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Interview with The Ink Babes

I’ve got a treat for everyone today, with an interview with the fantastic Ink Babes. The Ink Babes are 3 talented women-Pat Hollett, Lisa Forget and Tammy Crosby-who put together the Bleeding Ink anthology –  60  dark tales by 40 authors – from short stories to poetry.

Here’s a small excerpt:

Through The Eyes of Him – By Christian Riley

 

He walks these same streets of this city in which I live in—San Francisco. I know this, because I’ve recognized certain familiar features. Store fronts. Buses. Street names. And he’s here now, in this day and age of which I also live. I know, because I read about the work he does in the San Francisco Chronicle. Or, I watch it on the evening news. And the perversion within this particular detail is that I don’t really need to follow the news in order to learn about his work. I don’t need to read about what he did the night before. And that’s because, I’ve already witnessed it.

I see it glowing on my bookshelf now, in the spot I’ve made for it next to a wooden bowl; the mask of death I picked up at a yard sale last year. Rightfully so, I thought it’d make an excellent addition to the decorum I’ve got going on in this home of mine; a one bedroom studio right above Marley’s Dark Roast Cafe.

It is made from what I think is cocobolo wood, with shades of brown, and hints of red. Although I’m no anthropologist, I believe this thing was crafted by some witch doctor from the jungles of South America. Or the plains of Africa. It’s got that kind of look to it, you know, roughly hewn, tribal.

It’s a mask for crying out loud, so of course I’ve worn it. I held it up to my face the first time I found it, looked through those gaping holes as if they were my own eyes. No big deal.

But then I noticed it was glowing red one evening, like it’s doing now. And yes, I held it to my face on that night as well. And yes, I saw something much more than the confines of my apartment. I watched in lurid horror, as a nightmare unfolded in the streets of this city . . .

Him.

I don’t know this man. Don’t know his name, or where he lives, or what he does for a living. Hell, I don’t even know what he looks like. But I know what he does when the day grows black, and the night crawls out from the sewer to bathe the citizens in the stench of decayed debauchery common to a beautiful city like this one.

I’ve seen how he stalks young women, barely-dressed prostitutes standing on corners, eyes scanning passing vehicles and walking patrons, searching for that next meal. He usually stands between two buildings, black trench coat, studying his victims. Yes, he kills these women. He’s a murderer. A predator. A hunter of the weaker beings within our species.

But what does that make me?

Sometimes he gets bold with this hobby of his—killing more than one person in the same evening. On those nights, this mask glows fire red, like a smouldering ember. Warm to the touch, as I place it over my face, sit back on my couch, and then watch him jerk people around with his strong arms, gag, and bound them in the back of his car, rip at their clothes. After he strangles them, when their last breath comes to a complete gasp, he drags them out onto the street, or parking lot, and then buries a two-foot long piece of rebar into their back—the signature of his work.

I see it all.

There’s plenty more where that came from.

And here’s an interview with the lovely ladies, themselves:

The Ink Babes

 Tammy Crosby

Lisa Forget

Pat Hollett

1. So, why don’t you tell us all a bit about yourself?

We’re three women who sought a way to bring together wonderful writers, great stories, and package it into something dark and delicious.

2. What made you decide to self-publish?

So many things, but a big part of was that we wanted creative control over it, and the learning experience as a whole. An anthology seemed like a fun manageable project to tackle. Since it’s so unique from anything we’ve seen so far, it would have been even harder to place with a traditional publisher. Not to mention we wouldn’t have gotten to know so many amazing authors! J

3. Do you have a favourite book or author? What are they?

Well it’s a given that we all like Kelley Armstrong, since we all met up as members of her OWG writing group. 😉

 

4. What do you do for fun when you’re not writing?

(Pat) Having just bought a new home, I spend a lot of time unpacking and working on the house.

(Tammy) Well, when I’m not a full time working mom, I love to get out and play hockey once a week and possibly take the dog out for the occasional trail run when I have the energy for it.

5. Do you have any other projects in the pipeline?

Currently, we’re all working on our own manuscripts which we put aside while working on the Bleeding Ink Project.

6. What has been your favourite part of this writing/publishing experience? The scariest?

Favourite part has to be working together. We get along so well, it’s like working with best friends. We laugh together and agree on most things. We also challenge each other as well. The scariest? Same as it is for any author I suppose, will they like it? That’s always the big fear.

7. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

(Pat)I guess it happens. I just work on something else if it does. The ideas always seem to flow, if not for one story, then for another.

(Tammy) Since I have so little time to devote to writing I’ve never had a block. *knocks on head*

8. How did you come up with the title?

Tammy has always liked the quote “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” By Ernest Hemingway. So Bleeding Ink just seemed to be a natural fit for our first work

9. Do you have any advice for other writers?

Keep putting those fingers on the keys. Never quit. You could be the worst writer on earth, but if it FILLS you up, heart and soul, then by all means, keep writing.

10 . Best and worst writing tip you’ve learned?

(Pat) Grab a hold of the reader and make them hang on for the ride has been the best writing tip I’ve learned.Can’t really say there are any bad writing tips, just different opinions about how to write.

(Tammy) Best tip is to read your work aloud. It’s amazing to me how you can ‘hear’ the pacing of the words when you read them aloud. Never had a ‘bad’ writing tip. Some work, some don’t, but it’s different for everyone.

11. Tell us about your cover. Where did the idea come from?

Tammy designed the cover. She’s great with Photoshop and she’s done many banners and icons for us writers and bloggers.

12.Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Just that we really hope you enjoy the anthology. We really did our best to pack it full of a wide variety of pieces to the reading both short and thought provoking.

13. When did you first consider yourself a writer?

(Pat) I think when I first started writing. Anyone can be a writer. But, you strive to become an author. I believe that’s what most writers hope to accomplish through their work.

(Tammy) When I wrote the first draft of my first manuscript. That was when I truly thought, I’m a writer. Good or bad…yet to be decided. 😉

14. What is the last book you read?

(Pat) Currently reading Game of Thrones.

(Tammy) Thirteen by Kelley Armstrong, are you seeing a pattern here? Lol

15. You can be any comic book superhero – Who would you be?

(Pat) Definitely Thor

(Tammy) Lara Croft. I want big boobs and bigger guns. 😛

 

16. If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to your 16-year-old self?

(Pat) Don’t let other people hold you back from doing what you want to do. Listen to your inner guide, and do everything you dream of doing. (Tammy – yup that about sums it up! J )

17. If you found a time machine, where would you go, and when?  (What time period)

(Pat) Either back to the time of knights and castles in England, or ahead to see the future here in Canada.

(Tammy) – I’d stay put. For women there was never really a ‘good’ time to be one so I’ll just stay right where I am and hope for the best.

18. What TV shows do you enjoy?

(Pat) Vampire Diaries, True Blood, Game of Thrones, Dallas.

(Tammy) – Mentalist, Vampire Diaries, Project Runway, and I’m really looking forward to Elementary starting soon.

19. Someone wrongs you. Do you get revenge or allow Karma to do it for you?

(Pat) like Karma biting people in the ass, but then again, Karma sometimes needs a little help… LOL!

(Tammy) Depends if it involves my kid or not. 😉

20. You get turned into a werewolf, who do you pee on first?

(Tammy) – Without a doubt, our new puppy Max. He’s peed on pretty much everything I own, so it’d be only fair.

21. What was the last movie you went to see?

(Pat) The Hunger Games. (Tammy – yeah me too, I don’t get out much.)

And that’s the end of the interview. Thanks to the Ink Babes for taking part, and I hope you all enjoyed reading it as much as I did. If you want to learn more about The Ink Babes, you can go:

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And Now the Winner

This is going to be a quick post, because I’m neck deep in edits for Born of Hatred. So, I just came in to thank everyone who took part in the competition to win a signed copy of Crimes Against Magic.

The last time I did this, I got my daughter to pick the winner. Well, she wasn’t in the room at the time, so my wife did it.

This is something else stunning in place of my wife. If I posted a picture of her on my blog she would kill me. And no one would ever find my body.

And the winner is:

Kelly Lawrence

Congrats to you, Kelly. You now have 1 week to let me know your address, so I can send it to you.

And to those of you who didn’t win, I’m sorry. But maybe next time.

And that’s almost it for this week. I just have time to say that the superb writer, Paul Tobin, has given me an excellent interview on his blog.  Go here to read it in all its fantastic glory.

Have a good weekend all.

An Interview with Jamie Friesen

This monday I’m pleased to introduce, Jamie Friesen.

Jamie Friesen was born in Lahr, West Germany while his father was serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force. He attended the University of Alberta where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in History, and followed it later with a Masters of Arts in Communications & Technology. After obtaining his Bachelor’s degree, Jamie went abroad and taught English in Japan and Taiwan.

He now lives in Edmonton, Canada with his wife and daughter, working in the Public Relations field and writes in his spare time, which usually translates to early mornings and lunch time. Zombie Night in Canada: First Period is his first novel.

And it’s that first novel that he’s here to talk about. Here’s the blurb to, Zombie Night in Canada: First Period:

Tokyo. Sydney. Beijing. Cairo. Paris. Rome. New York. Los Angeles. One by one, the world’s great cities fell to the zombie plague. What chance does a small, non-descript city in Canada like Edmonton have?

The world as we know it is finished. Civilization has collapsed and humanity is on the brink of extinction. Billions of people are dead, victims of a horrific plague.

Bi-weekly paychecks, Tim Horton’s double doubles, men’s league hockey and cheap winter vacations to Cancun. That was the life Xander Barnes had known for years until a pandemic swept the globe. Efforts to slow its spread or develop quarantine zones, in many cases were too little, too late.

Nowadays, life consisted of avoiding the plague victims, ghouls who had an insatiable appetite for human flesh and finding enough food to survive day to day. How long can one ordinary man survive in a world gone mad?

And now for a short excerpt:

Fire lashed out from the base into the horde of approaching infected. Mortar bombs exploded over the infected heads, sending dozens of sharp razor-like fragments down into the skulls of the infected. In some cases, it killed them, in others, it was nothing more than a mosquito bite. The handful of heavy machineguns opened fire, spraying hundreds of rounds of lead into the group, each round tearing off a limb of an infected person in the front, then continuing on into the infected behind it and tearing off one of their limbs too. The heavy machineguns were so powerful that the rounds likely went through a half dozen or more infected before finally stopping. Stone thought back to his heavy weapons course eons ago and what his instructor had told him about the heavy machinegun the Canadian Forces used.

He winced as he watched them fire, mowing down rows of infected. They fell below the massed fire like wheat before a scythe. Thank god he had never been on the receiving end of one of those monsters, he thought to himself. The only problem with the weapon was that they would go through their ammo in a minute or two, and then would need several minutes to refill their ammo hoppers. Sure enough, well before the horde was gone, the machineguns stopped firing. Their crews scrambled to reload as fast as possible.

Once the mortars and heavy weapons opened up, many soldiers began firing far more rapidly and unfortunately, far more inaccurately. While the heavy weapons were unlikely to kill many infected outright, it tore them apart and knocked them down, or otherwise disabled them so that snipers could finish them off later.

Meanwhile, Master Corporal Stone and the other marksmen continued their steady, methodical slaughter of the infected. Below him, troops at the fence had shoved their barrels through the chain links and were firing indiscriminately into the horde. The horde was huge and their bodies lay in heaps everywhere, but they kept coming like some elemental force such as the tide.

Stone had engaged the first infected at more than five hundred metres. Now, ten minutes later, the horde was about three hundred metres away and still closing. Stone kept firing, reloading and firing until his shoulder was sore. He hadn’t fired this much in a long time. A thundering roar came from behind him and Stone glanced backwards.

If that hasn’t whet your appetite for more, then I’m sure the interview will do the trick. Speaking of which, it’s on with the interview:

1. So, why don’t you tell us all a bit about yourself?

I was born in West Germany because my father was a member of the RCAF. Shortly afterwards, he was posted back to Canada, so I grew up in Edmonton. After university (BA – History), then went overseas to Japan and Taiwan to teach for a while. When I returned, I planned to become a travel writer, but 9/11 happened and all the freelance work dried up, so I got into PR and started writing novels in my spare time instead. I’ve finished my first and have several more planned.

2. Can you tell us a bit more about your book? Where did the idea come from? How long did it take to write?

I wrote this novel simply because a writer I know came up with a great title. Zombie Night in Canada is a word play on Hockey Night in Canada – which for many of us is as important as Monday Night Football. Having read a number of books in the genre, I noticed that most took place in New York City, Texas or London, and could not find something that took place in Canada, so that’s why I wrote it.

All in all, it took about two years to complete – but that includes rewrites, editing, cover art, etc. In contrast, I’m already 25% done the first draft of the sequel.

3. Do you have any other projects in the pipeline?

I’m working on a number of projects – a sequel to Zombie Night in Canada, which will feature lots of military action, that is soldiers going to toe to toe with armies of the undead.

I’m also working on Cooking for Zombies – a Dummies type satire written from the zombie POV on how to properly cook humans.

Finally, I’m working on number of short stories that I can put online for free so that people can get an idea of what my writing is like.

4. Do you have any advice for other writers?

Write. Edit. Repeat over and over.

Malcolm Gladwell said that it takes 10000 hours to become an expert at something, so just keep hammering away at the keyboard and write stuff.

Write screenplays, poems, short stories, novels, whatever you want. Just remember that your first few products are probably going to be garbage – if not, then you have real talent.

5. What’s your favourite genre to read?

One of my favorite books is the Long Run by Daniel Keys Moran. It’s a dystopian cyberpunk novel set in a future run by a corrupt and despotic world government.

Generally, it all depends on what I’m in the mood to read. If it’s fantasy, I’ll go with Raymond Feist or Terry Brooks. For sci-fi, I’d probably go with David Drake, David Weber, or Jerry Pournelle. Alternate history sci-fi would be wither S.M. Stirling or Harry Turtledove. For non-fiction, I really enjoy Malcolm Gladwell and Chris Anderson.

6. Tell us about your cover. Where did the idea come from?

A fan designed it for me and gave it to me for free. I spend some time on J.L. Bourne’s Tactical Underground forum, and had started posting Zombie Night in Canada there, and someone who really liked it offered to design a cover for me.

He came up with an image which I thought was both amazing and horrific. The only change I asked for was for him to use an image of downtown Edmonton instead of the generic cityscape he had.

The only real problem with the image is that when it is sized down to thumbnail size at Amazon/Smashwords, it’s awesomeness is lost.

7. If you could work with any author who would it be?

I’d love to collaborate with Jonathan Maberry – his Rot & Ruin and Joe Ledger series are fantastic!

8. What is the last book you read?

Endless Warfare by Ralph Peters – it was incredibly insightful.

9. If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to your 16-year-old self?

Buy stocks of Apple in 1996 and hold onto to them until 2012! Maybe buy some gold too! 😉

Seriously though, I’d tell everything is going to work out and not to change a thing. If I had done things differently, maybe my life would be better right now financially, but I’ve never have met my wife and started a family. That is true wealth if you ask me.

10. What skills do you possess that would help you survive a zombie apocalypse?

I have some military experience (a short stint in the Army Reserves in my college days), survival skills, hunting and camping experience and a wicked folding shovel that would be great for caving in the skulls of those undead bastards!

11. Someone wrongs you. Do you get revenge or allow Karma to do it for you?

I’m a believer in karma, but sometimes I wonder if it works. It’s hard to see people do wrong and prosper (the sub-prime fiasco comes to mind), but hopefully, somewhere down the line, those who do wrong will get their comeuppance.

12. What’s your favourite drink?

Cherry Coke! Unfortunately, they no longer make it here in Canada.

If you know anybody heading to Edmonton in the near future, tell them to bring me a case and I’ll pay them double!  😉

13. The Simpsons or Futurama?

I love both – but I think Futurama is the better show simply because it can deal with adult issues in ways the Simpsons cannot.

If you want to learn more about James and his book you can click on the links below:

My blog

Twitter – @jamiefriesen

ZNIC Facebook page

Zombie Night in Canada on Amazon.com

Zombie Night in Canada on Smashwords.com

It is also available through Barnes & Noble, iBookstore, Diesel and Kobo.  It will also be available in hard copy by August 1st via Createspace and Amazon.

You Own What? Or: Oh, I don’t THINK so!

Today my blog is home to Patti Ludwig, one of the many talented people at kelley Armstrong’s Online Writing Group. But instead of me going on, I’ll let Patti introduce herself.

My name is Patti Ludwig, I live in traditional writerly fashion with a cat, in the Pacific Northwest.  I have written some articles for an e-newsletter that is now defunct, and short stories in a variety of genres for two online author boards.  As senior moderator for one board’s writing group, I do a certain amount of blog-type musing on writing concerns in semi-public there.

I have various longer projects “in development” but there’s no point looking for me at a bookstore or online publishing concern.

So, I was reading Sharon Lee’s blog “Eagles Over the Kennebek” on the subjects of “who ‘owns’ the characters in a fictional series” and “how do you feel about it when a series comes to an end?”
(Grabs cup of coffee and visits with the cat while reader zooms over to read the other blog and the comments on it.)
Okay, your turn to get an iced drink and scream into a pillow or otherwise vent at the  “fan-girl” arrogant stupidity, while I type this up.

Ownership really boils down to this:  Who gets paid for creating it?  Right, then, THAT’s the owner of the intellectual property.  As surely as DRM means that if your electronic book reader gets zapped in some fashion, then you have to re-buy a book, or if your house burns down with your dead tree copy, you have to re-buy the book; you are the consumer of a creation, and you are only renting it to enjoy, from the writers, film or TV makers, or artists whose works you own in reproduction.

Let’s just talk about written series, to keep the qualifiers under control, shall we?

To me – and feel completely free to agree with me on this    – any attempt at coercion of the authors is anathema.  It’s bullying, and it leads to Stephen King’s “Misery”.  Right up there with torturing kittens, gang; seriously uncool.

You know what happens when fans bully their authors?  Reichenbach Falls, that’s what.  And the less than stellar stories of Sherlock Holmes that were written afterward.

The ‘death’ of Sherlock Holmes.

I’d kind of like to imagine that certain series whose quality fell off were victims of this phenomenon, but sadly, most of them are the authors’ own doing for whatever their necessities  (Why yes, I am looking at a certain necromancer-vampire slayer, but also a particular land of puns and magic, and at least one series of mysteries.)

This actually leads into the other topic the blog above goes into, or at least the comments on it.  How do you feel about a series ending?  Is it better to end on a high note rather than to produce zombie clones of previous novels, or better than changing the main characters so much that they are not recognizably the same people who hooked your readers into the series in the first place?  Growth is fine,  – better! it’s needed if you’re not going to get “Mary Sue Fights Vampires Mark 2”, but is it “growth” when the attitudes, morals, and methods of the “hero/heroine” have taken a 180 degree turn?

You can certainly do that to your characters if you’re writing anti-heroes and how they got there, or dystopian fiction, but if that’s your plan, I want to know in advance.  Don’t sneak up on me with it or I’m going to blow up, throw the book across the room, and tear the pages out of it.

Now, I’d accept it, if reluctantly, under one other condition – and if you’re going this route, you better have your basic story arc mapped out and in the hands of a literary executor in case you die before you get to the darkest point, or I’m going to spend our next incarnation hunting you down and beating you with wet noodles.      That’s if you start with a “typical” main character and make him or her go through a dark period in order to bring them back out the other end with some kind of improvement.  They can have new weaknesses or hard, evil, mean moods or behaviours rarely, but by golly, I’m not reading fiction to get the same “the world sucks and you better get used to it” crap the news services dish out constantly. Paksenarrion comes to mind here; she had a very bad period, and came out the other end with new strengths.

This ties in with “the author owns the characters and fictional universe,” because I’m not actually telling the author not to write it.  I’m saying that if they do, I’m voting with my bank account, NOT to buy & read it.  Anything more than that or a “meh, it’s not my kind of thing any more, but if you like dark crap, knock yourself out”  review is bullying.  Driving the author to tears?  Can we say “definition of bullying”?

Now, before I blow a gasket, let’s move on to how I, as a reader, feel about series that come to an end.

~shrug~

Crappy answer, isn’t it?  But this is why:  It’s too complex and individual to answer in a witty one liner, kinda like “how do you feel about theft?”

If the author has already planned out an arc and ends it in a way that’s consistent with their previous material, I’ll (this DOES assume I’m enjoying them to this point, okay?) re-read, sad not to have more adventures with those people, but I’d rather that than… Reichenbach Falls, or “Mary Sue Fights Vampires Mark 28”.  But I respect an author who either has that much of a plan, or looks at her body of work and says “that’s it.  That is all that Mary Sue has to do or say.  Time to let her retire and go to write someone else with New! Different! Adventures!”

If we do get “Mary Sue Fights Vampires Mark 28” chances are that I stopped reading them around Mark 4.  Oh, there are exceptions; one of my guilty pleasures is a perfectly dreadful set of westerns that include way too much of the same expository material about the “bridge crew” and their weapons or martial arts, with side trips into Science Fiction and romance; but on the whole, unless there’s something special about these zombie/clone books, I’m voting monetarily to end it.  No buyers = no publisher contract.  The author may write them, but is unlikely to achieve more than vanity press self publication by that point.  Too many books and too little time to waste on this or a slow and horrifying shift from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde, for my tastes.

When the author “sells out” or loses focus or interest, (I’m thinking of a set of blue eyed white quadrupeds here) it gets exasperating, and you start weighing how much you “have to complete the set” or “love this author/series” against the cost of substandard product and the hope of a return to the quality that attracted you to it.  It’s a really personal and fluid equation, and I tend to come down on the side of “if it improves,  I’ll buy again, but until then it’s check it out of the library or put in some time at bookstore checking if it’s worth my limited cash.”  Often even then, it’s going to wait for paperback or even used paperbacks before any more money leaves my hands.

In the case of Author Existence Failure, I experience considerable frustration, but what CAN you do?  “He died, man.”  Even if he left an outline and a literary executor (yes, Jordan is a perfect example) it may still not be completed as the author envisioned.  (See? What’d I tell you?)  It may be satisfying – I can’t get into the Wheel myself, so I can’t tell you if that  co-writer is doing a really competent job – but is it authentic?  At its best, I’d say yes, it probably is, but at its worst… Anything Pern after Todd McCaffrey started getting co-author status is fanfic to me.  Not very good fanfic, either.  “We have a problem, there is a scientific solution in the past, we will send someone back in time to get it and write lots of scientific jargon while we do so.  The heroes will get verbally if not physically beaten up for being right and not abiding by what the PTB think is right.  The end.”   Given that kind of option, I’ll *try* the “co-written” or “authorized successor” versions.  *If* they work for the rules of the universe that the original author set up, and they aren’t formula or flogging some agenda of the new writer’s choice, if they have the “feel” of the original, I may continue with them.  If they don’t, they go off my “read/buy” list.  End of discussion.

Writer’s Block or Publisher Rejection are essentially the same for me; the author is still there, still (probably) writing, but they’ve left a plot and characters hanging.   Sometimes, the author has gotten the story from A to say J, but for some reason, the characters refuse to move on to K, or even L, so it can get to Z.  For some authors, this is something they can work around, they can write side stories, or later volumes, coming back, working toward the blind spot.  That can be annoying for the reader who prefers the saga in chronological order, and leads to spoilers, but… if that’s the only way you can get the story out, that’s what you’ve got to do.  Sometimes even that won’t happen.  “You got a tumour there, not a kidney stone.  You’re not going to pass it, and we can’t operate.”  What can you do?  Do you castigate your friend (because, to me, someone who writes a series I get invested in IS a friend) for not being able to go running with you, or do you accept gentle walks around the mall instead, since that’s what they can manage?  It’s still good time together.
When the publisher orphans a series, that makes me furious with the company, but I will bow to their financial necessities  You should too, however angry you are, and this is why:  Publishers are in business.  Business, people!  There to make money!  They have to balance “we’re not getting sales that pay back the money invested in these books already, do we go bankrupt publishing the rest of them, or cut our losses?  Should we hang onto rights to the ones already printed, in case the next different thing the author writes goes ballistic best seller and we can re-print for a sack full of money?”  Usually they’re going the latter route, and who can blame them?  Really.  If your paycheck depended on not throwing good money after bad for a miniscule fan base, wouldn’t you put your hands behind your back and say “Uh-uh, I’m not throwin’ nuthin!”?

You know how you fix that?  You make waves.  You get other people to read the existing volumes.  You blog, review, buy, book-push.  Get that author and that series into the spotlight.  Tell the publishers and book stores how you feel.  Like Star Trek, you might manage to squeeze a few more instalments out of the studio, and possibly the author will realize the analogy and be able to finish at least one volume on a note that leaves the readers saying “well, I’d love more, but… if it has to end here, I can live with it.”  It may not tell the whole of the story the author wanted, but compromise is a fact of literary life.  Don’t like it?  Make a new solution – and clue the rest of us in!

Chicks with Ink

Next in the list of wonderful people to take my blog for a spin is the, quite frankly, uber-talented Angela Addams. It’s all yours, Angie.

I started getting tattooed when I was 19. In fact, my very first tattoo was so painful (the artist admitted to me later that he was intentionally more heavy handed than he needed to be…asshole) that I vowed never to get another one again. As you can see from my pic, that was a vow I broke….big time. I think that my current count is somewhere around 14 or so…but I don’t sit around and count my tattoos very often so I can’t say for sure. We’re not talking little butterflies either…the artist that I went to for years always had a saying whenever I came in with a new idea, “BIGGER” he’d say… “BIGGER, ANGIE!!!” and so we always went bigger.

For a long time I would always make sure to get ink that I could cover, primarily because I was very concerned about judgment within my profession. So yes, that meant if I was going anywhere where I could possibly run into someone from work I would wear jeans and ¾ length shirts, even in the summer. My family didn’t know about my tattoos either…so yeah, I’d cover up for family events too.

I lived and breathed the tattoo world for quite some time. My bff worked as a piercer at a tattoo shop for many years and I would go there to not only get work done but to hang out as well. I went to tattoo conventions. I drank and partied with some of the biggest, most kickass, heavily tattooed folks you could meet. So I didn’t realize until I moved away from the people who were “like me” how very different the rest of the world tends to view women who have many tattoos. I have faced some element of judgment living in a community where my tattooed self kinda stands out. I’ve been followed around stores by security…I’ve been ignored while waiting for service (trust me, that doesn’t last long, I tend to speak up 😉 I’ve been asked inappropriate questions and scolded about how terrible my tattoos will look in thirty years and what a shame I must be to my mother. It’s kind of unbelievable what people think is okay to say to another individual that they don’t know.

What people don’t realize is that my tattoos do many things for me, many positive things. They act as conversation starters…you show me, I’ll show you kinda stuff. They act as a shield…some folks find my appearance intimidating and at times, that’s exactly what I want. A turn on…yes, some men find tattoos on women very attractive and that can be flattering. They are moments in time, symbols of what makes me me. Most importantly though, my tattoos have always been a way of working through the burden of depression. I’ve found that when I’m feeling my lowest, getting tattooed has been a way for me to work through the pain on the inside by feeling a little pain on the outside. Some folks might think that’s a little strange but it seems to work for me. So, there’s more to it than a little (or a lot) of ink on my skin.

We are a judgmental society. I’d be a fool to think that people don’t judge me based on my appearance. I realize that when I walk down the street showing my tattoos, no one is thinking, wow that is one intelligent, highly educated, hard working woman there. Do I care? No, not really. Getting tattooed is an expression of who I am. It’s a part of my life that I won’t ever walk away from.  My ink gives me power, and as a woman I value that above most things.

 Links:

www.angelaaddams.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/angelaaddams

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/people/Angela-Addams/100002825504020

Amazon Author Central: http://www.amazon.com/Angela-Addams/e/B005JOTBPM

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4801196.Angela_Addams?origin=

Every day is Halloween for author Angela Addams. Enthralled by the paranormal at an early age, Angela spends most of her time thinking up new story ideas that involve supernatural creatures in everyday situations.

Well, until now, that is. Angela has recently expanded her creative repertoire to include contemporary erotica, because the written word is an amazing tool for crafting the most erotic of scenarios even if there are no werewolves in sight.

She lives in Ontario, Canada with her loving husband and children.

Interview with T.James

Next on my list of great writers to take over my blog is T. James. He not only has a great book out, the touching and moving My Mirror Self, and I, but he also interviewed me way back in April, which some named as the funniest interview they’d ever read. You can go here to read it in all it’s glory.

My Mirror Self, and I has been given some wonderful reviews: ““The central character is sympathetic and all too human while the depiction of depression rings scarily true.”

Here’s the blurb to My Mirror Self, and I:

Intimate and real, this is a story about finding courage in the face of adversity. Cassie is a young woman struggling to keep herself, and everything else, from falling apart as she tries to deal with breast cancer and depression. Can she find the strength she needs to rescue her marriage and reclaim her life?

And a short excerpt:

“A couple of claustrophobic and disconnected weeks followed before David left for another week away. I drove to see my parents back in my hometown of Topeka, where I stayed until a couple of days before David was due to return. The change of scene was wonderful, and it was so lovely to see them. For a brief time I felt like I had a home somewhere again. This was despite the suitcases left abandoned randomly in several rooms through the house; like flower centers surrounded by a corona of petals, each suitcase was decorated with its own crown of scattered clothes.

Mom had always been awful at packing, but adamantly refused help from anyone. This time it was even worse; in two weeks they were off on their ‘Grand Tour’ of Europe as Pop called it – bus trips around England, France, Spain and Italy, followed by a month-long cruise around the Mediterranean. They’d literally been saving for decades for this, their once-in-a-lifetime retirement dream – so I couldn’t talk to either of them about David, being unemployed, or hating Atlanta. I wasn’t going to ruin this for them and so I acted as if everything was fine. I thought I deserved an Oscar.

David called every day – at least things had calmed to a civil exchange of words. All marriages had their ruts, right? I had to be content with waiting, figuring that we could mend things when we got a bit more perspective on them. However, Marjorie overheard one of our calls and she wasn’t the waiting type.

Marjorie was one of my oldest friends, and the only one left still living nearby. We had gone to Malone’s, our favorite bar, which was now Chantrey’s American Bistro, and paid five times the price for drinks than we used to. The food was good though, and we were having a great night. Marjorie was always outrageous but now she was divorcing Jerry, her second husband, she was unstoppable. After two hours I knew more about their defunct love-life, Jerry’s birthmarks and the funny sound he made in the back of his nose when he panted than I ever wanted to. The phone rang and I pulled it eagerly from my bag – despite the tension between us, it was still great to hear David’s voice. He sounded happy enough, if a little distracted, and we chatted briefly about inconsequential things. He said he loved me and he was looking forward to seeing me again in a few days.

With a serial divorcee’s unerring instinct for spotting holes in someone else’s relationship, Marjorie asked if David and I were still having sex before the phone was even back in my bag. I really did not want to talk to her about that. Just because she felt comfortable going through a position-by-position debrief didn’t mean I did. I tried to evade the question, but Marjorie was drunk and simply wouldn’t let it go. Where did David go in the evenings? Did he still buy me gifts and, if so, what and when? Were we still planning a family?

I remember blushing and beginning to fume inside, but it wasn’t until Marjorie asked if I had been through his things, and checked his pockets, his address book and his phone contacts, that I finally understood what she was driving at. I threw my drink in her face and stormed out of the bistro, leaving my so-called ‘friend’ to find her own way home. I blamed Marjorie for being drunk and soured by two failed marriages. She was bound to suspect the worst. The hot feeling of shame buried somewhere inside told me that I doubted David too; I’d been through his things hadn’t I?”

And now for the interview:


1. So, why don’t you tell us all a bit about yourself?

I’m a dad and husband, living in the UK. Depending on who you talk to, I’m an old crusty the wrong side of forty, or my life began just over a year ago. I’ve trained as a scientist and therapist and I’ve been writing formally, at work, for most of my life. I started writing creatively in February 2011, the first time since I left school. I started with no clue, no confidence and an abandoned attempt at writing a fantasy novel. Since then I’ve turned my hand to poetry, short fiction, and blogging.

2. Can you tell us a bit more about your book? Where did the idea come from? How long did it take to write?

My Mirror Self, And I (MMSaI) tells the story of a young American woman, Cassie, and her struggle with depression, breast cancer, unemployment, and a failing marriage. It’s a story about finding the courage to go on living, no matter what the odds stacked against you.

The ideas came from a few places: various members of my family have faced what Cassie faces in the book; the courage of the people I used to treat; and my wife’s ongoing involvement in breast cancer research.

MMSaI took around six months to write, and several more for beta reading and editing. Although it is only novella length, the subjects are extremely emotive and it took me a long time to work out how to handle them within the context of a story—although it is fictional I wanted Cassie’s experiences to feel as real as possible. It also took several tries to find a tone, viewpoint,  and style that I felt happy with. Partly this was down to my inexperience, which meant multiple rewrites. That was frustrating, but it was a great learning experience for me as a writer.

3. How did you come up with the title?

I can’t remember which song it was, but I heard the phrase, “me myself and I,” in the lyrics. That stuck with me and I started to play around with the wording until I felt it fitted some of the themes of the story: our identity and how we define it.

4. What made you decide to self-publish?

I’m not against traditional publishing, but for this novella it was a straightforward decision: the shorter format, unusual writing style, and the topics of cancer and depression were never likely to appeal to an agent or a mainstream publisher. It was either self-publication or abandonment.

I was also excited by the prospect of being able to get into the design and presentation side of book production—something only self-publication allows you to do.

5. What has been your favourite part of this writing/publishing experience? The scariest?

Writing anything, especially when it’s self-published, leaves you feeling quite exposed as I think something of yourself always goes into what you create. It’s like being at school again and waiting for your essay to come back from the teacher—covered in red pen and with, “See me,” written at the bottom—except this time your writing is applauded or criticised by a lot more people.

The exchanges I’ve had with writers and readers so far have been challenging and rewarding in equal measure, but something I’ve really grown to value. My other “best bit” is the feeling of satisfaction I get when I see the finished product. I will leave it to others to personally rate the quality of what I do, but for me the point is that I did it, and to the best of my ability.

6. Do you have any other projects in the pipeline?

I’m very much in an experimental phase at the moment, wanting to try different genres and styles of writing to find out what my limits are. Life is a mix of both tragedy and comedy, and as a writer I want to explore both. My new projects are a lot less serious: a YA parody and a satirical writer’s how-not-to guide.

7. What do you do for fun when you’re not writing?

The thing is, writing is fun. I’ve always had an overdeveloped sense of curiosity and writing gives me a great excuse to find out all kinds of oddities and obscure facts—did you know you’re not supposed to hot wash hemp underwear?

As a person I’m quite passionate and my free time is limited so if I was going to give writing a decent go then something else had to give. I used to watch anything and everything on television and play loads of computer games—now, not so much. I don’t miss them as much as I thought I would as I get more of a kick from creating than I do from consuming. I still watch TV and films with my wife and there’s reading, of course. Otherwise life is about letting my son spray me with water and jump on me as often as possible.

8. What was the last movie you went to see?

 Avengers Assemble. It was fun: excellent action sequences and cheesy one-liners, Loki in a dress, Thor with the intellectual capacity of a bison, Ironman with his toys, Captain America in a gimp mask, the Black Widow in her itchy cat suit, and a Large Green Angry Man. Great cinema.

 

9. What’s your favourite comedy Monty Python film/sketch?

Of the films it has to be Monty Python And The Holy Grail:

The Knights Who Say Ni: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTQfGd3G6dg&feature=related

She’s a witch! http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=zrzMhU_4m-g&NR=1

The Black Knight: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKhEw7nD9C4&feature=related

French Taunting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9DCAFUerzs&feature=fvst

It’s the Monty Python team at their funniest, but personally I found the ending a bit of a let-down.

Sketches:

The Parrot Sketch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npjOSLCR2hE

Fresh Fruit Self-Defense: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piWCBOsJr-w

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_eYSuPKP3Y&feature=BFa&list=UUGm3CO6LPcN-Y7HIuyE0Rew

Ministry Of Silly Walks: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZlBUglE6Hc&feature=relmfu

I know these are everyone’s favourites, but they’ve become classics for a reason.

10. What makes you laugh on TV?

Well, it was a while ago, but I always enjoyed the anarchy of The Young Ones: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPDa8gZ75vw&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2GNEC8lcMbY&feature=related

*Uncomfortable silence*

Um, Steve? Steve…? Was I that dull? Maybe he’s just working his way through all those YouTube clips…

*An even longer uncomfortable silence*

Well, I guess that must have been his last question.  I don’t know, does he do this a lot? It’s his blog and everything, but it’s a bit off isn’t it? To anyone reading this, I guess Steve will be back soon with another post. I apologise on his behalf for leaving you all hanging…

*Mutters on the way out* Maybe it was a technical fault…? Maybe writing Nate’s got to him, and he’s now delusional and trying to kill people by dropping cars on them with the power of his mind…? Maybe one of his daughters needed Daddy for something? Maybe he hasn’t done the dishes, and his wife found out? Maybe…

 

(Steve – Everyone just remain quiet, it might be cruel, but it’s the only way to get him to go home.)

If you’d like to read more of TJ’s musings (and that should probably come with a health warning of some kind), or want to read his incredible book, click on the links below.

EBOOK FOR KINDLE (readable on almost any mobile device with the Kindle App) available from:

Amazon (UK)

Amazon (US)

AUTHOR LINKS

Published work at: writerandauthor.com

Author website: tjames.org

T. James Blog: thewordonthe.net

Interview with D.B. Reynolds

Today I’m happy to have on my blog the incredible, D.B. Reynolds. Not only does she write the wonderful Vampires in America series of books, but she’s also one of my fantastic crit partners. Which works out very well for me, because not only is she very good at helping my writing get better, but I also get to read all of her books before anyone else. Not that I’m showing off or anything.

Duncan is the 5th book in the Vampires in America series and here’s the blurb:

 

Washington, D.C. … capital of an empire. Powerful. Exhilarating. Corrupt. And in the shadows … vampires far older than the nation itself.
A power unto himself, Duncan has served at Raphael’s side for nearly the entire two hundred years of his existence. But long laid plans have finally borne fruit, and the time has come for Duncan to leave Raphael and tackle the greatest challenge of his life. He will face treacherous vampires and murderous humans. He will rock the halls of human power if necessary. But Washington, D.C. will be his.

Emma Duquet cares nothing for vampire politics. She just wants to find her missing roommate and best friend, Lacey. But Lacey’s been playing with vampires of a particularly dangerous kind, and Emma will have to deal with the new vampire in town if she’s going to find her friend.

Battling powerful enemies who will stop at nothing to keep their secrets, Duncan and Emma will dig beneath the corruption and depravity that is Washington, D.C. and uncover the most heinous conspiracy of all …

And to whet your appetite even more, here’s a short extract:

 

“Do you feel it, Miguel?” Duncan whispered, and sent a fraction of what he was sensing down the link he shared with his vampire child.

Miguel sucked in a breath. “Sick fuck,” he hissed.

“Not sick,” Duncan corrected softly. “Evil.” His gaze traveled up the wide staircase. It would be worse up there. So much worse.

“Upstairs,” he said.

Miguel sent one of his vampire guards up ahead of him, but Duncan knew they’d find nothing. There was nothing to see any longer, only to feel. He tightened his shields down hard, needing to know what had happened, but unwilling to let the full measure of Victor’s corruption swamp his senses. What he was feeling was horrific enough. He didn’t need to drown in it.

He climbed the stairs slowly, reluctantly, for all that he was determined to do it. At the top of the stairs, he turned unerringly to the right, the waves of pain and terror like the fingers of a ghost, tugging at his clothing, drawing him closer.

They passed the first room, and the second. Duncan paused, looking ahead. Every one of the rooms up here reeked of lust, of a hunger that would never be satisfied. But the worst of it, the true depths of depravity that had been perpetrated here . . . that had happened in the room at the end of the hall. The door was closed. Duncan wished it could stay that way.

His fangs emerged, sliding over his lower lip unbidden, as he stared at that closed door—as he stalked down the hall to that nightmare chamber. Next to him, Miguel gave him a startled glance, his own fangs appearing in response to Duncan’s obvious anger. Duncan almost staggered when it finally hit him, a red haze filling his vision. He opened the door and halted there, unwilling to cross the threshold. He heard the voices of men laughing, swearing, grunting in release. And he heard the terrified cries of women begging for mercy, screaming in agony.

He swallowed a furious howl, biting down so hard that his fangs sliced his lip. Blood dripped down to his chin, warm and thick. He licked it up without thinking, lost in the memory of what had been done here, of how far they’d gone to satisfy their perverted need to inflict pain on the helpless.

Duncan spun on his heel, unable to bear another moment within that agony-soaked room. It ran in invisible rivulets down the walls, rotting the boards, the carpets; everything it touched was fouled by what had happened there.

He strode back toward the staircase. He needed to get outside before the leftover emotions destroyed what was left of his shields. He shuddered at the thought of facing the searing pain of that house without even a shred of protection.

I can assure you, it only gets better from there. And now, on with the interview:

….

1. Do you have any other projects in the pipeline?

My current contract is for eight books, and I just turned in number 6. So, first I have to write two more Vampires in America books. And then I’m in talks with my publisher for a continuation of that series. But I’m also working on a couple of new series ideas, one a paranormal romance, and the other an urban fantasy which I’m pretty excited about.

2. What has been the best compliment you’ve received as an author?

I received an email from a reader when I announced that Book 5 would be DUNCAN. She told me how much she loved the books, but what really touched me was what she said next. She said she’d had a terrible, sad day, having just returned home from her cousin’s funeral. And that when she’d read that Duncan’s story would be next, she was so happy that it brightened this otherwise very grim day. And I thought how lucky I was to have somehow crafted a world that could touch someone like that.

3. Do you have any advice for other writers?

My first piece of advice for anyone who wants to be a writer is always the same. You have to WRITE. All the time. You have to work at it. And then you have to let other people read and critique it. And I don’t mean your mom who still has your first poem hanging on the refrigerator. You need objective criticism from people who know the craft. Join a writing group—they’re everywhere, especially on the internet. And then you have to submit and risk rejection. It’s painful, but we’ve all been there, and rejection is part of the learning process. If you don’t discover what doesn’t work, you’ll never know what does.

4. What is your writing process? Do you follow a regular routine?
I’m a terrible night owl. I start work around midnight and write until about 5:00 in the morning. Every night. When I’m on deadline, I write 7 nights a week. When I can breathe a little, I try to cut down to 6 nights, but sometimes the muse is driving me almost as hard as a deadline would, and I end up doing 7 nights anyway.

5. Did you want to be a writer when you were at school/college?

I wanted to be a writer in high school, but by the time I got to college, I knew I had to be more practical. I always had it in the back of my head, though, that someday I’d have enough time, and then I’d go back to writing. And I did.

6. When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I suppose it was when my first book was published and I held it in my hand. It’s a little foolish, since by that time I’d already written the first two books in the series, plus at least two other full-length novels, including an epic fantasy that was close to 200,000 words. But somehow, holding that first book in your hand is a turning point.

Book 1 – Raphael

7. If you could work with any author who would it be?

I can’t name only one. There are so many authors I admire, so many I’d love to work with. But just to name a few, there’s Nalini Singh, Kresley Cole and Adrian Phoenix in Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy. And I’d love to write a mystery with John Sandford, or a romantic suspense with Linda Howard.

8. What is the last book you read?

I read a lot of books, so by the time you’re reading this, I’ll have read several more books. But as I write this, the last book I read was Linda Castillo’s Breaking Silence, which is the third in her Kate Burkholder suspense series. And I’m reading the fourth one, Gone Missing, now.

9. If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to your 16-year-old self?

Don’t marry that idiot! (first husband) And … don’t get old.

10. What skills do you possess that would help you survive a zombie apocalypse?

Well, first of all I’m in good physical shape, excellent stamina and zombies don’t move very fast … or sideways, for that matter. Second, I’m quite pitiless. If flamethrowers are what works, then flamethrowers it is. They’re dead anyway. And finally, in order to get to my house, they’d have to climb a long twisty road. They’ll find much easier food at the bottom of the hill and lots of it!

11. What TV shows do you enjoy?

Not that many. I watch The Daily Show with Jon Stewart pretty religiously. And Bill Maher on occasion. And lately I’ve got a thing for crime/cop shows.  Criminal Minds is particularly good, and I enjoy The Closer (which is about to enter its final season.) And then there’s this new show, Longmire, which is very laid back. I like that, too. I watch True Blood, although lately, I don’t know why I bother. This season in particular is pretty dull. I watched Game of Thrones, although it’s frustrating when they dole out a complex story like that in 13 episode bursts. I’ve read the books, but, even so, I find myself wracking my brain sometimes trying to remember what’s going on and who the many players are. I don’t watch ANYTHING live. I DVR everything and watch it later. I’m totally addicted to the reverse and forward buttons. It’s reached the point that when I’m in a theater watching a movie, I find myself mentally reaching for the reverse button! It’s very irritating when it’s not there!! LOL

12. If you could be any character in fiction, who would you be?

I guess I’d have to choose my own Cyn … so I could go to bed with Raphael every night/day. “Go to bed” being a euphemism in this case.

13. What’s your favourite Monty Python film/sketch?

There are so many! My husband and I quote them all the time! But I guess my favorite would be in Life of Brian when they’re sitting in the arena discussing the various and many political groups like the Palestinian People’s Resistance vs the People’s Resistance of Palestine. And someone asks “Whatever happened to them?” and Reg (John Cleese) points at this guy sitting alone and says, “He’s over there.” And they all yell “splitter!” And then they have this huge discussion about how Stan wants to be called Loretta. “But he hasn’t got a womb!”  Cracks me up every time.

Where’s the fetus going to gestate? You going to keep it in a box?

And that’s it for another interview. Thanks to D.B. Reynolds for agreeing to take part and I hope you all enjoyed reading it.

If you want to read more about D.B. Reynolds or her excellent books, you can go to the links below:

D.B. Reynolds Blog

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Interview with Krista Walsh

Next up in my list of incredibly talented people to have on my blog is Krista Walsh, author of The Serpent’s Kiss, a story in the Day of Demons anthology.

I think it’s an excellent book and Krista’s story is one of my favourites in it, but here’s a little more about the anthology.

Day of Demons is a collection of powerful stories featuring the conflict of demons and humans over the course of a day.

Read how one woman’s inner-self awakens to unexpected and frightening consequences, or how a charismatic half-breed thief is forced to strike a deal with a pen-stealing imp. Read about a mother as she struggles to cope with a deadly, satanic bargain, and a sword-wielding anti-hero as he returns out of exile to face his demonic fate.

Nine stories, nine demons, nine authors. From fantasy, to horror, to contemporary fiction, this anthology will fright, delight and grip you with tales of daring-do, danger and of course — demons.

 Oh yeah, and it has an incredible cover. 

Here’s a short excerpt from Krista’s story.

The Serpent’s Kiss

Becca stared blankly at the shimmering letters of the house warming invitation that danced on her computer screen. The cursor hovered uncertainly over the “Delete” button.

“Still haven’t made up your mind if you’re going to Seth’s party?” Natalie’s short curly-haired head popped over Becca’s shoulder.

“I don’t know,” she answered with a grimace, and wiped her hands over eyes weighed down with fatigue. The whispers had been bad again lately, preventing what would otherwise have been a good night’s sleep. She made a note to ask her doctor for a better sleep aid at her next appointment. And maybe she’d see about bumping up the appointment.

“Oh come on,” her friend urged, giving Becca’s shoulder a shove. It jostled her awake again. “It’ll probably be lame and boring and full of work people you don’t want to spend your days with let alone your evenings…but I’ll be there.” She ended with a white smile and Becca had to laugh. It was hard not to smile at Nat’s indefatigable cheerfulness. “And who knows,” she added, “Rob might be there, too.”

A smile touched on Becca’s lips and her eyes dropped to the keyboard.

—-

And now, on with the interview:

1. Can you tell us a bit more about your book? Where did the idea come from? How long did it take to write?

I can’t take credit for the concept of the Day of Demons anthology – that belongs with Colin F Barnes – but it really is something worth checking out. It’s a collection of 9 dark fantasy stories:  epic, contemporary, horror, steampunk, religious – basically any sub-genre of the sub-genre one might think of. My own contribution, “The Serpent’s Kiss”, stemmed from an idea I had for the monthly flash fiction contest at Devin O’Branagan’s forum (forum.devinwrites.com). . Unfortunately (at the time, but later it seemed pretty lucky), I wasn’t able to fit my whole concept into 1000 words, or make it geared towards the right age group, so I jumped at the chance to elaborate on it.

2. Do you have a favourite book or author? What are they?

It may be a cliché answer for an English major, but I’d have to say Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice in particular. Not only because of the sweet storyline, but I adore Austen’s humour. It’s so sly and satirical that no matter how many times I read it, I get something out of it. I’ll also say L.M. Montgomery’s The Blue Castle. It’s probably one of most underrated additions to classic Canadiana, so I like to talk it up whenever I can. Sweet, funny, and relatable to anyone with a family. I grew up with these books and authors and without a doubt they’ve influenced my writing style.

3. Do you have any other projects in the pipeline?

Perhaps a better question is how do I keep them all straight. The answer? I haven’t figured that out yet. I have a novel in the querying process, another in the rough edit stages, an online serial that will be ending in a month’s time, and another short story anthology I’m involved with that should be revealed sometime in the fall. That doesn’t include the other ideas scrambling for priority in my head. So a very busy time, but a lot of fun, too!

4. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

Absolutely. Always. Amazed I’m able to write anything at all. For me the problem is rarely that I have no ideas, but just that I’m not sure how to get them on paper. I have two ways to work around it. The first is to ignore myself and write anyway, but often the result is unpleasant and the writing isn’t fun. What I do more often is go back to the brainstorming phase. If my problem is the writing and not the ideas, then it’s really easy just to sit down and type, or sometimes voice record, plot points, character development, etc. It makes it really easy then to go back and use those ideas once the mood strikes me to narrate.

5. What’s your favourite genre to write in?

Hard to say just yet – I feel like I’m just getting started. So far though I seem to be leaning towards the fantasy side. World building isn’t really my strength, however, so contemporary or urban fantasy takes up most of my time. From there it’s kind of easy to remove the fantasy element, which is sort of what my online serial Greylands does. I honestly never saw myself writing dystopian fiction, but that idea took hold and I ran with it. So glad that I did, too; the quality of the work I’ve received has left me astounded!

6. What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Getting up the courage to write it, I think. I was writing with a  particular project in mind (one I knew was going forward and would be available for anyone to read), so it became a bit of a challenge to remember why I was writing in the first place. Which was, of course, to please myself. If you’re not writing for yourself, then where’s the enjoyment in it? As soon as you factor in readers/editors/critics and your brain starts going “Will they think this is stupid? Will they like this? Is the whole idea inane?” it’s hard to focus on the story. I had to stop a few times to get centred again on what my point was and what I was aiming for.

7. If you found a time machine, where would you go, and when?  (What time period)

Easy-peasy. Early 19th century. Of course I’d bring the money I have now, so I could be wealthy in the early 19th century, but I wouldn’t hesitate. People who know me best often tell me I was born in the wrong era.

8. Wile E. Coyote or Road Runner?

Wile E. Coyote!!! I hated that damned bird. I always wished that just ONCE the coyote would win. Still hope it. Hmm…maybe it’s a good thing I’m a writer.

9. What’s your favourite Monty Python film/sketch?

The Killer Joke! Or the Dead Parrot….or The Spanish Inquisition…or the Argument Clinic. Never mind. Next question.

10. What is your favourite band?

This is a tough question. I have everything from Renaissance Dance music to Eminem to AFI on my mp3 player, so I guess it just depends on my mood and what sort of project I’m working on. Greylands has a more Massive Attack feel, whereas my novel Playing with Fire is more E.S. Posthumus and Florence and the Machine.

 

And that’s the end. I’d like to thank, Krista for taking part and for picking Wile E. Coyote, who is clearly the better character.  I hope everyone fun reading it. And if you want to learn more about Krista, and why wouldn’t you? You can click on the links below.

Links:

http://www.anachronpress.com/books/dayofdemons/

www.theravensquill.com

Wednesday Wippet #4

Welcome back to the 4th Wednesday Wippet, where I post a snippet of my WiP, Born of Hatred, the sequel to Crimes Against Magic. As per usual they may be some spelling or grammar issues.

 

 

This week as it’s the 27th and as much as I’d like to post something from chapter 27, it’s basically one massive spoiler, so that’s not really possible. Instead, you get something from chapter 7.

When you’re done reading this head over to read Wippets by Krista Walsh Sarah L Fox and  Kathi L Schwengel.

——-

The clearing ended fifty feet in front of where we stood, replaced with a sheer drop that went down for a few hundred feet into the New Forest below. From our vantage point, we could see for miles and all of it green and peaceful. Very few people knew of the spot, so thankfully there was no fence protecting idiots from falling down the slope, spoiling what was a spectacular view.

“It’s so quiet,” she said as she walked toward the edge, stopping a few feet back and peering down the slope. “Bloody hell.”

“Yeah, I don’t advise jumping down there,” I said as I joined her. “You could probably survive as it’s not a sheer drop, but you’d know about it once you hit the bottom.”

“How do you know about this place?”

“I used to come here, a long time ago. When the only way to get up here was to climb that slope, or walk the ten miles to get around it.”

“You climbed that?”

I nodded. “A few times, it was good exercise.” I made my way back to the truck. “I picked here as we’re unlikely to be disturbed, you can ask whatever you want. I won’t dodge anything, I promise.  No subject off limits. You got into a fight today, how are you feeling about it?”

Sara continued to stare down into the forest below, her back facing me. She rubbed her neck and turned. “I wanted to hurt him,” she said. “He threatened to… well, you know. When I hit him, I just lost it.”

“You handled yourself well. I’m proud of you for doing that, you should be too. Next time, maintain composure, loosing your temper will get you in trouble one day. Trust me on this.”

“You were so calm. You could have killed them all, couldn’t you?”

I nodded. “A day not too long ago, I would have too. But, that’s not me anymore, I try not to kill those too stupid to know better.”

“Why doesn’t that scare me?”

“Because I’m awesome,” I said with a laugh, which Sara quickly joined.

_____

And the Winner is?

As you may know, last week I had a competition to win a signed paperback copy of Crimes Against Magic.

Before we get to the winner, I’d just like to thank everyone who took part. There were a lot of entries, so either people really wanted a copy of my book or they just really wanted something for free. Either way thank you for taking the time to follow, re-tweet and take an interest.

The names of everyone who took part were put into a bag for the independent judge to pick the lucky winner.

My eldest daughter, Keira, looking as scruffy as only a 7 year old can.

And the winner is: Tammy Stevens

Tammy you now have 7 days to send me your address and any message you’d like me to sign. I hope you enjoy your prize.

For everyone who didn’t win, I’m sure my daughter can be bribed for future competitions. She likes Super Heroes (Batman and Spider-man especially), Studio Ghibli films and chocolate. Any of those things pretty much guaranteed you a win.

While I have your attention, I can recommend you to go read my most recent interview with Dianne Waye, here.