Writer Wednesday


Since I’m busy hopping through the French capital with Dear Nephew and only one of the authors of the sci-fi bundle agreed to answer my questions, I shall leave you in this gentleman’s company. I met him twice on the Oregon coast and am honored about it. We shared another sci-fi bundle last year that is no longer available so I was very happy that he accepted my invitation to join this crazy starship. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Russ Crossley!

Where do you live and write from?
I live in Gibsons, British Columbia, Canada. When we moved into our current house we built a couple of offices and a studio. I have my own writing office.

Why do you write?
I love stories and storytelling. I’ve been an avid reader all of my life. I want to tell my own stories.

When did you start writing?
About twenty years ago I started to write with the intention of being published.

What genre(s) do you write?
I have written in most genres except erotica and regency romance. I also write mystery but haven’t yet tackled cozy’s.

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?
For right now I’m working on a space opera series of short novels called Blaster Squad that I love. I intend to continue writing these books for the foreseeable future. I want them to sell well so readers will enjoy them as much as I do. To achieve my goal I write the next book.
To continue to write. To achieve this I write every day. I also want to continue to grow my publishing company by publishing more titles and using the promotional tools out there such as bundle rabbit.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?
Write what interests you. In my experience this yields the best stories.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?
I’m an improviser once I settle on an idea for the next story. I tend to write in spurts once an idea strikes me as I write the story I’m currently working.

Tell us more about your book in the bundle.
Attack of the Lushites originated at a workshop many years ago. The idea was based on what if in the far future fast food companies ran the space program? It’s a satirical comedy about a hero named Jalapeño Popover and how he must take up the challenge to save the galaxy from an accidental invasion by aliens from another galaxy called the Lushites.

Tell us about your latest book (add link if published)
It’s book five in the Blaster Squad Series called Rise of the Empire. Blaster Squad is a team of mercenaries hired to face the most dangerous adversaries in the galaxy in the far future. The series is filled with adventure, action, and edge of your seat escapes against impossible odds. It’s space opera at its most thrilling. Here is the link to find out more.

Any other projects in the pipeline?
I’m currently working on Blaster Squad #6 Galaxy of Evil. The continuing adventures of the brave team of mercenaries takes them to edge of galaxy where they face their greatest challenge yet.

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Find Russ online

Publisher

Author

Facebook

Author Central

 

Sunday Surprise


And it’s a guest! That Diabolic Shrimp who likes to help authors like himself and gift readers with great books! I did promise he’d show up, didn’t I? Ladies and gentlemen, I proudly present you Joshua Grant!

Where do you live and write from?

I live and work in the beautiful city of Colorado Springs (United States). We have a bunch of mountains. They’re pretty. Something about them helps me write better.

Why do you write?

I typically write when I run out of cool stuff to read or watch. I also love to entertain people. So basically a blend of boredom and my need to be a goof have driven my writer’s bug.

When did you start writing?

Ironically, I started writing when I was 15 after I just finished a big standardized test. I needed something to do and we were allowed to free write so that’s what I did. Haven’t stopped since (writing, not standardized testing).

What genre(s) do you write?

I’ve published a Horror novel, but I also write Sci-Fi and Fantasy (mostly Young Adult). Horror was kind of a fluke for me, especially since I’m kinda a big scaredy cat, but I think it’s my best writing. I also like to scare people.

What does your writing routine consist of?

I’m not really sure I have a routine. I sharpen my pencils, sit down, and just start writing. I make sure I write at least a little everyday. I do everything long hand, then type it up when its finished (It’s my one chance to listen to music and sort of veg out), and then spend many months revising it.

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

My strengths as a writer mostly fall in the overall story. I’m good at coming up with a lot of unique ideas and mixing in a bunch of twists. I’m also really good at the description piece (I sometimes have to pull back on the description since I like to do that a lot). I think my creativity came from my over active imagination, which I’ve never turned away from. I’m a very visual person as well, so my ability to describe comes from my ability to visualize things.

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

I typically find my inspiration from other things I’ve watched and read. I also love to take some deep moral issue and build a compelling story around it. My Horror novel Pandora is an example of this. It’s built around the idea of finding hope in a hopeless dark situation. I actually don’t typically write myself into my work. Most of my characters are pretty different from me.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

I have a pretty solid outline for my work, but I never write it down. I keep all the outlines in my head. Whenever I write an outline down, I feel like I already wrote the book and don’t have any push to write it. When I actually get to writing though, I’m pretty fast. It’s the post rough draft part that takes me 8 million years to complete.

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

I’ve only published one book so far (I’ve got two more coming this year). My horror novel Pandora is about a cruise ship that goes missing. It re-emerges a week later transmitting a single word—Pandora—prompting an investigation by a Special Forces team. This book was tons of fun to write. I tried to capture all the frantic action, grotesque creatures, and hapless heroes of films like Aliens and The Thing from my childhood. Check it out at Amazon if you’re interested!

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

I used to be dead set on traditional publishing until this past year. Now I’m an Indie author and I love it. Traditional publishing is a nice way to go if you don’t like the business and marketing side of things. As I got into the business, I learned that I love the marketing piece. I love meeting people and supporting other authors. It’s been a lot of fun being in charge of every part of the process.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

I’ve finished the next book in my horror series, Jericho. This one involves a father and his son trying to survive the evil creatures that have infested the small mountain town of Shadow Pines. I also have a zany fun fantasy epic coming called Silly Tales from Albanon. I’ve decided to turn this one into a graphic novel which I’m pretty excited about. And as always, I’m hard at work growing my author support site Diabolic Shrimp. I support other authors through the site so if anyone’s interested, head to www.diabolicshrimp.com to check it out.

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

My goal as an author is three pronged. I intend to reach one million readers over the course of my writing. I’m currently pushing towards a thousand so I’m about a thousandth of the way there and I’ve only just begun! My second goal is to publish two books a year. Right now I’m on track to accomplish that one, but we’ll see how much Jericho keeps wrestling with me! And finally, my goal is to support at least 10,000 other authors through Diabolic Shrimp. My personal goal was to get 100 authors on Diabolic Shrimp within the first year of its existence (which we’re well ahead of schedule so far). Then next year I’ll expand that to 1,000 authors, then jumping to 10,000 the following year.

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

Great writers write.

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Find Joshua online

webpage

Goodreads

Sunday Surprise


Some words of wisdom, writers on writing, whatever you want to call it before the next batch of guests – if any! 😉 Have a great Sunday! 😀

So my advice to you is ignore what society tells you that you must do, ignore what friends tell you that you should do. Do what you want. So when you get to my age, you might be having as much fun as I am.

Ain’t easy, but it is worth it.

Dean Wesley Smith

But here is my point: you need to set goals that are realistic for you under the circumstances that you find yourself in.  If writing a page a day is all that you can manage with a busy schedule, it will still get a novel draft done in a year.  Setting goals that are difficult or impossible to reach will just stress you out, making it more difficult to write, and they’ll take a toll on the finished product.
Writing fifty pages of unusable prose in a day is no better than writing nothing at all.

David Farland

You have to surrender to your mediocrity, and just write. Because it’s hard, really hard, to write even a crappy book. But it’s better to write a book that kind of sucks rather than no book at all, as you wait around to magically become Faulkner.

No one is going to write your book for you, and you can’t write anybody’s book but your own.

I’m not really a sports person, but there’s that saying, ‘Keep your eye on the ball.’ I would imagine it’s easier to hit something if you’re looking at it, right? Well, in writing you have to keep your eye on the ball too, but some people mistake what the ball is. The ball is not the New York Times Bestseller List; the ball is not even publication. Your writing is the ball. Focus on writing your very best – your writing, and nothing else. Because no matter how brilliant your work is, there will always be some people who are going to hate it and tell you it sucks, so focus on making your work important to you, and at least to some people, and that’s perfectly good enough.

Cheryl Strayed

You go up the mountain of your idol, but when you get to the top, you realize they’re already there, and that mountain is never going to belong to you. So, you go do your own thing and it’s more of a shit-pile than a mountain at first, but it’s yours. It’s your shit pile. And that’s not nothing.

You can’t run from who you are. Not your brain, not your inclinations, or your experience. So accept your shit – run toward it, use it.

George Saunders

And so, my fellow aspiring-literary-superstars, if Cheryl Strayed’s advice boils down to “surrender to your own mediocrity” and Saunders’ advice is “go with your natural mode,” then my advice will be this: if you write, be brave enough to call yourself a writer, out loud and not just in some dark corner of your brain. It reaffirms what you’re here to do, what you love, what you’re working for, and what you should be doing instead of watching all those cat videos on YouTube (I just had to force myself to deactivate my Wi-Fi in order to finish this conclusion, I feel your collective pain). Because if Genius George Saunders says I’m a writer, then you sure the fuck are too, and I want us all to achieve greatness together.

Wes Janisen

Sunday Surprise


And this is the last author interview for the fantasy bundle. Stay tuned for more author interviews and more bundles. Ladies and gentlemen, last but not least, please welcome Lee French!

Where do you live and write from?

I live in Olympia, WA, the wacky heart of the Pacific Northwest. My workspace is a beanbag next to a coffee table and a large window with a view of the incessant rain. Sometimes, the sun comes out. It’s disturbing and distracting.

Why do you write?

I write because not writing is harder. After a few days without writing, unless I’ve been doing physically exhausting work, I get cranky and weird(er). At this point, I’m more or less unable to work at a regular job anymore because my writer brain muscles are so strong.

When did you start writing?

Shortly after I started reading. I was a late bloomer, not really grasping the whole letters make words thing until the later parts of first grade. Once I got it, though, I got it. In second grade, I won an honorable mention in the local Scholastic Book Fair for my entry Adventures in the Mean Old Man’s Backyard. In high school, I wrote a novel-length piece of crap that fortunately no longer survives, and I kept dabbling all over the place. In my early 30s, I started playing D&D online, in a message board format and really found my writing voice. After doing that for several years, I discovered NaNoWriMo and wrote a few horrible novels before finally producing something worth sharing about five years ago.

What genre(s) do you write?

I have trouble sticking to one subgenre and currently have over a dozen titles across epic fantasy, sword & sorcery fantasy, young adult urban fantasy, superhero science fiction, and cyberpunk. I enjoy writing all of them, and have plans for more subgenres in the future.

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

My goal when I started in this business was to become a member of SFWA. After achieving that as an indie last year, my new goal has become to make a decent living at this crazy job. The biggest challenge, as with any author, is marketing. So far, my path involves working conventions about half the weekends of every year. I have events scheduled for every weekend of May and October, plus 1-2 every other month of the year. It’s tiring and takes away from writing time, but it works decently well. In fact, I’ve done so much of that my booth partner and I wrote a book about how to hand-sell books at conventions, called Working the Table: An Indie Author’s Guide to Conventions.

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

It’s a job. Treat it like one. Writing may be an art form, but earning a living from art works the same as earning a living from any other pursuit. Put in the hours, get things done, give your best effort, and treat your customers well.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

I like the term “plantser,” a portmanteau of planner and pantser. My process is generally to write up half an outline, settle on an end point, and start writing. Experience tells me I will almost always go far enough off the rails with cool ideas by the midpoint that outlining that deep into the book is worthless. My writing speed is on the faster end because I do it full time. Last year, I had 4 book releases, 1 novella release, 4 anthology appearances, plus a 3-in-1 release of a trilogy (with bonus material also written last year). This year will have less because I’m editing an anthology for the first time, along with having various personal issues in my real life.

Tell us more about your book in the bundle.

Al-Kabar is Mulan meets Arabian Knights for grown-ups. The story is one of a collection of standalone novels that will eventually have eleven. Each book follows a different woman in a different culture of my fantasy world, Ilauris, while she deals with problems common to women. The first book of this non-series series, Damsel in Distress, dealt with domestic violence, and this one delves into the strictures society places on women, especially regarding profession. The main character, Fakhira, pretends to be a man to accomplish her goals.

Tell us about your latest book.

My newest release is the fourth book of my young adult urban fantasy series, Spirit Knights. Ghost Is the New Normal continues the story of Claire, a teenage girl whose favorite way to solve problems is punching them in the face. She’s a veteran of foster care in modern Portland who wound up becoming the first female inducted in an ancient, secretive order of knights tasked with hunting ghosts.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

I’m currently working on book 5 of The Greatest Sin, a second cyberpunk novella, book 5 of Spirit Knights, the next Ilauris book, a new book for my superheroes universe, and a handful of short stories for various venues.

Yes, I really am working on all of them at once.

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Lee French

Fantasy & Science Fiction author

Sunday Surprise


And it’s another bundle author! Her book is the first in the bundle, and it’s a great fantasy romance with two damaged characters who can’t help falling in love… as the world falls down, like in the David Bowie song from the movie Labyrinth. Sorry, digressing. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Karen Abrahamson!

Where do you live and write from?

I live in a lovely small town on the west coast of Canada called Sechelt. I have a home near the ocean with an office that looks out onto a bird sanctuary and wetlands. It never snows much in this area, so the climate is lovely all year long. We have deer, bald eagles and whales as regular residents and bear in the spring and summer.
Although I have a great office, I actually do my first draft writing from an easy chair positioned so that I can watch the sunrise over the ocean. It’s the best way of all to start my days.

Why do you write?

Is there an option? I have always written. I started with poetry when I was in grade one or two and I’ve been writing ever since except for one hiatus when I threw myself into riding dressage horses. Writing is a comfort and a passion and chance to explore so many things. I think it’s also a way for me to share the things that I’ve seen in my travels across the world. I’ve done a lot of travelling and it is all fuel for writing, whether it’s the people, the culture or the environment. With the world changing so rapidly these days and feeling so much less safe, maybe the writing is also a commemoration of what was. That’s a sad thought.

When did you start writing?

As I mentioned above, I started in early grade school with poetry. I can recall writing stories when I was twelve, but I only started to look at the form seriously when I was an adult. About 20 years ago (my goodness that’s a while ago!), I started to put more effort into my writing and it was fifteen years ago that I got serious. That means that I gave myself permission to put my writing first every day.

What genre(s) do you write?

At the moment I’m writing mystery, but fantasy seems to creep in fairly regularly and I have enjoyed writing urban fantasy. When I need a relief from the dark places that those genres can take me, I enjoy writing romance—usually romantic suspense, sometimes paranormal romance—because who doesn’t need a happily ever after from time to time?

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

My goal is to make a living as a writer, or at least to supplement my income with my writing much more than I have. I try to write at least four novels a year plus a few short stories, but these days as an indie author, success requires a lot more than simply writing a good story. So I’m not only trying to improve my story craft through practice, but I’m also taking courses on social marketing—not my strong suit. I’m much more of the reclusive writer-type!

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

Write what you love. I know there are indie pundits who talk about analyzing the market and then writing to market and I know that is a good plan for making money, but the writing isn’t just about the money. Writing, for me, is about exploring the places and spaces that interest me. As a result I seem to write mash-up genres. My latest book, a novella published by Guardbridge Books, is a historical fantasy mystery—fantasy because one of the protagonists is a puppet, but the mystery is plainly real world.  The book I’m working on at the moment is a mystery set in an alternate history world.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

Once upon a time when I started writing novels I was an outliner. I completed scene/chapter sheets for each book before I started to write. Then I’d sit down and start to write. The sheets were great, but what I found early on was that about half way through the manuscript the characters and story would take over and the ending was usually something I hadn’t envisioned. What those sheets did was seem to get me through the ‘muddle in the middle’ without stumbling. But gradually the story and characters took over earlier and earlier until now I write into the mist without an outline. The down side is that I often find myself throwing out 25,000 words or 50,000 words because I’ve taken a wrong turn somewhere. This isn’t that big an issue, because I’m a fairly fast writer when things are flowing.

Tell us more about your book in the bundle

The Crystal Courtesan is pure fantasy. It came to me as an idea out of an image of a woman with crystals all over her skin. I imagined that those crystals were actually the ‘evil’ drawn out of the men the courtesans were with, that were then extruded and crystalized on the courtesan’s skin. The Crystal Courtesan is about the last of her kind, who has hidden for years after a dark force overthrew the kingdom. It’s a love story, too.

Tell us about your latest book

As I mentioned above, my latest book is a lush historical fantasy mystery set in Burma/Myanmar in the early 1800s. It involves magical puppets, a murder that will have disastrous consequences for the puppet troupe, nature spirits, and courtly subterfuge. It is called Death By Effigy and is available as a paperback. I expect that the ebook version will be available shortly.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

Always. I have the second book in the Burmese Puppet mystery series already written and in the editing process. It is called A Death in Passing. Look for it in June/July.
There is a paranormal romance awaiting editing that involves a woman on the run and a Selkie that should be out in the late summer.
Finally, I am in the throes of completing the alternate history mystery that takes place in a world where the Ottoman Empire never fell. Instead the Ottomans overthrew Catherine the Great of Russia and the remains of Russia only exists in a small country caught between the Ottoman Empire and China. Of course, there are other impacts on the world, too. Like the American Revolution might have succeeded to a point, but the Anglo-German Empire settled most of North America…

Enter political subterfuge, the murder of a teenaged girl, and a jaded detective and that’s the premise of the story. I’m excited about the book, but it has to go to first readers and through the editing process before it will be ready for the public.

Other books planned for this year include a return to my urban fantasy Cartographer series. The second book in the Phoebe Clay mystery series is also planned. This time Phoebe takes on modern day Myanmar.

Thanks so much for the opportunity to share my thoughts and work!

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To find more of Karen’s fantasies, mysteries and romance visit her website

Goodreads

Twitter

Author Central

 

Sunday Surprise


One more for the ride! And one more that I met in person! I am thrilled to have her onboard! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome 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, but my main genre is fantasy. Romantic fantasy, contemporary fantasy, urban fantasy, juvenile fantasy, if the genre has fantasy in the name, I’ve probably written it. I even write fantasy under a pen name. Deb Logan, my alter ego, writes contemporary fantasy for middle grade and teen readers.

Interestingly enough, Debbie Mumford writes her tales in third person, but 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

Dragons’ Choice, the first book in my ‘Sorcha’s Children’ series, tells the stories of Aislinn and Taran, dragon shifter siblings who set out into the world to discover their destinies. Aislinn and Taran are two of a clutch of six shifters who have grown to adulthood in the ice aerie of the dragons. This book chronicles their adventures as they explore the human side of their heritage.

Sorcha’s Heart is a novella that tells the tale of how dragon shifters came into existence. The novella is actually the prequel to the series.

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

Remember how I said I write a little bit of everything? Well, my most recent release, Tales of Bygone Days, is a collection of historical fiction tales, three short stories and a novella. Two of the short stories are based on historical events, the third is a mystery, and the novella is a time-travel romance. See? Even in this limited collection, my writing is all over the map *lol*

Any other projects in the pipeline?

Interesting you should ask! I’m currently working on the final novel in the ‘Sorcha’s Children’ series. Dragons’ Destiny will tell the stories of the final pair of shifter siblings, Luag and Eibhlinn, and if I do say so myself, it’s shaping up to be the best tale yet.

Oh! In case you want it, my newsletter is here: http://eepurl.com/bTXLhX

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Sunday Surprise


We won’t have 12 interviews, but I’m still introducing you to the other authors in the upcoming bundle. Only 6 days until release, yay! In the meantime I managed to read a few of the bundle’s books and  his is a fun romp of magic schools and crazy gods (much like the ancient Greek gods of mythology) on Martir, where both the magic and the crazy gods are real! Ladies and gentlemen, I’m very proud to present you Timothy L. Cerepaka!

Where do you live and write from?

I live in Cherokee, Texas in the United States of America.

Why do you write?

Because writing is one of my favorite activities. It also helps that I’m making good money doing it, too.

When did you start writing?

When I was 12, so I’ve been writing for about a decade now.

What genre(s) do you write?

Under Timothy L. Cerepaka, I write epic fantasy/swords and sorcery. Under my Lucas Flint pen name, I write young adult superheroes.

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

My goal as a writer was to make a living, which I am currently doing. So I guess I’ve already achieved it.

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

Write to market. That advice helped me go from making mid three figures a month to making lower-to-mid four figures a month consistently.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

I’m a discovery writer, which means I don’t use an outline. I’ve tried outlining in the past, but I just find it too much of a waste of time, time I’d much rather spend actually writing the book.
I’m a fast writer. One of my most recent books took me a mere 10 days to write, though my average is around two or three weeks, depending on the length of the book of course.

Tell us more about your book in the bundle

The Mages of Martir series (which The Mage’s Grave is the first book of) is actually a sequel series to my Prince Malock World series, which you can also find on Amazon and other retailers. You don’t need to have read any of the Prince Malock books in order to understand Mages of Martir, but you will understand the world and characters a lot better if you do.

Barb sez: I confirm you don’t need to have read the other books – I haven’t and I enjoyed The Mage’s Grave! 😉

Tell us about your latest book

My latest book is Powers, the second book in my newest superhero series, The Young Neos. I just uploaded it to Amazon and it still isn’t published yet, so I can’t give you a link, but it should be available for purchase soon.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

Yes! The third Young Neos book, Counterparts, is scheduled for a May 2017 release, while I have another superhero series that I will probably release in the fall, depending on how things go. I don’t want to say much about that series yet, however, except to say that it is unrelated to my current series.

On the fantasy front, I have a few ideas I am batting around, but my fantasy books don’t sell as well as my superhero books, so I don’t know when I’ll get around to actually writing any of these ideas. It may not be until 2018 that I put out another fantasy novel, but we’ll see.
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Find him online

Timothy L. Cerepaka

My website
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Find my books on Goodreads

Sunday Surprise


And it’s another author from the bundle! We’re back to the U.S. of A.! And we have the same aim (quit that DayJob) and the same weaknesses (marketing hell…)! And he does write a lot! 🙂 And I love his covers! 😀 Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Joseph Robert Lewis!

Where do you live and write from?

Maryland, USA

Why do you write?

I love all sorts of art, from drawing and music to woodworking and landscaping. But the only one I seem to be any good at is writing. But beyond that, I really love how easily writing allows me to explore all sorts of people and places and ideas, real or imagined, all using the exact same old laptop and comfy chair. My hope is that my writing will make my readers happy, just genuinely happy, whether that means being entertaining and funny, or letting them explore different types of characters and plots that are less mainstream.

When did you start writing?

I first started wanting to write a novel in high school, and I continued to want to write a novel through college, but I didn’t actually weld 100,000 words together until sometime in my early 20s. But since then, I’ve learned to write more consistently and to complete books in much less than two decades.

What genre(s) do you write?

Science fiction and fantasy.

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

Right now, my selfish writing goal is to be successful enough that I can quit my day-job and write fulltime. It’s challenging to write several novels each year just in the narrow span of free time between a fulltime job, raising two daughters, romancing my fiancé, staying in shape, and taking care of the house. And the cats. So, in addition to trying to write great stories that readers will love, I’m also trying to learn more about marketing. So far, all I’ve really learned is that I don’t particularly like marketing, and that I’m not particularly good at marketing.

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

Write. Finish. Publish. The tricky thing about any skill is that you really only get better through practice, which is fine for tying shoelaces or making hummus, or any other activity that only takes a minute or two. But when the activity takes several weeks or months to complete just one attempt, the idea that writing a whole novel is “just practice” can be a little disheartening. But it’s true. You can’t spend forever trying to write the one perfect novel, because you’ll never succeed and you’ll never get any better. You just have to keep writing, finishing, and publishing, and trying to learn from your mistakes along the way so the next one can be a little better.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

Over time, I have come to embrace outlines as completely necessary. After spending months researching ideas and kicking ideas, I eventually reach a point where I think I have all the pieces for a good story, and then I have to sketch out a chapter-by-chapter outline with as much detail as possible. That way when I sit down to write, after a long day at the office and a long evening of checking homework, making dinner, and cleaning the house, I will know exactly what I want to write next and quickly get into a writing headspace. Regarding speed, all I can say is that I’ve released about two millions words and two dozen books in about six years, so make of that what you will.

Tell us more about your book in the bundle

Elf Saga: Doomsday is the first book in my Elf Saga series. It’s your basic epic fantasy, sword-and-sorcery tale of knights and dragons, but with a little twist. All of the main characters are women from different nations and cultures, it’s written with completely modern language and dialog, and it’s funny. Can I say that about my own book? The reviews all say that, so I’m going to say it too. It’s funny. So if you like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or Supernatural, or Archer, then you will probably like Elf Saga.

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

My latest book is “Elf Saga: Solarpunk”, which is the fourth and final book in the Elf Saga series. Each book in the series is set 33 years after the previous one, so this one is 100 years after the first one, Doomsday. Solarpunk takes place in a more modern era, with gunslinging elves who watch movies about dragons. The heroines find themselves confronting a massive ecological crisis involving spirit creatures from beyond the stars, metal-eating insects, and plagues that bring together alchemists, shamans, musicians, and mermaids on a strange quest not to save their world, but to transform it. Plus, it’s funny.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

My new project is a science fiction series full of aliens, spaceships, cyborgs, and dinosaurs! I’m writing it as an old-fashioned serial, which I’ll start releasing soon, maybe once a month, and then I’ll have larger story arcs bundled together into larger volumes as well. Inspirations include Farscape… yeah, mostly just Farscape. But also the Transformers comics, the Legacy of Kain games, the Black Sails show, and a lot of other random titles!

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Find Joseph online

Web Page

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Sunday Surprise


And here’s another bundle author! This time from the U.S. of A. and I even had the pleasure to meet her – although both being introverts, our conversations weren’t worth listening to… but our books are worth reading, I promise! 🙂 So, without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Sabrina Chase!

Where do you live and write from?

Seattle.

Why do you write?

My favorite writers don’t write as fast as I read–and I like telling stories. Then I discovered it was even more fun having readers!

When did you start writing?

I think I was around 13, probably a school assignment. That poor teacher probably wondered where the spaceships came from. I make no apologies for my love of spaceships.

What genre(s) do you write?

Science fiction and fantasy of all flavors (steampunkish alt-history, high fantasy, YA adventure)

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

My goal is writing that sucks the reader in, transparent and immersive. Readers should not even be aware of the page or the writing, just the story. I also want my books to be the kind that people read again and again for pleasure, like old friends.

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

Use all five senses to really draw the reader into the world you’re creating. Never forget you are competing for the reader’s beer money (i.e. deliver entertainment and value).

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

Improviser, or pantser. I vary on speed, never as fast as I want to be… there are too many books I want to write.

Tell us more about your book in the bundle.

Firehearted was the very first book I wrote. It started off just as a short story, but one of my beta readers got quite agitated and insisted there was more and I had to write it. I used things I learned from my military history hobby, filing off the serial numbers of some historical battles and using them in the story. At heart it is about how different cultures have different descriptions of honor, but they all have the concept of honor–and understanding the core allows for mutual respect. Also, pet tigers are cool!

Tell us about your latest book.

One Blood is the continuation of the story started in The Scent of Metal, which was my revenge-for-Pluto book. Pluto is really an abandoned alien ship! And a computer geek explorer wakes up the AI by accident. Find it on Amazon.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

Soul Code , the sequel to One Blood with more evil aliens and rescued AI ships!

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Find Sabrina online

Website

Twitter

Author Central

Goodreads

 

Sunday Surprise


As promised, I shall start introducing you to my fellow bundle authors! And the first is ahead of me, down under, so I thought it would be perfect to introduce her first! 😉 Although she was the first to answer my questions probably because she’s ahead of the rest of us… And hey, we have the same writing guru (altough we did different online workshops from his list)! 😀 Anyhow, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Diane J. Cornwell!

Where do you live and write from?

I live in a country town in Northern New South Wales, Australia, about 2 hours from a major city and an hour from the closest beaches.

I love the peace and quiet, and slow pace of a country lifestyle, which is so different from the fast pace of cities.

Why do you write?

To amuse myself.

When did you start writing?

In primary school.

What genre(s) do you write?

So far, I have written in Science Fiction and Fantasy, and Cosy Mystery.

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

My goal as a writer is to continue to learn how to write stories that immerse the reader from start to end without putting the book down. Basically write every story as a Page Turner while leading the reader on an emotional journey.

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

Best advice? “Keep writing and keep learning” from Dean Wesley Smith.

The next best advice was from Boy George talking about singing. He said “Break their hearts.” I took this to mean let the reader feel the emotions of the characters in each story.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

I outline just enough to know where the story leads, then wait for my muse to change direction as the action unfolds. And enjoy the story as I write it.

I would say I am a slow writer, as I only write in the mornings, averaging 500 to 700 words per hour. If I am not interrupted by family and friends, or chores requiring my attention, I can keep writing for 3 – 5 hours.

Tell us more about your book in the bundle

Rider is the first in my Tracker series.

It came about during a Dean Wesley Smith workshop course on Genre differences. One assignment gave us a male protagonist who works with horses and an female assassin antagonist, in a big city setting, searching for a missing person. I had to come up with story outlines for Romance, Mystery, Science Fiction and Fantasy.

I let my muse play with the four outlines since I was out of my depth with Romance and Fantasy. Fun, to say the least. Yes I got the assignment done, and finished the Genre workshop.

After the workshop, I was planning on writing the SciFi story, but a Series course was developed by Holly Lisle, so I changed tack and chose to work through the series course writing in the new fantasy world I created based on the fantasy outline during the Genre course.

Thankfully, I am still amusing myself after writing Rider, Guard, Judge and Mage. Now I am writing the fifth Tracker story, I hope to tie up all loose ends developed over the four stories. I want to end the series positively, in case I want to add more stories to the series in a year or two, but I can’t guarantee there will not be any deaths of main characters or even minor characters.

When I have completed the Tracker series, I still want to write the Science Fiction outline from the workshop. And if I have time, the Romance and Mystery outlines at some future date.

You can visit the Tift Publishing Tracker Series page to see the covers and blurbs of the rest of the published Tracker series, and follow the links to the different distributors. However, I don’t expect the fifth book will be ready for a few months, as I have to finish writing it, then get it edited while the cover is created and approved. As soon as possible, the cover will appear on Tift Publishing home page and Coming Soon page, advising the publishing date.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

I definitely don’t have a problem writing outlines from one or two ideas. There are always ideas popping into my head. If I think they are worth following up at a later date, I write down enough of the idea outline, 2 – 3 sentences, to remind me later what I was thinking, then promptly forget it while I work on current WIPs. Otherwise I would not get any stories completed, because I would jump from one idea to another.

An example of other projects is, while writing one scene, I wanted a talisman for the assassin, so I stopped writing to make a tatted bangle with beads. I had to borrow a jewellery making book from the library to work out the clasp. Once done, I went back to the scene and added the details of the tatted bangle. Then had to add the bangle onto the assassin’s arm in the cover images. Here’s a link to my djmills writer blog page with images of the bangle.

Story reveal here so stop reading if you want to read the stories.

SPOILER ALERT

SPOILER ALERT

My assassin, Misty Locke, is not a mage. Can’t do any magic at all. So, mages can stop her from killing them, if they are quick and agile.

She can not receive images in her mind from dragons and tracker horses. As she rides a tracker mare, Sweetie, but can not “hear” Sweetie communicate, and can not receive dragon images in her mind, I worked out how she could receive a talisman so that she can “hear” both trackers and dragons. The dragons would gift her a talisman, with the magic in the beads to allow her to receive dragon images.

The side benefit was she could also “hear’ her tracker mare, Sweetie, when she touched the talisman. You can read about the dragon talisman on my writer blog.

This was done to keep true to the culture in the Tracker series world. Now I am thinking about tooth extraction of citizens of Convane by medic mages or ordinary citizens. Fun and games.

If you want to learn more on my creative efforts you can follow my writing blog.

Or my DianeJCornwell author blog announcing new releases and sales, and other information for readers.

You can also sign up for the Tift Publishing Newsletter to announce each release and other publishing news, or by clicking the Tift Publishing link on the other two blogs.

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