Friday, November 23, 2012

Blog Ring of Power Present: Jason Jack Miller


Yes, I know you are as excited as I am!  No I'm not talking about almost to the end of NaNoWriMo, though I hope some of you have won, if not.  You're almost to the end! You can do it!!! Ok so it's Friday, and you all know that Friday means Blog Ring of Power Time!!!!

Let's get to it with Jason Jack Miller on Deck.
As always, this is a five part blog, make sure to check out the others
Part 1 at the wonderful T.W. site
Part 2, oh wait you're here, read this before you go on.
Part 3 is with the fabulous Sandra
Part 4 is hanging with the amazing Dean
Part 5 is with our leader, the awesome Terri

Ok ok, so let's get to it.



Jason Jack Miller hails from Fayette County, Pennsylvania, as in, "Circus freaks, temptation and the Fayette County Fair," made famous by The Clarks in the song, "Cigarette." He is a writer, photographer and musician. An outdoor travel guide he co-authored with his wife in 2006 jumpstarted his freelancing career; his work has since appeared in newspapers, magazines, literary journals, online, as part of a travel guide app for mobile phones, and in a regular column for Inveterate Media Junkies. He wrote the novels Hellbender and All Saints during his graduate studies at Seton Hill University, where he is now adjunct creative writing faculty. In 2011, he signed a multi-book deal with Raw Dog Screaming Press. When he isn't writing he's on his mountain bike or looking for his next favorite guitar. He is currently writing and recording the soundtracks to his novel, The Devil and Preston Black, and writing his next novel, The Revelations of Preston Black.

The Writing Life

BRoP: What is your writing process? 

JJ Miller: I spend so much time at Panera that I probably owe them rent. When I come home from the day job I have a tendency to only want to relax. So the only way to keep myself in a writing frame of mind is to 'go back to work.' This usually involves hitting Panera right after dinner, or first thing Saturday and Sunday morning. This is how I get my mind ready to work.
I believe Paul Bowles said something about a writing routine, and I can't remember—or find—the exact quote. Essentially, he said to write at the same time every day, in the same room, listening to the same music, eating the same food….  When I have my most productive days it's because I'm following his advice. I get to Panera, set-up, order coffee or a meal, and get into it.  

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

JJ Miller:  There's no balance at all. And I don't mean that in a flippant, offhand comment kind of way even though it could easily sound as if I do. But when I accepted the idea that I would be writing professionally, I dove into it head first. During a good week, like the few I had in late August and early September when I finished a first draft of my new novel, I was putting in four or five hours a night after work, and another ten to fifteen on Saturday and Sunday. So thirty hours a week, easy.
I'm lucky to have a writer wife, and we learned to work on similar schedules. Date nights have become very important to us. We try to keep vacations work-free, but that doesn't happen very often. But I love writing, and can't think of much else I'd rather be doing, and the fact that I can look across the table and see my wife doing the same thing makes me very lucky.   

BRoP: What has been the most surprising reaction to something you’ve written? 

JJ Miller: Well, a woman in the U.K. named a cat after me. Seriously. I have pictures.

That was such a great tribute because it meant that I'd written something that impacted somebody enough to make them want a daily reminder of it. And it's a cute little bugger. Eats spaghetti and pizza. Just like me. 

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

JJ Miller: The worst were probably a pair of one star reviews on Goodreads. The reviewers shelved them as 'books-i-hate-too-much-to-finish' and 'quit-reading' respectively. And since neither reviewer finished the book it's hard to take them as genuine criticism. But still, they hurt. To the point where I wanted to Google their home addresses.

One of my more recent reviews for The Devil and Preston Black went so far into the other end of the spectrum that it totally validated everything I'd been doing. The reviewer gave an in-depth analysis of several Faustian elements of the novel to the point where his critique made me look at the book differently. "…I don't know if the author intended this or not, but I think the complexity of the novel can be deepened considerably if we consider the possibility that more than one devil incarnate and more than one Faustian bargain. I think that Preston, while the 'victim' of one bargain was the perpetrator of another. It jibes with the repeated idea that "a piece of the devil is inside me…." He'd spent a lot of time with his analysis, which meant he'd spent a great deal of time with his head in my book. To me, this care and thoughtfulness taken with something I'd created, is the greatest compliment I can receive.
Then just the other day I received a nice little review from a pretty popular website.
Who am I kidding? I got an amazing review from PopMatters.com! Totally blew my mind. It was one of those things where I read it with goose bumps up and down my arms. And it wasn't so much that the reviewer loved the book. She talked a little about my personal publishing story. "Perhaps I’m making too much of this, but Hellbender may not be just another good book. I wonder if this book (and its author) represents a changing tide, a new trend in the way books, good books, move from writer to reader...."
Please check out the rest of the review here: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/163349-hellbender-by-jason-jack-miller/  

BRoP: How do you deal with rejection and/or negative reviews?
I try to take the John Lennon approach—they obviously didn't get it. 





About Hellbender:
Although the Collins clan is steeped in Appalachian magic, Henry has never paid it much attention. But when his younger sister dies mysteriously Henry can’t shake the feeling that the decades-old feud between his family and another is to blame.

Strange things are happening at the edge of reality, deep in the forests and mountains of West Virginia. Let Jason Jack Miller take you to a place where love is forever even when death isn’t, where magic doesn’t have to be seen to be believed, where a song might be the only thing that saves your soul.

Jason Jack Miller’s Murder Ballads and Whiskey series is a unique blend of dark fiction, urban fantasy and horror. It’s Appalachian Gothic, Alt.Magical.Realism, Hillbilly Horror. It’s Justified with witches. It’s the Hatfields and McCoys with magic. It’s Johnny Cash with a fistful of
copperheads singing the devil right back to hell.

Here is where you can find Jason Jack Miller:

Blog: http://jasonjackmiller.blogspot.com/
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jason-Jack-Miller/174282479295487
Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4729752.Jason_Jack_Miller
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JasonJackMiller
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Jason-Jack-Miller/e/B004FV7JQI/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
Other: http://www.rawdogscreaming.com/

What format is your book(s) available in (print, e-book, audio book, etc.)?
Paperback and eBook

Friday, November 16, 2012

Blog Ring of Power Presents: Lynda Williams


Hey folks, it's Blog Ring of Power time! It's time to learn about the Writer's Life.
Our victim... um guest today is Lynda Williams. Don't forget to check out the rest of the interview spread out through BRoP's other four hosts.

Part 1 with TW
Part 2 oh wait, that's me
Part 3 with Sandra
Part 4 with Dean
Part 5 with Terri


Lynda Williams is the author of the ten-novel Okal Rel Saga (Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing) and the editor of the Okal Rel Legacies series (Absolute Xpress). She hosts the Writer’s Craft on the Clarion Blog with David Lott. On Reality Skimming (okalrel.org/blog), she works with David Juniper, Tegan Lott and Michelle Carraway to celebrate the Okal Rel Universe in particular and the joy of writing and reading in general. See http://okalrel.org/blog/contribute/ for how to take part on Reality Skimming to promote your work or share your love of words and ideas.



Now without any more delay, I give you The Writer's Life with Lynda Williams.

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.
Lynda: I began to write with pen and paper, migrated to a typewriter in my teens and have worked on a Word Processor, on a computer, for most of my adult life. At each phase, I believed the mechanics of how I composed words was intrinsic to my creative flow but somehow I adapted fine and kept writing. Most of my Saga was written in my den, in Prince George, in the evenings or sometimes early mornings before I went to work. The coffee shop I used to hang out at to write, in Prince George, is called Books & Company. I did a big chunk of work there in 2008-9. When I moved to the lower mainland of B.C. in 2011, I lived with my sister in New Westminster and frequented the Starbucks at the bottom of 10th Avenue on weekends. My brother-in-law calls it my Starbucks, now, when we arrange to meet there for a social visit.

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

Lynda: I imagine it is a bit like a man trying to maintain a mistress while he has a family and wife at home, with a fulltime job required to maintain them all. Balance doesn’t always come easy. But the writing has always felt necessary to me, so the rest of my life just had to come to terms with it. Now I am getting near the end of the ten-novel saga I’ve been playing at and in for over thirty years, I spend less time actually writing. But it takes just as much time to work on promotion and editing the Okal Rel Legacies series of stories set in my world.

BRoP: When do you write?

Lynda: These days, I work in the mornings for an hour before work. It has varied greatly in the past. I used to spend a lot of time in writing in cafes on weekends, or else I’d be seized by a scene in the middle of the day and couldn’t go to bed that day until I wrote it down. When the majority of the saga was still in incubation, I would often write after a long conversation with my friend and co-author for Part 4: Throne Price, Alison Sinclair. During the happy period in Prince George when my family and some special friends would tune in weekly for the next installment in the saga as I pumped it out, I would be inspired to write after reading aloud to them. 

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

Lynda: Depends on the day. I will marathon twelve hours on a Saturday when I’m caught up in a book or working through edits. But usually I am lucky if I get in an hour in the morning doing e-mail and blogging. New material and substantial edits work best if I can get at least four hours in block to work on them.

BRoP: What has been the most surprising reaction to something you’ve written?

Lynda: Discovering Di Mon and Ranar’s relationship was interesting to young women. I created Di Mon’s character long before I decided to make him gay. At some level, I don’t think he’s ever forgiven me but I’m very pleased with the resulting tensions. I hadn’t expected it to be a “turn on” for young women but I’m sure Ranar could explain it, anthropologically. I was also surprised to discover some readers loved Amel and disliked Horth or visa versa. I’d always found both of them compelling and some readers do, too. But there is definitely a “team Amel” and “team Horth” dynamic. And I never could get Horth and Amel to like each other, although they do manage to work up some mutual respect in select areas.   

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

Lynda: A reader who doesn’t have to turn the page is the strongest criticism. I also hate discovering typos or verbal mannerisms I’ve outgrown and want to fix but can’t until the next edition. A reader who stays up all night to finish a book is the greatest compliment. A close second, for me, is when a writer enjoys my work enough to pitch a story to me for an anthology of novella, which is the origin of the Okal Rel Legacies series.

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

Lynda: My publisher, Brian Hades; editor Richard Janzen; cover artist Michelle Milburn; contributing artist Richard Bartrop; Jennifer DiMarco of Windstorm Creative and Cecilia Tan of Circlet Press; David Juniper and Michelle Carraway for acting as the hosts and the many contributors to Reality Skimming; author Krysia Anderson who introduced Victoria D’Ottawa to the Okal Rel universe; Craig Bowlsby for his consulting expertise in fencing and writing Horth’s story in Killing Reach; Hal Friesen for inventing Nestor;  scifi con organizer Bobbie DuFault for being a fan and supporter;  John Preet for always being in my corner; David Glenn Anderson of  RFF; Kathy Plett for supporting book launches with buttons and booklets;  and all the special friends, down the years, who have charged my rel-batteries from my childhood friend, Kathy Perrault to co-author Alison Sinclair and the special friends like Mel and Catherine who hung out at the house in P.G.; my English department friends at UNBC, Dee Horne and Robert Budde; comp sci colleague David Casperson; Neil Lettinga for advising me on how to create an authentic religious reformer. All the people who talk to me about my work, review my books and ask questions! And always and always my wonderful family. I know I wasn’t supposed to mention them, sorry, but go to youtube and search for “okal rel” and you’ll see an example of why it is impossible to ever stop saying thanks. In addition to my immediate family, I’ve much to be grateful for in the support of friends like Elizabeth Woods and Nathalie Mallet. The pride my Aunt Lil took in me being a published writer is especially meaningful to me, this week, because I’ve just learned she passed away in her sleep at 96. I hope I manage to live half as full a life and exit as gracefully.

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

Lynda: I suspect many writers, myself included, carry around an ideal in their heads of being begged for more stories by an adoring public and embraced as an icon by publishers eager to secure our talents. The reality is more “no” than “yes” for most of us, most of the time. I’ve had my ups and downs. I try to remember I’m the same person whether I’m being asked to contribute to something or rejected for trying. When I became semi-pro (by which I mean that although I am published and make money I still work to make a living and write as a vocation not a means of support) I became discouraged by what I termed “pro-speak”. The pros love to talk about “slush piles” and the terrible odds stacked up against any aspiring authors. At the time, big changes were starting to shake up the world of publishing and fear made people particularly nasty, IMHO. Reading between the lines, I kept hearing: “I am a real writer and anyone who is less professional than I am – by which I mean make money at it kids – is just a pathetic wannabe who should crawl under his/her bed in shame, oh, but first of all buy my book and take a flashlight so you can read it and admire the great, successful me!” Now in all fairness, pro-writers have it much harder than those of us who make our money in other ways and can’t afford to be shrinking violets about promoting themselves. But the mean-spirited egotism of “pro-speak” depressed me until I got my head squared away by writing a story about a Reetion pilot so intimidated by running into highborn Sevolites, in the cockpit, that she wanted to turn tail and slink home until Ann of Rire convinces her she must fly for her own reasons. This story, “Going Back Out”, http://okalrel.org/saga/stories/backout.html and the associated maxim “Fly for your own reasons!” became my reminder to myself and my recommendation to kindred spirits struggling to maintain their purpose, as writers, in the hurricane of advice, shaming and rejection we are all subject to in the struggle to find our voice and share it with the world. The gist of the message is: who cares if someone else flies harder if they aren’t serving your ends. If you believe in those ends, you can’t give up, because to do so is to betray what you believe. This is why I always encourage other writers and feature them as writers on Reality Skimming regardless of what stage they are at in their career or their plans for pursuing publication. Exploring and questing to explain the world is a writer’s job and we each do it as our gifts of talent, time and opportunity allow. 




Contact Information:
Please let us know where your readers can stalk you:
Website:  http://okalrel.org/ 
Blog: http://okalrel.org/blog



Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/644584.Lynda_Williams

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/okalrelsrv  @okalrelsrv



Other:  http://clarionfoundation.wordpress.com/tag/lynda-williams/

What format is your book(s) available in (print, e-book, audio book, etc.)?

·         Trade paperback (the Saga)
·         Print on demand (Legacies)
·         Kindle (all)




Friday, November 9, 2012

Blog Ring of Power Presents: Karina Fabian


Welcome to another Friday of Authors with The Blog Ring of Power interviewing Karina Fabian 
Karina
Winner of the 2010 INDIE for best Fantasy (Magic, Mensa and Mayhem) and a Global eBook Award for Best Horror (Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator), Karina’s writing takes quirky twists that keep her–and her fans–amused. Nuns working in space, a down-and-out Faerie dragon working off a geas from St. George, zombie exterminators—there’s always a surprise in Fabian’s worlds. She teaches writing and book-marketing seminars online.
Don’t dare miss the rest of Karina’s interview (she has a chainsaw!):
  • Part 1 @ T.W.  – Thursday, Nov. 8
  • Part 2 with Me. :D
  • Part 3 @ Sandra – Monday, Nov. 12
  • Part 4 @ Dean – Tuesday, Nov. 13
  • Part 5 @ Terri- Wednesday, Nov. 14


Let's get to talking about 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.
Karina: This year, I’m doing something different.  I’d had writing as a high priority for a few years now, but this year, my husband is in Baghdad, our oldest is a freshman in college in our town, our daughter a senior, and two in junior high—plus, we have a new puppy.  I so my only routine is to do a little each day, and spend the rest of my time with my family.


BRoP: How do you balance writing with other aspects of your life?
Karina: That’s what I’m trying to figure out this year.  I’m an obsessive personality, so I tend to immerse myself in things, which can be a little chaotic.  I schedule and have routines, but if something grabs me, like a story or a project, I tend to put things aside.  This year, I can’t afford that, so it’s taking a lot more discipline.


BRoP: When do you write? How much time per day do you spend on your writing?
Karina:  Whenever I can, so it varies, but usually for an hour or two while the kids are in school, at least.

BRoP: What has been the most surprising reaction to something you’ve written?
Karina: I edited an anthology of Christian Science fiction, Leaps of Faith.  The stories were written by people of many denominations and about people of many denominations—but I had one reviewer who said that the anthology gave the impression that there are only Catholics in space. 

BRoP:  Other than your family, what has been your greatest source of support?
Karina: I have many online friends, and three wonderful groups in particular—the Catholic Writers Guild, BroadUniverse, and the Writers Chat Room.  They are not just friends but also critiquers, idea people, and publishing leads. 


BRoP:  How do you deal with rejection and/or negative reviews?
Karina: I don’t take them personally.  Rejections and business, and I can’t expect everyone to like my work.  If there’s something I can learn from them, I do, but otherwise, I move on.

Find Karina at:
shambling
I Left My Brains in San Francisco
I LEFT MY BRAINS IN SAN FRANCISCO: Zombie problem? Call Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator–but not this weekend.
On vacation at an exterminator’s convention, she’s looking to relax, have fun, and enjoy a little romance. Too bad the zombies have a different idea. When they rise from their watery graves to take over the City by the Bay, it looks like it’ll be a working vacation after all.
Enjoy the thrill of re-kill with Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator.
Find I Left My Brains in San Francisco at:
Amazon: http://amzn.to/Nzm01L (paper) http://amzn.to/OBBmkL (Kindle)


Friday, November 2, 2012

Blog Ring of Power Presents: Pippa Jay

Pippa Jay
It's Blog Ring of Power Friday time!  Welcome to the Realm Pippa!

Pippa’s a stay-at-home mum of three who spent twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metals and Minerals laboratory, She bases her stories on a lifetime addiction to science-fiction books and films. Somewhere along the line a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. In between torturing her various characters, Pippa spends the odd free moments trying to learn guitar, indulging in freestyle street dance and drinking high-caffeine coffee. Although happily settled in historical Colchester in the UK with her husband of 19 years, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head.

For the other parts, don't forget to check out
Part 1 with T.W.
Part 2, yup, right here
Part 3 with Sandra
Part 4 with Dean 
Part 5 with Terri. 

So as Section 2 of BRoP let's get talking about 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. 

Pippa:  Generally I get up early, jump on the computer, and write until it's time to do the morning school routine with my children. I don't tend to use pen and paper much these days unless I have no alternative. I can touch type so much faster, and so can keep pace with my mind easier than writing it out by hand. This September my youngest started full time school so I plan to spend some time at the library abusing...er, using their Wi-Fi (I don't have it at home) and to make sure I actually spend some time out of the house. 

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

Pippa: With difficulty. Now the kids are all at school I've set myself a routine of writing/editing, housework and promotion. It's working out well, but school holidays - especially the long summer one - are a killer. It's fine if I don't have deadlines, but my word count seriously drops. The kids have to come first. 

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

Pippa: I try to spend at least an hour on it. Most of my time over the last year has been spent editing rather than writing - a consequence of becoming published - but that's my minimum. I'll get the odd day where I can write for the majority of it, but not so much. 

BRoP:  What has been the most surprising reaction to something you've written? 

Pippa: A friend actually commissioned a piece of artwork based on how he visualized the opening scene of Keir. It's just awesome! One, that he did that for me, but secondly the chance to see how my descriptions are coming across. I think it's the greatest compliment I've been paid. 

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

Pippa: I put the opening five hundred words into a critique contest, and had it absolutely ripped apart. The critic was scathing, and it completely destroyed my confidence. Three months later that same opening won me a publishing contract. Just goes to show how even expert opinions can vary. That opening did get edited somewhat before publication, but probably not as much as the critic would have demanded. Compliments - well, the artwork for one. But I've had messages from readers telling me how much they loved the book and the characters, and asking for more. 

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

Pippa:  My BFF, and my friends and fellow authors on the internet. Also the SFRBrigade, a community of authors dedicated to the promotion of science fiction romance. They're a fabulous bunch. 

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

Pippa: Rejection hurts, but you do get hardened to it over time. You just have to remember that, unless you're getting consistent feedback saying your writing is poor, chances are your book just wasn't for them. If you look at the statistics for agents/ publishers taking books - especially from new writers - your chances are incredibly small. I think it was something like 0.1% when I last looked  - don't quote me though! Research and persistence are the key. Your chances are greater with someone who specializes in your genre, or who makes a specific submission call for it. 
As for bad reviews - I've had a few low ratings, but generally they haven't said why. In those cases there's nothing you can do except assume it wasn't their thing and move on (unless it's abusive, in which case report/flag it). You can't please everyone. If several people pick on the same flaw, take it on board and bear it in mind as something to work on in the future. See it as a challenge, not an insult. 




BRoP: Please let us know where your readers can stalk you:
KEIR: Cursed. Dyikeirng. Is Keir beyond redemption?
For Keirlan de Corizi–the legendary ‘Blue Demon’ of Adalucien–death seems the only escape from a world where his discolored skin marks him as an oddity and condemns him to life as a pariah. But salvation comes in an unexpected guise: Tarquin Secker, a young woman who can travel the start with a wave of her hands.
But Quin has secrets of her own. She’s spent eternity searching through time and space with a strange band of companions at her back. Defying her friends’ counsel, Quin risks her apparent immortality to save Keir. She offers him sanctuary and a new life on her home world, Lyagnius.
When Keir mistakenly unleashes his dormant alien powers and earns instant exile from Quin’s home world, will she risk everything to stand by him again?