Monthly Archives: September 2014

Book Review: The Radiant Seas

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Book: The Radiant Seas

Author: Catherine Asaro

Genre: Science Fiction

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

SPOILER ALERT!  This review discusses themes and arcs in the books that reveal key plot points.

I really enjoyed the first book in this series with the way Asaro mixed some hard science with softer romance and some very interesting bio-engineering and psychic abilities. It was new (to me at least) and different than a lot of other science fiction I’d read. I didn’t enjoy this one as much, however. It was still a good book and a decent ending, but I found myself not liking the main characters, which was a problem.

In the first book, Sauscony was a fully dimensional character who struggled with her title and role as a leader and fighter and her needs and wants as a woman and empath. The struggle was dynamic, and I felt there was a pivotal moment when she realized that she was born to lead and had a commitment to her people. With an ongoing war that has killed millions of people, she was even given the opportunity to meld two enemy nations together. Instead, she went into hiding to have her perfect family life.

That was forgivable, given her needs as a woman.  However, in this book, after living her dream life for sixteen years or so, once again she’s thrust into power and the war, and once again she has the opportunity to take that mantle with her new husband the Emperor and her three children born of two races. What disappointed me was that once again, she runs and hides, faking her death and leaving two interstellar nations adrift, leaderless, and in chaos (where history tells us that typically the worst sort of dictators tend to seize control, taking advantage of people’s fears). I thought that was unforgiveable, especially given her epiphany in the first book.

Asaro tries to save the day with the son’s sacrifice, but to me, this was like second best, and he wasn’t developed enough as a character for this to satisfy me. I never understood why his identity as half Rhon had to be hidden. In order to fool the Eubians into letting him rule?  Okay, maybe. But it just seemed like he missed a perfect opportunity to throw all their preconceived notions on their heads.

So to me this was a good book, but not entirely satisfying, and I won’t be reading the remaining books of the series.

Author interview: R. J. Crayton

crayton

So here’s another interview as we head into the weekend. Meet R.J. Crayton, a past journalist turned storyteller. Look to the bottom of this post for links on Crayton’s books and more.

 

1. So how did you first start writing?

I have always written, from when I was a small child. Prior to becoming an author, I was a journalist, where I wrote fact-based stories. I worked for a couple of years at the Kansas City Star, which was considered a large, mid-sized paper (I know, oxymoron). But, I spent most of my journalism time at smaller, trade publications, like Education Technology News and Campus Crime. There’s a certain exuberance in a newsroom, but I liked the intimacy and quiet focus you got with trade reporting.

2.  I see that you have a romance series. “Second Life” came out last December. What’s the premise of this series?

Second Life is the second book in the Life First series, which is set in the future after massive pandemics have wiped out much of society. The society that remains is completely about the preservation of human life, so the protagonist of the first book, Kelsey, is fleeing a forced kidney transplant. She gets help from her best friend Susan, who ends up being the primary character in Second Life, because her reward for helping Kelsey turns out to be getting kidnapped. The series is primarily suspense, with some romance as well. Second Life is the romantic book in the three book series.

3.  Any hints on where things will go next?

The third book in the series, Third Life: Taken really concludes things for this story arc. Kelsey fled her country in the first book, but she never really got away. Susan and Rob connected well in book two, but it wasn’t clear if they’d have staying power. So, the third book wraps up both those storylines. We see Rob and Susan finalized and we get to see Kelsey, once and for all, deal with the repercussions of fleeing and put that to bed in a final way.

4.  I also see that you recently published a short story collection. Tell me about that.

The short story collection is called Four Mothers. My longer fiction tends to be about things fairly unrelated to my life. When I write short stories, they tend to work through more personally connected issues. So Four Mothers are short stories on motherhood, and some of the concerns and fears mothers have. One of the stories in the collection is called, The Beads, and it’s about a mother whose daughter nearly chokes to death on a bead. I wrote that when my daughter was small and putting stuff (that wasn’t food) in her mouth.

5.  What inspires you to write?

I find inspiration in all sorts of things. I mentioned earlier that my short stories tend to be of a more personal nature. My longer works tend to be inspired by a concept or question I find intriguing. The premise of Life First was: what would a society look like if everyone was required to give up body parts if it was required to save other members of society?  So, I like the idea of an intriguing question and what if scenarios. Those are always so much fun to write.

6.  Who is your favorite writer and why?

Hmm. Do you want to know which child is my favorite, too? I tend not to like those questions because it has a certain unfair quality to it, when I like a variety of writers. I don’t know that I’ve got one who’s my absolute favorite. However, I like Harlan Coben a lot. He writes page-turners that are filled with excitement, love and a bit of fun. So, I like a book like that. While he hasn’t written tons of stuff, I was really impressed with SJ Watson’s debut, Before I go to Sleep.

7.  What do you think of the whole self-publishing wave going on right now?

I think self-publishing is great. It’s wonderful to be able to put out a book you think is good and get paid for it through sales to the public. There are many people who self publish books before they’re ready. While they have every right to do that, I think it hurts the image of self publishing, because when people take a chance on something only to find it’s low quality, they generalize and believe all self-published writing is like that. That is an unfortunate and untrue generalization. Overall, I think much of the self published stuff is good, and worth trying if you like the sample provided on the retailer’s site.

8.  What advice do you have for other writers?

I think the main thing is to write. We can spend so much time trying to get out there on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and the rest that there’s little time left for writing. I know I’ve been guilty of that myself. But, you need to have more than just the one book out there to keep current. By writing more, you’ll have more books, which means more opportunities to connect with readers.  Of course, you should be reading, too. It’s important to read good books so you can emulate the things that work. If you read a couple of duds in there, too, then you can use that knowledge to avoid those pitfalls in your own writing. Other than that, I’m not sure there’s a lot of other advice to give

. Social media details: Website: http://rjcrayton.com Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/rjcraytonauthor Twitter feed: https://twitter.com/RJCrayton Goodreads Page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7111348.R_J_Crayton Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/rjcrayton/ Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/100148365017122584860/posts Tumblr: http://rjcrayton.tumblr.com/ Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/RJ-Crayton/e/B00DFQ5F24/

Author interview: Victoria L. K. Williams

I’ve been going crazy with very little sleep this week, preparing for a vacation in Vegas. I leave tomorrow afternoon and I’ll be back on Thursday, but you won’t see any interviews next week. I’m giving myself a couple days to recover, lol.

So this interview actually should have gone up yesterday. Victoria L. K. Wiliams writes light-hearted mysteries. You can find out more about Victoria at the links below her responses.

dog

So what made you want to write?

I love to read and more times than not, you will see me with a book in hand.  I was with a group of business associates and the question came up “What would you love to do if you could be doing the job you secretly desire” Before I even thought, I blurted out “write a book and see it read by others”.  Well that group of friends challenged me to go for it, and ten months later I had completed Murder for Neptune’s Trident, the first Citrus Beach Mystery.

2.  I see you’ve just published the second book in your “Citrus Beach” mysteries. Tell me about the book.

Scent of a Mystery picks up where Murder for Neptune’s Trident ended; a hurricane heading for Citrus Beach.  As with all storms, things get stirred up and Barney finds a treasure box that leads to a mystery.  I don’t want to give away too much, but lost memories, smuggling, kidnapping and attempted murder are all involved.  Both books can be read as stand-alone mysteries, with many of the same characters returning.

3.  What about the mystery genre appeals to you?

What doesn’t! Nothing makes me happier (or irritates my husband more) that to figure out the end to a mystery in the written form or on TV before it is revealed. I love to see what clues the author put out for the reader to decipher and how they are worked into the story line. Add a bit of romance and I’m hooked.

4.  I see a dog on the cover of your book and in your author picture. Coincidence?  Tell me more about that.

Oh there is no coincidence, Barney from the series is based on our family dog Zippy.  I took some of the best from our dog’s personality, as well as some of his bad habits, mixed it together and created Barney. However, during the writing of this book, our Zippy passed away.  I decided to give Barney a bigger role in the book as a way of remembering what a blessing our dog was to us.

5.  Who is your favorite writer, and why?

There are number, and many of them live part time down here in Florida.  But without a doubt Nora Roberts is my favorite! She has so much talent and pulls you into her books. Her writing makes you feel for the characters in her books; the tension, danger, romance and sadness.

6.  What are you working on next?

I am continuing the Citrus Beach Series.  I actually have outlines for ten more books in this series.  I have a good start on book #3 and am playing around with the idea of a holiday mystery as well.  There is also another series ready to go in a different genre called The Sister Station.

7.  What advice do you have for other writers?

Read, Write, Listen, & Edit! I had bad luck with the editor of my first book and it showed in my reviews (I will be having it re-edited). I was lucky to find a great editor for Scent of a Mystery and I learned a lot in the process. Reading is not only entertaining, but you can learn so much from other authors. Keep writing!  A little down time might be needed as you finish your book, but, for me, the juices are still flowing and the ideas for new story lines seem to come in clearer when you are not in the middle of a work in progress.  And finally, listen to what your readers have to say. You are often too close to your work to see things the same way that they do.

8.  What’s the best and worst thing about living in Florida?

I was raised in the north-Niagara Fall, New York to be precise. And I hate the cold.  So the easiest answer about the best of living in Florida would be the weather.  But there is so much more; it’s a different pace of life.  Raising our son here was wonderful, and we spent a lot of time enjoying the beaches as a family.  Since I own a gardening business, the year-round tropical weather is great for that too.  The worst thing about living in Florida is the bugs.  You can control them, but you can’t get rid of them.

 

Links : Vlkw2pen@gmail.com

email http://www.amazon.com/Victoria-LK-Williams/e/B00FCVOINM   Author’s Page www.Victorialkwilliams.com  /web site http://ow.ly/BaBwQ     Scent of a Mystery http://ow.ly/txRX6

Murder for Neptune’s Trident http://vlkw2pen.wordpress.com/

Blog: A Pen in Hand http://botanicalconceptsvlw.wordpress.com/

Blog: Gossip from the Southern Garden

Interview and a blog tour post

Argh! I hate when I lose track of things. This was supposed to go up on Saturday, but I had sort of family crisis and didn’t get it up. I have Linda Ulleseit promoting her new book, “Under a Wild and Darkening Sky,” the third book in her YA fantasy series. This is part of the “Back To School” blog tour.

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Purchase

On Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Under-Darkening-Flying-Horse-Books/dp/1499260717/ref=la_B004HA7L0G_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1406429304&sr=1-4

On Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/437332

1. What first made you want to write?

I’ve been writing since I could hold a pencil. I still have a story about a pig written in second or third grade. I know it’s about a pig because there are large pink circles illustrating it. I suppose there have always been stories in my head that needed to get out. In writing my novels I search for understanding of a particular person’s motivation. For example, my first novel started out as a way to understand my mother’s point of view during a difficult time in our relationship. All those details were completely buried in the final book, but that was the motivation to begin.

2. I know you’ve written a few YA fantasy books. What about this genre appeals to you?

I have always loved to read fantasy. When you immerse yourself in a made-up world, it’s easy to imagine solutions to difficulties you experience or see in the world. You can be braver or smarter or more athletic than you are in real life. You can explore personality characteristics that may be hidden by your real life. For example, I know that if I were faced with a world-threatening problem I would not be the girl who hides in the cellar. I’d want to be in the action, assisting the fighters at the very least.

3. Tell me about your latest book.

I released two books in May of 2014. Under a Wild and Darkening Sky is the third book in my flying horse series. It deals with a brother and sister who move with their family to High Meadow, home of a herd of flying horses. Ralf knows he must take over his father’s bakery, but is it wrong to want some adventure before he does? New to High Meadow, he is befriended by the beautiful and dangerous Branwen, who has her own goal—to entice Ralf to help her steal a winged horse and return it to Tremeirchson. Meanwhile, Ralf’s sister, Alyna, dives into barn life. Becoming a groom to a winged foal is a lot of responsibility to the horse, to the barn, and to her father, who idolizes the wrong barn leader. Politics, greed, and revenge swirl around the teenaged siblings as they struggle to be true to their family and their future.

The other book I just released is very different. Under the Almond Trees is the story of my family – three ordinary women in California who lived extraordinary lives. It started with a falling tree branch that killed Ellen VanValkenburgh’s husband in 1862, forcing her to assume leadership of his paper mill, something women weren’t allowed to do. Women weren’t allowed to vote yet, either. Ellen decided that had to change, and became a suffragette. In 1901, Emily Williams , Ellen’s daughter-in-law, became an architect – very much against her family’s wishes. No one would hire a woman, but Emily would not be deterred. She and her life partner Lillian set out to build homes themselves. By the 1930’s women enjoyed more freedom, including the vote. Even so, Ellen’s granddaughter Eva VanValkenburgh chose a traditional life of marriage and children, even closing her photography business at her husband’s insistence. When he later refused to pay for their daughter’s college education, Eva followed the example of her Aunt Emily and reopened her photography business. I am proud to call these women family and honored to share their story.

4. Who is your favorite writer, and why?

My two favorite authors are Diana Gabaldon, author of the Outlander series, and Anne McCaffrey, author of the Dragonriders of Pern series. Both authors create wonderfully rich worlds with terrific characters. As a reader, I fall into their books and never want them to end. When I finish reading them, I think about the characters and imagine what they would do within the context of my life. That is powerful writing.

5. If you could have any kind of a magical creature, what would it be, and why?

Well, I’d better say a flying horse, right? I’ve always been fascinated with horses. When I read Lord of the Rings, one of my favorite scenes to imagine was the gorgeous horses of Rohan galloping across the field. When I needed a focus for my book, I combined those horses with Anne McCaffrey’s dragons and came up with flying horses. Something about a human flying aboard a massive creature like a horse ignites the wonder inside me, and that’s what a fantasy book should do.

6. What are you working on next?

I have just begun Aloha Spirit. It is historical fiction, like Under the Almond Trees, and features my husband’s grandmother. Everyone who visits Hawaii experiences the warm acceptance of the Hawaiian people. All visitors are ohana, or family and welcome. The natives call this the spirit of aloha. Carmen Jaime was born on Kauai in 1915. Her mother died when she was a baby. Her father gave her away when she was a young girl. Her husband left her with three small children when she was twenty. How then did Carmen learn to embody the aloha spirit?

7. I know you set your first book in Wales. Have you been there? What was it like? And if you haven’t been, do you plan on going there someday?

I’ve never been to Wales. An early reader said my setting sounded like her grandmother’s farm in Wales, so I moved the setting from California. I’ve researched the country and read both nonfiction and fiction featuring it. I know people whose ancestors grew up there, and who’ve been there. I would absolutely love to visit!

8. What advice do you have for other writers?

Top advice is the same from every writer, I think: Write what you know and write every day. If you want to write young adult fantasy, that’s what you should read. A lot. Write about relationships in your own life set in a world you make up. The solid grounding of your own experience makes the story relatable. If you set aside time to write every day, which is very difficult, you may someday finish a book. If you don’t reserve the time, it’s too easy to always be the one who wants to write a book instead of the one who has.

linda

Author Bio: Linda Ulleseit was born and raised in Saratoga, California, and has taught elementary school in San Jose since 1996. She enjoys cooking, cross-stitching, reading, and spending time with her family. Her favorite subject is writing, and her students get a lot of practice scribbling stories and essays.

Someday Linda hopes to see books written by former students alongside hers in bookstores. Her first novel, ON A WING AND A DARE, was published in 2012. It is a Young Adult fantasy set in medieval Wales, complete with flying horses, a love triangle, and treachery. It’s sequel, IN THE WINDS OF DANGER, was released March, 2013. The focus of that book is the misty past of a groom and the murky future of a rider. The last book in the trilogy is UNDER A WILD AND DARKENING SKY, May 2014. It follows a brother and sister, new to High Meadow, who become involved in a plot to steal flying horses. As a child, Linda always loved to write. She took her first creative writing course in seventh grade, accumulating a closet full of stories that she never showed anyone until 2007. At that time, she gave the first draft of a flying horse book to a teacher colleague to read. ON A WING AND A DARE began as a NaNoWriMo novel in 2009. It was revised with the help of reviewers on thenextbigwriter.com over the next two years.

For NaNo 2011, Linda drafted the sequel, IN THE WINDS OF DANGER. NaNoWriMo 2012 brought the first draft of UNDER A WILD AND DARKENING SKY, and NaNoWriMo 2013 saw the completion of UNDER THE ALMOND TREES. This last is a historical fiction that follows three women who struggle for women’s rights in early California. Linda has also written a novella titled WINGS OVER TREMEIRCHSON, released as an ebook in Fall 2013. It follows the story of Hoel and Neste, parents of a main character in ON A WING AND A DARE. Follow Linda Ulleseit Ulleseit@wordpress.com

Author Interview and a Countdown

phronk

Two things on this busy Friday: I have a Countdown deal on my epic fantasy novel, Journey To Landaran, on Amazon today through Sunday and currently being featured on Indie Book Bargains: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IO7IXSC

 Indie Book Bargains

And second, I have horror writer Phronk, here to do an author interview! He’s hilarious, so please enjoy, and have a great weekend.

Thanks very much! My answers are below. For links, my web site at http://www.phronk.com and my Twitter profile at http://www.twitter.com/phronk are the best places to find me.

1.  So what got you writing in the first place?

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I’ve come across hand-written stories from when I was a little kid, and they were as bizarre and convoluted as the stories I write today. I guess I figured out early that when my brain fabricates a twisted collection of ideas, it’s better to rip it out and slap it on paper than let it wriggle around in there for too long.

2.  I see you have a new title out recently, “Strangers At a Funeral.” Tell me about that.

It’s a short story about an unlucky kid who notices some suspicious looking figures at his grandpa’s funeral. When they show up in other places they shouldn’t be, he becomes obsessed with figuring out who these people are. Funerals are such odd ceremonies, with specific expectations about how to act at them and who should be there. I thought it would be interesting to explore what happens when outsiders subtly violate that order. How does someone deal with death when the ritual that is supposed to bring closure is disturbed?

3.  It looks like you enjoy writing horror fiction. What about that genre appeals to you?

Yeah, I’d say I’m into horror. I’ve always loved writing it, reading it, and even studying it (I got my doctorate in the psychology of horror). I like that horror so directly tackles fundamental aspects of human experience. It exploits our greatest fears, and by way of contrast, our greatest joys. No other genre is so blatant in its manipulation of our emotions. In a way, horror is the most pure, honest type of fiction.

4.  What are you working on now?

I’m outlining a sequel to my last novel, Stars and Other Monsters. I want to see what happens next.

5.  Who is your favorite writer and why?

My answer to this changes daily. Today, how about … Stephen King’s genes. Because Stephen King himself dominated my reading as I grew up, and whatever genes he passed on to Joe Hill are sure doing wonders too. I’m currently reading NOS4A2 and enjoying the hell out of it.

6.  How did you come up with your covers?

I came up with brilliant, complex, visually stunning concepts, then realized I didn’t have the talent or money to make them reality, so I just looked for stock images that were close enough. I find it tough to balance communicating the story and genre with the desire to stand out from the crowd, because those two goals are often at odds with each other.

7.  What have you learned so far about the publishing side of things?

I’ve learned that technology has opened up a dizzying crapload of options for writers, and anybody who takes one option and proclaims it as the only one is probably wrong. For the first time ever, writers don’t need anyone else to get words from their brains into readers’ brains. They can do all the writing, editing, gatekeeping, publishing, marketing, pricing, etc., themselves, if they want to. Or they can pick and choose which steps to put in the hands of others. That choice is a good thing for writers. So when a writer says “gatekeeping should be solely up to these five companies,” or “pricing should be controlled only by this one company,” they’re asking for limitations on their own choices. I prefer to dabble in all these areas to find out where my strengths are, and where I need help.

8.  What’s something that scares you, and why?

Ringing phones scare me. With all the other ways to communicate today, a phone call says “I need you to drop everything else you’re doing and listen, right now.” It’s always something dreadful, like someone asking me to do something, or tricking me (it’s never actually a free cruise), or delivering bad news. That musical ringtone is like a siren warning that something terrible is about to happen. Not that I don’t love talking to people. Um, follow me on Twitter?

Thanks Judy. I hope you’re having an awesome weekend.

Author Interview: S. B. James

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I know, it’s a rather unfortunate day for my interview series. But with a moment of silence for those who fell 9/11/01 and a big heap of hope for the future, I bring to you another up and coming indie author. Meet S. B. James, writer of Steampunk. You can find out more about S. B. at their blog here:  http://sbjamestheauthor.wordpress.com/

Before we begin, I’d like to thank you for having me here.

1.   What first led you to write?

I used to love playing pretend when I was little. While pretending, I could make up my own universe and live in it. I viewed writing my own books as a way to create a world for other people to live in, at least for a little while. By seventh grade, I was writing stories for my own personal journal. Once I was assigned to keep a journal in high school, I felt I had a good excuse for writing in there during classes instead of concentrating on other things! Hey, it’s better than doodling, right?

2.   I see that you have a Steampunk series in progress. Tell me about that.

The Inventor’s Son is, in my opinion, perhaps a bit unusual in that its main character, Ethan Stanwood, is barely a pre-teen when the story begins. It begins in London in 1890, but it is not the London we know. For one thing witches, like Ethan, are legalized, which in reality was not the case even at that late date. Another difference: Scotland Yard has specialized departments to deal with the changing social landscape, including a Division of Peculiar and Supernatural Crimes, and a newly formed Division of Inventive and Scientific Crimes.

Ethan’s father is the inventor and scientist, and afflicted with what we now call Asperger’s Syndrome. His father does something very uncharacteristic one Monday morning; he flees the country, mostly because his former mentor and professor has come back to get revenge after being disgraced years ago. Ethan is assigned a seemingly simple task, to go and find Marcus and bring him a very important prototype of a project they have been working on together. Ethan, the dutiful son, leaves London with his father’s enemies hot on his heels. The series was meant to be more of an Indiana Jones/Dan Brown type of adventure, but I think, as this series progresses and Ethan grows up on the road, there will be more angst, like many Teen & Young Adult books tend to have.

3.   The first Steampunk novels came out over ten years ago, but it seems like it’s only gained real popularity recently. Why do you think that is?

When you say “recently,” that’s very true! One of the Steampunk communities I belong to on Facebook, Steampunk Tendencies, very recently heralded hitting the 400,000 member mark. He pointed out that 100,000 of them had joined in the past 37 days!

It would be great if the next really big book series was a Steampunk series! It includes a lot of things: alternate history, time travel, tea time and Victorian corsets, vampires, magic (both magician type and wave-your-wand type, like mine is), adventure, romance, horror, drama, comedy… But let me warn you, Steampunk is not necessarily fast reading. It’s immersive, and ideally, like any good book, Steampunk is supposed to make you forget about your life for a little while as you read it. I believe this is its appeal, while at the same time, Steampunk hearkens to a simpler time, even though it was not a simple era by any means, but I think a lot of us nowadays yearn to escape, at least for a short time, into a world where television and Instagram don’t exist.

Although there was one Steampunk book I read a while ago where the characters used something like a laptop computer… There are “rules” but they’re made to be broken if necessary, like all writing rules.

4.   Who is your favorite writer and why?

I had a lot of writers who I turned to when looking for reading material, but the single most influential one for me was Robert Jordan. JK Rowling could be considered a fairly close second, but I think Jordan’s Wheel of Time series taught me plenty of things (to do and not to do) about writing on a grander scale. Prior to reading The Eye of the World, anything I read seemed to be encompassed in one volume, especially since the majority of the books I was reading at the time were historical romances. One and done.

5.   What are you working on next?

I’m working on the release of Book 2 of the Inventor’s Son Series, The Scientist’s Son, which is to be released by mid-September. Then, it’s Book 3, The Explorer’s Son, which I want to get released in time for the holidays. I also want to work on getting a print book of The Inventor’s Son combined with The Beginning in one volume in time for the holiday season. Further down the line, I’d like to get the rest of the series done, which will most likely be five books. Then I’d like to get audio versions done of them, if I think that’s feasible to do. And after I’m done with The Inventor’s Son, I’ve got my “Kindle Unlimited” series that I will begin to devote more time to, as long as KU is still around by then. Though it seems that Amazon is, at this point, throwing a lot of money into this, trying to lure authors back into KDP Select, so it might be worth my while to do something on this front.

Way down the line, I’ve got several other series planned, including a parody of the zombie/ apocalyptic genre, an urban paranormal vampire series, and a space opera, which I’ve put off to write the Steampunk books. And I cannot forget the prequel series to The Inventor’s Son!

6.   So if you were to invent something new and marvelous, what would it be?

You know, I would really love one of those Personal Helicopters that my characters are working on! In real life, last week there was a big accident on I-75 with a semi overturned and gas leaking out, so they needed to close the interstate in that area. It made my commute to work that day a nightmare! I imagined being able to just take a helicopter to work… Although I’m sure there would have to be a great deal of air traffic control if everyone started using those things!

7.   What have you learned about the publishing process?

I’ve learned a lot of things in a short amount of time, though I’d been researching long before I published. One thing I learned is that there is no one answer that works for everyone. I used to be leery of the permafree sales model, offering your first book in the series free so people aren’t nearly as hesitant to try out your books. I thought I’d get people who were reading my book without knowing what to expect. In order to accomplish permafree, I HAD to be out of KDP Select and had to be able to publish my book at other vendors. It remains to be seen whether or not it will pay off, but I’m thinking it will.

I also learned that the publishing world is in a state of flux, and what used to be true six months ago can be turned on its ear now. I got caught off guard with Kindle Unlimited, as did a lot of other authors, but all we can do is adapt. This is why I’m planning for a selection of books to be geared toward the Kindle Unlimited program. I’d be interested in knowing how many people have started actually paying for the service, and how many are still starting free trials. (I confess I haven’t started my trial yet.) One more thing I learned; we all go at our own pace. Some people sell a load of books right out of the gate (not many of them, TBH), and with others, it’s a slower build, as long as you keep the books coming. I’m thinking once I have three or four books on the market that things will really take off for this series.

8.   What advice do you have for other writers?

Keep writing! You never know what you’ll come up with, and the possibilities are far more open than they were even a decade ago.

Glug, Glug, what a Monday!!

Why am I saying “Glug, glug?”  Check out the news reports for Phoenix today: 

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/heavy-rain-snarls-morning-commute-phoenix-area-25344433

flood

I live in Gilbert (on the East Side, as we call it, across the Salt River from Phoenix) and I commute 25 miles into Phoenix every morning. Normally in the morning with traffic it takes me 45-50 minutes to get to work. Today?  An hour and a half. I couldn’t even GET to the nearest freeway because the streets were flooded. Not that it would have mattered. EVERY SINGLE FREEWAY in the metropolitan area had closures, and it would have been impossible for me to get to work that way. So it was down to surface streets. And half of them had closures, anywhere they crossed under a freeway or a train track or pretty much anything else, or where Phoenix’s lovely drainage system had turned the road into a river.

So yeah. That was a fun morning.

Just to put some perspective on things, in my area we typically get 8 to 10 inches of rain PER YEAR. So yes. We just received SIX MONTHS worth of rain this morning. And it will continue to rain throughout the day today. And more tonight.

Uh, I may need a boat to get home, lol.

My one bright side is I’ve lived here all my life. I know where the washes and rivers (dry most of the year) are, where the low laying parts of the Valley, area, and where there are bridges over these low areas. So I was able to get to work when other coworkers who live near me couldn’t. And I’ll know how to navigate home if things are bad later. But man, it does make for an exciting day. Half the schools were even closed due to the rain (not my kid’s, and we live just down the street from it so she’s good).

More pictures to share: (courtesy of various local news sites: )

freeway2  I-10, our main freeway through Phoenix. They don’t even know how many cars were submerged there. (Everyone got out okay.)

freeway Same freeway, exit ramp.

mesaI love this one. This is only a few miles from my house. That’s a park.

ScottsdaleDog park on my way to work.

Anyways, I’ll see if I can post more pictures tomorrow. House is safe and dry so far. (Cats are scared and hiding under the covers.)