Random Friday


And it’s another anthology author! She was also part of my first bundle and I met her at my first offline workshop on the Oregon Coast, back in 2011. She’s a sweet Canadian who writes gripping stories. You can find her work in Sci-fi Short Stories Space Opera Mashup as well as her own site below. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Marcelle Dubé!

1. What is it about space opera that draws you to it?

I love the vast scope of space opera, and the mystery of what might be out there, and the adventure of discovery. And if there are aliens, even better!

2. What is your story in the anthology about?

Station OSCX-9 is the story of Stokes, a young machinist working on an Orbital Station being constructed around Star CX-9. He and his crew are on a shuttle, heading back to their work site after leave, only to discover the construction site abandoned.

3. What inspired your story?

I’ve written a couple of other stories in the Alliance world, though none related to Stokes. Those stories are Jhyoti and Jhyoti: Planetside. While they both feature star ships, they aren’t technically space opera.

4. Do you always write about starships? If not, what do you write about?

Nope—in fact, I was very surprised to discover that I had actually written a space opera story. I usually write fantasies and mysteries. While many of my SF stories feature starships, many don’t.

5. What should readers know about you?

My stories never fit neatly into one category or another. My A’lle Chronicles series, for instance, is an alternate history / SF / mystery series. My Mendenhall Mystery series is technically a police procedural that feels like a cozy. I can’t help it…

6. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

I’m tickled to be in an anthology with a collection of such fine authors!

Marcelle Dubé grew up near Montreal. After trying out a number of different provinces – not to mention Belgium – she settled in the Yukon, where people outnumber the carnivores, but not by much.

She writes science fiction, fantasy and mystery stories, and has 11 novels to her name. Her upcoming novel, Epidemic: An A’lle Chronicles Mystery, will be released in Fall 2018. Her short fiction has appeared in a number of magazines and anthologies.
If you liked Station OSCX-9, you might also enjoy Jhyoti and Jhyoti: Planetside which are also set in the Alliance universe.

Learn more about her and her published work at www.marcellemdube.com

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Random Friday


And it’s another anthology author! His story is very funny as is this  brief interview. I never had the pleasure to meet him in person (yet) but he can tell you how to make a living with short fiction! In fact he is both in Nightly Bites Volume 1 and Sci-Fi Stories Starships. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Douglas Smith!

1. What is it about starships that draws you to them?

Usually the tractor beams.

2. What is your story in the anthology about?

It’s about 6,700 words. It’s also about what happens when a star ship hires a crew member who is a real “Murphy” — the living embodiment of the law that if something can go wrong, it will. And an interstellar space ship and Murphy’s Law do not mesh well (except in my story, where hilarity ensues. Along with flying mashed potatoes.)

3. What inspired your story?

It came out of an anthology workshop at one of Kris Rusch’s and Dean Wesley Smith’s Oregon Coast workshops. We had a day to write a story. So you could say I was inspired by fear of Kris if I didn’t submit something. The theme, I think, was “Bar Flys” or something like that. Anyway, it was to be an SF antho, and it brought to mind for me Spider Robinson’s “Callahan’s Cross-Time Saloon” stories, which I always loved. That was the mood and level of silliness I was going for. The story first appeared in Baen’s Universe.

4. Do you always write about starships? If not, what do you write about?

My short fiction has been a mix of SF and Fantasy, mostly in the darker vein. “Murphy’s Law” is a rare humour (yes, that’s spelled correctly — I’m a Canadian) piece. My novels so far have all been urban fantasy (THE WOLF AT THE END OF THE WORLD and a current two-thirds finished YA trilogy) but I have a standalone SF novel planned, based on several of my short stories.

5. What should readers know about you?

I’m a multi-award-winning Canadian author described by Library Journal as “one of Canada’s most original writers of speculative fiction” (but then what do they know, right?). My fiction has been published in twenty-six languages and thirty-two countries (but who’s counting?) and includes the novel The Wolf at the End of the World and the collections Chimerascope and Impossibilia (all of which are awesome).

I’m a three-time winner of Canada’s Aurora Award (try saying that three times fast) and have been a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award, CBC’s Bookies Award, Canada’s juried Sunburst Award, and France’s juried Prix Masterton and Prix Bob Morane (the latter cuz I had a translated collection of my fantasy stories).

6. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

Buffy remains the single most creative piece of television ever. Discuss, citing specific episodes. You have 60 minutes. Use both sides of the page.

Douglas Smith is an award-winning Canadian author described by Library Journal as “one of Canada’s most original writers of speculative fiction.” His fiction has been published in twenty-six languages and thirty-two countries. His work includes the urban fantasy novel, The Wolf at the End of the World, and the collections Chimerascope, Impossibilia, and La Danse des Esprits. His non-fiction guide for writers, Playing the Short Game: How to Market & Sell Short Fiction, is a must read for any short story writer.

Doug is a three-time winner of Canada’s Aurora Award, and has been a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award, CBC’s Bookies Award, Canada’s juried Sunburst Award, and France’s juried Prix Masterton and Prix Bob Morane. A short film based on Doug’s story “By Her Hand, She Draws You Down” won several awards at film festivals around the world.

His website is www.smithwriter.com and he tweets at twitter.com/smithwritr

Sunday Surprise


And it’s a guest! More fantasy during the sci-fi month, yay! Epic fantasy no less! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Sarah Ashwood!

Where do you live and write from?

I’m a genuine Okie from Muskogee (Muskogee, Oklahoma), in the USA.

Why do you write?

Writing allows me to tell the stories in my head and give life to the characters who live there.

When did you start writing?

I wrote a few short stories off and on throughout my childhood, but it wasn’t until I was about 18 and discovered the epic fantasy genre that I found my passion. My Sunset Lands Beyond trilogy was born from this.

What genre(s) do you write?

As already mentioned, I write epic fantasy, but its subcategories would be portal fantasy and fairytale fantasy. There are elements of both in my fantasy novels. I also write historical fiction.

What does your writing routine consist of?

I am a stay at home mom of three young boys. There is no writing routine for me. It’s write whenever and wherever I get the chance! However, I always, always drink coffee when I write, so I guess you could say that’s a routine.

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

My gift of description has been complimented by readers and fellow writers. I’m not sure how I developed that particular quality. I simply try to describe what I see in my head without it being too wordy, since there is such a thing as being too descriptive.

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

Inspiration comes from all over. The world around me, music, other people, my own life…
I would say the MC in my Sunset Lands Beyond trilogy, Hannah, is the closest I’ve ever come to putting myself in my writing. She reeks of my sense of humor. She’s also a caring person, but rather quick tempered. She definitely gets that from me.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

I always start with a brief outline, but it usually gets trashed as I write. I tend to be an extreme pantser. You should see the jumble of notes I jot down to try and keep everything straight while the novel grows! As for the other question, I tend to set a daily goal of about 1,200 to 2,000 words a day, and I usually accomplish my daily goal. You can get through a novel fairly quickly at that rate, I find.

Tell us about your latest book
Aerisian Refrain is the first book in a brand new fantasy series called Beyond the Sunset Lands. It’s a follow up series to my current fantasy trilogy, the Sunset Lands Beyond trilogy, and has many of the same characters. However, Aerisian Refrain can be read as a standalone.
Aerisian Refrain tells the story of a world-famous performer, Annie Richards, who is haunted by troubling nightmares to the point that she’s given up her career and is on her way to her childhood home to convalesce, when creatures straight from her nightmares bring down her plane. Annie wakens in a parallel world, Aerisia, a world inhabited by fairies, giants, immortal warriors, dragons, and pirates. Not only must Annie stay alive, but she has to track down the truth behind why she’s there and who she is meant to be.
Currently, Aerisian Refrain is on a special pre-order sale of just $0.99! Find Aerisian Refrain on Amazon and Goodreads.

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

Sunset Lands Beyond trilogy was published by a small publishing company, but I’m publishing my Beyond the Sunset Lands series (a planned four book series) myself. I loved having a publisher for handling a lot of the leg work (and expense!) of getting my first books off the ground, but as an Indie I also love the control I have over every aspect of the process.
Currently, I also have three books with an agent. Been traditionally published by a major publisher has always been a dream of mine. I long for the day when I can walk into a bookstore and pull my book off the shelf! However, even if that happens, I will likely still remain a hybrid, and go Indie on certain series.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

Yes! Watch for a fun Young Adult Fantasy/Fairytale called Knight’s Rebirth, coming in time for Christmas 2018! It’s the story of a famous knight, Sir Buckhunter Dornley, who is content to live alone until he meets the charming and outrageous Princess Mercy. When he discovers Mercy lives under a deadly curse, how far will he go to break it?

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

My ultimate goal as a writer is simply to tell my favorites of the stories I create, and share them with the world. When I get reviews or messages from readers telling me how much they’ve enjoyed my work, that inspires me to keep going!

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

Write. Just write. You can polish it later, but you can’t polish what isn’t written.

_____________

Author Bio:

Don’t believe all the hype. Sarah Ashwood isn’t really a gladiator, a Highlander, a fencer, a skilled horsewoman, an archer, a magic wielder, or a martial arts expert. That’s only in her mind. In real life, she’s a genuine Okie from Muskogee who grew up in the wooded hills outside the oldest town in Oklahoma and holds a B.A. in English from American Military University.
She now lives (mostly) quietly at home with her husband and three sons, where she tries to sneak in a daily run or workout to save her sanity and keep her mind fresh for her next story.

Sarah’s works include the Sunset Lands Beyond trilogy and the fantasy novella Amana.

To keep up to date with Sarah’s work and new releases, sign up for her newsletter. You can also visit her website, or find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

 

Sunday Surprise


And it’s a guest! Another fantasy author… Don’t you dare saying “Enough of them!” I love them fantasy authors! I’m one of them! 🙂 Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Andy Peloquin!

Where do you live and write from?

I have been living in Mexico for the last 16 years, but just moved back to my home country of Canada, where I am now living in the province of British Columbia.

Why do you write?

You know when you get up first thing in the morning and your bladder is so full that you have to pee? Well, writing is a lot like that for me! (Yes, I used a pee metaphor—shows what kind of writer I am.)

Writing gives me an outlet for all the creativity pent up within me. I am a terrible artist and adequate-at-best musician, so without writing, I’d have no other way to express myself creatively. Writing allows me to put pieces of myself out into the world, where people can connect with me through my stories.

When did you start writing?

I had an elementary school teacher that was passionate about the arts, and he would make us write poems and short stories for our classes. That got me interested in writing, but I didn’t start on my own until I was 15 or 16 years old. I wrote a few short pieces and the beginnings of a novel until I was 19, but stopped to pursue other activities. I didn’t really pick it back up until 2014, at the age of 25.

What genre(s) do you write?

Fantasy is my genre! Fantasy provides us with an escape, a way to forget about our mundane problems and step into worlds where anything is possible. It transcends age, gender, religion, race, or lifestyle–it is our way of believing what cannot be, delving into the unknowable, and discovering hidden truths about ourselves and our world in a brand new way. Fiction at its very best!

What does your writing routine consist of?

Monday through Wednesday, I only get afternoons to work, so I usually fit in a 2-hour slot between 3 and 5 PM. On Thursday and Friday, I get the full day for writing projects, so I’ll do three 2-hour writing shifts: 7-9 AM, 11 AM – 1 PM, 3-5 PM.

I like to have a little something sweet to write: coffee, tea, hot chocolate, chai, a cookie, chewing gum, etc. I also need lots of water and a great playlist to keep my creativity flowing.

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

I’d say I’ve learned a lot about crafting great characters and worlds through research and study of people around me and diving into psychology (as a hobbyist, not a licensed professional). I do a lot of research ahead of time so I can fully understand the story I’m shaping. When I sit down to write, it just flows because I’m already full of the subject.

This has led me to investing time into worldbuilding and character outlining (at least in broad strokes) before I sit down to write. It helps me get in the right headspace so I can create from a place of knowledge and preparedness.

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

Inspiration comes from everywhere: billboards, TV shows, movies, books, comics, video games, my family, random conversations, people passing by on the street, and the list goes on! Anything can spark an idea, and all I have to do is keep tugging at the thread of creativity to unravel the inspiration.

I find that I do tend to put pieces of myself into each story. I’ve been told “Write what you know”, and when I invest my characters with fragments of myself—my thoughts, beliefs, emotions, rationales, and motives—they come alive and become so much more interesting.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

Outliner, with room for improvisation. I have a “broad strokes” outline that helps me to stay on track, but I give myself all the wiggle room I need because there’s always something new and unique that pops up when I sit down to write.

Having an outline (and the above-mentioned worldbuilding) helps me to write fast. I can produce about 3,500-5,500 words in a 2-hour writing stint.

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

Darkblade Assassin is actually the first book that I ever published. It was originally titled “Blade of the Destroyer”, and it was released via a small publishing house. But in December 2017, I regained the rights to the book (and the two others released) and am republishing them under the new titles.

The Hero of Darkness series follows the Hunter of Voramis, an assassin with a mysterious past and a dagger that drives him to kill. On the surface, he seems like nothing more than a bad-ass, but he’s actually someone who (like me, like all of us) is looking to belong in a world that rejects him. He struggles with his “inner demons” (literally) and the dagger’s demand for blood. He may be an assassin, but in the human aspects, he’s someone that we can all relate to.

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

I went the route of publishing two series via a small press, but I’ve decided that it was time to try self-publishing. I have more control over the books, and I can churn them out/publish them much more quickly. Given the ever-changing market, it seemed like the best option.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

This six-book series is totally written and with the editor, and I will be releasing the entire series between May 29 and September 4th. As that’s happening, I’m working on a five-book sequel series, which is set up via a murder mystery novel that features both the Hunter of Voramis and Ilanna, the thief protagonist from my Queen of Thieves series.

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

My goal is to tell the best stories possible, and to connect with people through the characters and situations I write. In order to do that, I have to take risks with my creativity. For example, writing the Queen of Thieves series was that risk, because I (being a 6’6” male) have no experience writing a small (5’3”) female. Writing the Queen of Thieves series was a huge gamble, but one I was thrilled to tackle because it challenged me to see life from the opposite perspective. It took a lot of research to get it right, but I’m very glad I did because it is still my favorite series to date.

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

Just let it flow. I’m the kind of person who likes to have everything figured out and in place before I start writing, but sometimes that kind of overthinking can stifle creativity. I’ve come to realize that I can organize myself with an outline, but ultimately the story will flow much better if I don’t have every little detail figured out. The story tends to shape itself within the structure, but it needs room to breathe and grow.

Links & Bio:

I am, first and foremost, a storyteller and an artist–words are my palette. Fantasy is my genre of choice, and I love to explore the darker side of human nature through the filter of fantasy heroes, villains, and everything in between. I’m also a freelance writer, a book lover, and a guy who just loves to meet new people and spend hours talking about my fascination for the worlds I encounter in the pages of fantasy novels.

Fan Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1383986274994456/

Website: http://www.andypeloquin.com
Twitter:
https://twitter.com/AndyPeloquin
Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/andyqpeloquin

YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8KnIEoUDWRJkAhJ16CN5Dw

Reader List Sign-Up: http://andypeloquin.com/join-the-club/

Fantasy Fiends Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheFantasyFiends/

Follow on BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/andy-peloquin

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/andypeloquin

www.linkedin.com/in/andypeloquin/

https://plus.google.com/100885994638914122147/about

https://www.facebook.com/andrew.peloquin.1

10 Things You Need to Know About Me:

  1. Hot wings, ALWAYS!
  2. I never forget a face, but rarely remember a name.
  3. I’m a head taller than the average person (I’m 6′ 6″)
  4. Marvel > DC
  5. I was born in Japan, and lived there until the age of 14.
  6. Selena Gomez, Skrillex, Simon & Garfunkel, Celine Dion, and Five Finger Death Punch are all in my writing playlist.
  7. Aliens are real, but it’s self-centered of us to believe that they would come to visit Earth.
  8. Watching sports: suck. Playing sports: EPIC!
  9. I earned a purple belt in Karate/Hapkido/Taekwondo.
  10. I dislike most Christmas music, aside from Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

A Few of My Favorite Things

Favorite Books: The Gentlemen Bastards by Scott Lynch, The Stormlight Archives by Brandon Sanderson, Sherlock Holmes by A.C. Doyle, Warlord of Mars by E.R. Burroughs

Favorite Songs: Wrong Side of Heaven by Five Finger Death Punch, Prayer by Disturbed, I’m an Albatraoz by AronChupa, Look Down from Les Miserables, Shatter Me by Lindsay Sterling and Lizzi Hale

Favorite Movies: 300, Red Cliff, Shoot Em Up, Love Actually, Princess Bride

Favorite Comics: Anything with Deadpool, Wolverine or Doop in it

Favorite Foods: Hot Wings, Meat-Lover’s Salad, A good sandwich (made by me), Yaki Soba, Sushi

Favorite TV Shows: The Flash, Daredevil, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Hawaii Five-0, Brooklyn 99, Firefly (too soon!), The Last Ship, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones

Sunday Surprise


And it’s a guest! She has a brand new book out! And she’s another fantasy author! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome J. Elizabeth Vincent!

Where do you live and write from?

I live and write in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. It’s such a beautiful area that I’m never lacking in inspiration from nature. We also have a thriving arts community that I treasure very much.

Why do you write?

Reading and telling stories has been something I’ve been passionate about since I can remember. Seeing someone’s face light up when they’ve read or heard one of my stories, when they can imagine themselves in it—well, there’s nothing quite like that feeling. I think most people need some sort of creative outlet, and writing is one of mine, probably my main one, as I’ve always felt connected to the power of words and what they can be used to create.

When did you start writing?

I’m not exactly sure, but I remember in high school deciding that writing was something I wanted to do. Between a particularly encouraging freshman English teacher and a best friend who couldn’t get enough of my stories, I was hooked.

What genre(s) do you write?

I will try just about anything, but my favorite genre to write is any kind of fantasy. I like the freedom of being able to rewrite the rules of reality while still having the boundaries of the way “people”—be they elves, monsters, or humans—relate to each other. I’ve also written plenty of nonfiction, along with romance, suspense, poetry, and even horror.

What does your writing routine consist of?

I often write early in the morning, around 5:30 a.m. My full house is quiet then, and I haven’t yet allowed anything but the story enter my overcrowded mind. I write for one to two hours before starting the rest of my day, which includes working as a freelance editor and designer and homeschooling my three children.

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

When it comes to fiction, I’ve found a way to make the words flow in a way that’s easy to read and very natural. I believe that comes from years of reading and editing for others. I think the biggest help is just writing through, practicing my craft as much as I can.

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

I find inspiration everywhere, especially in nature, but I also find inspiration from art, books, and television. For example, one night I was brainstorming story ideas, and I thought how cool it would be if there were a superhero like Jessica Jones but with wings and set in a fantasy world. However, when Mariah, the character who came from that idea, grew, she became something much different and developed a unique personality all her own.

I don’t often put myself in my writing. Like many people, I find myself kind of boring, but sometimes I’ll pick out a particularly juicy or odd element or thought from my life and grow an idea from that seed.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

I do a muddy mix of both outlining and flying by the seat of my pants. I often start with some kind of outline, but I usually don’t stick to it to the letter because once I’m in the zone, the story starts to write itself. However, when I get stuck or feel like something is not working, I’ll go back to the outline, reworking things until the story feels better.

As far as speed goes, it all depends on the day or week. When there is a lot going on with my family or freelance business, my writing slows down, but when those things are slower or more even, I get a lot more words in.

Tell us about your latest book (add link if published) + indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

My latest book was actually my debut novel. I also have two nonfiction books published under my real name and a couple of short stories published under my pen name.

Raven Thrall (Legends of the Ceo San: Book 1) tells the story of a girl with wings who has been sheltered all her life, only to be suddenly driven from her home and everything she knows. Years later, she finds herself locked in a struggle with her own identity when she is asked to return to her homeland, where her kind is still persecuted, to help another young family facing slavery because of their special gifts. In her quest, Mariah must decide between doing what is safe and doing what is right.

I decided to self-publish my second nonfiction book along with Raven Thrall for many reasons. One was that I prefer the creative control and the ability to oversee every step of the publishing process, from story building to price setting. Also, having worked in the publishing industry in one form or another for the last twenty years and with constant self-education, I felt confident that I could do a good job on my own or at least that I knew how to find the right people to help me.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

Yes, I have three works in progress. Healer’s Sacrifice is a prequel novella set in the Legends of the Ceo San world. It’s very close to being finished. I have also started Book 2 of the Legends of the Ceo San series, which is tentatively titled Revelation of the Dragon. I’m also working on a third draft of an urban fantasy/lesbian paranormal romance novel called Blood Mastery. I actually finished the first draft of Blood Mastery before I wrote Raven Thrall, but it’s been my biggest challenge, and I’m still working on getting that one right before bringing it to my readers.

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

Honestly, my goal as a writer is and has always been to entertain (with fiction) and to educate (with nonfiction). If I can help someone have a better day by giving them a fun read or by offering them some new information, it makes me happy. Personally, I want to make writing a large part of the way I make a living as well, so I plan to keep writing books as long as it makes me and my readers happy.

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

When I was 16, I wrote to my favorite author, whose books are still a source of inspiration for me. Stephen R. Donaldson was kind enough to write me back. He gave me the best piece of writing advice I’ve ever gotten, although it took me almost 30 years to apply it. His advice was to apply the seat of my pants to the seat of my chair and write.

I’ve learned that writing consistently not only gets the job done but that the act of writing makes you a better writer, just like practicing dance makes you a better dancer. You can’t expect to be a good writer if you only practice once or twice a year or when you feel like it. Writing every day (or as close as you can manage) hones your writing muscles. It teaches you that the blank page is not an obstacle. It teaches you that you can write when you’re mildly sick, when you’re not in the best mood, and when the muses are giving you nothing but drivel. You sit and write like you go to work every day. It’s a job, and some days are better than others. Thankfully, with writing, you usually get at least one chance to go back and polish or even redo it, but you can’t do that until you get it on the page to begin with.

Thanks for having me on your blog, Barb!

______________________________________________

Raven Thrall will be free on Amazon Kindle from Monday, May 21, 2018 at 12:00 am PDT to Friday, May 25, 2018 at 11:59 PM PDT!

Fantasy & Urban Fantasy Author J. Elizabeth Vincent

Website: https://jelizabethvincent.com

Facebook: https://www.Facebook.com/jelizabethvincent/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/j.elizabeth.vincent/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Fiction_Editor

 

Sunday Surprise


And it’s a guest! From my latest curated bundle, Thieves… She is even out there this weekend, if you are at the Wild Wild West Steam Fest in Santa Ana, go and greet her! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Michelle E. Lowe!

Where do you live and write from?>
Southern California.

Why do you write?
Why does someone want to be a cop, or actor, or engineer? It’s installed in us at birth. I believe that we’re meant to do these things, even if we don’t realize it right away. I love stories, and I love telling stories. Creating worlds, characters, and plotlines out of thin air is a magical thing which is fascinating that people (especially someone like me) can do it.

When did you start writing?
I’ve written small stuff throughout my life. Short stories, poems, things like that. When I was nineteen and in college for graphic design, I was alone, grieving in my dorm room. I’d just lost my older brother in a motorcycle accident. To occupy my mind, I decided to write out this story that had been playing around inside my head for a while, and once I started, I couldn’t stop! I swear, it happened in a snap. As hokey as it sounds, in a split second I’d found my calling. I like to think my brother was telling me something.

What genre(s) do you write?
Fiction mostly. I wrote one nonfiction book about the life story of the infamous highwayman, Claude du Vall, but the rest are all fiction. Steampunk/fantasy, science fiction, a few children’s books, even a thriller.

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?
I’ve been writing for the better part of twenty years now and would like to make it my full-time profession. Doing what you love and making an actual living at it IS the dream, right? To do so is to promote and to reach out to readers so to build a fan base. I’ve attended events like Gaslight Steampunk Expo and Gaslight Gathering in San Diego, WonderCon, and this weekend, I’ll be at the Wild Wild West Steam Fest in Santa Ana, signing books. I love doing these shows because I get to meet people and chat with them, which is always a treat for me. I also make connections, which is critical for any business.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?
I’m not sure if this qualifies as advice and it wasn’t said to me personally, but there’s this lovely quote by Toni Morrison, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”I like this quote a lot because if an author writes what they want to read, the story will be more enriched by the care and devotion the writer is willing to put into it.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?
Having an outline is a must for me. I don’t like diving into a story with no compass. Having said that, I don’t restrict my story to any framework. Most of the time, I end up writing a completely different story outside of the outline. Planning out a story beforehand simply helps me push forward faster and allows me to document little details I might later forget. Outlines aren’t barbwire fences that demand to be followed, but a guide assisting you on your way.

Tell us more about your book in the bundle
Legacy (vol.1) is my steampunk/fantasy story. It’s the first of a six-part series, (which are all written, the last four only need to be edited.) The premise is that an evil man named Tarquin Norwich is searching for a toymaker, Indigo Peachtree, and the only way to do so is to force two outlaw brothers, Joaquin and Pierce Landcross, in helping to find him. Tarquin sends his children, Archie and Clover across the English Channel to snare Pierce in France, while Tarquin and his oldest son, Ivor, go after Joaquin in the north. Nothing goes as planned, however, and the story becomes a cat-and-mouse scenario of who can find who and what first. Here is a link to a short video about Legacy which includes excerpts of the book itself. 😊

(buy the book on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Smashwords or get it in the bundle Thieves)

Tell us about your latest book
I just released the second installment of Legacy, titled Legacy-The Reunion. It basically picks up where the first book leaves off, but with a completely different storyline. In this story, Pierce Landcross discovers that his long-lost parents are imprisoned in Newgate Prison and goes in to rescue them. He soon finds out that there has been an inheritance left to the family and when Pierce goes to the lawyer to collect it, he discovers that in order to claim the fortune, he must first follow a series of clue throughout the Netherlands to its location. Pierce is also accompanied by a beautiful and clever young woman, Taisia Kuzentsov, and together they seek out the loot. Their quest isn’t without risk. A dangerous bounty hunter who has his eye on the inheritance and on the price on Landcross’s head, is tailing them, waiting for the right time to act.

(buy the books on Amazon and Barnes&Noble)

Any other projects in the pipeline?
I’ve just started on the next series, The Age of the Machine, which I have set up as being four books total. This series will be more steampunk than fantasy like Legacy is, and hopefully just as much fun to write!

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Find Michelle online

Webpage

Facebook

Twitter

Amazon

Goodreads

Sunday Surprise


And it’s a guest! Another writer no less! Can you believe it? Yes! Here we go, then! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Carol Weakland!

Where do you live and write from?

I live in Mill Creek Park not far from a 19th century grist mill that is powered by a beautiful waterfall. The setting is idyllic, and it continuously fires my imagination.

Why do you write?

I live to write. Indeed, my life feels quite stale when I cannot apply this form of creative expression. I simply must lose myself in that storyline far so different from my own. It is there I connect with characters every bit as real as the individuals who inhabit my life, characters I know better than myself. There is a sacred quality to sharing a heartfully conceived bit of writing with someone you have never met. It is a divine dance that honors both reader and writer.

When did you start writing?

I started dramatic storytelling at the tender age of three. Apparently, I always had the knack for creating a good yarn. In the third grade I wrote a story about a horse and won first prize. I then began writing short plays, which I would perform with my friends. This is an appropriate beginning for someone who not only performs one woman plays based on famous literature, such as Jane Eyre, but also writes the adaptations. I have also written, “The Arthurian Trilogy,” a series of plays based on King Arthur, as well as the Morgen of Avalon series and Land of the Twilight Mist.

What genres do you write?

Morgen of Avalon falls into the romantic fantasy genre, which happens to be my favorite. Land of the Twilight Mist is a young adult fantasy and “The Arthurian Trilogy” plays are fantasy dramatizations.

What does your writing routine consist of?

Much of what I write comes through dreams, twilight dreaming or daydreams, so it is necessary for me to have paper and pencil ready to jot down images and dialogue as it appears. I am also one of those writers who is blessed to hear the dialogue and descriptions of a book play out in her head. That means I must sit down before the computer and relax so that the creative inspiration flows!

What do you feel are your strengths as a writer?

I feel I have a wonderful understanding of characters, especially the way they speak and think, due to my work as an actress. My stories evolve over time without pushing or rushing to meet a deadline. They feel very connected to the archetypal monomyth, mentioned by Joseph Campbell, that runs through the consciousness of all beings. I feel very adept in connecting to these timeless collections of ideas.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I actually give a speech on this topic called “Creative Inspiration!” As I mentioned, my ideas often come though twilight dreaming, but I also turn to nature when the well runs dry. A walk in the park can open whole new vistas of imagination. Watch a hawk dancing in the sky. Listen to the sound of the wind in the leaves. Quite often nature will speak to us when we venture outdoors. This is where writing magic happens. Sometimes we simply must experience life before we can write a certain aspect of a book. I could not write Morgen of Avalon until I became a Reiki healer. Morgen is what we call today an energy healer.

Do you put yourself in stories?

Yes! I can honestly say that every character in my novels is based on some aspect of me.

Outliner or improviser?

Both, actually… When I started writing “The Arthurian Trilogy” years ago – it was through intuition. I had no outline. The Trilogy, however, became my outline for the Morgen of Avalon series. This is not to say the book series follows the plays exactly, but they at times share the same dialogue and situations before they set out on individual paths. Land of the Twilight Mist was written strictly from intuition.

Fast or slow writer?

Slow and steady.

Tell us about your latest book/ audio book

Morgen of Avalon: Epiphany Book 3

Epiphany is the third and final book in my Morgen of Avalon series. Morgen is King Arthur’s healer, his love, the Faerie Queen who helped him create and maintain a peaceful Britannia. This is a magical re-imagining of Arthurian Legend which depicts Avalon not only as a faerie realm, but also the home of an ancient Mystery School. Morgen and the Sisterhood teach a host of students including – Guenevere, Galahad, Percival, Tristan, Isolde and Mordred the mysteries of Avalon and faerie magic. Although Arthur and Camelot stand at the pinnacle of success, a host of miscreants threaten insurgency. Will Morgen be strong enough to still the Saxon uprising that threatens Avalon, faeries and everything she holds dear? The answers are found in – Epiphany!

I have also just narrated the Morgen of Avalon: Dreamspell (book 1) audio book! This is a dream come true!

Indie Publishing or Traditional Publishing – Why?

I chose Indie Publishing for my novels and plays so I could maintain a higher level of control over their content.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

Yes, I am currently working on a time travel romance called THE HIDDEN LEGACY and a book of meditations called SACRED AVALON: MYSTERY SCHOOL TEACHINGS AND MEDITATIONS FROM THE FAERIE TRADITION.

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

My goal as a writer is to inspire readers to open their hearts to nature in all its glory as well as the magic found in every living thing great and small. I find that speaking to people at book signings, as well as offering workshops and speaking at events all work toward achieving this goal.

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

Do not stress over the written word. You must simply allow it to flow. I have forgotten the exact words or even who said this, but I agree whole heartedly!

_________________________

Find Carol online:

Author Central

Sunday Surprise


And it’s a guest! As announced, our mighty curator A.L. Butcher is here to talk about her first bundle – More Than Human – and all those neat things happening in her writerly life! You may remember her from the Wyrd Worlds Anthologies… Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome back A.L. Butcher!

Where do you live and write from?

I am from the UK, born and raised in the South East and now residing in rainy Bristol (in the South West).

Why do you write?

Because I enjoy it, because it’s part of who I am and because otherwise all the people, ideas and voices in my head would drive me mad.

Writing is a release – and to me it is freedom. Nothing is impossible in fiction, unlikely yes, but not impossible. That’s one reason I like to read and write fantasy. Fantasy is the ‘what if’, ‘it can be’, it is pure escapism.

When did you start writing?

I was the ‘imaginative’ child at school – the one who couldn’t concentrate on boring things and was usually off somewhere in my own head. Hmm, not much changes…I’d often write poetry or short stories for the school displays. I suppose though it was when I started writing adventures for Role Playing Games (yes, yes I’m a geek and proud). The novels and short stories developed from those.

I’m lucky, my parents always encouraged us to read from an early age and be creative. One sister is an artist, and one teaches English and drama.

What genre(s) do you write?

Poetry, fantasy, fantasy romance, short stories, and a bit of horror.

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

To give up the day job I don’t like much and be able to write full-time. What am I doing about it? Writing, networking, writing more, working on various projects. Studying too although I don’t have much energy for that as well, these days.

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

Write what you want to read. If you want to read it, someone else will too. Don’t necessarily write what is ‘popular’ today, as it may not be popular tomorrow.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

Improviser, definitely. I have an idea and things grow from that. The story usually tells me where it wants to go, sometimes after it’s got there…

I have a full-time job, and various health issues so I don’t write as much as I’d like. Often I’m too tired or brainfried to do anything creative so I tend to write in spurts. So I suppose both and neitheranswers the second question…

Tell us more about your book in the bundle

I have two – The Shining Citadel is the second in my Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles series but can be read as a stand alone. It’s set in the world of Erana – a dark fantasy world where magic is illegal, but pretty much everywhere, and elves and non-humans live as slaves. Mages can be executed simply for being mages, if they are caught, and to be an Elven mage is doubly dangerous. Humans are more likely to report a non-human.

So our heroes set out to find a missing elven artefact and end up discovering a lost elven citadel and a lot of unwelcome truths. We have a human (well he isn’t but you’ll have to read the book to discover WHAT he is) sorcerer, who is also a nobleman and a crimelord; an elven sorceress who used to be a slave and knows little of her own history; a half-elven servant, who is also an assassin and works for the crimelord; a forest elf trying to regain her people’s heritage; a Witch-Hunter undercover, and a Troll prince… Plus two elves who are in an impossible situation and might be about to commit treason…

Of course. Nothing is as simple as it first appears, people have secrets which might well be fatal and then there is the ‘lost’ elven citadel hunted for by our heroes, who want to preserve it, and our bad guys who want to destroy it. And there is a bit of romance and time for naughtiness too 😊

The Kitchen Imps and Other Dark Tales – is a collection of short fantasy stories featuring mischievous imps who lurk in your washing machine and raid your fridge, a baffled wizard/god in charge of a rather familiar blue/green world, cunning thieves and a secret kitchen. It’s a lot of fun.

Tell us about your latest book

The latest publication is The Watcher – A Jack the Ripper Story. It’s a short story from the Ripper’s point of view, covering the last murder. It’s dark. Technically it’s not new as it was previously published in an anthology but has been revised and expanded.

The Watcher – A Jack the Ripper Story
The year is 1888, and the place is Whitechapel, in the very heart of London. But the heart is bleeding. A mysterious killer is stalking women of the streets – his true name is unknown but his legend will go down in history. This is a short tale of Jack the 18 rated for scenes of violence.

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

Smashwords

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

Bundle Rabbit

Shortly before that I published Tears and Crimson Velvet – which is part of the Legacy of the Mask Tales. These feature characters based around Gaston Leroux’s Phantom of the Opera. They are ‘what ifs’and ‘might have beens.

Madam Giry finds herself embroiled in the tragedy unfolding at the Opera house; mystery and murder stalk the corridors and, it is said, a ghost haunts the place. Giry knows the truth, for she recalls the caged man she met so many years ago. This is her story, their story.

When murder and mystery begin at the Opera House one woman knows who is behind it, and what really lies beneath the mask. Secrets, lies and tragedy sing a powerful song in this ‘might have been’ tale.

A short, tragic tale based on characters from Phantom of the Opera.
A Legacy of the Mask Tale.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073TMFF9M

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B073TMFF9M

Not to mention the More Than Human Bundle

Bundle Rabbit

Kobo

Barnes&Noble

Goodreads

To save. To guard. To heal.

Beloved people, precious things, and sacred spaces move our hearts and inspire us to defend them.

In these tales of redemption and rescue, more-than-human heroes stand forth as champions to protect all that is worthy of protection.

Walk with these elves, imps, wizards, dryads, gods, and guardians as they subdue demons, free the enslaved, preserve the world, comfort the exiled, and cross swords with the dark. Read and revel in their triumphs and tribulations.

The Shining Citadel – A. L. Butcher
Technological Angel – Barbara G. Tarn
Needle-Green – Debbie Mumford
The Cartographer’s Daughter – Karen L. Abrahamson
Serpent’s Foe – J.M. Ney-Grimm
The Crystal Courtesan – Karen L. Abrahamson
The First Book of Old Mermaids Tales – Kim Antieau
The Guardians – Book 1 – Don Viecelli
Love Apidae (A Recumon Story) – Michael R. E. Adams
The Flat Above the Wynd – Alexandra Brandt
The Kitchen Imps and Other Dark Tales – A. L. Butcher

Any other projects in the pipeline?
Lots. I am working on Book IV of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles, which picks up after events of books II and III. Also, I am working on a novella for my Tales of Erana series, various short stories and a couple of ‘secret’ projects.
I have various bundles planned – including Mythic Tales in November, Immortals, Frisky February, Seasonal Bundles, Here Be Dragons, and lastly a Warrior’s Bundle to raise money for a couple of charities which support wounded and elderly ex-service persons.

______________

Author Bio:

A. L. Butcher is the British author of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles series and several short stories in the fantasy and fantasy romance genre.  She is an avid reader and creator of worlds, a poet and a dreamer. When she is grounded in the real world she likes science, natural history, history and monkeys. Her work has been described as ‘dark and gritty’

Blog: http://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6430414.A_L_Butcher

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Alexandra-Butcher/e/B008BQFCC6/

Twitter:@libraryoferana

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

 

Sunday Surprise


And it’s a much revered guest! One of my first Goodreads friends! A lovely British gal I had the honor to meet in person after Loncon – she didn’t make it to Helsinki, but hopefully we’ll meet again in Dublin 2019. Or in London, whatever comes first, haha! Anyhow, she has a new book out, so check this interview! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcom J.A.Clement!

Where do you live and write from?

I live in the UK; I’m from the rural North but live in the South and work in London as my husband’s family live on the South coast.

Why do you write?

I write because I get twitchy if I don’t. I can only go so long without writing. Sooner or later it all bubbles up in me and life goes dull until I’m writing again. Then the gleam comes back.

When did you start writing?

I’ve always written, as far as I can remember. The first lengthy piece of writing I can remember was when I was eleven. My English teacher set us the task of writing three interlinked short stories. My friends did half a page each and grumbled about how hard it was. I didn’t dare tell them that mine were about twenty pages each and I’d had to ask for a new exercise book!

What genre(s) do you write?

Mostly fantasy, though I write contemporary humour under another name which I’m not going to tell you (as people will insist that they know who my characters are based on. I try to take that as a compliment that they seem so real, rather than being irritated. They’re not, but still…)

What does your writing routine consist of?

I write in my lunch hour when I get one, so it’s all a bit piecemeal. Sometimes in summer if I’m not too tired I write on the train instead of sleeping. If I’m really compulsively in the flow, I email myself bits of text while I’m in the lift or waiting for the kettle to boil or while tea is cooking. You’ll understand why editing is quite an important bit of the process for me!

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

My latest release is due tomorrow. A few years ago I wrote a Christmas story called A Sprig of Holly, about a girl called Greta. Recently I decided to revisit Greta for a novella called The Holly & the Ivy, which takes place a few years after when Greta’s daughter goes missing in a storm, and Greta finds out a little more about the help which came to her in the course of that first winter.

http://mybook.to/sprig_series

It’s almost fairytale /adventure style in tone – my other stuff is hardly the full grimdark but bad things happen to good people, whereas this is a lot lighter; gripping, I hope, but more like the sort of adventure story you used to get before everything went a bit dark and Nordic. A bit of light relief from an increasingly grimdark world, perhaps.

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

Write the most excellent book you can, and then move onto the next one. It’s easy to get tangled up in self-doubt and over editing, but when it comes to it, you have to trust yourself and your editors, and release your book to the lions, so to speak. Readers will make up their own minds. In the meantime you need to not be wasting time doing stuff like hitting refresh in case a review comes up. There is so little time in this life to actually write, you just need to squash it in wherever there is two minutes spare, and get on with it. Once it’s written, the editing and polishing is time consuming but not generally outrageously difficult, but first you need to write it completely to the end or you’ll be perfecting chapter four for the rest of your life and never publish the damn thing at all.

Blog: http://jaclement.wordpress.com

fb: http://www.facebook.com/jaclementwrites

Author Central

Goodreads

Sunday Surprise


And it’s a guest! Unexpected but welcome! Please, ladies and gentlemen, welcome Suzanne Kovitz!

Where do you live and write from?
Reisterstown, MD

Why do you write?
I wrote a novel entitled, “Enemy Self” because it was a form of escapism from life and I have a message of perseverance.

When did you start writing?
I began soon after college. The idea was founded in a dream.

What genre(s) do you write?
This a work of fiction with cross-over genres including sci-fi, fantasy, and YA.

What do you feel are your strengths as a writer? How have you developed these qualities?
I enjoy getting the reader right into the story without much intro and description. I also inserted inside voices as a narrative.

Where do you find your inspiration? Do you put yourself in your stories?
From life’s experiences. My story is more like a movie inside my head.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?
Neither. I’m a slow hobby writer.

Tell us about your latest book

Enemy Self

Jessica Wheaton, a sweet and innocent high school girl, suddenly finds herself transformed into the body of her bully, Denise Bower.

She lives Denise’s life and experiences all the struggles Denise endures including child abuse, incest, drug experimentation, failing school grades, and dangerous relationships with men.

Finally escaping from an abusive home, Jessica (in the body of Denise) goes on a tumultuous journey of violence, drug addiction, rape and prostitution. She is in an endless search for love and true identity.

Will Jessica ever find a way to return to her body? Will she ever experience true love? How can she possibly defeat her enemy if she is her enemy?

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?
Indie author. The traditionals wanted tried & true. Being an Indie author I can be in control of the book and its creative process.

Any other projects in the pipeline

Working on a memoir entitled, “Walking on Eggshells”

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

I would like to make my book available internationally. There are many and growing opportunities for indie authors now-a-days, including social media and podcast.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?
NEVER, NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP

also known as Galaxy Quest’s motto “Never give up, never surrender” LOL! Thank you for stopping by! You can find Suzanne here or on Author Central.

 

 

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