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Interview with Percival Constantine — Vanguard

Born and raised in the Chicagoland area, Percival Constantine grew up on a fairly consistent diet of superhero comics, action movies, video games, and TV shows. At the age of ten, he first began writing and hasn’t stopped since.

Percival has been working in publishing since 2005 in various capacities—author, editor, formatter, letterer—and has written books, short stories, comics, and more. He has a Bachelor of Arts in English and Mass Media from Northeastern Illinois University and a Master of Arts in English and Screenwriting from Southern New Hampshire University. He currently lives in Japan’s Kagoshima prefecture, where he works as a literature and writing instructor at the Minami Academy.

Interview with Percival Constantinepercivalconstantine 
author of The Vanguard series
4/23/2015

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

I just released Vanguard #4: Power Surge. This is the fourth episode of my superhero serial, Vanguard. The first episode, Come The Exemplar, introduced the world of the series. A mysterious event has somehow triggered the development of superhuman powers in a small percentage of the population. To police these beings, called specials, the President of the United States has ordered the creation of a secret team of superheroes, called Vanguard.

The latest episode sees the team going up against a powerful special named Lucent who can absorb and redirect energy in a variety of forms. Lucent was being experimented on by a research company, and a mysterious threat that’s been lurking in the background since the first episode is involved as well.

Vanguard 004 - Power SurgeWhat is the usual process for your writing? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I used to be a pantser, but after writing myself into a corner with several projects and abandoning them, as well as struggling with other projects when I got to a certain point, I decided it was time to start plotting.

My process is to first jot down notes and story ideas in a notebook. When I’m ready to start seriously plotting out, I sit down at my computer and type up a full synopsis of the entire story in Scrivener. I then break that synopsis down into individual scenes (also in Scrivener). Sometimes if I’m struggling with scene order, I’ll write the scene ideas on index cards and post them up on a corkboard, working out the order and seeing what’s missing.

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?

It depends. Most times when an idea occurs to me, it’ll be for a project that will come later on down the line when I can fit it into the schedule. So I make a note of it in my notebook and come back to it later.

The Myth Hunter series requires a bit more research than the others, so I’ll do research on the legends that I think might serve as the basis of an interesting story. My Luther Cross series may also sometimes require a little more research into the supernatural phenomenon I’m going to write about. But with Vanguard and Infernum, those ideas come more from characters and situations.

I don’t really engage in any world-building exercises. I think of the characters that I want to include in the story or the plots I want to explore and go from there.

PrintAre 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 full-time yet. At the moment, I’m a teacher and I also do a few other side jobs in addition to writing. Ideally, I’d like to get to the point where the bulk of my income is generated by writing, but I’d still like to teach a few classes a week.

What is your daily writing time like?

Lately I’ve been writing more in the morning. I find it’s a lot easier to get it out of the way first thing. Waiting until night (like I used to) resulted in a lot more missed days because I felt too tired.

I write in Scrivener, which is wonderful because it allows me to keep everything I need in one place, tracks my word count, and helps me minimize distractions. To further minimize distractions, I’ll run a program called Anti-Social as I write to block social media, email, and any other websites I specify. I write with the Pomodoro Method, which says you do twenty-five minutes of work followed by a five-minute break.

My daily writing goal is 1000 words. Usually I’ll manage to hit that in about an hour or so.

Fallen coverCan you tell us about your publishing experience? Are you Indie, Traditional, or do a bit of both?

I entered the publishing world in 2005, working as an editor for Making Comics Studios. I self-published my first novel, Fallen, in 2007 and shortly after that, I started writing and lettering comics for a variety of publishers, including AC Comics.

51B3f6Ns6QLMy next book, Chasing The Dragon, followed in 2008. Then in 2010, I published Love & Bullets and became part of the New Pulp movement. My output was slow at first, only putting out a novel or novella a year. But with this year, I’ve committed to increasing my backlist.

I’m currently writing four series, three of which are self-published and one which is published through Pro Se PressSingle Shot Signatures line. Tommy Hancock approached me with the idea about contributing to the line, and I had actually been thinking of experimenting more with serials, so I decided to do one of my serial ideas for him.

Also beginning this year, I joined Nifty Entertainment, an author cooperative with Mat Nastos.

Infernum 02 - Outlaw BluesEveryone like to know where an author gets their ideas from, but what I want to know is what is the strangest thing to inspire one of your stories?

That’s actually a very good question and to be honest, I’m having a hard time finding an answer! Most of my ideas come from pretty mundane sources and I don’t often remember where I got them from.

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

I have four series I’m currently working on:

Myth Hunter 01 - Lost ContinentThe Myth Hunter – A pulp adventure novella series centered on Elisa Hill. Elisa is a myth hunter, a type of adventurer who travels the world seeking out the various myths and legends. She’s often accompanied by Asami, a Japanese changeling, and relies on ancient weaponry. Curse of the Necronomicon is the third book, featuring the quest to find the Necronomicon, and set for release in June and now available for pre-order on all platforms.

Infernum 01 - Love & BulletsInfernum – An action thriller novella series centered on a criminal syndicate called Infernum. Each book focuses on a different protagonist working for the mysterious power broker known only as Dante. Gentleman Rogue is the third book, featuring a thief forced to work for Dante to obtain a biological weapon. That will be released in July and is available for pre-order on all platforms.

 

Vanguard 001 - Come The ExemplarVanguard – The aforementioned superhero serial. Each season of the serial consists of five novelette episodes, plus a special bonus episode that will be available to mailing list subscribers. Vanguard #5: Rise of the Red Fist concludes the first season, with Vanguard going up against a terrorist organization bent on world domination. I’m currently working on the second season, which will have a tentative release date of September. At the moment, the first season is only available on Amazon and if you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, you can read the episodes for free. But soon, the series will be available on all platforms, including a compilation of the complete first season.

Luther Cross 01 - The ReckoningLuther Cross – A supernatural action short story series focusing on paranormal investigator, Luther Cross. Half-demon and half-human, Cross is a true anti-hero who uses his knowledge of the occult and his demonic powers and magical abilities for his own benefit. The third episode, Bloodlust, is in the hands of my editors at Pro Se and should be released shortly.

 

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

Write because it’s something you love to do, not because you think it will bring you fame and fortune. Trying to make a go of it as an author means you have to clock a lot of hours sitting in that chair and banging away at a keyboard. It also means finishing what you start and moving onto the next project almost immediately.

If you want to be an author because you have a romantic notion of the author lifestyle or because you want to be one of those “get rich quick” Kindle success stories, you’re going to end up very disappointed.

But if you love telling stories and don’t mind a near-Sisyphean uphill climb, then sit in the chair and start typing.

Who is your favorite author? Tell us what makes this author stand out in your mind, and what book would you recommend to someone new to that author?

I have to pick one? In that case, I’ll go with Derrick Ferguson. Anyone who wants to know how to write a great pulp action book needs to read his Dillon series. He manages to combine stellar characterization with breakneck action and put it together in a package that, though familiar, sometimes seems brand new.

If you would like more information about Percival Constantine and his books look on Amazon, TwitterFacebook, Goodreads, or his website

Capture

Interview with Tara Johnson — Hollow Victory

Tara Johnson is an author, singer, speaker from Alexander, AR. A passionate lover of stories, Tara shares her journey through depression and people-pleasing through fiction and nonfiction work, song and laughter. 

In 2004, she signed with Incubator Creative Group, a ministry-based record label out of Eugene, OR.  Tara loves to travel to churches, ladies retreats and prisons to share her testimony of how God led her into freedom after spending years living shackled to the expectations of others as a preacher’s kid.

This past year has kept Tara busy writing both fiction and nonfiction and her latest book Hollow Victory: How to Identify and Disarm 5 Landmines that Make Victorious Christian Living Feel Like a Lie was released in 2014.  She has won the Bronze Medal in the Frazier awards hosted by My Book Therapy and has articles published in Plain Truth Magazine and Live It Loud Magazine and has been a featured guest on Voice of Truth radio and Enduring Word radio. Tara is a member of ACFW and is represented by Janet Grant of Books & Such Literary Agency. She and her husband Todd have been married for seventeen years and the Lord has blessed them with five children:  Bethany, Callie, Nate, as well as Taylor Lynn and Morgan Lane who are with Jesus.

Interview with Tara Johnson.Tara 2015 
Author of Hollow Victory
4/09/2015

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

My current release is Hollow Victory: How To Identify & Disarm 5 Landmines That Make Victorious Christian Living Feel Like a Lie. It’s a book birthed from my own pain as I struggled with depression, people pleasing and more. In 2002, I had the worst year of my life and continually kept thinking, “Lord, this is not the victorious life that you promised.” It felt hollow and empty. I had become exhausted from working so hard to keep everyone around me happy. God very tenderly showed me that those landmines that had exploded in my life were the result of, not just being a human in a broken world, but the culmination of what happens when I choose to replace God’s unconditional love with the conditional love of people. Hollow Victory is a book of hope for the hurting.

519BM0r4e4LWhat is the usual process for your writing? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

It depends on what I’m writing. For nonfiction, I’m a plotter but for all of my fiction work, I’m definitely a pantster! I like having a rough guideline of what will happen, and I develop in-depth character sheets for my main characters. (Thanks to Jody Hedlund for the brilliant character sheets.) By the time I’ve spent so much time living with my characters, the plot usually flows pretty easily. “Pantsering” can be scary though. With my first book, I thoroughly wrote myself into a corner for the climax. I stressed myself completely out! Finally, I pushed away from the computer and threw up my hands. “Lord, you’re going to have to fix this!” Boom! The next morning I woke up with a perfect finish in my mind, which was pretty cool because I knew that if I didn’t see it coming, my readers wouldn’t either! Being a pantser is faith-writing at its finest.

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?

Since most of my fiction stories are historicals, I do a lot of research before I ever start clacking away on the computer. I just recently got an idea for a story about a female Civil War spy. Typically, I spend a month reading everything I can find on the subject, as well as developing characters sheets. I try to keep myself immersed in newspaper clippings or books about that particular historical time while I’m writing the basic rough draft. As a history nerd, it’s a joy to be able to pick a topic that interests me and learn all I can about it. One of my latest manuscripts was all about women gamblers in the Old West. Now that was fascinating research!

Click here to read Tara's article, "Good Little Christian Girl— but Never Good Enough" in Plain Truth Magazine

Click here to read Tara’s article, “Good Little Christian Girl—
but Never Good Enough” in Plain Truth Magazine

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?

If you look at the hours I log writing fiction or nonfiction, I would be classified as a part-time writer, especially since I’m a homeschooling Mom and have a speaking/music ministry as well. But between my writing, songwriting, blog posts, articles and various other things, I think it’s safe to say that I’ve morphed into a full time writer. Last month, I signed with Janet Grant of Books & Such Literary Management, which makes this writing ‘gig’ feel all the more real.

What is your daily writing time like?

I usually get up a couple of hours before my kids wake up and spend some time reading my Bible and praying before digging in to whatever is on my writing agenda for the day. Once they’re up, I spend the morning getting snatches of time here and there but don’t really get a solid chance to focus until after my little boy goes down for his afternoon nap. Then it’s another few hours of writing while he naps. One night a week, my awesome husband is good about letting me shut myself into my office for some special writing time. It works pretty well and forces me to really concentrate when I have those chunks of uninterrupted time.

340849_2284713046790_2953749_oCan you tell us about your publishing experience? Are you Indie, Traditional, or do a bit of both? 

Hollow Victory was self-published through Createspace but I’m pursuing traditional publication for my fiction stories. The nice thing about self-publishing is the creative control you retain. An advantage of traditional publishing is having several people adding their input to make the story as good as it can be. Both are advantageous in their own way.

Everyone likes to know where an author gets their ideas from, but what I want to know is what is the strangest thing to inspire one of your stories?

One of my dearest friends is an older man in our church who has lived a colorful life. As a precocious country boy, he dreamed up more trouble than any child I know. One Sunday morning, he and his friend got up extremely early and caught a jar full of red wasps. They pulled the stingers out and then placed the angry wasps under the key lid of the church piano. When the pianist sat down and opened the lid to play the opening hymn, a flurry of red wasps flew out. The poor pianist screamed and fell backwards off the bench, her legs sticking up in the air! That very story, and my friend’s continual mischief, inspired one of my favorite characters in Marble Falls—Timmy Jenkins. The entire book’s plot was propelled forward by Timmy’s antics and yes, the red wasps and the irate pianist make their appearance in that book.

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

I recently finished my sixth fiction story To Heal Her Heart, based loosely on the life of James McParlin, one of the Pinkerton’s most acclaimed detectives. The three book series is based out of Astoria, Oregon and set in 1880. The previous three book series was based out of Marble Falls, Arkansas and revolves around the quirky people living there—a frustrated U.S. Marshal, a headstrong debutante, a crazy Confederate soldier, a local busybody and a little boy who terrorizes the entire town. It was a fun series to write. I hated to say goodbye to the characters. I keep an active speaking schedule and you can always get up-to-date information about upcoming events at tarajohnsonauthor.wordpress.com.

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

First, surrender all of it, your writings, plans and dreams to God. He opens the doors no man can open and paves the way for amazing things when we give Him control. In the meantime, make your writing time a priority. No one will take your dreams seriously unless you do first. Carve out time to write, daily if possible. Read as much as you can and pay attention to the way your favorite authors write. You can learn a lot through observation and study. Buy some craft books on learning how to write. No one in any successful profession just magically wakes up knowing a skill set. Writing is a craft and must be learned, just like any other skill. With every book you read, try to learn one or two new things and apply them to your current story. You’ll be amazed how much you can learn in just a few short years.

Who is your favorite author? Tell us what makes this author stand out in your mind and what book would you recommend to someone new to that author?

That is the hardest question yet! I have a running list of favorites but at the moment, I would say Jody Hedlund. I’m eating up her books like wood going through a chipper! The descriptive turn of her phrases and the elegant way she spins a story is both entertaining and inspirational. My favorite book of hers is The Noble Groom.

If you would like more information about Tara Johnson you can visit her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, AmazonGoodreads, ReverbNation, YouTube, or Pinterest

 

Interview with Ann McCauley — Loved by Choice

Ann McCauley married her sweetheart, Randy, thirty-eight years ago. The McCauley’s have seven children (one in heaven), four internationally adopted from South Korea, the Philippines, and Siberia. Ann’s first stories were published by Baker/ Revell in the book, Loved by Choice—True Stories That Celebrate Adoption.

Interview with Ann McCauley. DSC_4709
Contributor to Loved by Choice
4/02/2015

Thanks for featuring me this week, Lisa! I’m stoked. The year 2014, a year of revealing, has led to an exciting 2015 for me. After many months of waiting on whether I had secured a contract with two major Christian publishing houses, the wait is over. After climbing all the way to committee in both houses, my historical fiction was declined. But wait… Did I say this was exciting?

Here’s the scoop. For more than eighteen years I have been working and honing my fiction writing craft. I obtained my agent in 2007. I now know?  I am publishable. Which in a sense qualifies me for what I believe God is calling me to do.

Meg McCauley Head ShotIn September my daughter, Meg, and I launched a speaking ministry. The first time God nudged me about this was two years ago on my long commute to a summer ACFW Arkansas meeting.  At the time, I couldn’t see myself doing this. I didn’t understand.  And, I did nothing. Then in April of 2014, things became clearer. Who better to speak on rejection than one who’s experienced it over the course?  Who better to understand the heart of the writer than one of its own? I believe God has anointed my heart to speak, write, and inspire many people on various topics, but especially other writers.

Last month when I received the final of the two rejections, I was engrossed in the Bible study, Breathe, by Priscilla Shirer. God used Priscilla’s words to bring me comfort. I chose to take my fiction and lay it on the altar before the Father.

My soul is brimming over. The speaker in my head longs to exhort others, teach them how to follow up on their callings, motivate them to rise to challenges, and inspire them to see God’s dreams for their lives through to fulfillment.

I love taking traditional writing ideas and exploring how God sees them. The Five Spiritual Senses in Your Writing is a workshop I taught recently to the Arkansas ACFW group. How do we create characters who demonstrate the LIFE of God without being preachy? Having been trained in the five natural senses and how they ground a story, I began to realize the spiritual senses play just as valid a role in story.

I am a busy mom of six adult children and a grandmother to five babies under the age of four. So, my writing time changes from day to day, depending on their visits. I work hard at being consistent as possible. My writing is an outflow of my quiet moments with God and I take my calling seriously and keep my goals moving forward. A good writing day consists of time to write and edit for several hours. When the family takes precedence, I try to stay in touch with my writer and reader friends through snatches of time on social media.

lovedByChoiceIn Loved by Choice: True Stories that Celebrate Adoption by Susan Horner and Kelly Fordyce Martindale.  I share the stories of my own children, adopted from South Korea, the Philippines, and Siberia.

My daughter, Meg, adopted from Seoul, South Korea at five months of age has grown into a beautiful woman, gifted artist, songwriter, and worship leader. She travels with me to large engagements when possible and shares her testimonies. Meg and I have also started 3-2-1 meetings in homes for smaller groups. If you live within four hours of central Arkansas, we would love to share with your church, writers group, women’s retreat, or conference.  To hear samples of what we do, check out our speaker page at anncoopermccauley.com.

And, stop by my blogs at anncoopermccauley.com! I do my best to pray and pour as God leads. I have no greater desire than to bless you.

Ann’s Speaking Topicshearpic

Writer Workshops: Where Fiction and Nonfiction Intersect, Weaving Grace into Your Story, The Believing Writer and Rejection, The Five Spiritual Senses in Your Writing, Christian Publishing in Today’s World
General Topics: Whoa God! You Want Me to What?, The Loss of a Child: What to do When You’re Paralyzed, International Adoption and the Father’s Heart
Homeschooling Special Needs: Cast Your Net, When Homeschooling is Hard

Meg’s Speaking TopicsMeg McCauley Guitar2

He Has Made Us Victorious Spirits, Celebrate Your Singleness: Love is an Open Road, Hi, I’m Megan, and I’ll be Your Server, What? I’m Adopted!, A Homeschooled Girl in a Secular World

If you would like more information about Ann and Meg McCauley you can visit them on their website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, G+, Goodreads, or Pinterest

 

 

Interview with Ralph L. Angelo Jr. — The Cagliostro Chronicles

From his hidden lair somewhere on Long Island, NY the adventurer known to the world at large as Ralph L. Angelo, Jr. shares his fantastic life and adventures in thinly veiled novels that are really NOT about him, no, they’re not, really. Truthfully, not about him. Really…

Interview with Ralph L. Angelo Jr. rl
author of The Cagliostro Chronicles
3/28/2015

Tell us about your newest release or series, and where should a new reader of your books be best suited to begin reading their way through you back catalog?

Hi Lisa, how are you? Thanks for having me back on your blog. My newest release is will be called ‘the Cagliostro Chronicles III-Into the Heart of Evil’ and is almost finished, at least on the writing end of things. Then it will have to be edited. The cover work has already begun. It is a continuation of my sci-fi/space opera saga. This series right now is planned as open ended, but the entire first adventure will culminate in book four. After that the series will take a different turn, but we won’t be able to talk about that for a  year  at this point.

The book that came out previously to this one is called ‘Hyperforce’ and is a superhero novel. that came out on September 30th,2014. That is my homage to 1970’s and 80’s superhero comics. It’s full of adventure and action. This one is a roller coaster ride full of fun and excitement. It’s one of my favorite things I’ve written.

It seems writers today have to publish more often than in the past to really make a living. How do you manage your time? What length of works do you write…mostly novels, novellas, short stories, or flash?

Lisa, At this point I’m not making a living doing this, and no one I know of is actually. But I had a VERY promising August and if it had held those types of sales numbers through the rest of the year then yes, I would definitely be making a living selling books I wrote. I published three full length novels this past year and almost finished a fourth, but I had a bit of burn out going on when fall came along. I should have finished this current book months ago, but I kind of hit a wall and I’ve slowed down quite a bit. I primarily write novels, with a few short stories thrown in during the year. I also wrote four short stories for various anthologies this year besides the three completed novels. For what was essentially my second full year writing professionally, I had a busy one. As far as managing my time, When I get into a writing groove I usually write about a thousand words in the late afternoon and then another thousand late at night, usually after 10 or 11 PM. I seem to work best at night for some reason.I’m actually writing this at 2 AM.

71vUThO41FL._SL1500_Authors today seem to need a social media platform that covers everything from Q&A posts to video; what do you think the fledgling authors need to focus on to get on the right track with social media?

Social media is a cruel mistress. from what I have been told you have to be in it to sell books. I tweet a lot using hootsuite and when I get on a roll I post on about 75 Facebook groups, and sometimes I do that several times in a week. I also pay for various social media advertising platforms such as ones found on Fivverr and some of the websites that advertise books and e-books. When I have a new novel coming out I go on the attack with promotion. I don’t know if it works or not, but I have to assume it does. The bottom line is get your name and novels name out there in social media, but I can’t help but think there is another way myself. I just haven’t been able to discover it at this point, and believe me, I’ve tried.,

If you could go back in time to when you were just starting out, what advice would you give yourself. What pitfalls would you steer away from?

The greatest advice I could give myself or any fledgling author is to ignore the naysayers. Those that do not have constructive criticism for your work, but just want to tear it apart. Ignore them as if they do not exist. There’s an old saying ; ‘To thine own self be true.’ That is especially true of authors and something they should all live by. Write books that you would want to read and to hell with anyone who has garbage to say about your work.

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

Well, I did one con last year, and while I loved the experience, it was on the whole a let down for me. I’m not even certain I’ll be going to the same one again this year. I may be looking for smaller, sci-fi and fantasy oriented cons closer to home this year. I think my name is just not known enough yet, no matter how many books I’ve sold this past year. So when is it important that you go to cons? When you are more well known. At this point I would have to think year three of your authors journey.

81B+28IgCTL._SL1500_Do you consider yourself a indie/traditional/both?

Definitely an Indie author. Hey if some big publishing house wants to offer me a big contract  I’ll sign on the dotted line in a flash. I’m almost surprised I haven’t been contacted by anyone yet considering how many copies of my ‘Cagliostro Chronicles’ series I’ve sold the past two years.

Getting books into audio is the latest thing that writers seem to be learning how to do. Are your books available in audio format? And if so how was the recording produced?

Not yet, but it’s something I should tackle this year, at least with the two (three counting the new one) ‘Cagliostro Chronicles’ books and ‘Hyperforce’ as well.

If you would like more information about Ralph L. Angelo Jr. and his books look on Amazon, TwitterFacebook, Pinterest, Blog, or his website. Also you can read the first interview I had with Ralph here.

Interview with Sean Taylor — The Ruby Files

Sean Taylor is an award-winning writer of stories. He grew up telling lies, and he got pretty good at it, so now he writes them into full-blown adventures for comic books, graphic novels, magazines, book anthologies, and novels. He makes stuff up for money, and he writes it down for fun. He’s a lucky fellow that way.

Interview with Sean Taylor 
co-creator of The Ruby Files
3/12/2015

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

My newest upcoming release will be the second volume of The Ruby Files from Airship 27 Productions. It’s a collection of novelettes featuring private detective Rick Ruby, a character created by Bobby Nash and me. Rick’s obviously a throwback to classic P.I.s like those created by Chandler and Hammett, but also the TV detectives like Richard Diamond.

My particular tale for this volume puts Rick in the middle of what seems to be a racially motivated murder with a clear-cut killer, thanks to visiting members of the Klan. But as Rick begins investigating the murder as a favor to his black lover, something doesn’t feel right to him about it, and it could be that someone is casting the bastards of the Klan in the convenient role of patsy.

Ruby Files Sean Taylor

The Ruby Files Volume One (Volume 1)

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

It depends on what I’m writing. Anything that is a scene type of story (short stories and short shorts) I tend to pants when writing. Anything that requires a plot that connects multiple scenes, I NEED to plot. For longer works like novellas and novels and comic book scripts, I do not only plots, but full plots. I do everything from page breakdowns to throwing in bits of dialog that I want to be sure not to forget.

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?

Much of the writing I’ve done comes complete with pre-made worlds in that I’m either writing characters and worlds already remembered nostalgically by fans or I’m being paid by a publisher to play in some other creator’s playground (a la the Gene Simmons line of comics). When I do get to craft with my own clay (so to speak), I begin with character first. I prefer to let the world develop around my characters. I do, however, in the midst of my plotting (see response above) tend to create the world as I build that plot document.

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 used to be a full time writer, and I did it as long as I could afford to do so. But bills will take precedence, so I had to go back to a full-time job and write as a part-time one. But that’s the difference between writing before and writing after. Before I wrote in my spare time. Now I write as a part-time job. That’s means I put regular hours into and devote myself to those hours. It takes a dedication whether part or full time.

Ruby Files back Sean Taylor

The Ruby Files Volume One (Volume 1)

What is your daily writing time like?

I write at Starbucks. Well, I write BEST at Starbucks, I should say. I can write just about anywhere as long as I have my laptop or tablet with me. But because I can simulate the office experience at the ‘Bucks, I prefer to write there. What I mean by that is I can block off the sound and “be alone” in the crowd, or I can stop working for a few minutes to shoot the breeze with some of the baristas. I get the full office experience, from the locked door to the water cooler chit-chat. I’m ADD, so I need the constant change of both.

When I sit down for a writing shift, I go into it with a word count goal in mind and try not to stop until I hit it. I try to keep it within the realm of possibility though. I mean, sure, I can knock out 5,000 words in a sitting if I don’t care what I’m writing, but to turn out something that it salvageable by a good edit, I should probably plan somewhere in the territory of 2,500 words.

41+y73e3PDLCan you tell us about your publishing experience? Are you Indie, Traditional, or do a bit of both? 

Yes, I am. :)

I’ve have published one book independently, my collection of early writings called Gomer. But I prefer to work with established publishers. I’ve been lucky enough to work with both small and mid-level prose publishers, and I’ve only had good, solid, enjoyable experiences with them.

I think I write better when I know I have a team that has my back when it comes to editing and publishing. Writing is my strong suit, though I have been on both sides of the publishers’ desk. I don’t mind running the show, but it’s so much more enjoyable for me to just write, edit, and send it off for someone else to make it look pretty.

Everyone likes to know where an author gets their ideas from, but what I want to know is—what is the strangest thing to inspire one of your stories?

I have two. One is from a drive to a convention. I suddenly, and still don’t know where this came from, had the thought: “Wouldn’t it be cool if the mirror from Alice Through the Looking Glass and Snow White was the same mirror?” From that stray thought came my story “The Fairest of them All: A Symphony of Revenge” from IDW Publishing’s Classics Mutilated (later reprinted in Required Reading Remixed Volume 2 from IDW).51u-QlGBSTL

The other is from a get-together for writers and artists. I happened to be wearing a shirt that had the lobby art for the movie Hot-Rod Girl on it. Well, a friend walked up and asked me if that was for the next comic book project I was working on. I thought for a moment, put together a full plot in the time it took to look down at the shirt and back to my friend’s face, then said, “Yes. Yes, it is now.”

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

I feel like lately I’ve become almost exclusively a new pulp writer, with trips into the adventures of private detectives, masked heroes like the Black Bat and Golden Amazon, and pilots like Lance Star. I’m really looking forward to hitting some of the other kinds of stories that I enjoy. What’s coming up around the corner are my first finished novels – one for my new subdivision with one of my regular publishers that will be for more extreme action adventures like those from men’s magazines and the sixties. Then, in addition to that, I’ll also be tackling my first YA urban fantasy, about a teenage boy in love with a true force of nature (and that’s not a metaphorical descriptor).

81FksAkRn9L._SL1350_As an author what inspiration or advice would you give to a writer who is working to make the transition to Author?

I would give this advice: Dream big, and learn to network.

Dreaming big gives you almost unattainable goals. Learning to network with other writers, publishers, artists, readers, librarians, booksellers, etc. will teach you what you need to know to read them and make them far more possible and attainable.

Who is your favorite author? Tell us what makes this author stand out in your mind, and what book would you recommend to someone new to that author?

I used to have a single favorite author – C.S. Lewis, and he’ll always be my first-step inspiration, but my writing and reading world expanded beyond him to writers who have actually had far more influence on me now than Lewis ever did. Now, I look to Ernest Hemingway, Raymond Chandler, Zora Neale Hurston, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and Flannery O’Conner for the folks I prefer to read and who are responsible for who I am as a writer.

As for recommended works from them all:

Lewis – Till We Have Faces
Hemingway – A Farewell to Arms
Chandler – The Big Sleep
Hurston – They’re Eyes Were Watching God
Burroughs – A Princess of Mars
O’Conner – Wise Blood

If these are the only books you ever read, you will still be able to say you’ve experienced a full life of written love, romance, horror, loss, pain, adventure, and beauty.

If you would like more information about Sean Taylor and his books look on AmazonFacebook, Blogs, or his website.

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Interview with Joel Jenkins — Weird Worlds

Joel Jenkins lives in the heron-haunted shadows of the Rainier Mountains, and finds the perpetual twilight conducive to writing. He is the former front-man for several obscure rock bands, was once nearly shot by the law for appearing ‘intimidating’, and impersonated a ghost on a number of occasions.

Interview with Joel Jenkins 
author of Weird Worlds
3/05/2015

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

Weird Worlds of Joel Jenkins 2 is the latest collection of stories from my overwrought and fervid imagination. Ever wonder what would happen if a zombie bull and a skateboarder with a cavalry saber were trapped in a bull ring together? Well I did. And I wrote a story about it. And I wrote stories about a lot of other weird stuff as well.

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

It depends on how complicated my story is. If it’s complicated I’ll do a brief outline. However, I don’t force the characters to follow my outline. If they break out in some other direction I let them, and then I find out where they are going. Mostly I have an idea where the story starts, a couple of points in between, and an ending. I get the characters moving and then let them go. Sometimes they surprise me and do unexpected things.

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?

9780979732942If my story is based in the real world I’ll research certain pertinent areas, things, and events. Some or none of this will go into the story, depending upon where the story heads. I try not to get too bogged down in research. I try to get the facts I need and get back to writing.

Are you a full time writer?

No. However, I did manage to write about a quarter million words last year.

Pirates Cover-WebWhat is your daily writing time like?

I get up at 5 am, eat breakfast and make lunches for the kids. Then I start to write. I try to get two hours in before work. If I write a couple of sentences outlining the day’s writing and then focus like a telephoto lens I can put a fair number of words down. My goal is 2,000 words a day Monday through Saturday. I take Sundays off. I don’t always reach my goal, but I frequently manage it.

Can you tell us about your publishing experience? Are you Indie, Traditional, or do a bit of both?

My experiences are strictly with a number of independent publishers. I have a good working relationship with a number of independent publishers, but there are some that I would never work with again. One publisher tried to sell me back the rights to my own novel one month prior to the contract’s expiration, at which time the rights reverted to me automatically. They were hoping that I was ignorant of the contracts terms, so that they could make some more money off me. Needless to say, I waited a month and took my rights back at no cost.

One Foot in My Grave Front Cover 1200x1763Everyone like to know where an author gets their ideas from, but what I want to know is what is the strangest thing to inspire one of your stories?

Rappers used to run around shooting each other all the time. I wondered what it would be like if rock musicians were toting guns and I wrote The Nuclear Suitcase, The Gantlet Brothers Greatest Hits, The Gantlet Brothers: Sold Out, and The Specialists based around that premise.

Can you tell us about some of your other writing (fiction or nonfiction)?

I’ve got nineteen books in print (maybe 20 by the time this is posted) and they all (even the children’s book, Pirates of Mirror Land, and the nonfiction book, One Foot in My Grave) have an action adventure theme, though the genre designation may vary from Weird Western to Science Fiction.

Groaning Earth cover-400As an author what inspiration or advice would you give to a writer who is working to make the transition to Author?

A productive and prolific author must have blind, unreasoning persistence flying in the face of all logic.

Who is your favorite author? Tell us what makes this author stand out in your mind, and what book would you recommend to someone new to that author?

I look for vivid and poetic word usage and wild imagination, and though I have difficulty narrowing authors down to one favorite, I would recommend Homer (The Iliad), Robert E Howard (Kull), Edgar Rice Burroughs (Warlord of Mars) Josh Reynolds (The White Chapel Demon), and Derrick Ferguson (Dillon and the Golden Bell) among others.

If you would like more information about Joel Jenkins and his books look on AmazonFacebook, or his website.

Interview with Erwin K. Roberts — Casebook of the Voice

Erwin K. Roberts grew up watching western movies and television. He is particularly proud that his first ever celebrity interview was with Clayton Moore. Moore visited Kansas City about three weeks after giving up the Lone Ranger’s mask. He told the press that he would get the mask back. Took a while, but by gosh he did it. Starting about 1980 Erwin began appearing on the Public Access cable channel in Kansas City, Missouri. He reviewed movies, books, and the occasional comic. He interviewed actors, writers, artists, gaffers & grips, plus a Klingon, or two.

These days Erwin has been retired for a couple of years. He and his wife plan to travel a bit now that they have both given up the rat race. (What’s so fun about racing rats, anyway?) In the meantime he continues to pound the keyboard. Sometimes this activity even produces understandable English

Interview with Erwin K. RobertsErwinGrandCanyon2 
author of Casebook of the Voice
6/06/2014

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

I have a story in with Mechanoid Press for their upcoming anthology titled GIANT SWINGIN’ SUPERHERO 1968 SPECIAL. If you haven’t guessed, the stories and characters are inspired by some of the, shall we say, unusual strips that popped up in the days of the hippies and the unpopular war. My story is about a guy called Changeor. The release date is yet to be set, but soonish.

VoiceCasebookFrontCover17On the other hand, I am still trying to whip up interest in my self-published book from last year titled Casebook of the Voice. The Voice is my signature next generation pulp hero. He is the son of one of the old timers. (Which one, I can’t say… wink-wink!) He first appeared in the novel Plutonium Nightmare where he fought to stop a series of dirty bombs. Casebook contains five stories that pretty much span his active years from the 1970’s through December, 1999. They range from five-thousand to twenty-five thousand words. Want a sample? Three of the Voice’s stories are online here, here, and here. Only the first one of these appears in Casebook of the Voice.

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

That depends. For a story for Airship-27’s Sinbad – The New Voyages the final line of the story came to me in a flash. Then all I had to do was to get Sinbad to help a newly found castaway get home.A-27Sinbad2Cover

Other times I both outline and throw potential plot elements and points into a figurative bowl for possible use. Sometimes I write disconnected scenes at the beginning, and/or middle, and/or end of a story. Then I sew them together. Sometimes the sewing requires that I re-write earlier parts.

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?

Once the idea hits I jot down a few things so I will not forget something major. If my initial brainstorm includes real scenes I get them into my word processor post-haste. Then I turn navigation over to the muse, with an option to regain control.

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 two years retired. Yet I sometimes feel like I fighting to find time to write. I’ve never been a high volume writer. Wish I was.

What is your daily writing time like?

Right now is kind of typical. I’m trying to write while my wife has Dr. Phil on in the background.

Can you tell us about your publishing experience? Are you Indie, Traditional, or do a bit of both?

Plutonium_Nightmare_CoverI got into New Pulp before that name first came up. I had some stories published in Tom & Ginger Johnson’s Double Danger Tales chapbooks at the beginning of the century. Then I was fortunate enough to get in on the ground floor with Ron Fortier & Rob Davis’ imprint Airship-27. A-27 just passed one-hundred titles. My work has appeared in seven of them. I self published Plutonium Nightmare in 2005, then moved it to CreateSpace a bit over a year ago. Via the Pulp Factory mailing list I met Pro Se Productions’ Tommy Hancock. Pro Se published my villain pulp Sons of Thor, plus I chipped in a story for the first anthology featuring their Pulptress signature character.

My “box score” is currently:  Airship-27…7, Pro Se…3, Self-published…2, Mechanoid Press…1 (forthcoming.)

Everyone like to know where an author gets their ideas from, but what I want to know is what is the strangest thing to inspire one of your stories?

Air-8One day I decided to write a third story about Jim Anthony, the Half Irish – Half Comanche All American hero. I picked July of 1938, about a year after the previous story I’d written, for it to happen. Then I plugged the month and year into a search engine. Tons of links showed up, of course. There were lots about unrest in Canada caused by right-wing/Fascist/Nazi groups. Jim almost headed in that direction. Then my brain formed a short circuit between two totally unconnected items. First, near Bandolier National Monument, just outside Los Alamos, New Mexico, a big rock tipped over exposing a mysterious skeleton. Second, at an airfield in the New York City area, Howard Hughes and Douglas “Wrong-Way” Corrigan crossed trails. They probably did not meet. Hughes was prepping for a much ballyhooed flight around the world, while Corrigan was about to make his namesake unauthorized flight to Ireland. Suddenly I decided that they did meet. For an earthshakingly important reason. So Jim Anthony and his Shaman grandfather headed for New Mexico near the edge of the old Comanche hunting grounds. Canada went out the window, except for a couple of Mounties I tossed in later. “Home on the Pandemic Range” became part of the Sons of Thor volumes.

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

I’ve written numerous book, film and play reviews for various publication including one or two for the Kansas City Star. On cable TV I did hundreds of film, book and local venue reviews. Many of them were live, without script or teleprompter. My show Entertainment Spectrum visited all sorts of conventions. Once we covered the first North American Sherlock Holmes con and a Star Trek one, on the same weekend.

This year, so far, I plan to be at the Windy City Pulp & Paperback Show in April.

A-27GreenGhostCoverAs an author what inspiration or advice would you give to a writer who is working to make the transition to Author?

Well, I’m not ashamed to admit I had to look this up. I’d always assumed “author” was the fifty cent word used in place of the fifteen cent word “writer.” Sort of the prose version of the “ARTIST” vs illustrator debate.

The most common point I found in the top five results of a Google search is that the writer has not been published, but the author has. To this point I say to the soon-to-be author: One make sure you have done enough research and/or world building. Two, Find a reader who will give you their honest opinion, rather than flattery, or going easy on your writing.

MASKEDriderCVRWho is your favorite author? Tell us what makes this author stand out in your mind, and what book would you recommend to someone new to that author?

Without doubt, Anne McCaffery. Strangely, I very briefly encountered her at the 1969 WorldCon before I began reading her work. A few years later, when I was in a bad place in my life I picked up Dragonflight and Dragonquest at a local library. I lost myself on Pern. McCaffrey built worlds like few others. Even today re-reading up one of her books can raise my spirits when I’m down.

For someone new to McCaffery, ask your library for a copy of The Ship Who Sang and the trilogy contained in The Dragonriders of Pern.

If you would like more information about Erwin K. Roberts and his books look on AmazonFacebook, or email.

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