Sunday, July 31, 2011

Secret Sisters Mysteries

Author Tristi Pinkston is excited to announce the release of the third novel in her Secret Sisters Mysteries series.


Titled Hang ‘em High, this novel takes place on a dude ranch in Montana. When Ida Mae’s son invites her to come for a visit, of course she brings Arlette and Tansy along with her. They are expecting to spend the week looking at horses, avoiding the cows, and making amends in Ida Mae’s relationship with her son. What they don’t expect is to be stuck on the ranch in the middle of a blizzard and to be thrust headlong into the middle of a mystery.

***

Help Tristi celebrate her new novel in two ways. First, come participate in the two-week-long blog contest, where you can win a book nearly every single day! All the details are up on Tristi’s blog.






Second, come to the book launch!


You are invited to an

August Authorama!

Saturday, August 13th

Pioneer Book, 858 S. State, Orem

12 – 4 pm

Games, prizes, balloons, face painting,

and Dutch oven cobbler

prepared by world champion cook

Keith Fisher.

Authors Tristi Pinkston, J. Lloyd Morgan, Cindy Hogan,

Nichole Giles, and Heather Justesen

will all be there to sign books.

This is one book launch event

you will not want to miss!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

My August Book Project

Getting geared up for my August book project.

I'm actually illustrating this month. Its a nice break since I pumped out three full length MG and YA novels in the last 75 days. I feel like I gave birth to triplets and I need to catch up on sleep.

My August project is a children's book called Maybe It's a Zebra written by Kathy Atwood.

Once I have permission from the boss (the author) I will share more info about the story behind the story and some of the actual illustrations.


I have a meter on the side bar so you can watch my progress throughout the month.----->


Friday, July 29, 2011

Technology

Okay, so I don't have much technology in my books, but technology is something huge that is effecting books.

EMC’s

Enhanced Multi-Media Content includes interactive maps, videos interviews with the author, animation, sound effects, and advertizing.

E-book animation

Just like regular animation E-book animation is a series of pictures put together and flashed in a sequence to make it look like the picture is moving.

There are some differences with e-book animation:

When I do animation for a digital book I use .gif images in Adobe animation. Gif tends to be a smaller file then the other formats and will comply with most e-book programs including Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Each animation should consist of no more than three to five slides.

If you do more than this you file will be too big. The trick is to keep the files small so that there are no delays in the upload of pages. By keeping the files small you avoid taking up massive amounts of space on people’s e-book readers.

Another thing to remember with creating animation for e-books is that you don’t want your animation to overpower the work of the author.

The movements in an animation should be subtitle. No one wants a bright blinking light in their face when they are trying to read.

I highly recommend that e-book creators who use animation have a “Turn Off Animation” feature or at least have the option for readers to download a non-animated book for those who find even subtitle animation distracting in a novel.

For more info on EMC's see my main website link here: http://www.knightess.com/otherprojects.html



Advertisements:

If you plan on being published in the next few years you should know that some e-book companies and publishers are preparing to add advertisements into eBooks. Imagine reading a book and an ad for soda pop comes up on the screen. These ads have both plusses and minuets.

On the plus side, these ads make your book available at a lower cost since merchandisers are purchasing the advertizing space in your book. You may even find a company to sponsor the book in exchange for advertizing space. They advertizing in your book in exchange you can provide your book to readers at a low cost or no cost and still get paid as an author. The more readers you get the more of a following you get, which is especially valuable if you are a career author.

If you so decide to do this be careful about what kind of ads appear in your book. For example if you have a Christian Romance book you don’t want your reader to “turn the page” and see an ad for pornography.

Of course most advertisers are smarter than that and usually try and promote to their target market audience. In the case of a Christian romance you may get advertisements for a Christian dating service.






Interview with Author Gregg Luke



Gregg R. Luke, R.Ph. was born in Bakersfield, California, but spent
the majority of his childhood and young adult life in Santa Barbara,
California. He served an LDS mission in Wisconsin, then pursued his
education in Natural Sciences at SBCC, UCSB, and BYU. He completed his
schooling at the University of Utah, College of Pharmacy.

Gregg currently practices pharmacy in Logan, Utah. He and his wife
Julie have three children and live in Cache Valley, Utah. He has been
published in Skin Diver Magazine, the Oceanographic Letter, and the
New Era Magazine. His fictional novels include The Survivors, Do No
Harm, Altered State, and Blink Of An Eye, three of which were Whitney
Award finalists.


Deirdra: When did you first know you wanted to be an author?

Gregg: I’ve enjoyed writing since elementary school. I remember my 4th grade teacher once scribbled, “Wonderful imagination” on a short story I wrote. That gave me such a thrill I began writing little stories and tales on a regular basis. It was more of a release than anything; it wasn’t until high school that I thought it would be cool to actually publish a book.


Deirdra: What is your writing and educational background?

Gregg: My educational background is mostly in the sciences. I actually received a scholarship to BYU in cinematography because I love all aspect of film-making—which I believe helped to hone my writing skills. I changed my major to biologic sciences when I decided to pursue a career in medicine instead. I took a couple of creative writing classes just to keep my hand in it, but I didn’t seriously try to publish until after college.


Deirdra: What makes you passionate about writing?

Gregg: I’ve always been fascinated by the power of words. It amazes me that a few strategically placed words can bring out feelings of anger, fright, angst, happiness, and can even make me laugh and cry. I love being able to elicit those feelings with others through my writing. I also love to teach (but I hate to lecture). I try to share interesting principles of science (and sometimes religion) in my novels in a way that doesn’t bore my readers to tears.


Deirdra: What was the pathway like for you to get your first book published?

Gregg: I found the pathway to publishing is callous-building. I have an inch-thick stack of rejection slips from my first novel (which is still unpublished). It was a Book of Mormon adventure, and at the time the market was saturated. So I studied the published novels in that genre and found a vacancy I could try. My second novel dealt with the exploits of the sailor Hagoth from the Book of Mormon. It was accepted by a publisher that was on the verge of going under. They put it out without any editing before or after typeset. The story was intact but the final product was embarrassing. I’ve counted close to two hundred typos and grammatical errors—including misspelling my name on the copyright page! After that, I decided to follow the advice of countless experts and “write what I know.” I noticed that there were no LDS authors writing medical thrillers. My favorite author is the late Michael Crichton. I love techo-thrillers of all kinds, so I tried my hand at an LDS medical thriller and was published the first time out. (I hate it when the experts are right!)


Deirdra: Were you ever discouraged along the way? If so, how did you deal with it?

Gregg: I have five published novels under my belt, a few magazine articles, and I still get discouraged. It comes with the territory. I find the biggest discouragement comes with self-doubt. I decided long ago that all authors have to have very thick skin to survive in the market, so I try to battle discouragement with an “I’ll-just-try-harder” attitude. Others out there are doing it, so why can’t I?


Deirdra: What is your writing schedule like?

Gregg: Sporadic. I wish I had a set schedule; I’d probably get more done. I have a full time job as a pharmacist and I take an active part in my children’s education and rearing. I write most of my material in my head, then I regurgitate it on the computer when I get a free moment in the evening or on weekends.


Deirdra: Where do your ideas come from? How do you know the idea is good enough to write a book about it?

Gregg: I have the very fortunate position of having ideas spring up every day at work. Since I write medical thrillers, any new drug or therapy or new study is fair game for embellishment into a novel. Still, I have hundreds of ideas that’ll probably never become novels because they just won’t fit into an entertaining tale. Some things I find fascinating would bore others to tears. So I do a lot of picking and choosing with my ideas.



Deirdra: Can you tell us about your newest book Blink Of An Eye.

Gregg: BLINK was a difficult novel to write in that it has some very emotional moments that are necessary to the story. The idea came when I noticed the over-abundance of novels that dealt with a protagonist that gets amnesia (usually from a head trauma) and then spends the rest of the novel trying to regain their identity. I wondered if anyone has ever had a head trauma that caused a remembrance of issues they had no clue they had previously repressed. I wrote BLINK during the tragedy of Ethan Stacy in Layton, UT. The entire event appalled me. Any form of child abuse makes me livid. I talked with a psychologist at my clinic and he said childhood abuse is often repressed in adults. The story developed from there—but to keep it from being a totally depressing tale I threw in elements of romance, suspense, humor, and made sure to give it a happy ending.


Deirdra: How do you manage your pharmaceutical career, family life, church responsibilities and being an author?

Gregg: It’s a balancing act that regrettably does not allow for long sessions of solid writing. Like I said, I write here and there. I get a few hours to write on some weekends but not as many as I’d like. What astounds me is how people like you, Deirdra, can raise a family, fulfill church responsibilities, write, work, AND have time to run a successful blog! Do you ever sleep?

Deirdra: I take naps every once in a while. =)


Deirdra: How many beta readers do you have review your manuscript before you send it to your editor?

Gregg: It varies. Usually about three.


Deirdra: What do you hope readers will get from your books?

Gregg: Because I strive to make all the science, chemistry, and drugs in my novels accurate, I hope my readers frequently stop and wonder, “Is that really true?” or gasp and say, “Holy crap!” and when they finish, I hope they say, “Man, that was a fun ride!”


Deirdra: What is your process of brainstorming a story? Do you just sit down and write, waiting to see what happens next? Or do you outline first?

Gregg: Because of the complexity of my stories I probably should use an outline, but I don’t. I usually know where I want to start and how I want to end, and there are a few plot points that have to occur somewhere along the way, but that’s all the outline there is. I spend a good deal of time on each character so that I know how each will react in a situation. Even then, sometimes a character will say or do something that bowls me over. That’s when writing is fun. It’s not so much creating as it is discovering.


Deirdra: Do you ever experience a snag in a story, a form of writer's block? If so, how do you deal with it?

Gregg: Oh yeah. Writer’s block is a constant nemesis. When it happens I just keep writing. Sometimes I’ll create a new character and see how they interact with the story. I did that with my latest WIP and the guy took over the entire plot. In the end, his role was simply too complex and I ended up cutting him (and almost 60 pages!) from the ms. But it kept me writing and it opened up a few doors I wasn’t expecting.


Deirdra: Do you need absolute quiet to write? Do you listen to music when you are writing?

Gregg: I have developed the ability to block out most background noise when I write, but I prefer it quiet if possible.


Deirdra: What kinds of inspiration do you use during your story creation periods?

Gregg: Current events often play a big role in my stories. I also get tons of material from the drug journals I read and seminars I attend to maintain my license.


Deirdra: Who has made the greatest difference for you as a writer?

Gregg: Influence comes from everyone, whether good or bad. My wife was the first to encourage me to submit my novels for consideration. She’s a writer too, and she walked me through the steps to publication. What keeps me going are the generous fans I have who tell me how much they enjoy my stories.


Deirdra: What’s your secret to making the character’s in your books come to life?

Gregg: I have the advantage of talking with hundreds of people every day at my pharmacy, so I have a generous character pool to draw from. I think the secret to character development is to know them inside and out before you type a single word. Then let them shine. I often let my characters say and do what ever they want, then go back and chop out the stuff that I know will be objectionable to my publisher and audience.


Deirdra: What authors do you admire, and why?

Gregg: Michael Crichton—he uses so much cool, real science in his stories.

Tom Clancy—he uses so much cool, real technology in his stories.

Dean Koontz—his material is edgy but his prose and pacing are pure magic.


Deirdra: What is your favorite snack to have while you are writing?

Gregg: I try not to snack when I write. I’m watching my figure.


Deirdra: Besides writing what other talents or hobbies do you have?

Gregg: I sing, I arrange music, I cook, and I used to play a mean game of volleyball and brandished a wicked epee.


Deirdra: What words of advice do you have for other writers who desire to have their manuscripts become books in print?

Gregg: Okay, here’s my secret: I imagine my story as a movie. We’ve all seen lousy movies. Why are they lousy? Conversely, why do we love to watch some movies again and again? They same logic applies to writing. Do your characters seem real? Are their conversations contrived or natural? Is the situation plausible? Does the tempo keep me enthralled? Does each scene add something to the story? Does the resolve tie up all loose ends? Once I can see the movie has potential, I begin to write it down. That’s the trick: I write the movie in my mind.


Deirdra: What are you working on now?

Gregg: I’ve just submitted a ms entitled “Bloodborne.” It’s about an evil scientist (duh) who discovers a way to transmit his designer virus using mosquitos. Very creepy stuff. Currently, I am editing my daughter’s fantasy ms about a girl that has the ability to shape shift into a dragon. It’s pretty fun so far.


Deirdra: Where can our readers go to find your books and order them?

Gregg: My novels are at Seagull Book, Deseret Book, and online with Barnes and Noble and Amazon.


Deirdra: Any final words you would like to share?

Gregg: My warmest thanks to all my readers for allowing me to share my mindless wanderings with them. And thanks to you, Deirdra, for giving me this interview for your terrific blog.

Deirdra: You are awesome Gregg! Thank you so much for letting me pick your brain!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Interview with Author Bill Hart


I was born in Rhode Island in 1953. I've held many jobs in my lifetime including, but not limited to, carpenter, shipbuilder, hypnotherapist, energy therapist, author, father.

I'm the author of over 1,000 articles online and I write under several pen names, including Bill Hart. The subject matter for my books range from self help and the paranormal to horse racing, nature stories, and short fiction.




My latest book, "Lacey Blue and Friends, a Greyhound Story," is a romantic adventure story about a greyhound and the people who befriend her. It's an inspirational story about a little dog with a big heart with strong women characters. It's what used to be called a "family story," back in the days of Lassie, when the whole family would gather in front of the television once a week to watch a Disney classic they could all enjoy. It is meant to be a story that a girl and her mom could both read and discuss.



All my books are available on Kindle where I'm planning to publish short fiction as well, starting with the short story, "To Light a Fire." "To Light a Fire," has strong language and is meant for an adult readership. It portrays two homeless men who are on the edge as they struggle to survive on the streets of Bangor Maine.







Deirdra: When did you first know you wanted to be an author?

Bill: At a very early age. I was very artistic and headed for art college after high school. But I was also a rebel and very wild and wound up being thrown out of high school. I later got a GED and started attending Rhode Island College. I also took classes at Roger Williams College. My focus was sociology and writing.

Deirdra: What is your writing and educational background?

Bill: I have been a full time writer for years now and write under several pen names as well as doing freelance writing projects for customers creating web content. A lot of my work is seen online, but often without my byline. I explained my education above, though the best education for any writer is to write and experience life. I've traveled and lived in other places and had a lot of jobs. I've been an extra in movies and television shows, built ships and houses, and helped people to solve behavioral problems as a therapist.

Deirdra: What makes you passionate about writing?

Bill: It seems pretty strange, but I have this need to communicate. What makes it strange is that I live like a hermit in rural Maine and have little interaction with people other than internet correspondence and with my immediate family and a few friends. I used to be much more outgoing, but I am bi-polar, have ptsd from childhood trauma, and also have CFS/ME which leads to something called brain fog and a lack of energy. So part of me feels physical pain when I speak in public, but yet, I have a need to do it.

Sometimes just getting out of bed is a struggle and writing is rough, but with my scattered thinking and other issues, it is about all I can do now. That's the long answer. The short answer is, I don't know. I'm a writer.

Deirdra: Where do your ideas come from? How do you know the idea is good enough to write a book about it?

Bill: Edison, a man who was perhaps the greatest inventor and innovator of all time said, "Ideas come from out of space." He didn't mean from somewhere between Jupitor and Neptune but rather the ether or land of thougths, what physicists call reciprocal space.

I have a folder of projects. I write down an idea when it arrives and then add to it and my mind works on it for a while. If I'm still thinking about it and it is giving me energy rather than draining me after a month or so, it goes on the short list. But writing a book is a big commitment because once I start, I have to work on it everyday. Right now I am more drawn to short fiction and have three more short stories in the works.

Deirdra: Can you tell us a little about your book Lacey Blue and Friends?

Bill: I love animals and used to write a newsletter about greyhound racing years ago. I also worked at a greyhound track as an announcer and publicity writer years ago (Plainfield Greyhound Park). They are beautiful animals and there are a lot of people who love them in the racing business and there are a lot of people who don't like the racing, but are equally as passionate about caring for greyhounds. I wanted to look at both sides and also to write a book that a family could enjoy to learn more about greyhounds.

Somewhere in there I also wanted to write a book with strong female characters like the women who I grew up with in my family. One of the main characters is a young Mexican-American woman who suffered a disabling accident while trying out for the Olympic Equestrian team. She has to overcome her disability to help Lacey. Her sister is a veterinarian and works for better treatment of greyhounds as well as fighting to protect dogs from dog fighting. Those are just two of the characters, but I think you get the idea.

Deirdra: How is this book different from most books?

Bill: Animals can talk to each other but not with people. The reader hears the animals speaking and also the people speaking. It takes what I hope is a realistic look at the challenges that animals and their friends face in a world that is often incredibly cruel. It is written from my perspective as someone who deals with his own challenges and yet who learned to keep going no matter what by being raised by a fiercely independent woman who was way ahead of her time.

Deirdra: How many beta readers do you have review your manuscript before you send it to your editor?

Bill: Two people read this book while I was writing it. Finding a good editor is always a huge problem for me (hint)

Deirdra: What do you hope readers will get from your books?

Bill: I raised a daughter who is strong and independent and incredibly resourceful and adventurous. I'd like to take the credit but I think it had a lot to do with seeing the other women like that in the family as well as inheriting their genes. This book has plenty of good examples for girls and boys, but is written so an entire family can enjoy the story. It is exciting and entertaining and even has a wild jaguar in it.

Deirdra: What is your process of brainstorming a story? Do you just sit down and write, waiting to see what happens next? Or do you outline first?

Bill: I start out writing bits and pieces but before I begin the actual writing, I need to outline and I still sometimes get myself in trouble. They can get out of control and start running the show.

Deirdra: Do you ever experience a snag in a story, a form of writer's block? If so, how do you deal with it?

Bill: Like I mentioned before, I get something called brain fog every day of my life, usually late morning early afternoon. Some days I have a lot of trouble focusing. So I deal with this all the time. I am a very disorganized person at the best of times, but writing takes precedence over everything, including relationships (which might explain the hermit like existence) I don't care much about anything else in life. If I'm writing it's all good. If I can't I walk, even if I have to put on a pair of snowshoes to do it.

 

Deirdra: Do you need absolute quiet to write? Do you listen to music when you are writing?

Bill: I may listen to music when I am doing some contract writing because some of the articles and copy I write I could probably write in my sleep. It pays the bills, but it isn't a lot of fun. ON the other hand, I can do it so I do it.

But when I am writing fiction I sit here with no more noise than the birds outside my window. I live far from other people. I really have to struggle to focus so music, though I love it, is out. In fact everything, including other humans is out. I have a geranium named, Blanca, but she is pretty understanding and quiet.

Deirdra: What kinds of inspiration do you use during your story creation periods?

Bill: I read and watch old movies. I dream a lot and also meditate. I used to teach meditation and also was a full time hypnotherapist. I am a consciousness explorer using a light and sound computer and meditation.

Deirdra: Who has made the greatest difference for you as a writer?

Bill:Golly, maybe my mother because she was a prolific journalist who kept journals and wrote in them almost every day of her life though I don't think she ever had anything published.

Deirdra: What’s your secret to making the character’s in your books come to life?

Bill: The reader has to feel a connection so they need something that makes them vulnerable and human and then they have to speak for themselves. If I find myself explaining them to the reader I know that the character isn't doing his or her job, which is to tell the story.

Deirdra: What authors do you admire, and why?

Bill: I've gone through so many changes over the years and admired so many and tried to emulate them when I was younger. I'd say a few were Richard Brautigan, Thomas McGuane, Cormac McCarthy, Ernest Hemingway, P.G. Wodehouse, Lynne McTaggart, Barbara Robinson, Sarah Teasedale, and I guess I could go on and on, but I won't

Deirdra: What is your favorite snack to have while you are writing?

Bill: I don't know if it is eactly my favorite, but it is definitely important and that's humble pie. I've been way too arrogant sometimes and when I've read my writing later I've thought to myself, "What twerp wrote that?"

Deirdra: Besides writing what other talents or hobbies do you have?

Bill: I walk almost every day and love nature. I am fortunate to live in a beautiful place surrounded by fields and woods. Moose and coyotes come through my yard along with many other animals. I also fish. I play jug band music on the washboard, harmonica, jugs and gut base because it is the one music you don't need talent for, just enthusiasm.

Deirdra: What words of advice do you have for other writers who desire to have their manuscripts become books in print?

Bill: There is only one way to be a writer, that's to write. Don't spend a lot of time talking about it, just do it. If you believe in it and want to spend the time, send it to editors and try to get published, but don't be afraid to self publish. My book, "Your Loved Ones Your Self, Finding and Raising the Family Within," hasn't been a great financial success, but I've had people tell me it changed their lives. That's pretty powerful and it never would have happened if I'd sent it to a publisher and waited to be published. It wouldn't have happened. On the other hand, it could have been edited better and I paid for editing, but didn't get what I paid for. I was broke and had to publish the way it was. That is a mistake, too. Don't publish until it is 100%.

Deirdra: What are you working on now?

Bill: I just published a short story entitled, "To Light a Fire." It is about a homeless vet who is suffering from ptsd and struggling to keep himself and a developmentally disabled man alive through a brutal storm in Bangor Maine. It is available on Amazon Kindle and I hope to have it as a Kindle Single soon. It is definitely not a feel good story and because of the strong language and powerful ending, not suitable for children.

Deirdra: Where can our readers go to find your books and order them?

Bill: Lacey has her own blog at lacey-blue.com. I also have willangford.com where you can learn more about me and my books. My books are available through borders if you order them or through Amazon. I have them priced at 99 cents for the Kindle books, which I think is a heck of a deal.

Deirdra: Any final words you would like to share?

Bill: Thank you for the opportunity to share this with you and for keeping a blog for writers. One of the most important things a writer can do is to talk to his or her readers and also talk to other writers. People like you allow that to happen. One way that I talk to writers and readers, other than through my actual writing is through twitter @willangford1, I welcome new followers and will often retweet the good stuff I find among them. Thanks again, Deirdra.




Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Interview with Author Holly Hook


Holly Hook is also the author of Tempest and is currently working on two more young adult novels, the sequel to Tempest as well as a stand-alone comedy.
Tempest Blurb:
Sixteen-year-old Janelle never thought the gray spiral birthmark on her arm meant anything special. That is, until she meets Gary, a boy her age with a birthmark exactly like hers. Gary’s attractive, brooding, and perfectly normal…except for the fact that he materialized out of a dangerous hurricane right in front of her. Janelle’s certain of only one thing. Gary’s mark—and hers, too—mean something, but he’s reluctant to tell her what.

At last she squeezes the truth from Gary about their markings. And the truth is utterly terrifying: Janelle and Gary are more connected to the destructive power of nature than she ever dreamed possible. And learning the truth about herself is only the start of her nightmare.



Inferno Blurb: Ever since becoming leader of the human hurricanes called Tempests, 16-year-old Janelle is overdue for a vacation. But the trip to Hawaii quickly presents its own problems when she meets Kenna, a local sophomore who makes the volcano start rumbling when she's nearby. So when Kenna gets kidnapped, Janelle has to find her before catastrophes can start. If she doesn’t, it could mean the end of civilization as we know it, and the death of everyone she loves.
Deirdra: When did you first know you wanted to be an author?
Holly: As far back as I can remember, I knew I wanted to write books.

Deirdra: What is your writing and educational background?
Holly: I've been writing since about the first grade, and have been practicing every year since then. I did go to college, but that was for my day job rather than writing.

Deirdra: What makes you passionate about writing?
Holly: I've always been really creative and love the idea that I have the opportunity to create something that no one has even thought of yet, at least to my knowledge. It's like going out and covering new territory.


Deirdra: What was the pathway like for you to get your first book published?
Holly: After trying endless querying and receiving “we like this, but we can't sell this in today's market” type replies, I decided to release Tempest myself for the Kindle and Nook, because I read somewhere that many agents are more likely to consider an author who''s already sold lots of copies and built a platform. So I decided to try it, as I knew from the response I got from critique partners and forums that if I marketed in the right places, people would buy my book. I released Tempest in late September last year, and have sold almost 7,000 ebook copies since then. I also released its sequel, Inferno, last month, which started to sell copies on the Nook and Kindle on its first day. So far, I've gotten mostly positive reviews for Tempest from customers and book bloggers, though of course, there's a couple of not-so-great ones too, but that happens with every book. It sure beats letting Tempest sit on my hard drive.

Deirdra: Were you ever discouraged along the way? If so, how did you deal with it?
Holly: If someone really slammed my work or gave it a negative critique, I'd walk away for a day or two, come back, and work in their suggestions if it made any sense to me then.

Deirdra: Where do your ideas come from? How do you know the idea is good enough to write a book about it?
Holly: The beginnings of the Destroyers series actually came from an indigestion dream I had one night. The next day, I came up with the idea itself and posted it on the forums of an online critique site, and everyone seemed pretty excited about it, so I decided to go ahead and try it.

Deirdra: Can you tell us a little about your book Tempest?
Holly: Sixteen-year-old Janelle never thought the gray spiral birthmark on her arm meant anything special. That is, until she meets Gary, a boy her age with a birthmark exactly like hers. Gary’s attractive, brooding, and perfectly normal…except for the fact that he materialized out of a dangerous hurricane right in front of her. Janelle’s certain of only one thing. Gary’s mark—and hers, too—mean something, but he’s reluctant to tell her what.

At last she squeezes the truth from Gary about their markings. And the truth is utterly terrifying: Janelle and Gary are more connected to the destructive power of nature than she ever dreamed possible. And learning the truth about herself is only the start of her nightmare.

Deirdra: How do you think e-books have changed the literary world?
Holly: I think they're opening the doors both for readers to be able to access more books and for authors to have more choices in how they put books out there. Also, I like that eBooks aren't destroying trees.
Deirdra: How many beta readers do you have review your manuscript before you send it to your editor?
Holly: I prefer several before I put a book out, because everyone sees the same book in a different way and can offer different suggestions for improvement.
Deirdra: What do you hope readers will get from your books?
Holly: That they've read something different.

Deirdra: What is your process of brainstorming a story? Do you just sit down and write, waiting to see what happens next? Or do you outline first?
Holly: I never outline. I just start and make it up as I go. Usually when I start a story, I don’t know how it’s going to end. I’ll just get ideas as I progress.

Deirdra: Do you ever experience a snag in a story, a form of writer's block? If so, how do you deal with it?
Holly: Sometimes. I typically have at least two projects going, so that if I get stuck on one, I can go to the other for a while, and come back with fresh eyes later on.
Deirdra: Do you need absolute quiet to write? Do you listen to music when you are writing?
Holly: I prefer music or noise while I'm working. For some reason, I don't focus too well in absolute quiet.

Deirdra: What’s your secret to making the character’s in your books come to life?
Holly: It depends on the book I'm working on. I don't usually have it down by the first draft, but I slowly get to know the characters as I go, and go back and really develop them through my second draft.

Deirdra: What authors do you admire, and why?
Holly: I really like Rick Riordan's stuff and how he brings mythology to life in the modern world, and how he develops every character well throughout his books.

Deirdra: What is your favorite snack to have while you are writing?
Holly: I would say either smoked salmon or anything jalapeno flavored. I know, I'm weird.

Deirdra: Besides writing what other talents or hobbies do you have?
Holly: I also enjoy drawing and keeping tarantulas.

Deirdra: What words of advice do you have for other writers who desire to have their manuscripts become books in print?
Holly: Just make sure you know you have different options. Many people believe that you have to go through a mainstream publisher to be considered any good, and that's not necessarily true. Of course, practice makes perfect, and I don't recommend trying to sell a book until you've edited it enough to make it look professional, and sent it through several beta reads and edited it again. Take some time to really learn how to write well. There's too many independently published books out there that haven't been edited well, and this fact turns many readers and reviewers off to trying any independently published book.

Deirdra: What are you working on now?
Holly: I'm currently working on an adult urban fantasy with my sister, which is a different experience for me, and I'm starting on a young adult comedy in which the world turns into a giant commercial break. I'm also getting some ideas together for the third book of the Destroyers series.

Deirdra: Where can our readers go to find your books and order them?
Holly: My 3 current releases are available here:

Deirdra: Any final words you would like to share?
Holly: Thanks for interviewing me!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Interview with Christine Tyler




Christine is mostly-harmless. She lives in the underwater realm of the Pacific Northwest with her Submarine Lieutenant husband and has a two-week old son that squeaks like that baby raptor in that one incubation scene on Jurassic Park. Don't you think it would have been cool if Michael Crichton used John Hammond having all the raptors imprinted to him as foreshadowing? Watch that scene. Because they are. I mean, they could have some crazy raptor chase where they all surround him and then BAM, they'd all be like, "OMG, MOM?!" Christine digresses.


If you like digression and raptors, (although there is admittedly more digression than raptors), you should check out her writing blog.

http://writercoaster.blogspot.com/


Deirdra: What are your favorite kind of books to read and why?

Christine: I enjoy fantasy, or anything with a fantastic element really. I’d include the occasional Science Fiction as well. I read all age groups from Middle Grade (especially if it’s written by Bruce Coville), to Adult as long as the book is well-written. I have a lot of luck with the Classics, such as Peter Pan, Lord of the Rings, and The Once and Future King, but I’m always on the hunt for new favorites. I also read books on Writing, or whatever strikes my current interest. I pay a lot of attention to reviews before I buy books, and a good review will often catch my interest regardless of genre.


Deirdra: How many books on average would you say you read a year?

Christine: I probably read about 50+ books a year, which is much less than I would like. To be completely honest, I have a hard time finding new novels that strike my interest.


Deirdra: What is the most recent book you read? Can you tell us a little about it?

Christine: I actually just read Save the Cat by Blake Snyder. Save the Cat was written predominantly for screenwriters, but all of the advice is applicable to writing any genre of fiction. It gives some superb advice on structure, and planning out a clean-cut story. My favorite part was the slightly condescending and wry humor; it certainly does not read like a textbook.


Deirdra: What is the most disappointing thing authors do?

Christine: Well, there are two kinds of disappointing authors, I suppose: the kind that are so disappointing I don’t read, and the kind that I read even though they disappoint me.


With authors I don’t read? It’s usually because the back of the book sounds cliche. I imagine the author saw something that “sold” or a marketable topic that was “hot” and they figured they could bank on it without giving it much original thought. Or they write a “high fantasy” book made up of nothing but tired TIRED events and topics. I feel like fantasy authors especially need to have enough faith in their own writing that if they have a scene that resembles something already written, they can change it. They can kill their precious, sacred little cows, get over the fact that “they would have thought of it anyway,” and change it.


Authors that I’ll read even when they disappoint me usually just drop the ball on their characters motivations or consequences from their choices. For instance, I had some Young Adult books that I loved in High School, and read several series by the author. I was bothered though when I got to the end of my favorite series and the main character simply chose one of the four men she slept with during her adventures, and settled down happily with him...with no real emotional tribulation. Characters don’t have to be saints! But when I see them have sex, lie, or kill, I want some emotional repercussions or I have trouble connecting with them, and I lose faith in the “reality” of the authors world...even when it’s a fantasy.


Deirdra: Who are your top five favorite authors?

Christine: Bruce Coville owns Middle Grade. Unicorns, aliens or magic toads: he owns it. I will also give unicorns to Peter S Beagle.


CS Lewis had the incredible ability to recognize how a person actually goes about perceiving God, and then was able to filter it, comment on it, and translate his comments through fiction. Perelandra (second book in his theologic science fiction series--you heard me), is one of his best. The Screwtape Letters and Narnia series...oh heck, just read it all.


I would be a real goober if I didn’t admit that JRR Tolkien affected the way I read, write, and receive any story ever.


TH White made me cry tears of joy for one of the best books I’ve ever read.


JM Barrie never ceases to amaze me with his incredible commentary on adulthood and sexuality through a single children’s book.


Looking at this, I realize I need to find more favorite authors who are not dead.


Deirdra: How do you feel about e-books?

Christine: I compare going from print to e-books to going from illuminated text to the printing press. It’s a matter of distribution, not utter annihilation.


Personally, I prefer a solid book in my hand, the smell of old paper, and no buttons to push, but I anticipate this loving affinity for actual pages may wane if my husband got me a hot-to-trot Kindle for Christmas...


Deirdra: If you could give a message to authors what would it be?

Christine: Three things.


Write. Write everything. Write lists. Write bad poetry. Write crappy first drafts. Write your magnum opus. Write a blog entry about how you never write.


Love. Love people. Love stories. Love laughing. Love Harry Potter until you think you’re going to pop. Love heroes or dragons or God, or your stupid-looking hairless cat, but love something that makes your heart soar. Love everything. Love one thing.


Then?


Write what you love, love to write, or DON’T write.

If you don’t love it, why should I?


Deirdra: Have you ever thought about writing a book?

Christine: Yes! It’s a story about a woman who is the second wife of 13 to the ruling King. She escapes from her husband’s harem and joins an underground society bent on overthrowing him. Unfortunately her newfound “friends” have plans for her as well, and are willing to risk her life to achieve their own means.


Deirdra: What other talents and hobbies to you have?

Christine: Right now? Breastfeeding, haha! My first-born made his debut on June 4th, and he has claimed VIP status since then. Hopefully he will soon allow me to return to my lesser-loves: cooking fried chicken or blackberry pie, painting, and yoga. I also love to travel and be outdoors.

Deirdra: Congratulations!!!


Deirdra: Where is your favorite place to read?

Christine: I usually read in bed. When I’m hiding the fact that I’m still awake? The bathroom floor.


Deirdra: Do you have a favorite reading snack?

Christine: Carrots or cheerios. They last forever, have a satisfying crunch, and you don’t come back to reality in the midst of Chapter 32 filled with self-loathing.


Deirdra: What books have made you cry?

Christine: Martin the Warrior by Brian Jaques was the first book I ever cried over. I was 12. It’s been a downward spiral since then. I love to cry over books. I (weirdly enough), might even admit to trying to cry over a book.


Deirdra: What books have made you laugh?

Christine: The Last Unicorn by Peter S Beagle packs some funky little punches into its more serious scenes. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott was actually quite a knee-slapper, and that wasn’t even fiction.


Deirdra: What kind of books are you looking to read next? What is on your reading list?

Christine: Currently reading 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Apparently it is categorized as “Magical Realism,” but Barnes and Noble probably shelves it under Literary Fiction. I’m really slogging through it, as there isn’t much of an overall arc or plot, but I can’t give up on it because every sentence is so darn beautiful. Next on my list is Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susana Clarke.


Deirdra: Is there any other message you would like to give the literary community?

Christine: Yeah...chill out. There are a lot of things to get mad about in this funny little world of books. There are authors to be angry at for ripping off other authors, for being successful when you are not, for making money on a story you hate. There are books about things you don’t believe, books that sell simply because they’re offensive, and books that aren’t worth your cat’s used litter. There are crooked publishers and fake agents, corrupt contracts and enough real-life villains to make your head spin, and you know what? You’re not going to accomplish anything by complaining about it. You’ll only come across as jealous (yes, very jealous), and scared. Believe me, I know. What do you do? Read good books. Write good books. Share good books. It’ll all come together. Chill out.


Unless you have a hilarious rant you want to post on your blog. In that case, I want to read it.


But it must be hilarious.


Friday, July 22, 2011

Interview with Author W. H. Pugmire

"Wilum Hopfrog Pugmire has been writing Lovecraftian weird fiction since the mid-1970s. In 2010 he became obsessed with the idea of growing old and dying, and thus he worked feverishly on new books, and thus in 2011 he will have had four books published by Centipede Press, Arcane Wisdom Press, Dark Regions Press, and Miskatonic River Press. In 2012 his second collection from Hippocampus Press, UNCOMMON PLACES, will see publication. He is also a regular contributor to the Lovecraft eZine."


Deirdra: When did you first know you wanted to be an author?

W. H. Pugmire:

I've always written, but in the beginning it was tied to my love of acting. As an LDS kid I used to write little plays for our church Road Shows, and then in high school my buddy and I wrote plays and musical comedies. I didn't begin to read weird fiction until I was a Mormon missionary in Ireland and couldn't attend horror films. I was pen pals with Robert Bloch and so I began to buy his books in British paperback, and then I picked up Lovecraft and others and got totally hooked. I wrote my first "serious" tales in Ireland.

Deirdra: What is your writing and educational background?

W. H. Pugmire:

I attended one year of college. I was a very lazy student and didn't really began to read anything on my own until I got into weird fiction. When I came out as queer I began reading gay writers like Oscar Wilde, Henry James, and this led to an addiction to classic poetry. I was a huge Shakespeare fan as a young actor, and then when I began to seriously writer fiction and poetry I learned to appreciate Shakespeare as an author rather than a player. I am self-taught as a writer and it's taken me an incredibly long time to find my voice and vision.

Deirdra: What makes you passionate about writing?

W. H. Pugmire:

The work, getting lost inside that aesthetic zone where nothing exists except you and your work, the magic of language, the way your characters take on a life of their own and steal your plot, moving it into directions you could not have anticipated. I hate first drafts because mine are always lousy, but then the magic comes when I polish, and in polishing find new things that were hidden before. I am happiest when I'm writing, when the work flows smoothly. When I'm blocked I feel but half alive.

Deirdra: What was the pathway like for you to get your first book published?
W. H. Pugmire:

I began in the age of fanzines, the small press. I never had any intention of having my own books, the idea never occurred to me. Then my buddy in England said he'd like to do a wee collection of my Sesqua Valley stories. Then Jeffrey Thomas published my first American collection through his small press. It felt so wonderful to hold those first books in my hand! That's a thrill that never grows old.


Deirdra: Were you ever discouraged along the way? If so, how did you deal with it?
W. H. Pugmire:

After my first wave of writing I decided that my fiction was poor and unoriginal, and I stopped writing fiction for several years. Then in the mid-1980s I got the hankering to return to it, and it's been non-stop since then. If I get discouraged with an editor or publisher these days I just concentrate on the next thing. I have lots of things to work on always, so if one thing doesn't work I have many other things to keep my mind on the writing.


Deirdra: What is your writing schedule like?

W. H. Pugmire:

I have no schedule. My time is my own, and writing is my "full-time" job. But I am my Mother's live-in caregiver and sometimes dealing with her or my boyfriend gets me to weary and disgusted that I simply can't concentrate on writing. Of late it has been very difficult to write, I've been working on the same story for two months and it's just crawling forward. But I wrote my one book, SOME UNKNOWN GULF OF NIGHT, in six weeks--the entire book! Zoom! Having a regular schedule where I sit down and produce for five hours a day is impossible.


Deirdra: Where do your ideas come from? How do you know the idea is good enough to write a book about it?
W. H. Pugmire:

My ideas come from reading, and any book, fiction, biography, philosophy, scripture, can inspire something. I am always returning to H. P. Lovecraft, studying his tale fervently and finding golden nuggets of inspiration each and every time. He is my major Muse.

Deirdra: Can you tell us a little about your book Gathered Dust, and Others?

W. H. Pugmire:

It came as a complete surprise. I'm working on a book with Jeffrey Thomas, and he has had books published by Dark Regions Press. So I told him I'd like DRP to publish out book, and when he told Joe, the publisher, Joe expressed interest in doing a book of my own stuff, reprints or whatever. I had a bunch of things that haven't yet been collected in book form, and others that hadn't been published in hardcover; so I selected a bunch of old stuff and did some revision, then I wrote about 35,000 words of new fiction, and that was the book. It's one of my finest collections, really representative of my life as an author, with lots of Lovecraftian items and some few of my more cutting edge queen-punk type things. I'm very excited about seeing it published.


Deirdra: I'm always fascinated by people who can write horror, probably because I'm so hypervigilant and startled easily. What got you interested in horror? Do you have lots of nightmares? Do you have to write your books with the light on?
W. H. Pugmire:

I've always loved and identified with monsters. My interest in horror began when I was a kid who loved horror films and bought FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND. Discovering H. P. Lovecraft and becoming obsessed with his work gave me that ache to become a famous modern Mythos writer. My own dreams and nightmares are pathetic muddles of my past and present life, in which I am always frustrated and doomed by stupidity. They are never magical or mysterious. When I write fiction, I seep into the realm of my imagination and the real world ceases to exist, lights on or no!

Deirdra: How many beta readers do you have review your manuscript before you send it to your editor?

W. H. Pugmire:

None. I may send something I', working on to a pal, or to my patrons, but I am so individual an artist that I would never let people read something I'm working on so as to give me guidance. I need to do my own thing exactly in the manner I wish to do it. Then I offer it to a publisher. I don't write for any market. My core readers are other Lovecraft freaks, and they tend to enjoy what I do.

Deirdra: What do you hope readers will get from your books?

W. H. Pugmire:

Authentic homage to H. P. Lovecraft in works that are perversely mine own, that are infested with my depravity and ecstasy.

Deirdra: Do you need absolute quiet to write? Do you listen to music when you are writing?
W. H. Pugmire:

I need absolute silence and solitude, and that's one reason that the writing is so difficult now, because I have neither.


Deirdra: What kinds of inspiration do you use during your story creation periods?
W. H. Pugmire:

I dwell on my stories before I write them, dreaming over and over again the plots, the language, &c. I use specific influences, so if Baudelaire is my current influence I read his letters and poetry and literary criticism related to his genius. If I am writing a tale set in Arkham I read HPL's tales set therein.


Deirdra: Who has made the greatest difference for you as a writer?
W. H. Pugmire:

Writers like Henry James, Oscar Wilde and H. P. Lovecraft, and their serious approach to writing as an art form. I want my tales to be works of beauty, in language and imagery. Although they must entertain, they must also be serious works of Literature, as far as I am able to create such a thing.


Deirdra: What authors do you admire, and why?

I began with Shakespeare, first as an actor and then as a poet. His magical language, his characters--everything about his Works is glorious and feeds my Muse. Henry James is my favorite writer of fiction, because he was brilliant, original, strange and poetic. Becoming obsessed with his fiction really affected my own narrative voice. Oscar Wilde has been highly influential. As an author, I want most to be identified with H. P. Lovecraft, and if I am known at all or remembered, it must be as a Lovecraftian.

W. H. Pugmire:

Deirdra: Besides writing what other talents or hobbies do you have?

W. H. Pugmire:

My main hobby these days is recording my weird vlogs on YouTube. I used to love delving into the punk and drag scene here in Seattle, but now that I am sixty and housebound I never go out. I miss it frightfully at times.

Deirdra: What words of advice do you have for other writers who desire to have their manuscripts become books in print?

W. H. Pugmire:

Be patient and be cautious, they are a lot of scam artists out there. Be always working, so that when you have one story finished and in circulation you are deep into the creation of another. Remember that most editors are clueless and never let rejection affect you personally.

Deirdra: What are you working on now?

W. H. Pugmire:

I'm working on a book of stories about a sinister artist, Enoch Coffin, with Jeffrey Thomas, and it will be published next year by Dark Regions Press. I'm working with Maryanne K. Snyder on a book of tales inspired by Clark Ashton Smith. Then I begin work on a new Mythos collection for Misklatonic River Press, and on a revised/expanded edition of FREAMS OF LOVECRAFTIAN HORROR for Mythos Books.


Deirdra: Where can our readers go to find your books and order them?
W. H. Pugmire:

The best thing to do is check my blogspot, "A View from Sesqua Valley," or follow my vlogs on YouTube. My books are alos easily obtained at Amazon.

Deirdra: Any final words you would like to share?
W. H. Pugmire:

Just many thanks to my readers. It's because of them that I can life this life, and I would be nothing without them. Selah.