Author Interview: S.L. Stacy

Coming soon! Retribution: Reborn Series Book #4!

While going through old posts and cleaning up the site, I realized I didn’t do an “official” author interview with S.L. Stacy here! I interviewed her on a radio show I co-hosted with Tricia Andersen about seven years ago, but that doesn’t count.

S.L’s written a stack of books. I’m proud of how far she’s come since I met her. I think we’ve been friends for about nine years, give or take a year, and I did the cover art for her Reborn Series. I’ve seen her go from working on her first draft of Reborn, to becoming a best-selling author. It’s fun to see your writer friends become big-time authors! I love it!

I’m excited to interview her and let you all meet her. I’ve featured her in a few of my posts, so maybe you know a little about her. And besides being a talented author, Dr. Stacy is a scientist. How cool is that?

If you like my books, I think you’ll like hers. Hop over to Amazon and check them out. Reborn is FREE to download on Amazon, so snag your copy HERE.

H.N. Sieverding


Let’s Meet Author S.L. Stacy!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 51sPpJ5NknL.jpg

Author Bio: S.L. Stacy is the author of the Amazon bestselling Reborn series, including the novels Reborn, Relapse, and Reclaim, and two novellas, Revenge and Rectify. Her stories blend the allure of paranormal romance with the adventure of science fiction, but she prefers more nuanced endings over the straightforward HEA. She loves dark, tragic antiheroes, a la Damon Salvatore (The Vampire Diaries) and Julian (The Forbidden Game). Her favorite authors include L.J. Smith, Karen Marie Moning, J.K. Rowling, Orson Scott Card, Kelly Creagh, Cassandra Clare, and Sarah J. Maas. She is currently hard at work on the next book in the Reborn series (when she isn’t watching Riverdale).


Interview Questions

Reborn Series Box Set (Books 1-3.5) Kindle Edition

What genre do you write and why? I write romantic fantasy and urban fantasy. I used to call it paranormal romance, but fans of that genre have certain expectations about the book formula and ending. Which is absolutely fine! I just don’t always like following those formulas, haha. I write in these genres because I enjoy mixing old myths with our modern world.

What is the best review you’ve ever gotten? This isn’t a specific review, but a few times I’ve had readers tell me they don’t normally read fantasy or paranormal books, but they like mine. I always enjoy hearing that!

What advice would you give a new writer just starting out? My advice is to just write—get that first draft down and don’t worry about how bad it is, lol. Keep writing, get the words down—you can fix it later.

Do you outline your stories? I usually write a basic outline. I often know the beginning, the middle, and how it ends, but not exactly how the characters will get there. And sometimes they surprise me! At the end of the day, though, the characters are in charge, and I’m just along for the ride. Maybe that sounds a bit weird, lol, but it’s true.

Are you working on any new books right now? I am writing the fourth (and final) installment of my Reborn series. It’s tentatively called Retribution. I’m not sure if that will change, but it might!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is reborn-banner.jpg

S.L. Stacy’s Social Media Links

Facebook

Web site/blog

Twitter: @sstacy06

Amazon Author Page


Excerpt From The Reborn Series

This is an excerpt from my WIP, Retribution (Reborn #4), so it might be a little rough. Most of the time, my main characters—Siobhan and Jasper—are involved in some pretty epic drama, but this is more of a silly moment between them.

S.L. Stacy

“Siobhan?” Jasper raps on the bathroom door, his tone hesitant. “You okay in there?”

“Yeah, sorry,” I tell him, toweling my hair dry. “Be out in a sec.”

“No worries. You’ve just been in there for a while. Thought you drowned or something.”

“Ha, ha.” Lowering the towel, I study myself in the mirror. My hair falls around my face in wet, dark clumps.  Taking my comb, I start to gently pick apart the tangles.

Once the strands fall straight and smooth once again, I feel like I can properly assess the dye job. Yep. While Jasper was sleeping in, I spent the morning dying my blonde hair black.

It’s a drastic change, to say the least. When I bought the box of Onyx hair dye at the pharmacy yesterday, I hadn’t completely thought it through. I’m not sure how much effort I’m willing to put into maintenance once my roots start showing. And I don’t even want to think about what I’m going to have to do to get rid of it if I get sick of it. For now, though, I’m kind of liking it. Sure, with my pale skin I resemble a very washed out vampire, but it’s striking. Dramatic. Dark, like my mood.

I set the comb on the sink and emerge from Jasper’s bathroom.

He’s sitting on the bed, scrolling through something on his phone. “Finally,” he says, glancing up with a smile before his eyes return to the screen. “I’ve had to pee for hours.” I see him stiffen, his head slowly lifting to look at me again in that did-I-just-see-what-I-think-did way. For a few moments, he studies me silently, midnight blue eyes wide.

“Your hair,” he finally says after a while. “It’s…different.”

Smiling, I run a hand over the still damp strands. “Do you like it?”

“I…yes. Yes, I do.” He rubs his chin, seeming to choose his next words carefully. “I do, but it threw me off guard. I wasn’t expecting you to go into the bathroom a blonde and come out a Morticia Addams.”

I laugh, coming to sit on the edge of the bed. “You know about the Addams family?”

“I’m not as completely pop culture illiterate as you think I am.” Reaching over, he traces the side of my face, tucking a section of hair behind my ear. “I do like it. It’s hot.”

“Really?”

“Really.” Gathering me close to him, he captures my mouth in a gentle but urgent kiss. It pours all the way through me like a shot of espresso, warming me all the way to my toes. Too quickly, he pulls away.

“As much as I want to follow up on that kiss,” he says, getting up from the bed, “I’d better grab a shower while it’s still available. You might go back in and come out with a buzz cut.”

“I wouldn’t get a buzz cut,” I call after him. “I’d just shave it all off. Go full Britney 2007.”

Ask An Author: How do you deal with bad reviews?

 

This is the first of my “Ask An Author” posts.  Today, I’ve asked my panel of published authors the question, “How do you deal with bad reviews?”. If you’re an author and want to participate, too, feel free to leave your answer in the comment section. We’d love to hear it!

 

“Shrug my shoulders and continue to be a better writer. A review, even from a professional reviewer is an opinion. Everyone is entitled to theirs even if it disagrees with yours and other reviews.”

– Lindsay Downs


“I’ve come to realize the only way to deal with bad reviews is not to read them. (Something else that’s easier said than done). If that doesn’t work: ice cream or chocolate.”

– S.L. Stacy


“First, evaluate if the reviewer has a point.  We’ve all read things we didn’t like.  If that can be true for us, then it can be true for others who read what we’ve written.  Learn from bad reviews, provided you have fairly evaluated if they are correct or at least logical.  Also, keep in mind that in order for someone to give you a bad review, they must have read your work.  That’s a positive.  And don’t be afraid to reach out to that person and thank them for reading and reading carefully.  Invite them to share any further reviews, positive or negative, with you personally.  It’ll make it more likely they’ll read more of what you’ve written.”

– Decker Schutt


“I vent to friends, treat myself (usually a cupcake), then try to learn from it.”

– Tricia Andersen


“I used to read them, but now I’ve found its better just to NOT read them.”

– H.N. Sieverding


“I have been lucky so far in one way by not having bad public reviews, but then again it is hard to actually get any reviews these days without paying lol. I think you have to learn to ignore trolls, do not reply to them but take any constructive criticism on board and learn from it.”

– Paula Acton

 


Meet the Authors

Reader Interview: Leta Fisher

Give a BIG welcome to Leta!

I met Leta in a beta reading thread and she agreed to beta read my Nightwalkers Series and one of my novels, Secret Scarlet (being released in Oct.).  She’s great at what she does and was extremely helpful to me during the editing process.  

Okay enough about me.  Let’s talk about Leta.  She’s an avid reader, one of the fastest I’ve ever met. She also enjoys photography and beta reading.  She loves helping authors succeed and she will help them in any way she can.

Are you ready to find out more about Leta?  Here are a few questions I asked her.  I love her answers to # 2 and #8.


1.  What is your favorite book?

I can’t have just one! The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon and the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series by J. R. Ward. OK, I’m not trying to suck up, but I love your books too! Just publish them! 🙂

2.  Who is your favorite author?

Kristen Ashley, J. R. Ward and hopefully the soon to be famous Heidi!

3.  What genre do you enjoy reading and why?

Paranormal romance, romance, erotica, sci-fi, OK most everything I can get my hands on.

4. What genre do you dislike and why?

Non-Fiction. I can’t stand the books that are self-bio’s that say “look at me, I’m who you should look up to!”

5.  What is the worst book you’ve ever read?

It was by an up and coming author who writes erotica. She had the intimate scenes down pat, but the rest of her books were filled with all kinds of grammatical and spelling errors.

6.  Does it matter to you if a novel is self-published rather than by a traditional publisher?

Not anymore! It makes the online reader be able to find great pieces of work that the big guys wouldn’t publish. They also make authors butcher their work into shorter stories so they can make a buck. I will pay good money for a full book!

7.  What is your preference? Printed books or ebooks?

Until about a year ago I would have said printed. My friends and I used to share a series of books, trading off who will buy them. Now, I own over 300 books on IBooks and Kindle.

8. What do you like about being a beta reader?

I love that I can truly help someone with their works of art. Hoping that they can succeed in writing and give me something that I would truly read. Then I can sit back and say “look at what she did! She is truly awesome!” The author, not me.

9.  What book would you love to see be turned into a movie?

The Fallen series, Fifty Shades of Grey and maybe the Outlander series. I don’t know how they are going to sex down Fifty, but it will be interesting to see. When the Twilight movies came out I was at every premier the first night.

10.  What things ruin a book for you?

Besides spelling and grammatical errors, books that have no flow to them.

11.  What character from a book you read would you love to meet?

Christian (I love vampires), Hollywood from Black Dagger and Jericho Barrons from Dark Fever.

12.  What advice would you give to writers?

Breathe! Let your mind go to that magical place where you can come up with fantastic characters and the rest will come. Personally I’m jealous of writers. All I’m able to write is reviews about employees’ performance.


Check out some of Leta’s favorite authors!

Taylor Stimac

Author of Trusted

Website:  http://taylorlstimac.wordpress.com/

*******************************************

Cristiane Allevato Serruya

Author of the Trust Trilogy

Website:  http://www.cristianeserruya.com.br/

Author Interview: J.H. Mull

image001J.H. writes in several genres so to give him a label just doesn’t cut it, so let’s just say he’s multi-genre-al.  His latest novel is Touching Home, the second book in his series about Jack Hundo Lane.

He’s currently doing research for a series he’s working on titled Confederate Breed, based on two of his ancestors and their experiences in the Civil War and life afterward.

He lives on the Georgia coast with his wife and soul mate as well his cat, Snowflake. He’s held a variety of positions from army officer and CIA operative to stock broker and electrical engineer.

Ready to learn more about J.H.?  Well here we go…


1.  What genre do you write and why?

I write Contemporary Fiction to Erotica and everything in between, whatever I’m interested in at the time. And I write under several pseudonyms, only recently have I published under my name–J. H. Mull.

2.  What character from a book you read or wrote would you love to meet?

Stuart Woods character Stone Barrington. My characters? Well, that’s hard, because most are based on people I know and have known.

3.  What is the best review you’ve ever gotten?

Five stars for A Captain’s Story. The reviewer said she cried at the ending.

4.  Who has been the most supportive person of your writing?

Easy, my wife and soul mate. She, an English Major from the University of Georgia, is my editor, and my biggest critic. She keeps me from having three arms in my writing or two left feet, even a foot long tongue sometimes.

5.  Do you have any other talents besides writing?

I sketch, paint, and make up stories. A young boy can have any outcome he wants in a story he constructs. Writing is my third career. The first, the U.S. Army, the second, a stock broker with several major investment firms.

6.  What is the hardest thing about writing a book?

The ground work that goes before I start writing. If one is going to write a western he best know about horses, how to saddle one, how to ride one, and what to feed one. I’m not a pantster I do an outline, a timeline, and character sketches before I start writing. But then that’s when the fun begins.

7.  Where do you find the most inspiration for your writing?

My family and my own experiences mostly. My Great…….great grandmother, Mary Elsberry, and her two sons left London with General Oglethorpe in 1732. They landed in what is now Savannah, Georgia in 1733. Her great, great grandson married a Creek Native American in 1833 and lay claim to ten thousand acres in North Georgia. He was my great, great grandfather. My family has fought in every war our country has waged since the beginning—sometime not on the winning side. I have fought for my country on three continents. Rhodesia being one place. Like I said not always on the winning side.

8.  What is the best passage you have ever written?

The best and most difficult was the paragraph describing the killing of Michelle in An Occasional Warrior. I must add, the funniest is a scene in Sex, Money, and Betrayal, describing a real estate agent having sex with a developer. She gets her foot caught under the gas pedal in his SUV as they are in his front seat, then gets her leg wedged between the seat and his door. That’s when they discover three young boys are watching.

9.  Is there any real life person/event that has inspired you to create a book/story/character?

Easy—my grandfather. What a character he was. He was born six years after Custer was killed by the Sioux at the Little Big Horn. He was a Creek Indian, scouting for General Pershing, when he went into Mexico after Poncho Vila in 1916. He was the first Indian elected sheriff in Georgia. He had five children and ran a farm, all while working as a trouble shooter for the railroad. He was a character!

10.  What is your advice for newbie authors?

Look inside yourself to see what you have to write about—write about what you know. I know this is an old thing but true. If you grew up on a ranch you know how to saddle a horse, how to ride one, and how to take care of one.

11.  How many stories have you written?

Under my own name, six. Under pen names over sixty.

12.  Who is your favorite character you’ve created and why?

It would have to be Jack Hundo Lane, who is mostly based on my experiences in the military and the intelligence service.


And to top off this interview, I leave you with a tease of J.H.’s book, Touching Home.  Hope you enjoyed the interview!  Check out his book and give this post some likes to show some love.  Come on…you know you wanna!

“Ain’t no use leaning on that horn. I could hear that ratty truck of yours coming a mile off. How you doing, Patrick?” John said, coming out of the barn. The lean, wiry man, as tall as Pat, had a flat, hard stomach and grinned as he walked toward his friend, drying his hands on a well-worn cloth. His skin was dark and weathered like Pat’s. They were both Upper Creeks.

“Fine, John. You?” Pat looked at his hands. “Problem?”

“Can’t complain. I’m alive.” He held out his hand. “My mare’s having a hard time with the foal.”

“Good. Need help with the mare?”

Annie jumped down from her seat and went around to Pat, clutching his leg tightly.

“Might, but she won’t come until around midnight.” He turned his attention to Annie. “Cute kid. Ain’t yours though—whose is she?”

“No, but I’m all she’s got. Jack sent her to me. I’ll come back around then.”

“I’d appreciate the help. She ain’t his neither. How’d he come by her?”

“That young pretty veterinarian coming?”

“Yeah, but she’s a small woman. Won’t be much help if we have to pull the foal.”

“Don’t sell her short. She’s a good vet.” Pat smiled. “Jack bought the girl in Bangkok for five dollars.”

“I thought he was in Vietnam?” John took out his makings and rolled a cigarette.

“He is. Does it matter? She’s here now.”

“Guess not. Five dollars? Got a good price—that can’t be more than ten cents a pound.”

“That’s about right.”

“What’s she good for?”

“Doting over’s about all, so far.”

“Well, she’s a cute little thing. What’s your name, little sister?”

“She doesn’t speak a word of English. Somehow she seems to understand sign language.”

“Do say.” John squatted down and took out a stick of gum. He held it out and signed to Annie. She stepped forward far enough to take the gum, then moved back to Pat’s side. “Well, I’ll be damn. She’s smart.” He stood.

Blogger Interview with S.L. Stacy!

masquerade3

She’s one of my favorite bloggers and someone I’m excited to introduce you to.  She’s a college student but also loves to write in her free time.  Her first novel, The Fallen, a Paranormal Romance, is almost completed.  Apart from working on the novel, she also writes fan fiction.  If you want to check out some sneak peeks of The Fallen, take a look HERE to read some chapters from it.


1.  Tell me about the book you’re writing and what your plans for it are in the future.

The book I’m currently writing is tentatively called The Fallen -the working title has changed several times and will probably change again! It opens with our main character Siobhan encountering a mysterious, seriously injured man in the woods who transfers to her a kind of “super power,” I guess you could call it. She thinks he’s probably dead until he turns up as her Teaching Assistant for one of her college electives. It’s a fantasy/paranormal romance with a bit of mystery since she slowly unravels the truth about him and her connection to him. I’m enjoying writing it, but I’m not sure what my plans are for it. I will probably write some query letters once it’s done/edited while at the same time preparing to self-publish it.

2.  Coffee, tea or soda?

Coffee. I used to hate coffee, but somehow it’s become a necessity every morning. 🙂 Of course I dump cream and sugar into it….

3.  I loved with the Labyrinth movie (and always wanted Sarah’s dress) when I was kid. I thought it was interesting that you were a big Bowie fan as well. Where were you first introduced to his music or found a liking for him?

I was actually first introduced to Bowie one Christmas back in high school because they always play that duet he did with Bing Crosby on the radio (Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth). I had heard of him but had never realized he had such an amazing voice. (I was listening to too much pop music back then, haha!) Strangely enough I didn’t get around to watching Labyrinth until college. I love that it still has a cult following now.

4.  Why did you start blogging?

I originally started blogging to post some of my old fiction and to get back to writing some new stories, which I’ve definitely been motivated to do. But it’s also turned into me writing about books, TV shows, music and other things that I like, which has been fun, too.

5. You mention you write fan fiction. Tell me more about that.

Usually when I get an idea for a fan fiction piece, it’s usually a short romantic or sexy scene between two central characters on a TV show that I like. For some reason, I’ve really been coming up with a lot of ideas from the show Once Upon A Time (OUAT). I’ve posted a few OUAT fan fiction short stories on my blog; this summer I’m planning to post some longer ones. Although the script is sometimes cheesy, I love how none of the characters on this show are completely good or evil. I think that’s a great theme to explore in writing. Also, it gives me several bad boys to over-analyze. 😉


To top off this awesome interview, I’ll give you a tease of S.L’s novel, The Fallen.

In this excerpt Siobhan and Anna try and find out if Jasper is the same man they met long ago-the man who ‘changed’ Siobhan.

“What’s your favorite ancient culture, Jasper?” the hipster to my left asks. “What’s your favorite myth?”

“I enjoy Greek mythology the most,” Jasper replies. “In general I tend to enjoy the stories that are more obscure. My favorite Greek myth is the love affair between Ares and Aphrodite.”

“Why’s that?” a girl asks. She’s on the fringes of the group and cranes her head around the guy sitting next to her so that Jasper sees her. “I didn’t think there was much of a story there.”

“I disagree,” Jasper says smoothly. “I think that the love stories of the gods are great examples of early guilty pleasure entertainment. Aphrodite and Ares’ relationship was sexy and forbidden.”

“So what is the story?” Anna wonders, looking around the group as if she’s missing something.

“Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty, was forced to marry Hephaestus, the god of fire. Hephaestus is typically portrayed as being ugly and deformed. During their marriage, Aphrodite is unfaithful to him a number of times.”* Jasper’s silky voice is infused with an intense passion for this subject. The entire table has grown subdued, enraptured. This is the sexiest history lesson I’ve ever had.

“One of her affairs is with Hephaestus’ stepbrother, Ares, the god of war. When Hephaestus finds out, he tells Aphrodite he is going to be gone for a few days, but he sets a trap for them –a metal net that drops on Aphrodite and Ares when they’re in bed together, exposing their affair to Hephaestus and the rest of the Olympian Gods. Humiliating them.” There’s a bitter edge to these last two, more quietly spoken words. I wonder if anyone else has noticed.

A few of the others jump in with their favorite myths, although none of them captivate the group like Jasper did. Closer to eight, Anna leans toward me and whispers, “Do you want to talk after this? We can go to my place. I’ll give you a ride back later.”

“Um, sure,” I mumble back, again caught off guard.

Scattered “thank you’s” and squeaking chairs make me realize that everybody is getting ready to leave.

“I’m going to get some tea,” Anna informs me. I nod and decide to wait for her at the table. I get out my phone to text Tanya that I won’t be back until later. I think that everyone has left until I look up and see Jasper Mars standing up but lingering by the table.

I smile up at him. “Thanks for your help tonight,” I tell him to fill the silence. “I think it’s going to be a very interesting course.”

He responds with a smile of his own –a slow, deliberate smile that doesn’t show his teeth. “I hope so.” The smile disappears, and his dark, penetrating eyes seem to sweep me up and down, even though I’m still sitting. “You and Anna are looking well.” He turns on his heel and strides briskly away before I can come up with something to say.

“Ready to go?” Anna asks me, jiggling her car keys in one hand, her paper cup of tea in the other. I’m still staring at the spot Jasper has just vacated, dumbfounded.

Author Interview: Lena Hart

 

BecauseYouAreMine_SM (1)Lena is the author of, Because You Love Me and soon to be released, Because You Are Mine.  She’s a Contemporary Romance author, who focuses on relationships between interracial couples.  She believes it’s important to present strong black heroines in her stories and also show that love can be found anywhere, regardless of any cultural or social barriers there may be.  And unlike other romances her stories come with a hint of mystery and danger added to the mix.  And who doesn’t like danger?! I do…

 


“Keep reading. Keep writing. And never give up!”

-Lena Hart


1.  What is your favorite book?

I read in different genres so I have quite a few favorites in each. But for contemporary, I have to say it would be one of Catherine Coulter’s earlier works, Beyond Eden. It’s an intriguing romantic suspense that took me on a roller-coaster ride the first time I read it!

2.  Do you have any other talents besides writing?

I love cooking. I think I may have been a chef in a previous life. I cook anything and everything, from ethnic dishes, such as Caribbean, Asian, to healthy – and not-so-healthy – dishes. I also have a mean sweet tooth so I’m always trying my hand at baking cookies, cakes, and pies.

3.  Introduce us to your muse.

My muse keeps me on my toes! She’s a complete scatter brain, easily distracted, and stubborn. But she’s never without good ideas, which she likes dropping on me at the most inconvenient times – like in the shower, cleaning, on the treadmill, or dozing off to sleep. And it’s hard to get her to buckle down and focus on one story, which is why I have a growing to-be-written pile. But when I put my foot down, she tends to work with me and the stories unfold effortlessly. She’s hard to work with but she’s all I’ve got.

4.  What’s harder to write; a beginning or an end?

The beginning. For me, it’s harder to write because you don’t know when and where to start the story so the reader gets hooked. Timing is everything and, as a writer, you need to hook, engage, and inform all in the first three pages!

5.  Any tips for writing a great love scene?

Hmmm… I tend to write my love scenes in bed. It’s a bit annoying because I have to transfer my writing from my desktop to my laptop but it’s hard for me to get in the “mood” (with my characters) when I’m sitting at an upright, rigid desk. Writing a great love scene is all about getting in the mood 🙂


Check out her book, Because You Are Mine, which is available now!  I don’t have an excerpt to share with you but I’ll leave you with a blurb about her new book!

Excerpt from Because You Are Mine  

“He crouched down in front of her, fighting the urge to lean down and kiss her smooth, graceful neck. She was a natural beauty, and in sleep she was achingly so.”

Betrayal cuts deep, especially when it comes from someone you trust. And no one understands this better than Cara Sinclair’s old love, now new boss, Drake Ross. Growing up, these two shared an undeniable bond until they found themselves in a fight for their lives. Twelve years later, fate conspires to bring them back together. Yet, while Cara is torn between chasing a lost love, or pursuing another, Drake is left more uncertain of the truth and his feelings for the girl he believed betrayed him. But the love that binds them proves impenetrable. And when light is finally shed on the secrets that haunt them, Cara and Drake will soon discover that danger still lurks… and betrayal cuts deeper than they could have ever imagined. 

Author Interview: Rich Voza

Welcome to another exciting author interview!

You should be super psyched about this one.  Today my interviewee is one of my good writer friends and my editing advice guru.


“More than 50% of the time, persistence wins over talent. Too many times the more talented people give up too easily, and then the less talented people get the job.”

-Rich Voza


Rich is the author of The Curse, which made it as a quarter finalist in the ABNA last year.  I think that may be the reason I first started talking to him but I can’t remember exactly.  

He lives in a house on the beach, something a lot of us dream about. He’s also a retired English teacher now turned editor and full time writer (when he isn’t spending time with his children) and writes movie reviews.  Right now he’s been working on many short stories like The Bus Stop, The Lie and The Accident but has also written several books like the Room 317 and The Curse

If you need a great editor, give him a shout out, he’s great at it and I’m sure happy to help.  He has helpful posts on grammar, so check them out.  You might learn something. Find some of those HERE and HERE.

And now onto the interview…..



1.  What is the hardest thing about writing a book (story)?

This will sound rude, but the hardest part of writing a book or story, seriously, is just time.  I have written four novels and seven short stories.  Maybe eight.  And I’ve never written anything during which I have not suddenly been hit with what seemed like a better story.  Then, I feel like I have to rush to finish what I’m currently writing so I can get to the next great idea.  I hate saying that, but it’s true.

2.  What are you currently working on?

I’m currently stuck as hell.  I have two stories that I need to revise.  They’re ready to be pitched.  But I have this fabulous idea for a really creepy stalker story.  However, if I don’t actually get something finished, queried, pitched, and all that, then I’ll remain the best writer who’s never done anything beyond his own computer.  And blog.

3.  What is the best story, in your opinion, have you ever written and why.

The best story I’ve ever written is a great story – but it’s poorly written, and I have to totally re-write it.  It’s called “The Curse,” and it’s about a slave owner who puts a curse on his slaves to prevent them from running away.  But the curse backfires on him instead of being put on the slaves.  I love it.  It was a quarterfinalist in the ABNA last year.  The readers loved the first three chapters, but I didn’t finish it well enough.

4.  As an editor, what is the grammar issue that most annoys you?

I suck at knowing when to break for paragraphs.  I know that you break when the location or the time changes, or when the speaker changes.  But sometimes there are other changes, and I get confused as to when they should be.

5.  As a reader, what do other writers do that most annoys you?

Clichés.

6.  What is your greatest strength as a writer?</h2

Dialogue.  I always get compliments on it.  The reason it’s m strength is because I talk too much and I constantly watch and observe people.  I’m  nosey as hell, watching people when they don’t realize it.

7.  What genre do you find hard to write?

Not sure because I only keep to what I know I can do.

8.  When did you write your first book?

In a way, I wrote my first book when I was in third grade.  We had a summer reading assignment, which I didn’t do.  We could have read anything, and I read nothing.  On the first day of school we had an assignment, like a book report about what we read.  I totally made mine up.  It was called “Carrot Top Mr. Mouse,” about a mouse with red hair, and the other mice made fun of him, so he ran away.  It was because I had red hair, and sometimes people made fun of me.  I think I’ll have to actually write that one day, but on that day, I made up a cover and a summary.

However, for real, my first book was “Grandpa’s Watch.”  It’s about a boy who accidentally gets sent back in time into the Civil War where his great-grandfather, as a teenager, was involved.  But the boy who gets sent back accidentally injures his grandfather.  Luckily, he knows what the old man did to help the Union win the war, and he now has to take his grandfather’s place, otherwise the South might win.  According to my daughter, it’s too educational and not enough fun.

9.  Have you ever used a pen name? (And if so did you write naughty stories?)

Yes, and yes.  But the “naughty” stories were 100% true.

10.  What is your advice for other writers?

My advice – don’t be lazy like me.  I’ve learned that there are many great writers, great stories, that nobody knows about because those writers don’t have the “drive” to get published.  That’s what I’m battling against.  For me, it’s a fear of failure.  Like, if I don’t pull the trigger, then I can’t possibly miss.  But lately I’ve been working on that.

Also, find a writers group who will read and trade feedback.  Not an online group but a real group that meets at a library or someplace.  Make sure they’re people who know what they’re doing.  I’ve been involved with writers groups in which nobody owned a computer.  I’m not trying to make fun of anyone’s money situation, but I can’t figure out how anyone can really write anything without a computer.  It would take too long.  Maybe that’s stupid, but it’s how I feel.

Also, be careful about blogging.  I just spent a year blogging very successfully.  Never had more people read what I’ve written, and got a lot of praise.  However, what I’ve been writing is nothing I could ever sell.  I spent probably 100,000 words that won’t go anywhere.  But at the same time, it’s a great confidence booster.  Now, after all that, I’ve finally learned that it’s more important to have five good people read my fiction, give me feedback, and help me improve than it is to have 100 people read something and say “Wow, that was great.”  Those 100 people are nice, but they’re not going to get me anywhere.

11.  Who would you love to co write a story with and why?

A woman I know in the Midwest because she can write stuff that I can’t, which makes sense to collaborate. (And yes, Rich, I would be awesome to write a collaborative story with. -H.N.)

Check out Rich’s blog >>HERE<<.  

I’ll leave you with one of Rich’s short stories titled, The Accident


car_crash_bmw_z8_flips_upside_down_in_germany_009

The only thing Jones had been more impressed with than his week-old BMW convertible was himself.  He had pushed the limits of time and energy, along with the art of negotiation, for three years strictly for his promotion and, more importantly, the car.  The car was now upside down at the bottom of a small grassy hill off the right shoulder of Route 295 South.  Jones stood from what seemed a very comfortable seated position in tall grass fifty yards from the car, his car, and stared in amazement to make certain it really was his car with the wheels pointing skyward like a dead turtle on its back.  The crowd of emergency personnel made it more difficult for him to see the platinum-silver car, but he could think of no other reason why he was where he was.

As he approached the car, the hairs on his right forearm prickled up as the breeze from the highway blew across where his right shirt sleeve used to be.  The rest of the starched white shirt remained, along with a bright red tie, which he loosened as he noticed another crowd uniforms gathered around something else – a body covered with a mostly white sheet except where deep red stains were soaking through where the body’s head would be.  On the ground next to the body was the white sleeve he no longer wore.

“Bastard probably never felt a thing,” said a firefighter as he removed his helmet.

“Better that way,” another replied, “when you don’t know it’s coming, no time to think.  You’re just – gone.”

Gone.  The word echoed in Jones’s head and faded like the rush of endless tires on the highway nearby.  He stumbled backwards through the tall grass as voices and flashing lights remained behind.  He dug his wallet from his left front pocket and reviewed his driver’s license just to be sure he was who he was.  The faces of his wife and kids all matched his memory as did his name and picture, and he put it all back in his pocket while taking further steps towards the woods behind him.  He turned and picked up speed until he reached a full sprint, which lasted for only a few seconds before he slowed without breath.  He dropped to one knee before curling in a fetal position and sobbing beneath the frozen arms of a family of oak trees whose spring buds were days away from exploding.  When he pulled his hands from his face a few minutes later, he noticed blood and thought of the sheet over the body back at the accident scene.

He leaped to his feet, hands held away from his body as if his own blood might contaminate him.  His eyes darted until they found the shimmer of a stream, then he walked almost primate-like across a grassy opening in the trees until reaching a bend of a tributary that strayed from the Delaware River about ten miles west.  Jones squatted, thrashing his bloody hands in the ripples before allowing the water to calm so he could see the matted hair that partially covered a gash torn open during the accident.

He felt a wave of panic that began with the men at the crash site, the sheet covering the body with the bloody head, his missing sleeve next to the sheet, and the comfort in the suggestion that maybe he never felt a thing.  After his shoulders relaxed, he stepped knee-deep into the stream and bent forward to rinse his hair of the blood and thoughts about death.

“I guess I get to keep my body.  Good thing I never filled out that donor card.”  He chuckled, forcing a smile.  “But why would I need my body?  Wouldn’t I just be more like a spirit?  Is there a reason I’m still physical?  What about-”

To read the rest of this story, click >> HERE <<