The Festival

The Festival by H.P. Lovecraft  description:

“The Festival” is a short story by H. P. Lovecraft written in October 1923 and published in the January 1925 issue of Weird Tales. It is considered to be one of the first of his Cthulhu Mythos stories.

The Festival   4 STARS

This was a short story that leaves you wanting more, but afraid of getting it. I love the use of ambiguity in this sort of horror. The sort of telling that leaves your own fears to fill in the blanks. Yet with all the questions it makes you wonder how did any of it happen? Why was this person really brought there? It seems like he’s always known of this sort of pagan celebration that predates Christmas, and yet everything was very much unknown to him. More so, I like that Lovecraft brings in things from previous stories, like his fictitious author, Abdul Alhazred, whose book keeps being mentioned and seems to be tied to so many different terrifying events. It helps to build a world in such a short time, and I quite enjoyed the thrill.

The Nameless City

The Nameless City  by  H.P. Lovecraft

“The Nameless City” is a horror story written by H. P. Lovecraft in January 1921 and first published in the November 1921 issue of the amateur press journal The Wolverine. It is often considered the first Cthulhu Mythos story.

The Nameless City of the story’s title is an ancient ruin located somewhere in the deserts of the Arabian Peninsula and is older than any human civilization.

The Nameless City   2 STARS

This is an extremely short story. It is also the first story I’ve read by Lovecraft. Perhaps because I’ve read so much about him and know his stories are about the strange unknown horrible things that lurk in the night I wasn’t surprised by how this went about. The main character seems to have held onto denial a bit too much, but I do understand that sense of adventure and need to know that can drive a person into places they know they shouldn’t go. It’s that foolhardy idiocy of sensing something in the dark, being afraid it’s probably there to kill you, but having to know exactly what it is before you die. That wanting to know the truth of the abyss is the driving force of this story, which it does well, but it fails in any real sense of horror since it is so obvious from the get go. And I honestly don’t get why this is considered the first of the Cthulhu stories, It really doesn’t seem to have anything to do with Cthulhu as much as some other creepy crawlies.

Chris Beakey has been INTERVIEWED!!!

chris-beakey-author-photo1. What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?

My Twitter handle is @beaks318. Everyone can find me on Facebook, which is where I spend more time. I post my short stories and review books at my blog, located at blog.chrisbeakey.com. I LOVE hearing from readers, who can email me through my Web site at http://www.chrisbeakey.com.

  1. Other than writing, what is your favorite hobby or thing you enjoy for fun?

I play a lot of tennis, spend time on the beach (swimming and reading there in the summers and walking it other times of the year) . . . I also enjoy spending time with my friends and neighbors in the small town by the ocean where I live.

  1. How long have you been writing? What genres have you written? They don’t have to be published.

I’ve been writing since I was old enough to hold a pencil . . . I think I wrote my first story in third grade. It was a spellbinding masterpiece about a treasure chest in an attic, with a ghost, which no one else would have ever thought of .

That’s actually partly true. I always wanted to tell stories, and was encouraged from my earliest years by teachers and my family. I didn’t foresee a clear path to success until my second year of college though. I was studying Communications at Virginia Commonwealth University, preparing for a career in public relations because it would give me the opportunity to write for the mass media. I’d been writing fiction for awhile – essentially learning how to do it by doing it.

In my junior year I won a short story competition. In my senior year I wrote a comedic novella, in the style of Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City series, about campus life. It was published as a serial in the school paper. They were minor successes, but they showed I had the potential to shape a very small amount of talent and a very large amount of ambition into work that people would enjoy reading.

I decided then that I’d have a traditional career in media and would write fiction in my free time. For 20 years I woke up at 4:30 every morning so I could write for a couple of hours before heading out to the gym and then to my often-grueling day job. I wrote three novels that I couldn’t sell.

Something interesting happened shortly after I turned 40 though. I looked back at the failures in those books and admitted to myself that I’d been writing stories that I believed would be commercially marketable. Stories that were well-constructed, descriptively written, and safe from offending anyone in any way.

Since it hadn’t worked, I decided to try something different. I decided to write about my most visceral emotions and fears, without worrying about whether anyone would be bothered by what I wrote. I’d spent a lot of time as a mentor to at-risk kids, and had loved and worried about my sister’s kids as if they were my own. There had been countless moments when I’d imagined something happening to them – it was the kind of thing that would hit me in the middle of the night and keep me wide-eyed awake until the morning. I felt deep rage every time I read or watched a story about a child being abducted or abused, and actually thanked God often for the safety of the kids around me while questioning how God could allow any kid to suffer.

So I went there – to that dark, scary place in my mind. The result was Double Abduction, published in hardcover by J. Boylston & Company. It’s a thriller about Michael Bennett, a 25-year-old gay preschool teacher who becomes the lead suspect in the abduction of his beloved 5-year-old nephew – a case eerily similar to the abduction and murder of his other nephew 5 years before. The story takes place over 48 hours, which is how much time Michael has to rescue his nephew. That’s the “thriller” element.  The deeper story is about redemption – as Michael descends into Hell for the second time to save his nephew’s life and restore his good name.

It was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. It sold well, especially in libraries, despite being published by a small but earnest publisher that couldn’t really compete with the big houses. Half of my friends who are parents loved it because it was based on their worst fears. The other half of my friends who are parents couldn’t read it because it was based on their worst fears. In an ironic way I consider that a victory, because it made an impact.

  1. What has been the greatest influence to your writing? Other authors, life experiences, etc…

There’s a writer named John Farris who’s always been a mystery to me. He began writing slim crime paperbacks in the early 1960s, He evolved into a writer of paranormal/horror stories that literally pulsed on the page. He had his first hit with The Fury, about a psychic teenager who has to battle a secret government agency to save the life of her twin brother, an even more gifted psychic who’s been kidnapped so that he can be trained to be a government weapon. The book was made into a well-regarded movie by Brian DePalma. I’ve read it about four times . . . and if I live into my 70s I’ll probably read it at least three more times.

I’ve had similar reactions to John Farris’ other works. They’re stories about people who appear to live ordinary lives but who are challenged by their psychic sensitivities and abilities. His best stories are like the best stories by Stephen King and Richard Matheson – they’re far more “literary” than most snobs would admit. And completely real.

There are so many other writers who inspire me – including current greats such as Lisa Unger, Gillian Flynn, Joseph Finder, Harlan Coben, Jeffrey Stephens, Jordan Dane, John Lescroart, Peter Swanson, Norb Vonnegut, Neely Tucker, Greg Hurwitz and Lee Child (because there are days when I sorta’ wish I was Jack Reacher).

But when it comes to material I have to say it all does emanate from my own life experiences. Emotional triggers. Scary thoughts. Good people winning against more powerful bad people. And redemption – something that seems to be part of almost everything I write.

  1. Are you currently writing anything now? If so tell us about it? If not make something up…fatal-option-cover

I’m about two-thirds of the way through my next thriller: Double Death. It’s about a psychic in the witness protection program who keeps outsmarting the bad guys who keep finding her. She also has $15 million in a Swiss bank account and an epileptic teenage nephew who depends on an illegal drug to stay alive. The other main character is Washington, DC police officer Gloria Towson, who helped Michael Bennett rescue his nephew and clear his name in Double Abduction.

I also write short stories and post them at www.blog.chrisbeakey.com.

  1. How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump in head first with the initial idea? And do you focus on just one at a time?

I write very, very detailed outlines, but I always begin with a 2-3 sentence description/understanding of what the story is about. Fatal Option, for example, was always about a good man who does a bad thing for the best possible reasons – and then has to defy the law to try to get away with it and keep his family together. Double Abduction was always about a good guy living as a suspect in a child abduction who can only clear his name by rescuing another child. Double Death is likewise about a woman who’s effectively held captive by the U.S. Marshals until she can destroy the evil people who made her a captive.

Once I come up with that concise idea of the story I spend months in a stream-of-consciousness plotting mode . . . thinking about characters and scenes and even bits of dialogue that will move the story forward. I learned long ago that the best way to defeat writer’s block is to begin with this stream-of-consciousness approach because it frees me to be creative without boundaries.

But then I get very serious . . . whittling down that stream-of-consciousness outline to something much closer to a blueprint.

Then I start writing. And keep about half of what’s in that blueprint. It’s frustrating when scenes that seemed to work on the blueprint don’t work once you write them – and exhilarating when a scene takes flight  on a slightly different path than you forecasted.

  1. What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?

I’ll describe my weakness first. I’m not very smart. Not very talented. Didn’t attend the Iowa Writer’s Workshop or obtain an MFA from American University or the University of Virginia or any of those other smart-people schools that field the writers who are selected by the literary journals. I’m too emotional, and too fixated on writing stories driven by people who are likewise emotional due to the terrifying situations they’re thrust into. And I’m simple. I don’t ever want my stories to be the kinds of works that have to be “analyzed” in order for people to determine what they’re about. You should always know what my story is about by the time you finished it. If not, I probably screwed up. I like stories with beginnings, middles and ends. And I’m especially happy when people tell me they came close to crying – or cheering as they read.

In terms of strengths, I’m always honest. I tell truths as I see them. And I always write about things that hit me in a visceral way . . . and always work to become better at this.

  1. After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing. What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have tips you’d like to share?

I love people but am pretty introverted – if I go to a party I’ll typically end up talking to a librarian or a bartender or anyone who engages me in an interesting one-on-one conversation for most of the night. I think I’m pretty good at describing my work but I am very uncomfortable promoting it. Fortunately I’m working with a team of AMAZING people at Smith Publicity. They all read Fatal Option before agreeing to promote it, and from there they mounted a campaign that I’m especially comfortable with, which is driven by getting the Advance Reading Copies into the hands of everyday thriller readers and book bloggers.

These are the people I want to relate to – because after spending so many years inside my head writing I now want to know how people react to this story. I love this strategy. It’s not flashy. But it connects me to the readers, who matter most to me.

One tip I have is to find other people who have done this well and try to learn from them. And don’t try to do it on your own. There are zillions of books published every year. There are some that are truly amazing that no one ever hears about . . . and some that aren’t amazing at all that get far more attention because they’re pushed big time by the big time publishers that acquired them. The book marketing landscape truly is a jungle, with bamboo spikes growing out of the ground and snakes dropping out of trees underneath beautiful sunsets that prod you onward. You probably won’t get through it without someone to guide you all the way.

  1. What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?

Here are a few recommendations:

  • Try to figure out what makes you cry. Or laugh. Or lie wide-awake at night. Think about the most emotional moments of your life. Think about the most compelling people in your life. Draw from those experiences. If you do you’ll probably write better, and produce more.
  • Once you figure out which genre you want to write in, read as much work as you can from that genre. Learn from the masters. Emulate what you feel they do best while sticking to your unique voice and style.
  • Set aside time every day to write. This is so important – at least it is to me. I’ve met so many people who have told me “I always wanted to write a book” or “I have a great idea for a book” or “someday I’ll write a book.” Most of them don’t actually spend any time writing. I sympathize completely, because they’re typically people with demanding jobs, commutes back and forth to those jobs, and family responsibilities. But if writing is really important to you, you need to find a certain time of day when you can focus on it.

The best time of that day for writing is probably linked to your body clock. I’m a day person – I like to get up early, and am most creative in the first two hours after I’ve awakened. Other people are at the other end of the spectrum. They have to stay up late and can’t write until after 9 or 10 at night. You need to figure out where you are on that spectrum . . . and then you need to try and set aside at least an hour every day to devote to your writing. Consistency is important; I think we need these routines. I woke up at 4:30 a.m. to write every day for decades before I sold my first novel. I then went to a demanding 10-hour a day job. I gave up a lot to do this. Stopped going out after work. Spent my evenings reading great books instead of watching TV. And spent lots of time going to writers conferences, interacting with agents and editors, and dealing with moments of validation and rejection. There were so many reasons to think I’d never succeed, but nothing could stop me. That’s the attitude shared by most successful writers.

The last thing I’ll say on this is to be easy on yourself. Editors, agents and readers can be harsh. New York City can be harsh. Librarians, though, are basically never harsh. They love writers and live their professional lives to create places for reading, introspection and creativity (so you really should get to know a librarian or two). Don’t dwell on the rejection letters. But do read the work of other writers – both published and aspiring – and engage in good dialogue with them. We’re all part of a community. We need to support each other.

David J. Castello has been INTERVIEWED!!!

david-j-castello1. What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook
David J Castello
www.DavidJCastello.com

www.facebook.com/DavidJCastelloAuthor

2. Other than writing, what is your favorite hobby or thing you enjoy for fun?

I love to play my drums. It’s a wonderfully physical departure from writing. I also love to travel. All of my grandparents are from Italy and I’ve been there and throughout Europe many times. I believe that travel nurtures the soul.

 3. How long have you been writing? What genres have you written? They don’t have to be published.

I wrote my first newspaper story when I was eleven about a Civil War slave cemetery in the South (yes, I was a strange child) and I began excavating Indian mounds when I was thirteen and wrote extensively about that, too. Today, my brother and I manage an internet network with names like Whisky.com, Bullion.com, Kennel.com, Nashville.com, etc. I’ve written numerous articles for all of those sites covering a wide variety of topics.

 4. What has been the greatest influence to your writing? Other authors, life experiences, etc…

There are two writers who made an early, profound impact on me: Walter Lord (A Night To Remember – 1955) and William L. Shirer (The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich – 1960). I loved both of those books so much that they made me want to write. Travel has also influenced my writing. I’ve toured the US and the UK playing drums in rock groups and I’ve spoken at internet conferences about internet marketing in the US, Canada and South America. Every person, place and culture I’ve encountered has influenced my writing in some way.

5. Are you currently writing anything now? If so tell us about it? If not make something up…

When I began answering these questions I was in the midst of writing an update about a strange email I received from a World War Two veteran over fifteen years ago.  I finished the story and The Daily Beast published it:
www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/12/07/the-man-who-tried-to-stop-pearl-harbor.html

6. How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump in head first with the initial idea? And do thediaryofanimmortal-frontcoveryou focus on just one at a time?

An idea will pop in my head that motivates me to write and I’ll hit the ground running. That’s how I began writing my debut novel, The Diary Of An Immortal (1945-1959). I had this freakish dream, woke up and thought, “What was that all about?”  Once I have that spark, I’ll completely immerse myself as long as it’s moving in a direction I feel passionate about. There has to be passion. Lots of it. That’s the fuel that feeds my creative fire.

7. What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?

I believe my strength is that I can easily slip into this twilight zone state-of-mind where I’m actually there in the moment with the characters in my book. I’m with those people. I’m in that year. I’m in that place. My weakness is that I tend to get emotionally attached to them. I guess you can also say that’s a strength, but sometimes it can be very taxing.

8. After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing. What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have tips you’d like to share?

My experience with internet marketing has been helpful. There are a lot of charlatans out there and I know what is effective and what is a waste of time. I have many writer friends and I try to steer them in the most productive marketing direction possible. I believe we are all in this together. I also believe your book is your baby. Be proud of your work. It can be quite contagious. You never know who is eavesdropping on your conversation.

9. What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?

Never try to write a book. Simply tell a story that you feel is so compelling that it will make the reader care.

Bill Thompson has been INTERVIEWED!!!

bill-thompson-medWhat’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?

I’m Bill Thompson. You can find me at billthompsonbooks.com, on Twitter @BThompsonBooks and on Facebook @billthompsonbooks.

  1. Other than writing, what is your favorite hobby or thing you enjoy for fun?

Travel’s the thing I love to do most, and it’s what influences a great deal of what I write. I’ve been privileged to visit some of the world’s truly amazing places—the pyramids of Egypt, the ruins at Petra, Stonehenge and Machu Picchu and incredible cities in the jungles of Guatemala, Honduras, Belize and Mexico. The more I see, the more I want to know about how these apparently primitive people could put a hundred-ton stone on top of a ninety-foot temple without using a wheel or any type of technology. The more of the world I visit, the more questions I have, and the more stories pop into my brain, waiting to be put on paper.

  1. How long have you been writing? What genres have you written? They don’t have to be published.

My first book was published in 2009. I’m turning out three a year now, mostly in the archaeological mystery (think Indiana Jones) genre. I have one middle grade mystery called The Legend of Gunners Cove that was my second book. At the moment I’m working on book number ten, my first venture into YA/NA apocalyptic fiction. (see question 5 below for more about it)

  1. What has been the greatest influence to your writing? Other authors, life experiences, etc…

I read a lot of author blogs and have gotten great inspiration from people like authors Joanna Penn and Russell Blake, whose blogs for indie authors/new authors are extremely helpful. Sean Platt and Johnny Truant held a writer’s conference in Austin last year (Smarter Artist’s Summit). I came away with more ideas and information from that one than any other I’ve attended.

  1. Are you currently writing anything now? If so tell us about it? If not make something up…order-of-succssion

I’m always working on the next book! I’m doing something new this time. I’m writing The Outcasts, a YA/NA apocalyptic thriller about life after the Great War of 2042. Everything that went wrong started with … drum roll please … the American presidential election in 2016!

This book will be published as an e-book in three installments, the first of which will be out by mid-October, with the others following before year-end. Once the last episode is out, we’ll release the entire novel as a paperback and e-book.

  1. How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump in head first with the initial idea? And do you focus on just one at a time?

When I began all this I would work without an outline, and I found it took forever to get my thoughts together. I would write myself into corner after corner, wasting thousands of words that had to be deleted because the story line went nowhere. Someone smart noted that you wouldn’t take a trip without knowing where you were going. Same thing with writing.

I outline at least half the book up front but it continually changes as the story evolves while I’m writing. I rarely know the ending but it always comes together. Sometimes my characters go off on their own and do something I didn’t see coming. Those times usually make for a better story.

I work on one project (book) at a time. It would be hard for me to keep two plots going simultaneously. Working on just one is occasionally a challenge.

  1. What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?

I love the English language and enjoy getting to use it every day in my writing. I also do a lot of research on my books to ensure the reader can feel that my story is interwoven with fact. If I write about a street in Oaxaca during the Day of the Dead festival, I want the reader who’s been there herself to know I actually saw it too.

As far as weaknesses go, I think procrastination—the curse of many writers—is a big one of mine. It’s easy to let things get in the way of writing, to let your mind wander until you’ve wasted an hour, or to glance at your iPhone or email account now and then. You have to have determination but if you live with anyone else—animals included—you have to have cooperation from them too. Author quiet time is critical. If you can’t get it at home, you have to go somewhere else to write. I’m lucky that I have a supportive wife who gives me space. My dogs—not so much. They sometimes bark their heads off at nothing. That’s just one of the perils of writing in a home office, but it’s one I’m willing to work around.

  1. After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing. What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have tips you’d like to share?

For me writing’s the easy part and marketing’s the hard part. I’d much rather jump right in to the next novel than market the last one. I use social media, an ever-growing email list buoyed by CTAs in the back of all my books and I carry business cards with me everywhere. Anytime someone asks what I do I give them a card with a shot of one of my covers and a link. When I travel I carry books with me. I pass them out to airplane seatmates, I leave them in hotel lending libraries and I drop them off at used bookstores.

For my latest book Order of Succession, I am working with Smith Publicity, a firm with a track record of helping authors like me. It was my first try at using a professional firm for marketing and publicity and it’s going well.

  1. What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?

Something I’ve heard has always intrigued me, and that’s the theory that everyone has a book inside them. I agree with that statement, although I also believe many people will never act on it, often for very good reasons. Some people can’t write—they just aren’t mentally structured to turn out a book, just like I couldn’t turn out a sculpture or a painting if my life depended on it. Other people won’t write—they think what they have to say won’t be interesting to others or they think they won’t be good at it. (My theory on that is, you don’t know what other people will think until you give them something of yours to read. And then if you get 4- and 5-star reviews, the feeling is incredibly satisfying!) And some people will procrastinate forever—there are not enough hours in the day or whatever other excuse keeps them from writing.

Thousands of writers juggle a busy schedule at home and work and still turn out great books. It’s all in what you set your mind to do. It’s your life, so go for it. If you think you’d like to write a book, who’s stopping you? It’s satisfying and fulfilling to do what you love, even if you have to squeeze it in an hour here or there in your crazy, hectic life.

Bill Thompson became a corporate entrepreneur early when at age 12, he started a company that bought and sold coins. By age 25 he had founded an insurance agency that became one of the largest in Oklahoma. Expanding and adding to that firm, Thompson created a financial services holding company that operated in several states plus Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and England. He later sold his interests and joined his son as an executive in a computer memory manufacturing and distribution company, which by 1995 had grown to be in the top ten nationally by sales.

 When that company sold, he decided to pursue a lifelong passion—writing archaeological thrillers. His burning interest in ancient sites, mysteries of the past, unexplained things in the jungle and stories of adventure in remote places drove him to frequent trips around the world. He has visited numerous historically significant sites, including Machu Picchu, Stonehenge, Avebury, Egypt, Petra and many ancient Olmec, Aztec and Maya cities in Mexico, Belize and Guatemala.

 For more information, please visit http://www.billthompsonbooks.com, and connect with Thompson through Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

 Order of Succession can be purchased on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The Next World and the Next

http://www.lennyletter.com/culture/a394/the-next-world-and-the-next/

The Next World and the Next by Alice Sola Kim

So this is a different sort of review, because it’s for a short story I stumbled across on the internet. Not long enough for a description, other than if you like science fiction and the sort of ambiguity and intrigue that comes with a short story like this, then definitely read it. Heck read it regardless because it won’t take long, but it will leave you wishing you could find more by her. I’ve only found one other story by Kim and while it’s quite different from this piece of scifi, it was still really good. At the beginning of this link is a short intro bit by the creator of this page, and it is something to wonder about, women in science fiction. Because while I do love science fiction, and that women in them now-a-days aren’t the skimpy clad women of old, I’m still having a hard time remembering a book where the woman was the main lead, and now I sure want to find more. In the end, follow the link and enjoy.

Katherine Mitchell has been INTERVIEWED!!!

Katherine_Mitchell1.What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?

Katherine MK Mitchell

2. Other than writing, what is your favorite hobby or thing you enjoy for fun?

Tennis, champagne, lunch with friends, art exhibits, helping out the elderly.

3. How long have you been writing?  How many books have you written?  They don’t have to be published.

I have been writing all my life.  I started with poems and essays as a young student.  After taking a playwright course, my one-act play was selected for production as one of three in a summer showcase off-Broadway. Later, after reading and studying a great deal, I researched, developed and wrote I believe eleven screenplays, three of which were optioned by production companies.   During the same period of time I wrote and sold episodes to ongoing television series.  It was after leaving Hollywood and moving to Florida when I turned to the novel form.  Since 2011 I have researched, developed and co-published three women’s fiction novels.

4. What genres do you like writing the most? And why? Is this genre the same as the one you prefer to read?

I like reading and watching people stories, exciting, active fiction with a touch of mystery.  Historical novels especially interest me; how will the author handle the challenge of filling in the story while knowing the actual outcome.  I prefer reading high quality literary fiction and writing it.  The quality is becoming more and more important to me.

5. Are you currently writing anything now?  If so, tell us about it?  If not make something up.

I am working on my Memoir which is a difficult project.  I have to search inside myself and often remember things that I have already forgotten.  This will take a long time because I am also busy marketing my current novel, Shelby’s Way…Maybe.  It is so good but it is so much work, time away from writing.

6. How do you typically begin your projects?  Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump in head first with the initial idea?  Do you focus on just one at a time?Shelbys Way Cover

Jumping head first with the initial idea is totally amateur.  An initial idea needs depth, needs drama, needs emotions and direction and characters to develop these and other elements.  There can be areas of grey in the writer’s mind but there must be at least 80% of story continuity and 80% of character development established.  Otherwise, it will be a lot of rambling.  You should focus on one project at the time and while you can make notes about others, most importantly you have to serve the instant story and satisfy your reader.

7. What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength?  Your weakness?

I write great dialogue and surprising twists and turns and elements.  I have no specific weakness.  My concentration is on improving overall quality and making the story whole.  I am growing, becoming more interesting and daring to go deep in both story and character.  Clearly, each piece I write is better than the previous.

8. After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing.  What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have tips you would like to share?

If I knew what to do, I would be a bestseller.

9. What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?

Don’t talk about writing.  Do it.  I was always fascinated by law.  I have carefully balanced out the pros and cons between my interest in law and my need for writing.  My love of writing won.  But you are not a writer if you only talk about it.  I have added up the hours per day, per week, per month that it would take for me to go to law school while holding a full-time job.  Then I made myself take the same amount of time to write, to research, to study and write.  That’s when I had something to show.  I was a writer.

Allyson Lindt has been INTERVIEWED!!!

  1. What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?

A: Hallo! I’m Allyson Lindt. You can find me at allysonlindt.com. You can also find me on Twitter, I’m @AllysonLindt and on Facebook under https://www.facebook.com/AllysonLindt

  1. Other than writing, what is your favorite hobby or thing you enjoy for fun?

A: Tough question. So many things, like reading, trying new cookie recipes (making and eating). But I guess if I have to pick one, it’d be gaming. I love console role playing games, especially the old JRPG’s (Final Fantasy, anyone? J )

  1. How long have you been writing? How many books have you written? They don’t have to be published.

A: I’ve been writing since I was six. My first book was about two pages long, about a girl who was saving up to buy a horse. I’ve been doing it seriously (honing my craft, learning about publishing, things like that) for about eight years. In that time I’ve written… 22 books I think? (Some of them were novella length though).

  1. What genres do you like writing the most? And why? Is this genre the same as the one you prefer to read?

A: I love writing contemporary romance, especially office romances. And urban fantasy. Setting magical creatures to deal with modern life is so much fun. My favorite genre to read is urban fantasy, especially if it has a unique twist on angels, demons, and gods.

  1. Are you currently writing anything now? If so tell us about it? If not make something up…UrielsDescentCover_AllysonLindt

A: *laughs* I always have a project in the wings. Right now I’m wrapping up Ubiquity Book 2, Uriel’s Betrayal. If I say too much, it spoils Uriel’s Descent, but the tagline for the book is The Eternal Struggle Between Heaven and Hell has gone Corporate. It’s got new angels and demons, as well as the return of Lucifer, Michael, and Uriel, from Book 1.

  1. How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump in head first with the initial idea? And do you focus on just one at a time?

A: I start with a really rough outline. I know where the story starts, and what happens in the middle, and sometimes have a rough idea of where it ends. I usually know a little about the characters, but not as much as I’d like. I tend to figure that out as I go along. The plot always changes from what I planned as I write. I write most of my books in dual POV, part hero and part heroine, so I’m in both their heads from the start.

  1. What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?

A: I think one of my biggest strengths in writing is catchy dialogue and finding characters who have the chemistry to pull it off. On the opposite side of the coin, one of my biggest weaknesses is understanding my characters’ motivations.

  1. After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing. What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have tips you’d like to share?

A: When I started out, I had no idea how to do marketing. I was so frustrated, because it felt like I spent so much time spinning my wheels. Since then I’ve figured out a few things that work for me. Paid newsletter advertising is the best paid advertising I’ve found. Not all of them are built the same, but keep track of who you pay and which spots show results, and move on from the ones that aren’t working.

  1. What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?

A: Always be working on your next project. Write another book, and when possible build series in the same genre. Appreciate your readers. Even if the list starts small and grows, always remember readers are awesome and deserve your love.

Alan Jansen has been INTERVIEWED!!!

Jansen1. What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?

My name is Alan Jansen. You can find me on LinkedIn and at my author homepage at http://www.alan-jansen-books.com

  1. Other than writing, what is your favorite hobby or thing you enjoy for fun?

I enjoy travel, the Scandinavian Solstice/Summer, dogs and cats, movies – science fiction and humorous movies especially, and reading of course. I also try and listen as often as time permits to nostalgic pop music of Abba, Beatles, and other British and American Pop music from the sixties onwards.

3.How long have you been writing? How many books have you written? They don’t have to be published.

I gave up a senior position at a Swedish Telecom Company to concentrate on a writing career a few years ago. Since then I have written and published my debut book One Flew over the Banyan Tree in 2015, available at all reputable online booksellers, both soft cover and e-book. I have two unpublished books that I have written and am looking around for a publisher.

  1. What genres do you like writing the most? And why? Is this genre the same as the one you prefer to read?

Humor is the genre I love best, although I enjoy writing in the science fiction and Gothic genre too. As far as humor is concerned I was/am deeply influenced by the great British writer humor writer P.G. Wodehouse’s wonderful books. I started reading them as a schoolboy, borrowing from the school library. My interest in the Science fiction and Gothic genres followed later on. In the science fiction genre I became interested after a letter exchange with the late Sir Arthur C. Clarke. My Gothic interest was sparked off reading the books of the American author Anne Rice.

  1. Are you currently writing anything now? If so tell us about it? If not make something up…

I am currently writing and editing my third book which is in the science fiction genre. It’s a sort of “ultimate” science fiction piece that would make a sequel impossible. The story is about the fate of the Earth as related by two energy-photon beings possessing super intelligence. The duo have been around since the Big Bang. As the Universe disappears into oblivion the two beings re-collect the major events that happened on planet earth – their favorite planet – up to the time of its destruction. In the last chapter they watch as the last star in the universe fades away into a gigantic black hole.

  1. How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump in head first with the initial idea? And do you focus on just one at a time?BanyanTree

For me it’s actually some kind of auto-drive thing. A lot of my projects and ideas start off in my head at all times of the day as I reflect on certain characters I intend to write about. At that stage I have a rough idea of what and whom I am going to write about and expand on them as I chug along. Later on I put together a list of chapters and a book title adding text to my ideas – improving and editing the text as I move forward. In-between I do a lot of research on the subject I am writing to get most of my facts correct. This process is multiple – that is to say I have ideas for more than one book at a time. My friends always complain that I seem lost in thought and quite rightfully so. I am indeed often lost in the world in the world of the books I am trying to create.

  1. What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?

I wouldn’t dare to compare myself to writers like O. Henry, Wodehouse, or Roald Dahl, but I do believe that I have a genuine knack of telling a good story that would appeal to most readers.  I don’t know what my weaknesses are right now, at least where writing is concerned. Maybe as time goes by I will discover them, for like most writers I am sure I have weaknesses that readers will point out eventually.

  1. After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing. What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have tips you’d like to share?

I guess hiring a professional publicity-creating company is a good tip for any budding writer. Established writers don’t have to worry too much about this as they have already established reputations and a vast fan following in its wake. For my first novel One Flew over the Banyan Tree I have hired a Publicity Company in the USA (Smith Publicity Inc) to do the honors. I am hoping that this kind of publicity will give a boost to my books popularity and eventually increase sales. Creating a homepage on the internet is also a way to market an author’s work, as are other social outlets.

  1. What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?

Don’t give up. If you truly believe, and are confident that you really are a good writer, don’t allow reviewers and individuals to dampen your enthusiasm with scathing comments. For me personally, I have received 2 excellent reviews from professional reviewers Clarion USA and Blue Ink USA, but there may be negative reviews too that I might discover later on. If you truly believe you are a good writer you must be prepared to take the good with the bad. Some reviewers can be downright mean and destroy an author’s reputation, but a true professional reviewer from an established newspaper or magazine will always try and give an honest opinion. This is my experience so far…

M.H. Snowy has been INTERVIEWED!!!

MH Snowy - special worlds

1.      What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?

Hi, my name is Melindra Hattfield Snowy, and I of course prefer to be known as MH. I’m a part-time author and full-time dreamer. You can find me at www.MHSnowy.com.

When I was eleven, I found a sea chest that had been unopened since the war. It was my great-grandmother’s. I had never known her, but I had always heard stories of the great adventuress. How she was only the third person to fly alone across the Atlantic after her colleague Amelia Earhart. How she braved the darkest parts of Africa, collecting tokens and stories of the most amazing events.

In the chest was a diary – if it could be called that. For it was not the usual depictions of a day in an emotional life. There was hardly any reference to her at all. Instead there were literally hundreds of anecdotes, notes and diagrams of the most amazing things. Secrets. Conspiracies. Miracles.

Through it I’ve tried to recreate my great-grandmother’s life. But the answers I find lead only to more questions. I can’t escape the feeling she knew something, and maybe the answer to the enigma lies in the chest. You see, every so often the oddest things happen to me, events that seem related to that chest. And they are not always warm and wonderful. At times I find them quite disturbing. Maybe I’ll write about them at some point.

In any case, I determined early on that the fantastic ideas in her diary were too good to keep to myself, and so I’m attempting to share them with the world. I hope you enjoy them for my great-grandmother’s sake. Who knows – I might even learn more about her and whether she really did uncover secrets hidden from the world?

2.      Other than writing, what is your favorite hobby or thing you enjoy for fun?

My partner and I take long walks – preferably through forests or mountains. I also find myself daydreaming about the contents of my great-grandmother’s sea chest – ending up with far too many ideas to write about.

3.       How long have you been writing? How many books have you written? They don’t have to be published.

We_Three_Laws_of_Robotics_Are_medium

I first toyed with the idea of writing back in school. But the results weren’t very good. I had to experience a lot of life and learn how to convey ideas before I was in any way ready for the writing journey. My journey really began about five years ago. I wrote a few novels which I’m not yet ready to share with the world. It took a long time, but I learned a lot. Now I think I’ve learned enough to start sharing my work. I’ve released some short stories (We Three Laws of Robotics Are was just released on Amazon), and my first novella sized book (In Harm’s Way) is now available for pre-order on Amazon. It’s been an interesting ride with ups and downs all along the way. The best has been the response to my stories; the worst is that, as I can only write on a part-time basis, it takes me such an awfully long time.

4.      What genres do you like writing the most? And why? Is this genre the same as the one you prefer to read?

I have read science fiction, fantasy, and mystery stories for as long as I can remember. Tolkein, Asimov, Conan Doyle, CS Lewis, Chesterton. I find myself most in tune with stories of that ilk. I most enjoy humor, and settings which do not reflect the day-to-day grittiness of life. This is the basis for the stories I write.

5.      Are you currently writing anything now? If so tell us about it?

I am currently writing a follow-up to We Three Laws of Robotics Are, which will eventually be a book of short stories (I say short, but each is about 8000 words), as well as a science-fiction series about the most unlikely hero who is pitted against Armageddon, not to mention being hunted by assassins from the future – the first episode of The 12 Nights of Jeremy Sunson will be released soon.

6.      How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump in head first with the initial idea? And do you focus on just one at a time?

For me, writing is an interesting process of constant detailed struggle amongst enormous fun-filled worlds. I generally start a story with a scene, and then identify the philosophical theme that I’m actually expressing. From there it’s a matter of building up some more scenes and the characters, and setting out the whole structure of the story, before writing the scenes in detail.

For example, In Harm’s Way started as a scene about a warrior (Harm) who performed amazing deeds, but who could never remember them; nor hope to repeat them when he was able to remember.

Finishing a story takes quite an amount of time as, due to my double life with a professional career as my day-job, I find the main time I have to write is when I commute. I also try to focus on one story, but I’m generally writing several at the same time.

7.      What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?

Writing is many things. I find myself constantly fighting with my need to make everything perfect, the entrenched formality of business-writing, and my absolute inability to take anything seriously. I consider my strengths to be humor (though, perhaps not everyone will agree with me), as well as an ability to combine concepts and logic in ways that are unique. I don’t find myself facing writer’s block per se (I always have far more story lines than time to write), but I will struggle with how to express a particular thought or situation. As an introvert with a professional career, I also find spreading the word to be quite taxing.

8.      After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing. What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have tips you’d like to share?

I’m just starting to release my work to the world. To do so, I spent a great deal of time seeking feedback, as I’ve found the how of description (how the events are told), for me, is much more relevant than the events themselves. Gaining quality feedback is difficult (I’ve found BookVetter to be quite useful here), though I have also sought professional critique. I’m using several strategies to market my stories. I released my first short story (The Secret Invasion of George Kranskii), which describes how road-rage is really the result of an alien invasion, for free on Smashwords. I am seeking reviews for two other stories now. The intention is to continually release work (hence my focus on shorter stories, or episodes of larger stories) to build momentum. I’ll let you know how it works.

9.      What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?

As a new author, I cannot yet determine whether my advice is worthy of following, but my strategy has been: Read. Seek advice. Write. Polish. Try many strategies. Return to start.

Personally, I’m seeing stories falling into two broad categories based on length: very long series of several books, and shorter episodes (akin to how stories were released by Dickens). My strategy of focusing on shorter stories that build together is based on this. Which leads to my final thought: work out where you think things are headed, and be guided by that – everyone will have an opinion, but you’ll feel most comfortable writing in a way you believe is right.