Monday, November 28, 2011

The Same Six Questions - Cliff Ball

Welcome to the last interview of November 2011! Where has the year gone?! Today's guest on The Same Six Questions is author Cliff Ball.

Cliff Ball is 37, lives in Texas, has a BA in English, possibly going for an MA in Technical Communications, and currently freelance proofreads and edits. He has independently published 4 novels and won 3rd in a contest for a short story that was written in high school.

The Same Six Questions

1. Have you published a book yet? Yes. I have 4, but here is one of them: The Usurper is a political thriller.
Gary Jackson is raised to hate. Hate the United States, its people, and everything they have ever stood for. His mission is to destroy the country from within, allying himself with the worst of America's enemies, and one very powerful and malevolent billionaire, to accomplish the deed. Once elected to the highest position in the land, Gary puts his lifelong goals to work, and puts the USA onto the path of ultimate destruction. He stops at nothing to rid the USA of his political and spiritual enemies, until a small group decide they've had enough, and they want to stop him. Will they succeed or will the United States be relegated to the dustbin of history? Also available at B&N and Smashwords

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

I remember wanting to become a writer when I was about 8 years old.

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 was a science fiction story that I wrote in jr. high (around 1988 or so). It was some inane story about the US and the Soviets 150 years from now fighting over a planet in Alpha Centauri, and discovering humans who already lived there. I do still have it, somewhere in a big Rubbermaid box.

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

I took a Creative Writing class in my senior year of high school, and we sent short stories to magazines. I wrote one that ended up winning 3rd in a contest for a religious magazine for youth. I made $35! (a lot for an 18-year-old in 1992). I decided that someday I would publish something, and I always wanted to be self-published. Luckily, technology has evolved where its easy now.

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

I have a character from my novella, Out of Time, who is a clone of Dr Hawking a couple hundred years from now. He figures out the means to time travel, which I think would be cool to do.

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?

The Publisher's Clearing House Sweepstakes people who have a million $$$$ for me!


Thanks so much for sharing, Cliff! For more of Cliff and his writing, visit his Web site, blog, Twitter page, and Facebook page.

My guest on Thursday will be Pearson Moore. Be sure to come back!

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Same Six Questions - Toni Dwiggins

Welcome to this holiday weekend edition of The Same Six Questions! Today's guest is author Toni Dwiggins.

Hi, Andy! I’m a third-gen Californian who migrated from southern Cal to northern Cal. What I like most about my state is that one can go from the ocean to the mountains in one day, with a lunch stop in the desert. I like it so much, I’ve set my forensic geology series in those settings. My hobbies are reading (natch), kayaking and hiking and skiing, playing the recorder (a starter flute), and watching pelicans. Random stuff: my favorite food is cheese (I’m with you, Wallace and Grommit). My guilty pleasure is the TV show Man Vs Wild. At the top of my travel wish list: Barcelona, Machu Picchu, and Mont San Michel in France. Where I hide the bodies: in my books.

The Same Six Questions

1. Have you published a book yet?

Badwater came out as an Indie ebook and paperback this summer (also at B&N and Smashwords). It’s been a really fun experience, and a lot of work. The part I like best is the ease of interaction with readers.

The book is about two forensic geologists—a young woman and her father-figure mentor—whose job is to analyze earth evidence at crime scenes. In the Death Valley case, they must do more than solve the immediate crime, they must also prevent a radiological disaster and survive to tell the tale. The book is a bit of a hybrid, part mystery and part ecothriller.

Here’s a short blurb:
Forensic geologists Cassie Oldfield and Walter Shaws embark on a perilous hunt—tracking a terrorist who has stolen radioactive material that is hotter than the desert in August. He threatens to release it in America’s most fragile national park, Death Valley.

But first he must stop the geologists who are closing in.

As the hunt turns dangerous, Cassie and Walter will need grit along with their field skills to survive this case. For they are up against more than pure malice. The unstable atom—in the hands of an unstable man—is governed by Murphy’s Law. Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.
And it does.

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

I come from a family of writers. Dad was a newspaper aviation reporter, and then wrote books on the topic. Mom wrote a couple of B-movie scripts. Aunt and Uncle wrote westerns and detective stories. When I was twelve, I barged into a meeting of hardboiled writers in their living room—having just finished reading Gone With The Wind. I announced, with tears and snot running, that GWTW was the best book that ever had been written or ever would be written. A lot of polite coughing and a few snickers and one muttered you try it. The next day I wrote a short story about a little girl who loses her favorite doll, simply heartbreaking, and sent it to the New Yorker. Got my first rejection slip. And then just kept on trying.

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?

It was a story called SNOW DEVIL about a woman out nordic skiing who encounters a killer and foils him—using her ski-waxing skills. It got published in a sports magazine. After a lengthy detour writing textbook material, I came back to fiction and wrote my first novel. Full-length lengthy! (Interrupt, about a terrorist trying to take down the country’s phone system. It was published through TOR Books.) I still have copies of the magazine with my story, and quite a few author copies of Interrupt.

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

When I sold my first writing professionally. It was an article about backpacking and bears. I’d been whining to my aunt and uncle, the western writers, that the great American novel I was diddling with just wasn’t coming together. To start a writing career, they said, write what you know. I knew backpacking, and I’d encountered bears.

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

Hap Miller, a sardonic health physicist (his job is radiation protection) who simply took over the book in the first draft. I’d like to find out if he’s as compelling in real life as he was to my protagonist in the book. And then I’d probably try to reform 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?

A giant hamburger.

My father once took part in an experiment in which creative types were given LSD, on the theory it would increase their creativity. Two weeks after taking the drug, he was driving on the freeway and looked in the rearview and saw a giant hamburger chasing him. He always got a laugh when he told that story, but there was no amusement in his eyes. He’d panicked, terrified he was losing his mind.

Should I find a giant hamburger on my doorstep, I’d fear the same thing. Psychological terror is more threatening to me than giant spiders (although I’d avoid those, too).


Thanks for stopping in and sharing with us, Toni! For more of Toni, be sure to visit her Web site.

To meet your next great indie author, be sure to stop by on Monday, when my guest will be Cliff Ball!

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Same Six Questions - Mike Nettleton

Welcome back to The Same Six Questions! Not to be outdone by his better half, author Mike Nettleton (husband of and co-conspirator with Carolyn J. Rose) has joined us today to give us his version of the answers. Do you think they fight over serial commas? Anyway, welcome Mike!

Thanks, Andy! I grew up in a then-tiny coastal town Bandon, Oregon and moved to Grants Pass my sophomore year. I attended Southern Oregon College in Ashland for five years and accumulated enough credits to graduate. Unfortunately, I'd taken to playing course catalogue roulette and didn't secure a degree before discovering people would pay me to talk on the radio. In 43 years, I appeared on more than twenty stations in Oregon, Northern California and New Mexico. The final sixteen years were spent at 1190 KEX and its sister stations in the Clear Channel Portland cluster. I also ran an audio production studio/creative house in Albuquerque for five years. Rob, my forty-year-old son from my first marriage works for Intel and makes far more money than I ever did. Which is a good thing. I have way too many hobbies, including, golf, tournament poker, pocket billiards, backgammon, travel and reading. Since retiring in January of 2011, I've begun acting again, appearing as Gonzalo in the Shakespeare in the Park production of The Tempest at Lovejoy Fountain Park. As soon as my hambone hormone kicks in again, I'll probably audition for another play.

The Same Six Questions

1. Have you published a book yet?

My wife Carolyn J. Rose and I have co-authored five books including The Hard Karma Shuffle and The Crushed Velvet Miasma mysteries featuring the tie-died one name detective Paladin behind the backdrop of Portland's counter-culture and The Big Grabowski and Sometimes A Great Commotion featuring investigative reporter Molly Donovan and a cast of quirky, funny and sometimes downright bizarre local characters in the fictional Oregon coastal village, Devil's Harbor. The young adult fantasy The Hermit of Humbug Mountain involves brother-sister runaways who are drawn into the ultimate battle of good versus evil deep in the heart of an Oregon Coastal mountain. My solo hard-boiled detective novel Shotgun Start has been released by Krill Press. Neal Egan, a cop who loses his badge after blind rage leads him to beat down his wife's lover has turned to the only talent he possesses to keep money coming in--that of a golf hustler who fleeces wealthy country club types with delusions of golf adequacy. When his ex-wife Desiree Diaz becomes the prime suspect in the shotgun slaying of her washed-up movie star lover, Neal is recruited by her wealthy father to help clear her and is drawn into a web of the methamphetamine trade, internet pornography, brutal bikers and New Mexico's version of organized crime. All of the books are available as Kindles and Nooks or as paperbacks.

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

It was never a conscious decision (I want to be a writer and that's that!). Instead, there was an evolution. My parents gave me a portable manual Smith Corona typewriter for a high school graduation present. Since my handwriting was (and is) totally illegible this was a very practical gift. Initially, I wrote poetry (OMG is it mawkish and ugly) and then started noodling short stories for a college class. My involvement in radio saw me writing commercials, public service announcements, promos and longer form scripts. I wrote radio plays, short stories and even a screenplay. After meeting my wife and fellow writer Carolyn Rose in the debris of my first marriage exploding, I found a kindred spirit and we got involved in writer's groups in Eugene, Oregon. After winning the Pacific Northwest Writer's award blue ribbon for my short stories in the mid-nineties, Carolyn and I finally goaded each other into finishing our first joint novel, The Hard Karma Shuffle. Although we both had to continue our day jobs, we both decided writing fiction would be a part of our lives from then on.

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

In 1989 or so, I wrote a longish short story called The Oldest Living Flower Child or something like that. It was about anancient guy who'd been kept alive for research purposes for several hundred years through miraculous advances in medical technology including the replacement of nearly every organ in his body except his brain. He's only semi-lucid and flashes back to the sixties a lot including fragments of performances by Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin he may or may not have seen. The climax of the story has him guided to the roof of the hospital by a conspiratorial nurse and tractor-beamed into the belly of an enormous UFO. This story was written on the first computer Carolyn and I owned, an Apple 3C, which had no hard drive and stored data on 5-inch floppies. I believe I still have acopy on a roll of computer paper with perforations on both sides from the old-style printers. Some day, when I'm in serious writer avoidance mode, I should go back and look at it. But I'd have to fight the instinct most writers have to rewrite everything they've ever written.

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

In Eugene, I was in a high-quality writer's group, led by the editor and book doctor Elizabeth Lyon. Although supportive, they pulled no punches in telling you why something you wrote wasn't working for them. I'd cranked out a short story called Take It Like A Man, the night before one of our sessions. It was told from the point of view of a kid waiting to receive a vaccination--or at least that's what you think is happening. As it turns out, something entirely different is going on. As was my custom, I'd spewed the story onto the page and time being short had very little chance to proofread or edit it. To my amazement, after I read the story for group, it was met with almost total silence. I couldn't tell if they were stunned, amazed, offended or nauseated by it. Finally, Elizabethjust said, wow! That's really powerful. Other than some minor structural suggestions, there was no criticism of it. Later, I entered it in the Northwest Writer's Conference Short Story competition. I had no expectations, because I always viewed the story as the strange mutant child of my imagination. It won first place. I felt honored, validated and totally mystified by where the story had come from. The year after, my story SuckerPunch which I'd worked much harder on and rewritten numerous time, won again.

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

I'd love to attend a potluck supper with the residents of Devil's Harbor, Oregon, where The Big Grabowski and Sometimes A Great Commotion are set. I'm sure I'd laugh a lot, and who knows, if I had enough to drink, I might even take off my shirt and get into a belly-bucking competition with the Mango Marauder. But, if I had to boil it down the one character, I'd have to say it would be Rory Monroe. Rory is the best friend, roommate and then romantic interest of Neal Egan, the ex-cop golf hustler who provides the point-of-view for Shotgun Start. She'sattractive, smart, funny and a talented artist. Although warm-hearted and generous, she has a very low threshold for pretensions, self delusion and disloyalty. The one serious relationship she had broke up just prior to marriage when "he decided I was prone to say f*** way too much." In many ways, she reminds me of my wife, Carolyn. In fact, most of my characters are amalgamations of people I've known. I borrow a speech pattern from one person, a cleft of the chin and barrel chest from another and cheap cigarillo smoking from a third and voila, whole new character emerges.

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

My doppelganger. Except it would be me as I look when I first peer into the mirror in the morning before I've had a chance to splash water on my face and suck up some coffee. What could be scarier, after all, than coming face with yourself? My ex-wife could probably cause the same reaction.


Hmmm...your answer to #6 sounds like a really good book I know of. ;) thanks for sharing, Mike! Find out more about Mike and his books and read a sample chapter at or their blog. You can also find the deadly duo on Facebook.

Come back this holiday weekend when my guest will be Toni Dwiggins!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Guest Post - Chris Blewitt - The Path from 100 Rejections to #1

Today, I'd like to welcome back one of my Same Six Questions alum, Chris Blewitt. Chris has stopped by today to share his self publishing journey with us. So, without further ado...


            My publishing journey has been long and arduous.  I finished my second novel, Deep Rough in 2005 and anxiously awaited all of the agents and publishers to scoop it up.  I was na├»ve in my thinking, but I didn’t know any better.  I sent out a handful of queries and then forgot about it.  Years later, the itch returned.  I had a good story to tell and the world must have it available to read.  I edited furiously and then proceeded to send out over 100 queries to publishing agents.
            Zip.  Zero.  Nadda.
            Sure, there were a few that said, “Good story, well written, but unfortunately no one reads sports fiction anymore.”  I was frustrated and heartbroken.  Down and out on my luck, I was put in touch with a published author who said I need to find an agent.  Well, I already tried that, I explained to him.  He said to shoot his friend an email that had some success in self-publishing. 
            I quickly learned about Createspace and a few months later, I had Deep Rough in paperback form, in my hands.  It was exhilarating to say the least.  Seven years after I began to write, I finally had the finished copy in my hands.  I told everyone I knew and I sold around 50 paperback copies that first month, October of 2010.  I uploaded to Amazon’s KDP and now DR was available in Kindle, and a month later I put it on Barnes & Noble’s Nook. 
            Now what?
            Sales trickled in.  Sales were decent in December, about 40, and then completely stalled in January.  I sold 4 copies on Kindle, 3 paperbacks, and surprisingly 19 on the Nook.  I made some connections and soon I found Kindleboards, an online networking forum for Kindle owners and Indie authors.  I lowered my price to $.99 in February and sold 23, up from 4.  In March I sold 45 and started to be interviewed on other people’s blogs and websites.  I contacted Daily Cheap Reads and they agreed to feature my book on the Monday of The Masters (the subject of my book).  I sold around 40 copies that day.  I received an email on Masters Sunday from Pixel of Ink and they were featuring my book that day.  I sold 65!
            I was ranked # 1 in Sports Gambling, Sports, and Golf.  In the month of April I sold over 200 copies of Deep Rough.  It was a dream come true.  Was I making any money?  Not really, but at that point I didn’t care.  I leveled out at around 100 sales for May and June but maintained the # 1 position in Sports Gambling and the top 10 in Sports and Golf.  So I did something drastic.  I raised the price to $2.99 and sales fell.
            But not by much.  I sold 63 in July and made a lot more money too.
            Then something strange happened.  I started selling more at $2.99 than I did at $.99.  180 in August.  240 in September and 250 in October!  Sales have since leveled off which I’m okay with because I’m excited about my new release, The Lost Journal.
            So what are the lessons learned:
-          Never Give Up
o   I went from 4 sales in January to 250 in October
-          Have a Plan
o   Request to be interviewed from fellow authors.  Make sure you are on social networking sites as a reader and an author.  Make friends in the indie-world.  Get on Twitter, Facebook, and most importantly for me, Kindleboards.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions. 

-          Experiment with Price
o   $2.99 did not work right out of the gate for me.  I experimented with $.99 and also $1.99.  I got high rankings in my categories so then I raised my price to $2.99.  See what others are pricing their books at in your categories and price accordingly, or cheaper.

Everything I did may not work for everyone.  You definitely have to experiment.  I was on a cover review blog once and they suggested I put something about Augusta on the cover.  I did, “A Thriller in Augusta” now appears and I think it helped sales.  Most of all, don’t give up.  It takes time and energy to get results and I heard this once and it’s a saying I live by:  “If you want to be successful, do what other successful people do.”

The Lost Journal is available on Kindle for $2.99.
In 1778, during the peak of the Revolutionary War, a secret document is hidden and its whereabouts are known to only one man. Now, more than two centuries later, Seth Layton accidentally discovers the journal that will unlock its location and he is on a quest to find it. Joined by his grandfather and new female friend, Madison, they are chased by unsavory characters and some powerful people through historic Philadelphia to the streets of Washington DC. What American secret will the journal unveil and will Seth and his companions live long enough to reveal it? 

Feel free to shoot me an email at

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Same Six Questions - Carolyn J. Rose

Well, after a brief layoff, The Same Six Questions are back and ready and raring to go. Please give a warm Welcome to author Carolyn J. Rose!

I’ve lived in 6 states and 9 towns or cities, moving steadily west from upstate New York to my present home in Vancouver, Washington. When I’m not writing, I work part-time as a substitute teacher, a job one notch less hazardous than that of crash-test dummy. I’m married to Mike Nettleton, who has also co-authored a number of my books and we live with two small dogs, Bubba and Max, who strive every day to bend us to their will. My hobbies are reading, gardening, and not cooking.

The Same Six Questions

1. Have you published a book yet?

I recently published my 11th book and second indie, skipping outside the mystery-suspense genre of Hemlock Lake and An Uncertain Refuge to write a “love letter” to my youth and the mountains where I lived. A Place of Forgetting, set in 1966, begins in the Catskill Mountains and concludes in the hills of Arkansas.

The story revolves around 19-year-old Liz Roark whose dreams turn to dust when a girl known only as April arrives carrying a duffel bag of bright clothing and an engagement ring from Liz’s childhood sweetheart Ben Hoyt, a Marine missing in action in Vietnam.

Grieving for Ben and for her loss, Liz flees small-town sympathy and humiliation, heading for Chicago to study journalism. But April hijacks the journey, steering them to a remote Arkansas farm and a psychic she hopes will validate her yearning for fame and fortune.

Ripped off and stranded on the psychic’s mountaintop with only a few dollars and a copy of Walden, Liz learns powerful lessons about trust, betrayal, deception, determination, love, and whether the psychic’s vision of tragedy must come to pass.

A Place of Forgetting is available in Kindle and print formats through Amazon, and also from Barnes & Noble.

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

As a kid, I made up stories for my younger cousins. They were a terrific audience, probably because there were no cell phones, video games, or computers back then. We got only two TV channels and the colors on the screen were black, white, gray, and snow. I, however, was live and in living color. As an added bonus, no one had to climb up on the roof and adjust my antenna.

At the age of 16, I sold a poem to Seventeen. My career was launched! Unfortunately, due to the need to make a living, that career didn’t leave the vicinity of the dock for many years.

Yes, I wrote, but it was for television newscasts and promotional spots—pieces that had to be written well, written fast, and matched with video. I learned to scoff at deadlines, stress, and coffee that wasn’t cold in my cup. Eventually, all of that paid off.

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 the 1990s, I wrote several short stories for Murderous Intent, a magazine now defunct. The first was about a malicious landlady who snooped and meddled and made her tenants so miserable they joined together to kill her. I still have copies of all the stories I published, but my first novel has long since been tossed.

It was dreadful in many ways—the characters spent way too much time thinking and then talking about their thoughts or dreams, the description was mundane and filled with minutiae, and if there was a fresh simile or metaphor in those 300 pages, it would have been lonely. Eventually I recycled the paper and later I recycled facets of the plot. The ideas were good, but the execution, well, did I mention that mundane description?

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

I guess I always thought I could write, but when Consulted to Death was published by Deadly Alibi Press and I held it in my hands and ran my fingers over the slick cover, I knew that I would write. Each book is another brick in the foundation for the ones to come, and each book is like a plant that grows and seeds more.

I still love and am inspired by the feel of a new cover and the riffle of pages. But now I love my Kindle, too. Seeing where readers have highlighted phrases and sentences makes me want to get back to the computer and create phrases more that they can connect with.

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

I would love to have a beer (or several) with Jefferson Longyear from Hemlock Lake and the sequel, Through a Yellow Wood, which I’ll release next year.

Jefferson spent 25 years in the land of the lost, wandering the country, trying to remember who he was. He’s a man burdened both by what he remembers and what he doesn’t. He has a strong sense of honor and justice and he does what needs to be done without spending a lot of time agonizing over the decision or the outcome.

I guess you could say I’m attracted to men of action with a code of honor—guys like Jack Reacher and Bob Lee Swagger and Virgil Flowers.

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 that very short string of numbers on the balance line of my checkbook.


Thanks so much for sharing with us today, Carolyn! To find out more about Carolyn and her writing, be sure to check out her Amazon Author Page, Web site, blog.   I hope you'll stop back on Monday, when my guest will be Mike Nettleton. See you then!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Same Six Questions - Insert Your Name Here

Due to a glitch in the Matrix space-time continuum recesses of my brain communication regarding today's featured author, there will be no new post today. :( Instead, I invite you to peruse previous interviews!

If, by chance, the glitch is resolved before Thursday, you'll see a shiny new post before then. If not, be sure to stop back on Thursday, which I promise will be glitch free and full of indie author goodness.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Same Six Questions - Cecilia Gray

Happy Thursday Everyone! Welcome (back) to another edition of The Same Six Questions! Today, my guest is multi-genre author Cecilia Gray!

Hello Andy! I live in San Francisco. I'm obsessed with food and the apocalypse. And being able to find food during an apocalypse.

The Same Six Questions

1. Have you published a book yet?

Totally! Make that two books.

In Falling, Alexis is an adventure athlete who loses her competitive mojo after a bad breakup. But after she falls for a sexy, cursed immortal with the same taste for danger she used to have, she needs to rediscover her mojo to break his curse.

A Delightful Arrangement is a historical romance novella about two betrothed friends who start to see each other as so much more.

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

Like a lot of writers, I always wrote. I don't remember not wanting to be a writer. My teen diary is filled with angst over the only way I'd ever be happy is if I became a writer.

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 pretty spectacular hot mess of fiction when I was in the fourth grade about a group of teens who land on a booby-trapped island and have to fight their way through an underwater system of quickly-flooding caves to survive and find the treasure. Yes, it's eerily similar to The Goonies. I've since thrown it away but that gem lives on in my mind.

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

I'm still waiting for that one. You let me know where to find it.

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

Laurie is a hot, redheaded witch in my Fallen Idols series. She's sassy, brilliant and always get what she wants.

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?

My friends. I'm excited to see them whenever I see them because it means a good time is around the corner.


Thanks so much for sharing with us, Cecilia! For more of Cecilia and her writing, check out her website and Facebook page.

On Monday, my guest will be author Mike Fontenot! See you then!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Same Six Questions - Cheri Schmidt

Happy Monday everyone! Today's guest on The Same Six questions is Cheri Schmidt!

Thanks for this opportunity, Andy! First, let me introduce myself. I’m the mother of four beautiful girls, a wife to a loving computer geek, a writer, an artist, a photographer, a lover of words, and a lover of reading books. I grew up in Mapleton, Utah where it was green and rural and right up next to a pine tree-covered mountain. I used to spend my childhood afternoons strolling around the grounds, which consisted of 13 acres of land, singing—even though I can’t sing—and fantasizing about fairies dancing around the flowers and hiding in the shrubbery. As this is one of my most vivid childhood memories, those little winged creatures have managed to sneak their way into all of my books so far. It’s no wonder fantasy is my favorite genre to write and read.

The Same Six Questions

1. Have you published a book yet?

After trying the traditional route for 3-4 years with a positive response but no commitment from agents or publishers, I decided to go indie after reading Joe Konrath’s blog. I have three full-length novels published through Amazon, B&N, and Createspace with plans for several more in the works. I write YA fantasy romance with a paranormal twist. (Fateful pictured)

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

When the stories in my head just wouldn’t stop haunting my thoughts. I think I was thirty-something.

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

The first lengthy peace of fiction I wrote was Fateful and part of its sequel, Fractured. These books are set in London, England, and are about vampire knights who wish to break the curse binding their kind. Well...some of them want to break it. Some of them like the supernatural advantages that come along with being cursed. I wrote these back in 2005, I think. Fateful is the first book I published after it underwent several rewrites. It was followed by Fractured. The series will be a trilogy. I’m working on the third book now.

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

When I had written more than 200,000 words of text without experiencing any writer’s block.

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

Hmm, at first I would have said Ethan, my vampire, but as I think about that more, I think I’d like to meet Christian, my Victorian Earl.

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?

Lucas, the villain in Fateful, as a werewolf.


Thanks so much for sharing with us today, Cheri! For more of Cheri and her writing, be sure to check out her blog and give her a follow on Twitter.

Stop back in on Thursday, when my guest will be author Cecelia Gray. See you then!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Same Six Questions - Monica La Porta

Welcome back to The Same Six Questions! Today's guest is writer and aspiring author, Monica La Porta.

Hi, Andy! My name is Monica La Porta. I was born and raised in Italy and landed in the Seattle suburban area eleven years ago, where I found the perfect weather for writing. I am a writer, a painter, and a sculptor.
I am also a mother of three, two bipeds and a beagle. I clearly have a penchant for professions that don’t pay a lot. But, the moral rewards are priceless. So I say every morning when I wake up...

The Same Six Questions

1. Have you published a book yet?

Not yet. I intend to rectify this unfortunate situation as soon as possible.

I am writing Pax at War, the third and final installation of the Ginecean series, and I am waiting for my editor and foolproof editor to finish working on Pax in the Land of Women, and The Priest books two and one, respectively.

The inspiration behind the Ginecean series comes from a "what if" question. What if women were in charge of the world, and men were enslaved? What if love between a woman and a man was considered a perversion, a social taboo? What if everything your society has taught you is a bunch of lies? My hopes, dreams, and ambitions are quite simple. I want people to read my stories.

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

I have been writing since I was six, and I always thought that one day I would write a book. Then, three years ago, I said, “Why not today?” Seven novels later, I believe it’s time to start publishing some of my

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 believe my first attempt at writing a story was a script for a saga a` la Japanese cartoon style, when I was ten. It was a heartbreaking YA coming of age soap opera. It only makes sense if you grew up in Italy and watched tons of Japanese cartoons in your youth. I remember I also sketched a few of the more relevant scenes. Unfortunately, my mother didn’t think it was worth saving for future generations.

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

When I finished writing my first novel, Earth and Sun, circa 90,000 words, and I liked what I read.

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

I would love to meet Elios, the main character from Earth and Sun. He is an alien whose existence is devoted to judge the morality of a civilization, and he can’t have any physical contact with the race he is studying. Elios was my first, literary speaking, and he has a special place in my heart.

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?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Reality has been erased, and a big, black, silent, void is all that is left.


Thanks so much for sharing, Monica, and good luck with your books! For a taste of Monica's writing, be sure to check out her blog that features some flash fiction.

On Monday, my guest will be Cheri Schmidt, so swing back to meet her!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Price Drop! Aisle Six!

I'm cheap, not easy...there's a difference.

In preparation of my upcoming sequel release in January (Divisible by Six), I've lowered the cost of my debut book to the bargain basement price of $0.99 on Kindle, Nook, and more. That's right, you can now purchase my entire novel, all ~70,000 words of it, for about the price of a pack of gum. Full of substance with absolutely zero calories and no chewing required. So, if you've been on the fence, jump off and lay down your dollar. I promise, it's worth a Washington.

Remember, you don't have to own an ereader to buy an electronic copy. Both Amazon and B&N provide downloadable apps for either your smart phone or PC. Or, click on the "more" link above to go to Smashwords where you can download it in PDF form.