Friday, August 31, 2012

Blog Ring of Power Presents: Sandra Siadak


Welcome to another Blog Ring of Power Friday.  Hold on to your seats as we interview Sandra Saidak.  First I would like to thank Sandra for taking the time to answer all of BRoP long questions. 

Part 2 rocking out with me

SANDRA SAIDAK graduated San Francisco State University in 1985 with a B.A. in English.  She is a high school English teacher by day, author by night.  Her hobbies include reading, dancing, attending science fiction conventions, researching prehistory, and maintaining an active fantasy life (but she warns that this last one could lead to dangerous habits such as writing).  Sandra lives in San Jose with her husband Tom, daughters Heather and Melissa, and two cats.   Her first novel, “Daughter of the Goddess Lands”, an epic set in the late Neolithic Age, was published in November, 2011 by Uffington Horse Press.  Learn more athttp://sandrasaidak.com/






Let's take a look at Sandra's Writing life. :D


BRoP:  What is your writing process? Do you follow a regular routine? Do you use pen and paper or computer? Work at home or at the library/Starbucks, etc.

SS: I have a nice laptop that I love to write on—I just don’t seem to take it out of the house very much.  I have a small office in my laundry room, and a sign my mother gave my which reads: “Quiet, please, novel in progress.”  So far, it hasn’t worked very well, but I keep it on the door while I’m working.  At least I have a door that I can close.

BRoP:   How do you balance writing with other aspects of your life?

SS: With great difficulty. 

BRoP:    When do you write?

SS:  Whenever I can.  That’s usually in the evenings, or weekend afternoons.  As a teacher, I sometimes have summers off, such as I do right now.  I’ve been getting a lot done these last few weeks.  This fall, however, I’m going to be teaching some new classes, and that is going to take much more time and energy.  It will be interesting to see how much time I’ll have to write.  Fortunately, one of those new classes is Creative Writing, so maybe I can write along with the students.

BRoP:   What is the strongest criticism you’ve ever received as an author? The best compliment?

SS:  The strongest (and most unexpected) criticism I’ve received so far was from an Amazon reviewer who accused me of having no understanding of PTSD and warned survivors of sexual violence to avoid my book.  This was the complete opposite of what I had intended, and what I believed I had accomplished.  It really upset me for a time.  The best compliment was probably being compared (favorably) to Jean Auel.

BRoP:  How do you deal with rejection and/or negative reviews?

SS:  After the above mentioned Amazon review, I asked all the broads on Broaduniverse for advice.  Those people were great with the suggestions!  The ones I’ve taken to heart: keep high quality chocolate and good wine around at all times, and remember that negative reviews are actually helpful, since many people won’t read a book if everyone who posts a review has the same opinion.




Daughter of the Goddess Lands--
Abducted by a tribe of violent horsemen, Kalie, daughter of a peaceful, goddess-worshiping society, escapes from slavery and returns home, only to find her trials are just beginning.  When her warnings of an upcoming invasion go unheeded, Kalie seeks sanctuary in a temple of healing.  Here, she learns to help others, yet is unable to heal her own pain or stop the nightmares.  When the horsemen return, it is up to Kalie to find a way to save her people from slavery and death, while at the same time, finding the courage to confront the ghosts of her own past.

   
Shadow of the Horsemen continues the saga of Kalie, the intrepid heroine of “Daughter of the Goddess Lands.”  Kalie is rising in status and influence among her captors, the horsemen that control the rugged steppes of prehistoric Europe.  Now she seeks the weapon that will save her people, but time is running out as Haraak the Kingmaker, forges a mighty federation of tribes, intent on invading Kalie’s rich and peaceful homeland. Kalie finds, an unlikely ally in Riyik, a powerful warrior whose crippled son Kalie has been treating with her healing skills.  Forced to work together, the two find themselves growing closer than either had intended.  But in the violent, chaotic world of the steppes, love can be a dangerous thing. As alliances shift and warriors battle for dominance, Kalie must use all her abilities see her enemies defeated and create a new life for all of those she has come to love. 

Website: http://sandrasaidak.com/
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/sandy.saidak 
Goodreads author page:  http://www.goodreads.com/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&query=sandra+saidak (but having difficulties; I keep adding the new book; it keeps not showing up!)
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sandra-Saidak/e/B006C1QZR8/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1342926719&sr=1-2-ent

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Guardian



My feet hit the soft littered floor of the forest.  All around me were the sounds of birds. At least, I thought they were birds.  The forest opened up to a path, dark with heavy foliage on one side.  The light of the sun broke in streams on the other.   Beautiful to behold.  I took another light step.

"Magical or Mundane?"  The words echoed in my head.  I looked around. Did I imagine that?

"Mundane or Magical?" I flinched, the voice deepened.  What was it asking me? If I was magical or mundane?

I stumbled trying to think.  Should I answer it? "Um... mundane?"

The trees hissed while a flock of birds scattered above.   A roar, louder and deeper than any voice in my head, made my knees shake.  Crashing through the thick woods a bear came into view.  It stopped when it spotted me.  Raising up on it's hind legs it roared again.  Holding my ears I took a step back.  The beast was taller than I had ever imagined it.

It moved forward, swiping its paw.  I ducked and turned to run back over the bridge.

It was gone. The river rushed past, foaming white with force.  No way back.

I turned to face my attacker and dropped when its claw came my way.  I huddled in a ball, waiting for death.  The breaths of the bear steamed against the back of my neck.  Its feet inches from my face.

I waited. The end would come soon.  It had to.  I was such an easy prey.

Nothing.

I glanced up.  It nodded at me when our eyes met.  Then, with a final forced breath, it walked away.

"Approved.  Mundane it is."  The voice sounded in my head again.  "You may proceed."

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Shout out Sunday to D&D



So I wanted to give another Shout out Sunday to the things I like.

I can't get enough of gaming, and there is no reason for me to stop.  D&D has a special place in my heart because I can share a good time with other like minds.  The game becomes the reason why everyone visits, but it's their company that makes it the best.  To brave the fantastical worlds together, then joke about the ogre we just shot down with a bolt from a sling.  Yup that is what I call a good time.



Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Dungeons & Dragons By Mazzanoble, Shelly (Google Affiliate Ad)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Blog Ring of Power Presents: Suzanne Lilly


Welcome to another Blog Ring of Power Friday, and a warm welcome to Suzanne Lilly.  Thanks for joining us in the Realm.  

For the rest of her interview, don't forget to check out my BRoP buddies
Part 3 is right here with me

Author Bio:
Suzanne Lilly writes lighthearted young adult stories with a splash of suspense, a flash of the unexplained, a dash of romance, and always a happy ending. Her short stories have appeared in numerous places online and in print, and she has placed and received honorable mentions in writing contests. Her debut novel is Shades of the Future, (July 2012, Turquoise Morning Press) followed by Untellable, (February 2013.) She lives in Northern California where she reads, writes, cooks, swims, and teaches elementary students.


Section #3: The Creative Process


BRoP:  Where do you get your story ideas?
SL:  My stories come from all around me. Whatever I see, experience, read, or hear about might spark a story seed. I always ask, “What if?” It leads me on a tangent that turns into a story.


BRoP:  How do you deal with writer’s block?
SL:  I play twenty questions that all begin with, “What if?” or “Why?”


BRoP:  How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
SL:  I’m very visual, so I create a picture board. For the novel I’m working on now, I have four picture boards of the setting, the characters, their philosophies, and their clothing. I have them hanging on the wall above my desk so every time I lean back in my chair to decide what happens next, I’m looking at the picture boards. I know many authors use Pinterest this way.


BRoP:  Are you a “plotter” or a “pantser” (do you plan/outline the story ahead of time or write “by the seat of your pants”)?
SL:  I’m an extreme plotter. I would drive a pantser nuts with all my notes, cards, colored pens, and story boards.


BRoP:  Do you use critique partners or beta readers? Why or why not?
Yes, I’m very lucky to have extremely talented critique partners and beta readers. Critique partners help me target writing craft errors, such as POV, or tension. Beta readers help me see where the story flows and where it doesn’t. Both are so important to me, and I value everyone who helps me in this way. Of course, I always return the favor.


What would you give to see the future? Would you make your dreams come true? Would you change the things you didn’t like?
Mariah Davis loves animals, running, and her hunk of a boyfriend, Kevin Creamer. Everything looks bright for her until the day she finds a pair of sunglasses that allow her to see the future.
When she glimpses a disaster looming, she tries to avoid it but fails. She has a car accident that lands her in a wheelchair, smashing her hopes for a running scholarship to the veterinary program at Ohio State University. She pushes Kevin away, thinking he’ll want to end their relationship now that she can’t walk.
Will she ever learn to trust and love again? She could search for an answer in the sunglasses. But she’s afraid what they reveal might destroy her.


Please let us know where your readers can stalk you:
Website: http://www.suzannelilly.com
Blog: http://www.teacherwriter.net
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/SuzanneLillyauthor
Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5258804.Suzanne_Lilly
Twitter: @suzannelilly http://twitter.com/suzannelilly
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Suzanne-Lilly/e/B006HY79IY
Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/115758832631616324955/posts

What format is your book(s) available in (print, e-book, audio book, etc.)
It’s available in print and digital formats.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Bridge


I stepped up to the bridge. The blue flowers around it spread across the grassy land.  Beyond there was dark forest.  Did I dare to walk the bridge to the unknown?  It seemed welcoming enough.

Noises from beyond made my heart flutter.  Footsteps shifted on leaves and sticks.  Twittering noises from the forest floor and around the canopy, called to me.  There could be anything between the human civilized world on this side of the bridge and what lived on the other side.

Everyone who had ever crossed the bridge were never heard from again.  Did they find a new world that they now live in joyous contentment, or were they now lost souls wondering the beyond?

I couldn't stand there much longer. I couldn't walk away either.  It was time to decide.  Easing one foot on the bridge, I settled my hand on the old course wood.  I slowly moved across. Gripping the railing with each step, my feet led me over.  The smell of flowers flowed above me as a stream rushed below.

Almost there, I heard voices.  There were no words, only the sound of whispers through the trees.  With the last few steps I moved off the bridge and into a new world.

To be continued next week.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Terri Bruce

This week's Shout Out Sunday goes to 

You all know her as the Blog Ring of Power mastermind!  She's a great online friend and soon to be real life friend.  I met her on AQC, yep, the best place for writers.

She's just published her novel Hereafter, which I've been reading this week.  I have to say, I may only be in the beginning but it flows so well.  I love how it draws me in.

Terri has a blog tour going on this month, till her Book Party on September 15th.  Each blog has some sort of giveaway and more about Terri.  Don't forget to check them out and leave some comments.  

So here's to you Terri, thanks for being such a great person, and a talented writer.





Terri Bruce has been making up adventure stories for as long as she can remember and won her first writing award when she was twelve. Like Anne Shirley, she prefers to make people cry rather than laugh, but is happy if she can do either. She produces fantasy and adventure stories from a haunted house in New England where she lives with her husband and three cats.

Terri loves to hear from fans. To contact her directly, please email tbruce(at)terribruce(dot)net. Requests for interviews and appearances may also be sent directly to her.




 Hereafter-book-tour-banner

• Pub Date: August 1, 2012
• Publisher: Eternal Press
• Format: ebook, 352 pages
• Age Range: Adult 

Thirty-six-year-old Irene Dunphy didn't plan on dying any time soon, but that’s exactly what happens when she makes the mistake of getting behind the wheel after a night bar-hopping with friends. She finds herself stranded on earth as a ghost, where the food has no taste, the alcohol doesn’t get you drunk, and the sex...well, let’s just say “don’t bother.” To make matters worse, the only person who can see her—courtesy of a book he found in his school library—is a fourteen-year-old boy genius obsessed with the afterlife.

This sounds suspiciously like hell to Irene, so she prepares to strike out for the Great Beyond. The only problem is that, while this side has exorcism, ghost repellents, and soul devouring demons, the other side has three-headed hell hounds, final judgment, and eternal torment. If only there was a third option…


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Burnt and Fizzled

There are times when everyone gets burnt out.  Yes even in writing. When words seem to come get you instead of singing sweet songs in your ears. It's not writers block but something more, as if the fire of writing has left ash in its wake.  As the forest fires of nature, seeds are left under the grey dust, but only time will bring forth the sprouts of new words, new ideas, and reinforce thoughts to old ones.

Everyone gets burnt out at some point.  Thinking too much on a Manuscript, revising and rewording over and over. The words get jumbled together.  Thoughts fade in the mind before they get on page.


The only cure is time.  This is why it is not always good to write every day. Rest from the words, read a book, or if that is also too much, play a game, watch a few movies.  Take a week or two off to refresh your mind.  Do anything else.  I would suggest not even thinking about the MS, but I can't even succeed in doing that, so I wont push the thought.

Writing has it's own stamina.  You may not use physical energy to do it, but there is energy spent every time you jot down a word. Don't be surprised when it hits you. When your mind feels like a ball of lead, unable to absorb or put forth the words that create your elation. Just back off, let time rejuvenate you and you will find the words flowing again, the ideas bouncing around just begging to escape.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Ode to D&D and LARPing fun.

Showing a little love to my favorite game and the t-shirt link that plays around with sayings.  You got to admit some of these are epic!





Come on, giggle with me, you know you want to... No? Ok, I'll just give a bit of a giggle all by myself.  Tehehehe A little ode to LARPing as well.  I couldn't resist. 

Now back to your regularly scheduled blog surfing.   

Friday, August 10, 2012

Blog Ring of Power Presents: James Garcia Jr.

Greetings all of my Blog Ring of Power followers.  Today we will be talking with James Garcia Jr to find out a little more about him. I met him through Author Karma on Facebook.  I then followed him on Twitter and we've been chatting ever since. He's a great guy, a family man and a dedicated author.  Cheers Jimmy!



James Garcia Jr. was born in the Central California town of Hanford. He moved up the road to Kingsburg with his family as a child. After graduating KHS, he attended Reedley College where he met his wife. They, along with their teenage sons, still make their home in Kingsburg which is also the setting of James’ debut vampire novel. “Dance on Fire”, was published in 2010. James is an Administrative Supervisor for Sun-Maid Growers of California. 


Let's get to some questions, shall we. :-D

BRoP:   When and why did you begin writing?

James: I have been writing fiction since Junior High School. Several factors collided to spark something creative in me in those adolescent years: I discovered music and its power on the soul; I was old enough to watch scary movies; and I discovered an enjoyment of books. I began attempting to write songs, thinking I would be a musician; however, soon came to realize that lyrics were too constricting. I needed more room to tell my stories.

BRoP:  Tell us about your early works – what was the first thing you ever wrote?

James:  Oh, yes. Since those first scary movies I began watching were Friday the 13th, Halloween, The Thing and The Nightmare on Elm Street films, my first attempt at writing was a slasher story. I recall picturing my friends as victims in the thing. It wasn’t because I didn’t like them or anything. *laughs* It was because they were the only people I knew. I think it did have an ending. I might have to look for that one of these days and see whether it might be still around… Then burn it!

BRoP:  When did you first consider yourself a professional writer?

James:  I don’t feel comfortable answering a question like this one, but so many are afraid of it that I thought I should. Most writers probably think they need to achieve a certain amount of copies sold, some bestseller status and perhaps a lengthy period of time before they would consider themselves professional writers. I think we need to lower that bar for our own self-preservation. If you’re putting in the work and writing stories that are being bought and enjoyed – you’re a professional writer. Whether you can quit that dreaded day job or not is another question entirely.

BRoP:  What books have most influenced your life?

James:  This one may surprise a great many, considering I profess to be a horror writer. I was definitely inspired by Uncle Stevie with books like The Stand and ‘Salem’s Lot, Michael Slade’s Special X series of novels which are awesome and Clive Barker’s The Great and Secret Show, but the author that humbles and inspires me the most is Pat Conroy. I never wanted to read Beach Music, but was peer-pressured into it by a sister in law. I have never been able to put it down. It is the most brilliant novel that I have ever had the pleasure to hold, and I pick it up every few years and enjoy it all over again. Then I was afraid to read another for fear of him disappointing me. Thankfully, he has not.

BRoP:  What is your favorite theme/genre to write about?

James:  My favorite genre to write and read is the thriller. You can’t read horror without getting some kind of rush, but basically anything that keeps you on the edge of your seat and makes you flip pages or hit that next page button is what I adore.



            Each May, the Central California town of Kingsburg celebrates its Swedish heritage with the annual Swedish Festival: a weekend event where the town puts on its traditional dress, culminating with a dance around a Maypole on Friday, and a Swedish pancake breakfast and parade on Saturday. The town with a population of over 11,000 residents draws thousands more to the event. This year, two uninvited guests also converged upon the unsuspecting town.
          Nathaniel is a vampire. He wandered into town, bothering no one; feeding upon stray cats and other vermin, wanting nothing more than to have a place to rest his head. Vincent is a second vampire, and the one responsible for making Nathaniel. He has been searching for his long lost “son” for well over two centuries. Vincent’s goal is to take Nathaniel home or kill him. Nathaniel has often wished for death, wondering why God ever allowed this punishment: to walk the earth undead and unable to be redeemed. Does God remember the little boy from Romania who watched his parents die, was raised by the murdering vampire, only to become one himself? What does God think of Nathaniel and could there yet be redemption for one outside of heaven?
          Ten days before the start of the Swedish Festival the most tumultuous week in the history of Kingsburg has begun with two vampires leaving death and destruction in their wake. Kingsburg Police Detectives Mark Jackson and Michael Lopez, Barbara and the entire Lopez family find themselves drawn into something that threatens to destroy them all or leave them scarred forever.
          In a marriage of the classic horror story and the Christian themes of good conquering evil and redemption, Dance on Fire is the account of characters being drawn into the fire and the supernatural forces around them watching as they burn.




For the rest of the interview, don't for get to check out my fellow host blogs.
Part 1  Yup, right here. :D
Part 2 Sandra
Part 3 Dean
Part 4 Terri
Part 5 T.W.


Where can we find and follow you?
Blog: http://jamesgarciajr.blogspot.com/
 
FaceBook Page: https://www.facebook.com/JamesGarciaJrFanPage
 
Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3483458.James_Garcia_Jr_
 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/danceauthor

 
 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Blog Ring of Power Presents: Susan Kaye Quinn


It's another Blog Ring of Power Friday, hold onto your hats as we welcome Susan Quinn to the Realm. 

You can find the other parts of the interview on my fellow BRoP host blogs
Part 2  um Me! tehehe
Susan Kaye Quinn, Author
Susan Kaye Quinn grew up in California, where she wrote snippets of stories and passed them to her friends during class. She pursued a bunch of engineering degrees and worked a lot of geeky jobs, including turns at GE Aircraft Engines, NASA, and NCAR. Now that she writes novels, her business card says "Author and Rocket Scientist" and she doesn't have to sneak her notes anymore. All that engineering comes in handy when dreaming up paranormal powers in future worlds or mixing science with fantasy to conjure slightly plausible inventions. Susan writes from the Chicago suburbs with her three boys, two cats, and one husband. Which, it turns out, is exactly as much as she can handle.



Section #2: The Writing Life


    BRoP:  What is your writing process? Do you follow a regular routine? Do you use pen and paper or computer? Work at home or at the library/Starbucks, etc.


    SKQ: One of my favorite quotes on writing goes something like, “I don’t know where inspiration comes from, but I know where it comes to: my chair, 9am, every morning.” I can’t remember who said it, but that is definitely me. I write every day (if possible). The closest I come to writer’s block is not exactly knowing what will happen next, and I just keep writing until I do. I bang out first drafts in a fast-writing frenzy, then spend months and months revising. I work at home, at the park, at the library, at a hotel on retreat with my friends. I write on my desktop, my laptop, one of a half dozen moleskin notebooks, and occasionally on the back of a Panda Express receipt. Although I set aside certain times of the day to write, in a way, I’m always writing (or thinking about it).

     BRoP: How much time per day do you spend on your writing?

    SKQ:  I write when my kids are in school, so in theory I have about 6 hours a day to write during the school year (summer is much trickier, since all three of my boys are home). In reality, I write all the time (see above), as well as blog, market my books, write interviews (like this one), and the sundry other things demanded of a modern published author. But I’m trying to make sure 1) I make writing the highest priority, and spend the most time on that, and 2) I write without distraction during my “writing hours.” It’s amazing how easy it is to lose sight of those two things!



    BRoP:  How do you balance writing with other aspects of your life?


    It’s very difficult for me to balance, because I love writing so much – it’s like some kind of crazed addiction. On the one hand, any start-up business (especially one you love) is going to be like this—an intense investment of time and energy into getting it off the ground. On the other hand (as I recently discussed with my husband), sustainability is key for any business you want to grow beyond the initial stages. So, right now, I’m focusing on finding sustainable ways to keep writing, keep pushing my writing to higher levels, keep producing product that people will want to read, while at the same time, making sure my family (and other important things in my life) get taken care of. It’s not easy, but I’m committed to making it all work, because I want to keep writing as long as my fingers can still type (and possibly beyond that, once we get the brain-computer interface hookup figured out). J

    BRoP: Other than your family, what has been your greatest source of support?


    SKQ: My fellow writers, without question. Their encouragement, feedback, and general cheering on, not to mention the vast amount I’ve learned from them … I honestly can’t imagine doing what I do without that support system.

    BRoP:  How do you deal with rejection and/or negative reviews?


    SKQ: I’ve often said that reviews are for the readers, not the writer. And I believe this is mostly true – reviews help readers decide if a particular work is something they would enjoy or not. For the writer, the work is finished – I’m immersed in the next story already. I do read my reviews, and I value each one, even the negative ones (although I’ve been lucky to have very few). Anytime someone spends money on one of my books, spend hours reading it, then takes more time to write paragraphs and paragraphs about it… well, whether they liked the book or not, they believed my words were worth their time, and that’s extremely gratifying for a writer.




    Please let us know where your readers can stalk you: 
    Website: http://www.mindjacktrilogy.com