Tuesday, July 26, 2016

It's All About the Author with K.H. Mezek @evernightteen #UF #amazongiveaway @karenalainehunt #NightAngelChronicles

It’s All About the Author…

1.  Please tell us 5 interesting facts about yourself that readers might not know about you. 

Artwork from my story Orgle the Terrible
1.   Besides being a writer I am also an artist. I’ve have nineteen children’s books published under the names Mezek and Leimert. My pictures book series The Rumpoles and The Barleys have been sold all over the world. My favorite thing is getting a letter from a parent who says their child won’t go to bed at night without it.
2.   I’m a 2nd degree black belt in Tang Soo Do, 1st degree brown belt in Eskrima (that would be Filipino stick and knife fighting) and have fought full contact as a boxer and kickboxer. I also teach it. The most fun I’ve had has been putting on full samurai protective gear and fighting full contact with Eskrima sticks.
3.    I’m from Los Angeles, but I’m in Costa Rica for three months, writing Land of Talismans, the fourth book in the Night Angels Chronicles. I’m a travel addict. Before this, I was in Bolivia for two months, the Sahara Desert for a month, Istanbul…. You get the idea

The 17th century Swiss castle I lived in as a child
4.    As a child, I lived in a real 17th century castle in the village of Echandens, in Switzerland. I already had an overactive imagination so living in a castle with turrets and dungeons sent me over the edge! As an adult, I lived in Slovenia so when I write about Strejan’s castle in Slovenia, I’ve been inspired by real life experiences.
5.    I co-founded a creative writing program for incarcerated youth in Los Angeles over twenty years ago. I started working with a group of girls, all facing life sentences for serious crimes. Getting to know those young people and the injustices I saw in the “justice” system inspired some of the settings and characters in Book of Angels. I remained friends with many of those girls. One of them is now finally getting out of prison and she is in her late thirties. I am very happy for her.  http://articles.latimes.com/print/2002/jul/13/local/me-jvwrite13

2.   What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love training women fighters!
I love to read—big surprise, right? And I love to run and hike and box and kick-box. I also love to train others and teach women and girls self-defense.

3.   Is there one book that you love to read over and over again?  If so, what is it and what is it that keeps you coming back to it? Why do I have to pick just one book? That is impossible! But, okay. I love all different kinds of books, but one that stands out as having inspired my sense of adventure and romance is The Man in the Brown Suit, by Agatha Christie. Ann Beddelfield is everything I wanted to be as a teenager. Wildly impetuous, independent and strong-willed, she spends the last of her money for passage on a boat to South Africa, following the trail of a mysterious murder—and two very handsome men. 

How did you get started writing and have you always wanted to be an author? I’ve always loved to write and draw. I would say art was my first love. Since I could pick up a pencil as a child, I’ve been drawing. When I was a teenager, my mom told me I should write and illustrate children’s books. Of course, being a teenager, I decided that was the last thing I wanted to do! But after my first daughter was born, I became inspired. I was living in London at the time, and I was able to illustrate four of the first multi-cultural books to be published in Great Britain. It was wonderful. As my kids grew into teenagers, my writing progressed with them. I decided I had more to say than I could put into a picture book. My work with incarcerated youth got me started writing essays and short stories. I have a childhood memoir that I’m working on, and excerpt of which won the 2015 New Millennium Writings Nonfiction Award. http://www.newmillenniumwritings.org/blog/40th-nonfiction-award-winner I started writing Night Angels Chronicles because I love fantasy and vampires and I wanted to write something that addressed the deepest darkest parts of ourselves.

The darker but also beautiful side of my imagination, my drawing of Medusa

7)  If you for some reason couldn’t be an author, what would your other choice be? I would love to be a “foreign correspondent,” you know, like Christiane Amanpour. She is one of my heroes. I would love to report from hotspots around the world and tell the stories of the people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to speak out. Or, I would want to be an archeologist. 

8)  Did you like school (Sorry for some reason, I deleted this question by mistake—ooops!) Truth is, I didn’t like school very much. As a child, I always had high hopes the first day of school and those hopes were always dashed. It’s a big topic for me and one I have written a lot about because I really don’t like the school system in the United States. I’m glad there are more options now to give to kids who don’t fit into the expected mold. I was a dreamer and quite shy. I was a good student, not stellar, because, honestly, I didn’t really try very hard. I went to college but I would say that most of what I have learned as a writer and an artist, I’ve learned through experience. And I am still on the path of gaining knowledge every day.

9)    When you write, is there a specific way you have to write, ie:  certain room, noise or quiet, computer or paper etc…
My view on Lake Arenal, where I am writing for three months

I’m a single mother and I had to write under all kinds of chaotic circumstances when my kids were little and then as teenagers. I am a disciplined and determined person and I simply must write! So I have always found a way. I don’t have a specific time, or way. But I do require a clean and organized space around me. Noise doesn’t bother me that much. I like to have a candle and I love a beautiful view. I’ve had the joy of writing in some incredible places in the world. Right now, my view is of Lake Arenal. I’m in a pueblo and roosters are crowing, motorbikes, buses and trucks are careening down the pot-marked “main” road, dogs are barking and tropical thunder storms happen on a daily basis—and I love it! I can write all day here! Writing is such a solitary undertaking, I like to have that little connection to humanity.

10)                    If you could write a collaboration with another author, do you have one in mind and what would you write? Immediately, the author that came into my mind was Gregory David Roberts. His book, Shantaram, is about his experiences as a heroin addict and convicted bank robber who escapes from Melbourne’s Pentridge Prison in 1980 and gets away to India, where he has all kinds of larger-than-life adventures. I am obsessed with this book. The beginning blows me away. I would always read it to the incarcerated youth in my writing program and it led to amazing discussions. I am also fascinated by him as a person. We are both martial artists. I guess more than anything, I would just like to sit down by a lake or a stream somewhere and talk to him (sigh). After he wrote the sequel, Shadow Mountain, he went into seclusion, so I guess there isn’t much chance of that. Writing with him would be too much to hope for, but I can dream, can’t I? http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/books/gregory-david-roberts-final-interview-on-the-shadow-mountain-by-shantaram-author-20151005-gk1o20

11)                     How do you come up with your story ideas?

Lake Bled in Slovenia, inspiration for the location of Prof Strejan’s castle
Artists/authors are asked this question a lot and I never really know what to say. I can never remember exactly how ideas come to me. They sort of happen without me realizing it, growing over time. Night Angels was inspired by so many things. Such as Lake Bled, my second home in Slovenia, and an Urban Legend of the Lizard City, built 5,000 years ago beneath Los Angeles. I think a lot about the story, I’m a visual person so I create pictures in my mind. I don’t do outlines—as someone who wasn’t crazy about school, that is no surprise.

12)                   Do titles stump you or do they come easy?  When do you pick a title, before the story is written or when it’s done? I usually don’t have a problem with titles or names. They come to me, again, I have no idea how. A lot of times a thought while spark a title and that will lead to a story, but not always.

13)                   Do you keep a notebook near you for when new ideas pop into your head? No. I’ve tried this and I just lose the notebooks or forget to write in them. My computer is always nearby. I hate writing by hand now. If I have thoughts, I put them in my phone or my computer.

14)                   If you write a series, do you re-read your previous books before you begin the new one? I am writing a series. I am continually rereading sections of Key of Mystery and looking back at my notes in my computer. I do a lot of research so I have to remind myself. There are six books in the series and I’m writing number four now, so it’s getting more and complicated and necessary to remind myself of what came before so I don’t write something that makes absolutely no sense!

15)                   How does your family feel about your writing?

My parents have passed away but they were both supportive of me being a children’s book author. This Night Angels Chronicles had them a bit worried since they were fundamentalist Christians and disapproved of anything that wasn’t based on the “literal” interpretation of the Bible. Writing about magic and using swear words was frowned on. However, my parents always encouraged me to be a writer, even though we didn’t always agree. My dad followed his dream to be a writer, so he understood my passion. He was one of the most influential Christian authors of the 1980s. My kids totally support me and love it that their mother is a writer. My sons are both extremely artistic and we talk about books and music all the time. My daughter is my best friend and cheerleader and reads my writing and gives me advice. She is an attorney, which is helpful! I’m blessed! 

Thanks for sharing “you as an author” with us !  We hope you’ll come back and visit again soon!

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Book of Angels
(Night Angels Chronicles, 2)
by K.H. Mezek

81K / Evernight Teen Publishing
Romance, Fantasy, Suspense, Urban Fantasy

All Sera ever wanted was to solve the mystery of her dad’s death and find out whether or not the Night Angel, Peter, really loved her. Now, there are bigger issues at stake. After being saved from death by the Night Angels, Sera returns to Oak Haven to find her brother, Salem, has been saved by her nemesis, the sinister Los Angeles mayor-to-be, Fabian Gore. Sera and her brother meet again in their hometown of Oak Haven as powerful denizens. And as enemies. Someone is channeling power to the Queen, imprisoned in St. Catherine’s Monastery. If she escapes, the Ancient Ones will rise up from their sarcophagi beneath churches throughout the world and wreak vengeance on denizens and humans alike. 

To thwart the Queen, Sera has no choice but to form an uneasy alliance with Gore. Meanwhile, Sera’s power and her connection to the Key of Mystery is growing. Only she can open the Book of Angels. But whoever does that will become something that Sera never wants to be: the Seventh Angel. How can Sera solve her own problems when everyone else wants her to solve their problems as well?  

Buy Links:  Evernight Teen / Amazon  / ARe

14+ due to adult situations

The next thing I knew I had leapt into the air with the two of them, my mind on St. Catherine’s Monastery, and I found myself hurtling through the Passage, horribly aware of every atom in my body and the indomitable forces of the universe that were trying to pull me apart.
As if it were a part of my very being, I held myself together, “remembered myself”, and traveled through the Passage.
Within seconds, I was floating down from the sky, surrounded by the immense, desolate beauty of what looked like a moonscape. Except that the moon shone brighter and bigger than I had ever seen. Behind me, sand stretched, wave upon wave of it, with not a hint of grass or trees, while in front rose a sheer cliff, taller than a skyscraper. The monastery seemed to grow out of the rock, so closely was it pressed against the cliff.
“All looks peaceful,” observed Peter.
“Maybe too peaceful,” said Blanca.
Together, we jumped over the fortress walls, landing in the empty courtyard. We entered the sixth century basilica. We walked from the vestibule into the ornate nave and down the aisle, toward the sanctuary. I gazed in awe at the ancient artifacts and the icons shining with gold. Hundreds of lamps hung from the high ceiling like glittering galaxies, bathing the vast room in an eerie light. Out of the shadows the figure of the Abbot appeared, wearing a long gray robe and a cylindrical, flat-topped hat. His long black hair was tied in a knot at the nape of his head, a frizzy beard spreading out from his face like tangled wire. His large, hooked nose resembled a bird’s beak and his dark eyes burned uncannily from deep sockets.
He greeted us with a humble bow and wordlessly led us through a dark and narrow arched doorway into a small, circular, windowless chamber, padding silently on bare feet. The chamber was empty except for one plain wooden table. On the table sat the black lacquered Life Box, looking just as insignificant as the Object Holder had when I had first seen it and fought over it with Salem. This box, though, was about twice the size of the one that had held the key. And, whereas the Object Holder had a gold lock and tiny gold key to open it, the Life Box had no lock and no visible way to open it.
On either side of the table stood two impressive Bedouin warriors. Each had one hand resting on a curved scimitar and the other holding the hilt of a knife tucked into a belt. Their faces were lined and weather-beaten and expressionless, as if carved from the rocks of the mountain. The desert surrounding the monastery was home to many Bedouin. They were devout Muslims with a long history of guarding the monastery. They had made a vow to guard the Life Box with their lives.
The Abbot motioned for the Bedouin to stand at ease.
Bowing low to us, the guards said in unison, “Assalamu alaikum.” It meant, “peace be upon you.”
Along with Peter and Blanca, I responded, “Alaikum assalamu.” This meant, “upon you be peace.”
Like everything else in my crazy life these days, I had no idea how I knew to say that, but I did.
The Abbot didn’t speak, just gestured for us to gather around the box.
“He has taken a vow of silence and hasn’t spoken in thirty years,” said Peter.
My attention was drawn to the box. I realized it vibrated and hummed in an almost undetectable manner. Only when I remained completely still and stared fixedly did I notice it. 
“This it does without stopping and just today, it gained in force,” said one of the Bedouin.
Sure enough, as we watched, the box jumped slightly, shuddered, and jumped again before falling back into its continual vibration. It hummed a little louder now.
As I watched in fascination, I slowly became aware that the key around my neck was growing heavier and beginning to burn.
The box vibrated more violently and hummed louder. As it did, it rose into the air and hovered about two feet above the table. The vibrating and humming grew so loud I thought the box might split apart.
The key was searing my skin and I yelled in pain. I tried to tear it off, but it was stuck to my chest and my hand burned when I touched it. I felt the Queen’s presence, reaching out to me. It was pure evil and I felt attracted to it. I wanted to bow down and worship the Queen, give her the key. I became brutally aware of her perfections and my own failings. I loved the Queen! I despised and hated myself! Horrible thoughts rose in my mind, the impulse to do horrible things.
Blood was pouring from my eyes. Tears or something worse, I didn’t know.
“Take me away!” I cried out to the others. “She’s grabbing at me. Take me away. Please!
The Bedouin had drawn their swords and whipped out their daggers, but there was nothing they could do except stand there, at the ready. Blanca and Peter had drawn their swords, too. They’d placed themselves as a shield between me and the box. The Abbot ran in front of us all and pushed Blanca and Peter back.
He turned to face the box, bracing himself as if against a great wind, and raised his hands to heaven in prayer.
Peter and Blanca were then able to pull me out of the chamber. I don’t think I could have moved before the Abbot faced the box. As soon as we were back in the nave, I collapsed onto the ground, gasping great gulps of air, thankful to find the heat of the key subsiding. With a great cry, I tried to take it off, but it was stuck. Completely stuck now. To my skin.
“Fuck this key! Why am I cursed with it?”
My entire body was bathed in red sweat. I looked down at myself in horror. What had I become? What nightmare had I entered? I pushed back my hair and swallowed, my throat dry and constricted. I had to get control of myself. I breathed in and out deeply.
“She’s getting stronger all the time. She’ll get out. Maybe soon. And I was ready to help her!” I shuddered.
“But you didn’t,” said Peter.
“At least now we are sure she is still inside,” said Blanca.
“She won’t stay there.” I could see my fate, as I had already seen it in my Turning, and it was clearer than ever. One day I would face the Queen. 
And I would fail! How could I not, when she was so easily able to deceive and confuse me?
One of the Bedouin exited the chamber. “The Abbot wants you to know he is now sure someone is channeling power to the Queen, but he cannot see who.”
“It’s just not possible,” said Blanca. 
The Bedouin bowed respectfully. “I only tell you what the Abbot believes.”
“Thank you,” said Peter.
The Bedouin continued. “The Abbot further believes that you must discover who is doing this. You must stop them or she will escape.”
He bowed again and returned to the nave.
“He’s right,” I said, as we walked out of the sanctuary and into the vestibule. “She and her sons will kill me and take the key.”
“Coward.” Blanca kicked the church door open with her foot. “We might as well be protecting a pile of trash! If it weren’t for the key around your neck, I’d kill you myself!”
For the first time, Blanca’s words didn’t bother me. “You can call me what you want, I don’t care. But you better listen because she will escape and we won’t be able to stop her. We need to figure out what to do instead of arguing all the time.”
“Well said,” said Peter. “Let’s get back to the castle and tell the others.”
We were outside of the basilica now and we stood for a moment, surveying the courtyard, the full moon casting eerie shadows across the ground. I looked more carefully and saw that some of the shadows moved like living things.
“What’s that?” I asked.
Peter and Blanca looked up to the sky and I did the same. A gathering storms of wispy black tendrils snaked across the sky, mirroring the moving shadows on the ground.
“What the hell…” I said.
“Wind demons,” said Blanca.
I looked at Peter inquiringly. “Seventy-two demons were captured by King Solomon and then released by mistake. Up there you see maybe twenty of them.”
The Abbot and the two Bedouin had joined us in the courtyard.
“We have never seen them here before,” said one of the Bedouin.
“And so many,” said Peter. He sighed. “I hate wind demons.”
The Abbot was motioning us to follow him. We hurried across the courtyard, which was now filled with a howling wind, the shadows of the wind demons slithering back and forth across the stones like snakes. A group of monks appeared, running in the opposite direction, heading for the church.
“They will pray,” yelled one of the Bedouin above the din.
This was not making me any happier. I had just escaped the clutches of the Queen and now I had to contend with wind demons? Was there no end to the problems I had to face in one day?
The Abbot led us into the Fatimid mosque that stood across from the church. Standing on its own, opposite the gigantic bell tower, was the minaret and we entered and climbed swiftly up the stairs. It was from this highest point that the muezzin sang across the desert, calling the followers of Islam to prayer, five times a day. We climbed out onto the little platform that ran around the top of the minaret, and from here, I felt the full force of the gale. The shadows screamed and I could see cavernous, greedy mouths appear and disappear as they whipped around the tower, creating a whirlpool of darkness. Only when I looked straight up could I see clear sky and stars. But that opening was growing narrower by the minute. All around was completely empty of light, as if the very sky itself had been sucked into a giant black hole of whirling mouths and tails, into which we, too, would be sucked if we tried to fly upward.
Peter and Blanca unsheathed their swords and I did the same.
Peter pointed with his sword. “We must fly straight up. They don’t dare come too close to the minaret.”
The Abbot nodded, making motions that we should hurry.
“Put your sword away,” Peter said.
I began to object, then obeyed. This didn’t seem like the time to argue.
He gripped my arm. “Listen carefully! Jump onto my back. Once we’ve achieved the Passage, we’ll be safe. Until then, you must hold your breath—don’t breathe, understand? If you do, the shadows will enter and steal your soul.”
I nodded, terrified.
I jumped onto his back and held on tightly.
The Abbot raised his arms, while the Bedouin brandished their swords at the swirling darkness. It seemed to abate a bit, and Peter and Blanca seized that moment to leap into the air. I breathed in deeply and held onto my breath.
All was chaos in the tunnel through the shadows, the terrible wind trying to push us back down, a screaming noise like a thousand pigs being gutted. Flying straight upward, the two Night Angels fought the demons with their swords, slicing into the tendrils that tried to encircle them.
I was sure we had almost made it when I felt an icy tendril touch my leg. I almost opened my mouth to scream. As it was, I let go of Peter with one arm and tried to reach down to bat at the tendril. I felt myself slipping halfway down his back and scrambled to pull myself back up again.
I was falling!
The snaky thing had my ankle now. I tried to kick with my foot to shake it off, while struggling to get a better hold on Peter. I was growing weaker. I had to take a breath. My chest was exploding.
And then, the Passage was achieved and we were through. I pushed away from Peter with relief, feeling the now familiar force of my molecules trying to split apart and me holding them together, as we rocketed through space and time, landing within seconds in the little garden of the castle. 

Key of Mystery, Book 1,  is also available now:  Amazon   Evernight Teen    ARe

About the Author:
Karen Hunt aka KH Mezek is the author and/or illustrator of nineteen children’s books and numerous essays and short stories. 'Reflections from Istanbul,' an excerpt from her childhood memoir, won the 2015 New Millennium Writings Nonfiction Award. She is the co-founder of InsideOUT Writers, a creative writing program for incarcerated youth in Los Angeles, and the founder of the MY WORLD PROJECT, connecting youth in remote areas around the world through art and writing. She is a 2nd degree black belt in Tang Soo Do, a first degree brown belt in Eskrima, and a boxing and kick-boxing trainer. As a child, she and her family escaped out of Egypt right before the 6 Day War, lived in a 17th century castle in Switzerland and smuggled Bibles into communist countries, to name a few of her adventures. As an adult, she continued her adventures, living between London and a village in Yugoslavia. Key of Mystery and Book of Angels, volumes one and two in the NIGHT ANGELS CHRONICLES, are published with Evernight Teen.  

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1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed reading the entire post today. This is a new author for me so thank you for the reveal!