Dirty Dozen Author Interview – De Kenyon – Bundle/Fantasy/Horror/Kids – Blood Moon Bundle

Welcome to De Kenyon

What first prompted you to publish your work? Jealousy.  An indie author started publishing his work, and rather than hate him forever 😛 I decided to follow suit.

How did you become involved in book bundles? Would you recommend it? I got invited.  It’s fun and I very much recommend it.

Are you a ‘pantser’ or a ‘plotter’? I vary.  Sometimes I pants, and sometimes I plot.  Sometimes I’ll even write up a full synopsis first (most writers hate them!).  But I rarely stick to whatever plan I came up with in the first place!

What is your favourite mythical creature? Why is this? The Fae.  I’m the kind of person who always wants to see behind the stage, under the basement, and the other side of the mirror.  The fae are always sneaking around, slipping through the cracks between worlds.  That speaks to me.

If you had to pick 5 books to take to a desert island which 5 would it be? How long am I going to be stuck on this desert island, anyway?

Assuming that a) they have to be paper books, and b) that I don’t want to use one of my choices as something like How to Survive on a Desert Island, today I’m going to say:

  • The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox by Barry Hughart, because that’s my go-to book for terrible days.
  • Journey to the West, the bawdy tale of a monk’s journey toward enlightenment, because it’s super long (2500 pages) and I’ve been meaning to read it.
  • St. Augustine’s Confessions, because I hate that book and would gladly use it to start fires, for toilet paper, etc.
  • Can I put the Internet in a paper book?  No? Okay, then the collected works of William Shakespeare (Riverside Edition).
  • The collected Anne of Green Gables series, or, if I can’t get that (it’s not available in a single collected edition), H is for Hawk.  Both of them are nerdy comfort reading.
  • And, finally, a blank book and a beeeeg box of pencils, which I will sharpen on rocks…

My favorite books are the Alice in Wonderland books by Lewis Carroll, but I think I could probably write them from memory!

If you could have dinner with any literary character who would you choose, and what would you eat? I don’t want to eat with a literary character.  I want to have dinner with Edgar Allan Poe and get the scoop on exactly how he died!  Okay, literary character…I’m going to pick Hannibal Lecter.  He doesn’t kill indiscriminately, after all, and he’s a gourmet.  A lot of my favorite characters would be real pills at the dinner table, they’re such picky eaters.  What would we eat? Whatever M. Lecter wanted…

Sort these into order of importance:

Good plot

Great characters

Awesome world-building

Technically perfect

 

How much research do you do for your work? What’s the wildest subject you’ve looked at? I try to do a lot of background research for historical pieces, and fairly similar amount for sci-fi elements.  I grew up reading a lot of folktales and mythology, so most of the time when I draw from those elements, I just need a refresher.  My big thing lately is about researching real-life homicide detective procedures for some of my adult mystery stories (under another pen name).  WOW.  I don’t really even want to say some of the things I’ve researched for that.  It gets gruesome.

Tell us about your latest piece? “Beware of the Easter Moon” is a short middle-grade creepy adventure story about a boy who discovers that his family isn’t exactly normal.  It was inspired by me suddenly realizing, completely out of the blue, that Easter always falls on or just after a full moon.  The reason the Easter celebration moves around so much is that it’s the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the spring equinox.

So…obviously there needed to be werewolves.

What’s your next writing adventure? My next adventure as De Kenyon is going to be London in the 1880s, infested by cats, rats, and tentacled things coming out of the sewers!

With the influx of indie authors do you think this is the future of storytelling? How about a future of storytelling?  It’s not like indie authors are the future of storytelling if they’re happening now.

The interesting question is, to me: what happens after this?  If indies bring a major challenge to the big publishers, and they do, how do the big publishers respond?  Do they shrink?  Do their corporate over-bosses force them to shift course?

And what about collective groups of indies, or indies organized under other indies?  I ghostwrite for some indie authors (who shall remain unnamed) who seem to be making the shift from indie authors to indie publishers.

Will the big publishers start trying to buy out those indie publishers?  I mean, I would.

Are indie/self-published authors viewed with scepticism or wariness by readers? Why is this? We are, but less than we used to be.  I think it helps that readers are noticing that big publishers aren’t doing the level of editing that they used to do, and have stopped assuming that traditionally published books are perfect.

I think it also helps that it’s easier and easier for readers to pick indie books with a reputation for quality behind them, by both recommendations and algorithms, so they tend to end up with the better books now, instead of a deluge.

Is there a message in your books? If I have a message, it’s “Beware of bullies! They aren’t always obvious.”

Blood Moon Bundle.

When the sun has set, when the moon is full, the shapeshifters gather—wolves, cats and totemic creatures, nightmares and revelations.

Seeking answers, seeking revenge, seeking a cure to affliction, seeking blood, seeking answers or seeking love—a gathering of beasts abounds. Dare you walk beneath the moonlight?

Blood Moon Box set

https://books2read.com/BloodMoonBundle

https://bundlerabbit.com/products/detail/beware-easter-moon

De Kenyon.jpeg

Swift Six Author Interview – Melody Klink

Name: Melody Klink

What attracts you to the genre in which you write? Young Adult has a magic about it that always brings me back; the stories and characters aren’t desperately childish and naïve, yet they haven’t been hardened by years and a world of experience. Outlandish things are still possible, and magic still lurks in the small things.

What piece of writing advice do you wish you’d known when you started your writing adventures? Don’t try to make every word perfect in the first go! First draft like crazy, then go back and shine it up. And then do it again. And probably a third time… but any which way, don’t expect perfection in the first go ’round.

If you could have dinner with any famous person or character who would you choose? Wow, this is a tough one! Hmm. I think I’d have dinner with Carl Sagan; he was such a poetic and insightful scientist, and his words are just as pertinent today as ever. He made my already-vast love of the stars take on new meaning, and majorly inspired my poetry writing!

Who has been the greatest influence on your own work? Joseph Campbell, by far. His works on mythology and the archetypes of story are invaluable, both in writing and the real world. By knowing the intricacies of a hero’s journey, you have a deeper understanding of what your characters must do within their own worlds to succeed, or how to turn them into villains. (Deepest apologies to J.R.R. Tolkien, who comes in at 1½ on the influence scale.)

Do you think the e-book revolution will do away with print? This is a conflict for me. The realist in me says, it’s a definite possibility; the convenience and price differences are already great boons in the e-book industry. The artist in me hopes that the printed word never goes anywhere, because I desperately cling to my books. That’s not to say I don’t do e-books, I just prefer holding a book, smelling its pages, feeling its weight, marking all through it or keeping it clean and sacred.

Which 3 books would you take to a desert island and why? Garden Spells – Sarah Addison Allen. This book is like coming home for me; it’s my “anxiety read,” as it calms me and helps me refocus on things that really matter. Allen describes things in such a magical way, her writing is lyrical and intoxicating.

Stardust – Neil Gaiman. It’s no secret that Gaiman is adept at whisking us away from our current time and place- why focus on being on a desert island, when you can be… okay, a muddy field isn’t much better, but the magic is there.

The Norse Myths- Kevin Crossley-Holland. Everyone needs a hero’s tale to read on a deserted island!

Author bio and book synopsis Please introduce yourself (250 words or so):

While pretending to be a human, Melody Klink likes to write down words. Lots and lots of them. All to gain the admiration and trust of the human masses.

Wait. I mean… Melody Klink is a lovable little scamp with a sweet tooth for all things coffee. Spending her entire life nose-deep in books and writing, she always manages to have one more adventure to tell the world. When she’s not scrubbing stray words out of the squishy bits of her brain, Melody can usually be found spending copious amounts of time on Xbox Live, fangirling over comics, studying various sciences, and yes! Even reading. She may or may not be addicted to memes, Futurama, and crafting things poorly. While her first foray into publishing was Bad Mood Boogaloo, a book for toddlers, she also enjoys writing novels, and has several titles in the works. She currently resides in the Mid-South with her husband, daughters, and one annoying cat.

Tell us about your book(s) – title, genre etc (short) Godeater: The Second World – Young Adult Fantasy, mythology-based. Gods are reincarnated into kids from North Dakota to battle an immortal-killing ancient creature.

Diamond Marked: The Tales of El’Anret – Young Adult Fantasy, Faerie story with lots of fabled creatures. A mortal girl is marked as the queen of the El’Anret, the Faerie world, and must battle mythical foes to keep her rightful place. Includes three novellas from the mortal and Faerie worlds: Queen of Diamonds, Jack of Diamonds, and King of Diamonds.

 

Links

https://melodyklink.com/

amazon.com/author/melodyklink

Social media

https://twitter.com/AuthorMelK

https://www.facebook.com/melodyklinkauthor

https://www.goodreads.com/MelodyNKlink

https://www.instagram.com/authormelk/

Diamond Marked Melody Klink

Author Interview 119 – Steve Schatz

Welcome to Steve Schatz, Author of “Adima Rising”

Where are you from and where do you live now?

I’ve lived lots of places. I grew up in New Mexico, spent some years in Texas, hitchhiked around the country and ended up in San Francisco. Now I live in a tiny town in rural Western Massachusetts.

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

Over the past years, I’ve written children’s, tween, adult (fiction and nonfiction). The Adima Chronicles has been my main focus for the past several years. The first book, Adima Rising, came out in March of 2015 and the second book, Adima Returning, is in the hands of my publisher, Absolute Love Publishing. It is marketed as Young Adult, but I’ve heard from readers who have been touched by it who are as young as fifteen as well as people in their eighties. It’s speculative fiction – not high fantasy, but explores a world of energy and light that exists intertwined with the “normal” world.

Are your characters based on real people?

Not specifically. I use pieces from everywhere to grow the characters. I listen to a lot of comics (Louie C.K., Sarah Silverman, Eddie Izzard, Margaret Cho, and others). I remember particularly pithy remarks. I steal character traits from people I like and don’t like. That’s how I start. Then, as the characters takes form, they develop their own voice.

In the first novel of a series, that’s one of the most difficult, but wonderful process. It requires very close scrutiny during rewrites. What I found is that I often go into detailed subplots that grow the character. It’s crucial for my understanding. However, many of these subplots, while important for me to understand a character, do not move the story forward, so they have to go. It often really hurts. Faulkner said, “Kill your darlings.” Stephen King added to this in his book on writing, when he wrote, “Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.”

I keep the subplots for future reference, but don’t keep them in the book. As a reader, I like to create a vision of a character as I read. As an author, I need to respect the reader enough to offer a rich character which allows them to develop their own view of who that character is, without forcing them to share my view exactly.

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

I have several specific messages in the Adima series. The most important is to take aware, creative action and take responsibility to making your decisions. If you action works, great. If it not, learn and share what you’ve learned. In Adima Rising, a major message is also the importance of creating one’s own connection to the sacred, not mindlessly turning such an important, personal decision over to someone else. In the new book, added to those is the idea that small groups connecting (versus we all must form one big group) is essential to face large challenges.

That being said, it is very hard to write a book with a message. If an author gives in to writing a message book, it is very difficult to be subtle. Folks don’t want/need to read Schatz’s rules for how to live. The book needs to be entertaining and stimulate both thinking and pleasure. It’s hard to write a message without getting stuck in a proclaiming what is right and wrong mode. When I start preaching, I can hear the sound of a thousand books slamming shut. Instead, I try to offer an optional view of the world. It’s part of the world building. Readers can ignore the message and still enjoy the adventure.

What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers?

  1. Write. It’s amazing to me how difficult it is to turn what’s in my head into something on the page. There’s a big difference between thinking about writing and writing. I use Mr. Steve’s 15 minute rule. I promise myself that will write 15 minutes a day, no matter what. If I do that, I’m good. Many times, once I get going, I will write longer. However, I only commit to 15 minutes.

  2. Let your characters grow. I write a lot of background info of my characters, knowing it will never make it into the final book. I do it so the characters come to life. At that magic moment, I get out of the way. The characters tell me what they would do and how they would say something.

  3. Write what you want. The chances of becoming a million selling author are probably in the same neighbourhood of winning the lottery. Don’t do it for the money. Write what you want, so the book pleases you. I don’t mean to say don’t write. Even with the lottery, if you don’t play, you are certain not to win. I prefer writing, because even if I don’t “win”, I know I’ve put something into the world that is good. That is my motivation. I would hate to write garbage because I thought it would sell and go through so much effort and still not have the book sell.

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

I edit, rewrite, edit, rewrite – rinse and repeat until I’m pleased with the result. Then I send it to my publisher. Their editor, Sarah Hackley and the publisher, Caroline Shearer, both work on the book. Their work brings out the best parts. There are some changes I fight, but overall, I know my books are better because of them. I think the problem for authors is that we get too close. We fall in love with sub plots that don’t drive the story. Then we don’t explain things that should be explained, because having lived with the story and the characters, it is obvious. However, to a casual reader, it isn’t. A friend of mine said you need a reader with some ironic distance. I agree.

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

Great characters is the most essential. If I don’t care about the characters, I don’t care if they are threatened, face delights or upsets, or if they live or die. The richness of the characters and a deep understanding of them (detailed for me, but shown through actions to the reader) allow all else to follow. I often close my eyes and ask what a character would do in a situation and they tell me. I can see it. The voice of each character becomes more unique the more I write about them. I love McDonald’s Fletch. He’s a great character and I don’t really care what he’s doing. I enjoy how he handles situations. Christie knew this when she used different characters for different books. Sherlock Holmes is such a rich character that many people have written continuing cases. If we didn’t care about Frodo or Bilbo, no one would stagger through three books or would slog through seven books if we weren’t taken with Rowling’s characters.

Technical perfection. Here, I’m thinking about mistakes in spelling, grammar and fact. The importance of this is often overlooked. However, if the author and/or publisher allow mistakes to go into print, it shows to me that they don’t care. They don’t care about the product and they don’t care about the reader.

I’ve stopped reading books after a few mistakes because it got me looking for others and it became a job of editing, rather than the enjoyment of reading. Technical perfection should not be noticed, it is expected.

World Building. For me, this is one of the most enjoyable parts of writing. There are two challenges in world building. The first is similar to developing characters. I go into deep explanations of how the world works, how to see the web of light, how to travel, what is Adima, what is Sodrol. Then, I must go back and cut about 90% of it out. I keep that background work, so I can look things up. I need to remember that people start digging into a world only after they enjoy their experience with the world. If Quest for Glory sucked, this blog would be about another world.

In addition, I find that once I have a solid set of characters, they help create the world. I was lucky with the Adima Chronicles. I had the connection to a group of devas, so when I would get stuck with a “how do they…” question, I’d close my eyes, call in the team and ask them. The answer usually came right away. This also helped a great deal in keep track of how things worked in the world. There have been many times in edits and rewrites when I have a flash question – did what I wrote in chapter 35 match the rules I set down in chapter 15? Every time, I would find “I” had written it correctly. If I didn’t have that unknown guidance, I would have had to make several very detailed maps to keep track.

Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be?

Yes, they are. Sometimes this is deservedly so. There are a lot of awful books out there that are self-published; books that the author/publisher hasn’t taken the time to really revise and edit (grammar, spelling). That being said, there are a lot of awful books from publishers with the same problem and there are a lot of great books that are self-published.

Frankly, the three main reasons I took the time to find a publisher instead of self-publishing are: 1) editing (as I said above), 2) distribution and 3) help with promotion.

I love opportunities like this to talk about my work. I love to do readings and discussions of my work, both online and in person, but I spend a lot of time writing and if I have a choice between writing and distribution, I would rather be writing. I had envisioned Adima Rising to be a single book, but my publisher suggested a series, which has opened up a whole new realm. If I had self-published (as I have before), I’d probably have a box of books sitting in my office with a few sold.

Do you read work by self-published authors?

Certainly. I am more likely to read self-published or small press authors than large publishers. The big ones tend to go for mass. I have obscure tastes and rarely like trendy or formulaic books. I don’t find much else from mainstream publishers.

What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews?

Oh, how I’d love to, but I don’t, won’t and shouldn’t. Arguing over a review is a waste of time. I know that my books will touch some people, change some people and bore some people. I believe that if you need it, you will read it. The Adima Chronicles needed to be in the world to offer a different perspective on life. It isn’t my business to tell them what to think. If I have time to do that, I’m avoiding writing or promoting.

What are your views on authors offering free books?

I like giving books away at the beginning and end of my career. The beginning, to build an audience. There are so many books now, it is very difficult to find an audience. I don’t make much on each book sold, so I would rather give them away and build a readership. As that readership grows and the numbers of books sold grows, it is possible to earn a living writing. I plan to always give books away, but I will let them pay me to write more. Toward the end of my writing, I will give more books away. I live a pretty simple lifestyle and beyond a point, there is no need for me to collect more stacks of money. I got into writing because I like the challenge. While I enjoy reading my books, one of the reasons I work so hard at it is to share ideas with others. If I spent the time I spend on writing doing nearly anything, I’d make more. I have a decent reputation in my first field (I’ve got a PhD in instructional and human systems design with a minor in organizational communications) and use that to support my writing habit. For authors, dreams and aspirations of making big money is fine as a fantasy. However, no one who keeps at it does it for the money. They spend all those nights reading and rereading and studying their craft because they love/hate it, but don’t want to stop.

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?

Absolute Love Publishing has published the Adima Chronicles in both e and print versions. I have recorded an audio version and have it available when asked (on my site www.AdimaRising.com). At this point, there have been no requests for large print.

I prefer reading from a real page. I spend most of my day in front of the computer, so to relax and read, I don’t want to stare at a screen. However, I know many people prefer e-books, so it would be stupid not to offer those. Mostly I trust the guidance of my publisher.

Book links, website/blog and author links:

My Sites: www.AdimaRising.com and www.SteveWrites.com

My publisher: www.AbsoluteLovePublishing.com andwww.absolutelovepublishing.com/adima-rising

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AdimaRising/