Author Karen A. Wyle releases her new novel: Water to Water

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Two young Vushla questioned what everyone knew about death. What should they do with the answer?

When the time comes for Vushla to die, they go into the ocean and are dissolved away. Or so Terrill has always believed, and still believes after taking part in his father’s final journey. But when he meets a young Vushlu who lives by the sea, Terrill must confront information that calls this fundamental belief into question. Will the two of them discover the truth? And what should they do with what they find?

 

Amazon | Goodreads

 

 

 

Questionmark at the Wall

 

 

 

*How did you come up with the title for this book? It sounds rather poetic.

–The idea came from a familiar phrase in the English Burial Service: “ashes to ashes, dust to dust.”

 

*What exactly is a Vushla?

–The Vushla (plural — singular is Vushlu) are one of the sentient species on a planet humans haven’t found. They could be described as a cross between a centaur and a tortoise: their general body configuration is that of a centaur, and they are largely covered by many small plates of a hard substance they (and their neighbor species, the Weesah) refer to as armor. The armor is often moved as part of gestures and body language. I envision them as roughly human-sized.

 

*Tell us how the idea for this book came about.

–That was a first for me. The way Vushla typically meet death came to me as an image in a dream. My husband contributed a key plot twist.

 

*What is the connection between the Vushla, water, and death?

–As described in the Preface and in the book blurb, when a Vushlu knows it is dying (I use “it” for unidentified Vushla and Weesah, and he or she for individuals of known gender), it tries to get to the ocean, where it swims or wades into the surf to dissolve away. If it dies on the journey, the friends and relatives accompanying it on the funeral journey hire fisher folk (who have custom-made waterproof suits) to carry the body into the ocean.

 

Whether there are other connections . . . you’ll need to read the book to find out. 🙂

 

*Was your approach different in writing this book?

 

The origin — a dream, as I mentioned above — was different. Otherwise, I did what I usually do: wrote a (very) rough draft during National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo or NaNo; put it aside for a month or so; did multiple revisions and editing passes over the next nine months; sent it to beta readers and made more revisions based on their comments; did the final proofread/edits; and published it (as a preorder) on Amazon and Google Play and via Draft2Digital. (The paperback will, I hope, be ready by the release date of October 17th, at least on Amazon. B&N will take a little longer due to a cumbersome proofing process.)

 

*What comes first the idea or theme?

 

That’s an interesting question, especially this time around. What thematic concerns inspired that dream? I can’t say for sure. I certainly had both mortality and parent-child relationships on my mind, as my father died a little more than six months before NaNo began. (I don’t remember exactly when I had the dream, but I would guesstimate it was a month or so before NaNo.)

 

*What was your experience like writing Water to Water?

 

I can generally keep up with or stay slightly ahead of the pace NaNo requires (an average of 1,667 words per day), and this time was no exception. My confidence in the story fluctuated about as much as usual — which is to say, frequently but not to the point of either ecstatic certainty or profound gloom. I frequently consulted my general science adviser, aka my husband Paul Hager, on various aspects of world-building.

I approached cover design a little differently this time. I’ve most often collaborated with a particular designer, but that collaboration works best when I have some fairly definite starting ideas. This time, the one idea I had felt insufficient. I decided to spring boldly into the red, financially speaking, and invest in a cover from a designer (or rather, a group of designers) I’d long admired, Damonza. I am delighted with the result, which has gotten consistently favorable comment during the book’s Silver Dagger Book Tour (continuing through October 26th).

 

 

 

Karen A Wyle

 

Karen A. Wyle is the author of multiple science fiction novels, including The Twin-Bred Series: Books 1-3; near-future novels DivisionPlayback Effect, and Who: a novel of the near future; and YA near-future novel The Link. Her one novel (so far) outside the SF category is afterlife fantasy/family drama Wander Home. She has also published one nonfiction work, Closest to the Fire: A Writer’s Guide to Law and Lawyers, a resource for authors or for anyone interested in understanding more about American law.

Wyle was born a Connecticut Yankee, but eventually settled in Bloomington, Indiana, home of Indiana University. She now considers herself a Hoosier. Wyle’s childhood ambition was to be the youngest ever published novelist. While writing her first novel at age 10, she was mortified to learn that some British upstart had beaten her to the goal at age 9.

Wyle is an appellate attorney, photographer, political junkie, and mother of two wildly creative daughters. Her voice is the product of almost five decades of reading both literary and genre fiction. It is no doubt also influenced, although she hopes not fatally tainted, by her years of law practice. Her personal history has led her to focus on often-intertwined themes of family, communication, the impossibility of controlling events, and the persistence of unfinished business.

 

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Blog Tour: The Final Enemy by Dan Petrosini

Picture The Final Enemy Teaser

 

 

 

 

 

The Final Enemy Audio Cover

 

 

 

Synopsis: In the face of a death-defying power, what’s the “new normal”?

Like all reporters, Jack longs for a breaking story but is stuck writing obituaries for a small-town rag. As his frustration mounts, it hits him that no one has died in over three days. Jack’s odd observation becomes something far stranger when he connects a meteorite to the bizarre phenomenon.

Seizing the opportunity, Jack breaks the story and after a struggle to control the meteorite’s power is resolved, a swelling population begins to create havoc. With the survival of the human race hanging in the balance, politicians enact increasingly horrific measures and desperate citizens take matters into their own hands.

Jack’s in a position to not just report the news, but change it, and his decisions and observations creates an epic thriller that pits the potential of human immortality against a force designed to change – or obliterate – humanity itself.

Only one man might stand in its way … the man buried in the obits department.

The Final Enemy is a story of social disintegration as well as a saga of survival. Secret plans, starvation, suicide, and a series of events that spiral the human race into a desperate survival mode evolve from a seemingly singular event and leads to a fast-paced action story that delights with its penchant for the unexpected.

In the Matthew Mather and A.G. Riddle tradition, The Final Enemy is a gripping blend of thriller and science fiction that will prove hard to put down.

 

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The Final Enemy Banner

 

 

 

BOOK REVIEW

 

I loved the story concept behind this book. The meteorite that strikes Earth that mysteriously has death defying properties for the entire planet. It was interesting to see the ripple effect it had on society. Apparently the meteorite is blessing to all of mankind. Until the world begins to see the affects of a human race who can live forever.

Narrator performance was overall entertaining. He does do a good job of connecting you to the story. Some of the character voices were pretty funny.  The sound quality wasn’t the greatest but not too bad overall.

 

 

In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of writing a stand-alone novel vs. writing a series?

As a reader, I was never drawn to series and thus never considered writing one. However, many author groups detail the benefits of a series and now I have three books completed.  It’s too early to tell, as book 2 just released and 3 in editors hands, if there is a benefit besides having a fully fleshed main character!  That said, I am aching to get back to a new stand alone idea.

 

 

What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?

The most important aspect I’ve learned is to write consistently.  Block time out and start writing.  If possible each day but if you can only write a day a week, that’s fine just make sure you do it each week. You will grow as a writer and the words will pile up.

 

 

What’s next for you?

My next novel is in my editor’s hands right now, so it will be out in a few months. Next, I am working on two outlines – one for the fourth book in the Luca Mystery Series and the other a Sci-Fi story.

 

 

 

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: DAN PETROSINI

Dan has his own view of the world and culture or lack thereof. He is passionate in his belief that people can realize their dreams if they focus and take action. He actively encourages people to break out and live a the life they want.
Married with two daughters and a needy Maltese, Dan splits his time between South West Florida and New York City, where he was born. Dan teaches at local colleges, writes novels and plays the tenor saxophone in a couple of jazz bands. He also drinks way too much wine.
Dan has an active blog at http://danpetrosini.com and has written seven novels.

 

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Interview with Jesikah Sundin Author of The Biodome Chronicles

 

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Please welcome Science Fiction & Fantasy author Jesikah Sundin

 

 

 

Jesikah Sundin, Author profile

 

 

Jesikah Sundin is multi-award winning a sci-fi/fantasy writer mom of three nerdlets and devoted wife to a gamer geek. In addition to her family, she shares her home in Monroe, Washington with a red-footed tortoise and a collection of seatbelt purses. She is addicted to coffee, laughing, and Dr. Martens boots and shoes … Oh! And the forest is her happy place.



Other Interesting tidbits:


Jesikah owns Forest Tales Photography, and boasts a varied background in business administration and marketing, though her heart has always belonged to the arts and sciences. In college, she pursued a degree in geophysics and oceanography. And, as a teenager, she attended a performing arts school for musical theater and opera, performing in several theater productions, while also serving as editor-in-chief of her high school’s newspaper. She is married for over twenty years to her high school sweetheart and raising three awesomely geeky children. When not writing, she’s often found in her garden, hiking, gaming, baking, fangirling over all things Star Wars and Firefly, or attending various conventions in cosplay, notably Comicon and FaerieCon.

 

 

 

 

 

Interview Microphone Cord Wire Word Radio Podcast Discussion

 

 

 

Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?

 

I’m not sure if you mean “writing” as fellow writers who have inspired me or “writing” as in the stories I write. But, thankfully, the answer for both angles is similar.I read pretty much everything, from westerns to poetry to crime thrillers to the classics to everything in-between. Though, my main book diet is young adult science fiction and fantasy. My brain is author and story alphabet soup at this point. I’ve also lived in two vastly different states, in three vastly different geographical areas, and traveled all over North and parts of South America. These experiences make a great marinade for the imagination.  Additionally, I spent my formative years immersed in the liberal arts (dance, opera, theater, competition choir) while studying for a degree in science (geophysics, oceanography, and ethnoscience). The combination? Weird, genre-mash-up stories, that blend the arts and sciences, and explore people, culture, geographies, and their relationship with the environments they find themselves in.   

 

 

 

Science fiction Biodome

 

 

 

Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook.

Well, it was all rather simple. Sunny did all the hard work and I got to enjoy the fruits of his labor with commentary. Usually I’d see a notice in my inbox that another chapter was ready for review. I’d squeal, plunk myself down in a comfortable spot, pull my book up, read along as I listened to the narration, and take notes of any discrepancies I found, or feedback on how I’d prefer something to be said (emotional notes). That’s pretty much it. A fun process on my end!

 

 

 

 

 

Audiobook image Biodome

 

 

 

 

 

Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?

Ha! No, actually. Never even crossed my mind. LEGACY was originally published in January 2014. It wasn’t until last year that I even considered an audiobook and only because I had so many potential readers comment on social media that they wished my book were in audio format. Anything for my readers 😉

 

 

 

Idea Biodome

 

 

 

 

How did you select your narrator?

It was an involved process that included far too many cups of coffee, sacrifices to the Audible gods, and sleepless night wondering if I’d ever find The One. And then I did, which was rather miraculous, as finding The One usually is. I honestly didn’t think I’d contract a voice actor because of the language difficulties narrating LEGACY would present (American and British English, Latin, French, and Japanese) and different point-of-view writing styles (cyberpunk and classical fantasy style). I’m pretty sure I cried oceans of grateful tears when Sunny sent in an audition.  

 

 

 

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Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format?

 

Oh, the languages and dialects for sure. Sunny Patel’s lovely British accent breathed life into my New Eden Township characters. But I was floored when the written French and Japanese became real. I sort of melt into a puddle whenever I hear him speak Leaf and Oaklee’s lines in French or Fillion’s Japanese dialogue.

 

 

 

Japanese Biodome

 

 

 

 

Legacy: The Biodome Chronicles

 

 

 

Legacy Biodome image audio

 

 

 

Character Profiles

 

 

 

One silver biodome

 

 

 

 

FILLION NICHOLS

 

Fillion Nichols (born in Dublin, Ireland and raised in Seattle, Washington state) is a hacker in the Anime Tech Movement’s computer underground, even though he is part of the Corporate Elite. At age 17, he is fluent in Japanese, can hack most Smart devices, websites (including government sites), and holographic computer technology. He also writes encryption software algorithms, same as his life-long best friend, Mack. Fillion works the communications night shift at New Eden Enterprises for New Eden Biospherics & Research, the companies responsible for the experiment at New Eden Township.

 

At age 20, he’ll come into trust majority of a large legal Legacy, an inheritance he resents. But, as he states, it never matters what he wants. Ever. Fillion sees himself no different than a drone, something programmable. Something his father owns to manipulate and use at will. A fate he fears he’ll never escape.

 

His sister Lynden is 11 months younger than him. The media scrutinizes his every move. When he had attended Academy, he was bullied regularly. For this reason, Mack and Lynden are the only two people Fillion trusts.

 

He is known for his quick wit and sarcastic humor, analytical/philosophical thinking, rambling thoughts, deep emotions and convictions, guitar playing, and his fondness for whiskey and cigarettes.

 

 

 

 

two silver biodome

 

 

 

 

WILLOW OAK WATSON

 

Willow Oak Watson, lovingly referred to as Oaklee by her father or the Daughter of Earth by the community, is nearly 16 years old when the story opens. She was born inside New Eden Township (Salton Sea, California), much the same as others from the second generation. At age 8, she apprenticed with Mistress Katie, the head village spinner and weaver, and became a master spinner and seamstress at age 14.

 

Her fingers prefer to stay busy, even if to twirl strands of hair when her hands are not otherwise occupied. Quite often, she perches high above her community in the branches of her beloved willow oak tree, humming a merry tune while pondering the world around her. When grieved by offense, she feels the injustice whipping inside of her with gale force winds, earning her the family nickname Hurricane Willow.

 

Her father, Joel Watson, was the Earth Element, one of four head Nobility positions within New Eden Township. Her mother, Claire Johnston, died from childbed fever when she was 8 years old. Willow has an older brother named Leaf (age 19) and a younger sister named Laurel (age 8).

 

Willow is best known for her atmospheric personality, poetic tendencies, quick wit, deep and thoughtful emotions, empathy, and her connection to nature.

 

 

 

three biodome

 

 

 

 

 

LEAF WATSON

 

Leaf Watson, titled the Son of Earth, was the first child born within the walls of New Eden Township. He is the eldest child in the Earth Element house at age 19 and among the oldest members of the second generation. Since a small boy, he has found great pleasure in watching living things grow and flourish. Unlike most from Nobility, he was pushed through a rigorous education, which included additional studies under the tutelage of the village Barrister.

 

Since age 15, Leaf has acted as First Representative for his father, Joel Watson, who was a head Noble inside New Eden Township. But an unthinkable situation changes everything. An invisible crown of power is bequeathed to Leaf as his father takes his final breaths. This family secret propels Leaf into a position that not only threatens his home but also his way of life. To Leaf, each day seems to unearth new secrets and present new challenges, an overwhelming situation, especially as he is now the legal guardian for his sisters, Willow Oak (age 15) and Laurel (age 8).

 

Leaf is known for his kind, steadfast, and astute personality, as well as his honorable and gentlemanly demeanor. He is reserved and dutiful, sometimes to the point of self-sacrifice. Although a peace-maker by nature, he would be willing to wage war in order to protect his family.

 

 

 

 

 

Legacy Teaser

 

 

About the Audiobook

Author: Jesikah Sundin

Narrator: Sunil Patel

Length: 12 hours 30 minutes

Publisher: Forest Tales Publishing⎮2017

Genre: Science Fiction

Series: The Biodome Chronicles, Book 1

Release date: Dec. 11, 2017

Synopsis:

She is from the past, locked inside a world within a world.

He is from the future, haunted by her death.

 

A sensible young nobleman and his fiery sister live in an experimental medieval village. Sealed inside this biodome since infancy, Leaf and Willow have been groomed by The Code to build a sustainable world, one devoid of Outsider interference. One that believes death will give way to life.

All is ideal until their father bequeaths a family secret with his dying breath, placing an invisible crown of power on Leaf’s head. Now everyone in their quiet town is suspect. Risking banishment, the siblings search for clues, leading them to Fillion Nichols, an Outsider with a shocking connection to their family. Their encounter launches Fillion into battle with his turbulent past as he rushes to decode the many secrets that bind their future together–a necessity if they are all to survive.

Cultures clash in an unforgettable quest for truth, unfolding a story rich in mystery, betrayal, and love.

 

Are you ready to discover what is real?

Buy Links

Buy on AmazonAudibleiTunes

 

 

 

 

 

Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi Trailer (2017)

IT’S TELEVISION TUESDAY FOLKS!

 

 

 

 

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What was you favorite episode? Tell me in the comments!!

 

 

 

 

 

Up for a reading challenge? Join the Book Hoarders Bucket List Reading Challenge  (Goodreads group here)

 

 

A Challenge for Book Hoarders Like Me at SallyAllenBooks.com

 

 

Don’t miss the inaugural powerhouse event of 2017!! Check out Mystery Thriller Week on my other site: Mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

Interview: with Author Melanie Marttila

 

 

Story of the Writer

 

Everyone please welcome Melanie Marttila 

 

 

 

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Melanie is a science fiction & fantasy novelist-in-progress, a published poet and short story writer and all around awesome person. I first met Melanie through our awesome Facebook group entitled: THE WORDPLAYERS. Sounds cool huh? Because it is!

 

WELCOME ABOARD

 

 

Are you originally from Canada?

Well, this is an interesting story (but I may be biased). I was born right here, in Sudbury, Ontario, and when I was about a year and a half, my grandparents built themselves a new house. My parents decided to buy my grandparents’ old house, where my dad had grown up.

It gets better.

After I spent a few years away at university, I returned to Sudbury, married, and, once we both had stable employment, my husband and I bought the house from my parents 🙂

The land on which both houses stand was part of a farm that my grandfather had bought, back in the day, and to finance the building of their new house (which my parents eventually moved into after my grandparents passed) they sold off some of the land to the city.

So I live in the house in which three generations of Marttilas have lived, on the street that bears my family name. Beside my mom. My writing room was my bedroom growing up. How cool is that?

I mean, some people might think it’s BORING, but, you know. Cool. *smiles*

 

I keep meeting great writers from Canada, it’s wonderful! I seriously need to go there one day. Look out Canada!

 

 

 

 

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What’s it like?

Sudbury is a mining town in what most people consider northern Ontario. If you look at a map, we’re actually smack in the middle, about an hour and a half drive from Manitoulin Island in Georgian Bay, which is part of Lake Huron.

We’re the site of an ancient meteor impact, which is where all the stuff mined here came from and why Sudbury is called the nickel capitol.

Sudbury is also on pre-Cambrian shield, ancient mountains that have been ground down by glaciers. We have a chunk of it in our basement 🙂

When I was a kid, open pit smelting had blackened the rock and consumed most of the trees as fuel. In the 60’s, NASA came up here because the landscape, at the time, was very much what they expected to find on the moon . . .

The International Nickel Company (INCO) built the stack (to divert the sulfurous smog produced by smelting the nickel), changed their refining processes, and started to recover the landscape that had been ravaged by their previous practices. Now, we’re lovely and green again—in the summer, anyway. Winters here are pretty hellish.

Having said all that, my family was never involved in mining. Sudbury is the kind of place that gets into your blood, though. That’s why I came back and have made my life here, despite the winters.

Our area of Ontario is dotted with lakes that have formed in depressions in the pre-Cambrian shield. Outside the city, it’s considered prime cottage country.

 

Sounds like a memorable and scenic place. 

 

 

How long have you been writing?

Egad. Since I was seven years old.

 

 

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Wowsers!  I have a seven year boy right now. Writing is not his strong suit, its reading. But it’s amazing you were able to begin writing stories at such a young age. 

 

 

 

What was your career path?

I worked in retail from the age of thirteen through high school, had some interesting jobs in university—canine security patrol and video camera person and editor for a company that filmed show jumping and dressage shows across Canada and down into New York—and after graduation, I had an unreliable series of contracts in libraries and academia. My sister-in-law made me aware of an opportunity with her employer, and now I’ve been working with that same employer for fifteen years.

I’m currently in L&D, learning and development. Call me a corporate trainer. I’m a certified trainer (and certifiable, some would argue), but still working toward the goal of being able to leave my day job for my true passion, writing.

That’s an interesting mix of jobs there. I love how it always comes back to writing in the end. 

 

 

 

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I find everyone’s story so fascinating. Normally it starts early in childhood, then comes back full circle with a full blown passion of writing. 

AMAZING.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“The journey, not the arrival matters.”

~Michel de Motaigne

 

 

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What did you study in college?

 

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BA in English Literature, rhetoric emphasis, cum laude, thankyouverymuch 😉 MA in English Literature and Creative Writing.

Ouch, that sounds difficult. But it does make me very curious. I’ve only had one creative writing class in college. Got an A. Makes me feel smart. 

 

 

 You’re a writer; so what’s your story, or what inspired you?

I was in grade three. I’d just gotten a puppy and wrote what might be called a “personal essay” about her. So I was already writing. I just hadn’t really caught the bug. Yet.

Then . . . IT happened. The students of the grade five class wrote and illustrated their own storybooks and were invited to present them to us.

One of the grade five students, a girl named Siobhan Riddell (isn’t that a lovely name?) did her own version of St. George and the Dragon. I didn’t even remember the rest of the stories. I wanted to take Siobhan’s home with me and read it and look at the pictures, over and over.

The thing you should know about Siobhan is that she was an awesome artist, even then. She grew up to become a professional artist and then, that bastard cancer took her from the world 😦

But that was the moment. I made my first submission—to CBC’s Pencil Box, a show that dramatized the stories of their young viewers—that year. I wrote the Christmas play for my class the next year.

And I’ve been in love with words ever since.

 

That’s such a lovely story! I often wonder what it is that ignites in some children to become writers and not others.  I suppose some just “catch the bug”. Love that expression.

 

 

 

 

 

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What’s your GOAL in becoming a writer?

To write. Pure and simple. Writing is (almost) everything to me. It’s my spiritual practice; my counsellor; my companion, and my comfort. I feel off when I can’t write for whatever reason. I have said that I’m going to write until age and infirmity—it’s going to take both of them because I’m not going down without a fight—rob me of the capacity.

My self-worth isn’t pinned to getting published, but I can’t see how I can justify quitting my day job unless I can make a decent living from my words. So, I’m doing the work to make that happen.

So far, I’ve had three sales of science fiction short stories, a handful of wins in local writing contests, and a bunch of poetry published in anthologies.

2015 was a year of near misses, long lists, short lists, second readings, and the like. And lots of rejections. I’m also querying an epic fantasy novel, without success. I like to reframe rejections: I’m one ‘no’ closer to ‘yes!’

I’m focused mostly on writing novels now, though, and most of those are fantasy of various shades.

YES. I love your attitude here. “one step closer to yes” is a great way to look at it. I can’t wait to see what you come up with. We wouldn’t mind seeing more of your poetic muscle too. 

 

 

 

What 3 things have hindered you from completing your projects? (CONFLICT)

I generally finish what I start. I’m diligent (and a bit compulsive) that way.

The three things that keep me from writing as much, or as quickly, as I’d like are:

The day job. It allows me to invest in my writing (conferences, courses, etc.) but—man—would I love to spend my days doing the thing I love.

Actually, it’s just the one thing (oopsie). *grins*

 

I like that you are DILIGENT. It’s an indispensable character trait necessary for every writer. Without it our stories go nowhere. Our characters go nowhere. Our careers go nowhere. Splendid. You don’t suppose you could lend me some of yours do you? Got an extra gallon or so lying around?

 

 

 

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Here’s a picture of Melanie’s desk

 

 

 

What keeps you motivated in achieving your dream? (DESIRE)

The writing itself. It is truly a way of life for me. I wouldn’t give it up for anything.

As one of my characters says, I want to be a part of the great voice that carries this age into the future.

Now that’s not arrogant at all, is it? 😛

 

Not at all. You are very clearly a writer to me. I love your laser-beam-like focus on writing.

 

 

 

What’s your ANTAGONIST? What’s in the way?

Um. Yeah. Day job.

Ah yes, the dreaded day job. The more I dive into the writing realm the less I like my day job. All I want to do is read and write. I’m not sure how that happened, but there it is.  

 

 

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Day Job: I hate you.

You:  I hate you too.

Day Job: I wish you’d quit and go write somewhere.

You: I will, you just wait…

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have given up your dream, why? 

I’ve never given up. The dream has lain dormant for periods of time (sometimes years), but even when I wasn’t writing, I was thinking about writing, journaling, daydreaming, and doing other creative stuff (sketching, gardening, cross stitch–yeah, that’s what I thought at first, too–and I was even in a musical for a local theatre company).

I discovered Joseph Campbell in my undergraduate years and I’ve really come to understand my creative journey in terms of the Hero’s Journey. It hasn’t been a straight line, or even a circle, as the Hero’s Journey is often presented.

It’s been more of a spiral, kind of like the end of C.S. Lewis’s The Last Battle, where the Pevensies, Scrubb, Pole, and the rest run through Narnia after Narnia, in Escher-esque fashion, Aslan urging them, “Further on! Further in!” until they reach their final destination.

My journey has been defined by my threshold guardians. The play I wrote in grade four? The teacher edited my work substantially without telling me or explaining why the changes were necessary. Even at that point, I knew it was wrong, and it seeded a deep distrust of authority.

In grade five, a former friend appeared to offer an olive branch, bury the hatchet, what have you, but only did so long enough to gain my trust and ask to ready my stories . . . to which she took an entire bottle of white out, returning my exercise book of obliterated words only when the teacher made her stop.

The big threshold guardian was my first advisor in my MA program, an icon of Canadian Literature. He questioned my presence in the program and accused me of “wasting his time.” That was the wound that wouldn’t heal, even after I returned to work with a different advisor and finish the collection of short stories that became my creative thesis.

After that, I internalized the lessons of my threshold guardians over the years and my internal editor became monstrous. It’s one thing when other people tear you or your work down, but when you start to tear yourself apart . . .

It wasn’t until another icon of Canadian Literature shared his own trials with threshold guardians that I found my way back to the page.

I’m happy to say I haven’t left it since.

 

Wow that’s a very touching story with devastating experiences along the way. But what I’m really seeing and enjoying, is your resilience through it all. 

 

 

 

Why do writers give up, quit or never complete their projects?

Fear.

The new writer is afraid to look silly or expose their relative level of craft to the scrutiny of others.

The experienced, but unpublished, or minimally published, writer is afraid that they can’t be as good as other publish authors, or that their stories have no value.

Even published writers fear that they can’t write another novel as good as their last.

You have to learn to put fear in its place, make it your friend, listen to the legitimate lessons it has to teach you, and then agree to disagree on the rest.

That’s the hard part.

 

Well said. Seems like fear must teach us many lessons along our journey. To step out there and expose ourselves to the world. For better or for worse. With this in mind, I found a Superhero guy to help us out a little. I call him….CAPTAIN NO FEAR.

 

 

 

 

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  Captain No Fear

 

 

 

Behold some of Melanie’s poetic muscle below.

 

 

A Poet’s Apprentice

 

learning the words;

noun and adjective,

verb and adverb.

Putting them together

in little sentences—

she won’t let me play

with the big ones yet—

But she’s left me alone

just for a minute

with this big cauldron

teeming with

letters

and other viscera.

Before she returns

I grab the ladle

and gulp,

burning my mouth

with the potent brew.

Then I run

me and my belly full of words,

out the Dutch-door,

through the muddied fields

of hay stubble,

to the tree with leaves of paper,

draw forth the quill–

stolen from a feather duster–

prick my thumb

for ink.

Then.

I write.

Lovely!  That’s great!  UGH I miss poetry so much. I haven’t written very much lately. You’ll have to come back and grace us with your poetic words. 

 

 

 

neoverse

 

 

 

 

 

*Tell us about your short stories

In “The Broken Places,” a doctor on board a generation ship headed for another galaxy tries to diagnose a strange plague affecting the ship’s crew/citizens. What she discovers in trying to find a cure for the blue skin, void-like eyes, and verbal non-sequiturs is something she never suspected, but if she doesn’t stop the condition from progressing, the crew, and their mission, are in jeopardy. That one was published in Bastion Science Fiction Magazine in June 2014.

“Downtime” is the story of Opus, an AI-borg who achieves sentience, and liberation from her creators, as she learns what it means to be human, and that she’ll never be one. The good people of On Spec Magazine, one of Canada’s most respected speculative fiction markets, published that in their Fall 2014 issue.

 

Something tells me one day you’re going to hit one out of the ball park. 

 

 

 

OnSpecFall2014sm

 

 

 

 

*what has writing taught you over the years?

What has writing taught me? Who I am. That quote by Flannery O’Connor, “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say,” is very true. The more I write, the better, the more authentic, a person I become. The rest is between me and the page 😉

 

Oh yes! I love that quote. I’m finding it to be very true in my own experience. Writing things out is a very tranquil experience. There’s no like it. 

 

 

 

THANK YOU MELANIE

THIS WAS A TRULY ENJOYABLE INTERVIEW

 

 

 

*******

 

 

Keep writing 

until the pen

runs dry

~Benjamin Thomas

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.thewritingtrain.com

 

 

 

 

Story of the Writer: With Greg Spry

 

 

 

GREG SPRY 

WELCOME TO THE TRAIN

 

 

 

 

 

greg5

 

 

Everybody please welcome science fiction author Greg Spry of the Beyond the Saga series!

Beyond the Cloud Nine won silver medal in 2015 Reader’s Favorites Awards in the Science Fiction category, and IAN Book of the year awards nominee for Science Fiction. He writes action-packed hard science fiction with space combat and technology. If you go to his website, you can enter a Goodreads giveaway beginning Jun 23 and ending Jun 30.  I’ve wandered around his site and it really has a nice feel to it. Please go to: www.gregspry.com.

 

I found Greg to be an all around fascinating person with a great background to write science fiction. He has worked in IT, computer programming, search engine marketing, entrepreneurship and holds a MS Space Systems degree from the Florida Institute of Technology. But above all, he loves science fiction.   There it is folks!

 

 

Let’s meet our guest!

 

 

-md

 

 

*How did you get into science fiction? Early childhood influences?

I’ve loved science fiction as far back as I can remember. As a kid, I used to create Lego spaceships, watch Star Trek and Robotech, and play video games like Final Fantasy and every space shooter I could find. Now that I think about it, my dad used to watch a lot of sci-fi, so I watched along with him.

 

Yes! I did much of the same thing. Lego spaceships, Robotech, video games, Star Trek, but my brother never let me play Final Fantasy. I begged him to play it but he was quite dedicated to my misery. Robotech is probably my favorite out of this group though. I wish they would”ve made it a longer series.

 

 

 

Sunrise over group of planets in space

 

 

 

*What kind of books did you read over the years?

I remember reading My Teacher is an Alien and plenty of Choose Your Own Adventure books. I read Ender’s Game in late elementary school, the 21-book Robotech series three times in middle school, and classics like To Kill a Mockingbird in high school. Now, I read hard science fiction and self-published books.

 

I can see you were an early consumer of science fiction. Never realized that Robotech had a book series! My diet mainly consisted of  various cartoons versus books. 

 

*Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Since a young age, yes. I wrote a couple of full manuscripts in middle school.

This is an amazing feat for a kid in middle school. Some adults haven’t even completed full manuscripts!

 

 

 

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*Are you currently writing full-time?

No, I work as a software consultant for an IT company during the day. I’m working toward turning writing into my full-time day job.

That’s great, I’m all for it. A lot of us have the same dream. I certainly think you have the talent to do so.

 

 

*Who are your favorite authors?

My favorite authors are Arthur C. Clarke, Peter Hamilton, and Alastair Reynolds.

 

Nice. I’ve heard of Clarke, but the others are new to me honestly. They must be pretty good!

 

 

*Tell us about the Beyond Saga series

The Beyond Saga is my generational, fate-of-the-galaxy-hangs-in-the-balance type of space opera based on elements of hard science fiction. The saga includes the first attempts at faster-than-light speed travel, exciting space combat, cool technologies that are truly possible, first contact with alien races, time travel, alternate realities, and more.

 

Wow. This sounds like a very juicy series! 

 

See the Beyond Cloud Nine official homepage

 

 

beyondcloudnine-cover-front-edition2-hires

 

 

Beyond Cloud Nine (Beyond Saga Book 1)

 

 

Book 1, Beyond Cloud Nine (https://bit.ly/bc9kdle), is the story of the first pilot to fly faster than light and the solar conspiracy that gets in her way. Book 2, Beyond the Horizon (https://bit.ly/bthkdle), follows a young ensign as she tries to stop the extermination of a benevolent alien race during humankind’s first interstellar mission. Book 3, Beyond Yesterday, involves travel to Earth’s past to discover mankind’s origins and book 4, Beyond Existence, is the big intergalactic finale in which the human race may perish or prevail—or both. Books 1 and 2 are available now.

Beyond the Horizon was just published May 1, 2016. Read the Beyond the Horizon official homepage. His website is amazing!

 

 

beyondthehorizon-cover-front-hires

 

 

Beyond the Horizon (Beyond Saga Book 2)

 

 

*Can you take us through your research process?

I’ve immersed myself in science fiction my whole life, so I know the concepts and how things go. With a master’s degree in space systems from the Florida Institute of Technology, I’ve got a solid knowledge base regarding the realities of real space flight. All things space and astronomy naturally interest me, so I’ll use Google to confirm the details about things like the gravity and atmosphere of Titan or the conditions on a planet orbiting a red dwarf star.

At the start of the writing process, I outline at a high level and create basic character profiles. Then I let the story go where it goes as I write a rough first draft. Draft 2 is where I round out the characters, fix plot holes, make sure I’m showing rather than telling, and fill in the fine details. Draft 2 goes to beta readers and/or a critique group and an editor for refinement. After that process completes and the proofreading’s done, the publication and marketing process begins.

 

AMAZING. This sounds like a pretty refined process. I always enjoy hearing how authors delivers the goods! This is great.

 

 

 

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You’re a writer; so what’s your story, or what inspired you? 

The books, movies, shows, and video games I’ve loved throughout the years have inspired me. One big inspiration was the Final Fantasy games. Anyone who has played role-playing video games knows they’re like interactive books or movies. The great plots and characters in them motivated me to create my own.

My brother would know all about it…

 

 

What’s your GOAL in becoming a writer? After being published what’s next?

I’ve self-published two books, and I’m working to complete book 3 and then book 4 in my Beyond Saga. My goal is to generate enough of a revenue stream via book sales that I can turn to writing full-time, which means that marketing is currently my biggest challenge. I’ve been trying out different promotional services in hopes of finding something that works. Ultimately, I’d love to have my books turned into movies. Many people have seconded the notion that the space battles, environments, and plot of Beyond Cloud Nine would work well on the big screen.

 

Let it be so! That would be cool to see it on the big screen. You never know, it just might happen one day.

 

 

 

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Beyond the Saga

 

 

 

What has hindered you from completing your projects? (CONFLICT)

A market-savvy author knows that each book is an opportunity to sell all the other books. Hence, the more books you’ve published, the more books you’ll sell. My first problem is that the process of writing and releasing each book takes too much time given that I can only write in my spare time. If I could quit my day job and pump each one out faster, I’d make that much more money. I’ve been dumping hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars into promotion without seeing enough results to even offset my costs. If it weren’t for my day job, I’d be declaring bankruptcy about now. So I’m kind of stuck at the moment not being able to write fast enough to make enough money at it.

 

Ah, that sounds like such a heartache. Drop me a line, I’d be happy to do some book promotion.

 

 

What keeps you motivated in achieving your dream? (DESIRE)

I love smart science fiction and creating plots, worlds, and characters. I also believe in myself and think I can do these things just about as well as most anything else that’s out there.

 

We definitely share the same values in creating plots, worlds and characters. Your confidence is also inspiring. Don’t let anything get you down.

 

 

What’s your ANTAGONIST? What’s in the way?

 

 

 

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As previously discussed, visibility and how it takes money to make money. There are some well-known works of fiction out there that are only well-known because they’ve been mass-marketed. Meanwhile, there are other great works that aren’t well-known because a wide audience has yet to discover them. Such is the reality of the industry.

 

I’m glad I’ve discovered your work! And another reason why I do these interviews is to support authors like yourself. 

 

 

Have you ever wanted to give up your dream? If so, why?

 

I actually got really down in the dumps for a few days after I released book 2. I ran a 3-month promo period prior to publication in which I gave away review copies, put my book on Amazon for pre-order, did Twitter blasts, contacted bloggers, and spent hundreds of dollars. I didn’t do any of that for book 1, yet sales of book 2 paled in comparison to book 1. So I thought if I’m going to pump all that effort into promo and not see results, how can I possibly be successful and why bother to keep writing? I make plenty of money in my day job. If I focus on that, I’ll be far better off financially in the long run, so why waste my time being anti-social and writing in my personal time when I could be out doing more active stuff? But as the weeks have gone by, I’ve noticed a little bit better recurring sales. It’s taken people a while to read book 1 and then get around to reading book 2. While sales are still a long way from where they need to be, I’m more hopeful for the future. I’ve also learned what to do and not to do with a book release, which will help with book 3 and beyond.

 

This is very helpful to get a view of your experiences. Seems like it’s quite a battle once you get your book published. Probably a lot of writers think getting a book published equals instant success. Thanks for sharing. 

 

 

 

Why do writers give up, quit or never complete their projects?

To answer this question, we should put on our business caps. I’ve started several businesses in the past unrelated to writing. While most of them failed, I learned a lot from trying. Every now and then, a friend who wants to start a business will come to me for advice. They have a great idea and want to know how to make it a success. They want to pitch it like in an episode of Shark Tank. What do I tell them? That except in very special cases, Shark Tank is a lie and their idea doesn’t matter. When running a business, the least important factor in success is your product or service. Rather, your business system is what matters. I mean, of course you can’t be selling crap. But things like internal business practices/culture, marketing, sales, customer service, timing, leadership, and everything else surrounding the product or service is more important. Does McDonald’s serve the greatest, most revolutionary food on the planet? Of course not. Then why are they the biggest fast food chain in the world? Figure that out, and you start understanding what it takes to be successful. The point is that the actual writing itself is only a small part of the overall process—and not necessarily the most critical part—of being a successful author.

That’s why I think the single most important thing is passion. You’ve got to be able to conjure up the motivation to keep writing and promoting when nothing’s going right. So I ask people who come to me for advice about whether to start a business if they want to live and breathe their trade for 100+ hours per week. Do they want to not get paid for years until their product or service finally catches on? Do they want to spend far more time on everything else besides the actual trade (writing) that they love in order to make the business successful? Only if you answer yes to every one of those questions should you start that business, or in our case, get serious about writing. So to sum up and answer the question, people who quit don’t have the sustained passion for EVERYTHING that it takes to be successful.

 

Wow, this is wonderful advice for us newbies. You definitely sound like an entrepreneur to me. Simply being a writer isn’t going to cut it in today’s world. We must be the ultimate entrepreneur. 

 

 

businessman-in-suit-md

 

(Your name here)

 

 

What would you say to a struggling writer who’s given up?

Do you have the passion to keep going? Is this what you truly love? If not, give up. But if yes, stick with it. Even if your writing isn’t very good, if you love doing it and have great desire to improve, you can and will get better. Don’t let anyone tell you writing a book is some mysterious art form that some people are born for and others aren’t. While some people are naturally good storytellers, the vast majority of all stories have certain structural elements in common. Simply put, there are right ways and wrong ways to write a story. You can learn them if you stay open to feedback, do your research, and are willing to put yourself out there.

 

I’m lovin’ it. Solid words here. Let’s face it, authors are the most resilient people on the planet. We must have an undying passion, a steadfast commitment, and a desire for life long learning.  I love writing and learning equally.  It’s an awesome journey and adventurous process.  Let’s keep the ball rolling!  Woohoo! 

 

 

BONUS: What else do you have coming down the pike?

I’m currently working on book 3 in the Beyond Saga. After that, I’ll write the final book 4. Somewhere in there, I’m going to publish one or more of my Bears in Space short stories, which are sci-fi comedies. Think South Park in space but with raunchy adult Disney animal characters. Bears in Space allows me to do some fun venting about all the horrible clichés out there: unrealistic alien invasions where the all-powerful but completely moronic aliens hover their spaceships over our cities like big bullseyes instead of just blasting us from orbit or releasing a virus, cheesy romance novels with the dude with washboard abs on the cover, dystopian apocalypses where the biggest threat is zombies that can’t even move fast enough to jog, and more. After the Beyond Saga, I’ll return to working on Destalis, which was the first full manuscript I wrote as an adult. Destalis will continue to explore the concepts introduced toward the end of the Beyond Saga but with more of a Game-of-Thrones-in-space type of feel. I haven’t decided whether it will remain a single book or if I’ll expand it into a book series.

 

Man, that sounds pretty sweet. Can’t wait to see what you come up with. Write on! Don’t let anybody slow you down.

 

 

Thanks for coming on the site Greg! Come again!

 

 

GREG SPRY HAS AN EPIC WEBSITE

 

  www.gregspry.com

There’s also a BEYOND THE HORIZON ENCYCLOPEDIA that lists the following:

Characters

Technology

World

Terminology

 

 

 

Favorite quotes?

 

“There’s no sense in nonsense, especially when the heat’s hot.” – Safety Not Guaranteed movie. I don’t know why I love this saying. Maybe because it’s so stupid it’s awesome.

 

 

 

 

 

KEEP WRITING 

UNTIL IT’S 

FINISHED 

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.thewritingtrain.com