Writer Wednesday – Jacob & Jenny Floyd

Writer Wednesday

 

1. Tell us who you are and a little bit about what you write.

Jacob: My name is Jacob Floyd, I write paranormal nonfiction with my wife, Jenny. We are also ghost hunters who own and operate two history and haunts tours in the Louisville area—Jacob Floyd’s Shepherdsville History and Haunts Tour and Jacob Floyd’s NuLu History and Haunts Tour. I also run a blog called Jacob Floyd’s Ghosts and Monsters, which focuses on dark fiction and nonfiction paranormal topics; on it, I conduct interviews, post reviews of books, film, and television, and post other articles on related topics. I also write horror, as well.

Jenny: My name is Jenny Floyd. I am co-author of Kentucky’s Haunted Mansions. I am also a photographer that specializes in cemetery photography. I love antiques and Disney, and I am a ghost hunter.

 

2. What is something that your fans would be surprised to know about you?

Jacob: I don’t know. Maybe that, other than my wife, my best friend is my toy poodle named Snow White, and we call her BooBoo. People are also often surprised to find out that I’m a fan of pro wrestling.

Jenny: I am a descendant of Daniel Boone. Also, the northern route of the Wilderness Road once crossed through the property of the Brooks Plantation, which was a family home and the first chapter of Kentucky’s Haunted Mansions.

 

3. What made you become a writer?

Jacob: It’s just something I’ve always wanted to do. When I was a kid, I used to carry notebooks around and write down everything that came to my mind. As a teen, I wrote poetry and outlined a lot of stories I never finished. As I got older, I started writing full stories. After my wife and I started getting involved with ghost hunting, we both decided it would be cool to write books about the things we found out. She has a lot of ideas and knowledge regarding the paranormal.

Jenny: My dad used to give me antique books—the chapter books with the gilt edges—and I always thought, “I got stories to tell.” In first grade, I wrote a book called Ghost, and it was about a ghost that did different things. The most memorable thing was that he ate pizza. The book was a hit with my class. LOL

 

4. Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Jacob: Mostly plotter. For the ghost books, Jenny and I always sit down and lay out a table of contents before researching. For fiction, I always have to plot. I write out what’s going to happen chapter by chapter and then get to writing. But, it’s only a vague outline. The details often evolve organically around the plot. I used to be a pantser, but the storyline always suffered. It’s better for me to have an idea where I’m going.

Jenny: I’m definitely a plotter. My goal is to have a series of paranormal books.

 

5. What is the biggest mistake that you’ve learned not to make while writing?

Jacob: For nonfiction paranormal, writing something down without thoroughly researching it, even if it’s something as minute as a detail of the building or what street corner it’s on. You have to always make sure to get that right. For fiction, not plotting the story was the biggest mistake I always made.

Jenny: Not to get ahead of myself.

 

6. What is the last book you finished reading? What did you think?

Jacob: I just finished reading Knife’s Tell by Daniel Dark. I thought it was a very unique and engrossing book. I wrote a review for it on my blog, Jacob Floyd’s Ghosts and Monsters.

Jenny: Skull Full of Kisses by Michael West. I really enjoyed the stories.

 

7. Would you like to pimp a specific project?

Jacob: Well, I already mentioned my blog, and our tours. You can check out my Amazon author page for my books.

Jenny: We are working on our next paranormal books, so stay tuned to see what’s forthcoming from the Frightening Floyds.

 

8. Is there a URL or social media account you’d like to share?

Here is a link to our Facebook page, The Frightening Floyds: https://www.facebook.com/FrighteningFloyds/

Our cemetery photography: https://www.facebook.com/FloydsCemeteryPhotography/

Here is my author page: https://www.facebook.com/jacobfloydauthor/

A page to my blog: https://www.facebook.com/JacobFloydsGhostsandMonsters/

My blog site: https://wordpress.com/view/jacobfloydsghostsandmonsters.wordpress.com

The tour pages:

https://www.facebook.com/shepherdsvilletour/

https://www.facebook.com/eastmarkettour/

 

On Writing

We just think it’s important to keep writing and moving our work forward. We are trying to create our own brand on the paranormal side, which is very meaningful to use because it’s something we have created together. Jenny has a lot of ideas on the topic, and we bounce those ideas around and come up with great projects together. We have a few series planned for the paranormal writing. We built the tours together through a lot of interviews and research, and it’s been a great experience as they have helped us get the ball rolling for our books.

As for fiction, the same thing only reversed: I have a ton of ideas and my wife helps me make them better when we bounce ideas around; often times, she helps me fill in plots, or come up with great beginnings and story arcs. I have a lot planned for the fiction side of things, as well. We have a ton of ideas and don’t plan on stopping. We work together on everything and that’s why we love what we do.

We also work together on ideas for the blog, which helps us progress in both arenas—fiction and nonfiction paranormal—whether it’s who to interview, what to review, or what topic to tackle. Jenny has really gotten the hang of designing the ads, and that has given the blog the necessary visual to bring it attention. That’s how the Frightening Floyds work!

 

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Writer Wednesday – D.R. Perry

1. Who are you?
Who are you, who, who, who, who? I really wanna know! Ahem. Okay, time to stop singing The Who. Hi, I’m D.R. Perry and I’m living la vida dorka.

2. What type of stuff do you write?
I write spec-fic and silliness. Also some poetry. So far, my books have been Paranormal with loads of humor. My series is called Providence Paranormal College and it’s about what happens when shifters, vampires, faeries, psychics and magic users all go to an Ivy League school in New England.

3. What do you want to pimp right now?
Hey, I do interviews, too! I just got done with Summer Splash and now it’s Autumn Authors over at my website (http://www.drperryauthor.com/news). I also do Friendly Neighborhood Fridays, where I talk to cover designers, web designers, editors, and the folk who help authors get their book into publishable shape.

4. What’s your favorite book?
My favorite book is like my favorite color and song. They change all the time! I would have gotten thrown off the bridge on Monty Python’s Quest for the Holy Grail. Red, no bluuuue! Grave Beginnings by R.R. Virdi, no A Fox’s Love by Brandon Varnell, no Dream Stalker by Amy Hopkins. I. Can’t. Decide! Aaaaaargh!

5. What other hats do you wear besides the writer hat?
Let’s see. There’s the mom hat (I have one kid with fur and four legs, another with hair and two), the gamer hat (I play WoW and pen and paper RPGs), and the audio hat (I used to be a karaoke DJ). I love my family, my fun, and my music. Couldn’t live without them!

6. Where can we find you?
I’m all over the place! Well, on the Internet, anyway. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads, Author Central and my website, complete with mailing list. Oh, and you can also find me at author events in Rhode Island. No, it’s not an island and not Long Island. We’re a tiny state in the US, but the food here rocks!
FB: https://www.facebook.com/drpperry/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DRPerry22
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/d.r.perry/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/drperryauthor/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8588997.D_R_Perry
Author Central: https://www.amazon.com/author/drperry
Website: http://www.drperryauthor.com/
Mailing List: https://app.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/p9i8u6

 

 

The Importance of Being Covered

Always judge a book by its cover. At least, that’s what we should do as writers. The cover is the first thing anyone sees of our books, so it’s important that the cover reflects what’s inside. If a reader would love your sci-fi book about Kung-Fu aliens from planet Borax, you wouldn’t put a dude in Civil War era clothing on your cover, right? Is it possible to have something that jarringly inconsistent between cover and content as the above example? Yes, it is. I should know. I made that mistake myself.

I have a book about a sarcastic brainiac Nerd Queen tutoring a half-asleep
shapeshifting jock with a closeted geek streak. There are Star Wars references, puns running rampant along the pages, and goofy situational comedy. I have a gal who turns into an owl saying “hoo boy,” for crying out loud. But readers who like that kind of thing didn’t find my book because this was the cover:

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That cover on my book was like a bowl of salsa on a package containing a chocolate cake. People saw it and expected steamy love scenes. I did a live event with that cover and got snickers. No, I don’t mean people threw candy bars at me. They laughed, but not for the reasons I intended. Even worse, they scurried away, desperate to avoid the stigma of buying what looked like a bodice-ripper in front of the PTA president at the local Farmer’s Market.

I knew it was all that pouty shirtless man’s fault, so I replaced him. Nothing against pouting, shirtlessness, or men, you understand (because I do like those things). It’s just that I realized they belonged to literature light-years away in the Steamy Galaxy from my book. So, I checked around for titles with content similar to mine and discovered I needed something like this instead:

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And lo, the author said “let there be shirts” and there were! And they were illustrated! This is exactly the cover I needed on my goofy, geeky, unsteamy book. And do you see that library? That lets the picture tell readers these two are students because people don’t always see “Paranormal College” on a thumbnail. It worked, too. See the little badge? Yeah, I went from barely (ha, pun!) any interest in this book to nominated for an award.

So, go ahead and judge a book by its cover. Also, remember that a picture is worth a thousand words. What would this article be without the pictures, after all? Point, set, and match, Mr. Pouty Shirtless. I’ll save his picture for some other…um, project. Yeah, I’m winking at you from behind my computer screen now. Thanks for reading!

Writer Wednesday – Jackie Gamber

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Let’s start with the basics. Who are you?
With Jackie Gamber, author of the Leland Dragon series

Tell us (briefly) about you…
I’ve been a soldier, a secretary, and a stay-at-home mom, gone rogue into writing professionally.

…and a bit about what you’ve written…
My published works include poetry, short stories, novelettes, and novels in science fiction, fantasy, horror, and the genre-bending blends of them. I’m also an indie screenwriter/director, with four produced short films.

…and what you’re working on right now.
Since I’ve just finished “Reclamation”, book three of my Leland Dragons trilogy, I have a few more novel projects in the works; a steampunk fantasy, a SF-romance, and a paranormal-lit about a twin whose sister has died, and begins journaling as a tribute. I’m also writing my second full-length screenplay entitled “The Mark”, as well as other short film scripts.

What are your earliest book ­related memories?
I remember the Scholastic book program in school where I could peruse the book catalogue and order books that would come a month or so later right to my classroom. I always started with a “one of everything” sort of list, and then had to whittle down to one, or two – sometimes for 99cents! Also, I could describe in detail the layout of my town’s library. It used to have a clawfoot bathtub that I would spend more than my fair share of time in, with huge stacks of books beside me. I love libraries.

What are your three favorite books?
Just three? This is always a tough question for me to answer! I have favorite books for different reasons, but I have to say “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury, “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley, and “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens.

How many books to do you read at any given time? What are you reading now?
When I read fiction I read one at a time. Non-fiction books could be as many as three or so, back and forth. Right now I’m reading “Quiet” by Susan Cain, about introversion in an extravert culture.

Finish this sentence; when I curl up with a book, I ___
…forget about everything else. I even get irritated when I have to pause to use the restroom.

To re­read or not to re­read that is the question.
I re-read all the time! I don’t keep every book I buy because my bookshelves couldn’t possibly hold them all. I’m selective in that I only keep the ones I know I’ll go back to again.

How likely are you to read a book that’s been recommended to you?
In my profession, I get a lot of recommendations. I don’t have enough time in the world to read them all, unfortunately. But I will, if it’s from a reader source I trust and the story sounds like my kind of thing. That’s really how all readers find books, mostly—word of mouth.

How likely are you to recommend a book (that isn’t yours)?
Very likely! I do it all the time. Speaking of which, have you read “The Midwich Cuckoos” by John Wyndham?

What do you look for in a good book?
To me, a good book is full of believable characters that get involved in their own tale.

Why do you write?
I write because I’m a storyteller. I resisted the notion for years, but the truth is that I see life, and the world, through metaphor and symbolism. I’m always asking, “But what does that really mean?” and “What makes a person think like that?” It’s in my nature.

If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you be?
I have a knack for looking at others’ stories, and seeing why what they think they’re saying isn’t actually being communicated that way. If I wasn’t a writing, I’d be an editor (although, I do both, already). Outside of words, though, I’d be working more with animals; at a zoo or a rescue, probably.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?
To be honest, I don’t exactly know the mechanism that whirrs into motion from observation to idea. But I spend a lot of time watching the world, and studying it, and trying to figure it out. Somewhere in there, inspiration happens.

What has writing taught you about yourself?
I’ve gone through dry periods, and times when I’ve set down my pen, so to speak, for the greater good of other responsibilities. I’ve struggled with how to find readers, how to prove to my contemporaries I’m not a hack. I’ve battled my demons that terrify me, and there have been days I’ve almost decided to just stop, because the desire to be heard is too hard to carry into an industry of cacophony.

I’ve lived with writing, and without it. What I’ve learned, is that I turn too inward, and become bitter and miserable, unless I believe in a world where writing happens, and that I can be a part of it.

How do the people in your life seem to view your writing career?
My husband and two kids (my children are grown, now) have always been my support system. Beyond that, it’s hard to say. The stigma that science fiction or fantasy isn’t real writing lingers.

Are there any stereotypes about writers that you don’t think are true?
I wouldn’t wish a stereotype on anyone. Human beings share commonalities, of course, but I like to think my job as a writer, and fellow human, is to bust stereotypes, not feed them.

What do you see as the biggest challenge today for writers starting out?
The writing industry is in a stage of rapid, almost violent, evolution. What used to be “the way” just isn’t anymore. Authors are writing books aimed at other authors for “how to do it the way I did” and a new one emerges practically every week. The biggest challenge I see for writers today is holding on to their own conviction, and their own ideals, while everyone is shouting into their face that their doing it wrong.

Have you made any writing mistakes that seem obvious in retrospect but weren’t at the time?
Some mistakes take a long time to make themselves known. My perception is that I may have trusted the wrong people a little too much, or a little too long. Sometimes, I haven’t trusted enough.

Is there a particular project you would love to be involved with?
I’ve always said it’s a life goal of mine to write a book that one day is banned!

How do you deal with your fan base?
I don’t think of myself as having fans. But I love readers! I have so much in common with fellow readers. In the end, that’s what I am, anyway; a book lover who can’t resist writing a few of her own.

Finish this sentence; my fans would be surprised to know ___ about me.
I’m a pretty transparent person—or at least, I aim to be—so I’m not sure how surprising I am! Although I do tend to get a reaction of disbelief when I share with people how introverted I am. They say “You’re not shy!” But I am incredibly introverted, nonetheless. And I’ve spent an inordinate number of years figuring out it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Jackie Gamber is the award-winning author of many short stories, screenplays, and novels, including “Redheart”, “Sela”, and “Reclamation”, Books one through three of the Leland Dragon Series. For more information about Jackie and her mosaic mind, visit http://www.jackiegamber.com

And meet Jackie elsewhere on the world wide web at:
https://www.facebook.com/AllotropeMedia
http://www.amazon.com/author/JackieGamber
http://www.twitter.com/JackieGamber
http://www.facebook.com/jackiegamber

Author Interview – Calinda B.

The Beckoning of Broken Things Button 300 x 225 (2)

Let’s start with the basics.  Who are you?

Calinda B, author of paranormal romance. I reside in the Pacific Northwest with my long time sweetie, and two fine cats. Two fine (grown) kids. We scuba dive weekly.

Tell us (briefly) about you…

I am an endless Work In Progress. A constant work of art. Creative. Adventurous. I’ve been a galleried artist. A rock climber. A firewalking instructor. A hip hop dance performer and teacher. Taught aerobics. Taught kids to improve their bodies through movement. Crazy life. I study the inside of me as well as the outside. Introspective. Self-aware. A little bit crazy (said with a smile). A little bit wicked (said with an even larger smile). Love to write. Love to shape worlds and characters. It’s like playing with dolls.

…and a bit about what you’ve written…

I’ve got 5 erotically charged paranormal romance novels out. 1 short story. 4 of my novels have been nominated for Best Erotic Paranormal, Best Urban Fantasy or Best Erotica. The Beckoning of Broken Things was short listed by a book group in the UK for Best Erotica. I’ll find out soon if it wins. My stories are often called “unique” and “refreshing.” I like to make up the character’s skills and abilities. Hence, I guarantee you’ve never heard of some of them – the ka’kriyaga? What? A Stealth Numen? What’s that? A Night Numen, the most badass of them all? (grins) Sorry, but you’ll have to read the books to find out more.

…and what you’re working on right now.

Right at this moment, I’m working in a standalone novel called Headspace. It’s set about 40 years in the future in Seattle. The heroine, Vienna Venetta, is a hip, cool, savvy gal with a unique ability to get inside another’s head and make them think they are having an actual experience. She came up with the idea of combining her techno-wizard friend Kaama’s skills with her abilities to create a virtual sex world. Her clients “pulse-com” her, they enter her Headspace world and the fun begins. Her clients pay well and no one will ever know who she is. Out in the real world, though, she’s got a little problem – she’s never had an orgasm. Can her good friend Jonas help her out? He is committed to someone else.

What are your earliest book-related memories?

One of my fondest memories was reading the Godfather – the scene in the bathroom with Sonny and Lucy: “Her hand closed around an enormous, blood-gorged pole of muscle. It pulsated in her hand like an animal and almost weeping with grateful ecstasy she pointed it into her own wet, turgid flesh. The thrust of its entering, the unbelievable pleasure made her gasp, brought her legs up almost around his neck, and then like a quiver, her body received the savage arrows of his lighting-like thrusts.” I was a 16 year old virgin. It made me blush. It made me feel ashamed. It made me want to keep reading it, over and over and over. (laughs) I guess it greatly influenced me as I am writing erotic scenes with nary a glance over my shoulder.

What are your three favorite books?

Hmmm. It’s hard to pick. A book has to really, really make me feel/think/consider to get in the favorite list. Currently, Hot Head by Damon Suede (loved the M/M tenderness, well-written and hot, hot, hot); Backstage Pass by Olivia Cunning (super sex with a plot!) and Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi (just brilliant). Also anything by Karen Marie Moning or JR Ward. Basically, anything that’s over the top sexy and well-written.

How many books to do you read at any given time?  What are you reading now?

Right now I’ve got Backstage Pass on my Droid, and Coping with Trauma (advanced studies in the effects of personal and interpersonal trauma and psychological insights) and The Joy of Writing Hot Sex (well, duh!) next to me. Overcoming Underearning(TM): A Simple Guide to a Richer Life (great book recommended by our business guides, especially useful for women) and Let’s Get Visible: How To Get Noticed And Sell More Books (Let’s Get Publishing) are on my Kindle. I used to only read one at a time. I finally stopped torturing myself for having numerous reads going on at the same time.

Finish this sentence; when I curl up with a book, I ___

When I curl up with a book, I love to be deeply engaged…stirred…moved…provoked. I like to learn something, or be inspired to look at something a different way.

To re-read or not to re-read that is the question.

Gasp! Not even a question! Expanding the mind through both experience and reading of the experience or narrative of others is a treasured gift.

How likely are you to read a book that’s been recommended to you?

Depends on who is doing the recommending. I have a good friend whom I listen to. I’ve also picked my last two books based on enthusiastic endorsement from Bloggers/Reviewers queries of their readers on Facebook. That’s how I found out about Hot Head and Backstage Pass

How likely are you to recommend a book (that isn’t yours)?

I do it all the time (but my books are my favorites) (kidding!). Actually, I am an enthusiastic endorser kind of person. If I like it, whatever it is, I’ll endorse it.

What do you look for in a good book?

First – emotional depth, intelligence and complexity. Second, great interplay between the characters mixed with generous amounts of really great sex. I like books where the characters are challenged to grow in some way. One core issue. Its ultimate resolution. Books that take a stereotype and shoot it to bits. And my mood for books varies. Right now I’m into sexy erotica. Sometimes I like suspense. Sometimes sci-fi and urban fantasy.

Why do you write?

I find the act of writing to be one of the most soothing, relaxing and inspiring things to do. When I write, I relax. When I write, I create. I solve problems. I build worlds. I describe, define and then solve issues. I am God(dess). (laughs) It allows me to sort out issues in my own life. Purge frustrations. Laugh. Cry. Feel. I sit in my own world of mysteries. It’s very fulfilling.

If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you be?

I can’t really answer this. I stay pretty focused in the present. And, believe it or not, I’ve done and continue to do everything I’ve ever wanted to do.

(later) Okay, that was the serious answer. The answer that bubbled up in me as I was driving around thinking about this question was “Okay, if I wasn’t doing what I’m doing right now I’d be Brian Sinclair in the book Backstage Pass, I’d live a rock and roll lifestyle (wait a minute – been there, done that), I’d have loads of freaky sex (been there, too), I’d meet someone who really matched me, heart for heart (wait – got that, too).” I have not, however, been a 28 y/o guy with a million adoring fans. And I do not play guitar. Is that what I secretly crave? Let’s hope not! (laughs) Honestly, I love my life and I am happy being a woman. If I were not writing and doing scuba and did not own a business I’m sure I’d find something interesting to do.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Everywhere! I have a very active life. I love to travel. I love to explore. Virtually anything I do could be the seed of my next novel. I generally try to write about topics that push my own edges of comfort, like I’m doing in Headspace by writing about a woman who has never had an orgasm. Or topics that make me laugh. Or things I stumble upon out in the real world…things that make me go Hmmm. For instance, when I was in Hawaii a couple years ago I met a handsome young man who photographs whales. “I sex whales,” he said, smiling. “You what?” I replied, eyebrows arched. Apparently the only way you can determine the sex of humpback whales is to photograph their undersides. I told him he must be a whale whisperer. A character was born, right then and there – Wicked Whispering’s very own Kai Williams, the whale whisperer.

What has writing taught you about yourself?

1) Writing has increased my self-confidence. 2) Self-acceptance – definitely! 3) I’ve learned and continue to learn that I am an amazing person. I used to not think that about myself. I used to criticize myself to no end. 4) I’ve learned and continue to learn that I have flaws and that’s okay, too. 5) I’ve actually integrated my wild and crazy life into one cohesive hum. 6) I have taken courses in writing and learned to be succinct. Get to the point. Use words and imagery. I could go on and on. Writing definitely changed my life. It’s a very personal process.

How do the people in your life seem to view your writing career?

Interesting question! Honey-pie thinks it’s fine, wants me to succeed. Isn’t really interested in the subject matter – he’s more of a technical guy. Kids support me but do not, do not, do NOT want to read their mom’s sexy writing. I understand and support that. Friends like it, think I’m fantastic, crazy, and wild for doing what I do.

Are there any stereotypes about writers that you don’t think are true?

That we’re all rich from our writing. Ha! Big myth there. I believe the statistics are that 3 – 5% of published authors are abundantly rich from their writing. And then there’s a myth that once you are a best-seller, then the money rolls in. I’ve read horror stories of authors who have sold millions around the world yet because of their publishing contracts, they only made about $30,000.00 over the course of a few years. That’s sad. And, I think there’s a stereotype that writers are nerdy, bookish and have nothing to do with the physical world. They live inside their minds. We come from all walks of life, I assure you. We just have the capacity to write.

What do you see as the biggest challenge today for writers starting out?

I don’t think there is a single challenge. There are multiple issues when starting out that seem fairly common. For instance, anyone who thinks he or she will be an “overnight success” is in for a surprise. It takes time to build a fan base, build a following. You’ve got to “work it”, as in get out there constantly to promote your work. You do have to develop a thick skin. You’ll get a snarky review or two. Sometimes those are just downright mean. You’ve got to find a way to not focus on them. And, you’ll be assaulted with offers to be featured on this or that site and pay so and so and such and such to promote your work and gain exposure, blah, blah, blah. Do your research – just because it’s an attractive offer, doesn’t mean it will work for you. Above all, link up with various author groups. The support you can get is tremendous.

Have you made any writing mistakes that seem obvious in retrospect but weren’t at the time?

Oh, sure – when I started out I hadn’t mastered the Show vs Tell premise. Too much backstory. I went back after I learned that and re-wrote my first three books.

Is there a particular project you would love to be involved with?

Interesting question. I’m actually leaning towards team collaborations these days (me, the lifelong lone wolf). I did an event with a couple of bluegrass musicians that was fun. I read erotic writing, they played between excerpts. They’re more than eager to do that again.

How do you deal with your fan base?

I post stuff to FB daily. My street team is awesome (and there’s always room for more). They’re like my super fans. We do monthly giveaways for those who complete their tasks. They’re a super supportive bunch. And I give them gobs of thanks and appreciation.

Finish this sentence; my fans would be surprised to know ___ about me.

My fans would be surprised to know that I belonged to a bona-fide cult for a year and a half. I married someone who was part of the group. It was a definite, warp your mind, tell you what to think feel and believe cult. The guru dude had sex with women (not me) for “their enlightenment.” (shudders) He had seven wives. I didn’t know this until recently but at the time that I got the hell out of there, he was in lawsuits up to his eyeballs.

Anything else we should know?

When I was in junior high, my art instructor gave us an assignment to paint a poster with a quote that had meaning to us. My quote was one attributed to Jack London: “I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.” Enough said.

Writer Wednesday – Jessica O’Gorek

gemini rising

Let’s start with the basics. Who are you?
Jessica O’Gorek

Tell us (briefly) about you…
I’m a mother, wife, author, full time sales person burning my candle at both ends. I dream therefor I will.

…and a bit about what you’ve written…
A series of young adult paranormal romance books that focus on Mother Earth, what we have done to her and how she might retaliate in the future.

…and what you’re working on right now.
Book 4 of my series.

What are your earliest book-related memories?
When I was twelve I was writing 2000 page romance novels in spiral notebooks.

What are your three favorite books?
Twilight, Eclipse and Braking Dawn

How many books to do you read at any given time?
I can only read one at a time.

What are you reading now?
Beautiful Chaos

Finish this sentence; when I curl up with a book, I ___
snack habitually.

To re-read or not to re-read that is the question.
Not

How likely are you to read a book that’s been recommended to you?
Eh, not very likely.

How likely are you to recommend a book (that isn’t yours)?
Very likely.

What do you look for in a good book?
Suspense, deep strong characters and very real environments.

Why do you write?
It’s fun. I love my characters and I miss them if I don’t let them play in the pages. It keeps me alive inside when the world around me is too painful.

If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you be?
An actress

Where do you draw your inspiration from?
The mystery of life, nature in the spring time and my beloved father

What has writing taught you about yourself?
That I am stubborn, smart and must addicted to creating

How do the people in your life seem to view your writing career?
They have their fingers crossed for me but I don’t think they think I will make it and that makes me strive even harder!

What do you see as the biggest challenge today for writers starting out?
Agents who don’t even bother reading submissions and the big publishers who won’t even consider your manuscript without an agent.

Have you made any writing mistakes that seem obvious in retrospect but weren’t at the time?
I am not good with commas, semi colons or the word “and.” Bless my editor!

Is there a particular project you would love to be involved with?
Making a 6th Twilight movie.

How do you deal with your fan base?
Well, when I have a fan base I will adore them!

Writer Wednesday – Jackie Gamber

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Let’s start with the basics.  Who are you?
Tell us (briefly) about you…

I’m a stay-at-home Mom turned professional writer, with a love of books and tea and snuffling, short-snouted dogs. Our current family friend is Lady Ursula, a dignified and lovable English bulldog.

…and a bit about what you’ve written…
I’ve published numerous short stories, poetry, a novella, and novels. Most of my stories have involved an element of science fiction/fantasy/the paranormal; I think because that’s where I get to break some rules and rewrite society’s expectations. It’s fun to examine life through the eyes of an alien, or a mythical creature, and to examine why, in our everyday life, we either believe or don’t believe the things we do.

…and what you’re working on right now.
Currently, I’m in the editing phase on the third and final book of my Leland Dragon series, entitled “Reclamation.”

What are your earliest book-related memories?
One of my earliest book-reading memories is “My Father’s Dragon” by Ruth Stiles Gannon. I’m certain that had a long-lasting effect on me, although I can’t say for sure how that all works. I never woke up one day and decided to write about dragons, but Kallon Redheart, a main character in the Leland Dragon series, definitely introduced himself to me as one, and I couldn’t have written him any other way.

What are your three favorite books?
I have so many favorite books, but I like them each for different reasons. First, without a doubt, is Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” for its redemption and hope. Shelley’s “Frankenstein” -it’s so much more than the cult movies make it out to be. And Wyndham’s “The Midwich Cuckoos” for his utterly charming way of telling a chilling tale. I’ll stop at three, but I could go on and on!

How many books to do you read at any given time?  What are you reading now?
I sometimes have 2 or 3 books going at one time, if I’m reading non-fiction, which I do when I’m involved in my own writing projects. I think because it fires different brain cylinders. Most non-fiction reading of late has been related to how-to’s on screenplay and such, but in my stack of to-be-read fiction are Asimov’s FOUNDATION and Philip K. Dick’s A SCANNER DARKLY, among others.

Finish this sentence; when I curl up with a book, I ___
…become utterly lost to the rest of the world. I might as well be invisible!

To re-read or not to re-read that is the question.
Re-read, and re-read, over and over. Some of my favorite books are so worn around the edges they’ve become soft as fabric.

How likely are you to read a book that’s been recommended to you?
Very likely! Word-of-mouth is one of the best ways to discover new authors and new stories.

How likely are you to recommend a book (that isn’t yours)?
I recommend books all the time! I even do something called “Booktasting”, where I pair a book (usually a classic science fiction novel, but not always) with a certain tea you should drink while reading. It started out as something I was just doing for fun, for myself, since I love both reading and tea. But then tea drinkers, or book readers, began asking me about it, as well as authors, who were interested in knowing what tea I might choose for their book, and I decided to start sharing my Booktastings with the world. It’s been so much fun!

What do you look for in a good book?
I like a book with characters I can root for and a good conundrum I can help them figure out.

Why do you write?
I began writing very young. The trickier part of that question is the answering why–it’s a bit like trying to figure out why some kids climb trees, or collect marbles, or play with dolls, or paint, or play video games. I seemed to be an observer-type and I wrote out poems and story bits to process through what I was seeing. Or feeling. I’ve always been intrigued by mysteries, and writing is one way I explore that.

If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you be?
I would be a baker; it’s one of my other life dreams. In fact, I’ve recently started working in a bakery, in addition to writing, so I’m working my way through my bucket list, slowly but surely.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?
My writing inspiration comes from everywhere, because people are everywhere! I tend toward character-driven fiction, which draws on the “why”. Why does a person feel the way they do? Why do they act a certain way? What about their life could create their fears, their hopes? In my attempts to fill in the blanks, stories emerge.

What has writing taught you about yourself?
Writing has taught me that I can persist as much as I need to, after all. If I can wrangle one thing, I can surely wrangle another. I keep piling dreams on top of aspirations, on top of goals (even becoming a baker, too). I came a little late into this “believing in a dream” life. Took me a while to unhinge my baggage and step out into a brave new world. Deciding I was going to write “for real” was a first step in finding out what I’m capable of.

How do the people in your life seem to view your writing career?
My family has been my best supporters. On days I didn’t think I could keep going, my husband helped me hobble along. And having my two kids be proud of me has been terrific incentive to do my best, and keep on keeping on.

Are there any stereotypes about writers that you don’t think are true?
The writing life is not the glamorous, celebrity-filled life so often shown in movies. It’s a job like a plumber, or a farmer: I go back day after day, and get the words down with a lot of labor.

What do you see as the biggest challenge today for writers starting out?
The publishing industry can be pretty brutal on a sensitive soul. Publishing is a business like any other, and yet its product is subjective art, and so how does combining the two make success? It’s a mystery, both to those inside and outside the publishing world. There are no formulas, and no real repeatable patterns, especially with all the publishing options and changes that have rocked the industry for the last few years. A huge challenge is getting noticed among the din, and getting read.

How do you deal with your fan base?
I don’t really think of myself has having fans; more like fellow readers with whom I can share my love of stories. We all have something to say, and something to share. I share with words, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to do so, and to have my words, hopefully, touch someone.

Finish this sentence; my fans would be surprised to know ___ about me.
…I’m a gamer, when I have time for it! I was one of the first kids on the block to get Pong (for Christmas, about a hundred years ago) and I’ve enjoyed video games ever since.

Anything else we should know?
I have lots of exciting projects on the way! In addition to Book Three of the Leland Dragon Series, I’m also writing a steampunk fantasy novel. I’ve written a feature length paranormal thriller screenplay, as well as several short film screenplays based on my published stories. I also edited a special issue of the dark fiction magazine Shroud, due out in the coming weeks.

Jackie Gamber is the award-winning author of many short stories, screenplays, and novels, including “Redheart” and “Sela”, Books One and Two of the Leland Dragon Series. For more information about Jackie and her mosaic mind, visit http://www.jackiegamber.com

And meet Jackie elsewhere on the world wide web at:
https://www.facebook.com/AllotropeMedia
http://www.amazon.com/author/JackieGamber
http://www.twitter.com/JackieGamber
http://www.facebook.com/jackiegamber
http://www.lelanddragons.com

Book Review – Southern Haunts

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Title: Southern Haunts
Editors: Alexander S. Brown & J. L. Mulvihill
Published: 2013
Format: Trade Paperback (& eBook… but just until I got the print copy)

Y’all, this is one of those reviews that you need to stick with through the end, but I promise it’s worth it…

Okay, I’m going to be honest here.  I’m one of those people who only sometimes likes anthologies.  Yeah, I’ve reviewed other ones that I’ve really liked, but there are also quite a few that I’ve picked up, couldn’t get through two stories, and sent it back.  And when you review them, it’s a whole new kettle of fish.  Because, really, how do you review such a thing?  Do a writeup about each short story?  Overall opinions?  A little of both?  Gah!

And so, this one… This one I was really looking forward to.  For starters, I know the editors.  I’m jealous that I didn’t get to submit something to it.  And, you know, I was just excited about this one.

I have to admit, as I worked my way around the book, I found issues.  (As I told the editor, I’m probably the toughest reader/reviewer he’ll ever get…)  There are a couple editing problems that seriously need fixed.  This book also has the absolute worst story I have ever read in print.  Seriously.  I reject betters submissions for my own publishing company.

But for the problems it has, there are also some real gems in here.  H David Blalock’s An Eclipse Over Elmwood was awesome, for instance, and my favorite story in the book.  [Note: Check our archives and you’ll find a feature interview with him.]  There are a couple other stories where I saw the ending coming, such as Roland Mann’s Haints, another favorite in this antho, but I still really liked the characters and how the stories were written.  And you have stories like Diane Ward’s The Shack which was good, but totally too short – I was sad that it ended so quickly and think another bit of story would have totally added greatly to what she already had going.

So my bottom line is this.  The book is decent.  If you manage to get your hands on a copy, it’s great for those times between novels or when you don’t want to dedicate that much time to one piece of writing.  My best advice is to pick and choose, to read a little at a time here and there, and to not be afraid to skip a couple stories that you might not like or fall a little short.  It’s worth being able to read the few gems that really shine.

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