Author Interview #5 Amir Lane

Please meet Amir Lane (pronounced Ah-meer), a supernatural and urban fantasy writer from Sudbury, Ontario and the author of the Morrighan House Witches series that debuted in October 2016. The series opens with Shadow Maker, and follows physics major Dieter Lindemann as he’s dragged down against his will into Necromancy and blood magic.

Amir was kind enough to sit down and answer a few questions about his writing.

 

 

D: Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?

AL: I do as much editing myself as I can because I know what I want from my books and sometimes there are little grammar things that I know are wrong but I do them for emphasis or drama or because that’s the character’s voice. But I’m also a little bit dyslexic and spell check doesn’t catch everything, so I definitely do like to have someone go through it when I’m done.

D: Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?

AL: I absolutely leave them. Not always intentionally, sometimes life gets on the way. But I find that if I don’t leave it, I skip a lot of mistakes or inconsistencies when I go through it again because I know what I meant. If I leave it for a month or even just a few days, I find places where I repeat myself or I changed something one place but not somewhere else or bits of prose that don’t fit together anymore. It’s really eye-opening to come back after a break and wonder how the hell I thought I was done.

D: Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?

AL: I think it does. It’s always the first thing you see when looking at books. I mean, I’ve definitely picked up books with awful covers because I saw the blurb first. But if I see the cover first and I don’t like it, I probably won’t even look at the blurb. Honestly, if I see a bad cover, I kind of have to assume the writing isn’t so great. Which I know is kind of mean and not always accurate, and covers are definitely subjective, but that’s generally how I see it. I once heard someone say, “I try not to judge a book by it’s cover but if the book shows up to an interview in an old t-shirt and ripped jeans, I don’t think they’re the kind of book I want to hire.

D: How did you publish Shadow Maker and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional or both)

AL: I went indie for Shadow Maker if a couple reasons. The big reason is because I had a story that I wanted to tell and I didn’t want anyone putting their hands in it and forcing me to make changes that would remove the things that made it an important story for me to tell or the things that make my characters important to me. Example, the sequel focuses on Lindy Lindemann, who is asexual-aromantic and I worry that someone would force me to put her in a relationship. Now I totally get that this isn’t something that always happens but most people I know who have published traditionally have had this kind of experience and I’m not really here for it. Plus the ability to make my own timelines, pick my own cover artist, all of that.

I’m also a little picky about how I want things done and I’m really not ready to let someone else take control. I like working on my own timeline and writing the books that I want to instead of what some guy thinks will sell. Maybe eventually I’ll give the traditional thing a shot, like if a published approached me, but for now, I’m good doing it indie.

D: What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?

AL: I think the biggest advantage of indie publishing is that you get to do everything yourself (or outsource it), and the biggest advantage of traditional publishing is that you don’t have to do everything yourself. I think traditional has the advantage of costing less up front because you don’t have to hire a cover artist and maybe not an editor, but you can make more independently, at least that’s what the trends say. In both cases you still have to convince someone that your book is worth reading, the difference is just whether it’s an agent or your audience.

I will say that the biggest disadvantage as an independent author is that it’s harder to be taken seriously than a traditionally published one. People hear independently published and there’s still this idea that your book is crappy that nobody wanted instead of, for me, that I didn’t want anyone putting their hands in my book and making me make changes I don’t want. Any idiot can put a book on Amazon and it’s much more difficult to convince someone that you’re less of an idiot than those other idiots.

Bio and links

Engineer by trade, Amir spends most of their writing time in a small home office on the cargo pants of desks, at a back table at their favorite Middle Eastern restaurant, or in front of the TV watching every cop procedural or cooking competition on Netflix. They live in a world where magic is an everyday occurrence, and they strive to bring that world to paper. Their short story, Scrap Metal and Circuitry, was published by Indestructible magazine in April 2016.

When not trying to figure out what kind of day job an incubus would have or what a Necromancer would go to school for, Amir enjoys visiting the nearest Dairy Queen, getting killed in video games, absorbing the contents of comic books, and freaking out over how fluffy the neighbour’s dog is.

Amir loves to connect with readers online. They can be found in their Facebook group, on their Facebook page, and at their website where you can find out more about their work.

Author Interview #4 Vince Rockston

It’s my pleasure this month to interview up-and-coming historical fiction author Vince Rockston.

D: Thanks for agreeing to chat with me Vince.

VR: No problem D. It’s great to be here.

D: To kick things off, I’d like to know what motivated you to become an author?

VR: It was late in life that I discovered that fiction can be a powerful medium for exploring personalities and metaphysical issues, as well as being entertaining. I started reading historical novels about the places I visited – The Bridge Over The Drina by Ivo Andriċ, Love & Death in Cyprus by Harry Blackley, among others – and when I didn’t find one to my taste about the Isle of Elba, I got the idea to write my own. In my WIP I try to build a spiritual message into a realistic and, I hope, appealing coming-of-age story.

D: When you’ve written a book, do you let it stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?

VR: Yes and no. I do some editing on-the-fly, but I have had several month-long pauses. I was very discouraged when a professional editor rejected my book Aquila – Can Silvanus escape that god? with rather scathing criticism. After some months of indecision, I worked through the text page by page, cut out large segments and streamlined others. I then gave it to others to review and now have a publisher interested

 

D: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing as far as content?

VR: I’m trying to write about simple, rural people in a distant epoch. Not only are most history books and historic novels concerned with the Movers and Shakers of the period, but the so-called Dark Ages are notorious for their dearth of records about everyday life; people were much more concerned with surviving the current war or famine, and the northern tribes, which invaded Italy, were notorious for neither respecting nor contributing much in the way of culture.

So it was not easy to do the background research necessary for my book. I read textbooks on Late Antiquity, some contemporary authors and several novels of the period. But finally I had to visualise the characters and their lives and describe events from their perspective, bearing in mind the constraints of the time and place, such as food, clothing, religious views, financial and educational constraints and the knowledge that was commonly available in those days.

D: Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future?

VR: It’s not a good idea to plug my book or website at every opportunity. That comes over as spamming and interests no one. It’s far better to read and comment on other authors’ sites, review their books and endorse them where praise is due.

But it’s a tight path. How does one raise awareness without having a negative effect? If you never promote yourself or your book, how is anyone going to find you? On the other hand, too many “7 tips to achieve whatever” posts also put readers off and they are likely to unsubscribe.

D: And after all you do in your writing life, how do you relax?

VR: Best of all is to go hiking in the mountains. When that’s not an option, I enjoy beautiful walks or e-bike rides in the woods right from home, where I hardly meet anyone. I also find reading books aloud to my wife very relaxing, as well as online games like Chess, Words with Friends and a daily very hard Sudoku.

Bio

Vince enjoys the beautiful countryside around the little Swiss village where he lives, retired, with his Finnish wife, sharing a house with one son, his Brazilian wife and their Chihuahua. When he has a chance, he loves to go hiking in the mountains. He blogs as Greyowl (bilingual) and his historical fiction book is developing at www.aquilaelba.info. AquilaElba is also on Facebook.

In his spare time Vince explores the surrounding woods and pastures on the e-bike he was given when he retired, plays online Chess, Sudoku or Words with Friends and is heavily involved with supporting refugees from Syria and Iraq.

Author Interview #3 J B Reynolds

This month, it’s my pleasure to chat with J. B. Reynolds.

J.B. lives in rural Northland, New Zealand, where he raises children and chickens. He writes humorous short fiction, where tragedy meets comedy and character reigns supreme. His first short story was published while he was a university student, and in between that and a return to serious writing in 2016, he has worked as a graphic designer, landscaper, ski and snowboard technician, librarian, apple picker, and baker of muffins and teacakes.

Nowadays, when not writing, he’s a husband, father, and high school teacher (not necessarily in that order). He enjoys sailing, cycling, and playing music, really loud, when his wife and kids aren’t at home. He has a big garden, where he likes to get his fingernails dirty, and he loves to eat the things that grow in it.

He is currently working on his Crossing The Divide short story series. The stories in the series feature different characters and switch between locations in New Zealand and Australia, but they are all, in a way, coming of age stories and are linked through the theme of relationships.

D: Tell us about your writing process and the way you brainstorm story ideas.

JB: I haven’t needed to brainstorm ideas yet. I’ve had a number of ideas kicking around my skull for a long time and now I’m trying to turn them into stories. But I felt I made big strides with my writing process on Square Pegs. I’ve got a basic structure, which I learned about from watching a webinar featuring Joe Nassise—it’s what he uses—and the story hangs off that structure. I outline the required scenes from there.

With Square Pegs, I wrote the first draft, then went through and tidied it up to make a second draft. Then I sent it out to some beta readers for feedback. I made some changes based on their feedback, and at about that time I discovered the online writing community at Scribophile. I posted it on Scribophile and got some really useful comments and suggestions from people there. I made some more changes, and then sent it to a professional editor. She suggested some further changes, nothing major, just improvements in the flow and language, and I’ve made those changes and it’s nearly ready to go.

My editor also suggested I change one of the character’s names. I agreed and put out a facebook post asking for suggestions, as well as an email to my mailing list. The response has been awesome, so now I need to go through the suggestions, decide if any of them are suitable, and then change the name. Then I need to design a cover. I’m really happy with how that process has worked and I’ll use a very similar process for the next story in the series, What Friends Are For, which is almost ready to send out to beta readers.

D: What is the easiest thing about writing?

JB: The joy and sense of satisfaction it brings. Terry Pratchett says that writing is the most fun a person can have by themselves, and it really is. I love writing. It’s easy to do the things you love. The hard part is figuring out a way to make the things we love put food on the table.

D: Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future?

JB: I’ve really done very little in the way of marketing so far, and I think every thing I have done has been a step in the right direction. Perhaps I could have held off a little longer before I published my first stories, but so much of what I have learned in the last year has come about because I published them. I don’t regret it.

D: When did you decide to become a writer?

JB: January of 2016. I had an idea for a novel kicking around in my head. I’ve got three young children and a demanding job and I just decided one day that the only way I was ever going to get any time to work on my novel idea was if I got up early in the morning and did it before work, while everyone else in the house was still asleep. So I did. I started getting up at 5.00am six days a week, and then made it seven, and now I’m getting up at 4.45am, seven days a week. I never thought I was a morning person, but now it’s just habit, and I look forward to it.

D: What was your favourite book as a child?

JB: I loved reading Asterix comics. The first book my mother bought me through the book club programme at primary school was an Asterix comic. They had them at the public library as well, but they were in hot demand. I’d get a kick out of trying to decipher the meanings of the names. My favorite was Unhygienix the fishmonger. It was years before I knew what Getafix was referring to. I also loved the Tintin comics. My favourite character was Captain Haddock. I thought his drunken antics and his swearing were hilarious.

D: I remember Asterix. My favorite was the bard, Cacofonix. Thanks for stopping by JB.

You can catch up with JB at his Website or his Facebook page. Or buy his books on Amazon or other platforms.

 

Author Interview #2 Trin Carl

Trin Carl writes YA and Contemporary fiction.  She enjoys dance and writing her two blogs 50schoolsn90days  and theglobaldig.blogspot.com.  From Minnesota, Trin enjoys the outdoors and all the seasons, especially the fall as it reminds her of her days teaching and attending school at Metropolitan State University.  She can be contacted on facebook,  goodreads,  or twitter.com/trincarl

D: If you could drop in on a book you read as a kid which book would it be?

Trin: I would drop in on “A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson BurnettI loved the concept of an orphanage with characters who were so strong and imagination that they could rise from any injustice or circumstance. I’d go straight up to Sarah Crewe and ask her to tell me a fantastic story.  She would too!

D: What is the hardest thing about writing your current book?

Trin: My current novel, “Oh Brother” has a so many great scenes and character voices. The hardest part is trying to make sure that the novel and all of its aspects are framed around the 1990’s. That means I have to have all the music references and technology used from that time frame, like Backstreet Boys references or the mentioning of a pager for communication. I have to include some backstory about American culture during that time, like whether America was at war and the costs of things during that time.

D: Why did you title your novel “Oh Brother?”

Trin: The title came to me as a spin on words.  “Oh Brother” like why did he just do that?  And “Oh Brother,” because the MC’s brother is her hero and the MC’s  foster brother is the antagonist so I thought to myself “Oh Brother..”, like a plea to God above that all will turn out well.

D: Which writers inspire you?

Trin: Writers that inspire me include Amy Tan, Donna Tartt, Jen Lancaster, Anne Tyler, Stephen King. These writers have been like little voices in my head.  I ask myself questions like: Would Donna Tartt settle with the same details I included in my novel?  Would Jen Lancaster think this novel was funny? Would Stephen King think this scene was intense enough?

D: Where do you see the future of social media and publishing in ten years?

Trin: I think that social media will help writers sell books faster.  Perhaps a phone app will help indie publishers branch out.  Writing will be competitive as always but there will be more chances for up and coming writers to make a name for themselves.  I believe in this so much, I market for many authors in my blog, including the writer of this interview to whom I’m grateful for publishing this interview.

Catch up with Trin on her blogs 50schoolsn90days  and theglobaldig.blogspot.com. 

Find her on facebook,  goodreads,  or twitter.com/trincarl

Author Interview #1 Marvin Neu

MD Neu is a Fiction Writer with a love for writing and travel. Living in the heart of Silicon Valley (San Jose, California) and growing up around technology, he’s always been fascinated with what could be. Specifically drawn to Science Fiction and Paranormal television and novels. MD Neu was inspired by the great Gene Roddenberry, George Lucas, Stephen King, and Kim Stanley Robinson an odd combination, but one that has influenced his writing.

Growing up in an accepting family as a gay man, he always wondered why there were never stories reflecting who he was. Constantly surrounded by characters that only reflected heterosexual society, MD Neu decided he wanted to change that. So, he took to writing, wanting to tell good stories that reflected our diverse world.

When MD Neu isn’t writing, he works for a non-profit and travels with his husband of eighteen years.

D: Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

Marvin: For me, the way my writing comes together is I start out with an idea and with a bunch of notes. Maybe, a character or two, but then I sit down and outline and plot out the story. If I don’t, I get lost. The outline is never 100% even once I finish the manuscript. During the editing process, I might need another chapter, or may need to combine chapters, but the outline gives me the map.

I also, map out my series. For ‘The Calling’ I have it mapped out as a two book series, with the potential for a third. And with “A New World’ I have that slotted as a three book series. If things go well with ‘A New World’ I could do a prequel to the story, because I have a lot of history that I think would make for a fun story. So we’ll see.

D: Which writers inspire you?

Marvin: There are so many. I know that sounds lame, but it’s true. I love Stephen King, Stanley Robinson, J. R. R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, Charlaine Harris, Harvey Fierstein, and RuPaul Charles. I know the last two aren’t strictly writers, but they have both inspired my writing. Because like the others, they do what they love and they tell stories. All the writers and creative people I look up to open their souls to the world and share that with everyone. People respond to it. Love them or hate them, they all have impacted our world and that speaks to me.

D: What are your ambitions for your writing career?

Marvin: It’s funny to think about this question, because until recently I never thought this would even be in the cards for me. Sure, I’ve always enjoyed writing and telling stories, but the idea that this could become a career for me. Nope, never even crossed my mind.

Who would think that someone who could barely spell in school because of his dyslexia would even have this as an option? It’s pretty amazing!

To answer the question, I want to be realistic. I wouldn’t mind having a steady income coming in from my writing. Perhaps, even being able to work at it full-time. But if I’m honest, for me, I want my writing to be enjoyed by people. For people to want to come back and re-read my stories again because something speaks to them, that would be the best.

D: What is your favorite motivational phrase?

Marvin: Sounds dumb, but ‘just do it’. We all have goals and we all have things we want to do or should do. So, when I don’t want to do something I think to myself, ‘just to it’. If makes me get up off my butt and get going. Does it always work? Nope, but most of the time it gets me moving.

D: Where do you see publishing going in the future?

Marvin: The future of publishing is a wide-open field. You are going to have more people self-publishing. More of the larger publishing houses are going to need to move faster than they are probably used to. It may also force publishers and agents to consider writers that they may not have in years past.

You may also see the rise of hybrid companies that provide targeted services for writers who want to keep some of the control but need help in other areas. These new publishing companies would agree to these services for a commission of the sales. The more they do for the writer, the higher the commission. The less they do for the writer, the lower the commission.

A-la-cart publishing.

Wow, did I just come up with a new business plan? Probably not.

Catch up with Marvin
You can find Marvin Neu on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/mdneuauthor/

His scribbles and more about his writing can be found here: www.mdneu.com

His blog can be found here: www.mdneu.com/blog/

Hot Pink Dragon

Because sometimes… Size Does Matter!


Hot Pink Dragon is a spicy coming-of-age dragon-shifter romance.

Bullied by his bigger brothers and coddled by his doting parents, Pinkie is wandering America on a quest to ‘find himself’—drifting from town to town in search of meaning and great apple pie.

Mourning the loss of her husband and struggling to pay her father’s nursing home bills, Lola is a small town girl trapped in Big Bluff, USA by the cruel twists of fate and Walter the dirty cop.

When Pinkie meets Lola, his quest for pie is over, and they both discover a love they didn’t know they needed.

 

A feel good story unlike any other romance you’ve read before!

 

*Warning : Due to coarse language and explicit sex this book is not recommended for readers under 18.

This is the second volume in The Hot Pink Series from D. de Carvalho

and the second release from The Hot Pink Press

Over 17,000 words of Romantic Comedy and Adventure

Available now on Kindle through Amazon

ISBN 978-0-9953366-3-6     ASIN: B06VVGJB5V

 

Hot Pink Heels

Johnny has a talent for inserting large things into small spaces.
Cover Art for Hot Pink Heels

At the end of a long hot day selling shoes, all he wants is to get the size 12 feet in front of him stuffed into their size 9 boots and out the door. But when the door chime tinkles, heralding a Vision in urgent need of Johnny’s ‘special’ services, closing time is forgotten.

Johnny’s new mission: slip her perfect size 6 narrows into the perfect pair of Hot Pink Heels. And maybe slip Ug, the caveman in his pants, into something else hot and pink.

But before he can close the deal, wasp thin Roxanne, Johnny’s domineering boss, returns with a shocking new outfit, a size 13 wide flip flop, and a plan—for all of them.

From storefront to stockroom, the mild-mannered shoe salesman’s boring day takes a surprisingly severe and sexy twist the moment he begins his quest for the perfect pair of Hot Pink Heels.

*Warning : Due to coarse language and explicit sex this book is not recommended for readers under 18.

Welcome to The Hot Pink Press 1st Release

Available now on Kindle through Amazon

ISBN –  978-0-9953366-0-5     ASIN: B01M7PMX8W