everyone else’s!” 

1. What was your first published book?

“My first published book was SPLAM! – it’s still available now, though it is dreadfully out of date. It may sound like a computer game or something similar, but is in fact a business book – Successful Property Letting And Management – the first letters quite by accident made up SPLAM! And I thought that pretty cool, and it really fitted well and it sold really well too. Still does, though as I say, the content is now woefully out of date.”

2. Why do you enjoy writing as an indie author?

“Like a lot of indie authors I have no alternative, but I came to the conclusion that if the big publishing houses didn’t want my stuff, it was much better being out there, than rotting away under my bed, which it was for a very long time. But I like the complete control it gives me, I can write what I like, when I like, and put it out when I am ready, and price it as I want, and pretty much all the royalties come back to me, so that’s cool. Still like a major publisher though. But who wouldn’t?”

3. The biggest challenge to being an indie author in today’s publishing world?

“Oh, it’s got to be the selling, hasn’t it? It takes up a lot of time, – time that I would prefer to spend writing, but it just has to be done. I have always been HOPELESS at selling my books, but just recently I am treating it more seriously, and I have been having a little bit of success. I have been interviewed by a major newspaper this week and hope to be featured in there over the Easter weekend, so I’m hoping that will raise the profile of my books. You just have to keep at it, that’s my thought on the subject.”

4. A favorite fan review or memory?

“A fan review? Not sure it is that, but I had a fantastic review come in from America just yesterday – here’s the link to that – and it just made my day and helps me get out of bed in the morning, reading something like that. 


Oh yes, there as another that stands out, Margaret Henderson Smith, an author herself, wrote about my philandering man book: “The Life and Loves of Gringo Greene” – Within its genre this is the best book I have ever read – something like that, which was really cool, and as you can imagine I was chuffed to bits that anyone could write that about one of my books.”

5. Advice for new writers?

“Be patient! Don’t put it out before it’s ready. We have all read indie books that could be half decent but have simply been put out long before they were ready. Put it under the bed if you can and leave it there for a year – yes, I know it’s a hard thing to do, when you desperately want to put your stuff out there – but if you can do that, when you return to it, you will find many areas that you can improve on, and your book will be all the better for that. So, write the best book you possibly can, be patient with it, and only put it out when it is ready!

And of course: READ MORE – your writing will always improve if you do that.”

6. Goals for writing in the next year?

“I am just proofreading my next book entitled “The Legal and the Illicit” a story of Love, Hatred, Ambition, and Revenge – so the blurb says, it’s set against the background of commodity trading and big business, and does feature my man, Walter Darriteau, in the final third of the book. 

After that I have finished 90% of an all new Walter Darriteau murder mystery, and after that still, I am planning on writing a sequel to the aforementioned “The Life and Loves of Gringo Greene” which is about a philandering man who doesn’t treat women well, and of course what goes around comes around, and it all goes terribly wrong for him, and justifiably so. A few ladies have asked me to write that sequel, so that’s nice, and I hope to get round to that in the next 18 months or so.”

7. Anything exciting or new coming out soon?

“Well, “The Sound of Sirens” is only just out and I am busy promoting that one, and then as I mentioned above “The Legal and the Illicit” should be out in the summer.

That’s it, I think, – thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk about my writing and my books, there is loads more info and stuff as you know on my website:www.davidcarterbooks.co.uk

Best of luck with your writing and your blog.”

Thank you, David. We are excited about the future of Minecraft Books.