Welcome!

Thank you for stopping by. Hopefully, you’ve done so because you are interested in learning about books, the writing process and what makes a writer tick. Although this author specializes in science fiction and fantasy, over the coming weeks and months you will find interviews with  many of today’s top authors—not only producers of these genres, but everything else including young adult novels, romance, historical fiction, thrillers and more. We will explore not only their writing process and get tantalizing hints at their works in progress, but we will also learn about the varied lives and interests that drive these American, Canadian, Australian, Asian and European creators of today’s genre and mainstream literature.

I hope to find interesting enough stories to entice you to return time and again and I invite you to subscribe to this website’s newsletter to keep abreast of the rapidly changing world of modern publishing.

 

The Write Stuff – Monday, December 4 – Interview With Bill Ransom

This week’s featured author, Bill Ransom, is a writer who, after modest but solid literary beginnings, has had varied, impressive achievements.

His first publication was a short story in a literary magazine; the second was a poem in a different literary magazine. He studied American Minority Literature and Old and Middle English for two years on an NDEA Title IV fellowship at the University of Nevada, Reno. Poetry publications in literary magazines and anthologies led to participation in an NEA pilot project with the Poetry in the Schools program in Washington State. His first poetry collection, Finding True North & Critter, was nominated for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry.

Bill received an MA from Utah State University—27 years and six books later—in Theory and Practice of Writing with minor in Folklore, specifically Folk Medicine. He founded and directed the popular Port Townsend Writers’ Conference for Centrum, an arts foundation in Port Townsend, Washington, now entering its 45th summer. He appeared in An Officer and a Gentleman and The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial (Robert Altman, CBS). Through his friendship with Frank Herbert, he co-authored the trilogy now known as The Pandora Sequence, also available from WordFire press individually as The Jesus Incident, The Lazarus Effect, and The Ascension Factor.

Learning the Ropes (Utah State University Press), a hybrid collection of poetry, short fiction and essays, was billed as “a creative autobiography.” Three of his short stories from this collection were selected for the PEN/NEA Syndicated Fiction Project, often called The Pulitzer Prize of the Short Story: “Uncle Hungry,” “What Elena Said” and “Learning the Ropes.” These appeared in the Sunday magazine editions of major newspapers around the country with a circulation of ten million. Blue Begonia Press published The Woman and the War Baby, another hybrid (multi-genre) collection dealing with multi-generational war experiences.

Bill received two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, one in poetry, one in fiction, and residencies at Centrum, an arts foundation in Port Townsend, WA. WordFire Press e‑published the Pandora books and his solo novels Jaguar, ViraVax and Burn. Most recently, in October of this year, WordFire re-released these three novels as trade paperbacks.

When I asked him about his chosen genre, Bill replied, “I’ve never made up my mind about any species of writing.”

Today, we are focusing our attention on Jaguar. Reviewers have had this to say:

“A helluva good book.”—Science Fiction Review.

Jaguar is a psychodrama with the emphasis on story and characterization, not effects… Ransom, best known for his collaborations with the late Frank Herbert, has written an intense and intriguing tale that will keep you riveted to the pages.”—Jeff Scott Smith, Rave Reviews

“A tense thriller…recommended.” –Booklist

“A helluva good book!” –John Dalmas, Science Fiction Review

“Every page of Jaguar is a cliffhanger!” –Sandra Morgan, Fiction Forest

“A powerful, scary tale of the dark side of the human mind.” –Jane Toombs, Scribes World (5-star)

Amazon describes the book’s premise this way:

In waking life, he is a combat vet with a mysterious sleep disorder, confined to a VA hospital bed. When he sleeps, he roams the plains of another world, invading the minds of the people as they dream and forcing them to do his will. They call him . . . Jaguar.

In both worlds, there are those who know the Jaguar’s secret. They are learning to link their minds across the void between worlds, following the dreampaths the Jaguar created—all the way back to where his body lies helpless . . . an easy target for their justice.

Please tell us more about it.

Jaguar is actually a re-release that came out first as an Ace mass market paperback in 1990 and remained in print for two decades. Kevin and Rebecca resurrected it first as an e-book, following the release of the Herbert/Ransom The Pandora Sequence, and then as a trade paper edition in September, ’17 with a new, gorgeous cover.

What was its inspiration?

The earthquake in Puyallup, Washington in April of 1949 was half of the inspiration. My volunteer work as a medic and firefighter training instructor in the Guatemalan civil war was the other half. I was four, on a sidewalk taking apart a broken clock my grandfather had given me to get me out of his way. My cousin was playing with chalk. Suddenly, nightcrawlers came out of the ground and into the lawn. My grandfather usually got them to come out at night by putting a bare electrical cord into the ground with two nails, but this time Grandpa was back in his saw-filing shop. Then the sidewalk rose up and shook itself out like a blanket, and the power poles started coming down, and adults went crazy. I got home from a particularly tough stretch in Guatemala one night in the early ’80s, couldn’t sleep, and decided to write my daughter something of a memoir. When I got to the nightcrawlers, suddenly they were foot-long bugs with nearly two-foot wings (set of 4), like flying ants (termites, with those yellow bellies) that come out every August, only much, much bigger. The story started to unfold from there and I never got back to the real memoir.

What was the biggest challenge you faced writing this book and how did you overcome it?

I wrote it during the time that Frank Herbert and I were working on the Pandora stories, and my challenge was to stop worrying about what critics would say after my work with Frank, comparing me with Frank. Frank’s advice: “Worrying what other people might say before you’ve written the book never filled a blank page. And afterwards? Never read reviews.”

What other novels have you written?

ViraVax and Burn, both manmade viral catastrophe stories perpetrated by the “Children of Eden”, a fundamentalist religious group determined to return the Earth to its original, Eden-like state. Minus those pesky other religions, in the process. The Jesus Incident, The Lazarus Effect and The Ascension Factor were co-authored with Frank Herbert. I ghost-wrote the originating story, “Songs of a Sentient Flute,” for Frank—details of how that transpired and how it became The Pandora Sequence are revealed in the three-novel omnibus edition from WordFire Press: The Pandora Sequence.

What else are you working on?

One genre novel, one mainstream novel and a long and increasingly longer sequence of short fiction.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

Mornings, feed cats, coffee, no conversation, no music with lyrics, phone and internet off. Closing on the end of a novel, the last few weeks are write, coffee, toast, nap; repeat; repeat with shower; repeat, etc.

Tell us about your path to publication.

Literary magazines for short fiction and poetry. Poetry happened to get popular.

Do you create an outline before you write?

No. That’s what rewriting is for. I don’t worry about writing in order because I know I’ll put it in order later. Usually taking off from some real incident that then gets the “what if” treatment, as in the nightcrawler example above.

Why do you write?

I like having written, as I liked breaking records in track—the grind to or to train is not always fun, often painful. After a few delicious moments of having written comes the ominous question of “what now?” and that inevitable blank page.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

I worry very little about first draft, and I very much enjoy revising, especially at the sentence level.

What is the single most powerful challenge when it comes to writing a novel?

Intrusion by the rest of the world. Saying “no” to friends, family and fun gets old. By the time you’re finished and are looking for human contact, they’re long gone. Ditto relationships—people can tolerate abuse, but not being ignored.

Is there anything you want to make sure potential readers know?

I write multiple point-of-view novels, which expects a different kind of attention from readers than a straightforward narration. No witness in court sees “the truth,” but taken collectively, witnesses can reveal “a more complete truth” to jurors. Multiple point-of-view allows that.

Do you have another job outside of writing?

I retired as a Dean of Curriculum at The Evergreen State College about six years ago. I still do work, but I hope never to have a “job” again.

What motivates or inspires you?

Acts of kindness and compassion, perhaps coming from my medic background, touch me mightily. Oblivious is easy, and all too prevalent.

How do you pick yourself up in the face of adversity?

I hope to be an example of courage and determination for my three grandchildren. Moving on to something new helps—building, gardening, travel.

What has been your greatest success in life?

Getting several children out of grave danger; resuscitating three infants and numerous old people.

Do you have any pet projects?

Currently assisting daughter and her husband in building a home on some property we have in common. Framing is my contribution.

What has been your greatest inspiration?

Hyphenated-American writers now offer us readers our greatest literary riches.

Thanks, Bill, for taking time to share with us. Before I present our visitors with an excerpt from Jaguar and links where they can purchase it and follow you online, I’d like to conclude with a brief Lightning Round. In as few words as possible, please answer the following:

My best friend would tell you I’m sarcastic, beware.

The one thing I cannot do without is: Well, air first, then….

The one thing I would change about my life: Never have to go before audiences again.

My biggest peeve is: All genres are not equally respected by writers in other genres. And what’s a non-genre writer, anyway? “Mainstream?” “Literary?” “Important?” There you have it.

The person I’m most satisfied with is: I love my daughter a lot.

 

Jaguar excerpt:

When the rolling stopped, Rafferty woke up squashed in place with the blanket over his head. He was pinned so tight his chest and back felt like they met. He could move his left arm and his head.

He worked the blanket across his face and saw that he was lying on the ceiling of the car. His head was lower than the rest of him and the back seat had popped out to wedge him in. Gurgles and gasps came from the front seat. He called out but the noises only came farther apart and finally stopped. The roof of the car beneath him was littered with shards of broken glass, incense butts and pink plastic hair curlers.

Rafferty could hardly breathe with the seat jamming him in so tight. He tried to shove it away but it wouldn’t budge. He panted tiny, burning breaths from the effort and a lot of small black spots in front of his eyes melted into one big one. He wasn’t really asleep, he hadn’t caught his breath yet, but he knew he wasn’t getting out of there.

When he knew he couldn’t get out he had to go to the bathroom. He beat on the back of the seat but that made the spots come back so he started crying but that hurt, too. Outside, the familiar rasp and tick of those bright bugs played against the metal of the car. By the time Rafferty had wet himself, the inside of the car was crawling with them. They didn’t bite or sting, they just crawled over him with their stickery feet.

He was wedged inside there with them for three nights before he ate the first one. It wouldn’t get out of his face and he could barely bat it away. He caught the bug by the root of its wings with his free hand, shook it once and popped it into his mouth. His lips were cracked, his tongue and throat swelled dry from thirst.

What happened between Rafferty and the bug was purely some kind of reflex, Uncle explained that later. Rafferty kept hold of the wings and spat out the legs because they were long and skinny and they stuck in his throat. He lost count of the nights after that, and thought of the rest of the bugs that he ate as corn-dogs. A scattering of wings and legs tilted in the wind under his head, little bronze-petalled flowers with dark brown stalks. He learned not to smell the incredible stench that rolled in from the front seat, and he learned to live with the mice.

Rafferty slept with the scuttle of feet across his face, learned that crying only made his throat worse, learned that sometimes there was no border between waking and dreams.

He woke up crying in one dream because the boy in his dream was crying. Rafferty watched him climb up and down a ladder outside a ratty-looking building with vines choking its sides. In another dream, the boy called his name, and it was so clear that Rafferty woke up with a start and said, “Here. I’m here.” His voice was raspy and sore in his throat from his crying.

He had a lot of dreams, but they were strange and felt like they belonged to somebody else. He always woke up exhausted, with a pounding headache and he would sleep then without dreaming for awhile.

Out of a dream of drinking from the well behind the dream boy’s grandparents’ house, Rafferty heard the heavy crunch of footsteps and the clatter of gravel against the side of the car.

“Verna!” a hoarse voice shouted, a male voice. “Verna?”

Someone pulled glass out of one of the windows in front.

“Oh, no,” the voice whispered. Then it coughed a couple of times, and gagged.

When the man sat down outside the car and slumped against it, Rafferty listened to everything as though he perched on a tree limb above the whole broken scene.

Rafferty knew this: if he didn’t speak, the man would leave and he would die there. He knew that without knowing much about death except for the brittle creatures that he snatched from the seat-back and stuffed into his mouth. That, and what his senses told him about Verna in the front seat.

He remembered he wanted to say, “Thirsty,” but what his throat managed to hiss out was, “Hungry.” The word sounded like the struggle of dry wings against steel. He repeated it, louder.

“Hungry.”

 You can purchase Bill’s books here:

https://www.amazon.com/

His Facebook link is:

https://sites.google.com/site/billransomauthor/

The Write Stuff – Monday, November 20 – Interview With Bryan Thomas Schmidt

This week’s guest, Bryan Thomas Schmidt is an author and Hugo-nominated editor of adult and children’s speculative fiction. Especially known for his knowledge and passion for space opera, his debut novel, The Worker Prince received Honorable Mention on Barnes & Noble Book Club’s Year’s Best Science Fiction Releases. His short stories have appeared in magazines, anthologies and online and include entries in The X-Files, Predator, Joe Ledger, Monster Hunter International, and Decipher’s WARS, among others. As book editor for Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta’s WordFire Press he has edited books by such luminaries as Alan Dean Foster, Tracy Hickman, Frank Herbert, Mike Resnick, Jean Rabe and more. He was also the first editor on Andy Weir’s bestseller The Martian. His anthologies as editor include Shattered Shields with co-editor Jennifer Brozek, Mission: Tomorrow, Galactic Games, Little Green Men–Attack! with Robin Wayne Bailey, and The Monster Hunter Tales with Larry Correia all for Baen, Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6, Beyond The Sun and Raygun Chronicles: Space Opera For a New Age for various small presses and Joe Ledger: Unstoppable with Jonathan Maberry for St. Martin’s Press.

Today, we are discussing his most recent release, The Exodus (Saga of Davi Rhii Book 3), the concluding volume in his epic space opera trilogy published by WordFire Press this September. It is described as follows:

The tyrant Xalivar is dead, and yet the Vertullians are weary of the persecution against their people. They have decided to leave the Borali System and start over somewhere else. But the attacks begin again, first by space pirates, and then by something more. When large numbers of officers from the Borali Alliance military disappear, High Lord Councilor Tarkanius is forced to ally with Davi Rhii and the Vertullian leaders. Once again, they have to face a threat that might destroy them all. Can ancient enemies ever live in peace?

What was the biggest challenge you faced writing this book and how did you overcome it?

The small press that published the first two books went out of business shortly after launching the second book, which had little press and success compared to the first. It had been several years since I wrote either so I had to go reread, and, in the process, decided my writing level had advanced enough that both needed revisiting and revising in order to match whatever I would write as the final novel. I did new passes on both, involving revision on The Worker Prince and major replotting and revision on The Returning, book 2, and then wrote this one, so it was a bit more involved of a process than just one book.

What other novels have you written?

Two unpublished epic fantasies and a near future police procedural which is being marketed by my agent. I have several others in proposal and development stages as well.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

Mornings and late nights are for writing. Mid-day to afternoon are for editing and PR stuff. Meals in between as well as emails and social media. Rinse and repeat.

Do you create an outline before you write?

It depends. For the first book, usually not, unless it is required, such as with a tie-in novel or story. With original pieces, usually I outline a few scenes ahead and keep in the back of my mind key scenes and turning points as well as character arcs.

Why do you write?

I can’t not write. I have stories to tell, things to sell.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

My skills, knowledge, and interests certainly have as well as my knowledge of genre and storytelling tropes and types. Beyond that boring answer, I do less drafts as I incorporate from draft one many elements I used to have to go back and work on individually, and as a result, writing is easier and more fun and satisfying from the start than it often was in the beginning, of course, back then I didn’t know how bad my prose was…so maybe that is just my bias at looking back.

What is the single most powerful challenge when it comes to writing a novel?

Finishing. It is great to think it up, start it. But seeing it through is most important. Finishing that first draft. Until you have that foundation, nothing else can happen. It is key. The foundation for everything else.

Do you have another job outside of writing?

I am a full time freelance editor of anthologies, novels, and short fiction.

What motivates or inspires you?

Injustice in the name of justice. We have too much of that now. Tolerance is worth nothing if it only applies to you, and there has to be a give and take to living together that gets lost in the shuffle a lot these days. I think we need to work on that to salvage our sense of community and belonging to and with each other. A lot of my stories revolve around those ideas.

What has been your greatest success in life?

Founding a non-profit and leading leadership training teams in Ghana, Brazil, Mexico and more. Then writing and editing novels and anthologies in collaboration with some of the writing heroes who inspired me growing up.

Thanks, Bryan, for taking time to share with us. Before I show our visitors a sample from The Exodus, as well as your online social and book buy links, I’d like to conclude with a Lightning Round. In as few words as possible, please answer the following:

My best friend would tell you I’m a … Stubborn, determined bastard.

The one thing I cannot do without is: My dogs. They are my loves.

The one thing I would change about my life: I would start earlier with my creative focus. Because I am still struggling to build audience and financial stability after 8 years and it would be nice to be a bit further along in some ways.

My biggest peeve is: People who assume things about you off one sentence or two without taking time to find out the truth.

The thing I’m most satisfied with is: My latest project, whatever that is at the moment.

The Exodus

The Xanthian’s fist struck Farien’s jaw like a hammer, twisting his head back and to the right as he shifted his body to cushion the blow, then launched a strike of his own. The Xanthian merely chortled at the weak effort, and Farien wondered how his team had gotten off mission so fast.

“I don’t think this is what Lord Aron had in mind when he sent us to locate supplies,” Tela muttered from beside him as she ducked the swinging arm of the Xanthian’s companion, a Tertullian pilot who looked alarmingly like a steroid-enhanced version of Farien’s old friend, Yao.

Farien winced at the memory, but he knew she was right. It was the first combat any of them had seen since the engagement off Tertullis six months before. At least then they’d been in fighters, not face to face with their enemy. “Let’s just wrap this up before Matheu gets back, all right?” he replied.

He spotted his pilots—Virun, Jorek, Os and Ria—squaring off against other bar patrons nearby and wondered why he’d been so quick to jump in and try to save their asses. After all, they’d started this foolishness.

“He insulted Ria,” Os had claimed, when Farien and Tela came running at the sound of the commotion.

“I can take care of myself,” Ria had growled back, sending a Xanthian flying with a punch from her fist. Her foe flew across the bar top, shattering glass as various liquors splattered then pooled out in her path from their broken containers. Patrons scattered.

The two young pilots had just joined them, and to Tela they looked like kids. Inseparable, Os was blond, bulky, chubby, and short, while Ria was tall and thin, with dark red hair stretching halfway down her back making her appear far more feminine and frail than anyone who dared tangle with her would discover. Their flying skills rivaled anyone else in the squadron and their fierce loyalty to and competitiveness with each other drove them to excel far more than Farien’s orders ever would.

The dimly lit bar was crowded and the raging techno music had cut off mid-chorus when the fight broke out. Now groups of patrons lined the bland, wooden walls, making bets as they cheered on various participants, like gamblers choosing their champions at an Old Earth cockfight. The bartender and waitresses also stood in a group, watching with dismay as their workplace became a shambles. Other than smashed tables and chairs, broken glass and spilled drinks, Farien barely noticed a difference. With its creaky worn floor and unpainted, undecorated wood-slate walls, the bar had been nothing to brag about from the beginning, but still, shack or not, some people did come to consider their workplaces like second homes.

“Do you think they’ll make us pay for this?” Farien wondered again to Tela, as they stood back to back, preparing to repel yet another attack from the Xanthian brute and his Tertullian sidekick.

“They started it,” Tela answered as she planted a foot and reared back with her fist, launching it toward the Tertullian.

Farien echoed the move and both struck their opponents at the same moment to little effect. “If we don’t find a way to finish it, none of that will matter. What are these guys made of?”

“Your nightmares,” the Tertullian said with a laugh as he and the Xanthian swung their own fists, and Tela and Farien bowed and ducked, trying to avoid them. Pain shot through Farien’s right shoulder as the Xanthian’s fist grazed him, but Tela swung clear, untouched yet again.

“For a woman, you’re way too good at this,” Farien muttered.

“What? Women can’t fight?” Tela laughed. “You’re starting to sound like Davi.”

Actually, it had been a misunderstanding that caused a deep tension between Tela and her fiancé for several months, but they’d worked it out. “I thought you’d settled that,” Farien replied as the Xanthian rushed forward and got him in a choke hold. The brute dragged Farien backwards on his feet as he punched him in the lower back from behind.

“Feel free to prove it on this big guy,” Farien choked out as he struggled to free himself.

“You’d rather fight the one that looks like Yao then?” Tela asked as she and the Tertullian circled, each trying to anticipate the other’s next move.

“I was trying to take it easy on you,” Farien said again as his hands pulled at the Xanthian’s sweaty bluish-gray skinned arm and his back raged with pain from the continuing blows. “These guys don’t fight fair.”

 

Those of you who would like to learn more about Bryan, can do so here:

Website/Blog:         www.bryanthomasschmidt.net
Twitter:                      @BryanThomasS
Facebook:                  https://www.facebook.com/bryanthomass
Goodreads:               https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3874125.Bryan_Thomas_Schmidt

You may purchase The Exodus here:

https://www.amazon.com/Exodus-Saga-Davi-Rhii/dp/1614755582/

https://m.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-exodus-bryan-thomas-schmidt/1127080518

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/747162

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The Write Stuff – Monday, November 6 – Interview With Brian Lee Durfee

This week’s featured author, Brian Lee Durfee, is an accomplished artist and writer. Raised in Fairbanks, Alaska and Monroe, Utah, he has created illustrations for Wizards of the Coast, Tolkien Enterprises, Dungeons & Dragons, Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust (Denali National Park) and many more. His art has been featured in SPECTRUM: Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art #3 and Writers of the Future Volume 9. He won the Arts for the Parks Grand Canyon Award and has a painting in the permanent collection of the Grand Canyon Visitors Center-Kolb Gallery. Brian is the author of the The Forgetting Moon and The Blackest Heart, volumes one and two of The Five Warrior Angels series, published by Simon & Schuster’s SAGA Press in August 2016. Brian lives in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The jacket copy from The Forgetting Moon describes the book as follows:

A massive army on the brink of conquest looms large in a world where prophecies are lies, magic is believed in but never seen, and hope is where you least expect to find it.

Welcome to the Five Isles, where war has come in the name of the invading army of Sør Sevier, a merciless host driven by the prophetic fervor of the Angel Prince, Aeros, toward the last unconquered kingdom of Gul Kana. Yet Gault, one of the elite Knights Archaic of Sør Sevier, is growing disillusioned by the crusade he is at the vanguard of just as it embarks on his Lord Aeros’ greatest triumph.

While the eldest son of the fallen king of Gul Kana now reigns in ever increasing paranoid isolationism, his two sisters seek their own paths. Jondralyn, the older sister, renowned for her beauty, only desires to prove her worth as a warrior, while Tala, the younger sister, has uncovered a secret that may not only destroy her family but the entire kingdom. Then there’s Hawkwood, the assassin sent to kill Jondralyn who has instead fallen in love with her and trains her in his deadly art. All are led further into dangerous conspiracies within the court.

And hidden at the edge of Gul Kana is Nail, the orphan taken by the enigmatic Shawcroft to the remote whaling village of Gallows Haven, a young man who may hold the link to the salvation of the entire Five Isles.

You may think you know this story, but everyone is not who they seem, nor do they fit the roles you expect. Durfee has created an epic fantasy full of hope in a world based on lies.

Tell us about your most recent release.

The Blackest Heart, Volume 2 of The Five Warrior Angels, is coming out on June 5, 2018.

Who or what was the inspiration behind it?

The epic fantasies of Tad Williams, Robert Jordan, George R R Martin, and even the westerns of Larry McMurtry (Lonesome Dove)

What was the biggest challenge you faced writing this book and how did you overcome it?

I only had eighteen months to write book two. I had my whole life to write book number one.

What other novels have you written?

The Forgetting Moon, Volume One of The Five Warrior Angels.

Have there been any awards, productions, videos or anything else of interest associated with your work?

It is for sale at every Barnes & Noble in the country and on Amazon.

What else are you working on?

Now I am working on book number three. Its title is, The Lonesome Crown, Volume Three of The Five Warrior Angels.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I have a full time job at the State Prison in Utah so I write in the evenings and weekends.

Tell us about your path to publication.

I wrote one very long epic horror novel first. Sent query letters out to one hundred different New York agents and got one hundred rejection letters back. When I finished my fantasy novel I only targeted the six best agents in New York that dealt with epic fantasy. I got offers of representation from two of those agents. I signed with my agent and he got me a three book deal with Simon & Schuster’s Saga Press.

Do you create an outline before you write?

A very vague outline. But yes, I do have one for the entire series.

Why do you write?

Because I love it!!!!!

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

When I wrote my horror novel, I thought it was the greatest thing ever. Now when I read it, it hurts my eyes. I reckon I have just evolved as a better writer.

What is the single most powerful challenge when it comes to writing a novel?

Some days you don’t want to write but you plow ahead anyway. Other days you are dying to write and you cant escape your day job.

Is there anything you want to make sure potential readers know?

You won’t be bored reading my novels. And pay attention to EVERYTHING in the story. It all matters.

Do you have another job outside of writing?

I am a Sergeant at the Utah State Prison. I’ve worked in the mental health Unit, Gang Unit, Intake Unit, and now, in programming, I run all the prison libraries and teach creative writing courses to the inmates.

Describe a typical day.

Work at prison. Write in the evenings. Watch football on Sundays!

Would you care to share something about your home life?

I am very OCD about my book collection. Over three thousand books. Most signed. And all in mint condition.

What motivates or inspires you (not necessarily as regards your writing)?

Movies and great TV shows inspire me. I love The Sopranos and The Wire and epic shows like that. I love epic movies like Braveheart and Dances With Wolves.

How do you pick yourself up in the face of adversity?

I’ve always realized I hit the cosmic lottery by just being born. Everything after that is Amazing.

Do you have any pet projects?

Yes. I put on a mini Comic Con at the State Prison with my writer friend, James Dashner (The Maze Runner). I hope to do it annually with more writers and guests each year.

Who has been your greatest inspiration?

Stephen King, Motley Crue, and the Oakland Raiders.

Brian, Thank you for taking time to participate in my author interview series, The Write Stuff. Brian elected to submit an excerpt from The Forgetting Moon. Before I give our visitors a taste of it, I’d like to take a moment for a Lightning Round, because of the insights it often provides. I encourage you to stay with us after the excerpt, so I can provide social and book buy links.

 My best friend would tell you I’m … the smartest person they know!

The one thing I cannot do without is… The Oakland Raiders. I am seriously obsessed with football. The world stops during a Raiders game.

The one thing I would change about my life: I would have started working at the prison when I was twenty-one because I could be retired by now.

My biggest peeve is: anyone touching my book collection!

The thing I’m most satisfied with is: I reckon book number two, The Blackest Heart. It is KILLER!!!!!!

The Forgetting Moon excerpt:

Trust is fleeting, while betrayal is timeless. Alas, life is crowded with lies. So be bloody, be brave, be happy. For at the end of every tale, nobody is who they seem to be…

 

Book of the Betrayer

Prologue

Shawcroft

15th day of the Fire Moon, 985th year of Laijon

Sky Lochs, Gul Kana

 

In her panic, the woman had fled with the boy to the very edge of the glacier, a thin boning knife buried hilt-deep in her back. All that remained of her passing—a broad bloody smear that led over the lip of the ice to the loch waters five hundred feet below.

The small boy, kneeling alone on the precipice of the ridge, stared up at Shawcroft with big calf-eyes, piercing green orbs that gaped wide and vulnerable against the seemingly bottomless drop beyond. The boy wore roughspun breeches, soft woolen boots, and a crude elk-hide coat fit for a child, his tiny hands bare and red from the cold. Wisps of blond hair fluttered in the crisp breeze. Perched against the sunlit backdrop of the loch and the lofty, snow-covered mountains, the child appeared the very essence of innocence and purity. No more than three years old, if that. And despite the horrific injuries of the woman who had carried him this far, there was not a drop of blood on him.

All his life a soldier for the Brethren of Mia’s cause, and Shawcroft’s heart had never ached more than it did now.

“Don’t move!” he called out over the deafening roar of the mammoth glacial river thundering somewhere far below. The sharp ridges of the surrounding crevasses and crags and heaps of ice magnified the immensity of the roiling water’s thrum. He could feel the glacier shifting under his leather boots as he carefully moved forward, knowing the ice could shear off at any moment and send both he and the boy plummeting to a violent, crushing death. Struggling not to stare at the red trail of blood that had led him here, Shawcroft stuffed his gloves into the buckled front closure of his fur-lined tunic and adjusted the cloak around his chest, longsword a barely noticed weight in the baldric looped over his shoulder.

As he reached forth and helped the child from the edge, the plunging barrenness of the spacious air beyond seemed to pull at him with an immense, near-irrepressible force as he heard the hollow clomping of the two beasts coming up behind him.

The boy’s small hand in his, Shawcroft turned and blinked against the stark brilliance of the maze-like landscape he’d just travelled through, beautiful in its own way, a hard-edged white beauty that tore at the eyes and scoured them raw. And shimmering darkly, two shadowy forms materialized out of that opaque brightness and glided toward him.

He knew what they were.

Bloodwood assassins…………………….

Book online sales links:

https://www.amazon.com/Forgetting-Moon-Five-Warrior-Angels/dp/1481465236/

 https://www.amazon.com/Blackest-Heart-Five-Warrior-Angels/dp/1481465252/

Website:         https://brianleedurfee.weebly.com/index.html

Facebook:      https://www.facebook.com/brian.l.durfee

 

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The Write Stuff – Monday, October 23 – Interview With Michelle Cori

This week’s guest, Michelle Cori, lives in the Rocky Mountains, when she isn’t traveling to the next Comic Con. Currently, she spends her time running a bar and telling tales over drinks or in the form of novels and comics. During the day, she works as a Production Manager in publishing.

She shares her life and home with her teenaged son, and two crazy min-pins named Harvey Wallbanger and Honey Bunny. Traveling, bourbon, hard ciders, record shops, tea, old book stores and good ales are some of her other pastimes. She has a love for Flash Gordon, Highlander, Star Wars, Dune, Star Trek, Planet of the Apes, and comic books.

The Kind Mosiac:1, Convergent Lines, which was released as a trade paperback in Spring 2017, is Michelle Cori’s first published book, but several are to follow. Currently she has works in progress in Gothic Horror, Urban Fantasy, several short stories, a comic series, an illustrated adult picture book and middle grade series.

Often, she can be found writing at various coffee shops around the country.

She describes Convergent Lines like this:

Thirteen families.

Human-fae hybrids who have existed alongside

humanity for thousands of years. With long lives

and magic they shaped the world.

 

Until a curse … or rather, curses …

 

Longing for freedom, Grayson Penrose finds himself

dreaming of the past, searching for something he lost,

but hating his empty life. He wants nothing more

than to be left alone. But fate has other plans for him.

 

Placed in the path between human and supernatural

nations, with his curse lifted, only Grayson can

carry the burden of his dying race.

 

Tell us about your debut novel.

The Kind Mosaic:1, Convergent Lines is my first published book. I called it a gothic horror because while it is differently urban fantasy, it has a darker narration. As I wrote it I was re-watching the original Twin Peaks, David Lynch had announced he would do another season 25 years later just like the end of the series said. Throw in the show Salem, and the Hannibal TV series and you can see where I was at the time. I’ve also had some compare it to Stranger Things, too. Part of the book takes place in the late 80s, early 90s. The book isn’t gory or all that scary, it has the feel of the old gothic horror or noir genres.

Convergent Lines is my origin story for witches. It’s targeted for adults. There is little objectionable in the first book, but it will get darker as the series goes. My world draws from paganism, Norse, Celtic and Egyptian mythology. I want to explore the darker sides of those worlds as they apply to witches.

Who or what was the inspiration behind it?

I have a “note from the author” in Convergent Lines about this.

This story came into being in a rather unusual way. In middle of 2015 I was preparing for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I’d been planning to write the second book in another series; I rough outlined the book and went to bed.

That night, as I slept, I had the most vivid dream of this boy who could walk through mirrors and anything he drew would come to life. But he was troubled, he hated his life and had lost the only person he’d cared about. I woke up remembering the whole dream and all through the next week I thought about him. Then I dreamed of him again; this time he told me more of his story. Intrigued, I outlined the rough draft (mainly world building) of his tale and over the next week he showed me his world.

Have there been any awards, productions, videos or anything else of interest associated with your work?

I’m a bit different from many authors. My background is in art directing and publishing. I had a couple of publishers interested in my book, but after thinking long and hard I decided I wanted to do what I do for so many others, myself. I self-published Convergent Lines.

The cover, chapter head illustrations and a custom tarot deck (one of the cards is at the back of the book the others are used for marketing), are done by me. I hired an editor, and used proofers. The end result is something I’m proud of.

In the end, it was too hard to hand off decisions about the cover and art to someone else. I also wanted control over the speed my books come out. My two urban fantasy books I will self-pub, the middle grade I will probably get an agent and shop publishers for.

What else are you working on?

The follow-ups to Convergent Lines. These are the two books in-between Convergent Lines and Deluded Lines. The follow-ups are called Side Lines: Kador’s Curse and Side Lines: Fae Tales. Kador’s book is almost to first draft and will be around 65K words. Fae Tales are a collection of 16 tales from the Kind’s fae world which are related to the families.

I also have a mid-grade book I hope to get back to early next years. It is called Saint Wellinghouse’s Discoveries: UNICOM. It’s a little like Goonies, two young friends searching out one of their crazy great grandfather’s inventions.

I hope to get to work on a comic book my son thought of. I’d like to co-write it with him. I also have what I call an adult picture book almost written, then I’ll start the illustrations. The focus is Krampus.

I also have another urban fantasy series called the Forgotten Ones. I have the first two of the three books to first draft. Next summer I’ll focus on those and have them come out every three months.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I do most of my writing at night. The hours I keep bartending lead to me being a night owl. Kevin J Anderson, my boss and best-selling author said once in a seminar, “It’s impossible to find uninterrupted time to write.” I raised my hand and he said, “I know you don’t have uninterrupted time.”

I replied, “Nobody bothers me at one a.m.” He laughed, and conceded my point. Jim Butcher later in the same seminar said he is a late-night writer.

So, I get up usually around 10:30 a.m. Go to the bar for a couple hours and order supplies, do paperwork. I then will hit up a coffee shop and do a couple hours of work for WordFire Press. By about 4:30 I come home to hang out with my son. We will eat and maybe watch TV, if he doesn’t have a D&D or MTG game planned. He will want an hour or two to play online games, so I go back and finish WordFire stuff then start into my writing. Two days a week I bartend, those days I usually don’t get any writing done. Saturdays, I give over to me, to do what I want. If I need to run errands or shop I do. But Saturday nights are all about writing.

Do you create an outline before you write? 

I do a really loose outline, most of it is research I need for the book. Earlier in my writing career I tried to do outlines, but I would run into the problem of trying to make a character do something which didn’t work. Then my focus would change to adjusting the outline. It interrupted my writing.

Now, I do my research and write down a few things that need to happen, or any foreshadowing. The only exception is the opening. I will try writing the first chapter a couple of times, from different points until I have the one. I like getting into the story and seeing where it will lead. Many times, I’ve been surprised by a scene and a character that wasn’t a major character but turns into one.

There were two things in Convergent Lines which surprised me. The first was a character from one of my other series decided she would like to make a splash in this book. She wasn’t planned in the series she appeared in either. There was also Grayson’s companion which is introduced about halfway through the book. I didn’t know he would come along, nor play an increasingly important role. The other part that surprised me where the two big events at the climax. I know that sound weird, how can the person writing the story knowing the beginning and the end be surprised? I knew what I needed to happen at the ending, what I didn’t know was how to make it happen. The night I wrote the big climax was during NaNoWriMo 2015 at my favorite coffee shop. It was around midnight as my hands flew across the keys I was shocked, intrigued and couldn’t believe I would let that happen. Seriously, I wondered where it came from, never did I imagine that would happen.

Writing without a rigid outline is much more enjoyable for me, as the author.

Please tell us about what you do when you’re not writing.

I have two other jobs, well, three. I’m a single mom of a fourteen-year-old teenager. I love being his mom. Me discovering I was pregnant with him is what started my journey into writing. I’d been an Art Director for years, and I was burnt out. I needed a new creative outlet.

I manage and bartend at a bar in Salt Lake City, Utah. Yes, there are bars in Utah and no it isn’t the easiest thing to do in Utah. But I do have the best customers, especially regulars.

My other gig is as WordFire Press’s Production Manager. A press owned by best-selling authors Kevin J Anderson and Rebecca Moesta. My background and first college degree was in graphic design and illustration. In the late 90s I was a Production Manager for the largest independently owned and run newspaper. So, I have been in publishing for a long time. It’s been fun working with legendary authors, best-seller and new authors in the ever-changing publishing industry. A great job and experience to a new author like myself.

What motivates or inspires you (not necessarily as regards your writing)?

My first love was music. I’m classically trained, with more than twelve years of playing, and about seven in jazz. I took college music theory in high school, and have an extensive vinyl collection. I adore jazz, blues, some old R&B, classic rock, classical and so many forms of music. I can go from Mozart to the Police, then move on to Led Zeppelin. Right now, I’m stuck on Junior Wells with Buddy Guy. My first real job was working for Digitech and DBX (guitar and music equipment), for five years I worked with other musicians and some rock stars.

Music is my number one influence and inspiration. Christopher Walken once said, “I think in music.” I knew what he meant, because that is exactly what I experience. Many of the stories I write are inspired by what I imagine a song is about, or a memory connected to a song. I pick the music I write to very carefully, because I use the tempo for the pacing.

Do you have any pet projects?

Yes, or it might be better to say I will. Reading programs for kids is near and dear to my heart. Being a parent I experience the frustration of a parent trying to help a child which struggled to read. I want to help others, especially because of the resources I have access to now.

My upcoming middle grade project and the comic series are the first steps into this. Once these projects are farther along, I hope to work with kid cons at comic cons, visit elementary schools while I travel, to work close with a couple of children’s reading charities and to possibly start my own.

As a child, I loved to read and found it a wonderful escape, which grew with me into adulthood. It also lead me to writing. I’d like to pass that on.

Thank you, Michelle, for agreeing to participate in The Write Stuff. To conclude, I will make one brief statement which I would like you to complete in as few words as possible:

The person/thing I’m most satisfied with is: I look around at my life and wonder how I got so lucky.

Before I show our visitors an excerpt from Convergent Lines, I would like to point out that it was just released in hardcover on October 17, to be followed soon after in eBook format. Those of you who are interested in following Michelle online should also note I will provide social links as well as book buy links immediately after the excerpt.

The Kind Mosaic:1, Convergent Lines

As I walked through the door, I began to say the undoing spell again. Any electronics nearby would be fried, including the video feed. Just inside the door, I found a second door with STAIRWELL printed on it. I needed to go down; I opened it and ran down the stairs. After considering where they would hold Hilda, I concluded she would be in cold storage. This would probably be in a basement, away from the public parts of the Coven House. I had reached the landing between the flights of stairs when I heard a door above me open and the sound of footsteps and creative cursing. I pressed myself against the wall to wait them out.

The upper door clicked closed, and I ran the rest of the way down. To my relief, there wasn’t another keypad. The lack of real security surprised me. While humans might not find dead bodies valuable, the Kind had different ideas on the matter, especially the darker side. At the door, I stopped, opened it, and peered out into a dark hall. Darkness and silence greeted me. Out into the hall I went. Security would be doing a sweep after they barricaded the door I had come through, so I didn’t have long.

It would take too long to check each of the several doors lining the hall. I needed to find cold storage. The fifth door on the left had a plaque, as I got closer I could see COLD STORAGE engraved on it. I stopped and listened. Nothing. I pushed, but found it locked. Kneeling to be level with the lock, I pulled a pen out of my pocket. It’s my favorite pen and doubles as a wand focus for me. With the silver tip touching the lock, I forced my will and said, “Unlock.”

I heard the tumblers move. I stood and pushed again just as I heard someone in the stairwell. I hurried into the room and looked for a place to hide.

The room could have come out of a TV morgue scene. On the wall to my right was the large cooler with several small latched doors for bodies. In the middle of the room, several stainless-steel roll-around tables sat empty. To the left was an open closet door.

I rushed into the closet, which turned out to be filled with cleaning supplies, and closed the door with a little click. I got into the corner behind the door.

I held my breath as I heard two voices nearing.

“Damn security system, do we need to look through every room?” a male voice said.

“You know the protocols.”

“Was this door unlocked?”

“I don’t remember. We’ll lock it on the way out; don’t forget or we’ll hear about it tomorrow morning.”

“Yeah. Did you check the closet?”

“No, I’ll get it.”

The doorknob rattled and the door opened. I held still hoping my cape would help if he saw me. A large flashlight beam shone in the dark corners of the closet.

“There’s nothing in there.”

“I told you there’s no point. How long between when the malfunction happened and when we got there? A minute, maybe a little more? Who would want in this creepy place?”

“Yeah, yeah, but we have a job to do. Come on, let’s finish this. I want to continue with our game.”

“Sure. But you’re locking the door.” I heard the door open and I relaxed … and my foot bumped the mop bucket. Smack! The mop handle hit the floor.

“Damn it! What was that?”

“I don’t know. It came from the closet.”

One of them returned, pointing the flashlight beam at the floor. “It’s a mop handle.” The man walked into the closet, knelt, and picked up the mop, as he stood, he backed into the door causing it to open wider, concealing me further from view.

“Nothing to worry about. Let’s go.”

I heard the door squeak open and the key in the lock, locking me in with Hilda. It took my heart a long time to quiet itself. I waited almost five minutes before moving again.

Despite the risk, I turned on the lights. There was no way I would be alone in the dark with Hilda. My skin crawled at the thought of what I planned. I hoped they hadn’t taken her clothes and things away from her yet, or this might get messy.

 

Paperback:     https://www.amazon.com/Convergent-Lines-Kind-Mosaic-Michelle/dp/1545450307/

Hardcover:     https://www.amazon.com/dp/1948090007/

Facebook:      www.facebook.com/michecori
Twitter:          @michellebcori

The Write Stuff – Monday, October 9 – Interview With Michael Okon

If you haven’t already heard about this week’s guest, you are likely to do so over the next few months, or at least, one or two years at most. I say this, because his career is starting to take off like a runaway freight train.

Michael Okon is an award-winning and best-selling author of multiple genres including paranormal, thriller, horror, action/adventure and self-help. He graduated from Long Island University with a degree in English, and then later received his MBA in business and finance. Coming from a family of writers, he has storytelling is his DNA. Michael has been writing from as far back as he can remember, his inspiration being his love for films and their impact on his life. From the time he saw The Goonies, he was hooked on the idea of entertaining people through unforgettable characters.

Michael is a lifelong movie buff, a music playlist aficionado, and a sucker for self-help books. He lives on the North Shore of Long Island with his wife and children.

Today I am featuring Monsterland, a teen & young adult monsters & horror novel, expected to be released on Friday, October 13. (What an appropriate date for a horror novel!) He describes his book as follows:

Welcome to Monsterland—the scariest place on Earth.

Wyatt Baldwin’s senior year is not going well. His parents divorce, then his dad mysteriously dies. He’s not exactly comfortable with his new stepfather, Carter White, either. An ongoing debate with his best friends Melvin and Howard Drucker over which monster is superior has gotten stale. He’d much rather spend his days with beautiful and popular Jade. However, she’s dating the brash high-school quarterback Nolan, and Wyatt thinks he doesn’t stand a chance.

But everything changes when Wyatt and his friends are invited to attend the grand opening of Monsterland, a groundbreaking theme park where guests can interact with vampires in Vampire Village, be chased by werewolves on the River Run, and walk among the dead in Zombieville.

With real werewolves, vampires and zombies as the main attractions, what could possibly go wrong?

Will you tell us about your most recent release?

Well, my release isn’t so recent, but it’s certainly updated. In 2015, I wrote and self-published a book called Monsterland. Two years later, I have a literary agent, an entertainment attorney, a film agent, a publicist, and heavy film interest from a very well-known producer, plus a two-book publishing deal for the same book. It’s been quite a ride! Monsterland follows the story of teenager Wyatt Baldwin, who gets the opportunity of a lifetime to attend the grand opening of the scariest place on earth – Monsterland. It’s a theme park with real werewolves, vampires and zombies.

That’s quite impressive. What was the inspiration behind it?

I always wanted to write a monster book but couldn’t settle on which type of monster to focus my story on. In the summer of 2015, I was watching an 80s and 90s movie marathon with my son who was 7 at the time. I showed him all the classics – The Goonies, Back to the Future, Gremlins, Jurassic Park…etc…It occurred to me while watching, why isn’t there a theme park with zombies. I called my brother immediately to tell him about the idea for a book I’d like to write and he told me, “No.” I was certainly confused. He said, “It has to be a theme park with werewolves, vampires AND zombies.” I started beating out the character arcs that night.

What was the biggest challenge you faced writing this book and how did you overcome it?

I honestly didn’t come across anything insanely challenging. I make sure my stories are fully written in an outline before I write Chapter 1. I need a roadmap to write, otherwise, I’d be lost. Every character’s arcs are beat out before, then when I know where each character is going, I dive into the novel.

That’s becoming an increasingly logical approach for me, an erstwhile pantser. What other novels have you written?

I have written and self-published 3 self-help novels under the pen name Michael Samuels. I then began writing novels, and wrote 15. Monsterland was the one that stood out and has been gathering a ton of momentum.

Have there been any awards, productions, videos or anything else of interest associated with your work?

I have an entire team behind me whose sole focus is to get my brand out there in the marketplace. I have won dozens of awards, and my brother has created some online videos. There is some heavy interest from Hollywood about my book Monsterland, so we’ll see where that goes.

What else are you working on?

Monsterland 2 is in the books, and will be coming out May 26, 2018. I’m in the middle of Monsterland 3 now, and currently beating out Monsterland 4 and 5. It seems that I’m going to be writing about monsters for the next several years, which I’m perfectly fine with.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I’m an early riser. I’m up at 5am. Eat breakfast, generally, bacon and eggs. I see my kids off to school. Then I research and develop my subject ad nauseum from 9 to 5. I consider that my day job. I have to know the ins and outs of my subjects. Google and Amazon are my best friends. I always cook my family dinner and it gives me a break from development. I tuck in the kids and wife around 8pm, then I go to my den and write until my eyes go. I do this every single day.

Tell us about your path to publication.

I self-published 18 books and had a nice little career going. I was reading a book a couple years ago called How to Sell a Screenplay in Hollywood (or something like that) by Syd Field. In it, he interviews an entertainment attorney named Susan Grode. I told myself, when I get my first agent contract I’m going to have this lady read it. Fast forward a few months later, I received an email from an agent in London who was interested in repping my works. I asked him to send me a contract and he did. I emailed Susan and introduced myself. She called me 2 minutes later and said before you sign with this agent in London, let me introduce you to my friend in Brooklyn named Nick Mullendore. I’m a Long Island guy so it made sense to stay local. We met for lunch and he signed me that day. That evening Susan said she would also represent me. Nick took my book Monsterland around and it was rejected by everyone. 6 months later he had a conference call with a Film Agent in Los Angeles. He was pitching her a romance novel and she said she wasn’t really into it, she’s into monsters. He said he had the perfect author for her and sent her my book. She read it in one weekend and we had a conference call the following Monday. She said she will get this on every producer’s desk in Hollywood, but it needs to get published. Nick got the book into the hands of Kevin J. Anderson who runs WordFire Press. WordFire read the book, loved it, and signed me to a two-book publishing deal for Monsterland 1 & 2. The film agent kept her promise and got the book into a few producer’s hands, who plan on shopping it around. This all happened in two-years. I have to pinch myself how many times I’ve caught lightning in a bottle so far. The universe is definitely responding to my requests.

Why do you write?

I am a universe builder. There is nothing more thrilling than creating something and pulling your reader into this world you’ve built. Keeping your reader there and entertained is something I get a kick out of.

What motivates or inspires you?

Watching movies is, by far, my biggest inspiration for writing books. There are certain films that have stood out in my life that I know where I was, who I was with, what I was feeling at the time, when I saw the film. I want to create that same type of feeling for my readers when I’m writing. I want people to never forget the first time they read a book of mine. I want that to stay with them forever, the same way seeing Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back was for me.

How do you pick yourself up in the face of adversity?

I wrote the book on overcoming obstacles. Adversity is what you make of it. I have been rejected by every publishing house, every film agent, every literary agent, and every business contact, I’ve practically ever come across. Life is about rejection. But…when you are rejected, that only strengthens your position to get to a YES, if you continue to push through. Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit. Napoleon Hill said that. For every NO I’ve ever received in my life, I’ve had a YES that was beyond my wildest dreams, I was so grateful for receiving that NO the first time around. I sometimes hope for a NO, because I know there is going to be a massive YES just around the corner.

I am a BIG fan of Napoleon Hill. Do you have any pet projects?

I am a sucker for self-help and law of attraction books. I have over 200 in my library and have implemented all of their teachings into my life. I continue to write down my goals on a monthly basis and see how these things manifest in my life. So far, I’m at a 90% success rate in a three year timeframe. Not bad, I must say. Other than that, I’m a huge Disney guy, I love to gamble (especially craps and poker), and I haven’t eaten bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, fruit or veggies in 5 years. I’m in the best health of my life.

Thank you, Michael, for taking the time to join us. Before I give my site’s visitors a taste of your work—followed as usual by your social and book-buy links—I’d like to conclude this interview with a Lightning Round. In as few words as possible, please answer the following:

My best friend would tell you I’m an… Insanely funny person who makes light out of all situations.

The one thing I cannot do without is: Steak (and butter).

The one thing I would change about my life: Eat more steak and butter.

My biggest peeve is: People who are addicted to their smartphones.

The thing I’m most satisfied with is: My diet. I’ve reclaimed my health eating all foods I was told not to eat – steak and butter.

 

And now, for your reading enjoyment, an excerpt from Monsterland:

“They’ve found us,” he growled in the unique language they used after transformation. “Run!” he barked as he turned to his pack, watching his friends’ naked skin transform until it was covered with the same silvered fur.

They cried out in unison at the pain, howling with the injustice, and then ran in fear from the interlopers threatening their habitat.

They separated into two groups and took off in different directions to confuse the strangers.

Billy tore through the brush, thorns ripping his fur, and, in his adrenaline rush, he didn’t feel anything. He glanced backward; the humans were chasing them, one running with a huge camera. Nine other hunters followed, the long barrels of their rifles bearing down on them.

Behind him, he heard multiple shots and triumphant shouts, knowing that his friends were succumbing one by one.

With a frantic growl, he urged Little John, Petey, and Todd to run faster.

Little John’s massive body was blocking him. Billy bayed at him to keep his head closer to the ground. He worried about Little John, knowing that his big frame might as well have had a target painted on it.

“Stay close together,” he urged. His heart sank when he heard Todd yelp. The shot hit his friend from behind, sending him careening into a trench. Billy wanted to stop but knew he couldn’t help Todd. The humans were on his friend’s fallen body seconds later. He had to find Petey and Little John a place to hide.

There was a loud scream as one of their pursuers stumbled on a root to their left. Billy paused, panting wildly, to get his bearings next to the broad trunk of a cypress tree.

“Which way?” Petey asked.

Billy’s eyes searched the tangle of the mangroves for an opening.

A shot rang out, splintering a tree, sending shards of bark around them. Billy reared in surprised shock. It wasn’t a bullet. A red feathered dart was vibrating next to him, sticking out of the wood.

“What is that?” Petey whimpered.

“It’s a dart,” Billy said. “They’re trying to capture us. This way!”

He and his pack mates took off, disappearing into the twisted vines.

They clawed through the swamp, hiding behind clusters of Spanish moss, dipping under the water when the hunters approached.

One man in the group stood taller and leaner than the rest, his dark wolfish eyes scanning the dense undergrowth looking for them. The man paused, training his gun in Billy’s direction as if he could see straight through the foliage.

Billy held his breath, terrified of discovery, but the harried sounds of a chase distracted the leader of the hunters.

Billy and his pack skirted solid ground, their bodies quivering. He glanced at the sky, wishing for the sun to rise so that he would transform back to being human.

The splashes of their pursuers seemed to recede. The pack waited in claustrophobic silence for the time to pass.

Billy spied a dinghy heading towards the flat-bottom boat as dawn approached. They heard the sputter of an engine being turned over.

“They’re leaving,” Little John said hopefully.

The rays of the sun lit the eastern sky. It was quiet once more. They paddled softly toward the shore. Coming out of the water, they shook themselves of the muck. Early morning birdcalls broke out in the thick stillness.

Billy barked a cry of dismay as shots rang out. Little John went down in a tumble of leaves and mud, a dart silencing him.

Billy veered right, squirming under a broken log, Petey barreling over it. The report of another shot and a loud thump told him that he had lost Petey too.

What do they want from us?

Billy dug his paws into the marshy land, his heart pumping like a piston. He leaped high over an alligator dozing in the shade of a leafy tree. Billy felt the impact of a dart; a sharp pain ripping into his flank.

His eyes dimmed as he tumbled headlong onto the boggy ground. He rolled over and over, coming to rest on a bed of rotting leaves. He couldn’t move; his limbs were leaden. His ears registered the sound of running feet.

Billy looked up into the triumphant, black eyes of the man who led the attack. The hunter placed his boot on his neck, holding him down.

“Got ya,” he heard the man say with a thick accent before everything went dark.

 

Those of you who would like to lean more about Michael Okon can do so here:

Web: www.michaelokon.com

Twitter: @IAmMichaelOkon

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/iammichaelokon/

Snapchat: https://www.snapchat.com/add/iammichaelokon

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/iammichaelokon/

 

You can purchase his book here:

https://www.amazon.com/Monsterland-Michael-Okon-ebook/dp/B0751F3B3S/

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Adventure Sci-Fi 2017 Story Bundle

THE ADVENTURE SCI-FI 2017 BUNDLE

 

The Adventure Sci-Fi 2017 Bundle – Curated by Kevin J. Anderson

 

We’re Full of Stars! ADVENTURE SF STORYBUNDLE

Strap into your cockpit, fire up the faster-than-light engines, and set course for the nearest star. I’ve got a grab bag of 13 excellent science fiction books all in one new Adventure SF StoryBundle. Get them all for as little as $15, and help out a great charity, too!

I put in a brand new action-packed story, The Blood Prize, featuring the popular character Colt the Outlander from Heavy Metal magazines, with all new art by the Aradio Brothers. Robert J. Sawyer offers his classic novel Far Seer (a planet of intelligent dinosaurs!). Raymond Bolton’s Awakening shows a fantasy civilization on the cusp of the industrial revolution faced with an alien invasion. You’ll read different adventures on very different lunar colonies in Gray Rinehart’s Walking on a Sea of Clouds, Lou Agresta’s Club Anyone, and T. Allen Diaz’s Lunatic City, as well as Louis Antonelli’s alternate space race and murder on the moon in Dragon-Award nominee Another Girl, Another Planet. Jody Lynn Nye’s Taylor’s Ark follows the adventures of a veterinarian to the stars, and Brenda Cooper’s Endeavor-Award winning The Silver Ship and the Sea is a gripping story of prisoners of war abandoned on a rugged colony planet. Acclaimed, award-winning author Paul di Filippo gives a collection of his best stories in Lost Among the Stars.

And for thrilling military SF, the bundle also has Honor and Fidelity by Andrew Keith and William H. Keith, Recruitby Jonathan P. Brazee, and the hilarious adventures of Phule’s Company in Robert Lynn Asprin’s Phule’s Paradise.

The Adventure SF StoryBundle runs for only three weeks. You can get the base level of five books for $5, or all 13 for as little as $15. Pay what you like, and a portion goes to support the great efforts of the Challenger Learning Centers for Space Science Education. – Kevin J. Anderson

The initial titles in the The Adventure Sci-Fi 2017 Bundle (minimum $5 to purchase) are:

  • Lunatic City by T. Allen Diaz
  • Phule’s Paradise by Robert Asprin
  • Awakening by Raymond Bolton
  • Taylor’s Ark by Jody Lynn Nye
  • Honor and Fidelity by Andrew Keith and William H. Keith, Jr.

If you pay more than the bonus price of just $15, you get all five of the regular titles, plus EIGHT more!

  • Lost Among the Stars by Paul Di Filippo
  • Another Girl, Another Planet by Louis Antonelli
  • Club Anyone by Lou Agresta
  • The Blood Prize by Kevin J. Anderson
  • Walking on the Sea of Clouds by Gray Rinehart
  • The Silver Ship and the Sea by Brenda Cooper
  • Far-Seer by Robert J. Sawyer
  • The United Federation Marine Corps Book 1: Recruit by Jonathan P. Brazee

This bundle is available only for a limited time via http://www.storybundle.com. It allows easy reading on computers, smartphones, and tablets as well as Kindle and other ereaders via file transfer, email, and other methods. You get multiple DRM-free formats (.epub and .mobi) for all books!

It’s also super easy to give the gift of reading with StoryBundle, thanks to our gift cards – which allow you to send someone a code that they can redeem for any future StoryBundle bundle – and timed delivery, which allows you to control exactly when your recipient will get the gift of StoryBundle.

Why StoryBundle? Here are just a few benefits StoryBundle provides.

  • Get quality reads: We’ve chosen works from excellent authors to bundle together in one convenient package.
  • Pay what you want (minimum $5): You decide how much these fantastic books are worth. If you can only spare a little, that’s fine! You’ll still get access to a batch of exceptional titles.
  • Support authors who support DRM-free books: StoryBundle is a platform for authors to get exposure for their works, both for the titles featured in the bundle and for the rest of their catalog. Supporting authors who let you read their books on any device you want—restriction free—will show everyone there’s nothing wrong with ditching DRM.
  • Give to worthy causes: Bundle buyers have a chance to donate a portion of their proceeds to the Challenger Learning Centers for Space Science Education!
  • Receive extra books: If you beat the bonus price, you’ll get the bonus books!

StoryBundle was created to give a platform for independent authors to showcase their work, and a source of quality titles for thirsty readers. StoryBundle works with authors to create bundles of ebooks that can be purchased by readers at their desired price. Before starting StoryBundle, Founder Jason Chen covered technology and software as an editor for Gizmodo.com and Lifehacker.com.

For more information, visit our website at storybundle.com, tweet us at @storybundle and like us on Facebook.

 

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The Write Stuff – Monday, September 25 – Interview With RR Virdi

I first connected with R.R. Virdi— a two time Dragon Award nominee—through Facebook. He is a part of a growing community of authors I regularly connect with. His first Dragon Award nomination was for his series, The Grave Report, a paranormal investigator series set in the great state of New York. The second nomination coming for Dangerous Ways, book one of The Books of Winter, an epic urban fantasy series set in the same overall universe as his Grave Report novels. He has worked in the automotive industry as a mechanic, in retail, and in the custom gaming computer world. He’s an avid car nut with a special love for American classics. As he relates it, his hardest challenge up to this point has been fooling most of society into believing he’s a completely sane member of the general public.

 

He describes Dangerous Ways like this:

Jonathan Hawthorne has lived over a century beholden to one rule: do not meddle in mortal affairs. He’s broken it twice. So when he crosses paths with Cassidy Winters, he’s forced to interfere again.

Strike three. And the third time’s not the charm.

Hawthorne is swept along as Cassidy slips through the cracks in reality.

And being hunted by bands of monsters doesn’t help.

To find the answers they need, they’ll have to play in a dangerous world. One where the odds and rules are stacked against them. They will have to navigate magical courts, queens and lords all while trying to keep Cassidy out of their scheming hands.

If they fail, she will end up a pawn in a plot that will consume them all.

Hawthorne will have to face the consequences of his past, and risk his future to ensure Cassidy can have one of her own.

For a man with all the time in the world—it seems to be running out—fast!

Please tell us more:

Dangerous Ways is book one of The Books of Winter, an epic-sized urban fantasy. It follows Jonathan Hawthorne, a member of the Timeless, a group of semi-immortals removed from the effects of time but bound by rules to never overtly interfere in paranormal and mortal world problems. He’s broken the rule twice. At the start of book one, he finds himself heading to trial to explain his two involvements when bumping into a young woman falling uncontrollably in and out of the Neravene, the paranormal world of many worlds. Helping her earns him his third strike. The trial is abandoned and he’s up for execution as he races to try to find the powers after the young woman, possibly prevent a supernatural war, and explain that his involvements aren’t really his faults. At the very least… he has good reasons.

What was the inspiration behind it?

It was a spinoff from my successful urban fantasy detective series, The Grave Report. I wanted to showcase more of the supernatural world than possible in that series. I always loved Neverwhere…and thought this could be a wonderful blend. My world, my creatures, my storytelling, meets someone able to open doorways to show it all off. My fans loved it.

What was the biggest challenge you faced writing this book and how did you overcome it?

The sheer scope of it. Balancing moving the plot forward, the world building I wanted, the plot structure, and peppering the right clues all the way through.

What other novels have you written?

Oooh boy. The Grave Report, which has two out right now, Grave Beginnings, and Grave Measures (last year’s Dragon Award finalist). A third is coming this fall, Grave Dealings. That’s book three out of twenty.

I’m in a number of charity fiction anthologies. And, I just sent off my first sci-fi, a space western, off to a publisher.

Have there been any awards, productions, videos or anything else of interest associated with your work?

Two Dragon Award nominations, one in 2016 along with Jim Butcher, Larry Correia, and N.K. Jemisin. The second came this year and I placed with Mr. Correia again. Great honors!

What else are you working on?

Right now? Well, I’m editing up Grave Dealings for a late fall launch, writing a novella in the series, then I’m starting a new series/genre (unnamed as of now) in the cyberpunk field. It’ll be my fourth concurrent series. I know I might be biting off a bit more than I can chew, but I’ve been managing so far. I plan to write and stagger releases and this allows me a reprieve from one world after it gets to be a bit too much on my mind.

Tell us about your path to publication.

I self-pubbed. Proud of it. Honestly, fear kept me from pursuing agents with Grave Beginnings…after its success, I was told I should have submitted. But, it’s too late now. What it is, is what it is. Shoulda, coulda, woulda.

Do you create an outline before you write? Outline…is a French word, right? What’s that? Pantser.

Why do you write? I honestly couldn’t imagine having another life. No, seriously. There’s no replacement. Why does someone commit to becoming a career competitive barbeque chef? Same reason, I guess? Passion.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

I’ve learned no ideas are sacred, they’re all respun from something else. It’s what you, the author, you bleed into them, spin with them, that makes them unique/special.

Describe a typical day.

Wake up, furrow my brow and squint at my immortal enemy, the Sun. After that, grumble to myself as I plod to the kitchen to eat. Forget why I came to the kitchen. Put on a pot of tea, leave, log on Facebook, forget about the tea, catch it just in time, pour, sit and write. Hours later, I’ll remember breakfast. Repeat this process with various meals until I finish my day’s work. Occasionally, I leave to socialize. After reaching the adequate human interaction, I retreat home and realize that interaction can be overrated. I continue this cycle for some odd reason.

Would you care to share something about your home life?

My room is slowly being overfilled with otter plushies fans are sending me. No, I’m not joking. It’s a small room filled with bookcases, art prints and originals, a 4,000 dollar gaming pc, there’s not much room for plushies. People keep sending them anyways.

What has been your greatest success in life?

Meeting my heroes, especially this past DragonCon 2017, and finding out they’ve read my work and loved my stories! I have to be doing something right to have that happen!

Thank you for agreeing to participate in The Write Stuff! Before I present visitors with an excerpt from Dangerous Ways, after which I will provide book buy and social links, I’d like to finish with a Lightning Round. Please answer the following in as few words as possible:

My best friend would tell you I’m a… strange, but nice guy.

The one thing I cannot do without is: my writing.

The one thing I would change about my life: My bank balance.

My biggest peeve is: interrupting my writing.

The thing I’m most satisfied with is: My pillow, it’s never let me down.

 

Without further ado, here is the Dangerous Ways excerpt:

That settled it. I set my jaw and walked towards them, trying to close the distance as best I could. When I was close enough to be heard, but still out of arm’s reach, I barked, “Hey!”

The deep rumbling ceased. I couldn’t see a thing, but felt their eyes. The pair of them stared at me. I raised my hands above my head, hoping to appear as non-threatening as possible.

“Hey,” I repeated, trying to keep their attention on me.

“Who are you?” asked Blue Hood.

“Hrmm, leave,” ordered his pal.

I was sorely tempted to heed the advice. Getting involved was my problem. One that had landed me in an inquisition. Some people never learn.

I took several more steps, praying they would take no hostile action. “I just want to know what’s going on. When two people follow a third down an alleyway, it raises questions.”

The cavernous grumbles echoed again, but I pressed on.

“Go away—”

“—or you next,” cut in the second voice.

“Next for what?” I was close enough to make out the pair now, their outlines at least.

Another rumble left their throats. I could see the vague shape of the third figure, huddled against the brick wall at the end of the alley. He shuddered, arms wrapped tight around himself. I had a feeling it had nothing to do with the cold.

I let an edge of heat into my voice. “Next for what?”

I sucked in a breath as my feet left the ground. Two fists clenched the collar of my coat, holding me with ease. The hood of the black parka fell back to reveal the face of gruesome man. It was too solid and layered in generous mass. There was no grunt of effort as he shifted his body. The world sailed by.

Pain blossomed across my left shoulder blade, making its way to my right as I hit the ground, rolling through the snow. I blinked. The muscles in my throat fought for air as my lungs pumped in futility. Lying there was not an option, and doing something—anything—was beyond my ability. The gray-hooded figure was within arm’s reach. My head lolled to the side. The man in the black parka approached.

He cracked his neck. The air around him shimmered, and his features changed. There was no subtle transition. His head and face increased in mass, becoming inhumanly thick and flabby. The creature’s skin was a pale, unhealthy gray with a wet sheen. Purplish lips, missing a chunk of flesh, pulled away from his mouth. A handful of teeth remained, chipped into sharp edges. Bits of rotting meat wedged between them.

The putrid odor increased.

Fabric tore as the monster took its true form. It towered well over eight feet, built of ropey muscles engorged to grotesque proportions. The creature’s body was bare save for a haphazard assortment of clothes tied together in a makeshift girdle. Its hands dwarfed my skull, and, if things continued the way they were, those hands would crush my head.

“Trolls.” I coughed and spat. “It had to be trolls.”

The advancing creature was missing a fair bit of his left ear. It looked as if it had been gnawed on. It pointed to me. “Mine.” The troll jabbed a finger at the shivering figure behind me. “Yours.”

Blue Hood chortled and followed his companion’s example. He dropped the illusion. Shreds of clothing fell to the ground.

The bitter winds and having been tossed by the troll left my fingers hesitant to move.

“This is bad,” someone whispered behind me.

I grunted, trying to dig into my coat.

“I’m sorry for this,” said the man in the gray hoodie.

“For what?” I turned to look at him, and for the first time that day, my loss of breath had nothing to do with physical reasons.

His hand slashed diagonally through the air. Silver light burst into existence; a tear in the space before me.

A Way. The stranger had opened a Way.

My collar constricted against my throat as he hauled on my coat. “Come on!”

Both trolls let out defiant snarls and lunged. I kicked, bringing myself to my feet without proper balance. I tumbled back. My newfound friend held onto me.

We fell through the tear.

If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve just read and would like to read more and perhaps follow this author, here is where to do so:

Website:         www.rrvirdi.com
Facebook:     
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1380786495293139/
Facebook:
      https://www.facebook.com/rrvirdi/

Book Buy:      https://books2read.com/u/4XonN9

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The Write Stuff – Monday, September 11 – Interview With LJ Hachmeister

This week’s guest, L.J. Hachmeister, whom I first met at this year’s Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle, Washington, is a remarkable woman in every sense of the word. She writes and fights—although she tries to avoid doing both simultaneously. She is a surgical nurse and also a musician. After winning the WEKAF world championship in double-stick fighting and achieving a second black belt in Doce Pares Eskrima, L.J. decided to take a new approach to world domination and focus on her literary career. With a head full of intergalactic battles, strong female protagonists, and demonic forces bent on breaking out hell, she created the universe and series, Triorion. After the success of the first four books in the Triorion series, L.J. penned the parallel novel series, Shadowless, which takes place in the same universe, but features new characters, settings, and a terrible evil that threatens to consume the entire world.

Though she has yet to decide whether to use her powers for good or evil, L.J. continues to teach the next generation of Filipino stick-fighters while writing in multiple genres, including science fiction/fantasy, LGBTQ+ fiction, and romance. As a self-published author, her books have sold well enough and acquired a large enough readership to admit her into the ranks of authors who sell their books at nationwide Cons through Bard’s Tower, a distributor who only admits authors like Kevin J. Anderson, Larry Correia, Jody Lynn Nye, Jim Butcher, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Claudia Gray and those on a par with them.

Today we’ll discuss Reborn – Part II, the fourth book in the Triorion series. L. J. describes the novel this way:

With the Alliance Fleet scattered and the Motti’s Dissembler weapon laying waste to the last habitable worlds, Jetta Kyron faces one who will use this time of strife and suffering to seize power over the Starways. With death at her heels and the powers of an ancient evil at her fingertips, Jetta finds herself tumbling down a path she swore she would never take. The fourth installment of the Triorion series pits Jetta against the most fearsome enemy of all.

Reborn – Part II concludes with an epic intergalactic battle, each of the triplets deciding how they’ll use the ancient evil inside them, and some of the biggest secrets of the series finally coming to light. Although there are three books left in the series, Reborn – Part II provides a satisfying ending that gives you the answers you’ve wanted since book one, but also leaves room for the adventure to continue.

For those of you who haven’t yet picked up the other books in the series, it’s about triplet siblings who unknowingly possess the power of an ancient evil, and are coerced into military service. Most of my readers describe it as Ender’s Game meets Stranger Things. The books in the Triorion series are fast-paced, character driven, and will keep you guessing all the way to the end as to who these kids really are, and what they’re truly capable of.

What was the inspiration behind the Triorion series?

As far back as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to have my own universe and heroes, and create my own adventures. I still have some of the short stories I wrote in the Triorion universe from 1987/1988. It started out as something fun and silly, but eventually grew into a means of catharsis for some of the experiences in my own life.

What was your biggest challenge writing this, the fourth volume, and how did you overcome it?

Book four wraps up the first half of the series, so I had to make sure that I didn’t leave any loose ends. However, since I’m continuing with book five, six, and seven, I had to give enough to the reader so that they wanted more, but didn’t need anything else to enjoy the first four in the series.

What are the titles of the first three, and can you tell us about your other work?

Triorion: Awakening (book one), Triorion: Abomination (book two), Triorion: Reborn – Part I (book three), Shadowless – Volume One, and another novel that will never see the light of day. I’m also working on a romance novel that is a prequel to Awakening, tentatively entitled, The Laws of Attraction.

Have there been any awards, productions, videos or anything else of interest associated with your work?

I have a teaser trailer for the series uploaded to YouTube, a musical score, chapter illustrations, and exclusive series illustrations that you can check out on the series website, www.triorion.com

What else are you working on?

My first romance novel! I’m only three chapters away from finishing it. I’m extremely excited about this work since it challenged me to write outside my comfort zone, but it still takes place in the universe I’ve established. It also gives hints as to the conclusion of the entire Triorion series, as well as introduces a critical character that will help the triplets in book six and seven.

Do you create an outline before you write?

I do now! When I first started writing, I’d just wing the entire story, but I ended up writing myself into corners, and/or create huge plot holes. I find that outlining the general points of the book as well as determining the ending helps in so many ways, especially for efficiency. Now that I outline, I can manage two novels a year, even with a fulltime job.

Why do you write?

Honestly, when I was growing up, there wasn’t much else to do in the suburbs of Illinois, and I’ve always enjoyed creating new worlds. Now that I’m older and can look back on what I wrote, and what I am writing now, I realize that I’ve worked out so many of my problems or concerns through writing, and I’m very grateful to have discovered and utilized this outlet.

Is there anything you want to make sure potential readers know?

Everything I put in my novels is drawn from my own personal experience in one form or another. I think reading about the human experience is important; it forges connections, can help you understand more about yourself or other people, and help mitigate that feeling of loneliness and disconnect we all feel at some point in our life.

Do you have another job outside of writing?

Yes. I’m an RN at a surgical center, and I also co-own a graphic design company with my wife. I stay pretty busy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

And why is that?

I enjoy being in a caring profession, and being able to help others when they’re often at their most vulnerable. Nursing keeps me grounded, appreciative, and I have always loved the bonds of the medical community.

I’ve learned that you and your wife are dog people. Would you care to tell those of our visitors who are similarly inclined something about them?

Our dogs are 3 and 6, both female mutts. The younger one is sassy, sweet, and a cuddler. The older one is a border collie mix and obsessed with playing fetch. She’s also a sweetheart, rarely barks, and only cuddles right before bed.

What motivates or inspires you, not necessarily as pertains to your writing?

I read a lot of survival and near-death experience stories. What those folks have shared about their experiences and insights gives me hope, and has helped me keep going even when faced with my toughest challenges.

In addition to being a world class fighter and world class author, it has come to my attention you also play the drums. I have to ask (1) are they traps, (2) are you part of a band and (3) what kind of music do you lean toward?

I play a Mapex seven-piece drum set. I generally stick to progressive or alternative rock, but enjoy jazz, experimental, and all other types of music. I am in the band, “Wolfgirl.” We’re currently on a break, but you can find our first music video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RN9iIJ-tieU

Clearly, the video tells the story of how “Wolfgirl” came together.

And now I need to thank you, L. J., for taking the time to participate in The Write Stuff. Before I give our visitors an excerpt from Reborn – Part II, as well as social links where they can follow you, I’d like to close with a traditional Lightning Round. In as few words as possible, please answer the following:

My best friend would tell you I’m a… frozen yogurt maniac

The one thing I cannot do without is: My family

The one thing I would change about my life: I’d give myself a functional ACL so I can play soccer again.

My biggest peeve is: people who wear their outside shoes in the house

The thing I’m most satisfied with is: my awesome drum set.

 

Reborn – Part II excerpt:

Jahx never told his sisters about his secret trips to room 311. If circumstances had been better, Jaeia might have understood, but Jetta would have only given him grief. Sneaking off became exceedingly difficult, and as often as wanted to go, his family, particularly his sisters, kept a close watch on him. And no unattended four-year-old went unnoticed, especially on Fiorah.

He chanced upon room 311 the day they moved into community housing. While Galm comforted Lohien in their squalid new apartment, promising her their situation was only temporary, Jaeia covered for her siblings so that Jetta and Jahx could explore the housing project and look for vending machines and discarded air conditioning units that they could possibly fix.

“Hey, look,” Jetta said, nudging him.

Putting down his collection of plastic bottles, Jahx followed Jetta to the last apartment on the third floor.

“Do you feel that?” Jetta said, her hand hovering above the doorknob.

Jahx didn’t have to say anything.

“Are you scared?” she asked. She hadn’t intended to sound so peevish, but she, like the rest of them, suffered the hunger pangs of three bellies.

“Jetta… Maybe not this apartment.”

But arguing with his survivalist sister got him nowhere.

“It wouldn’t be right,” he emphasized.

Jetta ignored him, testing the lock. Nimble fingers and safety pins did the trick in seconds.

Please, Jetta.

With a quick glance over her shoulder, his sister checked the hallway to make sure they wouldn’t be seen. Aside from the screams of the arguing couple two doors down, the rest of the place felt like a tomb.

Everyone else is either sleeping off benders or making back alley deals, Jetta reassured him.

Driven by need and disgusted by his own poverty, Jahx followed her in. (Stealing is wrong,) his conscience whispered, (especially from 311.)

The place was cobwebbed and blanketed in dust. Cockroaches, surprised by their appearance, skittered toward their hiding places as they tiptoed to the kitchen.

Check the pantry. I’ll check the fridge, Jetta spoke across their connection.

Jahx wavered, feeling the heavy pull in the adjacent room. (This is wrong. We will only find death here.)

Jahx! Jetta emphasized, making his brain rattle.

Careful not to disturb the nesting spiders, Jahx searched through empty tin cans and food boxes. The place had already been picked clean, probably by some other launnies or scavengers in the same situation.

Skucheka,” Jetta whispered, despondent at their failed mission.

They both jumped as a growling croak came from the next room, rising in pitch. Grabbing her brother, Jetta yanked him toward the door.

“Jetta, wait—”

His sister, stronger and determined, dragged him out into the hallway and back to their new place, not listening to his protests, knowing only the fear that charged her reaction.

“Hey—what was that?” Jaeia asked as Jetta and Jahx caught their breath in the entryway.

“Don’t know. Waste of a trip. Nothing in there but crumbs,” Jetta said, opening her hands to reveal a few stale cracker bits.

The three of them stared at Jetta’s open hands, salivating at the laughable prize. Jetta’s anger and embarrassment throbbed in Jahx’s chest as she divided the cracker bits and distributed them to her siblings.

“Things will get better—I promise,” Jetta said, closing her hand into a fist. “I won’t let Yahmen destroy this family.”

That night Jahx couldn’t sleep. Maybe it was the new apartment, the itchiness of the cots, the sonorous snoring of his uncle or the rats scurrying inside the walls. Or maybe it was something else. Something he had escaped in apartment 311.

I have to go back.

Without disturbing them, Jahx looked inside his sisters’ dreams. Jaeia travelled to somewhere unfamiliar, a green and yellow landscape with only one sun. It wasn’t the first time he had seen such a place in her mind, and he delighted in taking an observer’s viewpoint when he had the chance. But now was not the time.

Jahx turned to Jetta. Curled up in a fetal position against the wall, Jetta slept fitfully as usual. Jahx put a hand on her shoulder, trying to draw his sister away from the pain and terror that plagued her sleeping mind. Unable to soothe her without waking her up, he withdrew, giving her one last look before slipping out the front door.

He waited until the underhanders were done with their hallway drug deals before making his way to the last door on the third floor. The drunk wadded up in the corner gave him a confused once-over but fell back into his bottle, singing a maudlin drinking song.

Walking on his tip-toes, Jahx let himself inside 311. Even in the middle of the night, the Fiorahian sunlight streamed through the shredded drapes, giving rise to new shadows and creeps. He noticed the smell this time, probably because his sister’s will was not stifling his senses. Sour and dewy—like decomposing waste.

A desiccated whisper tickled his thoughts. Who are you?

The moan that followed stripped the gumption right out of him. He turned on his heels to flee when a bony hand, reaching up into the thin rays of light in the adjacent room, caught his eye.

Jahx held his breath. One of the long-nailed fingers curled at him.

Come here.

Those who would like to learn more about L. J. Hachmeister can do so here:

Website: www.triorion.com

You may purchase her books here:

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=triorion

 

 

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The Write Stuff – Monday, August 28 – Interview With Christopher Husberg

I first met Titan Books author, Christopher Husberg, at Emerald City Comic Con in March 2017 where we were sold and signed books at Bard’s Tower. The next time I ran into him was at a bookstore in Salem, Oregon. He and author, Dave Butler, whom I interviewed here in January of last year, were on a combined book signing tour. Chris had just completed the second novel in his series, the Chaos Queen Quintet, and having purchased a copy, I thought this might be a good time to feature him, since the quintet it was part of was finally rolling.

Christopher Husberg grew up in Eagle River, Alaska. He now lives in Utah, and spends his time writing, reading, hiking, and playing video games, but mostly hanging out with his wife, Rachel, and daughter, Buffy. He received an MFA in creative writing from Brigham Young University, and an honorary PhD in Buffy the Vampire Slayer from himself. He writes dark epic fantasy novels. The first novel in the Chaos Queen Quintet, Duskfall, was published in 2016. The third installment, Blood Requiem, will be published by Titan Books in 2018. Chris describes Dark Immolation like this:

A new religion is rising, gathering followers drawn by rumors of prophetess Jane Oden. Her sister Cinzia—once a Cantic prieste—is by her side, but fears Jane will lead them to ruin. For both the Church and the Nazaniin assassins are still on their tail, and much worse may come.

Knot, his true nature now revealed if not truly understood, is haunted by his memories, and is not the ally he once was. Astrid travels to Tinska to find answers for her friend, but the child-like vampire has old enemies who have been waiting for her return. And beyond the Blood Gate in the empire of Roden, a tiellan woman finds herself with a new protector: one who wants to use her extraordinary abilities for his own ends…

Please tell us something more about it.

Dark Immolation is book two in the Chaos Queen Quintet, and just came out in June. The CQQ is a dark epic fantasy series, and the first book, Duskfall, came out last June (and we’re planning on producing a book a year, each June, until the fifth and final book comes out in June 2020). While Duskfall was an action-adventure fantasy thriller with hints of horror, Dark Immolation features a somewhat slower burn. It’s slightly more introspective, addressing belief and identity, but has its share of action and intense (and, yes, horrifying—it’s what I do!) scenes as well.

What was the biggest challenge you faced writing this book and how did you overcome it?

This may sound strange, but before Dark Immolation I’d never written a sequel! I approached DI with the same process and expectations that I do with any other novel or story, and that was actually a huge mistake (I’m channeling Gob there, obviously). The first draft of DI got out of hand very early because I tried to balance my discovery-writer tendencies to pursue every last tangent I came up with while still trying to follow through with and make good on some promises I made in Duskfall. Well, that was impossible. It was a rough process, and combined with some other things going on in my life at the time (both good and bad, but all distracting), this was a very difficult book to write. Fortunately I have an incredible agent who had a few very helpful conversations with me (basically, he lit a fire under my ass), I had help from some very astute and thorough beta readers, and I have a brilliant editor that helped me tie up many of the loose ends of the novel. I’m incredibly happy with the final version of Dark Immolation. I think it’s a pretty great book, and I’m so happy to have it on shelves. I hope all of you enjoy it, too.

What other novels have you written?

The first novel in the Chaos Queen Quintet, Duskfall, came out last June! Read that one first! This is definitely a series you’ll want to read in order.

Have there been any awards, productions, videos or anything else of interest associated with your work? There is a pretty awesome book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_zxjkHT6uM

And Duskfall has been nominated for the Morningstar Award (the David Gemmell award for Best Debut Fantasy), but unfortunately lost to another fantastic book, Steal the Sky by Megan O’Keefe.

Second place is nothing to be ashamed of, especially when one considers the level of competition in a contest like this. Turning to your life as an author, what is your work schedule like?

Well, it often depends, but here’s the basic rundown of my daily schedule.

5:30 AM – wake up, work out, get ready for the day, etc.

6:30 – write

8:00 – breakfast

8:30 – write

10:30/11:00 – walk

11:30 – write

1:00 PM – put my daughter down for a nap

1:10 – write*

3:30 – wrap things up

* My daughter doesn’t always take a nap, so this segment doesn’t always happen.

That isn’t always the schedule. When I’m approaching a deadline, it’s a lot more writing and a whole lot less other stuff. Right after I finish a project, there’s a bit more free time in there. But, generally, that’s the schedule I stick with, and it works pretty well for me. While I do enjoy a solid block of writing time when I have the opportunity, I’ve found value in learning to adapt my work schedule to whatever is available, and right now these 1.5-2 hour writing spurts are getting the work done, and that’s all I can ask.

It’s nice to be able to write full time. Not many can manage it. Tell us about your path to publication.

I went the traditional route! While I’ve always been very open to self-publishing, I figured I’d try to go the traditional route first, and it has worked out for me so far—in large part because I landed a phenomenal agent.

Do you create an outline before you write? 

I prefer to say that I structure my story before I write. That means that I look at typical archetypes and story structure tropes, and figure out which of those I’m going to be most in line with while working on any given work. That often changes partway through a project, but I do like to have a general road map. It’s like if I were to take a road trip from NY to LA, and said I’d hit maybe Chicago, Denver, and Las Vegas along the way, but I’d be open to doing whatever worked best in between (and, in truth, to cutting out any of those major milestones and replacing it with a better one, if that’s what the journey called for). I think some people like to plan out their novels the way some people plan out road trips, i.e. every stop and every hour of the day planned, and I don’t generally work that way when it comes to writing. Every writer is different, and for me, part of the fun of writing is letting the story develop into something organically.

At this point, I have to laugh. You see, I use that very analogy myself, but driving from LA to NYC instead. What motivates or inspires you?

I once heard Dan Wells say something along the lines of if he writes for 8 hours straight during a day, he can write 2000 words, but if he plays a video game halfway through the day, he can write 4000. I find that’s true for me. Taking breaks is an essential part of my writing process. I like to take a walk just about every day, and I honestly consider that walk work, even if I’m just listening to music or a podcast. I know my brain is running through ideas and scenarios in the background, and I often come up with some of my greatest ideas while walking.

I also find value in playing a video game partway through the day. (Dota 2 is my game of choice.) This seems to work similarly to the backburner principle I described for my walks. If turn the spotlight away from the creative side of my brain for a while and focus on something else, often when I come back to that creative side, it’s come up with something completely awesome.

What has been your greatest success?

That’s easy. I’d like to say the publication of my first book, but the truth is a lot more simple: a happy marriage to an incredible person, and a delightful child. No matter what the future brings, I can say with confidence that those have been my greatest successes, and I treasure every moment I get to spend with those people.

Who has been your greatest inspiration?

Joss Whedon, and mainly his work on the television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I style myself a Buffy scholar; I’ve seen the complete series at least seven or eight times, and seen many episodes upwards of twenty or thirty. I’ve read criticism on the series and the writing, I’ve read philosophical takes on the series, I’ve studied its structure and development and background. I think it’s a phenomenal text that does amazing things, and stories like it are in large part why I write.

Thanks, Chris, for taking the time to chat with us. Before I present my site’s visitors with an excerpt from Dark Immolation, at the end of which I will provide your social links, I’d like to try a Lightning Round. In as few words as possible, please answer the following:

My best friend would tell you I’m… an introvert

The one thing I cannot do without is: My laptop

The one thing I would change about my life: Nothing

My biggest peeve is: People who don’t use turn signals when driving

The person/thing I’m most satisfied with is: Myself! I’m a flawed, broken work in progress, and I think that’s pretty great.

Dark Immolation excerpt:

“My lord, it is time.” Urstadt’s voice was soft but clear from the hallway.

“Just give me a moment,” Daval said, excitement flowing through him. Surely Urstadt would be even more excited than he; this was her plan coming to fruition, after all.

Daval dressed. The large dark-green robe with the oversized hood commanded a different type of respect than his decorated clothing, clothing that befitted his position in a high, noble house. As Lord Amok, Daval had great power and respect. But as the new Tokal-Ceno, Daval had something more.

“My Lord,” Urstadt greeted him as he exited his chamber.

Daval nodded to her, smiling. As always, Urstadt wore her half-armor: steel cuirass and faulds, each plated with a thin layer of rose gold, and matching gauntlets and greaves. She wore a suit of micromail—a recent invention of the imperial smithies, both lighter and stronger than traditional chain—beneath the plate. In one arm she carried her helmet, a barbute of the same rose-gilded steel, etched to make the face of the helm look like a skull, accented by black gems near the eyes. The contrast was odd; Urstadt looked somewhat feminine in her armor, but the skull contrasted sharply against the rose gold. Of course, when Urstadt had been promoted to Daval’s guard captain, he had granted her whichever armor she desired. In fact, since the suit had been finished, Daval couldn’t think of a moment he had seen his guard captain out of armor. She slept in the bloody set for all he knew.

At Urstadt’s waist was a short sword, scabbard and hilt also of rose gold, but her preferred weapon she carried in one hand. Her glaive—a poled weapon with a curved blade on one end— was an inelegant, ugly thing, taller than she was with a dented, dark steel blade and scarred, blackbark handle. Some laughed at and derided Urstadt’s rose-gold armor; but her glaive, and her skill with it, was not something to jest about.

“Tell me everything,” Daval said, as they walked down the hall. “How goes our little example?”

“Well enough,” Urstadt said. “House Farady took the bait.”

Daval nodded. He knew they would. The potential power they might accrue by undermining Daval’s fish trade would have been irresistible. House Amok, of course, was one of the high houses for many reasons, but first and foremost for commerce. Fish and other fruits of the sea had been their specialty for hundreds of years, but as time passed the Amok lords had sought other sources of income, from the marble quarries near the western coast to the logging beastmen on the Cracked Horn, the northeast peninsula of Roden. But, by striking the Amok fishing industry, a tiny house like Farady could shake the very foundation of House Amok.

But a shaken foundation was not a broken one, which was why he and Urstadt had orchestrated the whole thing.

Urstadt led Daval to the cells below the keep. Unlike those in the imperial palace, Castle Amok’s dungeons were very modest: a few cells below ground, near the wine cellars. Not particularly high-security.

They didn’t need to be. They were generally only for holding other nobles, soon to be released on negotiated terms. A certain level of comfort was expected. Daval was not surprised to see Darst Farady lounging on a cot with a smirk on his face in one of the cells. Two other men sat in the cells on either side of Darst, but he was obviously the leader.

“The great Lord Amok himself.” Darst grinned as he saw Daval approach. “I’m honored by your accommodations.”

Daval bowed to Darst, watching the young man through the iron bars. Darst did not move from his lounging position on the cot, one leg up, the other dangling over the edge, one arm curled behind his head in a makeshift pillow.

“I trust you’re being treated fairly?” Daval asked. Despite Darst being only a stripling and of a house significantly less powerful than Amok, Daval wouldn’t skimp on formalities. He must not give any impression of skirting the law.

The young man—perhaps no older than Daval’s daughter— shrugged. “Fairly enough, I suppose. When will I get out of here?” Daval took a deep breath. “I can’t be sure, my Lord. You were caught attempting to set fire to my property.” Darst laughed. “You surely can’t blame me. Given the rumors about your warehouse, you had to expect trouble of some kind.”

Daval sighed. “We did, of course. Which is why you were caught.”

“I don’t think you have any witnesses who actually saw us attempt this alleged arson,” Darst said. “So, considering the fact that no damage was done, I’d think being held a day or two in your cells would be sufficient punishment, wouldn’t you?”

In times of peace, this was often the way light disputes were settled between houses. The offending party was held in the injured house’s dungeons for an agreed-upon amount of time, and then released without further prosecution. If the offense was severe, a formal trial might be held, but such instances were rare. House representatives settled most disputes through informal negotiations.

This was not peacetime, however. Daval could not be so lenient. And, of course, their plan dictated he act otherwise.

Visitors who would like to follow Christopher Husberg online can do so at the following:

Website:         http://christopherhusberg.com

Blog:               http://christopherhusberg.blogspot.com

Facebook:      https://www.facebook.com/christopherhusberg/

Twitter:          https://twitter.com/usbergo (@usbergo)

Goodreads:    https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14542821.Christopher_Husberg

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The Write Stuff – Monday, August 14 – Interview With Cat Rambo

Photo Credit to OnFocusPhotography

A number of irksome matters have cropped up recently that have limited my time and made my life increasingly stressful. In days like these, all I want to do when I’m finally home is curl up with a well-written story that will transport me far from my day-to-day circumstances and revitalize me. Cat Rambo’s delightful short stories are perfect for this and it’s a large part of the reason I invited her to join us. To say her writing is quirky, unique and imaginative is not to describe even “half-et” of what makes it so enjoyable, since her language often blurs the boundary between poetry and prose. I am privileged to have her share her thoughts with us, here, on The Write Stuff, especially because her work is acclaimed by so many of science fiction’s and fantasy’s finest. Nancy Kress, for example, has this to say: “Cat Rambo’s stories never go where you expect them to. They twist and turn and end up in strange places—sometimes very strange indeed. Both the stories set on the Earth we know (or think we know) and those set far away will surprise and delight you.”

Cat Rambo lives, writes, and teaches atop a hill in the Pacific Northwest. Her 200+ fiction publications include stories in Asimov’s, Clarkesworld Magazine, and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. She is an Endeavour, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award nominee. Her popular online school, The Rambo Academy for Wayward Writers, has been in existence since 2010. For more about her, as well as links to her fiction, see http://www.kittywumpus.net

Cat, as we begin our conversation, I’d like to focus first on your December 2016 Hydra House publication, Neither Here Nor There.

From time to time, you write something that either makes me laugh outright, or else at least chuckle. For example the phrase, “given that fireflies are easily bullied”, from your story The Toad’s Jewel, or when Ionna, in the story Karaluvian Fale, asks, “Who created the official position of a Whatsit for me?”, to which Kara replies, “Well, I had long needed a Whatsit”. Are you by nature somewhat of a comic in your daily life? 

I have always loved wordplay and jokes, and always will, I think. My spouse would probably tell you that I am both easily amused and prone to silliness, but since he is the same way, it’s a good match because we are always telling or playing jokes to or on each other.

While stories from your other collections have a distinctly earthly feel, like those in Altered America, which are explicitly stated to be so, the ones in Neither Here Nor There are entirely, to my mind at least, extraterrestrial. As one who has never written short stories, but rather novels, I feel compelled to ask if you deliberately set out to write a collection of stories with a common theme over a period of time, or do you anthologize works from stories created over the years because of their similarity?

I don’t set out to write a collection, but because I write so many short stories – over 200 so far – they tend to accrete and get published as groups organized by theme. With Altered America, I’m returning to the same setting repeatedly, which happens more with my fantasy settings (Tabat and Serendib are both cities with multiple stories, and the former even has two novels so far) than my science fiction, although there too I have some places, like TwiceFar Station, that I return to repeatedly.

It’s interesting as a writer to come back to a setting repeatedly for a number of reasons. One is that it becomes clearer and clearer in one’s head and begin throwing off possible side stories. Another is that you can develop the location over time and have the events of one story affect what’s happening in other stories set in the same location or with the same characters.

Although you write prose, your phrasing smacks of poetry: “Jack-knife sudden” and “velvet folds as soft as a baby’s earlobe” from your story Love, Resurrected. In addition, your stories are sometimes non-linear, often alluding to, but skipping over events in a manner uncharacteristic of prose. This compels me to ask, even though I can find no evidence you’ve ever published any, do you write poems as well? If so, might I persuade you to share one?

I do write poetry as well, and won a couple of college contests when I was an undergraduate. I don’t write it much anymore, but here’s a sonnet from 1999, when I first moved out to PNW:

The sky's larger here, and closer somehow.
Lost in its enormity, I hardly miss you at all.
That ache's become a kite, flying low
in and out of clouds, in and out of sun,
poised high, string a melancholy thrum.
Sometimes its shadow falls across my face,
But I've grown used to that phenomenon
as I move in and out of shadow, in and out of sun.

All those poems say 'If ever I loved you' - but if?
Surely there's no question there, it's when,
when I loved you, and all the if is if
the box is sealed, if the string is tied and delivered elsewhere
or whether it sits close at hand, lid askew,
with all those painful longings showing through.

Your stories are distinctly yours, by which I refer not only to the lilt and flow of your writing, but also to the unexpected twist at their conclusions. Still, at various times when I read them, a passage will momentarily call to mind an author like Poe or Jacqueline Carey. Which of the countless ones whom you’ve read have influenced you most and why?

So many! I have always been a reader. Non genre people that have influenced me: John Barth, Willa Cather, Geoffrey Chaucer, Grace Paley, Gilbert Sorrentino. In the genre: Octavia Butler, Samuel R. Delany, Lord Dunsany, Robert Heinlein, Zenna Henderson, P.C. Hogdell, R.A. Lafferty, Ursula Le Guin, Joe Lansdale, Rachel Pollack, H.P. Lovecraft, Andre Norton, Cordwainer Smith, Theodore Sturgeon, Thomas Burnett Swann, and Jeff VanderMeer. To name a few.

Why? Because they are not afraid to experiment and at the same time not afraid to reflect life as it is. Because they love and respect language as much as they love this world and writing in it.

In June of this year, you visited Cuba and met Cuban science fiction author, Yoss. Will you tell us how this fortunate encounter came to be and elaborate a bit on both him and your time together?

I was lucky enough to be part of a family trip and when I knew I was going I asked around a little. The SF community is much smaller than one might think and a mutual friend introduced us via e-mail. Yoss and his wife came out to lunch with us and we had a great time talking about what the Cuban F&SF publishing scene was like. He plays with a band, so at one point he pulled out his harmonica to demonstrate and played a few bars, much to the astonishment of the tables around us. He was so much fun! I had prepared by reading his book Super Extra Grande; I’ve got another of his lined up on my Kindle now and hope to read more in Cuban F&SF in the future.

How long have you been playing/using Habitica and do you think you will continue to incorporate it into your day-to-day life?

I had made an account a while back but hadn’t really done much with it until after talking with two of the founders at the Nebula conference this year. I have found it very handy for dealing with my tendency to get distracted and it’s been helping me achieve my daily word count so I foresee continuing to use it.

Would you care to share something about your home life?

I have a cat named Taco and like to roast my own coffee beans with a hot-air popcorn popper.

I see you’ve stepped up to the plate again to assume another year as SFWA’s president. Are you one of those individuals who find that added responsibility increases your productivity? How much does it impinge on your writing?

I find it eats up vast amounts of writing time if I let it, which was my main hesitation in agreeing to run for a second two-year term. By the time this term is over I will have spent five years total in SFWA office, and will be happy to let someone else steer the boat for a while.

SFWA has taken some nasty hits online over the years, yet you’re still actively involved. Without delving into the negative—I’ll leave the tawdry side of interviewing to others—what is it about the organization that keeps you so involved? Why do you recommend joining it to qualified authors?

SFWA keeps me involved because of the community of professional writers it represents. While it works hard to support, defend, inform and all of that, it also pulls a group together that is like none other in the world. Why do I recommend it? Because it has a tremendous amount of resources to offer and is well worth the membership fee. Beyond that, because they will make connections and friends there that cannot be made elsewhere.

Is there another Cat Rambo collection coming any time soon?

I’m currently looking at my backlog of science fiction and wondering the same thing myself. No matter what, there will be a mini-collection soon for my Patreon backers.

It is my habit to conclude my interviews with a Lightning Round because of the unexpected insights the answers sometimes provide. In as few words as possible, please answer the following:

 My best friend would tell you… I’m a person with a killer smile.

The one thing I cannot do without is… books!

The one thing I would change about my life is… I would make it easier to visit my friends.

My biggest peeve is… mean people.

The thing I’m most satisfied with is… I’m pretty fond of most of the aspects of this nifty planet we find ourselves on.

 

Readers can purchase a copy of Neither Here Nor There on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/Neither-Here-Nor-There-Rambo-ebook/dp/B01MQWD1GZ/

You can follow Cat via social media at any of the following:

http://www.kittywumpus.net

http://www.patreon.com/catrambo

http://www.twitter.com/@catrambo

https://www.instagram.com/specfic/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1014253.Cat_Rambo

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