Monday, January 31, 2011

Author Interview: Marva Dasef

Heehee! I get to twirl my Hercule mustache and start the interrogation of the wonderful author Marva Dasef. In particular, I'm going to being asking her about her SFR release, ULTIMATE DUTY.

So, my friends, let's work our little grey cells. Shall we?


Marva Dasef
Eternal Press PDF
Amazon Kindle
Amazon Print
Book Trailer

Thank you for joining us today. Why don't you tell everyone a bit about your book?
ULTIMATE DUTY is space opera with a bit of romance. From the cover:

Remy Belieux, a woman born into a life of servitude on a repressive factory planet, is desperate for a different life. When she's accepted into the Space Service Academy, run by the organization that enslaves her planet, she discovers the truth behind generations of rebellion. Now, she must decide what to believe, where her ultimate duty lies, and fight for more than her life against impossible odds.

Where did the concept for the book come about?
I wrote a short story titled "Pressure Drill" years ago. I got a good response from my critique group, but back then, submitting was entirely by snail mail. I didn't pursue publication. When I retired from real work, I hauled out the story, along with a few others and gave them a fresh look and rewrite. That first story, plus one more with the same main character were published. From that I expanded the story and it eventually became a novel.

How long did it take you to finish, from concept to final product?
Only thirty years in the making, but I was busy doing other things most of those years.

Are there any authors that have influenced your own writing?
Mark Twain, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov. Plain, simple stories well told.

Do you have any favourite place where you feel your Muse is more apt to come and play while you write? Or perhaps you listen to music? If so, what do you listen to?
I always write at home. I have a great setup in the family room, right next to the kitchen for quick snacking. I'm one of the few non-listeners. When I write, I find any music distracting. I've become used to the sound of the dishwasher, hubs running power equipment, and my cat vocally worrying about what's going on outside.

As a writer, what is your greatest fear?
That I actually suck, and I'm wasting my time.

What normally occupies your desk while writing?
A stack of scratch paper, two pens, a ruler, a calendar, a calculator, my cell phone, stack files...Okay, this is boring. Just the usual desk stuff.

Do you have any new projects that you are working on? If so, what are they?
Mostly, I'm wrapping up a lot of projects. I have a mystery/suspense, "Missing, Assumed Dead," coming out in July 2011 from MuseItUp, a tween fantasy titled "Bad Spelling" scheduled for October 2011. I'm also waiting on a response from MuseItUp to the two sequels of "Bad Spelling." I sure hope they take the whole series. Having books 2 and 3 without a publisher is worrisome. I'm in the note-taking stage of a sequel to Ultimate Duty.

What tip would you offer to a new writer who is just beginning their submission journey?
Get your web presence set up RIGHT AWAY. Start with a blog, but I strongly encourage you to snag a website with your name as soon as possible. Get on Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, but don't make enemies by expressing strong political or religious views. If you want to do that, use a pseudonym. You want to be prepared to jump out of the gate running when you sell your work.
I spent a twenty-five year dryspell without writing fiction. Since I wrote technical documentation for a living, I could hardly face a computer after work. But I'm sorry that I let it go for so long. Don't wait to write!

Please tell our readers where they can find you.
All over creation and beyond.
My website:
My blog:
I'm a member of SCBWI and maintain pages on Facebook, Twitter, Jacketflap, MySpace, and a variety pack of writerly websites.

How about an excerpt? Since your blog is for adults, here's the sexy one.
A tender hand with rough calluses stroked Remy’s side from shoulder to hip. Her eyes fluttered open as she rolled to face her lover. She purred deep in her throat when Kiru pulled her close and kissed her neck. She felt her carotid artery pulsing under his touch. He whispered, “The smallest pressure here, if held a few seconds, will render your opponent unconscious.”

“Yes, Sensei, but I hope that’s not your intent,” Remy replied with a wink.

He smoothed her still-damp red hair. “Not at all, chan. It is difficult to leave my teaching self outside the bedroom door.”

Remy inhaled his scent, musky with a hint of cinnamon. “My student self appreciates all the education you are willing to give.” Remy touched her forehead to his. “Whether the art be battle or love.”

Kiru enfolded Remy in his arms, pulled her close, then lifted her in one smooth motion on top of his body. He entered her, and she snapped upright, throwing her head back with a gasp. She reveled in his delicate touch, as he caressed her breasts, belly, thighs. Sighing, she leaned down to kiss him.

An hour later, Kiru kissed her nose and moved to disentangle himself from sheets and girl. “I’ll miss you, but I have taught you everything I can. It is up to you to hone your skills.”

Remy pulled him back. “Perhaps one more lesson?”

Her Sensei settled back on the bed. “I suppose there’s one more move I can teach you before we say good-bye.”

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

Another Sunday, another 6 sentences. For more information on this weekly event, stop by the Six Sentence Sunday blog. It's a lot of fun. Basically, it's posting six sentences of any writing you have. WIP, unpublished, published...whatever.

Okay, okay, okay. Which 6 sentences this week...hmmmm. All right! I got it. This is from Duty and Devotion, where little sis Rinny is training to fight:

"The Lieutenant’s training assistant, Sergeant Nowell, followed his chin tap with a quick kick to Rinny’s gut, then a side jab into her ribs. Rinny folded like a rag doll, landing hard on the fighting mat. Lying rumpled, her side and jaw throbbing, she heaved for breath. The room swirled like a roller coaster ride. Sweat dripped into her eyes, stung them.

The Lieutenant continued to instruct from the side."

Good writing all!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Talkin' Kindle

Hi Blogger Buddies!

I'm doing my first guest gig over at author Stephanie Burkhart's blog, Romance Under the Moonlight, and talking Kindle.

Stop by if you have a chance and good writing all!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Stylish Blogger

Now, those of you who know and see me in the physical form everyday are not allowed to laugh...don't. Don't. I can still hear you.


I'm going to ignore it because I'm so excited and honored to be given this award by a couple awesome groovy friends of mine, Jillian Chantel and Marva Dasef. Now, they appreciate the geeky chic I'm going for here...okay, it's a stretch. I know it. You know it...but I'm going with it until you have proof otherwise (heehee).

Now, I must list 7 things you might not know about me (it's the Las Vegas reveals to be if). Another rule is to link back to these rockin' chickies (see links above). Sooooo not a prob because they're AWESOME. The last rule is to nominate 10 other great bloggers. *rubs hands anxiously*

Okay, now be prepared for the unreal, unimaginable reveal of the Infamous out, prepare yourself, have your pacers ready...

  1. I can't eat crab because I found out they are sea spiders
  2. I have at least one accident a day that involves me, myself, and I (i.e. I trip going up stairs)
  3. I rock out to music in the car
  4. I secretly love watching Housewives of Orange County (I guess not so much a secret anymore....huh?)
  5. I still daydream about becoming a Kung Fu Master (in these dreams I kick butt like Bruce real life it'd be more like Kung Fu Panda)
  6. After 17 years in the Bay Area, I still can't ride down the steep hills of San Francisco without whimpering like a baby and gripping the seat handle
  7. I played 4 band instruments in high school (trumpet, baritone, french horn, and....tuba)

'Kay, those are the dust bunnies from my secret squirrel closet. Now I get the fun of awarding this to 10 other awesome bloggers.

  1. Michelle Davidson Argyle The Innocent Flower
  2. Liana Brooks
  3. Krista D. Ball
  4. Celia Yeary
  5. Sue Perkins
  6. Stephanie Burkhart Romance Under the Moonlight
  7. Nike Chillemi Crime Fictionista
  8. Melanie Atkins Writing Cops...It's What I Do
  9. Samantha Dean Mama's Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys
  10. Madrona Grove

Now, I just have to notify them all...but I'll save that for tomorrow because I'm pooped.

Good writing all!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Jillian Chantel on Writing Soundtracks

I got another groovy author coming by to visit and talk about writing and the process. When I spoke with Jillian she told me about her writing process and I was so intrigued by it that I wanted to learn more and share it with my buddies.

(Now pay attention because she's got some prizes at stake here folks!)

Without further delay...Jillian Chantel!


First, I want to thank Amber for letting me be here today to talk a bit about my writing process as well as my book release with Desert Breeze Publishing coming out in July 2011. Yes, it’s early for me to talk about that and yes, it’s not a science fiction story and yes, Amber is brave for letting me on her Sci-fi blog to talk about a historical novel that occurs in 1920. Please don’t throw tomatoes at her. I’m sure she’ll be back to her normal self soon.

As to my writing process, I told Amber about the habit I have when I start a book and she thought it was an intriguing thing, so here we are, going to tell you about it. The first thing I do when I get the idea for a new story in my head is brainstorm songs for a soundtrack. I like to get songs in my head that may play into the story I plan to write. Not so much be in the story but have some lyric or something in it that relates to what I think the plot will be. I’m a panster as it’s known in the industry so I start with a vague idea and build on it. Sometimes, the songs fit and sometimes they don’t. Take Stardust by Hoagy Carmichael, for example. I have it on this soundtrack as it seemed to fit the era and was going to be sung by the heroine, but when I actually did the detail research, I found out that it wasn’t written until 1927 so I couldn’t use it. Wanted to, but I knew the historical police would come and haul me off if I did such a thing. So, it was tossed.

For my book coming out in July, Redemption for the Devil, I woke up with the male character, Liam Cormac, in my head. He’s a member of the Irish Republican Army and was involved in the Easter Uprising in 1916. I also thought about the fact that the hero was estranged from his own family. Then the heroine came to me, an Irish lass that lost her father, sings, and is looking for a new life in America. So, from that, I thought of 1920s songs for her to sing as well as others that may relate to her life. These characters are also of opposing religions, so I thought of that in choosing some of the songs. The hero, being a member of the IRA, has done some bad things in his life. This also factored into my choices.

Once I had all those facts in my head, I picked the following songs and burned them to a disk and also as a play list on my I-POD. That way, I can listen at work, home, and on the road. Once I have the soundtrack, I immerse myself in these songs. Day and night. I play the songs over and over. It helps me with the scene development.

Here are the songs I picked for Redemption for the Devil:

Three Dog Night: One; Paul Anka: Lonely Boy; Nat King Cole: Stardust (and yeah- I was gonna have her sing it but it was written after my time period- dang!); Harry Connick, Jr.: Danny Boy; John McCormack: Wild Irish Rose; Chris Isaak: Yellow Bird; Tom Jones: She’s a lady; Billy Joel: Always a Woman, The Stranger, and Only the Good Die Young; Back Street Boys: Bad Boy and Don’t Wanna Lose you; George Michael: Kissing a Fool and One More Try; Soundtrack from Poseidon Adventure: Morning After; and Pink: Stop Falling.

I’m sure you can guess why some of the songs were on the soundtrack. Others may be harder. Just for fun, I’d like some guesses on these. I’ll give away a magnet with a Cunard ship on it to one commenter. Leave me a comment on why you think I chose a certain song for this soundtrack and I’ll have pick a number from the comments. I’ll start: The Poseidon Adventure song, Morning After, was on there just because a lot of the action takes place on an ocean liner- The RMS Mauretania. I just couldn’t have a soundtrack related to a cruise ship in peril without this song.

If you want to learn more about me, you can visit me here on the web: Or email me at

Thanks again, Amber, for letting me come by. It was fun!!


Thank you, Jillian, for stopping by. I'm totally going to try this method. Usually my soundtrack is four kids going loop crazy in the background.

'Kay, blogger buddies...get the competition going!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

I've been hearing this whisper, which has been slowly growing louder...."Six Sentence Sunday". After looking into it and seeing the fun some of my blogging friends have been having, I decided to join in. For those of you who don't know, in a nut shell it's posting six sentences of any writing you have. WIP, unpublished, published...whatever.

I thought it might be fun to mix things up a bit and put six sentences of the first book in my Telomere Trilogy, Revelations of Tomorrow. (Remember, this is contracted with DB so things might be revised during the formal editing phase.)

This is it:
"Jetta McCree opened her eyes to blackness streaked by white. Panic set in on the first cold-seared breath fogging the surface in front of her. She fought to control it. Tentatively, she touched the clear glass and cringed at the burning cold. She slid her hands to eye level. The black silhouette of them contrasted with the whir of stars in the background."
Well, not too painful and...yes...quite fun. I think I'll definitely make this a weekly thing.

Good writing all!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

This Scene is for You!

Hey my blogger friends! I got some cool news to announce. Drum Roll (rock n' roll style baby)...Desert Breeze authors would like to invite you to join Desert Breeze Connections Yahoo loop!

To entice (aka tempt, tease, convert...bring to the dark side) you we have an awesome event. Between January 23 – January 29, 2011, we'll be posting a scene from each of our published books and scenes from books nearing their release date.

Now, so it doesn't get all loopy crazy, we're breaking it down and assigning authors on certain days. To make this event even awesomer (its a word, an AR word) one member of Desert Breeze Connections who joins in the fun and posts what their favorite scene is, will win a free download!

Yeah, I know! One winner every day! Books to's like moth to flame!

Become a part of the Desert Breeze family and join our Desert Breeze Connections Yahoo loop today. Here's the link, make sure you're signed up ahead of time so you're not missing any of the fun.

Good writing and reading all!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Lindsay Buroker on E-publishing--Is It Right for You?

Hello all! There are many paths and expectations to publishing success. One of the first things I will always stress is for every new author to research the industry and identify the best path for their writing. As such, today I have Lindsay Buroker to the blog to talk about e-publishing and particularly self-publishing in this route. I was pretty impressed with the thorough research she did in this journey.

Lindsay...take it away!


If you write in genres that aren’t on most agents’ wishlists, or--worse--you write those cross-genre stories that defy categorization, then you might have grown disgruntled by the agent hunt. I know I felt disheartened before I even started. My novel Encrypted is one that doesn’t fall into any neat categories, though I’m going with science fantasy romance (I’m probably the first to use that).

When I browsed QueryTracker, there was a dearth of agents requesting science fiction and high fantasy. And there wasn’t anybody saying, “please send us your science fantasy romances because we know they’ll be huge as soon as this vampire craze dies down...” In fact, most agents had notes that said, “We’d rather cough up hair balls than represent SF/F” (that’s not a direct quote, but it’s the vibe I got from many!). Urban fantasy and paranormal romances were an acceptation, but I grew up reading Eddings, Tolkien, and RA Salvatore, so I don’t even think of those genres as fantasy.

About the time I was debating whether to try querying those few agents who did want SF/F, I stumbled across blog posts about JA Konrath, Brian S. Pratt, and Karen McQuestion, indie authors making a good living publishing their work for the growing ebook-reader demographic.

Online booksellers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble make it easy to upload your novels or short story collections as ebooks (you don’t even need an ISBN for those two outfits), and they pay nice royalties too (in the 70% range). This means you can list your ebook at an ultra affordable $2.99 and still take home $2 with each sale.

The more I read about e-publishing, the more excited I got. I even started a blog called Ebook Endeavors to talk about what I was learning and my own results. In December, I listed The Emperor’s Edge, a high fantasy adventure with steampunk elements (all my novels have Categorization Crisis Syndrome) for $2.99. As I write this, it’s been three weeks since the novel went live, and it’s sold about a hundred copies. That’s not exactly enough to live on (it’ll be a while before I recoup my cover art and editing expenses), but I think it’s a promising start for a no-name author. I’ve set aside the agent hunt for the time being.

E-publishing isn’t going to be everybody’s cup of tea, but in case it’s something you’re considering, I’ll break down some of the pros and cons here.

Advantages of E-publishing:

It’s a speedy process.

With traditional publishing, it’ll take months--maybe years--from the time you start looking for an agent until you see your book on a shelf (if it ever gets there at all). It took me about a month from first deciding to publish an ebook to having it go live. In that time, an editor proofread it, an artist created a cover, and an ebook formatter turned my Mac Pages file into something readable on the kindle, nook, ipad, etc. When I uploaded the files at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords (a distributor that gets your ebooks into the stores that require ISBNs), it took a maximum of two days for them to go live.

There’s a potential to make good money without being a blockbuster hit.

I’m sure very few people will get rich as indie ebook authors, but some who have great books and who have worked hard at promotion are doing quite well. Some are even in the six-figures-a-year range solely from their ebook earnings. That’s money in the bank account, not gross sales.

The 70% royalty makes it very attractive to be an indie--if you can make sales. Traditionally published authors get an advance, but their royalties are significantly lower--even for ebook sales. Go look them up. Ouch.

You have full control over all aspects of your book.

As I mentioned, I get to set the prices of my ebooks, and I can change them on a whim. This means I can experiment to figure out if I sell ten times as many books at $0.99 as I do at $2.99, or if I can raise my price to $3.99 and see if people will still buy. I’d never price my ebook at $8 or $9 (just look at all the angry reviewers on Amazon giving one star because traditionally published ebooks cost more than paperbacks), even if I was a big name author. That’s not a choice authors who publish with big houses or even small e-presses get to make.

I can also see novel sales as they’re happening, which gives me some insight into what marketing tactics are paying off and which are flopping.

As far as writing goes, there are no deadlines, and you can publish your books at your own pace. The only people you have to please are the readers. You do lose out on the editorial input of an agent/editor, so this could be a con, depending on how much you value that.

The time could be now.

I’m no Nostradamus, but with ebook readers taking off, this feels like the time to jump on this bandwagon. Actually, I wish I’d jumped on a year ago, because some of those people are the ones making a living as indie authors now! Still, with more and more people grabbing kindles, nooks, ipads, etc. the market should only grow.

Downsides of E-Publishing

I don’t want to sell you guys on anything here, nor do I want to say this is wonderful for everyone and you should ditch your agent right now, thank you very much. There are certainly downsides. Here are a couple:

Upfront Costs

Unless you’re artistically inclined, you’ll have to pay for cover art. You’ll also want to hire someone to edit your work (reviewers will pick on you if they find a lot of typos). The actual ebook formatting is something you can learn to do yourself if you want to save a few bucks.

I paid $600-$800 to put together each of my novels, and I’ve seen people pay more if they had heavy line editing done. I’m selling my novels at $2.99, so with a 70% royalty, that means I have to sell 400 copies of each to break even. Actually, it’s probably closer to 500, since I’m spending a little here and there, trying out advertising methods. I believe I will make that money back, but before you make the plunge, make sure you have faith in your story and your ability to market online. Speaking of which...

You’re on Your Own for Marketing

My guess is most of you published authors are snorting because you’re pretty much on your own, too, but with e-publishing nobody’s going to stumble across your title on a bookstore shelf. If you’re not willing to start a blog, push your novel, and network online, this is not for you.

That said, I’m a hardcore introvert who isn’t that comfortable with selling either, and I’m doing all right so far.

In the end, I’m not swearing off the idea of ever seeking an agent or a traditional print deal, but I want to see where this road can take me first. Everything I’m learning about book promotion can only help down the line.

You can find my ebooks at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. Thanks for taking a look!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Scene is in the Details

What makes an awesome scene? I was thinking about that the other day while reading a very boring scene. It technically had all the components we talk about all the know, the 5 senses. It wasn't too much of the senses or too little.

Yet it was still boring. I laid in bed that night really thinking why the scene wasn't jiving with me and right before I went to bed realized...the details of the scene had no connection to the moment. We've all groaned over the millionth raining scene during heartbreak or mourning and bright blue skies during happy and love. Yeah, not so much talking about that.

What I am talking about is pointing out things in the details that somehow emphasize or contrast with the character(s) moment. Say someone visits a new country. First layer is the experience itself. First Timers...well time is going to seem to rush by and they'll notice the differences in clothes, speech, body language, weather. The taste and preparation of food, the games children play. All this will be in constant comparison to where they're from. It will either be in the extreme of exhilaration or misery (depending on the type of traveler they are and whether they're there by choice or not.)

Now, for the person who's been there before. They might notice some of this, but not all of this anymore. Whatever mood or frame of mind they're in will depict what detail they pick out to compare to their predicament or emotion. Time will not mentally move as fast because their brain won't be as busy logging new experiences. (There's a scientific test proving this...I'll look it up sometime and maybe do an article on just that.)

Then there is the next layer and making sure the character responds to those details based on the plot and the emotions he/she are feeling in the story. Say you have a first time who's just experienced the death of her parents and is now on a new planet to live with her extended family. Yes, she'll notice all the details, but her reaction will not be the same as a first time tourist. Everything she sees will be a painful reminder of her loss and the new/unknown future she's facing.

For fun -- not so much an example of right because, well how do I know if it's right? I wrote it, I'm not the reader -- here's an excerpt example from Duty and Devotion with the new comer scenario. (Just remember, still in line to be edited so might change a little in the final draft.)

Afterwards, let me know your favorite connective scene in a book or poem. One of my favorite is Edgar Allen Poe's Anabel Lee. Man, that guy knew how to draw the emotions of both the character and the reader by highlighting nature and surroundings.

* * * * * * *

Kaitlin and Jenny dragged her to the ground hangar where they joined up with another crew to go to surface cruising. Nettie trained in simulation and gone out a couple times, but the fear of real surface, open space, still unnerved her. Kaitlin once concluded it was because Nettie had been raised in a bubble.

When their surface cruisers rolled out of the hanger decompression area, bile threatened to undo her. Since it would have taken too long to take off the suit, she forced it back. These vehicle models were not enclosed, but had an exposed frame the other crew called a ‘roll cage’. Nettie decided not to ask why they called it that. They might have answered her, and she would have had to de-suit.

She just stayed silent while Kaitlin and Jenny fought over steering privileges, repeating to herself that people had been surface exploring for several hundred years. It was a perfectly sound method of fun and adventure. Yeah, she thought bitterly, fun and adventure. Nettie clung to the vehicle’s handles as they covered ground, heading away from the facility.

"Relax, Nettie. At least we’re not somewhere like Mars…though crater jumping would be fun.” Having lost, Kaitlin sat in the back seat while Jenny steered. The other crew drove ahead of them.

Nettie took a relaxing breath and decided to approach the situation as a soldier would during a mission. She mentally recorded the scene. Behind her loomed the structure of the facility. Several stories of metal and pressurized diamond glass lit up by bright lights. Beyond it, encompassing two-thirds of that part of the sky was Jupiter. The orange and white bands twisted slowly.

Facing forward, she took in Callisto’s open frontier rolling out to caress the horizon. It was a flat surface of eroded and dusty glacier-type ice several hundred miles deep. Beneath that was water that had never seen the light of day.

It wasn’t to say the waters are dark. Hundreds of years ago when man first landed on this moon, they drilled through the glacier to look for little green mermen. Instead, they found small to medium size life forms of the fish variety…and they found brightness. Aptly named the Under Ocean, the core of the moon kept it warmed and lit. The magnetic balance between the core and Jupiter prevented the glacier surface from cracking. The surface’s coldness and the core’s warmth kept the glacier surface from melting, or Under Ocean getting too warm.

Nettie drew her thoughts from under the surface back to the Callisto sky. Without the dampening of the facility lights, Galileo’s constellations shown like diamonds, sapphires, and rubies. Her fears calmed and she forgot the fear of open terrain. She recognized the beauty of it. This was the definition of wonder, of awe. Majestic had no true meaning for her until now. The brightness started where the sky kissed the surface in the distance and went across the whole heavens.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Yes, fuzzbucket. It's the "frustration" word I use when I've realized a case of stupidity in myself.

I figured it out. It clicked, of course, during a moment when I couldn't jump in and make repairs. I had to wait the WHOLE work day. WHOLE work day...that's like 8 hours and then the walk home!

What am I talking about?

The reason I've been fighting with Telomere's third book, Ending Eternity. I started in the wrong place. I forgot the cardinal rule. Never, ever, ever, snever (yes, it's a word, an AR word) start in the beginning of the journey.

I started in the "we debarked and headed out" part. That left weeks -- space travel people, which SMPVH (Solar Meter Per Vessel Hour) or not takes a while. All the characters did were fret, worry, and think about their problems. No action...just..."duh, look at me sitting here thinking and worrying about what's going to happen" instead of "look at what the heck is happening!"

How did I come to this smack me in the face moment? I was waiting for a report to run and thought about the book as a whole. The beginning of the mental reel started about 2 chapters in. I couldn't even discern what the first couple of chapters were telling the reader.

So, now that it's figured out I'm feverishly backpeddling to fix the beginning of the story. Thankfully, most of the beginning's emotional introspection can be infused later in the story, in more reactive settings where it's natural. I don't think I've lost that many thousand's of words. Maybe, like, 2k at the most.

Well, good writing all! (And hope you don't have too many fuzzbucket moments like this...)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Character Interview: Michael from Phoenix Rebellion Series

Today is pretty exciting. Author Gail Delaney was nice enough to put me in touch with one of her main characters from the Phoenix Rebellion Series, Michael. I love this series and as Gail knows, have fallen in love with the Michael character. Let's get started!

Michael, tell us a little bit about yourself:
"I don't know who I am quite yet, so it's difficult for me to answer that question. I know the titles I wear, or that have been placed on me -- son, father, friend, lover, doctor -- but until I believe I've earned them, I don't want to claim them. For the first twenty-five years of my life, I was nothing. Fuel for insurmountable hatred, I was tortured and tormented and prayed for death. Things are different now. None of that answers your question, I apologize."

How did it make you feel when after finally meeting your father he had to leave?
"I was afraid. As much as I wanted to embrace the freedom and new life he had given me, I knew nothing of the world or the people around me. I feared I would do something wrong, or cause anger unintentionally. And I was sad, an emotion I had yet to grasp. Anger, I knew. Fear... I lived that. Confusion. Acceptance and resolution. But never sadness. I believe to experience sadness, you must understand happiness, and happiness was foreign to me until the night my father came for me and took me home."

What kind of emotions are you dealing with in regards to your birth mother's actions?
"I once confused Jacqueline when I told her Caitlin Montgomery was my mother, but for any reason that counts, she is the woman I now give that honor. As for Kathleen, I have long since moved past hatred for the woman who birthed me with her stolen body.

Once, I thought anger and hatred were one in the same but I know now they are very different. So, I can say that while I no longer harbor hatred for her, I am enraged by the things she did. Not just to me, but to so many others. I'm angry at what she left behind. And I'm angry to be left behind to deal with the ramifications."

After being raised in containment, how do you feel about all these new experiences in the world? What is your favorite discovery?
"For a brief time in what I believe they call my 'teens', my captors allowed me books and through them I created a shallow and two-dimensional imagery of the world. Once I lived it, experienced it, nothing else could ever compare.

The taste of snow on my tongue. The realization that I may come and go as I please, that I may learn and study and become something more. But, by far my favorite discovery is pancakes. With maple syrup and butter. And bacon.

No, I correct that. My favorite discovery is the sweet taste when I'm kissing the woman I love."

How is your outlook changing with the new experiences in life?
"I have been given a chance at a whole and beautiful life. I have my father, and I have a mother in Caitlin I never could have dreamed. I have Jacqueline's love, though I can't understand it. I have my daughter. I have a career, a home, and a people. I have a purpose. Once, my greatest hope was for death. Now, I seek life."

What is your biggest hope for the future of you and your people?
"As my father said in his speech to the planet, we are as the Phoenix rising from the ashes. We are only a fraction of the people we once were. Our planet is in ruins, but our eyes now see past the horizon to the universe beyond. My hope is that mankind can find unification and strength together, and for myself, I hope to make myself worthy of all I've been given."

Who is your favorite friend in the rebellion?
* small laugh and blush *

"Friend... a word that can mean many things. A friend can be a confidant. A friend can be your strength. A friend can be a lover. A friend can be the one person you'd lay down your life to save. I have many friend, many people I hold dear. But the one I hold dearest is so much more than my friend... Jacqueline."

Anything else you would like to tell us about yourself?
"I know my answers are wholly inadequate, but in truth, I don't know what else I might say. I am a mystery, even to myself, so how can I tell you what I don't know."

Thank you, Gail, for giving us a little insight into Michael. For those of you who haven't had a chance to meet Michael here's an excerpt that truly shows the introverted vulnerability he starts out'll have to read the series to see his personal growth *wink*:

Michael had been so lost in his thoughts, he hadn't seen Nick Tanner walk into the infirmary or approach his bedside. Or, apparently, drop a pile of clothing on the bed near his feet. He looked up, still processing how he should regard the man. Father? Colonel? Nick? In answer to the question, his stomach rumbled.

"Yes," he answered simply.

Nick, which would do for now, checked his watch. "I think they're still serving breakfast in the mess hall."

Michael stared at him, waiting.

"Do you want to go eat?" Nick asked after several moments of silence.

Understanding then, Michael nodded and shifted to lower his bare feet to the floor. "I apologize. I didn't realize I needed to go elsewhere to obtain my own food."

"Didn't they feed you yet?"

The sharp edge to Nick's voice drew Michael's immediate attention, and he tried to gauge the situation. He had spent the majority of the morning studying the other people of the 'base' as they moved about their work, and found each of them fascinating. Already, he knew Colonel Nick Tanner was a different person than any of them, with a force of character that seemed to drown out others around him. He was powerful and respected, a leader among all of them. Among the Areth, personalities weren't widely varied except for the extremesand Victor. Whom, he supposed, some might consider an extreme.

"Never mind. Let's just get breakfast. I'm starving," Nick said before Michael could try to form an answer. "I brought you some clothes. Figured you'd want to get out of the stuff they had you in there."

Michael looked at the clothing on the bed, picking up the first garment. It was a shirt much like the one Nick himself wore, with short sleeves and a round neck in a deep blue color. The fabric was soft and carried a clean, soapy scent in the weave. Also in the pile was a long sleeved shirt in a rich burgundy color that buttoned down the front. A pair of heavy pants, faded to white in spots like the pair Nick wore, was at the bottom of the pile. Michael ran his hands over the shirts, enjoying the soft feel. They were nothing like any clothing ever provided for him.

"I'll get you some new things when I can. I just figured we're about the same size and we can share for now."

Michael looked up. "These are yours?"

Nick shrugged. "Yeah. If you don't like them--"

"No," Michael said quickly, but tamped down his eagerness before he said more than he should. "These are fine. May I wear them now?"

About the Author
Gail R. Delaney has been actively writing 'for publication' since 1996. The first novel she ever wrote is still sitting on her computer, waiting for the major rewrite that will make it acceptable. She says she has learned a great deal since writing that book, and it shows when she looks back at that rough draft.

Gail has had several novels published in the genres of contemporary romance, romantic suspense and futuristic romance. Her novels have received several nominations and awards since she was first published in 2005.

Gail and her family recently moved from the cold and blustry east coast to Southern California, and is loving every moment of sunshine she can soak in.

Get In Touch and/or Get the Book
If you're interested in more information on either Gail or the Rebellion Series, check out the links below. I strongly suggest reading The Pheonix Rebellion. It's great SF and great Romance.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Procrastinating My Procrastination

Oh Boy! Muse has gone and done it. And we'd been working soooo well together. Now I know the looks you group of writer friends who don't believe in Muses are giving me...This is what I title my creativity.

There's really not a little Warrior Chick in a short skirt, long jacket, and high heeled boots with a whip in my head. No matter how much my Hubby wished there were...of course there was that one time, in Lake Tahoe...oops TMI, TMI! (Heehee)

Here's what it comes down too.

She's all excited about this new series I dreamed about a couple month ago. She's been all excited and still geared about the Telomere Trilogy, but her flaky interest shifted fully today. It's been constantly on her mind and hence, she's pushed it into my mind.

Needless to say, I've been battling with her to focus all day on the current WIP. I'm losing the battle. I need to write a waterfall scene, just a simple waterfall scene...and what do I get? Nothing.



Now we're at a stand off. It's dry and hot. There's Clint Eastwood western stand off music in the background. I swear, a tumbleweed crossed my path...I think I'll have a toothpick sticking out the corner of my mouth too as I toss out a heavily crowfeet squint. There'll be the long dust jacket....AND SPURS! I've got to have silver spurs! I want a ivory handled gun resting in a holster riding low on my hip....

Dang it! I've gone and got distracted again. Now I'm procrastinating my procrastination!

Good writing all (or as in my case procrastination daydreaming)...

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Writing Progress

Wow...haven't done one of these progress posts in a while. Okay, well, truthfully all my focus has been on my trilogy writing, which you can see the progress in the bars (top right part of blog). What prompted this crazy, spontaneous progress report?

I got short listed for a short story of mine. I know! I submitted Poseidon's Cube almost a year ago now and with the craziness of the last few months, forgot all about it. To my defense, the deadline is far away. It's not closed until May of this year.

Okay, what else we got?

Ah yes, Duty and Devotion is about to gear up for its release date in June. Publisher edits and cover art should be kicking off in the next couple of months. I've got to start planning blog tours, review submission preps, excerpts and the book trailer. (Lions, tigers, and bears OH MY!)

Current project, Telomere Trilogy, is chugging along well. I'll be starting house style edits and the cover input sheet for Book 1: Revelations of Tomorrow. I'm in final draft edits with Book 2: Echoes of Regret. And of course, I'm laying out the rough draft of Book 3: Ending Eternity.

My muse is already dreaming about my future projects...for after Telomere Trilogy. I'm holding her back with a whip and can of hairspray (couldn't find my mace). We'll see how long it works.

OH! A little odd ball news. I'm not sure what it means because I haven't really given it much time or thought but I ran across my Free Reads on Barnes and Nobles. I forgot Smashwords will publish to all the various sites. Any-who, I found them and was surprised at the rankings. Out of all the books on that huge site, Maka's Quest has a Sales Rank of 11,364 and Butterfly Cocoon a sales rank of 12,714. This prompted me to check my dashboard on Smashwords and found that several hundreds people have downloaded my Free Reads . At an average of 6 people per day! That was pretty exciting to me...hence the exclamation mark in the previous sentence. Now I just wish a couple of those readers would leave a comment or a review. I love to hear from people how they like or dislike my work.

So, those are my updates. What are you all working on?

Good writing and reading all!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Interpreters of Humankind

Life experiences shape my writing, as it probably does you other writers out there. Looking back on my journey to publication and looking ahead at (what I hope) is the start of a successful career, I find myself nostalgic over the journey to this point. I wonder periodically what would have happened had I been a success at the start of my adult life.

Truthfully? I don’t think that I would’ve gained the life experience to create the characters and stories I have now. Looking back at my writing from those long ago days, I see what I couldn’t see before…a lack of depth and understanding of the world around me.

During this case of nostalgia I’m thinking back on some of the key life moments that shaped me and my outlook the most. As you can imagine, as a married mother of 4 there have been quite a few. However, a few key ones stand out for me:

There was the first homeless person I recognized as being homeless when I was a child. Seeing the markings and emotional scars from a life struggling to survive and the embarrassment and shame etched into his eyes.

There was seeing my husband for the first time and knowing love at first sight did exist…and no matter how corny and cliche, someone could have their breath taken away.

There was the moment I looked down at my first born. I saw for the first time the perfection one could be blessed with and the truth behind humankind’s otherness from all other species in this world.

And without a doubt, there was the pain in that wife’s eyes as I stood by her side in intensive care many years ago as she watched her husband pass on. Comforting during this woman’s experience of loss not only of her loved one but a shared life they had together and the confusion of what she would do the rest of her own days without him.

Yes, there’s something to be said for the trials and tribulations to authorship. Writers must struggle because they are one of the groups of interpreters for humankind. By that definition they have to see the world in all its levels to truly interpret it. I have to say, I’ve loved the side journey’s my life has taken and the wealth of moments it has put into my life jar.

For my writer buddies, what life experiences affected your writing the most?

For my reader buddies, what passage in a book most affected your outlook on life?

Good writing and reading all!