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Thirty years ago, there was the Collapse. A massive war fought with biological weapons and followed by plague. Almost everyone died.  

Ten years ago, the aliens showed up. They made one of our cities their own and that’s where they stay, for the most part anyway.

One year ago, I killed two men and went a little crazy.

Today, the aliens took my brother and I will do whatever it takes to get him back even if it means partnering up with the enemy, an alien boy who makes me think things I shouldn’t and makes me feel things I don’t understand.

In seventeen-year-old Jax Mitchell’s world,  the Collapse has driven humans nearly to extinction and aliens have arrived and taken over one of the major cities. The E’rikon stay isolated in the city behind a human-proof barrier, but the tension between them and the surviving humans is starting to rise.

A traumatic event for Jax prompts her twin brother, Jace, to relocate them from their secluded cabin to the safety of a nearby settlement. Living there is difficult for the tomboyish Jax, especially since its militant leader keeps a close eye on her and attempts to force her into compliance with the stifling patriarchal rules.

During an unauthorized trip outside the walls, Jax comes face to face with some of Earth’s alien invaders when they kidnap her brother. To get Jace back, her only choice is to form an uneasy partnership with one of the E’rikon, a teenage boy left stranded in the woods. She agrees to get him home as long as he helps her get inside the city.

But there’s much more to it than Jax and her alien companion realize and far-reaching consequences to their budding relationship that they never imagined. In her single-minded quest to rescue her twin, Jax sets a chain of events in motion that affects not only the remaining humans and the growing alien society, but the future of Earth itself.

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On Sale Now! 

Q & A — Scarlett Dawn

Posted: March 10, 2014 in Uncategorized

q & a

 

This week I have the lovely Ms Scarlett Dawn on the blog!

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SDWhat were you like at school?

I wasn’t anything like the sweet angel my teachers thought I was.

So, what have you written?
King Hall and King Cave. They are the first two books in the Forever Evermore Trilogies.

I also have two anthologies that are coming out this year - The Obsidian Collection and The Moonlight Cravings Anthology.

Where can we buy or see them?

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Scarlett-Dawn/e/B00DOAF256/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/scarlett-dawn

Escape Publishing: http://www.escapepublishing.com.au/author/scarlett-dawn

What are you working on at the minute?

King Tomb.

What genre are your books?

My published works are new adult fantasy.

How much research do you do?

It depends. If it’s fantasy, I use my imagination. If it’s contemporary, then I investigate further.

Why do you write?

Because I love it.

Do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when?KC

I write when the story strikes.

Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?

Nope. I just write as I wish.

Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?

I use my laptop.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?

Having too many ideas.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

It takes me around a month if the idea is free flowing.

For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?

I enjoy both equally.

What book/s are you reading at present?

Too many to name! LOL

Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?

Absolutely.

KHWho edited your book and how did you select him/her?

Nicolene Hale. Harlequin initially selected her, but after the first book I requested her again.

Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?

Yes.

What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?

I think everyone is entitled to their opinion.

Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book/s?

Yes, I do.
http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXc-wgZsANJiN-F2YD1cZzQ

In what formats is your book available?

King Hall and King Cave are available at all major e-retailers.

What is your favourite quote?

“Opportunity does not knock, it presents itself when you beat down the door.”  ~ Kyle Chandler

What is your favourite movie?

The Host.

*****

You can follow Ms. Dawn at any one of these fine places on the internet!

Twitter: @ScarlettDawnUSA

Q & A — Edward Cardillo

Posted: March 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

q & aPlease welcome the self proclaimed Naughty Monkey himself— Edward Cardillo!

*****

Author Pic

What were you like at school? 

I was a geek in school, but a popular geek.  And I was decent at sports.  Everyone knew who I was and most liked me…at least that’s what I tell myself…whatever gets me through the night.

Which writers inspire you? 

H.P. Lovecraft’s old fashioned voice thrills me, and I admire Orson Scott Card’s direct, lean prose.  I love Robert A. Heinlein’s creativity and ideas.  Early Stephen King (Salem’s Lot, Pet Cemetary) was amazing.

So, what have you written?

I’ve written the first 3 books of a sci-fi/horror/techno-thriller series for Severed Press:  I Am Automaton (winner of a Readers’ IamautomatonCOVERaFavorite International Book Award), I Am Automaton 2: Kafka Rising (winner of a Readers’ Favorite International Book Award), and Shadow of the Automaton.  They are about using the undead as infantry drones to smoke terrorists out of caves; action, suspense, horror, and romance.  I’ve also written The Odd Tales of an Old Man (J Ellington Ashton Press), a story about an old curmudgeon wasting away in a nursing home from cancer who tries to relate to his two wayward grandsons through tall tales.  The tales are morality plays with twist endings, like Tales From The Crypt and the Twilight Zone.  The Devil Is in the Details and the Vampires of Exeter are short stories that will be appearing in an anthology being released by J Ellington Ashton Press in the near future.
Where can we buy or see them?

Amazon.com:

http://www.amazon.com/Am-Automaton-Military-Science-Fiction-ebook/dp/B00BO04ZM4/ref=sr_1_1_bnp_1_kin?ie=UTF8&qid=1388455931&sr=8-1&keywords=edward+p.+cardillo

http://www.amazon.com/Am-Automaton-Kafka-Rising-ebook/dp/B00DK8LFFI/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1388455961&sr=8-7&keywords=edward+p.+cardillo

http://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Automaton-Am-Book-ebook/dp/B00G0VIBXG/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1388455961&sr=8-8&keywords=edward+p.+cardillo

http://www.amazon.com/The-Odd-Tales-Old-Man-ebook/dp/B00EL0J33U/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1388455961&sr=8-2&keywords=edward+p.+cardillo

Iamautomaton2 finished coverWhat genre are your books? 

I love to bend and blend genres.  I enjoy writing science fiction, horror, suspense, and military.

What draws you to this genre? 

Well, I love to scare the crap out of people, so that’s what attracts me to horror.  When a reader/reviewer gets a nightmare, a horror author gets his horns.  Science fiction is a great means to social commentary.  As a clinical psychologist, I have lots of ideas on human nature.  Plus, technology can be frightening, hence I can blend sci-fi with horror.  Good horror utilizes suspense, which keeps the reader turning pages.  I tend to include military in almost all of my writing.  The amount of sacrifice involved in service astounds me; some of my most interesting patients have been military, particularly the World War II vets.  I have such admiration and respect for our soldiers.

How much research do you do? 

I am a meticulous researcher.  I start out with an idea for the plot, and then I jot down ideas for characters.  Then I sit on it a while and allow my brain to both consciously and subconsciously layer in details while I research technology, weaponry, history/politics, etc.  I have very detailed dreams, and some of my most frightening imagery comes from my nightmares.  I also sometime dream I’m conversing with my characters about who they are and the direction of the plot.  When I have some serious details, I begin to storyboard.  Then I write.  I don’t stick to the outline religiously.  I change things as they feel right.Iamautomaton3

When did you decide to become a writer? 

I have a very convoluted path that’s lead me to where I am.  I started writing horror/suspense short stories for the purpose of seeking publication in genre magazines.  Someone who used to work in publishing told me that I should shoot for publishing a novel, so I developed a backstory tying the short stories together, and The Odd Tales of an Old Man was born.  Then began a mostly fruitless hunt for an agent.  At the advice of a literary agent, I self=published the novel to see if I could garner some positive reviews, and I submitted to critics and bloggers.

Encouraged by excellent reviews, I continued to write while I hunted for an agent/publisher.  One night I was watching CNN when the US was still looking for Osama Bin Laden, and I was listening to the reporter lament about how impenetrable the Tora Bora cave system was (that was when he was believed to be hiding in caves).  Well, the way my twisted mind works, I imagined the Iamautomaton3military using zombie infantry drones to smoke the terrorists out, just pouring hundreds of them into the caves.  Think about it…they never tire, they never quit, they just walk and eat.

Upon the advice of the same agent who told me to self-publish, I entered “Automaton” into the Readers’ Favorite International Book Contest…and I won an award, finishing with NY Times Best Seller Daniel Silva.  At the awards ceremony, a published author told me to bypass agents and submit to open submission calls.  After a month or so, armed with an international book award, I landed a contract for the I Am Automaton series with Severed Press.  My Facebook promotion landed me in touch with Catt Dahman and TL Decay during a massive online zombie event, right as JEA was being created.  They offered me a contract for The Odd Tales of an Old Man, and the rest is history.  I wrote books 2 and 3 of the I Am Automaton series and picked up a second international book award.

Why do you write? 

I write because I have to.  I’ve always had artistic leanings, and I believe that artistic expression is good for the soul.  I used to write when I was very young; when I was three I wrote a creation myth centering around how the cheetah got its spots.  My psychology practice (my day job that pays my jumbo mortgage) was established and going well, so the timing was right.

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured? 

I write part-time around my psychology practice and spending time with my wife and five-year-old son.  Finding time can be challenging…I write when I should be sleeping and on weekends, but only when my muse is cooperating.  If She’s being elusive, I don’t force it.  If I do, it comes out subpar.  I keep it freeform.  Sometimes I’ll write 500 words in one sitting, and other times 2000 words in a little over an hour.

How long on average does it take you to write a book? 

It takes me an average of 5-7 months to write a complete novel of 80,00 to 90,000 words writing on the occasional evening and weekends.

Do you ever get writer’s Block? 

Yes.

TOTOAOM9x6inchAny tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block? 

I don’t push it.  If I’m having trouble writing, it’s usually because there’s a significant plot hole or character inconsistency that’s subconsciously or consciously impeding my process.  Sometimes, with a day or two to think, I come up with a solution and the writing flows again.  Other times, depending on how much I have going on in my life/day job, I’m distracted and it takes longer.

What are your thoughts on writing a book series? 

I enjoyed writing my I Am Automaton series thus far.  You really get to expand the plot, universe, and character arcs beyond what a stand-alone will allow.  The characters become more familiar, more real, to the point where I actually become really attached to them.  Sequels also allow me to introduce new characters and plot twists to experiment.

How do you relax? 

I enjoy playing with my son, hanging out with my wife, writing, reading, and shooting pool (I have a few trophies) for enjoyment.  I love being a father; I think it’s the greatest thing I’ve ever done with my life.  I’m a big family man.  I enjoy those quiet Saturdays or Sundays when we just pitter patter around the house, watch a movie, play board games, or not do much of anything.

*****

You can follow the naughty monkey in any one of these wonderful places on the internet!

Website: edwardcardillo.com
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/edward.cardillo

Q & A — Piper Punches

Posted: March 4, 2014 in Uncategorized

q & a

Please welcome Piper to the blog today!

*****

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

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I am in this game for the long haul. There are some people that have dreams of becoming a published author and being a “one-hit wonder.” There is nothing wrong with those aspirations, but that is not my goal for my writing career. I want to continue to bring thought-provoking stories to my readers until I take my last breath. Since I am only 37 that means you are going to be stuck with me for a very, very long time.

Which writers inspire you?

I am inspired by writers that tell the human story. While every story has to have a plot, I like writers that deeply develop their characters. For instance, I love Khaled Hosseini. The way he develops his characters is magical. Same with Rohinton Mistry, author of Such a Long Journey and the beautifully written book, A Fine Balance.

So, what have you written?
I debuted my first published work, The Waiting Room, on October 29, 2013. It is a family drama about the secrets families keep that ultimately push people farther and farther apart. It is also a story about the parent/child relationship and how it is so difficult to see our parents as people even as we become adults. It’s something that almost every person can relate to. You can buy The Waiting Room on Amazon.com and starting February 4th it will be available on Smashwords, too.

I also just released on January 31, 2014 my short novella, Missing Girl. This story is about a young girl who finds herself immersed in a world of sexual slavery and human imprisonment. Although the topic may seem graphic, I want to ensure readers that it is not. It is, ultimately, a story about who Sophia Cruz was before she was taken from her safe and secure life in Mission Valley. It is a story meant to bring awareness to the horrific practice of sex and human trafficking. Missing Girl is available on Amazon.com and Smashwords. Paperback copies will be available in a couple of weeks.

What are you working on at the minute?

Right now, I am working on my second full-length novel entitled, 60 Days. Two characters from Missing Girl are major characters in my new book, but I want readers to know that both books stand-alone. They tell different stories. Here is a promo for 60 Days:

Girls cross the border into Mexico every day and disappear. Some are missed, most are forgotten. Two months ago Emily Vega’s sister, Lizzie, went in search of a mystery across the Mexican border and never returned. Another missing girl is what the Mexican authorities told her. Emily won’t accept this. Letting go of her sister is not an option, but time is running out and Emily has a secret of her own.

What genre are your books?

Some people may call my books women’s fiction because I write mostly from the female perspective and about women’s issues. Others, especially when one refers to Missing Girl or 60 Days, may think my writing fits in well with the psychological thriller or crime drama. Honestly, that is hard question for me because I feel that I write human interest stories and those can fall into many categories.

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Where do your ideas come from?

I get the ideas for my novels from life. I am constantly questioning the motives of other people and trying to figure out why they do the things they do. It drives my husband nuts! But, I don’t see life the way other people do. Meaning, sometimes a word, a look, a gesture, can suddenly turn into a full-fledge story before my eyes. I can actually see it materialize. No, I’m not crazy. Promise.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

No, outline. I just go in the direction my characters lead me. Now, this can make the editing process a little draining. I find quite a bit of inconsistencies when I write this way and have to go back and clean them up, but I can’t imagine ever writing from an outline. It would feel too constricting.

*****

You can follow Ms. Piper in all of the usual places on the internet!

Website: http://www.piperpunches.com
Blog: http://www.piperpunches.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/piperpunches
Twitter:www.twitter.com/piperpunches
Pinterest:www.pinterest.com/piperpunches
Amazon Author Page:http://www.amazon.com/Piper-Punches/e/B00GI4D450/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1
Smashwords:https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/piperpunches
Book Links:

The Waiting Room: http://amzn.to/1fwOF2x

Missing Girl:http://amzn.to/1dh1t8m and http://bit.ly/1fwOV1i

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/piperpunches

Q & A — Fiona Skye

Posted: February 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

q & a

Please welcome Fiona Skye to the blog this week!

*****

fiona-skye-author-photo-300x300What are you working on at the minute?

Currently, I’m working on three different projects. The first is the second book in my Revelations Trilogy; it’s called Silver Shackles. The second project is thriller/murder mystery that I’m hoping to publish under another name. The third project is an epic fantasy, inspired by—believe it or not—the video game Skyrim.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

My main character for the Revelations Trilogy is named Riley O’Rourke. She’s a TV talk show host who also happens to be a werejaguar. She and a couple of vampire friends broke through the veil of secrecy that hid the Preternatural population—you know, the things that go bump in the night—from the rest of humanity, by staging a live, nationally-broadcasted press conference during which they revealed themselves as vampires and were-creatures.

I think Riley’s an interesting character. She’s not a wall-flower, nor is she weak. She can take care of herself, tends to be a little head-strong and stubborn, and has been blessed (cursed?) with a very healthy ego. When she gets involved with the Dark Court Fae, she learns quickly that she’s not the top of the food chain after all, and has to deal with the fall out of this knowledge. Readers get to see her entire world fall apart and then they get to see how she picks up the pieces and puts everything back together.

What genre are your books?

The Revelations Trilogy is urban fantasy. I like this genre because I like to play with perceptions and the big question of What If? What if your next-door neighbor or your boss or the bike messenger who just cut you off in traffic is a werewolf or a vampire or even a magic user? I like to explore the idea that underneath the thin veneer of civilization, there might exist an entirely separate world that until now, has only been scary stories.

What is your favorite movie and why?

I love The Princess Bride. It’s a magical movie that underscores the power of a really good book. Plus, there’s sword fights and magic and a death game with the world’s smartest man!

 Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?

Like a lot of authors, I’ve given this extensive thought. Riley would be played by Maggie Q, the star of the TV show Nikita. David Lo, who is Riley’s love interest and a federal law agent, would be played by Daniel Henney, who was in the first Wolverine movie. Baron Fonterra, who helps Riley out quite a bit, would be played by Sam Elliot—BEFORE he shaved off his mustache! And Orla Brown, who is a witch and sort of a grandmotherly figure for Riley, would be played by Dame Judi Dench.61OM5NGMi7L

How much research do you do?

I do pretty extensive research. I’m kind of a stickler for detail and even if a subject doesn’t take up more than a single sentence in my book, I spend a lot of time making sure I know what I’m talking about. I have tons of books on faerie creatures, Irish and Scottish folklore, geography of the U.S., vampire lore, magic, and links on body language, the history of the O’Rourke family in Ireland, and jaguar behavior. As a matter of fact, a friend of mine has promised to take me to a gun range so that I can fire the same sort of gun that David carries.

Do you write full-time or part-time?

I definitely write full time. After my kids leave for school in the morning, I spend about three hours writing or researching, then I eat lunch and walk my dog. Then I write or read for another two hours, until my kids and husband get home and it’s time for dinner and homework. I find that I write best during the morning hours. My energy level tends to be the highest at this time and I seem to be able to focus better during this time, too.

Tell us about the cover and how it came about.

I’m extremely lucky to know not one, but two amazing artists who were kind enough to design both the print cover and ebook cover for Faerie Tales in exchange for publicity. Angelique Charo (http://charolique.deviantart.com/) did the print cover, and Deanne Smith (http://goldenthrush.deviantart.com/) did the ebook cover. The design concept is supposed to represent the dual nature of Riley—her human face and her Jaguar face.

Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?

Not yet, but I’m trying to convince my husband—who is a great writer!–to collaborate with me on the epic fantasy I mentioned earlier. I’m intrigued by the technical process of two writers working on one manuscript. Do they each take a chapter and write it? Does one partner work on settings/exposition and the other on dialogue? Do they edit together or separately?

Where do the your ideas come from?

The Idea Faerie? LOL! I don’t know honestly. I’m inspired by other writers, video games, songs, TV shows and movies… Basically, anything and everything I see/hear/taste is fodder for a story.

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?

It’s been my experience that writer’s block is either a form of procrastination or a deep fear. Either way, the best way through it is just to get your butt in the seat, fingers on the keyboard and write. Don’t worry if it’s crap; don’t worry if it’ll be well-received. Just write it. Once it’s written, it can be edited and polished and perfected. But it can’t be edited if it’s not written!

Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors.

I read quite a lot. My favorite authors are Brandon Sanderson, Jim Butcher, and Diana Gabaldon. I voraciously consume everything they publish. I’m also partial to Bernard Cornwell, Glen Cook, Dean Koontz, and Craig Johnson.

*****

You can follow Fiona in any one of these places!

Website: http://fiona-skye.com/
Blog: 
http://fiona-skye.com/blog/
Facebook: 
http://www.facebook.com/fionaskyewriter
Twitter: 
http://www.twitter.com/fionaskyewriter
Amazon Author Page: 
http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00CKY01EE
Book Links: 
http://fiona-skye.com/books-2/
Goodreads
: http://www.goodreads.com/fiona_skye
G+: http://plus.google.com/+FionaSkye/

Q & A — Aedan Byrnes

Posted: February 26, 2014 in Uncategorized

q & a

This ones done a little different than my other posts but I loved the way it was done so much that I couldnt pick it apart in any way! Please welcome Aedan to the blog this week!

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Good Morrow to ya Allison.

Thank you so much for having me visit!

I feel like I’ve answered a great many questions over and over again recently, but you’ve given me new angles on some of the tried and true favorites, so let’s begin with “Why do you write?” I write because it eases me, plain and simple. Some people go to the show, some park in front of the tele, others escape into a book…I escape into my head and allow it to carry me away. The act of putting pen to page is cathartic on multiple levels. It assuages my creative drive as well as the need to be doing something, not sitting idly by. The idea that I can weave together the images in my head and put them into something that is digestible to others is a great high, and a great satisfaction, so it fulfills many needs all at the same time. 

I write part time as I work elsewhere for my livelihood right now. Perhaps one day that will change, but for now it is part time. I have no rhyme or reason to how or when I write; it is usually when I find my mind set. I have told myself the story so many times over before it finds the paper, that when the mental revision is done, I write. I do not find that I need to set word or page count goals either, often the opposite is true in that I have to stop and remember where I left off.

I write everything out longhand and transcribe later. I find the feel of the pen across the page is its own meditation of sorts. The typewriter or keyboard is not the same. For all of the above, I don’t feel like I have writer’s block or encounter it often. If I do, it is because I need to revise or add to the story something that I did not have set in my mind. Writer’s block, if I get it, seems to be a by-product of editing calls from the publisher, moreover than my creation of the tale.

The next group of answers started with your question about my thoughts on writing a series… I think writing a series is easier in some ways and more difficult in others. Through the Oracle’s Mist is the first book of The Vengelys (Venn-jell-is) Series. The series is a long tale about a band of warriors from Amaranth, their family, their relationships, their setbacks and the perseverance of spirit over trial. Through the Oracle’s Mist kicks the series off with the tale of Tynan and Cyrenna. It is a story of choices, and chances. It introduces us to the main cast, at least the majority of it, while engaging the reader to make some personal assessments without realizing perhaps that they are. Oracle is a tale about the value of people and the price we are willing to pay to have the things or people in our lives that mean the most.

Warrior’s Watchtower is the second book in the series, due out later this year and will be followed by Kingdom’s Fall in 2015. official coverWatchtower picks up from a spot in Oracle to tell the other side of the tale that isn’t shown in the first book, as well as lays the groundwork for the series beyond book three.  I can’t give away too much without giving it all away, so let’s just hope I am as successful at detailing it out for the readers as I have been in ferreting it out in my mind. I’ve grown quite fond and attached to this group of renegades.

You asked about proofreading/editing and stewing the tale which are all great questions, let’s see if I can make my process make sense. I do a lot of refining of the story long before it hits paper anywhere for anyone else to see. I am constantly editing in my mind; words, phrases, plot choices, story flow…all of it. Once I have that pretty well under hand, and I have kicked the work over to paper, I read the story, and then I read it again, often making minor changes as I go. Once I’m satisfied with it, I transcribe it to computer and send it off to a few Beta-readers for feedback. Some of them will kick back editing notes, some say ‘love’ or ‘loathe’, some say nothing besides, “looks good to me” and some ask questions about pieces that I think I’ve connected since I know the story in my head, but maybe didn’t get across to the reader. All of which are good returns.

Once those come back, I go through them one by one and address changes that I feel need to be made based on the feedback. Some go in, and some don’t. At the end of the day it is my story that I’m telling and some things don’t feel right to me. After those have all be fielded I send the copies back out again for a re-read and see what comes back…there is often far less that comes back at this stage. If anything does, I repeat the process, if not, I shelve the story.  Oracle sat for five months before I picked it back up.

When I pick the story up again, I need it to be fresh. I need it to engage my mind to read what is written, not see the story the way I know it in my head. Thus, it is a concerted effort reading at this point to take in each word as I read it and not allow myself to supplement them with the story I know. For me, there are usually two passes at this point a couple weeks apart. A first pass, edits, and a second pass reading. I will do a third pass if I had major changes, but if not, once these edits are keyed in, I’m done.

At the end of this stage, the complete manuscript goes to my publisher and the editor that I have there. I can’t speak to the process there, but I can tell you what I think happens from my side of the messages. Once it is there, they do a complete read through, start to stop. If there are major hiccups to the tale, I think I would hear straightaway and have to rework right off. As it has been, what happens next is they begin a page by page, line by line dissemination of the story for the formatting, word choices, confusions, punctuation, clarifications, and a myriad of other things. I get back a ‘to do’ list of things to consider. If it is a punctuation issue or technical, I get a statement about what was changed. If it is a word choice or clarification, I get a suggestion and have to make decisions about what should be there. I have the right to keep what I wrote, take what they have suggested, or change it altogether.

Once the line by line passes have been made and the edits have been completed, I believe they do another complete read to get a feel for the continuity of the tale. Pending any further edits to make, the story then gets formatted in font and we figure out how many pages we need to use so the cover can be made to fit the story. While editing is happening, the cover images are being chosen and the graphics department has kicked into play. The size of the finished product comes together when the formatting is done and the cover size gets finalized.

Covers for me are intensely personal. I have a friend who is a whiz with images and I am fortunate to be able to say…’this is the vision I have’ and they will start throwing images back at me to try to fit my vision. As they do, I can refine in my head what I want to see. The cover for Oracle was a bit nerve-wracking because I didn’t understand the process of the font selections, and we went through A LOT of them trying to find the right look for the cover. I knew the image I wanted very early on. The poor folks in graphics likely wanted to throttle me as I was a bit manic to have it all come together ‘just right’ and I could not settle on the fonts. I sent them an idea of what I wanted, and as luck would have it, we had no notion of what the font was to recreate it at the higher resolution needed for the cover…so it was a long process.  BUT, what we did do that was absolutely awesome, was we chose fonts for the series, so every cover will have the same lettering style for the title, the series title and the author name. The challenges of the first one took care of them all the way through. Those graphics folks are so smart!That, and my contact with the publisher is amazing at the communication thing which made it easy.  They were open to hear what I have to say about how I want my book to look and that is a huge thing. I am most fortunate!

I think covers are a piece of the buying decision in that they are the attention grabber. A cover, for me does not sell the book, but instead it is the vehicle that causes me to pick it up and read the synopsis. The same is true of video trailers. We are such a busy society, that anything that can grab you out of your routine, make you stop and consider is a positive thing. It is also the perk of social media to the promotion phase of publishing because a cover can be posted with a synopsis or a short video trailer link and it can be that simple to interrupt someone in something they are already doing and engage them to want to know more. This, to me, is how books sell…it is a visual stimulus that engages our brain to want more information.

I have two trailers.  I have sent you both links and hope you will share them. One was made for me as a gift from a fan. “Blown away” does not begin to express the overwhelming that happened when I saw it for the first time. I am so grateful to Drake Valley Press for understanding my want to keep that original fan made trailer up even after the official trailer was made. The official trailer was modeled on the fan made one and I think both are amazing. I am not a technology abled person, so I am completely stunned by the creations. I am curious to your thoughts after viewing them…did they grab you? Did they engage you to want to know the story? Share your review with me.

Speaking of reviews, let’s talk about them. You asked about my thoughts on good/bad reviews. I, like every author out there, love to get good reviews. I also love to see the bad reviews, IF they are communicative to the reasons why. I am always trying to grow in my craft, a good review that illustrates what a reader likes is valuable…so is a negative review if it can give me the reasons why the story didn’t work for them. Does this mean I will change my writing style or process? Probably not, but it could mean that I will be more aware of my personal quirks and how they affect some readers. I have said openly on my Facebook walls and I think on goodreads too that anyone who cannot give a story of mine at least 3 of 5 stars, I want to hear from them personally. I want the feedback. I want the insight into what threw them and their thoughts on what they wanted to see.

Now, lest this comes across wrong, allow me the qualifier…if someone just doesn’t enjoy the story, which happens…or didn’t like the ending (knowing that it is a series and needs to be left open for the next story), I don’t expect to be hammered with a 1 star or 2 star review.  I think that it is possible to apply what my mother called the ‘sandwich’ method to a review….the story was interesting, the ending didn’t work for me, but the writing overall was good…for example. To me, reviews are not about bashing that the story didn’t go the way you wanted it to…they are a feedback mechanism to the writer to tell them what worked and didn’t but also to comment the merits of their storytelling, not to tantrum. It is further a place to tell others about a tale.  While we tell our good friends the sordid details of near everything, reviews are a way to communicate the merits and shortfalls to complete strangers who may or may not see the same things you do. A review is an avenue to connect, and for me, when explained so I can understand and maybe grow from them, the overall mark is less important than what is said.  I still want to hear from readers if the story as a whole falls short and find out what I can do as a writer to make my stories better for them…that won’t change.

How do I relax you ask….I just shut down. I am a firm believer in unplugging everything and sitting outside. I could climb, float, camp, hike, or do nothing at all and be completely relaxed from the writing world. As said elsewhere, I’m not technology savvy, so the idea of escaping from it is my bliss.  A book can be relaxing too…or if I need to escape the world around me, I write.

Last up of the questions is the one about advice for aspiring writers, and the answer is a reprint from an interview I did over a year ago.  I believed it then and believe it still.  I hope it strikes a chord. BEGIN. Whatever you do or don’t do after that, Begin. There is no ‘THE END’ without ‘In the beginning’. I’ve talked to many folks who are trying to start and the question is always “How?” The answer is, keep it simple. Pick an image and describe it, take a word and make a conversation, choose a voice and write a monologue. Can’t come up with it? Try picking a character you love and write a story for them that hasn’t been told. I am not advocating plagiarism here… I am saying tell the side you have never seen. Choose a villain you love to hate and tell the love story that you’ve never heard. Choose the good guy from the television show and write about his wild and rowdy night on the town. Write something that you would never see for this character as it is completely against their nature as you know them. Once you can do this then start coming up with your own characters and the stories that go with them, but don’t kill yourself and burn out before you get started trying to take on the 300 or 500 page novel from scratch with nothing else under your belt.

The 50 Shades of Grey series that came out by EL James started as fan fiction for Stephanie Meyer and her Twilight saga. Does it seem like it’s the Vampires and Werewolves Meyer wrote? I have no idea, I haven’t read them, but what I’m saying is that the idea developed by piggy-backing on something else that was out there, it was a place to jump off from. We all need to find the end of the pier and jump into the deep end somewhere. Just take a few laps in the kiddie pool first. And that goes for every aspect of writing.  Guest blog, find a peer group and start seeing editing as a part of the picture, try anthologies if you aren’t ready to solo…whatever it is get out there and start.

Writing isn’t re-inventing the wheel. It’s finding new ways to tell the same stories we’ve been reading all along. There aren’t a thousand new genres that come out every year….there are a thousand books though that do and they fall into the established genres. And this is the next big step… Once you can honestly put a string of words together to complete a thought, once you can take a mental image of a character and breathe life into them, you have to decide what they are going to do and this will determine the genre you write in. Maybe there will be more than one, but probably best to start with just one. And there is nothing wrong with starting small. It’s like writing essays….in middle school they were a page, in high school we went from 3 to 5 to 10 pages and in college we went from 15 – to hundreds for thesis work. Allow yourself the time to grow. I would say to you, remember you have to crawl before you walk before you run. My favorite prompt for anything writing (as well as in life) is, “And then what?”

Whatever path you take, remember that you have to start. Dreaming is that voice inside telling you that there is something there but it can’t do it without you. There’s magic in dreaming and stories too. No matter how good the dream though you still have to get up and take up the pen to tell the tale or it is only ever a dream. You have to take the step toward finding an audience. You have to take the step toward gaining the contract. Take the step.

There’s a song out that is more an analogy for life, but the key line is an absolutely perfect observation statement for this….Natasha Beddingfield says, “Today is where your book begins, the rest is still unwritten.” I say, “You are the only one who can change that.”  Begin.

I hope this answers some of the questions you gave me. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on what I have said. Stay in touch! To connect with me you can find me at:

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/AedanByrnes

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/#!/aedan.byrnes.7?fref=ts

https://www.facebook.com/#!/AedanByrnes

Q & A — Ana Rubio

Posted: February 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

q & a

Please welcome Ana to the blog today. She is a non-fictional writer, and I think a first for the blog but I think you will find her quite interesting!

*****

anaWhat were you like at school?

I was a good student. I always tried to overcome my grades.

Were you good at English?

Yes, I’ve always loved English.

Well, you know, I’m Spaniard and I live in Spain. When I studied, English was not taught at schools. But my father taught English to my brother and me at home when we were only children (at 8 and 9). Then, English started to be taught at schools when I was 12.  At that time, I had a nice English level and I was really the queen of the class, lol!

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

Of course, becoming a well-known writer, to connect with the public. And why not?, to become a Best Selling Author.

Which writers inspire you?

Non-fiction authors: Hannah Arendt, Emmanuel Levinas, Paul Ricoeur

Fiction authors: Agatha Christie, Anne Perry, John Grisham, Jeffrey Archer

So, what have you written?

Non-fiction books:

Los Nazis y el Mal. La destrucción del ser humano. (The Nazis and the Evil. The annihilation of the human-being.)

La banalidad del Mal. La contraimagen de Dios en la lógica nazi. (The banality of Evil. The manipulated image of God on tb3he Nazi logic).

La Biblia ilustrada y comentada. (The Bible with pictures and commentaries). –sold out-

Articles:

Racial Hygiene and the Third Reich.

Expérience, subjectivité et mémoire chez les SS. (Background, subjectivity and memory in the SS state)

Le visage outragé. Violance radicale et biopolitique au service du nazisme. (The eradication of the person. Radical violence et biopolicy in the Nazism).

La caractéristique de la violènce du Troisième Reich. (The violence in the Third Reich).

Soumission de la masse dans le III Reich. (Mass submission in the Third Reich).

Luces en la sombra. (Candles in the darkness).

Crimen e impunidad. El anillo de Giges. (Crime and impunity. Giges’ Ring).

Universalización y sincretismo en publicidad. (Globalization and syncretism in publicity). –not available-

Contra el racismo: asociacionismo y educación. (Against racism: association and education) –not available-

b1Blog:

Nazism and Holocaust http://nazismoyholocausto.blogspot.com.es (The main goal of this blog is to think about the darkest time of our history until now: the Holocaust, the Nazi cruelty against the Humanity).

Where can we buy or see them? 

Casa del Libro: Los Nazis y el Mal (€14)

Amazon: Los Nazis y el Mal (€14)

BlaBook.com: La banalidad del Mal (Free)

Anachronia Review: Racial Hygiene and the Third Reich (€15)

CEEOL Anachronia: La caractéristique de la violence du Troisième Reich (€3.5)

CEEOL Anachronia: Expérience, subjectivité et mémoire chez les SS (€2.5)

CEEOL Anachronia: Le visage outragé. Violance radical et biopolitique au service du nazisme (€2.5)

BlaBook.com: Soumission de la masse dans le III Reich (Free)

BlaBook.com: Luces en la sombra (Free)

BlaBook.com: Crimen e impunidad. El anillo de Giges (Free)

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

Well, as I’ve written non-fiction books or articles, I can’t talk about a character. But, I can talk about the Nazi man, the main “character” of my work. This is a manufactured man, an automaton (“a zombie”) who can’t make any decision by himself. Anyway,b2 this individual is guilty and responsible of the evil that he or she’s provoked.

What are you working on at the minute?

A non-fiction book.

What’s it about?

This time the focus of my next book will be on the victims of the Holocaust, not on the perpetrators.

What genre are your books?

Non-fiction. But after that book about the victims of the Holocaust, I’ll start a Thriller.

What draws you to this genre?

When I worked in my Thesis about the Nazism, I realised that the Nazis did not only want to eliminate “their enemy”; their main goal was to annihilate the human being. The human being means everyone who could think by themselves, everyone who didn’t agree with the Nazis –ideology or facts, everyone who was free in every sense of the life, everyone who was not healthy according to the Nazi “movement”. Nazism defined itself as a movement, not as a Party.

The focus of my research was on how Nazism worked and how Nazis were able to do what they did.

My research really hit me hard. You know, it’s hard to learn how the human being ends up with their own humanity and their main goal is the lust for power. To get it, according the Nazi movement, the annihilation of the other is required at all.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?

Bearing in mind that it’s not a fiction book, but it could be, maybe, Angelina Jolie would be a good choice because of her personality. Moreover, her father was the main star in The Odessa File. It could be a challenge for her and an honour for me!

How much research do you do?

Whatever I need to. I mean, I want to assure me not to write contradictions or urban legends, basically.

Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?

Not a novel, but a book about the Bible. We wrote about the meaning of some biblical passages at the same time that we showed the society of each period of time, -a socio-political analysis and some polemic subjects were dealt with.

Why did you do decide to collaborate and did that affect your sales?

Well, you see, I didn’t think about sales. I simply thought it was a great opportunity to spread the Bible message with a current language for everybody.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I’ve always loved to tell stories. When I was a child, I made up stories about whatever. People told me something that had happened and I said: “ O.k., and what if…” I just made up a story.

But, writing… Maybe, at the high school. I wrote a journalist report about the Persian Shah, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi and the Ayatollah Khomeini, an Iranian religious and political leader, who made Iran the world’s first Islamic republic.

*****

You can follow Ana in any one of these fine places on the internet!

Blog: http://nazismoyholocausto.blogspot.com.es
Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ana-Rubio-Serrano/471481726304326
Twitter:
https://twitter.com/24_arubio
Lnkedin:
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/ana-rubio-serrano/36/660/1/en
Book Links:
http://www.blabook.com; http://nazismoyholocausto.blogspot.com.es; http://www.ceeol.com
Goodreads
: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/17490690-ana-rubio-serrano