Monday, October 31, 2011

The Same Six Questions - Michael Meyer

Hey there and welcome to this Halloween edition of The Same Six Questions! How ironic is it that my guest today is Michael Meyer! I guess it would have been to much to ask that he be a horror writer, right? Welcome Michael!

Hello, Andy! I just retired from a 40-year career as a college writing professor. I lived and taught at universities in Thailand, Saudi Arabia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, finally retiring last December from a California community college. I am an avid world traveler. I love to read. I live in Southern California wine country with my wife, Kitty, and our two other cats.


The Same Six Questions

1. Have you published a book yet?

I have published three novels on Amazon Kindle. The Survival of Marvin Baines is a short novel about real life and whimsy, as they collide head on with a man's midlife crisis. The book is fast paced and filled with colorful characters. Marvin Baines' humorous adventures take him on a journey through which he finally realizes what is really important in life. Funny at times and yet serious too, a winning combination about life, marriage, and coming to terms with one's own quandaries and foibles as midlife suddenly rears its head. The Famous Union is a tongue-in-cheek look at the dismal economic situation currently taking place on a small California college campus, where tough financial decisions bring about severe disruption and hilarity to a once very proud institution of higher learning, the home of the Famous Union Fighting Orchids, whose motto is and always has been, "Just wait until next year." It is a rollicking romp through the halls of academia.

2. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I have wanted to be a writer my entire life. I am an avid reader, and I am excited by the power and use of words, by the creativity that can be expressed by clear and sometimes clever use of language.

3. What was your first lengthy piece of writing (say,>1000 words)? What was it about? When did you write it? Do you still have it?

My first book was on the history of California that I wrote and printed for my parents. I was about ten years old at the time, and they were proud as punch with me.

4. When was your first indication, "I can do this (write)"?

In middle school my teachers began to rave about my writing. They told me and my parents that I was quite creative. It was then, probably, that the writing bug hit me full force.

5. If you could meet one of your characters in real life, which would it be?

Although I would love to meet and talk with Marvin Baines, a lost soul at times, my first choice would be Bill Ferris, the frustrated professor in The Famous Union. He has wonderful coping skills for dealing with the catch 22-type circumstances he finds himself embroiled in at his very first full-time job.

6. It's a dark and stormy night...you're alone in the house...there's a knock at the door...you open it, look out, and proceed to scream like a little girl. What's on the doorestep?

I can think of many possibilities that would scare me in this situation, but the one that immediately pops into my mind would be to see the following newspaper headline: "Terror Strikes the U.S. Again!"

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Thanks for stopping by Michael! Check out his blog and another recent interview.

Be sure to stop back in on Thursday when my interview guest will be Monica La Porta!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Same Six Questions - Alyssa Rose Ivy

Today, please welcome YA fantasy author Alyssa Rose Ivy to The Same Six Questions! Hi Alyssa!

Hi Andy! Although originally from the New York area, I fell in love the South while at college in New Orleans and now live in North Carolina with my husband and young daughter. My background is in law and library science and now that I am finally done with my years as a perpetual student, I’m using whatever free time I have to write.

The Same Six Questions


1. Have you published a book yet?

I published my first Novel, Beckoning Light (the Afterglow Trilogy) in July, and book two, Perilous Light, will be out this spring. It’s a YA fantasy novel told from the dual perspective of a brother and sister, available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Description:

As Charlotte steps through the gate, she has a strong feeling that nothing will ever be the same again.

Moving back to South Carolina after three years away, Charlotte knows she’s going to have to face people from her past and adjust to a new high school, but she’s completely unprepared for what else waits for her in Charleston.

Drawn through an old garden gate, Charlotte discovers a hidden world where she meets Calvin, a boy to whom she is inexplicably attracted. As Charlotte is pulled deeper into this hidden world, it’s up to her older brother Kevin to rescue her. No matter how hard Kevin tries, the rescue depends upon Charlotte fighting her intense feelings for Calvin while mastering a set of abilities that she has only just discovered she possesses.


2. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. Growing up I was always writing something whether it was a short story, poetry, a play or one of several attempts at writing a novel. The only real break I took from writing creatively was during law school, and I promised myself that as soon as I had the time I would get my creativity back.


3. What was your first lengthy piece of fiction (say,>1000 words)? What was it about? When did you write it? Do you still have it?

I wrote a two-act play in seventh grade about a group of girlfriends that became rock stars while in middle school. I no longer have it, but I wish I did because I’m sure it would be a good laugh.


4. When was your first indication, "I can do this (write)"?

I had some very supportive creative writing teachers over the years that gave me the confidence to believe I could really write, but it wasn’t until I sat down and finally finished a novel that it felt real.


5. If you could meet one of your characters in real life, which would it be?

I would want to meet Charlotte, the female protagonist in Beckoning Light. She's strong and determined and if she had the time to baby-sit, she would be a great role model for my daughter.


6. It's a dark and stormy night...you're alone in the house...there's a knock at the door...you open it, look out, and proceed to scream like a little girl. What's on the doorstep?

If I’m screaming, chances are it’s the police looking to arrest me for a crime I didn’t commit. I have this fear of being wrongfully accused of a crime (likely developed from reading too many crime and mystery novels) and which was only made worse by law school.

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So nice of you to stop by and share, Alyssa! Thanks! For more of Alyssa's work, check out her website and Facebook page.

Stop back in on Monday, when my guest will be Mike Meyer. Yeah baby! Oh, wait...wrong Mike. ;)

Sales Boost

Had to throw out a quick shout out to the Kindle Lovers blog (http://thekindle3books.com/). There had been some comments over on the KindleBoards regarding this site, so I decided to try it out. They were offering a free posting in return for a link to their site. Fair enough, right? So, I posted thir link (in the left sidebar I believe) and sent them my info. No response, but I didn't think anything of it. Recently, I had some issues with my Kindle Publishing account, so I wasn't checking my numbers. Finally had it resolved last night and went in this morning. I thought it was a glitch! I had been having a horrible month. Somehow, I'd sold 34 copies in 24 hours...and was ranked at #4134...

My highest ranking ever to date, and by far the most I'd ever sold in a day. I then went over to the UK site and found this...
Sweet, right? My UK rank actually improved during the day as I sold 1 more copy there. My US ranking has since slid, which I knew it would, but what a rush! I've got a paid position coming out tomorrow and I'm thinking it couldn't have been timed better. If I do well enough, I might actually push into the top 100 in suspense/thriller, which is not an easy feat. I think I need to get down below #2k though. Lots of competition.

I've since heard that they are backlogged for the moment. No surprise. Once word hits the streets that something is working, it isn't unknown for long. ;)

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Same Six Questions - Tracy Rozzlynn

Good morning, and welcome to another edition of The Same Six Questions! Today's guest is Tracy Rozzlyn.

Hi Everyone. I was born and raised in Rhode Island. It’s a unique little state – within thirty minutes you can be in the city, in the suburbs, at the beach, or in the woods. I graduated from URI, but until recently, I never actually used my English literature degree. After college, I worked in retail and then in telecommunications. For a while I lived in Massachusetts and then Maine, but I since returned to my home state. My daughter is the most important thing in my life. My writing and the rest of my family are a close second.

The Same Six Questions

1. Have you published a book yet?

I currently have two novels available. Verita and Fast-Tracked

My Debut novel Verita is a YA (young adult) science fiction novel and is the first book in the Verita series. It's light on the science fiction and interlaced with romance. It's the science fiction I've always wanted to read, but until recently, I had a hard time finding. Brett loses everything that's important to her and decides to create a new life for herself on a newly discovered planet. My books are also available on Nook and through Smashwords

2. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I always thought about it. I remember in second grade making up a story about a girl that gets the ability to talk to computers, but I never wrote it down. I was afraid everyone would think it was a stupid idea. In seventh grade everyone created their own book - drawing the pictures, writing the story and decorating the cover. I loved the idea, but quickly became frustrated. There was no way I could make my story about super smart monkeys fit on just twenty pages. As I grew older I focused more on reading and dismissed writing as a career choice. It wasn't a lucrative career choice I'd write a book after I retired.

Sadly, as an adult, I almost completely stopped reading. Between the demands of work, motherhood and life in general, I never had the time to read. Once in a while I'd pick up a book, but it rarely held my interest. Harry Potter had been the one exception. I thought it was a fluke.

Then, my sisters gave me their copies of the Twilight saga. I had a rare three day weekend to myself. I started reading and didn't stop until I had finished all of them. Time had never been my issue. I had been reading the wrong books. I immediately started reading more young adult books. Then, purely for my own enjoyment, I started to write a story that had been in my head for some time. A story about a teenage girl that was sent to live on another planet.

I wrote the original story in just two weeks. It wasn't very good, it read like a bad middle-grade novel, but it had sparked something in me. So I kept writing.


3. What was your first lengthy piece of fiction (say, >1000 words)? What was it about? When did you write it? Do you still have it?

In 8th grade I had a creative writing class. We were asked to write about one of our earliest childhood memories. The teacher singled me out and asked me to read my story to the class. Before 8th grade I wasn't a very good student so it was a big deal for me. I don't have the story any more, but the memory itself appears in my novel Verita.


4. When was your first indication,"I can do this (write)"?

When I was trying to edit Verita and found myself getting caught up in the story. I still hadn't shown the novel to anyone else, but I figured if I could get caught up in it, then others could too. Since then I've received some wonderful feedback from readers. I can't express just how much it means to me.


5. If you could meet one of your characters in real life, which would it be?

As much as I like my female protagonists, I think in real life we'd get on each other's nerves. They tend to be a little headstrong. It would only be a matter of time until we ended up in a fight where neither of us will back down. So, I pick Andi from Verita. She's incredibly smart, but doesn't make you feel dumb. She's the social glue that keeps everyone together. Plus, she guides you to the right conclusion without you ever realizing that she's doing it.


6. It's a dark and stormy night...you're alone in the house...there's a knock at the door...you open it, look out, and proceed to scream like a little girl. What's on the doorstep?

Good luck getting me to open the door. I'll watch all the gore and horror you toss my way, but make a creepy show that's close to real life and I'm out of there. No I'm not just paranoid. I've walked in on a burglar before. So, I don't open the door without knowing who it is. If I hear a strange noise in the basement I'm not going to investigate it.

But, if it's a nice sunny day and I'm not all alone, there’s a chance I’d open the door without checking first. I'd scream like a baby if I found a cockroach on my doorstep. When I was little, I went to a double-drive in. I turned around without my parents knowing and watched the cockroach scene - now I have a bit of a phobia.

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Thanks so much for sharing with us today, Tracy! Be sure to check out Tracy's Web site for more of her work.

On Thursday, stop back in when my guest will be Alyssa Rose Ivy. See you then!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Same Six Questions - Cassandra Blizzard

Give a warm welcome to today's guest on The Same Six Questions, Cassandra Blizzard! In her own words...

Cassandra Blizzard was born and raised in north central Florida. Cassandra is one of the world’s most detailed psychic mediums. She is internationally known for her evidential mediumship skills as well as her psychic abilities, with clients on nearly every continent. She is also an accomplished, award-winning author, with over 30 novels to her credit. She has been writing since the age of 15 and has published numerous short stories, articles, and books. In the realm of mediumship, Cassandra is known for her accuracy and compassionate readings. When it comes to her writing career, she is known for her skills in hopping genres. She has written in nearly every genre, including romance, mystery, thriller, science fiction, and mainstream. She has recently added to her list of writing accomplishments with a spiritual non-fiction series, the first of which is titled Seven Years of Surrender. In fiction, she writes page-turning novels that keep readers avidly engaged. Her non-ficition series promises to be just as engaging.

The Same Six Questions

1. Have you published a book yet?

Yes, I have. I've had multiple books, short stories, and articles published over the past 15 years or so. I've written so many books under so many pseudonyms that it is difficult for me not to mention more than one book. My book Profile (C. D. Blizzard) was originally published by a tiny little publisher in California. I was also on the ground floor of ebook publishing and had several books published through another publisher, the name of which I have forgotten, before moving into the Indie arena. My latest book, Seven Years of Surrender (Cassandra Blizzard) is now available on Kindle and Nook. It was really an emotionally difficult book for me to write. I had to open myself up in a very raw way and reveal myself as objectively and truthfully as I could. The book is a true story about how I became terribly ill from a poisoning and spent seven years wallowing in fear, doubt, and crippling pain. But those seven years of agony became an epiphany that launched me into a new way of looking at life. It was both a painful and yet revelatory time in my life. Seven Years of Surrender is the beginning of my spiritual series of non-fiction books.


2.When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I think I was born writing. By the time I was 15 years old, I knew that I wanted to be a professional novelist.

3. What was your first lengthy piece of fiction (say,> 1000 words)? What was it about? When did you write it? Do you still have it?

I wrote my first full-length book when I was 15. It was a fantasy that chronicled the war between twin planets. I still have the manuscript somewhere in my mountainous pile of manuscripts.

4. When was your first indication, "I can do this (write)"?

Certainly not my first two attempts at writing novels. (laughs) I didn't feel that confident until I had written my third book. That's when I began seeking an agent. And then I learned that I still couldn't write. Or, at least, not according to their standards. But, I just kept moving forward and developing myself as a writer. By the time I had written my book Blackwater (C. D. Blizzard) I was confident that I was a real writer.

5. If you could meet one of your characters in real life, which would it be?

Zach, from my book Primal (E.J. Deen). Zach is intriguing to me because he is fearless. Not so much fearless in the sense of lacking fear completely, but just able to keep going even in the face of extremefear and extreme situations. He's also a very noble man.

6. It's a dark and stormy night...you're alone in the house...there's a knock at the door...you open it, look out, and proceed to scream like a little girl. What's on the doorstep?

My neighbor. (laughs) Even through the darkness, I could clearly see the blood smeared across matted fur and the foam dotting the ragged whiskers of the rabid raccoon at my doorstep. My brain struggled to find meaning in the scene. Next to the open door, the wind whipped my overgrown ficus into a twisted dance, causing another knocking sound against the house. Lightning flashed across the sky, illuminating the crazed eyes of the small beast before me. Another streak of lightning blinded me in itsbright glare just as the raccoon's jaws opened to attack my bare shins.

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Thanks for sharing with us today, Cassandra! For more of Cassandra and her work, check out her blogs (writer and medium), her Your Book Authors profile, Twitter profile, and Facebook page.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Same Six Questions - Alex Adena

Welcome back to The Same Six Questions! Today, my guest is Alex Adena. Welcome Alex!

Hello, Andy! When I'm not writing my own words I'm usually editing someone as part of my day job. I spend my days reading stuff from all over the world and then trying to figure out how to convey the news in a short amount of space. It's a good gig. At home, I cater to the whims and needs of my four cats (Agatha, Henry, Wallace and Larry) and one dog (Harper). My wife Stephanie and I are serial rehabbers -- first converting a three-plex Victorian back to single-family status and now gutting a bungalow from head to toe and turning its half-acre lot into something resembling a garden. It keeps us out of trouble, though some question our sanity.

The Same Six Questions


1. Have you published a book yet?

Signs and Wonders published on Aug. 1. It's a novella about a fallen faith healer who one day discovers she really can heal people. The main character has spent her life being a fraud and now she has to dig deep to figure out what she really believes. The book is up at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, and iBooks (for the Mac and iPad).


2. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

My first goal in life was to be a garbage man, because they got to ride around on the back of the truck and that looked like a blast. But once I started school, I knew I wanted to be a journalist. For the past 20 years, I've worked at newspapers.

3. What was your first lengthy piece of fiction (say,> 1000 words)?

My first piece of creative writing was a play written under my birthname (Jeffrey Bruner) and called Katrina: State of Emergency." It was a series of stories from people who survived Hurricane Katrina and was used as a fundraiser in Des Moines and Chicago, where it ran for three weeks.


4. When was your first indication, "I can do this (write)"?

I knew early in school that this was the one thing I could be good at. I struggled with math and science, but writing? That came easy for some reason. I chalk it up to genes -- my mom and dad met while working for their small-town newspaper in the 1960s.


5. If you could meet one of your characters in real life, which would it be?

Definitely Annie Grace, the main character in Signs and Wonders. She's smart and sassy, but she's also deeply flawed. If you want someone to drink beer with and share outrageous stories, it's Annie.


6. It's a dark and stormy night...you're alone in the house...there's a knock at the door...you open it, look out, and proceed to scream like a little girl. What's on the doorstep?

Canned peas and creamed corn! My mom made me eat them when I was a little kid and I could barely swallow them without gagging. I'm grimacing now just thinking about them. Bleh.

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Mmmm...creamed corn. ;) Thanks for stopping by, Alex! For more of Alex, check out his blog, Facebook page, and Twitter profile.

Be sure to swing by on Thursday, when my author guest will be Cassandra Blizzard.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Same Six Questions - R.E. Long

Hi! And welcome to my special weekend edition of The Same Six Questions! Today, my special guest is speculative YA fiction author, R.E. Long. We met at this year's Collingswood Book Festival. I had the pleasure of setting up shop right next to Ralph and we spent the day chatting back and forth about the ups and downs of being self-published. An experienced non-fiction author, Ralph recently jumped into the fiction deep end with his latest release. Welcome, Ralph!

Thanks for having me on, andy! My name is Ralph Long (R.E. Long), and I’m a 48-year-old husband and father of six. I reside in Southern New Jersey, with my family and our 2 Labrador Retrievers who I truly believe run the show. I grew up in the Central Pennsylvania Mountains where I enjoyed the life of the proverbial “country boy.” After graduation I then moved on to 14 years of military service, where I was able to travel extensively and enjoy both the good & bad of what the world has to offer. I now work hard to blend my time between work, family, writing & my outdoor pursuits in the fishing and hunting world. I’ve been able to both enjoy those pursuits as well as write about them over the years, which to me is pretty much a perfect world.

The Same Six Questions

1. Have you published a book yet?

Yes, I’ve been able to publish 3 books to date, and I’m working on my 4th now. I began writing for outdoor periodicals over the years, which allowed me to extend my hobbies into the off-season. However, I was walking around with 2 separate books in my head for quite a few years. When I finally sat down to begin the 1st book, the rest of them sort of spilled out onto the keyboard as well. My 1st novel, The Blood of Angels is a Speculative Fiction book based on the fallen angels, angelic warfare, and bible history “with a twist”. The sequel, The Vengeance of Angels is due out in the spring.

My original novelette, Beginnings: A Season of Archery was truly a labor of the heart. It’s a chapter book of a 12 year old boy and his 1st archery season with his father. It is written from the view of a once 12 year old boy myself, and the things that I have grown to appreciate now as a father.

My fly fishing book Tomorrow’s Fish is a compilation of 25 of my personal journal entries, along with 20 of my personal fly patterns gathered over a period of 40 plus years on the water. Several of the articles have been previously published over the years in fly fishing magazines. While my natural genre is outdoor writing, my true labor and passion is that of my novel. It’s a story that I loved from the start, and continues on with the 2nd book.

All of my books are available in print via Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

2. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I had always loved to write through school, but could never pin myself down long enough to carry through with anything more than something of essay length. Then in my 30’s I went back to school to get my degree and submitted some of my outdoor essays as assignments. They were well received and the suggestion was made that I should submit some of them to magazines. The suggestion spurred me to move forward with my writing, and after learning the ropes of article submissions and the keys to reaching an editor I finally ended up with a few in print. But it wasn’t until the 1st copies of those magazines came in the mail, and my name was in the table of contents, that I knew I wanted to keep pursuing writing.

3. What was your first lengthy piece of fiction (say, >1000 words)? What was it about? When did you write it? Do you still have it?

My first attempt at fiction writing was my Youth Novelette, BEGINNINGS- A Season of Archery. I had it in my head for a number of years and really felt that there was a poor selection of youth outdoor books available. I finally began writing it while travelling for work. I believe I rewrote each chapter about 3 times. Originally, I self-published it through a local newspaper printer, and while it was well received, the bindings were poor and I eventually pulled it back. About 10 years later, with the advances in self-publishing that we have today, I was able to produce a version of the book many times more professionally done than the original. I keep a copy of it on my desk at work. It’s is my favorite piece of work. It’s dedicated to my parents, and I wish they would have had the chance to read it.

4. When was your first indication, "I can do this (write)"?

When I began putting my Book “Tomorrow’s Fish” together, I sampled some of my essays among a number of forums. The responses I received ranged from well received, to how they had touched a part of some of the reader’s experiences. One person wrote me to say how half way through my story about myself and my father, he became choked up and had to put the story down. Knowing that everything in the book was a personal experience I realized that just maybe I could actually write something other people would truly enjoy reading. That in turn has carried me through the bi-weekly “Whip Finish” article that I write. The responses I get in that pursuit, help to keep me focused in all of my writing.

5. If you could meet one of your characters in real life, which would it be?

My favorite character is Bain, the lead character in my Novel. He is the reluctant and unassuming hero that I think we all wish we could be. He is the type of person who, regardless of the situation always seems to land on his feet. Sometimes it’s with the help of friends, or other times it’s due to pure luck. But he always seems to attain the same results. He’s the type of person that always seems to leave you shaking your head in disbelief.

6. It's a dark and stormy night...you're alone in the house...there's a knock at the door...you open it, look out, and proceed to scream like a little girl. What's on the doorstep?

Snooki...or a big ass spider. Both are equally creepy.

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LOL! Thanks so much for sharing, Ralph! For more of Ralph and his writing, be sure to check out his blog and website.

This Monday, my guest on The Same Six Questions will be Alex Adena! See you then!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Same Six Questions - Riven Owler

Today's guest on the The Same Six Questions is Riven Owler! Welcome Riven!

Thanks, Andy! Riven Owler is actually a writing team from Massachusetts. We're great friends, both hold English degrees, and love reading and writing. Hiking and mountain-biking are shared passions. We enjoy finding great trails and being outdoors. We also love concerts. Although we don't get to see too many, our favorite band is Switchfoot.

We've been on several charitable missions together, and these experiences inform our writing. The pen name we chose, Riven, means "torn apart." We found places in the United States and Mexico that were "torn apart" by poverty.

The Same Six Questions

1. Have you published a book yet?

Our first novel, The Soldier, The Merchant & The Devil, was published on July 4th and is available on Amazon for Kindle. It is a retelling of a lesser known Brothers Grimm fairy tale. We both adored the story for a long time. It's about an atmospheric encounter with the devil, and how our characters' lives are affected in strange ways.

Our story is set in colonial New England and for it we researched quite a lot about the shipping industry during the Age of Sail. During our research, we found history of Northern slave trading and also Irish servitude. Both grandchildren of Irish immigrants, we were moved by what we learned. We found ways to incorporate the theme of slavery through the merchant who is a slave trader, and his Irish child servants. We kept it true to its timeframe. New England and Ireland have rich, mysterious folklore and we wove that in as well.

2.When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

One of us will never forget her sixth grade English teacher who pinned her stories to a bulletin board and heaped them with praise. The other was inspired by a college poetry writing class, surprised by what flowed out of his own pen.

3. What was your first lengthy piece of fiction (say, >1000 words)? What was it about? When did you write it? Do you still have it?

There are spooky ghost stories that are long-gone, a collection of poetry on a passworded file, and two novels on a disk somewhere.

4. When was your first indication, "I can do this (write)"?

We both learned of this at early ages. Deciding to publish came out of a growing feeling that we have stories to tell, and almost an obligation to use our gifts. We notice and appreciate the art in other genres - we'll mention Jon Foreman's lyrics and J.J. Abrams' work as our inspirations. These people have made our lives better in some ways by pouring out what they have inside. We wanted to use our talents like they have.

5. If you could meet one of your characters in real life, which would it be?

I think we both want to meet the soldier. He's out there in the dark all alone with this feeling that he's made a really bad deal. So strong, he could deal with any human foe, now he has to overcome himself. He can't afford to trip up...can't risk his soul. He doesn't know what he's good for, and he travels a long way without knowing if any love will ever come to him.

6. It's a dark and stormy night...you're alone in the house...there's a knock at the door...you open it, look out, and proceed to scream like a little girl. What's on the doorstep?

It's got to be the banshee. She's the one we definitely don't want to see. Tall, wraith-thin, empty green eyes. If you see her, holy hell...it means someone you know is going to die soon.

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Thanks to both of you for sharing with us today! For more of Riven Owler, you can check out their blog and follow them on Twitter.

I have a special guest this Saturday, who I'm sneaking in between regular posts. I had the great pleasure of meeting and chatting with fellow author, R.E. Long, at the recent Book Festival in Collingswood NJ. His first work of fiction is the young adult fantasy novel, The Blood of Angels. He'll be here on Saturday for an unprecedented weekend edition of The Same Six Questions. See you then! 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Same Six Questions - Richard Sutton

Another edition of The Same Six Questions! Today's guest is historic fiction author, Richard Sutton. Welcome, Richard.

Hello, Andy. I'm an ex-hippie commune goat herder who spent twenty years in the trenches of NY Advertising. Born in California in '52, I hitch-hiked to NYC in 1972, to see if I could find something useful to do. I became a copy writer and advertising designer. In 1985, on a lark, my wife and I decided to try our hand at trading in American Indian arts. I sold my Design business in 1989 to pursue full-time trading, opening a bricks and mortar gallery which took most of my time until 2007, when we moved the business online. I had written two novels, behind the register, those last five years, and finally decided fiction was my game, since my steel string guitar playing wasn't ever going to make me a living!


The Same Six Questions


1. Have you published a book yet?

Those first books became The Red Gate, which was released in 2009, and its sequel, The Gatekeepers, in 2010. Both are historic fiction with a touch of fantasy. Set in County Mayo, Ireland, my readers first met Finn O'Deirg in a muddy pasture sink-hole in 1911 as he discovers an ancient secret in the meadow below his sheep. The second book takes place during the Irish Civil War, ten years later, as the family struggles to hold onto their secret legacy. Both are available from Amazon and B&N (in ebook and print formats) and in other eformats through Smashwords.


2. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I've always enjoyed writing. Probably the first time I consciously thought I'd like to write stories for other people was when I'd uncovered one of L. Frank Baum's lesser-known Oz books in my grandmother's attic. I read it in one sitting and decided to learn how to do that. It took me another forty years to get around to finally testing what I'd learned. Standing up behind my gallery cash register, when business was slow, I began to assemble some notes and ideas into a novel draft. It took five years to do it and by that time, after nineteen years, it was time to close up the bricks and mortar operation and move it online, so I got more time to write as a side-benefit.

3. What was your first lengthy piece of fiction (say, >1000 words)? What was it about? When did you write it? Do you still have it?
I'd written stories in College, of course, and a few in the years that followed, as well as some really, really awful poetry. I lost most of those in the move to NY, but hung on to a couple of the poems -- for what reason I can't tell you. They will never see the light of day. I wrote a couple of short stories, longhand in the margins of my day book during the 1990s, based partly upon our experiences as traders in New Mexico. The longest was titled Leaving Santa Fe. I will probably work it up with a lot of other tales into a memoir of our trading experiences since 1985, but that story actually transformed sideways, into a novel tentatively called Sullivan's Homecoming, set in Santa Fe, which I'm currenhtly shopping around.


4. When was your first indication, "I can do this (write)"?
If you mean, write well enough to sell, it was during my time running the Main Street Association in our small town where the gallery was located. I wrote an emotional appeal/proposal for some Federal/State funding for an improvement project we had in the works and it netted us $50K. I'd by that time been writing press releases for clients for years, as well as advertising copy which I'd been paid for, but I really didn't get the idea my fiction was saleable until some of my beta readers for The Red Gate, told me so. I do my own covers, which helps cut down costs, too.


5. If you could meet one of your characters in real life, which would it be?
Finn, of course. We have some things in common including truncated formal educations and our understanding of solitude as well as sheep and goats, who I still think are some of the best folks I've ever spent time with. We agree on most things, although he places a lot more trust in the Grace of Providence than I do. He also is a secret musician -- me too.


6. It's a dark and stormy night...you're alone in the house...there's a knock at the door...you open it, look out, and proceed to scream like a little girl. What's on the doorstep?
One of my cats. We never let them outside, but worry about them escaping every day. Every time we leave the house. I guess you could say we're a little obsessed, but inside cats live longer than outside cats. We've had both kinds over the years, and have learned the hard way.

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Thanks for stopping by, Richard! For more information on Richard's books or his occasional political and social rants, be sure to visit his blog and news site. You can follow his tweets and there is an evolving Author Page on Amazon.

Thursday's guest will be Riven Owler! See you then!



Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Same Six Questions - Jennifer Rainey

The hot-off-the-presses Thursday edition of The Same Six Questions features Jennifer Rainey! In her own words...

Jennifer Rainey was raised by wolves who later sold her to gypsies. She then joined the circus at the age of ten. There, she was the flower girl in the famed Bearded Bride of Beverly Hills show until the act was discontinued (it was discovered that the bearded lady was actually a man). From there, she wandered around the country selling novelty trucker hats with vaguely amusing sayings printed on front. Somehow, she made enough money to go to The Ohio State University for a major in English.


The Same Six Questions

1. Have you published a book yet?

Indeed I have! These Hellish Happenings was released in November of 2010, and it’s essentially an office comedy in Hell with vampires, demons, a little romance and the occasional broken copier thrown in for good measure. It’s got a dark sense
of humor and a lot of really quirky and interesting characters, so if you’re looking for something a little offbeat, this is definitely your book. You can get the Kindle and paperback editions at Amazon and the Nook edition at Barnes & Noble.

2. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always written in one way or another (I was, I’m ashamed to admit, a fanfiction writer when I was in middle school and high school. Don’t judge me!). But it wasn’t until I had AP English my 12th grade year that I really started to care about writing. I had an incredible teacher who really made me look at the mechanics of writing and storytelling, and I can’t thank her enough for that. I probably wouldn’t be doing this if not for her.

3. What was your first lengthy piece of fiction (say, >1000 words)?

It was a novella about paranormal investigators and the twisted love story between one of the investigators and a ghost. It was a dark little romantic comedy. I still have it somewhere, I’m sure, I just have no idea where!


4. When was your first indication, "I can do this (write)"?

I won a state-wide writing contest when I was about 18 years old with a short story about an animator named Michael Marvin Meloy who loses his job when the traditional animation wing of his studio shuts down. It was around that point that I thought, “Hey, I’m not too bad at this.”


5. If you could meet one of your characters in real life, which would it be?

I’d probably choose Jack, the vampire protagonist of These Hellish Happenings. We’re both music snobs, and I’d love to pick his brain a little bit. He’s lived for over six hundred years, so I imagine he’d have tons of stories to tell. His demonic partner-in-crime, Alex, would be fun to talk politics with, but I have to go with Jack.


6. It's a dark and stormy night...you're alone in the house...there's a knock at the door...you open it, look out, and proceed to scream like a little girl. What's on the doorstep?

Pee Wee Herman.

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Heehee! Thanks for sharing with us today, Jennifer. For more of Jennifer's writing and such, check out her Website, blog, and Twitter and Facebook pages.

Monday's edition of The Same Six Questions will feature histori fiction author Richard Sutton. See you then!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Same Six Questions - Annette Lyon

Hello there and welcome to The Same Six Questions! Today, my guest is Annette Lyon. Welcome!

Thanks, Andy! I live in the Rocky Mountains with my husband, four kids, and a cross-eyed cat with an attitude. I'm a novelist, freelance editor, knitter, and avid reader. I'm claustrophobic, half Finnish, a cum laude English college grad and a word nerd. Oh, and a chocoholic. I read weird books (dead bodies, poisons, weapons) for fun and call it research.


The Same Six Questions

1. Have you published a book yet?
I've traditionally published seven novels and a chocolate (yes, chocolate!) cookbook. I've indie published a punctuation and grammar guide (at the prodding of colleagues: "PLEEEASE! Help me understand how to use commas!!!"). There, Their, They're: A No-Tears Guide to Grammar from the Word Nerd. My newest release on Kindle is The Golden Cup of Kardak, a fantasy about two siblings who go on a quest to rescue their captured warrior father before his execution so he can save the kingdom. To do that, they must find the hidden prison and bring him a magical goblet. With the help of a wounded solider, they face near-capture by the ruthless enemy army, a maze of underground caverns, kidnapping by giant hairy creatures, and attacks by flying monsters with razor-sharp talons. Somehow they must find the courage to complete their mission.


2. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I caught the bug right around age eight, when I piled pillows on a chair to reach my mother's typewriter. (Yes, a typewriter. I'm that old.) Beverly Cleary inspired me with The Mouse and the Motorcycle. As a result, my first attempts at writing revolved around rodents: Mean Marvin the Mouse was followed by Raymond's Runaways (about a group of mistreated hamsters).

3. What was your first lengthy piece of fiction (say, >1000 words)? What was it about? When did you write it? Do you still have it?

For a creative writing class in high school, I co-wrote a screenplay with a friend based on our favorite novel, The Blue Castle (a lesser-known title by L. M. Montgomery of Anne of Green Gables fame). I made two copies for us and got them comb bound. Mine is still on a shelf in my office.


4. When was your first indication, "I can do this (write)"?

I had inklings along the way, but I didn't take the praise from my 3rd grade too seriously. It wasn't until I joined a critique group and got amazing feedback that I learned first, what I didn't know, and second, that I really can do this writing thing. And that I love it. Getting published with the company I wanted to be with took nearly 8 years, but I did it. Writer confidence levels swing between "I'm a total idiot to think I can do this" and "I'm awesome!" The pendulum never stops swinging. So even now that I'm published, it's validating to get recognized with awards (Utah's Best of State medal for fiction in 2007 and the 2010 Whitney Award for Best General novel) and, especially, to get emails from readers who love your work.


5. If you could meet one of your characters in real life, which would it be?

I'd love to spend a day talking to Markanus from my YA fantasy, The Golden Cup of Kardak. He's got some seriously cool stuff in his past, but I know only a bit of it. He'd probably want to talk about battle stories, and while that would be fascinating, eventually I'd get him to open up and spill the beans about his lost love.

6. It's a dark and stormy night...you're alone in the house...there's a knock at the door...you open it, look out, and proceed to scream like a little girl. What's on the doorstep?

I find a package with a prepaid trip for a month in England, where I get to visit all of the literary spots of my dreams. (And then as I visit each site, I proceed to scream like a girl--and likely cry.)
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Thanks so much for sharing with us, Annette! For more of Annette and her writing, check out her blog, Web site, and Twitter profile.

On Thursday, my guest will be Jennifer Rainey. Stop on by!