Dirty Dozen Author Interview – Miriam F Martin – #Fantasy #Romance #LBGTromance

Author name: Miriam F. Martin

Please tell us about your publications, specifically the story in this bundle:

Thanks for including my book in the Rainbow Romance bundle. My real name is David Anthony Brown and I write under the Miriam F. Martin pseudonym, and I created the Siren’s Garter branded erotica books. I created the Miriam pen-name to hide my erotica titles from prying coworkers at the day job. It’s not a well kept secret, so I don’t worry about sharing my real identity. (And if somebody at work discovers my erotica, then whose fault is that?)

Rainmaker, included in the Rainbow bundle, is a short lesbian erotic novella set in a fantasy sword-and-sorcery world. I was very much influenced by Xena: Warrior Princess when writing this one. Like a lot of viewers of that show, I found the chemistry between Xena and Gabriella incredibly hot and wondered why they were never more than just friends. While Alana and Paige (the protagonists in Rainmaker) are not Xena and Gabriella, they are both strong, resourceful women who know what they want and are willing to fight to protect those they love.

What first prompted you to publish your work?

I totally went down this path for money. But my path to publication was not a straight forward one. I dabbled with writing in my teens and early twenties, especially after I earned my bachelor’s degree. Writing became a career for me in 2008, because I had a career I didn’t enjoy anyway get wiped away in the Great Recession. I couldn’t see myself working in a “normal” job for the rest of my life and stay sane, especially if everything got flipped upside down again in another recession. So naturally I started writing fiction.

I didn’t jump on the indie bandwagon until after the ebook gold rush was already over. My first indie publication was in 2012, which was a small collection of fantasy and horror short stories. Since then, by my last count, I have over 70 publications including short novels, short stories, and collections.

Are you a ‘pantser’ or a ‘plotter’?

I’m very much a pantser, though I prefer Dean Wesley Smith’s metaphor of “writing into the dark.” I often start with little more than a working title and a character’s name, and make up everything as I go. For me, writing a story is like exploring a dark cave with nothing more than a flashlight—I discover a little bit at a time, often take wrong turns, and have no idea where the story will ultimately take me.

The goal for me is to enjoy the story I writing as if I’m the reader. If I don’t know where a story is going while I write, neither will the readers. If I manage to pleasantly surprise myself, my readers be surprised too. So I never think about the plot beforehand.

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

Two pieces of advice, but they sort of go hand-in-hand.

One, talent is a myth. Nobody is ever born to be a writer. You reach a point in life where you feel ready to take the leap, but the leap is just the beginning of a long journey. If you ever for one second believe you’re “special” or “talented,” you’re done as a writer. You’ll never learn new craft techniques. You won’t take risks. You probably won’t even produce all that much fiction. Writing is a skill learned over many, many years of practice. Talent is just a measure of your current skill level. Everybody pretty much starts at the same place.

Second, be patient with yourself. Nobody expects an undergraduate psych major to be any good as a psychologist. That profession requires a doctoral-level graduate degree and years of experience in the field. Writing is not much different, except instead of going to a college you have to cobble together your own education. It takes years to develop the skills needed to entertain an international audience of millions. So, be patient and keep learning and practicing and publish everything you write.

How influential is storytelling to our culture?

They say history is told by the winners, and that’s true enough, but I’d add that history is told by storytellers. Often what we think we know about ancient cultures comes down to us through stories. Homer was definitely more interested in giving his audience compelling stories that would make them feel good—so in the Iliad and the Oddessey we get tales of men with super-human strength and cunning, though not necessarily historically accurate versions of events.

Storytelling is part of human nature. Whether it’s sharing office gossip or getting lost in a new favorite book, we are all born with an innate desire for story. Story is part of our identity as a culture, and it feeds a deep individual desire for adventure and heroism.

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

Technically, not a lot. But then, after a few of years of focusing mostly on erotica, I haven’t had a book that required deep research. I’m a geek for history and science though, so I spend a lot of time studying subjects that may or may not be ever used in a story. So I’m a bit of a trivia nerd and sometimes that comes in handy when layering in a bit of color to make a story feel right.

Mostly I do five-minute research to find the one detail I need for a story. For example, when I wrote the short novel Never Marry the Femme Fatale, I spent five or ten minutes looking through online gun catalogs to find the sort of gun the main character would carry in her purse. Not real sure if I even used the name of the gun in the book, mostly I just wanted to know what it looked like and what bullets it fired.

I’ve spent a fair amount of time research sex toys. Which is probably why Amazon gives me a lot of strange recommendations.

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

Write sloppy. Yeah, I know, this one gets passed around so much it’s cliche and just about everybody believes in it. But I believe writing a shitty first draft harms the story telling process.

Like I mentioned above, I write into the dark and make up the story as I go. What I’ve discovered is that the little details can often change the course of a story in surprising ways. I used to be the type of writer who would bracket things I needed to write later—for example [WRITE SEX SCENE LATER], and then in a second draft come back through and add a sex scene.

The problem with that is the actual sex scene I write might be entirely different from the sex scene I imagined. Plus, especially with sex scenes, the characters often discover things about each other or themselves that become major plot points. I can’t discover those plot points for myself without writing the scene. And if I wrote the scene in a second draft, I might have to change the entire book to accommodate the new discovery. So it’s far, far easier to simply write each detail and each scene as I need it and let the story organically build on itself. My first drafts come out a lot cleaner too, which makes editing go smoother.

Tell us about your latest piece?

On the erotica side of my publishing business, I recently released two new short story collections—Sexy Unusual and Date Night. The first is erotica that features ghosts—the living having sex with the spirits of former lovers and ghosts having ghostly fun. The other is, of course, all about couples having sex after (or during!) a hot date.

Lately, I’ve been busy writing fantasy and science fiction short stories. The plan is to write a three volume short story series called Stay at Home Fiction and publish them by the end of 2020. I’ve got the first volume nearly complete.

What’s your next writing adventure?

I’d been thinking a lot about Rainmaker before you offered to include it in the Rainbow bundle. You see, I always intended Rainmaker to have sequels set in the same world but with new characters, which is why the book is subtitled A Femme Elemental Erotic Novella. I have a bunch of false starts with the sequels, where my creative voice said, “Nope, that’s not the story I wanna tell.”

Now, nearly three years after releasing Rainmaker, I feel ready to write Fire Dancer, the next book in the series. No clue what it will be about, but I recently had an idea for how to open the book, which made me chuckle. For me, chuckling is a good sign I’ve found a story I want to tell.

No promises on when Fire Dancer, or any of the other sequels, will be finished.

What is the last book you’ve read?

Narrate and Record Your Own Audiobook, by M. L. Buchman. It’s exactly what you think it’s about, and I’d recommend it to any indie writers wondering about audio editions. (Personally I’m not ready for audio. Just researching.)

The last fiction book I read… I’ve been really digging Kristine Grayson’s Charming series, and just recently finished the first trilogy omnibus.

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

Tricky questions to answer, and the covid-19 pandemic makes everything in the near future unknowable. E-books are here to stay, but I think it’s safe to say that readers will still demand paper editions for some time yet. Publishers can now use print-on-demand to produce high quality paper books for low cost, without needing a warehouse to store inventory, and allow the reader to purchase the physical book on demand and have it shipped directly to them.

If brick and mortar bookshops continue to exist, they may not ever be the same. It’s not enough to rent a space in the shopping mall and fill bookshelves. All retailers need an online presence in addition to physical presence (whether they sell books or clothes). It’s certainly possible to run a small bookstore that also sells books online (via their own store website, as well as Amazon, E-bay, etc). Is it economically feasible? Maybe not… Only time will tell which businesses survive the pandemic. Personally I think most bookstores will be online, and they’ll sell both paper and e-book editions, but part of me wants to see brick and mortar stores continue to thrive too.

With the influx of indie authors do you think this is the future of storytelling?

Before 2010, books like Rainmaker weren’t possible. It would’ve been too short for a traditional publisher, too long for a short story magazine, and has too much sex for many of the romance imprints. I could’ve pitched it to places like Samhain and Ellora’s Cave, neither of which exist anymore. Rainmaker might’ve been licensed to an erotica e-zine for three cents a word and then forgotten entirely. Or at worst, tossed into a trunk and never seen the light of day.

Being indie, I’ve been able to give the book both paper and electronic editions. I’m in control of the cover design, the sales blurb, where copies are distributed, etc. The book will never go out of print. And now, three years after I wrote it, I can still make money from it. I can still write the sequels if I choose. Also, if needed, I can rebrand the cover design, rewrite the sales blurb, and license it to wonderful bundles like Rainbow. I love that kind of freedom.

The covid-19 pandemic will almost certainly devastate the Big Five traditional publishers in the United States, who depend entirely on paper sales and have way over-priced their e-book editions. But the indie publishers like me will be fine. My entire business exists on a MacBook and operates on a shoe-string budget. And my stories continue to earn me money through the pandemic, and will do so into the future. Being a newer and non-bestseller writer, if I were tied to the Big Five, I’d be going down with the corporate ships. Indie is the most viable way to earn money as a long-term professional writer. Except for sending short stories to magazines, I can’t imagine ever playing in the traditional publishing system.

 

Links

SirensGarterErotica.com Home for everything related to Miriam F. Martin and Siren’s Garter.

danthonybrown.com Main website and blog for David Anthony Brown.

Contact the author directly at david@danthonybrown.com.

Bio

Once upon a time, Miriam F. Martin was a princess who ruled a planet Earthlings call Mars. Her reign ended when somebody decided women were really from Venus. Confused about her identity, she ended up between worlds. Putting away her tiara and scepter forever, she now flattens her ass in a cushy chair while writing smutty erotica. You’re welcome.

Miriam F. Martin is a pseudonym created by David Anthony Brown. He owns Hermit Muse Publishing and writes fiction in other genres, including science fiction and fantasy. He lives in Minnesota.

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.

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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

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Dirty Dozen – Author Interview – Amanda Schmidt

Welcome to Amanda Schmidt

I have published thirteen books.  I have two stories that are two books (Taken, Solace), one trilogy (The Shadow Dragon), one story that will be two books (Rise of Ansea), and the rest are all stand-alone books (Not Human, Heart of the Emperor, The Huntsman’s Daughter, Project 21, and Adventurer’s Spirit).  They are all fictional adventure stories with a love story entwined.  Each story has two main characters: a strong – or will become strong – female and a male that eventually is the perfect compliment to her.  My published stories so far tend to take place on other worlds because I love using my imagination, although some of my stories talk about Earth, or start on Earth, but only one of them completely takes place only on Earth.  I have one story (my trilogy) that is true fantasy – with dragons, swords, magic, lords, wizards…   The books I publish contain the elements that I like to read: action, adventure, twists and turns, love, heroes, vicious enemies, fighting (weapons and hand to hand combat).

What prompted you to publish your work? My oldest son was about ten when he caught me writing.  He was smiling from ear to ear after I confessed what I was doing and he said, “You’re going to be famous.”  I didn’t believe that, I mean, I was hiding that fact that I was writing.  However, his excitement dwelled in my mind and I began to consider maybe I could publish.  I eventually allowed people to read my manuscript and they encouraged me to publish, which clearly I did.  It only took two years for me to gain the courage to do so.

What have you found the most challenging part of the process? Finishing/not having enough time.  I am constantly being bombarded with a new idea, and the ideas do not wait until I’ve completed the previous idea.  So, I’m constantly changing what I’m working on.  Which takes me even longer to finish a story.  Plus, I don’t read as fast as I’d like, so revising takes forever and then, again, another idea pops in for something not related to this story.  It’s a vicious cycle really (but I love it).

Are you a ‘pantser’ or a plotter? Definitely a pantser.  I have never been able to write an outline.  When I had to write papers in school, I usually did it after I finished the paper/story – or had to change the outline when I was done.  When I sit down to write, the moment I begin typing, the story plays out in front of me, and not always in chronological order.  For example, at least three of my books, I wrote the first chapter after I finished writing the rest of it.

What are your views on free books? I’m personally on the fence about that one.  I do not think it demeans the author or his/her work.  Getting your stories out there is an important part of being a writer, especially as an indie author since all marketing falls on the author.  Free books seemed like a great idea when I started.  I was told to make book one free and then they’ll come back for more.   They didn’t, and I struggled again with the idea that maybe my stories are not “good”.   One day someone said to me that they download free books all the time, and they had read very few of them.  However, they did read the ones they paid for… because they paid for them.  And my numbers seemed to reflect the idea that they probably weren’t that far off the mark.  I’ve never had much luck with selling my ebooks for free, and getting sales off my other books, so I stopped.   However, I do tend to give out my paperbacks, because I have made a few fans that way.

How do you deal with bad reviews? I always take my reviews to heart, even the bad ones.  However, depending on what is said, is how I react to it.  I honestly don’t expect everyone to like my stories, because I don’t like all the books I read either.  A review is a person’s opinion and they’re allowed to have one.  I usually take the bad review as constructive criticism, sometimes I can see their point.  Like with the “Huntsman’s Daughter”, I unpublished it and am trying to find the time to tend to the issues that my “editors” and I missed.   However, there have been times where the review kind of hurt, like when they attacked something about a character.  I wanted to be able to defend that character against whatever it was that they were attacked for, but alas I cannot.  Those are the times I make myself warm cookies, grab a glass of milk, and get back to writing.  Or I talk to a friend and vent a little.  The last time I did this my friend said: “writing with your heart again, I see.”  I shrugged, and let that sink in.  Then I realized that person didn’t understand my character’s behavior because they hadn’t experienced a similar situation to what my character was dealing with – or if they had, they dealt with it differently –  and that allowed me to not be so frustrated.

Order of importance?

Great Characters – If I get attached to the characters in a book I will finish reading that book guaranteed.  If the main characters don’t draw me in, I will stop reading the book.   So yes, when I write, character development is huge to me.

Good Plot – If the characters and their development are great, I will be more forgiving of the plot.  I will finish the story and if there’s a sequel I’ll probably read it as well.   As a writer, plot isn’t something I’ve struggled with, I actually don’t think about it too much because the characters tend to write the plot for me.

Technically perfect – I’m not saying it has to be perfect, but if there’s too many technical issues – then I will stop reading it.  I’ve put down a book before because there were a ton of short sentences and my brain was so fixated on the all the periods that it was not picking up any of the story.  I am pretty lax on typos, and am proud of myself when I catch a homophone error, but I am not a grammatical Nazi by any means.  As long as the errors are not overabundant and don’t pull me out of the world the author created, I will continue to read the story.

Awesome world-building – This is not necessary for me as a reader.  I’ve come to realize there are two types of people, those with active imaginations and those who need to be told what to see.  Which type am I?  I’m the type who gets annoyed if there’s too much description.  I have a very active and strong imagination so I don’t need pages of details to see something.  Give me an idea of what you see and my brain will do the rest unless it is important to the story.   Even when I take the time to read all the details an author is giving me, my brain pictures what it wants.  I would much rather the words be used for moving the story along or building the character than telling me about a tree that has little if any relevance to the story.   As a writer, I do draw the scenery, but I’ve had times where my friends have had to remind me that they are not in my head, so I go back and write to help them see what I see.

 

How is storytelling influential to our culture? I believe storytelling is very influential to our culture.  It helps to inspire and motivate people, it gives people a way to escape this world for a while, it gives something for people to relate to.  My older son was not a strong reader, he hated it when he was in early elementary.  We introduced him to comic books and by the time he was in sixth grade he was reading above his grade level, but more importantly, it inspired him to make better choices.  We had a discussion the other day, and he looks at me and says, “Mom, tragedy helps build character.  It sucks, but it’s the truth.  Look at Batman.  His parents were killed, and that’s horrible I know, but look at who he became, look at all the good he did and people he helped.  If his parents hadn’t died he would not have become that incredible man.”   And if you think about Star Trek, and all those devices they used that inspired people to figure out how to create things that were similar… like cell phones.  Storytelling invigorates the mind and encourages us to think differently than we did before.

What is your writing space like? My writing space is anywhere I can sit with my laptop.  In the summer I like to write outside under the trees, but when it’s not nice, I’ll sit on the floor, in my bed, on the couch.  I’ve sat in bleachers waiting for wrestling meets to start, in my car waiting for my kids to get done with class, at the library, at a coffee/tea shop.  I’m really not too picky about my writing space because as soon as I start typing, this world falls away.  Although sometimes if there’s too much talking or the TV is loud, I usually plug in headphones and I’m good.

Tell us about your latest piece.

My most recent story I’ve published is “Adventurer’s Spirit”.  It takes place on another world where two different races of people exist.  Alyxzandra belongs to a people who are in touch with the world they live on, and Jared’s people do not think twice about the planet.  Alyxzandra and Jared meet in the woods when they are young – she was playing a game and he was hunting.  They should have seen each other as enemies, but the moment they saw each other they only saw someone who didn’t deserve to die.  Jared should have killed her that day, and she should have let Jared die when he is attacked by a Zurgala, but instead they keep each other alive not knowing that these two incidents would change everything.  This story follows their journey of friendship as they do their best to protect each other, their sacrifices, and the impacts it has on them and the world they live on.

What’s your next writing adventure? I am always working on more than one thing, but currently I’ve been a bit obsessive over Story 20.  I’m almost 150,000 words in, and the ending is almost complete.  This is an adventure story taking place far from Earth.  It is a story of unexpected love, betrayal, and survival.

Is there a message in your books? I don’t set out for there to be, but they do seem to fall in line with my beliefs that nature is important, that love knows no bounds, that you’re stronger than you know, that men and women are equal and a complement to each other, and survival is possible even in our lowest/darkest moments.

How important is writing to you? The only thing more important to me than writing are my kids.  And they will attest to the fact that when I don’t write it affects everything about me.  I become forgetful and dumb – we joke around that I can’t think straight because of the voices in my head (the story ideas are taking up too much space).  Irritation and sadness tend to take over my mood more easily, and my focus goes out the window.  I love writing, stopping isn’t an option.  It’s my solace, my happy place, my space to challenge myself to think outside the box and become more than I thought I could be.

Links:

Blog: It all started with a dream…: https://amandaschmidt09.blogspot.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amandaschmidt09/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AmandaSchmidt09

Bio

I graduated from Eastern Michigan University and live in Rochester, Michigan. I am a single mother of three amazing children who have helped me rediscover my love of writing. I started writing in 2009 and discovered there were many stories within me that I wanted to share. With the help of my family, friends, and fans, I have gained confidence in myself and in what I love, allowing me to live my dream to be an author who finds inspiration everywhere: my past, listening to music, in laughter, and even random moments while out hiking or practicing Tai Chi.

I discovered the hard way how important believing in yourself and your dreams is. With each story I write, I hope to take my readers into a world that will captivate their attention. I hope my stories remind you to believe in your dreams, allowing you to think outside the box and become more than you thought you could be.

Dirty Dozen Author Interview – Joan Myles/Poet #Uniqueauthors #Meetanauthor

Author name: Joan Myles

Please tell us a little about yourself. What makes you a #Uniqueauthor? I am a poet. But poetry is not just what I do. Poetry is how the world speaks to me–musically, in “pictures” of the heart, in whispers of insight, and throbbings of connection. And if I succeed, the words I configure will do more than relate what I perceive. They will nudge readers to experience these marvels for themselves.

Please tell us about your publications/work. My first book, One With Willows is a collection of what I call “spiritually playful” poetry.  You see, childlike wonder is my lens for viewing the world, childlike wonder and a sense of the Divine. And all my writing is meant to be a kind of footpath for readers into that place of delight, to help them awaken their own childlike wonder, perhaps to find Divinity for themselves.

What first prompted you to publish your work?  I started publishing by way of my blog, http://jewniquelymyself.com

At first, however, creative writing was not my focus. My blog was an attempt to spread the word about Yismehu, the nonprofit I founded in 2010 to bring free distance Jewish learning to blind adults nationwide. Until Yismehu closed in 2017, I wrote about being a blind Hebrew teacher of sighted 6th graders, of learning yoga, of life with a guide dog–all meant to highlight the abilities of people like myself, people who live and work and have families even as they deal with issues related to blindness. 

As my teaching responsibilities shifted, I used the blog to share other things such as book reviews, and eventually, original poetry.

One With Willows came about because friends read my work, and nudged me to publish.

Do you think the written word (or art) bring power and freedom?  Oh, yes. Words have magical power, you know. They create and destroy worlds, inspire and teach, and sometimes even reveal what we already know. The freedom to share words is vital currency between people.  Words are the soul’s breath, the expression of the heart’s yearning, the means for bringing people together, or sadly, of dividing them.  

As a blind writer, words may take a different, more tangible, shape on the page for me, but they are no less magical. In fact, beneath my fingers, Braille words reinforce the wondrous nature of Creation. I can hold words in my hand, touch them, experience their curves and angles–yet these are the flashes of sound and thought which bubble up and seem to fly away into space!  So what is the true nature of reality after all? Is human existence spiritually rich and multi-layered as I perceive, as words demonstrate to me?

As a disabled author, how do you overcome the extra challenges involved with producing your work?  Putting words on the page is not a problem for me. When inspiration comes, I gather ideas with my Braillewriter or my ChromeBook. The ChromeBook has a wonderful screen-reading feature, and even stores my writing. When it comes to other matters, like problems with my blog or uploading my book, I am fortunate to have sighted help from family members.

What have you found the most challenging part of the process? Do you think the publishing world is disability-friendly? Navigating the ins and outs of social media is quite challenging to me. But I am not sure whether this is due to the mechanics of social media, or the nature of marketing itself. 

I think publishing these days is much easier for writers with disabilities. Computers and the internet provide tools of connection and information which were inaccessible before.  Social media has helped connect disabled writers and broadened the discussion to include parents and other family members, even spilling over into more general social circles.  The unique perspective of writers and characters with disabilities is being heard, and that is good for everyone.

What’s your greatest networking tip? My best advice is to write. Write something every day and don’t be afraid to have others read what you write. Writers need to share their work, their ideas, their inspirations.  They need to find other writers, other readers, anyone who is open to the world of ideas and creativity. But this is not just to sell their work. Writers must keep their creative juices flowing, and immersing oneself in idea-sharing does just that.

If you could have dinner with any literary character who would you choose, and what would you eat? I would love to have dinner with the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. We would dine on a few fresh greens–spinach and broccoli, perhaps–munch on carrots and tomatoes, and delight in berries galore for dessert. And I would remind him to chew slowly, thoroughly, and hopefully, at last, I would nudge him to slow down, to take notice of the world around him, to breathe deeply, consciously, and to experience each moment. And I wonder, what shifts in Alice’s adventures might result from such a dinner?

How much research do you do for your work? My poetry is born of silence, of meditative moments spent in my garden, of breathing in the sweetness and bitterness of Life, of time spent interacting with loved ones and friends.

How influential is storytelling to our culture? Storytelling is vital to bringing people together, and even to self-discovery and development. Human beings constantly “talk” to themselves about what they perceive in the world, about the people they encounter, and what befalls them. And it’s not only the impressions upon our physical senses that build these stories. It’s what we tell ourselves about these impressions, whether we interpret them through the lens of ego and self-centered interests, or with wonder and compassion. Because these interpretations affect everything we say and do, story-telling  is important to culture and social progress.  

Which authors have influenced you the most? I love discovering new poets, but my absolute favorites are  Mary Oliver and Roberto Juarroz. Somehow they manage to find simple, accessible language to relate the mysterious and spiritually intimate aspects of human experience. In fiction, I read those who speak deeply from their hearts and souls such as Pearl Buck, Victor Hugo and Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

What is your writing space like? Naturally, my writing space reflects who I am so books are a prominent feature. Braille books and print books fill my shelves with thoughts on religion and spirituality,  as well as works of poetry and biography. The room’s large window looks out on the garden where day lilies and irises sweeten the air, and hummingbirds flitter just outside at one of three feeders. My desk is small to keep things tidy, but on the floor around my chair, I can’t help scattering a volume or two after reading, keeping them close at hand just in case.  

Is this the age of the e-book? Are bricks and mortar bookshops in decline? I can’t help believing there will always be actual, tangible books to read. There is something so intimate, so physically, humanly satisfying, in holding a paper book in one’s hands. And, too, there must always be a place for book-lovers to gather, to share ideas with one another, and with writers. 

What is your greatest success? Writing is all about speaking heart to heart. So success for me is knowing somone has read my work and benefitted by it somehow. A young man told me recently that he has recommended my book to fellow Veterans because it has brought him such a sense of peacefulness and wonder. And members of a local synagogue have installed two of my poems as part of their annual Holocaust Remembrance service as a statement of hope. I feel so honored, and so humbled.

How important is writing to you? For me, writing is a natural response to what I experience. So just as I must exhale with every breath I take in,  I must translate what I perceive into word images. And just as dwelling among other human beings enables me to thrive and grow, so sharing my work expands my poetic vision and deepens my understanding of Life.

BOOK: ONE WITH WILLOWS…

One with Willows is a collection of spiritually playful poems which invites you to step out of the everyday world, to catch your breath, even to catch a glimpse of what really is.  There is magic in light that turns hummingbirds into rubies. Wonder and delight wait for you in a garden, bid you to sit beside a young child at the piano, and may even lead you to stumble upon holiness where you least expect to find it.

You will want One with Willows on your bookshelf when you need a friendly reminder that things can get better. It will sit with you on the edge of the bed when you are weary, and revive your sense of hope when you need a boost.

 

Purchase links:

Print:

One With Willows – Print

Kindle:

One with Willows – ebook

One with Willows cover

BIO…

Joan Myles has always been a child of wonder as well as a spiritual seeker. When she lost her sight at the age of 12, these qualities and writing poetry saved her from despair. And what’s more, once blind, her spiritual seeking took on a deeper, richer dimension. No longer was Divinity somewhere out there, hovering just out of reach. She felt God to be with her, a whisper away, a breath, a sigh, a longing inside her, an expression of wonder and delight and most emphatically, Love.

Joan earned a BA in elementary Education, a Master’s in Jewish Studies, and spent 15 years teaching Hebrew and Judaics to third through 6th graders. During that time, she also founded Yismehu, a non-profit organization which provided free Jewish learning to blind students nationwide via distance learning, and served as both textbook developer and instructor for 7 years.

Joan and her husband raised four children together. They currently live in Oregon, where she continues to delight in the wonders of Life Divine, and in the magic of words.

Connect with Joan online at the following link:

http://www.jewniquelymyself.com

 

 

 

Dirty Dozen Author Interview – Trish Hubschman #Uniqueauthors #Meetanauthor

Author name: Trish Hubschman

Please tell us a little about yourself. What makes you a unique author (or artist)? I live on Long Island, New York, US, with my husband, Kevin and dog Henry.

Please tell us about your publications/work. I write the Tracy Gayle mystery series, Stiff Competition (a Miss America mystery) and Ratings  Game (Talk Show Queen).  Tracy is a Long Island private detective. Her sidekick is a rock and roll musician. She was hired by Danny Tide to find out who set his band’s summer tour bus on fire. They became close friends that eventually developed into more.

What first prompted you to publish your work? I love these characters and this series. I created Danny Tide in 1998. Tracy came years later. They came together by accident. The chemistry between them was wonderful. One mystery/eventual romance led to the next. I had to share it with others. Right now I’m working on the prequel to the series

As a disabled author how do you overcome the extra challenges involved with producing your work? Let me start out by saying I’m deafblind.  I’m not a tech genius. I do what I can do on the computer and I’m learning little by little. I can’t do promotional things like podcasts and book signings are very difficult. I love to write and I want people to read my work but I don’t like being that heavily in the spotlight because of my disabilities. I use a screen-reader and magnification. I do everything by email, talk to people, interviews, handle publishing, etc.

What have you found the most challenging part of the process? Do you think the publishing world is disability-friendly? I don’t disclose my disabilities in my author bio. I’m not ashamed of who I am, but I want to be counted on my merit , not my disabilities. I have a wonderful publisher, DLD Books in Denver. They work with disabled authors. They do everything, edit,  formatting, cover,  They put the book on all the sites, etc. The most challenging part of writing for me is the synopsis.

What’s your greatest networking tip? I’m on facebook.  I have a timeline and a special page for my books where I showcase my writings, short stories and essays. I still have a lot to learn about  Facebook, blogging, websites, technology, but I’m doing my best.

How much research do you do for your work? What’s the wildest subject you’ve looked at? The world of music, rock and roll is a lot of fun, but it’s also hard work.  I know musicians, so I can ask questions, and my husband is a music encyclopedia.

What’s the best advice you’ve received about writing/publishing? Just do it and don’t give up. A lot of the roads along the way are rocky. Don’t let them stop you.

Which authors have influenced you the most? I love reading mystery/romance.  My favorite author is Lisa Gardner. I love her Boston cop series. I’m into women cops and detectives and macho man FBI agents

What is your writing space like? I’ve got a 27-inch computer monitor, a nice clean raised button keyboard, headphones attached to a stereo box and a bottle of water on my desk.

Tell us about your latest piece: Ratings Game, it’s about my hero, Danny Tide’s, second wife. Blair Nelson is a popular New York talk show hostess.  She ingests a drug overdose but survives. Somebody is trying to kill her. Why would anyone want to kill the Queen of daytime TV? Tracy will assist the police again in finding out who.

What’s your next writing adventure? I’m working on the prequel to the series,  Tidalwave  (That’s Danny’s band’s name). It’s how Danny and Tracy met and the first mystery   they’re involved with together

Are indie/self-published authors viewed with scepticism or wariness by readers? Why is this? I think the traditional publishing world feels that self-publishing is somehow second-rate. As they see it, we’re not putting forth legitimate stuff.  DLD  does not allow typos in their work. My book covers are so incredible.

What is your greatest success? Holding the two books I published side by side and knowing that they’re top of the line.

How important is writing to you? Writing is all I do, creating stories. It’s my life.

RATINGS GAME (TALK SHOW QUEEN)

by Trish Hubschman ((c) 2019)

In print ($9.50) and e-book ($2.99) from Amazon, Smashwords, and other online sellers.

The e-book is text-to-speech enabled.

Cover image, free text preview, buying links, and more:

http://www.dldbooks.com/hubschman/

Ratings Game

Trish Hubschman has three previous Tracy Gayle mysteries in print: The Fire, Unlucky Break, and Stiff Competition (Miss America).

Synopsis of Ratings Game:

The Danny Tide story continues.

Somebody’s trying to kill the rock star’s second wife, talk–show hostess Blair Nelson. Danny and Tracy, now a couple expecting a baby, get pulled into it because Danny finally agrees to do an interview with his ex–wife. She’s been bugging him for a while.

That evening, after a draining day at Blair’s studio, when Danny and Tracy are home in bed, Danny’s phone goes off. It’s his and Blair’s daughter, Liz, announcing that she found her mother unconscious on her bathroom floor. Blair ingested a drug overdose.

Who would want to eliminate the talk show queen, and why? Could the perpetrator be Blair’s housekeeper? Her personal assistant? The owner of the television station? The show’s producer? Even Danny and Liz are on the suspect list.

Everyone had opportunity, but no one has a motive. They’re all devoted to Blair. They need Blair to wake up and give them some answers.

Editing, cover design, print layout, and e-book conversion are by DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services, www.dldbooks.com. Cover photo is by Joshua Hanson on Unsplash

Dirty Dozen Author Interview – Alexandra Brandt #Fantasy #HerebeMerfolk

Brandt

Author name: Alexandra Brandt

Please tell us about your publications, specifically the story in this bundle:

I am a short fiction writer, especially science fiction and fantasy. I have three stories published in the Fiction River Anthology series, and a collection of short stories (plus a bunch of standalones) published independently.

“We, the Ocean” might arguably still be the best story I have ever written. It was also my first professional sale. It was for Fiction River’s No Humans Allowed–the theme wanted a very alien viewpoint–and I decided to write a collective mind, whose only pronouns were “us” and “them,” because I wanted to try things I’d never done before. So I committed grammatical sins. I wrote darker and stranger than I’d ever written. And the story took me in places I hadn’t even begun to anticipate.

Then the series editor of Fiction River singled it out in her foreword, calling it ““inventive, heartbreaking, and wholly original.” I’d never had risks pay off like that before. It was just what I needed.

What first prompted you to publish your work?

It took a long time to get here. Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith taught me that I could. And then that first professional sale taught me that other people might actually want to read my stuff. It still took me until 2016 to work up the gumption to put my other stories out there, but actually being invited to contribute to a “Haunted” bundle provided the push I needed to start publishing in earnest. That same year I also decided to give my mother–one of my biggest fans–a special Christmas present: a five-story collection of light contemporary fantasy stories. It was pretty liberating to stop dragging my feet and finally do something with the stories.

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

Oh, I guess I jumped the gun on this question when I mentioned the Haunted bundle, didn’t I? The editor, Jamie Ferguson, actually emailed me and personally invited me to it. I’d heard about book bundles in passing but hadn’t considered participating before. And now I love them–sometimes they inspire me to write something new, and other times they are a chance to breathe new life into an old story. Most importantly for me, they offer a chance to connect with other authors and discover new people to love.

What is your favourite mythical creature? Why is this?

I love many mythical creatures. When I was wee, I decided I was a “fairy princess bride angel mermaid.” My friends and family still call me a mermaid, partially because I wrote a story about one (more or less) and apparently also because I love to sing–my roommate, who has had to listen to my singing off and on for years, started calling me that and it just kind of stuck. So now I have a bunch of mer-themed paraphernalia from friends. My favorite is a tote bag featuring a mermaid whose back is tattooed with “Misandrist.” It makes me cackle every time I see it.

All that said, I think my favorite mythical creatures are actually dragons. They can be terrifying and savage, or noble and wise and awe-inspiring, but most importantly they just look darn cool.

What does writing bring to your life?

An outlet for the daydreams and stories inside my head. My childhood nickname was “Wandering Cloud” because I would drift away from whatever I was supposed to be doing and tell myself stories instead. I wanted to be a writer pretty much the instant I discovered that books were written by real human beings. It still took me a really long time to be able to finish anything I started, though–I still struggle with my inner Wandering Cloud, even/especially when I am writing.

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

Assuming this is one of those situations where I am marooned indefinitely rather than vacationing, I would want to bring:

  • A meaty tome like Shakespeare’s complete works, so I’d have plenty to occupy my mind. (I might skip through Titus Andronicus, though. That one gave me nightmares as a teenager.)
  • A really big blank notebook with an attached pencil to write all my thoughts.
  • Something by Stephen Hawking–not sure which one, because I haven’t read any yet (but keep meaning to, which is the point of including it).
  • The Hamiltome so I can memorize all the songs at last. Plus bonus pictures! And treasures from Lin-Manuel, who is one of the best humans alive.
  • K. Jemisin’s Inheritance trilogy because she is one of my all-time faves and I own a single book that includes the whole trilogy plus a novella, so ha! four books in one!

…Or maybe replace one of the above with a nice, detailed book on how to survive on a desert island?

Nah. I stand by my choices.

Sort these into order of importance:

Good plot

Great characters

Awesome world-building

Technically perfect

***

1.) Great characters

2.) Awesome world-building

3.) Good plot

4.) Technically perfect (I mean, does such a thing even exist)

How influential is storytelling to our culture?

We humans live and die by stories, whether we’re avid readers or not. If something has a story, we connect to it. And anything can have a story–if I hadn’t been consuming books my whole life, my marketing job alone would have taught me that. Storytelling can help us understand and process truths about our world, or it can obfuscate and manipulate. It can build or destroy connections between humans. As a writer I believe I have a responsibility to bring good things into the world, to open minds and hearts and promote empathy and compassion, because that’s what reading stories has done for me.

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

I would love to be something very wise and far-seeing. And beautiful in some way–I love beautiful things. So maybe the wise kind of dragon, or a sphinx. No wait, scratch the wisdom thing–I want to be a dryad. I love forests so much, and I would love to learn to connect with both the life and the stillness in them.

Tell us about your latest piece? 

If we’re talking most recently published, the Fiction River anthology Feel the Love just came out last month. “Lifeblood,” the story I sold to them, was initially inspired by a thought experiment–no, let’s call it what it actually was: fan-fiction–where I tried to figure out what kind of mutant I would be in an X-Men universe. But along the way I realized I could ask questions about what it means to love selflessly–questions I still don’t know how to answer. I don’t think the story answers them, and I don’t think it should.

But I sure did enjoy finding a nerdy way to explore them.

What’s your next writing adventure?

I’m working on a story that was originally intended to peel back the layers of some classic fairytale tropes and ask what this would really feel like for the people involved. As expected, the story ended up taking on a life of its own, and now I have four great characters with all these inner conflicts and desires and damages to overcome. I think it’s a novella? Or a trilogy. Or something in between. Who even knows at this point. Anyway, it’s a quest story that will hopefully take some emotionally-resonant twists and turns.

Is there a message in your books?

Oh, probably. Or at least some common themes. Of course, I really want to promote empathy and compassion in my writing, so I always try to dig deep into the emotions and inner lives of my characters. I am still working on writing more diversely, but one theme I’ve noticed in a lot of my stories is “how women relate to each other.” If I have two main characters in a story, chances are they will both be women (and I’ve also been learning how to write non-binary characters, inspired by my wonderful writing partner Rei Rosenquist).

Sometimes there’s a love story, but not always–there are just so many ways to explore deep relationships beyond the usual heteronormative romances. Within the trappings of fantasy and science fiction, of course, because I am just that kind of person.

 

Links

http://www.alexandrajbrandt.com/

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

 

Bio

Alexandra Brandt spent most of her childhood dressing up in fairy wings and parading in front of the mirror telling stories to herself. Not much has changed: she still loves a good costume, and tells herself stories every day.

Her short fiction appears in Fiction River and other anthologies, and has made it onto Tangent Magazine’s 2017 and 2018 Recommended Reading lists. “Ellen Double Prime,” her story in Fiction River vol. 28: Wishes, was double-starred and described as “a strong and powerful story” by Tangent Magazine.

When not yelling at her computer, reading, or debating worldbuilding details with her writer husband, Alex functions as a copywriter, content marketer, and graphic designer for a medical practice. She also does freelance book cover design for fellow authors. She occasionally sings in a choir, and always welcomes any excuse to sit down and play tabletop games—from D&D to board games to cards.

OceanStory.jpg

Alexandra’s story can be found in Here Be Merfolk

Bundle Rabbit https://bundlerabbit.com/b/here-be-merfolk

 

Dirty Dozen Author Interview – Lynda Maye Adams – Bundle Author #HereBeMerfolk

image Linda Maye Adams

Author name: Linda Maye Adams

*Please tell us about your publications, specifically the story in this bundle:

My story is “Dark, From the Sea.” It was part of a Writing in Public feature I ran on my blog—I wrote a scene each day and posted it until the story was finished.   It was partially inspired by Japanese pearl divers, and also by some research I did on lighthouses.

I’m also the writer of the GALCOM Universe series, which is about a woman who leaves Earth for the first time because the military pays her to deal with alien ghosts.  There are three books in the series, and a fourth coming that’s got a lot of action.  I get to blow things up!

What other bundles are you involved with?

I was in the 2018 Military Science Story Bundle curated by Kevin J. Anderson with the first book in my GALCOM series, Crying Planet.  My short story “Watcher” Ghost is in the BundleRabbit Short Flights (of the Imagination), and my Desert Storm memoir, Soldier, Storyteller was in the Remembering Warriors BundleRabbit.

Are you a ‘pantser’ or a ‘plotter’?

I’m a pantser, though I don’t particularly like the term.  I just don’t plan anything out for my stories.  I don’t even know how it ends until I get there.  It’s sort of like taking a road trip without a planned destination.  You hop on the road and follow it.  There’s this sign…looks interesting.  You pull in and it isn’t quite what you thought, so you pull out of the rabbit hole until you find something else—and that one you spend a lot of time following.  It’s a lot of fun writing like this because it makes the story unpredictable.

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

That description is not a bad thing.  That gets mispresented a lot in writing books and shows up on top ten lists for “don’t do a lot,” instead of learning how to do it.

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

I start with subjects I’m already familiar with, so I don’t have as much research to do. My GALCOM series came out of my military experience.  I’m also working on a mystery in 1940s Hollywood.  I grew up in Los Angeles in the 1970s and devoured everything on Hollywood I could find.  So the majority of my research tends to be on the spot—how cold is it in space (over 450 below zero)?  What is it like in zero-g?  What causes an aurora?

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

It’s to have fun (which is from Dean Wesley Smith).  Writers can get so focused on getting published that they forget that writing has to be fun.

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

That you must outline.  I started out writing when I was eight, and it was natural to me to put pen to paper and simply write.  Everyone around me thought I was doing it wrong because I wasn’t outlining.  There’s such a lot of pressure on pantsers—everyone looks at how we write and they don’t understand how it can be done like that.  It scares everyone, and they try to convert the pantsers over to outlining.  I always cringe when I see “I’m a reformed pantser,” because it makes me wonder if that person is still writing.

Tell us about your latest piece?

I just finished Last Stand, the fourth book in my GALCOM Universe series.  Colonel Graul catches a contagious flu and ends up in quarantine on a space station.  Then disaster happens and the space station is attacked!  So it’s a lot of action, and I blow up spaceships.  The aliens look like creepy bugs I saw when I was growing up, potato bugs.  Fitting that they are aliens. We never thought they looked real.

What’s your next writing adventure?

 Non-fiction: Writers Toolkit: Research on the Go For the Fiction Writer.  This book blends my experience as a travel administrator and how to research when you travel.

Golden Lies: The first book in my Al Travers Mystery series.  He’s a private eye in 1947 Hollywood, at the point where the studio system was about to collapse.  He’s also a veteran of World War II, and his secretary was a nurse over there.  So they both have the effects of the war as they try to find a missing actress.

With the influx of indie authors do you think this is the future of storytelling?

It has to be.  Traditional publishing is going to run out of writers.  When they gutted the mid-list writers, they cut off the water supply.  Those writers could be developing the skills to become best sellers in the future, and they’re either indie or no longer writing.  That only leaves the current best sellers.  One day, those writers going to start dying off.  There’s a lot of disruption, and traditional publishing is pretending like it’s 1980 and everyone will go back to the way it was. By the time they come around, it’s going to be too late.

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

While I still hear from a few people who think of the old days when you self-published a book because you couldn’t get published, I think most readers just want good books to read.  They don’t care where it comes from.

Is there a message in your books?

I don’t do message stories.  As a reader, I don’t want to be lectured to.  If I smell it from the description, I won’t even buy it.  I’m all about escapist fiction…grab the popcorn and sit down for a good read.

Bio

Linda Maye Adams was probably the least likely person to be in the Army—even the Army thought so!  She was an enlisted soldier and served for twelve years and was one of the women who deployed to Desert Storm.  But she’d much prefer her adventures to be in books.  She is the author of the military-based GALCOM Universe series, including the novel Crying Planet, featured in the 2018 Military Science Fiction StoryBundle.

Connect with Linda Online:

https://lindamayeadams.com/how-to-contact-linda/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LindaAdamsVA

Pintrest: https://www.pinterest.com/garridon/

Linda’s fiction site: https://lindamayeadams.com/

Dark, From the Sea features in Here Be Merfolk

boxset merfolk

Part of the Here Be Bundle Series

Amazon

Kobo

Barnes and Noble

I books

Bundle Rabbit

 

Dirty Dozen Character Interview – Steve Barras – Ghosts/Here Be Ghosts/

Welcome to Steve Barras

  • Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m dead. I occupy living human bodies.

  • Tell us why you’re embarking on this adventure?

I didn’t choose it. It was thrust upon me. But I don’t want anyone else to go through this, either.

  • Do you have a moral code? If so what might it be?

…I did, once. I helped people. I was good at it. But then I died, and now I have to kill to survive.

  • Would you kill for those you love?

…I killed those I loved. I stopped myself and only kill strangers now.

  • Would you die for those you love?

There’s no point. I’m already dead.

  • Who is your greatest enemy?

I am my own worst enemy. But I will stop the Other in any way I can.

  • What is your greatest weakness (we won’t tell)?

I can’t just die for real. Instinct forces me out to hunt when by all rights I should die with the body.

  • How would you describe yourself?

Look in the mirror. You won’t see me there, because I’m already wearing your body.

  • How do you think others see you?

They don’t because they would only see someone they already know.

  • Do you believe you will be successful in your quest?

I have to be. The Other is killing for the thrill of it. I have to stop him, show him he doesn’t have to live this way. He doesn’t have to burn this fast and I can show him how to live a little longer.

  • What is your greatest fear?

That I will spend eternity burning out bodies until there are no more left.

  • What do you think of your author/creator?

Another body to occupy until it burns out. *shrug* Not my preferred choice in bodies, but if needs must, then I will take it.

 

Ghosts bundle cover UPDATED

For the author

Books in which this character appears:

A Burning Rainbow Man, a short story

Available from Smashwords

Links, short author bio…

You can find my work here:

Ann Stratton – author bio

https://draft2digital.com/book/

and of course, here on Bundle Rabbit.

Ann Stratton started writing at thirteen, with the typical results. She’s gotten a little better since then, she hopes, having taken a much more serious approach in later years. She lives in Southeastern Arizona, trying to juggle too many interests at once.

 

 

 

Dirty Dozen Author Interview – Charles E. Yallowitz

Author name:  Charles E. Yallowitz

 My two biggest publications are Legends of Windemere and War of Nytefall.  The former is a 15 book adventure series that takes place in the fantasy world of Windemere.  I published the final book in December and I’ve just released the first volume of my vampire series, which takes place in the same world.  Both series have plenty of action, humour, and colourful characters.

 

What have you found the most challenging part of the process?

As strange as it sounds, I find the most challenging part to be the later editing stages.  I’m always having a blast with outlining and writing the first draft, but I’ve found that I hit an odd mentality when I’m doing my 3rd or 4th readthrough.  I begin making changes for the sake of making changes, which makes it difficult to do a true editing run.  So, I guess the biggest challenge is my own insecurity and doubt here.

 

 Are you a ‘pantser’ or a ‘plotter’?

 75% plotter and 25% pantser.  I used to be more of the former, but I realized that so many of my character bios and outlines didn’t survive the first draft.  So, I come up with a general idea of what I’m doing and key points that I want the plot and characters to hit.  Everything in between is up to what strikes my fancy while I’m writing.

 

 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?

 I used to think the Perma-Free idea was a mistake.  Not that it demeaned the author or the work, but that it didn’t serve a purpose.  It wasn’t until I sat down to think of ways to help promote my own series that I realized a free Volume 1 could help get people into the rest of the books. Creating a low or no risk introduction is a great way to attract readers, especially those who might not normally read your chosen genre.

 

 How do you deal with bad reviews?

 I eat an entire cartoon of ice cream and yell at myself in the mirror.  Kidding since I can’t do that without making myself sick these days.  I read the bad reviews to see if there are any good points that I can use to improve myself.  If not then I shrug, talk to a few friends about it, and move on.  You’re not going to please everybody, especially in this business.

 

Sort these into order of importance:

Good plot

Great characters

Awesome world-building

Technically perfect

 This is a lot more difficult than I thought it would be.  I’m going with Great Characters, Awesome World-Building, Good Plot, and Technically Perfect, but they’re all coming in very close.  I think the first three on the list influence each other too much to really put one above the other.  A good plot can stem from a great character while helping to forge an awesome world.  With the technically perfect part, you do need to get close to that, but I think you’ll also always get someone pointing out mistakes.  Then again, I’m a Present Tense Third Person author, so my entire style is sometimes called a typo.

 

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

With my fantasy books, I don’t do a lot of research beyond monsters and weapons that exist in the real world.  Most times, I find myself looking things up in the spur of the moment because a scene doesn’t feel believable.  This happens a lot when I have a character who uses poisons or I’m trying to make a monster act like a certain real world animal.  As far as the wildest subject, I’ve had to look up a lot of anatomy to see if a character will survive certain blows and to make sure a villain that enjoys torture knows what they’re doing.  With that second thing, you’d be surprised how quickly it can go from cringe-worthy evil to groan-inducing comedy.

 

How influential is storytelling to our culture?

 I think it’s more influential than people realize.  We run into stories every day that cause us to think and act in response to them.  It isn’t always a grand tale of adventure or the in-depth story of a real event.  Some stories are nothing more than a person telling you about their day.  They might not have the same impact as a fantasy adventure, but people who listen will walk away with something new in their heads.  That can lead to changes in the culture, especially if the story reveals an area of society that needs to be worked on.

 

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

Rip Van Winkle because I could use a good night’s sleep.  Seriously, I think I’d like to be a griffin, but the more docile kind that will allow people to ride on their backs.  That way I won’t be seen as a threat and I can still fly around whenever I want to.  As much as I hate heights, I like the sense of freedom that I feel when I imagine flying without a plane.  Almost like you’re part of the world, but still isolated with your own thoughts until you return to the ground. Typing on my laptop might be rather difficult, so I’d have to go with a human who can transform into a griffin.

 

What is your writing space like?

 I switch between two writing areas because I don’t have a designated spot to call my own.  One is sitting on my bed with my laptop and notebooks while the other is the dining room table.  The second choice doesn’t have as much privacy as the first, but it’s easier on the back.  I’m hoping to have an office one day, but I work with what I can get for now.

 

Tell us about your latest piece?

 My latest work is called War of Nytefall: Loyalty and it’s the first volume of a new series.  It takes place in the magical world of Windemere like Legends of Windemere, but a few hundred years earlier.  The Great Cataclysm has just struck and changed the entire world, including transforming a vampire named Clyde.  Having been buried for fifty years, he has returned to discover that his people have been in an endless war against the hunters and sun priests.  It is not long before Clyde realizes that the strange events that buried him also gave him unique powers. He no longer loses his strength in the sun and physical strength that surpasses even the vampire nobles, which he fears will make him a target.  As he fights in the war alongside his old friends, he starts to uncover more changes, including one that kicks of a vampire civil war between the Old World Vampires and the newly arrived Dawn Fangs. As with my previous series, there’s a lot of action and colourful characters to drive the plot along.

 

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

 I think there is still a stigma about indie authors being of low quality and it might never go away.  Many readers think indie authors refuse to edit or are so unskilled that no publishing company will touch them.  A lot of people also look at the indie author scene as easy money and crank out a simple book to make a few bucks, which seems to get more attention than the majority who take the trade seriously.  Those who are sceptical of the self-publishing world will always point to the lower quality works as examples of the whole too. It really comes down to the exposure one has to the indie scene and where the majority of attention goes to.  If the community is painted in a negative light then the stigma will remain, but if you have a positive reputation then it will go in the other direction.

 

How important is writing to you?

Writing has been an important part of my life for a long time.  It’s how I relax and what I love to do.  If I’m not working on a full-length book then I’m fiddling with my outlines.  Some days the only time I feel like I have any control over things is when I’m writing, so it acts as a stabilizer in a way.

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Bio

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn’t working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. Truthfully, his tales of adventure are much more interesting than his real life, so skip the bio and dive into the action.

Dirty Dozen Character Interview – Mab Winthrop – Vampire/Fantasy

CHARACTER NAME: Mab Winthrop

  • Tell us a little about yourself.

First of all, I really don’t like my last name, so let’s pretend it doesn’t exist from this point forward.  Now, let’s get to the real information such as I’m a vampire and a highly skilled burglar.  My partner and I used to run one of the most infamous crime gangs on the continent until the Great Cataclysm hit, the idiot got sucked into the ground, and the mortals declared war on my entire species.  So, I’ve been more of an assassin and spy for one of the nobles since heists are a little too dangerous now.  I still swipe things that my targets won’t have any use for after I kill them, so I get my kicks that way.  Now that Clyde, he’s the idiot and partner, is back, I’m hoping to return to my roots.  I mean, he’s stronger and more powerful than ever with more of an interest in fighting than stealing, but I’m sure I can smack some sense into him.

 

  • Do you have a moral code? If so what might it be?

You might think I don’t because I’m a thief and a vampire, but I do.  Basically, you don’t betray your friends and family.  Top predator or not, mortals still outnumber us, so we have to depend on each other to survive.  You prove to be a traitor and I’ll make sure you don’t get a chance to stab anyone else in the back.  I kind of have a soft spot for kids too, but most vampires do.  I mean, you need the little ones to grow into adults in order for there to be future meals.  Not sure if that’s morality or agriculture.

 

  • Would you kill for those you love?

I would and have done that on several occasions.  Not only for those I like, but those I’m okay with too.  Not a big fan of killing on command though, but it’s the only way I can make a living these days.

 

  • Would you die for those you love?

I’d prefer not to, but I won’t say it’s never an option.  Being a vampire, I can regenerate a lot of injuries, so the chance of dying isn’t as high as it is with mortals.  Still, I guess I would take a beheading for certain people if I knew they would go on to do great things.  You know, the idea isn’t really sitting well with me, so I think it would be a spur of moment decision that I’d regret with my final breath.

 

  • Is your world populated by different races? How do they get along?

I come from Windemere, which is a world of magic and many races.  We have elves, dwarves, halflings, calicos, and a long menu . . . list . . . No, I’ll stick with menu of entrees for my kind.  As a whole, most of the races get along with a few forced onto the outskirts of society like the chaos elves and ogres.  Vampires don’t get along well with the rest of the world, but that might be changing with the Dawn Fangs turning up.  W . . . They can live among mortals and don’t have to kill when they feed, so maybe the hunting and hatred will chance.

 

  • Tell us about your family?

Considering I’m a couple centuries old, my only blood relation is my younger brother.  Titus is a vampire too and he’s in charge of the Vengeance Hounds.  They acted as the mercenary side of the gang while Clyde and I did our thief stuff.  My baby brother is a decent swordsman and is huge, so he tends to simply overpower whatever he’s fighting.  The rest of my family would be the gang because we look out for each other.  I know I can depend on them when I’m in trouble and I return the favour whenever I’m called upon.  Not many of us are left since this war started though.  There’s my brother, his two friends, Decker who is more of a partial member, and someone who I refuse to say by name.  I guess every family has that black sheep you want to beat with their own femurs.  She knows what she did.

 

  • What is your greatest skill/asset?

Definitely my ability to sneak around and breaking into things.  I know that’s rather general, but I’ve always had a natural talent for getting into places that I shouldn’t be.  That’s basically how I got turned. The gang depends on me to be the best burglar in the world, so I’ve made sure my stealth skills are honed to perfection.  In my opinion, this is a better way to be instead of using brute force.  If you can’t be seen or caught then you can get away with anything.

 

  • What is your greatest weakness (we won’t tell)?

Thanks for keeping this a secret, but I have to admit that my greatest weakness might be pretty well known.  It’s not that I have a temper since I can remain calm in the face of a lot of frustration.  The problem is that once I blow, I have a lot of trouble coming back down.  I tend to hold grudges, especially towards those I feel have betrayed me.  Titus and Decker tell me that I need to learn forgiveness since eternity is too long a time to be holding onto hate and anger.  Not that they know what they’re talking about since some things can’t be undone with a simple apology.

 

  • How would you describe yourself?

I’m a dedicated friend and a highly talented thief who is always willing to share her blood with a hungry ally.  Sure, you don’t want to make me an enemy because I’ll either rob you blind or gut you depending on what you did.  I’m rather easy-going though, so there’s nothing to worry about for the most part.

 

  • How do you think others see you?

That entirely depends on who you ask.  Most of the gang sees me as they should, which is the second-in-command and a dependable presence.  There are a few that mistake my honesty and carefree attitude with rudeness, but I don’t deal with nobles enough to care about that.  I will admit that there are some who would call me a stubborn, impatient, angry female dog, but they earned my wrath.  I have no illusions about having enemies.  Is it illusion or allusion?  I always get those mixed up.

 

  • Do you believe you will be successful in your quest?

To claim every shiny object in Windemere?  I’m going to do my best, but there are new ones being found every day.  Thank the gods I have eternity.  Although, I might need to change my hiding habits.  I misplaced a few of my stashes, which is why the others keep calling me a vampiric squirrel.  If you’re talking about winning this war with the Duragians then we’ll definitely come out on top.  Clyde is back and stronger than ever.  The two of us together never fail.

 

  • Tell us about your greatest achievement

That’s a tough one.  As odd as it sounds, I’d have to say it was making my hydra-skin jacket, which is my prized possession.  It works a little like armour, but I’m very proud of how I got the pieces.  Hydras are pretty nasty even for vampires because they can spew acidic gas and spit poison.  They might not kill my kind, but it takes a long time to heal melted skin and purge those toxins.  I spent weeks sneaking into lairs and snatching scales when the hydras were distracted by other prey.  That still wasn’t as hard as learning how to make clothing without using magic.  Wasn’t easy since the seamstress I was talking to kept asking for Placid blood.  Those things are practically extinct, so I ended up mixing saltwater with elf blood by the end of our deal.  She never figured it out even after she got really sick, which she totally deserved.  Anyway, all of that hard work helped me get this one-of-a-kind jacket that I refuse to part with.

 

NYTEFALL.PIXELS-2 (1)

 

For the author

Books in which this character appears:

 

Legends of Windemere: The Mercenary Prince

War of Nytefall: Loyalty

Links, short author bio…

Blog
Twitter
Facebook

Website

Amazon Author Page

Bio:
Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn’t working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. Truthfully, his tales of adventure are much more interesting than his real life, so skip the bio and dive into the action.