Archive for the ‘science fiction’ Tag

Interview with Katy Huth Jones   10 comments

 

 

Katy Huth Jones author picToday’s interview is with Katy Huth Jones. Welcome to the blog. Tell us something about yourself.

I grew up an Army brat in a creative family, and being a painfully shy child, books were my best friends during our frequent moves. I dropped out of college and married my husband Keith 37 years ago, planning to finish “some day” but ended up being “self-taught” after homeschooling our two sons and hundreds of others for twenty-five years. Now we have three precious grandbabies, live in the beautiful Texas Hill Country, and I play piccolo and flute in a quality regional symphony.

 

You probably have a better education that 90% of the people coming out of college. At what point did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Although I’d been writing stories since I was eight, I made a conscious decision to “be a writer” at age 28 when I had a four-year-old son, six-year-old foster daughter, and a foster infant on a heart monitor. I wanted to do something “grown up” and since my head was usually full of story ideas, I thought it would be a simple thing to write and sell science fiction stories to magazines. It took seven years and more than 600 rejection letters before I finally sold my first story—a fantasy.

 

Oh, my … 600!?  You’re way tougher than I would be. What is your favorite genre … to read … to write?

My favorite genre to read and write is Christian fantasy.

 

Katy Books top row

 

What is something you cannot live without?

My Savior, and my Bible.

 

What sort of research do you do for your novels?

Research is one of my favorite parts about writing. I learned while writing magazine articles and my one nonfiction book how vitally important accurate details are, even to a work of fiction. A reader can’t “suspend disbelief” if he or she is jarred out of the story by an improbable detail or situation. I read books, but also look for as many hands-on opportunities as possible. To write scenes of jousting, I attended jousts at a Renaissance festival and Medieval Times in Dallas. I bought a replica of a 13th century sword to get a feel for its weight and maneuverability. I’ve made (and bought) historical costumes so I can understand how it feels to wear clothing that you can’t put on or take off without the help of a maid or squire. You feel trapped!

 

Katy and harp.jpgIf someone who hasn’t read any of your novels asked you to describe your writing, what would you say?

I only realized this a few months ago, but all of my fiction written since I’ve had cancer has a similar theme: Finding hope and light in dark places.

 

Are you a plot driven or character driven writer? Why?

Totally character-driven. My stories always begin with a character who is wandering around inside my head. If I start asking him or her questions, pretty soon I begin to understand who this person is, with dreams and fears. Then I ask, “What’s your story?” It took me many years to learn this, however. When I first started trying to write sci fi, it was plot-driven and never worked, because I was forcing 2-D cut-out characters into a plot instead of taking the time to get to know the characters and let the stories flow from who they were and the choices they would naturally make.

 

You’ve got them in your head too? Good to know. This is my Alaska question because I live here. I’m going to drop you in a remote Alaska cabin for a month. It’s summer so you don’t have worry about freezing to death. I’ll supply the food and the mosquito spray. What do you do while you’re there and what do you bring with you? If you’re bringing books, what are they?

I’ll bring my camera, zoom lens, and tripod, because I’m sure there will be amazing birds and animals to capture. I’ll bring at least ten spiral notebooks to write in, because I prefer writing first drafts by hand. My brain is connected to the pen or pencil, not the keyboard. As for books, I’ll bring my Bible and possibly a field guide to Alaskan wildlife, but no fiction in which to immerse myself, because I’d rather fully experience the beauties of nature in a remote place like that!

 

Katy Butterfly ladyNice. Talk about your books individually.

Since my writing can be divided into B.C. (before cancer first struck in 2005) and A.C. (after cancer), I’ll just talk about what I’ve published A.C. That other writing life seems like it belongs to someone else!

I wrote a MG fantasy allegory of the cancer experience called Leandra’s Enchanted Flute, which was published by Cool Well Press in 2012. It’s the story of a 14 year old flute player with cancer who is taken to a fantasy world by a talking Carolina wren because he believes she has the courage necessary to save them from a growing world-wide “canker.” Although not specifically Christian, it still carries that theme of hope and light in dark places. CWP asked if I would write a sequel, which they published in 2013, Return to Finian Jahndra. Within a month, CWP went out of business. I got my rights back and re-issued them under Quinlan Creek Press (our homeschool was Quinlan Creek Academy) in 2014. This was my first experience with self-publishing.

Another story I tried to write in 1988-1989 was a fantasy novel about a reluctant warrior prince and a pacifist Healer. Even after two rewrites, it didn’t work, so I stuck it in a drawer and went on to actual money-making writing projects, such as children’s books and writing for magazines, both fiction and nonfiction.

Then in early 2011, my father was diagnosed with lung cancer, and to distract me in my grief while helping my Mom (he wanted to die at home, and it took him eleven months because he fought so ferociously), I pulled out the old fantasy manuscript, threw away everything but the opening battle scene, and as a “writing assignment” asked the characters to tell me their story. The words poured out, day by day. It was therapeutic, but also exhilarating. I actually came to know these people, and the story completely changed because it grew out of who they were, not an improbable plot I had thrust upon them.

Once I reached chapter 70-something, I realized this was going to be more than one book. Soon it became apparent it would take five books to tell the entire epic story. My critique group (all trad published authors) read the first one, Mercy’s Prince, and encouraged me to find an agent. I knew that Christian fantasy would be a hard sell, but to humor them I sent out queries, even though I had already paid a content editor and proofreader, planning to self-publish the first book in September 2015, once I was closer to finishing the series.

Then the first of June 2015, my cancer came back unexpectedly and with excruciating pain. My husband and I both expected to hear that it was stage 4 and nothing to be done. I wrote my obit, we went to visit our children (and I ended up in the ER in Kansas City because the pain spiked). I decided to move up the publication date for Mercy’s Prince, since all it needed was a cover, and it would be my “good-bye” for family and friends.  I managed to publish it the first of July 2015, just before chemo started. And since the lymphoma was “only” stage 3, chemo put it back in remission, praise God!

Unfortunately, due to chemo brain I couldn’t concentrate on writing. I had book 2, Mercy’s Gift, edited and proofed, with a lovely cover by Perry Elisabeth, and it was published in September 2015. I was about 80% finished with book 3, but I was scared I would lose the rest of the story.

I signed up for NaNoWriMo last November in order to bring my brain back online after chemo. I managed to finish book 3, Mercy’s Battle, and get a good start on book 4, Mercy’s King. These are long books, each between 125,000 and 139,000 words! Lord willing, and the cancer stays away for a while, I hope to finish the series in 2016.

 

What do you want readers to think or feel after reading one of your books?

I hope that anyone who reads my books realizes that trials and upheavals happen to everyone, even faithful children of God, but through faith there is always hope and light to be found in Him.

 

What influenced your decision to self-publish? If you have experience with both traditional and indie publishing, compare the two.

I never intended to self-publish, since I’d been traditionally published beginning in 1992. But being traditionally published is no guarantee of sales. In fact, the marketing director for my latest trad published book expects me to do what I’m doing for my self-pubbed books, only I have no control over prices, cover, and blurb. It’s a YA historical novel entitled Treachery and Truth, which tells the true story of “Good King Wenceslas.”

 

What do you find to be the greatest advantage of self-publishing?

The greatest advantage is being in charge of all the details and having the ability to “think outside the box.” The worst advantage, for me, is being in charge of all the details. I just can’t think as well as I could before having chemo twice and it takes me a long time to learn technical things.

 

Conversely, what do you think self-published authors might be missing out on?

Honestly, the only thing is that great satisfaction when, after pursuing the craft for years and collecting hundreds of rejections, you finally get an acceptance by a well-known magazine or publisher. It’s a validation of all your hard work.

 

Do you believe that self-published authors can produce books as high-quality as the traditional published? If so, how do you think we should go about that?

Definitely! It’s possible because we’ve invested our heart and soul in this “baby” and want it to be the best it can be. It’s much more difficult without hiring extra sets of eyes to edit and proofread your manuscript. A good editor is worth his/her weight in gold.

 

Do you write specifically for a Christian audience? Why or why not?

Yes, because it’s who I am as a child of God. I can’t separate that from my writing.

 

 What are some of the special challenges of being a Christian writer?

Making sure the story honors God. The temptation is always there to “add stuff” to make the book sell more copies.

 

 Christians are told to be “in the world, but not of it.” As a Christian writer, how do you write to conform to that scripture?

There are lines I will not cross, not in my Christian life, and not in my stories. No profanity, no immorality glorified or justified, and though there is violence in my stories (since I write about the Dark Ages and medieval times) I try to make sure it’s not there to “shock” but only what is necessary to tell the story. The Bible contains a lot of violence, but it’s not “in your face,” so I try to let that be my guide. Potential readers should be warned that they will find blood and battle injuries in my stories.

 

Do you feel that Christian writers are expected to conform to some standards that are perhaps not realistic to the world?

 

If you mean, are Christian writers held to a higher standard, then I agree. I hold myself to the high standard that Christ demonstrated for us.

 

Do you feel that Christian writers should focus on writing really great story or on presenting the gospel clearly in everything they write? Or is it possible to do both?

I personally don’t “preach the gospel” in my stories. I try to show the characters living it through their words and deeds. My goal is to reach those who aren’t Christians, those who are struggling with darkness in their own lives. I honestly don’t know how people get through traumas such as cancer without faith in God.

 

 If you write speculative fiction, do you find that the Christian reader community is accepting of that genre?

There is a small but fervent market for Christian speculative fiction. Many Christian readers won’t read anything that is considered fantasy or science fiction, which I learned long ago in my early homeschooling days. I just keep trying to find the few readers who are looking for Christian speculative fiction. I know they’re out there!

 

Where do readers find you?

Blog: www.katyhuthjones.blogspot.com

Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/Katy-Huth-Jones/e/B00700A4DQ

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KatyHuthJones

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Katy-Huth-Jones-Author-318819684805145/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2914315.Katy_Huth_Jones

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/piccolokate/

 

Simon Paul Wilson   Leave a comment

My fellow Breadwater Harbor Books author, Simon Paul Wilson, comes out with a new book on the 31st, so I thought I’d give him some boost.

Stay tuned for his author interview on Wednesday, but for now, check out one of his books.

http://www.amazon.com/Yuko-Somewhere-Else-Simon-Wilson-ebook/dp/B00OLYHCOS

Excerpt from The Anaerris Code by LK Kelley   3 comments

What do a book, a crystal, a group of people who are not who they appear, and a one young woman have in common? They are all part of a puzzle that has been escalating since the fall of the angels long ago. Have you ever wondered what would happen if you discovered that you were not totally human, but part Nephilim? Alien? A combination? And, worse? You were the key to preserving not only 4 races which included Earth…but, maybe, just everything else in every Universe?
 
Shocks and surprises are around every corner with Gemma Sinclair who finds that she is a one of a kind being – the only one in existence throughout time and space. But, the responsibility for the survival of everything is completely on her hands!
 
Gemma’s Journey toward who she is, and what she is, begins as she embarks on a learning experience that covers all of the myths, legends, and mysteries that have confused mankind since the beginning of time – the beginning of the Universe. Along with her friends, who have been charged with her protection, Gemma learns what she must do to alter the prediction that have been handed down by the angels.
 
When Gem discovers that the one book holding all the secrets of the world of Anaerris is the clue, and another finds that the crystal that harbors a power so great that it could destroy the Earth as well as the world of Anaerris, it launches her premature transformation into the heroine that she was meant to be – the Protector. When others find out who she is, they seek to destroy her, before she knows what is happening. With her companions protecting her, she begins to take steps that will be needed to stop the impending death of the Universes. But, can she stop it? The evil that seeks to destroy her is around every fork in the road.
 
 
EXCERPT FROM the ANAERRIS CODE – GEM BOOK 1
 
A tiny hole in the wall at floor level was glowing a brighter orange. In seconds, she saw something that made her scream, but with no sound. The terror and shock that consumed her was so strong, she backed up against the nearest wall regardless of the heat! Was this the way her life was going to end? If so, just the thought of how she was going to die made her gag, and she begin to throw up.
 
Dry heaving after emptying her stomach’s contents, she wiped her mouth, then her eyes fixed on the tiny, thickened rivulet that was flowing toward her. It was just a thin ribbon at the moment, but it was just a matter of time that the slow moving stream of orange would grow as it wore down the rock around the tiny hole.
 
“Why?” Gem breathed softly the one word you should never ask, because you usually never received an answer.
The rivulet of brilliant, glowing orange with tiny flames erupting now and then had Gem’s eyes growing large by the moment, especially when she realized what was lighting up the cave around her.

“Lava?” she whispered in shock. Louder, “I’m inside a volcano? I’m in a volcanic cave with iron bars? In a cave of lava? I’m in a prison! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!”

The cave reminded her of a dead, Jabba the Hut hollowed out fossil! It certainly looked wrinkled enough. That’s when reality grabbed hold of her as she continued to stare at the rivulet of orange. OK. So, she couldn’t ignore it any longer! Reality set into her brain, and she realized that the tiny rivulet was growing as it melted the rocks around her! It had already doubled in size, and was slowly headed for the iron bars! At the moment, she could keep out of its way, but she was certain that it wouldn’t stay this way for long! Her life had just been cut short by lava! In minutes, she knew that the entire back side of the cave would be eaten through by the monstrously hot lava, and fill the cave! Looking beyond the bars, she realized that the cave that she was in wasn’t actually a cave, but it must be part of even more tubes that had been carved by lava as it flowed through it in the past! Lava tubes were what they were! For the Creator’s sake! Gem’s heart pounded hard within her chest, and not only the roar of the lava behind her met her ears, but the roar of her blood vibrated within her body as well! Terrified of what would happen to her, she felt her “fight or flight” instinct arrive – only it would be flight! She sure couldn’t fight lava! What should she do? Only one answer.

“Oh, God! I have to get out of here!”

Posted October 23, 2015 by aurorawatcherak in book promotion

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Announcing The Anaerris Code (Book 1) by LK Kelley   4 comments

The Anaerris Code: Gem – Book 1

Hi, Lela! Well, here’s the scoop on my new book series as I promised.

LK Kelly Anaerris Code CoverAfter the success of my 5* Trilogy, the White Wolf Prophecy, I decided to write another series. The first question I’ve had is how did I come up with the name, and what does it mean? If you asked me how in the world I came up with the title, the answer is? I have no idea! I knew I wanted a new, and different, title. I opened my mouth, and there it was!

But, what is the Anaerris Code?  Anaerris is one of three moons in a distant galaxy surrounded by the golden  sun of Nerime. Three moons and the races that have been all but wiped out by a great War between the Fallen Angels on two of them, while the beings of the third planet are docile. The one to save all lives on a distant planet that can only be accessed by a special power belonging to the royal houses of the Anaerris.  But, the Anaerris world is betrayed by one of their own. And, they all begin the search for this special person.  Her name?

Gemma Sinclair (Gem), who has no idea that her entire life is about to change forever.

The first book in the series lets the reader follow her growth from human to her true nature. As the above photo says, she is part Human, Nephilim, and Alien – but she that is not enough, for her DNA must change, irrevocably, to fulfill a destiny unlike any other person, or being,  who has ever lived.

All new characters have been introduced into my new book series. Her best friend, Taylor and her mate and two children; Stan and his mate; and finally, a mysterious Professor who teaches history in her small town college, and spends a great deal of time at the local, but private, Library where Gem and Taylor work.  However, “The Library” is not just any library.  A secret resides within, and when Gem discovers it, the journey to her destiny begins, and will not end until the final pages of the series.

LK Kelley Anaerris Code CardPut these altogether with the three moons, a pug named “Lola” (yes, this is Lola, the Bookplug Pug and my PR Agent, in a role just made for her), The bad guys are so bad, their evil knows no bounds whatsoever. Be prepared for them, for their evil will increase throughout the series.

As for Lola?  She is a guard for a neutral race, and she is with Gem to protect her against the evil. All search for the secret found not only in a person, but a crystal, and a special book that have been lost for thousands of years.  All want the crystal and the book, and they want to kill Gem, so that they may obtain that power.

Shocks, betrayals, and surprises are around every corner. And, everyone will discover the truth about all the Earth’s myths and legends as well as the Great Flood, and how it happened! Angels, Nephilim, Aliens, and other surprise beings will keep the reader bouncing from adventure to adventure.

But, who is Gem, really? Not even her friends know the entire story! Follow Gem and her friends as they take on the most evil horde that has ever threatened the destruction of Earth – and all universes!

Do You Enjoy Techno Thrillers?   1 comment

Ted Cross announces a one-week-only 99 cent sale of The Immortality Game
Ted Cross's photo.

http://www.amazon.com/Immortality-Game-Ted-Cross-ebook/dp/B00PGW5YZ8/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1445026662&sr=1-1&keywords=immortality+game

Ted Cross announces that starting today and for the one week only, The Immortality Game will be .99 on Amazon, B&N, Kobo, iTunes, and GooglePlay!

Please share if you have any friends who enjoy this type of technothriller

I Like Mine With Flash   5 comments

Welcome to the blog hop and the question “What’s my favorite decade so far and why?”

Now, there are two ways to answer that question because there are two ways to read it.

First, have you checked out Stevie Turner’s blog yet? You definitely want to read about her favorite decade.

What’s my personally favorite decade that I have lived?

Well, they all have had their good points and bad points. That decade when you’re a kid is pretty cool, except that you are a kid, and there were a couple of natural disasters in my community, so …. Mixed bag. Teens are cool. I was a teen, which is a very mixed bag of glorious and suckiness, so … my dad died, high school had lots of temptations to be stupid but that was also the decade I accepted Christ and survived being stupid. My 20s had some excellent times — college was a great experience, I met my husband and got married — and some sad times — my mom died and I discovered marriage and the Christian life can have some rocks. My 30s were when I had my kids, so glorious, but mixed in with what we term “the unfortunate years”, a very dark time in our lives when we learned that God uses everything for the good of the people He has called through Christ, but that it’s not always a walk in the park under nice street lights. My 40s were sort of cool. I had a great job and Brad and I both experienced a measure of economic success … and then we decided there’s more to life than making money — a decision that had some challenging consequences. We raised a wonderful and highly entertaining daughter and got our son to the cusp of being a teenager. My great job turned sucky, so …. Mixed bag.

My 50s are going well. I have a job comparable to that great one and I have published two novels. That’s all great but the world is bent, so I don’t expect perfection. The wonderful daughter has become a gypsy bluegrass musician, which is both exciting and terrifying in equal measures for a parent. The son is an amazing young man … so far ….

So best decade for me is … not definable. They all had good parts and bad parts and I couldn’t vote for one as “THE BEST”. If I believed in horoscopes, I’d blame it on being a Libra, but I’m just not that definitive.

But let me tell you what my favorite decade in recent history is. I wish I’d lived in the 1920s.

Why?

I like my decades with flash. The music was cool, the dancing was hot, the clothes swung to the beat, and the cars had style. I like that the government of the day thought they could control folks and tell them how to live their lives, but Prohibition actually brought about an irreverent “I did not consent, I will not comply” mood for the decade. The 20s was the decade that defined my life even though I wouldn’t be born for more than a quarter century because my father was a teenager in the 1920s.

The 1920s were a time of social change and wild financial speculation. It was also when science fiction as we know it came into its own. Fritz Lang’s science fiction epic, Metropolis, was in theaters. Czech writer Karel Capek invented the word “robot,” and a group of US amateur fiction writers founded the influential pulp magazine Weird Tales featuring dark, bizarre stories of undersea aliens by a young H.P. Lovecraft. In New York, the Harlem Renaissance was in full swing, bringing poetry, fiction and jazz from the African American community into the mainstream. Slavery was becoming something that only your grandparents could remember. Women had gotten the vote and were working as journalists.

The 1920s was the beginning of youth culture and college hijinks. Young people of the era discovered a stark generation gap with their parents. Kids who had grown up with technologies like telephones, movies, and electric lights were accustomed to a radically different world than people who grew up with horse-drawn carriages and gas lamps. Why not recreate culture since times were changing so fast that each new generation seemed to grow up on a different planet from their elders?

I see a lot of parallels to our own era — which might explain why the 1920s are so in vogue these days. Think Downtown Abbey. But mostly, I just like the whole mystique of it — all the flash and all that jazz.

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Posted August 26, 2015 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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Interview with Alan Place   1 comment

Alan PlaceToday’s interview is with Alan Place, extremely prolific author from the United Kingdom.

Before I start, I would like to thank Lela for this opportunity to tell you about my work.
On viewing my various pages on book selling sites, you would get the impression that I’m prolific – I was. I was more prolific than it appears at first glance, many of my books are collections of stories; the award winning Chronicles of Mark Johnson is a good example. The first book in the series, is eight short stories combined. I haven’t done much recently. It is isn’t writer’s block – I never get that – I have lots of stories to write. My problem is more personal, depression.
Tell us about yourself, Alan.
I was born in North Yorkshire – the county has changed its name since – to me it will always be North Yorkshire. My mother’s family are fishermen in the North Sea. I dedicated my last novella – A Sailor’s Love – to the people who live/ work on the coasts, and in the fishing industry. One of my uncles was in the lifeboat service, and was involved in a big rescue of the mouth of the river Tees. I put a fictional account of this rescue in my book Lifeboat Heroes. The accident at the beginning happened to another of my late uncles.
After leaving college I joined the Royal Air Force, during my six-year term I was posted to Germany, and Ireland. I was in Ireland at the time of the Maze Prison hunger strikes. When I left the RAF, I got a job in the Bristol Museums service for 14 years, before I was laid off with depression after my father passed away; since then (20 years ago) I have been unemployed. Owing to an inherited illness I am now classed as legally disabled, and will soon be housebound as my illness progresses.
I’ve lived in the Bristol area since I was 7 – we moved when my father got a job down here – and I’ve lived in Bristol since I got married in 1985. Our family consists of me, my wife, Linda, our five children, and my stepson. We are a cat family, and have several rescued furry family members, as well as four dogs.
Before my injury, I used to be an avid gardener, and for many years grew Fuchsias. I do miss my gardening, but as I can’t stand for long, gardening is a thing of the past. I used to be a reasonable amateur photographer for many years, and rarely went anywhere with a camera close. Many of my friends will tell you that I don’t boast about my successes as a writer, which is true, I rarely sing my own praises. I think it is better to have someone else tell people who good you are  http://hereiamattheedge.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/bristols-award-winning-writer.html#.VUTPdhz3-iw
What was the first story you wrote and how old were you?
I had my first published story when I was in my teens, it was printed in a UK men’s magazine called Knave. The story was about a young couple making love on a bus on their way home. I’ve had many articles printed, in various types of magazine from motor sports to country music. Four years ago I had what was to become my most popular ghost story published on line –The Old Church ghosts – was published in a special Halloween edition of Vintage Script magazine.
When did you decide you wanted to be a published author?
I think I got my first thought of being a writer when I was about 6. The first book I read – The Silver Sword – made a huge impact on me. In the time in between life took over until my injury four years ago, when I became disabled with a torn tendon; it was then I started to rethink my approach to writing.
I couldn’t pin down a genre in your books. Do you have a preferred genre?
I gained a rep for writing ghost stories four years ago http://hereiamattheedge.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/why-did-i-do-it.html#.VUTMxhz3-iw. I prefer to think of my stories as spiritual stories, they are more about lost souls trying to come to peace, than scaring people. My big success is in the Sci-Fi genre, where the Forgestriker series is a huge hit on Barnes & Noble http://hereiamattheedge.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/forgestriker-collection.html#.VUTNyxz3-iw Nobody is more surprised than me, I hadn’t written Sci-Fi until last year.
I don’t have a preferred genre, I see myself as a writer, and I can change my style to suit what I feel like writing at the time. One of my current stories is a wartime romance/mystery spanning the 1930’s. I also wrote a series of PI stories which were praised by a former Queensland police sergeant, and my short Medieval story To Elfenmere was praised by a lady with a BA in medieval studies.
What are you passionate about?
I love nature in all its forms, when I thought I was going to die – Christmas 2013 – my view on life changed. Little things people take for granted, wind on your face, rain, and listening to birds talking came to mean a lot more to me. I am not against any religion, but I am against people who try to force their views on me. I am not racist, but I believe jobs should go to people who have lived, and worked in the area; not to any foreigner who can undercut the wage structure the unions fought for. I am an advocate for natural healing, and using herbs in cooking.
What is something you cannot live without?
Books come top of my list. I am an avid reader/ collector of signed copies. TV doesn’t bother me, I haven’t had a TV for over four years, and apart from a few series, I haven’t missed it.
So tell me about the books?
My hit series of seven books – Forgestriker – is about the struggles of a group of soldiers sent on what was to be an easy journey. The aim was to set up a radar station on a distant planet to track a rogue ship. Nobody told the men that the planet had became a fortress for their enemy – did the elite know/ care? The story starts in Sons of Baal with the men fighting a rear guard action, and boarding Forgestriker, to find out her controls have been so badly damaged in the fighting, they cannot be altered from a course set for dead space. As the men fight to gain control control of the ship, they are contacted by a deserted space station, who/ what is hailing them?
What’s been your best seller so far? (Tell us about it … or even the top 3).
The best seller by a long way is the second book in the series – Forgestriker (129) – probably because it bears the same name as the series. My second best seller is the opening book in the series – Sons of Baal with 69 sales, and the third best seller is the third book in the series Return of the Lost with 24 sales. All these are sales on Barnes & Noble, as a series, apart from the last in the series – Caldera Awakens – every book has out sold my Amazon best seller Holding Richmond (12 sales).
I’m going to drop you off at a remote Alaska cabin for a month. It’s summer, so you don’t need to worry about freezing to death. I’m providing the bug spray (a necessity in the north) and the food. All you have to do is enjoy the month. How do you spend it? What do you bring? If you bring books, what are they?
Top of the list is my Ipad, and camera, so I can record the wonders of nature. I would probably use the information gained for a story, as I did when I went to Canada to see a friend – who has since left this world – when I returned I wrote Nerja. I would spend the time walking in the woods, finding peace away from the pressure of the modern world. I found that solace helped my writing. I would take some history books with me, I am interested in the history of any area I visit, I would be interested to find out if there were any unsolved mysteries in the area; I often use these for development into stories.
What are your literary plans for the future?
I have a number of ideas I wish to expand over the coming months. From expanding the hit series to writing a new romance mystery, and I intend to write a third book in the award winning stories of Mark Johnson – hoping for a few sales. I recently joined Google books, and I hope this will entice a few sales, it has already produced sales for my PI stories of Pat Canella, something Amazon hasn’t done in four years.
Anything else you would like to say.
I would like to thank you, Lela, for having me on your site. I would also like to thank two special friends, my good friend/ editor Julia Petrakis, who puts up with my ups & downs, and never fails to be there for me; and my friend Ruth Slattery, who is my biggest fan, and a constant support.
Links — books, websites, author pic, cover images
  http://hereiamattheedge.blogspot.co.uk/      http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/alan-place
http://thebooktrap.weebly.com/book-directory.html   https://paper.li/f-1426008357
    https://play.google.com/books/publish/a/13582038264809529458#list                                         https://twitter.com/alanwplace

Interview with George Wier   1 comment

Today I welcome George Wier, Texas crime fiction author, to the blog. Tell us something about yourself, George. (Basic bio, where’d you grow up, what do you do for a living, significant relationships — as much or as little as you want).

george wierThere’s not a lot to tell. The first eight years of my life I grew up in Madisonville, Texas. My father was an oil well firefighter in the Gulf of Mexico, working for Red Adair—he was one of the original Hellfighters. In fact, on some of the shots in that movie, my dad was fighting real fires in an asbestos suit. Later he was a truck driver, an insurance salesman, and toward the end of his life he was a jailer. He was utterly fearless. My mother had wanted to be a Christian missionary in Africa or Asia, but that was apparently not to be. She had three kids to raise, and a life here to live. From these two extremes (one tough as nails, the other, gentle as a shepherd with a flock of lambs) you get me. I have worked more odd jobs (and done odd things) than I can count. I’ve got my father’s fearlessness and my mother’s passivity, or at least until I’ve reached my limit; then, you’d better watch out. What I do for a living now is write. I write every day. It’s a full time job, but really it’s the one thing I’d rather do than anything else. I could have been a musician, and in fact started out down that path at one time, only to find out I didn’t have the pain threshold for practicing the violin six to ten hours a day to become as good as I wanted to be. I suppose I’m an all-or-nothing kind of guy. If I can’t have the whole thing, then I want no part of it. Later, I tried my hand at actual police work, but found that I didn’t like putting the handcuffs on a person and putting them in a cage like an animal. Somehow I knew that was also not the answer—the flip side, of course, being to do nothing. No, there has to be another way, but criminal justice misses. I have a problem with justice anytime it’s in the hands of human beings. In every instance, human justice misses the mark. So, my compromise with life was to become a writer, to report what I see—and let me tell you, I see everything, and I don’t miss a lick!—and to publish it. I’m 50 years old now. I’ve seen quite a bit. I hope to see a great deal more.

george wier signingWhat was your first writing and how old were you?

When I was very young I watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and I loved it. I think I’ve got the whole movie memorized now, you know. A lot of people do. Anyway, back then I penned a little thing that has since been lost in the mists of time that was all bad humor and kids’ jokes based on the American Revolution. Thank God it’s long gone. Gosh, I had to have been around ten or eleven. Something like that. Godawful stuff, you know. Quick, please change the subject and ask me something better…I mean, something else.

You write crime fiction, set in Texas. Being from Texas, that makes sense. What drew you to crime fiction?

george wier last callCrime fiction speaks to the human condition as it currently is. We have laws, and laws are there because people run roughshod over their neighbors. If everyone was thoughtful and considerate and mindful of the negative effects of their actions on others around them, then they wouldn’t do the things they do and ultimately there would be no need for laws. And also, if that were the case, you would see the birth of a Golden Age for mankind. But that’s not the way it is. I got interested in crime when I was very young. One of the earliest—and to me, gritty and realistic—crime shows on television was Baretta. I loved that show. Before that I really liked watching the old Mannix TV serials. Mannix was a private investigator in LA, just like James Garner’s Jim Rockford, years later. Mannix was always getting shot at, beat up, bonked on the head and knocked out. But he always managed to turn the tables and get the bad guys. I ate that stuff up. Also, there were a number of real life high-profile crimes in my own county when I was growing up, and these crimes made national headlines, including the Good Samaritan murder of Tim Merka and the Soldier of Fortune case. Grisly stuff. Also, later when I was about nineteen years old, I worked flipping hamburgers in the kitchen of a Kettle restaurant between college semesters and the guy who trained me on that temporary job went on to become a killer in another high-profile case, the Foch Street double murder. The fellow’s name was Gary Penuel. His sister was also involved in the case, along with a guy named David Clark. Clark majorly took the fall in that case and has since been executed. No, crime is all too real in the world we live in. It wasn’t just the stuff of television, as I would come to find. That’s what drew me to crime fiction—the dark, malevolent, almost reptilian malice of that side of existence. We try to understand it, but ultimately we cannot. You can’t put an understanding into the incomprehensible, by definition. Square peg, round hole. It doesn’t fit. There’s nothing more incomprehensible than the violent murder of another human being. But boy, do we try to understand it. The imagination runs wild. So that’s the “why” behind my fascination with crime fiction, in a nutshell.

When I peeked at your book, I have to say, I love the “voice”. How do you develop your characters?

george wier captainsA writer observes the world around him. He or she can’t help it. We act as sponges for the physical universe, soaking up everything we see, hear, and feel. We later use that in our writing. You may want to just call it a virus. A bug. It’s the writer’s bug. Characters are no different. All of my characters are composites of real people I have met in my travels. Everyone I meet, I pay close attention. Who is this person? What are they about? Can I peg where they’re from by their accent? How old is this person? What have they seen and experienced that is subconsciously communicated through how they hold themselves erect, how their eyes move, how they talk? It’s almost Sherlockian. So when I create a character, I have a set of standards that must be met. The character has to talk to me. They have to be their own person—that is, they have to be real. They have to react and interact with other people the way this character should given their background and how they see themselves and the world around them. It’s actually pretty simple. My characters are people. I treat them as such, and I expect them to act that way too. Sometimes they really surprise me.

What are you passionate about?

I get passionate when I’m talking in company with others about writing. I meet so many people seeking advice, seeking to know. “What would you do in this situation?” That sort of thing. When it comes to writing, I have something to say. I have so much to say on the subject that I wouldn’t dare attempt it here, because hours later you would be telling me to “Shut up, already!”

Also, I get passionate about human rights. I volunteer some of my time with a watchdog group that birddogs the Texas legislature here in Austin, specifically on the subject of human rights. So many bills are passed into law, amending the Texas Constitution, that the public is largely apathetic about it. Fortunately our legislature meets only every other year. That’s a good thing.

I agree totally and wish the Alaska Legislature would do the same.

george wier journeyIt would be far better if they met once a decade. The U.S. Constitution you could fit in your shirt pocket. The Texas Constitution cannot be contained within the confines of a single floor-to-ceiling, five-foot wide bookcase. It’s that huge. No one—not even attorneys—know all the laws. The legislators sure as hell don’t. But they just love to write bills and pass them into law on an unsuspecting and largely clueless public. A number of those laws touch upon basic human rights—that is, depriving the citizens of Texas of them. Did you know right this minute that the Texas legislature is trying to sneak into law an initiative that would make it perfectly legitimate for someone walking into an emergency room or clinic to be held against their will if they refused medical treatment? I’m aghast!

It is ghastly! It’s not just Texas, it’s the whole country. My father-in-law lives in Austin. My husband lives in Alaska for the relative freedom, but we chafe at the increasing loss of liberty even here. Where does that sort of thinking come from, do you think?

Essentially the “think” on the measure goes like this:

  1. you need medical treatment,
  2. you’re refusing it, therefore
  3. you’re crazy and are therefore a danger to yourself, ergo,
  4. we’re going to hold you for psychiatric observation, leading to
  5. court mandated injections or pills.

I mean, yuck! If that happens, you won’t see people who need actual medical help going to emergency rooms to get it out of sheer terror, and consequently, you will see people dying because of it. That’s just ONE bill out of all the idiotic measures that have been put forth just this session! Okay, so yes, I’m passionate on this subject. Like Mark Twain famously said, “Suppose you are an idiot. Now, suppose you are a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.” Hey, you asked.

Sunrise in a thick deep dark forest with fog in autumn

Sunrise in a thick deep dark forest with fog in autumn

What is something you cannot live without?

I don’t know. I never really thought about that. I do have a weakness for good tobacco, mainly pipe tobacco. Oh, I know I could live without it. I would have to say the one thing that I would not be able to live without, absolutely, would be freedom. The freedom to come and go as I please, the freedom to say what’s on my mind; the freedom to write what I want to write and send it to whomever I want to. But I also can’t live without a future. I live almost exclusively in the future, but largely not at the expense of today. My entire life is geared toward the future. Oh, I enjoy taking walks in nature settings. I like going outside at night and looking up at the stars. All of that present time stuff. But then my thoughts turn inevitably to the horizon; what’s on the plate for tomorrow? What am I going to write later tonight? Will I get this current batch of projects finished? When will I learn to really write? Next year or the year after, where do I plan to spend my summer? My winter? Will Sallie and I travel to New York again, because I would like to spend another week there? Are we going to buy that house in Fort Davis? Future. Future future future. So I suppose that it’s the freedom to create the future that I can’t live without. I tell you, you don’t kill a man with bullets. You kill him by taking away his dreams, and dreams have everything to do with the future. There it is.

Alaska’s motto is “North to the Future” so we’re all about dreaming big. Speaking of which, I’m going to drop you in a remote Alaskan cabin for a month. It’s summer, so you don’t have to worry about freezing to death. I’m supplying the food and bug spray (northern necessity). What do you spend your time doing? What do you bring with you? If it includes books, what books?

george wier coddoI would spend my time looking at the land and the sky, smoking my pipe, then ducking back inside to continue writing. At night I would watch the Aurora Borealis (I’ve never seen it with my own eyes). So, I would need a box of blank paper (at least 5 to 10 reams), a lot of pens and pencils and a sharpener, and that’s about it. As far as books by other writers, I wouldn’t bring any. You start down that road, then there are about 500 books I would find “indispensable,” so it would be better to leave it all behind.

Talk about your books.

I’ve written several books that will never see the light of day. They’re buried in a trunk in my closet. I can’t bear to toss them, but I promise you, they’re terrible. I was learning to write, you see. Most people try to skip that step when they decide they’re going to be “a writer.” You have to learn to write, first. That is only done, forever and always, by actually writing. How do you write? There is only one way: One. Word. At. A. Time. So, I’ve written the words to several books while I was learning. Now that I sort of know how, I’ve penned some fairly popular works. First, there’s the Bill Travis mystery series: The Last Call, Capitol Offense, Longnecks and Twisted Hearts, The Devil to Pay, Death on the Pedernales, Slow Falling, Caddo Cold, Arrowmoon, After the Fire, and Ghost of the Karankawa. After that there’s Long Fall From Heaven (a collaboration with Milton T. Burton), two, so far in the Far Journey Chronicles (with Billy Kring) entitled 1889: Journey to the Moon and 1899: Journey to Mars. Both of those books are steampunk. Don’t ask me what steampunk is, because that takes more than five minutes to explain. Also I collaborated with Robert A. “Robbie” Taylor on The Vindicators: Book One—Last Defense, my first pure science fiction. I also recently collaborated with bestselling science fiction author T.R. Harris on Captains Malicious, the first book in the Liberation series. I’ve  recently released an anthology of short stories entitled ’14: A Texanthology. Most recently I released Murder In Elysium, yet another mystery. Words. A lot of them. And all written one word a time, I promise. Some people like my books. These are my friends, because they help me pay the bills that a bunch of demanding people I’ve never met keep sending me. I mean, how rude!

What are your publishing plans for the future?

george wier vindicatorsbookcoverI’m nearly done with Sentinel In Elysium, the prequel to Murder In Elysium. Look for that to come out shortly. Immediately on the heels of that I have another standalone mystery almost ready for publication entitled Errant Knight. It sounds like something from the Middle Ages, I know, but it’s not. All the action takes place in the present—right here in Austin, Texas, in fact. So don’t let either the title or the cover fool you. This May I’ll be cranking out a tribute work entitled Jet: Hunter, a Kindle Worlds homage to the inimitable Jet series by fellow author and friend, Russell Blake. In addition, Billy Kring and I have begun the third book in the Far Journeys Chronicles, 1904: Journey Into Time. It should be out in the early fall. To top all of that off, T.R. “Tom” Harris and I have already begun the next book in the sci-fi Liberation series, Captains Malevolent. Look for that one sometime this summer. Robert A. “Robbie” Taylor, yet another collaborator, and my best and oldest friend (we’re practically brothers) will be penning the sequel to The Vindicators—Last Defense, which is tentatively entitled Vindicators 2—Parsec. After all of that—and this has been a long time coming—I’ll finish up Boland’s War, the sequel to Long Fall From Heaven, which was released in 2013. The reason I have delayed writing that one is that I did not know whether I could. Long Fall was a collaboration with friend and fellow Texas author, the late Milton T. Burton. I miss him sore, so Boland’s War will be a final tribute to him. Bill Travis’s fans have also been giving me fits about the latest book in the series, therefore look for Bill Travis #11, Desperate Crimes, to be out in the late fall or winter. Hmm. After that I have three or four others in various stages of completion, including Cottonwood (a horror novel), The Footprinters (sci-fi), The Banishlands (sci-fi) and Pantheon (also sci-fi). It appears I am jumping genres with abandon here, but the truth is that I write only one genre, and that’s Wier. The big project on the horizon will be my magnum opus, planned for the future (I work on it when I’m not working on everything else) and it’s so huge in scope that I fear it will take over my life. The project is tentatively entitled Company C—Rebirth of the Rangers. It’s high science fiction and action adventure a la Star Wars, and it’s set a thousand years in the future after mankind has spread so far into the stars that the fabric of civilization rips at the seams and implodes into civil war. Long after the fall of man, a hero emerges from one of the last planets on the fringes of space to defend mankind from an invading alien species. This hero has to unite the bickering, misanthropic defenders into a fighter force on the order of the Texas Rangers. Their motto: “One planet, one Ranger.” So, as you can see, at least the next twelve months is pretty well mapped out for me and the stove appears to be pretty full. Truthfully, I don’t have enough burners. What was the question?

You are an extremely busy writer. That’s truly impressive! Anything else you would like to say.

Not really, except that I would like to communicate to my friends. You see, I don’t so much have “fans” as I have friends who read my books. So here goes: I love you folks, each and every one of you. Please keep corresponding with me. Your letters and notes are an inspiration to me, and it keeps me on my toes. I take it all to heart and I think with it more than you might realize. Don’t let up! Other than that, thank you, Lela. These were some good, tough questions. Good interview! Okay, that’s about it.

george wier sentinelWell, you give a good and entertaining interview, which makes it easier for me. Links, websites, cover art, author pic, etc.

Website: http://georgewier.com

WordPress Blog: https://georgewier.wordpress.com/

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/George-Wier/e/B004USCNYO/

My newest book, Sentinel In Elysium, should be out this coming Friday, or perhaps early the following week. Watch the News section of my website for details: www.georgewier.com.

Thanks for visiting, Lela Markham

Interview with KA Angliss   1 comment

Today’s interview is with K. A. Angliss, author of Project Butterfly, a sci-fi thriller.

 

Tell us something about yourself. (as much or as little you want — where’d you grow up, where do you live, what do you do for a living, significant relationships, etc.)

 

I grew up in Canvey Island in Essex, UK. I still live in Essex with my partner and daughter but moved away from “The Rock” as we all lovingly call it. I have been a vegetarian since I was 19 and I love knitting and crocheting!

 

Was this the first story you’ve written?

 

This isn’t the first story I’ve written but is the first one I have turned into a novel. I used to write short stories as a child but I don’t really count those.

 

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

 

I always toyed with the idea but never had the confidence to really go for it. When I got the idea in my head for Project Butterfly and the passion I had for the topic I knew I wanted to be a writer and get this information out there.

 

What is your writing process? (Are you a discovery writer or do you outline and plot out the book before you start writing? Or somewhere in between?)

 

I usually write an outline for a plot which will be the twists or important events that will happen in the storyline. Once I feel like it’s a good solid structure to work with and I know the direction and tone of the book I begin writing. Some ideas come to me while I am in the moment of writing and I have diverted from the outline before if I think the new idea is better and will work with the rest of the story.

 

During a writing session I edit my work from the previous day and then continue writing. Once I have finished writing the story from start to finish I carry out a few editing techniques. I first read it from start to finish on my tablet instead of computer as it’s a change of format, then print it off and revise it and finally I read the whole thing out loud to make sure it flows. Then I send it to my proof readers and after I read it over again before launching it.

 

Describe Project Butterfly.

 

It does start off dark but to be fair it’s about a dark subject. The hidden message is to believe in humanity despite these atrocities.  If humanity remains strong and if we can help each other, then we can pull each other out of the depths of despair and save one another. Along the way there are a few hurdles but overall it’s about overcoming the seemingly impossible, as long as you believe in yourself.

 

Where did you get the idea for the book?

 

A few years ago I stumbled across information about Unit 731 which was funded during World War 2. The human experiments they did were awful. It deeply upset me keeping me up for nights but yet I had to do know more. I found an astonishing amount of information on past human experimentation; some weren’t even carried out that long ago!

 

So many human experiments have come to light only to be swept under the carpet again and no real justice has been given to most of these poor victims. We must never forget to prevent it happening again.

 

What if these victims for once got out and took revenge on the governments that were using them as human guinea pigs? When they got out what if they overthrew these governments to rebuild their own utopia? Can corruption ever really be overcome? I wanted to write about these experiments but I added a supernatural twist.  I find the whole topic so disheartening and wanted to lighten the story slightly.

 

I noticed in the book’s forward that it is based on factual information. What sort of research did you do for the book?

 

I did a lot of research online but also looked at documents that have come to light, particularly published reports from the C.I.A and Nazis. I also read autobiographies of Monarch Programming (which inspired the series’ title) such as Brice Taylor’s, “Thanks for Memories”. I have also watched countless world-wide documentaries.. Even now I do on-going research and try to uncover more and am always open for discussions to understand this sensitive topic further.

 

 

Your tag line is “How much do you trust your government?” I’m kind of a semi-anarchist. I don’t trust the government much at all. Do you think people should be less complacent about these semi-secret programs and, if so, what ought we be doing about it?

 

Oooooh I like this question! We do need a system in order to prevent a dog eat dog world but we also need to feel safe and protected from these sorts of programs. I would say avoid any kind of microchip in your skin (I have heard about parents micro chipping their children in the US) Try to be as independent as you can. Grow your own vegetables, if you can be self-employed or have your own trade. I believe finding ways to protect your own privacy is the most peaceful way to stand up against these shadow governments as I don’t condone violence.

 

Cross research anything you are unsure of or feel uneasy about and make evaluated opinions for yourselves. Don’t be influenced by everything you see and hear by mainstream media,

 

Contacting local politicians about the high level of surveillance has no guarantee things will change but the more pressure we put on these government representatives, the more likely lasting changes could happen.

 

I think it’s not only these shadow governments that we should be looking at but also within ourselves. The mind is truly an amazing thing, something we hardly know anything about but yet we can achieve so much through self-belief and focus. The sense of community is dwindling and we need to look out for each other. We are stronger together than alone.

 

 

This is a series. When is the next book coming out? (I see it’s this year, but this gives you opportunity to talk about the second book).

 

It is due out end of May this year, though I haven’t set a specific date just yet. I will be doing my first online launch party for this book which I am very excited about!

 

Whatever you would like to add. I’m open.

 

 

Links — book pages, author website, Facebook —  author pic and cover art.

Official Author website: http://www.kaangliss.co.uk

Project Butterfly Series Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/project.butterfly.novel

Amazon UK:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Project-Butterfly-Book-ebook/dp/B00MWSWK6U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1422220160&sr=8-1&keywords=project+butterfly

Amazon US:  http://www.amazon.com/Project-Butterfly-Book-ebook/dp/B00MWSWK6U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1422220160&sr=8-1&keywords=project+butterfly

 

 

Ok thank you. I have just realised I have forgotten my Amazon links.
UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Project-Butterfly-Book-ebook/dp/B00MWSWK6U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1422387254&sr=8-1&keywords=project+butterfly
US: http://www.amazon.com/Project-Butterfly-Book-ebook/dp/B00MWSWK6U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1422387254&sr=8-1&keywords=project+butterfly
And also forgot my pic so have attached it. I have a new  cover that I’m working on tonight so will send it over in the next few days. Just reviewing the book again as both Jess and Paula have given me some excellent advice and just want to fine tune the writing a bit if that’s ok?

 

Interview with Patrick Burdine   3 comments

Patrick BurdineThis week’s interview is with Patrick Burdine, author of The Monitor and co-author of The Vampire’s Last Lover. He’s also featured in The Actuator 1.5: Borderland’s Anthology.
 
Tell us something about yourself, Patrick.
I’m originally from New Mexico – born in a small town named Portales that nobody has heard of, but I graduated high school in a small town pretty much everyone has heard of – Roswell. These days I live in Burbank, CA with my lovely and incredibly patient wife, 3 daughters and a newborn son. My favorite place that I have lived though, has been up in your neck of the woods at Ft. Richardson Alaska a lifetime ago back when I was in the Army.
Richardson (now part of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, or JBER) is sort of my neck of the woods. It’s in Anchorage, which is almost 400 miles away from Fairbanks, but by Alaskan standards that’s not that far.  About seven hours one-way. It’s all in the perspective. Alaskans have a long road-trip perspective. And Richardson is set in some lovely country. Do  you remember the first story you wrote? What was it about and how old were you?
I had a single mom and a sister and a couple of step dads along the way, but mostly it was my mom and sister with a ton of help from my grandparents and aunts and uncles. We moved around a lot when I was kid – I used to joke we were nomadic. I honestly can’t remember living in the same place for a year from the 3rd grade basically until I graduated. It wasn’t ever really particularly difficult for me to make new friends, but moving around that often, saying goodbye so much, you kind of hit a point where you don’t want to make friends. I’d always enjoyed reading, and I think I just dug into reading more. Comic books, sci-fi, fantasy, horror. Pretty much everything.
I’ve found that as it goes with reading, I started writing about that time. I think my mom still has some of that dreadful early stuff which was mostly poetry. I wrote a lot of short stories too. I wrote horror stories and science fiction and fantasy and it was all derivative but even at the time I knew I was ripping off the greats and that really frustrated me. It still does, to be honest. I’ll read something I wrote, and really like it, and then get super critical and think, “that sounds like something that Stephen King wrote, or might have written” and then delete it or tear it up. The idea of unique voice is such an insidious form of self sabotage for me sometimes. I’ll see something or hear something in the voice that no one else does and feel like a fraud. But at the same time, when someone reads something of mine and draws a comparison to one of those guys, like a King, or Michael Slade, or Anne Rice or whoever, these people are my idols and it is amazing. Wow, sorry about that I totally went off the rails there.

Not at all. I invite authors to say what they want here. What is your favorite genre? To read? To write? Are they the same?
I just love to read. I am constantly reading. For a while I got lazy about it and convinced myself I didn’t have time to read and then I read King’s book On Writing and it really resonated with me where he said if you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time to write. So I always make time to read. One of my writing rituals, in fact, is to read a couple of pages from whatever book I am reading before I write. It’s like priming the pump. Sometimes it backfires and I end up reading a chapter or an hour. But mostly it is good.
Definitely. I do it backwards, I read after I write to sort of give my brain a break … or sometimes I read if I’m bored with writing, to inspire me. Reading is the fuel to writing, I think. So what is your favorite genre?
As far as favorite genres, I like fantasy, science fiction, I love horror – though that is such a broad category, I’m not a fan of gore for its own sake, but I’m not super squeamish. I’ve just started really started reading thrillers – mostly because I want to understand how to to make some of  my own work in other genres more thrilling. Not so much actively studying, but more through osmosis. I like urban fantasy, Jim Butcher is a great example of someone I would say writes thrillers in another genre. His books are page turners. I’ve read some good romance. My family on my mom’s side is all a bunch of readers. My wife jokes that when we get together it is funny to watch everyone just sit around and pick up whatever books are handy and start reading when there is a lull in the conversation. I will really just pick up anything and read it. I can’t even bring myself to stop reading a “bad” book unless it is just extremely poorly written from a technical standpoint. I can deal with some grammar unless it is virtually unintelligible.
What is your writing process? Do you do a lot of research, start with the characters, plan the plot or …?
It usually starts with an idea for me. Kind of a situation and a character and a what if? sort of situation and then I like to explore it. I usually like to have an idea for an ending before I start writing. If I don’t have that kind of touchstone on where I am going, I find that it tends to ramble a lot with no real destination, as this interview may have clued you in to (winks). That might just be because of my screenwriting focus though. For that you almost always start at the end and then work back. That is a very tight form, with no real “fat”. I like writing prose much more, it lets you get into the characters so much more. So yeah, I start with the situation, an inciting incident if you will, and a character, and a question. Then I usually decide where I want to go, then I write a rough outline. I don’t usually end up sticking to the outline, I like to have room for the characters to decide their own fates, to end up meeting new people, and discovering things about themselves, and usually the ending changes. I just really like having somewhere to work toward in case I get stuck. It is nice on those “writer block” days to be able to say “fine, screw you, I don’t have to be creative today, I am just going do the manual labor on this road, laying bricks to get me from here to there.” It’s something that works well, and then in the editing I can take out that entire chapter or whatever but it keeps me going through the hard times, and eliminates the excuse of not knowing what to write. For me at least.
As for research, yes I do some research. It’s a form of procrastination for me sometimes, and I end up looking up a lot of things that don’t really matter, but I don’t want to include something that isn’t accurate. For instance, let’s say I am going to have a character use a gun in one of my stories, I am going to learn everything I can about that specific gun just because I don’t want a reader to call me out and tell me that a pivotal plot point of having the character using his left thumb to drop the clip for a reload and then come to find out I gave the character a revolver or something basic. I will obviously never have the same level of knowledge as a professional, but I want to be respectful of my readers and realize that something I write might stick in their heads, and then at some point come up in an unrelated conversation. I’d hate for them to have bad info because of me. Kind of ridiculous, I know, but anyway. I use Microsoft One Note, which is a pretty cool product that basically lets me create digital notebooks. I can just type up notes in there, drop pictures of places for reference. I get maps of places and put them there. I like having it all local on my hard drive when possible, because otherwise, as I mentioned above, I will end up using it as an excuse to procrastinate.

I definitely represent the notion of using research on the Internet as a means to procrastinate. I don’t think we’d be saving anytime with going to libraries, though. I write all over the place – wherever I can, whenever I can. How about you? Is there a special place that gets your creative juices flowing or are you a writing nomad like me?
Being in LA it is kind of cliche’ but I actually like writing at Starbucks. It’s nice and clean, I get to do a lot of people watching, for the most part it is fairly quiet. I do write anywhere though, we live right next door to a library (yay!) so I do a lot of writing there, I have a desk at home that I write at, just wherever. I like moving around if I get stuck, or if I feel like I am getting in a rut.
Clearly, you write horror, but with a human touch. Tell us about The Monitor.
I got the idea for The Monitor after my first daughter was born. I remember being exhausted and being up at 2 in the morning and hearing the static hiss of the monitor and seeing the green light and thinking about what I would do if I heard a voice come through it. That was kind of the original idea and it ended up changing a bit, but I am very happy with where it ended up. It started life as a very short flash fiction piece, under a thousand words and was actually a bit of an homage to Lovecraft – that was what started the first person narrative style and the idea of madness. It was kind of going to be an updated The Statement of Randolf Carter (I know, I know, I am totally shooting myself in the foot on that earlier statement) but then it really evolved. It ended up being a novella and the first thing that I was happy enough with to self publish, and I thought I would kind of see what people thought about it – the first thing I really put out there to the world at large that wasn’t in a writer’s group or an online forum with people I knew or whatever. I set a deadline for publishing for it, and I think it did suffer a bit from over-editing. At one point it was like 120 pages. I rewrote a draft once to be in a standard 3rd person draft since that is really where I am more comfortable. It didn’t work for this. This was actually the first, and I thought, the last time I was going to do first person. Going back and re-reading it now, I still love it, it still causes emotion in me, and I still want to rewrite it. That book taught me the importance of iron clad deadlines, even (especially?) self imposed ones. I am amazed at how well received it has been.You co-authored The Vampire’s Last Lover, which is Book 1 of the Dying of the Dark Vampires series. Vampire romance? Horror thriller? The blurb hints at both with a dash of Buffy in there. Tell us about it.This is a great setting. Sometimes you read something and think, man I wish I would have created this world. I have to credit my co-writer Aiden James with creating this one, and I was fortunate enough to be brought on by him. It’s a really cool take on the vampire mythos. We don’t get to dive into it as much in book 1 which is a lot of setting up of the things to come, but in short, there are some familiar vampire ideas there, the idea that it is a “germ” that infects people on death. There is the idea of the beautiful, powerful glamorous vampire who kind of rule the night. Our protagonist Txema (pronounced Chema) is just a regular human college freshman whose bloodline possesses a quality that keeps that germ from causing a de-evolution of the vampires from this ideal, down into a more primal, bestial version that is really just one step above animal who is ruled by a monstrous vampire king. This vampire king has been building an army of monsters for a while and is now making his move to overthrow the rulers by killing everyone in Txema’s bloodline, leaving her the last with the “special” blood. This makes her “The Vampires’ Last Lover” in a poetic sense, but in reality, she is their lifeline, and this poor girl is ripped out of her world and has what is effectively an entire nightmare nation chasing after her, and her protectors are really seeing her more as a resource than a person. And as it is all told from Txema’s point of view, we try very hard to keep it true from her point of view which is a challenge. We have this huge conflict and scope, but we kind of painted ourselves into a bit of a corner in how we decided to tell it from such a narrow viewpoint, especially with the history of the publication on it. I’ll talk a bit more about that in a bit. There are definitely some strengths in the style, connecting with her, feeling her being overwhelmed and everything, but there are times that we are writing something and have to stop and say “wait, this is a young woman, 19 years old, is that real?” And real is important to me, even in a fantasy. Sometimes we get it right, sometimes we don’t. The first book sets this up and introduces the characters, and we really get to explore the dynamics quite a bit more in The Vampire’s Birthright, which is coming out this Fall sometime.What is it like to co-write a piece of fiction?

Well, it’s actually kind of interesting how I came into this. Aiden originally self published the first three a while back as a solo deal, he got picked up by Curiosity Quills and they wanted to push the series forward, but also wanted to republish the previous three. I ended up getting selected to cowrite book four (with an eye to five and six) with Aiden, and CQ wanted to take the opportunity to clean up some of the rough edges to the first three, work on some character development, as well as plant some seeds for the next sequence, so this is far from the normal path, since the series already had a fairly large following, I couldn’t just scrap major plot points outright. That being said, I have been given a pretty long leash, and with the success of book one, and the feedback we have received from fans who were rightly skeptical has been nothing but positive so I have even more freedom on book two and three.

This is the first time I have cowritten, and it is an unusual situation, but it’s been a dream. Aiden and I just kind of click. We have a shared vision as to where we want this to go, and our faith in the series and a genuine love for the characters, and I think that is really important in a collaboration. There is a strong level of trust. As to the actual mechanics, most of times, it’s just talking back and forth online, either through email or IMs, or through using the comment features on the .doc file. If we really need to hash something out we just talk on the phone. I’m on the West coast, he lives in middle of the country so we just kind of work it out.
Talk about the Borderlands Anthology.
Aiden co-wrote this really cool book with James Wymore called The Actuator: Fractured Earth which was this absolutely insane idea about this machine that transformed the world based on the whims of these people called Machine Monks because of their work with this “machine” that warped the world in a small area. Something happened and instead of it being in a limited area it happened to the world. Different areas became individual pockets of reality shaped by the imagination of the monks. Some were horror, some were fantasy, some were cyberpunk, some were western, etc. Before the second book, our publisher, Curiosity Quills, decided to do an anthology of short stories set in that world. They opened it up to entries and I had this idea about one of the monks having a lousy childhood and how he viewed his hometown as a orphaned child trapped up in a faceless bureaucracy  and when the machine malfunctioned it made that happen. The story follows a group of children trapped in a world (really just their town) where all the mothers disappeared and all the fathers became, literally, these giant faceless creatures in suits trying to suck the souls out of all the children in town. I like doing stories with multiple levels. On the face of it, no pun intended, it’s just a straight up monster movie inspired by things like Guillermo Del Toro and Phantasm, but then there is that deeper level of mistrust of adults and being swallowed up by any bureaucratic system. I’m not a message writer by any stretch of the imagination and given a choice between doing something awesome and fun to push the story forward or slowing it down to make a point I will always choose fun. I just know that I love rereading a book and finding new things, so when I rewrite a book, I work hard to craft things for my readers to discover. Not sure if I always succeed, but I do work hard at it.
So where can people find you?
My website is www.patrickburdine.com and is recently switched over to be a wordpress site and I am still in the process of making it pretty and adding content, I hear good things about how that is to update, so there isn’t much there yet, but look for more coming soon, as well as a regular blog. I am fairly active on twitter but am not terribly focused – I am a bit of a nerd, so while there is writing stuff there, there is also table top gaming stuff, computer stuff, some current events commentary – though not a lot because really it is mostly depressing and polarizing. I love talking with people 140 characters at a time about pretty much anything though, and that is @somnicidal – Thanks for your time and support Lela, I really appreciate it!
You’re most welcome, Patrick. Definitely drop back by as you come out with new books. Readers can find Patrick’s books at the following links:
 
The Monitor – http://www.amazon.com/Monitor – Patrick-Burdine-ebook/dp/B00E1YN2CO
The Vampires’ Last Loverhttp://www.amazon.com/Vampires-Last-Lover-Dying-Dark-ebook/dp/B00MGVB708/
The Actuator 1.5: Borderlands Anthologyhttp://www.amazon.com/Actuator-1-5-Borderlands-Anthology-ebook/dp/B00NH8V3SA/

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