Black Winter Blog Tour – Sci Fi/Fantasy

Black Winter
by Beauregard M. NeVille & Cole NeVille
Genre: SciFi Fantasy
In the near future the planet is covered in snow. Nobody knows why. A group of people are living inside a military facility that was designed to be self sustaining and can last forever. So long as the food doesn’t run out. Captain Alec Winter is among the people trying to survive and they will all be tested with the arrival of two strangers and something lurking in the shadows of the storm. Alec will have the fight for his life and everyone that he cares about. He just has to avoid becoming the very thing that threatens everyone’s survival.
Beauregard M NeVille
I was born in Rocksprings Wyoming, but grew up in various parts of Utah, from Provo to Brigham City. By the time I was in 4th grade was when I moved to Brigham and stayed there until after high school and I left to pursue my own life. I’ve always had a love for writing and knew it was what I wanted to do. I also love sports, played most of them throughout school and still try and play basketball when I can. I love the outdoors, going hiking and camping and would spend every day on a lake if I could. I love my family. My wife Amanda is a wonderful, hardworking mother that still manages to be in school, work as a teacher and still provides time for our children. I have three amazing boys, Kaden, Ryder and Maverick. Nothing brings me more joy than seeing them grow and getting to have fun with them. I love dogs and my Dog Mya was my inspiration for the dog in Black Winter. I owe everything I have to my parents for teaching me hard work and the value of a family. I’m forever grateful for the blessings in my life and I look forward to what the future will bring to me and my family.
Cole NeVille
I was born in Brigham City, Utah. I have lived in several states but Utah is my home. Reading and writing has always been a big part of my life. I used reading to escape from a lot of things when I was growing up. I also have played sports my whole life. I grew up playing football and basketball, and still play basketball whenever I can. I love everything outdoors whether it is hiking, camping, golfing, or fishing. Being able to get out into the wildlife and smell the fresh air is something my wife Sarah and I love to share together. We both love dogs and love our dog Kumba.
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!
Signed Copy of Black Winter,
$15 Amazon Gift Card
– 1 winner each!

Myth Agent – Blog Tour

Myth Agent
by L.A. MacFadden
Genre: Historical Time Travel, Science Fiction
It’s 1945, soon after VJ Day. Odessa Shatto, an antiques dealer, is pierced in the side by a prehistoric bone. The next morning she awakens, horrified to see a hideous green slime creeping over her, hardening into a cocoon that quickly entombs her in darkness and leaves her fearing for her life. Each time it happens, she remembers feeling a sense of being thrown hard, as though from the hand of a giant. And the last time, she remembers her trajectory crossing with that of her fiancé, a soldier who has been injured in the Pacific in World War Two. They may think of their paths crossing as a gift, but in reality it will produce agonizing results.
Ruttledge Rosenbaugh, a professor of science devoted to his students at Hensley University, has spent years learning from his mentor, whose mantra was that time travelers are constantly around and unnoticed. But nothing Ruttledge has ever heard or read on time travel prepares him for what he witnesses in his secret laboratory in 1910. After recuperating from the ordeal, he spends years trying to prove the existence of time travel, while a jealous rogue from his past lies in wait, hoping to debunk any time travel theory the professor develops–no matter the cost.
Myth Agent is a time travel tale, woven of the fantastic, and interspersed with traces of historical fiction.
L.A. MacFadden was born in Oregon in 1956 to parents who were fond of the great outdoors and instilled that appreciation in their five children. Her father was employed by the Boy Scouts of America in Oregon, Washington, and Montana, so she spent all of her youthful summers in Boy Scout camps her father directed. But because the programs of course weren’t for girls, she and her three sisters spent a good deal of time reading books borrowed from the libraries of nearby towns. Those wonderful days of reading all those books-whether in the library, under the shady branches of trees, or in a tiny cabin, were responsible for her love of books, and no doubt led to her desire to become an author.
In 1975 she married her high school sweetheart, then a member of the United States Marine Corps. Later, they settled in western Oregon, near the beautiful Columbia River Gorge, where they enjoy spending time with their two grown children, grandchildren, and a host of extended family. L.A. MacFadden can often be found at home, working on her next book!
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!
$25 Amazon – 4 winners!

Guest Post – Blog Tour Harvey Havel – Short Fiction #Horror #Scifi #Surreal

Guest Post and Meet an Author 

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?

I went to a tiny college in Hartford, Connecticut.  In my sophomore year, I joined a fraternity.  In my senior year, there was a fraternity brother of mine named Jason Morfoot who told me this story about a group of guys who wrote poetry and literature all the time, smoked a lot of pot, dropped a lot of acid, and drove around in a psychedelic-painted bus with the Grateful Dead.

Once I heard this story, I asked Jason to tell it to me over and over again, probably to his chagrin.  I was so charmed by what the Beats did way back when that I said to myself, ‘Gee, maybe this writing thing is for me.’  Of course, it never turned out the way it turned out for them, but I never would have gone into writing had Jason not told me about the Beat Generation.  At the time, it sounded like they lived a fairy-tale life.  Perhaps they did.

Where were you born/grew up at?

I was born in Lahore, Pakistan in 1971.  I immigrated to the United States when I was just a newborn.  My family first moved to Buffalo, New York, and over the years, we found ourselves in New York City by the mid-1970s.  Back then, New York City was in dire straits – high crime, intense poverty, drugs, etc.  I still can’t believe how my mother got through it all, living in the toughest neighborhood in the city at the time, which was then known as Alphabet City, or what is currently known as the Lower East Side.  God must have been with her the entire time.  I am really amazed at how she persevered. She was incredible woman, even though our relationship was not.

What do you do to unwind and relax?

I like listening to the radio a lot.  Usually, NPR, or Classic Rock and Roll.

What inspired you to write this book?

Interestingly enough, these stories were somehow stored on my computer for several years before I accidently found them in a hidden file on my hard drive.  I discovered nearly ninety short stories that I forgotten I had ever written.  It turns out that nearly seven or eight years ago, the poet, John Allen of Albany, New York, had asked me to submit stories for his website, The New Surrealist Institute, which is now defunct.  This site had really been thriving, and a core group of authors had submitted avidly to it.  It was also quite popular with many readers.  When the website went offline, I had simply forgotten about the stories.  When I found them, I just knew I had to compile them into a book.

I wouldn’t say that anything in particular inspired me to write these stories, though.  The ideas came to me out of nowhere, which is why it took a lot of effort to construct them.  Some of the political stories were inspired by the 2016 elections, for instance.  There’s a science fiction story that is more a personal response to my past relationships with friends who have now grown up to do amazing things with their lives.  A couple stories are tributes to old friends of mine who had passed on: a painter friend of mine who had committed suicide in the 1990s and also a Black-American bluegrass musician who had recently passed away a couple of years ago.  But I can’t say exactly how I got the ideas for them, which is strange.  They are very diverse and, I hope, fun to read.

What can we expect from you in the future?

Right now, I am working on a book about September 11, 2001, when the Word Trade Center in New York was hit by a terrorist attack.  I haven’t been working on the project consistently as of late, though, but I hope to have it done in a couple of years.  Sometimes, life gets in the way of writing every day, which is something I made sure to do.  But I really do want the September 11th book to be my finest publication, so it is always on my mind, and when I am working on it, I am working really hard.

Who designed your book covers?

I have to do everything on the cheap, as I have self-published for a long time.  I usually find ready-made covers on the web, purchase them, and use them for my book covers.  I use a site called www.selfpubbookcovers.com.  There’s a guy named Rob there who runs the show, and he has always been very responsive and helpful.  He has hundreds of covers to choose from.  Hiring designers for the job is just way too expensive for me.  Ready-made covers from great designers are a great way to package my books.

Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

Never give up!  Never give up!  Never give up!

How long have you been writing?

I have been a professional writer for nearly 30 years without much success.  While I have published 18 books, it seems that it is hard to attract the public to read them.  I am definitely not able to make a living off of any of these books.  Instead, I have a fixed income every month from a variety of sources, including Social Security Disability, that has sustained me for all of these years.  While I am very happy to see all of my peers succeed and do very well in life, it has been equally as difficult to remain within the same income bracket for so long.  But then again, if you are concerned about the money, writing is definitely not the right career path to choose, or so is my experience.

Lately, I have been taking it easier.  I hope to continue writing for the rest of my years, but I do admit that I am a bit tired of always being broke and pinching pennies all the time.  That is the hard part.  But somehow, I have made it through, and my books are all out there, should anyone find them.

What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?

I invest a lot in the research process.  After a general story idea comes to mind, I refine that idea into a plot outline.  Once that is done, I target those parts of the plot that I know nothing of. 

For instance, I wrote a book about football.  While I had known about football from playing it in my youth, I needed to investigate how professional players practice, not generally, but specifically.  So, with that example in mind, I had to go to the library, or surf the internet, to find books that detailed the drills that professional coaches used in their practices.  I took this information and then put them on notecards.  Then, I added this information to the plot outline and created a chapter-by-chapter outline with the research included in every respective chapter.  That’s how it has worked for me thus far.

Also, I find it extremely important to include a bibliography at the back of the book, should I use research.  That way, the writing is based not only on my imagination, but also cold, hard facts.  One should always cite one’s sources anyway.  Plus, I have found it really fun doing the research.  It’s incredible how much I have learned about a variety of subjects over the years.  When writing historical fiction especially, research is always key.

What do you think about the current publishing market?

Not much.  But then again, I haven’t read much of what is out there.

Pen or type writer or computer?

I usually hand-write a manuscript, revise it on paper, and then I type it into the computer, constantly revising it. I then print out the manuscript and revise it again.  But I usually do this chapter-by-chapter, not the entire manuscript at once.  I find it easier to break it down into manageable parts.

I used to hand-write it and then use a typewriter, but luckily for everyone, the personal computer came along.

Advice they would give new authors?

Definitely do not put all of your eggs in the one basket of writing.  If you are going to write or edit for a job, or work as a journalist for a decent salary, that’s fine.  But please do not make the same mistake I had made by banking it all on writing fiction novels at an early age.  Even though I have developed as a writer through hardship, I don’t think it was really all that worth it. 

If I had to do it all over again, I would have chosen a career with a good salary, so that I could have afforded a good car, attracted a nice girlfriend, afforded a simple house, and did what most of my peers have done, or at least developed how most people are portrayed in the media of today.  I wouldn’t have had such a cavalier ‘all or none’ attitude about a becoming a writer. 

Betting it all on the one hand and winning at it is the stuff of dreams and fantasy and not reality.  I am definitely not saying that it won’t happen, though, because a new author definitely could hit the big time with a book or a number of books.  But if you find yourself broke and on the street in the freezing cold, as I have witnessed in every city I have lived in, you should really stop and reassess where you are heading.  In my opinion, it is not possible to write under conditions of abject poverty for too long.  Better to get a roof over your head before writing that next line.

The Odd and the Strange:
A Collection of Very Short Fiction
by Harvey Havel
Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi, Surrealist, Fabulist
A Collection of Very Short Fiction from a variety of genres, including but not limited to horror, science fiction, politics, and the surreal. These celebrated very short stories have been collected over a number of years and have been published in a variety of online e-zines and posted on various websites.
THE ODD AND THE STRANGE by Harvey Havel is a collection of urban tales that toe the line of reality.
The subtitle of Harvey Havel’s THE ODD AND THE STRANGE is A Collection of Very Short Fiction. A better one would be A Very Long Book of Normal-Sized Short Fiction. There are 89 stories in all, most 5-10 pages long (though a few stretch to nearly twenty), with unassuming titles like “Visitation,” “Girlfriend,” and “Daughter.” Though set in the real world, the stories tease reality with nameless characters–the candidate, the doctor, the Big Man–and fantastical occurrences, similar to the parables of Jorge Luis Borges (Argentine short-story writer, essayist, poet and translator, and a key figure in Spanish language literature).
Being a librarian, I was eager to read the story “The Librarian.” A young male librarian–unnamed, naturally–looks into a mirror in his office and sees not his reflection but a woman with “walnut hair luxuriously long and her skin as supple as a young girl’s.” He has seen her many times, and though the two cannot touch, they can talk. What do they talk about? The books he steals from the library and passes into the mirror for her to read. Eventually, his boss confronts the librarian over the missing books only to be told that the latter he gave them to his mirror-world girlfriend. To prove this claim, the librarian tries to summon the woman, and when she doesn’t appear, the librarian smashes the mirror. You can imagine the rest.
Some stories are less Borges and more Stephen Crane (author of The Red Badge of Courage): bleak, violent. Like “Lightning Love,” narrated by a wife whose husband changes into . . . something (the twist at the end is brilliant). Others are political fables, like “Santa Claus and Madam Secretary,” which makes Havel’s proclivities as clear as the image on a 98-inch TV. His style can be clunky–one woman’s breasts are described as “shaped like a queen’s”–and some endings are telegraphed. A few stories, like “Sex Toy,” are more like story fragments. Yet THE ODD AND THE STRANGE is quite an accomplishment: unusual, provocative, and honest.
Mixing the fabulism of Jorge Luis Borges with the bleakness of Stephen Crane, the tales contained in Harvey Havel’s THE ODD AND THE STRANGE draw the reader into a world they won’t soon forget.
~Anthony Aycock for IndieReader
**Get this book at 50% off at Smashwords and check out Harvey’s other books
– a lot of them are FREE or on sale at Smashwords too!**
Harvey Havel is a short-story writer and novelist.
His first novel, Noble McCloud, A Novel, was published in November of 1999. His second novel, The Imam, A Novel, was published in 2000.
Over the years of being a professional writer, Havel published his third novel, Freedom of Association. He worked on several other books and published his eighth novel, Charlie Zero’s Last-Ditch Attempt, and his ninth, The Orphan of Mecca, Book One, which was released several years ago. A full trilogy of this work had been completed a few years after Mr. Big is about a Black-American football player who deals with injury and institutionalized racism. This book was published in 2017. It’s his fifteenth book.
The Wild Gypsy of Arbor Hill is his sixteenth book, and his seventeenth is a non-fiction political essay about America’s current political crisis, written in 2019. He has just now published his eighteenth book, The Odd and The Strange: A Collection of Very Short Fiction.
Havel is formerly a writing instructor at Bergen Community College in Paramus, New Jersey. He also taught writing and literature at the College of St. Rose in Albany as well as SUNY Albany.
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!
$15 Amazon giftcard,
ebook of choice from author
– 1 winner each!

Lying Beneath – Book Tour and Giveaway #Scifi

Lying Beneath
The AURA Operation Book 1
by Kevin Moran
Genre: Science Fiction
Underneath the city lies an advanced society, and its dark secrets could bury her alive.
Ayla worries she’ll be stuck waitressing for pennies until she dies. She longs for adventure, for something to save her from the paycheck-to-paycheck life she lives with her long-time boyfriend, Derek, who plays it safe and only half-tolerates her thirst for exploration.
With her trusty camera in tow, she explores abandoned buildings, searching for something—anything—interesting. One night, she finds a mysterious trapdoor in an old warehouse which leads to a futuristic society right beneath her feet.
This is the adventure she’s been looking for, but the people underground don’t appreciate her intrusion and she quickly finds herself locked up and questioned. They think she’s a spy, their questions are getting more intrusive, and Derek has no idea where she is.
Ayla must find a way out of this underground world that’s not at all the adventure she thought she wanted, or she may never see Derek again…
Kevin Moran has been writing books since he first learned what a book was. His early drafts were held together with pins, staples, glue and string. His process has since improved and he now publishes with An Ink Mover, LLC. He currently has three works available for purchase.
“Lying Beneath” is his latest work and book 1 of the AURA Operation series. It will be available May 5th.
$25 Amazon Gift Card
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

 

Here Be Aliens Bundle

They come from distant stars and worlds beyond our own. Strange, dangerous, fascinating – dare you face the aliens? Dare you learn their secrets?

Here Be Aliens!

https://books2read.com/HereBeAliens

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/here-be-aliens-stefon-mears/1136928952

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B087PR77Q8/?tag=kydala-20

https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/here-be-aliens

https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1510261478

Part of the Here Be – Monsters, Myth and Mayhem series. https://bundlerabbit.com/s/here-be-series

Here Be Aliens FINAL UPDATED 24x16

Featuring

Fade to Gold – Stefon Mears

Scifi Motherlode – Robert Jeschonek

The Great Succession Crisis – Laurel A. Rockefeller

Alien Blue – DeAnna Knippling

Alien Influences – Kristine Kathryn Rusch

The Sun Doctors – Meyari McFarland

Adventurer (Star Minds Lone Wolves)  – Barbara G.Tarn

Cursed Planet  – Linda Maye Adams

Earth Plan – David Sloma

Chasing Chipmunks  – Rebecca S. W. Bates

Dirty Dozen Bundle Author Interview – Michele Laframboise

Author name: Michèle Laframboise

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Figure 1 My first novel

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

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

Are you a ‘pantser’ or a ‘plotter’?

Figure 2  Getting stuck in a plot loop

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

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

Figure 3 Finding a way out

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

Academia spat me out like an alien body.

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

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

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

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

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Figure 4 Those high tables are dangerous!

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

(very far after the three first)

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

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Figure 5 Researching for my SF novels

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

Subjects:

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

Black holes and membranes

High-altitude sickness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ad Astra

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

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

Links

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

Bio

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

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

(credits: Gilles Gagnon)

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A face pic with my steampunk goggles!

(Credits: Sylvie-Anne Jeanson)

Michele’s story features here:

Worlds on the brink of apocalypse, or already there.

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

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

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

https://books2read.com/HereBeBraveNewWorlds

ML BNW

Dirty Dozen – Author Interview – Amanda Schmidt

Welcome to Amanda Schmidt

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

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

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

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

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

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

Order of importance?

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Tell us about your latest piece.

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

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

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

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

Links:

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

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AmandaSchmidt09

Bio

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

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

Dirty Dozen Character Interview – Nicodemus Etalo – Sci-fi

Name: Nicodemus Etalo: Please, call me Nick.

1) Tell us about yourself.

Well. I have an older sister and younger brother.  My parents are no longer together.  I work for the Trintaty Military.  I work with a team to rescue people who’ve been taken by the scum of the universe.  I get aboard the ship and defeat whoever thinks they have a right to make people do things against their will, and then we get the survivors back to our ship and help them get their lives back.

2) How did you end up in the situation you’re currently in?

We had intercepted a Krutan ship to rescue those whom it was holding prisoner.  When I found the Krutan, I also found a woman in a room with him.  He threw her across the room, and she hit the ceiling, which subsequently fell on top of her.  I rescued the woman, Zehána, and we blew up the ship.  It should have been over at that point, however it was just the beginning.
3) Do you have any regrets?

No way.  Zehána had endured more torture than any of the people I had helped rescue so far.  That alone stands that I made the right choice.
4) Is your life now as you envisioned it?  If not, then why?

Absolutely not.  Twice, I had envisioned the rest of my life a certain way and neither time I was right.  The first vision I had wasn’t a positive one.  I was a young child, I didn’t realize I had an option of how I was supposed to live, so I thought I’d always live my life with this… broken heart so to speak.   You know that heavy feeling you get when you’re not living the life you were meant for.  With my mother having once been in the Trinataty military, we lived a good life, had lots of things – whatever we wanted and then some.  However, I learned the hard way that we were not allowed to help others.   I had researched about the Trinitaty Military when I was older, and I left home the moment I could because I did not want to live that life.

The second time was when I met Zehána.  I had been serving the Military for a long time, and I had it down to a science.  Find the scum of the universe, rescue the people, get them home or to base, and then on to the next ship of universal filth.  It was the perfect life for me.  I lived and breathed my job.  However, the day I rescued Zehána everything changed.  I had convinced myself it was because of the circumstances I had found her in, and then she was not treated like the other survivors.  My need to protect her became above and beyond what was normal, especially for me.  Nothing in my wildest dreams prepared me for what came next.

5) Do you believe in monsters?

I certainly do.  Working for the Trinitaty Military, I have seen my fair share.  It’s why I continue to do what I do.

6) Do you have a moral code?

Yes.  I’m usually a good soldier, I do what is expected of me.  Unless I feel that it isn’t the right thing to do.  As I told my friend, Connor, “Sometimes you have to think for yourself, question the motives of your superior.  Sometimes you have to break the rules to do the right thing.”

7) Would you die for someone you love?

That’s an easy question since death is always a possibility when you’re saving people from monsters.  I wouldn’t even bat an eye.

8)  Who is your greatest enemy? 

Before this particular adventure, I don’t think I would have known the answer.  However, the Krutan, whom Zehána calls “the beast”, has definitely showed me what a real enemy looks like.  Highly intelligent, calculating, and patient.

9) Tell us about your family?

My mother disappeared after I left home, although I’ve heard rumors that she went back to work for the Trintaty Military.  We are not close in any way.  My father still lives on Zynast, the planet I’m from, but we don’t keep in touch.  I have a younger brother who is a mediator for the Trintaty Military, whom I see from time to time, and my older sister… well, she’s been through a lot.   She works at the base so I see her every time I come home.

10) How would you describe yourself?

An average guy who wants to do the right thing.  I suppose you could consider me a workaholic, but honestly, I just love my job.  Being able to save people who have been kidnapped from their homes, feels good.  I’m a little stubborn which sometimes gets me in trouble, but I always think things through.

11) How do others see you?

I suppose it depends on who you talk to. Martin, the captain of the ship I travel on, thinks I’m a pain in the as— butt, however, he knows that I am very good at my job – which allows him to bask in the glory of a skilled team.  My friend Connor gets annoyed with what he sees as my lack of respect for the rules and stubbornness, but he knows I’m an intelligent guy, trying to do good in the universe.  My sister sees me as a hero, but she thinks I can be difficult at times, and maybe a bit overprotective.  And Zehána, she sees me as someone she can trust, and honestly that’s good enough for me.

22) Do you think you will be successful in your quest?

I sure hope so, because Zehána’s life is in my hands.  And this is one point in my life I do not want to fail.

Project21cover

 

Amanda Schmidt – Nick’s creator can be found here

Links:

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

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AmandaSchmidt09

 

Book Spotlight – The Valor: Military Science Fiction Bundle #Scifi

For more info – check out this link – and the bundle is only available for a limited time.

https://storybundle.com/blog/valormilitarysciencefictionbundle/

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Nine novels and an amazing short story collection make this a fantastic military science fiction bundle.

Plus, another bonus: Our charity, AbleGamers, helps people with disabilities enjoy the imaginary worlds of video games all year, as well as in the holidays. The organization provides one-on-one assistance to help people with a variety of disabilities join the lively interactive world of gaming, easing the social isolation that being disabled can bring.

Can’t think of a better cause to help out.

So here’s what you can do: buy the bundle for yourself or your friends who love military science fiction stories, then toss in a few bucks for AbleGamers. Helping others while getting some top science fiction reading. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Also, the holidays are coming up and you can give this as a gift.

And remember, this bundle won’t last very long. Grab this bundle today and toss in a little extra for AbleGamers. You’ll make someone’s life a little brighter, and have hours of wonderful science fiction reading going into the holidays. – Dean Wesley Smith

For StoryBundle, you decide what price you want to pay. For $5 (or more, if you’re feeling generous), you’ll get the basic bundle of four books in any ebook format—WORLDWIDE.

  • Perihelion by Tami Veldura
  • Battlenaut Crucible by Robert Jeschonek
  • Valor by Fiction River
  • Can’t Shoot Straight Gang Returns by Blaze Ward

If you pay at least the bonus price of just $15, you get all four of the regular books, plus SIX more!

  • Stealing From Pirates by Stefon Mears
  • Trial Under Fire – A BattleTech Novel by Loren L. Coleman
  • Skirmishes: A Diving Novel by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
  • Guilt in Innocence by Keith R.A. DeCandido
  • Life of a Dream by Dean Wesley Smith
  • Invincible by David Bruns

This bundle is available only for a limited time via http://www.storybundle.com. It allows easy reading on computers, smartphones, and tablets as well as Kindle and other ereaders via file transfer, email, and other methods. You get multiple DRM-free formats (.epub and .mobi) for all books!

 

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.

Links/samples/etc.

Site: www.gustavobondoni.com

Twitter: @gbondoni

Most popular novel: Siege