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 Character Interviews – Dani Erikson – Bundle/Fantasy/Paranormal/Monsters

Welcome to DANI ERICKSON

  • Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m the seventh child of a seventh child, which makes me a hereditary demon hunter. I’m actually the answer to my grandpa’s dream, but he doesn’t know it. See, he set out to create a legendary seventh son of a seventh son – probably drove my grandmother to an early grave in the attempt. As far as he’s concerned, he failed. He got his seven sons, and six daughters as well, but his seventh son, my Uncle Gus, failed him. You see, Uncle Gus and Aunt Ellen weren’t able to have kids.

Grandpa had ignored Mom and Dad until it became clear that Aunt Ellen wasn’t going to give him any grandsons. After all, Dad was only son #5. But then Grandpa realized that Mom and Dad had six little boys, and there was another baby on the way! Mom wasn’t thrilled when Gramps turned his obsessive attention on her, but there wasn’t much she could do about it. Then the worst happened – at least from Grandpa’s point of view. I was born. A girl. Can anyone say, “Major disappointment”?

But the laugh’s on Grandpa, because gender doesn’t matter to a demon hunter. It’s all about the numbers. See, Dad was only the fifth son, but he was the seventh child. Making me the seventh child of a seventh child. I came into my powers on fourteenth birthday, but I’m not admitting any of this to my family. At least, not yet.

And Grandpa? Maybe I’ll tell him his plan succeeded … someday … if I’m feeling generous.

  • What is your world like? How does it differ to mine?

I live in Longmont, Colorado, in the here and now. My world is exactly like yours, except I can see the demons who walk right beside us, and you can’t. That’s not necessarily a good thing. Trust me. You’re lucky you can’t see them!

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

How do demons and humans get along? Depends on who you ask. Normal people don’t believe demons exist. Demons are perfectly happy with that since they feed off of us. Since normals don’t believe in them, they’re easy prey.

Me? I don’t get along with demons at all. I hunt them, with the help of my guardian and trainer. Wick can see them too, and he can fight them, he just can’t kill them. Killing demons is reserved for the hereditary demon hunters of the world. And in this age of birth control and smaller families, there just aren’t enough of us to protect humanity.

  • Tell us about your family?

Well, I already told you about Grandpa and his obsessive desire for a seventh-seventh, so let’s concentrate on my immediate family.

I’m the youngest, and only girl, of seven kids. My brothers are Mike, Pat, Evan, Seth, Brent, and Jamie. Mike is in medical school at the Unversity of Colorado, Boulder. Pat just graduated with a degree in engineering. Evan is a senior at CU, studying urban planning, while Seth is a junior, but he hasn’t declared a major yet. Can’t make up his mind. Brent and Jamie are still in high school, a senior and a junior, while I’m just starting my freshman year.

Dad’s an architect with a firm in Boulder, and Mom is a stay-at-home mom. Trust me, with six sons and one daughter, she has a full-time job!

  • What is your greatest skill/asset

I have mad skills with knives and swords, and all forms of fighting (from street fighting to martial arts) come as naturally to me as walking. Wick has to teach me the basics, but I catch on faster than Jamie can inhale French fries!

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

I am a complete failure at lady-like behaviour. Seriously. Fancy dresses, make-up and batting eyelashes? Gag!

  • How would you describe yourself?

I’m okay looking, if you like athletic girls. I have long, dark blonde hair with a hint of red, and I typically wear it in a ponytail or a ponytail braid. I’m 5’10” with light brown eyes and I’m a lean, mean, fighting machine!

  • How do you think others see you?

Well, my family, especially my brothers, see a helpless little girl. They all want me to act like a girl. After all, we have enough boys in the family.

  • What is your greatest fear?

My greatest fear isn’t that a demon will kill or maim me, it’s that my family will figure out that I have more in common with an Amazon queen than with a fairy-tale princess – that I’m more of a Rottweiler than the pampered Pomeranian they like to think I am.

  • If you could have three wishes what would they be?
  • My family would recognize me and accept me for who – and what – I am!
  • To rid my high school and my town of all the demons infecting them. I’ll worry about the rest of the country when I’m older.
  • I wish I could find a couple more demon hunters to help me. Sometimes the job feels pretty overwhelming

boxset Monsters

  • Do you believe in magic?

Well, duh! I fight demons, remember?

  • Tell us about your greatest achievement

I’m a kick-ass demon hunter, and my parents even named me appropriately. I’m Dani Heleen Erickson, which makes my initials D.H.E. – Demon Hunter Extraordinaire!

Demon Daze (Dani Erickson Book 1) by [Logan, Deb]

For the author

Books in which this character appears:

Demon Daze

School Daze 

Family Daze

Challenging Daze

Demon Daze appears in Here Be Monsters

Short author bio:

Deb Logan writes children’s, tween, and young adult fantasy. Her stories are light-hearted tales for the younger set — or ageless folk who remain young at heart. She’s published numerous titles, including short stories, collections, and novels. Her work has been published in multiple volumes of Fiction River: An Original Anthology Magazine, as well as in The Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide series. Author of the popular “Dani Erickson” series, Deb loves dragons and faeries and all things unexplained.

 

Links:

Newsletter: https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/l9m2v4

Website: http://debloganwrites.com

Facebook: @DebLoganWrites

 

 

 

 

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.

Links:

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.

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.

 

 

Dirty Dozen Author Interview – John D. Payne #Fantasy #Dragons

John David Payne-0820.jpg

Author name: John D. Payne

  1. Please tell us about your publications.

Well, in this bundle https://bundlerabbit.com/b/here-be-dragons#cbp=/products/detail/crown-dragon, you will find my debut novel.  The Crown and the Dragon is an epic fantasy about an uncrowned princess and an outlaw with a price on his head.  Thrown together on the road by fate, they are pursued by a blood-soaked sorceror, an occupying army, a demon monster made of crows, and a dragon of mass destruction.  They have nothing in common, but somehow they end up saving the kingdom and falling in love.

Also in this bundle is Dragon Writers: An Anthology, which happens to feature one of my stories.  “Lullaby” is about a mommy dragon (and a daddy dragon) trying to get noisy little ones to pipe down and go to sleep. I wrote it in my head while rocking my own kiddos to sleep. In fact, I was rocking our second child when my phone informed me that this story had been accepted to the anthology. I said “Awesome!” which woke my little boy just enough to barf all down my shirt. Lots of other great stories in this book, but I don’t know that any of the others have received this particular mark of quality.

 

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

Write what you love, but also try new things.  You never know when you’re going to find something new that you love doing.

 

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

I heard: “Don’t try it.  It’s impossible to make a living as a writer, and you’ll waste years of your life trying and failing.”  And for a while, I believed this.

But!  Anything worth doing takes years to learn.  And while you’re learning, you won’t be making much money.  And there’s going to be a lot of failures along the way.  This is normal in any field of study, in any trade, in any new venture.  But are any of those as much fun as playing make-believe?  If your answer is an emphatic NO, then write.

And don’t worry if you can’t spend eight hours a day at this.  Take twenty or thirty minutes every day and write one page.  In 365 days, you’ll have a 365 page novel.  Then move on to the next one, and the next.  So what if they’re not perfect?  You’re learning.  And having fun!

 

  1. Tell us about your latest piece?

Just finishing a short story for D.J. Butler’s anthology of Mormon Steampunk.  It’s about two stowaways on a giant steam-powered land ship heading out west with the pioneers.  One is a Danish house-gnome following one of his household, and the other is a labor automaton who decided the Emancipation Proclamation applied to him.  It was my first ever steampunk story, and I had a blast writing it.  Not every day I get to talk about Elizabeth Barrett Browning, salty black licorice, and the alchemist Paracelsus in the same story!

 

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

As a stay-at-home dad with a kindergartener, a preschooler, and a toddler (so far), the mythical person I most envy is Sleeping Beauty.  To conk out for a hundred years?  Man, that is the life.  Tell you what, if I ever see a spinning wheel I am going to be stabbing my finger with that spindle.  You never know, right?

 

  1. What is your writing space like?

When we were house-hunting for our current place, I was so excited to see that it had a room that would work as an office.  Good natural light, out of the way but close to the bathroom.  Perfect!  I lined the walls with bookshelves and set up the world’s best futon, so I could write sitting or lying down.  (I don’t like to stay in the same position too long when I write.)  I put a mini-fridge in the closet and filled it with my very favorite Brazilian soda pop (Guaraná Antarctica), and made sure to stock some snacks so I could stay in there for hours and just write.

Naturally, the kids have decided this is the funnest room in the house, and absolutely will not leave me alone when I’m in there.  So I do a lot of my daytime writing at our church, sitting on a couch in the foyer with pillows I steal from the mothers’ lounge.  It’s not nearly as comfy as my office at home, but there’s usually nobody else there so it’s nice and quiet.  Which is really all I need.

 

  1. What is the last book you’ve read?

Most of my reading is actually listening.  It’s a habit I picked up back when I had a long commute.  So the last audiobook I listened to was Food: A Cultural Culinary History by Ken Albala.  The first three-quarters of the book (everything up to about 1800 AD or so) was full of great new information.  And it made me want to try the recipes!

If we’re just talking about fiction, my most recent read was Obstacles, Volume 1 of the Acts of Androkles, by Ryan English, which I read as an ebook.  Set in a world much like our own ancient Greece, it’s the tale of a hardened warrior who sets out on a quest for vengeance and along the way finds a  family. It’s like 300 meets Payback, plus The Bad News Bears.  Or maybe Horsin’ Around.

 

  1. What are your views on authors commenting on reviews?

I think the wisest course (and the happiest) is to avoid reading reviews, much less commenting on them.  But if I was going to comment, it would probably be to thank a fan for leaving the review.  Or to let someone know I was glad they noticed something I worked hard on.

 

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

I mostly do research as I go, when I bump into something I need to know to write the scene.  For example, the novel I’m working on now is a superhero book that takes place in a city built on the old Roanoke Colony.  So I’ve been learning a lot about the Outer Banks in North Carolina.  But lots of other stuff, too.  For scenes in the last few chapters, I’ve researched all of the following: garbage trucks, supermodels, barbecue, electromagnets, she-crab soup, secret societies, mary jane pumps, tax fraud, dark energy, good pistols for women to concealed-carry, missing planets, and the demon wife Adam had before Eve.

 

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

Bilbo Baggins.  That little dude knows how to lay out a spread.  And I think I’d want to drop in for Elevensies, so we could do breakfast food, brunch food, and lunch food.  All of which will feature bacon.  Yum!

 

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

People love stories, and they get them in a lot of different ways.  Leaving out movies, comic books, TV, games, etc., and just thinking about written fiction, there are so many ways to deliver it these days.  Hardcovers, mass-markets, trade paperbacks, ebooks, audiobooks, etc.  People might buy your novel online, or in their local bookstore.  They might borrow it from a friend, or from a library.  You can chop it up into chapters and serialize it in magazines (print or electronic), a newsletter, on blogs, podcasts, or Patreon.

Ebooks are great, but they’re not the only way to experience a story (or to reach an audience).  This is the age of innovation, of creativity.  I think this is the best time in the history of the world to be sharing your stories.   There are just so many options!  And it’s only going to get better.

 

  1. What’s your next writing adventure?

As soon as I finish my superhero book, I’m finishing (and revising) a novel that follows on from a story I wrote for One Horn to Rule Them All: A Purple Unicorn Anthology.  In the story, an awkward grad student (Lem) finally gets the courage to ask out the cute hipster girl (Pris) who’s always reading at his stop.  But what he doesn’t know (that the reader does) is that she’s really a secret watcher from another dimension.

The book is set a few months after their disastrous first date.  Pris shows up out of nowhere on Lem’s doorstep, reveals her true identity, and asks him to help her unravel a sinister conspiracy that spans the multiverse.  They have 48 hours to clear her name, save earth from extradimensional spies, and win the film competition at the local Con.  And maybe . . . have a second date?

 

Meet the author: John D. Payne grew up in the American midwest watching the lightning flash outside his window and imagining himself as everything from a leaf on the wind to the god of thunder. Today, he lives with his wife and family at the foot of the Organ Mountains in New Mexico, where he focuses his weather-god powers on rustling up enough cloud cover for a little shade.

His debut novel, The Crown and the Dragon, is a thrilling epic fantasy published by WordFire Press. His short fiction has been published in anthologies like Tales of Ruma and magazines like Leading Edge.

For monthly stories, exclusive bonus content, updates and more, please subscribe at: Patreon Or tweet-stalk him @jdp_writes.

 

Dirty Dozen – Author Interview – Walter Rhein – Fantasy

Welcome back to Walter Rhein, fantasy author. He’s visited a couple of times before, but he’s back to talk about his exciting new release.

  1. Please tell us about your publications.

My latest book is called ‘The Literate Thief‘ and it is the second book in a three-part series entitled ‘The Slaves of Erafor.’ I first embarked on this journey when I met Janet Morris on Facebook. Having some discussions with her inspired me to put together a narrative I’d been daydreaming about. The narrative involved slavery, but not in the historical sense. I wanted to approach the idea of how we all become slaves of thought to various ideas, and what the cause of this widespread slavery is.

The scary thing is that this series has become more relevant. I’m seeing more and more instances of narrative control in the media, particularly in the United States. However, I didn’t write this book as a response to US politics. I wrote it as a general condemnation of evil as it tends to manifest. Any similarities to current events are purely coincidental.

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

I think it’s important to know that the idea that ‘quality work finds an audience’ is something of a myth. Sure, maybe over time a quality book will gain traction, but you really have to publicize it. The publishing world is very corrupt. I meet a lot of people with Master’s Degrees in English and they make me want to pull their hair out because a lot of what they’ve been taught to believe is simply not true.

Also, literature is very elitist. There are many poverty class writers out there who are producing fantastic work and the literary community completely ignores them. When I say ‘poverty-class’ I’m talking about storytellers that you might come across in bars or other places. I’ve heard stories told in bars that are better than anything that would ever come out of a prestigious magazine by highly educated writers. I think those highly educated writers resent their lack of talent, and the grand talent that can be found elsewhere, and they take action to make sure those voices are silenced.

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

Willy Wonka. Chocolate.

4. 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 don’t understand how you can promote a book without giving some copies away. After all, don’t you send a book to the publisher for free? It’s not like publishers pay you to read your work now is it?

The reality is that all major publisher give away hundreds, if not thousands of advance reader copies in order to hit the market riding the crest of a wave of reviews. Sometimes indie writers are held to a different standard than major publishers on this issue, which doesn’t make any sense to me.

I don’t think it demeans the work at all. You want people to read what you wrote and that’s not easy to do. If you think something is important enough to put in the effort to publish it, then you shouldn’t have any qualms about doing whatever you can to get as many people as possible to read it.

  1. What are your views on authors commenting on reviews?

 I actually just did this on my own blog. There was a review that I really appreciated on Amazon, so I took the text and responded to it on my blog, you can read it here. Responding to reviews is very important I think, as long as you don’t do it in a way that makes you look foolish. I find that the reviews I’ve received have greatly helped me improve my work, and they direct the sequels a little bit too. Interacting with readers is the whole point of this endeavor.

However, I would say don’t respond on Amazon, because Amazon might freak out and delete your whole account. It’s always important to bring the debate to a platform where you have control.

  1. How do you deal with bad reviews?

I haven’t gotten too many lately, but that’s just a by-product of my current popularity I think. I have a wonderful group of followers who offer genuine comments and are excited about my books. If I move up to the next level, a little bit more mainstream level, I’m sure I’ll get more negative reviews. If a reviewer offers what I believe to be a viable point, I’m always grateful to them. However, it’s irritating when you get a negative review for some reason that’s absolutely absurd. But it’s like getting into an argument on Facebook, you have to trust that the next person who comes along can see which person is arguing in semi-coherent sentence fragments, and which one seems to flash a little education.

The toughest critic I’ve encountered so far is Janet Morris, but when she points something out I’ve always agreed that something had to be changed. Sincere criticism makes you a better writer, so I’m always appreciative of that.

  1. What’s your next writing adventure?

 I have extensive notes for two books, first is the follow up to ‘The Literate Thief’ which will be the third book in the series. There will be something of a conclusion to a major narrative thread in this volume, but I’ve not dismissed the idea of doing a fourth volume.

I also have a book about education that I’ve been scribbling notes for. I haven’t quite figured out what the tone for that one will be, but I think it has to be comical, something like ‘Catch-22.’ I’ve written a dozen or so chapters for it, but I haven’t quite gotten the narrative voice figured out. Once I get it, I’m pretty sure the book will flow out of me quickly, but you can’t push it in the meantime.

  1. What is the last book you’ve read?

I’m currently reading ‘The Scarecrow‘ by Cas Peace. It’s one of her Albia stories and it’s fantastic. Peace is a great writer that more people should be aware of.

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

Without a doubt. The reality is that if you go mainstream you’re going to get the same old safe narrative over and over again. Mainstream follows the trends and indie sets them. I was in a Barnes & Noble the other day and I took a picture of the front display just because there wasn’t a single book on sale that I had any interest in reading whatsoever. It’s all book adaptations of powerful films and biographies of boring celebrities that are famous for doing nothing. Who wants to be traditionally published when that’s the kind of garbage you have to write?

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

I’m published with Perseid Publishing, a small press owned by Janet Morris. Morris is a very well-respected writer, but I still find that I’m regarded with skepticism among certain writing communities. I’ve come to believe that the literary community is, to some extent, more interested in silencing voices than giving them a platform. This makes sense if you consider the money angle. It’s easy enough to understand that some groups don’t want a book to be widely read if it doesn’t make money for their company. That’s a case where the quality of a work is irrelevant.

I remember one instance where I was at the Chippewa Valley Book Festival. I was selected for this festival and I was sitting at a meeting with one of the other authors who was regarding me with undisguised contempt. I started talking with her and she clearly had the sense that I didn’t deserve to be there. Now, this was a writer I’d never heard of, and whose name I can’t even remember. It just struck me as very strange that she’d be so critical of somebody who had a publisher and who had been selected to appear in the festival. But that’s a very prevalent attitude.

Who knows? Maybe they’re scared and intimidated.

  1. Is there a message in your books?

I always aspire to have something useful in my books. I don’t know if it’s a “message” but it’s an encouragement to at least start thinking about certain problems or issues. A person can be greatly empowered just by examining something that s/he always believed was true without question.

Sometimes if you line up a bunch of ideas, people connect the dots and come to a new conclusion about something they’re carrying around in their mind. The fact is that there’s a lot of junk in our mind that doesn’t do us any good. In fact, it was put there on purpose to not do us any good. The difficult thing is that a lot of people have become very attached to that junk and if you try to tell them to throw it away, they become very offended. So what you have to do is set up the whole argument and have them walk along the argument with you, and at the end, hopefully they come to the realization themselves.

My hope is that I’m helping people remove the junk. Others might say I’m contributing to the problem. The good thing about writing is that, in the end, the reader can listen to you or not.

  1. How important is writing to you?

It’s just something I have to do. If I don’t write for a long period I start feeling really bad, like groggy. It just helps me take a break from thinking, or carrying ideas around in my mind. Once they’re recorded I can stop worrying about them, I guess they become somebody else’s problem at that point.

Mainly I think of my kids. Growing up I always felt that there were a dozen or so pieces of information that adults could have given me and I would have had a much easier life. I’m trying to make sure I get as many good little nuggets of information nailed down for my kids to find as I possibly can. The thing is, there are a lot of lies out there. There are false narratives used to make you beholden to some other entity or individual. That’s the kind of thing that writing can fight against, but it’s an eternal struggle.

Thanks for having me!

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