SJB Gilmour Writes

…and rants and ruminates…

Category: Guest Posts

Meet My Character Blog Hop And A Giveaway!

The absolutely wonderful and talented YA writer Nansi Kunze tagged me in the Meet My Character Blog Hop.  This was an honour I wasn’t expecting, let me tell you.  If you haven’t read her stuff, you should, and not just because her stories are ripping yarns.  They’re also perfect examples of YA writing done right.

Now it’s my turn to answer the questions, after which, I’m tagging another writer, who, if you’ve not heard of either, give yourself a good talking to because she’s awesome.  Her name’s Catrina Taylor, and if you’re into space opera, you need to read her Xarrok, (Birth of an Empire) series.

Now, on to the questions in which I spruik my book:

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Meet My Character

1, What is the name of your character?

Sarah Coppernick

2, Is she fictional or a historic person?

Oh, she’s fictional alright, but her great great great great (I think there are about seventeen “greats” in there), grandfather wasn’t.  He was the Polish astronomer, Nicolaus Copernicus, who proved Earth revolved around the sun rather than the other way around.  Not everyone believed him of course, but then stupidity’s nothing new.  I mean these were the kind of people who were afraid to walk too far in a straight line in case they fell off the edge of the world.  The fact that nobody had actually seen the edge of the world and decided not to fall off it in favour of turning back and warning others, or maybe put up a sign saying “Warning! The End Of The World Is Just Over There!” had nothing to do with it.  They believed it, and that was that.  There’s just no reasoning with some people.

Oh, and by the way, Copernicus was known all over Europe, so you should know I’m not pointing out flaws in Polish people in particular.  My wife and in-laws are Polish, and lovely, generous, intelligent folk they are too.  Top-notch.  My wife’s taste in men might be questionable, but then we can’t all be perfect.

 3, When and where is the story set?

When?  It’s set in present day, but I’ve been awfully clever and not given any specific dates other than historical ones.

Where?  Okay, strap yourselves in, folks.  It’s set on Earth mostly, but there are a few other places as well.  There’s Wolfenvald, the home planet of werewolves, Gnumphlatia, (Try saying that three times quickly!), the home planet of gnomes, and then there’s a rather spooky place out in the middle of the void between planes, called Neroland.

4, What should we know about him/her?

Sarah’s eleven, with shaggy blonde hair, and eyes so light brown they’re almost golden.  To top it all off, just as all those annoying and quite frankly a little gross, things begin to happen to girls around her age, she discovers she’s a werewolf.  This wouldn’t be so terrible if she didn’t have such a bad temper, which as you can guess, is the last thing you want in a schoolyard full of mortal kids.  It doesn’t take long before her guardians, Uncle Robert and Aunt Roberta have to do something, which naturally sees her begin the adventure of a lifetime.

5, What is the personal goal of the character?

Well, I kinda gave a bit away in the above answer, but Sarah’s an orphan, raised by her aunt and uncle, (who are also werewolves), but what she really wants to do is find and rescue her parents.  Along the way, she also finds herself at odds with the The Sorcerers’ Guild which is meant to keep tabs on all enchanted activities on Earth, as well as keeping the planet safe from anyone nasty, but is really being run by exactly the sort The Guild was set up to fight.

Of course she can’t do all that just by herself, and as luck would have it, she picks up a rather oddly assorted bunch of enchanted characters along the way to help her.  Some of them aren’t exactly the kind of people who should really be responsible for the well-being of eleven year-old girls, but for various reasons, they’re all willing to risk life and limb to help her.

6, Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?

The title is Golden Mane, Book One of The Adventures of Sarah Coppernick, and you can find it at your local Amazon Kindle store  The US one is here, but there are a lot of other ones too.   I mean, just look at this list!  The next little robot we send to Mars will probably set up a site there too, though between you and me, I doubt the rocks on the red planet are the reading type.  They’re probably quite happy just sitting there, either freezing or baking and wondering big questions like “Where did our atmosphere go?” and “Where do these damned robots keep coming from?”

IN: http://www.amazon.in/gp/product/B0052T15FS?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0052T15FS?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

DE: http://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B0052T15FS?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

FR: http://www.amazon.fr/gp/product/B0052T15FS?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

ES: http://www.amazon.es/gp/product/B0052T15FS?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

IT: http://www.amazon.it/gp/product/B0052T15FS?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

NL: http://www.amazon.nl/gp/product/B0052T15FS?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

JP: http://www.amazon.co.jp/gp/product/B0052T15FS?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

BR: http://www.amazon.com.br/gp/product/B0052T15FS?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

CA: http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B0052T15FS?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

MX: http://www.amazon.com.mx/gp/product/B0052T15FS?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B0052T15FS?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

ALSO!  As an extra Christmas gift to everyone, extra shameless piece of self promotion, (hang on, did I strikethrough the right bit of text there?), I’ve scheduled a Christmas Freebie.  From midnight Christmas Eve, PST (GMT – 8.00), Golden Mane will be FREE! By my calculations, that should be right about NOW, so get a wriggle on and pick up my book while it won’t cost you a cent!

7, When can we expect the book to be published or when was it published?

I first published it in 2011, but since then I’ve released two sequels: Renegades of Wolfenvald, Book Two of The Adventures of Sarah Coppernick, and Armies of Nine, Book Three of The Adventures of Sarah Coppernick, as well as several Pack Coppernick tales, which are all short background stories about Sarah’s amazing, and at times rather badly-behaved, friends.

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Hmm, “Badly-behaved” might not be doing them justice.  One’s Angela, a blood-thirsty Amazon warrioress and necromancer.  There’s Sarah’s Uncle Benjamin, an immortal werewolf spellweaver with suicidal tendencies.  There’s Ronny, a shifty little gnome with lots of dodgy connections, and James, a sorcerer specialising in enchanted botany who also runs a lucrative but very illegal spice business.  There’s also Sarah’s best friend, Mel, who’s very nearly as bad as the rest of them combined – certainly not the sort to trust around sharp objects or anything remotely flammable.  All in all, it’s a pretty fun collection of characters and certainly worth your time reading Golden Mane to get to know them.

Now when you’ve read my book and are looking for something else, check out Catrina Taylor.  Your To Be Read pile is growing, I can sense it!

 

Sam

 

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THE WRITING PROCESS BLOG HOP – Writers Reveal Their Processes.

The extraordinarily talented Nansi Kunze tagged me to answer a few blog hop questions.  You can read her responses to the same questions here.  Nansi’s books MishapsDangerously Placed, and Kill The Music are YA ripsnorters (that means really, really good), and worth checking out!

The previous writers to answer questions in this blog hop are Jennifer ScoullarKathryn Ledson, and Ellie Marney.

1     What am I working on?

This probably puts me firmly in the bonkers basket, but I’ve got three projects on the go right now, and they’re all different genres.  But then, I’m not sure if “sane” and “writer” can ever be used to describe a single person.

One WIP is a short I’ve just about finished polishing for my werewolf series, the Pack Coppernick tales.  This one’s dealing with a particularly dark member of Sarah Coppernick’s (the protagonist in the main series, The Adventures of Sarah Coppernick), friends, and so is taking a bit more time to get right.  I have to keep it still YA enough to appeal to the same readers, but also expand on this character’s dark side.

The second WIP is a gory cop V serial killer slasher called Swapper.  That takes me to some pretty dark places at times, so I can’t work on it too much for too long or I start looking at everyone and wondering just what my killer would do to them.  I’d prefer to save such looks for door-to-door salesmen and bank managers.  So, when I start using them with checkout chicks and co-workers, I know I need to put Swapper back in his cage for a bit.

The third is top secret.  I’m not even going to pub it under my own name.  All I can tell you is it’s not for the same readers as my YA stuff.

2    How does my work differ from others in its genre?

Well, being multi-genre, I guess that’s hard to answer, but I’ll give it a go.  My fantasy stuff certainly draws on classic mythology as well as the popularity of werewolves etc, only I’ve made werewolves the good guys.  In fact, they’re not even from Earth.  I’ve managed to create whole new worlds for some of these creatures – gnomes, elves, werewolves, goblins etc – they’re all aliens and only on Earth to either protect it, or avoid taxes on their home-worlds.

I also try to make them as Australian as possible.  I use the metric system, as well as local places and phrases.  I thought at first that might not go down too well with US and UK readers, but I’ve not had a single complaint about it yet.

My crime and other stuff is also Aussie, but other than that, I’m not sure I’m the best person to say what sets it apart.  Maybe my readers can?  (Like my not-so-subtle request for reviews?  Hint hint!  I’ll make it worth your while!)

3    Why do I write what I do?

Oh, man!   I write multi-genre because multi-genre ideas set up residence in my noggin.  Once those ideas start squatting in my head, they can make a right mess.  If I don’t evict them out onto the page, the roof will cave in and I’ll go bananas.

I think that leads to the real question: Why do I write?  The answer’s simple.  I don’t know how many artists in how many genres I’ve heard say the same thing.  It’s not about the money or the fame or feeding our precious egos – all that comes later, if we’re lucky.  No, we all write, create, paint, sing, sculpt and so on, because if we don’t, we’ll go fucking nuts.  It’s our own private form of therapy.  It’s not always effective, since again, many writers I know are medicated, or should be, but there you have it.

4    How does my writing process work?

I used to be a complete pantser, but now I have to plot things out, kind of.  I scribble out a brief outline of chapters and an overview of how I want the story to go.  Oddly enough, I often start at the end.  I know how the grand finale is supposed to play out, and I write my various characters, scenes, and chapters to head in that general direction.  They don’t always want to go where I want them to, so it can be a bit of a challenge at times.  It’s a bit like herding sheep…  …only I don’t have a sheepdog and I can’t whistle…  That’s not a very good analogy, is it?  Damn.  Why, oh why did I pick writing?  I knew I should have learned to draw.

Anyway, I used to use exercise books, post-its and other random pieces of paper.  Now I use Scrivener * and its corkboard facility, which is an absolute godsend.  I can plan stuff properly, and stay on track thanks to not losing my notes.  (* I don’t work for Scrivener, and I’m not receiving any form of payment from them.  It’s simply the best software I’ve come across.  It compiles to ebooks, its research, notes and corkboard functions are wonderful, and it doesn’t have all the extra cruft you just don’t use or need that MS Word does.)

Of course, that can change big time once I begin writing.  As I mentioned, my characters are a bit like a mob of sheep.  Sometimes, I need to corral them.  Sometimes, I need to let them wander.  When I’m doing that, I can only write one or two scenes at a time.  Since each character is different, and will interact differently with others I’ve created and the settings and situations into which I plonk them, often the outcome is a chapter ending or scene winding up completely differently than what I planned.  If I really like the way that turned out, sometimes I have to go back to my main outline and make a few adjustments.

Sometimes it’s fun to just let characters off the leash, I mean completely off the reservation, just to see how things go.  Find your character’s flaws.  You know, anger, greed, jealousy, stubbornness, etc, and let one or two take over, just as it happens to real people sometimes.  That can mean I’ll occasionally have to scrap large chunks of text, go back and alter course, and then start again, but it’s worth it.  Of course doing that can also affect my moods, but then my moods have always been kinda scrambled anyway.  I guess it makes me a character writer the way some actors are character actors.  I was going to say “stars” instead of “actors”, and though the lovely Nansi called me a gun, I’m far from being a star…  yet.

It also means there’s a lot of me in those characters.  We humans, we’re like vegetable soup.  We all have the same basic ingredients or characteristics, only in varying quantities, just like every pot of minestrone is different.  Sometimes it’s hard to write a character with high levels of personality traits of which I have only low levels, but if you can get into the zone; into that character’s head, you’re there.

Music helps too.  I don’t mean as a background music, although many writers I know say they need some music playing.  No, I mean individual songs or even soundtracks for certain characters.  This morning I was writing a scene, and an early Queen song, March of the Black Queen, seemed to fit this character the way The Imperial March fits Darth Vader.  Funnily enough, I seem to do this more with antagonists than protagonists.  I’m not sure why.  Maybe it’s because the bad guys are more fun to write.  Umm, don’t mention that to my shrink, okay?

All that leads up to a fairly solid piece.  Then I start editing.  I read it.  Then I read it again.  If it’s age appropriate, I read it to my eldest daughter.  If not, I read it out loud to myself.  Now that’s something I find very, very helpful.  Read your work out loud.  Even if it’s to yourself.  You might talk yourself hoarse, and look and sound crazy, but it really does help.  If you can’t speak the words you’ve written so that they sound right and make sense, then you need to re-write them.  For a full-length piece, that can take a week, at least.  When I’ve done that, I hand it over to a couple of beta readers, then I go and sit in a corner and rock back and forth.  The nervousness doesn’t wear off until I get the notes back.  Then I send it off to proofers, and wait again for all that lovely red ink.

Lovely?  Yes.  Lovely.  I want proofers and beta-readers to rip my stuff to shreds.  I may not act on every suggestion they make, but the more input I get before I hit “publish”, the fewer remarks about errors I’ll get in subsequent reviews.  There.  That’s my process.  Now that I’ve just read that, even though it makes perfect sense to me, to others it might be like The Doctor describing time.  I’ll leave it up to you to decide.

***

Well, wasn’t that fun!?  I should do this kind of thing more often.  Who knows, maybe I’ll even revive my 20 questions blogs again.  In the meantime, I’m tagging a great indy sci-fi writer called Catrina Taylor.  If you’ve not read her stuff, get out there and find her!  She’s on FBTwitterAmazon, and of course, her blog.

Sam

Guest Post – Elisha Fraser

Next author on the block is Elisha Fraser.  Place your bets folks!

Author Expose with 20 Questions – Hard, fast, random and possibly embarrassing.

G’day Elisha. Big contest today.  Home you’ve had breakfast!  Now, before we begin, let’s just look at your vital stats for a minute…

Author name (just in case it’s different from what’s up there in the title of this post):

Shebat Legion

Bio: – must include city & country, age, marital status/dependants – after that, it’s up to you:

I live in Temagami, Ontario in the country of Canada. I am forty nine years old, have two adult children and am step mother to two young children aged eleven and seven. I am in a domestic relationship.

Latest release:

Vampire Therapy, Chronicles Of The Cat’s Ass Boutique: A Cat’s Ass Valentine

Current Work In Progress: (pick just one WIP please!)

Vampire Therapy: Book One: Jackson and Eva

Thickshakes – chocolate or strawberry?

Chocolate.

And now the 20 questions…

1  Let’s start off with your writing style.  Plotter or Pantser?

Plotter 

2  And just how disciplined are you when it comes to your writing.  Do you set yourself goals for word-count or pages, that sort of thing?

 I set aside x amount of hours per day, whether it be new material I am working on, or editing other projects that I am preparing. The phone is taken off of it’s hook and the door is locked!

3  Who does your cover art?

The cover for Vampire Therapy, book one: Jackson and Eva was done by the talented Dave Ford. My previous covers for other chronicles were done by Rue Volley and Riley Steel. For other projects, the covers are being done by the graphics people.. gotta love them, at these other publishing companies discretion.

4  In twenty words or fewer, what do you think the future looks like for traditional publishers?

I think a happy medium will be found so that indie and traditional publishers will be be able together.

5  Now I know we all put a lot of ourselves into our novels, but I’m also curious about what we leave out.  Are there any aspects of yourself that you’d like to work into a character that you haven’t already?

Yes, I have been dipping a toe into the horror genre and must find the courage to truly immerse myself, channelling the horror I find within myself and expressing it. 

6  What about the reverse?  Are there any experiences you give your characters that you’d love to try but haven’t yet?  Be honest – a “No comment” will result in me making something up, probably sexual.

I would love to visit a “Vampire Club.” 

7  I’m sick of reading about which authors writers admire.  What was the last book you just couldn’t finish & why?

Dante’s Inferno. I have multiple projects on the go and don’t have the necessary mindset to be able to concentrate it at this time. I kept getting lost in it’s epic wordiness and while I love archaic English, the book has been put onto the back burner for now.

8  At what point did a show (name it) you used to watch but stopped, jump the shark?

This is a difficult question for me as I truly do not watch television shows all that often. I do know what jumping the shark means but other that the show “Happy Days” where Fonzie literally jumps over a shark, nothing else comes to mind!

9  Sorry about that.  Told you there’d be random questions in this thing.  Let’s get back to the types of books you read.  It’s pretty safe to say most writers read – either willingly or they force themselves – a variety of genres.  What about the styles in those genres?  I always have trouble reading first person, present tense.  Are there any styles you like more than others?

I can neither read nor write present tense. First person is okay but not my favourite. It really depends on the author’s capabilities to write in that style.

Okay here are a few hot-topic questions

10  Censorship.  Where do you stand?

It would depend on what type of censorship you are referring to. I believe that certain things should be censored, example: child pornography, animal abuse… those too helpless to defend themselves. All other forms of art, for me, are acceptable and should be left to the discretion of the patron.

11  Some writers make their work DRM free so the files can be copied, traded, shared etc.  Some go bananas at the very idea.  How do you feel about it with relation to your own work?

I am probably the least technical savvy person you could have asked that question. I have no idea what the question even means. Sorry.

12  Are there any trends in the lit/publishing world you hope will end soon?  If so, what are they?

I cant think of any trend that I have an issue with. As long as a trend is enjoyed and is harming no one, I have no problem with it.

Let’s get back to some other random pieces and bits…

13  Have you ever read a book and wanted to slap the writer?  If so, what book, which writer, and why?

John Varley and his “Titan” trilogy. I wanted to find out what happened next!

14  When I’ve finished a draft and have it ready for beta readers, I set them a set of parameters within which to work – find errors, point out bits they find repetitive or annoying, and most importantly of all, watch for breaks in characters (Sarah wouldn’t say that!).  And, I want it done within three weeks.  What sort of demands do you place on your betas?

The most obvious ones would be punctuation/grammatical errors, but I do ask my readers to look out for any plot holes that I may have missed.

15  Have there been any scenes you’ve edited out because of a negative reaction from a beta, only to regret it once you released the work and got feedback from the public?

No. I stand behind my work and do not ever apologise for it. Writing, like any art form is subjective. 

16  We all joke about it, even though we could probably get in serious trouble if a real person thought we were basing a character on them, but have you ever given a character in your work traits from someone you know in real life?

Absolutely. 

17  Don’t name the real-life person, but which character, in which book are you referring to?

There are many. For book two of “Vampire Therapy”, I am using numerous people from the town that I live in. For other shorts that are soon to be published, for one story, I based the character on my mother.

18  Briefs or thongs?

Neither.

19  We’re all selling ebooks, but as a reader, how do you feel about them compared to paper?

Each has it’s place. I do not like clutter so only keep my favourite books that are in print, displayed.

20  Once I start a book, I usually know within the first few pages if I’m going to keep reading.  If I do decide to stick with it, I’ll often stay up late or ignore all manner of pressing tasks, just to finish the book.

I am far too “Task responsible” to put things off and I tend to schedule my reading in the same manner as I schedule my writing. I set aside a certain amount of time for it, and when that time is concluded, move on to what needs to be done.

Wow!  Thanks Elisha!  What a great performance!  This is certainly going down in the record books!  Before we cut to a commercial break, where can people find you and your books?

Amazon

FB

There you have it folks!  Great words from a great competitor!

Sam

Guest Post – Catherine Stovall

Next author on the block is Catherine Stovall. Isn’t she lovely?

Author Expose with 20 Questions – Hard, fast, random and possibly embarrassing

Hiya Catherine.  Come on up… watch your step there…  There.  Great to see you!  Now, before we begin, let’s just look at your vital stats for a minute…

Author name (just in case it’s different from what’s up there in the title of this post):

Catherine Stovall

Bio: – must include city & country, age, marital status/dependants – after that, it’s up to you:

I will not tell my stalkers where in Missouri that I live so you will have to suffice with Sandland, Missouri Untied States. Ummm… age… really? Do I have to? Sigh. Okay. I’m 32. Married to the love of my life with the three most wonderful demons ever born.

Latest release:

Reborn: Requiem of Humanity Series: Book 2 (Available in Print on April 12th

Current Work In Progress: (pick just one WIP please!)

  • Oh that’s hard. Ummm… okay stick with the trust series. I am working to complete Eternity: Requiem of Humanity Series: Book 3

If you could switch genders for a day, with whom would you do the deed?

Oh! Hmmm… Otep Shamaya. Lead singer of Otep. She’s my total girl crush.

And now the 20 questions…

1  Let’s start off with your writing style.  Plotter or Pantser?

I try to plot but it does no good. My characters are snots and they poison my plot bunnies and replace them with their own. 

2  And just how disciplined are you when it comes to your writing.  Do you set yourself goals for word-count or pages, that sort of thing?

 I set goals for word count, deadlines for completion and editing, and I make lots of list. This has resulted in 25 unfinished projects and lists of lists. I didn’t say I was good at being disciplined. 

3  Who does your cover art?

Alaskan artist, Christy Weber provided my cover for Stolen and Fearful Day. Another, private artist supplied the cover for Reborn

4  In twenty words or fewer, what do you think the future looks like for traditional publishers?

Traditional publishers are adapting, conforming, and redefining to include non-traditional methods. They certainly are not going anywhere. 

5  Now I know we all put a lot of ourselves into our novels, but I’m also curious about what we leave out.  Are there any aspects of yourself that you’d like to work into a character that you haven’t already?

I’d someday like to have a character that faces some of my very personal issues. I’d like to see more awareness about those who suffer from bi-polar issues and remain non-medicated.

6  What about the reverse?  Are there any experiences you give your characters that you’d love to try but haven’t yet?  Be honest – a “No comment” will result in me making something up, probably sexual.

My characters travel to some pretty amazing places. In the Requiem Series they hang out in Budapest at the Vajdahunyad castle. It is my dream that I will someday get to visit and touch the pen belonging to the Anonymous Statue.

7  I’m sick of reading about which authors writers admire.  What was the last book you just couldn’t finish & why?

Thirst by Christopher Pike. The nearly constant guy action type scenes and weird writing style simply made me want to scream.

8  Do you scrunch or fold?

Fold and then realize I don’t really want to be doing what I’m doing so then I scrunch it all in the dresser and say the heck with it. 

(I had to explain later to Catherine that I was referring to toilet paper.  I think I managed to make her blush.  Ed.)

9  Sorry about that.  Told you there’d be random questions in this thing.  Let’s get back to the types of books you read.  It’s pretty safe to say most writers read – either willingly or they force themselves – a variety of genres.  What about the styles in those genres?  I always have trouble reading first person, present tense.  Are there any styles you like more than others?

I can neither read nor write present tense. First person is okay but not my favourite. It really depends on the author’s capabilities to write in that style.

Okay here are a few hot-topic questions

10  Censorship.  Where do you stand?

Freedom of speech is a treasure to every author. However, censorship is not always bad. I do not want my children seeing or hearing some things. I can’t always monitor what they get their eyes and hands on because they are teens and I think general censorship assist me with my parental duties.

11  Some writers make their work DRM free so the files can be copied, traded, shared etc.  Some go bananas at the very idea.  How do you feel about it with relation to your own work?

My work is mine and if someone wants it for free they can talk to either my publisher or me to receive a review. I don’t do DRM free because let’s face it, eBooks are not that expensive and if you can pay for the internet service and equipment to be downloading free stuff, you should be able to spare a dollar to buy a book. 

12  Are there any trends in the lit/publishing world you hope will end soon?  If so, what are they?

The erotic content obsession in every genre. Even YA books are filled with multiple sex partners and highly sexual scenes anymore. Erotica is great if you are into that genre but to include it in everything is just not cool.

Let’s get back to some other random pieces and bits…

13  Have you ever read a book and wanted to slap the writer?  If so, what book, which writer, and why?

Oh this is going to get me in trouble. The entire Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer. She has a wonderful ability to tell a story and unique ideas. At the point I realized that she was going to leave the plot and all the cool stuff as a backdrop for the unhealthy teen relationships and Bella’s whiney indecisive ways, I wanted to slap her stupid. Oh if she had only focused more on the events, I might have been able to really love those books. 

14  When I’ve finished a draft and have it ready for beta readers, I set them a set of parameters within which to work – find errors, point out bits they find repetitive or annoying, and most importantly of all, watch for breaks in characters (Sarah wouldn’t say that!).  And, I want it done within three weeks.  What sort of demands do you place on your betas?

I don’t use beta readers often. I occasionally send out a small section just for general reaction to what I’m writing because of my tendency to dip into very dark places. All, I want is to know from those select people is yes or no on if I have overstepped boundaries.

15  Have there been any scenes you’ve edited out because of a negative reaction from a beta, only to regret it once you released the work and got feedback from the public?

I deleted four paragraphs that detailed the SL550 from a scene in Stolen. I personally miss those paragraphs because the car is just amazing. 

16  We all joke about it, even though we could probably get in serious trouble if a real person thought we were basing a character on them, but have you ever given a character in your work traits from someone you know in real life?

I take volunteers. I love basing my characters off of real life people and they seem to enjoy being a bit of entertainment and inspiration for me. 

17  Don’t name the real-life person, but which character, in which book are you referring to?

Soborgne and Jenda’s first meeting in Stolen is based off the day I met my best friend of 27 years. Andras from the Requiem of Humanity Series is based on a friend as well. There are just too many. 

18  Where are you most ticklish?

Oh, everywhere. You can just threaten to tickle me and I will bust out laughing. 

19  We’re all selling ebooks, but as a reader, how do you feel about them compared to paper?

I really enjoy reading paper back more than eBooks. Nothing will ever beat the tangible book for me.

20  Once I start a book, I usually know within the first few pages if I’m going to keep reading.  If I do decide to stick with it, I’ll often stay up late or ignore all manner of pressing tasks, just to finish the book.

I called in sick one day to finish reading the Black Jewels Series by Anne Bishop. I know, I know. It is horrible but they are really good books. 

Wow!  Thanks Catherine!  It’s been great having you on the show.  Before we cut to a commercial break, where can people find you and your books?

Amazon

Untreed Reads

Twitter @CathStovall

FB

iBooks

Goodreads

Barnes & Noble

Thanks everyone!  You’ve been a great audience.  Good night!
Sam

Guest Spot – Author, Sinead MacDughlas

Next author on the block is Sinead MacDughlas.  Give her a round of applause folks…

Author Expose with 20 Questions – Hard, fast, random and possibly embarrassing

G’day Sinead.  Thanks for dropping by.  Now, sign here and we’ve got you for life, tee hee…

Author name (just in case it’s different from what’s up there in the title of this post):

Sinead MacDughlas

Bio: – must include city & country, age, marital status/dependants – after that, it’s up to you:

Greater Toronto Area, (yes, that’s a total cheat), Canada, 42, married, two children: Miss Monkey and Mr. Monster and one 13 yr old cat/editor, Gunnar. Wait! I think I’m technically a dependent of the cat. Coffee addict, devourer of cheese, dry red wine, chocolate and words. (Yes, I eat them often). Enemy of punctuation, bane of editors, friend to just about anyone descent.

Latest release:

Best Served Bloody – A Halloween Novelette.

When thirty-eight year old Jess Green tries to start a new life in a tiny Ontario village, far away from the mad world, she learns that madness will always find her. Eleven spirits, most of them victims of one insidious murderer, inhabit the old house she bought. Until they have retribution for their deaths, they’re trapped between the mortal plane and the afterlife. Jess is their only hope.

Murder is unforgivable, guilt is inflexible, escape is impossible — and revenge is a dish Best Served Bloody.

Current Work In Progress: (pick just one WIP please!)

Really? Just one? Okay, um … Given The Moon.

Crap! I don’t think I’ve announced the title until now! This novella/novelette/novel? is a follow-up (I hesitate to call it a sequel) to Learn To Love Me. Alex is secretly preparing to give the love of his life an ultimatum. My heroine’s career as an author is just getting started, but her secrets threaten everything. Zander is getting horrible headaches, along with a flood of strange and sometimes terrifying emotions. He’s afraid of what might happen if he tells anyone. That’s about all I’m willing to spill at this point. ;P

If you could assassinate a world leader (without fear of being caught and prosecuted) who would it be?

Wow. Is it really horrible that I don’t really follow politics anywhere? *runs off to google current world leaders list*

Well, that didn’t help. Could I just take them all out at once and let the world start fresh?

And now the 20 questions…

1  Let’s start off with your writing style.  Plotter or Pantser?

I like to say recovering pantser, but really my plotting consists of an outline that the muses throw around like a rag doll. So … Pantser-with-a-plan?

2  And just how disciplined are you when it comes to your writing.  Do you set yourself goals for word-count or pages, that sort of thing?

I’m just not. I try to set goals and deadlines, I really do. I’m just really horrible at sticking to any schedule.

3  Who does your cover art?

I’m blessed with two fabulous cover artists.

Dave J. Ford (https://www.facebook.com/PrintsbyDave)

and

Rue Volley from Vivid Book Designs (http://vividbookdesigns.webeden.co.uk/)

4  In twenty words or fewer, what do you think the future looks like for traditional publishers?

Increasingly difficult to stay in business, unless they adapt more rapidly.

5  Now I know we all put a lot of ourselves into our novels, but I’m also curious about what we leave out.  Are there any aspects of yourself that you’d like to work into a character that you haven’t already?

It might be interesting to write a character with lists of lofty goals, but no time or resources to complete more than a quarter of them. A character who makes to-do lists, and then has to make a list to prioritize the to-do lists. They would lose all of their lists and have to make new ones, only to find the originals and get them mixed up.  I want to be organized, but I’m hopelessly scatter-brained.

6  What about the reverse?  Are there any experiences you give your characters that you’d love to try but haven’t yet?  Be honest – a “No comment” will result in me making something up, probably sexual.

Yours would probably be more fun!  (Aww shucks! ed.)   I would love to be able to think of the perfect thing to say at just the right moment. Many of my characters can do that. I usually think of that perfect comment or come-back hours after the moment has passed.

7  I’m sick of reading about which authors writers admire.  What was the last book you just couldn’t finish & why?

Moby Dick, and on the twelfth attempt. Why? Well, I scoot along just fine until they start repairing nets and then I kind of zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.  Yeah, like that.

8  Which way does the toilet paper roll go in your bathroom – paper out or paper in?

Over and out, always. I’ve even been known to change it when I go somewhere. It’s almost an obsession.

9  Sorry about that.  Told you there’d be random questions in this thing.  Let’s get back to the types of books you read.  It’s pretty safe to say most writers read – either willingly or they force themselves – a variety of genres.  What about the styles in those genres?  I always have trouble reading first person, present tense.  Are there any styles you like more than others?

First person, present is brutal for me! It takes me three or four chapters to get past it and enjoy the book. I prefer to read third person, past. Oddly, I prefer to write in first person, past tense. The rest depends on my mood.

Okay here are a few hot-topic questions

10  Censorship.  Where do you stand?

Ugh! Tough question! As a mother I want to censor the shit out of everything, but as an author it’s the tool of evil. I always end up on the side of freedom of expression, in the end, no matter how repugnant the expression.

11  Some writers make their work DRM free so the files can be copied, traded, shared etc.  Some go bananas at the very idea.  How do you feel about it with relation to your own work?

I’m all for DRM, but not because I don’t trust Joe or Jane Reader. It’s piracy that makes me go bat-shit crazy. If someone wants my hours of emotional, physical and mental stress for free, they could ask. I have one ebook, The Unscheduled Stops, that would always be free, if I could figure out how to make it so.

12  Are there any trends in the lit/publishing world you hope will end soon?  If so, what are they?

Phoney reviews. Especially those that are negative and not constructive. If you have nothing better to do, than write a fake, negative review, you are a pitiful human being.  I’m not saying that real negative reviews are bad. If you feel the compelling need to let the world know that you didn’t like it, try to give at least some kind of reason why you didn’t 

Let’s get back to some other random pieces and bits…

13  Have you ever read a book and wanted to slap the writer?  If so, what book, which writer, and why?

I have. I can’t remember the name or the author, honestly. I may have blocked it from my memory.  It was years ago, and it was so bad that I hurled it into a woodstove in full flame. That is the only time I’ve ever burned a book. It was a perverted attempt at a romantic drama, terribly written and full of typos and grammatical errors. I couldn’t believe a known publisher would put their name on it, but there was a logo on the spine. Penguin Books, I believe, though I could be wrong.

14  When I’ve finished a draft and have it ready for beta readers, I set them a set of parameters within which to work – find errors, point out bits they find repetitive or annoying, and most importantly of all, watch for breaks in characters (Sarah wouldn’t say that!).  And, I want it done within three weeks.  What sort of demands do you place on your betas?

Only four: 1. Mark anything that bothers you. 2. Be brutal. 3. Be honest. 4. Tell me why it bothered you.

15  Have there been any scenes you’ve edited out because of a negative reaction from a beta, only to regret it once you released the work and got feedback from the public?

Not yet. I almost deleted the graphic scene in Chapter 3 of Learn To Love Me, but chose to keep it in the end.

16  We all joke about it, even though we could probably get in serious trouble if a real person thought we were basing a character on them, but have you ever given a character in your work traits from someone you know in real life?

All. The. Time.  I think every character I’ve ever written is a mash-up of people I’ve known, met, or just observed in real life.

17  Don’t name the real-life person, but which character in, in which book are you referring to?

Specifically? Emily is a compilation of every strong woman I’ve had the pleasure of knowing, for one.

18  What kind of “music” makes you want to take an axe to the radio?

Rap.

19  We’re all selling ebooks, but as a reader, how do you feel about them compared to paper?

I resisted eBooks for a long time, but once I got my Kindle, my whole world changed. I still love the weight, smell and feel of an honest-to-goodness paperback, but my house is much less cluttered without the overflowing bookshelves and travelling is less back-breaking. I also love the instant gratification factor. If I want to read a book, I no longer have to wait for shipping, or the chance to slip away to the nearest bookstore. It’s also much easier to handle a Kindle in a freezer baggie, while having a lovely soak in the tub, than juggling a paperback. I still order the paperback copies any book I know I’ll re-read multiple times, though.

20  Once I start a book, I usually know within the first few pages if I’m going to keep reading.  If I do decide to stick with it, I’ll often stay up late or ignore all manner of pressing tasks, just to finish the book.

Everything. I once read a series of books over three days and didn’t move from my bed for anything but coffee and bathroom breaks, and then the book I had in my hand went with me.

See?  That wasn’t so bad now, was it?  Keep that dry for a few hours and call me in the morning.  Now, before you go, where can we find you and your books?

Amazon

Twitter @SinMacD

FB

G+

Blog

Goodreads

Webpage

Now go get back to work.
Ye’sir! Write (groan!) now! ;P

Sam

Guest Spot – Author, Theresa Stoddard

Author guest spots on blogs.  We’ve all done them, and most of us with blogs like hosting them.  Here’s my version.  I’m starting off with some lovely (though sometimes quite mad) friends I know through social media.

Author Expose with 20 Questions – Hard, fast, random and possibly embarrassing

Hi Theresa.  Great to have you here.  Now, before we get into the meaty stuff, let’s get the formalities out of the way.

 Author name (just in case it’s different from what’s up there in the title of this post):

T.R. Stoddard

Bio: – must include city & country, age, marital status/dependants – after that, it’s up to you:

Am I filling out an interview or my taxes? Orlando, Fl, US, LTR, Harry PAWter (a lovely rescue American Eskimo mix).

Latest release:

Finding Sanity. It just came out in paperback, actually. *wiggles eyebrows*

Synopsis: Waking up in solitary confinement is never fun for anyone, and Randall is no exception. He is subjected to relive crucial moments from his past until he finds himself out on his own, free. Deciphering what is real vs. fantasy is half the fun. He finds new love, but as always an old flame complicates things. His reality and fantasy worlds collide putting him in a very compromising position. Can he make it out with his relationships intact?

Current Work In Progress: (pick just one WIP please!)

The W in WIP clearly stands for WORKS. How can I pick one? Alright, alright. I’ll play nice. Aluria: The Prophecy is the closes to completion.

About ATP: Sixteen year old Skye Daria Stone is on the run from her problems when falls down the proverbial rabbit hole. Through an impromptu boat ride on a magical river, she finds herself transported to an unfamiliar land. The Alurian people are forced to live in hiding underground and need her help to save their world. Skye is the one from their prophecies, and she is the only hope to defeat Lord Furgsion.

Lord Furgison, a ruthless dictator set on destroying the Utopian Alurians, controls a physical representation of the seven deadly sins. Greed, Anger, Pride, Sloth, Gluttony, Envy and Lust aren’t all that answer to his malevolent call. At every turn, a creature influenced by his evil tries to cut the journey short.

Pizza – with or without anchovies?

Without. Let’s just stick to the cheese, please. If I’m feeling adventurous, throw me the Hawaiian!

And now the 20 questions…

1  Let’s start off with your writing style.  Plotter or Pantser?

I’m a pantser. I write and my characters take the reins. They tend not to get cocky, because they know I’ll kill them if they lead me astray.

2  And just how disciplined are you when it comes to your writing.  Do you set yourself goals for word-count or pages, that sort of thing?

I am rebellious. Thus I rebel against anything set. No, myself, I won’t write so many words. I tend to write and if I am in a good spot, I can write indefinitely.

3  Who does your cover art?

Karabeth, my publisher has taken care of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell covers, and Catherine Stovall created a lovely stand-in cover for Dark Hearts for which I am currently seeking representation.

4  In twenty words or fewer, what do you think the future looks like for traditional publishers?

Traditional publishing will hold true. Indies will grow, but won’t kill the big six.

5  Now I know we all put a lot of ourselves into our novels, but I’m also curious about what we leave out.  Are there any aspects of yourself that you’d like to work into a character that you haven’t already?

I find fiction is more interesting than anything I could lace into my characters. They tend to not believe in god, they get that from me.

6  What about the reverse?  Are there any experiences you give your characters that you’d love to try but haven’t yet?  Be honest – a “No comment” will result in me making something up, probably sexual.

My characters are pretty bad people, so I might be better off with a crazy scenario. One of my characters finds out she’s a witch, that’d be cool.

7  I’m sick of reading about which authors writers admire.  What was the last book you just couldn’t finish & why?

Are we getting down to the nitty-gritty and naming names? Good. The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling. I wanted to love it. I tried to read it, I was bored to death!

8  Who is your celebrity crush right now?

Zooey Deschanel and Alexander Skarsgard. The former is only in a universe where I’m a lesbian. If I were, she’s my total first pick followed by Lily Allen.

9  Sorry about that.  Told you there’d be random questions in this thing.  Let’s get back to the types of books you read.  It’s pretty safe to say most writers read – either willingly or they force themselves – a variety of genres.  What about the styles in those genres?  I always have trouble reading first person, present tense.  Are there any styles you like more than others?

As long as a story hooks me in the first few pages, they’ve got me. I don’t care if it’s a 73 year old transvestite bodybuilder, actually that sounds pretty interesting. You get the gist, interest me and that is the best style.

Okay here are a few hot-topic questions.

10  Censorship.  Where do you stand?

Don’t fucking censor me, bitch. Unless it’s a word I don’t like…then I’ll censor the f*ck out of you.

11  Some writers make their work DRM free so the files can be copied, traded, shared etc.  Some go bananas at the very idea.  How do you feel about it with relation to your own work?

It’s my precioussssssssss. But in all seriousness, pay for it or ask me for a review copy. I don’t like this free love stuff when I get none of it.

12  Are there any trends in the lit/publishing world you hope will end soon?  If so, what are they?

50 shades of etc. Get over it. Mom porn is sooooo trendy. This is worse than sparkly vamps.

Let’s get back to some other random pieces and bits.

13  Have you ever read a book and wanted to slap the writer?  If so, what book, which writer, and why?

I would slap J.K. for The Causal Vacancy and ask her how she could create such a captivating series and then write such a droll piece. Seriously. I forced myself to the four chapter mark kicking and screaming.

14  When I’ve finished a draft and have it ready for beta readers, I set them a set of parameters within which to work – find errors, point out bits they find repetitive or annoying, and most importantly of all, watch for breaks in characters (Sarah wouldn’t say that!).  And, I want it done within three weeks.  What sort of demands do you place on your betas?

It is different for the individual betas. If I told you, I’d have to kill you…or make you a beta.

15  Have there been any scenes you’ve edited out because of a negative reaction from a beta, only to regret it once you released the work and got feedback from the public?

No. If I really want something,screw everyone else. Betas are suggestions, not rules.

16  We all joke about it, even though we could probably get in serious trouble if a real person thought we were basing a character on them, but have you ever given a character in your work traits from someone you know in real life?

I don’t have a living character that is based off of someone, but I do have one in mind.

17  Don’t name the real-life person, but which character in, in which book are you referring to?

You’ll know when the character comes to life, but of course you won’t know who. Or you’ll know who it’s based on, but won’t know the character.

18  What’s your most annoying habit?

When I write and I think it’s something very interesting, I will keep sending you snippets whether or not you ask me to. You literally have to say “Theresa stop sending me that.” And even then I’ll probably send a couple other segments assuring that they’re “really good!”

19  We’re all selling ebooks, but as a reader, how do you feel about them compared to paper?

I do love the convenience of ebooks, but often times I feel the longing for a good paperback. Sometimes I put off reading anything because I don’t have a nice “real” book to pick up.

20  Once I start a book, I usually know within the first few pages if I’m going to keep reading.  If I do decide to stick with it, I’ll often stay up late or ignore all manner of pressing tasks, just to finish the book.

What’s the worst thing you’ve put off because you were too busy reading? The normal things: sleep, eating, cleaning, spending time with loved ones, writing, I’ll pretty much put anything off for an amazing book.

There.  All done now.  Have a lollypop.  Now, before you go, where can we find you and your books?

Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/T.R.-Stoddard/e/B008AK3YSW/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/TRStoddard

FB:

https://www.facebook.com/T.R.Stoddard

Blog:

http://t-r-stoddard.blogspot.com/

Goodreads:

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5754345.T_R_Stoddard

FREE Finding Sanity Paperback Giveaway:

http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/48584-finding-sanity

Thanks Theresa.  Now go get back to work!

Sam

 PS:  I read Finding Sanity and it rocked my socks.  Go get it.  Read it.  It’ll give you chills so you’ll be able to justify tucking in to a bigass bowl of mac ‘n cheese afterwards.

Guest Spot – Jason Maurer

Right.  I’ve been abroad for the day-job for the last couple of weeks.  Some of that trip has been fun, others, not so much.  The interesting food, people and sights are great, but the lack of reliable internet has been a real bummer.  Especially when I’ve been hanging out to host this guest spot.

Jason Maurer is a writer, reader and he knows how to review a book properly too – something that can’t always be said about writers.  If you’ve never heard of him, look him up.  All his work is here on Amazon.  As for the rest that Jason’s got to say, well here he is to tell it himself:

I was asked to write a non-sequiter for a question to which I would normally reply “No Comment”. However, my life is an open book and I have no qualms about answering any question that it thrown my way. Therefore, I’ve decided instead to talk a little bit about what it means for me to be happy.

 What is happiness? For me, it means being alive, enjoying myself as much as possible, and immersing myself in the lives of my characters.

 Writing makes me happy. It makes me feel better because it’s a form of therapy. I write about myself, and the things I’m feeling at that moment in time.

 The course of my writing varies in genre, from happy-go-lucky romance and fairy-tales to dark, depressing and foreboding, with everything in between. The content is dependent upon my mood, but whatever the case may be it allows me the expression of my inner demons.

 The writing process itself is what takes its toll. I find I can write with no problem- it’s the strain and hassle of getting from point A to point B, when point B is 40,000+ words away. The stories are usually finished inside my brain; it’s the act of getting them from brain cell to computer screen. I’ve often said that someone should invent a machine that can read our thoughts and immediately transcribe them for us. This would take the writing process down from a few months/years to a few days or weeks.

 When I’m in that fantasy world filled with characters, it makes the writing process easier to imagine them standing around, telling their stories. I’m merely the secretary taking dictation, or so it seems sometimes. Not everyone writes like this, and I’ve been called crazy for the way it happens but that’s just the way it works best.

 My characters are real. At least, as real as they can be considering the circumstances. No, they do not hold conversations with me, and no they don’t really exist, it just makes the writing process easier for me to imagine them as real personas. 

Perhaps I’m merely going crazy and need a padded cell somewhere. Maybe I’ll write something about that, someday. Time will tell. 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 Author Bio:

 Jason E. Maurer is the author of several short stories and novels that range in genre from romance to mystery, and everything in between. The work he produces is the result of a mind that can only be defined as ‘eclectic’. 

His latest novel “Trust and Love” is a gay story that centers around the hope for a better future by advocating the “It Gets Better” Campaign, a cause that helps prevent teen suicide. 

Jason lives in central Pennsylvania, and has chosen to dedicate his spare time [which at this point is anytime he is not sleeping] to the pursuit of the American dream on the road to happiness. 

You can find him at http://jasonemaurer.blogspot.com

The links to his extensive list of social media can be found on the “About Me/Links” page of his website.

 Where To Buy “Trust and Love”:

http://www.amazon.com/Trust-and-Love-ebook/dp/B00AS5AEBM/ref=la_B0080HHLPC_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1357198483&sr=1-1

There.  Sorry it took me so long to post this Jason, but most of Europe’s under about two meres of snow right now (I’m in the Frankfurt airport Qantas lounge as I type this, and there’s a strong chance my flight’s gonna be cancelled) and the the internet in my hotels has been dodgy to say the least.

Sam