The Matching Journey of the Hero & Author

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Thank you to Ionia for letting me announce that the first book of my fantasy series, Legends of Windemere: Beginning of a Hero, will be marked down to free.  It’s been a long ride with this volume since I first published it in early 2013.  Prior to that, I started working on it in late 1998 and now I just feel old.  So, what do I want to talk about here?

Looking back, I can see how Luke Callindor and I have changed.  Neither of us had much of an idea of what we were doing.  He stumbled into the path of a demonic assassin and the Lich while I tripped into the world of self-publishing.  Our flaws were certainly different with him being the more confident of the two and me being a lot more cautious.  Odd how Luke and I don’t really know how we made it this far into our linear adventures.  The answers are in our heads, but neither of us can put a clear finger on the details.

Funny thing is how we also met fellow champions/authors who are working toward the same goal.  Not to mention a few villains and frustrating obstacles.  All of this makes me realize how an adventure isn’t always swords, spells, and satisfying action.  I needed another ‘S’ word and I say that works.  The point is that I’ve been noticing that my path as an author is mimicking Luke’s as a hero.  Unsure if his story is being influenced by me or the other way since the series was planned out a while ago.

The idea of an author and his main character sharing an adventure in some fashion isn’t entirely unique.  Many have stated that their heroes are based on parts of their personality or ideals that they want to be.  One of the more difficult aspects of this tactic is to put flaws into the characters because it involves a little self-reflection.  With Luke, I see my impatience and frustration, which I hope is countered by a sense of determination that I try to share.  To be fair, this tends to fail both of us at times of extreme stress.  Guess it does show that Luke and I have a bit too much in common.

So enough about me.  Have any other authors shared the adventures of their heroes?  What about readers seeing themselves in a protagonist?  Just how much of us goes into the books that we connect to since it requires us to imagine the worlds within the pages.

                Links

Legends of Windemere
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Grab Legends of Windemere: Beginning of a Hero for Free!

Also, Crossing Bedlam is celebrating a new cover by dropping to 99 cents!

Cover Art by Jon Hunsinger

Cover Art by Jon Hunsinger

Kickstarter for “Pause of the Clock”

(Ionia is having computer problems, so I’m posting this on her behalf.  Her friend is finishing a movie that he has been working on for 20 years.  Please read the post, lend a hand, and spread the word.)

Shot in 1995-1996 on 16mm, “Pause of the Clock” is a feature-length film about friendship, secrets, and the power of stories.

About this project

My film is a living time capsule.

On November 1, 1994 I finished writing the first draft of a screenplay called “Pause of the Clock.” I was a 19-year-old film student at Columbia College in Chicago. I showed the screenplay to some faculty advisors and friends, then started fundraising and assembling a cast and crew. In January 1995, using 16mm film equipment from various colleges and rental houses, we started shooting the film in Colorado. Filming would continue in Chicago, in fits and starts, over the next year. Finally on May 19, 1996 we shot the last scene.

And then, basically, the film sat in my closet for the next 18 years. Paused.

Until now.

Pause of the Clock is a film about friendship, secrets, and the power of stories. Rob, a college student, gathers together a group of friends to make a film called “Crueler Than Truth.” Among them is his roommate Dylan. Unbeknownst to Rob, Dylan discovers his diary and begins reading it. The Rob he discovers in its pages is a much different person than the friend he thought he knew.

CLICK HERE FOR KICKSTARTER SITE

Guest Review: Abe Lincoln Public Enemy No. 1

My lovely friend and fellow book lover Pamela

has agreed to share her thoughts on “Abe Lincoln: Public Enemy No. 1.  It’s a great review from a trusted reader. Check out the review and check out the book. Looks like fun!

 

51t3pyG6bAL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX324_SY324_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA346_SH20_OU01_http://www.amazon.com/Abe-Lincoln-Public-Enemy-No-ebook/dp/B00F141TKA

 

 

WATCH THE TRAILER: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WiiiOh…

When John Wilkes Booth shoots Lincoln with a bullet cursed by the notorious Chicken Man, a local voodoo practitioner, he unwittingly sets in motion a chain of events extending far into the future. Instead of killing Lincoln, the bullet puts the president into a coma for sixty-eight years, his body remaining limber and ageless. When he awakens in 1933, Abe Lincoln is a man out of time, a revered icon…and a political pariah. FDR and J. Edgar Hoover not only do not want him around, they want him to retire. But their plan to be rid of him backfires and Lincoln is on the run, a fugitive from justice.

Determined to reach Chicago and retrieve the small fortune left in trust for him by his long-dead son, Lincoln discovers that Hoover has confiscated all his money, leaving him destitute. With Bureau of Investigation agent Melvin Purvis in hot pursuit, Lincoln finds his way to a hobo camp where he befriends a young runaway, who agrees to accompany the former president back to Washington. There Lincoln hopes that Hannah Wheelhouse, the Chicken Man’s granddaughter, can help him find the peace he longs for.

Then fate deals Lincoln another strange hand when he and the boy end up as hostages to infamous bank robber John Dillinger. Instead of leaving them by the side of the road after the robbery, Dillinger takes a liking to Lincoln and invites him to join the gang, promising him he’ll get all his money back.

Will Lincoln survive long enough to recapture his fortune and get away, or will he be hunted down in a manner unbefitting a martyred President?

In Brian Anthony and Bill Walker’s inventive and entertaining novel, history gets a work-out, the action is flat-out, and almost everyone gets rubbed-out!

–From Goodreads

 

Pamela’s Review:

 

It’s a bit risky to take historical figures and events and create a new reality, but factor in that the historical figure is a beloved and highly respected one and you have the recipe for a potential disaster. In this case though, the disaster was averted with good writing and a compelling story.

I’m a fan of all things Lincoln so I was curious how this story would play out. The book started out with the facts of Lincoln’s assassination, embellished with a bit of voodoo magic. In a nutshell, Lincoln ends up in a coma instead of dead. Rather than tell the American people the truth, he is allowed to live asleep…for 70 years, without aging.

Once Lincoln wakes up, his adventures begin. FDR was President and J. Edgar Hoover was in charge of damage control. Honest Abe meets a boy and they begin a life on the road trying to avoid being hunted down by Hoover and his men. There were a couple of places where the story seemed to skip some crucial information.

The paranormal aspect of this book requires the reader to suspend reality. While I was able to look past many things, it still felt like a story. When I read Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter I was able to actually believe this is what could have happened. With Public Enemy, there was never any doubt this was just a story.

There were passages where Lincoln would say and do things that were in keeping with his historical self. Then there were others where it was too far fetched to be Lincoln as we know him.

I wasn’t happy with the ending of the book. Not like it didn’t end the way I wanted it to end, but it just felt incomplete. It was almost like the authors ran out of steam and gave up.

The book was entertaining and well written, however. I would recommend it for anyone who enjoys a little history sprinkled into their reading. The best line in the book was when Abe was told he should shave his beard so he wouldn’t be as recognizable, “You can’t go around lookin’ like a penny, Mr. Lincoln.” Four out of five stars.

Mirror Interview with Tim Therien

“Mirror, Mirror on the ceiling…”

Now that I have your attention, I don’t actually have a mirror on the ceiling. In fact, the only mirror in my apartment is the one in the bathroom. I take a quick look at myself once a day to make sure I’m presentable to the world, other than that I avoid mirrors with the fervor of a vampire. After reading the clever, witty and intelligent “mirror interviews” featured her at “Readful Things” I have to admit to being a little intimidated. For starters I am not a big fan of tooting my own horn. If I took tooting my own horn I might just have to get that mirror for the ceiling. That said; let’s get on to the crux of it, shall we?

On Poetry

Poetry is very near and dear to me and perhaps I will always be a Poet first and a Writer second. I do make a distinction between the two. Both may be mediums of the written word, but I believe Poetry is more akin to Music than to Prose, especially in its connection to the soul. While Prose may be poetic, it does not make it Poetry.

I am a big proponent of writing in Form, or at least having the ability to do so. I don’t think someone should be able to call themselves a Poet without first being able to express themselves in at least one of the Fixed Forms of Poetry. I am not anti-Free Verse, in fact most of what I have written was without thought of form, but I do believe most Free Versed Poems would have been better served being put into Prose.

On Writing

I take writing very seriously, probably more seriously than I should. I was almost illiterate when I left school at age 15 and taught myself to read and write. I take great pride in that accomplishment. People have called me a “Natural Talent,” but they did not witness the long hard years I’ve dedicated to this craft. It has taken more than thirty years to get from barely being able to fill out a job application to penning these words you now read. This in my mind is not talent, but perseverance. Writing has been my Life’s Labour and my Life’s Love.

Writing is so much more than sitting in a room and putting pen to paper. That is only a small part of it. The bulk of writing is living life, experiencing things, seeing, hearing, touching, tasting and smelling. It is these things that allow the Writer to relate to the reader. If someone cloistered themselves off from the world and wrote, none but the humble hermit would identify to the words.

The best advice I’ve ever received concerning writing would have to be “write like you speak.” It was in applying this advice to my writing that I discovered my literary voice. If I were to impart this advice myself, I would expand upon it and say “write what you think, but write like you speak.” In my opinion, just as important as literary voice is to a writer so too is the ability to express the things that are oft not expressed. Also I would tell the would-be writer to challenge themselves in all things writing. Lastly, write with the Reader in mind, but write the story you want to read.

On Editing

I am not a big fan of editing and not too long ago I refused to edit anything I had written outside of spelling errors and typos. I wanted to remain as true to the essence of what I had written as I humanly could. I do believe a lot of the soul of a piece of writing can be lost in the editing process. I write from the heart and rely on my gut and editing in my mind puts both into doubt. Editing is a game of second guessing ourselves and our instincts.

I have since moved on that position, at least as far as prose is concerned, but I still try to keep as much of that original draft intact as I can. I would call what I do now “Shading” and not editing. It is more akin to the artist who works in charcoal, first outlining his form and then filling it in to give it depth and three dimensions. The original lines remain, even if they have been shaded over.

On Marketing

I think it’s ridiculous to think that a writer must personally interact with every reader and potential reader out there. Really, it is unrealistic for an author with even a modest bit of success to be at the beckon call of their target market. It puts too much pressure on a writer. It also takes up too much time, time which could be better used to relate to the reader the way a writer should relate to a reader, through the written word, through Storytelling and through Poetry.

Writing, for me, has never been about commercial success. Truth is I am resigned that my success, if I am to have it, will most likely come after I have departed from this world. Many great and beloved writers have been misunderstood, even loathed in their own lifetimes. For me, my success will be measured by the ability of my words to stand the test of time.

I am not a big fan of self-promotion. It is, I’m afraid, a necessary evil for the self-published author, but it still feels like I’m pimping myself out and prostituting myself when I engage in the practice. So how then to gain exposure without selling my soul? This is something I haven’t found an answer for. I have contented myself with the belief that if I write something and if I put it out there and if it is truly worthy it will find its way into the hands and hearts of the Reader. That is a lot of ifs, but Life is full of ifs.

On Future Works

Since my move back to Toronto, Ontario, Canada, after over a decade in the Eastern Townships in Quebec, things have been very hectic. I have spent most of the summer working on a book of Poetry (“Crossing Main”) and a Romance (“Forever: The First Epoch”) simultaneously and haven’t been getting very far with either. My life has settled down a little now and I have turned my focus to the Romance until November 1st when I will turn my attention to and again take part in NaNoWriMo to write the second installment of “The Scrolls of Sion.” I have also couple of other projects on the back burner that will see light at the first opportunity.

In 2015, at least two books can be expected from me. “The Scrolls of Sion: Broken Bloodlines” and “Forever: The First Epoch.” If at all possible I will also publish “Crossing Main.” Beyond that, I cannot say.

The opinions expressed here reflect the man in the mirror, me and no one else. In no way is what I say a reflection, or judgement of anyone else. In closing, I would like to thank Ionia for having me here on her wonderful blog.

Links to Books

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/434284

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-scrolls-of-sion-t-j-therien/1119459677

Links to Blogs

http://insidethepoetsmind.wordpress.com/

http://thescrollsofsion.wordpress.com/

Mirror Interview: Martyn Stanley

Mirror: So, what’s the status of your fantasy series ‘The Deathsworn Arc’ now?

Me: I’ve now finally got a proper author website, which I will blog on and occasionally review other books on:- Martyn Stanley – Author of the ‘Deathsworn Arc’ epic fantasy series I’ve also made the books available in CreateSpace POD, Ingram Spark POD and on all digital formats – Kobo, B&N and Smashwords as well as Amazon. I recently made book 1 of the series free on all formats! Please follow the links here:- Deathsworn Arc: The Last Dragon Slayer is now FREE! – Martyn Stanley

Mirror: Free!? Are you mad?! All that hard work you put in! To give it away?! What on earth were you thinking?

Me: Well, to be honest it was a scary decision to make. It wasn’t an easy or quick thing to do. In the end, after experimenting with various pricing schemes, ranging from $2.99 to more, and as low as $0.99… Nothing had really taken off. When I used to do free promo’s on book 1, I got a lot of downloads and I got follow-on sales from those who enjoyed it enough to read through to book 2. Seeing as I was only getting the financial equivalent of a kick in the crackers for book 1 ($0.33) I decided, I may as well offer it for free and let the books pay their way by the read-throughs. I’m not asking anyone to invest any money into book 1 – just their time. I’m asking a bit more for book 2, but I think I only really want those who ‘get it’ and love the series to read on anyway so perhaps that’s for the best?

Mirror: Well, good luck with that, I see it’s doing fairly well at the moment?

Me: It is! It’s top #3000 in both the UK and US Free Kindle Store without any promotion! It’s top #50 for Dark Fantasy and Epic Fantasy in the US and top #50 for Dark Fantasy and Swords and Sorcery in the UK!

Mirror: Dark Fantasy? Is it ‘Dark Fantasy’?

Me: I don’t honestly know! I think so, I think book 2 ‘The Verkreath Horror’ is definitely Dark Fantasy, it’s border-line ‘Grim Fantasy’ at times. They don’t have a nice time in book 2. There is quite a lot of death and misery in the series. I like to kill off at least one character a book.

Mirror: You’re going to run out of characters!

Me: I don’t think I’ll always kill off a character a book. There will be light at the end of the tunnel, though things get worse before they get better I think.

Mirror: The title ‘Deathsworn Arc’ What does it actually mean?

Me: Ah, it’s explained in book 3 ‘Deathsworn Arc: The Blood Queen’ it’s something some of the characters become, I think in book 5.

Mirror: Is the title of book 1 referring to Silus or Korhan?

Me: Both, either, it doesn’t really matter. I suppose for me, at the start of the book it’s Silus, at the end it’s Korhan.

Mirror: Okay, so will Ramon Hern ever make a proper comback?

Me: He plays a bigger part later on in the series.

Mirror: What about Tubol and Tavion? Do they continue their pursuit?

Me: Oh yes, they are tenacious and will NOT give up. They are part of a really big plot element which starts in book 4.

Mirror: Now, Vashni. She’s *ahem* a bit of an evil bitch at times in book 1 – what gives?

Me: There are reasons for the way Vashni behaves in book 1. The reasons are multi-factorial and complex. You really only have a good idea of why Vashni is behaving the way she is in book one once you’ve read book 3.

Mirror: Have you got any idea how long ‘The Deathsworn Arc’ is at this stage?

Me: I think eight books. I have a solid plot for books 4 and 5 and I kind of know how it ends. I haven’t introduced the main villain yet!

Mirror: Who is the main villain?

Me: Ah, that would be telling. I’ll give you a clue, the human helping the Verkreath in book 2 plays a big part in it. He’s also older than Vashni and has gone by many names.

Mirror: When you wrote this, didn’t you worry that the atheistic world would put some people off?

Me: Yes! I did, but I felt like I had to write it anyway. Thankfully nobody has really picked it apart over that aspect of it – except one. A goodreads reviewer didn’t like it:

“Misery. Layers and layers of misery. The team moves from one horror to another all the while losing their religion. I hated this book and am sorry to have spent the time to read it.”

She gave it one star. That kind of annoyed me, but it impressed me too. It was what I was shooting for in book 2 and I clearly evoked a strong emotional reaction in this reader. At least the book would have been memorable to her.

Mirror: Does the feedback you get in your reviews ever surprise you?

Me: All the time! No two reviewers ever pick up on the exact same points. I suppose the common points are the ‘Truth’ – I expected that, the relationship between Korhan and Vashni – I expected that and the moral philosophizing. Nobody really seems to pick up on the atheist theme that much! That DOES surprise me!

Mirror: How important is the atheist theme and ‘The Truth’ to the overall plot?

Me: It’s critical to the overall plot. There are some huge, world-changing twists. Everything hinges on the ‘Truth’. I became a strong atheist by accident, and exploring the loss of faith and the search for a sense of purpose in life in the books was as much as for me, as for my readers.

Mirror: Are you like any of your characters?

Me: No, not really. I suppose I’m a bit Korhan and a bit Brael more so than the others – but even then, not much.

Mirror: This Korhan and Vashni thing – do they ever ‘get it on’ ?

Me: Well, hmmmm, that’s difficult to answer. Things change drastically for both Korhan and Vashni. Their interactions become a lot more complex in book 5, it’s partly to do with the Korhan taking the Oath at the Deathsworn Shringe and the mind inhabiting Harbinger. I won’t say anymore, but it’s a major, major event for Korhan.

Mirror: Do we ever meet any more gravians?

Me: Yes! There’s a new gravian character in book 4!

Mirror: Ahhh, so they remove Brael’s curse freeing him to use magic?

Me: Nope! They feel the same way Elira did.

Mirror: So does he ever get access to magic back?

Me: Pffft! I’m sick of giving spoilers – talk about something else!

Mirror: Okay, who are you?

Me: I recently posted this about myself on a writers group on Facebook;-

You know me! Want to know a bit more? I’m 37! I’m not old. I live in a little village betwixt Staffordshire and Cheshire which has a little castle perched atop a hill – which you can see for miles around. I have two kids, a girl who’s seven and a boy who’s three. I’ve been married for nine years, I’m a second degree blackbelt in Taekwondo, I’ve also done Kung Fu and Kick Boxing at times. I drive a 3.0 V6 Jaguar, but my favorite car I owned is still my old MX5 which I kept for seven years. I used to be an avid video games player before writing took over my life. In my mis-spent youth I played lead guitar in a band called ‘The Liability Crisis’ and smoked a little weed. I’ve been as far west as Florida and as far east as Singapore – but I usually holiday in France and Germany. Singapore and Rome are probably my two favorite cities I’ve visited. I write fantasy books,but I also work full-time as a manager at a manufacturing plant and I’m studying for a degree with the Open University! I’m about to start ‘Creative Writing’ level 2 – theory being if I actually suck at writing, I’ll get better. If I’m already pretty decent then it’s an easy 60 points and I get to learn ‘poetry’. I drink too much, I don’t exercise enough, but I also don’t eat enough so it kind of balances out. I’m not a very sociable person, but I can be good at faking it. I AM prone to depression, writing has helped with that. A sense of purpose is a powerful thing. *Edit – I also built my own house! Well my father-in-law worked on it more than me, but we literally built the house. I took time of work to do it, and worked evenings and weekends on it for three years! So writing a little 100,000 word novel doesn’t seem that daunting.

Mirror: Wow, you’ve fit a lot into your life!

Me: I dunno. I don’t think I have, it looks like it when I write it down – but it doesn’t feel like it. The last few years have been a blur!

Mirror: So how do you know Ionia?

Me: I came across this blog I think and requested a review. We’ve talked a bit since, she’s told me her story, I told her mine. I now count her amongst my elite group of online BFF’s. She’s awesome!

Mirror: Online BFF’s?

Me: Yes! Another is Inge van de Kraats her shared blog is at Bookshelf Reflections she has me in stitches at times! One of the best thing about writing the books has been the people they’ve facilitated me meeting. I’ve met some really awesome people because of the books. Inge and Ionia are just two examples, whom I have a particular soft-spot for.

Mirror: Anything else in the pipeline? What’s after ‘Deathsworn’ ?

Me: I have a few projects in mind – a dark, high concept urban fantasy with angels and demons, a futuristic earth-based sci-fi with some time-travel and a literary fiction series called, ‘The Week’, ‘The Month’, ‘The Year’, ‘The Decade’ and ‘The Century’.

Mirror: The Lit Fic series sounds odd – what’s it about?

Me: Just life, people, relationships – the passing of time. My main inspiration is that titling my books this way will enable me to market myself as ‘Author of the Week’, ‘Author of the Month’, ‘Author of the Year’ and ‘Author of the Century’ 😛

Mirror: Haha! So what about your studying – what’s your degree about?

Me: It’s the most eclectic degree ever! I have modules from IT, Maths, Science and I’m doing Creative Writing next! I’m just doing what I feel like and trying to drum up enough points to cash in a degree. I’m doing it for personal satisfaction rather than career reasons.

Mirror: How big a part of your life is writing?

Me: Massive! I write or edit every day, I promote every day. I’m always looking for ways of increasing my readership. I love telling stories. I love reading them, but telling them is even better.

Mirror: Do your kids know about your stories?

Me: They do! Emily is amazed that people around the world have read my stories. She says she can’t believe it! I’ve told them both who the characters are and roughly what happens. I’ leave the gory out though – the stories are rather too dark for a three year old and a seven year old!

Mirror: Did you ever try to get published traditionally?

Me: I had a go, I sent out some submissions and queries. Nobody wanted to take a punt on it. I’ll be laughing when I’ve sold a trillion copies and I’m living in a castle next door to J.K. Rowling! Only joking! I would like to go trad-pub, i think it’s essential for growing my brand and raising people’s awareness of my work. I’ve more or less given up on Deathsworn Arc for Trad-pub though, I’ll maybe try again with one of my other projects. I think I will always write about contentious, deep, thought-provoking issues. Atheism and loss of faith will probably always creep into my work. For that reason I think many agents and publishers will think it’s risky – but I think it’s what people want to hear! I recently stumbled upon Shelley Segal | Singer and Songwriter from Australia I love her music, I love hearing what I think in song. I think people will like reading what they think in fantasy. There’s often a religious mythology in fantasy – so to create a godless world is fresh and new I think. It will resonate with agnostics, doubters and atheists. It’s not a strong theme though, I think very devout or extreme theists will hate it, but those in the middle will just enjoy the story for the characters, the relationship and the action.

Mirror: Now the big question – when are we going to see ‘Deathsworn Arc: The Temple of the Mad God’

Me: I expect, hmmm, late summer 2015? I have to do my course, and write it, then edit it, amdist working and toddler herding. The good news is I have 10,000 words down and I’ve edited it. It’s a really strong opening, I honestly think though book 3 was probably my best so far – book 4 will be even better. I’m really, really pleased with it. I just wish I had more time to write and I could afford a pro-editor. I might use Sophie Playle at some point ( http://sophieplayle.com ). She did me a sample for book 1 and I was really pleased with her work on it. I only didn’t use her because I couldn’t afford to at the time and I had offers from others to do it for free. I wanted ‘The Blood Queen’ to go out as version 1.0 and never need changing. I now think version 1.2 will be the one that doesn’t need changing. I want to make sure ‘The Temple of the Mad God’ is as close to ‘spot on’ as I can before I release.

Mirror: What is the ‘Temple of the Mad God’

Me: It’s a place, I’m saying no more!

Mirror: Okay, thanks for the interview!

Me: Thank Ionia for hosting it for me!

Mirror Interview: Jacob Airey

So Ionia had a brain fart. What? What you may say? How can this be? To tell the truth it happens all the time. I went on holiday and forgot the notebook that had all the scheduled interviews in it. So the 20th of August rolled around–also my birthday, coincidentally–and I didn’t seem to have an interview for that day. Since I forgot the book I couldn’t check to see who it was that was supposed to be the guest. Apparently the email was eaten in one folder or another. 3,000 plus emails a week that aren’t spam and another few thousand that are will do that, but no excuses. I goofed up. So thankfully, Mr. Airey is a kind soul and has offered me another chance to post his interview. I’m going to actually do it this time. Promise. I apologise for keeping you all from a great interview and to him for not posting as scheduled. 🙂

 

 Where are you from?

I was born in Beaumont, Texas, but I was raised in Dallas.

 

When did you first have an interest in writing?

I read an kid’s abridged version of The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle when I was 8. About a year later, I read the full version and I loved it. I soon read all of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries and then I got into JRR Tolkien, Frank Peretti, Brandilyn Collins, HG Wells, CS Lewis, and on and on and on. These writers inspired me to tell my own stories.

Have you ever written a full novel?

Not like an eight-hundred page epic. I’ve written three novellas. One is a mystery, one is a supernatural thriller, and the last is a fantasy story. Plus, several short stories and poems.

Of the three novellas you’ve written so far, which is your favorite?

I would have to say the newest one. It’s about a prince and his fellow crown royals who are in a magical world filled with dragons and unicorns. The prince, however, is immune to magic of all kinds. To make matters worse, his kingdom gets taken over by an evil emperor and a sorcerer. That’s all you get.

Are they standalone?

The first two are, but the newest one is meant to be the first in a trilogy.

You do book reviews on your blog Lone Star Inspirations. Why is that?

Often times, critics are not writers, so they review from a consumer perspective which is great, but it often gives way to bias. I review fellow authors from a creative perspective without seeing them as competition, so it eliminates some of my bias. No bias can be totally erased, but I try to give everything I review a fair outlook.

What kind of headway are you making to get yourself noticed as an author?

I started another blog called Jacob Airey’s Librarium which is where I’m going to self-publish poems and short stories. I also have art gallery on there for my paintings.

Do you have a favorite genre?

I would say it’s a tie between science fiction and mystery, but I’ll read anything. I love period fiction, dramas, medical, thriller, fantasy, etc. I want to write in several genres as well.

Did you ever try to get one of your books published?

I tried to get the first one published and even got an agent. We were negotiating a deal with a publisher. Unfortunately, my agent abandoned my manuscript and the publisher wouldn’t talk to me without representation. After that, it fell to pieces. It was very discouraging.

Wow! Did it affect your writing?

In the worst way. I had already finished the second manuscript and done four drafts of it, but I was so discouraged, I stopped writing all together except for poems. I would start a project, but ultimately abandon it. I did this for about five years.

Five years? Whoa. What made you get out there again?

One of my teachers found out I was a writer and forced me out there. I did a creative project where I did my fifth draft of the second book and renamed. After that, I got the fire back and I started my third project which is completed, but I’m still drafting it.

What would you say to authors who have had that encounter or worried they could be next?

I would say, do not repeat my mistake. I stopped writing and that was terrible. I mean, my poems were great, but it felt like something was missing. Writing is something I did to make me feel alive and for other writers out there, don’t let discouragement haunt you and keep you from writing like it did me. That is the worst thing you can do! Sit up straight, fix your eyes, shake it off, and then grab a pen or laptop! Let it flow from you!

That’s all the time we have for today! Thank you for joining us.

There’s only one person here.

Say what? Hey, no one’s laughing.
Yeah, that was a bomb.

Mirror Interview: Graeme Cumming

Graeme Cumming is the author of Ravens Gathering, a dark fantasy thriller that twists and… Well, you get the idea.

Graeme CummingRavens Gathering is listed on Amazon as Dark Fantasy. Is that how you’d describe it?

If it has to be pigeon-holed, then yes, but that’s how booksellers and publishers categorise things. In a sense, it actually crosses several genres, which was the best way to tell the story.

What gave you the idea?

I was driving and spotted a group of birds at the side of the road. More flew down to join them and I commented on the ravens gathering. As soon as I said it I thought, “That’d be a great title for a book.” So the title came first and it lent itself to the creepy stuff followed naturally.

Do you normally come up with titles first?

No, though it’s not unheard of. I remember challenging school friends to give me any title and I’d create a story line. Someone said “Solid Gold”, and within 24 hours I had a plot involving the simultaneous hijacking of two gold bullion shipments and the shady dealings of a US President. (The arrogance of youth…) Thirty-five years later, it’s still waiting to be written, but now the bit’s between my teeth I’m confident it will – though the title needs changing!

Thirty-five years? Why did it take so long to write your first novel?

I’ve written stories since I was a child. One of my English teachers was once heard to say that she’d eat her hat if I wasn’t a published writer by the time I was 25. She’s had time to work her way through the stock of a large milliners since then, so I hope she likes a high fibre diet. The bottom line, though, is that I’ve not been sufficiently driven. It’s what I always wanted to do, but there were always other more pressing things that distracted me. In the early days it was rock concerts, girls and alcohol, but later it became about having to support my family.

So what changed?

I realised time was running out. In my mind I’d developed a fixed idea that I had to write “properly”, which meant doing it consistently every day, which I found difficult with young children, work and an inclination for idleness. So for long stretches of time I didn’t bother because, if I couldn’t do it properly, there was no point in doing it at all. But, as I hit my early forties, I realised I was depriving myself of the pleasure of writing – creating characters, places and situations I found entertaining. So I decided to just write when I could – and, after around six years, I finished the first draft of a novel.

Ravens Gathering?

Good God, no! After five years and long gaps between writing, I had the makings of a novel, but it needed a lot doing to it. And having lived with that one for so long, I needed a change.

So…?

So, yes, then I wrote Ravens Gathering. But I’d learnt a lot from the first novel, and I’d steadily become more focused. The first draft took about eight months. A year later it was ready to publish.

And you self-published.

In part it was about wanting to retain control, but it was also to speed the process up. I was fast approaching 50, so I had an increased sense of time passing. I know I probably should have more patience, but didn’t want to waste any more time than I already had.

So presumably you’ve been writing constantly since and must have another book due out?

Ah… Okay, I walked into that one, didn’t I? No, there’s no second book imminent. I went back to the first one – Carrion – and spent a long time editing that, but still wasn’t happy with it. In the mean time, my business began to take over my life and I haven’t written much at all in the last year. But that’s been a wake-up call, and I’ve spent a lot of the last 6 months re-structuring the business to give myself more time. In the next month or so the writing can begin again.

Completion of Carrion?

I’m hesitating over that at the moment, but probably. It’s about time it was given a wider audience than the limited number who’ve read a version of it so far. On the other hand, there are a number of others I’m just desperate to get out of my head and on to paper (or a screen).

It sounds like you could be busy, then. Will it be more Dark Fantasy?

Some of it will, but I just want to entertain. So, whatever I write, you can expect suspense, action, a little humour in places and a few twists along the way. It’s been gratifying that readers have said: “I didn’t see that coming” about aspects of Ravens Gathering.

You’re just trying to tempt us in now, aren’t you?

Of course I am. It’s not often I get the chance to make people aware of the book, so I need to take every opportunity to get them to read it – or at least try the sample on Amazon.

Do you want to provide the link, then?

Thought you’d never ask…

Ravens Gathering Cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For my home market, it’s:

www.amazon.co.uk/Ravens-Gathering-Graeme-Cumming-ebook/dp/B00AGIDQA2/

Otherwise, the best starting point is:

www.amazon.com/Ravens-Gathering-Graeme-Cumming-ebook/dp/B00AGIDQA2/

You can also find my website at: www.graemecumming.net. Keep an eye on it. There will be changes soon.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Like most things, books are mainly sold on personal recommendations. So if you enjoy any book you read, take a few minutes to write a review on Amazon – and then tell all your friends.

Thanks for reading.

 

Thank you Graeme! This interview had such a great flow and was so much fun! If you’d like to do an interview of your own for the Wednesday Mirror Interview feature, feel free to email me from the contact page. 🙂 Keep writing–it’s the thing to do.

Mirror Interview: Joe Gergen

Question: So Joe, why should I read your books and other writings?

Joe: Because I’m funny.

Question: Why do you think you’re so funny?

Joe: If I don’t think I’m funny, who will? And besides, what do I have to lose.

Question: What’s one thing you could do without in writing?

Joe: Adjectives. Adjectives are for the weak.

Question: That’s a bit brutal.

Joe: I know. I know. I said it mostly for effect. What I mean is I have little need for adjectives and could survive writing without them. I’m not sure if that’s true but I’d like to give it a shot one day. My sometimes fluid grasp of grammar might get in the way though.

Question: What’s your biggest writing challenge?

Joe: Trying to be both serious and funny. And then be taken seriously for that. But I’m so irreverent I keep undermining myself. I’m sure that’s some sort of literary device.

Question: Well, are you trying to be funny or trying to be serious?

Joe: Yes. Seriously funny and funnily serious. Whichever one gets the point across. The goal is to convey ideas. By putting serious ideas in a funny context the hope is to shed a different light on the subject.

Question: Your book “Methane Wars” is about collecting methane from cows and a string of events that come from that. Are we supposed to take that seriously?

Joe: Yes. The narrative is funny. The ideas are less funny.

Question: It’s also a bit political. Which side do you fall on?

Joe: I try to mock all sides equally, though I am sure there is a slant in there somewhere. The goal is more to point out the absurdities of certain aspects of different ideologies. The behaviors on the extremes are good fodder for humor.

Question: What tells you that you achieved your goals in “Methane Wars?”

Joe: When people tell me that it is too subtle and someone might not know it’s not real. I guess it’s good satire when people have to be told it’s satire. Like when people post articles from The Onion or other satire sights because they thought they were real.

Question: What if I don’t read your book? Will that make you feel sad?

Joe: No. But I could add you to the list of 8 billion other people haven’t read it as well if that would make you feel better?

Question: I’m sure it would.

 

You can find the book here:

“Methane Wars: A Fable”

 

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00C0EVC8S

and Joe’s Website (I strongly recommend you check it out)

http://fortressofdissolitude.wordpress.com/

 

Thank you, Joe, for guesting today! I loved the interview, it was so much fun 🙂

Wild Iris Ridge Blog Tour, review and Top Ten Bucket List by RaeAnne Thayne

 

wildirisWelcome to my tour stop for Wild Iris Ridge by RaeAnne Thayne. This is an adult contemporary romance published by Harlequin.

 

The tour runs July 21-31 with reviews, author interviews and guest posts.

 

Make sure to check out the Tour Page & Schedule.

 

Wild Iris Ridge_author photo

 

Wild Iris Ridge by RaeAnne Thayne

 

Release: July 2014

 

Imprint: Harlequin HQN

 

ISBN: 978-0-373-77859-1

 

Pages: 352

 

Description:

 

A big-city, high-powered advertising executive and a small-town firefighter learn that no matter where you started or what you’ve lost, if you open your heart, you can find joy and love again. WILD IRIS RIDGE is the latest book in USA TODAY bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne’s charming Hope’s Crossing series.

 

Lucy Drake and Brendan Caine have only one thing in common.And it’s likely to tear them apart. Because it was Brendan’s late wife, Jessie—and Lucy’s best friend—who’d brought them together in the first place. And since Jesse’s passing, Brendan’s been distracted by his two little ones…and the memory of an explosive kiss with Lucy years before his marriage. Still, he’ll steer clear of her. She’s always been trouble with a capital T.

 

Lucy couldn’t wait to shed her small-town roots for the big city. But now that she’s back in Hope’s Crossing to take care of the Queen Anne home her late aunt has left her, she figures seeing Brendan Caine again is no big deal. After all, she’d managed to resist the handsome fire chief once before, but clearly the embers of their attraction are still smoldering…

 

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | IndieBound | The Book Depository

 

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Best-selling author RaeAnne Thayne

Author bio:

 

USA TODAY bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne loves words. This led her to a fifteen-year career in journalism as a newspaper reporter and editor. But through it all, she dreamed of writing the kind of stories she loved best, romance, and has since published more than 40 titles. RaeAnne finds inspiration in the rugged northern Utah mountains, where she lives with her hero of a husband and their children. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website,RaeAnneThayne.com.

 

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Giveaway:

 

Hopes-Crossing-Giveaway-Banner a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Organized by:

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RaeAnn’s Top Ten List

Top ten things on her bucket list:

This was hard! Most of mine have to do with travel, because it’s one of my favorite things. Boring, I know J I could easily have filled a top-100 list of places I want to visit in the world … and then some!
 
1) Travel to all 50 states. I’ve been to about 30 so still have a ways to go.
 
2) Buy a beachhouse somewhere warm (Hawaii would be my preference if I had a zillion dollars!) and spend the winters there.
 
3) Visit every country in Europe
 
4) Hike to the top of the Wellsville Ridge, which is a very steep mountain near me
 
5) Spend the night in Sleeping Beauty’s castle at Disney World
 
6) Cruise around the world
 
7) Move to Italy for six months to write, take cooking classes, embrace the culture
 
8) See one of my books made into a movie. A girl can dream, right?!
 
9) Spoil my grandchildren (if I ever get any)
 
10) Keep my favorite quote in mind while I write: “I may not change the world, but I can change someone’s afternoon”
Here is my review of Wild Iris Ridge:

5 Stars

This book has the same, comfortable and welcoming feel as the previous books in the Hope’s Crossing series. I settled into this story easily, falling in love with the town all over again and happy to be back with familiar characters that made me feel warm inside.

There is quite a lot of romantic tension in this novel and the main characters are the kind of people that you just know should be together from the very beginning, although naturally, that does not happen right away.

I loved the idea of Iris house being so important to Lucy. After the loss of two people that she loved dearly and the shattering of her own life, what better place could there be to come home to? The idea of a family residence becoming a bed and breakfast and all of the townspeople chipping in to help make a dream come true as well as a match between two very stubborn people endeared me to this story.

RaeAnne Thayne has such a magical quality to her writing. She can make you believe in second chances, love at first sight and the power of the human spirit. If you enjoy reading romances that are not only plausible, but have characters that make you want to keep coming back, then you will love Wild Iris Ridge.

I like it when characters have a history together and they take the time to learn about one another again after a long period of separation. This happened here and I really felt like the author explored her character’s emotions and thought about what would happen if the situation were real. Their reactions to one another were at times funny, sweet and sexy. This is the kind of romance that I like to read.

Charming and memorable.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

 

*Thank you so much, RaeAnne, for appearing on the blog. Thank you to everyone who checked out this lovely book today and please remember to visit the other stops on the blog tour! Lots of great people to meet:)

Mirror Interview # 4 Rishika S.

Thank you so much Rishika, for joining us on Readful Things today. It is so much fun to get a glimpse into the mind of an author and learn about their process. If you would like to do your own mirror interview, please email me from my contact me page here on the blog. Thanks everyone, and please take a moment to check out her work and spread the word!

 

Tell us a little about you and your work.

My name is Rishika and I publish under the name of Rishika S. My first piece of published fiction is One Chance. It’s a short story based around the life of a married couple that is torn apart by deceit. The story follows their path to finding trust and love again. A Bond Unbroken is another love story, and is based on the reunion of two people who had been greatly in love but were forced to take different paths in life. Both of them are short stories that fall in the genre of love stories – the kind of books that you would read while travelling, on holiday, or if you wanted to read something quick.

So how do these story ideas come to you?

Most times, any one scene from the story will play itself out in my head. This generally happens through my dreams. I see these vivid dreams that come with their own back stories and that, I know, will lead somewhere. And if I remember them long enough after waking up to write down some pointers, I have a starting point around which the entire story falls into place.

You have a scene, you have an idea of a story surrounding it – then what? Do you write a haphazard first draft, just getting it all out there, or do you detail an outline? What is your writing process?

I generally just work on it in my head, forming connections and subplots until it all comes together. A lot of research goes on during this phase which often aids the process. Sometimes, I may make a brief outline. But mostly, I’ll just start writing. I write individual scenarios and bring them together and I also write from beginning to end. But I’ve never done a first draft as such. Most of my work is already quite ready to be read and structured. I guess the first draft is getting cleaned up in my head itself.

But you do follow through the outline you’ve set, whether down on paper or not?

Not necessarily. The odd thing is that you create characters, you give them personalities, and then they just start behaving the way a real person with those personalities would. The characters can turn a story differently than I’d planned – basically take a different route to get where the story needs to. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t. But I always go along with it just to see if it works better than what I’d thought of, and I’ve very often found myself agreeing with the paths they choose. That is actually the most beautiful part about writing a story. You create people, and they live out their own lives, just about following the idea you have. That’s what makes a story great, in my opinion. You have to really associate with your own characters if you want others to do so. And I want people to associate with my characters and their emotions. Only then can they associate with their situations and with the story. I want my characters to feel as alive to the readers as they do to me. I’ve found that from the many books I’ve read; the ones I’ve loved are the ones in which the characters just pull you in, all on their own. It was reading such books that made me want to write so that I could create that kind of pull in readers.

So do you think that reading is essential to being a good author?

Immensely! I think that if you don’t read, you can’t write. I read a lot as a kid, and still do. I miss reading when I need to take a break so that I can concentrate on writing. Reading is a major part of me; it’s what made me want to write. It’s what successfully pulls me out of writer’s block – just taking a break and reading for a couple of days. And there are some fantastic authors out there, who make reading not a hobby, but an experience that you live out with the characters.

If you could meet any author, past or present, who would it be and why?

J.R.R. Tolkien, because he is one author who writes beautifully and whose work, to me, is charming. His work is truly unique.

Michael Crichton, because he made me love science fiction even though I had always disliked science as a subject in school. But more importantly because his character development is brilliant – he really knows how to depict human beings and he does it so subtly that you won’t even realize it’s happening. That is why you can love, hate, and feel for his characters.

Stephen King, because from the little of his work that I’ve read (I’m really scared of reading horrors, but I’ve tried his books), and from the many quotes and interviews of his that I’ve read, I think he’s a brilliant man who voices his thoughts in a quirky, but very honest manner; and I think he’d be a great conversationalist. And I think anyone could learn a lot from him.

Let’s look at the opposite end for a moment – are there any authors, or even characters (since they’re the ones that make or break a story for you) that, given the chance, you would… I don’t know… punch in the face?

Quite a few actually. The first would be Bella, from Twilight. I’ve read the books, and I just couldn’t like her. The entire clumsy, modern damsel in constant distress needing rescuing thing didn’t work from me. Her need for a guy’s support at all times, the way she breaks down when Edward leaves, was all a bit over the top. I mean, a normal woman, I think, would pick herself up and move on. The second would be Edward Cullen – only because he sparkles like diamonds. I mean, come on! You’re a vampire! And Dracula is one of my favourite books. So I just can’t digest this new twist on the ‘why vampires can’t get out in the sun’ thing. I’m even okay with the ‘I hunt only animals’, though vampires don’t exactly have consciences, but that’s creative liberty. But shining like diamonds – nope, sorry! As someone who loved Bram Stoker’s Dracula, that’s a bit much to take. My third choice would be Frodo Baggins. Odd, I know, but not because I hated him. In fact, I thought the way his character is influenced by the ring and the way he begins to slowly change was awesome. I just feel so bad for him – he was a good guy who was entrusted with something that began to break him. And I’d punch him in the hopes of breaking him out of that spell (even though it wouldn’t work).

You clearly don’t like the Twilight saga! What about another series that has garnered just as much popularity – the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy? You must have tried that one?

I did actually, but I couldn’t really get past the first half of the first book. It had nothing to do with the theme. BDSM has been around before Fifty Shades and will continue to be around. In fact, it’s an interesting genre to read too. But there was something about the story that just dragged on and I just couldn’t bring myself to finish it, making it only the third book I’ve ever left midway! The same goes with the Twilight saga. Vampire fiction has always been popular. I’ve read others in the genre like Katherine Sorin’s City of Lights trilogy which I really liked (the vampires were all gory and bloodthirsty in those, fitting my idea of a vampire). And there is nothing wrong with the Twilight saga or the Fifty shades trilogy. They really work for some people and, like all books, have been created through effort which I respect. But I just can’t associate with them, or really like them either.

Say you were hanging off a cliff and the only way to save yourself was to read either Twilight or Fifty Shades of Grey. Which one would it be?

I’d brace myself for the fall! No, but seriously, can I watch the Twilight movies instead? That way, I get popcorn and save a lot of time… and my life!

You like giving honest reviews. But what would you do if someone gave your work a bad review?

I’d recognize that just how I can’t like every author’s work, not every reader can like mine. But like every storyteller, there are stories that I can tell in my own way which is different from others. And those that like my way, will like my work. You cannot please everyone, that’s part of every writer’s life. Accepting that isn’t easy. But I think I’ll get there with some effort.

Do you plan on continuing with short, love stories or is something else coming up?

I’m not genre limited. I write what comes to me. So I’ve got a lot of ideas for romances, fantasy, and mysteries and thrillers, which happens to be one of my favourite genres. But right now, I’m working on a full length novel – a historical fiction based in 700 CE, India, which should be up for sale end of this year or early next year.

Last question before we wrap up – how can one know more about you?

To know more about my work and me, you can visit any of the following links to my Facebook, Goodreads, and Amazon author pages.

http://on.fb.me/R4HfLU

http://bit.ly/1ga5Hkp

http://amzn.to/1oOt1h5