Author Interview Stand Together Anthology – Victoria Zigler

Author name:

Victoria Zigler.

How did you become involved with this project?

I saw a post about it on Facebook, and thought it was an excellent idea, and a great way to potentially help those suffering in the Ukraine.  I wanted to help, but I can’t – and would prefer not to – fight, and I’m not in a position to take in refugees, but I can write.  It’s not much, but at least it was something I could do to try and help.

Tell us a little about your work in this book?

I wasn’t sure at first what I would write for this anthology.  I mean, I write for children for the most part.  But I got to thinking about how the young children must be feeling in all of this.  So I wrote a poem about it.

Please tell us about your other publications/work.

I’m a poet and children’s author.  To date I’ve published 11 poetry collections and 48 children’s stories.  I’ve also now contributed to three anthologies, counting this one.

My stories are mostly animal stories, fairy tales, and fantasy stories, but I have dabbled in a couple of other genres too, including writing a series of five books about a little boy named Toby’s adjustments to sight loss, which are based on my own experiences with adjusting after losing the last of my own sight.

Do you think the written word (or art) bring power and freedom?

Absolutely! Words have power.  There’s no doubt about that.  And the right words at the right moment can make a huge difference in producing a positive outcome in any situation.  Unfortunately, the wrong words at the wrong moment can just as easily shift things in the other direction.

If you could have dinner with any literary character or author who would you choose, and what would you eat.

There are too many to pick from for either catagory, so I can’t decide.  And what I’d eat would depend where we went and what vegan-friendly options they had on the menu that I liked the sound of.

How influential is storytelling/poetry to our culture?

Words in any form are very influential.  Stories and poems have shaped mankind’s history, and will shape our future too.

If you could be any fantasy/mythical or legendary person/creature what would you be and why?

Either a gryphon, because I love lions and like the idea of being able to fly, or a mermaid, because then I could live under the sea.  Which I like the sound of most differs depending on my mood.

Which authors/books have influenced you the most?

Everything I’ve ever read has influenced me in sme shape or form, whether I’m aware of it or not.  As for those I know definitely have – well, there are too many to name, so I’ll just stick with my original answer of all of the ones I’ve read.

What’s your next writing adventure?

Whichever of the many works in progress I have I end up finishing first.  Beyond that, I can’t really tell you at this point.  Even if progress is slow, I’m always working on something, so there’s bound to be something in the not-too-distant future.  Half the time even I’m not sure, so you’ll have to just watch my blog and social media to find out what I end up publishing next.

What is your greatest success?

Well, counting the anthologies I’ve contributed to I’ve got more than 60 titles to my name (I believe it currently stands at 62).  I’d say that counts as a pretty great success.

What’s your favourite quote, who said it and why?

“In a universe so full of wonders, how is it that humans have created boredom?”

It’s a quote from Terry Pratchett’s “Hogfather” which was said by the character of Death.  And I love the quote because it’s an excellent reminder of all the wonderful things there are to enjoy and appreciate in the world.

Tell us a silly fact about yourself.

Even though my favourite colour has always been purple, and my favourite scent is lavender, my favourite flower isn’t a purple one.  My favourite flower is a yellow rose.

What did you want to be when you ‘grew up’?

I’m not entirely sure I did completely grow up yet.  And maybe I won’t even bother, since it seems pretty dull.  But when I was little I wanted to be a vet with a large family who wrote and published books in her spare time.  Where exactly I was supposed to get all this spare time with being a vet and having a large family I’m not entirely certain, but there you go.  The chance for the vet and large family to happen has passed, and they’re no longer options.  But I got to be an author anyhow, and one out of three isn’t bad.

*~*

Victoria Zigler is a blind vegan poet and children’s author.  Born and raised in the shadow of the Black Mountains of Wales, UK, she moved away from Wales three times: once to spend six months living in Alberta, Canada, the other times to spend a few years living near Hastings on the South-East coast of England, UK, each time returning to Wales.  Now she lives in Wales again, along with a West Highland White Terrier named Lilie, a Cavapoo named Logan, a Hermann’s Tortoise named Artemis, and her Canadian husband, Kelly.

Despite spending far too much time in hospital, and eventually losing her sight to Congenital Glaucoma, Victoria – or Tori, if you prefer – has been writing since she knew how, with no plans to stop any time soon.  She has a long list of publications to her name, including several poetry collections, a whole load of children’s stories, a story in the sci-fi and fantasy anthology Wyrd Worlds II, three poems in the Poetry Treasures anthology, and a poem in the Stand Together charity anthology.  Plus, Tori’s Hermann’s Tortoise, Artemis, was featured in both the Magnificent Pets Coloring Book For Children and the Magnificent Pets Mandala Coloring Book For Adults.

Vegan due to both a love for animals and dairy allergy, as well as an Eclectic Pagan, Tori describes herself as a combination of Hermione Granger and Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter books: Hermione’s thirst for knowledge and love of books, combined with Luna’s wandering mind and alternative way of looking at the world.  She has a wide variety of interests, designed to exercise both the creative and logical sides of her brain, which she dabbles in at random depending on what she feels like doing at any given time, and is most likely to be found playing with her petkids, involved in calls with the ACB, curled up somewhere with a cup of tea and a book, working on some kind of craft project, or trying to keep one step ahead of those pesky typo fairies while writing her own books.

Links:

Website: http://www.zigler.co.uk

Blog: https://ziglernews.blogspot.co.uk

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/toriz

Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Victoria-Zigler/424999294215717

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/victoriazigler

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCakYxH7BNyc2Lxr1g1nbP9w

Find Tori’s books on…

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/toriz

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Victoria-Zigler/e/B00BHS9DQ6/

…Along with a variety of other retailers, such as Audible, iTunes, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble.

Swift Six Author Interview – Bruno Martins Soares

 

Name: Bruno Martins Soares

Please introduce yourself (250 words or so):

I don’t really know how old I was when I started writing stories. I wrote them for school, I’m certain, but the first time I wrote without any academic goal I was 12, I remember that much. I just loved reading and stories and the books I laid hands on didn’t last that much and I had so many stories in my head I just started playing with them until it was impossible not to write them down.

 

I kept writing different stuff. When I was 22, a friend of mine incited me to enter one of the largest and most prestigious Young Writers’ contests in Portugal. I did and won an Honourable Mention. I tried again two years later and won it. I went to Torino and then Rome and Sarajevo, representing my country as a Young Writer. One of the best times of my life. Then, one day, I decided to write a Scifi novel I had been chewing on for some time: The Saga of Alex 9. I showed it to a publisher who’d just included a short story of mine in an anthology, and he loved it. I was a published novelist one year later, and soon was featured in a series alongside names like George R.R. Martin or Bernard Cornwell, hailed as an author to recon with in Portuguese Scifi. How about that? I wrote more novels and worked in movies, TV and plays. I’ve done a lot of things in my career, but overall, I’ve been writing professionally for 20 years.

Tell us about your book(s) – title, genre etc (short)

INSIGHT is a horror story that will come out in April 22. It’s about Matt Taylor, an American psychologist. Strange things begin to happen to him: his 9-year-old son seems to develop supernatural powers, apparitions of his dead wife become frequent, and he is being followed by a suspicious man. When his son is kidnapped, he dives into a spiral of unexplained events. He’ll have to do the unimaginable to save his family. It’s very intense and thought provoking, I think. I love how the characters came out and Matt’s character in particular is incredibly strong and admirable – and yet, still very human and relatable.

When did you start your writing adventure? What was the inspiration for it?

I love stories since I can remember. And I was a storyteller from the start. But I grew up watching my father reading books. Every day before or after lunch or dinner he would sit in his chair and read a novel. A crime novel, as it happens. Or a spy novel. He hated SciFi («Those are things that don’t happen and will never happen.» – i.e. «old ladies solve murders all the time.»), and Fantasy was obviously (obviously!) for kids. Still, some of the first novels he gave me to read were from Edgar Rice Burroughs or Jules Verne. And that was besides all the comic books I read – the pride of my collection was a 50cm-long special edition of ‘Flash Gordon’. At 16 I read Frank Herbert’s ‘Dune’ for the first time, and loved it. Its intimist style still stays with me after all this time. As well as authors as Boris Vian, or Virginia Woolf

But then, movies. I love movies. Much of my writing skills, my plotting skills, my ‘lay-down-the-scene’ skills, came from movies. I’d stay here a long time talking about it, so I’d better shut up. Seriously, when I was a kid, I would narrate every single scene from a movie I enjoyed to some poor family member I was able to trap. I was nasty! So don’t get me started!

What writing plans do you have for the future?

I have another couple of books still to publish this year. Probably a box-set for THE DARK SEA WAR CHRONICLES with a couple of surprises in it as well. Then, later in the year, I’m planning to start publishing the English version of my first SciFi trilogy: THE ALEX 9 SAGA. Meanwhile, I’m writing the sequel to THE DARK SEA WAR CHRONICLES, called THE OUTER SEA WAR CHRONICLES. If the DSWC was a kind of WW2’s Battle of the Atlantic in Space, OSWC is a kind of WW2’s Battle of the Pacific in Space. It’s the continuation of Byl Iddo’s saga.

What do you like to read?

Love Hemingway, Woolf and G.R.R.Martin. But also Bernard Cornwell or Alexander Kent/Douglas Reeman. Love to read historical fiction, but also some realistic one and scifi/fantasy.

What piece of advice do you wish you’d had when you’d started your writing adventure?

It’s easy to get infatuated with incredible stories in our heads just to find out that when we start putting them in the blank page there is something missing. Writing is a bit more difficult than it seems. Many aspiring writers get the sense that they are not any good after the first few tries. But that’s a trap. Writing is a craft with a set of skills you need to learn. You can learn them by yourself, reading books and watching movies, or you can have lessons or mentors, or use other learning resources. Still, it takes time. There’s no substitute to writing and writing and writing. You won’t be good enough unless you practice.

Another trap is being discouraged by rejection. Becoming a writer means you’re entering the rejection business. If you’re doing enough writing you’ll probably be rejected 95% of the time. That’s the nature of the thing. Don’t get discouraged. Accept it. It is normal for someone in this kind of business, just like in acting or modelling, or sales, to be rejected most of the time. Get used to it.

 

Author bio and book synopsis

Bruno Martins Soares writes fiction since he was 12 years old, and his first book, ‘O Massacre’ (The Massacre), a collection of short stories, came out in Portugal in 1998.

It was followed by several contributions to newspapers, magazines, and other collective books.

In 1996, he won the National Young Creators Award for Writing, representing Portugal at the 1997 Torino Young Creators of Europe and the Mediterranean Fair, where his short-story ‘Mindsweeper’ was translated and published in Italian.

His first novel ‘A Saga de Alex 9’ (The Alex 9 Saga) was published in Portugal in 2012, by publisher Saída de Emergência, within a series that features authors like George R.R.Martin or Bernard Cornwell. The Portuguese version of ‘The Dark Sea War Chronicles’ (A Batalha da Escuridão) was published by Editorial Divergência.

He worked in Project Development for Television and was a journalist and a communications, HR and management consultant before settling as a writer. He was also an international correspondent in Portugal for Jane’s Defense Weekly and a researcher for The Washington Post. He wrote several plays and short and full-length pictures’ screenplays, and he wrote and produced English-spoken Castaway Entertainment’s full-length feature film ‘Regret’, distributed in the USA and Canada in 2015. He lives and works in Lisbon.

 

INSIGHT

Strange things begin to happen to Matt, a recent widower: his 9-year-old son seems to develop supernatural powers, apparitions of his dead wife become frequent, and he is being followed by a suspicious man. When his son is kidnapped, he dives into a spiral of unexplained events. He’ll have to do the unimaginable to save his family.

In this new novel, award-winning author Bruno Martins Soares dives into the psychological thriller/horror genre to give us a riveting tale of suspense, surprising twists and impossible choices.

Links/Social media

 

https://brunomartinssoares.com/

https://amzn.to/3cayo5q

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5759799.Bruno_Martins_Soares

https://www.facebook.com/BMartinsSoares

https://www.instagram.com/b.martinssoares

Swift Six Author Interview CT Phipps #Scifi

Name: CT Phipps

Please introduce yourself (250 words or so):

Hello, my name is CT Phipps and I am the author of SPACE ACADEMY DROPOUTS. I am a science fiction and fantasy author who has written the Supervillainy Saga, Agent G, Lucifer’s Star, and Cthulhu Armageddon among others.

Tell us about your book(s) – title, genre etc (short):

SPACE ACADEMY DROPOUTS is a humorous space opera taking place a couple of centuries in the future when humanity has been contacted by aliens and taken to the stars. We’re kind of the Belgium of the galaxy, though, and not everyone is happy about that.

After Vance drops out of Space Academy, he ends up getting dragooned into their secret service and put on a suicide mission to recover sun destroying weapons. What’s worse is his crew is a bunch of misfits that he has to ride herd on. Vance wonders why they’re putting such an oddball collection together to do such an important mission but time is running out to solve the mystery.

When did you start your writing adventure? What was the inspiration for it?

I have always been a huge Star Trek, Mass Effect, Babylon Five, and other space opera scifi fan. Space Academy Dropouts is an extended homage to those franchises. I have been writing since college but only started to get good at it around 2015 or so. That’s when my first published works started happening.

What writing plans do you have for the future?

In addition to Space Academy Dropouts, I have the book Daughter of the Cyber Dragons coming out. It’s a cyberpunk street adventure that I think people will absolutely love. It stars Keiko “Kei” Springs who is a Rider, a mercenary courier, who is working in the arcology of New Los Angeles. Well, suffice to say, her latest job proves to be quite a bit more complicated than she expected it to be and she ends up teamed up with a crew of misfits that don’t know who to trust.

What do you like to read?

I’m a science fiction, cyberpunk, urban fantasy, and superhero fan. Which, coincidentally, is a lot of what I like to write. I love writers like Anna Mocikat, SC Jensen, Jim Butcher, Patricia Briggs, David Niall Wilson, and others.

What piece of advice do you wish you’d had when you’d started your writing adventure?

Don’t take the advice of people who promise you the moon marketing wise. There’s a lot of scammers out there.

Author bio and book synopsis

AUTHOR BIO:

C.T Phipps is a lifelong student of horror, science fiction, and fantasy. An avid tabletop gamer, he discovered this passion led him to write and turned him into a lifelong geek. He is a regular blogger on “The United Federation of Charles” (http://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/).

He’s the author of Agent G, Cthulhu Armageddon, Lucifer’s Star, Straight Outta Fangton, and The Supervillainy Saga.

BOOK SYNOPSIS:

“Boldly going because they’re completely lost.”

The newly renamed Vance Turbo has sabotaged his own career at Space Fleet Academy due to a desire to atone for training accident. Unfortunately, his actions result in him getting press-ganged into an expendable crew of misfits recruited by a legendary starship captain. Their mission? To recover a collection of lost sun-destroying missiles that could restart a galactic war. Unfortunately, Vance is smart enough to know something is wrong with this picture. After all, no sane person would recruit this crew to save the universe.

SPACE ACADEMY DROPOUTS is an all-new series from the hilarious duo of C.T. Phipps (Supervillainy Saga, Agent G) and Michael Suttkus (I Was a Teenage Weredeer, Lucifer’s Star) that lampoons the space opera as well as military science fiction genres.

Links/Social media

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Willowhugger

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/charles.phipps.946

Author Page: https://ctphipps.com/

Facebook Fan Club: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1491731877784498/

Dirty Dozen Author Interview – Olivette Devaux #LBGT #Gayfic #Romance

Welcome to Olivette Devaux

What first prompted you to publish your work?

I have a writing mentor who is a NYT bestseller author as well as a former pro poker player. Turns out, in his younger years he was homeless for a few months (not related to poker,) and he was living out of his Porsche. In the desert, no less. The concept of a homeless man living out of a PORSCHE got me tickled pink. I mean, who does that? I ran with the idea and created Sam and his love interest, Theo.

When I write a book, I publish it. In fact, I publish all books I write. What I don’t publish is short stories – those often sit on my hard drive and I trip over them every so often and say, “Oh, yeah. I really should publish this one.” And then I forget again.

I kind of wanted to give a copy of Lucky Starflowers to my mentor, but I chickened out.

How did you become involved in book bundles? Would you recommend it?

Book bundles are a lot of fun! They are a great way for readers to discover new writers in their target genre. They are also a great way for writers to introduce themselves to a new group of folks who might not hear of them before. Collaborating with other writers is also wonderful and creative. What’s not to like?

What other bundles are you involved with?

There have been so many that I forget. I have a book, maybe two, in Burning Rubbers, which features gay romance tough guys. That one was a lot of fun. The name is kind of awful. It’s like a bad Dad joke and I should be embarrassed for even coming up with it, let alone using it!

Are you a ‘pantser’ or a ‘plotter’?

Well…when I get an idea, I let it fester for a while. At least a day. I generate ideas easily, so if it’s still with me the next day, it’s worth thinking about. If it’s with me few days after that, I’ll sit and write. By then, I’ll have established a few, fairly vague milestones along the plotline. I write into the dark, and when I allow myself to cut loose and do that, my characters surprise me. My milestones might shift around as well, but that’s okay. The story always grows something better in their place.

What is your favourite mythical creature? Why is this?

Ah, that would be a Waterkin. It’s a name I made up for a mythical Czech creature I grew up with, although they are known throughout Europe. I have a whole series of stories written about the way they immigrated to the US and now live in the local rivers and try to adapt to modern life. That world is under my Kate Pavelle pen name, though, and it’s not out yet.

What does writing bring to your life?

I love to create things. Stories are just one of the things I make, and I love sharing them with the world. I love injecting a bit of humor into mine, whether it’s a Millenial vampire in search of “ethical blood,” or whether we’re talking about wiseass one-up scenes that ease the tension in a crime suspense story like Breakfall. I love to laugh, and writing stories allows me to share that with my readers.

If you had to pick 5 books to take to a desert island which 5 would it be?

  1. A survival manual featuring primitive technologies, 2. A book on yoga or karate, with all the asanas and katas in it, 3. a complete collection of Shakespeare, 4. a complete collection of Western poetry (gimme something thick and it has to have Longfellow and Kipling in it,) and a very thick, empty journal with a bunch of pencils.

What piece of advice do you wish you’d had when you started your publishing journey?

START AN INVENTORY!!! Seriously, once you write more than a dozen works, it just kind of sprouts and it gets hard to keep track of what is published where, how long is it, and so on. A good, properly crafted spreadsheet can go a long way to sanity when your have more than a hundred works (of all lengths and genres,) floating around the world. They need new book covers every so often, you want to make sure you offer different books into bundles so readers don’t get bored, and so on,

If you could have dinner with any literary character who would you choose, and what would you eat.

I think Gareth, Jack’s partner, from Jackie Keswick’s Power of Zero series. I’d want to show up for their Christmas celebration, when Gareth makes all those meat pies and various other goodies we don’t have here in the States. The advantage of this choice is that I would probably meet the whole cast of interesting characters from that world!

Tell us about your latest piece?

I wrote Buzz, the last stand-alone book in the Vegas-based Happy Hour Inn world. It took me forever (because Covid and real life interefered,) but once I got back to it, I was relieved when it got me to laugh!

What’s your next writing adventure?

My next writing adventure is sharing my rough drafts on Patreon. If you want some free reads, or some reads you’d be happy to support, go have a look at https://www.patreon.com/mugenpress

Is there a message in your books?

Always. But it’s never on purpose. I write something because the topic intrigues me, and only when I reread it half a year later I realize that a tangentially-related “message” had somehow made its way in. And that’s how it should be, because my primary goal is to entertain.

Blurb

Theo and his cousin Rickey inherit a flowershop. Young, sexy, and heartbroken after a rough breakup, Theo throws himself into running a new business.
No more dating!
No more exotic guys!
If Theo caved to romance, his ideal boyfriend would have a stable cubicle job and drive a Kia.
Sam Grey got caught counting cards one too many times. A professional gambler recovering from a bouncer injury, Sam denies that living out of his Porsche counts as a homeless situation.
February freeze in Pittsburgh, a perky florist and a slower, friendlier way of life helps heal his broken ribs – but hurts his heart when Theo thinks of him as just “passing through.”
DISCLAIMER: no real-life professional gamblers had their ribs broken in the making of this sizzling, HEA gay romance.

Excerpt

LUCKY STARFLOWERS

Steel City Stories, a stand-alone novel

Olivette Devaux

Available on all ebook platforms, in paper, and on Audible.

https://www.patreon.com/mugenpress

http://www.mugenpress.com (currently undergoing construction)

https://www.facebook.com/groups/801472633573132 (An Upper Cut, my FB group)

You can best reach me on Patreon or via Messenger.

Bio

Under another name, Olivette Devaux is an award-winning Amazon best-seller. As Olivette, she writes gay romance of many subgenres. If sci-fi, spy suspense, or urban fantasy without hot romance are your desire, look up her other public pen name, Kate Pavelle.

She has been published in magazines including Pulphouse and Heart’s Kiss, and has earned several Honorable Mentions by the Writers of the Future contest under both pen names.

Olivette Devaux is the author of Disorderly Elements, a contemporary urban fantasy gay romance series featuring a curious development of elemental control gifts. You can read the first book, Like a Rock, on her Patreon for free at https://www.patreon.com/mugenpress

lucky_starflowers 400x600 (3)

Dirty Dozen Author Interview – Kari Kilgore – Suspense/Crime/Thriller #Bundle #Author

Author name: Kari Kilgore

 How did you become involved in book bundles? Would you recommend it?

BundleRabbit happened to start up around the same time my first novel came out, so I’ve been in since the beginning. I make sure everything I publish goes in right away.

I’d absolutely recommend making your stories available for bundles! It’s a wonderful way to work with other authors you may not otherwise meet, and to introduce your readers to other great storytellers. And if other writers introduce you to their readers as well, that’s a bonus.

Are you a ‘pantser’ or a ‘plotter’?

I’m a pantser through and through. I love the adventure and discovery of telling myself the story. I truly do keep writing so I can find out what happens.

What does writing bring to your life?

The adventure of getting to live different lives, to get inside the perspective of different people. Sometimes they’re not even people! I’ve unconsciously explored things that bothered me through writing, often upsetting things from my past. I usually don’t realize what I’ve done until someone points it out. I’ve consciously approached difficult things in writing as well. Setting out to deal with a situation, or try to figure something out.

But most of all, it’s just the fun and joy of telling myself the story. That truly is the best motivation and the best reward for me. I’m delighted to bring happiness, a thoughtful moment, or escape to readers as well.

How much research do you do for your work? What’s the wildest subject you’ve looked at?

Most of the time, I take a pause in writing, look up the one thing I need, and get right back into the story. I’m not a big fan of noting things to look up later, because whatever new information I learn about that seemingly trivial item often changes the course of the story. I’ve gotten more and more in the habit of trusting that little voice in my head that wonders “How does that work?” That voice is driving the writing engine, and she knows what she’s doing.

I don’t know how wild it is, but I recently spent a few minutes reading about poisonous plants in North America for a story. I was shocked by how many there are, and the huge variety of symptoms they can cause.

How influential is storytelling to our culture?

I think it’s an integral part of our culture, one of the ways our civilisations have risen and fallen, grown and changed. We use it for exploration, for healing, for cautionary tales, for escape, for adventure, for teaching. Heck, we tell ourselves stories all night long when we’re dreaming. And the fun thing is I can’t even say it’s a human-only trait. I’ve seen our dogs and cats dream constantly. And have you ever watched cats or dogs or other critters playing? Your cat knows that bottle lid skittering across the floor isn’t actually a mouse, and your dog knows the squeaky toy isn’t alive. But they tell themselves that story so vividly.

What’s the best advice you’ve received about writing/publishing?

There are two that I’ve reminded myself of so often that they’ve become second nature. Write the next thing, and have fun.

For me, immediately jumping in and writing the next thing gets me out of the trap of worrying about the thing I just finished or submitted. If I’m deep into the new story right away, I don’t have time for fretting or stress. And, by the time the response comes back on a submission, I’m far enough into the new story that it doesn’t cause me trouble whether the news is good or bad.

And the whole point of telling stories for me is having fun. Otherwise, there are SO many other ways to make a living. I want to always be writing a story that I’m eager to get back into. If I’m forcing myself to sit down and get started, I’m going to turn what should be all kinds of joy and excitement into drudgery. I figure there’s enough of that in life already.

What’s the worst piece best advice you’ve received about writing/publishing?

Someone told me more than once that my creativity would dry up, and I had to be prepared for that. From this person’s history, they meant for years and years at a time, and potentially forever. To me, that’s such a negative self-fulfilling prophecy, to expect that to happen and spend all kinds of time dwelling on it. The idea of trying to convince other people to think that way for some reason really bothers me, too.

Of course, we all have challenges, and times in our lives when writing or other forms of creativity are difficult or quite reasonably impossible. Personal or family illness, job changes, moving, deaths in the family or among friends. We’re all living through some major challenges all over the world right now that have affected many of us when it comes to our productivity.

But I don’t see any of these slowdowns or even stops in my own creative life as permanent. In fact, the more often and the more routinely I get words on the page, the easier it is to do the same thing day in and day out. In my experience, creativity is like a muscle. Sure, I may need to rest during times of illness or injury. But most of the time, the more I use that muscle, the more I can use it. During times like 2020, I’m grateful every single day for that escape from reality!

Tell us about your latest piece?

I’ve been writing all kinds of Romance in 2020, probably because the guaranteed Happily Ever After sounds extra good right now. At the moment, I’m a way into a Romantic Suspense novel set in one of my fictional towns. All the other stories set there have been light-hearted. It’s so much fun seeing the settings and people in a different mood and light. There’s a heavy dose of Mystery and darker elements, but I still expect that happy ending.

What’s your next writing adventure?

For novels and novellas, I have a few series-in-progress that are ready for sequels, so I think now would be a great time to jump into those. They range from near-future Science Fiction to Dark Fantasy to Romantic Suspense to Space Opera, so all kinds of fun ahead. As far as short stories, I have a long-term Mystery project going, so I’ll be doing a lot more crime writing of all kinds.

What is the last book you’ve read?

I just finished Of Blood and Bone by Nora Roberts, book two in The Chronicles of The One. It’s a treat to read the work of such a skilled and prolific writer, and the story is right up my alley for sure. With someone as great as Nora Roberts or Stephen King or Dean Koontz, I always read for pleasure of course. But it’s well worth the time to go back through the stories and see what all I can learn.

Is this the age of the e-book? Are bricks and mortar bookshops in decline?

I happen to be an avid e-book reader. I have an e-reader and a tablet, but I’ve gotten firmly into the habit of reading on my phone. I love having a story to read in my pocket at all times. That way whenever I have downtime or I’m in line or waiting for whatever reason, I can escape.

That being said, the answer about brick and mortar bookshops has gotten far more complicated because of COVID-19. I don’t think print books are on the way out, no. I have a good number of sales on the print side, especially Large Print editions. I’ve even had a surprising number of sales of print versions of short stories, in-person and online. I think the big, traditionally bookselling industry has taken a major hit here in 2020, and the structure will likely have to change. But I believe print will endure well past all of this.

Are indie/self-published authors viewed with scepticism or wariness by readers? Why is this?

I haven’t experienced this at all, and other indies I know who are getting high-quality, professional work out there haven’t either.

The truth is readers are interested in great stories, most of all. And since indies can deliver great design and reading experiences that are much more fairly priced to go with great stories, what’s not to like? We also have the flexibility to write in a huge variety of genres and subgenres and cross-genres that are often not available through traditional channels.

Of course, quality matters. Clean copy that tells an entertaining or thought-provoking or scary story matters. Covers and good readability in print and electronic matters. Indies can do all of this, with more and more tools available to us every day.

 

Kari Kilgore bundle

Links

www.karikilgore.com

www.spiralpublishing.net

Bio

Kari Kilgore started her first published novel Until Death in Transylvania, Romania, and finished it in Room 217 at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, where a rather famous creepy tale about a hotel sparked into life. That’s just one example of how real world inspiration drives her fiction.

Kari’s first published novel Until Death was included on the Preliminary Ballot for the Bram Stoker Award for Outstanding Achievement in a First Novel in 2016. Until Death was also a finalist for the Golden Stake Award at the Vampire Arts Festival in 2018.

Kari’s short myth The Spider Who Ate the Elephant placed 2nd in fiction in the 2019 Virginia Writers Club Golden Nib contest.

Her professional short story sales include several to Fiction River anthology magazine and three stories in a holiday-themed anthology project with Kristine Kathryn Rusch due out over the holidays in 2020, as well as one for Valentine’s Day, due in February of 2021. Her first professional publication was Fiction River: Superstitious in 2019, and she has three more Fiction River stories on the way.

Kari writes first and figures out the story’s genre later. That’s resulted in fantasy, science fiction, romance, contemporary fiction, and everything in between. She’s happiest when she surprises herself. She lives at the end of a long dirt road in the middle of the woods with her husband Jason A. Adams, various house critters, and wildlife they’re better off not knowing more about.

Kari’s novels, novellas, and short stories are available in ebook, paperback, Large Print, and hardcover formats at http://www.spiralpublishing.net, which also publishes books by Frank Kilgore and Jason A. Adams. For more information about Kari, upcoming publications, her travels and adventures, random cool things that catch her attention, and The Confidential Adventure Club, visit www.karikilgore.com.

 

Author Interview – Simon Williams #Fantasy

Author name: Simon Williams

 *Please tell us about your publications.

I’ve written the five-book Aona series, as well as two novels for all ages (Summer’s Dark Waters and The Light From Far Below) and Embers Drift, a standalone metaphysical fantasy work.

Are you a ‘pantser’ or a ‘plotter’?

Definitely a pantser- I start with a collection of concepts / ideas and situations, a few characters, and then I work on it and see where it goes. The plot is determined by how it all turns out, not the other way round.

What piece of advice do you wish you’d had when you started your publishing journey?

Don’t bother trying to get noticed by the big publishers and well-known names. Unless you’re incredibly, unbelievably lucky, they won’t notice you and they won’t care about you. If you believe in your work and your creations, stick at it and carve your own destiny.

What are your views on authors offering free books? Do you believe, as some do, that it demeans an author and his or her work?

Whilst I don’t think authors should (or need to) offer all their works for free, there’s nothing wrong with offering a few of your books (e.g the first in a series) for free if it helps readers to discover you.

What are your views on authors commenting on reviews?

One word: don’t! Everyone is entitled to their opinion and not everyone is going to like your creation.

How do you deal with bad reviews?

Generally, it isn’t for authors to “deal” with reviews at all, good or bad. If a review is misleading, offensive or makes categorically untrue statements then you can contact the people who run the medium, whether it be Amazon, Goodreads or whatever else, and ask that it be removed. But if a review is simply by someone who doesn’t like your work- leave it alone. I refer you to my answer above.

What’s the best advice you’ve received about writing/publishing?

To keep going until you’ve found your “voice” i.e your particular style and method- and if you’re comfortable with it, then stick with it.

Which authors have influenced you the most?

Alan Garner, Clive Barker, Cecilia Dart-Thornton, C J Cherryh, Tad Williams,

Tell us about your latest piece?

Embers Drift is a standalone novel of metaphysical fantasy / mystery with elements of sci-fi and psychological horror, in an industrial / slightly dystopian setting. But although it bridges many genres, it’s conceptually consistent and is really about the lives of four main characters- specifically, the parts of their lives that they’ve forgotten.

 I’m happier about the result than I’ve been with any of my previous works. I reworked it a number of times until I realised that- at last- I was telling the exact story I wanted to tell. So I’m relieved to have finished it but also very satisfied.

 The process of creating was different to the Aona books, largely because they were more complex on a practical / logistical level. But at the same time the process required more effort in other ways- because there’s an overarching concept to Embers Drift which requires some explaining, and my goal was to do this through the lives of these four main characters. It wasn’t easy but in the end it was very rewarding.

What’s your next writing adventure?

So many! Well, several.

 I’m part of the way through writing the first in a new dark fantasy series which will probably seen as more “traditional” fantasy but which will have a number of unique features to it. It explores the nature of magic and of conflict and there isn’t going to be a clear-cut “good vs evil” thing going on- I’m not a fan of such absolutes, I want to explore characters’ motivations, whether or not most people think of them as acceptable. What made them this way? Are they able to change- either for the better, or worse? It’s that aspect that interests me.

 I also have another standalone book in progress- this is more a sort of cosmic horror about three demonic beings who have existed in a vast city for hundreds of years, weaving mischief and woe wherever they go, and a young man from an ancient family of magicians and thieves, who is the only one to suspect their existence.

 Lastly, I’m also working on a somewhat leftfield YA magical realism novella- I’m not entirely certain how this one will turn out but I’m pleased with some of the concepts involved so this may see the light of day shortly.

 What was the last book you’ve read?

The last book I finished was Scar Night by Alan Campbell, which I greatly enjoyed. Industrial, violent fantasy with angels. I’m currently reading The Witchwood Crown by Tad Williams and it’s as good as all his other books.

Is this the age of the e-book? Are bricks and mortar bookshops in decline?

I think shops of most kinds are in decline, but in my experience, the number of paperbacks sold has stood up pretty well. I think about a quarter of my sales are paperback, which I don’t think is too bad.

How important is writing to you?

Very. It’s the only thing I’m any good at really, so if I didn’t do it I would truly be a non-entity.

embers-drift-cover-small2 (1)

Bundle Author Interview – Joslyn Chase #Crime #Suspense #Bloodonthecobbles

 

Author name: Joslyn Chase

How did you become involved in book bundles? Would you recommend it?

I first learned about book bundling when I attended a Business Master class at WMG Publishing and met Chuck Heintzelman, the founder of BundleRabbit. I also met some excellent editors there who shared their experiences with book bundles.

I find the idea very exciting and innovative. The potential for cross-promotion and cooperation is awesome. I’ve been in three or four bundles, and I’ve edited and produced a collaborative project, And Then There Were Nine, nine thrilling stories from nine masters of suspense.

I hope to be more heavily involved in bundling with other authors in the future. I believe it’s a great way to have fun and profit.

What other bundles are you involved with?

My first bundle was a Halloween Horror bundle that has since been discontinued. But I’m proud to be a part of Steve Vernon’s Cat Tales bundle and A.L. Butcher’s Blood On The Cobbles. I was also fortunate enough to be included in a Story Bundle Historical Mystery bundle, and that was a lot of fun.

Are you a ‘pantser’ or a ‘plotter’?

I am definitely a plotter. That’s what works best with my temperament and writing style. I leave a lot of room for organic growth, the way I do it. For my outline, I basically define the goal for each scene, but I generally have no idea how the characters will get from Point A to Point B until I start writing. And, of course, as the story progresses, things change and that’s fine. But I like starting out with some clearly defined goalposts to aim for.

What piece of advice do you wish you’d had when you started your publishing journey?

Enjoy your time as an unpublished author. Appreciate those moments when the world is wide open and all the possibilities are in the future where anything can happen. It’s exciting and creatively nourishing to dream like that. After publication, so much happens. It’s still a creative process, of course, but business matters come into it, too, and there are so many demands on your time and attention. Some of the innocence is lost. It’s like moving from childhood to adult life. Hang on to the child.

How much research do you do for your work? What’s the wildest subject you’ve looked at?

I adore the research part of writing a book. There’s so much to learn and so many fascinating topics—I spend a lot of time gathering information and getting a feel for the background before I begin writing.

Perhaps the wildest subject I studied while preparing to write my thriller, Nocturne In Ashes, was volcanoes. Mt. Rainier, in particular. It’s a pretty scary topic, especially when you live in the shadow of the mountain and you realize it’s not a question of “if” the volcano will blow, but “when.”

How influential is storytelling to our culture?

Storytelling is everything. It comes into nearly every aspect of societal life and relationships. We communicate by story, relate to each other by story, learn best through concepts put into story form. I write a blog on the subject of Story Power on my website, joslynchase.com.

What’s the best advice you’ve received about writing/publishing?

Every word of a story comes through a character. Ground the reader inside your viewpoint character’s head and make sure they’re the one telling the story, so readers see what they see, feel what they feel, and are able to experience the story through the senses, opinion, and emotion of the viewpoint character. In other words, get out of your own way and let the characters speak.

Tell us about your latest piece?

In April 2020, I published a collection of short stories titled No Rest: 14 Tales of Chilling Suspense. I’m pretty excited about it, and some of my personal favorites are in this volume.

I’m also thrilled to announce that my story, “The Wolf and Lamb,” is on the cover of the current Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, something I’ve aspired to since junior high school.

What’s your next writing adventure?

Last October, I started planning a six-book series of thrillers based on my protagonist’s experience in the EIS—Epidemic Intelligence Service, the disease detectives of the CDC. I’m excited about the project, but also a little bowled over now, with the Covid crisis that I didn’t see coming.

The pandemic has changed a lot of things, but I feel like it must have altered things dramatically within the CDC and now I don’t know how much of the research and preparation I’ve put into it remains valid. Or how readers will respond to books on the subject. To be honest, I’ve had some doubts about moving ahead with the project and I put the brakes on for a few weeks, but now I’m re-energized and moving ahead. I’m planning a release date for the first book in November.

What was the last book you’ve read?

I just finished reading Ann Cleeve’s third Vera Stanhope novel, Hidden Depths. I’m very much enjoying the series, and the television program, as well.

Are indie/self-published authors viewed with scepticism or wariness by readers? Why is this?

I think in large part, yes—readers are wary of books produced by indie authors. The indie movement, which I think is a wonderful thing, has moved the role of gatekeeper from the publishing companies to the readers, themselves. It’s a responsibility many readers are not used to having and may not be comfortable with, at first.

In today’s marketplace, we all rely on social proof—the all-important consumer review. But someone’s got to be the first to leave one. Investing time and money in an untried author and a book with no reviews is a risk many readers aren’t willing to take, and understandably so. That’s why there are so many free books on the market—they are the no-risk samples readers can try before sinking their cash into a new author.

I think this can be a very healthy revolution for both writers and readers, but so much depends on the review. I hope readers will take the time to leave an honest review after reading, a courtesy for other readers and a crucial element for writers.

Is there a message in your books?

There is a message in my books, though I usually don’t know what it is until I’m finished writing. And sometimes, not even then. This is the sort of thing that typically comes through the subconscious mind, though I might start out with a hint of what I want to say to the reader.

How important is writing to you?

Writing is supremely important to me. I’ve waited my whole life to get to this season where I could have a writing career. I know myself well enough to recognize that I couldn’t embark on a writer’s life until my kids were grown. It’s all-engrossing, takes up all my time, attention, and affection. Well, almost all. I try to save out a bit to spend on family and friends J

Links:

 

joslynchase.com

 

Joslyn Chase YouTube channel

 

Joslyn Chase Facebook Page

 

Joslyn Chase Amazon Page

 

Joslyn Chase on Goodreads

 

Joslyn Chase on BookBub

 

Bio:

Joslyn Chase is a prize-winning author of mysteries and thrillers. Any day where she can send readers to the edge of their seats, chewing their fingernails to the nub and prickling with suspense, is a good day in her book.

Joslyn’s love for travel has led her to ride camels through the Nubian desert, fend off monkeys on the Rock of Gibraltar, and hike the Bavarian Alps. But she still believes that sometimes the best adventures come in getting the words on the page and in the thrill of reading a great story.

Joslyn believes in the power of story, and writes a blog on the subject which you can find at joslynchase.com. Join the growing group of readers who’ve discovered the thrill of Chase when you sign up, and get access to updates and bonuses.

Connect with Joslyn at https://www.facebook.com/StoryChase/ and visit the Joslyn Chase YouTube channel to see trailers for many of her books.

Blood on the Cobbles Bundle

From legends of murder, and undead killers walking, to missing girls, deadly diseases, suspense and gore aplenty; from sleuths and detectives, murder and vengeance enter into a world of crime, clues and mayhem.

12 authors weave tales both long and short of crime and suspense.

A collection of short stories and novels.

https://books2read.com/Bloodonthecobblesbundle

 

#Heroika Michael H. Hanson and His Character


Name: Michael H. Hanson

Give us a brief synopsis of your story:

The Sea People, the largest military force in Mediterranean history, is closing in on Egypt, the last true bastion of order and culture in the ancient world. A never before seen alliance of countries and nation-states have united to defend against this rampaging overwhelming horror. On the eve of battle, it is the skirmish lines of the fierce nomadic tribespeople known as The Habiru, who just may hold the answer to victory. Civilization itself is at stake in this breathless adventure.

Why did you choose that time period/group of people to write about?

I was always fascinated by the theory that the Ancient Hebrews were, in fact, the historically documented peoples known as The Habiru. Biblical accounts of how that ancient people really entered Egypt are questionable at best. I decided to create my own tale as a possible example of how it all came about.

What are the challenges in writing historical fiction/fantasy?

Mixing known facts about B.C. cultures with believable character descriptions and dialogue. It is always tough to keep one’s self from overly romanticizing the past, and also tough to remember how current cultural norms are not the mindset of our ancestors. In a world of political correctness, it is a fine line one has to walk to write an entertaining historical adventure story.

What is your usual genre?

I generally write contemporary sciencefiction, fantasy, and horror… and lots of Poetry!

How do you define a hero?

One who is willing to place the needs of others above their own and doing so in the face of great danger and great fear.

What is your writing space like?

A comfortable couch or sofa I can lounge upon with a mac laptop slung on my belly.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

A Scuba Diver or an Astronaut

Name three things you really love about writing, and three things you don’t like.

I love the solitude, the challenge, and the total control I have over the endeavour.

I don’t like tight deadlines, the long wait between submission and acceptance/rejection, and the mind-worm my guilty conscious implants in me when I’ve put off writing for too long.

 

Character Section;

Name: Amnon, son of Amram

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am born of the Naphtali, the eighth of the twelve tribes of the Habiru. I lead a thirty-man group of Skirmishers, lightly armed and fleet-footed warriors whose duties are scouting, spying, and enemy harassment.

Tell us a bit about the society in which you live.

The Habiru are a nomadic warrior nation that once lived along several stretches of the land of Retjenu. In recent years the mighty Ramses III befriended the Habiru leaders and, impressed by our savagery and skills, invited us to move our camps across the border of Egypt and down to the city of Abu, as allies and equals.

How do others see you?

I’m a leader, as was my father, his father, and many grandfathers before them. Mine is a holy bloodline of commitment and duty. Others look to me for leadership and I will never let them down.

Do you believe in a god?

Of course. What kind of stupid question is that? I believe in the high god, Yahweh, and his deific consort, Asherah, the goddess of healing.

How do you define a hero?

I don’t. That word has no meaning in my culture. I am a warrior of god. One of many. I do what I must. What else is there?

What do you REALLY think of your author?

He’s an arrogant pagan, dismissive of the strength of my people’s moral, ethical and religious conviction, and far too interested in the childish minutia of mundane combat.

If you could have three wishes what would they be?

That I never fail in any of my military duties, that I never bring shame upon my family or clan, and that I and all my loved ones will die and earn the right of an eternal afterlife in the Bosom of Abraham.

AUTHOR BIO (short)

Michael H. Hanson created the ongoing SHA’DAA shared-world anthology series currently consisting of “SHA’DAA: TALES OF THE APOCALYPSE”, “SHA’DAA: LAST CALL”, “SHA’DAA: PAWNS,” “SHA’DAA: FACETS”, “SHA’DAA: INKED”, and “SHA’DAA: TOYS”, all published by Moondream Press (an imprint of Copper Dog Publishing). In 2017, Michael’s short story “C.H.A.D.” appeared in the

Eric S. Brown edited anthology “C.H.U.D. LIVES!” and his short story “Rock and Road” appears in the Roger Zelazny tribute anthology “SHADOWS AND REFLECTIONS.”  Michael also has stories in Janet Morris’s Heroes in Hell (HIH) anthology volumes, “LAWYERS IN HELL,” “ROGUES IN HELL,” “DREAMERS IN HELL,” “POETS IN HELL,” “DOCTORS IN HELL,” “PIRATES IN HELL,” and “LOVERS IN HELL.”

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Dirty Dozen Bundle Author Interview – Michele Laframboise

Author name: Michèle Laframboise

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Figure 1 My first novel

What first prompted you to publish your work? The desire to right wrongs, imagine other futures. Often, a gut reaction to a very bad novel led me to create endearing characters that are not stereotypical heroes. For instance, in my Jules-Verne series, the entire narrative POW is from a very shy Martian woman with brittle bones, which gave her a peculiar voice.

How did you become involved in book bundles? Would you recommend it? Bundles allow us to discover new writers: buying for our favourite writers in the lot, then discovering new ones in the same genre. Bundles are a way to mutually enhance our reader’s platforms, doing amiable coo-petition. It is important that the bundle has a shared specific theme that will appeal to readers, and prompt them to try the authors they don’t know, because of the subject.

Are you a ‘pantser’ or a ‘plotter’?

Figure 2  Getting stuck in a plot loop

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I had had my heavy-plotter period, outlining, erasing, outlining again, rewriting, and still getting me in a stuck in a corner!

My first novel took 12 years to complete this way. My last novel was longer, but took me about two months.  Now I’m a pantser for most of my works, but I usually have a good idea of what’s cooking ahead, like when you walk in the dark with a flashlight, seeing a few steps ahead. Some times I do not even write my scenes in order. If I’m stuck, I manage to back up and find a way out.

Figure 3 Finding a way out

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What does writing bring to your life? First: I love sciences. I graduated in two fields and did research. Alas, the “publish or perish” saying is true, especially for a shy woman.

Academia spat me out like an alien body.

As a “failed” scientist, I discovered I could tell stories and share my enthusiasm for sciences and nature, and also, invent other types of societies.

What piece of advice do you wish you’d had when you started your publishing journey? Do not spend months polishing a text. Perfection can never be attained. Stop worrying.

Do your best, correct a few typos or get someone to read the text over, and move on to the next story.

Beware of the tiny, high perched signing tables (yes, I fell from those!)

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Figure 4 Those high tables are dangerous!

Sort these into order of importance:  Awesome world-building / Great characters / Good plot

(very far after the three first)

Technically perfect

How much research do you do for your work? What’s the wildest subject you’ve looked at?

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Figure 5 Researching for my SF novels

As an ex-scientist, I used to spend far too long researching a novel. Now I do it on the fly, because science changes fast. The specialised research I did 20 years ago for my first novel is totally outdated today. When a new publisher took up the story, I had to redo the research and make some change in the plot.

Subjects:

Ecological space lifts (there’s one described in my SF series)

Black holes and membranes

High-altitude sickness

What’s the best advice you’ve received about writing/publishing? Get a copy editor, and a first reader.

What’s the worst advice you’ve received about writing/publishing? You must absolutely get an agent to get published.

Tell us about your latest piece? Ice Monarch follows a lonely cyber-butterfly as he drifts over a planet scarred by climatic changes. A former scientist transplanted into an immortal body, he serves powerful masters from former fossil energy companies. He has to live with the consequences and sacrifices of his past choices, while survivors scrape a miserable existence from the earth. He may get a chance to redeem his past mistakes. But can he? It has been prompted by my long-standing involvement in ecological sciences, and I imagined what a distant future could look like.

What’s your next writing adventure? I am writing the first in a series of steampunk-dystopian SF novels. And I am taking narrative risks, so it can go both ways. My two first readers liked it.

What is the last book you’ve read? The Murderbot Chronicles, by Martha Wells. Just for the title character’s voice!

Are indie/self published authors viewed with scepticism or wariness by readers? Why is this? There were a lot of quality issues in 2010, when electronic books were rare. Now there are millions, and the first wave of get-rich-quick hopefuls have left the field. The quality level is getting better and better, as many writers looking at bad contracts from trad-publishers choose to go indie.

Four of my publishers have gone down in the last five years. I created my own publishing company, Echofictions (dot) com, to get my backlist available for my readers, and to control the publishing process. I love to do the graphical design of my covers.

Ad Astra

Figure 6 My table at the last Ad Astra convention in Toronto (pic by the author)

Echofictions specializes in fun and sweet (sometimes bitter-sweet!) stories in multiple genres, from short form to novel-length. Most of my stories have been previously published in pro/semi-pro magazines, so the professional editing/revision steps have been done. The quality is not in question, the challenge is getting the public to discover my brand of satiric and (generally) upbeat SF&F stories.

Links

Author website https://michele-laframboise.com
Echofictions https://echofictions.com
AMAZON author page https://www.amazon.com/Mich%C3%A8le-Laframboise/e/B00JFGLMPM/
 
SundayArtist blog https://sundayartist.wordpress.com
Patreon http://patreon.com/sundayartist

Bio

A science-fiction lover since childhood, Michèle Laframboise sprinkles coffee grounds on her tomato plants to help them achieve consciousness. Beside gardening, Michèle has published 18 novels and more than 45 short-stories, earning some reticent recognition among the literati. You may taste her fiction in magazines like Solaris, Galaxies, Fiction River, Compelling Science Fiction, Abyss&Apex.

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Figure 7 A fun picture of me in a first contact situation!

(credits: Gilles Gagnon)

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A face pic with my steampunk goggles!

(Credits: Sylvie-Anne Jeanson)

Michele’s story features here:

Worlds on the brink of apocalypse, or already there.

Nature’s wrath and dominion over humanity, and humanity’s folly incarnate.

Dark magic, terrifying tech, greed, ravaged environments, rare courage and grim hope in lost cities and fallen worlds.

Brave new worlds or last best hopes — Dare you glimpse the future?

https://books2read.com/HereBeBraveNewWorlds

ML BNW

#Heroika: Skirmishers – Interviews – Sean Poage and His Characters #Meetanauthor

Name (Mandatory) Sean Poage

Give us a brief synopsis of your story – A Handful of Salt

At the dawn of the fourth century, BC, Cyrus the Younger hired an army of ten thousand Greek mercenaries to challenge his brother for the throne of the Persian Empire. His Greeks were victorious, but he was slain and the Greeks were stranded deep inside the Persian Empire without supplies. Their only way home was to fight their way north through the mountains of eastern Turkey to the Black Sea, as described through the eyes of one of their leaders, Xenophon.

It is considered one of the greatest feats of military history and has often been recounted and reimagined, but never through the eyes of their adversaries, the Persians, or the ancestral tribes of eastern Turkey. One event, in particular, is haunting and tragic. Today we struggle to understand the mind-set of ancient cultures, often making the mistake of seeing their world through the filter of our own values. This story is an attempt to understand a heroic perspective alien to our own.

  • Why did you choose that time period/group of people to write about?

I love ancient history and the Anabasis is fascinating, but there is not much left to say about it from the Greek side of the story. However, no one has done a piece from the point of view of the Anatolian tribes that the Greeks encountered as they struggled to get home. Why did these tribes continually attack the Greeks? Why did one village commit mass suicide when the Greeks came too close?

  • What research did you do for the story?

I always do a lot of research for my stories. The Anabasis, of course, is the primary text. I also had to determine the most likely route, which is still in dispute. Then I had determine the most likely location for the events of my story, determine the tribe that lived there, what they called themselves, how they related to their neighbours, to the Persians and so on. I love this stuff.

  • How would you define a Skirmisher?

A skirmisher is typically a lightly armed soldier who relies on speed and manoeuvrability to be effective in battle, rather than heavy armour and weapons. While the goal of heavy infantry is to come to close battle with the enemy and slog it out, skirmishers try to outmanoeuvre the enemy, hit and run, break up enemy formations, wear down the heavy soldiers and win in the long game.

  • What are the challenges in writing historical fiction/fantasy?

For me, it is getting each detail right. I can’t bear to bend history to my story. If I include it, it must be factual, or at least plausible to history.

  • What is your usual genre?

Historical fiction, so far, though I intend to do more in fantasy and scifi, eventually.

  • How do you define a hero?

To me, a hero is someone who freely and knowingly risks his or her own welfare for the benefit of another, without thought to any reward.

  • What did you want to be when you grew up?

Originally an astronaut. I was certain I would be NASA’s first kid in space. Apparently, they didn’t have my correct address. I wanted to write stories from my teens, but not much came of it. Now I am finally indulging that dream.

Character Section

1) Name Gocha

2) Tell us a bit about yourself

I am a seasoned warrior, husband and farmer. My wife and I have shared a difficult life, full of sorrows as well as blessings. Our circumstances in life have fallen low, but we have a fine heifer, two asses, some sheep and goats. But no children, anymore.

3) How do you come to be on this adventure?

Invaders from a distant land threaten our homes, so I must do my duty to protect them, and try to impart my experience on our young warriors.

4) Tell us a bit about the society in which you live

We are an ancient people, attuned to the rugged mountains of our ancestors. We sing, dance, tend our farms and pastures and raise our children to respect the ancient ways. We have no towns larger than a few dwellings, but impenetrable strongholds on the mountainsides. We wage no wars on those who leave us be, but we fight unto death against any who threaten us. The Taochi Never Submit is our creed, and never have we been conquered.

5) Are you brave?

What is bravery? Is it the thoughtless lack of fear? I have known dreadful fear, but have never shrunk from my duty.

6) How do others see you?

I do not care.

7) Do you believe in a god?

Of course. They have little to do with us mortals, but our ancestors are with us, always. They watch over us, judge us, and if we are worthy, will welcome us to their company when this life ends.

8) Do you love anyone? Do you hate anyone?

I love my wife, Bedisa. She is wise, kind, and stronger in spirit than anyone I have ever known. I love my loyal friend, Temur. I love my daughter, who I may not name since she has become a handmaiden to the Wife of the Dead. Or perhaps the Wife, herself. I love my three sons, who have already joined our ancestors. I hate no one.

AUTHOR BIO (short)

Sean Poage, has had an exciting and varied life, as a laborer, soldier, police officer, investigator, computer geek and author. Travelling the world to see history up close is his passion.

These days he works in the tech world, writes when he can, and spends the rest of the time with his family, which usually means chores and home improvement projects, with occasional time for a motorcycle ride, scuba dive, or a hike in the beautiful Maine outdoors.

 

 

Heroika: Skirmishers

Conflict is a constant. When force on force is inevitable only the intrepid need come forth. Summon the Skirmishers to their eternal purpose, to face a foe who must be opposed at all cost. Gird yourself and join the brotherhood of ‘do or die.’ HEROIKA: SKIRMISHERS is an anthology of desperate struggles in far-flung time-scapes, the age-old smell of battle and death. SKIRMISHERS –Tales for the bold among you!

https://www.amazon.com/Heroika-Skirmishers-Janet-Morris-ebook/dp/B085N7XZLZ/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Heroika-Skirmishers-Janet-Morris-ebook/dp/B085N7XZLZ/