The Fantastic Blog Hop Tour bus is moving along and it’s making a stop in Florida (again) to pick up a woman who is responsible for encouraging my writing addiction. I’m talking about none other than Dellani Oakes.
Dellani Oakes is an author, blogger and a Red River Writers pocaster. Her latest sci-fi book Shakazhan is available at Second Wind Publishing. She took time from her hectic schedule to speak with us and participate in the 10 Questions segment.
1. Are you a fan of the genre that you write in? Surprisingly, I am – to an extent. I write romance and I get burned out on the books where the two leading characters argue throughout the majority of the book. I want my characters to get along, fall in love, have some hot sex and fight the bad guys together. What an unusual concept!
2. Are you a pen and paper author or do you use a computer to write? Some of both, actually. If I have to go to an appointment, I take a notebook and pen. It’s impossible to find a spot to set up a laptop and I can’t type while balancing it on my lap. (I think the name laptop is a misnomer, by the way)
3. If you couldn’t write what would you be doing instead? If I’m not writing, I’m reading or watching Netflix. I watch WAY too many movies and TV shows when I get bored. I hibernate in the summer because I can’t stand the heat – brilliant of me to live in Florida! I love to cook, though I hate planning meals, and I love digging around doing research for my books.
4. What about this business surprised you the most? I would have to say the amount of marketing shocked me. I’m not good at talking myself up, but if I don’t, I don’t sell books. It took me a very long time to hit on an approach I can handle. It takes far more time than I like, but if I don’t do it, no one else will.
6. Are you on social media? Do you enjoy it? I am on Facebook and always welcome new friends and fans https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dellani-Oakes/98897574794 I enjoy my time there and count it towards my marketing time. A wise author friend told me once that “You don’t market your books, you market yourself”. In other words, you reach out, get to know people and treat them as friends, not customers. People are far more likely to buy a new book a friend wrote than that of a complete stranger. Be friendly, genuine and honest. It takes time, but it will pay off in the long run.
7. The house is on fire, which do you save, your laptop or your book collection? Neither. I would save my flashdrives. All my books are on them. If my computer melted or my books went up in smoke, I can replace them. If I lost my flashdrive, I might as well die because my books would die with them.
8. The publishing industry is changing, do you think this is good or bad time for authors? In some ways, it’s great! There are opportunities for authors to publish their own work. However, there are so many other books out there, it makes it much harder to get recognition and build a following.
9. How do you promote your books? I do two shows month on Blog Talk Radio: Dellani’s Tea Time – every 2nd Monday and What’s Write for Me every 4th Wednesday. I chat with other authors about their work, giving each of us a bit of exposure. I have my blogs where I post fairly regularly. In addition to the two above, I have Dellani’s Choice which is my review site. http://dellanischoice.wordpress.com/ I also post the 17th of every month on my publisher’s website: http://secondwindpub.wordpress.com/ In addition to all this, I am on Facebook, getting to know people and posting about my shows & books. The main thing that seems to have made a bigger difference, is Twitter. With the help of a buffer program, I can schedule my tweets for select hours during the day. I have also been able to link my blog posts so that they show up automatically on other sites. That has been a godsend and I wish it had been around 5 years ago when I started!
10. Your editor says you have to kill a character, which one would get the ax? Hmm…. If we’re talking about a main character, I’d have to create one with the editor’s name and brutally murder it. Not that any of my editors would do that – they are wonderful people. If they actually suggested that, there would have to be a really good reason. If it worked for the betterment of the book, I would do it – crying the entire time.
Excerpt from Shakazhan
Picking up where Lone Wolf ends, Shakazhan follows the further adventures of Wil VanLipsig and Matilda Dulac. Having chased the evil John Riley to a far off planet known as Iyundo, they find themselves once more confronted with a problem of John’s making. However, this time they have powerful allies – the Kindred. These people put them in touch with a race of sentient ships. In the following excerpt, Wil and Matilda meet their ship for the first time.
The cavern they entered dwarfed the other one. The ships inside were enormous. Flotilla and Hannibal could fit in there easily with room to spare. The design was unlike anything Wil had ever seen. The ships were shaped like horizontal teardrops, the narrow end foremost and the full end aft. The colors ranged from dull gray to a lustrous blue. The hulls shifted color as they walked by, particularly if Wil and Matilda spoke or touched them.
Wil laid his hand on one. It throbbed like a gigantic heart. To their right, a green light flashed rapidly, accompanied with odd, piercing, urgent sounds. The High Elder motioned them to follow. It took several minutes, but soon they were close enough to see blue and red and amber yellow had joined the display.
“Wil, I think it’s singing to us! Listen!” Matilda approached, mesmerized.
The ship was a deep, rich peacock blue. Larger than those below, it dwarfed any ship Wil had seen. Even the huge Guild ore transports weren’t this big. He felt like an ant in comparison.
Reaching up to the ship, Matilda’s hand smoothed the side. “It is singing!”
The tune changed when she touched it. Removing her hand, she heard the sounds modulate yet again. She stroked the hull of the ship, the colors shifted, altered and realigned themselves following the movement of her hand. A contented purr vibrated under her palm.
“Wil, it’s alive! Feel it!”
She grabbed his hand before he could pull away. Their two left hands brushed the hull together, hers atop his. The skin of the ship glowed a vibrant red, changing gradually to orange, flickered to dark yellow, settling to blue again.
Wil laid both his hands beside each other, leaning against the ship, placing his cheek to the side. As he moved back from it, the imprint of the outline of his face and hands remained for a moment, gradually receding.
“By God, Matilda, you’re right!”
The smiles of Felix and the High Elder confirmed their suspicions.
“I’ve heard legends of ships like this, but never expected to see one! This is incredible!”
Grabbing Matilda’s hand, Wil dragged her around the side of the ship, looking for an opening. About twenty feet from the point, a doorway appeared where none had been before. Steps descended, the ship molding them from its skin, forming depressions for their feet. They entered excitedly. Moments later, Felix, The High Elder and Aisulov joined them.
The sight greeting their eyes was one they hardly expected. The inside was ultra high tech, the instrumentation so advanced, they could only imagine what most of it was. The consoles had an Art Nouveau feel, with flowing lines and organic shapes. Here too, the colors melded and shifted.
“She’s beautiful!” Matilda’s eyes glowed happily as she walked around.
When she moved to Florida, Dellani Oakes had no idea the history was so rich and fascinating. Visiting St. Augustine for the first time, she felt the allure of the country’s oldest city. She decided then to write a story based there. It wasn’t until nearly twelve years later that Indian Summer took its final form.
Dellani is a happily married mother of four, substitute teacher and former English teacher. When she isn’t being one of the above, she is an avid writer, spending every possible moment immersed in her other worlds.
She has also written a series of futuristic romance novels, contemporary romances and short stories. Dellani’s interests include reading, going to the beach, listening to all kinds of music and cooking.