Simple Smile Saturday (July-2)

I have been pretty busy the past couple months due to my schedule at the day job changing, and because I’ve been editing like a fiend! I have FOUR more books finished for the pub company I do freelance work with, so check out the “My Edits” page to see them.

There are three more serials available for the Sorrow series, and once you get into those they are pretty addictive–you just have to know what will happen next. I have a tendency to sneak ahead and read my favourite character’s plot, as I cannot seem to keep my mind on editing the rest of the manuscript otherwise *LOL* I’m currently finishing up the twelfth part of the story, and there will be a few more after that. Keep an eye out for those!

The other was a full-length novel that is simply fantastic! This was my first time working with that author, and it’s a spec-fic novel you won’t want to miss! I absolutely loved it and would read it again, even though I’ve already been through it a few times during the editing process. Here is a link to check this novel, so be sure to clicky-clicky.

I also just got hired by a first-time author to edit his scifi novel, which I’m pretty excited about working on. I love getting word-of-mouth referrals as you meet a lot of interesting people and talented authors that way. The synopsis sounds fabulous, and once it has been published I’ll be sure to let y’all know where to get your hands on a copy. I really think it is going to be great!

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Tuesday Teaser (Apr-5)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Should Be Reading. Share the title and author, so others can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences (or more).

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!!!

The Andersen Ancestry by Addie J King

“We should do something good before something bad happens.” 

I couldn’t help but glance into the backseat as I approached the Escalade just to be sure there wasn’t some kind of magical voodoo witch doctor faerie being thingy lying in wait to disintegrate our bodies and eat our life essence. 

Waiting on Wednesday (mar-2)


“Waiting on Wednesday” is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine
that spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating.

I have already read this book, but I’m still waiting eagerly for it. As some of y’all know I do freelance editing for a fabulous ebook company, and one of those books I’ve recently worked on is the one I cannot wait for. The novel is amazing, the cover is fabulous, and it is scheduled to be released in just a couple of weeks. What is the book you ask?

You’ll just have to wait too in order to find out!

Simple Smile Saturday (Dec-3)

First of all, I had a birthday! It was two days ago, and I had a wonderful time with family and friends. I’ve since passed the quarter-century mark and am a mere year from the big 3-0. The goal is to travel to the British Isles before then, so *fingers crossed* I can save up enough money!

What is helping me earn money for said trip is my day job and my freelance work for Musa Publishing. The more people who buy the books I’ve worked on, the more I get paid, so I happy to announce I had another ebook come out just yesterday.

It is part of a serial called “Sorrow”. I wasn’t expecting to like this series so much, but find myself always wanting to know what happens next! I would suggest reading the novellas in order, but they are only 99 cents each so it won’t break the bank. Check out the latest one below…

Sorrow Part 4: The Gelded Wolf by David Pilling & Martin Bolton
Musa Publishing -> Dec 21 2012

sorrowpart4“The power struggle becomes ever more vicious, and the wolves smell blood.”

An uneasy peace has descended over the World Apparent. The Winter Realm and the Old Kingdom are recovering from the cataclysmic events of the Twelfth Reconquest, while in the south, the Djanki and the Sharib retreat to lick their wounds from the battle at Temple Rock. To the east, the divided Empire of Temeria is nearing the end of a long civil war, in which rival Generals have fought like mad dogs to seize the long-vacant Imperial Throne.
As the Winter Realm slides into chaos, Felipe De Gascur and his fellow knights don’t get far before they are forced to fight for their lives.

Far away in Temeria, Sorrow and Bail must learn to trust each other if they are to survive the barren wastes.

The evil Raven Queen charges Colken with an errand, but his heart is not in it…

You can get see the other books I’ve edited here with buy links, or see an excerpt here of this particular book!

Writerly Questions with Paul Stansfield

Warm weather has finally arrived and it is time to start thinking about what to read as you lounge around the pool, while your kids play in the park, or during your hour-long commute on the transpo. To help you prepare your summer-time TBR list, every Monday for the next few months I will be talking with some really fabulous authors about their latest or upcoming books.

Today I have Paul Stansfield to talk about his mystery/suspense novels Dead Reckoning and Kaishaku. His first e-book hit the shelves on February 17th and is published by the Melpomene Imprint, while Paul’s second book Kaishaku is coming out on August 24th with Thalia.  

How would you summarize your book in one sentence?
(I won’t cheat and just put down my tagline.)  Dustin Dempster’s community service has something he didn’t bargain for—amateur counseling sessions with a bizarre kind of killer.

Hmmm, that’s intriguing already! How long did it take you to write this book?
If memory serves, a couple of weeks.  Which might sound somewhat impressively fast, but to be fair, it’s a short story, and only about 10,000 words.

I was about to say that was quite quick *L0L* How many drafts do you go through?
Two on my own, before submission.  I wrote it out in rough draft, and made appropriate changes as I typed it into my computer.  And then another two with my editor (Elizabeth Hinds) once it was accepted by Musa.

When do you write best: in the morning, afternoon, or at night?
I’m not a morning person at all, so I’d say late afternoon or evening.

In my opinion, morning shouldn’t begin until at least 10am *wince* Where is your favorite place to write?
When I’m at home, at my desk in my bedroom.  However, with my job (field archaeologist) I’m on the road usually 8-10 months out of every year, so I’m forced to write in whatever hotel they’ve put us up in.  Fortunately almost all hotels have desks or tables in their rooms, so I use those.

I used to want to be an archaeologist!  Then someone told me I might uncover dead people during a dig and it lost a bit of its appeal…  So should archaeologists find you a zillion years from now, will it be with a typewriter, computer/laptop, or pen & paper?
It wasn’t just a plot contrivance that my first e-book, “Dead Reckoning”, dealt with Luddites.  I have definite Luddite tendencies myself.  I can only write using pen and paper, then I have to type it into the computer at the end. It is extremely inefficient, but I can’t even fathom just creating the first draft directly into a computer.  On the other hand, I wouldn’t use a typewriter again, with its lack of memory and my terrible typing skills. 

I tried to type up an essay on my mum’s typewriter, and that was more than enough for me! What do you drink or eat while you write?
Nothing.  It would be too distracting.  Plus, with my giraffe-on-Thorazine-like clumsiness, I’d probably end up spilling something on my manuscript, and possibly ruining it.

I think I know the answer to this already from the previous question, but do you listen to music while you write? If so, what kind?
No,  I’m lazy and unproductive enough without more distractions.

What do you wear when you write?
A rubber zebra suit with detachable hooves.  Just kidding—a friend (really) told me she saw this in an, ahem, alternative sexuality catalogue, and I’ve always remembered it as being delightfully absurd.  Real boring answer—whatever I happen to be wearing that day.  Probably jeans and a t-shirt.

Do you have any other writing rituals?
For the first and last sentences of every story, I write them out using my own blood as ink.  Okay, I’ve gotten the jokes all out of my system now.  No, I don’t have any rituals.

If I had to write so much as a word in blood, I’d never write again *shudder* How do you plot: Chapter by chapter or an overall synopsis? Do you use detailed outlines?
“Dead Reckoning” was the first story that I used a detailed outline, roughly chapter by chapter, because I kept getting confused about which character was doing what at a particular time.  Generally I’m not that organized.  Usually it’s plot point sentences, lines of dialogue, and other notes written on a sheet or two of paper, and I just cross them off as I write them -“Kaishaku” was written like this.

 How do you decide which narrative point of view to write from?
No real plan—just what seems correct while I’m writing.  The main character(s) get regular POV’s, of course, but secondary characters get a POV when I feel I have something to say from someone’s else viewpoint.  Sometimes I intentionally never have a particular character’s POV, if I think it’s more interesting that the reader not know for sure what that individual is thinking and what motivates them, especially if they’re some very evil or otherworldly character.

The answer to this next question always fascinates me no matter how many times I ask it. How do you choose your characters’ names?
Usually they’re names I’ve heard that amuse me.  I’ve consulted baby name books, and sometimes phone books of whatever town I’m in.  Often athlete’s names, as I’m a major sports fan.  After hearing about Tony Twist’s lawsuit against Todd MacFarlane, though, I’m careful to switch the names up, i.e., I’ll use Player A’s first name and Player B’s last name.  Sometimes I’m guilty of using too-weird names, which I guess is kind of hacky, so I have to guard against that.

I never thought to use a phone book, that’s actually kind of brilliant. No need to struggle finding the perfect name, just close your eyes and pick a page! And speaking of picking the perfect person, who is the first to read your manuscript?
Generally the editor of whatever magazine or publisher I’ve submitted to.  I know this is discouraged—that writers are always told to have friends and family read your stuff first, and then you revise it several times before you submit it, but I find this counterproductive.  I’ve sent or given stories to friends many times, but I almost never get useful feedback.  Either they don’t have the time, or maybe they only asked for a copy to be polite, or they do read it, but don’t feel comfortable criticizing it to me.

If it works for you, that’s all that matters! What did you do immediately after hearing that you were being published for the very first time?
It was a while ago, but I recall being very happy and relieved, of course.  I’m sure I told family and friends soon after.  In an odd way, it made my hunger to be published worse.  Like eating one potato chip, I suppose—I just wanted more.

 If your book were to become a movie, who would you like to see star in it?
It may sound strange, but I’d like to see someone I don’t know (who’s also a competent actor/actress).  For some movies, especially thrillers/horror/suspense like my books are, I find a cast of unknown actors works better—it seems more believable and realistic than if it’s, say, a star like Tom Cruise or Hillary Swank.

 What is the first book you remember reading?
Tough to recall, so I’ll name a few.  I loved the Richard Scarry books, Dr. Seuss, Ranger Rick magazine, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

I think I still have that Caterpillar book somewhere… What book is on your nightstand right now?
Just finished the annotated version of “The Hobbit.”  Before that, a collection of H.P. Lovecraft stories.

Do you have a guilty pleasure read?
Not really—I have very little shame.  I guess the closest I come is feeling slightly embarrassed for reading The Baseball Encyclopedia cover to cover, or regular encyclopedias nearly so as a kid.

I tried to read the dictionary once -it didn’t go well.  How do you organize your library/book collection?
I don’t, alas.  Which is a real *censor* when I want to find one particular book, since it means going through lots of shelves (often double-stacked), checking piles on furniture, etc.

Did you always want to be a writer?
Pretty much.  I started writing ridiculous Lego-inspired stories as a small child, and kept it up from there.  As an adult I got slightly more disciplined and began writing more, and submitting.

Oooh, Lego… If there was one book you wish you had written what would it be?
Probably “The Silence of the Lambs” by Thomas Harris.  Great characters, great plot, graphic realism.  Disturbing as hell yet still oddly accessible.  Plus it’s one of the rare books that had a faithful and equally awesome movie adaptation.  And to be practical and greedy, it was a huge best seller, got near universal acclaim, and made Harris’s career.

I didn’t read the book as the movie scared me enough! …but I liked it anyways *grin* If you could talk to any writer living or dead who would it be, and what would you ask/talk about?
Probably Harper Lee.  I find it fascinating that she was such a one hit wonder.  That she wrote a hugely successful and respected book, “To Kill a Mockingbird”, and then nothing else (at least nothing she had published).  I’d like to hear what she wrote or tried to write after that, and why she didn’t submit them.  Plus I’m sure there are stories about the “In Cold Blood” events and book, and about Truman Capote, that weren’t covered in the recent movies.  And unlike a lot of other authors I admire, she doesn’t seem to give interviews much.

 If you could be any character from any book, who would you be?
Sauron from “The Lord of the Rings.”  He had quite an eventful existence—he was a god-like being that chose evil, was another’s servant for a long time, then became his own “man.”  He befriended/tricked/corrupted all the peoples in his domain, and came close to (his) world domination several times.  For thousands of years he was the major being in Middle Earth—defeated yet never completely vanquished until the end of “The Lord of the Rings.”  In short, I think it would be fun to be the bad guy, and ol’ Sauron was one of the baddest in literature.  And with that I guess my “cool guy, not nerdy at all” cover is completely blown.

Lord of the Rings fans are considered “cool” nowadays, so I think you’re safe. *wink* What is the best gift someone could give a writer?
Whatever motivates them to write more/better.  So a gift of time (patiently allowing them to write), space, encouragement (if they’re feeling down), or criticism (if they’re being too arrogant).  Or, on a practical level, a better computer,  the latest edition of “The Writer’s Market,” or a reliable pen if they’re old-fashioned like me.

 What is the best advice someone could give a writer?
It’s kind of cliché, but never give up.  Keep writing, and submitting.  If a magazine or publisher rejects your story, send it to another, or send that first one another story, until you’ve exhausted every one (which is near impossible, I think.)  To paraphrase the lottery motto “You have to play to win,” you have to submit to get published, to sell books, to write full time, to get rich, etc.  And even if you never reached your allotted goals, at least you didn’t sit around and idly dream, you got off your butt and made an attempt.  Plus, it’s surely time better spent than, say, watching some inane reality TV show or something.

Unless there is a reality show about a famous/popular writer’s life, I think I shall pass on those… So other than a dislike for reality TV, what is one random thing most people don’t know about you?
My favorite Halloween costume was a skeleton in first grade.  My mom cut out “bones” using a sheet, and sewed them onto a pair of dyed-black pajamas.  Topped off with a sweet mask—which I’m told I wore frequently before and after October 31st.  Perhaps it’s not surprising that I enjoy exhuming graves for work so much.

 Previous Interviews:  Lauren Hunter InterviewSharon Ledwith InterviewEmma Lane Interview

Writerly Questions with Kaitlin Bevis

Warm weather has finally arrived and it is time to start thinking about what to read as you lounge around the pool, while your kids play in the park, or during your hour-long commute on the transpo. To help you prepare your summer-time TBR list, every Monday for the next few months I will be talking with some really fabulous authors about their latest or upcoming books.

Summer is well on its way and things are starting to heat up! But things get very hot in Kaitlin Bevis’ new book when the main character takes a little trip to Hades’s home in Persephone

How would you summarize your book in one sentence?
There are worse things than death. Worse people, too.

Oooh, that sounds interesting already!  How long did it take you to write this book?
I started writing Persephone summer of 2010, just about the time Clash of the Titans came out. That quote “damn the gods” just got in my head and wouldn’t leave. Somehow I got to thinking about the Persephone myth, and how much more there may be to that story. I wrote an outline but wasn’t able to devote much time to the story for another six months. In that six months I had a baby, graduated college, and moved to Athens where I joined a local writers group. With a lot of help from that group, I managed to write something worthy of publication in about a year.

Yes, it sounds like you were very busy! How many drafts do you go through?
I revise a lot while I write, so it’s hard to tell. I know I had at least five distinct drafts. The first draft of Persephone was written in third person and was about a third of the length it is now. The next draft was in first person and maybe twice what it was now. I kept adding and whittling away for a few more drafts before I got the plot whipped into shape.

When do you write best: in the morning, afternoon, or at night?
I tend to write at night, but my best brainstorming happens in the car. I live a good thirty minutes outside of town, so if it’s just me and my toddler in the car I have nothing to do but think. I talk through entire scenes and conversations while driving. The other drivers probably think I’m nuts, but it’s honestly when I get the most done. At the end of the day, I hop on the computer and write out all the ideas I had.

If anyone asks, you were talking to your child *wink* Where is your favorite place to write?
The couch. That way I can keep one eye on my daughter, and one ear on whatever show my husbands watching. I can bounce ideas off him if I get stuck, and I don’t feel as much like I’m spending too much time away from my family. It’s a comfortable routine.

That is a great way to spend time with your family, but still get some work done. But what do you use when youre on the couch: a typewriter, laptop, or pen & paper?
iPad. It’s so light and portable. I can bring it with me anywhere. It fits in my purse, and when I’m stuck in a doctor’s office or stopping for lunch I can just take it out and get right to work. I can write, edit, stop and google something, and you can’t beat the global find and replace.

Note to self: get the awesomeness that is an ipad What do you drink or eat while you write?
Soda. Caffeine is my only vice. I need it to stay awake and get all my ideas down! I don’t tend to eat much while I’m writing. Most of my writing happens after dinner.

Do you ever listen to music while you write?
I can’t, it’s too much of a distraction. The song lyrics get stuck in my head. My husband tends to have the TV on while I’m writing and that’s not typically distracting. Though one time my writers group noticed Hades had started channeling Dr. Who (David Tenant). I fixed it, but it kind of works. He’s got the whole timeless thing down.

Guess we know what your hubby likes to watch!  What do you wear when you write?
Pajamas. Sweatpants and a t-shirt. It’s comfortable, it’s the end of the day, and I’m ready to relax. I write until I’m ready for bed.

I wish we all could wear pajamas to work, they are the best attire ever *grin* Do you have any other writing rituals?
The problem with rituals is that they become necessary to your concentration. I’ve moved eight times in the last five years. My husband and I both work, both have school, and now I have a toddler in the mix. Right now I write best at night, but next semester my school schedule may shift and I may do most of my writing in a coffee shop between classes. I have to stay flexible, at least until my life settled down into a more predictable routine.

How do you plot? Chapter by chapter or an overall synopsis? Do you use detailed outlines?
I kind of work backwards. I typically have a very clear scene in my head when I think of a story. I write that and let the story shape itself for awhile. After an initial draft, which really reads more like a summary with a few very detailed scenes, I write an outline. I write another draft, then fine tune my outline, making sure each chapter has something that actually happens in it and furthers the plot of the story. That’s typically when I add subplots. Having an outline really helps, but I’ve never been able to start there.

Well, it obviously works for you which is all that matters! How do you decide which narrative point of view to write from?
My characters decide. Persephone started in the third person but it just didn’t work. It was too distant. I have another novel I’m working on that just didn’t work in first person. It’s just a matter of finding the right voice that works for my characters, and some of them need more distance than others.

How do you choose your characters names?
For Persephone it was a tough decision whether to go with the classic Greek names or rename the characters something more modern. It was a tough call, but I’m glad I stuck with the classics. Sometimes the names find me, and that creates the character.

While I was researching the Persephone myth, I stumbled upon Melissa, which was a title for a priestess of Demeter. To me, Melissa sounds like a young name, a modern name. Not some ancient title. That contrast got me thinking of whether or not the modern gods would have modern priestesses, and what that dynamic would be like.

Ive always been a fan of mythology myself, so the original names hold so much more connotation for me. Who is the first person to read your manuscript?
My writers group. They get to read it a couple of times as I go through each draft. They helped shape the manuscript and I trust their judgement completely. It took awhile to get to that point. It’s hard to let other people read your work and actually ask for criticism because I’m always so excited about my story that I can’t imagine someone having a negative reaction.

A writers group thickens your skin, and they represent all the readers that might react to your book if it gets published. If multiple people in my group aren’t getting something that I think is clear as daylight, then I obviously didn’t do a good job explaining myself in the manuscript.

What did you do immediately after hearing that you were being published for the very first time?
Posted it on Facebook. I called my mom, told my husband, and announced it to my writers group. I think every person I’ve ever met knew in about ten minutes. I was excited :).

It says something about our society that a facebook status is posted before phone calls are made *L0L* Im the same way *grin* If your book were to become a movie, who would you like to see star in it?
Chloe Grace Moretz to play Persephone for sure. She was awesome in kick-ass and everything else I’ve seen her in. She definitely has the range to pull off the changes Persephone is going to go through during the series. Hades is tougher. I picture someone like David Tenant or the guy from Grim, but they’re quite a bit older than Miss Moretz. I wouldn’t want to cast Hades as a teenager but I don’t want him looking like a creepy old pedophile either.

Ive seen Hugo and thought Chloe did a wonderful job. It was a great family movie, though I havent yet read the book. What is the first book you remember reading?
I have vague memories of some story about the mayflower in kindergarden, but the first book I have very, very clear memories of is The Boxcar Children. My mom was worried that I would catch my older brothers “reading isn’t cool attitude, so she offered to pay me a dollar for every book I read. So I read the boxcar children series and the sweet valley series. She still owes me several hundred dollars. 🙂

I loved reading both of those series, and the BSC books, myself  when I was younger. How about now, what book is on your nightstand?
Dragons of Winters Night. We read out loud every night before bed, and right now we’re working through the Dragonlance series. I’m rereading the Hollows series by Kim Harrison right now on my own. And when I’m not reading either of those I’m reading classical literature to study for the GRE: Subject test in English Literature.

Do you have a guilty pleasure read?
Nope. I’m not ashamed of anything I read. I love young adult fiction. I love fantasy, urban fantasy, science fiction, classic literature, everything. I even like Twilight. I think people who get all smug about their preference in literature are a bit silly.

All that matters is that people are reading, right? *grin* How do you organize your library/book collection?
I don’t. Not until Kindle updates their app and lets users organize their books by type on apple products. I am such an eBook person. I’ve bought books I own in print just for the convenience of having them on my phone and iPad. The only print books I own either don’t come as ebooks or are autographed copies. They’re arranged by author on a bookshelf in my office.

Did you always want to be a writer?
For as long as I can remember. My over-active imaginations gotten me in a lot of trouble. I’m glad it’s finally paying off.

If there was one book you wish you had written what would it be?
Tamsin by Peter Beagle. I love that book. It’s so well written, and all the characters were so well developed, even the cats. The book seems to completely change genres about a third of the way through, it starts as this coming of age accepting a major life change plot, then transforms into this ancient ghost story. There’s not a lot of writers who can make that large of a shift feel organic, but Peter Beagle does.

That is rather impressive; Ill have to take a look for that book myself. If you could talk to any writer living or dead who would it be, and what would you ask/talk about?
I’d love to have a chat with Kelley Armstrong. I love her books, particularly her YA series. It’s my dream to go on the supernatural summer tour with her and just about every other author I’m a fan of. I have no idea what I’d talk about. I’d probably freeze up and shove a book at her to autograph like I did when I met Peter Beagle. I seem to lose the ability to form coherent sentenced when meeting famous people. It’s pretty embarrassing.

I met Kelley Armstrong at the Word on the Street Festival in Toronto. She seems really nice, so I wouldnt worry about freaking out! Her stories are amazing and her characters are so interesting.  If you could be any character from any book, who would you be?
I don’t know that I’d actually want to be any of the characters from any of the books I read. There lives kind of suck. I’d like to live in their world with their powers, but all the death and drama that’s so fun to read would not be that fun to live through.

What is the best gift someone could give a writer?
A multi-million dollar book contract :). Short of that I’d say an iPad. I have my word processor, every book I own, all my songs and pictures, and the entire Internet on one device that can easily fit in my purse. What more could I possible need?

Other than food, nothing! *L0L*  What is the best advice someone could give a writer?
Join a writers group and listen to their criticism. They aren’t being stupid, and they aren’t trying to hurt your feelings, they’re working on making your book accessible to other people. Readers don’t have the luxury of being in the writers head and getting an instant explanation for something, and as a writer it’s hard to get that distance when you know your characters and your world so well. A good writers group makes a huge difference.

 What is one random thing most people don’t know about you?
I love cartoons. Sailor Moon, Gargoyles, X-men, Spiderman, Jem and the Holograms, every Disney movie, Pirates of Dark Water, anything with a decent plot. I love them. I’m so excited that my daughter is getting old enough to like at least some of my favorites because now I have an excuse to buy them all.

*starts singing: The musics contagious, outrageous. Jem is my name, no one else is the same…”

 Previous Interviews: Lauren Hunter InterviewSharon Ledwith InterviewEmma Lane Interview

Writerly Questions with Devin Hodgins

Warm weather has finally arrived and it is time to start thinking about what to read as you lounge around the pool, while your kids play in the park, or during your hour-long commute on the transpo. To help you prepare your summer-time TBR list, every Monday for the next few months I will be talking with some really fabulous authors about their latest or upcoming books.

It always gives me great pleasure to interview authors from the Urania Imprint  for not other reason than that is the department I work for! I may not have had the opportunity to edit this particular book, but I wasn’t going to pass up the chance to interview Devin Hodgins about Day Dreamer. No need to wait for this book as it was released October 2011, and be sure to stop by Devin’s blog here

Devin Hodgins lives in Casper, Wyoming, surrounded by mountains, prairies, and wind. He writes mainly fantasy, some science fiction, and even a wee smattering of horror, along with a few verses of poetry. His principal influences include Kafka, Borges, and Archambault. He is presently working on a novel-length poem involving “the awakening wonder of dream.”

How would you summarize your book in one sentence?
It is the tale of a dreamer who dreams every night about the next day, but instead of being liberated by his sleeping visions of the future he is haunted by every passing moment he is awake.

You’ve certainly piqued my interest, it sounds like an intriguing story! How long did it take you to write this book?
It’s a novella, so, originally, only a couple months. I finished it, and then shopped it around for a few years. I would polish it up again and again after each rejection, trying to use whatever snippets of criticism or editorial advice I was given to improve the story and endeavor to grow as a writer.

How many drafts do you go through?
Three–to start with. But, again, I kept tinkering at it. When Musa finally contracted the story for publication, I went through a few drastic yet dramatically helpful edits. Even though no major plot points were really altered, those final drafts’ edits significantly improved the story.

Editing can be a painful process, but it usually makes the manuscript stronger. With all the editing and rewriting, you must have figured out when you write best. Do you prefer to work in the morning, afternoon, or at night?
Morning. Although, lately, it’s whenever I get the chance–usually in the evening. Writing in the morning allows me to start each day’s work with renewed energy and ideas. Evenings, though, have the advantage of working with ideas that have been mulled over and refined.

Where is your favorite place to write?
I keep a room in the house in which I grew up. I have a dusty desk in a dark corner. I lock the rest of the world away and hunch over my pages. I write elsewhere, of course, wherever I need to, and although I am constantly turning pieces over in my mind, I have scrawled the vast preponderance of the words I have ever written right there in that very room.

At that hidden away desk, do you write using a typewriter, computer/laptop, or pen & paper?
Pen and Paper! Typewriter for personal drafts; Computer for submissions. But pen and paper: the beginning and the end.

What do you drink or eat while you write?
I don’t eat, and I drink only water. I used to smoke while I wrote, but I gave that up a few years ago.

Congratulations on quitting smoking! I’m all for anyone who can as too many people do. Did you replace that bad habit with a more healthy one, such as listening  to music while you write? If so, what kind?
Indeed. Metal mostly. Progressive preferably. Fates Warning, Rush, that sort of vein. If a new album is out, I listen to it quite a bit, with old favorites mixed in.

I can’t say I’m a fan of the genre myself, but don’t let that stop you if it helps your writing process! So here you are tucked away in a darkened corner scribbling away with music playing in the background… What are you wearing?
I’m not a pajama kind of guy, if that’s what you mean. But neither am I a scarf and tweed jacket type of person. Whatever I am wearing, which is usually a nice comfortable ensemble consisting of jeans and t-shirt.

Other than the music and your preference for long-hand, do you have any other writing rituals?
None–that I would wish to divulge, anyhow.

Well, I suppose authors must have their secrets *wink* How do you plot your stories, chapter by chapter or an overall synopsis?
A blend, I suppose. When I reach the point of actually beginning a story, I usually have a good idea of the tale I wish to tell. But especially for novel-length pieces or series, an outline–however detailed or however vague–is all but necessary if I want to keep characters and events straight. Breaking the narrative into chapters and completing an action or thought can help a great deal in moving the story forward successfully, too. However, I tend not to get too rigid with plotting, always sure to leave space for new and developing ideas as well as to respect any unexpected directions the story, itself, might wish to take.

How do you decide which narrative point of view to write from?
That comes in thinking about a story before ever putting pen to page, in how best to tell a tale. But even then the decision can be, and should be, changed if a better way of viewing the point of the story is ever unveiled in the writing.

What about character names, how do you choose those?
Research. I usually decide on the sense of the character and then pour over dictionaries and etymologies, disguising languages and derivations and spellings. Take “Steven Wespers,” for instance: “Steven” is an archaic form for “voice.” “Wespers” I developed from “vespers” or “evening prayers.” So, his name, to me, means “singer of nightsongs,” but it still sounds natural. Other names are not so darkly veiled, like “Dawn.” The process can be pretty arduous. Deciding on names, for me, is one of the hardest parts of writing and characterizing–not to mention becoming a new parent! I agonized over my twins’ names for well over nine months.

If only all parents were so careful about naming their children *shakes head* While you may end up “testing” your manuscripts on the twins rather than the usual bedtime story, who is the first person to read them now?
My wife. She’s a school librarian and reads a lot. She can have useful insights.

What did you do immediately after hearing that you were being published for the very first time?
I caught my breath.  I read the e-mail once more just to be sure that I was reading what I thought I was reading, and then I chased upstairs out of my writing-room and told my Mom and Dad that I was finally going to have a story published. They quietly started bawling. To keep from joining them, I called my wife. She kept telling me, “I knew it. I just knew it.” Everyone said they were proud of me and that my hard work was paying off at last. It was a joyfully solemn occasion that I was honoured to share with my family.

If your book were to become a movie, who would you like to see star in it?
I can’t think of anyone in particular. Perhaps someone unknown who could fit the role perfectly.

Unknown actors do seem to well in book-to-movie adaptions, just look at Harry Potter! Speaking of doing something for the first time, what is the first book you remember reading?
Little Golden Books–I can’t see any specific titles in my mind, just the shimmering spines. The first book I read which seriously made me want to write was probably “On A Pale Horse” by Piers Anthony.

And what book is on your nightstand right now?
The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. I admit, though, I’m a couple months behind. I am still not used to their shift to bimonthly publication.

Do you have a guilty pleasure read?
I am reading too much children’s literature right now, I’m afraid. My excuse is that I am pursuing a degree in Elementary Education, but there is a lot of good stuff out there for children which can be addictive for adults.

There are some really cute children’s books out there, and I don’t think the age of the intended audience should stop people from reading them… but at least I can say I write book reviews when I get funny looks from other library patrons *L0L* Speaking of libraries, how do you organize your personal book collection?
Organize? It used to be by subject; now, it’s wherever I can find the space.

If you could be any character from any book, who would you be?
“Silverlock” (by John Myers Myers). How awesome it would be to so explore “The Commonwealth.”

It sounds like you still remember that book, so there’s nothing to stop you now from trying to write it now. It may have helped if you had an author-mentor to encourage your creativity when you were younger, but if you could now talk to any writer living or dead who would it be and what would you ask/talk about?
Whoever wrote the Voynich Manuscript. I would be very interested to find out what its pages truly say.

What book  do you wish you had written, been the author of?
Not some famous book and not even a book I personally admire. I wish I had written the book I had in mind way back when I was in high school, the one I never fully realized, thinking that I did not have what it took to write it.

So you had a passion for writing when you were younger. Did you always want to be an author then?
I always had intimations, I suppose, but it was when I discovered what I liked in my teen years that I began seriously considering the possibility.

What is the best gift someone could give a writer?
A few moments of peace and quiet in which to write.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
To keep writing.

Just one more question…What is one random thing most people don’t know about you?
That I like to draw. If I had not pursued writing, I just might have pursued illustrating.

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