Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Same Six Questions - Jennifer Chase

Can you believe it's almost October?! Aigh! Welcome to the last The Same Six Questions interview of September! Today's guest is Jennifer Chase. Welcome Jennifer!

Hello Andy! I write crime fiction and thrillers. I have degrees in police forensics and criminology. When I’m not writing, you can usually find me loitering around the beach areas of California with my big black Labrador “Sarge” and my trusty digital camera. I love hiking, taking photographs of nature, reading all genres (getting into zombie books lately), eating ice cream and watching cop movies.

The Same Six Questions

1. Have you published a book yet?

Yes! It’s very exciting.

Dead Game – An Emily Stone Novel

In this Video Game, ‘Game Over’ Means You’re Dead

In her independent efforts to catch child killers, Emily Stone discovers the evidence that the cops can’t—or won’t—uncover. Now, this covert investigator is back on the hunt for the world’s most sick and twisted murderers. But even with help from ex-police detective Rick Lopez, this time she’s facing her most dangerous opponent yet.

The headlines in the San Jose Mercury News blare updates on a serial killer who seems able to slaughter with impunity. Men, women—it doesn’t matter; the victims serve only to satisfy a perverted need to kill. The killer watches the moment of death on multiple computer screens, over and over again. The only connection is that they’re all devotees of the latest video-game craze—a sophisticated brain-puzzler called EagleEye.

When the killer goes after Lopez’s law-enforcement mentor, Lopez and Stone decide to give the cops a little extra, unsolicited help. What follows takes them deep inside a shocking high-tech world, a kind of social-networking community for serial killers. But when they start getting too close to the truth, all hell’s going to break loose.

Now, Stone and Lopez become the killer’s next target as Stone must make a difficult decision to leave the ones she loves in an all-or-nothing effort for survival. Can they stay alive long enough to blow the whistle on this unlikely perpetrator?

For more of my books, please see my Amazon author page.

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

I’ve loved books for as along as I can remember. When I was about five, my mom would take me to the library on a weekly basis to load up on books. I think in the back of my mind I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I could read. Life took over, but writing remained on my mind.

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 short story years ago (not going to tell you how long) called “Escape” that was a cross between horror and suspense. I thought this piece was long gone, but I found a long hand copy in one of my boxes a few months ago. It made me laugh, but I appreciated the thought and effort for the time I wrote it.

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

I had written articles for magazines and several screenplays, but I really didn’t “feel” that I could write a novel until I finished my first one called Compulsion in 2008. It felt great and it gave me the confidence and boost to move forward and keep writing. I’m so glad that I did!

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

Ah, that’s a good question and I’m sure anyone who has read my books won’t be too surprised at my answer. I would love to meet in the flesh my heroine Emily Stone. She hunts down serial killers and child pedophiles anonymously and then emails the police the evidence. She’s definitely tougher and smarter than I am, but I would love to have a lunch with her.

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

I knew that it was only a matter of time. My biggest fear had finally caught up with me. I stared, eye to eye, at the living, breathing image of my sixteen-year-old self. She had come back to haunt me, perhaps even taunt me. Worse, she had come back to tell me about some of the mistakes I had made. My mind reeled in a dizzying array of everything I had done in my life…

Thanks so much for sharing with us today, Jennifer. For more of Jennifer's work, check out her blog, website, Twitter account, and Facebook page.

Stop back in on Monday when my guest will be Annette Lyon! See you soon!

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Same Six Questions - Sue Santore

Welcome to The Same Six Questions! If this is your fist visit, be sure to check out some of past visitors in the archive. If you're a returning guest, then let me introduce you to young adult fantasy author Sue Santore!

Thanks, Andy! I live in the great state of Maine with my husband of 37 years. I have been a factory worker, a waitress, a librarian, and a teacher. My biggest job was being a mother and I have three grown children. Now I am a grandmother, and I am enjoying that role immensely. I have many interests, including quilting and playing the mountain dulcimer, but writing is the most satisfying of all.

The Same Six Questions

1. Have you published a book yet?

Yes. A Singular Gift, a young adult fantasy book (with magic, not elves and fairies) by Sue Santore is available for Kindle on Amazon. This is a stand-alone novel, but I am working on a related sequel which should be finished before the end of 2011.
Jean Ryan must learn to use her inherited magic gift before the opposing dark magic forces destroy her world. Jean and Wayne, her friend, work together to discover why her gift has attracted the attention of an evil circle of magic users and how to combat them.

As she learns to use her magic, Jean finds revenge bites backwards, friends are not always what they seem, and that magic is not a toy. In the end she has to stand alone against an evil worse than any she has ever imagined.

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

I’ve always written! Or so it seems. I have poems and short stories that I wrote while still in school, years and years ago. I began writing novels over twenty years ago.

3. What was your first lengthy piece of fiction

My first novel was a contemporary romance sold and published over twenty years ago. Unfortunately, my editor left and the next editor was not satisfied with my next book or next five proposals. After that I was so discouraged that I gave up on writing for many years. I have requested the rights to that book back and intend to publish it with Amazon when I have the rights returned to me.

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

A Singular Gift was started years ago and put aside. After a few months into retirement, I had the urge to write again. I pulled out the first three chapters that I had saved. I made myself a promise that I would finish it, then go on to continue writing more stories.

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

Since I like all my good-guy characters, I don’t know which one I’d like to meet, but I’d like to have been Jean when I was her age. Wouldn’t it be fabulous to have a gift of magic handed to you?

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

A tiny baby is nestled in an old blanket. I can hear its sobs as it flails its little hands about. I bend over to pick up the child and an envelope falls out of the blanket at my feet. I snatch up the envelope and gaze out into the night. Is that a dark figure I see, running toward the trees? I call out, but no one answers. I take the baby inside and shut the door. I put the child on my shoulder and pat it, whispering soothing sounds. With a trembling hand, I open the envelope.


Thanks for stopping by to share with us, Sue! For more of Sue and her writing, be sure to stop by her blog and give her a follow on Twitter.

Thursday's guest will be author Annette Lyon. Stop on by!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Guest post over at Rex Rising

Be sure to take a moment and visit the Rex Rising blog, where I'm the featured guest interviewee today. Subjected to my own Same Six Questions nonetheless! :-D

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Same Six Questions - David M. Brown

It's that time again! Another round of The Same Six Questions. Today's guest is author David M. Brown. Welcome, David!

Thanks, Andy! I was born in Barnsley (UK) but moved to West Yorkshire so I could read History with English at Huddersfield. I still live in Huddersfield and I’m now married to Donna and we have six rescue cats: Razz, Kain, Charlie, Buggles, Frodo and Bilbo. Charlie was the only one we named (because ‘John’, as he was called, is no name for a cat!). Obviously I love writing but I also enjoy reading, watching world cinema, anime and films in general and, when time allows, playing RPGs such as Final Fantasy.

1. Have you published a book yet?

I’ve recently self-published my first novel, Fezariu’s Epiphany, which you can find on Amazon, Smashwords,, and many other websites. This will be the first in a series of books set in the fictitious world of Elenchera which has been more than ten years in the making and boasts 47,000+ years of history (I used to have a lot of time on my hands!)
The novels will be self-contained stories allowing the reader to pick and choose whichever book they wish. There’s no specific order but each one will unravel a different period of history in Elenchera and over time I intend to cover all twenty-three lands that make up this unique world. I’m also trying to do something a little different with the fantasy genre, making it more accessible to a wider range of readers. The characters will be more important to the novels than the world of Elenchera though I do hope that readers will find Elenchera to be an absorbing means of escapism from their busy lives. Fezariu’s Epiphany tells the story of Fezariu who suffers many upheavals during his childhood, the most significant being the
abandonment of his mother. Unable to cope with the fresh wounds inflicted by his past, Fezariu flees home to join the Merelax Mercenaries – the most prestigious hired hands in East Elenchera. Fezariu’s hope is that the life of a mercenary will help him to become worthwhile to his peers and most importantly to forget about the past. Fezariu learns the hard way though that the past is something you can never leave behind.

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

I’ve always enjoyed reading fiction from my early teens and fantasy novels in particular were favourites of mine. Going through school I imagined the life of a writer was a wonderful dream to fulfil but I didn’t have the inclination to begin my own writing until college. I firstly discovered the RPG series Final Fantasy and that led me to Norse mythology which I had never read before. A combination of those two influences gave me the desire to build my own world and writing quickly followed.

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 can vaguely recall writing a short story towards the end of primary school which was quite a lengthy piece. I don’t recall if I came up with the idea or whether we were given a title and told to write whatever we could. The story was about a group of people on a stagecoach just travelling from town to town. Such was my naivety at the time that I can remember asking my teacher if the Romans would have been around at the historical period the story was set in. I was given a polite “No!” in response but I do think a chuckle quickly followed from that teacher. Encouraging, eh? I don’t recall any major resolution to that story, just the people travelling in that stagecoach and talking to a watchman at some stage. I don’t own that piece of writing sadly though if I still did I imagine I would have jettisoned it in some cunning and destructive manner!

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

I first conceived the idea of Elenchera in 1999 and began working on a novel entitled Verisimilitude which I never finished though I intend to return to at some point. By 2000 I had started work on my first epic novel, Endeavour, which took four years to complete. In 2004 I had a very productive summer. Before finishing Endeavour I started and finished two short novels, The Anglo-Asininity Chronicle and Amarstrea. When I finished The Anglo-Asininity Chronicle I realised that I had succeeded as a writer. Though I wasn’t published, I knew I could complete a novel, take an idea and see it through from start to finish. Those novels are all obsolete now though I may revisit them one day but I still think of them proudly as testaments to the motivation and commitment I knew I would need to be a writer.

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

A decade of writing history, 47,000+ years of it, and I have to choose just one character to meet in real life! That’s tough. I’ll make it easier by picking one of the characters from Fezariu’s Epiphany. I do like Fezariu, of course, but he’s a very troubled young man and I’m worried I’d spend our entire meeting listening to his problems! Instead I’m going to opt for Fezariu’s comrade and fellow mercenary, the verbose toldere Vintaro. A lover of alcohol and good humour I think Vintaro and I would get along famously. He can be a serious character on occasion but generally he takes life in a relaxed manner, finishing his battles quickly and heading straight for the nearest inn or tavern. My only issue with Vintaro is his love of the Atlantian herb, Mizuansi, which is smoked in a pipe. I’m not a smoker myself but don’t imagine Vintaro would have much consideration for “No Smoking” zones!

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

It’s Ben Affleck and he needs a favour. Two of them in fact! He wants me to write the screenplays for his next two projects because they’re guaranteed to be critically acclaimed money makers. The films? Haven’t you guessed? Pearl Harbour 2 and Gigli 2!


Brilliant, David! Thanks for sharing with us. For more of David and his writing, be sure to check out his web site, blog, Twitter profile, Facebook pages (elenchera and fezariu), and Goodreads page.

Be sure to stop back on Monday when author Sue Santore will be my guest!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

"Awards", 7 Things About Me, and Month 2 Sales Figures

I've got a lot to say tonight, but none were worthy of their own separate post. ;)


I received two blogger awards (buttons) today from the lovely Jessica Therrien. Be sure to swing by her blog and show her some love. She's taking part in Rachel Harrie's Platform-Building Campaign. If you didn't already see my flash fiction piece, it was written for the Campaign.

The first of the two awards I received is the dreaded...I mean...the lovable Liebster Blog Award. This blog award goes to awesome writing bloggers with fewer 200 followers (it's NOT a sign of failure...really).

As a recipient, I now get to spread the loveable Liebster to a few of my commendable colleagues. Therefore, I bequeath the Liebster award to the following 5:

1. S.B. Jones

2. Marina Scott

3. Jacques Antoine

4. J.R. Tomlin

5. Brent Nichols

Be sure you swing by and show them some like/follow love.

Awardees, don't forget to:

1. Show your appreciation to the blogger who gave you the award (that's me) by linking back to them.
2. Reveal your five picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Post the award on your blog.
4. Bask in the camaraderie of the most supportive people on the internet—other writers.
5. And best of all—have blog­gity fun and spread the love.

The second is the "Versatile Blogger" award!

I am passing along this award to the following 10 cool writerly bloggers (in no particular order):

1. Tiffany Lovering

2. Sarah Wedgbrow

3. Jocelyn Rish

4. Kristan Hoffman

5. Alyssa Rose Ivy

6. David M. Brown

7. Jen Kirchner

8. Ty Johnston

9. Cheney Giordano

10. Katie Dodge

Awardees, don't forget to:

1. Thank the person who gave you the award (that's me again) and link back to them in your post.
2. Share 7 things about yourself (see mine below).
3. Pass this Award along to 10 recently discovered or favorite blogs and let them know about it.

7 Things About Me

1. My pseudonym, Andy Rane, is a combination of my middle name (Andrew) and my last name (Mulraney).

2. I played the lead role in a musical, Trial by Jury, in college. I was originally the understudy, but had to step in when the lead quit with two weeks to go.

3. I studied creative writing in college with Pulitzer-prize winning poet, Stephen Dunn.

4. My wife and I were born on the same day, same year (should have been same hospital, but my mother's doctor was an hour away).

5. I'm a senior copy editor for a pharmacetical advertising agency.

6. I have an irrational fear (ie, phobia) of lightning.

7. I experienced night terrors (not to be confused with nightmares) as a child; from 6 months until the age of 14.

Month 2 Sales Results

Well, it was bound to happen. Month #2 for most new writers tends to be a bit slower, as you move away from all of the purchases from people you know and you start relying on...well..."real" buyers. Combine that with a relatively slow ebook month (from what I've heard) and my sales were pretty slim.

Amazon US - 8
Amazon UK - 1
Amazon Paperback - 3
Amazon DE - 0
B&N - 2
Smashwords - 0
Total - 14

So, yeah...14 is a bit of a drop off after 40 the first month. But, I've seen nothing but good reviews so far and it's not a sprint...just have to keep reminding myself of that. There are a few things I see happening over the next couple of months that should drive sales one way or the other. On October 1st, I'm taking part in a book festival. I'll be selling autographed paperback copies of my book and advertising my ebook at the Collingswood Book Festival in Collingswood, NJ (just over the river from Philadelphia, PA). If you're in the area, be sure to stop by and check it out! The holiday season is also coming up and it's expected to be the biggest year yet for new ereader owners. I'm hoping to have my sequel to Multiples ready by the time all those new owners are tearing the wrapping paper open on Christmas day. If not that soon, then shortly thereafter. I've got a lot of work to do.

As always, be sure to stop back by the blog on Mondays and Thursdays for my feature, The Same Six Questions, where you get to meet independent authors of all types!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Same Six Questions - Ruth Madison

Another round of The Same Six Questions! Today's guest is the lovely Ruth Madison. Welcome, Ruth!

Thanks, Andy! I'm living in Maryland after having lived in five different states after turning 18. I'm very settled in here. The East Coast is where I'm most at home. I live in a sweet little apartment with my small terrier, Thea. After work we take long walks together all over the walking paths behind the apartment. I have a game group, friends who watch Dr. Who and play video games once a week and I also have a monthly writer's group in the city. As well as writing I also work for a friend's company doing paperwork and running errands.

And now, for The Same Six Questions...

1. Have you published a book yet?

Yes, I have two books published currently and have two more coming out soon. My main book is a novel called (W)hole, which is a fictional depiction of what it's like to grow up with an unusual sexuality. We tend to think of people who have fetishes as scary freakish monsters who live in a dark basement somewhere. The truth is that they were children once, that they have very normal lives like everyone else. I wanted to show a young girl coming to terms with having a fetish and not knowing what to do about it.

That book has been a hit in the devotee community, which is the fetish it is about. I've had many readers write to me to say that it was exactly what they went through and all of the thoughts and feelings of my main character, Elizabeth, were familiar to them. I have a sequel coming out, planned for January release.

I also have a paranormal romance in the works that I'm very excited about. It involves love across parallel universes and a desperate quest to get out of a crumbling world.

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

I always had a fascination with writing. Before I could read, I would sit at my aunt's typewriter and make "bird" novels by typing a series of apostrophes and commas. When I was around ten or eleven I was visiting the town library almost every day, but I was frustrated that there were very few stories that reflected my interests and my view of the world. I started writing my own stories to entertain myself. Quickly I discovered that writing was a way that I could actually communicate with others. I could capture what I saw and explain it. I had an ability to express myself in writing that I didn't have in person. Much later I was diagnosed with mild Asperger's Syndrome. All I knew then was that writing was what took the raw randomness of life and put it into usable and understandable form.

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?

The first piece I was really impressed with myself for was twenty-four handwritten pages. I thought it was going to be a novel. Over the years I continued to work with that story and revised and revised and revised. It is now a tight 2,000 word story that I'm really proud of. Really, though, my first long piece was a novel I wrote in high school. I turned it in for a class project, but I was already writing it and the class was a convenient way to get some credit for it. That was about 50,000 words and I was frustrated that I couldn't get it longer! It didn't feel like a real novel because it was so short. I still have it and I'm thinking about heavily revising it and turning it into the novel that I envisioned but didn't have the skills to create back then.

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

There was a camp counselor that I really liked and I decided that writing was how I could let her know that she was doing a good job. I wrote her a note that brought her to tears when she read it. I saw then that there was a power in writing, that I had the ability to bring out emotions in people and to use words to help and to heal.

I always believed that whatever you put your energy into, you would be good at and successful with. I have now learned that is not always the case! But at 13, I decided that I was going to be a novelist as my career and I put all my energy into that. I went to a college that didn't have required classes so I could take all writing and literature classes. I went to graduate school for writing. I submitted to agents, I practiced queries and proposals. I did not meet with the kind of success I expected.

After that I re-envisioned what success looked like. I realized that through the indie book movement, I was reaching people, my characters were going out into the world, people were interacting with them. That is success.

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

I'm a little bit in love with Stewart. He's the man I hoped to manifest in my life by hoping really hard. That never happened. The only problem is, I'm not sure he would even like me if we were to meet! He and I are very different. I write love stories, so of course I'm always trying to envision the most dreamy men possible.

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

Probably my ex-boyfriend. Gosh, that would be terrifying if he tracked me down.


Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing with us, Ruth! For more of Ruth's writing, be sure to check out her Web site, visit her on Facebook, and see her profile.

Next Monday, be sure to swing back and meet author Benjamin Goshko! See you then!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Same Six Questions - Anne Holly

Hi, and welcome to another installment of The Same Six Questions. Today, we have author Anne Holly. Welcome, Anne!

Hi Andy! I am a Canadian instructor at a university and mom with a secret double life—I write romance at night! Growing up on a little family farm in Nova Scotia, without television or computers, reading, drawing and making up stories were my life. From an early age, I knew that my home, while beautiful, wouldn’t hold me, and soon I was off to the big city, where I studied and eventually had a child, my three year old son. When I finished my education, I returned to writing, and published my current new release, Strings Attached, which I originally wrote in 2001. Since then, I’ve been a double agent—working the day job to pay the bills, and spending the nights (when I finally get the tot to bed) thinking of new adventures for people who don’t exist, and doing the “buy my book!” dance on the internet.

So, what are your answers to The Same Six Questions?

1. Have you published a book yet?

Strings Attached was written at a crossroads in my life. I had just finished college and wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue in academics or work. Then one day, I read the foreword to the last book from romance author LaVyrle Spencer. She wrote that romances had been good to her, and about the love of her readers, and about how people should write if they feel the fire to do so. And I recalled when I was a kid and loved writing.

So, facing this indecision, I sat down and wrote Strings Attached. At face value, it’s a simple story—a Canadian rancher, Josie, falls in love with an Australian rancher, Theo, and then proceeds to convince him they have a future. Theo has been badly damaged, and is convinced that his life is over—he has become an automaton. It’s up to Josie to save him. The novel comes from a dark place, where the road ahead isn’t very clear, every grasp for happiness is a huge gamble, and sometimes you feel damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

I was too young in some ways to write this story. It was partially inspired by an American case of a woman killing her children, and the discussion of postpartum psychosis surrounding it. This case made me think about how people can face this kind of tragedy and still go on. This was the seed of Theo’s story—a father without a child—and he wouldn’t stop nagging me. I knew I had to make someone save him. And Josie was born. Only love and hope can dig a man out of that kind of pain.

Then I put the book away when I decided to go to graduate school. When I graduated, I was again at a crossroads. Now a mother myself, I pulled out that old manuscript and rewrote it—finding new wells of pain and hope inside myself. What the younger me had written naively, the older me could rewrite into something both heartbreaking and redemptive. This became my novel, Strings Attached.

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

I can’t recall a time when I wasn’t making up stories, or illustrating them, or acting out plays of my own devising. We were a very low-tech family, so it was entertainment. I spent a lot of time by myself, outside, and my characters were my friends. One summer after reading too much Farley Mowat, I spent all my daytimes fantasizing the story of an abandoned wolf cub for the whole school break.

As idyllic as my childhood was in some ways, in others it wasn’t. I also can’t recall a time when we weren’t poor as dirt. And anyone who grew up out of charity boxes knows this doesn’t make for happy school society at times. I was always eager for validation as a child, and I quickly realized my teachers liked my writing—winning their approval was the saving grace of my early school years, so I kept at it. While my classmates teased me, I was off in my stories.

In high school I decided to become a “real writer.” And I saw it as my ticket up and out. Eventually, academics swayed my path, but I never wandered too far from writing being a means of improving my mind, supporting my family and distinguishing myself from what others thought me capable of. And as a means of escape.

3. What was your first lengthy piece of fiction? What was it about? When did you write it? Do you still have it?

In the eighth grade, I wrote my first novel. It was about segregation in the American south of all things, as if a white kid in Canada during the 1990s knew anything at all about it. It was tawdry and awful, I know now, but at the time I felt like the next Harper Lee. I do still have it. It’s in the same binder that held the loose leaf back then, although quite worse for wear. It lives in a storage box in my closet. I think I also still have the second draft on a now completely unusable giant floppy disk I typed it into in computer class. It will never, ever see the light of day, and if I become famous I will destroy it so no one gets the bright idea of publishing it in a “juvenilia collection” after I’m dead.

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

I give all the credit for my initial ideas to become a writer to my wonderful teachers. In high school, I won a regional competition for a play I wrote, and some essay and poem prizes. I got in the local paper. Most importantly, my teachers were constantly urging me to hone my skills and focus on a career in writing. I realized, “Hey, I can do this!”, despite my natural inclination towards shyness, because they believed in me so much that they were always pressing me to enter this or that contest, and helping me publish small bits here or there.

Being a writer is wonderful, but being a teacher can literally save lives. I cannot ever thank them enough for what they did for me.

Then, in 2010, after re-writing Strings Attached (which had been rejected by a publisher—quite rightfully, I know now—back in 2002 or so), I decided to give “being a writer” a chance. When my editors and test readers embraced the book, I felt like maybe I really could really do it. When I then came up with new books, that’s when I did know my teachers had been right.

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

I have a huge crush on the writer Kale, who is the main character in my Christmas romantic comedy novella Unwrapping Scrooge. I loved him so much, and had such a good time writing him, that I still miss him. I would like it if he were real—and I am now writing a short story where a novelist falls for her main character, based on the weirdness of crushing on Kale.

In truth, though, I would be happy to know most of my main characters. I try to put positive energy out there, and even the most flawed of my characters are usually people I could live amongst happily.

6. It's a dark and stormy're alone in the house...there's a knock at the open it, look out, and proceed to scream like a little girl/boy (they kinda scream the same anyway). What's on the doorstep?

I don’t know—that depends. Is it a good scream or a bad scream? I guess, if it were Kale from question 5, it would be both, because I would be gleeful while also realizing I had finally lost my crackers.


Thanks so much for spending some time, Anne! For more of Anne’s work, please check out her blog, website, and Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Makes sure to stop by on Thursday when author Lisa Scott answers The Same Six Questions!

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Same Six Questions - Z.D. Robinson

Let's give a big The Same Six Questions welcome to author Z.D. Robinson!

Thanks, Andy! I grew up in New Jersey but live with my wife and three sons in Missouri. I arrived in Kansas City eight days before 9/11! By trade, I am a software developer, and while I'm not very good I somehow manage to fall backwards into the right solution and thus keep my job. When not consumed with reading and writing, I enjoy cooking and reading stories to my kids. After the kids are in bed, I enjoy nothing more than watching Stargate SG-1 with my wife and playing Mario Kart on the Wii together.

Thanks for sharing with us today, Z.D.! Now it's time for The Same Six Questions!

1. Have you published a book yet?

Yes, I've just self-published my first novel, The Great Altruist, which is available as an e-book on Amazon and in paperback and hardcover on Lulu. It's about a girl called Genesis who can travel through time (among other things) and uses her powers to help people fix mistakes in their past. While the book is divided into four parts and tells three distinct stories, they are woven together to provide a complete history of Genesis' life as a completely selfless person. And despite the fact that part one involves a Holocaust survivor who wants to prevent World War II, part two is about a young man who wants to save his parent's marriage, and parts three and four are about an evil organization that wants to destroy all human life on earth, I tried to focus on the characters. In this way I tried to imitate the "Back to the Future" movies - they might have a convoluted plot and bits of technobabble thrown in, but the fun is in the characters' relationships as they travel through time and space. Also, I love stories about people with unbreakable convictions - and Genesis has that in spades.

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

I used to write all the time in high school, mostly heroic short stories that took place in a high school since it was the only world I knew at the time. I grew away from fiction for a few years when my parents divorced and turned to poetry. I was really terrible at it. I self-published two booklets of my original poetry while I worked at a Kinko's but it was terrible stuff. Really shoddy construction, and they were mostly about pining over a girl I had a hopeless crush on or angst directed at my father. But when I moved to Missouri, I started hammering out the details in a story that eventually became part two of my novel. The story about James going back in time to save his parents was largely autobiographical. Much of the events in his parents' youth was taken from real life (although I've excised those things from the current story for privacy's sake). It was when I told people my story idea and it was actually met with excitement that I decided to pursue 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?

I wrote a story in high school - in my computer programming class actually - about a boy named James and the girl he crushed on called Genesis and their discovery that the U.S. government was taking over their high school. It had a really terrible helicopter chase that totally ripped off the scene in the Florida Keys in "True Lies." Now that I think about it, most of that story was a huge James Cameron rip-off! Anyway, the story was terrible and never saw the light of day. I'm sure it's in a box somewhere in my father's basement. It yielded good things though. In fact, some of the story elements moved into other stories which eventually found their way into The Great Altruist. In some ways, that horrible story - written 18 years ago - was actually the beginning of this epic time-travel story.

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

I didn't really believe my work would ever see the light of day. I mostly wrote it for the catharsis concerning my parents' divorce. But then I had this cool character that could travel through time, and I started thinking of all the cool stories I could tell. So I came up with a backstory and ending that suited her well. But even then I was mostly writing for my wife's enjoyment. I published a paperback copy on Lulu mainly as a novelty, but then my boss bought it. That's when I realized I should take writing more seriously. He said, "It sounds very professional." Part of me was offended that he expected it to be terrible. But then I realized I had enough skill to be dangerous.

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

I would have to say Genesis. She starts out very arrogant and almost unlikable in the story. But her experiences humble her into a very wise and thoughtful woman. Those who've seen the cover can also that the main character is naked. Although I chose this out of respect for time-travel convention (only living matter can travel through time a la "The Terminator"), I did it for another reason too that makes Genesis so desirable. One things readers will notice is her complete ambivalence to being naked all the time; she simply doesn't care. I suppose I would want to meet her because that is the way I wish more women were - unafraid of who they are and totally confidant.

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

I'm sure there is a psychological reason behind this question, designed to reveal a deepest fear/joy. In my case, it would be fear. As morbid and terrifying as it sounds, the thing I imagined on my doorstep was the head of a loved one. I'd rather not try to imagine which.

Yikes! Thanks for playing along, Z.D.! For more of Z.D.'s work, check out his website and his Facebook page.

I hope you enjoyed this installment. Be sure to stop back on Thursday, when author Ruth Madison will be my guest. Until then, write on!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Same Six Questions - Chris Blewitt

Welcome to another edition of The Same Six Questions. Today, I'm happy to have along Chris Blewitt, a fellow New Jerseyan! Welcome Chris!

Thanks Andy! I live in South Jersey with my wife and 3 kids. I grew up just south of Philadelphia, went to school at the University of Dayton (Go Flyers!), and graduated with a degree in Criminal Justice. Which proves that your career path is not determined by your degree. I've spent 16 years in sales, first selling golf clubs right out of college. I've always enjoyed golf and my biggest regret is quitting the high school golf team to play ice hockey. Who knows? I had my handicap down to a 5 before kids, then golf got put on the back burner. So instead of golfing, I wrote a fictional novel about golf.

Now it's time for The Same Six Questions

1. Have you published a book yet?

I published Deep Rough in October of 2010 through Createspace and Kindle Direct Publishing. Finishing DR 5 years ago, I thought agents would be fighting over my manuscript. Not so much. I received over 100 rejections, mostly form letters, and a handful of "I love the story but there is no market for sports fiction." So, after a few lengthy discussions with other authors, I self-pubbed and couldn't be happier. I'm not getting rich but to know my hard work is in the hands of readers is rewarding enough. DR can be found on Amazon in paperback and for Kindle as well as on Barnes & Noble's Nook.

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

I knew I wanted to be a LAWYER after reading The Firm. Since that didn't work out, I figured I could try my hand at writing. I was overtaken by this book. I think I read it in 2-3 days. I was not a big reader at the time, so this was new to me, the overwhelming feeling of suspense and fear by placing yourself IN the book. That's when I knew that I would love to write something like this that captivates the readers imagination.

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 piece of fiction was actually my first novel (unpublished), entitled The Three-Sided Square. I finished it about a year after college and gave it to an author I knew who said it was not very good and that I should write "what you know." I still have it somewhere and I may whip it out and polish it up now that self-publishing is a reality.

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

It had to be after I joined a writer's group at the local Y. I was surrounded by women and felt totally out of place. We would do exercises and share them with the group. I would read mine and receive critiques from each member of the group. After hearing their stories, I thought mine was so much better! I loved writing random things down. Our instructor would say, "one-armed man on a bus" and you would just write a few paragraphs and let the imagination flow. It was great.

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

It would have to be Red Maitland. He is a conniving old man that is a member of Augusta National. He is dark, soulless and carries a 30-year grudge. He is not your typical country-club member and it would be intereting to play a quick round of golf with him.

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

Ed McMahon and the crew from the Publisher's Clearing House handing me a check for $10 million.


Thanks so much for sharing, Chris! For more of Chris' work and writing, be sure to check out his web site and give him a follow on Twitter!

That concludes another fascinating round of The Same Six Questions. Be sure to stop back on Monday, when my guest will be author Z.D. Robinson! See you then!

First Campaigner Challenge - Flash Fiction

The following is a sample of flash fiction. The rules of the challenge were as follows:

Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “The door swung open” These four words will be included in the word count.

If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), use the same beginning words and end with the words: "the door swung shut." (also included in the word count)

For those who want an even greater challenge, make your story 200 words EXACTLY!

Here's my entry. I took on the extra challenges. It begins and ends with the given words and the length is exactly 200 words. Enjoy

"The door swung open with a crash, half from her fury, half from the fury of the storm outside. By the look on her face, she was bringing as much of the storm inside as she could. She reached into her coat, pulled a large black object out and slammed it to the table. All the while, she's staring me down with a look that could've cut glass."

"What’d she slam on the table?"

"A gun! A goddamn gun! In my house! This woman walks into my house, drenched to the core, pulls out a gun and slams it on my dining room table. The rain dripped off her face and her lips quivered with rage."

"What'd she say?"

"Nothing at first. Just a solid stare. Not even sure she was breathing. I said, 'Hi.' She said nothing. Just kept on staring. I shrugged my shoulders. She says, 'He's dead and it's your fault.'"


"Damned if I knew. I’d never seen her before in my life. But, she looked me down like we’d had history. Bad history.”

“What’d she do then?”

“Turned on her heels and left. Walked back out into the storm.”

“And then?”

“The door swung shut.”

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Same Six Questions - C.A. Deyton

Hello there, and welcome to a special U.S. Labor Day Weekend version of The Same Six Questions! Today's indie author is C.A. Deyton. Welcome!

Thanks, Andy! I live in East Tennessee with my husband, 2 kids, 3 cats, 2 hermit crabs and 1 dog. When I am not cleaning up PB&J crumbs or filling water bowls, you’ll find me either volunteering at my kids school, preparing for a Girl Scout meeting, writing the next bestselling novel or updating my Facebook status. In that order.

Great! Now for The Same Six Questions...

1. Have you published a book yet?

My debut book, The Devil’s Keep, was published in early August. Sara had no idea her life was anything more than mundane. Following the tragic death of her mother, she found herself just going through the motions, pretending life was worth living. That was until she met Michael Bartlett. Once she discovers her distant past is colliding with her present, life takes a jolting turn. Suddenly, Sara discovers she is part of a destiny she never knew. One which puts her in the center of a century old conflict between a clan of vampires and a cruel, unrelenting demon. Now she must decide if she will risk it all to save those she holds dear. In addition to Amazon, it's also available at Barnes & Noble and Smashwords. Eventually, a paperback version will also be available.

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

As I suspect is the case for many in this profession, since childhood. The road has taken many detours, but always leads back here.

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 have kept every story, paper, and poem that I’ve written. I actually get a big kick out of reading them years later. I usually say, “Damn, I was good!” But seriously, my first substantial piece? In high school, I wrote a short story about an agoraphobic spinster who is convinced she's cursed and, as a result, people who get close to her die. Things got really dicey when a travelling salesman came to the door. I think I had been watching too much Sally Jesse Raphael or Oprah because the salesman has a long heart to heart with her and by the end of the story she is over her decade-long issues.

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

You know, I don’t know that I ever felt that way. I do it because it is part of who I am. I don’t remember ever giving myself the option of not writing. Of course, life doesn’t always accommodate those needs. A girl’s gotta eat. So, for 10+ years, I worked in the field of education—mostly early childhood. Those years passed quickly, but I still wrote—here, there and everywhere. However, this time in my life is the first I have allowed myself to delve into writing more than “part time.”

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

I would love to have a cup of coffee with Michael Bartlett (although I don’t drink coffee). After all, he is over 150 years old! Imagine the things he has seen, the places he has visited. And being that he is a vampire, there would be all sorts of fun vampy things he could educate me about. I’m certain the evening would be very entertaining!

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

John Taylor from Duran Duran. I’ve always loved the way, I would also pee my pants. TMI?


Haha! Great answers, C.A.! Thanks so much for stopping by. For more on C.A. Deyton, be sure to check out her website and Facebook page.

Stop back on Thursday when author Chris Blewitt will be my guest!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Nuances of #SampleSunday

If you're a writer who posts on Twitter (and believe me, you should be) and you haven't checked out #SampleSunday, I recommend it. If you're a reader on Twitter, it's a great way to introduce yourself to a variety of new authors.

Typically, authors who use the #SampleSunday hashtag link their tweet to a portion of their work available online. This eliminates the need for the reader to download a file or "sample" through your Kindle, Nook, or iPad. So, if you have an opening chapter or just a piece of your work posted to a blog or website, or some other repository, you can drive traffic to it using this very simple tag. If you're looking for a network that might help you spread the word, there's usually a thread devoted to #SampleSunday over on the Writers' Cafe at Just make sure to follow the rules wherever you may go. I'm constantly amazed at the folks who "join", but don't provide the necessary info. Let's take a look at a properly formatted #SampleSunday tweet that I've written for my novel:

#SampleSunday Ever wanted a twin? How 'bout on your back porch with a gun to ur head. MULTIPLES OF SIX @andyraneauthor

If you're posting this to a forum, where others will copy and paste it as a tweet, do them a favor and add in "RT" at the beginning. Remember, a tweet can only be 140 characters long. Use them wisely. Start with the tag #SampleSunday. Don't use doesn't mean the same thing. Next, create a hook for your book. It's gotta be short, so choose your words carefully. Try not to use too many shortened words or abbreviations. You've got one chance to get someone to read your tweet. If they have to sit there and try and decipher what you've written, you've already lost. Also, avoid talking about the book as if it's yours (eg, I, mine, my). If someone else tweets this, they'll have to revise it, or it'll sound a bit funny. Next comes the title of your book. Hopefully, it's not too long. This will obviously affect the length of the remainder of your tweet. Twitter handle (eg, @joeauthor) is next. Very important if you want to know who tweets this or retweets it. Then, add a link to wherever your sample is. Mine links directly back to the sample on this blog (which can be found in the tabs at the top of the page). I suggest using for shortening your links and tracking their use. It's free to use, and you can reuse the same shortened links over and over again. It's one thing to send out a tweet with a link you hope gets used. It's another to see that someone has actually clicked on it. Finally, if you stil have some room (you might!), add another tag that describes your book. Perhaps #suspense or #thriller or #paranormal or #kindle or #nook, etc. Try out different approaches. You may find a particular combination of hook and tags brings in more clicks.

So, get out there and give Sample Sunday a try. What's the worst that could happen? If you try it, be sure to come back and let me know what you think. If you're a #SampleSunday seasoned scribe (say that 5 times fast), feel free to leave a comment with any suggestions I might have missed. :-D