Picking the Brains of Crimson Kildare and Kat Marlow

fantastic blog hop bus

Beep, beep, we’re on to the next stop and today we’re picking up Crimson Kildare and Kat Marlow; authors, co-conspirators and friends.

1. Are you a fan of the genre that you write in?

Crimson: Absolutely!

Kat: I’m more of a sci-fi than a fantasy fan, but the answer would be yes.

 

2. Are you a pen and paper author or do you use a computer to write?

Crimson: Computer!

Kat: Some of both. I usually write long-hand, but editing can be really hard that way. I’ve KMfound it much easier to write on the computer.

3. If you couldn’t write what would you be doing instead?

Crimson: If I weren’t writing it would mean I was still acting, so that’s what I’d be doing.

Kat: Probably be stuck in a retail or admin job while taking college courses. I might still take a college course or two in the future. You’re never too old to be educated!

4. What about this business surprised you the most?

Crimson: Well I’m still learning this business, but I think just the amount of work it is off the page.

Kat: Yeah, I would also say the amount of work. I really respect the working authors out there, because I’ve realized how truly dedicated to their craft they are!

5. Do you blog?

Together: We do. www.thrutheglass.net Please come over and check it out! (grins)

6. Are you on social media? Do you enjoy it?

Crimson: Yes I am and for the most part I do. I especially love twitter. @cassygirlyeah
Kat: Yes I am, and I also enjoy it for the most part. Twitter’s really fun, and my handle there is @jedikat71 (it’s not under my pen name, just so you know).

7. The house is on fire, which do you save, your laptop or your book collection?

Crimson: As much as it pains me to say it, my laptop. My laptop has all my unfinished work on it, that material is irreplaceable. On the other hand if my books burn I can get new ones.

8. The publishing industry is changing, do you think this is good or bad time for authors?

Crimson: I think it can be a good and a bad time for authors, depending on a number of different factors, not the least of which is sheer dumb luck. However we do have an exciting new opportunity here to help shape the way the world will view writing, writers and the publishing world as a whole and how that will all work in the future. That’s worth some hassle, struggle and patience.

Kat: It’s good for authors since more and more of them are self-publishing. I’m more worriedCMK about the industry itself, because they seem to be more focused on selling books than on promoting well-written material. Having authors go from writing fanfic to publishing bestsellers has been a double-edged sword. Although it gives more opportunities to such authors, I fear that what’s been selling well doesn’t represent the really great writers that are out there. I hope the next bestseller to evolve from a fan-fic will be a well-written one, and then people will begin to realize that not all fan-fic writers are a bunch of hacks and internet trolls.

Crimson: I couldn’t agree more!

9.     How do you promote your books?

Crimson: Through twitter, FB, Live Journal, Dreamwidth and word of mouth at the moment; as well as cooperation with other writers, such as with this blog hop.

Kat: We’re also posting our current book chapter-by-chapter on www.thrutheglass.net

10.Your editor says you have to kill a character, which one would get the ax?

Crimson: If we’re talking about having too many minor, background characters? I’d pick the one that was needed the least and reassign whatever little thing they did to another character. If, on the other hand we’re talking about one of the main characters? I’d ax the editor and get another. Although at the moment I am our editor.

Kat: Yeah, what she said! (laughs)

Wyveria Cover 1

Author Bios

Crimson M. Kildare and Kat Marlow are good friends who decided to take their friendship and their creative camaraderie and turn it into a fabulous writing partnership.

Kat lives in a beautiful little town in one of those picturesque American coastal states. She is a lover of films, t.v., books, music and comedy as well as football and baseball. She especially loves sci-fi and like so many of us has a special place in her heart for Star Wars and Star Trek. She is a proud geek and collector of sci-fi toys and memorabilia. Her professional dreams, aside from the success of her books is to get a job writing in Hollywood for, tv., films or comic books! She has a truly stellar personality, warm, funny, kind hearted and honest. She’s the best friend you could hope for and a great partner.

Crimson lives in one of those picturesque Midwestern American states in the suburb of a large city. Like Kat she’s over 21 and ready to meet life head on.  She lives with her family, sans pets due to the terror of allergies. She’s also a lover of books, films, t.v., music, art and especially sci-fi fantasy, adventure and romance. Her first favorite book was Alice in Wonderland, her first favorite film was The Wizard of Oz, her first favorite song was Afternoon Delight by  Starland Vocal Band and her current favorite is In The Mood as made famous by Glen Miller, although she also favors versions done by the Puppini Sisters and Brian Setzer and his Orchestra.

These women are eclectic and unpredictable and full of excitement for their future.

Crimson Kildare and Kat Marlow can be found on http://www.thrutheglass.net where their book in The Wyverian Wilds is being shared with the world.  To get a glimpse of their work, check a character interview they shared here on Derailed Thoughts called, “The New London Gazette: Wyverian Lord Thwarts Plot and Discovers Iceman!

In Today’s Spotlight Dellani Oakes

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.

Indian Summer1. 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.

5. Do you blog? I do indeed! I have Writer’s Sanctuary – where I am hosting my guests for Fantastic Blog Hop. http://writersanctuary.blogspot.com/ I also have http://dellanioakes.wordpress.com/

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 Lone Wolfbook 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

Shakazhan By Dellani Oakes
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.

Bio

Dellani OakesWhen 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.

 

Ruth Davis Hays: Author Interview

Today the Fantastic Blog Hop Tour continues and makes a stop in Florida, where we sit down and chat with Ruth Davis Hays author of the new and upcoming book, THE EXCURSION.

The Excursion by Ruth Davis Hays1.     What is your story about?

I could lay out the synopsis of the entire series, describe each character, or I could sum it up in one word:  redemption. The stories are fantasy adventures about three mismatched companions who struggle against dangers, aggressors, and each other. It all begins when a snarky thief gets entangled with a young woman and her lover. The woman is a spell-user seeking greater mysteries to enhance her art. What starts out as a typical quest for a gemstone propels the characters through wars, horrible secrets, and into the hands of death, as they create allegiances to save their home-world.

But, ultimately, the stories are about each of these characters getting to know themselves and how they relate to their worlds. I say worlds because they travel from one planet to another in some of the books.

2.     Where does your story take place?

My current series takes place in a planetary system of three worlds. The main setting is Jorthus, the largest of these planets. It is ecologically similar to Earth, but there is a powerful spiritual energy that flows through all things. Most of the inhabitants refer to this malleable energy as the Majiks. There are several fairytale races (such as elf, dwarf, and ogre) with variations on other familiar ones.

3.     Is writing a natural talent, or did you take classes to hone your craft?

Both. I gravitated towards many English composition and creative writing classes in college, even though my major was theatre.

4.  Do you have a ritual when you write?  (Special time of day, music etc.)

Not really. I write when I have a moment alone, or when the words pound in my head so incessantly that I have to write them down. Otherwise, I may forget them.

5.     Do you write in multiple genres?

I do have some “in progress” stories of various genres, though there are fantastical elements in most. There was a vampire story with which I was obsessed in college, but it fell to the side when Jorthus bloomed into being.

6.     Do your family and friends read your work?

Yes. I wrote most of the Jorthus stories for my best friend. She lives out of state, so I would send her bits and pieces in email until she finally said, “Just write in all down in order.” Low and behold, it made not one book, but several!

7.     Have you ever had writers block and if so, how did you overcome it?

Oh, yes. Sometimes the only cure for me is to do something completely different. I put myself in a situation where I can’t easily write down anything that may come to mind, and (Murphy’s Law) that’s when ideas just start popping. I will take a walk, try taking a nap, or just do the dishes.

8.     Do you have an illustrator, or co-author, if so, who?

My best friend, who I mentioned before, is an artist, and she shared her vision of the characters and settings by creating illustrations, cover art, and poster art for me. We collaborate well. My husband helps with plot points and we bounce character development ideas back and forth, as well. My sister helps with editing, but when it comes down to writing and organizing it all, I do it.

9.     Do you write according to the trends or from the heart?

I write from the heart, most assuredly. I gave up my vampire story because of trends in movies and books, actually. They just seemed to be everywhere, so I lost interest in my own creation.

10.  Who is your favorite author of all time?

That is a hard one. I love so many different ones. I adore the humor of Douglas Adams, and the detail of Stephen King, but I suppose I would have to say it all started with Shakespeare because of my grandfather. He would quote the Bard endlessly and I always associate him with the plays and sonnets.

11.  What’s best: Pen and paper, or laptop?

If you want to be able to save your work beyond a shadow, then I would say pen and paper. At times I would have been lost without my notes scribbled in notebooks all around the house. Flash drives are essentials as well!

12.  If your house was on fire, what would you save: your computer, or your book collection?

My flash drives, haha!  I don’t save on my laptop anymore and I can replace my books.

13.  What’s the strangest length you ever went to research your book?

I don’t do anything too outlandish for most of it. Researching word origins is fun, but as far as ‘strange’ goes… I would have to say talking extensively to some people about BDSM might be considered out of the ordinary.

14.  Most people want to know, is writing really all that hard?

 

I would say Yes and No. Sometimes the words flow and, at other times, it is like trying to pluck splinters with mittens on. It is not for everyone. But, if you feel that you cannot express yourself any other way, then it is worth the struggle, the pain, and the uncertainty.

15.  What would you like aspiring authors to know about the realities of a writing career?

A career? That there is no guarantee. Just because the words are written, doesn’t mean that someone else will take a chance on them. Big publishers are in the business of making money. It is not a path to immediate riches for everyone who puts pen to paper, but sometimes it can seem worth the wait.

Ruth author picRuth D. Hays is a native Floridian, a graduate from FSU School of Theatre, a wife and mother. She has created costumes for and worked on several independent films, and enjoys drawing faerie art in her spare time. She published her first novel, THE DAWNSTONE TALE, in 2009, followed by the second in the series, THE CONVERGENCE, in 2010. She currently has a short story and recipe in the Second Wind Publishing anthology, SECOND HELPINGS, and will have a fantasy love tale included in an upcoming anthology by Triscelle Publishing. The third book in her fantasy adventure series The Translations from Jorthus, THE EXCURSION, will be available from Amazon soon.

Author Interview with Crimson M. Kildare and Kat Marlow

The Fantastic Blog Hop Tour

Moving along in the Fantastic Blog Hop Tour, the bus makes a stop in the midwest the home of Crimson Kildare and Kat Marlow two amazing and talented writers, not to mention, two fabulous ladies!  Today we learn what makes them tick and why writer’s block freakin’ sucks! 🙂

What is your story about?Wyveria Cover 1

CMK: The story is about three men in the far future and the challenges they face as each must deal with the very fabric of his life unraveling like an old tapestry. Both Jamie and Val will have to cope with culture shock and some severe loss issues. Idris is dealing with the murder of a father figure and the growing realization that it may be up to him to fill the man’s shoes. Now, if he can just survive both the discovery of the murderer’s identity and the duel to the death, he’ll have to win to fill them, it might just all work out in the end. So in a way our story is about magical shape shifters, the future and being displaced, but really it’s about life, about knowing yourself and embracing the challenges of being alive.

KM: It’s a romantic adventure that takes place in our future that focuses on three characters, Jamie, Val, and Idris. Jamie and Val are from our time, and due to a twist of fate they are separated and flung into this future world of magic and shape-shifters. Idris is from a clan descended from the Welsh and Celtic peoples, and when the story begins he’s dealing with the death of someone very dear to him. It falls to him to solve this mystery, while his life becomes more entwined with Jamie and Val. All three men go through a journey of adjustment and self-discovery; Jamie and Val are dealing with the loss of their world while trying to acclimate to the one they’ve woken up to. Idris is dealing with losing a mentor while facing various challenges on the way to his true destiny. It’s really about life like Crimson said, and I hope this story will inspire as well as entertain.

Where does your story take place?

CMK: It takes place on Earth in the far future in what was once Antarctica.

KM: You heard Crimson say that its future Antarctica, and you’re probably thinking, ‘Why are there Celts there?’ I’ll only say that circumstances warranted their having to leave the UK and settle elsewhere.

Is writing a natural talent, or did you take classes to hone your craft?

CMK: Writing is something I just do from my gut. I would like to take some courses to improve my understanding of classic writing techniques and textbook language skills. This way I would have more to work with when making choices about story shaping and character development.

KM: I mainly go from the gut like Crimson does, but I did hone my skills in high school. I was fortunate to have a very encouraging English teacher there, and if this novel succeeds its due in no small part to the confidence she instilled in me.

Do you have a ritual when you write? 

CMK: I write most days from 11 a.m. to about 4:30 p.m. with my partner Kat Marlow. I often listen to music as I do this and the music can definitely influence the work and vise versa. I sometimes notice that as I’ve been writing my musical choices will unconsciously change with the theme of what I’m working on.

KM: I write whenever I have spare time, but I usually work better from morning to afternoon. During those hours on weekdays I’m usually working with Crimson. I listen to music sometimes, but usually I have a DVD playing in the background. I’m often playing the movies that have inspired me, such as Star Wars, certain superhero movies, or the James Bond films. I’ll also play episodes from my favorite shows, such as Law & Order: UK or Mad Men.

Do you write in multiple genres?

CMK: Yes and sometimes at the same time.

KM: I see this novel as a combination of fantasy, sci-fi, and romance, so I would say ‘yes’. I mainly write sci-fi with a dash of romance, and my ultimate dream is to write for Torchwood, Doctor Who, or a Star Wars project.

Most people want to know, is writing really all that hard?

CMK: Is it hard? Yes and no. Sometimes it’s so amazingly easy and you wonder how you ever thought it would be tough. Those are the moments all writer’s live for, those golden moments where it all just flows effortlessly. The rest of the time it’s a cross between reasonably easy and pulling teeth. It just depends on your muse really.

KM: It can be when you’re blocked, or you’re having a hard time figuring out which direction to take the story next. There are merits to free-form writing, but I find it easier to map out the storyline beforehand. It’s like a seed being planted, and from there the story should grow to its full richness.

Do your family and friends read your work?

CMK: Yes they do.

KM: I’m more private about my work than Crimson, as the stories I’ve written before tend toward the explicit side. My mom does know about this novel, and she’s already expressed an interest in reading it. She’s thrilled that I’m finally stretching my muscles, and that we’re working towards publication.

Have you ever had writers block and if so, how did you overcome it?

CMK: I find that there are three things I can do for writer’s block. Call on a piece of music that always inspires to get my creative juices flowing, work on something else to get the juices flowing or if those fail just leave it and go do something else all together. Doing something else gives my brain and my muse a rest so that when I sit down next time; the juice is flowing free, improved by the break.

KM: Yes I have, and it SUCKS! I mentioned mapping out the story beforehand, which is a useful tool. Still, even with an outline you can find yourself blocked. I always find it best to just step away from the work for a time and just clear your mind, as constantly focusing on solving the problem might only frustrate you. Relaxing with music or TV can help.  If I’m writing fan-fiction, I might watch the show or movie that it’s based on. It’s a good reminder of the character voices, and helps to re-awaken the muse.

Do you have an illustrator, or co-author, if so, who?

CMK: Yes, Kat Marlow is my partner as you can see and she’s just tops! Also on occasion my mother who is a fine artist will do drawings for me if I ask her.

KM: The illustrious Ms. Kildare, who has Photoshop skills in addition to her literary mind! She’s been a great co-author, and I’m so grateful that’s she’s encouraged me to take my writing to the next level.

Do you write according to the trends or from the heart?

CMK:  Always from my heart.

KM: Always from the heart; on the surface this novel might seem to follow the fantasy/romance trend, but we’re intending for it to be much deeper than that. We’re hoping to offer something that will stand out, something unique to the genre.

Who is your favorite author of all time?

CMK: This is such a hard question to answer! There are so many I love and adore and for such vastly different things, but if the criteria are the content of what was written, the author’s intelligence and cleverness and their ability to inspire by the way they chose to live their own life as well? Then the clear winner across all of those categories would have to be the 19th century authoress Madame George Sand!

KM: That’s like trying to pick a favorite child! I think Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye is one of the best novels ever written, and I adore Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. There are a few authors of the Star Wars novels that I love, such as Timothy Zahn, Troy Denning, and Aaron Allston. I’ve really enjoyed the books that John and Carole Barrowman have written so far, and they’re a great example of a successful writing partnership.

What’s best: Pen and paper or laptop?

CMK: Both have their merits and I truly love pen and paper for journaling and personal letters, but for writing a book? The laptop wins hands down!

KM: I usually prefer pen and paper, but I enjoy the benefits of writing on a laptop. No ink to waste and edits can be done with the push of a button!

What are you reading now?

CMK: I am currently reading George R.R. Martins Game of Thrones books, The Patricia Briggs Mercy Thompson series, both of Laurel K. Hamilton’s ongoing Anita Blake and Merry Gentry series and the John and Carole Barrowman Hollow Earth series! All of them exceptional books!

KM: I’m currently reading Hollow Earth by John and Carole Barrowman and next on my list is the second book of the Star Wars: Dark Nest trilogy by Troy Denning.

If your house was on fire; what would you save: your computer or your book collection?

CMK: If my house were on fire the first thing I would save would be my 11 year old daughter. The next thing would be my laptop case in which I keep both the computer and my copy of George Sand’s Letters D’un Voyageur! That’s Letter of a Traveler for those who are interested.

KM: Oh God, another ‘pick your favorite child’ question! I consider books to be precious, so I would want to save my book collection after I save my mom. There would be a lot to carry though, and it also depends on whether I’ve transferred my computer files to a flash drive! I admittedly can’t live without my computer, but if I lose it I can always get another one. I guess I could always get new books, but some of them might be out-of-print and hard to find. I appreciate modern technology, but there’s nothing like having an actual book in your hands and turning the pages. I hope books don’t fade out completely.

Have you gotten in trouble for your work?

CMK: Kat and I both got our start writing fan fiction. Thankfully no one has ever complained about our playful musings.

KM: Thankfully no. I’m lucky to have not gotten in trouble for my publicly posted fan-fic, and as I mentioned before I keep my other work private. Whatever results from this novel remains to be seen!

Do you consider yourself a tech wiz?

CMK: Good Heavens no. I get along and that’s all I can say about that. My husband is the tech wizard in our house.

KM: Ha, barely! I’m only now getting the hang of Microsoft Word!

What’s the strangest length you ever went to research your book?

CMK: Not sure this is strange per se, but I’ve called complete strangers to ask them about their towns, professions and so on.

KM: I wouldn’t call this strange, but I did find it fascinating to research Welsh names. My love for the show Torchwood has led to a love and admiration for the Welsh people, and I find their language and ancient culture very interesting. I suppose that comes from my own Celtic blood, as I’m part English and Irish.

CMK: Oh me too, Irish, Scottish, English and the list goes on, lots of Celts in me.

Do you read online reviews?  If so, how do you deal with the negativity?

CMK: Yes, I want to know the reaction people have to my work and the work of other authors I admire. Sure it’s difficult when someone hates your stuff, but oddly I find I dislike it more when people knock the work of other writers I admire. I think to myself, ‘Really? But they’re so talented!’ I can find it baffling when others aren’t inspired by what seems so immediately and obviously inspiring to me. Still the finest authors who ever lived got bad reviews from time to time. No two people have exactly the same taste and that’s what makes it so exciting, because there’s room for everyone’s work.

KM: I like to know what people think of my work, and I know I’m going to have to develop a thick skin if this is going to be my career. No one likes negative things being said about their baby, but you have to remember it’s not always personal and try to take your emotions out of the equation. Ideally, critical reviews will also be constructive, and hopefully I can use such reviews to fix any flaws in my writing.

What would you like aspiring authors to know about the realities of a writing career?

CMK: It’s a real career. It’s real work; it’s not a ‘bird course’ way to make a living. Like anything worth doing it requires three things: a modicum of talent, the ability to learn, grow and improve and the willingness to work hard and even then it’s no certain guarantee that you’ll be wildly successful. It will however guarantee that you’re worth reading, that you’re a good writer. You have to do it, because you love it, for its own sake. As Rainer Maria Rilke said, “Don’t ask me how to be a writer, just do it. If you wake up in the morning and all you can think about is writing? Then you’re a writer! Go do it!” That may be a bit paraphrased, but you get the idea. My mother is a phenomenal singer, truly talented, beautiful voice. She’s been singing professionally for 40 years now. She’s well known and well respected in the music industry in certain circles, but she’s not famous or wealthy. When I was a teenager I asked her, ‘After all this time, you should be famous, why do you keep doing it?” she told me, “I don’t do it to be famous. I do it because I love it. I do it because I need to, it’s who I am.”

That’s what you have to know about being a writer, a singer, an actor or anything creative; do it because it’s who you are, because it lives in you, do the best you can, learn, grow, get better and pray for the best.

KM: As I said before, you’re going to need a thick skin.  You’re also going to need determination and a willingness to work hard. Your work will not be accepted for publication right away, and you might have to submit it countless times, which can be frustrating. Most publishers will point out what they think your work is lacking, and it wouldn’t hurt to take their advice. Your work will hopefully come out better in the end. Publishers are mainly out to sell books, and sadly the quest for profits overrides good writing sometimes. The balance between good writing and sellable writing is hard to find, but it can be done.

What’s your next project?

CMK: The next book in this series which we anticipate being at least three books long. Also before any of the books will be published in complete form and offered via Amazon and possibly other publishers as well; they will be available to read chapter by chapter at our website starting April 4rth, 2013. We will put up a new chapter every month. The site is called The Looking Glass Writer’s Cooperative. Our aim is to promote both our work and the work of other writers each month, while also providing some good excerpts, reviews and articles on writers, books, television and films. We want to create a warm, welcoming space that engenders a sense of community for authors and avid readers alike.

The web address is thrutheglass.net

KM: Yes, Crimson and I will be working on the next book, and my fan-fiction is always a work-in-progress. I also write reviews for our website.

Author Interview with Dellani Oakes Author of Lone Wolf

fantastic blog hop bus

Today, the Fantastic Blog Hop Bus makes a stop in Daytona, FL to speak with Dellani Oakes, author of several romance novels including; Indian Summer, Ninja Tattoo and the Sci-Fi thriller, Lone Wolf.

What is your story about?

DO: I have three books published.

The Ninja Tattoo is a contemporary romantic suspense set in Florida. A violent biker gang targets Army veteran Teague McMurtry for death. He must use all his skills to protect himself & the woman he loves.

Indian Summer is an historical romance set in St. Augustine, Florida in 1739. Gabriella Deza stands on the brink of womanhood & must choose her mate. Will it be the cheerful Englishman, Dr. James Stevens or the dark and mysterious Spaniard, Manuel Enriques?

Lone Wolf is a futuristic romance set in space in the year 3032. Matilda Dulac and her lover, Wilhelm VanLipsig, must capture John Riley before he can unleash the ultimate evil on an unsuspecting universe.

Is writing a natural talent, or did you take classes to hone your craft?

DO: Writing comes very easily for me. I had a very strict grammatical upbringing in a home with a school teacher mother and college English professor for a father. Other than the usual high school and college classes, I haven’t had any “formal” training. As far as the writing conventions everyone preaches about, I probably violate them all. I write in first person when the story calls for it. I “head hop” from one point of view to the next. The story demands to be told a particular way and I do my best to tell it. Dellani Oakes

Do you have a ritual when you write? (Special time of day, music etc.)

DO: My writing schedule is all broken up by phone calls, errands, writing groups and the demands of my family. I write when I can find the time. I always listen to music when I write. Sometimes the listening choices are dictated by the story, other times I simply listen to the same list and keep it as background noise. I listen to a wide variety of music, but that could be an interview all by itself.

Do you write in multiple genres?

DO: I write mostly romance, but I choose different permutations of the genre. I have 3 books published. One is contemporary romantic suspense, another is historical romance and the third is a futuristic romance. I also have (as yet unpublished) a “retro” romance set in 1976, and several contemporary romance novels. I seem to favor romantic suspense as it combines my love of romance and mystery.

Most people want to know, is writing really all that hard?

DO: It can be very hard. Finding the right words isn’t easy. Many people think that writing a story isn’t that big a deal, but it’s quite an undertaking. The author builds a plausible world with believable characters. S/he puts them into situations and has to get them back out in a satisfactory way. Dialogue, pacing, plotting, characterization… these are all under the writer’s auspice, but have to be balanced and controlled. I’d like to see the average person sit down and compose a story from scratch with nothing but a pen and paper and see how easy it is.

Do your family and friends read your work?

DO: Yes. My husband used to read everything I wrote. Now, with the cost of ink & paper, I don’t run hard copies anymore. He refuses to read things on the computer, so he doesn’t read them as much as he did.

My daughter has read my books and particularly likes the sci-fi series. She has helped me with editing Indian Summer by Dellani Oakeson a couple of them and has been an enormous help.

When my historical novel came out, my mother bought copies for all my cousins. I hope that some of them have read it.

Have you ever had writers block and if so, how did you overcome it?

DO: Sometimes the Muse takes a vacation. I don’t get completely blocked, but I will run out of words for one story or another. I either go back through and re-read it, doing a little editing, or I move on to another project. I have dozens. If the Muse isn’t speaking for one, I wake up another one and wait to see where it will go.

Do you have an illustrator, or co-author, if so, who?

DO: No.

Do you write according to the trends or from the heart?

DO: I’ve never been able to write to trends. My mind doesn’t work that way. I strictly write from the heart. I think that I get a more genuine, better product that way. Writing to a trend, while popular, doesn’t always create a story of lasting worth. In fact, once the trend is over, that story no longer has an audience. A well crafted novel will last regardless of trends.

Who is your favorite author of all time?

I can’t pick just one! I love Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Richard Brautigan, Ray Bradbury, Andre Norton, Janet Morris, Elizabeth Peters, Ellis Petes, Shakespeare, Harper Lee, Mark Twain and dozens of others. I could never limit myself to just one author.

Have you gotten in trouble for your work?

DO: No, fortunately I haven’t.

Do you read online reviews? If so, how do you deal with the negativity?

DO: I know it’s probably hiding my head in the sand, but I don’t read the reviews. I’ve had a few negative reviews, mostly on a story I gave away for free on Barnes & Noble and Smashwords. The main complaint was “It’s too short, don’t bother”. I ignore those comments because we all have different taste in stories. Obviously, they just don’t get it. Yes, it makes me feel kind of bad, but I hope that other readers will be less swayed by a one line review and concentrate on the free preview of the story.

What’s best: Pen and paper, or laptop?

DO: I don’t have a laptop. I have a PC that sits under my desk. I know that’s kind of a dinosaur, but I like it. I do have a little Acer Notebook that I take with me when I travel. It’s very small & hard for me to type fast because the keys are so close together. I sometimes use a pen & spiral notebook when I have a doctor’s appointment. I’ve taken my Notebook, but that gets awkward if there’s no table for it. I much prefer my computer, but there are times when a story flows from a pen, not a keyboard.

What are you reading now?

DO: I’m reading three books: Deeds of the Disturber by Elizabeth Peters, Shelters of Stone by Jean Auel and The Road to Transplant: The Final Mile by Brian M. Hayden.

If your house was on fire, what would you save: your computer, or your book collection?

DO: I would risk my life for my flashdrive. It has all my writing on it. I would let the books burn because Lone Wolf by Dellani Oakesthey can be replaced. My writing can’t.

Do you consider yourself a tech wiz?

DO: Hah! No. That is, actually, quite laughable.

What’s your next project?

DO: I am part of an on-going anthology, Rubicon Ranch: Necropieces. I am also working with several other authors on Rubicon Ranch: Secrets. In addition to that, I’m working on rewrites of one novel, editing two more and trying to complete a variety of others, none of which are cooperating.

What’s the strangest length you ever went to research your book?

DO: When I was researching Indian Summer, I made my husband take me to St. Augustine for a week. It was our 25th wedding anniversary and we’d never had an actual honeymoon, so we made an event of it. St. Augustine is about 2 hours away. We spent the week at a beautiful B&B up there and toured the town by day, enjoying the sights. I won’t call that strange, exactly, but it was (for me) extreme.

What would you like aspiring authors to know about the realities of a writing career?

There are predators out there who are ready to rob you blind. Research carefully any agent or publishing company before you commit. If they ask for any money in advance, then be very leery that they are actually legit. This is different with self-publishers and vanity presses, but there are still people waiting to sucker the unwary.

Read contracts carefully. If you aren’t sure what you’re reading, consult a lawyer or someone who can weed through the legalize and tell you just what you’re signing. IF YOU DO NOT RETAIN YOUR COPYRIGHT THEN YOU DO NOT WANT TO SIGN THAT CONTRACT!

On a lighter note, enjoy yourself with your writing. Explore new settings, get to know your characters, let them off the leash and see where they go. Don’t limit yourself or your imagination. Let it fly into outer space or drift into the past. Put yourself in another pair of shoes and view the world from someone elses point of view. Keep it fresh and fun and you – and your readers – will never be bored.

Karen Vaughan: Breakout Star

fantastic blog hop bus

This month, I’ll be participating in The Fabulous Blog Hop Tour with authors; Dellani Oakes, Karen H. Vaughan, Crimson Kildare, Ruth Davis Hays, and Kat Marlow.  Stay tuned to learn more about these up and coming literary stars.  We’ll be sharing interviews, of authors AND their book characters, not to mention, excerpts from their novels.

Karen Vaughan has been kind enough to take a few minutes out of her busy schedule to talk about her new book “Daytona Dead” and what life as a writer truly means.Author Karen Vaughan

What is your story about?

Karen Vaughan: My series involves Laura a 30 something lady who happens upon a lot of dead people in fact she could very well be a corpse magnet.

Where does your story take place?

KV: Laura and her fiancé Gerry live in Toronto Canada. I am Canadian myself and like to use locations I know.

Is writing a natural talent, or did you take classes to hone your craft?

KV: I always liked writing in school. I got good marks but never really thought of it as a career. I would write stories to entertain myself.

Do you have a ritual when you write?  (Special time of day, music etc.)

KV: I can write basically when the mood strikes me. I can write with either TV in the background or music. My musical tastes go from classic 70s rock to present day.

KV: Do you write in multiple genres? Right now it’s been mysteries or romantic suspense. I am going to try straight romance and have considered sci-fi fantasy.

Most people want to know, is writing really all that hard?

KV: Some days it flows well but there are times when I have to pull teeth to get the characters to talk to me.

Do your family and friends read your work?

KV: Yes they have and for the most part they love the stuff. I do however have a few grammar Nazis who strongly suggest I need help. There is a critic in every crowd I suppose. My husband is convinced I am seriously warped. What writer isn’t?

Have you ever had writers block and if so, how did you overcome it?

KV: If I can’t get my characters to talk to me I let them sulk for a bit while I write some flash fiction or Front cover of daytona deadread and then come back to it. I figure the characters will get jealous and start yelling.

Do you have an illustrator, or co-author, if so, who?

KV: I am not one of those people who can collaborate well. I am greedy. People feed me ideas for a project and if they fit I use them. As far as illustrators go, I ask my artistic friends to do different covers for me. I asked my son in-law to do the cover for Daytona Dead.

Do you write according to the trends or from the heart?

KV: I write from the heart or at least the recesses of my weird imagination. Dead on arrival was based on a dream I had.

Who is your favorite author of all time?

KV: Hard to say about a favorite but I really like Janet Evanovich, Sue Grafton and Leslie Langtry

Have you gotten in trouble for your work?

KV: Not yet but if a certain person finds out he is the victim in my w.i.p. he might get miffed.

Do you read online reviews?  If so, how do you deal with the negativity?

KV: I do sometimes. I like reviews that have the courtesy to tell me why I sucked not just that it did.  I can handle negativity pretty well unless the review is downright mean for no reason

What’s best: Pen and paper, or laptop?

KV: I mostly use a laptop but if I am out and about I usually have a note book for ideas.

What are you reading now?

KV: On my tablet, I am reading Sacrifice by a fellow Canadian author Carolyn Arnold and my paperback of choice is Gone by Lisa Gardiner.

If your house was on fire, what would you save: your computer, or your book collection?

KV: The laptop! I can replace the books.

Do you consider yourself a tech wiz?

KV: NO!

What’s your next project?

KV: I am working on another one for the Laura and Gerry series. I am also dabbling with a romance I want to write for Tirrgear Publishing.

What’s the strangest length you ever went to research your book?

KV: When I was writing Dead comic standing I watched a lot on the comedy channel. I had also tried doing stand up. I wrote the comic routines for my characters I felt like I was doing stand up while sitting down.

What would you like aspiring authors to know about the realities of a writing career?

KV: Patience, perseverance and handling rejection would be a huge asset. Just have fun with it and don’t take yourself to seriously.

About Karen Vaughan:

Karen Vaughan lives in Peterborough Ontario with her husband Jim and a four legged off spring named Sugar. She is the mom of a 22 year old daughter and four grown step children and a 2 1/2 year old grandson named Ike. DEAD COMIC STANDING is her second novel. Her first novel DEAD ON ARRIVAL garnered praise from friends, family and online gamers.  She also enjoys doing crafts and other hobbies. Her latest book is called OVER HER DEAD BODY is the second book to DEAD ON ARRIVAL. DAYTONA DEAD is the third in that series which is soon to be released.