Wednesday, August 28, 2013

10 Follow-Up Questions with Everville Author Roy Huff (@EvervilleFans)



This Author Spotlight features
10 Follow-up Questions
with
Everville author

Roy Huff
for








This week we have a return visit from Roy Huff, author of Amazon's #1 international bestselling epic fantasy novel, Everville: The First Pillar as well as the newly released Everville: The City of Worms. These are the first installments in the remarkable Everville series which combines elements of epic fantasy and young adult fiction in a form that nearly anyone will enjoy reading, young or old.

Roy is a man of many interests including but not limited to science, traveling, movies, the outdoors, and of course writing teen and young adult fantasy fiction. He holds five degrees in four separate disciplines including liberal arts, history, secondary science education, and geoscience. Roy Huff's background includes work in art, history, education, business, real-estate, economics, geoscience, and satellite meteorology. He was born on the East Coast but has spent more than half his life in Hawaii, where he currently resides and writes his epic fantasy sagas.


1. This is a follow-up interview, but for people who are not already familiar with your work, tell us what kind of books you write and what readers should expect from your stories, and what is your latest novel Everville: The City of Worms about?

Well, the second volume in the Everville series starts from where the first book left off. Owen sage and his friends must resolve a lingering issue and a darkness that is redoubling its efforts to take over Everville and the earthly realm. More races of creatures are introduced, and lingering mysteries are being uncovered. I don’t want to give too much away, but fans of Everville: The First Pillar should like where the second book is headed.

2. What was the duration of the writing process for City of Worms?

I wrote the first 15 pages in 5 months and the last 185 pages in 14 days.

3. When Everville is adapted to film, and the producers ask for your dream cast, what will you say?

Peter Jackson for the director hands down. Jennifer Lawrence would be a good female character. John Malkovich and Ed Norton would be good characters for some of the older male characters in the story, and I would like an unknown actor to play Owen Sage.

4. Stephen King often makes a cameo in films adapted from his work. Stan Lee is also enjoying doing so these days. What supporting role would you like to play in the film adaptation of Everville?

Dante’s Uncle Jack might be a good character for me to play as a cameo.

5. For a writer, word of mouth is everything. What was the last book you read that you enjoyed so much that you wanted to share it with everyone you know?

I read more non fiction than fiction, but as far as fiction goes, The Tale of Genji was the last fiction book that made me want to talk to other people about it.

6. As of this writing, the trend in publishing is toward series novels as opposed to stand-alone books. Is Everville part of a series? If so, where do you see the story going (ie how many books in the series)? If not, do you have a series you’ve written or plan to write, and if so, what is it? And if not, good for you. The squeaky wheel gets the grease!

Yes. Everville: The City of Worms is the second in a seven or eight part series.

7. Saul Bellow said “You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.” Where do ideas for your books come from, and where are you and what are you typically doing when inspiration strikes?

I get inspired at all times from many different things. I think I often get most inspired when I have been writing for 10+ pages in a day and then walk away and let those pages sit for a few hours.

8. Brett Easton Ellis once said, “Do not write a novel for praise. Write for yourself; work out between you and your pen the things that intrigue you.” Indie publishing phenom Amanda Hocking has said that it messed with her head a bit when she realized so many people were going to read the books she’s now writing. Now that Everville: The First Pillar is rapidly gaining recognition in the publishing world, has an established fan base anticipating Roy Huff’s next novel, and is being talked about in the highly-reverent third person, will reader expectation influence how and/or what he writes? Or will he hold to Ellis’ suggestion?

It’s hard not to be influenced by what is happening around you, but I think the best thing to do is to just keep writing. Once you get in the zone, everything else around you just falls away.

9. The world of Indie authors is the new slush pile. What are you going to say/do when a traditional New York publisher and/or agent contacts you and asks for a meeting?

I’d be happy to sit down for a meeting.

10. Someone once said, and it may have been my dad, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Where do you want your writing career to be in five years’ time?

I expect to be finished with this series, and be working on another. I also hope to have finished a few single books in the fantasy or sci-fi genre.

Finally, because no artistic endeavor is a solo flight, would you care to share the names and contact info for your supporting players, namely your cover designer, editor, proofreader(s), research assistants, hairdresser, dog groomer, chauffeur, maid, butler, etc?

Damon is the best cover artist hands down. I want to thank my good friend and fellow author Ann Pearlman for her support, as well as all the other friends and family who supported me during both books in the series.


Thanks, Roy. Congratulations on the series and on its success. I'm looking forward to seeing the next installment.

Be sure to pick up a copy of both *Everville books via the links below:
(*Everville: The First Pillar is FREE!)

               

Saturday, August 17, 2013

10 Follow-Up Questions with Amazon Bestselling Thriller Writer Douglas Wickard (@DouglasWickard)



This Author Spotlight
features a follow-up
interview with

Douglas Wickard

author of



I'm pleased to welcome once again Douglas Wickard, author of A PERFECT SETUP and A PERFECT HUSBAND. (You may read the interview for Douglas's debut novel A Perfect Husband HERE.)

Let's get right to it!


1. This is a follow-up interview, but for people who are not already familiar with your work, tell us what kind of books you write and what readers should expect from your stories, and what is your latest novel A PERFECT SETUP about?

I write psychological thrillers, suspense novels. Readers can expect a quick-paced, turning-of-the- pages, can’t put down until it’s finished sort of read. I particularly enjoy getting inside the heads of my characters so the readers can expect twisted personalities. Oh, and I also push the envelope, so my novels are not for the faint of heart. A PERFECT SETUP is the sequel to A PERFECT HUSBAND. It takes place in New York City. Sami returns from her near death experience with a serial killer at the country house and settles into a fifth floor condominium on the Upper West Side.

2. What was the duration of the writing process for A PERFECT SETUP?


That depends. When I’m working on the first draft, I let my imagination wonder. I never plot out anything, so the initial creative process usually takes around three months. I go to the end. The rewriting process takes all the time. For A PERFECT SETUP, the rewriting took six months.

3. When A PERFECT SETUP is adapted to film, and the producers ask for your dream cast, what will you say?

The current list of actors changes so frequently from hot to not hot, I don’t really think about it. I initially wrote the Sami Saxton character with Diane Lane in mind. She has all the characteristics I envisioned when I created her. Vulnerable, able, strong-willed, determined, yet flawed.
4. Stephen King often makes a cameo in films adapted from his work. Stan Lee is also enjoying doing so these days. What supporting role would you like to play in the film adaptation of A PERFECT SETUP?

I’m better on the sidelines. I don’t have any fantasies of being in the limelight.

5. For a writer, word of mouth is everything. What was the last book you read that you enjoyed so much that you wanted to share it with everyone you know?

Phillip Roth’s PORTNOY’S COMPLAINT. What an amazing author. I’m reading three of his novels now.

6. As of this writing, the trend in publishing is toward series novels as opposed to stand-alone books. Is A PERFECT SETUP a part of a series? If so, where do you see the story going (ie how many books in the series)? If not, do you have a series you’ve written or plan to write, and if so, what is it? And if not, good for you. The squeaky wheel gets the grease!

Yes, APS is the second in the PERFECT series. Readers can expect a few more Sami outings before she retires. I am going to start rewrites on a book I finished last year called ENCOUNTER which will also be a series revolving around a detective named Dan Hammer from Charleston, South Carolina.

7. Saul Bellow said “You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.” Where do ideas for your books come from, and where are you and what are you typically doing when inspiration strikes?

My crazy imagination, newspapers, articles in magazines. My inspiration hits me usually while I’m in the bathtub with a glass of wine. For some reason all kinds of ideas begin formulating while submerged under hot water. The next book I plan to write came to me from a New York Times article. Its working title is called DEVIL MAY CARE.

8. Brett Easton Ellis once said, “Do not write a novel for praise. Write for yourself; work out between you and your pen the things that intrigue you.” Indie publishing phenom Amanda Hocking has said that it messed with her head a bit when she realized so many people were going to read the books she’s now writing. Now that Douglas Wickard is rapidly gaining recognition in the publishing world, has an established fan base anticipating his next novel, and is being talked about in the highly-reverent third person, will reader expectation influence how and/or what he writes? Or will he hold to Ellis’ suggestion?

I’m an artist. I work out everything in my writing and as much as I would love to say I don’t write for praise, of course I do. We all do, I’m sure even Brett Easton Ellis does, who I happen to be a huge fan of. Nobody is an island. I write what I choose to write. I don’t buffer my voice. I don’t take safe chances. I don’t try to write the next hit, although wouldn’t we all love that. I write because it is my voice, cultivated and true, warts and all. I’m not an imitator. I want my stories to pulse with life, sex, conflict and drama.

9. The world of Indie authors is the new slush pile. What are you going to say/do when a traditional New York publisher and/or agent contacts you and asks for a meeting?

I’ll cross that bridge when it arrives.

10. Someone once said, and it may have been my dad, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Where do you want your writing career to be in five years’ time?

Why not aim for the top. A PERFECT HUSBAND became an Amazon Kindle bestseller. Why not strive for the New York Times?

Finally, because no artistic endeavor is a solo flight, would you care to share the names and contact info for your supporting players, namely your cover designer, editor, proofreader(s), research assistants, hairdresser, dog groomer, chauffeur, maid, butler, etc?

My current cover designer is the talented Maddee James. XUNI.com. She designed my web page also. My current editor is BZHercules. I have a group of beta readers who I trust the first draft with, of which many drafts follow so I have to thank them as well. Karen Needles, Lynn Hill, LaDonna Perry, Helen White, Tori Klein, Penelope Childs.

Thanks, Douglas. The new book looks great. I'm sure it'll be as well received as your first book.

Visit Douglas's website DouglasWickardBooks.com and be sure to grab a copy of A Perfect Setup today!

         

Thursday, August 15, 2013

10 Questions with International Bestseller/SciFi Writer Jeff Carlson (@authorjcarlson)



This Author Spotlight
features

Jeff Carlson

author of




Jeff Carlson is the international bestselling author of Interrupt, Plague Year, and The Frozen Sky. To date, his writing has been translated into sixteen languages worldwide.

I had the pleasure of reading The Frozen Sky, about an international team of scientists who discovers something incredible on Io.

I'm pleased to welcome Jeff this week to discuss his latest novel Interrupt.

1. How did you get into writing and why do you write?
My father and my grandfather on my mother’s side were both heavy readers and especially interested in science fiction. In fact, my grandfather’s library included autographed copies of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation trilogy.

That means I grew up reading high concept, mind-croggling writers like Heinlein, Niven & Pournelle, Haldeman, Varley, you name it. As I grew older, I also discovered more literary blockbusters such as Michener and Auel, then more commercial madmen like King and Koontz.

Eventually I wanted to play, too. I wrote my first novel when I was thirteen. It was bad -- I mean it was atrocious -- but I enjoyed the work.

For me, writing is like playing an extremely good game of chess except to say that I’m not only the good guys and the bad guys, I’m also the chess board. Building worlds is involving and exciting and fun.

2. What do you like best and least about writing?
The best is when the words are flowing well or when a new revelation strikes. (“My God!” Jeff shouts to himself in his office. “What if she was actually the villian!?!”)

The worst is the waiting. The wheels in writing and publishing turn at glaaaaaaacial speeds. You can get old fast in this business, which means it’s always a pleasure to near the end of a project or to finally reach the book’s release day.

The main thing is to enjoy the process itself. Writers are crazy. The job description is sitting alone in a room listening to the voices in your head. It demands patience and persistence.

3. What is your writing process, i.e., do you outline? Do you stick to a daily word or page count, write 7 days a week, etc?
Keeping in mind that I’m a family man and we’re not exactly in the tax bracket where we employ maids, gardeners, cooks, and chauffers, I write 5 days a week for as many hours as possible. I’m also juggling all of those other jobs. We’re really, really busy. So my personal goal is six pages a day. Occasionally I achieve more. Often I achieve less. No question there are many writers who are more prolific, but I’m also engaged in real life outside my office.

As for outlining, I usually have several high points or scenes in mind for any given project. I move the story toward those high points, but I hate to outline because part of my motivation is finding out what happens next. If I’ve already worked out every little detail, then I’m just connecting the dots. It lessens my excitement.

4. Who are some other writers you read and admire, regardless of whether they are commercially “successful?”
Joel Shepherd writes killer high tech sf. Robert Crais and Nelson DeMille rank among my favorite suspense writers. It won’t surprise anyone that I also enjoy James Rollins and Preston & Child thrillers. Those guys are nuts!

5. Should the question mark in the previous question be inside or outside the quotes?
Outside, you fool. HA!

6. What’s your stance on the Oxford Comma?
I’ve reluctantly grown to love it as should every writer, reader, and editor…


7. What is Interrupt about and how did it come to fruition?
The book is loosely based on a short story I wrote in 2002. Of course the short story was compact. It had loose threads galore. I just needed more parts of the puzzle, and I’m one of those guys who squirrels away interesting articles wherever I find ‘em, magazines, newspapers, web sites. Years later, the rest of the puzzle fell into place for me. Then I sat down and worked through it. Eventually I realized I had an epic disaster novel on my hands.

Here’s the back jacket copy:

“Riveting.” —Scott Sigler
“Edgy and exciting.” —Bob Mayer

In the distant past, the leader of a Neanderthal tribe
confronts the end of his kind. Today, a computational biologist,
a Navy pilot, and an autistic boy are drawn together by the
ancient mystery that gave rise to Homo sapiens.

Planes are falling from the sky. Global communications have ceased.
America stands on the brink of war with China — but war is the least
of humankind’s concerns. As solar storms destroy Earth’s electronics
and plunge the world into another Ice Age, our civilization finds
itself overrun by a powerful new species of man…

8. What’s your current writing project?
A sequel to The Frozen Sky.

9. What book(s) are you currently reading?
Gideon’s Corpse by Preston & Child, Half Way Home by Hugh Howey, plus an awesomely subversive nonfiction book called Everything Bad Is Good For You by Steven Johnson.

10. Who or what inspires your writing?
People ask me where I get my crazy ideas, to which I can only reply, “Everywhere.” Imagine what your great-grandparents would think if they found themselves walking down the street with handheld gadgets that allow them to connect instantly with anyone on the planet. We’re surrounded by real miracles in nanotech, robotics, deep-space astronomy, medicine, weapons technology. This morning’s news reads like a Philip K. Dick novel.

We live in an interesting world! That makes it an especially good time to be a writer.

Finally, is there anything you’d care to add? Please also include where people can read your published stories, buy your book, etc.

Books are available wherever books are sold, including at the links below.
Interrupt                       Plague Year              The Frozen Sky
          

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

10 Questions with Writer Shane Peacock (@Shane_Author)



This Author Spotlight
features

Shane Peacock

author of


I'm pleased to welcome a talented and internationally-acclaimed writer for this week's interview: Shane Peacock.

Shane Peacock is a novelist, playwright, journalist, and television screenwriter. His first book was a biography of the spectacular Canadian personality, “The Great Farini,”; his plays have been produced by the acclaimed 4th Line Theatre; his documentaries have included “Team Spirit,” aired on the CTV national network, and among his novels is “Last Message,” a contribution to the groundbreaking “Seven” series for young readers. His best-selling series for Young Adults, “The Boy Sherlock Holmes,” has been published in ten countries in twelve languages and has found its way onto more than fifty shortlists. It won the prestigious Violet Downey Award, The Arthur Ellis Award for crime fiction, the Ruth & Sylvia Schwartz Award, and The Libris Award, has three times been nominated for the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award, and each novel in the series was named a Junior Library Guild of America Premier Selection.

1.How did you get into writing and why do you write?

I often tell audiences that I became a writer because I didn’t want to have a job. I’m mostly kidding when I say that, of course, since I’ve learned over the years that writing is a very hard job, but in some ways I am telling the truth. Writing isn’t a job like a lawyer’s or a teacher’s or most any other. What writers do, or at least what I try to do when I write, is to tell the truth about life as I see it. I live my life, explore life in general, and then create stories that address what I think that life is all about. Also, when I was young I was desperate to have my say. Maybe it was the middle child thing! Writing gives me a voice.

2.What do you like best (or least) about writing?

I like the period when I am being the most creative, which is usually when an idea is coming to me and I am beginning to develop it in my head. You can feel the characters coming alive, the story evolving, the subtext saying something, and when it is working, all of those things are coming together and it all feels kind of magical.

3.What is your writing process? IE do you outline? Do you stick to a daily word or page count, write 7 days a week, etc?

My writing process has changed over the years. I used to simply start with what I felt was an exciting and meaningful idea and begin to write. I’d let the story work itself out as I wrote it, only sticking to the story’s meaning and the basic plot line. I seldom knew what was going to happen at the end. Then, a few books into my career, I was offered a very nice four-book contract. But the publisher needed to know a great deal about each novel before they signed off. So, I developed each story fairly thoroughly and went from there. That seemed to work even better than my earlier, less structured approach. Now, I use a hybrid. I like to develop my novels in some detail ahead of time but always leave myself open to sharp turns and twists, sudden changes in the story’s plan. I believe that if your story is too pre-meditated, your reader will sense that. I often say to young writers that the most important person to surprise in a novel is not the reader, but yourself. So, make your characters and your story come alive and see where it takes you, within the general plan of your novel.

I write pretty well every day of the week, the month and the year! I don’t usually have a word or page count, but when a deadline is looming, I sometimes have to force myself onto a strict schedule of daily accomplishment.

4.Who are some other writers you read and admire, regardless of whether they are commercially “successful?”

I tend to like the biggies, the really biggies. My favorite writers, without question, are Dickens and Shakespeare. You just can’t beat them. Melville also had a great influence on me in school, as did Faulkner, though over the years, I’ve had some more unusual favorites, like Nathaniel West. Yes, I like the old guys! In terms of slightly more current authors, I’m a big John Irving fan, must be the Dickens in me!

5.Should the question mark in the above question be inside or outside the quotes?

I’m an inside guy on that one.

6.What’s your stance on the Oxford Comma?

I’m for it! I’m for all sorts of, commas, everywhere! I use them with reckless abandon. It’s probably the control freak in me. I love to read out loud, from both my work and others. I like to create the right rhythm in my work and find the proper one in others. I re-read my work constantly as I’m writing it, re-reading great sections every day before I begin, building up to the moment when I start in again. It just HAS to sound right, and commas help to get you there.

7.What is your book about and how did it come to fruition?

My latest novel is the last one in the Becoming Holmes: The Boy Sherlock Holmes, His Final Case. The thing about writing about Holmes as a youth is that everyone knows what happens to him – he grows up to be the legendary detective. So, everyone knows what happens! And so, I had to create some real surprises in my final Boy Sherlock book. I think I accomplished that. The moment when the villain is identified, for example, is pretty shocking. This last book is pretty dark, but I think that’s fitting since Sherlock Holmes is a rather dark character and I didn’t want to make him shallow or a caricature in any way. I wanted him to be THE guy, very real and gritty, working his magic in the dark world of Victorian London.

8.What’s your current writing project?

I have two. One is the sequel to “Last Message,” which was my contribution to the groundbreaking “Seven, the Series,” from Orca Books. This series is a group of seven novels written by seven different, acclaimed authors, all dealing with a grandfather who, in his will, asked his seven grandsons to complete his bucket list, sending them off on seven daring adventures. My sequel has a kind of James Bond feel to it. That novel will be out in the fall of 2014.

My other project is the first in a trilogy for Tundra Books … and I can’t say too much about it, other than that it is set in very late Victorian England and the bleak moors of Scotland, and has a sort of horror story feel to it, a kind of Wilkie Collins, Edgar Allan Poe, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker kind of thing to it! Wow, sounds good!



9.What book(s) are you currently reading?

I am on an Edgar Allan Poe kick and I’m just finishing reading his biography and entire oeuvre. Amazing stuff! What an incredible imagination, perhaps unmatched. I can’t believe, re-reading these works, how much Conan Doyle stole from him in his creation of Sherlock Holmes. Poe wasn’t just a horror story writer either – he was a great poet and one of the first and most important literary critics in history. Few writers have been so accomplished in all three categories of prose, poetry and criticism. And, man, what a spooky death, awfully fitting, I must say.

10.Who or what inspires your writing?

My father used to tell me frequent bedtime stories and I only now realize how they lit me up. I learned to absolutely love stories. That’s at the core of my love of writing. Stories. We all love stories, every last one of us. If you are a human being, you love them. I think, also, we all want our lives to be stories, to have narrative, and we transfer that into our fascination with the stories of others’ lives, real or fictional. I also believe fervently in the importance of the imagination. It is what powers life.

Finally, is there anything you’d care to add? Please also include where people can read your published stories, buy your book, etc.

First of all, thanks for featuring me. Much appreciated.

People should be able to buy my novels at any reputable bookstore in North America, and in many other countries around the world, since the Boy Sherlock Holmes series is published in 12 languages in 10 countries and counting. They can also be ordered online just about everywhere on Amazon, and in Canada, where I live, on Chapters.ca

Look for the new series from Tundra next year, and the sequel to my novel in “Seven, The Series.”
You can check out my work and activities at my website at: www.shanepeacock.ca

I’m on Facebook too, and Twitter at Shane Peacock @Shane_Author

Thanks, Shane. Great to see your books are being enjoyed by people around the world. Best of luck on the two new projects.

Be sure to grab a copy of Becoming Holmes: The Boy Sherlock Holmes, His Final Case, check out Shane's website, and follow him on Twitter to stay up to date with his writing. And grab a copy of his book via the link below!






Friday, August 2, 2013

10 Questions with Novelist Pete Abela (@PeteAbela)


This Author Spotlight features novelist Pete Abela, author of WINGS (see above).




Pete is an author from the city of Wollongong, just south of Sydney in the state of New South Wales, Australia.

For most of his adult life, Pete has been a left-brained computer scientist whose love of reading eventually led him to take up writing. Having surprised himself and those around him by getting Wings published, he’s now having fun dreaming up marketing strategies and publicity stunts – tasks he never could have envisaged doing ten years ago. He continues to stretch the boundaries of his right hemisphere and is now working to complete a second novel.

His left brain hasn’t been totally neglected through this process. Pete works as an IT Manager in order to help keep his wife and four kids fed and clothed. When he’s not working, reading, writing or enjoying the company of his family, Pete likes to sneak away for a bit of exercise – either tennis, soccer or a laborious run.

1. How did you get into writing?

My writing journey began when I commenced a journal around ten years ago. I found it a useful and therapeutic practice which helped me make sense of day to day life and get a sense of perspective. I found it amazing when I read over my journal to see the things I’d been worried about six months ago. In most instances these “problems” had simply vanished.

I found that I enjoyed the process of writing, so I progressed from journaling to an autobiographical account of my late teens and early twenties. It hasn’t been published, and it’s unlikely that it ever will be.

When I finished that, I started thinking about what else I could write. Wings is the result.

2. What do you like best (or least) about writing?

The best thing about writing is when I get in the zone … when I don’t have to consciously think and the words just flow out.

The thing I like least is that I get in the zone so rarely. I think the last time it happened was 21st October, 2010. In between times there’s a lot of persistence required in order to churn out a decent work.

3. What is your writing process? IE do you outline? Do you stick to a daily word or page count, write 7 days a week, etc?

I’m now working on my 2nd and 3rd novels and each of the three has proceeded in the same way. They start with a burst of unconstrained energy where I just sit down and write. This continues until I get stuck (usually at around the 10,000 word mark). At this point I need to plan out the rest of the novel, scene by scene. Once the plan has been completed, I resume my writing and finish it off. Some part of the first 10,000 words is usually throwaway, and often it gets transformed in some way. However, I don’t regret it, because it is during those first 10,000 words - when I am flying by the seat of my pants – that I work out what the novel will be about.

When I have the plan worked out, I aim to complete around 700 words a day, six days a week.

I use Scrivener to help me organise and re-organise my work.

4. Who are some other writers you read and admire, regardless of whether they are commercially “successful?”

It’s hard to come up with a short list, but my physical book shelf is full of (in alphabetical order) Jeffrey Archer, Desmond Bagley, Bernard Cornwell, Michael Crichton, Dick Francis, John Grisham, Arthur Hailey, Louis L’Amour, Alistair McLean, JRR Tolkein and Jules Verne to name but a few. It’s a very full shelf.

I’ve recently acquired a kindle and am looking forward to venturing into new areas including Dickens and great new Indie authors.

5. Should the question mark in the above question be inside or outside the quotes?

I think it’s a moot point, because I wouldn’t have put quotation marks around the word successful.

6. What’s your stance on the Oxford Comma?

I don’t know if I should admit this, but I hadn’t heard the term ‘Oxford Comma’ before you asked me this question. Google and Wikipedia have come to my aid and I can now answer the question.

I do not use the Oxford Comma unless it is required to resolve an ambiguity.

7. What is your book WINGS about and how did it come to fruition?

WINGS tells the story of Walt and his grandson Scott, who both have a fierce longing to fly albeit in vastly different circumstances. Walt - who grew up in the depression - found out first hand that becoming a pilot takes sacrifice and tenacity. When World War II broke out he pestered the RAF for eighteen months before they finally accepted him.

Scott spent his childhood listening to tales of his Grandfather's aerial exploits and developed an intense craving to be a pilot. However, the number of people wanting to be a pilot vastly outweighs the limited opportunities on offer.

WINGS weaves together two tales: one set in war-torn northern England, and the other set in the modern-day Illawarra region of New South Wales. As Scott progresses, his grandfather declines – Walt loses his wife, his sight and his hearing – but throughout these difficulties is still there to offer support and encouragement. With insights into the modern aviation scene and life in the Royal Air Force of World War II, this is a must for anyone who has an interest in history, aviation or simply an old fashioned love story.

Although Wings is a novel, I did draw inspiration from two men I greatly admire. The first is my grandfather who was a fighter pilot during World War II; the other is my younger brother who is a commercial pilot with a major Australian airline.

I consider them both to have lived through fascinating, unusual and difficult circumstances and I thought I could use their experiences as the basis for this novel.

8. What’s your current writing project?

I’ve just finished the first draft of Just Cause, a novel about a new Dad who has to deal with the loss of his job and a life-threatening illness experienced by his infant son. I’m currently editing and polishing this.

I’m also about a third of the way through Lessons from a Two-year Old. It is about a thirty-year-old IT geek who lives at home with his parents. He gets roped into babysitting his two-year-old niece once a week. She's a pain and a challenge for him, but over time he watches her and learns lessons about independence, interacting with people and enjoyment of life generally which help him turn his life around (move away from home, change his work, try relationships, get fit, etc). He'll have a few misadventures along the way, but it should finish with a happy ending.

9. What book(s) are you currently reading?

Julian by Gore Vidal. It’s a diary of the fourth century Roman leader and is engaging from the point of view of the story and fascinating from a historical perspective.

One of the next books I’m planning on reading is the GO-KIDS series. I’ve been told it's aviation-themed, albeit in the near future; kind of a HARRY POTTER meets TOP GUN a la IRONMAN with a dash of THIS PRESENT DARKNESS sprinkled throughout.

10. Who or what inspires your writing?

The challenges we face on a day to day basis are many and varied. In trying to construct a meaningful life, we need to juggle love and career, family responsibilities and individual aspirations, joy and tragedy.

I write books grounded in reality which highlight some of these challenges and dilemmas and explore how people tackle them in different situations.

Finally, is there anything you’d care to add? Please also include where people can read your published stories, buy your book, etc.

The first chapter of WINGS can be downloaded from my website at http://peteabela.com/books. This page also has links to purchase it from the publisher ((http://www.reallybluebooks.com) and Amazon.

Your readers may also be interested in reading my blog, ‘Spread Your Wings’ at http://blog.peteabela.com which contains articles about some of the topics I’m most interested in including reading, writing, and techniques for setting goals and achieving them. You can find more about me at my website and blog (http://peteabela.com). The blog contains a number of really bad jokes. You have been warned.


Contacting Pete:
Twitter: @PeteAbela
Blog: http://blog.peteabela.com

10 Follow-up Questions with Bram Stoker Award-winning Horror Writer Benjamin Kane Ethridge (@bkethridge)




This Author Spotlight features the return of horror writer and Bram Stoker Award winner Benjamin Kane Ethridge, whose latest book DUNGEON BRAIN (Nightscape Press) is now available.

Benjamin is also the author of the novel BOTTLED ABYSS and BLACK & ORANGE (Bad Moon Books 2010), for which he won the coveted Bram Stoker Award.

For his master's thesis he wrote, "CAUSES OF UNEASE: The Rhetoric of Horror Fiction and Film." Available in an ivory tower near you. Benjamin lives in Southern California with his wife and two creatures who possess stunning resemblances to human children.

When he isn't writing, reading, or videogaming, Benjamin's defending California's waterways and sewers from pollution.





Welcome back!

1. This is a follow-up interview, but for people who are not already familiar with your work, tell us what kind of books you write and what readers should expect from your stories, and what is your latest novel DUNGEON BRAIN about?
I write horror, dark fantasy and science fiction stories. I won the Bram Stoker Award for my first novel BLACK & ORANGE and my second novel BOTTLED ABYSS has achieved some acclaim. My third novel DUNGEON BRAIN is starting to get into more people’s hands and I’m getting some great reviews. The story is dark science fiction, but for all those wary readers out there, I have to clarify that it isn’t Hard SciFi. The story revolves around a woman trapped in an abandoned hospital by a sadistic nurse. Within her mind, the woman has countless personalities stored, but she cannot recall her own personality. It turns out the nurse is drugging her, robbing her of her memory and a unique ability she has yet to realize. After struggling with set-backs, losing her memory again and again, the woman develops a plan to escape her hospital room and the nurse. What she finds out in the world, however, might be even worse…

2. What was the duration of the writing process for DUNGEON BRAIN?
I think I wrote it in about three months. Edited three months. Then I sent it to my beta reader and also to a professional editor, since I wanted to be sure it made sense—as there are some out-there concepts in the novel.

3. When DUNGEON BRAIN is adapted to film, and the producers ask for your dream cast, what will you say?
I really don’t know. I’m not up with the names of newer actors and actresses. I would choose acting ability over appearance though.

4. Stephen King often makes a cameo in films adapted from his work. Stan Lee is also enjoying doing so these days. What supporting role would you like to play in the film adaptation of DUNGEON BRAIN?
I would like to be one of the towering Rotviq aliens. It would have to be a really big rubber suit though. Maybe I can play a baby Rotviq.

5. For a writer, word of mouth is everything. What was the last book you read that you enjoyed so much that you wanted to share it with everyone you know?
There’s been many. NERVES by John Palisano springs to mind. It’s a great, trippy, well written story that should be experienced by everyone with literary taste for their horror.

6. As of this writing, the trend in publishing is toward series novels as opposed to stand-alone books. Is DUNGEON BRAIN part of a series? If so, where do you see the story going (ie how many books in the series)? If not, do you have a series you’ve written or plan to write, and if so, what is it? And if not, good for you. The squeaky wheel gets the grease!
I’m involved already in two series. My BLACK & ORANGE series will make up five books when it is completed. NIGHTMARE BALLAD, coming in February 2013, is the first of a trilogy. DUNGEON BRAIN was originally intended for one book. I’ve got an idea about how to do a second novel though. I’m not sure I’d want to do a third, but the idea I have for the second is pretty nuts, so I like it already. Ha!

7. Saul Bellow said “You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.” Where do ideas for your books come from, and where are you and what are you typically doing when inspiration strikes?
I don’t look for inspiration anymore. I just jump into the lake and hope an eel bites me. Some days I swim for a long time with no results. Others, I’ve hardly adjusted to the water’s coldness and I’m being attacked from all sides. The ideas come to you. You can never go to them. That’s what I always try to keep in mind.

8. Brett Easton Ellis once said, “Do not write a novel for praise. Write for yourself; work out between you and your pen the things that intrigue you.” Indie publishing phenom Amanda Hocking has said that it messed with her head a bit when she realized so many people were going to read the books she’s now writing. Now that Benjamin Kane Ethridge is rapidly gaining recognition in the publishing world, has an established fan base anticipating his next novel, and is being talked about in the highly-reverent third person, will reader expectation influence how and/or what he writes? Or will he hold to Ellis’ suggestion?
Most writers write for readers, and their intention is to entertain or inform, in the best possible way, which would by most accounts derive praise. So I think the great Brett Ellis might be a little too taken with the concept of artistic self love. I adored everything I wrote in middle school and high school, but after cherishing a box of printer paper, I began wanting to share it. Now, if Ellis is talking about focusing on writing rather than focusing on being “good” then I agree with him. Your question brings me to a central conclusion though. You have to keep your readers happy, but you must also resolve to write the book you want to write—otherwise, it will be fake.

9. The world of Indie authors is the new slush pile. What are you going to say/do when a traditional New York publisher and/or agent contacts you and asks for a meeting?
Why did you take so long? hehe

10. Someone once said, and it may have been my dad, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Where do you want your writing career to be in five years’ time?
I want more visible mountain tops ahead of me. Striving for more keeps this business fresh. That’s why so many big names take on pseudonyms. They want that trek again. It’s gratifying. I’m still enjoying the battle toward the summit. I hope in five years to see many miles climbed, but also a healthy ascent before me.

Finally, because no artistic endeavor is a solo flight, would you care to share the names and contact info for your supporting players, namely your cover designer, editor, proofreader(s), research assistants, hairdresser, dog groomer, chauffer, maid, butler, etc?
Sure! And thanks for asking! Since we are talking DUNGEON BRAIN here, let me point to Nightscape Press. Editor and publishers Robert and Jennifer Wilson, and Mark Scioneaux. The cover artist and my good friend Gabriel Lopez. Anita Siraki for putting together a great blog tour, and I’d also like to give a shout out to RJ Cavender and Carl Alves for their first looks at the manuscript. Metallica, for supplying the music in my mind for the war scenes. Hairdresser— that would be me, the fine tooth comb and extra hold gel. Dog groomer—I have a short haired cat, and therefore grooming is unnecessary and possibly a deadly proposition. Chauffer—my wife, usually when I’ve drank too much. Maid—she wasn’t French so I sent her home. Butler—he didn’t look suspicious enough to me, so I sent him home as well.

Good stuff, Benjamin. Best of luck with DUNGEON BRAIN, and with the trek up the mountain. Let us know when your fame and fortune-based boredom spawn a pseudonym.

To read Benjamin's first Author Spotlight, click HERE.

10 Questions with Fitness Guru & Author Greta Boris (@fitnesinsideout)


This Author Spotlight is something a bit different than our typical weekly fare. We are now in the middle of March. In other words, more than three months into the new year. Experts say that 103% percent of Americans make "Losing Weight" their New Year's Resolution.

Actually, I don't know what the percentage is, nor can I be bothered to go dig it up. The point is that a LARGE number of people feel they themselves are too large and want to be leaner, fitter, and healthier.

To that end, this week we are going to chat with fitness expert and author Greta Boris.


Greta Boris is the author of The Wine and Chocolate Workout - Eat, Drink and Lose Weight and the editor of the inbox magazine, Vanity Network. She worked in the fitness industry for close to 20 years as a personal trainer, weight management coach, and the Health and Wellness Director for a YMCA. She now writes to inspire her readers toward a healthier and happier life.


1. How did you get into writing?
My father was an editor for Harcourt Brace Jovanovich when I was growing up, so books and magazines were a constant in my home. Every school paper I ever wrote had to go through the red pencil scrutiny before it was delivered. It was a given that I'd major in English in college. That degree got derailed, but I did end up working for several magazines and was infected by the publishing bug before I started my family.

I became a personal trainer and weight management consultant while my children were small. I taught some group health and wellness classes. My clients were the ones that requested I write a book.

I responded with The Wine and Chocolate Workout - Eat, Drink and Lose Weight. My love for writing and publishing was reborn in the process and I'm now working toward a second career writing, publishing, and speaking.

2. What do you like best (or least) about writing?
I enjoy the brainstorming, the planning, the research, and the creative aspects of writing. I absolutely love having a finished product with my name on it, either published online or in print.

Where I tend to bog down is in the revision process. When I'm done with something, I'm ready to move on to the next idea. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. Revision is really one of the most important and time consuming aspects of being a writer.

3. What is your writing process? IE do you outline? Do you stick to a daily word or page count, write 7 days a week, etc?
I write every day but since I publish a health and happiness blog at Fitness Inside Out, an inbox magazine, Vanity Network Magazine - Inspiring Women, and I'm working on my first novel, much of my schedule is determined by deadlines.

4. Who are some other writers you read and admire, regardless of whether they are commercially “successful?”
I love thrillers, mysteries, gothic novels and things with a little supernatural twist. That covers a lot of territory. I read everything from C.J. Box mysteries, to Douglas Preston and Lee Childs, to the Harry Potter books. My favorite author is always the one I'm currently reading. The author I most want to meet when I get to heaven is C.S. Lewis.

5. Should the question mark in the above question be inside or outside the quotes?
Inside, of course!

6. What’s your stance on the Oxford Comma?
I'm ambivalent, or maybe schizophrenic, sometimes I use it sometimes I don't.

7. What is your book The Wine and Chocolate Workout - Eat, Drink and Lose Weight about and how did it come to fruition?
As mentioned earlier, I was teaching group weight loss classes and my clients began clamoring for a book. This put the idea in my mind. I have spent a lot of time in the fitness industry and saw a hole in the available material on the topic. This is hard to believe, I know, with the complete flood of celebrity and doctor weight loss books out there. It almost seems arrogant to say it.

What I discovered, however, was that there isn't much that is realistic available. Most books about weight loss promote one method and promise that it will work for everyone. This makes the reader the problem if they aren't successful. My approach is completely the opposite. There isn't one method and success is subjective. The most important thing is that you enjoy life, hence the wine and chocolate.

I believe fitness should be a process of discovery about what makes you tick, your personal likes, dislikes, and hang ups. Too often it is preached in a legalistic manner that leaves most people feeling defeated.

8. What’s your current writing project?
I embarked on my first attempt at fiction writing since college with NaNoWRiMo this past October. I'm really excited about the project. The story is about a woman who is going through a midlife, career change and has an accident that forever alters her outlook on life. It has some thriller and supernatural elements but is also a very real look at human nature.

9. What book(s) are you currently reading?
I'm currently reading two self - help books, Jack Canfield's The Success Principals and Gail Blanke's Between Trapezes. I'm also reading a book by author friend, Katherine Sartori, The Chosen Shell and a fun read by David Liss called The Twelfth Enchantment.

10. Who or what inspires your writing?
I write to help. I've got that golden retriever personality. I'm never as happy as when I'm encouraging someone else to be or do something they didn't think that they could. My fitness writing has become more and more about happiness and perspective.

At the magazine, Vanity Network, I write stories about inspiring women. Those interviews are some of my favorite snapshots in time. Today, for instance, I interviewed an amputee triathlete whose story knocked my socks off. I can't wait to write it. I even love copywriting, if I believe in the product.

Finally, is there anything you’d care to add? Please also include where people can read your published stories, buy your book, etc.
I would love to connect with anyone who feels they need a dose of encouragement. They can find my book, The Wine and Chocolate Workout on Amazon. I've also recently added a free e-course to my website, How to be Fit | 30 Ways in 30 Days for People Over 30. And Vanity Network Magazine offers inspiration on health, beauty, and career and has some great stories about amazing women. Our plan is to turn the inspiring women stories into a book in 2014.

Thank you, Greta, for sharing this excellent, practical, no-nonsense guide to diet and fitness.

So there you have it: A perfectly acceptable means to get fitter, leaner, healthier, and happier, all while enjoying wine and chocolate.

Check out Greta's book and use it to re-invigorate your workouts and to jump start your fitness regimen in the event that it may have stalled. Swimsuit season is just around the corner, after all. If you get after it now, you can accomplish a lot, and can remake your physique in time for summer.

Greta's book can help you do it.

And then, once you've done it, her philosophy can help you maintain the body you've always wanted and for which you worked so hard.


You can find her at www.fitnessinsideoutoc.com, on Facebook at Fitness Inside Out and follow her on twitter at @fitnesinsideout.

Good luck!

10 Questions with SciFi Writer Drew Avera (@DrewAvera)


This week's Author Spotlight features science fiction writer Drew Avera. Drew's debut novel is Dead Planet: Exodus. (See above.)


Drew is an active duty Navy veteran who is also a self-published author. Dead Planet Book 1: EXODUS is available now in paperback and on Kindle. Drew lives in Virginia with his wife and two daughters.

1. How did you get into writing?
I am by nature a creative person and I was looking for an outlet for that creativity. I had considered writing a book since I was a teenager, but writing always seemed to be a challenge that I would not be able to complete.

Finally, after I turned 30, I decided that I would give it a go. I began writing a fantasy novel and after 12,000 words, I quit. The story was going nowhere fast and I was losing interest in the characters.

I found out about NaNoWriMo around the same time and the rule is that you can only begin writing on November 1 and you need to complete 50,000 words by the end of the 30-day event. This was the challenge that I was looking for, something to keep me accountable.

I began writing the book that became Dead Planet: Exodus on November 1, 2012. I finished the 50,000 words twenty days later, just in time to visit family for Thanksgiving.

An interesting fact is that the entire first draft was written on my iPhone.

2. What do you like best (or least) about writing?
I love the creativity of writing. I hate the labor of revision. But, you can’t have one without the other.

3. What is your writing process? IE do you outline? Do you stick to a daily word or page count, write 7 days a week, etc?
When I first started that fantasy novel that I put to the side, I did not outline. Also, I would write everything on paper and then type it out on my computer. I think this method attributed to my lack of motivation and the story ultimately going nowhere.

For Dead Planet I typed the first draft on my iPhone and used a very basic outline for each chapter. I did not stick to the outline exclusively so I would have to make changes here and there. I preferred this method of writing and recommend it to anyone else who likes to have a structure to follow, but also likes to be spontaneous.

4. Who are some other writers you read and admire, regardless of whether they are commercially “successful?”
I recently discovered the Indie Author movement (if you want to call it that). There is a lot of talent out there that needs to be found by readers. I will admit that I am a slow reader due to my schedule and trying to make time for writing, so I tend to read only a couple of books per month.

Some authors that really stand out to me as far as self-published authors go are Hugh Howey, Richard Stephenson, and Tony Ruggiero. Each of these guys have also provided me with some great advice on writing the story that I want to write. I am inspired by the community of indie authors that I’ve found and that means more to me than any one book on the subject.

5. Should the question mark in the above question be inside or outside the quotes?
I would say outside.

6. What’s your stance on the Oxford Comma?
I had to do a Google search to even know what that is (when I read another interview you did with an author); once I found out what it was I began incorporating it. I will say when it doubt use the Oxford Comma.

7. What is your book Dead Planet: Exodus about and how did it come to fruition?
I needed a story to plot before NaNoWriMo 2012 and this was the best idea I came up with. It is about a future where Mars is inhabited and is controlled by a one-world government called the Syndicate. They control everything from education, health care, the economy, and even the population. Their primary goal is profits and power. The Agency is the company that trains policemen and which is controlled by the Syndicate. The policemen are political assassins and are used to kill anyone with a hit placed on their head. The main character Serus is a policeman and he discovers that a hit is placed on his sister. The story follows his efforts to save her as the world they know comes crashing down around them.

8. What’s your current writing project?
The sequel to Dead Planet: Exodus. I’m about 11 chapters in right now.

9. What book(s) are you currently reading?
Coven by Tony Ruggiero.

10. Who or what inspires your writing?
I like conflict and plot twists so I try to put those elements into the story. I get inspiration from everywhere, music, television, books, etc. I will admit that I was listening to a lot of Chevelle during the revision process.

Finally, is there anything you’d care to add? Please also include where people can read your published stories, buy your book, etc.
I just hope that anyone who reads my book enjoys it and will share it with their friends. I can be found on facebook and twitter.
Also, my book can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00C1KP6SS

Thank you for the interview, good luck in your future endeavors.

Thank you, Drew, for sharing your novel with us. I like the premise. Puts me in mind of something Phil Dick might have written.

Be sure to let us know when the Dead Planet: Exodus sequel is ready.

Grab your copy of Dead Planet: Exodus while the $0.99 bargain price lasts!

10 Questions with SciFi Writer Phillip Richards

This Author Spotlight features science fiction writer
Phillip Richards.


Phillip is the author of LANCEJACK (The Union Series).


The first book in The Union Series is C.R.O.W.

           



Tell us about yourself, Phillip.

I joined the army at the age of seventeen after pretty much dropping out of college. Let’s just say I didn’t do very well on my mock exams! Funnily enough, though, it actually worked out alright for me in the end. I’ve been in the army for 12 years, and have completed several tours in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. I'm now a sergeant, having just returned from my most recent tour in Helmand. My job is a busy one, often involving long hours, but I still find the time to pursue my old childhood hobby, writing science fiction. I have recently had the honor of publishing my second ebook, LANCEJACK, and am already planning a third!

1. How did you get into writing?

I’ve enjoyed writing for nearly as long as I can remember, in fact I still have my first ever complete written story which I wrote when I was eight years old! I used to love writing short stories, mostly science fiction, although it was always a secretive affair. Don’t ask me why, but I hated people seeing my work, I only wrote for my own enjoyment. It was only in the last few years that I thought I would try to write a full novel, and even then the intention was never to attempt to publish it. I think it was my mum who persuaded me to do that, good old mum!

2. What do you like best (or least) about writing?

There is absolutely nothing I dislike about writing itself! If I didn’t love to do it then I would never have bothered! I love being able to allow my imagination to run wild, visualizing everything I write as though I were directing my own movie. It’s also wonderfully therapeutic, because it allows me to explore emotions and memories that sometimes stay locked away. Publishing my work and seeing people read and enjoy it has to be the icing on the cake, though. I never thought that my books would actually sell many copies, to be honest I was thrilled just to see my book on Amazon!

3. What is your writing process? IE do you outline? Do you stick to a daily word or page count, write 7 days a week, etc?

I wish I could write seven days a week! Alas, since I am a platoon sergeant I spend a huge amount of my time administrating my soldiers. It’s like being the father to thirty children, all of whom like to drink! Once I have my plot and characters mapped out I tend to write about five pages a day- when I’m free. To some writers that may sound pathetic, but believe me, in my line of work that’s a hardcore part time job!!

4. Who are some other writers you read and admire, regardless of whether they are commercially “successful?”

There are so many writers whose books I enjoy that I almost feel bad having to pick some out! Arthur C. Clarke and Terry Pratchett are the first names that spring to mind, both authors whose books I have read repeatedly over the years. I’m presently enjoying the Roman books by Simon Scarrow, a series that I have almost finished in less than two months- he’s written quite a few! I like his books because he clearly has an enormous knowledge about the Roman era, and he uses that knowledge to create stories that are totally believable.

5. Should the question mark in the above question be inside or outside the quotes?

I’m not too sure if I’m stumbling into a trick question, but I’m pretty confident that it should be outside regardless! I think that I agree with the commas, though. Success- in my own opinion- is in creating a good quality piece of literature that people genuinely enjoy. Sometimes a book can sell well on its publicity, rather than by the quality of the work inside.

6. What’s your stance on the Oxford Comma?

Well, until I read that question I hadn’t a clue what it even was! I had to look it up on Google! I am most definitely behind the Oxford Comma, firstly because that’s how I have always written, and secondly because it most accurately reflects the way that I speak. I don’t have anything against the other camp, though! The individual way that an author writes is what creates his ‘voice’, and so if he chooses to speak with or without a serial comma then that is his decision!

7. What is your book LANCEJACK about and how did it come to fruition?

LANCEJACK is the second book in the Union Series and the sequel to C.R.O.W. The series follows a young soldier, Andy Moralee, who is enlisted into the Dropship Infantry, an elite unit trained for surface combat on other planets. Andy once again returns to New Earth, a planet ravaged by endless war, only to find that a new enemy threatens to overthrow the Union government.

Both books are influenced by my experiences within the army, altered to fit into a science fiction setting. The overarching theme, though, is that human conflict of any kind comes with terrible consequences. Because of this there are no aliens in my stories, and no ‘clean’ energy weapons. War is brutal, vicious and terrifying, and although I want my readers to enjoy my work, I want them to put my book down remembering just that.

8. What’s your current writing project?

The third installment of the Union Series, Eden. I’m still only at the design stage, but I’m already very excited about it. That’s all you’re getting for now, I’m afraid, I haven’t even decided the release date!

9. What book(s) are you currently reading?

When The Bough Breaks by Chris Nuttal. It’s military science fiction, like my own work. Got to check out my competition!

10. Who or what inspires your writing?

The Army! Parts of LANCEJACK are inspired by recent experiences in Africa, Iraq and even an exercise in Canada. The military doctrine and tactics are carefully revised and altered to encompass new weapon systems in a realistic manner. The Characters are not real, admittedly, but the way they behave, speak and interact with each other is as real as it gets. My advice is that if you don’t like the troopers in my book then for heaven’s sake, don’t join the infantry!!

Finally, is there anything you’d care to add? Please also include where people can read your published stories, buy your books, etc.

Yes, I would like to thank you for this interview! I would also like to thank all of those people who have bought and read any of my work, it is truly an honor to know that people out there appreciate what I do. Visit my website http://militarysciencefictionblog.blogspot.com/ for news, updates, and for the release of Eden!

Thanks, Phillip. That's impressive that you're writing and publishing novels while on active duty. Hat's off to you, brother. Stay safe and keep writing. Looking forward to Eden.

And thank you for your service.


Check out Phillip's books C.R.O.W. and LANCEJACK



10 Questions with SciFi Writer Thomas Manning (@thomasraymann)





This Author Spotlight features debut novelist
and science fiction writer

Thomas R. Manning

author of







Thomas R. Manning is an aspiring author from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Clarion University of Pennsylvania with a BFA degree in Musical Theatre and currently works as a Litigation Support Specialist at a law firm in the city. He’s a husband to a wonderful wife and a father to two amazing children. All Tom’s life he’s been fascinated with creativity and imagination, and hopes to bring his own to others with his first novel Energize (From the Logs of Daniel Quinn).


1.How did you get into writing and why do you write?

I got into writing because I love a good story. Whether  I’m watching TV, reading a book, or playing video games, I always get the most engaged when there’s a good story behind it. I love the plot twists, the character development, the revelations, etc.

I decided to write because I found that I have stories to tell. For years I’ve been building mental storyboards, characters, and scenes. Sometimes during the day my brain is literally on autopilot, brainstorming new ideas. So one day a few years ago I told myself that with all of these ideas, why not get into writing and see if I can create an engaging novel? It took a long time to finally decide on a story and character that I thought would be good enough to self-publish.

2.What do you like best (or least) about writing?

Seeing a story or even a character take shape and evolve throughout the process is amazing, just like a work of art. That’s definitely one of my favorite aspects. A runner up would be creating book titles. It might sound odd but I really enjoy coming up with book titles to my stories!

It’s tough to think of a definitive aspect I dislike about writing, but I think while the final read through and edits are necessary, they’re also tough. By this point I’ve read through my book so many times I could probably create an audiobook by memory. I know how the story goes and what happens in every chapter, but I still have to go through it one more time to make sure I caught everything. Hell, even now I’m paranoid I missed something!

3.What is your writing process? IE do you outline? Do you stick to a daily word or page count, write 7 days a week, etc?

After I come up with the character and the story, I tend to think of a good beginning, middle, and end. After that I write out an outline for myself to fill in the blanks. Once the story is set, I set a goal of 1,000 words a day, 7 days a week. It worked out really well for Energize and I look forward to trying to expand that goal for my second book!

4.Who are some other writers you read and admire, regardless of whether they are commercially “successful?”

There are so many authors I enjoy, but three top the list. George R.R. Martin had me hooked with his Ice and Fire series. Jim Butcher is an author who solidified my love for reading with his Dresden Files series, and Kevin Hearne is also wonderful. His Iron Druid Chronicles are fantastic!

5.Should the question mark in the above question be inside or outside the quotes?

It should definitely be on the “outside”. Why’s it inside anyway? It’s such a nice day out!

6.What’s your stance on the Oxford Comma?

I think it’s great, necessary at times, and overall a plus in my book! (See what I did there?)

7.What is your book Energize about and how did it come to fruition?

Energizeis about one man, Captain Daniel Quinn, who is a less-than-reputable mercenary. Inadvertently stumbling upon a secret onboard an enemy starship, he feels he can turn his luck around and gain riches from it. Little does he know it will get him into more trouble than he bargained for. Before you know it he’s running from people on the ground and in the stars, forced to explore a new, mysterious planet, and feuding with an assassin sent to watch over him.

Honestly, Energize was a culmination of a lot of ideas I had over the years. I created the Energize universe about three years ago when I first made an attempt to write science fiction. I ultimately abandoned that story and moved on to others. Eventually I found my way back to it, tuned it a bit, and migrated supporting characters from other story ideas I was working on. I think the final product turned out great!

8.What’s your current writing project?

My current project is the second book in the Daniel Quinn series. I’m just beginning to work on it now and should have it ready for a late fall release. After that I’m going to dive into an epic fantasy story I’ve been working on.

9.What book(s) are you currently reading?

Right now I’m reading Knightfall by Robert Jackson-Lawrence. I’m really enjoying it!

10.Who or what inspires your writing?

It’s tough to say. I like to think that I’ve been interested in storytelling all my life, from the moment I received my first action figures and gave them their own storylines. In college I would write song lyrics and plays, though none of them ever saw the light of day. A few years ago, about the time I read through a handful of Jim Butcher’s books, I started to seriously consider taking these story ideas floating around my head and putting them to paper. When I learned that self-publishing was starting to take off, I decided to give it a shot! Like the many great titles out there that I enjoy reading, I aspire to create rich and amazing stories filled with a great cast of characters. I’m excited to see where this path leads!

Finally, is there anything you’d care to add? Please also include where people can read your published stories, buy your book, etc.

First I want to thank you for this opportunity! I’m so excited for the future of my writing career! Anyone interested in Energize (From the Logs of Daniel Quinn) can order it on Amazon Kindle. I’m also happy to announce that a print version will be coming soon, so look out for that!

My main website is http://thomasrmanning.com where you can find information about me, my social network sites, and my books. There are also a couple short stories there that I had fun writing! Additionally you can venture to my blog at http://thomasraymann.wordpress.com to read book reviews, personal opinions, and more!

That's great, Thomas. Thank you for sharing Energize with us. It has a great cover and the story sounds equally fascinating. Best of luck with the sequel and come back when it's ready.

Be sure to visit Thomas's website and blog at the links above, and grab your copy of Energize from Amazon at the link below: