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Friday, December 30, 2011

What to write? (Guest posted by Shaun Allan)

Do you have one project on the go, or a handful?  If the latter, do you have big hands?

And, whatever the size of said hands, do you find yourself juggling, the ideas thrown up in the air, with you ready to grasp at any that might fall within reach?  Sometimes, do you find they're in a pile at your feet and you're simply staring at them, knowing you should clear them up but not knowing which one to start with?

Or D: All of the above?

I think I fall into all of these categories, to be honest.  At least at some point.

Of course, there was that year they all hid under the sofa and I couldn't find a single one.  Sneaky buggers, they were.  I could hear them giggling and whispering, but I couldn't lay eyes on them.

At the moment, it's fairly calm.  They're not jumping on my head, they're not in a pile at my feet and they're not spinning in the air hoping they'll be the one that I'll grab.  The ideas, of which there are plenty, are all lined up nicely, taking it in turns to have a chat with my mind.  My problem, now, is that the one I might want to work on isn't the one that steps up to the plate.

I always thought that was a dinner plate, resplendent with a good old fashioned Sunday lunch - all roast beef, potatoes and veg - when I was younger (and, being from the UK, not entirely understanding Baseball lingo).

A short while ago I discovered 30,000 + words of a children's book I'd written a while back and forgotten about.  Sin and my children's collection Zits'n'Bits had not only stepped up but, Sin especially, had eclipsed my view of my other ideas.  So this story, starring the good with Puddlebrain, was quietly waiting for its chance to shine.  When I opened the document and re-discovered this, I was shocked, to say the least.  That's a lot of words to misplace, but that is what had happened.

So now I REALLY want to finish it.  My daughter will love it, and I hope others will too.  I've re-read it to get back into the flow and the style (particularly of the character Thistle) and have started to add.  I can see where it's going to go, and am looking forward to finishing it.

Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your point of view, Sin doesn't like to be ignored.  He has his blog, his Diary of a Madman (http://singularityspoint.blogspot.com), where he talks about his experiences and the people he meets within his asylum.  Sometimes, he just needs to be voiced and I can't help it.  He's not content with taking ten years of my life to complete, so he has his blog and he has the beginning of his sequel.

Sin is, sort of, my 'Dark Half', so, being so much a part of me, he tends to shout louder than his brethren.  It's not so much of a problem, really, as he always has plenty to say, but sometimes I just really WANT to concentrate on one project - dear, neglected Puddlebrain for example.

So.  It's not so much a jostle of ideas poking around at the inside of my head with sharp sticks, it's more of a line at the bank, waiting to pay money in, or, in some cases, make a withdrawal.  Listening to the muzak that's playing in the background whilst staring at the floor or the ceiling or anything other than the back of the head of the person in front to count how many grey hairs are still managing to sprout in the bald patch.

Except Sin keeps pushing in line.

He's like that.  But that's ok.  Along with many of his other problems (the deaths, the screams, the asylum and his dead suster), it's not really his fault.

Do you have one project or a handful?  If the latter, do they take you by the hand and lead you, or do they drag you to only they know where.

Sometimes, I wonder who's in control.  Me or my characters!

-
Regards

Shaun Allan
Senior Inspection Assistant

Twitter: @singularityspnt
Blog – diary of a madman: http://singularityspoint.blogspot.com

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Interview with G.R. Holton

I would like to thank G.R. Holton for taking time to guest post on my blog. This is a Q and A we had.

1. What kind of books do you write and how many have you written so far? 
I have written four books so far with three being science fiction and the last is a children’s picture book. My first book which started out as Journey to the Edge was reworked and released as Soleri which won the Books and Authors.net Science Fiction – reworked for 2010. I then wrote Guardian’s Alliance. Both Soleri and Guardian’s are YA. The other science fiction is my award winner, Deep Screams. It has won Books and Authors.net’s Best Science Fiction for 2011. The fourth book is called SQUAZLES!. It is a children’s picture book about not judging others by how they appear.
2.  When is your next book being published?
Hopefully by the summer of 2012. It is a science fiction/fantasy called, “Dragon’s Bow”.
    3.  When did you start writing, and what inspires you the most?
I have actually only been a writer for just over two years. Before that I didn’t even like books. But I made a friend on Facebook playing a game called Farmtown. She was a great person and introduced me to her husband who is a screenwriter and movie director. He allowed me to read a couple of his screenplays and I was instantly hooked. I knew that I had to write. Usually it is my dreams that give me my inspiration. All three of my sci/fi novels have come after having a dream of a situation or place.
    4.  Why did you pick the genre that you currently write in, and are you currently considering writing in a different genre?  Why or why not?
I have always been a science fiction fan ever since I could watch television. I was weaned on the original Star Trek (yeah I am dating myself a little). I loved anything to do with sci/fi or superheroes. Writing has become an escape for me. I don’t think that any genre is off limits (although I don’t see myself writing a romance novel). My current WIP is more fantasy than sci/fi, so crossing genres for me seems to be the ticket . Deep Screams is the one that brought me to the knowledge that you can cross any genre as long as you have a great story. After winning the award for best sci/fi really cemented that for me.
5.  Tell us about your creative writing process.
Hmmm…a process huh. I really don’t have a true process for my writing. I usually come up with a storyline after a vivid dream and then let the characters run the show. They control the plot and the outcome. Which I never really know until I have a few chapters written down. The names of places and beings always seem to just be there like they have lived in my head all along. I do write some stuff down to keep things straight, but not like a outline. I am a definite pantser letting my fingers do the talking as the story progresses.
           
6.  Who is your favorite author, past and present, and why?
Favorite authors…that’s a tricky question for me since I don’t do much reading. I have read some Stephen King and Isaac Asimov. Two different styles completely, but they each held my easily wandering attention.
7.  What motivates you to continue writing?
Writing for me is therapeutic. I continue to write because I have so many pent up ideas in my head (most from my Bipolar issues) that writing seems to be able to calm my soul. If I were to sit and think about it I could probably start twenty different stories at a time and they all would be completely different. In fact, I always have at least two going at a time in case I get bored with writing one, I can go to the other.
8.  How do you get ideas for your stories?
My dreams are my biggest contributor. The rest is an imagination for the obscure. Part of the reason that my work has won awards is that I don’t read to many other people’s works. I have done some reviews for friends, but most of them are not in my genre. This keeps everything fresh.
9.  If you didn’t become an author, what do you think you would be doing now?
Playing silly facebook games and maybe go fishing a little. I like fishing, though I stink at it. Just being somewhere else unlocks my mind and allows for free thought.
10.  Give us an insider look into your latest novel.
By the year 2145, the nations of Earth had finally gotten past their differences, and the Earth Coalition was formed. The people of all countries were now united as human beings, not segregated by nationality or race since multiple wars had left parts of the planet uninhabitable, the Coalition decided that a space station would be launched into deep space on a twenty year mission to find  planets in other solar systems that could  sustain human life. Six years into the mission, all signals from the Omega Space Station had suddenly stopped.  The Coalition called for an emergency mission to intercept the space station, to ascertain what had happened to the ship and crew,  and to do whatever was necessary to bring the station back online.
As they embarked on their mission, the new team had no way of knowing what they were going to encounter when they reached the Omega Space Station. It was not the station that was dead, and they are not going to be alone.
    11.  If your novel made it to the big screen, what actors do you see playing the key characters?
Okay…The main characters are Commander Milton who would have to be played by George Clooney, Captain Craddock would be cool if it was Gerard Butler, and the Computer Engineer would have to be Xavier Samuel from The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.
    12.  What’s the worst experience and best experience you ever had as a writer?
The worst thing was my second publisher. I got taken there. I learned a valuable lesson with them. RESEARCH…RESEARCH…RESEARCH!!! It cost me a lot of money and in the end had nothing to really. The best thing was winning Books and Authors.net best science fiction for 2011 for my novel, “Deep Screams”. I literally did the happy dance in my office!. 
13.  Where do you see yourself in five years with your writing and your life?
I plan on at least one of my books to be optioned as a movie. I am doing screenwriting for Deep Screams and already have one from Soleri. My dream is to be on the big screen and I just know it will happen.
14.  Where can people find you and your books on the Internet?
They can find them at all the online book sellers or directly from me at www.grholton.com.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Time

I have always loved the Christmas season. It's a time of year when everyone seems just a little nicer and things seem to go a little better. People are willing to help those in need just a little more willingly. I like a lot of people love to get presents, but that isn't what makes this season great. It's the act of giving that does. Some of my most fond memories are when I gave during the Christmas season, no when I received. So lets promise to give this season, not just receive. Till next time.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Interview with John O'Dowd

Interview:
Kerry: Today John O'Dowd has agreed to come on my blog and answer a few questions. I sent him the questions, he has answered them and he will check in to the blog on Wednesday afternoon to address any comments or answer any other questions.
John is the author of the “Mahko's Knife” adventure series. He just released the third book in the Mahko series, “Mahko's Gift.”
He is also the author of “Pale Blue Jesus,” a police mystery with an unusual policeman, an unusual victim, and God as a suspect. 
John, What got you into writing; what was your inspiration?
John: I think that if I had a true inspiration I would be better at it. I've been a voracious reader since the day I opened my first voracious. I think I've always admired and been jealous of a number of writers. I'm jealous of the abilities of Anton Myrer and Cormac McCarthy. In the genres I try to write in: mystery, adventure, and thrillers; John Sandford, Tom Clancy, Ian Fleming, and some of the cop/mystery noir writers of the 50s and 60s like Mickey Spillane keep me entertained. As a kid and adult I read everything I could get my hands on and some books many times. Reading those authors made me want to be one of them. They made me want to join the club.

Kerry: What do you like most about writing and why?
John: I enjoy the exercise and the creation. I enjoy taking an idea, making it work, and making it mine. I also like to talk to people who have read what I've written. It's interesting to see how they perceive the work and how they interpret the things I do. The best example I can give is “Pale Blue Jesus.” It's a story about religion and religious art. It's centered around an investigation into an apparent murder that may well not be a crime. People who have read the book start out with the belief that it is anti-religion and sacrilegious. By the time they finish, they realize that it isn’t either of those things. I admit that it's an adult book, with adult situations, told in adult language. I also admit that it is not a book for everyone, but it is what it is and I am happy for having written it.

Kerry: What do you want to accomplish as a successful writer?
John: First, I’d like to be successful. The Indie Publishing wave has brought thousands of writers out of the closet. We have kicked aside the stacks of publishing house rejection letters and struck out on our own. Amazon has provided a format, through e-books, the Kindle and e-publishing, to give us a means to get our books out on the market. That’s the good part. The fact that there are thousands of new and unknown writers competing for Kindle space is the bad thing. As an Indie author I have to learn how to be better at promoting myself and reaching a wider audience.
One of the few “successful” writers in the Indie wave is Scott Nicholson, author of “The Red Church,” “Liquid Fear” and dozens of other novels and hundreds of short stories. For better or worse, he talked me into going with Amazon and Indie Publishing. He kicked me out the door, but has been available to answer questions and give advice. If he was here, I’d hug him. I’d like to reach his level of success.

Kerry: What is the best part of being a writer?
John: Independence. With that comes the freedom to both succeed and fail.

Kerry: When your first book got published, what was your first reaction and why?
John: It felt great. I was now an official writer. I had a book on the market with my name on it. I spent a number of years writing for a newspaper and I saw my byline on articles on a regular basis; this was different.
Kerry: How was it different?
John: The primary difference was that it was something I created from beginning to end. I used to cover local politics for the paper and a number of the politicians claimed that my stories about them were fiction. “Mahko's Knife” and “Pale Blue Jesus,” my first two books, were actually fiction and they were all mine.

Kerry: What process do you use to write your books?
John: Like most writers I've talked to, it starts with an idea. I got the idea for “Pale Blue Jesus” at a gallery showing of primitive South-Western religious art. Over time, the idea was developed and expanded.
When I write, I use a loose outline to chart where the book is going. At the same time, I have discovered that plots and characters have a habit of taking over and trashing all of my plans and outlines. I've written hundreds of pages only to erase them and start in a new direction because my characters told me that they wouldn't do what I had planned. When you start working with a character or characters they take on lives of their own.
So far I've written three books in the Mahko’s Knife Series. Mahko Anaya is a war hero, escaped convict, bad-ass. He is based, in bits and parts, on a number of very talented and dangerous people I knew during my time in the Army. I find myself talking to him as I write, to work out action and dialogue. I also find myself stopping in mid-sentence saying, “Mahko wouldn’t do that. Mahko wouldn’t say that.” The character takes on its own life. 
You also have to be true to the reader. Readers have written me to object when they don’t like something Mahko has done or said when they think it’s out of character. They become possessive and that’s a good thing.

Kerry:What’s the easiest way to get your book published?
John: I can only speak to E-publishing through Amazon because it’s the only thing I've done. When you've finished your book and are ready to go, follow their style guide and instructions and you can have it up and for sale in minutes. Even if only you, a few cousins, and your mother buy the book, you’re still a published, professional author. From that point you need to work on the success part. There are not a lot of Indie Authors who are supporting themselves with their books. Again, Scott Nicholson gave me good advice: Keep writing, but don't give up your day job.


John O'Dowd
Author: The Mahko's Knife Series and Pale Blue Jesus
http://mahkosknife.blogspot.com/
Available at Amazon.com in the Kindle Store

Monday, December 12, 2011

Fire for the Holidays


This is a short story I wrote for Tuesday Tales. I have put the link to them at the bottom. I hope you enjoy. Till next time.


Fire for the Holidays

The night was anything but perfect, so thought Amber as she pulled into the driveway of her home. She just got back from the third blind date she was set up on this week. The night started out like any ordinary night does for a single mom, trying to raise a daughter, but the blind date made it a bad night. She was seriously getting tired of being set up. She pulled herself up the steps to her door. She checked her watch and smiled, she just had enough time for a bath before she had to go to work. She didn’t like working the night shift, but she would do anything to support her little girl. Amber started the water for her bath, and then went to check on her daughter who was sleeping like an angel in her room.
            She slid herself into the calming warm water and let out a relaxing sigh,”Oh yeah this is exactly what I needed tonight. She closed her eyes and just let the water wash away all the stress from the day. An hour later, she got out of the bath and dressed in her scrubs, and left for work. She drove the 15 minutes to the hospital where she worked in the burn unit. She was getting a new patient tonight. She walks into the burn unit and waves at the nurse behind the desk, “Good evening Charli, how are ya tonight?”
            “Hey there Amber, I am pretty good thanks, how are you?”
            “I’m as good as can be expected seeing how my night began. What do we have going on tonight?”
            Charli gets up from where she is sitting and handed Amber a folder, “Well, we have a new patient in room 4. A white male, age twenty five, was severely burned in a house fire, trying to save his son. He has third degree burns on his face and hands. He was admitted earlier today. Here are his charts.” Amber looked over the files as she entered the man’s room. “Hello, I’m Amber, how are you doing today? “
            “Look at what happened to me, how do you think I am doing?” he said with a sharp sting in his voice.
            “At least your son is safe.” Hoping that will improve his attitude. “And besides, it’s the holidays. You have your family.”
            “They aren’t going to want to see me like this. I will be lucky if they even love me anymore.” He touched the bandages wrapped around his head and face then took a deep breath. “No one will ever want to see me like this, I am a freak now.”
An overwhelming sadness overcame her and a tear escaped and slowly made its way down her cheek. “It will get better, I promise.”
            “Your promises don’t mean much to me; in fact they mean nothing to me. Now just leave me alone.”
            Amber pauses a moment longer, then leaves the room. George sat in the hospital bed wondering what he was going to do now. His family had tried to visit him, but he wouldn’t allow them to. He just couldn’t face them, knowing what he knew about how the fire started. As he laid there thinking, his past, and the reasons the fire started come flooding back to him.

8 hours earlier
            Goren Albert came down from his bedroom and kissed his wife good morning. “Good morning sweetheart.”
            “Good morning, do you have time for breakfast?”
            “Not this morning, I have a big meeting at work today.” He glanced down at his watch, “And I am already late.” He kissed her again and ran out the door. His wife started to tell him something, but he just put his hand up telling her he couldn’t talk right then.
            A short while later their son came down ready for school, “Did dad remember he was taking me to school today?” The boy saw the crestfallen look of his mother and knew the answer before she said it. “He’s already left huh?” His mother nodded and the boy grabbed his lunch and with sadness in his eyes, he kissed her on the cheek and left to catch the bus.
***
Goren stopped at his secretary’s desk on his way to his office, as he did every morning, “Good morning Alice. Are there any messages for me?”
“Good morning sir. No messages, but there is a gentleman in your office, said he had an appointment with you this morning. He didn’t give him name, but said he was an old friend of yours. He seemed ok, so I let him wait in your office.”
“Alright, thank you Alice.” He looked in the window to his office and see a man in a trench coat and hat. He instantly recognized him. “One more thing Alice, please hold all my calls, I don’t want to be disturbed.”
She looked at him strangely and nods, “Yes sir.”
He slowly opened the door to his office and stepped in. “What the heck are you doing here? I told you never to come to where I work.”
The man patiently waited till Goren sat down at his desk before speaking. “You don’t call, you don’t write, how else am I supposed to get in touch with you?”
“I told you I was done helping you.”
The figure just laughed, “You were told when you started that I am the one who says when you’re done.”
Goren tried to swallow the anger and the fear so the figure wouldn’t see it in his eyes. “What can I do for you then?”
“See, now isn’t that better. So much hostility is never a good thing Goren. Now my friend, what I want from you is very simple.” A wicked smile made its way up to the figures face and Goren swallowed hard. “I need you to make a fire bomb and then deliver it to a designated place.” Goren’s eyes went huge as the figure continued, “The instructions for making it and the directions to the drop off point will be sent to you by encrypted email. Do this and I will consider our debt paid in full.”
Goren slumped down in his chair and nodded his head. The figure stood and left his office. Shortly after the figure left, his computer chimed telling him that he had a new email message. He turned toward his computer, reached over with a trembling hand, and opened the encrypted email.
He receives instructions on what materials he will need in order to make the bomb. He is instructed to leave work and make sure no one finds out what he is doing. He will be email more instructions when he needs them. He puts his coat back on and headed out to get the stuff he needs.
“Alice, I am leaving for the day, I’ll see ya tomorrow.” Before she had time to ask any questions, he rushed out the door, and headed to his car. He gets into his car and starts it. He went to start it and hesitated for a few moments as the reality of what he was about to do start to sink in.
            Goren was suddenly brought back to the here and now by the ringing of his phone. He looked at the caller ID on his phone and saw that it was a private number. He accepted the call and heard a dark voice on the other end, “What are you doing Goren? You need to get going if you are going to meet your deadline.”
            “What deadline are you talking about?”
“The deadline you have to make the bomb and deliver it. If you miss the deadline… well let’s just say it won’t be good. How is your family anyway Goren?”
He started his car and headed home. He arrived there to find a note stating that she had gone to the store and that Tommy was up in his room playing. He went out to his car, opened the garage door, took the supplies to his work table, and got to work. Something went wrong with what he was doing, some unforeseen circumstance that he could have never known about, let alone combat.
He added the last component which was the timer and all of a sudden, the timer turned on and started a count down from 4 minutes. He started to panic not quite knowing what to do. It was then that he remembered his sweet little boy was playing in the house. He raced into the house, knowing he needed to get to his son before it was too late. He grabbed his son and headed out the front door. His son yelled that the dog was in his room on the other side of his bed. Goren rushes back toward the home and just before he gets to the door the whole home explodes in a great ball of fire.
***
A knock at the door brought Goren out of his thoughts and to his surprise, it was his grandfather, who he was named after. His grandfather smiled when he saw the shock on his grandson’s eyes. “I take it you are surprised to see me.” All he could do is nod his head, the shock at seeing his grandfather still in his eyes. “Are you just going to stare at me or are you going to say something?”
“Hi…” He looked down, not able to look at his hero in his eyes. A tear gently fell from his eye as his grandfather moved over to sit beside him. His grandfather looks him in the eyes and speaks softly, but sternly, “So what is this I hear you won’t let your wife and son visit?”
“I… It’s my fault… I just can’t face them because of what I have done. If she knew, she would leave me and I can’t live without her.”
“Okay Goren, you say it’s your fault. What happened?”
Goren explains to his grandfather, everything that had happened that day up to when the house exploded. His grandfather sat at his bedside and listened intently as the story is told. As he finished the story, his grandfather looked at him with sympathy in his eyes. The old man took his grandson’s hand and smiles at him. “If what you tell me is true, you were just doing what you thought you needed to. I am sure you lovely wife and son will understand. Before I go get them, there is one more thing I need to tell you. “
“Okay granddad, I am listening.”
“Oh, what peace we often forfeit, and what needless pain we bear all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer. Go to Him in prayer and he can take the pain you bear away. Only then can you go on with your life.”
With that said, the old man leaves the room, and then returned with Goren’s wife and son. They all hug and then pray to God for the pain to be taken. A warm loving feeling that is present at the holidays is felt by everyone in the room and the pain slips away.
http://tuesdaytales1.blogspot.com

Friday, December 9, 2011

Reflection

I am sitting at work, when I started to reflect on my life up to this point. There is an old saying that says that hindsight is 20/20. Now this saying is very true. I look back at all the dumb decisions I have made and thought man those mistake were dumb. However, a thought came to me, that I wouldn't be as smart as I am now if I hadn't made dumb choices. Those choices helped me become smarter. Now some people may say Duh it has taken you this long to figure that out? Yes, yes it has. But the way I see it. As long as I figure it out, it doesn't matter how long it takes me. I am happy to say that I have made some very good choices in my life. Number 1 is marrying my wife, number 2 is becoming an author. I am very content with my life right now, which is a good feeling. Thanks for putting up with my way of thinking. Till next time.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Linna Drehmel


View new autho...jpg in slide show


Hey there Kerry thanks for having me on your blog!
Please don't let my picture scare you, I am actually a pretty nice person. I had an old friend from Idaho that I found on facebook who didn't know anything about my new career as an author and didn't know anything about my pen name. I was so excited that I sent her a friend request, she accepted it right away so I got on chat with her and started to talk to her. She said she didn't know who I was and I was beginning to scare her. YIKES! I explained to her who I was and we both laughed about it. I took a good look at my profile picture and realized that to someone who may not know me...I do look kind of scary. Like I am a vampire about to go out on the prowl or something. And really that is not the look I was going for. I was just hoping to look...well...KOOL. FAIL! I guess you really are not cool if you scare old friends.
I do think maybe the vamp look is not so bad being that I just finished a *clean* vamp type story called The Darkon Prophecy. It's set on another world. Where there are humans and darkons ( good vamps) and mond'tier ( good werewolves) and boser'traum (shapshiftering bad guys) There is one young man who doesnt know his new bride and her family are apart of the secret socity of darkons. He also doesn't know that he is a latent darkon himself as well as one that is prophesied to ride the three good races of the evil boser'traum.
I really went for a really rich German feel to this story. I wanted to do something different, so I gave the races my own Germanic or Germanic sounding names. Humans I left that one as is. Boser'traum is German for evil dream, Darkon I just made that one up I thought it sounded dark and Gothic-cool. Now I had a hard time with werewolf. I put the word werewolf in the translator from English to German and do you know what it told me the German word for werewolf was...that's right WEREWOLF! It was one of those moments that I slap my self on the head and say 'DORK!' So I came up with a new word that means basically the same thing. Mond'tier meaning in German moon beast.
Oh but I had such fun writing it. I sent just sent it off to Crushing hearts and black butterfly publishing (who is my new publisher) to see if they want to put it in their new anthology Dark Light, Which already features one of my stories called His First Snow. And that one is for sure not what it sounds like. You will have to get the book and find out.
Kerry thanks once again for having me on your blog.
PS you can find me at:
linnadrehmel.blogspot.com
and you can find me on facebook and twitter by simply typing in my name Linna Drehmel.