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All posts for the month August, 2013

Interview I Hosted with Jason Walters (Vice President of BlackWyrm Publishing and CEO of Hero Games)!

Published August 27, 2013 by glgiles

Introduction from Amazon: 

“Jason S. Walters is an author, essayist, and publisher best known for running Indie Press Revolution (IPR), a distributor of micro-published roleplaying games. He is also one of a small group of investors that purchased Hero Games in 2001, and serves as its CEO. After owning a San Francisco bike messenger service for 15 years, he and his wife Tina moved to Midian Ranch: a homestead near the town of Gerlach, Nevada. It is also the location of IPR’s warehousing complex. They have a daughter with Down syndrome named Cassidy and animals too numerous to mention” (http://www.amazon.com/Jason-S.-Walters/e/B00ASCP3SE/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1377563696&sr=1-1).

 

GL:  Your book, “Nakba (The Civilizing War),” was recently released (June 2013) by BlackWyrm Publishing. Please give readers a synopsis of it and why you were inspired to write it.

JW:  Nakba is a novel about the evils of over-urbanization, the dangers of self-righteousness, and the necessity for having frontiers – whether on our own planet, on other worlds, or in outer space…and shape-shifting Japanese sex androids. It has those. And homemade spaceships. And starship captains with Down syndrome. And Masai tribesmen on Mars. And lots of other things.

There are several very distinct messages contained within Nakba. The first is that the emerging worldwide urban civilization of the 21st Century is an extremely dangerous phenomenon. It leads to a centralization of cultural power that we should view with extreme skepticism: despite (or perhaps because) of its obvious advantages. As humans we are creatures of family, village and field, not insects, and the current schemes being bandied about by social planners, architects, politicians, and theorists to press us into smaller and smaller, denser and denser spaces should be resisted, if not openly fought.

Secondly, we should be skeptical of utopian social schemes no matter how seemingly benign and tolerant they are. The despotism envisioned in Nakba is an extremely subtle and urbane one, created by the best minds of the future to be simultaneously innocuous and totalitarian in the classic, original sense that it is a “total” way of life. In essence, the imaginary future society that dominates the Earth in first half of the book – and spends the second half trying to dominate the rest of the Solar System – is based on the idea that, given half a chance, most people will oppress themselves on behalf of a government, sparing it the bother.

Thirdly, I wanted to write a science fiction novel in which there would be major characters with Down syndrome – not as victims or objects of pity, but as important people performing heroic tasks. I have a daughter with Down syndrome and I am confident in her abilities. Why couldn’t she survive in outer space? Why couldn’t she care passionately about something to fight for it? From my experience with my own child and meeting other people like my daughter, I see no reason why not.

GL:  From concept to execution (release), how long did it take you to write “Nakba?”

JW:  That’s difficult to figure out, actually. The core of the first half of the novel – A Remembrance of Her – was actually written as part of the Star Hero roleplaying supplement Posthegemony: Terra Nomenklatura several years ago. When I decided to turn it into a novel, I greatly expanded the first half and added a second. That process took about six months.

GL:  Where would you like to see BlackWyrm Publishing go in the next five years? The next 10 years?

JW:  I would like for Blackwyrm to continue on as both a place where new authors can start out – and where established authors can find a home where they are comfortable. I would also like for it to pay well enough for Dave Mattingly to quit his day job and focus entirely on the company.

GL:  You went with Kickstarter as a platform/resource to fund “Nakba,” correct? Would you recommend Kickstarter to other writers (both established and new)?

JW:  I did – and I failed to raise the $1400 I was asking for. Ironically, actually, in that a few months later I succeeded with a Kickstarter project that raised $80,000 in 30 days. So I would recommend that you give a lot of thought to who hangs out on Kickstarter, and what they want to see. That matters a great deal. Also, I recommend months of pre-planning for any Kickstarter project.

GL:  Have you used Kickstarter for any of your other works?

JW:  As an author? No. As a publisher I’ve had four successful Kickstarter projects.

GL:  Which conventions will you be attending the tail end of 2013?

JW:  None! I’m taking a break until next year post-GenCon 2013.

GL:  Where can readers go to connect with you and your work? (social networking sites, etcetera)

JW:  You can find me on Facebook, or on the following websites:

www.blackwyrm.com

http://www.midianranchblog.blogspot.com/

http://www.jasonswalters.blogspot.com/

...though I only update my blogs very occasionally these days as the mood strikes me.

 

 http://www.amazon.com/Nakba-The-Civilizing-War-ebook/dp/B00D5LLR9Y/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=1-1&qid=1377563164

http://www.amazon.com/Nakba-The-Civilizing-War-ebook/dp/B00D5LLR9Y/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=1-1&qid=1377563164

Interview with Selah Janel!

Published August 12, 2013 by glgiles

0908_Selah_Hedshots_60C

Introduction from Amazon:  “Selah Janel has been blessed with a giant imagination since she was little when she wondered if fairies lived in the nearby state park and worried that vampires hid in the old barns outside of town. Her appreciation for a good story was enhanced by a love of reading, the many talented storytellers that surrounded her, and a healthy curiosity for everything. A talent for warping everything she learned didn’t hurt, either.

Everything she does feeds the idea machine and she often finds a story in the strangest of places. She gravitates to writing fantasy and horror but will give any genre a chance if the idea is good enough. Her work has appeared in the winter 2012 issue of The MacGuffin, issue three and five of The Realm Beyond, and the back to school issue of Stories for Children Magazine. She has also contributed to multiple anthologies including The Big Bad: an Anthology of Evil, the upcoming Thunder on the Battlefield, and the upcoming Bedtime Stories for Girls.

She has multiple e-books with Mocha Memoirs Press, including Holly and Ivy and The Other Man. Olde School, the first book in The Kingdom City Chronicles will be out later this year with Seventh Star Press” (http://www.amazon.com/Selah-Janel/e/B0074DKC9K/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_2).

GL:  You’ve been published by Mocha Memoirs Press and No Boundaries Press, but you recently signed with Seventh Star Press, too, correct?

SJ:  Correct! I write a lot of different kinds of things, so I work with several publishers. No Boundaries Press is not in business anymore, but I’ve been lucky that Mocha Memoirs Press has agreed to reprint my shorter titles. I’m also currently working on finding a new home for my first novel, the urban fantasy/horror rocker tale, In the Red. Seventh Star Press has my series, The Kingdom City Chronicles. I’ve also self-published a book with my good friend and co-author S.H. Roddey. It’s a collection of forty-seven short, speculative pieces titled Lost in the Shadows. I also have work in a few different magazines and anthologies, so who I’m with really depends on what we’re talking about!

GL:  What’s the release date of the debut novel in your “Kingdom City Chronicles?” How many books will you have in this series?

SJ:  I just turned in my manuscript, so the editing and art processes are still very much going on. I don’t have an exact date, but I believe we’re shooting for fall/winter of this year. I definitely like to keep my readers up to date, so as soon as I have more specific information, they’ll get it! At this point I know it will be at least four books, and I’m probably looking at a slightly higher number once I cement some of the details. I’m so excited about this series because it gives me a chance to really break loose and have a ball with all the genres I love. It’s set in a fantasy world, but there are also elements of horror, mystery, conspiracy, and fairy tale, with a big dose of my own brand of humor tossed in. I hope that it will appeal to a lot of different people and give readers something they may not have seen before. It plays a lot with genre rules, creature/character stereotypes, and reader expectations, so expect to be surprised!

GL:  You’ve been a performer, puppeteer, costume designer, etcetera. Do these talents help with your fiction writing somehow, too?

SJ:  Oh, definitely! To me, everything is a story. For costume design I have to know a little bit about why a character/person looks the way they do, what their upbringing or status is, and how they make their way through life. All of that contributes to their look. If I’m designing a creature or costume from scratch without any history of a role to it, then I really have to have an idea of why this person or thing looks the way they do in my head. Otherwise, it’s just going to look like a bunch of things thrown together, which only works for so long.

All my performance work has helped with my writing, as well. I took a lot of different acting classes in college, and the way I handle my characters is very similar to the sense memory technique in acting. I may not totally base any one character on myself, but I try to find an experience or an emotion that I may have gone through, myself, to give myself a starting point or a way “in” with that character. If I can understand how they think in some little way, then that opens up the door to their behavior in general. Then, if I have trouble, I can always go back to that feeling as a starting point and reassess things from there. Puppeteering is a little more technical in some ways, but having to keep my mind on my body, voice, script, and a million other little details is the same as having to juggle a lot of details in a manuscript. One thing can’t necessarily overshadow the others—it’s all a balance that I have to constantly be mindful of.

GL:  Did you also venture into sketch comedy at one point in your career? If so, then do you believe it aids your creative writing now?

SJ:  I’ve been involved with improv groups, yes. They were involved with both comedy and drama, and explored scene work, improv, and short film work in general. For me, they gave me a chance to really work on being spontaneous and not getting too nervous about what was coming out of my mouth. Sometimes my anxieties can get the best of me, so that experience helps me to turn that part of my brain off and just go for it. People don’t realize that usually the more outrageous characters I write are closer to my inner thoughts, but it’s definitely true. That sort of spontaneity helps with a lot of my characters in the Kingdom City Chronicles, especially some of the more smart-alecky trolls. A lot of that dialogue is quick and razor-sharp, so that experience definitely helped. With the drama aspects, that gave me another chance to really work on my own approach to sense memory and tap into emotions that I may not have been ready to face beforehand. That definitely has given me the ability to fully explore my characters and really delve into the little things they feel that might propel a story along.

GL:  What writing tips do you have for those beginning their foray into creative writing?

SJ:  First off, if you’re in it with the goal to write professionally, don’t do it unless you really, really love it. If it’s a hobby, dive in and see all the wonderful places you can find in yourself. Professionally, though, don’t go into writing thinking you’re going to bank on one idea you have, or do it to be the next big thing. Do it because you absolutely have to write or the ideas will tear you apart when you’re not looking. Do it because you feel and see things others don’t and you’re compelled to get it on paper. The thing is, it’s not an easy process, and you’re going to hear a lot of rejection. I’ve been told fairly often that I’m something of a pit bull when it comes to wanting to get my way because I’m so tenacious. With all respect, I feel like I’m more like a hungry wolverine, but that’s me, heh.

That said, I’m learning that submitting and rejection is also a lot like dating: you can’t take it personally when you just don’t click with someone. I try really hard to keep an open mind and look at my manuscripts and try to see what others might be seeing. If you really want this, you absolutely cannot give up, but you also have to learn to take criticism and figure out what needs fixing and what needs ignoring. When I first started hard-core submitting, I made myself promise that I would give it a year and a day and submit at least one thing every week. To date I have a file of rejection notices that is about twenty-something pages long. That isn’t twenty rejections – that’s twenty pages of notations of rejections. Not everything you produce is going to be golden, but as you grow and progress, you may go back and find homes for those early ideas.

Read as much as you write, and read genres that are different than what you’re writing. Don’t read just the genre you write with the thought of checking out the competition or checking out what’s hot at any given moment. Write what comes from you, but read absolutely everything.  I read a lot of nonfiction, and I feel like I learn a lot every time I pick up a title. I’m one of those curious cats that wants to know how everything works and what it’s like to go through every life event ever, even if I’m just reading about it through memoirs. I read comics, plays, short stories, novels, and all genres. Keep aware of grammar—I have a bad habit of mentally editing everything I read, but it keeps me sharp. For me, writing is fundamentally about paying attention. I’m always open to possibilities, whether that means new ideas or researching places to submit to. It’s a constant job to keep up with everything.

Also start learning business and marketing, simply because as you get published that’s going to be a world you’re going to have to venture into. You don’t want to be that person that’s forced to believe what they’re told because they don’t know, otherwise.  A lot of people get caught unaware that this is part of the professional writing world and suddenly wonder why it should be their job to promote their titles or handle their business dealings. The fact is, this is how things are today. Unless you’ve been established forever, you’re going to need to do some promotional work long-term to keep people interested. Get comfortable with yourself and your work, because people are going to be talking to you about it and wanting to know why they should read it!

GL:  Where can readers go to connect with you and your wonderful work? (social networking sites, etc.)

SJ:  Readers can find me at the following places!

Blog http://www.selahjanel.wordpress.com

Facebook Author Pagehttp://www.facebook.com/authorSJ

Goodreadshttp://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5622096.Selah_Janel

Amazon Author Pagehttp://www.amazon.com/Selah-Janel/e/B0074DKC9K/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1346815995&sr=1-2-ent

Twitterhttp://www.twitter.com/SelahJanel

Lost in the Shadows

The Other Man

http://www.amazon.com/Lost-in-the-Shadows-ebook/dp/B00E1ODLIY/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=1-2&qid=1376330944

Video of Me on WCIV-TV’s “Lowcountry Live” (ABC News)

Published August 7, 2013 by glgiles

http://www.abcnews4.com/video?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=9169663#.UgJrL-kjGuI.facebook

Here I am on “Lowcountry Live”…I feel I broke even, as I think I was tongue-tied the same amount of times I had the presence of mind to mention BlackWyrm Publishing!! 🙂

***Many thanks to the wonderful Jon Bruce and all the WCIV-TV crew for making me feel so at home!!! 🙂

http://www.amazon.com/Water-Vamps-young-adventure-ebook/dp/B00E26616K/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=

Interview with Michael Sargent of “Write to be Heard” (Turquoise Radio)

Published August 6, 2013 by glgiles

Turquoise Radio Pic

Introduction of Michael Sargent—from Turquoise Radio (TurquoiseRadio.com):

“Michael Sargent brings exclusively to Turquoise Radio his all new show – Write to be heard.  If you like books then you will love this show! 

Every week Michael will feature an up and coming author and not only read extracts from their work but feature information about the authors, interviews and much more.  It’s hard to get started in the world of writing but Michael brings aspiring authors who have real talent to the public eye.  Brought to you from our Kentucky studios you can hear Michael on Wednesday’s at 01:00 (UK) / Tuesday’s at 20:00 (EST) and the show will repeat on Sundays at 15:00 (UK) / 10:00 (EST)” (http://turquoiseradio.com/presenter-and-shows.php).

 

GL: So much fun being interviewed by you on Turquoise Radio for your “Write to be Heard” show! And, thanks for letting me talk you into appearing here on my blog, Michael. For those not familiar with Turquoise Radio, what makes it more than simply a local web-based station? (Is it global? Based out of the UK?)

MS: GL, I am happy you had a positive experience on the show and you certainly were a pleasure to interview. You really do have what I call a “bright” voice and I suspect you could easily make the transition to video. As for me, well, it was suggested that I wear a bag over my head during my radio interviews-and this after the station manager seeing me only once-on Skype!
Turquoise radio is unlike any other station in the sense that it is not based out of one central location, but brought together by a network of presenters, each with their own niche area and all based in various locations around the world (although it does have a strong UK flavoring!). This model allows each presenter to develop their own show while giving the listener a diverse range of programming, ranging from specific interest areas like “Write to be Heard” for authors, to programs for new music artists, chat shows, lifestyle advice, and of course diverse musical genres. To my knowledge, there really is nothing else like it out there right now, although I suspect others will end up copying the model. Here at Turquoise Radio, we genuinely feel that our model represents a natural evolution (or maybe even revolution!) in broadcast radio. To clarify a little, the broadcast (and listener) experience is evolving. FM transmitters in the UK, for example, will be phased out in the next few years, while at the same time internet radio can be accessed across many platforms (PCs/laptops/tablets/smartphones)-practically anything that has internet access-and the access need not be expensive. Wi-fi enabled AM/FM counter top radios are readily available at practically any big box retailer.

GL: So, where does your “Write to be Heard” show (on Turquoise Radio) hail from?

MS: From “The Land of Fast Horses and Beautiful Women (and Bourbon-lots of Bourbon)”. From the home of the “Fastest Two Minutes in Sports”, the Kentucky Derby, from the home of the current Sugar Bowl and NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Champions (and numerous other NCAA titles), from the home of the Louisville Slugger and Muhammad Ali-well you get the picture!

GL: Got it, Michael, and why am I suddenly thirsty?! 🙂 Was the “Write to be Heard” show brought about to give new authors, or relatively unknown authors, the ‘Right to be Heard’ in the competitive and arguably saturated field of writing?

MS: Exactly, GL. You don’t have to be a published author. In fact, my very first guest is not a published author and her work wasn’t even finished! I believe all authors-regardless of whether they have been published or not-can contribute to the dialogue about the journey of writing itself, which is actually the bigger story! It is my understanding that there are very few traditional publishing houses left, and that those few can’t possibly handle the volume of new authors seeking review of their work. That leaves e-publishing and variants of self-publishing. Each presents its’ own set of challenges and potential rewards. My goal is to remove at least one barrier between author and audience-getting heard at all-from the equation. Having said that, I am neither literary critic nor expert; I simply hold the microphone and let the author and audience work it out.

GL: What does it mean for the fans of “Write to be Heard” that Turquoise Radio is now the flagship radio station for Prime Media Worldwide?

MS: The merging of the Prime Media Worldwide Group with Turquoise radio will result in the launch, in the coming year, of the Prime Radio Network. We will be making available our diverse range of programming to even more stations around the world. This means that fans of Write to be Heard will be able to tune in not only on Turquoise Radio, but on any others that wish to broadcast the show.

GL: That’s great news, indeed! Switching gears, I’ve heard that you’re an aspiring writer yourself. What are you currently working on?

MS: The Next Great American Novel/Movie Trilogy, when completed, will of course be completely incredible (how could it not be, I’ve been working on it for 20 years). Without getting too specific, my story revolves around a central character whose journey of spiritual growth spans lifetimes and takes place over three eras; two of these eras occurring in the past with an eye toward historical accuracy and significance, with the third occurring in the not so distant future. Through my personal writing experience I have certainly gained an appreciation for the challenges an author faces in creating, and then attempting to publish, his or her work.

GL: I’ll look forward to reading it, Michael! Now, while it’s probably best to not start off by publishing sophomoric writing, do you think that there’s also the possibility of being overly-formulaic (due to only studying and being well-informed of the tactics of many bestselling authors) in your writing?

MS: Excellent question. Hard to develop your style if you’re copying someone else’s. Be you-that’s where the magic is. The best answer I can give overall is based in part on the wisdom and experience of some of the guests on my show: Find your passion, know your passion, and then sit down and write like hell-editing can come later.

GL: Where can readers go to connect with you and to check out your wonderful “Write to be Heard” show?

MS: Look for me on our site, turquoiseradio.com, under “Shows and Presenters”. You can friend me on facebook (Michael Sargent presenter at Turquoise Radio) or drop me a line: michael.sargent@turquoiseradio.com.

Thanks again, Michael!

Thank you, GL, for honoring me with this opportunity to spread the word about “Write to be Heard”. I look forward to speaking with you again about your next work…

New Review Today & Back on Television Tomorrow!! :)

Published August 5, 2013 by glgiles

So happy to read the words ‘That Crafty Lunch Lady’ whipped up regarding my WATER VAMPS at:  http://thatcraftylunchlady.com/?p=436

And, for those in the Greater Charleston Area (SC), I’ll be back on “Lowcountry Live” (WCIV-TV ABC Channel 4) tomorrow (August 6th) sometime between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. EST—talking about my WATER VAMPS (2nd ed.) this time. Looking forward to it! 🙂

http://www.amazon.com/Water-Vamps-Gl-Giles/dp/1613181477/ref=cm_cr_pr_pb_t

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http://www.amazon.com/Water-Vamps-Gl-Giles/dp/1613181477/ref=cm_cr_pr_pb_t