Sunday Surprise

And it’s another Eclectica author! I met her and she’s the sweetest girl in the universe! 🙂 Can’t believe it’s been two years already since… And she was even in Nightly Bites Volume 2! Anyhow, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Felicia Fredlund!

Where do you live and write from?

I currently live in Japan, Kyoto to be more exact. This is also where I write, usually in my apartment.

Why do you write?

I write because I want to experience different kinds of lives. And I would love to live in a mystical world with magic, but alas, that isn’t possible, so I’ll do it through writing.

When did you start writing?

Somewhere in my teens. I was a bit late to reading, only starting to love it when I was about 11 years old, and then I needed a few more years to fall in love with writing.

What genre(s) do you write?

I tend to write a lot of fantasy, especially longer works. My short stories fall all over the map through from contemporary to science fiction, from horror to romance, and most things in between.

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?

I’m not exactly sure how to answer this. I don’t have an overarching goal as a writer. I want to write a lot, hopefully find a lot of readers, and have fun.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?

Have fun. Otherwise get a job with an easier paycheck.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

Improviser. As to fast or slow, I’m not sure. I think my typing speed is pretty average and beyond that it is about the amount of time I spend.

Tell us more about your book in the bundle.

It is called Dear Brother and is about a young man trying to deal with the grief from the loss of his brother. I wrote it about a moment I had, dealing with grief from the loss of my mother.

Tell us about your latest book

Angel’s Demise is an urban fantasy short story. Coming out later this May. It is about a guardian angel desperately trying to keep her charge alive. It is pretty twisted and dark.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

A few. Several more short stories will come out this year. Plus two novellas: Commissioned Magic, set in my Riala City fantasy world that is about a painting magician who gets an unusual commission; and the other one is untitled currently, but is the first of several Guild Adventuress series stories (I have another two finished).


Random Friday

While I try to figure out what to do with the web strip and before I finish cleaning, coloring and lettering the 70+ I already have, here’s a few more sneak peeks on the Silvery Earth Kids.

Since the Patreon page is closed, I uploaded the presentation strips to DeviantART along with the character sheets and the new characters I came up with last week – Adwin and Kareena, although I haven’t really written them into the strip yet.

But during the past two weeks I finished the first notebook and was busy with other things, so I didn’t continue it. I hope to do it in June when I’ll also work on the prose version.

There’s also a short, two-strip preview about the kids’ winter (strip # 50 and 51, I did a couple more since – still about 20 to go). The visually impaired version follows (please note that it’s unedited and unproofread at this stage).

Silvery Earth Kids in Winter Wonderland

Torik awoke with a shiver. His little brother had stolen all the blanket again. Seeing light coming in from the small window of the attic and hearing muffled sounds coming from outside, Torik sat on the bed, wide awake and kind of excited. It had snowed!

He quickly dressed – tunic, breeches, boots, hooded short cloak – grabbed his gloves and a scarf and ran out of the house. Yes! Snow covered everything! Adults were already cleaning the streets, so he ran out of the walls and towards the forest.

The fresh snow made a strange sound under his boots and he giggled. He reached the clearing where he usually met his magical friends and found them all there, already building a snowman. Copperscales sat on the side of the clearing, her scales gleaming in the timid winter sun, watching the other three work.

Goldenberry had a pale-blue hooded coat and suede boots. Her hood was up, hiding her golden mane and pointed ears, and she had pink gloves with white rabbit fur at the wrist.

Erwan, who usually wore a simple tunic of Waiora fabric and sandals, now had pants and boots and a long blue coat with a pale-blue scarf wrapped around his neck and fur-rimmed gloves of the same color.

Winged Ylenia had her usual tight-fitting body with elbow-length sleeves and her pink flat shoes, although her red feathered wings kept her away from the snowy ground. Her legs were naked as usual, but she wore gloves to touch the snow.

The snowman was almost done when Torik arrived, so he didn’t have much to do except help decorating it – giving him a face and arms made of sticks. He wondered where his friends had found a carot to use as nose, but didn’t dare ask.

Copperscales rose to join them as they gathered next to the snowman.

“Aren’t you cold, Winged Ylenia?” Torik asked, pulling down his scarf to free his mouth.

“I manipulate air, as long as I cover my hands to touch snow, I’m fine…” Winged Ylenia answered with a smile.

“I manipulate water, fancy a warm bath?” Erwan asked.

“Yes!” Goldenberry clapped her gloved hands.

A little incredulous, Torik followed them to a nearby pond that looked covered in ice. Erwan knelt to touch it and the ice melted, not only that, but the water started fuming, clearly much warmer than the air above!

Amazed and impressed, Torik quickly undressed and followed again his friends in the water. It was indeed warm, perfect to have a relaxing bath!

“Wow, this is so cool!” he said, excited.

“Snow all around us, and we’re warm!” Goldenberry added, emerging from a dive. Only she and Erwan seemed willing to put their heads underwater, though. Winged Ylenia also made sure her wings didn’t get too wet, while Copperscales lay on her back, playing dead on the surface of the pond.

When they all had enough of the warm bath, they went back to shore and dressed. A warm wind even dried Erwan and Goldenberry’s hair. Torik knew it was Winged Ylenia’s doing.

“Thank you for keeping the air warm around us while we dressed,” he told her before pulling up his hood and scarf as the air slowly cooled around them.

“You’re welcome…” Winged Ylenia bowed her head with a smile while Goldenberry rushed to hug Erwan.

“We have awesome friends!” she said as Copperscales watched them, crouched next to the snowman.

Torik agreed with her. He had wondrous, awesome, magical friends, no doubt about that! Winter would be very interesting with them around!


Writer Wednesday

Last week I wrote almost 14K, wrapping the Lone Wolves and even writing the two short stories I need to submit for anthos. I already submitted them too. And I wrote a third that will possibly work for another antho, but I haven’t sent it to the curator yet.

So, productive week, hopping through series (Star Minds Universe, Future Earth Chronicles, Vampires Through the Centuries and Silvery Earth – yep, I think I touched them all!), the writing is still going great. Everything else… meh!

I lost almost an hour (bad connection? Firefox issues? Old computer? No idea, but it was very frustrating!) to gather the audiobook links after a Google Alert informed me I was on Audible. Firebird wasn’t there yet, but The Hooded Man and Otherside are available at most places at last. Except Kobo, still lagging behind. And I still have codes valid for US, AU and CA of Otherside in anyone is interested.

Well, I did publish the first five missions of the Lone Wolves Team, as promised. But, after Kris Rusch’s blog on Patreon and in spite of their recent ToS changes, I ended up closing my Patreon account, and after David Gaughran’s lengthy explanation of the MailChimp debacle, I closed that account too. My newsletter was discontinued anyway, useless to keep it open.

I didn’t open new accounts yet, though. After Tori was locked out of her Facebook account for a day, I was considering adding an admin to the author page, but then gave up the thought. I haven’t joined Pinterest or Ko-fi yet, and still haven’t decided which webcomics sites to join – but then, if there’s one project that might make me go through Kickstarter stress, it’s Silvery Earth Kids, so… I’ll ponder my option a little longer on that one.

As for the things that were on Patreon, I’m going to start a regular feature on the publisher’s page. Every Sunday Backstage Pass will take you behind the scenes of the books. So, for readers only, hoping they’ll follow that instead of the newsletter. I will post articles, deleted scenes, alternate openings, etc. starting next Sunday. If interested, be sure to follow UPB that doesn’t have a Facebook page because it was supposed to be a static place to find the books.

I might make the Pinterest page under that logo and Ko-fi as the writer/artist… I’ll think about it during this week as I get back to the Legends of the Moren Empire and Silvery Earth Kids… Have a great week!


Happiness is…

and with this cold spring, snuggling in a blanket to watch TV still sounds heavenly! 😉 (although I’m scheduling this at the beginning of May, by the time it goes live, the heat might have come… sigh!)

Sunday Surprise

And from the Eclectica Bundle, another awesome author ansering my writerly questions! Her story of socks and aliens is really funny! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Thea Hutcheson!

Where do you live and write from?

In my lovely lavender lair located in a small Denver Suburb, high atop the shoulder of a great hill.

Why do you write?

I love story telling, I always have. I used to creep out of my bed at night when I was little and slip into my little sister’s bed and tell her stories when she couldn’t sleep, all sorts of outlandish tales of tiny cowboys and fluttering ghosts and baby doll’s that told secrets to special little adventure girls.

When did you start writing?

When I was nine I started to write them down. When I was thirteen I started my first novel, but the next door neighbor lady got hold of it and I nearly died of shame from the way my adventure came out of her mouth.

What genre(s) do you write?

I love to write SF, fantasy, urban fairtales, time travel, and a thriller, just to prove that I could do it.

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?

I would love to become a full-time writer as it has been my life-long dream. Unfortunately, the achievement comes in dribs and drabs as I juggle two jobs and caring for my mother. But now I am concentrating on developing enough product to have something to market.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?

Oh, Heinlein’s rules, of course.

  1. You must write.
  2. You must finish what you write.
  3. You must refrain from rewriting, except where you agree with editorial suggestions.
  4. You must send what you finish out into the world to look for a home.
  5. You must continually refuse to let it back in the door so it must stay out in the world until it finds a home.
  6. Rinse and Repeat.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

I have improvised, but I have been trying out various outlining methods to avoid some of the rabbit holes I have chased myself into.

I am fast. I can crank out a thousand words an hour. Not all will be good. But some will be awesome and I can get lost in the tale I am telling myself.

Tell us more about your book in the bundle

I wrote a story a long time ago as an answer to a fellow writer’s claim that no one could make a story about laundry interesting. I flipped the idea and flapped silly thing about, and it became “Fishing”, a story postulating one idea about what happens to the socks in the laundry. It was also my very first professional SF sale. Jim Baen’s Universe published it and then included it in the first Best of Jim Baen’s Universe.

So, I thought it was time to flip that story again and look at it from the other side and came up with “Sock and Pins and Aliens”.

When Megan moves into her new house, things begin to disappear. Weird things like socks, and decorative pins, and a cheap class ring. Things she just saw recently and don’t have a lot of value, but she misses them all the same. She can’t decide whether to blame it on her cheating ex or a klepto ghost. When her best friend sends a geeky ghost hunter her way, Megan finds a new chance for romance and something she never expected in her wildest dreams.

I will have you know, I never lose socks in the laundry anymore as I use these super fancy clips to keep them together. Except that there was this one pair I really like, lacy and slinky, that I never did find after I put them in the washing machine.

Tell us about your latest book (add link if published)

Weird Wild West

…some of the weirdest and wildest western tales that you could shake a rattlesnake at.

Edited by Steve Vernon

Featuring “Over the Wire”

Brice Sebastian is a half-breed riding his Iron Horse across the White Man’s West stringing telegraph wire.

He knows these things: copper wire shouldn’t hum or tingle before it’s live.

It shouldn’t open a door to a new land full of fantastic beasts, either.

But it does, and that opens up a dangerous new door onto his life.


Any other projects in the pipeline?

I am working on the third in a time travel series.

The first is about a young woman from the near future who takes on a job delivering a message for a goddess. The goddess never mentions traveling four thousand years into the past to save the people an entire culture, the eruption of Mount Thera that will destroy the Minoan civilization, or that she’ll fall in love with a handsome animal magician she can’t have.

The second book is set in the same time period, but the main character is a young forensic anthropologist from the 1980s. He takes on a quest to protect a young shamaness when the world blows up, but finds himself sold as an oar slave almost as soon as he arrives in the Bronze Age Middle East. He hates the goddess, he hates the ocean, and he hates sailing, but he falls in love with woman he is sent to protect and must keep safe when Mount Thera erupts.

This third book sets both of them and their newly found lovers from the ancient Middle Eastern culture in a new quest to rescue animals in the path of a flood for this goddess. They learn they are part of the goddess’ secret organization whose job is to travel into the past to save those parts of the Earth’s inhabitants that the goddess cannot bear to see lost forever when disaster strikes. But Chaos has other ideas about the tide of time and fate.

I love research and ancient cultures, so for those who love the past and lots of magic, these stories are crisp and well-fleshed out.

Thea Hutcheson web site

Random Friday

Words of wisdom, writers on writing, whatever you want to call them, enjoy these writers’ quotes!

This is true however you publish, whatever you write.
Writing begets writing. Writing sells writing.
Writing is an act of doing. It is an act of making.
It is also an act of persevering.
And surviving.
A lot of writers simply can’t hack it, so they quit. The road ahead and behind you is littered with the corpses of writers who just couldn’t hack it. (And spoiler alert, some of them are the desiccated carcasses of shit-flinging gibbons.) They couldn’t deal, so they gave up and gave in.
Writing is you not quitting. It’s you taking a bite and digging your teeth deeper like a cranky-ass bulldog who refuses to let go. It isn’t you being a crap-tossing primate.
Be the best version of yourself.
Let your writing be the guide.
Write the greatest damn book you can write.
And don’t be a shitty monkey.
The end.
Chuck Wendig

Let me tell you something someone mercifully told me: If readers do not empathize with what your character wants by the end of your first page – and that’s the stubby little three-quarter page of text floating under the title – it will be remarkably difficult to sell your book.
Now read that again: not just understand what your character wants.  To empathize.  As in, to go, “Oh, I could want that too.”  You need to trigger a resonant emotion within 250 words or so.  It likely won’t be a deep emotion by that point, but that first “I get this person” has to be birthed on Page One.
You don’t get emotion by explaining things to people.  And as such, “Everything is inverted in The Uploaded!” became a liability.
Ferret Steinmetz

Oh, and one more thing. I get that writing about spaceships or elves or super-spies or whatever may seem frivolous in times like these. I’ve been there, man. We should be out there donating, marching, calling representatives – spending our time better, right? And yeah, I’ve done those things as well, and I’d encourage y’all to do that too.
But writing really does matter. I had a reader reach out on social media recently just to tell me that reading one of my books was a welcome respite from all the craziness out there. And wow, let me tell you, that was something. I hadn’t really thought of my stuff that way, and it was incredibly awesome to hear that.
I wrote 2,000 really good words that day.
So yeah. It’s OK to be angry, scared and/or discouraged at the world – or your own personal stuff, for that matter, because life throws curveballs all the damn time. Do what you gotta do to get you through it. Watch crap movies or call your reps. Donate, cry, march, hide, scream. Take care of yourself. But know that when you get back to the keyboard, you have a chance to bring stories to life that can help people think about a better future, or get some solace from a rough present.
Saddle up, wordpeople.
Michael J. Martinez

Writing by committee makes dullness. It takes out your writer voice, and often your character voice.
And I honestly have no idea why writers don’t have more pride in their work. That is the aspect of all this that bothers me. No one touches my work. It is my work. Period. Good or bad.
And I am proud of that fact. Good or bad.
The Solution?
Just stop. Go cold turkey.
Grow a backbone and believe in your own writing.
Maybe have one trusted reader and then ignore anything they say that doesn’t fit with your vision.
Get a copyeditor who will only find typos. Ignore anything the copyeditor says if they try to change your style or writing in any way.
Think how much easier that will be.
Keep learning skills and craft and applying it to the next story.
Bad grammar be good in right times and right places. Toss out the Chicago Manual of Style unless you are writing nonfiction.
Toss out the window your copy of Strunk and White unless you are writing nonfiction.
I am talking fiction here.
You are an artist. Allow your characters to live on the page. Allow your own voice (which you can’t see) to be there for your readers.
Always focus on the next story, not the last story.
Just stop even thinking of using beta readers to destroy your work.
Because that is what beta readers do.
Dean Wesley Smith

Almost nobody else is judging our progress. We might imagine that all of our Facebook friends and all of the relatives we see at Thanksgiving dinner are always thinking about how we’re falling short of expectations. The truth is, almost no one is thinking about our writing success at all.
Nobody is making harsh judgements about our return on investment except the imaginary judge we’ve invented for ourselves, and we can kick that person out any time.
If you love writing, you have to learn to be shameless.
That way, you can always enjoy it, no matter what comes or doesn’t come from it.
Shameless” is a funny word, because we use it as an insult. But we accept “shameless” is negative, then we have to accept being ashamed of ourselves as a positive, which is madness.
The really good things in life rarely result in money and accolades. Walking in the moonlight. Playing with your dog. Turning up the music and dancing around your apartment.
Bryn Donovan

Writer Wednesday

And of course last week I wrote more than 20K… now that I had dived into Rogue! I even finished Draft Zero, but then, I always say I have trouble starting a story. And probably tend to wrap it up too quickly, so I’m going through it one last time before sending it off to the editor. Also because I added the flashbacks after I was done with the present, and I need to see if it flows! 😉

I have written Hal’s mother’s story and now I’ll be writing a couple of stories for anthologies (a charity anthology and a traditional market submission) before going back to Silvery Earth. About the Silvery Earth Kids, I now have more than seventy strips – six are taken for another anthology, and they will come out in black&white sometime this summer, I think – and still need to introduce a character.

I’m still busy with cleaning up, coloring and lettering, though, so I didn’t have time to do the visually impaired version yet. Tori knows she’ll get first look, though! As soon as I’m ready, hopefully sometime next month. The other two hopefully short stories will be one in 25th century Paris (that’s Future Earth Chronicles Book 5 for whoever will make it that far), and the other is going to be the Battle of Chittor from a new point of view (that’s Kristine the Youngest for whoever follows the Vampires through the Centuries).

The Future Earth Chronicles paperbacks are done, but in a weird way. If you buy all five, you’ll see they alternate cream and white paper. That’s because you can’t change that once the book is published, even if you haven’t sold a copy. Sigh. With Createspace there was only the white paper option, but still… Anyhow, I’m ordering my copies tomorrow and hopefully next week or the following I can show you how they all came out.

Speaking of paperbacks, I got my copies of the two portal anthologies… don’t they look neat? 😉 That colorful table cloth isn’t mine, I had them sent to my parents’ and opened the enveloppe at our local market…

And I believe there’s a new free story by Sarah Stegall up on the Infinite Bard, go check it out! 🙂 Have a great week!

Happiness is…

Watching leaves fall and birds fly in spring… okay, this is a fall happiness to cheer me up before the long hot summer! 😉

Sunday Surprise

And from the Eclectica Bundle as well as some Curated Anthologies, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome back fellow worskhopper Debbie Mumford! 🙂

Where do you live and write from?

I make my home in the beautiful Pacific Northwest of the USA. Vancouver, Washington to be exact. No, not Vancouver, British Columbia, that’s in Canada, several hundred miles north of where I live. Vancouver, Washington is just across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon, and in some ways, is a bedroom community to Portland.

As to the question of my writing, I don’t have an actual office. I write on a MacBook Pro laptop, sitting in my favorite chair in the living room … with my feet up. What can I say? I’m into comfort! With my body at ease, my mind is free to wander into other worlds and visit possibilities of existences other than our own.

Why do you write?

I’m an avid reader—I think most writers are—and I’ve always found myself saying, “Yes, but what if that happened?” At some point, I stopped wondering about nuances of other writers’ worlds and decided to create my own. It’s harder than you’d think, being the god of an imagined world, but at the same time, it’s exhilarating and freeing. When I’m really in the zone, I’m completely submerged in my story. Words rush from my subconscious through my fingers onto the screen without me being consciously aware of what I’ll write next. It’s like magic! Characters do things I hadn’t even dreamed of, and my surface mind wonders, “What will they do next?”

Ultimately, that’s why I write…to discover what happens next.

When did you start writing?

I can truthfully say that I wrote my first story before I could read. I dictated it to my mother and then illustrated it with crayon drawings!

Then came a LONG period of no writing other than school assignments and later, Christmas newsletters. I thought about writing often while I was raising my children, but time with them always took priority, so I didn’t truly start writing until my husband and I launched them out into the world. Then I sat down and wrote my first novel. I finished it, all 100,000 words, in a little over six-months and blithely sent it off to agents and editors, thoroughly expecting it to be snapped up immediately.
Yeah. Not so much. My novel was met with universal form letter rejections. I was so green, I didn’t even have a clue what I’d done wrong. At that point, I buckled down, found some writing mentors and began to learn my craft. Can anyone say “cart before the horse”? Definitely. But you don’t know what you don’t know, and at least I started and finished a novel and had the confidence to send it out. I also used the rejections as a goad instead of letting them defeat me.

What genre(s) do you write?

I’ve written a little bit of everything: fantasy, lots of romance (paranormal romance, fantasy romance, time-travel romance), historical fiction, and even a little bit of mystery. Recently, I’ve been branching out into science fiction, especially space opera. Oh, and I write contemporary young adult and middle-grade fantasy under a pen name: Deb Logan.

Interestingly enough, Debbie Mumford writes her tales in third person, while Deb Logan always writes in first person. Yep, I can honestly say Deb is channeling my inner child!

Tell us more about your book in the bundle

Tales of Tomorrow is a collection of five of short stories that move from science fiction to the edge of fantasy. The collection includes two “right around the corner” tales, one far flung space fantasy, and two stories of future families.

Tell us about your latest book (add link if published)

My most recent release is also a short story collection, Tales of Love and Magick. It includes tales that combine my enchantment with fantasy and my love of romance. Each of these ten tales blends the very human element of love, whether romantic, familial, or budding, with a fascinating bit of magick. I had great fun writing these stories, and I hope readers will enjoy them as well!
You can buy Tales of Love and Magick at most ebook retailers.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

I’m always imagining new worlds! I’m currently dreaming up a historical romance series based on Her Highland Laird, a time-travel novella I wrote a few years back. I also have several short stories in process for upcoming anthologies, and Deb Logan has a few fans clamoring for a follow-up novel to Thunderbird. After all, Coyote isn’t the most patient of totem animals. He’s ready to take center stage!

Barb’s P.S. I must say Debbie and I think alike. Look at her latest cover! She chose the same portal I used for Otherside, although I made quite a composite of that image! 🙂 But then, it’s a beautiful stock image…

Random Friday

Another author who is in both curated anthologies sent me her answers. I would like to spend a few words on this one. She sent me Tethering the Sun first when I sent out the call for portal stories. Then I realized we were at the same workshop in 2017, although there were fifty people there and we barely talked. But we caught up and I requested also The Traveler from that list. So, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome another workshop buddy, C.A. Rowland!

They are both out now! Click on the image for the BUY links!

1. What is it about portals that draws you to it?
I love the idea of crossing into a new world, that wonder and unsettling sense of trying to deal with something new. Portals cause growth and I like exploring that aspect of learning about something new. I also love going to new lands and getting to know them and their people.
2. What is your story in the anthology about?
In Fantasy Portals, my story is about a woman who is drawn into a painting and has to deal with what that means and the choices she must make.
In More Portals, my story is about a woman at Machu Picchu who steps through a curtain of fog and finds a completely different Machu Picchu.
3. What inspired your story?
I think art is so inspirational. I have written a number of stories based on pictures or drawings or in this case, an oil painting that I saw in New Mexico. The artist’s work has stuck with me and I finally realized there was a story I wanted to tell about one of them.
4. Do you always write about portals?
If not, what do you write about? No, I write about places I have visited, places I’ve lived, historical stories, mysteries, science fiction and fantasy. I don’t know that I could ever write in only one genre or only one kind of story.
5. What should readers know about you?
My first mystery novel will be published in 2020, The Meter’s Always Running. The main character is a female taxi driving in Savannah, Georgia. I lived in Georgia for years and love the historic district. I live in Virginia now where the backdrop is the Civil War battlefields. I studied History in college so this is the right place for me and the area inspires me and my stories.
6. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
I love ghost stories too. I stayed with my grandmother when I was small and both my parents worked. We used to go to the local graveyard where she would weed and talk about the people she knew there. I would imagine what they looked like, where they lived and what their lives were like. Those sometimes show up in my stories as well.
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