Here is my interview with JP Wilder

eranamage:

A great interview with a great writer.

Originally posted on authorsinterviews:

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Name: JP Wilder       

Age: 47

Where are you from:

I grew up in Northern Arizona, and I live now in Los Angeles.

A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc  

I come from a relatively large family. I have two older brothers and two older sisters.

I am married to a wonderful woman, Marie, who is both my soul and my conscience.  Strangely enough, she is also my hero—a strong woman that represents much of what I aspire to be.

I have two great kids—one daughter (14) and a son (11). They are all my hopes and all my dreams.

I have a Masters degree in Business Administration and a Masters in Fine Arts – Creative Writing.

My life, my beliefs were mostly forged by my father, a world war II combat vet and my few years spent in the army.

Fiona: Tell us your…

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Fantasy, Science Fiction and Literary Heroes in Our Society Guest Post – Sharon Kae Reamer

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Name: Sharon Kae Reamer

Location (as I am wondering if it is regional)? Expatriate American now living in Cologne, Germany.

How pervasive do you think fantasy/sci-fi is in our society today?  It is all-pervasive in the sense that most everyone has seen a SFF movie. But there are many people I meet who have never read a SF or fantasy book. For example, I know many people who’ve seen The Hobbit trilogy and LoTR films but have never read the books. I’ve encountered quite a few people who have told me, flat out, that they would like to read my books but that they don’t like fantasy. I don’t try to argue with them. To each his/her own.

Why do you think this is?  It suggests that genre literature, in particular, speculative fiction, is still not seen to be something ‘worthy’ as literature. Maybe in some sense it is still perceived as ‘pulp’ fiction or escapist literature. It is escapist literature, but I view ALL literature as escapist. Maybe because fantasy and SF are not perceived to have social relevance to the problems we face in today’s world (or even historically). But I think that’s a huge mistake in perception, at least from my point of view. If done right, the speculative genre can be a fantastic mirror to aspects of our culture on this planet.

Are these genres seen in a more acceptable light than they used to be? Yes, probably, but as stated above, mainly in the media of film and television rather than books. Although in YA, I think anything is possible these days. It seems to be the playground where speculative fiction is most highly tolerated.

What makes a ‘hero’? Would you say this definition is different within literature to real life? A hero is someone who has been forced to abandon his or her ‘normal’ life for a greater purpose, be it saving someone they love, a quest to retrieve a magical or scientific artefact for the force of good, or to battle against a negative force to save the world/universe, just to name a couple examples. There are many definitions of what heroism is or does. It can also be a small thing, like being faithful and waiting for someone to return even if there is no hope of it (Ulysses’ wife Penelope comes to mind here).

Ideally, I don’t see a lot of difference between real life and literature heroes, except that real life heroes do not have to deal with magical or science fictional type situations. Doctors Without Borders is a ‘hero’ in real life because they save people. Superheroes in fiction save people but on a much more extravagant scale. But DWB are superheroes to me in real life. J

If you’re a writer how do you portray heroism in your books? My heroine from The Schattenreich series, Caitlin Schwarzbach, will risk anything to save those she loves. To me, that is heroism. It’s a quiet kind of heroism. She doesn’t want to put herself in danger, but she does because she can’t stand the thought of anything bad happening to those she loves.

How important are ‘facts’ in fantasy/science fiction – does something need to be plausible to be believable? There are two famous quotes I think summarize the differences in how things work in fantasy and science fiction:

“Science fiction is something that could happen – but you usually wouldn’t want it to. Fantasy is something that couldn’t happen – though you often only wish that it could.” Arthur C. Clarke, 2000

“Fantasy is the impossible made probable. Science Fiction is the improbable made possible.” Rod Serling, 1962

In both SF and F, plausibility is a hugely important factor. Otherwise, we cannot take the reader with us. He/she will be left standing in the wizard’s laboratory/launch pad while we go merrily off alone (cackling madly and collecting cats) into the worlds we have built. As a reader, I have to believe that whatever is going on on the page is plausible, be it giant space worms or man-eating unicorns or intelligent slime mold. These things may or may not exist (i.e., they are not ‘facts’ in any sense in the world we live in at present), but if they are presented to be an integral and logical part of the world the author has built, in other words, plausible, then I will accept their existence in that world as ‘fact’ .

What science fiction/fantasy has influenced you most?  What would you say the most influential writers/film-makers? I came of age in relation to science fiction and fantasy reading in the early eighties. Many of those writers are ones that I still think of fondly. Isaac Asimov, Roger Zelazny, Ursula K. LeGuin, J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Poul Anderson, Larry Niven, William Gibson, Lewis Carroll, Frank Herbert, Douglas Adams. Andre Norton, Marion Zimmer Bradley. I could go on for a long time. I don’t know if all their works would still hold up now if I read them again. But it doesn’t matter. They were influential in making me a reader of speculative fiction, and so remain very influential.

In relation to films, I’d guess T.O.S.S. that my parents let me watch (my younger brother was not allowed to watch it when the series first came out). I was riveted from the very first episode of Star Trek, and still love the concept. I instantly fell in love with the original Star Wars trilogy as well as the first three Indiana Jones films and simply could not wait for the sequels to come out. It was excruciating. There was also 2001, and a slew of others since then. There were also those weird fantasy/horror films, many or most of them black and white films, I remember from my childhood that influenced me a great deal (most of which I saw on television): The 5000 Fingers of Doctor T, The Haunting, all those monster movies, most of which I watched with my Dad – The Werewolf was probably the scariest to me – and Invaders From Mars, any Outer Limits or Twilight Zone episode, The Wizard of Oz, Godzilla and Mothra – these were all influential to me growing up. My Dad still enjoys trying to get me to watch films that will scare the crap out of me when I visit him. I’m usually a willing participant, but I sometimes regret it afterwards when I’m trying to get to sleep. The first film I ever saw in the movies was 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea with Kirk Douglas and James Mason which my grandfather took me to see. It made a huge impression on me.

Nowadays, the fantastical or science fictional movie has loads of special effects and is presented so realistically that if I were a kid growing up today, I’d be hooked on SFF all over again.

Fairy-tales, anthropomorphic personifications, mythical beasts and cultural fantastical persons are all about us – such as Santa Claus, St George, dragons and fairies – how vital are these for our identity? Are we who we are because of the myths our cultures hold? My Schattenreich series contains Celto-Germanic deities. Some of the deities portrayed and characterized are purely Celtic. Some have crossover status (i.e., they exist in both the Celtic and Germanic pantheons). My interpretations of these fantastical persons, as such, are vital to the identity and worldviews of the characters in my series. Because the religions I portray do not exist any longer in the modern world in their original form, I don’t really know how important they are to our identity. But because there are a large number of neopagan or modern pagan religions that use some of these divinities in their practice, I believe they have relevance to who we are, even if it is just in recognizing the god/goddess within us. Most of us who have some sort of northern European ancestry can probably relate to the fantastical portrayal of the Celtic and Germanic pantheon. This has continued from early historical times (i.e., during the late Iron Age) right up until the present. I don’t believe in any fantastical creatures, although I think they are important as they give us the means to learn something about ourselves and have formed the basis for our modern culture. In other parts of the world, ancient religions populated with one or more deities are still important to the identity of the cultures. And much of this representation is based on myths, even for the major religions (even those with only a monotheistic pantheon) of the modern world.

So I would say the answer to the second question is: yes, totally.

Here’s some links:

 

http://www.sharonreamer.com/ (website)

http://sharonreamer.blogspot.com (redirects to sharonreamer.blogspot.de)

https://www.facebook.com/sharon.k.reamer

https://twitter.com/sharonkae

http://www.pinterest.com/sharonkreamer/

 

The books in The Schattenreich series (published) are Primary Fault, Shaky Ground, Double Couple, and Shadow Zone. Forthcoming in summer, 2015: Triple Junction (final book)

Primary Fault has been honoured with a Indy B.R.A.G. medallion and Indie Book of the Day.

 

 

 

Fantasy, Sci-fi and Literary Heroes in Our Society- Guest Post – Andrew Weston

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Today I am pleased to welcome back Andrew Weston, science fiction author, for a guest post on my feature for 2015.  Here are his views on fantasy, sci fi and literary heroes in society, and its influences.

Name: Andrew P. Weston

Location (as I am wondering if it is regional)? Kos – Greek Islands.

How pervasive do you think fantasy/sci-fi is in our society today? I think both genres are extremely pervasive, and you can see that from the focus the entertainment industry devotes them. As an experiment, I researched the internet, using a variety of sites, regarding the top 10 films of 2014 – guess what? Science fiction and fantasy dominated every list I looked at. It’s the same story when you peep ahead into 2015. Why is this? Quite simply, because the entertainment industry isn’t stupid. They cater to the obvious demand, and the public would appear to have an increasingly voracious appetite for entertainment that stretches the imagination.

Are these genres seen in a more acceptable light than they used to be?Certainly, because the science fact of today, was very often the science fiction of yester-year. You only have to think of the long running series “Star Trek” to see this aspect in an everyday setting. When it first came out, I can remember everyone talking about the handheld communication devices they used to speak with each other around the planet. Doors that swish open when you walk toward them. Hypo sprays, etc. Such things are now common, and people are much more accepting when new and innovative ideas are presented in a factual way. That’s why well written Science Fiction and Fantasy can contribute so well to keeping things fresh.

If you could pick a couple of characters from literature as ‘heroes’ who would it be and why? My first choice would be the character of Thomas Covenant from Stephen R. Donaldson’s Lord Foul’s Bane series.

He’s an everyday guy who suffers the indignity of contracting leprosy and losing two of the fingers from his right hand. His wife divorces him and takes their son away. Neighbours shun him, and he becomes a lonely hermit of an individual, cut off from society. To compensate, he becomes overly rigid in his approach to life. (Lepers have to exercise extreme caution so that they don’t pick up new infections that can spread their disease further and cause terrible disfigurement). His illness becomes manageable, and he manages to lead a balanced – if somewhat lonely – life. Imagine his horror, then, when he is miraculously snatched away from reality, and transported to ‘The Land’ – a place of magic and wonder where the very air brings healing and relief. Although healed, his disfigurement identifies him as a prophesised hero, come to save the land, from the cruel taint of the Creators arch-enemy, Lord Foul.

Mind blowing!

And yet, despite all the wonders he sees and experiences, Covenant doesn’t want anything to do with it – and determinedly slogs through every hurdle put in his way, whilst stubbornly clinging to the notion that everything around him is false. He doesn’t want rewards, accolades or special treatment. He just wants to go home. An antitypical hero if ever there was one, because at the end, he ends up saving the Land from destruction. A great character.

My second choice would be an ‘old fashioned’ kind of hero, John Carter, (of Edgar Rice Burrows, “A Princess of Mars fame”, in what became known as the Barsoom Series).

He’s an old style ‘man’s man’. An army veteran snatched from home to fight someone else’s war. It had high action in an old-world setting. Sword fights, damsels in distress, daring feats in the face of certain death, and a ‘never give up’ attitude. What I liked about his character, is that when he’s originally snatched away, he falls in with a crowd of ‘typical aliens’. Green skinned, multi-armed Tharks. They are a warlike race, and because of his superior strength and agility (Due to Barsoom’s lower gravity), Carter soon rises to fame among them. However, Barsoom also has a red-skinned humanoid race, and he soon becomes embroiled in their politics and attempts to bring peace to their troubled world. A great story, and trend-setter of its time.

It has been argued fantasy is full of ‘tropes’ – what are your views on this? I’m realistic about it. Cliché’s will often recur because of the very nature of the genres involved. Look at early science fiction. Popular stories were full of tales about robots, space travel, settling on distant planets. Fantasy novels were often set on ‘alternative’ worlds where elves, dwarves, and humans co-existed in an uneasy alliance forged around the use of magic. Sound familiar? Of course it is. Its bread and butter stuff. It’s what you ‘DO’ with it that matters.

Here’s an example. Think about what’s popular in TV/Films lately? Vampires, witches, aliens, artificial intelligence. But look at the difference – say, between Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. Twilight from the Underworld franchise. The new Battlestar Galactica v something like Edge of Tomorrow. Transcendence v the Anomaly. Like I say, you’re taking similar settings, but it’s what you do with it that matters.

How important are ‘facts’ in fantasy/science fiction – does something need to be plausible to be believable? ‘Facts’ are the foundation of a good story. If it’s believable, people will be able to relate to what they’re reading. If they relate to it, you capture their imagination. You suck them into your imaginary world and get them involving themselves. That’s exactly what you want. Yes, by all means – stretch the imagination – make it outlandishly fantasmagorical if you want to. But ensure to base it in well researched ‘reality’. Remember, even if your characters live in a world of magic and wonder, unless you’ve done your homework, and established that magical system upon well founded ‘laws and precepts’ – ‘strengths and limitations’, it’s going to sound false and turn people off. You have to consider such things nowadays…or suffer the consequences.

What science fiction/fantasy has influenced you most?  Who would you say are the most influential writers/film-makers? Influenced me the most? I grew up with Gerry Anderson. What a mind. Some of his concepts were incredible. Fireball XL5, Thunderbirds, Stingray, Captain Scarlet, UFO, Space 1999. I also loved Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. Lost in Space. Land of the Giants. Those influences stuck with me all my life and led to a vivid imagination.

Today, I’d say some of our best film makers are Peter Jackson, JJ Abrams, James Cameron, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas. Of course, the advancing nature of special effects have helped immensely. Nonetheless, films by these guys are guaranteed to draw the crowds and are of high quality. I’d be delighted if any of them decided to take of the IX?
(Perhaps you could give them a call?).

****

Andrew P. Weston is a Royal Marine and Police veteran from the UK who now lives on the beautiful Greek island of Kos with his wife, Annette, and their growing family of rescue cats.

An astronomy and law graduate, he is a contracted writer of fiction and poetry. Creator of “The IX” – and the “Guardians” and “Cambion Journals” series, has also has the privilege of being a member of the British Science Fiction Association, and British Fantasy Society.

When not writing, Andrew devotes some of his spare time to assisting NASA in one of their remote research projects, and writes educational articles for Astronaut.com and Amazing Stories.

Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/Andrew-P-Weston/e/B00F3BL6GS/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Author Website:

http://www.andrewpweston.com/

 

Andrew’s latest book is a fine military science fiction – which I featured recently.  Check it out, you won’t regret it!

IX coverlarge

Meet some of Andrew’s characters:

https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/2015/02/09/character-interview-number-twenty-five-marcus-brutus/

https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/2015/01/12/character-interview-number-twenty-four-alan-mcdonald-fantasymilitary/

https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/2014/10/16/character-interview-number-thirty-daemon-grim/ (not from IX)

And Andrew: https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/2015/01/10/new-release-the-ix-by-andrew-p-weston-fantasymilitaryhistorical/

The IX

Amazon.com:

http://www.amazon.com/IX-Andrew-P-Weston-ebook/dp/B00RM54QBA/

Amazon.UK:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/IX-Andrew-P-Weston-ebook/dp/B00RM54QBA/

 

#3AnthBlast – Three Anthologies Blog Tour

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Today I am pleased to be promoting 3 Charity Anthologies. They’re a mix of authors, styles and genres but they are connected – all the authors gave their time and work free of charge and all profits go to good causes.

Three Anthologies to Support Three Great Causes 

Publication Date: October 4, 2013

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Charity: Exotic Feline Rescue Center

What is it about the tiger that so captivates? Or about the jaguar that enchants? Why are we so drawn to the lethal grace of the large feline predators of the world?Get ready to purr, growl and roar along with six paranormal romance authors in this anthology of love and shapeshifting kitties. After reading these six unique tales, from the sexy to the sweet, you’ll be guaranteed to be saying… Here, Kitty Kitty…

* * *

In ‘His Jaguar Princess’ by A. Star, jaguar shifter Selene Peters can’t deny her feelings for the tycoon Lucas King. Somehow, he’s penetrated her barriers and become more than just a client, but loving a human is dangerous and she fears her past repeating itself. Could he help her overcome the past or will she sacrifice her happiness and succumb to it? Not if he has anything to say about it…

In ‘In Our Nature’ by Jessica Nicholls, when Mira’s privacy and independence are threatened, she can be very nasty. Daniel is an expert on American mountain lions. His assistance is requested after an ‘incident’ on Mira’s front lawn. When the two meet, they recognise each other in more than one way.

In ‘Divine Passage’ by Dariel Raye, Kimani, a breeder with the power to preserve the human race, must depend on her guardian, Ahkil, a black panther shifter with more than one reason to distrust humans, but his secrets could change the course of her life forever.

In ‘The Distance Between’ by Mia Darien, she’s traveled thousands of miles, looking for a safe place. He’s brought her thousands of miles, looking to not be lonely any more. But they both have secrets. Can they bridge the distance between, and find what they’re looking for in each other?

In ‘Hannah’s Fate’ by Abigail Owen, cougar shifters have allied into groups, together in a rocky alliance to protect themselves against other shifters. Hannah Keller becomes the targeted Mate for Kyle Carstairs, the treacherous soon-to-be Alpha of another group. Meanwhile, Nick Jensen, her childhood hero and longtime secret crush, has returned home with hopes of claiming Hannah for his own. But will he be in time to rescue her from the Carstairs’s schemes?

In ‘Full Moon’ by B. R. Kingsolver, the full moon can get a girl stirred up, especially with a handsome cowboy paying her way too much attention. If it wasn’t for those damned werewolves causing trouble and getting in the way…

 

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

Publication Date: May 10, 2014

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Charity: American Red Cross

Romance can be found among the darkest of times. In this anthology, you’ll find four tales of sweet romance about those who dedicate their time, and sometimes even their lives, to helping others. 100% of the proceeds go to the American Red Cross.
“Cross My Heart” by Abigail Owen
“A Healing Touch” by Jessica Nicholls
“Lesson Learned” by Crystel G. Smith
“Hope” by Mia Darien

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

Publication Date: August 1, 2014

Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy

Charity: Wounded Warrior Project

Science Fiction and Fantasy, two genres that are both unalike and inextricably entwined, stretching the imagination to the expansive boundaries of time, space, and magic. These boundaries are often filled with warriors and war, fights and causes worth fighting for, and that’s what you’ll find in this anthology.
From fighting aliens in space to demons in a world of magic, you’ll find many stories to suit your starship’s entertainment collection or your favorite bard at the local tavern…or just your imagination here and now. Sit back and enjoy twelve stories from authors both familiar and new!
100% of the proceeds to be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project.
“SARAH” by Lee Pletzers
“The Summoned Rise of the Phantom Knights” by Kenny Emmanuel
“Border Patrol” by BR Kingsolver
“The Twelve” by Mia Darien
“Ghosts” by Christi Rigby
“Outside the Walls” by A. L. Butcher & Diana L. Wicker
“My Brother’s Keeper” by Raphyel M. Jordan
“With Our Own Blood” by Jessica Nicholls
“The Connection” by Crystal G. Smith
“A Fly on the Wall” by Chantal Boudreau
“Slacker” by Doug Dandridge
“The Light Bless Thee and Keep Thee” by Mason Darien

 

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Titles: Here, Kitty Kitty / Reaching Out / Bellator
Edited by: Mia Darien
Publication Dates: October 4, 2013 / May 10, 2014 / August 1, 2014
Genres: Paranormal Romance / Romance / Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Charities: Exotic Feline Rescue Center / American Red Cross / Wounded Warrior Project

Synopsis

Here, Kitty Kitty
 

What is it about the tiger that so captivates? Or about the jaguar that enchants? Why are we so drawn to the lethal grace of the large feline predators of the world? Get ready to purr, growl and roar along with six paranormal romance authors in this anthology of love and shapeshifting kitties. After reading these six unique tales, from the sexy to the sweet, you’ll be guaranteed to be saying… Here, Kitty Kitty… * * * In ‘His Jaguar Princess’ by A. Star, jaguar shifter Selene Peters can’t deny her feelings for the tycoon Lucas King. Somehow, he’s penetrated her barriers and become more than just a client, but loving a human is dangerous and she fears her past repeating itself. Could he help her overcome the past or will she sacrifice her happiness and succumb to it? Not if he has anything to say about it… In ‘In Our Nature’ by Jessica Nicholls, when Mira’s privacy and independence are threatened, she can be very nasty. Daniel is an expert on American mountain lions. His assistance is requested after an ‘incident’ on Mira’s front lawn. When the two meet, they recognise each other in more than one way. In ‘Divine Passage’ by Dariel Raye, Kimani, a breeder with the power to preserve the human race, must depend on her guardian, Ahkil, a black panther shifter with more than one reason to distrust humans, but his secrets could change the course of her life forever. In ‘The Distance Between’ by Mia Darien, she’s traveled thousands of miles, looking for a safe place. He’s brought her thousands of miles, looking to not be lonely any more. But they both have secrets. Can they bridge the distance between, and find what they’re looking for in each other? In ‘Hannah’s Fate’ by Abigail Owen, cougar shifters have allied into groups, together in a rocky alliance to protect themselves against other shifters. Hannah Keller becomes the targeted Mate for Kyle Carstairs, the treacherous soon-to-be Alpha of another group. Meanwhile, Nick Jensen, her childhood hero and longtime secret crush, has returned home with hopes of claiming Hannah for his own. But will he be in time to rescue her from the Carstairs’s schemes? In ‘Full Moon’ by B. R. Kingsolver, the full moon can get a girl stirred up, especially with a handsome cowboy paying her way too much attention. If it wasn’t for those damned werewolves causing trouble and getting in the way…

Reaching Out
 

Romance can be found among the darkest of times. In this anthology, you’ll find four tales of sweet romance about those who dedicate their time, and sometimes even their lives, to helping others. 100% of the proceeds go to the American Red Cross. “Cross My Heart” by Abigail Owen “A Healing Touch” by Jessica Nicholls “Lesson Learned” by Crystel G. Smith “Hope” by Mia Darien

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

Bellator
Science Fiction and Fantasy, two genres that are both unalike and inextricably entwined, stretching the imagination to the expansive boundaries of time, space, and magic. These boundaries are often filled with warriors and war, fights and causes worth fighting for, and that’s what you’ll find in this anthology. From fighting aliens in space to demons in a world of magic, you’ll find many stories to suit your starship’s entertainment collection or your favorite bard at the local tavern…or just your imagination here and now. Sit back and enjoy twelve stories from authors both familiar and new! 100% of the proceeds to be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project. “SARAH” by Lee Pletzers “The Summoned Rise of the Phantom Knights” by Kenny Emmanuel “Border Patrol” by BR Kingsolver “The Twelve” by Mia Darien “Ghosts” by Christi Rigby “Outside the Walls” by A. L. Butcher & Diana L. Wicker “My Brother’s Keeper” by Raphyel M. Jordan “With Our Own Blood” by Jessica Nicholls “The Connection” by Crystal G. Smith “A Fly on the Wall” by Chantal Boudreau “Slacker” by Doug Dandridge “The Light Bless Thee and Keep Thee” by Mason Darien

 

Giveaway: There is a giveaway for this blast. $10 Amazon/B&N G.C. or a $10 credit at the Book Depository.

Sunday Surprise

Originally posted on creative barbwire (or the many lives of a creator):

And it’s a guest! She’s author of the month on GR Smashwords Authors, so go check her thread for more… in the meantime, ladies and gentlemen please welcome Jessica West!

Where do you live and write from?

I live in Louisiana, but I write from my imaginary “man-cave”. I work in a corner of the den, away from the busier areas of my home and facing the wall. It’s easier to avoid distractions that way.

22095355Why do you write?

Sometimes I write because a story (or more accurately a character) has my attention and won’t let go. Sometimes I write to get some negative feelings off my chest. And sometimes I just need to work out some issue or other I don’t quite understand. In doing the latter, I’m able to better understand issues that illicit strong responses within me, and why they do. I share those things so that…

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Guest Post – Jade Varden – on Writing and Marketing

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Today YA author Jade Varden joins us – here are her tips on writing and marketing.

Jade – over to you.

Advice to newbies: Read a lot. Find out what sort of stories you like. Re-read your favorites. Read, read, read.

Your best and worst marketing tips: Market your book by giving people something they can use. What does your book offer them? What questions will it answer? Will they laugh or cry or think because of it? Think about that, and you’ll know how to market it. Don’t market your book by saying “buy this book.” Be more creative than that.

What YOU look for in a good book. I look for a strong main character that I can feel something about. Good or bad, I want to feel something for the character.

The importance of good and consistent characterisation.A character has to stay true to their established personality, but character growth is also important in books.

How to find beta readers. Use forums to find them. This is a great resource for connecting with other authors and readers.

Please tell us a little about yourself. (A couple of lines.) Lately I’ve been trying to challenge myself with my writing. I’ve been trying to branch out into new genres, and I’m really enjoying it so far.

On average how many books do you read a month?  What genres do you enjoy? I don’t really have much time to read beyond doing my own proofing. I love the YA genre, but I’m eclectic. I read mystery, horror, romance, anything that looks good.

When reviewing what are the important criteria? Editing? Plot?  Which factors do you overlook? (if any). I look for character and plot development. Pacing is also incredibly important. I don’t want it to be too slow, but not too fast either.

What are your opinions on authors commenting on a review – negative and positive? I don’t think they should do it.

Do you feel it is appropriate to discuss author behaviour in a review, is this a factor which influences your choice? No and no.

A lot of readers comment about a book with all 4 or 5 star reviews and nothing below as being suspicious? What do you think about this? I think people probably do this a lot. It’s much easier not to write any text, right?

Do you give negative reviews?  I give constructive criticism. It has been interpreted as negative in the past.

Do you mainly stick to your preferred genres, or would you consider reviewing outside your comfort zone? If the plot sounds interesting, I’ll definitely go outside my comfort zone.

Are your characters based on real people? All of them are based on real characteristics that I’ve seen in people, but only very rarely is one of my characters wholly based on a real person. I pick and choose from people I know and even strangers.

Have you ever used a person you don’t/didn’t like as a character then killed them off? No, but that’s an amazing idea.

Research can be important in world-building, how much do you need to do for your books? Do you enjoy this aspect of creating a novel and what are your favourite resources? Research is huge when it comes to writing a book, and you need to do as much as you need to do to answer all the questions your readers might have. I don’t necessarily enjoy research because it is time-consuming. I look for credible resources only. Encyclopedias, university websites, newspapers. Don’t use Wikipedia.

Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be? I absolutely do. Indie authors have taken an alternative path, and anything different is suspect.

Do you read work by self-published authors? Absolutely!

What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers? Read. Connect with readers. Edit.

What are your views on authors offering free books? It’s a great way to promote.

Do you have a favourite movie? Gone With the Wind

Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? I’m afraid of the shower.

What medium do you prefer – e-books, audiobooks or paper books? Would you care to expand on this? I love, love, love ebooks. It’s just so easy.

When choosing a book what makes you stop and give it a second look?  What makes you turn away? The blurb. I’ll always flip a cover over to get to the blurb. If I see any errors in the blurb, I’m out.

Do you read reviews by others and if so do they influence your choice?I don’t, because I want to avoid spoilers. However, I will look at general ratings and if a book has a ton of really low ratings I might think twice.

Do you “judge a book by its cover?” I do up to a point. I’ll only turn away from a book if the cover is really poorly done.

Does the behaviour of an author affect your choice to read one of their books? I usually don’t know much about the author personally when I go to read one of their books.

If you had to pick three favourite books to take to a desert island what would they be? Gone With the Wind, Flowers in the Attic, Valley of Horses.

Do you think bricks and mortar bookshops are in decline? I don’t think there’s any question that they are.

Some readers believe all 4 and 5 star reviews on a book must be fake. What are your thoughts on this? I think that sounds ridiculous.

About the Author

 

Jade Varden writes young adult novels for teen readers. When she’s not crafting mysteries in her books, Jade also blogs practical writing tips for authors who self-publish. Jade currently makes her home in Louisville, Kentucky, where she enjoys reading and reviewing indie books by other self-published authors. Follow her on Twitter @JadeVarden. Visit Jade’s blog at http://jadevarden.blogspot.com/ for reviews, writing tips, self-publishing advice and everything else you ever wanted to know about reading and writing books.

 

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JadeVarden

At Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Jade-Varden/e/B006QD4LUA/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

 

Kiss and Tales 2 – From the Indie Collaboration

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I’m not directly involved with this free anthology from the Indie Collaboration, but I have agreed to promote it.

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Kiss and Tales 2: A Romantic Collection by The Indie Collaboration. Book 8! Available in Print & Kindle on Amazon, Free on Smashwords.
Kiss_and_Tales_2__A__Cover_for_Kindle

Stories and poetry in this collection by Kristina M Jacobs (Author), Chris Raven (Author), Alan Hardy (Author), Greatest Poet Alive (Author),Kottyn Campbell (Author), Margene Wiese-Baier (Author), Margaret Wiese (Author), Madhu Kalyan Mattaparthi (Author), Ailene Openiano Giray(Author).

Cool trivia about BOOK 8 Kiss and Tales 2: A Romantic Collection from The Indie Collaboration:

#1 – Book 8 featured 5 poems from Margaret Wiese who passed away in 1985, donated to us by one of her daughters. They were not published during her lifetime. She lived before the days of computers and Createspace so those were scanned in from original typewritten pages! They were written in the 1950s and 1960s and timeless as if they’d been written just yesterday.

#2 – Madhu Kalyan Mattaparthi & Ailene Openiano Giray are in love. Their love poetry was submitted as a surprise for Valentine’s day for Ailene. That makes Ailene an honorary member of The Indie Collaboration. Very sweet & romantic!

#3 – Kristina Jacobs story “Cedar Falls” was the beginning of a first attempt to write a romance – written longhand in a notebook circa 2011 – and never touched again! It found new life as a short story in Kiss and Tales 2

#4 – The book was originally intended to be titled Kiss and Tales 2: Another Romantic Collection…but since I didn’t catch the cover title difference until today, Kiss and Tales 2: A Romantic Collection it is!!

#5 – This is the first collection where we’ve included Indie art – with two paintings by artist, writer, poet & pastor Margene Wiese-Baier. She submitted a painting of two eagles to go with her poem, “Marriage” and a painting of purple flowers to go with her poem, “Would You Just Let Me Love You”

#6 – G.P. A. Greatest Poet Alive contributed poetry & his alter ego James Gordon gave us his story of middle school love, “Maria.”

#7 – Kristina Jacobs poem “Windows to the Soul” is an acrostic poem.

#8 – One of the things we love about The Indie Collaboration is that our authors live all over the world! In book 8 we’ve got authors in the US, UK & India, but each book is different depending on who in The Indie Collaboration decides to contribute!

Smashwords link:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/518353

 

Author Interview Number Eighty-Four – Seth Lindberg

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Welcome Seth Lindberg (S.E. Lindberg)

 

  • a8cd4-spawn-o-dyscrasia-draftcover-v4-10-3-2013
  • Where are you from and where do you live now?

I am mostly a mid-West U.S.A. guy, with roots in Wisconsin and Ohio. For about two decades now, I have lived near Cincinnati, Ohio. During the day, I practice chemistry & microscopy to further the production of complex mixtures (shampoo, toothpastes, cosmetics, detergents); by night, I write and illustrate weird fiction. By the way, Ohio has had many fantasy writers (including 3 of the 15 “Swordsmen and Sorcerers’ Guild of America” of the 1970’s): Roger Zelazny, Richard Lee Byers, Andre Norton, Ted Rypel, John Jakes, Stephen Donaldson….and more…

 

  • Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc.

Dark Fantasy/Sword & Sorcery in the vein of Robert Howard and Clark Ashton Smith.  Perhaps hipsters of today would call it Grimdark.

 

  • Can you give us a silly fact about yourself?

Although I love fantasy art with tons of blood & gore, the slightest amount of real blood makes me sick. I have trouble squashing bugs even, and faint easily. I love horror movies, but could never watch more than a few seconds of the Faces of Death series (an 1980’s documentary series showing actual deaths of animals & humans).  Real death revolts me, but books & movies I watch better have tons of the fake stuff!

 

  • Is there a message conveyed within your writing? Do you feel this is important in a book?

Not a “message” as much as a “muse.”  Artists (writers included) are driven by something, a motivation or “muse.” I think anyone creating art should consider why they are compelled to do so.  Mimicking someone else’s art can be good practice, but realizing someone else’s muse generally does not please the audience or the artist. Usually people get fascinated with something that other artists are not exploring.

 

My Muse? As a practicing chemist and hobbyist illustrator, I’m driven to explore the weird experience of artists & scientists attempting to capture the divine. I identify with early scientists before chemistry splintered from alchemy, when Art and Science disciplines had common purpose. Take, for example, early anatomy (Medieval and Renaissance period): surgeons searched for the elements of the soul as they dissected bodies; data was largely visual, and had to be recorded by an illustrator. The technology behind paint and dyeing was developing alongside advances in medicine. Back then, the same instrumentation in apothecaries produced medicines as well as paints/inks, so the distinction between artist & scientist was obscure. Despite all the advances over centuries, much of the alchemical focus remains at large.  Personally, it drive me nuts knowing that energy and mass are conserved quantities (that can be measured, tracked, and manipulated), yet the “soul” still evades detection or practical measure. As long as intangible things exist beyond our reach of understanding, we’ll need artists to interpret (study?) them.  With Dyscrasia Fiction, I rely on Sword & Sorcery as a medium to contemplate life-death-art, so undead characters play a big role!

 

Here is my standard blurb: Dyscrasia literally means “a bad mixture of liquids” (it is not a fictional land).  Historically, dyscrasia referred to any imbalance of the four medicinal humors professed by the ancient Greeks to sustain life (phlegm, blood, black and yellow bile).  Artisans, anatomists, and chemists of the Renaissance expressed shared interest in the humors; accordingly, the scope of humorism evolved to include aspects of the four alchemical elements (water, air, earth and fire) and psychological temperaments (phlegmatic, sanguine, melancholic and choleric).  In short, the humors are mystical media of color, energy, and emotion; Dyscrasia Fiction presents them as spiritual muses for artisans, sources of magical power, and contagions of a deadly disease.  The books explore the choices humans and their gods make as this disease corrupts their souls, shared blood and creative energies.

 

  • Sort these into order of importance: Great characters; great world-building; solid plot; technically perfect. Can you explain why you chose this order? (Yes I know they all are important…)

For most storytelling, readers desire a character to be a liaison. However, to provide satisfying escapism, the world-building aspect must be solid (“real” almost).  This question resonates with me, since I experimented with prioritizing these first hand. Ideally, I could have figured out a way to simultaneously build a world and fascinating characters—but as I started writing, my “world” kept changing. So I chose to build a strong, consistent world with my debut book Lords of Dyscrasia.  Most reviews confirm I succeeded…at the expense of character development/reader-engagement. I took reader reviews to heart (it is tough to relate to an alien world when most everyone is undead) and introduced the living protagonist Helen in Spawn of Dyscrasia.  

 

To reinforce the character focus, I commissioned master fantasy painter Ken Kelly to portray Helen on the cover. I blogged the experience; here, I highlight the design choice of a still, portrait-style composition over an action scene. For Book 3, Helen will grace the cover by herself (working title Seer Helen, due out ~2017).

 

  • In what formats are your books available? (E-books, print, large print audio) Are you intending to expand these and if not, what is the reason?

Print and eBooks, available from most online retailers.  Audio books are in production now, for a March 2015 release via Audible.com.

 

  • Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited?

With rare exception, the amount of editing scales with quality. Editing can be painful and time consuming, but is necessary. I hired professional editors for both my books (for copy and line editing); that was after several rounds of edits from critical beta-readers, and rounds of self-editing.

 

  • Do you read work by self-published authors? Yes, frequently. I try to review everything I read to help future readers, as well as the authors.

 

  • Can you name your favourite traditionally published author? And your favourite indie/self-published author?

Favorite mainstream published author: Clark Ashton Smith (poetic weird fiction from the pen pal of Robert E. Howard and Howard P. Lovecraft)

Favorite Indie/self-published: Tom Barczak (an architect by day, illustrator and poetic writer by night… I relate to his Veil of the Dragon work)

 

  • Do you have any pets?

A white, passive cat “Sweetie,” and a comical, black pug “Shorty.”

 

Book links, website/blog and author links:

 

 

Tales of Erana – Volume One

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I’m pleased to announce the release of Tales of Erana – Volume One.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/1508403538

Available exclusively on Amazon and only in print it comprises the short fantasy stories set in the world of Erana, which are available in assorted anthologies. This is the first time the stories have been featured as one collection.

Lonely gods, errant mortals, monsters, magic and mayhem, love and loss, romance and revenge all set in a dark fantasy mythic world – The world of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles.

Featuring:

The Moon on the Water – a tale of greed, magic, love and loss and the lore of the Trollkind.

The Tale of Treyna the Beloved – the desire of a lusty god for a mortal has terrible consequences, and the sky will never be the same.

Storm Born – a lonely mage creates a companion but has he unleashed more than he knows?

The Blue Phial – a crafty apothecary recounts how important it is to read the label when dabbling with potions.

The Legend of Oeliana – A guardian of the forest keeps a secret, until the magic returns.

The Warrior’s Curse – when three adventurers stumble into a mysterious cave will their greed get the better of them, or will they too fall to the monster’s curse?

Just One Mistake – Reluctant hero Coel must right a wrong.

 

Tales of Erana PB Cover I

Cover art by Atelier Sommerland – Fotolia

 

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