Monday, January 31, 2011

Join me on my Virtual Blog Tour



Beginning tomorrow, February 1, I will be visiting blogs talking about my latest release, A Past and A Future.  This collection of short stories is published by Sam's Dot Publishing and is available at http://www.genremall.com/anthologiesr.htm#pastfuture

Stories included in A Past and A Future are:

1. Flight of the Roc
   What would you do if your master told you to collect a roc's egg?  Would you be willing to climb a mountain and climb into the nest?  And, what would happen if the egg you collected hatched?

2. Blurred Vengeance
  Temur's father is murdered, and he must have revenge.  Will his journey to honor his father's death bring him what he wants, or will it destroy him and his village?

3. Who Will Heal the Healer
Marzan teaches Niane to control the winds, but what about the winds of fate?  Will Niane be able to save her mentor when the underworld comes to claim him?

  4. Ashley of Ashland
  Ashley, a young magician covets his brother's fiance, but what are her feelings?  Is his brother fit to rule the kingdom or is he a brutal womanizer?  Can Ashley's magic be enough to save him and his true love?

5. The Watcher
  Zerelda lives in a world of women.  Her function is to obey and not have feelings. She watches for the one who comes from afar.  When he comes to impregnate her ruler, will they find a forbidden love instead?

6. Enchantress
 Merlin knows his fate, but he is unable to stand against it when Viviane enchants him.  Will his powers be stronger than hers, or will he find himself a victim of love?

7.Drakoni
  She is from this world.  He is from another.  A dragon draws them together.  Will she look beyond his pointed ears and see the man of her dreams?  Will she fear the dragon or embrace him?

8. Heshe
  Lyda runs from her abusive stepfather, hiding her sex from the world.  Her rescuer has a secret of his own.  Will they both find happiness or will their pursuers stop them before they find their paradise?

9. The Baby Makers
  How far would you go to get a baby if you can't conceive on your own?  Would you accept a clone?  Would you fight for that's child's rights in a world unprepared for it?

10. 3-D Pictures
 Avery's boss thought he was crazy, but was he?  When he stared into the 3-D picture, he saw a land others couldn't see.  When Elvina emerges from the picture to tell him of his true heritage, will he join her in the picture or accept the doctor's diagnosis?

11. Screen Saver
 Clancy is used to strange people.  His boss represents them.  But when the bullets start flying, will the screen saver really save him?

12. Isolation
 The world has died, except for small pockets of isolated communities.  The rich can afford to live isolated from the poor who die daily from bad air, poisoned water, and uncontrolled diseases.  But what if you are tired of the isolation?  What if you wanted to find somewhere to be free?  Would you take the chance?

13. Love in a Different Hue
 Chiri's father is a scientist.  He invents artificial life.  Her husband married her for her money and access to her father.  What should she do when the artificial life her father has created looks better to her than her husband?

14. Down So Low The Ground Looks Like Up
 Sylvan is sensitive to others feelings.  It drives her crazy, so she drinks to dull the pain.  But does she also drink because she harbors a secret?  Will Dev, the police officer who finds her, rescue her from her demons?

15. Rebels With a Cause
 Kids will be kids even in the future where people wear a uniform colored to their profession.  Juvenile offenders receive an implant so they can be tracked without being housed in a facility.  Shahleena is bored with her existence.  Will volunteering to help these juvenile offenders help her or help them?

16. Clockworks
 John lives in Structured.  His ancestors came from Upheaval.  On a whim, he decides to visit, only to find the chaos of Upheaval is more than he can handle.  Unfortunately, he cannot leave fast enough.  What will happen to him when he finds the clocks are all set to different times?

Please join me on the following blogs now and through February 13th.  If you'd like to chat with me live, be sure to stop by The Writer's Chat Room on February 13th at 7:00 P.M. EST.



A PAST AND A FUTURE Blog Tour
http://ciaragold.blogspot.com/ - Feb. 1, Jamie Bevans
http://mgddasef.blogspot.com/ Marva Dasef – Feb 2
http://janiefranz.wordpress.com/ Janie Franz – Feb 3
http://heatherkuehl.blogspot.com/ - Feb 4, Heather Kuehl
http://barbaraehrentreu.blogspot.com/ - Feb 5, Barbara Ehrentreu
http://joyce-anthony.blogspot.com/ - Feb 10 & 11, Joyce Anthony
http://www.longandshortreviews.com Feb 10 - Judy LASR 13 Stories from APAAF 
http://mizging.blogspot.com/ Feb 13, Ginger Simpson
http://writerschatroom.com/ Feb 13, 7 PM EST, The Writer’s Chat room
http://kellyaharmon.com/  Kelly Harmon – Feb 14


One person who comments on each blog will receive a short story as a gift, one which is not included in the A Past and A Future collection.  Hope to see you at one or more of these blogs as I talk about my book and my writing..


Friday, January 28, 2011

Interview with author Sally Franklin Christie




Today, my guest is suspense author, Sally Franklin Christie.  Sally is here to discuss her recently released novel, If I Should Die. 

Sally has a special treat for anyone who stops by her website, too.   She has a January Contest on hersite.  It runs till midnight the 31st.  Participants are invited to comment on "Why do you read?"  The winner gets a $20. Amazon Card.  Please stop by and leave a comment.
 http://sallyfranklinchristie.com/wp/2011/01/january-contest/
 

1) Tell me a little about your book.
Blurb – If I Should Die
Peyton Farley has settled into a new life in southwest Montana.  Research and fact checking for a local newspaper is a perfectly safe job, or is it?  One morning, Peyton awakens and finds a strange man in lace up work boots who is bleeding out on her kitchen floor.  As Peyton calls 911 from her bedroom, someone is stealing the body.  

Who is the dead man?  Why is he bleeding to death in Peyton’s apartment?  Can one research assignment evolve into murder, embezzlement, betrayal and silence? 

If I Should Die is a suspenseful journey into the lives of many people.  The choices and impacts are repulsive and inspiring.  Silence will never sound the same.  



2) What gave you the idea for this particular story?
In November 2007, I participated in NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month.  The idea is to write a complete novel in 30 days.  Brevity is my longsuit and I worried I could not meet the goal.  So, I wrote the first draft of this book without a plan.  This was also the first time I wrote using multiple viewpoints.  My previous novels were limited to the protagonist’s point of view only.  The idea for If I Should Die came out of a frantic need to know I could write a novel from start to finish in a single month without editing.

3) Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?
I write in my mind full-time.  But, in real life, I work for Eternal Press and Damnation Books as a Marketing Manager.  I am a home schooling mom and a free baby sitter for two grandchildren.  Someday, maybe I’ll write full-time, for now, I will practice.  Practice is the best teacher, after all.

4) When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
I remember writing short stories in grade school on the topic of what I did during summer vacation.  I was a chatty child and I think my need to talk evolved into writing.  In high school I discovered I loved research.  I went to a liberal arts college where I honed some of my skills.  The arrival of word processors took the drudgery of using white-out and carbon paper out of the game and made things more enjoyable.  Yes, I evolved from a chatty child into a writing adult.  

5) What do you hope readers will take from your writing?
Keep your back door locked.  Keep your cell-phone within reach and avoid white collar crime.  Mostly, I want people to put the book down and know that there are times when silence, however hideous the crime, is the best way to respond.

6) Which genres do you write, which do you prefer, and why?
I like writing suspense and tragedy.  I grew up in the genre and it feels comfortable.  I also write a lot of speculative fiction and paranormal stories.  I also like writing flash fiction and dearly love posting to my blog.  

7) What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?
The toughest part is the eye-roll followed by the ‘you must be rich’ comment.  The other tough part is finding homes for my novels and short stories.  There are dry spells and days when a less than kind comment comes around in response to one of my stories, but writers get used to that.  I create my own success and I know that most of what I write is not supposed to be read by anyone.  Practice is the best teacher.  

8) Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it.
I write a blog called Life is a Story – Tell it Big.  Everything I write is a blend of experiences, eaves dropping, and telling it big.  I admit to drinking moonshine from a pickle jar on a riverboat captain’s boat.  Emma, the apartment cat who appears throughout the novel is real.  We adopted her as a kitten about 15 years ago.

9) How much is your protagonist like you? How different?
Peyton Farley loves to research.  I would love to have a job that involves researching facts and writing about them.  Peyton does the things I wish I could do.   She reacts to her abduction in much the way I imagine I would.  Unlike me, though, she is self reliant and very productive.  

10) What kind of research did you do for this type of story?
I have a stack of books on serial killers, criminal behavior and the world is at my fingertips.  I needed to research a prison that never made it into the book.  I also researched Washington state and planned a trip through Kansas.  

11) Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you? Why or why not?
I have never written a sex scene, I need to confront that issue.  It is outside of my comfort zone, not that I don’t have access to the experiences, I have a darling husband who is always glad to help in that particular research area.  Violence is okay with me, but torture is not.  If I Should Die has several deaths between the cover, but no sex and no prolonged agony after the opening scene involving the stranger with the gaping, sucking chest wound.  I think I will put a violent and sexual scene on my list of things to write in 2011, practice is the best teacher and who knows, it may show up on my blog or in my WIP.

12) What about your book makes it special?
Silence.  If I Should Die addresses Silence in many forms.  Some things never need to be told.  Some should be shouted from the rooftops.  When should we shout and when should we be still and keep the truth in our hearts?  Peyton Farley finds silence a deafening thing and struggles with the sounds of silence throughout her captivity.   She is nearly driven mad by the silence ringing in her ears.  Silence can be overwhelming and golden.  

13) What is your marketing plan?
I’ve been promoting If I Should Die in my spare time.  I have my blog, a huge Facebook group and email.  I have paid for cover ads on some online sites.  I send a sell sheet to local bookstores and plan to choose one Montana population center at a time and work my way through the 56 counties with letters of introduction and my Bio, Blurb and Excerpts.  I really want to concentrate on internet e-book sales because I am certain the future is now.  

14) Where can people learn more about you and your work?
You can find me at http://sallyfranklinchristie.com and FaceBook.  I also moderate every third Wednesday at http://writerschatroom.com

15) Any tips for new writers hoping to write in the genre of your book?
Besides the recommendation to read and follow the guidelines presented by the agents or publishers, I think the key to writing is practice.  Like Silence, not everything a person writes, needs to be read.  Be willing to write badly, write well, write often and tell it big.  Try writing by the seat of your pants if you are prone to planning and if you are a pantser, go ahead and plan something.  Research, go beyond the web and make sure three different sources agree on something before you weave it into your work.  Keep a pen and paper in your car, your bathroom, with your cell phone and be open to ideas and advice from others.  Take lots of photos, then describe them in words.  Remember, Life is a Story – Tell it Big.  Tell it aloud.  Whisper it.  Put it in tiny print, blow it up and share it with whoever wants to listen.  But, do it.

Places to purchase If I Should Die:
All Romance eBooks

Coffee Time Romance Book Store

MobiPocket Book Store

Kindle

Amazon Paperback 

http://productsearch.barnesandnoble.com/search/results.aspx?store=EBOOK&WRD=sally+franklin+christie&page=index&prod=univ&choice=ebooks&query=Sally+Franklin+Christie&flag=False&ugrp=1

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Interview with author Julie Eberhart Painter



Today my guest is Julie Eberhart Painter talking about her romance, Tangled Web.

Tell me a little about your book.
In Tangled Web, Catherine, an innocent though ambitious woman is seduced by what we would now call a player, but in 1935, when the scene is set, Jack would have been thought of as a user, a selfish rogue or a philanderer—a Rhett Butler type. Jack takes no responsibility for their child, and Catherine must give up the baby whom she will always mourn.  (In those days, to keep your baby was an invitation to spend your life in your parent’s attic in disgrace.) She and her younger sister leave the influence of their small industrial town, Wilkes-Barre, with its two silk thread mills and coal mines and move to Philadelphia to start over.  

This is a “Cinderella” and “Little Match Girl” story with all the family values to be reassessed. As the Great Depression ends and the Second World War begins, the women find success. But love and trust do not come easily to Catherine.

What gave you the idea for this particular story?
The secret baby has long been an emotional hook in every genre of romance writing.  I was a secret baby, and unfortunately, I’m still someone’s secret.

Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?
I’d say full time, because I have no other gainful employment. I used to run a sanctioned American Contract Bridge League duplicate franchise, but with all the writing, that had to be set aside.

When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
I always wrote poems and stories in my room when I was supposed to be doing my homework. I was eight before I understood the term “writer.”

What do you hope readers will take from your writing?
Memorable, believable characters they can’t forget.

Which genres do you write, which do you prefer, and why?
The mystery romance novel sprinkled with humor is my favorite long project. I also write “gotcha” flash fiction, blogs and issue essays

What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?
First, of course, is finding the right publisher and getting published. Once that has been accomplished, it’s a matter of continuing to produce publishable work every time. The pressure on promoting and making money takes the fun out of the creative side.

Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it.
The book is shaped by my own adoption story and my hopes for my birth mother. Growing up in the fifties with its heavy emphasis on strict morals, I could feel her pain at having me out of wedlock—way out of wedlock, because she was at least seduced if not raped. When I was writing her seduction scene near the beginning of the book, I felt like I was there, eavesdropping on her embarrassment and self-consciousness.

How much is your protagonist like you? How different?
She is very different from me. She had a natural talent for drawing and art; my art was studied at Moore Institute in Philadelphia to be applied in the family business. I went back to writing when I married.

What kind of research did you do for this type of story?
Aside from my life experience, I’ve read many books about both sides of adoption issues. I did an adoption search, which is where the non-identifying information came from that is used in the book and as a guide for Tangled Web. Those documents were the kinds of incomplete, hit or miss records that were taken in 1937.

Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you? Why or why not?
Horror is not my forte, but action scenes: chasing, kidnappings etc., are right up my rain-soaked alley.  Highly sexual scenes take the romance out of romances. I like a sweet romance, not a road map to the “big moment (s).”

What about your book makes it special?
It’s an emotional journey though the back rooms of adoption. It should stand as an inspiration that one can pick up the pieces, and be guided by trusted mentors along the way.

Where can people learn more about you and your work?
Check out my Web site:  www.books-jepainter.com and also look at my many Google pages under my full name, Julie Eberhart Painter. My flash fiction appears on www.bewilderingstories.com.  The Web sites listed below contain my short blogs, interviews, flash fiction and controversial essays from the Orlando Sentinel.  Also, my publisher’s Web site, wwwchampagnebooks.com, has more information.  In October of 2011, they will release the Kill Fee, a less emotional more murderous book, staring an Indian Hill Mynah Bird named Bilgewater who was raised in a bar on the docks and has the vocabulary to go with it.

Read more about Julie and see her short pieces on the following:

Mortal Coil, in paperback
Tangled Web, New in paperback
Kill Fee, October 2011
www.bewilderingstories




Book Blurb:
Tangled Web, By Julie Eberhart Painter

Wilkes-Barre’s cohesive Welsh community was a haven of Protestant values and mutual support.  It was also a hornet’s nest of gossip. Neither a canary’s death nor a girl’s fall from grace escaped the locals’ chatter

Good girls avoided the attention of the grandmothers’ grapevine by behaving—in public—as ladies were expected to behave with good manners and self-control.  In private, emotions roiled, passions were explored, appetites satiated, and the end results “talked about.” 

Or hidden.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Interview with romance author,Ciara Gold


Today, my guest is romance author, Ciara Gold talking about The Keeper of Moon Haven.

First, thank you so much for having me today, Penny. I look forward to answering all your fun questions.

1)     Tell me a little about your book.  The Keeper of Moon Haven is part fantasy/part historical. Set in Victorian England, the heroine, Noreen finds a book that provides a bridge to a faery realm. The Keeper of this realm is half human and half elf with wizard abilities that include shape shifting. He believes bringing a human into his world will destroy their fragile environment, but at the same time, he believes the fates have sent him Noreen. He’s torn between wanting Noreen by his side and saving his world from dying. 

2)     What gave you the idea for this particular story? I really don’t know. I was doing a bit of web surfing and came across information on blue moons. Astrology and astronomy (though I’m not any good at it) have always fascinated me and I thought it would be fun to try a fantasy so it felt natural to put the two together somehow.
3)     Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time? Oh gosh, this question opens a real can of worms. I have three jobs so balancing time is quite the trick. I teach full time, I’m art director for a community magazine that’s growing and I write. I do most of my writing during the summer and late at night so I manage at least one book per year. 

4)     When did you first know you wanted to be a writer? I wrote my first full 400 page novel when I was twenty and promptly put it under the bed. I didn’t write another full novel until I was 45 though I did dabble a bit here and there along the way. I think writing was always in me, but life got in the way and I didn’t discover it as a “need” until later in life.

5)     What do you hope readers will take from your writing? That sigh that happens when you finish a really good story, when the hero and heroine have taken you for a ride and the climax is both exhilarating and satisfying.

6)     Which genres do you write, which do you prefer, and why? So far I’ve written sci-fi futuristic, fantasy, paranormal time-travel and historical western. I love them all but I think my favorites would be the historical western and fantasy though I’ve had my greatest success with the sci-fi futuristics. Celestial Dragon was the number one best seller for Champagne Books for two years running and A Noble Sacrifice won an Eppie in 2008. 

7)     What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it? For me, it’s promotion. I don’t mind chatting on loops and blogs. In fact I enjoy doing it, but time is a factor that makes it difficult at times, especially when I have a deadline looming with the magazine.

8)     How much is your protagonist like you? How different? Noreen is a fighter though reserved in the way she attacks the problem. That part of her is very much like me. She’s different in that she balks at joining the Keeper in the faery realm. I would have jumped at the chance for an adventure like that. LOL.

9)     What kind of research did you do for this type of story? I researched all manner of mythical creatures and I did research on Merlin to get ideas about the wizard. I also did quite a bit of research on the Mendip hills and Victorian England in general. 

10)  Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you? Why or why not? It doesn’t bother me. If the story calls for it, I’ll do what’s necessary to make the scene work and work well, but most of my stories don’t require these type of scenes. 

11)  What about your book makes it special? The little details like remaining feathers that the hero, Vin, has to pluck from his skin after shifting from hawk form. Every time he gets close to Noreen, his powers tend to diminish and he has to work harder to make them work.

12)  Where can people learn more about you and your work? My website is www.ciaragold.com and my blog is http://ciaragold.blogspot.com/  Readers are also welcome to connect with me at facebook at www.facebook.com/ciara.gold

13)  Any tips for new writers hoping to write in the genre of your book? Keep a running outline or list of characters, places and chronological sensitive situations because when writing from your imagination, it’s real easy to get lost.

The Keeper of Moon Haven is available at Champagne Books http://champagnebooks.com/shop/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=364






Blurb:
On the southern fringes of the Mendip Hills sits the Castle Hamingjur, an abandoned structure most fear haunted. Yet, on the rare occasions when the Hunter’s Blue Moon occurs, the Keeper occupies this mysterious castle where he guards the bridge to Alfheim Haven.

Noreen Willshire discovers more than fairytales hidden between the pages of Beletania’s diary. She opens the ancient book and finds a pathway to a Faery Realm where all manner of mythical creatures reside. In her naïveté, she summons the Keeper before his scheduled time in the human realm. In that brief moment, the mysterious wizard touches her soul with more than magick. She promises to return the diary during Mefylleth, a time when the barriers between the two realms melt away, but danger stalks her path. Torn between her desire to make a new life for herself in America and her growing love for the Keeper, she must bridge the gap between magick and time to follow her heart.

Excerpt:
          Vin turned away from the cluster of faeries. He’d learned many things since becoming the Keeper, one of which was to use a firm hand when dealing with the Beings of Alfheim Haven. As a result, he rarely bowed to another’s will. He glanced down at the translucent quality of his hand and bit off an oath.
          The blasted woman continued to read. Her throat must be hoarse by now. Time flowed differently in Alfheim Haven. A minute in the human realm equated to nineteen minutes here, sometimes even more. She must have read that story for almost three hours. If anything, she was tenacious.
          He walked slowly. Her voice pulled at him. He resisted. Doesn’t she have anything better to do with her time?
          By the time he reached the keep, his skin was completely transparent. He swung his cape over his shoulder and yanked the front door open with more force than he intended. He must rein in his temper and not give into the human emotion.
          I won’t go. She can read until she has no voice and still, I won’t go.
          “Vin?”
          His mother’s gentle voice broke through his thoughts. His eyes met hers. A flitting worry etched her features before it fled from view. “She calls to you again, doesn’t she?”
          He rolled his eyes. He should have never told his mother of his visit to the human realm.
          “Just because she calls, doesn’t mean I must go to her. I won’t be manipulated.”
          His mother turned her head away, but not before he caught her gentle smile. She studied the flowing fabric of her gown with more interest than it deserved. “Vin, when you saw the woman, did you think to ask her name?”
          His mouth gaped. He clamped it shut. Awiergan! What had he been thinking? How would he find her when he bridged to the human realm if he didn’t know her name? Mefylleth drew near, and he wouldn’t have much time to locate the girl or the book. “Aye, but she managed to avoid telling me. It’s an oversight I intend to correct. Have no fear, Mother, this situation will resolve itself soon. I give you my word.”
          Before he could change his mind, he disappeared from her sight and into the timeless void that would take him to the human realm—and the nameless woman who summoned him.





Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Interview with author Marva Dasef



Today, my guest is Marva Dasef who talks about her book, Ultimate Duty published by Eternal Press.

ULTIMATE DUTY
by Marva Dasef
Remy Belieux, a woman born into a life of servitude on a repressive factory planet, is desperate for a different life. When she's accepted into the Space Service Academy, run by the organization that enslaves her planet, she discovers the truth behind generations of rebellion. Now, she must decide what to believe, where her ultimate duty lies, and fight for more than her life against impossible odds. (Excerpt at end of interview)

1)     Tell me a little about your book.
“Ultimate Duty” is science fiction tending toward space opera. It has no paranormal aspects, not even an alien in site. It's speculative in that I envision of future for humanity that continues in the direction it has recently turned. People may or may not agree that we're headed into a wholly corporate-owned system of government, but I'm not the first science fiction writer to extrapolate such a future. In 1947, George Orwell published “1984” which most certainly points in that direction.

But “Ultimate Duty” is also a story about love and duty, so it gets classified as an SFR (science fiction romance).

2)     What gave you the idea for this particular story?
I wrote a short story titled "Pressure Drill" years ago. I got a good response from my critique group, but back then, submitting was entirely by snail mail. I didn't pursue publication. When I retired from real work, I hauled out the story, along with a few others and gave them a fresh look and rewrite. That first story, plus one more with the same main character were published. From that I expanded the story and it eventually became a novel titled “First Duty.” This is a much shorter book without any adult material. It was published by a small press. Last June, my contract expired. I was already working on “Ultimate Duty,” which expands the same story considerably and does contain adult material.

3)     Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?
I'm a full-time writer since I retired from a long hitch in the high tech industry as a technical writer and programmer. My last gig was fourteen years working for a government agency. I saved every penny I could toward the goal of retiring while my hair was semi-brown. That was five years ago, and I've been writing fiction ever since.

I don't organize my writing time. My job is writing, so I pretty much work at some aspect of writing and publishing for the best part of every day. Of course, I get to play more solitaire and take long lunches working for myself.

4)     When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
Somewhere in my mid-teens. I had a very inspiring teacher in 8th grade who encouraged me. I was lucky enough to have really great teachers all through high school. When I began college, I did so with the very practical idea of majoring in technical communication. I figured I'd save the fun part of writing (fiction) after the kids left home and I could afford to not work at a regular job.

5)     What do you hope readers will take from your writing?
I hope they're entertained. I'm not writing heavy, philosophical books. Mostly I write for the middle-grade audience. I have the usual life lessons—friendship, being truthful, standing up for youself—but I don't want to bop the kids in the head with it anymore than Mr. Disney.

6)     Which genres do you write, which do you prefer, and why?
I've written everything except erotica and chicklit (women's books). I prefer writing humorous fantasy with a little danger, a strong female lead, and a totally rotten villain. With fantasy, I have the freedom of making up my world rules as I write. I have a couple of books based on middle-eastern mythology. Those were fun to research. But my favorite is a series about a girl witch who can't spell without disastrous results. I set the series in present day, but from the Arctic Seas to Norway to Siberia. So, not urban fantasy, more like rural fantasy.

7)     What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?
Marketing my own books. I've never enjoyed the role of salesperson. I haven't got past it, unfortunately. I just do what I can, such as appearing on blogs such as yours.

8)     How much is your protagonist like you? How different?
Going back to “Ultimate Duty,” Remy is who I'd like to be. The only thing we have in common is that we're both riddled with self-doubt. Remy is strong enough overcome her doubts. I just muddle through.

9) What kind of research did you do for this type of story?
I'm a long-time scifi reader, so I already had a pretty good base knowledge to see me through technical details. I did get help from a martial artist for the fight scenes and I read quite a bit about the different disciplines before I realized that it'd never be “just right” for those who practice the art, so I made up my own discpline, Ffegga. That way, nobody could say I was wrong.

10) Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you? Why or why not?
I don't write horribly gory or highly sexual scenes.  “Ultimate Duty” does have an R-rating, so there is violence and sex, but I don't like to overload the story with either. So the answer is that I write to my comfort level, and I wouldn't want to write anything that I wouldn't read.

11) What about your book makes it special?
It's solid science fiction in an area that's, well, to be kind, a little overloaded with paranormal calling itself SF. Everything I've written is grounded in good science, even if wormholes or corporate overlords don't happen in the future, they could.

12) What is your marketing plan?
Plan? Writers have a plan?

13) Where can people learn more about you and your work?
My website is http://marvadasef.com . It pretty much covers everything that I write.

14) Any tips for new writers hoping to write in the genre of your book?
Whatever genre you want to write, be sure you've read a ton of it first to understand exactly what it is you want to write. Maybe you think you want to write science fiction, but you absolutely plow through fantasy or paranormal and haven't any idea who Robert Heinlein is. Write what you love to read.

 15)  What's up next?
A mystery/suspense novella titled "Missing, Assumed Dead" is scheduled for July 2011 from MuseItUp. MuseItUp also bought the first book in the middle-grade fantasy series about a witch who can't spell right. It's titled "Bad Spelling" (get it?) and is scheduled for October 2011. They also have books 2 and 3 and I'm hoping they'll take the entire series.

I have some ideas another book in the Witch series. My beta readers have clamored for a follow up starring the witch girl's brother, a half-vamp, half-warlock smartass with huge magical talent. You can guess the sibling rivalry there.





EXCERPT:
Remy and Garrett arrived at the outer wall path that led to the dock ports. Remy hoped at least one shuttle was still attached to the station. She dropped to the floor and peered down the slope of the passageway. Two guards stood at the entrance to bay 5. Luckily, they faced the opposite direction. Remy slid back and pointed silently, then held up two fingers. Garrett nodded and pointed left and then at himself. Remy nodded.
With no way to get any closer unseen, they must use speed instead. Both stepped back a couple of paces so they’d hit the corner at full tilt. A nod from Garrett and they sprinted through the twenty meters separating them from the guards. One guard turned to look only when Remy and Garrett were close enough to attack. The guard yelled, “Halt!” as he raised the barrel of his blaster. The second guard turned with a confused expression and didn’t manage to raise his own weapon before Remy reached him.
Remy felt her mind and body slip into fighting mode. Time slowed for her and she noted every detail of the guard’s stance. She leaped high in the air, her legs coiled like springs. The second guard finally lifted his rifle but never had the chance to fire. Remy drove both feet into his abdomen, slamming him against the wall with the force of her strike. In the low gravity, she landed easily on her feet crouched and ready. She crossed her arms against her torso, grabbing the guard’s belt with her left hand and prepared to strike with her right. The man’s eyes widened when Remy’s backhand arced toward him. The force of the blow across his jaw sent him tumbling to the floor.
She glanced over at Garrett and saw he had already disabled the other guard, now curled on the floor moaning. Garrett kicked him in the head with an almost gentle tap. The connection of his shod foot on the guard’s temple did the job, knocking the man unconscious.
Garrett walked over to Remy’s guard and bent down. He pressed two fingers against the side of the man’s neck. “Good. He’ll live.”
“If I wanted him dead, he’d be dead,” Remy snarled. Her stomach twisted in disgust at herself. How could she even think it, never mind say it out loud. She’d never killed anybody and the thought of it made her sick. Before now she had regretted not killing Jens on Starbird. She shook her head. No, she did not regret letting him live. Everything had changed. Now she was truly a rebel, wanted dead or alive. The idea startled her. She wondered when she had made the decision to change roles from infiltrator to freedom fighter.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Interview with sci fi author, Chris Burton



Today, my guest is sci fi author, Chris Burton who is talking about his book, Alpha One.

1) Tell me a little about your book.
 Alpha One The Jump Pilot is the first in a series of seven books (two trilogies and a final one off book) which depict the lives of Jake Carter and Jonathan Hoskins two hundred years from now. In the first book, Jake Carter’s fledgling career has yet to start, as we see him progress through his final year of Alpha Academy and Jonathan Hoskins is now a mid ranking battle cruiser commander
 The Sentinels are very sensitive about a region of space, light years from their territorial boundaries. They are guided by the Betanica Sect, who seek to protect the galaxy and in particular the Tri Star Region from invasion by the Kryl. The Kryl are the devil incarnate…
 Jake is a final year Alpha Academy student and he has chosen Jump Ship Command to launch his career. He and Steve are two of the brightest academy pilots. They are also vying for the affection of the same girl, Carla Stevenson. Carla is looking for her sister, who left home 6 years before to join the Collective, led by the sinister and mysterious Professor Winterburn. Winterburn casts a spell over everyone he meets.

 
The Sentinels and the Betanica Sect lock horns with Alpha in a battle to assume control of the Tri Star System. Alpha's aim is to open the Blue Worm hole; a gateway to another galaxy. The gathering masses are joined by Jonathan Hoskins, Winterburn and his flock and Jake and Steve whose sole intention is to rescue Carla Stevenson from Winterburn’s clutches.

2) What gave you the idea for this particular story?
The concept of a young hero graduating through space academy and going  on to pilot small ships and ultimately starships is not a new one and this is my take on this. The evolving backdrop to each storyline for each book in the series will see Jake Carter and the more senior Jonathan Hoskins develop their careers and relationships in Earths future, where space travel will of course become the norm.
 The origins of the Kryl stem from too much time watching Star Trek and Star Wars and pretty much every other Space Opera offering over the last twenty years; tinged with Vampires and their like; a more contemporary and sinister race, for which I wanted the characteristics of the Kryl to loosely pay homage; but allow them to maintain their individual characteristics. 
The storyline for this book is quite complex. I had in mind that an all consuming powerful force would gain access to our galaxy  via a wormhole and that Alpha would first struggle, but would ultimately succeed in removing the threat, but this needed to be tinged with intrigue and a few surprises.

3) Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?
I write Part-Time. I am a Business Financial Consultant by day and I work for myself which has both its advantages and disadvantages. I am a night owl and this is when I do most of my writing; but it is not unusual for me to jump into writing mode at any time during the day, if an event inspires or circumstances prevail.

4) When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
This story and many others have been with me since I was a child. Putting pen to paper was just a question of when; but it was always something which I aspired to do, rather than it being next on my list. The trigger point for me was a change of employ, which allowed me to reflect on what I had achieved and where I wanted to go overall.

5) What do you hope readers will take from your writing?
Well I hope they enjoy it, as much as I enjoyed writing it and that they will be keen to read the next one.

6) Which genres do you write, which do you prefer, and why?
Science Fiction and specifically Space Opera for now as I have so much still that I need to get down on paper. I have considered diversifying to one day writing a political thriller. The basic concept for this is in place and I may well take a break from Alpha One at some stage in the future to achieve this. Fundamentally, my favorite genre as a reader is Science fiction and therefore as I write, this is my preference too.

7) What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?
Most definitely seeking publication and it follows that when you actually find a publisher willing to publish your book that feeling makes all the suffering of rejections from other publishers and agents suddenly fade away. If you are happy that you are presenting your manuscript in its best light and you believe in it; you have to believe that your persistence will pay off. 

8) Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it.
Certainly some of the peripheral characters are loosely based on real people and some of the more political aspects of the storyline are akin to modern day business and commercial politics. However, the beauty of setting your story two hundred years in the future means you don’t have to draw too much on modern day events.

9) How much is your protagonist like you? How different?
We (Jake Carter and I) are both determined and will follow something through come what may; but I would shy away from any suggestion of my all action hero status. I am more of a desk man!

10) What kind of research did you do for this type of story?
Research was mostly web based, reaffirming my knowledge of the cosmos; but also some research on climate change and in particular what impact it may have on our planet 200 years from now.

11) Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you? Why or why not?
Violence is ok if it is appropriate to the storyline and there are several sections of the book where this is the case. I tend to pass over sexual scenes. Although there is a love interest, the relevance to the story is the interrelation between Jake, Steve and Carla and between Jonathan Hoskins, his mistress and his wife. What they do between the sheets does not add to this or the story, so I have preferred to leave it to the imagination!

12) What about your book makes it special?
Projecting two hundred years into the future  allows for some creative thinking , but I have tried to steer clear of too many impossibilities; believing that progress will take us to many of the things which we seek. A credible and believable background allows me to be creative with the storyline and hopefully I have achieved just that. I have tried to create a page turner, with hooks raised at the end of each chapter and with a few surprises along the way. It should have something for everyone, Love, War and Politics. A recent review of my book suggested “this is more of a space symphony than a space opera”.

13) What is your marketing plan?
There is a joint marketing initiative between Eternal Press (my publisher) and me.  From my perspective, I am in the process of setting up more interviews, guest blogs, review seeking and signings and I am very active on Twitter (chrisburton99) and other social networking pages.
 As my second book is now finished, pending my final edit, before submitting to publishers, I shall be using the launch of this book as a springboard to promote the second book. Watch this space!

14) Where can people learn more about you and your work?
My website: http://www.chrisburton2212.weebly.com provides an overview of The Jump Pilot and the world of Alpha One, plus there are links to my publisher’s website: http://www.eternalpress.biz/book.php?isbn=9781615722426
 The book is available on Amazon and other leading on-line and in store book retailers in both e-book and printed format

15) Any tips for new writers hoping to write in the genre of your book?
Be creative, but believable… if not then write fantasy. Science Fiction suggests at least the possibility that we will achieve certain things in the years to come. As long as the world that you create is credible, it is the story itself that will make your book what it is.




 SYNOPSIS

Jake is a trainee Jump Pilot and war is rife in the galaxy...

The Sentinels are very sensitive about a region of space, light years from their territorial boundaries. They are guided by the Betanica Sect, who seek to protect the galaxy and in particular the Tri Star Region from invasion by the Kryl. The Kryl are the devil incarnate…

Jake is a final year Alpha Academy student and he has chosen Jump Ship Command to launch his career. He and Steve are two of the brightest academy pilots. They are also vying for the affection of the same girl. Carla is looking for her sister, who left home 6 years before to join the Collective, led by the sinister and mysterious Professor Winterburn. Winterburn casts a spell over everyone he meets.

The Sentinels and the Betanica Sect lock horns with Alpha in a battle to assume control of the Tri Star System. Alpha's aim is to open the Blue Worm hole; a gateway to another galaxy. The gathering masses are joined by Winterburn and his flock and by Jake and Steve whose sole intention is to rescue Carla Stevenson from Winterburn’s clutches.

EXCERPT:

The Halo 7’s engines could no longer sustain their current status and she was dragged forward. Hoskins ordered full reverse thrust, but the ship’s engines were powerless to prevent the relentless slide towards the hole. The Halo 7, together with hundreds of smaller vessels, was quickly absorbed into the vortex and then, just as suddenly, she was gone.

Cameron stood in disbelief. He witnessed the sheer magnificence, the creation of an immensely powerful vortex: a mystery of space which man helped to create, but for which they had little understanding. Then, before his eyes, hundreds of space craft were consumed into its belly, including the Halo 7 and the AUSWAS ship. He had no idea where they went, if they survived, or whether this were a gateway to a distant galaxy. All he knew was that his task was done: he had opened the two wormholes to create something bigger in size and stature.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Interview with children's author Michael Kinch



Today, my guest is children's author, Michael Kinch.

1.     Please tell me how long you've been writing, and why you decided to become a writer. I’ve been writing seriously since I retired and had a chance to grapple with all the pieces necessary to write a decent book. I write because I’ve always had a head full of stories and I want to share them with young adults.

2.     Are you a full-time writer or a part-time writer, and how do you organize your writing time?  I’ve become full time since the publication of my first book in Oct. 2010, and then was offered a contract to complete the trilogy—an unexpected but wonderful opportunity. I write when I can, often in spurts and sputters. Procrastination is my enemy.

3.     What influences your writing?  My trilogy is a dystopia because I care about the future of my kids and I have enough of a science background to know the future is going to be rough in many aspects.  But I want kids to know there is always hope, regardless of what happens .

4.     Is this your first published work?    This is my first novel.  What other types of writing have you done?  Scholarly articles when I was a university science librarian, then articles for art magazines for fun.

5.     Why did you choose to write a children's story?  I’ve always like good YA fiction and decent science fiction.  I wanted to write something without vampires or dragons and cardboard characters.

6.     What was the process of creating this book from the first idea to the final published book?  I helped teach a workshop in Malawi, Africa several years ago. I was blown away by the country and the people. Especially the people. They are so resilient, confident, and amazingly resourceful.  The final book came to me years later.  The first versions were lame, but got better with suggestions from writers’ groups and hard work.

7.     What are your thoughts on traditional versus self-publishing?  Getting publishes is soooo hard, that I don’t blame anyone for taking the self-publishing route

8.     What is your marketing strategy?  Luckily I have a good publicist at Flux Books. She tells me to put up a website and take advantage of local opportunities.  She has covered most of the bases with advance reader’s copies to the right places.

9.     What are your thoughts about children's writers needing an agent or not needing one?  I wouldn’t have been published without an agent.  If an author has a good relationship with his/her editor, that’s great.  An agent, however, seeks as many opportunities as possible—audio books, overseas sales, etc.

10.  Where can people find out more about you and your writing?  My website:  michaelkinch.com

11.  Do you have any tips for writers who are new to children's literature?  Know your genre.  Read in your chosen genre.  Write something kids haven’t read in a dozen other iterations.

Please give us a brief synopsis about your current book and when and where it will be available.  



THE BLENDING TIME (Flux, 2010)
Author: Kinch, Michael
A well-realized, harsh dystopia provides the setting for this exciting debut. Sometime in the late 21st century, three 17-year-olds face a future dictated by their corrupt global government. All might be sent to work on the “canal,” a death sentence, so they take measures to get any other job possible. The three wind up in Africa, where they are supposed to marry local people and produce offspring—the entire population of the continent has been sterilized by an intense solar flare. One finds herself captured by the “gades” (presumably short for “renegades”), bandits who raid the back country and keep captured women as sex slaves. After some hair-raising adventures, the other two boys find themselves battling the “gades” as well. Kinch invents a plethora of abbreviated jargon that heightens the credibility of his awful future world. His three main characters will easily convince readers that they’re real, distinct people. Full of action, this is a compelling, realistic and exciting thriller for more mature young readers. (Science fiction. 14 & up)