Books – Beacon News http://www.beacon-news.com News of the Net Wed, 27 May 2015 00:16:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.0.3 Interview With Author James Dorr http://www.beacon-news.com/interview-author-james-dorr/222639/ Tue, 05 Apr 2011 14:25:33 +0000 http://www.beacon-news.com/?p=2639 Author JAmes DorrTell us about what you have written. — I’m a short story writer and poet, working primarily in dark fantasy and horror with occasional excursions into science fiction and mystery, with work in magazines and anthologies from Aboriginal Science Fiction and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine to Xenophilia and The Yellow Bat Review.  I also have two collections published by Dark Regions Press, Strange Mistresses: Tales of Wonder and Romance and Darker Loves: Tales of Mystery and Regret, and a chapbook novella The Garden from Damnation Books.

Do you have a favorite thing that you’ve ever written? — Not really a single thing, although I do have a setting I’ve often come back to in some of my work, that of the “Tombs,” a vast necropolis and its environs on a far future, dying Earth.  A number of these stories have been published in various venues, including one in my Strange Mistresses collection and three in Darker Loves.  Also the Tombs may have a role in some future projects, but details at this point would be premature.

Do you have a favorite character that you write about? If so, who is it, what makes it your favorite and tell us about the character. — Again not really.  I have had characters who have appeared in more than one story, but usually my favorite character should be the one I’m writing about at the moment.  As noted above, I do have a series of stories linked by a common setting in which sometimes characters may be cross-referenced, but each individual story will still have its own unique personnel.   One exception, though, in poetry has been a jazzy vampiress named Annchuck who had her debut in a now out-of-print chapbook, Towers of Darkness, in Nocturnal Publications’ “Night Visions” series in the early 1990s, was seen again in a mini-poem cycle in Gothic.Net in 2002 (reprinted in Darker Loves), and has occasionally turned up since.

Almost every writer is inspired by someone else. Does anyone inspire you? — Let me count the ways…  Poe, Bradbury, Bertolt Brecht (including the idea of “epic theatre”), to name three major ones.  A host of others….

When did you start writing? — I didn’t really start writing until I was in college, starting with one or two pieces in a humor magazine where, at the time, I was also art editor.  Then in graduate school I also wrote and held editorial posts in an alternative newspaper and an arts weekly, from which I then went to a job as a technical writer and editor for an academic computing center and,  later, freelance writing on business, consumer, and real estate topics.  What fun!  Some time after that, though, I got a part-time lower-stress gig as assistant flunkie in an eye clinic which gave me the time to revisit the arts and stretch my wings with poetry and fiction.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever written? Why? — Real estate topics, maybe?  (Great for world building.)  I did write one story called “The Dripping Nose that Wouldn’t Wipe,” come to think of it, that might qualify.  It was published in the anthology Tooth Decay (Sonar4 Publications, 2009), edited by Tonia Brown.

Who drives the story, you or your characters? — This very much depends on the story.  I need to know where a story is going, at least more or less, and I then create characters who seem appropriate for what I think I want to do.  With luck at that point, though, I can get enough into the characters’ heads that in that sense they take the story over.  But, again, it depends on the story, some of which may be more plot oriented, some even with the greater emphasis on atmosphere or setting.

Who proofreads and critiques your work? — I do the proofing (after letting it rest a few days first), while I’m a member of a writer’s group that meets locally each month and often helps me work out larger kinks.

Where do you get your ideas? — Anywhere and everywhere — clawing and scratching.  Ideas come hard to me which is why, perhaps, some of my work may sometimes seem a little goofy.  These are ideas that a more gifted writer than me would throw out as unworthy, but, since I’m unsure of whether or when I’ll get another, I’ll try and wrestle the idea I have into some kind of story (cf. “The Dripping Nose,” above).

Where do you write? — At home usually.  I have one room set aside as an office and use a desk computer to write on.  Should ideas come when I’m away, though, I’ll scrawl them down on whatever paper I have in my pocket, envelopes, shopping lists….

When do you write – set times or as the mood moves you? — I’ve often done most of my first drafts on weekends (see below, on “writer’s block”), then use after work time during the week for editing/rewriting plus the business tasks of marketing, submitting, record keeping, etc.

 

If you could take a character from someone else’s book on a date, who would it be and where would you take him/her/it? — My wise-ass answer to this is Carmilla, from Sheridan Le Fanu’s novel, and to dinner.  She seems a very charming lady and, as long as I wear a high, stiff collar (she does have a title and formal dress would be de rigueur), she won’t eat much.

If you could invite any other writer to dinner who would you ask and why? —  Maybe Le Fanu, to act as my wing man?

Do you use the Internet to check facts, or the library? — Both.  The Internet is most valuable (it seems to me) for fact checking, for quick simple answers when I’m in the midst of a project.  For starting a project that will need research in some depth, however, or serendipitously getting ideas for new projects, I find the library (my own as well as the public library) still works best for me.

When you’re not writing, what do you like to do? — I play music (I’m leader and tenor in a Renaissance recorder consort); listen to jazz; play with the resident cat, Wednesday, whose tastes run to spiders; take walks and, at night, watch horror (and other) DVDs.

Do you ever have a problem with writer’s block? — Constantly, yes.  I’m a rather slow starter, I fidget, I procastinate.  But if I have a period of, say, four or more hours ahead of me so I can work until I get tired, plus some kind of idea (often notions I’ve scrawled down before on the back of an envelope or equivalent), I can usually get something going.  One example, answering these questions — I’ve just completed two other interviews in about the last week and I’m feeling a bit jaded — but, having picked one in the middle and ranging out back and forth from there I’m starting to get more into the swing of it.  Also, there’s no way I’m going to answer them all.

Who’s your favorite author (other than yourself)? Why? — Ultimately I suppose I’d have to say Edgar Allan Poe.  He covered everything, science fiction, fantasy, horror of course, even humor, not to mention poetry as well as pretty much inventing the detective story.  He was also an essayist and reviewer but, most of all, his influence on imaginative fiction has persisted even to this day.

What’s your favorite book (other than one of your own)? Why?The Complete Greek Tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides.  My set is in four volumes so I hope that isn’t cheating (they are put together in a slipcase though).  There’s so much in them that one could read and re-read for years and still come back to them — not to mention that they represent the earliest, and still among the best, literary horror.

What’s the last book, other than your own, that you read and really enjoyed? — In fiction I just completed a relatively new Ray Bradbury collection, A Pleasure to Burn, which is a sort of sourcebook of stories leading up to Fahrenheit 451, and even had some that I’d never read before.  For the very near future, I just received a copy of Allen Ginsberg’s Illuminated Poems, with art by Eric Drooker.

Some writers say that they have to write a certain amount of words every day. Do you do this? Why or why not? — No.  Because I’m an undisciplined slob.  (Exception, if I’m on a deadline, then I write the number of words the assignment requires.  That goes back more to my nonfiction writing days, though, than today.)  (Well, not literally today since, of course, this is nonfiction, but if it’s supposed to be on a deadline I’ve probably already missed it.)

Is there anything else you’d like to add? — I have a book of vampire and vampire-related poetry, Vamps (A Retrospective), that should be coming out later this spring or summer from Sam’s Dot Publications.  Illustrations will be by Marge Simon so, even if you don’t like poetry, buy it for the art.  I have a few other upcoming projects too, plus the normal submission/acceptance/rejection cycle of writing day-to-day, for which, along with general pimpage,  I invite readers to check out my site, tarry a bit, explore about, try out a lagniappe or two — free sample stories or poems that I post from time to time just for enjoyment — and comment or not as the spirit moves at

http://jamesdorrwriter.wordpress.com

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Interview With Author Laura J. Underwood http://www.beacon-news.com/interview-author-laura-underwood/222637/ Thu, 17 Feb 2011 19:54:51 +0000 http://www.beacon-news.com/?p=2637 Tell us about what you have written.

Do you really have THAT much space?  I started writing when I was in my teens, and sold my first article to Fate Magazine at 18.  From there, I wrote articles on horses and horse training, and then wrote book reviews and articles for the local paper.  Of course, all that time, I was writing fantasy and mystery novels and short stories.  My first fiction publication was the story “Sword Singer” in Sword and Sorceress V edited by the late Marion Zimmer Bradley.  More recently, I have had several novels and collection, including Wandering Lark, Ard Magister and Chronicles of the Last War, all out from Yard Dog Press as well as a lot of anthologies.


What inspired you to write those things?

Insanity.  No, but there has always been a need in me to write, and when I get my teeth into a story idea, I am not always willing to let it go.  Most of my stuff is set in one of two worlds I have created, so it’s more like stepping through a gateway and following characters around because their lives are so much more interesting to me.

Do you have a favorite thing that you’ve ever written?

That’s like asking which child you love best.  But if I have to pick a favorite, at the moment, it is the Demon-Bound Duology consisting of Dragon’s Tongue (published in 2006 by the now defunct Meisha Merlin) and Wandering Lark (from Yard Dog Press in 2010).


Do you have a favorite character that you write about? If so, who is it, what makes it your favorite and tell us about the character.

Again, I try not to play favorites.  They all stop talking to me when I do (just kidding).  Plus, it changes with the project.  I am currently loving Conor Manahan from the Ard-Taebh books.  He’s a strapping big Keltoran mecenary with a sense of humor and a bard’s soul, and a soft spot for his adopted mageborn son Rhoyd.  He’s a fun guy to write because he is a good fighter, a fierce warrior, and yet, he has this side of him that makes him easy to adore.

Almost every writer is inspired by someone else. Does anyone inspire you?

Barbara Hambly, Teresa Edgerton, Mark Twain, Edgar A. Poe…it’s a very long list.

How long have you been writing?

Well, let’s see.  As I said, I started selling stuff at 18 and I just turned 56, so you do the math.

When did you start writing?

Farther back than I can remember.  I wrote because I like remembering my “what if” moments, but also because it was a good way for a strange little girl with weird ideas to escape reality for a while.  We were rather poor, my father lost his job and the house due to illness, my parents eventually divorced and my mother tried to raise four children practically alone.  Writing was an easy way to get out the frustration and anger.  It was also a good way to keep the voices in my head from pestering me. *g*

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever written? Why

Definitely some of the Bubba stuff, though I have to admit it came rather easy.  I was big on Epic Fantasy and Sword & Sorcery, and along comes Selina Rosen asking me to write a story set in her Bubbas of the Apocalypse universe.  Of course, as it turned out, I was a closet bubba, and I had been writing weird strange stories set in my own East Tennessee, and it just sort of came together.

Some authors have said that their parents were supportive of their efforts when young, and some have said they had to sneak around and hide. What was

the case with you?

Supportive in some ways, though my mother always seemed discouraging.  But in truth, she was just trying to make sure I was doing what I wanted to do with my life and not what some fashion or my parents dictated, so she tended to sound like she didn’t care one way or another.  Truth is, she is So Proud, she wants to pop at times.  My stepfather tended to say I wasted too much time “tippy-tapping on that typewriter,” but now he tells everyone he meets that I am a published author.

Who drives the story, you or your characters?

I tend to write character driven stories, so the characters seem to be in control.  Of course, I am a practical person who knows that I am the one making the choices, and the characters are just figments of my twisted imagination.  We fight for control a lot, but I generally win–most of the time. 😉

Who proofreads and critiques your work?

My editors.  I proof my stuff myself.  I had a lovely beta reader who alas, passed away last spring, so I go it alone.  But then, I have been doing that most of my writing career anyway.  At times, I have belonged to writer’s groups, but I tended to outgrow them.

Where do you get your ideas?

There’s this little imp that lives under my bed.  I drop chocolate, he gives me ideas.  We have a very good relationship.  Now for the serious answer, that is hard to say.  I look at stuff, I get ideas, I write them down.  Sometimes I use them, and sometimes I ignore them, and sometimes, years later, they jump up and scream “My time has come!!!!!” and let them crawl into my lap and tell me a story.

Where do you write?

I write at work during my lunch break every day, and then I sit on the bed at home and write in the evenings.  On days I don’t work, I am generally carrying one of the netbooks to some place where I can sit and not be bothered.

When do you write – set times or as the mood moves you?

Well, as I said before, my lunch breaks and my evenings are my writing time for the most part.  I have a full time job so I have to schedule everything.

If you could take a character from someone else’s book on a date, who would it be and where would you take him/her/it?

I would fall all over myself to have a date with John Aversin from Barbara Hambly”s Dragonsbane, but I also would have fun with Antryg Windrose.  I would probably take them the park for a picnic and then pick their brains about their adventures.

If you could invite any other writer to dinner who would ask and why?

Considering that I have had dinner with everyone from Elizabeth Moon to C. J. Cherryh, that is a hard one.

Do you use the Internet to check facts, or the library?

I am a librarian in my other life, so I usually use the library.  I have scores of reference books of my own that I consult.  I go on the Internet using my smartphone for quick answers, but for the most part, I just write the story, and then worry about fixing the research later.

When you’re not writing, what do you like to do?

I make bead dragon and do art for my leisure.  I used to fence a lot (was once the Tennessee Women’s Foil champion, and place 3rd in the Southeast Sectional in Sabre years ago).  I take walks in the woods when I can.  I used to do a lot of hiking and camping.  And of course, I practice harp.  I own the original Glynnanis (the harp from my Harper Mage stories about Anwyn Baldomyre)

Do you ever have a problem with writer’s block?

Nah.  My brain never stops working, even when I do. 😉

Who’s your favorite author (other than yourself)? Why?

I have too many to name more than one or two.  Barbara Hambly is my goddess.  When I discovered her work, I things started to click for me.  Her descriptions, her characters.  They all inspired me.  More recently, I have fallen in love with the work of James Enge and Charlton Blake.  Enge because I just adore his Morlock.  Blake because he has created a totally new magic system that I am jealous of. 😉

What’s your favorite book (other than one of your own)? Why?

Dragonsbane will always be my favorite novel.  I reread it over and over when I can.

What’s the last book, other than your own, that you read and really enjoyed?

I just finished Swords & Dark Magic edited by Lou Anders and Jonathan Strahan.  Great stories.  I couldn’t put it down.

Some writers say that they have to write a certain amount of words every day. Do you do this? Why or why not?

Since my production is based on time rather than amount, I don’t have a limit.  I am a fast writer.  I can generally produce a short story in a couple of hours, a novel in a couple of weeks, or whatever–but of course, life interfers and so being able to write for an hour here and there is my only goal.  That and just making sure I do write every day.

If you could be any character (other than one of your own) from a book or movie who would it be? Why?

Actually, I am perfectly happy being who I am.  Though I would have fun being Edna in The Incredibles or Diana Trent in Waiting for God. I have always admired women who can be hysterically ascerbic and witty, and keep you on your toes, and I hope to become one in my old age.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

My advice to young writers.  Keep writing.  Keep reading.  Never give up, never surrender.  It really does take time to become an overnight success.  After nearly 40 years of trying to sell stuff, I am still waiting for my chance. 😉

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Interview With Author James Burk http://www.beacon-news.com/interview-author-james-burk/222635/ Wed, 16 Feb 2011 15:40:10 +0000 http://www.beacon-news.com/?p=2635 Tell us about what you have written.

Both fantasy and science fiction and just plain strange.  HIGH RAGE, my first novel was a fantasy with a sort of anti-hero.  HOME IS THE HUNTER was science fiction about a truly faceless assassin.  THE TWELVE is another fantasy about a city-state governed by archetypes.
What inspired you to write those things?

I’m not really sure.  I do seem to have a theme going in my novels, though not in my short stories, about people with strange scars on their faces, masks, or no faces at all.

Do you have a favorite thing that you’ve ever written?

It’s always the next one.

Do you have a favorite character that you write about?

If so, who is it, what makes it your favorite and tell us about the character.  I like doing different characters but was very fond of Scarface, the protagonist of HIGH RAGE.  He was a character with a code but was hard enough to roller-skate on and he grows and develops.

Almost every writer is inspired by someone else. Does anyone inspire you?

The list is a long one so I’ll cut it down to three; Roger Zelazny, John Crowley, and Walter R. Brooks, who gave me my first glimpse of the power of good writing.

How long have you been writing?

Forty-eight years.

When did you start writing?

I started writing at age eighteen.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever written?

Probably a short story called “The Trailer Park Vampire Meets the Bubba Yumbie,” which appeared in INTERNATIONAL HOUSE OF BUBBAS ans was reprinted in THE BEST OF THE BUBBAS OF THE APOCALYPSE.  I just wanted to have fun bending the vampire cliché into pretzels.

Some authors have said that their parents were supportive of their efforts when young, and some have said they had to sneak around and hide. What was

the case with you?

Neither.  My mother was very supportive of my becoming an artist but I became more fascinated by writing.  A painting is a very precise snapshot but a piece of writing is a movie.

Who drives the story, you or your characters?

I think the characters do.

Who proofreads and critiques your work?

My editors.  I may try out some materials on friends but generally do my own proofing and can generally tell when I’ve hit the mark I’ve aimed at.  Whether the mark was worth the ammunition is up to the editor and readers to decide.

Where do you get your ideas?

Ideas are cheap, the tough part is execution.  In some cases, just musing about some odd thing or other.

Where do you write?

Almost anyplace I can carry a pen and a notebook.  All my first drafts are written in longhand.

When do you write – set times or as the mood moves you?

Pretty much as the mood strikes and it’s also a matter of having (or not having) a computer with which I can put the work in form fit for submission.

If you could take a character from someone else’s book on a date, who would it be and where would you take him/her/it?

I’d prefer never to do that.  I think it’s a matter of respect for the integrity of the character and his or her author.

If you could invite any other writer to dinner who would ask and why?

Most of them.  Most writers I know are good company.

Do you use the Internet to check facts, or the library?

A little of each, and sometimes you need to research in more depth than the internet can really provide.

When you’re not writing, what do you like to do?

Build models, shoot guns, and party.

Do you ever have a problem with writer’s block?

I think sometimes but I usually force my way through it.  I have a bigger problem finding something I really want to say that hasn’t already been said before.

Who’s your favorite author (other than yourself)?

If I could only choose one, it would probably be Roger Zelazny, who could toy with the language and make it work.  He sprinkled his work liberally with poetry and humor and planted insights like depth charges.  They drop below the surface, then, below, POW!

What’s your favorite book (other than one of your own)?

THE LITTLE PRINCE by Antoine de St-Exupery, because he discusses life, death, love, friendship, and all the things that make life worth living without ever being preachy but with the air of someone who honestly wants to share and enjoy an insight with you and he did it all in less than a hundred pages.

What’s the last book, other than your own, that you read and really enjoyed?

Right now I’m reading SAINT MICHAEL AND THE DRAGON, which is non-fiction and is the remembrances of a French paratrooper of the berets rouges, the Colonial Paras.

Some writers say that they have to write a certain amount of words every day. Do you do this? Why or why not?

I don’t think so.  I think it’s like riding a bicycle – you never really forget.

If you could be any character (other than one of your own) from a book or movie who would it be?

Not really.  It’s taken me over sixty years to become comfortable with who I am.  Why start over?

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Just that I’m enjoying the questions and a little amused that someone might think that I would think my stuff would be the best I’d read.

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Fallen Kings Cycle author Gail Z. Martin Debuts New Web Sites http://www.beacon-news.com/fallen-kings-cycle-author-gail-martin-debuts-new-web-sites/222633/ Wed, 16 Feb 2011 15:32:06 +0000 http://www.beacon-news.com/?p=2633 Charlotte:  Bestselling fantasy author Gail Z. Martin, author of The Sworn: Book One in The Fallen Kings Cycle, just unveiled a new web site with new bonus items and goodies for readers at www.AscendantKingdoms.com.

Martin is also the author of the popular Chronicles of the Necromancer series.  She writes for both Orbit Books and Solaris Books, and courts a global readership.

“My web site and my social media sites are where I can connect with readers outside of conventions and signings,” says Martin.  “I love to get comments on the blogs, on Facebook and Twitter and Shelfari.  The new web site incorporates a blog, so that makes it even easier for readers to find me and for me to find the m.”

Martin is known for her broad online presence.  She is found at The Winter Kingdoms and Gail Martin on Facebook, @GailZMartin on Twitter, and also on Shelfari and Broad Universe.  In addition to the home page at ChroniclesOfTheNecromancer.com

, she is active on http://DisquietingVisions.Wordpress.com, a cross-genre fantasy and paranormal fiction group blog she started together with authors J.F. Lewis, Crymsyn Hart and ghost hunter Tina McSwain.  Martin is also the host of a long-running podcast featuring authors and publishing pros at www.GhostInTheMachinePodcast.com.

Visit her new homepage at www.AscendantKingdoms.com.

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Interview With Author Dave Creek From Yard Dog Press http://www.beacon-news.com/interview-author-dave-creek-yard-dog-press/222628/ Tue, 15 Feb 2011 14:40:55 +0000 http://www.beacon-news.com/?p=2628 Yard Dog Press author Dave CreekTell us about what you have written.

I’ve been selling regularly to ANALOG SCIENCE FICTION for about the past decade, mostly stories that take place against a common background.

What inspired you to write those things?

I’ve always enjoyed SF series, from the original Star Trek to Asimov’s Foundation stories, to Poul Anderson’s Polesotechnic series.  My goal has been to write stories ranging from space adventure to character studies within that series.  I also write about a number of recurring characters, particularly Mike Christopher and Chanda Kasmira, both featured in my Yard Dog collection, A GLIMPSE OF SPLENDOR AND OTHER STORIES.

Do you have a favorite thing that you’ve ever written?

“Zheng He and the Dragon,” published in the January/February 2009 issue of ANALOG.  It was a challenge because I was dealing with a historical personage, the great Chinese explorer Zheng He, who made seven voyages throughout the South Pacific, Indian Ocean, and even Africa in the early 1400s.  I had him encounter an alien whose spaceship crashed near his fleet and examined the relationship that developed between these very different characters.  I placed the events of the story between and among real events in Zheng He’s life.

Do you have a favorite character that you write about? If so, who is it, what makes it your favorite and tell us about the character.

The artificial Human Mike Christopher must be my favorite character to write about, because I’ve written about him the most — seven stories over the course of the past decade or so.   He was the first series character I created, and is probably the most like me — if I were younger, smarter, and more athletic.  His status as an artificial Human — created in a lab, not “of women born,” reflects my unusual childhood.  I never knew my parents and was raised by my grandparents, and having a different family situation from most people has given me an “outsider’s” look at life in many ways, an outlook Mike shares.

Who drives the story, you or your characters?

I  come up with the ideas for plots or situations, but who my characters are drive the events of the story — that is, how they react to the setup I’ve created.

Who proofreads and critiques your work?

I do.  I have no first readers.  Fortunately, my work as a TV news producer has trained me to be able to sit and craft “finished” copy pretty quickly and easily.  I consider that I’m writing directly to final draft, with only minor copy-editing afterwards.  It helps that I outline extensively and do little bios of all my characters, planets, alien races, etc. ahead of time.  Once I get going, I hate stopping to figure out a character’s attributes or what a planet should be named.  Of course, if my editor has some valid suggestions for changes, that’s when massive rewrites can happen.

Where do you get your ideas?

Sometimes from reading about real-life science, such as the discoveries being made about “exoplanets” — worlds beyond our solar system.  I want to do a story set in a star system that has several “hot Jupiters,” for instance.  Those are gas giant planets that orbit very close to their stars, something not thought possible until recently.  But I’m looking for a human story to tell in such an environment, and so far that’s escaped me.

Other times I just try to put my characters in situations that challenge them.  Lois McMaster Bujold suggests figuring out the worst thing that can happen to a character and writing about that.

Where do you write?

At a desk in the basement of my home, surrounded by many, many books.  Some are science books that let me check facts, some are SF and astronomical art that may spark an idea, and the vast majority of them are the countless SF novels I’ve read over the years.  Sometimes they come in handy, too, because they can provide lessons in writing technique — how did Arthur Clarke evoke the mystery of space so effectively, how did Poul Anderson make his scenes so vivid, how does Lois McMaster Bujold handle emotion so well?

When do you write – set times or as the mood moves you?

Again, the journalism training, along with the detailed outlining beforehand means I pretty much sit down and write.  I have an hour between the time my wife leaves for work in the morning and when I leave for my job, so that works well.  Then I usually try to find an hour or so in the evening.

If you could invite any other writer to dinner who would ask and why?

Robert A. Heinlein, because of his importance to the field and because he seldom revealed anything about his personal life.  I’d want to try to figure out what elements in his fiction were sincere political and social beliefs and which ones were him playing devil’s advocate.  Unfortunately, he’s no longer available.

Do you use the Internet to check facts, or the library?

The Internet, purely for speed.  Before then, I would sometimes have to use precious writing time to make a trip to the library for basic research or just to track down an obscure detail.  Now, as long as you can discern which sites are trustworthy and which are full of bull, you can find most information you need in a few minutes.

Who’s your favorite author (other than yourself)? Why?

My favorite author, after all these years, is still Arthur C. Clarke.  I’ve always admired how he was able to be a hard-SF writer, yet still evoke a mystery and even spirituality in his descriptions of the physical world.

Some writers say that they have to write a certain amount of words every day. Do you do this? Why or why not?

I try for 500 words a day, which is puny compared to some people.  Harry Turtledove, for instance, tells me he writes about 2500 words a day.  But then, he does this full-time.  I wouldn’t have the time to type 2500 words a day, let along have to make them up, too.

My goal is pretty arbitrary — it’s one I can manage most days, so I don’t have the frustration of failing to meet it.  At the same time, on days when I’ve managed only 350 to 400 words, it pushes me to work a few more minutes and accomplish more than I would have otherwise.

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Interview With Author John Lance of Yard Dog Press http://www.beacon-news.com/interview-author-john-lance-yard-dog-press/222626/ Mon, 14 Feb 2011 15:30:43 +0000 http://www.beacon-news.com/?p=2626 Yard Dog Press author John LanceTell us about what you have written.

I’ve written children’s fiction and as well as short stories for adults, which are typically off beat and humorous. My books include a picture book, Priscilla Holmes: Ace Detective from 4RV Publishing, my middle reader book Charlotte Cauldron and the Prince of Nevermore from Sams Dot publishing, and my Front cover of Priscilla Holmes, Ace Detective by John Lancecollection of short stories Bobby’s Troll and Other Stories from Yard Dog Press. Last year I appeared in two anthologies for Wolfsinger Press, Wolfsongs and All About Eve. I’ve also appeared in some Yard Dog Press anthologies and various magazines.

What inspired you to write those things?

In the case of Priscilla Holmes, Ace Detective and Charlotte Cauldron and the Prince of Nevermore I really was inspired by my daughters. In fact, the illustration of Priscilla Holmes looks like a composite of both of my daughters, complete with red hair, despite the fact the illustrator never met them. We all get quite a kick out of that. As for the anthologies, I have always found those fun to write for because the publisher typically picks a theme, and then I just try to sit back and try to find a humorous, cock-eyed approach to the topic. The best anthologies are the ones that really try to be unique; the Bubba anthologies from Yard Dog Press and the All About Eve come to mind.

Do you have a favorite thing that you’ve ever written?
I love them all equally 😉  Actually, that’s not too far from the truth. Even the stories that don’t get published have something in them that I really like. I think Priscilla Holmes, Ace Detective is one of my favorites. Priscilla is so smart and determined, she reminds me of my girls. Charlotte Cauldron, and the Prince of Nevermore has a nice cast. In addition to Charlotte there is the Prince and a crazy will-o-wisp and they encounter all sorts of interesting secondary characters in their adventure. And Bobby’s Troll and Other Stories collects the short stories that really got me started. From the anthologies, I have to admit to being partial to Adam, Eve, and Me which appeared in All About Eve and which is about Adam and Eve written from the serpent’s point of view. She’s got a bit of ’tude that I find amusing.

Do you have a favorite character that you write about? If so, who is it, what makes it your favorite and tell us about the character.

Priscilla Holmes is actually getting two sequels (so far). Not only do I like her as a character, I like the world in which she lives, which is populated with characters from all different fairy tales. Priscilla Holmes and the Glass Slipper is slotted for release later this year.

How long have you been writing?

I distinctly remember getting a thrill out of writing stories in 3rd and 4th grade, so in the respect, a looooong time. I didn’t get a story accepted for publication until 2000, however.

When did you start writing?

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, or 3rd grade. Take your pick.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever written? Why

Whenever I try to write something romantic things invariably go off track, whether it’s the zombie Juliet eating Romeo in a bit of flash fiction I wrote for an anthology called Small Bites or the longer “girl raised by wolves falls in love with an undercover park ranger” story that appeared in Wolfsongs. Incidentally, that fact that romance is difficult for me does not come as any surprise to my long suffering wife, Deb.

Who drives the story, you or your characters?

I am one of those authors who swear that the characters do take over the story and wind up doing and saying things I never intended. It makes writing much more of an adventure.

Who proofreads and critiques your work?

My aforementioned, long suffering wife, Deb.

Where do you get your ideas?

I tend to get them when I’m driving or showering. This pushes me to take long trips down winding, dusty roads, that require an hour long shower to clean off the grime.

Where do you write?

I don’t really have a set place. Sometimes it’s a gym when the girls are at basketball practice, or a ballet class waiting room, or the couch, or wherever.

When do you write – set times or as the mood moves you?

I would like to be able to write at set times, but real life seems to intrude far too frequently. So its more catch as catch can.

Do you use the Internet to check facts, or the library?

I love Wikipedia for this. I’d never rely on it as a sole source, particularly if I was writing historical fiction where accuracy was at a premium, but for general “what were the roaring 20’s like” type information nothing beats it.

Do you ever have a problem with writer’s block?

Sometimes. The form I been encountering most recently is “the story that just won’t work.” It’s a case where I’m on my 8th or 9th draft of a story and it’s just not gelling. There’s something wrong, and, even worse, I can’t put my finger on what the problem is. Usually what I do is shelve the story. In some cases what happens is it gets resurrected a year or more later with a completely new take that then makes it work. Or it remains shelved.

Sometimes, however, it’s a true block. In which case you just got to ride it out and know that, at some point, the stories will come.

Who’s your favorite author (other than yourself)? Why?

I love that you qualified this question. The author I always choose is J. R. R. Tolkien. I realize that he’s probably a cliché at this point, but he’s that author that made me want to write, so there it is. The other name I would throw into the mix is Terry Pratchett, whose books invariably leave me laughing.

What’s your favorite book (other than one of your own)? Why?

I guess The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are ones I find myself going back to reread semi-regularly. I love the dragon, Smaug, from The Hobbit and the scene in the Mines of Moria from The Lord of the Rings are some of the most intense moments in any book.

What’s the last book, other than your own, that you read and really enjoyed?

The books I’ve read most recently that have really stuck with me are World War Z and The Time Traveler’s Wife. World War Z, aside from being about a zombie apocalypse, which is just fun unto itself, is also written in a wonderful fashion. It’s modeled on the history books that are collections of survivor stories, like World War 2. So you get little vignettes about “the home front” and what it was like in different countries at different points. It was one of those books that when I finished it I thought, “Drat, I wish I had written that.” The Time Traveler’s Wife also falls into the “Drat, I wish I had written that” category. Not only because it is very emotional but also because it really has some of the best handling of time travel I’ve ever read.

Some writers say that they have to write a certain amount of words every day. Do you do this? Why or why not?

Nope, but I would like to get to that point. It’s kind of like trying to have a set time to write. It’s a good idea on paper, just hard to actually execute on.

If you could be any character (other than one of your own) from a book or movie who would it be? Why?

Superman. The dude can fly, has super strength, and is indestructible. Yes, I know some will think it a juvenile choice, but are you really going to tell me you wouldn’t want to fly?

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An Interview With Jerry J. Davis – www.jerryjdavis.com http://www.beacon-news.com/interview-jerry-davis-wwwjerryjdaviscom/222586/ Fri, 11 Feb 2011 21:05:07 +0000 http://www.beacon-news.com/?p=2586 Author Jerry J. DavisTell us about what you have written.

– I’ve had several short stories published in various magazines, including Aboriginal SF and Apex SF and Horror, and one story that appeared in the anthologies “Houston, We’ve Got Bubbas” and “The Best of the Bubbas of the Apocalypse.” I’ve also had a novel published by Time-Warner called “Travels” (now handled by Grand Central Publishing) which is a kind of satirical SF version of Revelations from the Bible. In it, the Antichrist is an AI program, and the second coming of Jesus is televised.


What inspired you to write those things?

– An overactive imagination.

Do you have a favorite thing that you’ve ever written?

– Usually the very last thing I’ve written, that’s always my current favorite thing. It’s a lot like whatever my shiny new gadget is, is my most cherished object. My iPhone was my ultimate gadget until the iPad came out, and then that was my favorite until I got the new Macbook Air — it’s the same with my writing.

Do you have a favorite character that you write about? If so, who is it, what makes it your favorite and tell us about the character.

– My favorite character is also my most hated character, because it’s my ego character and he screws up everything I put him in. But he won’t leave me alone! So I’m writing something now where nothing but bad, awkward and horrid things happens to him. Serves him right, too.

Almost every writer is inspired by someone else. Does anyone inspire you?

– Biggest current inspirations are Philip K. Dick and Chuck Palahniuk. Dick was wonderfully paranoid and insane, and Palahniuk is just evil.

How long have you been writing?

– All my life.

When did you start writing?

– In grade school. I used to write stories to amuse my friends, usually stories about horrible things happening to the school bullies that were the bane of our young existence. One of my friends plagiarized a story of mine that described the student body president being smashed by some piece of technology and submitted it for a contest. The payback was that he won the contest and had to read it in front of the whole school — with the student body president right there next to him.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever written? Why

– I tend to write really strange Flash Fiction, and there’s two in particular which I think tie as the strangest. One is about a piece of cookie that tries to escape being eaten, and the other describes a love affair between Charles Darwin and a large marine iguana. That’s all up at http://flash.jerryjdavis.com and sometime next year it will be in an anthology. Part two – you ask why? Why did I write it? Because I AM strange. J

Some authors have said that their parents were supportive of their efforts when young, and some have said they had to sneak around and hide. What was

the case with you?

– My parents were supportive in that they didn’t discourage me, but I could also tell they didn’t think I had a chance in hell getting anything published.

Who drives the story, you or your characters?

– The characters, mainly. It starts with an idea, and the idea of course comes from me, and then I have to think up the most likely (or in some cases, unlikely) characters to use to illustrate the idea, and then the characters once created completely take over and half the time wander off into some unknown direction. I give them minimal guidance and just see where they go. That to me is most of the fun of writing. If I plan something out and stick to the plan, then it gets boring and I usually don’t finish the project — or if I do it’s so dreadfully dull I end up trashing it.

Who proofreads and critiques your work?

– My friends in the Future Classics writer’s group.

Where do you get your ideas?

– In the shower. Sometimes when driving. But my best ideas hit me in the shower. Which is why my girlfriend will sometimes knock on the door and ask what the hell is going on — I’m in the shower for 20 minutes laughing my head off.

Where do you write?

– Anywhere. I have a writer’s cove in my man cave, but I also like to take my Most Cherished Object (currently the tiny little Macbook Air) out to a coffee shop and go crazy.

When do you write – set times or as the mood moves you?

– Anytime. Well, let me qualify that — anytime that I’m not sleepy or have a headache.

If you could take a character from someone else’s book on a date, who would it be and where would you take him/her/it?

– I don’t really have an answer for this, but if I could extend it outside a book and to SciFi / Fantasy in general, I wouldn’t mind taking Leeloo from The Fifth Element out on a date just so I could watch her eat a whole roast chicken and then pistol whip a bunch of shape-shifting aliens. If not her, then Amy Pond from the current Doctor Who series, even if she’s young enough to be my daughter, it would still be fun to take her out to the movies. As you can tell I like redheads.

If you could invite any other writer to dinner who would ask and why?

– If time travel is allowed, I’d invite Samuel Clemens out for dinner and drinks. Hilarity would ensue. If it has to be someone alive I would probably love to spend an evening talking to Tim Powers over some good food and drinks. (Tim: offer is open, dinner on me next time you’re in Chicago)

Do you use the Internet to check facts, or the library?

– Internet. Faster and more efficient. Paper books are dead. But also I find I use Google Street View extensively now. I can get the lay of the land just about anywhere without having to fly across the country. AWESOME.

When you’re not writing, what do you like to do?

– I’m also an avid photographer and I enjoy podcasting as well.

Do you ever have a problem with writer’s block?

– Not since I discovered absinthe.

Who’s your favorite author (other than yourself)? Why?

– It’s extremely hard for me to pick one author as a favorite, just like there’s no way for me to say I have a favorite beer or favorite type of food. I can dovetail this around to my biggest influences – Philip K. Dick, Chuck Palahniuk, Tim Powers – just to name a few. I’d have to say these three have had the biggest impact on me as a writer, and being that Chuck and Tim are still alive, I can hardly wait for them to produce new things for me to read.

What’s your favorite book (other than one of your own)? Why?

– Like choosing a favorite author, there’s no way for me to choose a favorite book. I can say among my favorites would be Lucifer’s Hammer by Niven and Pournelle, and On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers, and The Memory of Whiteness by Kim Stanley Robinson, and Gun, with Occasional Music by Jonathan Lethem.

What’s the last book, other than your own, that you read and really enjoyed?

– I recently read Under The Dome by Stephen King, and really enjoyed it right up to the end, where King seemed to have choked and didn’t quite know what to do next. In a way I really enjoyed it, but ultimately I was kind of angry that it wasted my time. I was expecting something brilliant and it ended up being idiotic. Other than that, a book I really enjoyed recently ALL THE WAY THROUGH wasn’t even a novel, it was a science book called Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters Consciousness by Fred Kuttner. I’m fascinated by quantum weirdness.

Some writers say that they have to write a certain amount of words every day. Do you do this? Why or why not?

– I only do this during the month of November.

If you could be any character (other than one of your own) from a book or movie who would it be? Why?

– Indiana Jones, of course!

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

– Everyone go to YardDogPress.com right now and buy some wonderful things to read! 😉

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Interview With Author/Publisher A.P. Fuchs http://www.beacon-news.com/interview-authorpublisher-ap-fuchs/222577/ http://www.beacon-news.com/interview-authorpublisher-ap-fuchs/222577/#comments Thu, 10 Feb 2011 22:44:30 +0000 http://www.beacon-news.com/?p=2577 Author/Publisher A. P. FuchsTell us about what you have written.

I’ve written so much it’s almost hard to find a starting place. I mean, I’ve got, like, 20-plus books under my belt, whether that’s novels, novellas, collaborations, anthologies.

Hmmm . . . how about the most recent?

My latest release is called Possession of the Dead, and it’s the second book in my shoot ’em up zombie trilogy, Undead World. It takes place immediately after the first book in the series, Blood of the Dead.

Possession of the Dead continues the journey with Joe, Billie and August, and leads you into a world where the walking dead isn’t your only problem, but also giant zombies fifteen stories tall, demons, angels and danger at every turn.

I also released in summer of 2010 my first short story collection, Magic Man Plus 15 Tales of Terror, which includes the origin tale of the sadistic villain, Magic Man, along with 15 other spooktacular stories of serial killers, monsters, suicide, kidnappings, hauntings and more.

As well, earlier last year I released Zombie Fight Night: Battles of the Dead, which is like Bloodsport meets Night of the Living Dead meets Mortal Kombat. It’s a fight book that follows a guy named Mick who had gambled away too much on these zombie fights and now is in the hole deep. In order to get out, he’s given a chance to bet fast and big on fights like zombies vs. werewolves, or zombies vs. robots, superheroes, samurai, kick boxers, pirates and more. Each fight is told from the fighter’s point-of-view, so you get a brief history of what led them to the ring and a chance to care about them before watching them duke it out with the undead. To complicate things, they fight both Shambler and Sprinter zombies and the fighter doesn’t know who they’re going to get, so it does make for interesting battles.

Axiom Man Front CoverAll of my stuff is available in paperback and eBook at Amazon.com or your favorite online bookseller.


What inspired you to write those things?

It all goes back to my love of superheroes and comic books. When I write a book–whether one about zombies or serial killers or superheroes–I pretty much distill it down to “here are my good guys, here are Possession of the Dead front coverthe bad guys, let’s see them face off.” Sounds simple, but I also add layers of character depth, theme, emotion, snappy dialogue and do the best I can with each outing.

For me, when it comes to the zombie stuff, sure, I view them as monsters, but I also view them as a solid supervillain and treat them as such when I have my protagonists go up against them.

Do you have a favorite thing that you’ve ever written?

My Axiom-man series–of which there are four books, one comic and one short story so far–is really near and dear to me because it’s my love letter to the genre I love so much and it’s my way of sharing with readers a story I’ve had in my head since I was 13 or so.

So, to lead into the next question . . .

Do you have a favorite character that you write about? If so, who is it, what makes it your favorite and tell us about the character.

Undoubtedly it is Axiom-man or, as he’s called under the mask, Gabriel Garrison, who’s a cross between Clark Kent and Peter Parker.

Almost every writer is inspired by someone else. Does anyone inspire you?

Lately I’ve been trying to soak up inspiration from everything and everyone. I can’t narrow it down to a single writer or two anymore. In the beginning, it was Stephen King and Alan Moore and Terry Goodkind. Nowadays, it’s underground writers and artists like Robert Crumb, Eric S. Brown, Keith Gouveia, Alec Longstreth, Terry Moore, Dave Sim and a plethora of others.

Zombie Fight Night front coverI figure you need to take inspiration where you can get it and not localize it.

How long have you been writing?

Nearly 11 years.

When did you start writing?

Back when I was in animation school. The school stopped teaching us part way through the course, so I turned to writing comic scripts as a way to fill the creative need in my life. One thing led to another and here we are, over 20 books and a load of short stories later, and a successful publishing company (Coscom Entertainment) to boot.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever written? Why

There’s actually one project I abandoned years ago because it was too dark, too controversial. I won’t give details but it involved a psycho with a thing for kids.

Some authors have said that their parents were supportive of their efforts when young, and some have said they had to sneak around and hide. What was

the case with you?

When I was young, I used to live in a world of superheroes, whether in my imagination and me running around in a Superman costume, or playing action figures with my brother. Then one terrible morning he and I woke up and our superhero toys were gone. Suddenly, fantasy was taboo in my household. So, yeah, I had to keep it all internal and just do the superhero thing in my head.

In grade eleven, I got into comics and I remember coming home and hiding them for fear of getting scolded for having them. Then slowly but surely, I left them around my room–one here, one there–and though they were asked about, I didn’t get into trouble. I started drawing all the time and my main goal was to work in comics.

Eventually the decision to do something creative as my life’s work created enormous tension in my household. My parents are good people, mind you, and are very supportive of me now, but back then, all this creative stuff was a “side” thing and I was expected to go out and get a suit-and-tie career. There was also other stuff going on in my life at the time, but let’s just say those days were pretty dark.

I’ve fought a long and hard battle to use my creativity for a living, even so far as being homeless for a brief period.

But it’s paid off now and I’m reaping what I’ve sowed over the years.

Who drives the story, you or your characters?

90% the characters, maybe 10% me, as each of my characters are me in some way.

Who proofreads and critiques your work?

I do three drafts then it goes to an editor. Once I get his edits back, I go over them and accept and reject where appropriate (and I usually accept about 95% of them; the remainder are just word preference/taste stuff). Then I edit the book again, and then my wife comes along and reads it as a first reader outside of me and my editor. She focuses on the story, but if any errors jump out, she’ll make a note. After that, we go to press.

Where do you get your ideas?

Everywhere. Lame answer, but a true one. Could be a line in a movie; could be a news story; could be a personal issue; could be an image I see. My subconscious then takes those things and works behind-the-scenes to form a more or less solid idea. Then things start going from there and, soon, the book writes itself.

Where do you write?

Used to always be at a desk on the computer. I wrote one book in a coffee shop in a notebook. Never again. It took me eight months to type it all out because doing so was so tedious. I bought a laptop last year because there were so many times I was inspired to write something but had to go upstairs, turn the computer on, wait for it to load, pull up Word . . . . Now I usually write in my basement on the couch, feet up, a cup of coffee or something beside me.

When do you write – set times or as the mood moves you?

Back when I had a regular day job, I had to write in the evenings or right after work. That habit has stuck, so though I’ve written during the day, it’s evenings that I find myself more focused, so usually write after 8 o’clock after the kids have gone to bed. That’s usually when the creative bug, er, bugs me.

If you could take a character from someone else’s book on a date, who would it be and where would you take him/her/it?

Do comics count?

I have a thing for Wonder Woman. She’s beautiful, strong, smart–man . . .

Even though she’s very independent and has an inner strength that would cripple my own, I’d ask her if I could make my princess for an evening, the kind of evening where we’d go to an elegant yet down-to-earth place here in town. I’d open the door for her, pull her out chair, and try and make her smile. My hope would be to unearth the vulnerability we all have underneath our tough-guy masks and get to know the tender woman within.

If you could invite any other writer to dinner who would ask and why?

Probably Stephen King. We have similar histories in that we’re both blue-collar-workers-turned-writers. I think out of all the super successful writers out there, he’s the most down-to-earth and humble. That connecting point, I’m sure, would make for interesting stories about wondering how we’re going to support our families on a low wage, staying up all night writing, hoping for the dream . . .

Do you use the Internet to check facts, or the library?

Yup.

When you’re not writing, what do you like to do?

Read comics, draw comics, watch movies, play PS3, cook.

Do you ever have a problem with writer’s block?

Only happened once while I was writing my first book. That was over 10 years ago. Never been an issue since.

Who’s your favorite author (other than yourself)? Why?

I really like Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series. Though it can get a bit preachy at times, his use of detail and description is unrivaled. I get a great deal of inspiration from that.

What’s your favorite book (other than one of your own)? Why?

Batman: Knightfall by Dennis O’Neil. Read it three times. It was the first superhero novel I read and it brought you into Batman’s life and headspace in a way comics didn’t thanks to the descriptions of feeling and inner monologue.

What’s the last book, other than your own, that you read and really enjoyed?

The Black Cat and the Ghoul by Edgar Allan Poe and Keith Gouveia. It’s part of my company’s monster novella line and I just sent it to press as of this writing. Really well done and well written. Real moody.

Some writers say that they have to write a certain amount of words every day. Do you do this? Why or why not?

When I’ve set a to-be-done-by goal, yeah, I try for an absolute minimum of 2,000 words, but I aim for 4,000 or more.

If you could be any character (other than one of your own) from a book or movie who would it be? Why?

Superman. Do I have to say why?

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I’m serializing a novel on my blog called, Zomtropolis, which is a story set in a futuristic society where there’s been a zombie outbreak. It’s also an intense love story about one man pining over someone he lost before the plague hit. It’s about love, heartbreak and the sometimes obsessive need we have to be the person we lost. One new chapter a week, every Friday. Please check it out at www.canisterx.com.

Likewise, I’m a constant Tweeter, so follow me at www.twitter.com/ap_fuchs

And, of course, I’m really proud of everything my company, Coscom Entertainment, has published, and it’s because of reader support we can keep putting out new and exciting fiction in the monster, horror and superhero genres. Please take a moment and look at our catalog at www.coscomentertainment.com/webstore.html. Everything we do is available on Kindle, Nook, iPad, iPhone, etc., and in paperback via Amazon or your favorite online retailer.

Thanks in advance for your support, and thanks for interviewing me.

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Interview with E.M. MacCallum http://www.beacon-news.com/interview-maccallum/222571/ Sun, 26 Dec 2010 06:22:34 +0000 http://www.beacon-news.com/?p=2571 Front cover of zombie killer bill by E.M. MacCallumTell us about what you have written.

It is a western/horror novella titled, “Zombie-Killer Bill.” It’s about a gunslinger who is commissioned to kill the Illegal zombies in the wild west. In this particular novella he’s up against a clever mad-scientist who plots to change the zombie disease as they know it, though at the price of many innocent lives.

What inspired you to write those things?

Strangely, it was a submission call-out that started the whole thing. My short story of the same title will appear in Sonar4 Publishing’s anthology called “Throw Down Your Dead” coming out December 2010.
After the submission I was asked if I’d be willing to write a novella based on the same character. I thought it was an excellent idea and had so much fun with it.

Do you have a favorite thing that you’ve ever written?

I can’t pick out one favorite thing that I’ve ever written. Each new project becomes a favorite as I go along.

Do you have a favorite character that you write about? If so, who is it, what makes it your favorite and tell us about the character.

I do have a favorite character but it changes with each story. In “Zombie-Killer Bill” one of my favorite characters was Garrett. He was so much fun to create. He was perverse, friendly, comedic and endearing. Oh, the shenanigans.

Almost every writer is inspired by someone else. Does anyone inspire you?

The person who inspired me when I was young was an author named Ann Hodgman. She wrote a series called, “My Babysitter is a Vampire.” It inspired me to write my own version when I was seven.
Now, I find writers like Robert McCammon, Richard Matheson and John Ajvide Lindqvist, just to name a few, to be the most inspiring.

How long have you been writing?

Over twenty years, but hadn’t looked into publishing until 2009. It’s been an exciting couple of years so far.

When did you start writing?

The writing bug really hit me when I was in Grade 3. I wrote a 100pg story, which consisted of one sentence and a picture, but I was really proud of it. After that I began making up my own stories.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever written? Why

I find most of what I write to be strange because with each story I try to push my own boundaries.
The latest hunk of strange I’ve come up with is a twisted love where a fledgling necromancer reveals his adoration for a young woman by not eating her.

Some authors have said that their parents were supportive of their efforts when young, and some have said they had to sneak around and hide. What wasthe case with you?

My parents were laid back on the subject. They supported me but didn’t lean over my shoulder to see what I was writing.
If I needed something for my writing they always helped if I asked. I even got them to buy me a typewriter one year because the really old one I borrowed from my Grandma pinched my fingers and a few letters didn’t work too well. (This was before we got a computer).

Who drives the story, you or your characters?

I like to think it’s a combined effort. For the majority of my earlier stories, I’ve driven most of the story but recently I’ve been trying to allow my characters to take the reigns. It’s taking some practice.

Who proofreads and critiques your work?

Whoever I can rope in. Mostly I rely on friends and family to help me out. They’ve all been great at giving constructive criticisms. I can never accept a, “yeah, it was good.” I badger them for details.

Where do you get your ideas?

Everywhere and anywhere. I keep a note pad on me at all times and have about two in my house. I find road-trips, outlines, pictures, dreams and socializing dredge up most of my ideas.
I’m one of those creepy people who can sit in a public place and make-up names, careers and situations for random people that walk by.
I’m sorry to anyone out there who’s caught me staring!

Where do you write?

Mostly, at my computer in my very own room where no one can bug me.

When do you write – set times or as the mood moves you?

Nighttime and complete silence offers the best mood though I’m not restricted to it. I can write anywhere and everywhere.

If you could take a character from someone else’s book on a date, who would it be and where would you take him/her/it?

Harry Dresden from the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. That character is hilarious, entertaining and witty.
On our date I’d probably take him out vampire hunting, just for giggles or maybe a sci-fi/fantasy convention, but that would be showing off.

If you could invite any other writer to dinner who would ask and why?

I would ask Robert McCammon. I love his writing and his intricate characters. If I could pick his brain even for an hour I think I’d be in heaven.

Do you use the Internet to check facts, or the library?

I miss the library but it’s been Internet lately. It’s easy to cross-reference and gather all the information in minutes/hours. Though if I need something very specific I’ll definitely go to the library or just buy the book I need.

When you’re not writing, what do you like to do?

I’ve always had a passion for drawing. I also play video games, watch lots of movies, exercise and hang around friends and family.

Do you ever have a problem with writer’s block?

Definitely. I don’t think there’s a single writer out there that hasn’t suffered from it at one point or another. We all have our ways around it. Mine’s stepping back and working on something else. Sometimes I involve myself so deeply that I can’t see beyond the problems I’ve created and need a day or two to relax and think outside the box.

Who’s your favorite author (other than yourself)? Why?

There are too many favorites. A few from my top ten would be: Robert McCammon, Richard Matheson, Richard Laymon, J.K. Rowling and Jim Butcher.

What’s your favorite book (other than one of your own)? Why?

“Let the Right One In” by John Ajvide Lindqvist. It has been a long time since there was a book that I “just couldn’t put down.” I found it to be haunting, frightening and fascinating.
I admired how he tackled taboo subjects, created complex characters and had me empathizing with bullies. He pushed boundaries that I thought no one would ever touch and he did it amazingly well.

What’s the last book, other than your own, that you read and really enjoyed?

“The Dragon Factory” by Jonathan Maberry. Highly entertaining.

Some writers say that they have to write a certain amount of words every day. Do you do this? Why or why not?

I try to write three to five pages a day for up to five days a week. If I’m on a roll or have more time it can be more. I think it’s important to keep writing and continuously practice.

If you could be any character (other than one of your own) from a book or movie who would it be? Why?

Anita Blake. She is tough, stubborn, sarcastic and funny. The handsome men that trail after her isn’t too bad either.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Yes! Explore a new author or genre on your next trip to the bookstore/library. There are some gems out there that I would have missed otherwise.

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Elizabeth Barrette Releases New Poetry Books http://www.beacon-news.com/elizabeth-barrette-releases-new-poetry-books/222493/ Fri, 03 Dec 2010 01:41:16 +0000 http://www.beacon-news.com/?p=2493
Front cover of From Nature's Patient Hands by Elizabeth Barrette

Front cover of From Nature's Patient Hands by Elizabeth Barrette

It is with great pleasure that I announce the release of not one, but two stunning books of poetry by Elizabeth Barrette.

Elizabeth has been a poet for many years, has been involved both with writing and editing poetry, and has a wide range of experiences that she brings to life for the rest of us through her verse.

Unlike some poetry which is written primarily by poets for poets, rife with difficult to understand symbolism and praised by high brow literary journals… but avoided by common folk, Elizabeth’s work shines and calls to all people – whether they be stuffy literature professors or a kid flipping burgers at the local fast food joint.

Prismatica is a marvelous collection of poems with a science fiction theme while From Nature’s Patient Hands takes the reader outside and conducts them on a walk through the countryside, exploring the seasons and the natural world we live in.

Front cover of Prismatica by Elizabeth Barrette

Front cover of Prismatica by Elizabeth Barrette

It is my hope that everyone will treat themselves to a copy of each of Elizabeth’s books, then read and re-read them for many years to come.

Sincerely,
Crystalwizard – Managing Editor Cyberwizard Productions
Excerpts:
Prismatica
The Potential Engine

The cat and the quarter saved the world,

but perhaps I should explain further.

It was the quarter I found while mining the couch for pizza money,

and the cat kept knocking it off the coffee table;

I was mesmerized by the transition from potential to kinetic energy

and back again, which reminded me of the transmission in a car.

Then I recalled a particular page of class notes from college,

before I switched my major from Art to Engineering,

back when I framed my notes in aliens and starship engines,

that day the Philosophy professor talked about harnessing

the potential of humanity – and it all clicked.

But only if I could find those notes. After sixteen years and six moves.

I excavated under the bed, in the garage, in the attic.

I overturned tubs and emptied brigades of boxes.

Only as the setting sunbeams lanced through the dust did I find them:

high on a shelf, filed by date, where my partner had put them away.

So I built the potential engine, fiddled with the transmission a bit,

and shifted humanity into a higher gear.

You’re welcome.

Now please pet the cat, because she knows she saved the world.

Countdown

Ten little, nine little, eight little golden toads…

“Amphibian Declines in the Cloud Forests

of Costa Rica: Responses to Climate Change?”

blared the headlines. I stare at the picture

and count the little bright-eyed creatures

gathered around their puddle, moist and glistening,

like the ghostly images of stars already gone nova.

Seven little, six little, five little rainforests…

“It is hypothesized that a climate warming,

particularly since the mid-1970s, has raised

the average altitude at which cloud formation begins,

thereby reducing the clouds’ effectiveness

in delivering moisture to the forest,” reads the article.

Amphibians, forests, lungs – all require moisture. Water

is life. This dessication threatens everything.

Four little, three little, two little human babes …

Another page, another problem. Bovine Growth Hormone

in the milk draws accusations from scientists:

“These chemical con artists have been blamed

for rising infertility rates and reproductive problems

in animal and human populations.” I rest a hand on my belly

and wonder if my untried womb will perform to specification

when I decide I’m ready to start a family. In the dry air of spring

I can already taste the summer drought. Fingers fold against my palm.

No little Terran lifeforms.

From Nature’s Patient Hands
Sugar Snow

When the powder comes down

On the chocolate-frosted fields

And the cold wind tastes like candy,

Like peppermint, I remember how

The swift snap of late-winter weather

Brings out the sap in the maple trees,

What they call the “sugar snow”

And it seems strange that another name

For the same time of year was the

Hunger Moon.

Bird of Paradise

Apus ventures forth only tentatively,

Its stars a dim glimmer, plumage

Sketched out in crest and tail

As it pecks pale crumbs

From the jungle floor, hiding

Its glory behind night’s black leaves.

Thunderfist

The sky closes its fist.

Gray clouds curl in like fingers,

wringing water from the air.

The sky shakes its fist,

hammering on the horizon.

Thunder rumbles as air

seeks to escape the mayhem.

The sky holds a fistful of light,

sunbeams sneaking out between fingers.

A rainbow trickles down the clouds

to touch the warm wet earth

steaming in the sun.

The sky sighs and releases its grip.

Thunderclouds vanish,

dark hand slipped back into blue pocket.

The air hangs silent and still,

but when the temperature drops

that fist will flex again.

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