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Interview with Doug Dandridge — Exodus: The Day of Battle

Doug Dandridge was born in Venice Florida in 1957, the son of a Florida native and a mother of French Canadian descent. An avid reader from an early age, His military experience includes Marine Corps JROTC, Active Duty Army, and the Florida National Guard.  Doug concentrates on intelligent science fiction and fantasy in which there is always hope, no matter how hard the situation. 

Interview with Doug DandridgeDoug2 
author of Exodus: The Day of Battle
7/17/2014

I was wondering where you get your story ideas?

I have been reading since I was a small child, with the earliest real adult book being Citizen of the Galaxy by Robert Heinlein.  I was six.  After that it was Robert E Howard, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Michael Moorcock, and more Heinlein.  I also watched a lot of movies, and most of the scifi and fantasy movies of that era were pretty bad, with some exceptions.  To this day I still read a lot of books and see a lot of movies.  And watch a lot of History Channel and other learning venues, as well as superhero cartoons and TV series on Netflix.  After fiction, my next biggest reading area is military history, learning about the ways people fought in many past eras, from chariot warfare in the Middle East to the newest thing just on the horizon.  Historical fiction is also up there, especially Bernard Cornwell and the C S Lewis classics like Horatio Hornblower.  Then there’s the college coursework.  I majored in Geology at one time at Florida State, and finished with a minor in Biology and a major in Psychology.  Then it was graduate coursework in Clinical Psychology at Alabama.  I finished all the coursework and clinical time for a PhD, but never got past the Masters.  Long story there.  Add to that time in the Army and National Guard, working as a psychometrist and therapist, delivering pizzas, managing restaurants.  I guess I could go on and on

The important thing is that there is an awful lot of knowledge and memories bouncing around in my brain.  I have an exceptional episodic memory, remembering life events, scenes in movies, all kinds of stuff.  Usual I come up with a basic idea from some outside source, and the filling in just seems to happen.  Ideas stick to ideas, and more ideas come along to bolster those, until I have something that looks cool to me.  This happens all the time.  I will never have the time to write all the ideas I have into stories.  In a way that’s too bad, but I guess it’s a good problem to have.  Oh, and many of my ideas come from really bad treatments of ideas in movies and books.  A sort of, I can’t believe how stupid that was, maybe I can do better. 1 2 3 4 5

What is the usual process for your fiction writing? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I have actually done both for complete novels.  I have outlined, I have used 3 X 5 cards to order scenes, and I have developed extensive character sheets.  I have also just jumped right in with just the merest idea for character and plot and let the novel develop.  But even when I had an outline, I would also change things in mid-stream just to see how they would develop.  I remember in the second Refuge novel, having two Earth born mages about to fight the invading dragons.  Now the scene I had in mind would have work, but instead, somewhere into the fourth paragraph or so, I thought, ‘why not make Katherine go mad with all the power coursing through her body, and then David has to fight her instead of the dragons that are rampaging over the valley.’  So the story went from there, and it changed the viewpoints and the actions of many of the other characters from then on in that book.

After reading the experiences of some writer friends of mine, I may just have to go back to at least outlining.  One friend went from a book a year to one every two or three months after learning to outline.  I’m not sure it will help me that much, but there have been times I’ve gotten completely lost and wandered for days trying to come up with the next part of the story.   As far as using the cards, those were originally intended to make sure I had enough action sequences scattered throughout the novel, so there would be none of the long boring parts that seem to make up so much of some books.  I think I’ve got that part down, so the couple of hundred colored 3 X 5 cards in my house will just have to take up storage space.Refuge1-2

 

Once you have an idea that sparks your imagination do you research your idea or do any world-building exercises, or do you just begin to write and see where the Muse takes you?

I am an almost obsessive world-builder.  My Refuge books have five graph paper notebooks full of drawings of everything from dragon rider harness to infantry armor, different buildings and forts, etc.  Also many pages of notes, plus almost  million words of background on everything from geography to deities to government.  And the maps.  Maps of the worlds, the hemispheres, continents, countries, even a few cities.  Not all of that information has been used yet, but I have plans. Exodus was much the same.  Line drawings of ships, rooms on ships, armor, maps of worlds.  Information on all of the major worlds of the Empire, the ten largest alien populations within the Empire and what kind of creatures they are, enemies and allies.  Over three graph paper notebooks of information.  Again, not all used, but it gives me a look in depth into the background of the story.

Right now I am working on an idea to pitch to Baen once the first novel is written, based on ancient peoples of Earth in a fantasy land.  I have researched the Gods and Goddesses of the ancient Celts, Norse, Latins, Mongols, etc., and will be doing research on sailing ships, as well as using a lot of information I already have on Renaissance style military forces.  And drawing a big map of an entire hemisphere to know where things are in this world.  In case that idea doesn’t sell, never a sure thing, I am also developing a science fiction tale about a revolution on Mars in the year 2250.  I have had to look up transfer orbits, Mars topography, future weapons, etc.  Fortunately, NASA has a great interactive map of Mars, and there are some programs, like Orbit Explorer, that allows simulations of orbits, as well as giving information on where the planets and asteroids, as well as the major moons, will be in relation to each other in any given day.  In this kind of novel, that information can actually drive the plot, and I have already thought of some twists involving what can and can’t be done based on the motions of the bodies of the solar system.

Other books, such as the Exodus series, do not require much in the way of world-building past the initial volumes.  I already have the characters, the Universe, the ships.  I will make some changes, as it is also a story of evolving technologies during wartime, but not all that much is needed to write the next book.DeepDark4a

 

What is your daily writing time like?

Since my time is my own, I normally do my writing in the evening.  Morning is reading time at breakfast, then an hour in the gym.  I also do whatever marketing or other work I want to do that day.   In the evening I sit at my computer with something on Netflix or a DVD in and start writing.  I normally do about three to five thousand words in an evening, depending on my motivation and where I am in a book.  Toward the end of a novel I really get going, and five thousand words is the norm.  I have three screens to work from.  One has Facebook open, the other my email, and the largest screen, the middle, has Word 2010.  I also open a rendition of Notepad over on the Facebook screen and put the names of recurring characters, ships, planets, whatever on it, so I don’t have to go back searching through the document for words I might not remember.  I also have Sage open, to check out wrds tht spellcheck might not recognize.

If I have two projects going at once, like now, I will spend a couple of hours on rewrites of the manuscript I have already gotten to or past first draft status.  Then I will work on the new novel, trying to get it to first draft status.  The first rewrite is normally just the fixing of errors or adding new material that bridges gaps.  I rarely cut words, mostly add.Daemon

 

Are you a full time writer? If so when did you make the decision and what factors led to the decision? If you are not a full time writer…Is your plan to one day being a full time writer?

I became a full time writer in March of 2013.  I was working for the State of Florida, writing on the side, and Exodus: Books 1 and 2, which were released within a month of each other.  In December 2012 I sold almost 4,800 ebooks, in January 2013 over 8,500.  It was quite thrilling to see books 1 and 2 selling a combined two hundred copies a day.  My income from sales that month was over five times what I was making from my State salary.  I thought then that I could make a living at this.  I told my supervisor that I would probably be leaving the next fall.  Then, in February, I sold 5,600 books, and told my supervisor that I would be leaving in April.  I turned in my resignation at the beginning of March of 2013, after figuring that I could do at least as well on 2,000 sales a month as I was making from the State of Florida.  I have never regretted that decision.Aura

 

Can you tell us about your experience working with your current publisher? (Any other publishers?) (Or your self-publishing experiences?)

At the moment I am totally self-published, though I have some hope of getting a contract from Baen in the future.  As long as I can keep my Exodus series going as a self pub to keep income coming in.  That’s the great thing about being self-published with enough of a loyal fan base to keep me going.  I have no sense of desperation, like I had for some many years when I was sending in manuscript and manuscript into publishers and agents.  Now the ball is in my court, and I can take offers that I want, and ignore those that make no sense.  If I get a contract from a book I like, and it’s not something I can live with, I can just turn it down without really losing anything.  Then I can publish that manuscript on my own.  One of the things I would insist on is keeping some of my self pubbed series going as self pubbed, and getting good terms for my rights.

Self-publishing is not always that easy.  It takes a lot of work to get attention, and not every book I put out is successful.  But I get to write what I want to, and  to me that is the ultimate perk.  I am my own production company, making my own covers from stock art, formatting, blogging and tweeting.  The first eight months as a self-published author I sold about forty books.  Since then I have sold 91,000 in a little under twenty-three months.  Kevin J Anderson calls me an outlier, and I understand how lucky I have been to be where I am today.  Being a good story teller is not enough.  I can’t tell anyone that they will make it, but the opportunity is there.

 

6What is your current release and (without spoilers) tell us about the new book or series.

My latest release was the sixth book of my Exodus: Empire at War series, title The Day of Battle.  The series is about humankind fleeing its destruction at the hands of a technologically superior alien race.  They set up ten thousand light years away from their home and begin establishing an Empire over a thousand year period.  And then the old enemy finds them, still more advanced, though not nearly as much, and still the possessors of the much larger Empire.  But the humans have never lost a war since inhabiting their current space.  Exodus is about the war between Empires, one which neither one can afford to lose.  Defeat for the humans means extermination.  Defeat for the Ca’cadasans means the end of their Empire, as humanity cannot afford to let these aliens fight to a stalemate.  I try to present as developed an imaginary world as possible, using as many real physical principles as I can. The combat I detailed and intense, and has been compared to David Weber and John Ringo.

The main storyline follows the life of a young man who is the third son of the seated Emperor, and who has never thought to ascend to the throne.  He is forced to grow up and into the role of Emperor, and become the warrior his people need to win their war.  Book 7 will be coming out in August, with a spin off book in the fall.  I think I have established a large enough fictional Universe in the series, that I will be able to do at least twenty books with the main storyline and spinoffs.

 

Can you tell us about some of your other writing (fiction or nonfiction) and any appearances or signings that you have planned?

Refuge is a series about the human race transported into a dimension of fantasy, having to battle the archetypes of  their dreams and nightmares. The enemy has magic, dragons, and creatures of the night.  The humans?  Tanks, attack helicopters, even a trio of nukes.  But the technology only is useful for a short period of time, and eventually the humans must adapt all the lessons of history to fight the evil ruler of the land.

The Deep Dark Well is a trilogy about a Kuiper Belt Miner from the twenty-first century who is force to jump through a wormhole , forty thousand years into the future.  She finds herself on an enormous space station orbiting around a black hole.  The station was used to generate the wormholes that linked a Galactic civilization has since fallen.  Pandora must save the superman who was both the architect and victim of that event.  The trilogy continues with the pair battling the usurpers who would make the Galaxy their own, while trying to reestablish Galactic civilization.

Afterlife2Afterlife is about people wanting to live forever in virtual reality, their battle to survive against those who feel they are blaspheming the power of their God.

Daemon is a steampunk fantasy about a world killing itself with the magic it needs to survive.

The Hunger is an urban fantasy about an avenging vampire who preys on the kind of men who tormented her in life.

Shadows of the Multiverse is a tale of space warfare, Godlike beings, and quantum physics.

71TXCXbb6DL._SL1500_We Are Death, Come for You is a story of alien invasion in the 29th century.

Aura:  Triplets are born in a dark land.  One is doomed to have her soul consumed by an evil god, unless she can be saved by her brothers.

And several others.

Also have short stories coming out in two anthologies: Bellator, a short story collection about warriors, to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project; and a novella for the next edition of Kevin J Anderson’s Five by Five Military Sci-fi Anthology.

As far as appearances and signings, I sell well enough online that I really haven’t thought about selling physical books at cons.  Right now I don’t think I am well enough known to really warrant signings and appearances.  I will be going to DragonCon and HonorCon as an attendee, and am hoping to get professional status for LibertyCon next year.  Beyond that, all my travels will be to workshops where I will try to learn more about the craft and business of writing from people like David Farland, Kevin Anderson, Rebecca Moesta, Hugh Howie, Dean Wesley Smith and Kristin Kathryn Rusch in place like Atlanta, Colorado Springs and the coast of Oregon.

 

As an author what inspiration or advice would you give to a writer who is working to make the transition to Author?

Keep trying and don’t give up. Write what you want to write,  not what some writing guru says is the next big thing.  They are not always correct, and, in fact, are wrong more often that right.  Put out a work you would want to read.  If you think it’s boring, most others probably would as well. Borrow techniques from other writers, and remember that ideas are not copyrighted, only the treatments of those ideas.  And as soon as you finish one novel start on the next.  Don’t pour five years into a project thinking it’s a sure thing.   There are no sure things, only chances and opportunities.  Don’t let rejection and bad reviews dissuade you.  And learn the business.  I am sure there are a lot of writers with books out that are not getting sales because they just haven’t been noticed.  And getting noticed takes work.51KhYGJzNwL

 

Who is your favorite author, and can you recommend a book by that author?

I have so many favorite authors, I could write thousands of words on them.  Poul Anderson, Larry Niven, David Weber, R A Salvatore.  Really, my favorite at a time might be who I happen to be reading at that time.  So one favorite?  You know, I still go back and read Robert E Howard from time to time, and the man was a master of setting a scene, making it as dark as possible, and spinning a hell of an adventure story from there.   He also had quite the range.  His horror was as good as anything that Lovecraft ever produced.  And his humor?  Read the Breckinridge Elkins westerns and I can almost guarantee you will be rolling on the floor.  Boxing tales, Vikings, he did it all.  One of the most productive authors of all time, whose early death deprived us of so many works.  I still love reading the Conan and Kull books, but for a recommendation?  There is a collection of ninety-nine short stories for $.99,the best deal on Amazon.  I think it was called the Robert E Howard Compendium, and you get a variety of his work, horror, sword and sorcery, boxing, westerns, enough to really partake of the genius of the man.

If you would like more information about Doug Dandridge you can find his books on Amazon, and updates about his writing on Facebook Twitter, Blog, and on his website.

 

Interview with Matthew Phillion — The Indestructibles

Author of The Indestructibles, part-time actor, and occasional filmmaker. Matthew is currently on the lam in Salem with his trusty hound, Watson.

Interview with Matthew Phillion 
author of The Indestructibles
7/10M J P/2014

I was wondering where you get your story ideas?
A little bit of everywhere, really. Because “The Indestructibles” is an homage, a lot of ideas come from the sort of stories I wanted to tell growing up reading comics. But the best part about writing comic book-style stories is that your sources of inspiration can be anything—where else can you tinker with magic, time travel, aliens, and monsters while simultaneously tackling concepts like family and responsibility? Almost every day I come across something that makes me think: I’ve got to weave that into my story somehow.

What is the usual process for your fiction writing? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
A little bit of both. I’m a pantser by nature. I’m not big on planning in my day to day life. But with “The Indestructibles” I had to be more of a plotter, because there were so many moving parts I needed to work with and resolve by story’s end. I didn’t do a traditional outline, but rather used Post-Its on a piece of poster board with different chapters and plot points written on them, so I could move them around depending on if I had to alter where or when something happens in the story. I’d pull the Post-It down as I finished each chapter, which felt like I was accomplishing something… except I always found a reason to add a new note to replace the one I just took down.

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For The Indestructibles, since it had multiple characters sharing the spotlight and often had simultaneous events happening, I storyboarded it out on Post-It notes so I could move plot points around.

Once you have an idea that sparks your imagination do you research your idea or do any world-building exercises, or do you just begin to write and see where the Muse takes you?
You almost have to do world-building in this genre—it’s helpful to have a consistent idea how science and magic works in these stories. But to tell you the truth I had to curb my tendency toward world-building this time, because I knew world-building would cause me to get obsessive and bogged down and I wanted a very streamlined, fast-paced story. The characters are young, so that allowed me to build the world through their eyes.

What is your daily writing time like?
As a journalist I’m always writing, but writing “The Indestructibles” took it to another level for me. I would sit down in the evening, around six o’clock or so, and write until I couldn’t see straight. I was working at an extreme pace, several thousand words a day, and I really did just cut myself off from the world for an undetermined set of hours. I’d often end the writing session and really want to talk to someone, anyone, about what I’d been working on, and I’d find it was 2 a.m. and I was the only one awake!

1898271_1469990499882858_588247830_n

This stage is when it starts to feel surreal.

Are you a full time writer? If so when did you make the decision and what factors led to the decision? If you are not a full time writer…Is your plan to one day being a full time writer?
I’m not (yet) a full time fiction writer. I do write for a living in other areas as a journalist, which I’m very proud of, but I certainly wouldn’t complain if I could give that all up and just write books the rest of my life! I’m hoping with “The Indestructibles” and its potential sequels I can transition away from other writing to focus on fiction. It’s been a life’s goal. I wouldn’t give up all writing, though—I’ve had several screenplays produced over the years and find scriptwriting a wonderful variation on novel-writing. The two are amazingly different art forms.

Can you tell us about your experience working with your current publisher? (Any other publishers?) (Or your self-publishing experiences?)
My publisher is PFP Publishing/AJAR Contemporaries, a small but really impressive independent publisher based north of Boston. I’ve worked in the textbook publishing world previously and so I thought I knew a lot about book publishing, but fiction and textbooks are very different animals, even if they share a lot of the same DNA. I thought about self-publishing or trying to catch the attention of a bigger publisher, but I have to say, going with a small, independent publisher was the best thing I could have done. PFP was experienced navigating the nitty-gritty parts of publishing a rookie self-publishing author might struggle with, but they are attentive and invested in the success of my book and treat their authors incredibly fairly. I’m really glad they took a chance on me, and I took a chance with them as well.

Indestructibles PR coverWhat is your current release and (without spoilers) tell us about the new book or series.
“The Indestructibles” just published in the spring, but we’ve heard from so many readers about a sequel that we’ve already got plans to get Book 2 out and in the hands of readers soon. I’m already working on the second book, which I’d had plotted out even before the first book was finished. The release date is still TBD as we want to make sure we put out the best possible story for the readers and not rush things.

Can you tell us about some of your other writing (fiction or nonfiction) and any appearances or signings that you have planned?
Before writing “The Indestructibles,” my biggest project was the feature film “Certainly Never,” a romantic comedy-drama about infidelity and the stupid things people do to try to find their happiness. I pulled triple duty on that as writer, director, and actor. I jokingly called myself a “triple threat” when that happened and a good friend said something I’ll never forget: “being called a threat isn’t a good thing!” Writing a novel was amazingly solitary project after such a big communal effort of directing a film.
I’ve worked for different healthcare publishing companies as a writer and editor and a gaggle of local newspapers as well. In the old days I wrote for a couple of now-defunct comic book industry online magazines, so getting back into the superhero business has been a really fun return to form.
I will have tables at the upcoming Boston ComicCon in August, Granite State ComicCon in Manchester, NH, in September and Rhode Island ComicCon as well in November. I’m hoping to book some additional appearances during the convention season as well both in New England and beyond.

As an author what inspiration or advice would you give to a writer who is working to make the transition to Author?
Don’t wait for someone to tell you to write. If you have a story, dive in and tell it. Everything else comes later. I often have people ask me if I think an idea is worth writing. There’s really no right way to do it. Dig in, find your voice, and don’t lock it away. And write what interests you. Your first audience member is yourself. If you love what you’re working on, you’ll be that much more successful in making sure you stick with it. And if you’re entertaining yourself, hopefully that means you’re writing something that will entertain others as well!

Who is your favorite author, and can you recommend a book by that author?
Wow. So many writers to mention. It’d be criminal for me not to say Robert B. Parker. I basically learned how to read and write by getting hooked on Parker’s Spenser series, which begins with “The Godwulf Manuscript.” I still want to be Spenser when I grow up. But if I can be selfish and mention someone else more recent, Joe Abercrombie is a heck of a fantasy writer. His novels take all the basic themes of fantasy and turn them brutally on their head in ways that are violent, surprising, and often uproariously funny. “The Blade Itself” is the first in that series and I’d recommend starting there since while his stripped-down storytelling doesn’t require you to read all of the books in order, there are some fantastic in-jokes that continue throughout each book if you jump in at the start. He’s brilliant.

If you would like more information about Matthew Phillion you can find his books on Amazon, and updates about his writing on Facebook , Twitter, and on his website.

Pick up your copy today at these fine retailers.

Pick up your copy today at these fine retailers.

Interview with Kat Yares — The Well

Kat Yares has been writing fiction her entire adult life. She is an author, screenwriter, indie movie maker and amateur photographer. Her short fiction has appeared in numerous print publications and online. She was first accepted into the Horror Writers Association in 2001 and remains a member today. Her fiction is primarily in the horror/thriller genres. Unlike many, she writes horror not to gross out or startle her readers, but to make them think. Most of her stories are mind games and deal with mans (or woman’s) inhumanity to man (or woman).

 Profile picInterview with Author Kat Yares 
author of The Well.
6/3/2014

 

I was wondering where you get your story ideas?
My story ideas come from everywhere.  A show on TV, the news, real life and an active imagination.

 

What is the usual process for your fiction writing? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I am a plotter for the most part.  I generally have a good idea of the progression from point a to point b – but don’t always know exactly how I’m going to get there.

 

91Zmz1D9wAL._SL1500_Once you have an idea that sparks your imagination do you research your idea or do any world-building exercises, or do you just begin to write and see where the Muse takes you?
Again, mostly I just figure out how to get from point to point in the story I want to tell.  Research is generally left for the revision.  My main goal is to get the story on paper.

 

What is your daily writing time like?91Bec-wTw5L._SL1500_
After the better half leaves for work, I begin my day by checking emails, social media and other online things.  Then, generally, I get the product and book reviews done that are needing attention.  If I have web content to work on, that comes next.  After a break for breakfast, lunch or dinner (depending on his shift), then I focus on fiction.

 

Are you a full time writer? If so when did you make the decision and what factors led to the decision. If you are not a full time writer…Is your plan to one day being a full time writer?
I have been writing full time since 2002.  The web content helps to pay the bills – I’d probably starve if not for that and ‘that’ man working full time.

 

untitledCan you tell us about your experience working with your current publisher? (Any other publishers?) (Or your self-publishing experiences?)
I usually attempt to get my short stories into various anthologies, if they fit the theme.  My longer works have all been self-published.  I like the control, the royalties and because they are a very niche market – a traditional publisher probably would not even consider them.

 

What is your current release and (without spoilers) tell us about the new book or series.
My latest release was a novellete titled “The Well”.  I would classify it as a supernatural horror story.  From the cover blurb, when young widowed, Sarah Lewis, discovers why the water has stopped flowing from her water well, she is in disbelief. But when the mythical creature holding back the water tells her the price to get it flowing again, Sarah is in abject terror. Can she find a solution before the thing devours her young son?

 

Can you tell us about some of your other writing (fiction or nonfiction) and any appearances or signings that you have planned?91mjOdYWLVL._SL1500_
Currently have four stories in process.  I’m not sure yet whether they will end up as novellas or full novels.  I’m always taking notes for stories to be told in the future.  With any luck, I’ll get at least one of those four completed this month during CampNaNo.  First, I have to solve some computer issues I’m having though.

 

As an author what inspiration or advice would you give to a writer who is working to make the transition to Author?
Write for yourself.  Do not measure your success by the money you make, measure instead by the knowledge that at least other people are wanting to read your words, your story.71ITjzJT0iL._SL1500_

Who is your favorite author, and can you recommend a book by that author?
Favorite author – well, there are actually two.  Billie Sue Mosiman writes in multiple genres – her latest, “The Grey Matter” is an edge of the couch, page turning suspense novel.
Robert McCammon fills the other spot.  I’ll read anything that man writes, but his best in my mind is “Swan Song”.  I read it at least once a year.

If you would like more information about Kat Yares you can find her books on  AmazonTwitter, and on her blog.

Interview with T. Mike McCurley – Firedrake

T. Mike McCurley lives in a quaint suburb of Oklahoma City, but superhero and action prose pour from his battered laptop. Mike’s imagination created the Emergence – a worldwide explosion of metahumanity. This birthed his popular character, Francis Drake, an Emerged cop born in the form of a humanoid dragon.  

photoInterview with T.Mike McCurley 
author of Firedrake 
6/26/2014

I was wondering where you get your story ideas?
It’s one of those things where I can see a sight, hear a song, or a particular sound even, and it makes me wonder about a certain thing, which leads me to daydream some weird series of events. I usually just snag one of those events and run with it. I grab random pictures from the Internet: landscapes, people, odd scenes. I try to imagine what is going on there or how it could be twisted in some way and then see where that thought process leads. I am a huge daydreamer, and I link thoughts in patterns that often make little sense. My train of thought derails every few minutes.

What is the usual process for your fiction writing? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Usually I have an idea of what might happen and a general direction I want the story to follow. Sometimes I even have an ending in mind before I start. Generally, though, I run with things as they come up. My characters often direct themselves in the story. Yeah, I know that is kind of a cliche, but it’s true. Once you know the personality of your character (and you’d better before you try to write them), they can easily turn one situation into another. What you as a writer expected to lead to point A, the character tells you should – by their own kind of logic – lead to point Q. Sometimes, this is more trouble than I expected when I began the tale, but it also opens up vast possibilities. I am experimenting with developing a more detailed plot prior to beginning the actual writing process, and I hope to see the results of that soon.drake1

Once you have an idea that sparks your imagination do you research your idea or do any world-building exercises, or do you just begin to write and see where the Muse takes you?
If I have questions about something then I will research it, at least to the point that I know what I’m dealing with. Well, I say that, but lets be honest: sometimes I fake it. I won’t just make up, for example, how an internal combustion engine functions, but I will happily lie about the systems involved in the Hyper-Quantum Fusion Projection Cannon created by former Armscorp Omega weapons engineer The Mechanic. There is a certain amount of lenience allowable, I believe, but I do try to make things seem close to what reality would be…if reality included my characters.
I am looking into the possibility of building an entirely new background and separate universe of super-types, and for that, the world-building process has definitely begun. The ideas I have for it are far darker than those I have explored in the Emergence setting.firedrake2

What is your daily writing time like?
I write when I have the time and inclination. At the moment, I am not devoting specific time every day to the task. I am not, as opposed to many I know, a full time author. I write to settle that voice inside me that demands a story be told. There are times I wish it spoke to me more often, or in a louder tone, but I will take what I can get. I have a full time job and a family, and I write ‘on the side’, as it were.

firedrake3Are you a full time writer? If so when did you make the decision and what factors led to the decision. If you are not a full time writer…Is your plan to one day being a full time writer?
It was once a dream of mine to be an author, and of course that dream blossoms again from time to time, but I think for now I am happy simply creating and seeing where the story takes me. When I write a story, I have fun with it, and part of me fears that if it ever became my sole source of income, that the joy would vanish from it. If ever anything of mine takes off, then I will happily run with it until it becomes not fun. That’s kind of my personal acid test: Is the writing fun? If not, then I say, “Better to chuck it and go shooting.”

Can you tell us about your experience working with your current publisher? (Any other publishers?) (Or your self-publishing experiences?)
When I first started throwing letters on a page, I submitted a story to a superhero fiction website. Matt Heibert took a chance on my writing. The stories I published there formed the backbone of my Emergence universe. Soon after, Nick Ahlhelm accepted the first Firedrake story to his Metahuman Press website, and they ran there for roughly three years. Both Matt and Nick were great to work with. Between the two of them I met people whose writing I admire to this day, and with whom it has been my immense pleasure to work on occasion.
I later threw my collected works into POD form and then dropped them onto Amazon as well. I’ve enjoyed working with Amazon, believe it or not. Yes, all the work is mine if I want to promote it, but I’m also not beholden to anyone else for anything that crops up. I deal with the issues myself.
When we in the Pen and Cape Society put out a recent anthology, I got the privilege of dealing with Ian Healy over at Local Hero Press. He showed great poise in working with me. I know several people who would gladly tell you how much they would rather stick their fingers in a fan than deal with me, so…thanks, Ian!Goodfight

What is your current release and (without spoilers) tell us about the new book or series.
I have begun work on the fourth volume of Firedrake, and hopefully he will see fit to tell me more about himself so that I might put a fifth out as well…or one day even a tenth. As long as people enjoy it, and I have fun with it, I see no reason to stop.
I was an early member of the Pen and Cape Society, a cabal of writers whose works feature superhero prose. We have recently released an anthology of short stories and offered it for free to get the public acquainted with our works. You can find THE GOOD FIGHT at Smashwords if you would like to take a look. It includes a previously unseen Firedrake short, plus a dozen other stories by authors whose stories are above and beyond what folks would expect in a genre oft-maligned as belonging in the kids’ section of the bookstore. As I said to someone the other day, “These ain’t comic books, pal.”

Can you tell us about some of your other writing (fiction or nonfiction) and any appearances or signings that you have planned?
I am currently revising and completing an earlier work: Skyfall, which is the story of the aftermath of a worldwide meteor storm and the reactions of several involved parties. It is a tale of survival in a world devastated by a cosmic event, told from the points of view of a group of Boy Scouts, a radio pirate, a combat reporter, a movie star and her bodyguard, and numerous other people. Each has a story of their own, but it is how the stories converge that will make all the difference. Skyfall was originally begun as an internet serial, but after discussion with some interested parties, it is being resurrected from the ages and brought to completion.

emergenceAs an author what inspiration or advice would you give to a writer who is working to make the transition to Author?
First let me say I don’t usually use the word Author to describe myself – although now that you mention it, it would look pretty sweet embossed on a business card. I’m a writer. I write things. Sometimes those things actually make sense. That being said, my advice to those wishing to be the published author types is as follows: Don’t stop writing. Read all you can. Find your style and stick with it, and use it to tell those stories that scream inside your brain to be told. Most of all, be ready to be rejected. Writing is a world where you will be at times quite casually told, “You’re just not good enough.” You have to be ready for that. It hurts, because you’ve just handed someone something that came from your heart and essentially they’re spitting on it. Bear in mind, most publishers will not be this blunt, and frequently its not that your story sucks, but that it doesn’t match what they’re looking for at the moment. Still, it can come with a hefty emotional price. Even self-publishing won’t save you from this. You can just as easily snag a review or even simply an email from a disappointed reader comparing your work to something less impressive than a fast-food menu. Hopefully, that editor, reviewer, or reader leaves you some decent advice on what would make your work better.

Who is your favorite author, and can you recommend a book by that author?
It varies a lot depending on the mood in which I find myself. I’ve been a big fan of H.P. Lovecraft for a long time, and Dan Abnett from over in the UK – he writes a lot for Black Library and Games Workshop; used to script Judge Dredd – is always a big draw.
One of the authors I fall back to more often than not when I simply want to relax and enjoy a good read is David Drake. His military science fiction is a personal favorite, and I can read the “Hammer’s Slammers” series over and over. I think I have owned at least six copies of his book, “Rolling Hot” through the years, so I would recommend that one. A lot.

If you would like more information about T. Mike McCurley you can find his books on Amazon, and updates about his writing on Twitter, at the Pen and Cape Society blog, and on his website.

Interview with Teel James Glenn – The First Synn: The Bloodstone Confidential

As a stuntman, fight choreographer, swordmaster, jouster, illustrator, storyteller, director, bodyguard, and actor Teel James Glenn’s stories have been printed in Mad, Fantasy Tales, Black Belt, Fantasy World Geographic, Blazing Adventures, Tales of Old and Weird Tales. He has over two dozen books and anthologies in print in many genres including steampunk, westerns, mysteries, and science fiction including the bestselling series, The Exceptionals. 

New Headshot5.20.12Interview with Teel James Glenn 
author of The First Synn: 
The Bloodstone Confidential
6/19/2014

I was wondering where you get your story ideas?
Pretty much anywhere. An old TV show that has an interesting plot but I see a different way the ending could have gone, a classic book that I’d like to see in a different context (i.e. a 3 Musketeer type tale in the west or on Mars) or directly out of an existing character- “what did so and so do after the last book I wrote–how did he/she handle the resolution.

What is the usual process for your fiction writing? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Both. Sometimes I have a mood or a scene I feel I want to deal with but no definitive plot and as I write I begin to see structure. Then I sit down and plot my butt off. Even mystery stories can begin that way, though, of course, plot is much more important for that to work.

Bloodstone ConfidentialOnce you have an idea that sparks your imagination do you research your idea or do any world-building exercises, or do you just begin to write and see where the Muse takes you?
Often when I have an idea I start to read background/research stuff until that either fits my initial idea and adds to it or sends me off in a new direction. It still comes down to the characters for me, but getting the details of setting/time correct mean a lot to me. I want the reader deeply immersed in the story and don’t want a wrong detail to ‘shock’ them out of it.

What is your daily writing time like?
Pretty much from eyes opening. I turn the computer on as soon as I get up, do a quick email check then pull up whatever I’m working on and go. I sometimes keep two things in the ‘on deck’ circle- and will go back and forth to them if one stumps me or I need to get some distance from it. Often the second piece is one that needs editing so it is not the same part of the brain calling me.

61O+nY+K6RL._SL1066_Are you a full time writer? If so when did you make the decision and what factors led to the decision? If you are not a full time writer…Is your plan to one day being a full time writer?
I have been a full time writer–when I made the decision to ‘be a writer’ ten years ago I was mostly bedridden and was able to keep afloat for several years primarily with my writing with just some side jobs doing fight choreography. This last year I took a job working at a haunted house to get me out of the house- I realized I was getting a little cabin fever and it was actually leading to writing fatigue. Hope to go back to it mostly full time this next year (save for teaching sword/doing fight choreography which I hope to never give up).

Can you tell us about your experience working with your current publisher? (Any other publishers?) (Or your self-publishing experiences?)
I have been very blessed with my publishers- 7 of them to date. My first publisher -ePress Online- was very nurturing and supportive and I had a great editor in Joan McNulty-Pulver. She and the publisher, Margaret passed away three years ago and I will always be grateful for the running start they gave me.
I have only had one publisher that sort of just said, sure we’ll publish this- and then just sort of walked away from the published work. (No names).
On the other hand publishers like Pro Se and BooksforaBuck have been very proactive in marketing and review support. I have been a very lucky writer, pretty much from the start.

81Hzwl+3WnLWhat is your current release and (without spoilers) tell us about the new book or series.
The first book in a new series “The First Synn: The Bloodstone Confidential” just came out from Pro Se Productions.
“The Bloody Curse of the Vampire! Years ago Gideon Synn tried to save Faith Bloodstone from a deadly family curse in upstate New York. He failed and Faith died at the hands of a mysterious blood drinking fiend. Synn ran from his failure and became a world traveler, joining the French Foreign Legion and eventually becoming a mercenary in China.
Now, years later he has opened a security firm with his sister Kathy. Charity Bloodstone, Faith’s younger sister, comes to him for help against the same curse—the supposed vampire ghost of her ancestor, Justice Bloodstone! According to legend, Charity has only one week to live!
Has Gideon found love with Charity only to lose her to dark forces? Who are the armed thugs that have attacked the siblings? Can Kathy Synn keep her brother out of trouble long enough to solve the mystery of the Bloodstone Confidential?”

ThemsFightinWords_lgCan you tell us about some of your other writing (fiction or nonfiction) and any appearances or signings that you have planned?
 “Them’s Fightin’ Words”: a writer’s guide to writing action scenes” just came out from Whiskey Creek Press.
I take the reader on a journey through the process of creating believable and dramatic action scenes in every kind conflict. Using humor and personal experience, I dissect action scenes from classic books as wella s my own for the keys to what makes them work.
From fantasy swordfights, barroom brawls, comic combat to martial arts knockabouts, I not only outline and explain the whys and wherefores of literary violence, I also explores techniques that allow you to create them yourself with a series of fun and easy to do exercises.
Hopefully I take the mystery out of writing action, but not the excitement!81F8MtsFTYL._SL1500_

As an author what inspiration or advice would you give to a writer who is working to make the transition to Author?
Write what you love. You may never make a living from it, so if that is the case at least write something you are proud of and love.
That being said, the world of publishing is exploding with new ways to enter it and to reach readers- no longer do you have to be funneled through five or ten publishers and a dozen agents.
In this new chaos you can make your way if you are persistent and determined. Bottom line is, always follow your dream!

Modern Gods (Volume One)Who is your favorite author, and can you recommend a book by that author?
I have five or six ‘go to’ authors whom I read and reread often for inspiration and enjoyment. I’d say that Edgar Rice Burroughs is top of the list and his John Carter Trilogy is still the most exciting epic story I have ever read.
Next would be Robert E. Howard for sheer excitement and guts. His Adventures of El Borak or Sowers of Thunder are sure to get your pulse racing!

 

If you would like more information about Teel James Glenn you can find his books on Amazon, and updates about his writing on Twitter, his blog, and on his website.

Interview with Jim Beard—The New Adventures of Major Lacy and Amusement, Inc.

A native Toledoan, Jim Beard was introduced to comic books at an early age by his father, who passed on to him a love for the medium and the pulp characters who preceded it. After decades of reading, collecting and dissecting comics, Jim became a published writer when he sold a story to DC Comics in 2002. Since that time he’s written official Star Wars and Ghostbusters comic stories and contributed articles and essays to several volumes of comic book history.

His work includes GOTHAM CITY 14 MILES, a book of essays on the 1966 Batman TV series, SGT. JANUS, SPIRIT-BREAKER, a collection of pulp ghost stories featuring an Edwardian occult detective, a giant monster anthology called MONSTER EARTH, and CAPTAIN ACTION: RIDDLE OF THE GLOWING MEN, the first pulp prose novel based on the classic 1960s action figure.

Currently, Jim provides regular content for Marvel.com, the official Marvel Comics website, is a regular columnist for Toledo Free Press and has forthcoming comic and prose work from Bluewater, TwoMorrows, Airship 27 and Pro Se.

Beard-HeadshotInterview with Jim Beard 
author of The New Adventures 
of Major Lacy and 
Amusement, Inc.
5/22/2014

I was wondering where you get your story ideas?
Everywhere. And that’s one of the things I love about writing, that anything at all might influence it. Sometimes it’s simply something that interests me as a reader that lays the groundwork for a story, or maybe the characters have spoken to me and told me what they’d like to do, but often times I stumble across a nugget of an idea while watching TV, reading a book or a magazine, and even, yes, surfing the internet.

What is the usual process for your fiction writing? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Plotter, though once I get into it, I usually am flying by the seat of my britches.

Once you have an idea that sparks your imagination do you research your idea or do any world-building exercises, or do you just begin to write and see where the Muse takes you?
A little of both, as I said above. No two of my stories have been crafted alike; it usually comes down to what the story itself demands. Gotta be loose if ya wanna build some good stories.

PO ML O1 FCWhat is your daily writing time like?
HAHAHAHAHA…ha…ha. Okay, okay…I’m okay. Hahaha…no, no, I’m okay, really *snicker*

Are you a full time writer? If so when did you make the decision and what factors led to the decision. If you are not a full time writer…Is your plan to one day being a full time writer?
Part-time writer, full time procrastinator.

Can you tell us about your experience working with your current publisher? (Any other publishers?) (Or your self-publishing experiences?)
Each of my publisher experiences have been different, and none of them bad. I’ve been pretty lucky so far in that area. I’m pretty high-maintenance myself, so opinions may differ on the other side of that question.

Final Box 13 cover frontWhat is your current release and (without spoilers) tell us about the new book or series.
I’m in an anthology from Pro Se called THE NEW ADVENTURES OF MAJOR LACY AND AMUSEMENT, INC., which may win an award for Biggest Mouthful of a New Pulp Title. I’m also proud to say that for the very first time a story of mine has been recorded for an audiobook. That’s BOX THIRTEEN, based on an Alan Ladd radio drama from the 1940s, about a writer who solicits adventures through an ad in the paper for fodder for his books.

januscvr1Can you tell us about some of your other writing (fiction or nonfiction) and any appearances or signings that you have planned?
I write comic books, and contribute to books about comics history, and I also created and edited a book about the 1960s Batman TV series called GOTHAM CITY 14 MILES. The bulk of my writing is fiction, though, and primarily in the New Pulp arena. I’m most proud of my Sgt. Janus character and the two volumes (so far) of his ghost investigations, as well as my two Captain Action novels and being the co-creator of a shared-world giant monster anthology series called Monster Earth.

As an author what inspiration or advice would you give to a writer who is working to make the transition to Author?
Don’t listen to praise from your family or friends; that can eff you up pretty bad. Go to someone who knows grammar and spelling and how to plot and who doesn’t really know you and BEG them for an HONEST opinion of your writing. Because, guess what? We’re not all cut out for it. And there are a lot of us out there who are part of a larger circle jerk where mediocre and even poor writing is being applauded or excused. Take a good hard look at the stuff you put out there – and be brutal with yourself. Don’t let Mom tell you that you’re genius.

sgt janus returnsWho is your favorite author, and can you recommend a book by that author?
James P. Blaylock. Look for THE LAST COIN or THE PAPER GRAIL or ALL THE BELLS ON EARTH. Guy doesn’t write much anymore, but what he did is pretty unique.

If you would like more information about Jim Beard you can find his books on Amazon, and updates about his writing on Facebook , his blog, and on his website.

Interview with Bobby Nash — Major Lacy

From his secret lair in the wilds of Bethlehem, Georgia, 2013 Pulp Ark Award Winning Best Author, Bobby Nash writes a little bit of everything including novels, comic books, short prose, graphic novels, screenplays, media tie-ins, and more.

Between deadlines, if such a thing truly exists, Bobby is a part-time extra in movies and television. He is also the co-host of the Earth Station One podcast.

Interview with Author Bobby Nash 
author of Frontier
6/06/2014

You are a prolific writer. How do you manage your time? Do you plan out the things you want to write with your podcasting? Is it synergistic or serendipitous?

Time management is one of those elusive things. I wish I could say I was better at it than I really am. I try to keep my time management under control, but am not always successful. Basically, it’s just knowing when my deadlines are and working toward them.

The podcast and writing are really two separate things. What I do for the Earth Station One podcast is setting up and conducting interviews and participating in the recording and promotion of the podcast. For awhile there I was writing opening skits, but my schedule has been so busy of late I have had to stop. Hopefully, I can get back to doing those soon. You can listen to the Earth Station One podcast at http://www.esopodcast.com

I’ve never thought about synergistic or serendipity in regard to it. I’d say it’s a little of both. Something we make happen while others sort of fall into place like we planned them.

PO ML O1 FCAuthors today seem to need a social media platform that covers everything from Q&A posts to video; what do you think the most important things are to fledging/published authors?

Building a platform or brand is very important for authors. Social media is definitely an important way to get not only your work, but also yourself out in front of an audience. Your audience doesn’t just want you to try and sell them something though. That’s why I share my writing process as I go along, do a Q&A column called “Sometimes I Get asked Stuff…” post updates for The ESO Network of podcasts, interviews, blog posts, and other odds and ends in addition to posting new books and new projects. I also do an email newsletter and often share the news of other creators on social media plus I attend conventions, signings, and the like. I’m not just trying to sell to my friends/fans/followers, although I do love it when they buy something. Ha! Ha!

You seem to do it all, but at the end of the day what and where do you get new readers?LSSR4 cover final

I really wish I had some quantifiable evidence to show what works best, but it’s a mixed bag. I’ve met people on social media who have then gone on to try one of my books. I have also met people at conventions who have picked up books. I can’t say for sure which one works best, but each way seems to work a little bit so I keep doing as much as I can.

Are short story collections and anthologies the way to break into the publishing business or do you think crafting a novel is the way to go? On that same note is being part of anthologies a way to keep the dollars flowing or is that really just a way to keep your name out there and fresh on the mind of the readers?

I started writing for anthologies as a way to get and then later keep my name out there while I was working on novels. It also helped with conventions because I could have several books on the table at shows. Although I have cut back on the number of anthologies I do these days, they still serve that same purpose. Plus, it does bring in a little money, although not much. You have to remember that every dollar of profit brought in by an anthology has to then be split amongst all who worked on it. A small press anthology is not selling millions of copies so the writer’s slice of the pie is very small, dollar-wise.

Anthologies can also be a fun way to scratch a creative itch. One of the anthologies I worked

on allowed me to write a short western story, which is a bit outside my normal wheelhouse. This book allowed me to stretch certain creative muscles I might not have an opportunity to otherwise. Anthologies are also a great way to get to work with other writers and artists whose work I admire. That’s a nice bonus when that happens. You also hope that if a reader likes the story in the anthology, he or she might try another of my books. It doesn’t always happen, but sometimes it does.

Final Box 13 cover frontIf you could go back in time to Bobby when you were just starting out, what advice would you tell him. What pitfalls would you steer him away from?

I would have told younger Bobby to focus a bit more. He was all over the place back in those early days and made some choices that, in retrospect, were not his smartest. That younger Bobby also let his writing take a backseat to a day job that years later tossed him aside without so much as a second thought. I’d let him know that he could balance that better.

I wouldn’t try to change too much in the way of books though. Even my bad publishing experiences, and there have been a few, opened doors that might not have opened otherwise. My first novel publishing experience was awful, but I did have a published book in my hand and I used that to open doors to get other work. Avoiding that experience, as terrible as it was, might not have allowed those doors to open and we might not be here talking about this today.

How important is it that authors do the Convention circuit? When in a career do you think con appearances become a valuable tool?

I absolutely love attending conventions. I think they’re great. I think they are important as another method for me to get my work in front of potential readers through setting up a table and doing panels and other events as part of the show. I don’t know if setting up at cons is for everyone, but they have proven themselves a valuable resource for me as a writer and a fan.

There are different ways to do cons. You can simply buy a ticket and attend then show off your work once you’re there, meet other authors, meet editors, ask questions, attend panels, etc. You can go as a guest or attending pro, which means the con invites you and gives you a pass inside, usually asking you to do panels or something. You can do this early on to help build your brand or after you have work out as a form of promotion. You have to decide what works best for you and your work.

Conventions are a great way to network and meet people. Some of the best and longest relationships in my life are with friends I first met at a convention.SnowFallCover-wTitle

RECENTLY RELEASED:

Lance Star: Sky Ranger Vol. 4 from Airship 27 is new. Features stories by Jim Beard, Sean Taylor, Andrew Salmon, and Bobby Nash. Interior illustrations by Scott “Doc” Vaughn. Cover art by Felipe Echavarria. More info– http://www.lance-star.com/2014/04/lance-star-sky-ranger-vol-4-launches.html

The New Adventures of Major Lacy and Amusement, Inc. from Pro Se’s Pulp Obscura is new. Features stories by Jim Beard, David White, Andrew Salmon, R. P. Steeves, Don Thomas, and Bobby Nash. Cover art is by Mike Fyles. More info–

http://bobby-nash-news.blogspot.com/2014/04/coming-this-week-new-adventures-of.html

Box Thirteen – Adventure Wanted! from Radio Archives came out as an audiobook this week. The ebook was out a few weeks earlier. Features stories by Jim Beard, Barry Reese, Andrew Salmon, and Bobby Nash. Cover art is by Doug Klauba. More info– http://bobby-nash-news.blogspot.com/2014/05/adventure-wanted-box-thirteen-audiobook.html

UPCOMING PROJECTS:

-Alexandra Holzer’s Ghost Gal “The Wild Hunt” is a novel I wrote for Raven’s Head Press. It’ll be out within the month. http://www.ravensheadpress.com

-Snow Storm from The Stark Raving Group will be out in ebook this summer. http://www.starkravinggroup.com

-At The Earth’s Core from Sequential Pulp/Dark Horse Comics is a graphic novel adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ novel. It’ll be out sometime this year. http://sequentialpulpcomics.blogspot.com and http://www.darkhorse.com

-Domino Lady “Money Shot” is a novel coming out in September from Moonstone Books. http://www.moonstonebooks.com

- News and updates will be posted to http://www.bobbynash.com as they are available.

LINKS: If you would like more information about Bobby Nash you can find his books on Amazon, and updates about his writing on TwitterFacebook and on his website.

http://www.google.com/+BobbyNashAuthor

http://amazon.com/author/bobbynash

http://ben-books.blogspot.com

http://instagram.com/bobbynash14

http://www.pinterest.com/bobbynash

http://www.lance-star.com

http://RickRuby.blogspot.com

Bobby’s original interview 


					
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