A Day in the Life of Gustavo Bondoni – Sci-Fi Author/Meet an Author

Welcome to a day in the life of Gustavo Bondoni

Please give us a brief outline of who you are. I’m a novelist and short story writer from Argentina… or at least that is what I am by inclination.  By training, I’m an engineer with an MBA who has always worked on the commercial side (sales and marketing) of companies varying from tiny startups to massive Fortune 100 enterprises.

My passion for writing came about because I love to read.  And my selection of genre came about because Asimov and Robert Asprin and Douglas Adams were the men on the racks of my local bookstore when I was twelve and began to read adult fiction.  With names like that, how can one not be hooked?

As an interesting aside this was the eighties, and I still have the battered copy of Heroes in Hell I bought at Waldenbooks way back then.  I assume it’s the only copy in Argentina.

You’re a writer – how is this reflected in your typical day? I’m a writer, and it basically consumes my day, even when I’m not writing.  On the practical side, I’ll be obsessively checking my email for acceptances (or rejections, sadly), contracts, edits, or just about any other communication with the publishing world.

On a more interesting note, I’ll always be plotting the story or book in progress, or cooking up ideas for new ones.  That doesn’t change just because I might be working on something else.

Do you have a family? What do they think of your job? Do they assist you? I have a family.  My wife and I live with four children: two that are hers from another marriage and two baby daughters of our own (2 years old and one month old as I type, respectively).  The older kids seem more interested in their tablets than in books, but my wife is amazingly supportive… although she does sometimes get annoyed at my habit of not even realizing that people are talking to me when I’m writing.

How do you fit in ‘real life’? What in the world is real life?  Actually, I try to live a normal existence.  Unless I tell them, most people can’t even tell I’m a writer.  The truth is that I can fit my target wordcount (around 1500 words a day) into the slots between other tasks.

Do you have a particular process? The only process I really swear to is to write every weekday, and to try to get 1500 words in.  Anything else is a bonus.  Some people like to outline… I prefer to find out what my characters are going to do as they do it.

Are you very organised? I try to be.  Life has a way of biting you… and also, my wife is the Mistress of Chaos…

What is your ideal working environment? My ideal working environment would be an office with a closed door.  But this is sadly not possible at home… and right now, my corporate job is also home-based.  But one can dream!

What do you eat for breakfast? Tea with lemon and a type of cracker that you can only buy in Argentina called cerealitas.  Unlike most crackers, these actually taste good and are therefore probably bad for me.

Would you recommend your chosen craft to those interested in doing it? Wow. Loaded question.  It’s very difficult to make a living from writing fiction.  Anyone looking to write for that reason would likely be better served by becoming a journalist.  However, I have found no satisfaction greater than receiving an email confirming that something you invented was judged good enough by an editor you’ve never met to be shared with others and paid for. That rush is indescribable.  So yeah, on balance, I’d say everyone should give it a try.


Site: www.gustavobondoni.com

Twitter: @gbondoni

Most popular novel: Siege

Wyrd Worlds II – An anthology of Science Fiction and Fantasy

Last year I was delighted to be asked to participate in the Smashwords Authors group anthology Wyrd Worlds, a collection of speculative fiction from some of the new talent, and established talent on the Good Reads site. We had such fun putting together the free anthology decided to do it again! Thanks to Steph for her support and hard work and to Ross for the cover art.

This year a few more authors got involved and the talent ranges from Steph Bennion, who once again organised and edited the book, to Victoria Zigler author of children’s fantasy.  There is quite a mix of stories, mine include ‘The Joy of Socks’ part of the Kitchen Imps tales. It may well explain where socks go in the washing machine. The other is ‘Free Will’, a tale of the musings of a god as he watches the small blue-green world he cares for. There is something for everyone in this anthology, young and old.

This ebook contains a bumper 19 short stories from 17 independent authors from around the world, encompassing a wide range of science fiction and fantasy. Here lurks tales of the future, steampunk and time travel; of magical realms and fantastical deeds; and of things so weird they defy categorisation. The original WYRD WORLDS rode upon a new wave of indie collaborations; and now we’re back! In this anthology you will find:

HORIZON – KIRA: PART 2 by Ross Harrison – It was just her and a boy, alone. Kira had to concentrate on keeping him alive.

THE VISITOR by Neil Shooter – Time is relative. On an ordinary blustery British night an extraordinary visitor comes.

A WORLD TAKEN OVER by Douglas Schwartz – He had conquered the world. How much more effort was it going to be to unconquer it?

THE JOY OF SOCKS by A.L. Butcher – The imps knew what they wanted from the Bringer of Offerings…

THE COLONIAL PLAGUE by L.L. Watkin – It’s been years since Missra was executed and now her soul is shut away, but being the most powerful magical healer of her generation gets her out of the box occasionally…

HUMANITY WAS DELICIOUS by Ubiquitous Bubba – Imagine you were the werewolf who ate the last human. What will you eat now? More importantly, how are you going to get off this alien ship?

MY LAST DAY by Zach Tyo – Disaster awaits the Earth, yet an unexpected gift brings joy.

GUISARME by Barbara G. Tarn – Members of the Assassins’ Guild can be as honorable as anyone. They might be trained to kill, but they’re just people with loved ones to protect and avenge.

ROCK OF AGES by Steph Bennion – Letters from the past were hidden for a reason. But breaking into the secure facility was child’s play compared to an unexpected family reunion…

THE DINER by Michael Puttonen – Sometimes a life lived hasn’t been lived at all.

HOMELESS by Neil Shooter – Winter didn’t end, but his world has. Is he completely alone? In a world gone cold, what can keep the spark of life shining?

GY by Peter Lean – The Book was the knowledge that could open the door, but the worlds had been separated for a reason…

IRREVOCABLE by L.J. Hick – He did not accept finality. All he knew was that he had to change the impossible.

POISONED GROUND by Laurel A. Rockefeller – Lady Abbess Cara of house Ten-Ar must find the cause of a mysterious plague of illnesses before it is too late for the city of Nan-li…

SASHA AND THE COLLARED GIRL by Stan Morris – The man was willing to trade his prized possession, but she was already lost.

QUEST FOR THE PURPLE PUMPKIN by Victoria Zigler – A glittering surprise in the woods leads Polly to another world, where just being human is punishable by death…

FREE WILL by A.L. Butcher – The other Grand Wizards thought Leonardos eccentric, indulging the little World Marble like a favoured child…

AT THE BOTTOM OF THE LAKE by Clark Graham – A tabloid journalist discovers his outlandish stories just might be true.

CHANGING EVERYTHING by Josh Karaczewski – Two men set out into one of America’s roughest neighborhoods as one piece of a grand plan to change everything…

For now it is only available on Smashwords – Free – but will shortly appear on Amazon and all the Smashwords premium stores.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/478114 (Smashwords Link)

http://www.wyrdstar.co.uk/books/wyrdworlds.html (Website for Wyrd Worlds II)



Wyrd Worlds II

Character Interview Number Twenty-Five – Dotty

Tell Us About Yourself


Name (s) Dotty

Age: 19

I’m a mishpoche, a bit of this and that. Mama’s from New York, the daughter of an Orthodox rabbi. She was an accountant sent to help find a cooperative cattleman for a source of kosher beef to series of butcher shops Grampa owns. When my parents met they both had a love for violin music, and soon they were making music of their own. Mama wanted to marry Dad but Grampa wouldn’t have it, so instead Mama worked around by opting for common-law marriage, which Texas allows. That infuriated Grampa but he admired her cleverness in finding a way to marry without a ceremony he’d have to disown her for. My birth softened him up too, considerably, which is good as I love the old man dearly. So Mama taught me the traditions and Hebrew at home, and when I got old enough Dad let me play cowgirl. I found I loved the violin and got privately tutored in that from a young age, along with all my school subjects by tutors also. I just got my GED this year. Grampa and I love to debate matters whenever he visits.

Describe your appearance in 10 words or less. Hashem gave me my looks. They’re definitely a mixed blessing.

Do you have a moral code? If so what is it? I’m a Modern Orthodox, I believe my thoughts and feelings share a close connection with Hashem, and do I all I can in any given situation to keep the connection going.

Would you kill for those you love? In a heartbeat, but only if I absolutely must. The Sages say killing a person is just as bad as killing a whole world. In fact, I’ve had to surprise at least a dozen people one at a time with my shotgun during a recent crisis. I can still see the face of every person whose brains or heart I blew out. I never ever want to be placed in that position again. I see green blood all the way to my elbows that will never come off.

Would you die for those you love? Hell, yes. I drew a short straw where I had to stay on board a flagship we had to blow up. We found a fighter jet which our indigenous co-prisoner could fly, but had room for only one passenger. We picked Rick since he was the least qualified of us to storm the engine room, and gave him a remote detonator. We ordered him to blow up the flagship if it got close enough to slaughter millions, and not to wait for us to escape. Rick knew I was ready to die for the greater good, so he proposed to me just before he boarded. I knew I was ready to die too, but I accepted to show him how much I loved him.

What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses? As much as I follow Mama’s Jewish ideals of ethics and compassion toward every human being, I also follow everything my Daddy taught me about being a Texan, namely to stand tall, and everything which standing tall implies.

Do you have any relationships you prize above others? Why? Rick. My dearest, wonderful, darling, gentle, dedicated, determined, considerate and brave young man who I married day before yesterday. Despite being sixteen he has compassion, patience, understanding and education far beyond his years.

He has only one serious fault, and that he tries so hard to please others he considers himself worthless. I think that’s the reason he finally was about to suicide at the subway. That same moment I was mugged and I fell onto the tracks, spraining my ankle. He put my needs over his and jumped onto the tracks, deciding to risk suicidal odds to save me, rather than settling for certain suicide on his own.

I had some problems with him being a hero by coincidence. I accused him of being a kamikaze seeking glory in death, rather than reverence for life being his motive. Once I understood more about him I had a change of heart.

People have tried to match me with high-status men of my heritage, but I want a man who is as pleasing to me as he is pleasing to Hashem. Rick qualifies several times over.

Do you like animals? Do you have any pets/animal companions? Caring, feeding, and cleaning after animals while growing up on ranch was part of my daily life. I had a horse I was partial to, my favorite for various range chores. Rick and I don’t believe our local environment can support Terran livestock or pets, so we don’t have any.

Do you have a family? Tell us about them. I pretty much told you already. Mama relocated to Amarillo to live with Daddy and raise me. Daddy has more relatives than I can easily count, and has annual family reunions. Mama is an only child, and Grampa sadly enough is alone. Most of his relatives died in the Holocaust, and the others, including Grandma, had simply passed on from old age. I’m my parents’ only child. There were high hopes all around for me to choose a man soon and have his children to continue the lineage.

Can you remember something from your childhood which influences your behaviour? How do you think it influences you? My childhood was wonderful. I remember was when I took my turns to light and bless the Sabbath candles. The flames twinkled like stars and my house was filled with warmth and love. I had fun out on the ranch and I took pride in myself doing a man’s work. I learned to accept the traditions of my people as Hashem’s recipe for joyful living. I don’t seek like the more devout to isolate myself from the world. For me to engage in tikkun olam, my duty to help repair the world, I want to be right out there where the action is.

Do you have any phobias? I hate rattlesnakes. I’m not afraid of them, but I won’t hesitate to kill them any time I get the chance. They’re a constant danger to livestock and people out on the range.

Please give us an interesting and unusual fact about yourself. I was curious to taste and try forbidden things when I was younger. Each time the experience was nothing special and I felt instantly ashamed of doing it.

Tell Us About Your World

My husband would be only too glad to give you exhaustive detail regarding this world we have moved to as settlers. I’ll just provide you with my own personal impressions.

My first impression is of the people. Aside from having a biochemistry where potassium takes the place of sodium, they’re as human as we are. Because of said biochemical differences one of us can’t make a baby with one of them.

Some people might consider this an advantage. In fact, Rick turned down flat an offer from a chambermaid while he was bathing. Loss of virginity with no fear of any consequences whatever, in terms of purely physical risks. I even would have forgiven Rick if he had indulged… eventually. However, Rick doesn’t think that way. He grew up on Japanese space opera, adopting portions of bushido as his Torah and Talmud. He also absolutely adores me, and I absolutely adore him.

Does your world have religion or other spiritual beliefs? If so do you follow one of them? Please describe (briefly) how this affects your behaviour. I don’t believe my observation would surprise anyone, but it seems to me the discovery of any form of ethical monotheism is a huge step of any civilization towards maturity.

Both Terra and this world have a diverse collection of religious belief and practice, but on both planets there seemed only one person each who made the intellectual and emotional leap.

Each of those people formed their own nation living by ideals of compassion and mercy far in advance of their neighbors. We’re kindred spirits, their people and mine, and to some extent we’ve fallen in love with each other. We have a lot we can teach each other, but Rick and I follow our own traditions, and they, theirs.

I believe the bond we formed during our adventures is now the common ground for creating a military alliance and trade relationship between Terra and this world.

Do you travel in the course of your adventures? If so where? Our arrival there was pure accident, Rick can explain more in detail. The continent we sought refuge on has their own answer to our interstate system. Their highways are perfect. They don’t use fossil fuels, so their cars are all electric.

Name and describe a food from your world. Whitefruit. Delicious in it’s own right, safe to eat but very fattening, and they press it for cooking oil. Terran women should never eat it while on a birth control shot. Our dear friends found this out the hard way. They got pregnant a month before we returned to Earth.

Does your world have magic? If so how is it viewed in your world? They don’t even have a term for magic, but when confronted with the unknown, like us, they tend to blink. I had to empty an entire palace quickly by threatening non-existent Terran magic upon them.

What form of politics is dominant in your world? (Democracy, Theocracy, Meritocracy, Monarchy, Kakistocracy etc.) Until Rick imposed otherwise, feudalism was the only form of government in all the nations of this world. Rick took over rule of the entire world by asking the local saint for help, using that power performed a Moses gambit which among other things abolished monarchy everywhere, called for elections in one Terran year, then stepped down immediately. Could you imagine an ordinary sixteen year old Terran boy doing that? Rick is a man in all the ways that count, a true mensch.

Does your world have different races of people? If so do they get on with one another? There’s only the one single people. The monotheists broke away from the main empire, but the main empire wants them back. They had been in constant cold war till we came along. Events triggered by our arrival began a full scale war.

Name a couple of myths and legends particular to your culture/people. I know a little about the founding of this country. The first queen here confiscated the crown of her old country and forbade anyone from touching it aside from her. When she died the people revered her as a saint, and it was found the crown would kill anyone who tried to take it for the absolute power it represents. Rick explained it’s a Siege Perilous myth. He concluded he was the Galahad. He turned out to be absolutely right, but not before he gave me the scare of my life. He was clinically dead for thirty seconds the moment he touched the crown on the lady’s grave site.

What is the technology level for your world/place of residence? What item would you not be able to live without? Early modern with spot brilliances. We need to import our food, what’s edible here doesn’t provide all our nutritional needs.

Does your world have any supernatural/mystical beings? Please tell us about some.

Aside from the founding queen, no. She personally had attained the powers of a saint after death and was posted to watch over this world. When Rick took over, he released her to the afterlife to join her husband and son. His act moved me to tears.

Within your civilisation what do you think is the most important discovery/invention?

The most important discovery this world has ever made is in finding the one God who created the universe and wants only good for the peoples He created even on worlds we have yet to encounter. The people of our adopted land don’t worship Hashem directly like we do, they invoke Him as a neutral and abstract principle, like an axiom of mathematics or physics.

Name three persons of influence/renown within your society and tell why they are influential (Could be someone like Christ/Mandela/Queen Elizabeth or a renowned figure from a non-human/fantasy world.)

The Crown Princess, after first hearing how I retook my ship from it’s captor, asked if I could be her sister. Her father adopted me into a cadet branch of his house so that I could. We’re two of a kind, her and I, and we will forever treat each other as such. Now I am really am a Jewish-American princess.

It turns out the pilot who flew Rick out of the enemy flagship was the Crown Prince. He made certain Rick was cared for and made comfortable while waiting for the rest of us to make it to safety. I’m forever grateful to him.

His father, the Emperor, is a kind and gentle old man who can be quite merciless and ruthless in the defence of his kingdom.

Because the flagship we destroyed was on a mission to lay waste to his land using nuclear weaponry, he immediately ordered as a reprisal the launch of all his submarine based missiles. The enemy detected the launch and countered with their own land-based missiles.

Only a few hours remained until this entire world would be devastated. Only then, did Rick decide to intervene…

Synopsis (aka blurb):

“Alouette’s Songcover art 1b2

Four teenagers’ lives connect irrevocably.

A lonely young sculptor first tries to escape his abusive parents through his talent, and when that avenue is closed chooses to throw himself before a subway train. His moment is interrupted by a desperate cry for help from near the lethally electrified third rail…

A college freshman from a very wealthy family has a knack for building whatever he wants and staying centered in a confusing world. His best friend is about to yank his life far off center completely by surprise…

A musical superstar holds God close, walking through life with one foot each in two very different deserts. She will find then lose her one and only true love. Regaining him will stain her pure hands with many peoples’ blood.

A girl who should still be in high school is already well on her way to a master’s degree in mathematics. Her mind holds the key to the stars… but that same mind holds unknown to her a truly terrifying other personality.

Her academic advisor and personal mentor is a professor in astrophysics. He can’t tell her he’s now received orders from the blackest agency to exist in their country’s government: her discovery must never see the light of day…

Their struggles against themselves and each other, plus uncanny coincidences, cruel choices, breathtaking valor, and agonizing sacrifices for love’s sake, will test everyone’s limits during their journey across the Milky Way and back.

Author notes:

Book(s) in which this character appears plus links

“Alouette’s Song”


Author name

Andrew Jonathan Fine

Website/Blog/Author pages etc.


Author Interview Number Fifty-Eight B. R. Kingsolver – Bellator and Urban Fantasy

Welcome to B.R. Kingsolver

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. I’ve published four books so far, all set the world of the Telepathic Clans. I would classify them as urban fantasy, but I guess they could also be considered science fiction. The first three, The Succubus Gift, Succubus Rising, and Succubus Unleashed tell the story of a young woman who discovers her telepathic powers are the result of her heritage as a member of a secret telepathic society. The fourth book, Broken Dolls, is a mystery-thriller set in the same world but with a different main character. A recurring theme through all the books is that the bad guys are slave traders—people who kidnap telepathic women and sell them into the sex trade.

Research can be important in world-building, how much do you need to do for your books? Do you enjoy this aspect of creating a novel and what are your favourite resources? I do extensive research for my books. I created an entire classification system of telepathic Gifts, such as pyrokinesis, telekinesis, teleportation, and of course the succubus Gift. Detailed descriptions of the Gifts are in an appendix at the end of each book. My telepathic society is presented as the descendants of the Sidhe, the elves or the fairy folk, drawn from Celtic legends. I have researched that mythos in depth and attempted to wed it with actual history. I also travel a lot with my characters, and I make sure the settings in Ireland, France, Ecuador, or where ever they go are as accurate as possible.

Is there a message conveyed within your writing?  Do you feel this is important in a book? I write strong female lead characters who are the equal of men in almost every way. But they aren’t trying to be men. They’re very feminine. My characters also own their sexuality. I feel it’s important that women understand that while they are different from men, they can be as strong and independent. My female characters revel in their femininity, make no apologies, and take no prisoners.

Sort these into order of importance: Great characters; great world-building; solid plot; technically perfect. Can you explain why you chose this order? (Yes I know they all are important…) My stories always start with a character or characters. Even a great story will be dull without characters that are more than cardboard cut outs. Next is a solid plot. People read for the story. Good world building can be important for some genres, but a romance about the boy next door doesn’t require any world building. The technical aspects readers expect. The only time readers notice technical issues is when they intrude on the story.

In what formats are your books available? (E-books, print, large print audio) Are you intending to expand these and if not, what is the reason? My books are available from most eBook outlets and in print from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and CreateSpace.

Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? I self-edit multiple times. I also have several beta readers, two of whom are professional business or technical editors, and all my writing gets a final edit from a middle-school English teacher. I’ve spent most of my professional career writing and editing, though not writing fiction. I taught business writing at a major university and worked as a newspaper editor for five years. No one is qualified to edit their own work. You see what is supposed to be there, not what is there. If you used a word incorrectly, you’re not going to find it on edit. The major issue I see with independent authors is poor editing.

Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently from traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be? Yes, I do. There are a number of reasons for this. Poor writing and lack of editing are common. Every indie book that is published with poor structure, incorrect word usage, or ungrammatical sentences is held up as proof that the author self-published because they weren’t good enough to make it in the “real” publishing world. The large publishing houses have a vested interest in pushing that point of view. I think there are excellent writers independently publishing, and some that have no clue as to what they’re doing. Unfortunately, we all get tarnished by the same brush.

Do you read work by self-published authors? Yes, I do. Quite a bit, actually. I do some editing for authors, and I read independent authors on my own. I’m a member of a writer’s group, and we critique each other and help each other. I’m reading a book now that has some issues. The story is good, and the writer shows promise, but it’s obvious that the author is inexperienced and that the book could use an edit.

What are your views on authors reviewing other authors? I occasionally review other authors, but only if I can give the book a very high rating. I know how badly poor reviews can hurt. They not only affect sales, but also promotions. Some promotional companies won’t even take your money unless you have a 4-star average on Amazon.

Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading? Did you enjoy it? I read voraciously, both indie and trad published authors. I recently finished the Spectras Arise Trilogy by Tammy Salyer, a dystopian space opera that I enjoyed. Also the Baskerville Affair Series by Emma Jean Holloway, which is steampunk. I could go on and on. Two series I’m waiting on are the next books in Anne Bishop’s Others series and Nora Robert’s Dark Witch series.

As a writer of erotica have you encountered any prejudice?  How have you dealt with it? Do you write under a pen name? I don’t write erotica, but my succubus books have erotic scenes. Some reviewers have been offended, especially since it’s usually the women who are the seducers. The idea of a woman as a sexual predator, using men for their pleasure and discarding them, seems to really bother some women. I’ve received some very nasty reviews that only commented on that particular idea. But those same reviewers swoon over bad boy characters that are abusive. I don’t get it.

Book links, website/blog and author links:

Author web links: (web, blog, twitter, facebook, goodreads, etc)








B. R. Kingsolver also has a story within Bellator

Bellator cover Bellator_Border Patrol


It’s Here! Bellator – an anthology of space and magic

So after a week or so of promotion – including author interviews – Bellator is live!

12 stories of magic, space and heroes.

SARAH by Lee Pletzers
The Summoned Rise of the Phantom Knights by Kenny Emmanuel
Border Patrol by BR Kingsolver
The Twelve by Mia Darien
Ghosts by Christi Rigby
Outside the Walls by A. L. Butcher & Diana L. Wicker
My Brother’s Keeper by Raphyel M. Jordan
With Our Own Blood by Jessica Nicholls
The Connection by Crystal G. Smith
A Fly on the Wall by Chantal Boudreau
Slacker by Doug Dandridge
The Light Bless Thee and Keep Thee by Mason Darien

Here are the links!

Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00MCUHYUU

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/464038
CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/4910260

Release Day post on From Mia’s Desk: http://www.miadarien.com/bellator-is-live-release-day-interview/

butcher wicker quote art (2) bellator anthology - wounded warriors

Author Interview Fifty-Seven Doug Dandridge Sci-fi/Fantasy Bellator

Welcome to Doug Dandridge

Where are you from and where do you live now?  I am originally from Venice, Florida.  My father was also a Florida native, born in Panama City in 1915.  My mom was from Long Island, New York.  But I consider myself 100% Southern.  Now I live in Tallahassee, in the northern part of the state, what is still considered the South, even as the southern part really isn’t.

 Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc.  I write in the genres of Science Fiction and Fantasy, with some past and hopefully future forays into Alternate History.  In Science Fiction and Fantasy my most popular work is the Military subgenre.  Currently I have 21 books out, six in the Exodus: Empires at War series (Military Scifi), four in the Refuge series (Fantasy), and three in the Deep Dark Well series (also scifi).  I also have one Steampunk Fantasy, one High Fantasy, one Urban Fantasy, and five other assorted science fiction, from near future (2020) to eight centuries in the future.  I also have some fantasy and science fiction completed to the first draft novel stage, a total of four, I believe.  Not sure when I will release them, since everyone seems to be clambering for more Exodus, and most of my time is caught up in producing more work in that Universe.

Where do you find inspiration?  Everywhere.  I read a lot growing up, both science fiction, fantasy, and military history.  Also real science, and geography, etc.  I served in the US Army, and learned a lot about what it means to be a soldier, though I never had to face combat myself.  And I followed the Space Program closely while growing up, back in the day when it went from the first orbital flights up to landing on the Moon.  And of course movies and TV shows, from the day when the special effects were pretty hokey, to our modern, almost complete realism versions.  The early scifi I read actually had some science in it, unlike much of what we see today.  So I try to use some of the real Universe in my scifi, though I don’t get tied to it so much that I lose out on a good story.  But things like instant acceleration and deceleration, ships banking in vacuum?  I try to avoid that like the plague.  And dreams.  I have outlined chapters, and once, a whole book during a night of sleep.  I guess I have just accumulated so many terabytes of info from all those sources in my mind, when I see, hear or read something that sparks a memory, the ideas just start flowing and connecting.

Do you have a favourite character? If so why?  My favorite character from my work is Pandora Latham, also known as Pandi.  She starts out as a Kuiper Belt miner, helping to feed the hunger for comets to use in the terraforming of planets.  She escaped her native Alabama, and the father she hated, by undergoing space training.  She really wants to go to the stars, but mining is the best that is available in her sublight culture.  Until the day she has to jump through a wormhole forty thousand years into the future.  What I like about the character is she is a resilient fighter who never gives up.  In situations where most people would curl up in a ball on the ground in shock, she rolls with the punches, learning the whole time how to survive, and even thrive, in her environment. One of my fans called her Bloody Mary, because she is not adverse to killing something to solve a problem. But at heart, she is a good person, one who believes that all sentient life should be free, and judged for their minds, not their outer appearances.

Do you have a character you dislike? If so why?  Heck, I have a lot of characters I dislike.  I put them in the story for others to dislike them as well.  While they may not be totally bad, they all possess some reprehensible traits.  What’s a story without someone to hate.

Are your characters based on real people?   I have done that in the past, but now they are just more composites of people I have known.  I worked in mental health for years, and then for Department of Children and Families in Florida.  I have met a lot of unique personalities, with a lot of unique, not always exemplary, behaviour.  I have had some people tell me one or more characters I wrote were not believable, when they were patterned from some of the people I have really met, that most don’t really see in their day to day lives.

Research can be important in world-building, how much do you need to do for your books? Do you enjoy this aspect of creating a novel and what are your favourite resources?   I love world-building.  I have all kinds of books in my library, the Atlas of World History, books on Mythology, Star Atlases, just about anything you can think of to help me develop science fiction or fantasy world.  Of course now the internet is a favorite resource, with all of the sites that can give you all the information you need.  I especially like the sites that provide calculators for things I used to have to do by hand, orbits, gravity, luminosity of a certain kind of star on a planet in a certain orbit.  Calculators for the energy derived from amounts of antimatter.  NASA’s interactive map of Mars. Nuke Map.  The list is just too extensive to cover it all.  And computer programs I run on my personal system, like Orbit Xplorer and others.

I try to cover all aspects of the world I am building, and in fact overdo it.  That works out really well when I’m working on a series, as eventually most of that stuff will come in handy.

Is there a message conveyed within your writing?  Do you feel this is important in a book?  I like to have a message of hope, no matter what.  The characters may find themselves in a horrible situation.  In fact, many of them might not come out the other side. But there is always a chance.  I think some message is important in writing, but not the beat the over the head every paragraph till they either get it, or start bleeding from the ears, kind.

Sort these into order of importance: Great characters; great world-building; solid plot; technically perfect. Can you explain why you chose this order? (Yes I know they all are important…)  Great World Building, Solid Plot, Great Characters, Technically Perfect.  The way I see it, the thing that really separates speculative fiction from what I term Mundane fiction is the setting.  It has to be some fantastic world, from the past or future, or today gone horribly wrong.  After that a plot that keeps the action moving.  I write action packed novels, and without plot, it’s easy to get lost.  Characters to me are mostly important so people can identify with them, and slip into the world and the plot.  Nothing is Technically Perfect, so I don’t even care about that one.  I try to make my work as good as I possibly can. But perfection is for people who will never publish.

In what formats are your books available? (E-books, print, large print audio). Are you intending to expand these and if not, what is the reason?  I sell ebooks and print on demand paperbacks.  I just released my first audiobook, Exodus: Empires at War: Book 1, my best seller of all time.  I’m hoping to do all the books in that series eventually, but it will depend on how well that first book sells.

Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited?  I do self-edit, and yes, a book can suffer, though it can also suffer from an editor that doesn’t get it.  Would my books be better if they were professionally edited?  Maybe, but over a thousand reviews across all the books with a 4.45 average says I must be doing something right.

Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be?  I think there is still some prejudice against self-published authors.   If you are traditionally published, people tend to think you passed the standards of the gate keepers, and so of course have produced something of quality.  I find that the view is slowly changing, but it all depends on sales.  When I tell some of my professionally published writer friends that one of my books has sold almost nineteen thousand copies, with two more selling over ten, their jaws drop.  Tell the same to a professional editor and the business cards come out.  One of my friends, who has sold millions of books, seems to be very impressed by my ebook sales.  And then you have Hugh Howie, with over a million sales, and not many traditionally published authors in his range.

Do you read work by self-published authors?  Some.  I used to read a lot, but now I only read those recommended by my own fans, or well-reviewed.  I have just read so many that were so poor I couldn’t finish them, and I used to pride myself on finishing everything I started.  Then again, there were some books that were excellent.

What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews?  I think reviews are important, though I really couldn’t tell you how much so. I have one book with 8 five star reviews in the US, and almost that many in the UK, which has only sold about three hundred copies.  By the ‘that reviews are very important’ rule, it should be selling thousands by now.  As far as commenting, I refrain from getting involved in that battle.  The only time I will reply is when someone says something about my science that is just wrong.  Then I’ll comment, with a link to the science.  One time it was a comment about relativity and mass, another about nukes.

What experiences can a book provide that a movie or video game cannot?  An in-depth look at a world seen through your own imagination. Movies and games show you what everything looks like, and the actions of the characters, without providing an in-depth look inside.   A book allows one to see things through their own interpretation.  They make you think.

What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers?  Be persistent and don’t give up.  When you finish one project, start on another, without delay.  And write what you love, not what you think is going to be the next big thing, because it probably won’t be.

What are your best marketing/networking tips? What are your worst?  Go to Cons and to the author tracks, and workshop.  You meet people who have already made it, and you never know what will come of that.  I have met some people in the last year who are really helping me out in my career.  The worst. Watch out for the lure of advertising.  I spent $500 last year to advertise a vampire book on a site and saw no increase in sales.  Advertising might look good, but often amounts to no gain.

Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading? Did you enjoy it?  I recently read the first three books of Larry Correa’s Monster Hunter International series and really enjoyed them.  I can see how he became a best seller.  Am currently reading Trial By Fire by Chuck Gannon, also a great book.  After that I will track down the next R A Salvatore or Jim Butcher book and get into them.

What are your views on authors offering free books?  It worked for me, so I’m all for it.  As of this interview, I have sold 92,000 books, and given away 16,000.  A giveaway of The Deep Dark Well, over 4,000 books, kick-started the Exodus series.

Do you have a favourite movie?  Too many to count.  I love Avatar and the Star Wars/Star Trek films.  Not because of plot or character, but because of the visuals.  For a boy that wanted to grow up to visit other worlds and see other forms of life, they are as close as I’m ever going to get.

Do you have any pets?  Four cats.  Bobbie, Angelina, Espresso and Molly.  All different, all wonderful, and all little pains in the butt at times.

Can you name your worst job? Do you think you learned anything from the position that you now use in your writing?  Working for Florida DCF had to be the worst job among many bad ones.  Too many contradictory standards, too many politically motivated changes that really helped no one.  It taught me I better keep producing as a writer, since I do not want to return to that life.

Can you give us a silly fact about yourself?  I love women’s college sports.  In Tallahassee we have a lot of college sports.  Our football team won the Division I National Championship, which was great.  Our women’s Soccer Team lost the National Championship last year in overtime, which disappointed me more than the men winning theirs excited me.  I go to every soccer match I can attend.  And that made the World Cup really fun this summer, because I actually knew what was going on.

Book links, website/blog and author links:

Blog:  http://dougdandridge.com

Website: http://dougdandridge.net

Twitter: @BrotherofCats

Amazon Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Doug-Dandridge/e/B006S69CTU

Exodus: Empires at War: Book 1:  http://www.amazon.com/Exodus-Empires-Book-Doug-Dandridge-ebook/dp/B009TZSBJO

The Deep Dark Well:  http://www.amazon.com/Deep-Dark-Well-Doug-Dandridge-ebook/dp/B006S3GOKS

Refuge: The Arrival: book 1: http://www.amazon.com/Refuge-Arrival-Book-Doug-Dandridge-ebook/dp/B00830A0QI

Afterlife:  http://www.amazon.com/Afterlife-Doug-Dandridge-ebook/dp/B00909YF94


Synopsis of Bellator.

Private Benito Benny Suarez was a slacker, the kind of Marine that did as little as possible, whatever he could get by with.  The Lodz was the perfect ship for such as he, an old battle cruiser delegated to diplomatic transport duty.  On the run from the Empire to Margrav, she was out of the way, in what was considered a safe sector.  Until the Ca’cadasan battleship found her.  The huge aliens boarded, and Benny found himself in combat.  He woke in agony, floating in zero g, his legs gone, only his battle armor keeping him alive.  His course was clear.  Hide, get off the ship, survive at all costs.  Until he discovered that the youngest passenger aboard the ship, the daughter of the Ambassador, was still alive, and in the hands of the Cacas.  Then the decision was no longer so easy, not if he wanted to live with himself.  Be what he had always been?  Or be the hero, and risk his life to save that of a child.

Author Interview – Bellator – Chantel Boudreau – Sci-fi, Spec-fic, Fantasy

After my promotional about Bellator, the sci-fi and fantasy charity anthology, I’m delighted to welcome a selection of authors and characters involved with the book.


Today I welcome Chantal Boudreau, who chats about her story and tells us about herself.

Bellator story: “A Fly on the Wall” – Carlisle of Feltrey is a stellar mercenary apprentice of the Redsun Mercenary Guild who has come to the end of her term and must face Minerva, the guildmistress, for her final assessment.  But the meeting does not go quite as expected and the results are going to alter the course of Carlisle’s future.

Where are you from and where do you live now? I was born in Toronto but my parents moved to Nova Scotia before I turned two, so I don’t remember living there.  I grew up in an Acadian fishing village called Wedgeport and moved to Halifax for university.  I now live in Sambro, a rural area on the outskirts of the city.

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. I write a variety of speculative fiction.  “Palliative,” my first published short story was zombie horror (I’ve published many more since), Fervor, my first published novel (now a series) was dystopian.  I also write a fair amount of fantasy, including my Masters and Renegades series, and I love to experiment with cross-genre tales.  I’ve completed 21 novels to date, 10 of them published, and dozens of short stories

Where do you find inspiration? Everywhere and in everything.  There’s a little something in all my stories rooted in life experience.  If I find something interesting or intriguing, it will work itself into my writing.

Do you have a favourite character? If so why? My favourite character would be Dee Aaronsod, introduced in Casualties of War, Book #2 of Masters and Renegades (I expand on her character in later yet-to-be-published books in the series.)  I relate to her on some levels and admire her on others.  She started off based on a friend of mine but gradually grew to incorporate a part of me and while she stays strong in the face of her struggles, she still has her flaws and her vulnerabilities.

Do you have a character you dislike? If so why? I have several I dislike, mostly villains.  I’d have to say the heroic character I like least is my elfin mage, Finch.  She often acts on her insecurities, is more interested in status than I like and does something cowardly in Casualties of War that almost spelled the end of the people she was supposed to be helping.  However, she followed that act by doing something quite brave, in a way redeeming herself, and fortunately for her, my other characters are more forgiving than I would be.  Dee, however, is the least forgiving and that carries over into later books.

Are your characters based on real people? Many of them are, and those who aren’t often display a few traits from different people I’ve known.

Have you ever used a person you don’t/didn’t like as a character then killed them off? Guilty as charged, although those books have yet to be published.  It’s rather cathartic, a way of dealing with personal demons without actually hurting anybody.

Research can be important in world-building, how much do you need to do for your books? Do you enjoy this aspect of creating a novel and what are your favourite resources? I love researching to add an extra element of realism to my speculative fiction, plus I get to learn new things along the way.  I don’t have one favourite resource.  The Internet is a wonderful tool that lends access to a myriad of resources.

Is there a message conveyed within your writing?  Do you feel this is important in a book? Not one message, no.  I have a few that are recurring, but I don’t think I should limit what a book has to say in anyway.  I do like to offer the idea of substance over style, that strength of character in the face of hardship is important and that friends and family should be a priority.  I also believe in challenging the status quo and doing what is right versus what is popular.  I think you’ll find most of these concepts in the majority of my stories.

Sort these into order of importance: Great characters; great world-building; solid plot; technically perfect. Can you explain why you chose this order? (Yes I know they all are important…) Great characters are the most important to me as a reader, so I have to value them most as a writer.  Trying to rank the other three is a little fuzzy, solid plot is definitely something I look for but I can overlook a few weaknesses for the sake of an entertaining story and a story isn’t likely to be all that entertaining without the flavour great world-building brings, but I’m okay if it’s a little sparse.  I don’t demand technical perfection but if there are too many issues it distracts from the story.  It’s sort of like making a soup.  Characters are your main ingredients, plot is the soup base, world-building is your seasoning and the technical is cooking technique.  Who wants a soup lacking in main ingredients, with a weak base, devoid of seasoning or burnt beyond being edible?  They all have their place.

In what formats are your books available? (E-books, print, large print audio) Are you intending to expand these and if not, what is the reason?  So far, e-books and print (one novelette is only available as an e-book).  I wanted to expand into audio, but there are logistic problems because I reside in Canada and not the US or UK. I’m hoping that will change in future.

Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? I do self-edit, but I also have others who lend a helping hand who have the educational credentials to serve as an editor, and the small press I work with has their own editorial staff.  I think you always need a second set of eyes.  There are some problem areas in our own work we writers are just blind to.  I think some books suffer more as a result of this than others, depending on the strengths of the writer.

Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be? I do, and I think it’s unfair, especially when some self-published writers are going to the expense of paying for professional editing, formatting and covers.  Granted, there aren’t the same “gatekeepers” there are in traditional, but they don’t guarantee quality.  Also, there are plenty of great books with niche-appeal turned away by traditional publishers because they won’t draw in a big enough market.  Without indie/self-publishing, these books would be lost.

Do you read work by self-published authors? Yes, several of my favourite writers are self–published (or started out that way.)  I try to champion them when I can because they don’t deserve the stigma associated with being self-published.

What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews? I don’t think authors should comment on reviews even if someone is being unfair because it opens up a whole can of negative worms.  I’m not talking about reasonably written negative reviews, everyone should be free to express their opinion, positive or negative, but rather trollish ones where the reviewer hasn’t actually read the book or attacks the writer personally.  I believe in the adage “Don’t feed the trolls” because all these folks are doing is trying to get a rise out of the author or the author’s supporters.  Reviews can be important because it increases exposure and some readers do base their purchases on the reviews they read.

When buying a book do you read the reviews? No, but I’m a word of mouth buyer.  I tend to buy based on recommendations from trusted friends who know me.  Taste varies.

What are your reviews on authors reviewing other authors? I have a policy that I only review books if I want to recommend them.  While I think people should be able to leave a negative review of a book, there are complications when the reviewer is another author.  For one, it can be considered bad form and can dissuade fans of the author receiving the bad review from considering your books.  Secondly, if the author is in the same genre that you write in (and most authors read books in the genre they write in) it can be viewed as an attack from a competitor – not a good idea from my perspective.  Also, it can incite trollish reviews for your own books as a “counterattack.”

What experiences can a book provide that a movie or video game cannot? There’s a level of personal investment, because of the added component of imagination on the part of the reader, in a book compared to a movie or video game.  With a really good book, the characters become a part of you and never really leave you.

Can you name your favourite traditionally published author? And your favourite indie/self-published author?  I have four favourite traditional authors: for modern fantasy, my favourite is Theodore Sturgeon, for horror/dark fantasy it’s Tanith Lee, for science fiction I prefer Robert J. Sawyer and for fantasy and crossed genre I love Anne McCaffrey.

Do you have any pets? A 9 year old beagle named, Sparky, a fluffy cat named Charleston and a flock of chickens.

Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? My Snowy Barrens Trilogy began as the plot for a comic book (that didn’t get past page 2,) became the foundation for a LRPG session (I have pictures…) and finally ended up three generations worth of novels within a framework format.

Bio: Chantal Boudreau is an accountant by day and an author/illustrator during evenings and weekends, who lives by the ocean in beautiful Nova Scotia, Canada with her husband and two children. In addition to being a CMA-MBA, she has a BA with a major in English from Dalhousie University. A member of the Horror Writers Association, she writes and illustrates horror, dark fantasy and fantasy and has had several of her stories published in a variety of horror anthologies, online journals and magazines.  Fervor, her debut novel, a dystopian science fantasy tale, was released in March of 2011 by May December Publications, followed by its sequels, Elevation, Transcendence and Providence.  Magic  University, the first in her fantasy series, Masters & Renegades, made its appearance in September 2011 followed by  Casualties of War in 2012 and Prisoners of Fate, in 2013.  Find out more at: http://chantellyb.wordpress.com


Website: http://chantellyb.wordpress.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Chantal-Boudreau-WriterIllustrator/107318919341178

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Chantal-Boudreau/e/B004O1FP2E/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/chantellyb13


Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4446228.Chantal_Boudreau

bellator anthology - wounded warriorsCoWcolourboudreau quote art

Coming Soon! Bellator – a Fantasy and Sci-fi Anthology

12 tales of sci-fi and fantasy – an anthology of warriors of space and magic. Coming August 4th!

To be published as paperback and e-book. Links will be posted when it goes live but should be available on all the main e-book sites.

bellator anthology - wounded warriorsbutcher wicker quote art (2)

Some of you may have seen me promoting this on Facebook – but for those who haven’t I am delighted to announce the forthcoming release of Bellator.   I was very pleased to work with my friend Diana L. Wicker, author of the Tales from Feyron YA fantasy series. Our story – Outside the Walls is a tale of war, love and determination; it is a tale of magic, of wisdom and of inner strength.  It was originally written for something else but as we decided not to use it for that it now fits very well into this anthology. It was such fun co-writing again, and hopefully this partnership will lead to further joint works.  Mia Darien, who is organising this, has done a splendid job, and I’d like to thank her for all the hard work and support. Please see the links below to find out more about her.

All proceeds from this will be donated to Wounded Warrior Project  – a charity supporting those wounded in war. This is something close to my heart, as my father is a wounded ex-serviceman, having being half blinded in conflict. He now lives in an old soldiers’ home in Kent. In a world of strife – especially at the moment, and 100 years after the outbreak of the War to End All Wars I am very happy to support this worthy cause. I’ve posted links below, both to WWP and to the British equivalents – the Royal British Legion and Help for Heroes.  I am sure there are other such charities in many other countries but I cannot list them all.

So what can readers expect? What are the stories and who are the authors?

01. “SARAH” by Lee Pletzers
02. “The Summoned Rise of the Phantom Knights” by Kenny Emmanuel
03. “Border Patrol” by BR Kingsolver
04. “The Twelve” by Mia Darien
05. “Ghosts” by Christi Rigby
06. “Outside the Walls” by A. L. Butcher & Diana L. Wicker
07. “My Brother’s Keeper” by Raphyel M. Jordan
08. “With Our Own Blood” by Jessica Nicholls
09. “The Connection” by Crystal G. Smith
10. “A Fly on the Wall” by Chantal Boudreau
11. “Slacker” by Doug Dandridge
12. “The Light Bless Thee and Keep Thee” by Mason Darien

About the Author: Lee Pletzers is a displaced New Zealand Speculative Fiction writer living in Japan with five novels, two novellas and over seventy short stories sold. Since 2001 he has made an impact on the genre world and thrives within its limitless boundaries. He still sends his books out to independent publishers, looking for that elusive million dollar cheque.
Connect with the Author:

About the Author: Kenny Emmanuel writes science fiction and fantasy in a style that immerses readers into unique worlds. Then he brings his fictional characters to life with the help of cosplayers. With a background in computer engineering, Kenny enjoys incorporating technology into his vision of post-apocalyptic, dystopian, and medieval fantasy worlds.

About the Author: BR Kingsolver is the author of the Telepathic Clans series (The Succubus Gift, Succubus Unleashed, and Succubus Rising) and Broken Dolls, a paranormal thriller. I grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico, among writers, artists and weird Hispanic and Native American myths and folklore. I’ve lived all over the U.S. and earned a living doing everything from making silver and turquoise jewelry, to construction to computers. I currently live in Baltimore and Albuquerque.
Connect with the Author:

About the Author: Mia Darien is an indie author of speculative fiction, and a New England Yankee transplanted into Alabama clay. No matter her geography, she continues to stubbornly and rebelliously live the life of her choosing along with her family and pets. She doesn’t miss the snow.
Connect with the Author:

About the Author: Christi lives in Colorado with her husband, two boys and pets. She is a self proclaimed geek girl and enjoys gaming, online and off, kayaking and writing in her spare time.

About the Author: A. L. Butcher is the British author of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles series, and several short stories in the fantasy and fantasy romance genre.  She is an avid reader and creator of worlds, a poet and a dreamer. When she is grounded in the real world she likes science, natural history, history and monkeys.  Her work has been described as ‘dark and gritty.’
Connect with the Author:

About the Author: Diana lives in the balmy climate of the US south with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and a cantakerous rabbit.  She enjoys reading, sewing (clothing, costuming, and experimental toy making), and RPG games. (She grew up with the old school paper/pencil style of gaming, but has transitioned happily to the highly interactive world of video games.)  Her usual writing venue is YA Fantasy centered around her universe called Feyron, the realm of magic.
Connect with the Author:

About the Author: Jordan spent much of his children writing “graphic novels,”roughly composed of ten to twenty panels of illustrations with dialogue. Conflicts in his adventures became more complex, as did his character development, in due time. He made his first attempts at writing full-length novels without the aid of pictures by the time he was i high school, though he never did finish anything beyond the first chapter.

Then came college, what he considered a personal Age of Renaissance. Jordan learned the basic foundations to creative writing during his first year. When he was 19, he started to write a story about a young alien girl who was drafted into a galactic war. However, unlike my previous attempts at writing a novel, Jordan found himself returning to the keyboard, longing to get to the next scene, and the next, and before he knew it, two years had passed, and a finished first draft to a manuscript was before him. Fast forward three years later, that manuscript became “Prossia,” his first published novel. The rest, as they say, is history…
Connect with the Author:

About the Author: Jessica Nicholls is originally from Northern Illinois.  She lived in the Northwest of England for just over ten years, where she studied and had her children.  Currently she lives in the Middle East with her husband and two school age children.  Running, reading and watching films are her favorite hobbies.  Writing the type of stories she would enjoy reading (anything dark, weird, romantic…or a combination of all three!) is a passion.
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About the Author: Crystal G. Smith was born in Doniphan, Missouri.  Although she no longer lives there, she continues to call Doniphan her home.  She is married and has two beautiful children and two dogs who continue to keep her motivated daily.

She currently works as a nurse and loves working in geriatrics.  When she isn’t working, hanging out with her family, or reading, you can find her in front of her computer coming up with or finishing another exciting and more than likely sexy story. She has published roughly 14 novels, novellas or short stories since February 2013.
Connect with the Author:

About the Author: Chantal Boudreau is an accountant by day and an author/illustrator during evenings and weekends, who lives by the ocean in beautiful Nova Scotia, Canada with her husband and two children. In addition to being a CMA-MBA, she has a BA with a major in English from Dalhousie University. An affiliate member of the Horror Writers Association, she writes and illustrates horror, dark fantasy and fantasy and has had several of her stories published in a variety of horror anthologies, online journals and magazines.  Fervor, her debut novel, a dystopian science fantasy tale, was released in March of 2011 by May December Publications, followed by its sequels, Elevation, Transcendence and Providence.  Magic University, the first in her fantasy series, Masters & Renegades, made its appearance in September 2011 followed by Casualties of War in 2012 and Prisoners of Fate, in 2013.
Connect with the Author:

About the Author: Doug Dandridge has been making up stories since he was in grade school, but didn’t get into serious writing until 1996. Doug is a veteran of the US Army and the National Guard, and has always had a keen interest in military history.  He has degrees from Florida State University (psychology( and the University of Alabama (MA, clinical psychology).  He currently has twenty novels published on Amazon, and in less than two years has sold 90,000 books.  His Exodus: Empires at War series, from which Universe his story slacker is drawn, has made the military science fiction and space opera bestseller lists at Amazon, books 3-5 of the series reaching number one in the UK, and top ten status in the US.  Book 6 was launched in April of this year and was also highly ranked and reviewed.
Connect with the Author:

About the Author: Much of the time, Mason Darien isn’t sure if he’s Mia Darien’s husband or psychiatric nurse. The rest of the time, he’s stuck constructing worlds out of Legos with the kid or trying to decide whether the world of sci-fi or fantasy is more fun to play in.

The charity:

Wounded Warrior Project was founded in 2003 in Roanoke, VA, by a group of veterans and soldiers who wanted to find a way to help the injured men and women of this generation’s armed forces. Seeing a powerful need to help those soldiers who have been injured physically and/or mentally during their time of service; to “foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation’s history.”
For more information, you can visit their website: http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/

(Below taken from site.)
To honor and empower Wounded Warriors.

To foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation’s history.

To raise awareness and enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members.
To help injured service members aid and assist each other.
To provide unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members.

British equivalent: http://www.helpforheroes.org.uk/ and http://www.britishlegion.org.uk/get-involved/how-to-give/


A Week in Hell – Day 6 pdmac

Today is the sixth day I’ve spent in Hell. Should I be worried that I am quite enjoying myself….

Anyway please welcome pdmac.

Here’s his bio: pdmac spent a career in the military before transitioning to education as a university Academic Dean.  He has a MA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Theology and is a member of the Georgia Writers Association.  He writes across the spectrum having published numerous poems as well as a poetry book titled In the Kansas City Museum.  His recent short stories appear in Short Story America (Volume 3) and the newly released Poets in Hell.  More short stories are scheduled to appear in the fall issues of The Mulberry Fork Review and Short Story America (Volume 4).  His epic science fiction novel, Wolf 359, is now available on Amazon.  He will be a guest author at the upcoming LibertyCon 27 in Chattanooga, TN.  More information about the author may be found at pdmactheauthor.com.

The short story Grand Slam appears in the recently released Poets in Hell, now available on Amazon.  In Grand Slam, poets Li Po and Anne Sexton, along with philosophers Camus and Sartre, are called upon to judge a poetry slam. Believing themselves to have been chosen for their literary and intellectual genius, the four are agonizingly disappointed right from the start, quickly realizing there is more than physical pain in Hell.

Welcome to the Hell Interview Channel, brought to you infernally hour after hour.

How did you end up writing for Heroes in Hell? I have the good fortune of knowing both Janet & Chris Morris.

How do you deal with writing in a shared universe? There’s actually a great deal of latitude, as long as one remains connected to the theme and environment.

Why did you choose the characters you are using? I’ve had a long fascination with Li Po – China’s greatest poet and a very outlandish individual who made living in exile a way of life.  The other three characters were Anne Sexton, Camus, and Sartre.  I chose Sexton because I like her work.  I chose two existentialist philosophers because I thought it would be fun to have two brilliant atheists trying to make sense of their eternity.

Where are you from and where do you live now? I’m originally from New England, but we moved quite a bit – Ohio, Wisconsin, and New York.  I’ve lived in Texas, Arizona, Virginia, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Germany, and Saudi Arabia. I now live in Georgia.

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. I write across the spectrum – fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.  My latest release is an epic science fiction novel series called Wolf 359 (available on Amazon).  I also have literary short stories in Short Story America and The Mulberry Fork Review.

Where do you find inspiration? I’m not really sure how to answer this, in that I am compelled to write.  For me, if I waited for inspiration, I’d never get anything written.

Do you have a character you dislike? If so why? Yes.  There are many characters that I dislike, but despite that, they are human, and occasionally they do something nice.

Have you ever used a person you don’t/didn’t like as a character then killed them off? No.  A person dies when it is necessary – whether they are good or bad.

Research can be important in world-building, how much do you need to do for your books? Do you enjoy this aspect of creating a novel and what are your favourite resources? Research is time consuming.  For Wolf 359, I wanted to make sure the science aspect of the book was correct, so I spent many, many hours researching star formation, life support environment, etc.

Is there a message conveyed within your writing?  Do you feel this is important in a book? There’s nothing like a good story.  I want to entertain first – though usually a message works its way into the story line.  I have no problems with and underlying message – I just don’t like being preached at.

Sort these into order of importance: Great characters; great world-building; solid plot; technically perfect. Can you explain why you chose this order? (Yes I know they all are important…) Great characters; solid plot; great world-building; technically perfect.  Characters make the story, followed by the plot.  If no one cares about either your characters or plot, it doesn’t matter how “pretty” you write – no one will care.  And great characters and great plot can often counter-balance a less than stellar edited work.

In what formats are your books available? (E-books, print, large print audio) Are you intending to expand these and if not, what is the reason? Wolf 359 is available in both e-book and print.  I hope to eventually expand to audio.

Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? I do both – self-edit and use editors.  That way I have many eyes reviewing my work.  Still, errors do happen – even in professionally edited works.

Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be? Though this is still a problem, I think this is finally beginning to change, despite the battle with the traditional publishers.  I think writers are starting to realize that having a traditional publisher doesn’t necessarily translate into sales

What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews? I read reviews for what they say and how they’re written.  Unfortunately, I’ve read far too many 1-star reviews completely unrelated to the work itself – e.g. the book wasn’t delivered on time, et al.  I believe reviews are very important – the more (valid reviews) the better.

What are your reviews on authors reviewing other authors? This can be a slippery slope as some authors might not want competition.  Still, I tend to add value to an experienced writer’s opinion.

What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers? Write, rewrite, get criticism.  Repeat.

What are your best marketing/networking tips? What are your worst? Book signings – be personable and don’t hide behind the table.

Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading? Did you enjoy it? I tend to read 5-6 books simultaneously (it’s the ADD in me…).  My wife and I will be spending a vacation in Crete in September so I have been reading a number of works on Crete, especially the resistance during WWII.  I’m also currently reading the Memoirs of Field Marshall Montgomery.

Can you name your favourite traditionally published author? And your favourite indie/self-published author?  I don’t have one favourite because I enjoy many genres.  One I will point out is Michael Jecks, a British author of medieval murder mysteries.  I find his writing well researched and entertaining.

What are your views on authors offering free books? I think it’s a great idea.

Do you have a favourite movie? Again – I have lots of “favourites.”  I tend to prefer action films, though I like good thought provoking films.

Do you have any pets? No.  My wife and I have a very active lifestyle – we race mountain bikes, kayak, hike, etc., so we don’t spend a lot of free time at home.

Can you name your worst job? Do you think you learned anything from the position that you now use in your writing? My “worst” job was a “pot-licker” – washing the large pots and pans in my college’s kitchen.  I spent most Sunday mornings and early afternoons scrubbing pots and pans.  What I learned that I use in my writing is that people are fascinating regardless of position or job.  All one has to do is watch and listen.

Book links, website/blog and author links:

Book link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00J7V34UQ/ref=s9_simh_gw_p351_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=0XA4BXT0YQQPY6XR1K0J&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1688200382&pf_rd_i=507846


Author link: pdmactheauthor.com


Character Interview Number Ten – Dennis Cox and Paige Barnett – Sci-fi

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Tell Us About Yourself

Name (s): 

Sergeant Dennis “Det” Cox

Ms. Paige Barnett


Cox:  “Body age, twenty-seven; chronological groundsider age, fifty-three.  Because I spend so much time in transit to out-system worlds, my body clock and Earth’s calendar are seriously out of whack from relativistic effects:  Rangers call that the ‘relativity tax.’”

Barnett:  “I’m twenty-eight by Earth chronology, but my adventure on X-66B lost me thirty Earth-months, and I’d been out-system once or twice previously, so my body clock age is twenty-five, three years younger than my groundsider date of birth.”

Please tell us a little about yourself.

Cox:  “I do demolition and run recon units for the 203rd Ranger Regiment; I’m a team sergeant.  I’d rather be out-system than groundside or anywhere in Earth’s solar system.  Like any other Ranger, I’m a volunteer who arrives at the cutting edge of battle by land, sea, air, or space. As a Ranger the US expects me to move farther, faster, and fight harder than any other soldier.  I’ve completed all my missions so far, sometimes as a lone survivor.  I meet the enemies of my country and defeat them on any battlefield because I’m better trained and fight with all my might.  Rangers don’t surrender.  We never leave a fallen comrade in enemy hands.  I try like hell never to embarrass my country.  Sometimes lately that isn’t easy.”

Barnett:  “My last appointment groundside (by that, I mean on Earth) was as Executive Assistant to Raymond Godfrey of InterSpace Tasking (IST), one of Earth’s most powerful spacefaring corporations.  At IST, an executive assistant’s is a very prestigious position; I don’t make coffee:  I set Mr. Godfrey’s agenda.  Or did until recently, when I took an impromptu leave and met Sergeant Cox, here, through an online dating service, and everything changed for me.  I’ve been out-system to a classified mining colony since then, involved in sensitive matters I can’t discuss…”

Describe your appearance in 10 words or less.

Cox:  “Six foot one, 8% body fat; I bench-press 340 lbs.”

Barnett:  “I’m five ft. 8, fit and trim, with red-brown hair.”

Do you have a moral code? If so what is it?

Cox:  “Lead the way:  never fail comrades, keep mentally alert, physically strong, and morally straight.  Do more than my share; give better than one hundred percent to any task.  Serve my country, no matter what it needs from me.”

Barnett:  “I’m a person who embraces a cause that’s just.  I believe in right, I recognize wrong.  I believe that success for one should mean success for all.  I believe democracy will triumph only if everyone does their share.  I believe in equality, but I’m realistic:  human rights must be guarded by everyone, all the time, or be lost.  I’m working to make our society more fair to all.”

Would you kill for those you love?

Cox:  “I only kill in pursuit of a mission objective, and the enemy doesn’t tend to include people I love.  Would I kill to protect a loved one?  Count on it.”

Barnett:  “That’s not a simple question.  I’ve held a gun.  I know how to shoot.  I can’t imagine that killing is the most effective way to solve our problems – never has been, isn’t now, and won’t ever be.  But kill, to protect someone I love?  If there was no other way, yes.”

Would you die for those you love?

Cox:  “Hasn’t happened yet.”

Barnett:  “Of course I’d die to protect a loved one.”

What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses?

Cox:  “Weakness?  I can get impatient with bureaucrats, or liars, or treachery, or orders given by those who aren’t at risk.  I’ve been known to shoot from the hip.  Strengths?  I do whatever it takes to get the job done, meet a mission objective, even if I don’t agree with it.  I’m loyal to my Ranger code, to my outfit, to my troops, to my nation.  I get back home, every time.  I don’t expect miracles from my comrades:  I know that people disappoint you.”

Barnett:  “Weakness?  I’m female, obviously, and fertile, so that means I need to be better at my job than a man, because my hormones interfere with me more than a man’s interfere with him.  I form attachments, and these can impact my judgment.  I forgive too much sometimes.  I don’t like bumping my head on the glass ceiling, which happens whenever large amounts of money and power are involved.  Strengths?  I’m loyal, smart, educated.  My word is my bond.  I’m a good infighter and strategic planner.  This last year has taught me how good I am at surviving.  I’m still standing, and moving forward.”

Do you have any relationships you prize above others? Why?

Cox:  “Not many relationships, period.  Relationships among the Rangers?  Sure.  Some.  But in my job, you lose friends, so you don’t want too many.  I’ve got allies here and there – in and out of government.  Paige, here, for one.  I haven’t got much in common with groundsiders or folks in-system.  That’s okay.  I protect ’em, I don’t need to socialize with them.”

Barnett:  “Relationships per se are important to me.  In my job at IST, connectivity was all.  And now, working on special projects, connectivity and the ability to move among echelons are equally important.  And of course, Dennis and I have forged a strong bond.  I have ties to certain Fourth Worlders with whom we work closely. But allegiances and alliances change.”

Do you like animals? Do you have any pets/animal companions?

Cox:  “Yeah, Paige Barnett.  Space travel is rough on dogs.  Out-system, there isn’t much life to like above the vegetable level.”

Barnett:  “Dennis!  He’s just…  Well, what’s an animal, after all, but a very close relative of humanity?  We’re all genetically similar.  But as for a pet I see every day, no.  My life doesn’t allow for pets right now.”

Do you have a family? Tell us about them.

Cox:  Not groundside.  My extended family is the 203rd, and we work mostly out beyond this solar system….  And if I did, I wouldn’t tell you.  A guy like me makes enemies who think your family is a weakness, and I’ve got more enemies than I need right now.”

Barnett:  “A family?  Well, my groundside parents are dead.  But I’ve found a group of people with similar beliefs, if you will, who are like a family to me…  In fact, although this might sound silly, the whole human race is my family.  Honestly.”

Cox (whispering):  “Christ, Paige, shut up.”

Can you remember something from your childhood which influences your behaviour? How do you think it influences you?

Cox:  “My dad was a Ranger.  My uncle was, too.  So it’s in the family, the Code and all.  They taught me survival skills, how and when to fight back, how to judge a person or any other threat before you engage.  And what discipline means to your survival.  So I’m tough on my teams, sometimes, to keep them alive.”

Barnett:  “My education, really.  We lived in Massachusetts, so I went to all the best schools, where I learned to learn and keep on learning.  My parents left me comfortable and idealistic, so my career focus naturally became one of changing the world for the better.”

Do you have any phobias?

Cox: “Rangers don’t have phobias.  We have skills, hot washes, after action reports, and fitness evaluations.  I don’t like being out of control.  I don’t like things whose danger or value I can’t quantify, such as faulty equipment or people with divided loyalties.  I don’t like PTSD.”

Barnett:  “Betrayal.  Spiders.  The unknown.  Making mistakes.  Losing mental acuity.  If Dennis were being honest with you, except for the spiders, he’d have mentioned all of these.”

Please give us an interesting and unusual fact about yourself.

Cox:  “I’m not interesting or unusual.  I’m just another team sergeant who does demolitions and recon missions.”

Barnett:  “I’m at the forefront of amazing scientific discoveries, the details of which I’m not at liberty to disclose to you right now.”

Tell Us About Your World

Please give us a little information about the world in which you live.

Cox:  Which one?  Between missions, I’d rather be out-system than groundside on Earth.  Earth changes so fast:  the fashions, the music, the women, the laws:  I don’t recognize it half the time when I’m here.  I stage from Ranger bases out past the asteroid belt, when I can – stay among my own kind.  My last two missions weren’t anything I can discuss, beyond saying we’ve been working closely with contractors to  solve problems on mining colonies and terraforming planets which the US wants to annex.”

Barnett:  I live on Earth nearly all the time, although I did go on a rather long excursion out-system recently.  Working for IST, one of the biggest out-system mining and terraforming entities among the stars, I maintained cognizance of all Earth’s activities in our solar system and beyond.  The time dilation aspect of interstellar travel causes some difficulties in technology uptake by the out-system settlements, but basically humanity has no choice:  we must establish many colonies off world:  we have too many people for one planet to sustain.  So we terraform, we colonize, we mine.  Usually the first humans out-system are technologists and what we call Fourth Worlders who, like Fourth Worlders on Earth, are looking for a new start and opportunity and work hard for those things.”

Does your world have religion or other spiritual beliefs? If so do you follow one of them? Please describe (briefly) how this affects your behaviour.

Cox:  My religion is nobody’s business but my own.  I was brought up as a God-fearing man, but these days I don’t think God is what we’ve got to fear.  People are like salmon searching for a forgotten spawning ground:  they’ll die trying to get somewhere they haven’t been before.  There’s a new cult among some Fourth Worlders:  redemption, resurrection, the holy way.  I’ve encountered some of those people.  Like with other religions, these early practitioners are revolutionaries.  And when revolutionaries become violent, no matter what they believe, that can require military intervention.  So, no I’m not a ‘follower’ of any religion, but yeah, this one’s affecting my behavior.

Barnett:  “I’ve found, over the last months, a deeper spiritual connection that I’d ever thought to have.  As we go farther among the stars, many beliefs are changing.  The universe is an amazing place, with surprises beyond our wildest earthly dreams.  I’m finding the universe to be full of wonders and a coherence I hadn’t expected – even a love of life, if I can put it simply.  The universe hasn’t shown us all its secrets yet, and we have found no species like us, but creation is full of wonders and I believe humanity’s journey is only beginning.”

Do you travel in the course of your adventures? If so where?

Cox:  “I ship out on missions that are usually lengthy, mostly to new terraforming planets, or wherever military assistance is requested.  My last two missions were to mining planets, can’t tell you which ones and it wouldn’t mean anything to you if I did, but way out at the edges of human civilization.  I go where my teams are needed.  Not vacation spots, at least not yet.”

Barnett:  “I’ve travelled, primarily for business, to all the US off-planet installations and settlements in near space, and a few beyond.  I’ve been on superforce jump ships, so far away it takes nearly a year to get a message back to our home solar system.  I’ve experienced ‘slow-freeze,’ suspended animation, and walked on planets in the first stages of terraforming.  I still like Earth the best of all.”

Name and describe a food from your world.

Cox:  Prepack meals, self heating:  anything in them tastes the same.  I like real or simulated steak from Earth or farming settlements, if I get lucky: Earth is still ‘my’ world; hell, it’s everybody’s world until we become self-sufficient elsewhere among the stars.”

Barnett:  “Food?  A clam bake: Maine lobster, baked potatoes, clams, corn cooked in the sand on a beach.  Earth-raised free-range poultry, fed without hormones – I have enough of those on my own.”

Does your world have magic? If so how is it viewed in your world?

Cox:  “Magic?  Sure, fifty calibre gas-powered handguns, thallium shot, plasma rifles, tactical satellites, shaped charges.”

Barnett:  “Magic is all around us, in science:  in the way day follows night and people find one another and work together for the betterment of all.  Humanity’s ability to colonize the stars is magic:  not even relativity could stop us; our ingenuity comes from the most magic realm of all:  consciousness and superconsciousness.”

What form of politics is dominant in your world? (Democracy, Theocracy, Meritocracy, Monarchy, Kakistocracy etc.)

Cox:  “Democracy is a dream that people like me protect.  As for monarchy, tyranny, theocracy, and the rest of those big words, sometimes those words describe our enemies, sometimes not.  Facing hostile ideologies, we suppress them, export them or eradicate them if we can…”

Barnett:  “Of course, meritocracy is what we all want, if we’re honest, and kakistocracy is what we’re trying to avoid.  Democracy is Dennis’ choice because he’s US military, although really our government is a Republic, with all its attendant problems.  But we’re getting better at keeping our ideological conflicts manageable.”

Does your world have different races of people? If so do they get on with one another?

Cox:  “Hey, this is Earth we’re talking about, and its colonies.  We have all sorts of people:  every colour, national origin:  Used to be 193, but now its 202 member states in the UN.  And they get along only as well as they need to, in order to survive.”

Barnett:  “Earth spawned many races; many of us even have Neanderthal DNA.  Intermarriage is creating a racially ambiguous strain of humanity, which may be the only way we’ll ever all get along:  people historically try to destroy anyone different.”

Name a couple of myths and legends particular to your culture/people.

Cox:  “Nope.  Can’t think of any, beyond the Trojan Horse, and I’m not Greek, but those Trojans got greedy and brought hell inside their own walls, and it destroyed them.  I’m hoping never to be a part of doing that.”

Barnett:  “Joan of Arc has always been a hero of mine, but she’s not strictly mythical.  Neither is Boudicca.  But both of them are inspirational, along with Mary Magdalene’s supposed gospel.”

What is the technology level for your world/place of residence? What item would you not be able to live without?

Cox:  The technology level for Rangers depends on how far out-system you go:  new tech and pre-existing milspec tech need to be compatible, so there’s about a twenty year lag between what we have out-system and the newer stuff that groundsiders can get.  I couldn’t do without my recon suit; its comms and pharmakit keep a guy alive out there.  Ranger don’t depend on implants:  implants can’t survive slow-freeze and superforce jumps and be compatible with the comms on the other side, so that’s a good thing.  I guess what else I really need is my 10mm side arm and my .50 cals.”

Barnett:  I agree with Cox about communications:  they’re the single most critical element to our survival.  We need satellites, ground penetrating and side looking radars, millimetre wave technology, spectral imagery.  But most of all we need increasingly better faster-than-light travel, no matter the relativity tax:  humanity demands a new frontier.  The Goldilocks zones of other star systems spread throughout the universe are our best hope for thriving as a species.  Without those, we’ll breed ourselves to extinction in a few more generations:  our ever-expanding footprint is the greatest threat to Earth or any earth-like planet’s ecosystem.  We need a place to go, if we won’t control our lusts.  And we won’t.  Things will get worse before they get better.”

Does your world have any supernatural/mystical beings? Please tell us about some.

Cox:  I can’t comment.

Barnett:  I can’t comment.

Within your civilisation what do you think is the most important discovery/invention?

Cox:  Kinetic kill and electromagnetic weaponry.

Barnett:  Photonics.  Faster than light travel.

Name three persons of influence/renown within your society and tell why they are influential (Could be someone like Christ/Mandela/Queen Elizabeth or a renowned figure from a non-human/fantasy world.)

Cox:  George Washington, because he brought together the right people to frame the Constitution.  If you’d been where I’ve been, you’d know that not just groundsiders, but every single sorry soul in every conflict dreams about living in a democracy – except the brainwashed ones.  President Kennedy, who got us to the Moon.  Sun Tzu, because he got it all right.”

Barnett:  “Plato, because he tried to offer choices to everyone. Jesus Christ, because he tried to offer salvation to everyone.  Martin Luther King, because he tried to offer freedom to everyone.”

Author notes:

Book(s) in which this character appears plus links: OUTPASSAGE


Author names: Janet Morris and Chris Morris

Website/Blog/Author pages etc.

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