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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.

Capture

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.

Interview with Ron Fortier — Occult Detectives

Ron Fortier is a comics and pulps writer/editor best known for his work on the Green Hornet comic series and Terminator – Burning Earth with Alex Ross.  He won the Pulp Factory Award for Best Pulp Short Story of 2011 for “Vengeance Is Mine,” which appeared in Moonstone’s The Avenger – Justice Inc. and in 2012 for “The Ghoul,” from the anthology Monster Aces.  He is the Managing Editor of Airship 27 Productions, a New Pulp Fiction publisher and writes the continuing adventures of both his own character, Brother Bones – the Undead Avenger and the classic pulp hero, Captain Hazzard – Champion of Justice.

Interview with Ron Fortier Cap (2)
contributor/editor in Occult Detectives
2/05/2015

What is your current release and (without spoilers) tell us about the new book or series.
My latest piece of fiction was a “Ravenwood – Stepson of Mystery” short story in the “Occult Detectives” anthology released from Airship 27 Productions last Dec.  I’ve got way too many things in the works these days.  A new pulp book “Nighthawk-Burning Skies” coming from Moonstone Books and I’m currently writing two on-going pulp comicbook titles for them; “Black Bat – Domino Lady : Danger Coast to Coast” and “Guns of the Black Bat.”  Hopefully both comics will be out sometime this year.

Air-101What is the usual process for your writing? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’m a by-the-seat-of-your-pants writer for sure.  I often just plunge into a story with a very tentative (sometimes non-existent…ha) plot in my head and hope for the best.  I tend to write scenes instead of a scheduled routine for so many pages or word courts.  I do a scene and then quit. When the muse strikes again, I go back and write the next scene.

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’ve pretty much answered that question so far.  Where if there is something historical or technical in the plot, I will of course research it to make the story as authentic as possible.  But then again, it is fiction and there’s always room to fudge.

10960226_10204288694190361_3754113822683236225_oAre 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 now 68.  I worked for 30 years in a plant to support my family. Then writing was part time, but I still managed to write well over 500 comicbooks and a few novels in that time.  I retired from the day-job over 14 yrs ago now and devote myself to writing and editing, when I’m not traveling with my wife or spending time with our six grand kids.  It’s a great life these days.  But I did work hard to get here.

HornetWhat is your daily writing time like?
I spend most mornings editing other people’s fiction, be it novels or short stories for my Airship 27 Productions line.  Then after lunch, I’ll try to get in some writing if the muse is willing.  If it isn’t, then I simply kick back and do some reading…until it is.

Can you tell us about your publishing experience? Are you Indie, Traditional, or do a bit of both?
Comicbook wise I started working in the independents then was lucky enough to move up to professional outfits like Malibu, Now Comics and even Marvel.  My prose work has been published by Wizards of the Coasts and other professional publishers. Today I work in both equally.

TermEveryone 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 easy.  A few years ago I was part of a bestselling anthology from Pro Se Press.  Upon getting my comp copies, I immediately sat down to read my colleague’s stories in the collection.  In one, the writer had created a marvel cast of characters, including one I thought had tons of real story potential.  I contacted him and we are no currently planning a brand new anthology based around this one supporting character from his short story.

Can you tell us about some of your other writing (fiction or nonfiction) and any appearances or signings that you have planned?
I’ll be traveling quite a bit this year with Airship 27 Productions, both at pulp and comic cons.  We, myself and Airship 27 Art Director Rob Davis, will be at the FoCo Comic & Gaming Festival in early March here in Fort Collins, Co. In April we’ll be at the Windy City Pulp & Paper Con, then its off to Louisville, Con for the Derby Comic Con. In Aug we show up at PulpFest in Columbus and in early Nov. we fly off to Akron for the Akron Comic Con…and my one solo appearance (other than at the local comic shop on Free Comic book day) will be at the Rocky Mountain Comic Show in Denver in late Nov.  Phew, I’m tired just writing about them. Ha.

Air-3As an author what inspiration or advice would you give to a writer who is working to make the transition to Author?
Don’t worry yourself about being a full time writer.  Only a very tiny percentage of writers ever realize that dream.  Most have day jobs and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.  Being a writer should be about your desire to want to tell stories, not a quest for fame and fortune. That’s just bogus to the max.

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?
The late mystery writer Ed McBain was my favorite writer of all time.  I discovered him as a teenager and was amazed at the economy of his prose.  He never used more words than were necessary and he had a keen insight into human psychology. I still to this day try to emulate his terse, clean style. As for favorite books, try any of this fifty novels in the popular 87th PRECINCT mystery series. Everyone one of them is a lesson in how to write effectively.

0919-Airship27LogoIf you would like more information about Ron Fortier and his books look on the Airship 27 Hangar, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter , or on his website.

Readers Roll with the Punches: Use Your Writing Style for the Knockout!

Every writer has a style that comes naturally. Perhaps you haven’t discovered what your style is, or you are testing out various ones for fit. That’s well and good, but let me give you a big hint: Don’t fight your natural inclination. Your brain was wired a certain way and your internal voice has a dialect all your own. It’s time to embrace your style and knock your readers out with amazing and unique storytelling.boxing-gloves

There are loosely five basic styles of boxers–out-fighters, punchers, counter-punchers, sluggers, in-fighters. Each of these styles have champions and names the average person would recognize and all have tremendous followings among the fans. Just like in boxing, writers fall into different camps based on technique, skill, and habit.

Classic boxers are called Out-Fighters. They maintain distance between themselves and their opponent, with fast, longer range punches. The idea is to methodically wear an opponent down using skill in pacing, finesse, quick reflexes, and footwork. (Examples: Muhammad Ali, Salvador Sanchez, Manny Pacquiao.)

Latex_example_text_formulasWriters that exhibit this classical style are more formulaic in their stories. Romance, Westerns, Pulp Action, Cozy Mystery…all generally follow a tried and true formula. That does not mean these genres won’t surprise the dickens out you, because the best authors will knock your socks off. That is what makes readers come back time and time again. The reader knows authors in these genres will deliver reliable of drama and pacing right up to the climax. (Examples: Johanna Lindsey,  Louis L’Amour, Lester Dent, Lillian Jackson Braun.)

For the month of February I am going to focus on 5 styles of fiction writing. With these guides you can give your readers a barnburner every time.

93801i92372285251C73BFRomance writers be sure to check out Jami Gold’s post: Write Romance? Get Your Beat Sheet Here! The post is full of good things including this link for a blow up of the beat sheet. Writers of any genre would do well to take a peek at this list.

USA_10279_Monument_Valley_Luca_Galuzzi_2007Westerns are a different animal entirely. The genre is the subject of university classes and Ph.D dissertations. The web is full of scholarly papers discussing everything from setting to formula. R.L. Coffield’s post is a great place to dive into the genre.

NP r4

Pulp Action, today, is called New Pulp. And the folks over at the New Pulp website have the skinny on the genre. Pulp novels are written in a fast pace style that amaze readers with dashing over-the-top characters in settings that range from the mundane to the fantastical. But one thing is certain New Pulp books are like an Action sandwich filled with explosives!

MagnifyingGlassCozy Mysteries are near and dear to my heart. My bookcase runneth over with paperback volumes running the gamut between stories with cats to cooking shows gone awry. They all follow an unmistakable path, but the best writers amaze me with their sneaky and deft handling of the details. Elizabeth S. Craig’s post: Top Tips for Cozy Mystery Writing and a Crazy Cozy Blogfest, has a list you don’t want to miss.

Next time we will look at boxing style called a puncher and look at the type of writers who give readers the big KO!

Interview with Lisa Jey Davis — MsCheevious In Hollywood

Lisa Jey Davis is an award-winning writer, blogger, author, and a fitness expert & health enthusiast. Her newest book “Ms. Cheevious in Hollywood – My Zany Years Spent Working in Tinsel Town” is due in February, 2015 and offers a peek behind the scenes in Hollywood and humorous tales from the life of a newly divorced single mom. As the editor in [Mis] Chief at MsCheevious.com Lisa Jey “brings the funny” about life, love & dating. In the fitness & health realm, Lisa Jey has appeared on The Doctors TV show and the CW in LA (among others). She is a health & a fitness contributor for LiveStrong.com and blogs for the Huffington Post. Lisa Jey resides in Santa Monica, California. She loves the beach.

Interview with Lisa Jey DavisIMG_8589_400X600 
author of MsCheevious In
Hollywood.
01/30/2015

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

FROM THE BACK OF THE BOOK:  When Lisa Jey Davis (aka Ms. Cheevious) decides to tell her story of working in television as a single mom in Tinsel Town, she does it with loads of mischief, a ton of chocolate and an ounce of vodka. If you found yourself face-to-face with a very handsome and famous a-list actor, smiling and shaking your hand back stage, or you snubbed a flirtation from the lead singer of the hottest band in the U.S., not knowing it was him – you might just do the same. Welcome to the world of Ms. Cheevious. A world where nothing is sacred or predictable. In Ms. Cheeviousland, life is a farce – at least when it’s not so damn serious. In this hilarious compilation of stories, Lisa Jey navigates the minefield of her past for tales from her divorce (which unleashed her on an unsuspecting Hollywood), her family, relationships and an enviable turn working in television. Whether she’s hiding from an interested suitor in a Vegas casino, her son is mistaken for a homeless guy, her best friend is forced to scrub in to help choose her boobs’ implant size, or she’s so tipsy, even a strip club turns her away, Lisa Jey always seems to get herself into the most ridiculous situations. The innocent mistakes she makes, even when launched into the big, bad, single Jungle in the City of Angels, are laced with tales of a beautiful bond with her two boys and tender lessons for all single moms gone a little wild. Ms. Cheevious in Hollywood – My Zany Years Spent Working in Tinsel Town showcases the razor-sharp wit, frankness, and delicious turns of phrase that have made Lisa Jey Davis the one and only Ms. Cheevious.

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

I am a little of both! For this book, I plotted, outlined, planned, and took almost 9 years to finish it! Another book I’m almost finished with started because of a funny couple of videos I posted on youtube, and I was able to sit and type it over the course of a few days. It was magical to be able to get that content out in that way!

MsCheevious_In_Hollywood_Cover_JPGOnce 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?

Well, I write non-fiction (as of yet), so my writing depends on what I am writing. If it is health and fitness related (which I write often) and requires research, I start there, and piece together the content based on my findings. If it’s experiential (which I also write on my blogs at MsCheevious.com and at LisaJeyDavis.com), I start with an idea and begin writing based on the Muse and where it takes me. More often than not, I visit some of my favorite blogger’s posts, or well-written websites to spark a certain tone or get me going in a given direction, because I am all about “the funny.” If a blog post or article I write for MsCheevious.com doesn’t make me laugh in some way, it’s not post-worthy (in most cases). I am always inspired and motivated by truly well-written (particularly witty) content.

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 5.59.07 PMAre 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?

Wow! For me, the answer to this is complex, with lots of moving parts. I suppose I could be called a full-time writer. I was a publicist by profession and owned my own marketing and public relations firm. I’d been writing this book, “Ms. Cheevious in Hollywood” for many years (started in 2005), but life kept getting in the way. My career took precedence. Then, when I underwent some life-changing surgeries because of my genetic mutation putting me at considerably higher risk of breast and ovarian cancer (than the general population). I made the decision to go on hiatus from PR and, because I’d coincidentally become a certified fitness instructor (I’ve always been involved in and interested in health and fitness), I shifted gears, simplified my life to accommodate lower income and started teaching fitness classes for a base income, so I could concentrate on writing.  Now I also write for other websites, professionally, as a health and fitness pro… so it’s been a good move!

Cover_Art JpegWhat is your daily writing time like?

I rarely say, “Today I am writing” these days, because my current book is finished, and the upcoming one is almost finished, but will wait until the current one is launched and released. But generally, if I get inspired about a topic I am writing about, I sit down to jot some things down. But if I were to add up the amount of time I sit and write, creatively, I’d have to say it comes in chunks, and when I’m doing it, it’s all day long (for the most part).  Does that help? Ha ha! I pride myself on being flexible and doing things when they must be done… and that’s pretty much how I approach my writing. If/when I sit down to write a novel, I know that will most certainly change, and I’ll probably schedule a few hours a day to sit down and write something… anything… But that time is not now.

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

I was all set to publish everything I owned independently, because although my book Ms. Cheevious in Hollywood – My Zany Years Spent Working in Tinsel Town won BEST UNPUBLISHED MANUSCRIPT at NY Book Festival in 2007, I still was unable to acquire representation or garner publisher interest. Then, when I started to write and talk about another book a couple of years ago (a witty, post-surgery book now titled “Orchids, the New Black: How to Get Over Your Ovaries and Make ‘The Change of Life’ Your BITCH”), I got some interest from a literary agent, who signed me. She was unsuccessful in selling that book, so I am currently publishing everything on my own unless something miraculous happens (don’t doubt it!). But I am very happy with my decision!

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?

10903941_10152427457906734_7912929140974801308_oOH.MY.GOD. Have you read the Ms. Cheevious blog?  Some of my stories are extremely strange, funny, and crazy… Most of the time the inspiration comes while sitting around (usually with a glass of wine in hand) with friends, laughing and making jokes about life and love. Some of my ideas are way out there, and if you don’t follow the blog weekly, you could seriously miss something. But it’s all fun and interesting. One of the oddest, but still funny posts was from this past Thanksgiving. My beau and a good girlfriend of ours were having some pre-Thanksgiving dinner. (Our friend is one of those quintessential “Burning Man” people, who loves to wear costumes and feathers and such to events. She is a hoot). We had some wine and were talking about the upcoming holidays. The conversation meandered to the subject of ice-skating at an annual outdoor rink in Santa Monica, and we all decided we would go this year, but that we would dress up with funny hats or something when we do. I said to my friend “I have wigs! We could do wigs! I’ll show you” – – and thus the Pulp Fiction Thanksgiving post was born and the wigs came out.

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

A book release event in San Diego and possibly in Los Angeles are in the early planning stages, so there are no dates or information to share about those as of yet. I have no in-person appearances planned as of yet, but be on the lookout for radio and other interviews on the web, as well as in the mainstream media! Fingers crossed!

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

Write every day that you possibly can. Even if you think you are capable of writing something really great… the greatness comes in the writing and in LOTS OF IT.  And….  NEVER.GIVE.UP.

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?

9Oh – I hate that question. I love authors of all types and genres. There are far too many…  It’s like asking my favorite quote. I used a quote at the front of Ms. Cheevious by Louisa May Alcott “I’m not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship” but I wanted to use several, so at the end of the book, I provided a slew of other quotes that inspire me. It’s so difficult. I think that is why author Cheryl Strayed used two quotes at the beginning of each chapter of her book “Wild”! I really can’t name just one author, and to start to list them here would not be truly representative of who I love, because my favorites change like the wind. I love certain authors for certain subject matter and others for their own niche… Sorry, I can’t give you more!

If you would like more information about Lisa Jey Davis and her books checkout these links on AmazonTwitter, Facebook,  G+, Huffington Post, and on her website.

Also check out Lisa’s segment on “The Doctors” for important information on the BRCA2 gene and her own journey (similar to Angelina Jolie’s).

Writer Rx: Sometimes You NEED Encouragement

There are days where I doubt myself to the point of distraction. Don’t even ask my family and friends because they would most likely roll there eyes and then say, “Oh that’s Lisa’s process. She gets a great idea, falls in love with it, then falls off the wagon with worry.” I don’t think I’m alone. And it is true I do fall hopelessly in love with my story ideas. I know how the story should go, and then I flake out right at the ending. 10385273_765857760161889_8986954518192111730_n

I discussed this phenomenon with my (wonderful, amazing, loyal) husband. I don’t want the story to end. Like never. Ever.

I do this kind of thing when I read series too! I admit to being a bit weird. Example: I read ALL but the last Dragonlance books involving Raistlin Majere…I read the Raistlin Chronicles: The Soulforge and Brothers in Arms, the Chronicles series: Dragons of Autumn Twilight, Dragons of Winter Night, and Dragons of Spring Dawning, the Legends series: Time of the Twins, War of the Twins, and Test of the Twins…BUT could not bring myself, to this day, to read the last one…Dragons of Summer Flame.

Please don’t disown me. My husband had a hard enough time with this confession.

I have no logical reason to not pick that book up off the shelf and read it…none, yet it still stares at me from behind the dust bunnies…waiting.

Now you know my secret shame. It is worse than being a quitter. A quitter has a completed task. They are done with it, never to return, but I languish.  Capture

Ok so far this post hasn’t been encouraging, but I swear I’m getting there. :) You see I found myself, yet again, in this hole of despair over a short story this very weekend. It is part of my process. I understand. I know I have to fight my way through it. I know. But here is the key to my ability to move forward…Encouragement.10806469_757386687675663_6557916642513224932_n

You have to go out and fill this void for yourself, although it is nice if you have a peanut gallery full of helpful souls. You have to be able to encourage yourself. You have find that thing, whatever it is, that makes your heart sing with renewed vigor!

For me I get the best encouragement from other writers. Ones who have been in the business for a while know the right things to say. They have trodden these steps before and know how emotional it can be to put yourself out there in today’s critical market and let your flag fly. So one of the things I do with this blog is interview others, and they in turn encourage me to be all I can be. They have seen the other side and know the way. You can learn so much from the wisdom of those who have gone on before you. Here is a link to all my interviews on the site. I hope they encourage you as well.

10172625_772431452837853_4838175971383331622_nAnother thing that really gets me motivated are the cool memes that people are making these days with author quotes. The Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing Facebook page is full of great ones. I follow them on FB mostly for the memes rather than the info.

Do you have ways to encourage yourself? Even if you aren’t a writer I would love to know how you keep yourself motivated and working toward your goals. Who knows you might be my next inspiration! :)10430444_759522444128754_1167215594503789137_n

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