About Me

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Mike Mehalek writes fast-paced lyrical books that can be enjoyed with one reading but have enough substance for re-reading. He brings stories to life that demand to be told, regardless of the hopes/dreams/fears/desires of his characters--the Story first--always the Story.

In 2008 Mike earned his masters degree in writing popular fiction from Seton Hill University

Visit Mike on twitter @mikemehalek

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Kicking Off National LGBT Month with a Story, a Pledge, and a Dragon (And Why I Need Your Help)

Hello Trickyverse,

Thank you for Coming out to a special edition of Writing is Tricky.  Today, October 1, marks the start of the 20th anniversary of LGBT History Month. Its intent (summed up nicely from Wikipedia) is “to encourage honesty and openness about being LGBT.” 

There are quite a few milestones in LGBT history, but the day that I most enjoy is October 11: National Coming Out Day

This reason this day resonates for me is because it is a day of both recognition and of action. It is a day, where those of us struggling with our sexual orientation/identity are not only reminded that others came before us but also that we are not alone. We are not outcasts. We are not ugly things, grisly things, disgusting things, undeserving of decency, respect, or a basic right to love who we want to love, or even to love ourselves. It’s a day where our community, including our closest friends and allies, step forward to say: You are you, you are human, and you are beautiful but most importantly, you are never alone.

Coming out is not an easy thing. We hear gay jokes, religious-misinformed rhetoric, and some equally shocking things from the mouths of those we feel closest to when they think no one will hear. For me, I sometimes feel like I had it easy. Most of my family supported me, even if most of them didn’t always understand what it meant having a gay cousin, brother, uncle--back when it was new. Just having that support, knowing that I always had a place to go, seeing their courage, gave me (and still gives me) strength.
 
Not everyone has had a family or the support that I have had, but luckily, there are now programs out there that didn’t exist years ago, or at least they didn’t exist in the tiny neck of the woods where this little magician grew up.

I know I just said coming out was not easy.  Scary is a closer word to the feeling. Terrified is closer still. Back then, I worried about my life, my morality, my soul (not to mention fearing retribution with a tire iron for finally being honest about who I was).

Knowing where I grew up and knowing that I would not be here today without the love and support I had (seriously, I despised myself back then) . . .

. . .I will be donating all of my royalties from my novel Only Human, purchased from Amazon (Kindle version or paperback) for the month of October to the Boston Allianceof Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, & Transgender Youth (BAGLY)

“BAGLY works with LGBTQ youth across Massachusetts—and beyond!  Through leadership development, health promotion & services, social support, events, and the statewide GLBT Youth Group Network, BAGLY is at work in our communities to support LGBTQ youth.”


It is my sincerest hope that this turns into a monetary gift that far surpasses anything I could have given on my own.

Please help and spread the word!

Share this with your friends, family, coworkers . . . anyone who you think might be able to help. Heck buy them a copy!

Tell me about it @mikemehalek so I can share as well. And next month, I hope I have a big number to report.

Thanks and Love,

-Mike
         
                                           
Kindle Edition

         
                                                                                               
                                                                                                Paperback Edition
http://www.amazon.com/Only-Human-Mike-Mehalek/dp/149434971X/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1412134147&sr=8-7

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Passions of the Heart: Sherry Peters

Welcome Friends of the Trickyverse! So glad you made it :)

Today, is a guest post by Sherry Peters, author of the Ballad of Mabel Goldenaxe series. In this post, Sherry discusses a topic important to every writer but one that is even more meaningful to the indie author. It's something she calls...

The Passions of the Heart

I don’t think it is any great shock for me to say that the publishing industry is in immense flux. It can be incredibly frustrating, but there are also many more opportunities for writers. Along with the changes in the publishing industry has come a booming trade in “How To” books for writers.

There have always been books on how to write different genres and on elements of the craft. There have also been a fair number of books on how to end writer’s block. Now those books on writer’s block have multiplied. There is also an abundance of books on marketing your book, building an author platform, and how to write the next best-seller.

This bombardment of options and advice can leave writers reeling. That’s because so much of what is out there deals with the business end of writing. Even the books on craft spend a lot of time on what editors are looking for, what gets accepted, and what doesn’t. In the end, most writers question their choices on what they should write. Should they write to market? Is it even possible to write something new and still make it as a writer?

Because of all the questioning and pressure, writing stops being fun. Writers find it harder to write. Nothing we write is good enough.

One of the most difficult thing for a writer to do, is to focus soley on the writing during the time they’ve set aside for writing. The distractions of Facebook and checking e-mail are just excuses. Often we find other things to do besides writing because we worry about our work being rejected or if we’re going to make a sale.
It doesn’t have to be that way.

When you set aside a specific time for writing, focus on your writing and the story you want to tell. Most importantly, write what you love.

Writing anything, be it a short story, a novel, or an epic series, means you are going to be spending an awful lot of time with those characters and in that world. If you don’t enjoy the story, your reader isn’t going to enjoy it. If you love the story, if it is something you are passionate about, you are going to want to spend more time with it.

Writing what you love is no guarantee that your story will sell, but then there is no guarantee when you are writing to market or to trend. But chances are you will have greater success when you write something you are passionate about. Your love for the characters, the world, the story, will show through. Your readers are also going to see that passion, they are going to feel it, and be affected by it. And that is what makes readers buy books and recommend them to friends.

So what are you passionate about? Is it a specific genre? Is it a kind of character? Is it a political or social theme? Whatever it is, find it, make it yours, and write it.

About Sherry Peters

Sherry Peters is a writer and a Success Coach for Writers. She attended the Odyssey Writing Workshop and holds an M.A. in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. When she isn’t writing, she loves to have adventures of her own including spending a year working in Northern Ireland. Mabel the Lovelorn Dwarf is her first novel. For more information on Sherry, visit her website at www.dwarvenamazon.com.

Twitter: @sherry_peters

Get Mabel the lovelorn Dwarf at
Amazon
Kobo 



Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Author Interview: Sabrina Benulis

Today, is a real treat, an  interview with The Books of Raziel trilogy author Sabrina Benulis. Come take a journey to hell and back and learn a little bit about Sabrina, of her writing process, and of book two of the series: Covenant.

If you like stories with demons, angels, and other creepy crawlies as well as stories of romance and true friendships which are woven together flawlessly, read on.

If you like stories where setting comes alive in your mind, read on.

If you want to learn more about one heck of a writer and one of the sweetest ones that you'll ever come across, read on.





First tell us a little bit about yourself.

I guess besides what's been going on with my books, the most exciting thing taking place in my life right now is that by summer I'll be a Mom for the first time. It's forced me to pause and really consider who I am and the journey I've taken through life so far. Since I was a kid I loved books and stories and fantasy. When I was in high school I wrote fan-fiction for some of my favorite television shows, and then by college I began to really ponder about stories I would like to write myself. By the end of my college years I was convinced I wanted to be an author, some way and somehow. I've been lucky enough to publish two books with Harper Collins since 2011, but of course I have a ton of ideas swimming around in my brain and filed away on my laptop.

Now, tell us a little bit about the world you created in the Books of Raziel.

The setting of The Books of Raziel is a gothic, near-future version of Earth. Global disasters have rearranged the world a bit, and the Vatican has more power than it does right now. There has been a legend developed within occult circles about a messiah figure called the Archon. Many prophecies cite her to be a personality of doom with symbolic blood red hair who will be responsible for the Universe's ultimate downfall. She is said to be a reincarnation of an angel who tragically died and left behind a great artifact--the Book of Raziel. Most supernatural beings in Heaven, Hell, and all the realms between are eager to claim this artifact for their own personal gain. The most dangerous of those personalities is Lucifel, the Devil herself  (yes, the devil is female in this series). The Archon is the only being with the power to open the Book, though, and this makes her a target for good and evil forces alike. Yet if the prophecy comes true, the Archon will defeat Lucifel only to become new ruler of Hell instead. To prevent this, the Vatican has taken over an island city called Luz and developed an institution there meant to find the Archon and get rid of her before she can be a threat. Their suspicion falls on all qualifying students with red hair. The derogatory name for them is 'blood heads.'

What was your inspiration for the series and why you first wrote Archon?

Long before the current angel craze in fantasy fiction, I wanted to write a story with angels and demons myself. However, I wanted these angels to be more than attractive people with wings. I wanted them to be the angels who fascinated you, but at the same time terrified because they were still inhuman and otherworldly. The story itself has gone through too many changes to count since I first wrote it. Originally, it would be accurate to say it was all one big novel that ended up getting split into three. However, I will always feel the scope of the story is too large for just three books. But that is the publisher's domain and not mine.

Who do you most identify with?

I'm going to say the main character, Angela Mathers. But keep in mind Angela has a lot of growth to do first! She has a noble heart and strong convictions, but her past causes her to be mistrustful and hardened at the beginning of the story. It takes strong friendships to bring the softness out of her.


Plotter or Pantser?

I'm a little bit of both, actually. I always need at least a rough, general outline of where a story is headed before I begin. I need to know the beginning, end, and major plot points, for instance. But I've learned to be flexible about getting there. Too much outlining can write you into a corner or stifle the voice of your subconscious telling you where the story really needs to go.

What advice can you offer to any budding authors (blood heads or not) out there?

Haha. Well, the most important thing is to just never stop writing. No matter how many times you are knocked down, you need to pick yourself back up. And also, try not to make a habit of reading reviews. That's very difficult in this day and age when so much info is available instantly through the internet and everyone and anyone has an opinion, but it's also very important in order to keep up your sanity and confidence.

Why don’t you tell us a little bit about Covenant?

Covenant is the second book in the The Books of Raziel trilogy, following Archon. The story begins a little over a year after the events in Book One. Angela Mathers's best friend Sophia (who is also the Book of Raziel personified) is kidnapped by a formidable and scheming demon. Angela must then enter the very Doors of Hell in order to save her friend, because if she does not, the entire Universe will suffer. Covenant has a lot of action and tension, and I felt it was a great way to transition to the enormous revelations in Book 3.

Where can go to learn more about the Books of Raziel, Sabrina Benulis, or anything else that catches your fancy?

My official website is http://www.sabrinbenulis.com. From there you can find links to character profiles, some short stories, and connections to my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/SabrinaBenulis, my Twitter page https://twitter.com/SabrinaBenulis and my blog at http://sabrinabenulis.blogspot.com.



Anything else you’d like to tell us?

Sure! Thanks for taking the time to host me in an interview today! I also love hearing from readers and fans, so feel free to drop me a message on my FB page, Twitter, or even through my email sabrina@sabrinabenulis.com. Thanks again!



About the Author:  Sabrina Benulis graduated with a Masters in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She currently resides in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania with her husband and a sweet but spoiled cockatiel. When Sabrina isn't writing, catch her reading a book, wasting time on YouTube, or better still, getting some much-needed sleep.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Please Give a Warm Reception to Amy Kaufman Burk


One of the most enjoyable parts of posting covers and new books for other authors is getting introduced to great new fiction and to meet wonderful new people.

Today is no exception.

Let me introduce to you, Amy Kaufman Burk and her debut novel Hollywood High: Achieve the Honorable.

I found Hollywood High searching the top 100 Kindle books in gay and lesbian literary fiction and saw this title at number three. I backtracked Amy to her blog and read a few entries.

I was impressed with both her personal story and inspiration for the novel (I was shocked and saddened when I read it).


Also, as I get older, I become more and more intrigued with the 70s, the decade in which I was born.

For those reasons, I just had to give this one a read.

Currently I’m about 20% through the novel, and I am enjoying the characters Amy has brought to life. I’m reminded of my own high school days, although I must admit they were a littlelotless intense. I can't wait to pick it back up.

I reached out to Amy and asked to include her book on my blog and was thrilled to have her agree.

So allow me to turn the mic over to Amy Kaufman Burk and welcome you to Hollywood High.




Hollywood High: Achieve The Honorable is a fictionalized account of my first year of high school, inspired by the violence I witnessed targeting gay students. I was deeply affected by this bullying, and at 15 years old, I promised myself I'd write about it some day.

Hollywood High tracks Caroline Black, a straight LGBTQ ally, as she transfers from an all-girls prep academy, to the local public school, Hollywood High, with gangs, over 40 native languages, teen prostitution, and extreme violence toward the gay students. The story follows Caroline's group of friends as they grow aware of homophobia, both in their environment and in themselves, and find paths to becoming allies.

I posted on my blog about he original bullying incident that inspired my novel. "Everyone Can Be An Ally" 





Amy Kaufman Burk grew up in the Hollywood Hills.  Her father was a screenwriter and her mother, a social anthropologist.  Amy was raised in a home with thousands of books.  She was an avid reader as a child, and still is.