Writer Wednesday – Terri-Lynne Smiles

1. Who are you? (A name would be good here…preferably the one you write under)
Terri-Lynne Smiles

2. What type of stuff do you write? (Besides shopping lists)
Cross-genre novels. Currently, The Rothston Series combines elements of science fiction and contemporary fantasy into a believable explanation for real world events. Next year when the series is finished, I have a number of other novels to be released, including a murder mystery without a murder, a futuristic thriller set on an isolated planet/colony, and a discovery story about a woman who finds herself wrongfully imprisoned. The commonality is that they all involve science in one form or another.

3. What do you want to pimp right now? (May it be your newest, your work-in-progress, your favorite or even your first)
The Rothston Series is what’s hot for me right now. The first book, Foreseen, introduces the college-age characters in an exciting romp into the world of adepts – people who can covertly change the decisions made by those around them. The second novel in the series, Choices, follows the two protagonists on a tense and sometimes terrifying trek around the globe as they flee for their lives. It leans slightly toward horror in some of their encounters but sets the stage for the final two installments of the series. Origins, the third book, will be out later this fall, with Common Ground concluding the series in 2015.

4. What is your favorite book? (Okay, or two or three or… I know how writers are as readers.)
I don’t have a favorite book (unless you count 20 Master Plots by Ronald Tobias), but I have several authors I enjoy for different reasons. I’ll spare your readers my long-winded explanations of the strengths and weaknesses of each and just stick to the list:

  • Edgar Alan Poe
  • Agatha Christie
  • Dean Koontz
  • Ray Bradbury
  • David Baldacci
  • J.K. Rowling

5. What other hats do you wear besides the writer hat?
I was a healthcare lawyer for over 25 years before leaving to pursue writing full-time (meaning almost every waking moment). Writing is much more difficult and absorbing than law. I’m also an active volunteer for a number of charitable organizations and the Board Chair of the Ohio Association of Nonprofit Organizations.

6. What link can we find you at? (One or two please; don’t go overboard here!)
Main Website – www.terrilynnesmiles.com
Facebook – Author Page – https://www.facebook.com/TerriLynneSmiles
The Rothston Series on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Foreseen-The-Rothston-Series/

 

 

 

*****

On Reading…

Reading is important for everyone – writer or not. I can’t say that enough. I read about an hour or two a day but don’t stick to any particular genre – I find that too limiting in terms of voice and style. For example, in the past two months, I finished Veronica Roth’s light YA novel Divergent, John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars and John C. Brewer’s international thriller The Silla Project. I am three-quarters of the way through Michael Williams’ literary Trajan’s Arch and failed at reading Brandon Sanderson’s high fantasy Elantris. I have also started Malcolm Gladwell’s nonfiction Outliers, and am re-reading from cover-to-cover 20 Master Plots by Ronald Tobias. During this same period, I also read two unpublished manuscripts – one romance, one contemporary fantasy – and portions of two proposed how-to books. I used to give up on novels that didn’t rivet me to my seat, but now force myself to finish if I can because each book I read provides more insight into writing – either by positive or negative lesson. Nonfiction, on the other hand, enhances my understanding of the world, which then informs my writing. That means if I’m not getting anything out of a nonfiction book by the end of the first chapter, I’m unlikely to go further.

Anyone who writes fiction has heard over and over that reading is essential to writing. This is one of the few “truths” for authors. If you’re short on time, don’t abandon your reading. If you don’t have time to read, your writing will stagnate.

 

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Writer Wednesday – Amy McCorkle/Kate Lynd

Who are you? (A name would be good here…preferably the one you write under)
I write romantic suspense, crime fiction, and gritty romantic suspense under Amy McCorkle and SciFi and Dystopian under Kate Lynd

What type of stuff do you write? (Besides shopping lists)
See question one.

What do you want to pimp right now? (May it be your newest, your work-in-progress, your favorite or even your first)
I’m working on a screenplay right now that I plan on producing and directing called Rain Down On Me, an indie drama about a hard drinking, embittered disabled vet and his relationship with a woman on the run from her abusive sheriff husband. A web soap called Darius and Anastasia about a mob boss and his former CIA bodyguard. And I’m launching Blackout: An Aurora Black Novel and Letters to Daniel Vol. 2 at Imaginarium.

What is your favorite book? (Okay, or two or three or… I know how writers are as readers.)
Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut and The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

What other hats do you wear besides the writer hat?
Director and producer.

What link can we find you at?
Amy/Kate’s Blog

 

*****

Enter Catchy Title Involving A Boat Here

Alone in a boat. As a writer that’s what you are when it comes to making it in your career. I remember as a kid growing up I wanted to be a writer. Or perhaps published author would be a better way of putting it. I wanted to walk into a bookstore and see my name on the shelf. I dreamed of awards and signing my name and getting paid boatloads of money to do it.

I had no idea how to make this happen. I thought you went to college to make this happen. And you can get your MA in creative writing and set out along that path if you wish. But there’s no more guarantee that you’ll make than if you take my route which is going to conventions and conferences and making connections and being left alone to develop your voice.

But I have to admit my success came by way of the small press. And I picked great house to start with MuseItUp Publishing. They’re an e-press that will consider print after a year of your book being out on the market for a year. They nurtured me and helped me hone my voice as a writer. Lea Schizas had a vision and she has seen it through.

I found her at digicon, a free online writing conference put on by Savvy Authors. I had a fabulous mentor in Julie Butcher. I now have several people who’ve reached out to me along the way and supported my career in its early stages. Stephen Zimmer the boss that he is was big on getting me included in the con scene. Pamela Turner introduced me to Stephen and Fandom Fest.

The most important thing though is, no matter how many people are there to help you, you will get nowhere if you don’t reach up that ladder for the next rung while helping someone up with the next hand. Not only is it just good karma, it makes good business sense. You don’t want to alienate people with a bad attitude. Your success ultimately depends on you. Because your career is the boat and you are the one steering it with you paddles. No one is guaranteed the million dollar paycheck with the movie deal. You must define what is success for you. Compared to February of 2011 I am doing quite well. I still could do better. You can always do better. Be more. Do more. So my advice is don’t ever give up. Keep writing. Keep revising. And don’t be afraid to submit.

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

Book Review – Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Title: Fahrenheit 451
Author: Ray Bradbury
Format: Paperback
Written: 1954
Published: 1973

Fahrenheit 451 is the temperature at which paper burns, which makes it a fitting title for this science fiction novel about a man whose job is burning books. The story follows Guy Montag, a fireman, as he struggles to make sense of his unease in a world that is so obsessed with being happy that it is incapable of realising how miserable it is.

Large sections of this book disturbed me deeply. There are many elements that only remain science fiction rather than science fact because no one has thought to commercialise them yet. I shudder to think of what might happen to our world if watching television meant being surrounded by it and having it call us by name. I hope I would share Montag’s horror, but I can also think of many people who would slide happily into Mildred’s unthinking delight.

This is a world where politicians are elected based on their looks instead of their skills. A war is fought without any of the citizens particularly noticing or caring. Marriages are hollow, and having babies by caesarean section is an effective way to minimise the inconvenience of childbirth. Sound familiar? The parallels between the fictional world and the real one are horrifying.

The main conflict in this book plays with the needs of the many versus the needs of the few. Anything that could potentially offend a minority is objectionable, and over time the cultural ideas in books have fallen foul of that perspective. They have been outlawed because they do nothing but cause misery and conflict. The logic is twisted in its simplicity, a million real world concepts stretched to their ultimate destination.

If you are looking for a book that will challenge your thinking about how you live your life, Fahrenheit 451 rightly claims its status as a classic for this reason. Sitting back and turning off your mind is difficult after reading this. If you’re already feeling depressed, this book might be one to steer clear off until you’re a bit more emotionally stable.

Occasionally the writing style gets in the way of the story, but I suspect this is from shifting fashions rather than a failing of the novel. It will probably distract some readers, but the story is worth finishing. I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.

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