Happiness is…


Sunday Surprise

My name is Brenda de Zorig and I’m a journalist for the Konigtown Gazette. I’ve been on the road for years as an actress in an itinerant company, but eventually decided to go back to my hometown to start living of the thing I like the most – writing. So while I write my Masterpiece, I took this job at the Gazette and they send me on various assignments… I thought I might as well starting interviewing random people. Since I intend to write fiction, but truth is always stranger than fiction, I’m eager to hear about people out there – on my world or beyond.

SMNGKaylow_resizeSo! Hello, handsome young man! Tell me a little about yourself!

My name is Kay-low Meraini, I’m twenty and an angry young man. I’m an icy Sire aristocrat unable to grow fond of anyone, but yearning for some acceptance from the rest of the universe. Like my father, I like music and singing, and I play guitar in a band, but sometimes I think I’d rather be a solo artist.

Ah, the arts! I’ve been with a company of itinerant actors for years… Describe your appearance in ten words or less.

Long dyed blond hair, black eyes and arm tattoos.

Do you have an enemy or nemesis? If so, who are they and how did they become an enemy?

No, I don’t have life-threatening situations like my uncle or even my cousin have had. I’d tell you they are my enemy – a family of too perfect Sire. Especially the Holy Shermacs. They have powers I can only dream of.

Would you kill for those you love? And would you die for them?

I don’t have a heart. I’m that selfish.

I don’t believe you, but we shall see. Such a sweet face can’t be “that selfish”. Where do you live?

On Marc’harid, the former Imperial planet. But I’m running away for home, chasing fame on Vilas Lok, the pleasure planet and center of galactic entertainment.

Are you involved in a relationship? If so, with who and what is it about them that you find appealing?

I had a girlfriend, but I didn’t love her. I’m all alone in this adventure. And maybe eventually I’ll discover I have a heart.

That’s what I thought! I’m sure you have a heart! What is the biggest challenge you face in the story?

By chasing fame I come to accept my true self – not as bad as I thought.

Do you have a family? Tell me about them.

I’m the son of former Imperial Prince Kol-ian Vaurabi, but he never married my mother – actually both are in same-sex relationships. And then there’s my perfect cousin Shan-leo Shermac, to whom I can’t compare… They all make me feel useless and talentless, but I’ll prove them my worth!

I hear you! Family – you must love them, but sometimes they’re really frustrating! Please give me an interesting and unusual fact about yourself.

Unlike my father and my cousin, who were raised as Imperial Princes, I don’t have genetically reinforced skin. So I have tattoos. Stars on my right arm, flames on the left. I might add more at some point, but at the moment that’s enough. They were made by a very good Xi-kongian artist who immigrated on Marc’harid a few years ago. I show them off on the cover of my first solo album – and by the way, that’s my stage name, Stardust Kay-low…

Funny, I also have a stage name, that has become my pseudonym, Brenda de Zorig… Thank you for your time and best of luck in your singing career!


Ten years after Star Minds Next Generation, Kay-low tries to carve his way to galactic stardom in the music business. The next generation of Star Minds is still out in the galaxy!

SMNG – Kay-low on Apple, Barnes&Noble, DriveThruFiction, Kindle, Kobo and Smashwords.

Random Friday

Last week Larry Elmore was presenting awards. I commented – although I entered the writers section, he presented the illustrations awards, of course – and he was very kind…

LarryWotFI’ve been meaning to send more stories, but I don’t seem to finish one I’m happy with and that I know has a chance like The Hooded Man! ;) I might also try the illustration contest at some point… Although the affiliation with Scientology does bother me… so we’ll see! :D

Art Friday, while we’re on the topic! I tried vainly to share this in a post on my author page the whole weekend, and then gave up. Apparently I can’t share it because it has a blocked link, but I have no idea of what it means. Oh, well.

Anyhow, that’s the funny part of the vampire story – and yes, he has a name now. Here’s the serious version of him, before he’s turned. I have made a mock cover for the whole story, so I might eventually post it, but only after I’ve talked with the cover artist about it.

And I’ll repost the poll, since the above story should be under B.G. Hope’s name. Should I or should I not?

Thank you and have a great weekend! :D


Writer Wednesday

SMNGKaylow_resizeAnd it’s out! Star Minds Next Generation – Kay-low is now on Apple, Barnes&Noble, DriveThruFiction, Kindle, Kobo and Smashwords. Check out Kol-ian’s son efforts to reach fame in the music business, something in his DNA since Kol-ian himself was a good singer and guitar player! ;) Coming soon… Kay-low interview. Stay tuned! :D

The cover features both Kay-low, his first album cover, and Jay-lee in the background… yes, that’s another hunky Sire there! ;)

Some writerly links: glad to hear that even young readers say no thanks to enhanced e-reading. I’m not such a grumpy old woman after all! Anyhow, here’s the post about why enhanced ebooks are a flop. I don’t think anyone was expecting me to do enhanced books anyway, but well…

Bookstores! On one side we have Viv’s visit to a bookstore, on the other side Dean Wesley Smith history lesson on bookstores and print runs. I’m assuming Viv visited an old-fashioned bookstore and it’s doomed anyway! ;) And I don’t think it’s because she’s in the UK. Italian bookstores are probably as bad. But well… old Europe is quite behind compared to the US! ;)

Some existentialism: when are we? by Hugh Howey – which goes well with these meme I found on DeviantART:

I also quite enjoyed Smashword’s April’s Fool post – and no, I’m not worried even if or when it actually comes true. Back to writing my vampire story… leaving you with a poll. I might embed it in a couple of posts until I gather some answers. Don’t be shy, it’s totally anonymous – feel free to pick #3 if that’s the case! ;)

Have a great week!


Happiness is…


Sunday Surprise

And it’s another guest! Still author of the month! Yes, we have four together this month! This is the last of the four… Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Shannon M. Kirkland! :)

Where do you live and write from?

I live in Indiana and mostly I write at home in the evenings and on the weekends. I have a day job as a computer programmer specializing in Business Intelligence which can get hectic at times and spill over into my evenings and weekends. I do find myself daydreaming about my stories when I’m waiting for programs to complete and often find myself jotting down quick notes.

Why do you write?

I write because it makes me think and feel as well as learn and grow in many different ways. Putting myself into my character’s shoes really makes me think about how an individual’s experiences shape that person. Writing fiction has opened up a window in my mind and allowed me to discover many things about myself and others in addition to discovering more about the writing process itself. I’ve always had a great admiration for authors and now I have an even greater appreciation of the art.

When did you start writing?

I first started writing fiction last year. I’ve written a lot of technical documents for my job but besides journaling or short pieces here and there, I hadn’t written a complete fictional story until last year. I’ve been an avid reader since my first Dick and Jane book. When I was a child, I told my parents that one day I would write a story. However, as the years went by, I never attempted it, thinking that I simply did not have the talent to be a writer.

What genre(s) do you write?

I write fiction containing LGBT characters. Currently, my stories have been based on romantic relationships.

What does your writing routine consist of?

I have been lax in setting up a writing routine and to be honest, I think my output has suffered for it. Ideally, I would set aside at least two hours every morning or evening to do nothing but write.

What do you feel are your strengths as a writer? How have you developed these qualities?

As a fairly new fiction writer, I’m still working to develop strengths and am spending a lot of time reading about writing as well as just simply writing and ignoring the little critical voice inside my head that tells me I’m not good enough. Perhaps one of my strengths then is the determination to learn as much as I can about the art of writing and apply these insights to my own creative output.

Where do you find your inspiration? Do you put yourself in your stories?

I do put myself in my stories, probably more than I should. The inspiration for my stories has come from events in my life although with an entirely new spin put upon them.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

I’m a bit of an outliner and an improviser. My outlines are fairly high level so that I keep myself open for creativity. I have the natural tendency to be an outliner and to be linear in my thinking, so it’s important for me to allow plenty of room to improvise and be creative. I’m a fairly slow writer although the more I write, the faster I’ve become. I attribute this to opening up the creative stream in my mind and much like a muscle, the more it’s exercised the stronger it becomes.

23212361Tell us about your latest book

My debut story is The Golf Widow. It’s a story about self-discovery and breaking free from the mould into which we’ve been placed – placed into by ourselves and/or by our circumstances. It’s about taking control and taking chances and in the process, finding happiness and love within ourselves and for others. Details about The Golf Widow and the major retailers where it can be obtained is here: http://carterseagrove.weebly.com/golfwidow.html

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

Indie publishing without a doubt! Indie publishing offers a freedom that was previously not available for writers. Many times I’ve read where authors have complained that their publisher has set the schedule, selected the cover, insisted on particular edits and even pressured them to stick to a formula. I do fully appreciate the support that traditional publishing gives to authors and that is why I was very excited to create The Carter Seagrove Project LLC with Alp and Chambers.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

I am currently writing a story for the Goodread’s Love is an Open Road event and still have yet to finish The Interior Designer, my next story to be published. I have a couple of other untitled works in progress, ideas for future stories and Alp and I have talked about collaboration on Gloriana, a contemporary family saga based on the lives of the Queens of England collectively referred to as the She-Wolves.

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

My goal is to keep writing and to continually improve my skills. To achieve this, I have taken a focused look at my day-to-day activities to see where I can eliminate unproductive tasks and use this time for writing. Additionally, I am investigating writing workshops and courses as well as continually reading articles and books on the art and skill of writing.

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

When I was feeling very insecure about my writing abilities, Alp told me something to this effect: “You are never going to write a story that is liked by everyone but you are also never going to write a story that no one likes. There is no right or wrong, write your story and never doubt your ability to touch someone in an unexpected way with your words.”


I have been an avid reader all of my life, primarily reading fiction in the mystery/suspense, fantasy and m/m romance genres. Having switched to predominantly reading eBooks, I’ve discovered many self-published writers. One of my favorites is Alp Mortal. I contacted him via his website to ask about one of his books and after exchanging a few emails with him, I mentioned how I always thought it would be fun to write fiction. He urged me to try it and even gave me an idea from which my first title, The Golf Widow, was born. It has been an exciting and rewarding experience. I encourage everyone to try it for themselves. I’ve always appreciated the skills and talent it takes to write fiction but never realized the extent of the challenges and how thought-provoking it is compared to business writing. This experience has definitely given me a new perspective and an even greater appreciation for the craft. It’s been so enlightening and exhilarating; now that I’ve started, I can’t stop.

Alp Mortal, Chambers Mars and Shannon M. Kirkland are The Carter Seagrove Project LLC – an independent book publisher. Find us at http://www.carterseagrove.weebly.com, on Twitter @carterseagrove and on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/thecarterseagroveproject.

Website – www.alpmortal.weebly.com

Project – www.carterseagrove.weebly.com

Email – alpmortal@hotmail.com

Project – thecarterseagroveproject@gmail.com

Twitter @carterseagrove

IMDb – http://www.imdb.com/company/co0518613/?ref_=tt_dt_co

Facebook www.facebook.com/thecarterseagroveproject.

Random Friday

I finished reading Dracula at last. It was longer than I thought – or maybe it took me longer than expected because of the sometimes unreadable (for me) English (when Mr. Stoker tried to render the lower classes speech, I couldn’t really follow it and Van Helsing’s broken English was sometimes irritating)… It’s… interesting! Dated, but interesting.

I’ve read somewhere that Bram Stoker knew nothing of Vlad the Impaler, and in fact he doesn’t really mention the origin of Dracula. And Mina is faithful to her husband – unlike the movie version, which seemed to be a summary of the summary of the book.

I’m kinda baffled at how things were changed in the movie. I guess the screenwriter took advantage of the fact that the writer couldn’t sue him, since he was already dead (much like the guy who wrote Troy based on Homer’s work – I wonder if dead authors who get rewritten in Hollywood haunt those darn screenwriters! :D At least Shakespeare wrote plays that are easier to turn into movies… sort of…)! ;)

Speaking of more vampires, let’s move to sort of Art Friday. Here’s a preview of half the strip about the Desi vampire… As you can see he doesn’t even have a name here (and even the one I’d found will need to be changed, so… Whatsisname is just fine for now! ;) Bad author, I know).

desiYes, I’m aware it’s a very silly joke – much like this one… Hopefully this weekend I’ll have time to go back to more serious drawing! ;) Unless I get to writing the above, that is. I’m thinking since I’m reading about vampires, I might as well get done with the vampire stories (I still need to finish Interview with the Vampire that I interrupted at the beginning of part 3 when I headed for London).

Speaking of artists, I’ve discovered this amazing digital painter who also has her own project – musical, not painted. May her music help heal other people from depression…

Also, if you’d like to support my cover artist and webmaster Silvano Beltramo on Patreon, here is his page. I know that eventually I’ll sign up myself, but I haven’t decided yet how to sign up (as author/which pen name or as publisher?)…

Have a great weekend!

Writer Wednesday

As requested by Jo and Tori, here are the DeviantART questions and my answers.

What’s your ideal writing environment, if any?

I usually write on the bed, but I can write anywhere. If I don’t have my netbook or laptop, a notebook and pen would do. I guess my writing cave is whenever wherever the Muses strike!

What is the most difficult thing you had to learn about writing?

Rules. I started writing when computers were still exceptions – typewriters, heard of them? Creative writing courses hadn’t been invented either. So for 25 years I happily wrote my stories with my creative brain only.

What is it that you still need to learn about?

Rules. Because writing is so instinctual that I need to remember those goddamn rules. Descriptions. Settings. All the boring stuff. The only thing I’ve learned quite well is stick to one point of view per scene/chapter – no more head-hopping in my stories, except when really necessary!

Have you ever had a mentor and what did you get out of the experience?

I’ve taken a few writing courses in the new millennium. So I learned some of those rules – points of views and openings and all that stuff. But I don’t believe in craft books written by non-writers. Stephen King’s On Writing, Orson Scott Card’s How to Write Science-fiction and Fantasy, yes. I have a bundle of 12 more to read. But I want to be like Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch when I grow up (note that by year of birth I’m not much younger, LOL)

How much is giving/receiving critique important, to you, to improve your writing?

Depends on the critique. Sometimes the critic wants you to rewrite according to what he/she would do – which is not your story, so feel free to ignore. I prefer comments from non-writer beta-readers. I need a reader’s reaction, not another writer’s!

How much is reading important, to you, to improve your writing?

Very important. I wish I had more time to go through my TBR pile (mostly on my Kindle these days, so almost invisible but none the shorter, unfortunately!).

Who’s your go-to writer for quality writing (it can be off DeviantArt, too of course) and why?

I still read like a reader – as long as there’s a story, plot, characters that do stuff, I’ll read anything. The good or the bad. I hate purple prose, though, so no literary fiction. Or plotless erotica. Or Horror.

And finally, what piece of advice have you been given that has helped you the most?

Practice, practice, practice. Keep writing. And don’t get stuck in rewriting hell – write and release. There are tonz more stories out there only you can write!

Last week I completed a first draft of Samantha the Witch and the Desi vampire, but I’m sure my expert & cover artist for the project will have a lot to say about it (she started by telling me I picked the wrong name for my character, I hope she suggests a better one – I didn’t like it much anyway). I’ve taken a break from them, though, because I want to go back with fresh eyes whenever I get feedback on the Indian stuff (and then I’ll send it to the other expert – Mighty Jo, queen of Amaranthine – for more feedback on my vampires).

In the meantime, I’m preparing the Star Minds Chasing Stardom stories – stay tuned for Kay-low and then Zaphadin and then the whole batch with Astrid included. I’ve prepared both covers and am currently formatting and uploading, so expect Kay-low some time next week and Zaphadin sometime at the beginning of May. The Chasing Stardom bundle will come out as soon as I have the cover by Maurizio Manzieri – and then I’ll start working on the PODs for both SMNG Diaries and Chasing Stardom.

Writerly links! Interview with Mark Coker at the London Book Fair – on what’s in the future of Smashwords. I got my Q1 payment earlier than Q4 of 2014 this month, so I’m not complaining! ;) It’s a little more than a breakfast at Starbucks, but like I was telling a screenwriter friend on Facebook the other day – I’m not getting rich with my royalties yet, and certainly can’t quit the DayJob for this year. Or the next – unless I have a big break.

On the importance of having POD versions – and that’s why I’ll be working on them in May. And if you don’t have/don’t want a Kindle, check this site. And if you’re an indie author who publishes everywhere, check her guidelines. I might submit some of my titles soon – but you know I’m available at most retailers anyway, aren’t you? Just go to the find my stuff page

Have a great week! :D

Happiness is…


Sunday Surprise

And it’s another guest! Still author of the month! Yes, this is number 3 – the pen name that names the Project! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Carter Seagrove!

23310918Why do you write?
We started the partnership because we’d both always wanted to collaborate on a project – being involved in translating each other’s work was the bridge.

When did you start writing?
Dust Jacket appeared in May 2014; we started the Inspector Fenchurch Mysteries straightaway.

What genre(s) do you write?
LGBT-themed crime fiction.

What does your writing routine consist of?
We agree who is going to write which parts of the story – which has usually been thrashed out over a few skype calls if we’re not both in France. One of us will start and then hand over for the other to do their part and then hand back – we flip-flop between the segments. Alp has right of veto because one of us to have the final say.

23003385What do you feel are your strengths as a writer? How have you developed these qualities?
We blend well, that’s partly because we’re friends and partly because we read similar stuff and appreciate the same sorts of art. We have the same sense of humour. It’s important for Fenchurch that we compromise and we find it easy to agree on things. Fundamentally, we both share the same mindset – ‘Why not? We can do that …”. It helps tons that we both read John Donne and Edward S Aarons.

Where do you find your inspiration? Do you put yourself in your stories?
The characters of Alfred Fenchurch and Adam Cowley are inspired by Jeeves & Wooster and The Green Hornet & Kato.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?
Generally, quick and improvised. Flip-flopping makes the process relatively slow to execute, so even if the segments are written quickly, the project usually takes a lot longer than if either of us was writing it solo – to be expected.

22847384Tell us about your latest book
Storm Clouds (part 6 of The Inspector Fenchurch Mysteries and the end of series one) is being published on 3rd April.

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?
Indie publishing without question – we both cherish our freedom and the desire to maintain complete control over the end to end process.

Any other projects in the pipeline?
A second series of The Inspector Fenchurch Mysteries is a virtual certainty, beginning in the late summer 2015.

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?
We would love to write a third and fourth series, bringing Alfred and Adam into the 60s. As long as readers still tell us that they enjoy the stories, we’ll carry on.

22847371What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?
Make the niche your own.

About Carter:

Born in 2014, a partnership which brought together two very different authors – Alp Mortal and Chambers Mars. The partnership began with a writing project but evolved into the idea of a collaborative space – then a formal company – the focus is still on collaboration.

Alp Mortal, Chambers Mars and Shannon M. Kirkland are The Carter Seagrove Project LLC – an independent book publisher. Find us at http://www.carterseagrove.weebly.com, on Twitter @carterseagrove and on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/thecarterseagroveproject.


22588163Website – www.alpmortal.weebly.com

Project – www.carterseagrove.weebly.com

Email – alpmortal@hotmail.com

Project – thecarterseagroveproject@gmail.com

Twitter @carterseagrove

IMDb – http://www.imdb.com/company/co0518613/?ref_=tt_dt_co

Facebook www.facebook.com/thecarterseagroveproject.


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