Tis the Season for Giving ~ Check out the ‘Love Wins Anthology for Charity and the Tray Ellis Interview

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Love Wins Anthology
Publisher:Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: December 16, 2016

Available at

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Contributing Authors: Lucie Archer , Kris T. Bethke, Deja Black, M.A. Church,
David C. Dawson , Jana Denardo , Nicole Dennis , Julie Lynn Hayes  , Jude Dunn , Xenia Melzer,
Grace R. Duncan , L.A. Merrill, Ravon Silvius , Renee Stevens , Alicia Nordwell, Troy Storm , Tray Ellis

~An Interview with Tray Ellis~

Hi, I’m Tray Ellis.  I have a short story called “Prevailing Zzz’s” in the Love Wins charity anthology. Today I’m visiting here at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words.  I have a few interview questions that challenged me to be introspective, and following after that is information on the anthology and my story.

  • Where do you normally draw your inspiration for a book from?  A memory, a myth, a place or journey, or something far more personal?

Inspiration for me comes from every day events and people.  I might have a conversation with someone, or overhear a snippet of dialogue in a store, and it occurs to me that the subject would make a very good topic for a story. It is exciting when that happens. The feel of inspiration is a thrill.  I jot the ideas down as soon as I can, mull them over, and pick and choose which ones will resonate. 

  • Are you a planner or a pantzer when writing a story? And  why?

Definitely a planner! Although there are always elements of ‘I’ll figure it out when I get there”, I like to go for long walks and really think about the story and the characters. I do hold a lot of it in my head rather than try to write it all down in an outline.

  • Contemporary, supernatural, fantasy, or science fiction narratives or something else?  Does any genre draw you more than another when writing it or reading it and why does it do so?

Generally contemporary, but with supernatural elements. Ever since I learned the term “magical realism”, I’ve known how to name what I like to write most, and read the most as well. I love writing contemporary stories with something out of the ordinary. I think most of us want our lives to be extraordinary, and it is fun to imagine special ways to make that happen to characters.

  • If you had a character you’ve written you would write differently now at this time in your writing career, who would it be and why?

This question really made me think, but I’m going to say that I wouldn’t.  There’s something about a character that once development ends, and the story is over, that they feel entirely separate and their own selves.  I suppose there could always be additional information discovered about them. Why do they love something? Or fear something? But to go back and fundamentally change them would be to pull a thread out of a fabric.  You can try to fix it by meticulously pulling the loose thread back in. You can go on wearing the garment, but it never looks quite as nice. It’s always in danger of unraveling again.

  • Can a author have favorites among their characters and do you have them?

Absolutely. It’s hard not to.  Sometimes it is the immediacy of writing about the character.  I might like whomever best that I’m currently considering and typing up in the story. Then, when I shift on to a different portion of the story and spend time with a different character, I might become fond of them.  I suppose it makes me sound a little fickle! But, honestly, even the villains of the story are going to have elements of the author in them, so you’re going to like them just a little.

  • If you were to be stranded on a small demi-planet, island, or god forbid LaGuardia in a snow storm, what books would you take to read or authors on your comfort list?

I actually still travel with real books in my backpack. I like real paper, even though I love electronic reading as well. I always want to have something with me in case I need to settle down and wait for a time.  I have bookshelves stuffed with books I’ve read and when I go to pick them out, as I run my fingers over the spines, I remember the stories told within.  Some of the ones I grab the most often:  Dracula by Bram Stoker, Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery, any of the Stephanie Plum books, and Witch Week by Diana Wynne Jones. These are worlds that I enjoyed traveling through again and again.

  • How early in your life did you begin writing?

I wrote adventure stories as early as elementary school with my friends.  In middle school, I started writing stories on my own. One of the best compliments I’ve received was because a friend showed my stories to her mom, and she wanted to read more of my stuff even then!

  • Were you an early reader or were you read to and what childhood books had an impact on you as a child that you remember to this day and why?

I was read to as a child, and we went to the library as a family. Libraries are amazing, and I often borrowed as many books as I was allowed. I loved mystery stories.  I read through the Bobbsey Twins mysteries and moved on to Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys as I got older. The children’s book that made a serious impact on me was The Big Orange Splot, by Daniel Pinkwater. For such a short story, it’s got a lot of complex things to say about differentness, conformity, and being our truest selves. 

  • What question would you ask yourself here?

I thought of about a dozen questions, but one of the better ones was: If you could choose to hear one thing about the stories you write, what would it be?

That I made the reader smile or laugh. I’m not a straight-out comedic writer, so my words aren’t going to make a reader guffaw until tears roll down their cheeks, but I do like to tuck amusing and funny little bits into my stories. I find it supremely satisfying when I hear from someone that they had a good chuckle over some irreverent dialogue or an unusual situation.

  • If you were writing your life as a romance novel, what would the title be?

The Constant Heart. This was the toughest question in the bunch!  Like a lot of authors who write in the romance genre, I believe in True Love.  If I can’t find enough of it in real life, I’m going to seek it in the fictional worlds. This constancy is the element that most describes my affections.

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Love Wins Blurb

With time comes healing, but Orlando and the LGBT community are still recovering from last June’s tragedy. To show our ongoing support for those affected by the Orlando shooting, our authors, editors, artists, and staff have volunteered their talents to create this second benefit anthology. All proceeds will be donated to LGBT organizations in central Florida. Join us as we reaffirm that no matter the obstacle, love always wins.

Specific Blurb:

Prevailing Zzz’s by Tray Ellis

After eight months together, Greg wants Win to move in with him. But how can Win agree when Greg’s snoring leaves him sleep-deprived and miserable?

Author Bio

Tray Ellis grew up across from an empty field where she spun a lot of imaginary adventures, helping to prepare her for a lifetime of writing. When she isn’t writing, she keeps busy by hiking, cooking, stacking the odd cord of wood in the shed, baking, and being too busy to keep her home in any semblance of order. Currently she tries to find a balance between the logical way she thinks and the flights of fancy that she often daydreams about.  Mostly, the daydreams are winning.

Tray can be found at the following social media locations:

trayellis.dreamwidth.org

http://www.facebook.com/tray.ellis.54

trayellis.blogspot.com/

twitter.com/TrayEllisWrites

A Caryn Review: One Pulse Anthology

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

one-pulse-anthologySince the shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando on June 12, 2016, people worldwide have donated a total of more than 23 million dollars to the OneOrlando Fund set up to benefit the victims and their families.  It seems like a lot of money, but between the number of people affected, and the severity of their injuries – mental and physical – that money will be exhausted fairly soon.  Also, after the initial outcry and horror that such a thing could have happened, and for such a reason, the shooting has faded out of the headlines.  But for those who were directly affected, and for all people in the LGBTQ spectrum, the shooting is still at the forefront of their thoughts, and fears, and worries.  So I was very pleased to see Dreamspinner Press put out this anthology to raise money for various LGBT organizations in central Florida, and I jumped at the chance to review it.  Dreamspinner also has another anthology coming out in time for the 2016 holiday season, that will also benefit the same charities.

At first, I planned to do a short review on each story individually, but at a total of 31 stories (and almost 200,000 words) that just wasn’t possible.  The stories are written by a combination of well known and lesser known authors from Dreamspinner’s ranks, and run the gamut of genres.  There are contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, historical, and sci-fi works.  Most are romances, but some are not.  Most are M/M pairings, but there was also one F/F and one M/M/M/M.  Some stories were extremely good, some less so, but there was only one that I had to DNF.  My favorite was The Tithe by K.C. Burn, which was one of the fully original stories, but there were several that were in the various universes created by the authors in other published works (like Edmond Manning’s They Danced which tells another tale of the Lost and Founds, which would not have made much sense to me if I hadn’t read one of them first).  The stories ranged from1 star to 5 star ratings, and overall the anthology really is more of a 3 star read, but I give it an extra star because of the generosity of the authors and the other people from Dreamspinner involved in putting it together.  I looked at the call for submissions, and they were due only a month after the shooting itself, which is an incredibly short period of time to write something really good, so I actually expect the next anthology to be even better.

I also hope that there will be a little more detail of which organizations the money will be going towards in the next anthology.  Overall, I do recommend this collection, especially for those who like to read shorter stories.  I plan on buying the next anthology when it’s available.

The cover art, by Paul Richmond, really fits with the title of the anthology and the reasons it was written.  I like the symbolism of one pair of hands holding and caring for another, checking a pulse as a nod to the name of the nightclub, and the rainbow coloring for Pride.

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Book Details:

ebook, 574 pages
Published September 19th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleOne Pulse
ISBN139781635330984
Edition LanguageEnglish