Category Archives: Author Interview

No Rest for the Wicked

In The Blood is Finally Here!

I am so excited that In The Blood, the first book in The Blood Royal Saga is finally out there for people to read and enjoy.

img_0117For those who are interested in purchasing a copy of In The Blood:

Trade Paperback ISBN: 978-1-947181-00-7

  • Amazon (Link goes to the US Amazon link, but if you search using the ISBN number, you will find the copy, no matter what country you’re in)
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Or you can request an order from your favorite local bookstore

Ebook ISBN: 978-1-947181-01-4
Available from your favorite online outlet

Autographed Paperbacks can be ordered directly from Eagle Heights Press.

I’ve been sending out a lot of signed copies, and it’s amazing and humbling to me how many countries it’s reached. I’m considering getting a big world map and pinning all the locations I’ve mailed to. Yes, I’m sending them out myself, so if you order one of these, I’ll be the one mailing it out to you.

It’s been a very long road to this day, but one week into the sales, and I’m pretty pleased with the comments I’ve gotten back. I’m hoping people find the book exciting and interesting and that they want to keep coming back for more.

I’ve tried very hard not to swamp people with too much advertisement. Some of it is necessary, but it’s hard to find a balance between simply sharing your excitement and feeling like you’re spamming people. I hope I am doing the former rather than the latter. No one likes constant advertising, and I don’t want to do that to my friends.

I know I can’t just sit around and wait for people to buy, however. It’s not just going to become a success without effort.

Help Spread The Word

Some people have asked what they can do to help me get the word out. There are a few things, if you’re so inclined:

  • Post about it on social media to help me find new readers
  • Write reviews on Amazon and Goodreads
  • Tell people you think would enjoy it
  • Request the book at your local bookstore

Those things will help more than anything else, and would be greatly appreciated.

Release Party

On July 15, I’m hosting an afternoon release party open house celebration at my house for anyone who is local. I’ve ordered a cake from The Upper Crust bakery in Columbia (LET THEM EAT CAKE) which I cannot wait to see (It’s supposed to look like my book cover). We will also have champagne, though there will also be punch and coffee for those who prefer it. So far, we’ve got about sixty five people or so who have confirmed that they’re attending, though there may be more.

At the party we will have special guest Marie Antoinette in attendance, and you can have your photo taken with her to celebrate.

With as many people as we are anticipating, we’ve spent a lot of time getting the house ready for the event and have purchased a canopy tent thing where I’ll set up outdoors to sign copies for those who want them. I’ll use the canopy for festivals and outdoor events later on, and may even take Marie on the road with me.

Camp NaNoWriMo and Sequels

Thououtforbloodcovergh this first week of July has been hectic, I still set myself the goal of doing Camp NaNoWriMo and using the time to complete revisions on Book 2, Out For Blood, before sending the book to an editor. I’m planning to finish my work on the book this month so I can publish the book by December, and even get a head start on finishing Book 3, Trial By Blood which I plan to publish in 2018. I don’t want to make readers wait too long for the sequels.

I’ve also made a mockup of the cover of Out For Blood, and I’m very excited to see it come to its fruition. I’m feeling more confident with InDesign, and I truly enjoy that aspect of the job as well. Though being responsible for every aspect of the project is extremely hard work and sometimes I feel like Dick Van Dyke’s One Man Band in Mary Poppins, it’s so rewarding to have every part of the project be something I had a hand in. Every choice has been mine, from font to layout to cover art. Having creative freedom also means creative responsibility, but it’s an aspect of the job that is extremely satisfying to me.

Public Radio show and Podcast

After meeting with the station manager of the local public radio station, KPIP, I’ll be hosting my own show regularly, and that will then be posted online as a podcast. The schedule has to be set, and I am still working on a title for it, but I’m really excited that this is a thing that’s going to happen.

One segment of the show will be me reaching a chapter of In The Blood a week. I intend to compile those once I’m through and put out an audiobook.

I’ve bought a microphone and headset to do the recordings, and the equipment will work on both my desktop computer and on my iPad. That means I can take it with me to events or on research trips and do recordings on the road as well. As soon as I have more information, I’ll be posting about that so people know where to listen in.

As part of the show, I’d like to host regular interviews with other writers as well, and if you’re interested in participating in that, please let me know. I’m happy to do that, and I’d love to hear from you.

In gearing up for that, as well as to prepare for other things I intend to write, I’m doing some research. Here are just a few of the things on my reading list. If you’ve got recommendations, drop me a line, and I’ll add them to my stack.

 

So, anyway, that’s what’s happening with me this month. It’s likely to keep me very busy. It’s a good busy, though, and I’m loving the work.

I’m looking forward to having a little time to go on a holiday this fall, though it’s likely to be a working vacation. So much I want to do and only so much time!

 

 

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Interview with Kari Anne Kilgore

When I heard that my friend and colleague, indie author Kari Anne Kilgore, had three books coming out at the end of October 2016, I was both amazed by her productivity and excited to add them to my collection.

Kari and I first got to know one another a couple of years ago at a writer’s retreat. In addition to my good fortune in getting to know both her and her husband, Jason Adams, I had the opportunity to read some of her work and fell in love with her creative mind and her amazing characters.

I’m very happy she allowed me to interview her, and I hope you’ll enjoy learning more about her work, her process, and her life.

[Book descriptions and links for purchase are below the interview.]


First of all, congratulations on all your recent publications! I know you have three books that just came out, and there are more on the way. What was your inspiration for each of them?

Thank you, Delia! This has certainly been an interesting autumn. Until Death started out as a writing exercise during a horror writers workshop in Transylvania, believe it or not. Richard Thomas was the instructor, and if I remember correctly, he asked us to write a scene drawing from our surroundings. The dogs had been barking outside the night before, so I started with that.

For The Dream Thief, I was a backer for a project called Fiction Unboxed back in 2014. Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant (and a bit of Dave Wright), all from the Self Publishing Podcast, had a goal of writing a novel from scratch in 30 days with the doors wide open. I listened in every day, and before they were even finished, I had a dream about the story. I woke up with the title and everything. I love it when that happens!

Songs in the Mountain started with scanning through the anthology calls listed in the Duotrope newsletter. My writer mind combined two of them, and I started with my own time spent scanning a bunch of glass plate photo negatives for a non-fiction publishing project. A couple of photos and stories from our postcard and photography book ended up in the story, too.

My main guidance for myself and other writers when it comes to ideas is you never know where and when the spark will come. I try to pay attention, stay curious, and never smother that idea before it has time to take root and grow. One of the Self Publishing Podcast laws of writing is there are no bad ideas. It’s what we do with the idea that matters!

Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

These three are unrelated, but I’m absolutely a series sort of writer. My brain just goes there almost every time. Until Death and The Dream Thief will each have at least one more novel. I have three other series partly written, with ideas for several more.

Who knows? The characters from Songs in the Mountain may even end up with more stories in the future!

What real-life inspirations did you draw from for the worldbuilding within your books?

Until Death is the best example, so many things. From the inn we stayed in, the rooms themselves, the countryside, even a few characters that folks who attended the first workshop will definitely realize. That one was so much from that amazing trip.

Songs in the Mountain is set very close to home for me in every way. The main character starts out doing a lot of the same work I do, and the setting is a combination of a couple of towns close by. The coalfields of Appalachia is as close to my heart as you can get.

For a big contrast, The Dream Thief is set in a world someone else created. That was so much fun to play with. I got to read Sean and Johnny’s books as research, too. Talk about a nerdy avid reader’s dream come true! But then I was writing in areas of the shared world that no one else has written in yet. We consulted a little bit at the end, but mainly I had a fantastic time striking out on my own and fitting into the existing world at the same time.

In general, I use, add, subtract, twist, and adjust elements from the world around me all the time. An easy example is another novella that took root at the Stanley Hotel last year. I took strange occurrences in that creepy elevator and set it in a building in Manhattan. So much fun!

Tell me about your writing process. Did you work on these projects one at a time, or do you prefer to write on all of them simultaneously, going from one to the other as your muse dictates?

I generally like to work on one thing at a time, though NaNoWriMo months can be an exception. For a long time, I would start a project, then work on that until it was finished before moving on to the next thing. Last year when we had a family member in the last stages of Alzheimer’s, I would start a project, work on it for a while, then start something new. I’m sure that was a stress reaction of some kind. I’m truly pleased I was able to write at all with that going on. So this year has been a lot of wrapping up the half-finished stories from last year.

I hope to return to going straight through like I used to, but if not, I’ll adjust and keep moving.

I have heard you describe yourself as a “pantser” rather than a “planner,” letting the work develop organically as you write. Explain a little more about how that process worked with these projects.

It’s funny, I do consider myself a pantser, in that I write by the seat of my pants without knowing what’s next. The first two novels I published were written differently, though. Until Death had no plan or plotting whatsoever, like the vast majority of my writing. The Dream Thief is the only novel I’ve ever written from any kind of an outline. It was pretty loose, dictated into my phone on a long road trip to Maine, but it was an outline. I then proceeded to put it away and ignore it while I wrote during NaNoWriMo. Much to my surprise, it matched up pretty well at the end.

I may do another loose outline for the sequel to The Dream Thief because it worked so well the first time. And I’ve created loose outlines as homework for several writing workshops, so it’s not like I hate the idea of it. I do prefer the adventure of writing into the unknown, though. That feels like reading the story for the first time while I’m writing it.

I think one thing that scares writers about writing without an outline is worry that they’ll write themselves into a corner and have to back up and start over. The experience for me and every other pantser I talk to is that’s the exciting part. I love it when I have to stop and think “Huh. What are we going to do now?” It may take me a little while of pondering, but the solution is always there. Every single time, and usually very clearly hinted at earlier in the story. I may have to go back and do a bit of seeding here and there, but never more than a few minutes.

We all have our own process, of course, and that’s wonderful! When I’ve tried to do a strict outline, that shuts the story engine in my head down cold. For me at least, the time I’d have to spend creating an outline is far better spent just writing and telling myself the story for the first time.

What genre do you consider your books? Have you considered writing in another genre?

Oh, this is a big question! I deliberately chose to publish in different genres within a few weeks. Until Death is horror/dark fantasy. The Dream Thief has darker elements, but it’s steampunk for sure. Then Songs in the Mountain really is a romantic suspense story with more than a little supernatural twist.

I love writing in various genres, and I plan to keep doing just that. There are only a few that I can’t see doing. Regency romance would involve too much research for me, and my writing is too strange and often dark for cozy mysteries, for example. I write like I read, I suppose, and like I think. All over the place, and always wanting to try something new.

How long does it take you to write a book?

This varies about as much as my genres do, but I’m generally a pretty fast writer once the story gets going. I’d say on average three months for a novel. I really want to work on being more consistent with this! I’ve hit close to 80,000 words during NaNo before, so I should be able to shorten the time with better habits over time.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I tend to be an evening writer, and I’ve been a night owl my entire life. My mother tells me this has been the case pretty much since birth. I love the dark and the quiet, the easy step from daily life to the half-dream when the writing is going really well. I’ll often get in a couple of hours after my husband has gone to bed.

All that being said, I’ve been trying to get a few writing sprints done during the day when I can. What I’d like to do is get my word count goal done earlier, though I’m just not set up to be a morning writer (unless you mean 2 am). I figure if I get that 1000 or 2000 words in earlier, I’ll be even more motivated and eager to write more during my peak evening hours.

What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

It really is consistency. That’s been my focus over the last few months, trying to get that habit more established. The way it’s been in the past is when I’m writing, I write a LOT. Then like many folks, I can get into stretches when I don’t write much at all. I don’t feel good during these times, and I’m sure my husband will tell you I can be a bit crabby.

When I’m writing consistently and writing fast, I feel so much more connected to the story. My goal is to stay in that groove of the story telling itself, the characters insisting that I pay attention, more often than not.

I do best when I write from 1000-2000 words per day. I want to get there more often than not.

What is your advice to Indie Authors? On writing? Marketing?

The first thing I always say to myself and to anyone else is write the next thing. I heard Hugh Howey say that back in November of 2014, when I first discovered indie publishing. I took that to heart, and it’s made a tremendous difference for me.

Right now, for example, I have several projects that will be fairly easy to put into the publishing pipeline. I took the time to study and work on my craft, and I got a ton of words under my fingers. That not only built my confidence and my ability to write faster, but it also gave me more than one project to put out. I attacked the fear of publishing the second novel by doing it right away.

As far as writing, I’ll quote Dean Wesley Smith and say have fun! That’s the most important thing, just enjoy yourself and tell yourself a fantastic story. If what you’re writing isn’t fun and you don’t enjoy it, it’s nearly impossible to create something readers will enjoy.

As far as marketing, I feel like I’m barely at the beginning there. The Self Publishing Podcast has been a wealth of information for me, as have their books Write. Publish. Repeat. and Iterate and Optimize. I also loved Susan Kaye Quinn’s Indie Author Survival Guide, and she has another called For Love or Money for folks a bit further down the road. I’m normally a Kindle reader these days, but I have each of those in print so I can take notes!

What formal education have you had in creative writing or publication? How has that training influenced or changed the way you write?

Well, I was an English major for a while, but that was almost exclusively focused on how to go to the library and research things written before we were born. There was no opportunity to write original work, much less fiction.

As for publication, that was SO round about for me. I taught PageMaker classes way back in the 90s, so when my uncle asked if I could put together a book for him back in 2004 I said sure. Little did I know what I was getting into! We essentially indie published years before it was cool, and long before there were any resources for help. I asked an awful lot of questions, and I still do.

From that paperback science textbook for high school kids in our region, we put out another for a different watershed, then moved on to a regional print and online magazine. The big one that forced me to get really good at InDesign (PageMaker’s descendant) was a 320 page postcard and photography book. That had 1100 images and captions for almost every one, so I had no choice other than seriously increasing my skill level.

All of that combined to make page layout for a novel a heck of a lot easier!

The main thing that influenced and continues to influence my writing is reading. Writers must read, as much as we can, and as widely as we can. That’s how we fill the well, along with movies, music, travel, museums, conversation, whatever inspires us and lights up our imaginations.

Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? If so, what project are you working on?

I am! I’d planned to work on the sequel for Until Death, but as often happens I found myself drawn to another story when midnight rolled around on 11/1. I’m working on one of those half-finished projects, a kind of mystery, kind of steampunk story called Clockwork Voodoo. I thought it would be a novella, but we’re getting pretty close to that magic 50,000 word mark.

Once that’s finished, which should be before the end of the month, I’ll see what’s demanding my attention.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

This is a loaded question! I absolutely believe that from time to time, life simply gets in the way. We can be ill, have someone else we must take care of, have an insanely busy stretch at the day job, have depression, or any number of things that can slow down or stop our writing. I do my best to at least revisit the stories during these times. Write if I can, maybe make notes of what pops into my head, at least think about the work in progress. Anything to keep the connection alive as best I can during a down time.

As far as what most people call writer’s block, this may be an unpopular opinion, but I do not believe in it. The idea that some kind of muse or uncontrollable inspiration has to show up for me to write doesn’t make sense to me at all. When I get to the computer or recorder or page, I plan to be ready to write. Therefore, I am. And if I decide that’s out of my control and in the hands of something I can’t influence or define, I’ll lose the spark altogether. That’s all I’ll say about that.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have? Can you give a sneak peek into what’s coming next?

The finished novel count stands at seven! Two of those are out now, and the others are parts of series that I want to finish before publishing. I have three novellas that are just about ready to go as well, and several short stories I’m submitting to magazines.

Assuming Clockwork Voodoo turns out to be a stand-alone, which I think it will, that will likely be next out for me. Then it’s time to turn my attention to wrapping up the series. One is a post-apocalyptic story set here in the Virginia mountains and in Illinois where I spent my teen years. Another is wrapping up the first series I wrote, with two finished and at least one more underway. Those focus on a geneticist from Scotland who stumbles across a mystery in Wales that affects him, his wife, and their family more deeply than he could have imagined.

I know you have been on several literary pilgrimages. How have those influenced your writing?

That first novel I wrote set in Wales led us to visit there twice, and I’d love to live there for a while. That art definitely influenced my life.

I’ve mentioned Until Death and the two trips to Transylvania. For the second trip, we went through Prague because that will be a setting in the second novel. Then while we were in Budapest, I got the spark for another story that I’m excited to dig into.

The main way is having those experiences and feelings – and lots and lots of photos – stored up for use in ways I can’t imagine. It kind of feels like having an extremely well-stocked pantry, but you can wander in there without any idea what you want to cook and get the idea from what’s on the shelves.

More often than not, though, I’ll be in the middle of a story and one of those past drives or trips or even flights gives me the touch I need to bring a setting to life. A trip I took 10 or 15 years ago may show up in a novel today. Those experiences keep me from being afraid of a new setting, even one that doesn’t exist. A sleeping berth on a spaceship may come from a train trip across the US, or the magical palace in a fantasy world may come from a tour of a castle in Romania.

The open mind and curiosity are key! And again, having fun.

Tell me about the publication process for these books and about Spiral Publishing.

Spiral Publishing really started with those non-fiction print projects going back over ten years. Once I have the books designed, I work with a local printer who does wonderful work for us. Those are specialized print runs, often with a landscape 11 x 8.5 format that isn’t really possible with something like print-on-demand. That layout and proofing and overall experience has been invaluable to me, and I plan to continue that work when the project is one I care about.

Strangely enough for an indie writer, I had a bit learning curve when it came to ebooks! Most indies are reluctant to get into print, which is where I’m perfectly at home. A big lesson with Until Death, the first novel I published, was to do that print version first. That’s my natural instinct anyway. The reason is I will always, ALWAYS, see a typo or word choice problem or something in the print version that I missed in every electronic version. It’s so much easier to get those worked out before I have the ebook completed.

One thing about indie publishing is we get to work with a team that we choose, not one that’s assigned to us. I edit the non-fiction projects, but I’d never edit my own fiction. My husband Jason is a wonderful first reader and editor himself, which is a huge help. I’ve been lucky enough to work with three fantastic editors for these first three books, and I hope to work with all of them again. Richard Thomas, Jason Whited, and Ellen Campbell. We can potentially learn to do layout, design, covers, so many things, but I believe a good editor is essential.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I can’t remember not wanting to be a writer. I read constantly from the time I learned how, and I was always telling myself stories. I specifically remember using my crayons to act out a great drama when we were supposed to be having quiet time in second grade. Even without the crayons, I could use my fingers to act it out. On long hikes during Girl Scout camp or on long car rides, I always had a narrative going in my head. I’m the same way now on the rare occasions when I can’t sleep. That’s prime storytelling time!

I first realized it was possible after I read WOOL by Hugh Howey and discovered indie publishing. I’m not afraid of traditional publishing by any means, but the slow pace and giving up all of my rights for novels doesn’t appeal to me at all. I submit to magazines and will keep doing that, so I’m really a hybrid.

But the excitement of finishing a story, working with an editor, finding cover artwork, designing the book, and getting it out there is so satisfying to me. I’d lose so much of that joy with a traditional publisher, and the tradeoff is not worth it for me. It’s a perfectly viable path for those who want it. I love the adventure and excitement of doing more for myself, and of working with a wonderful team along the way.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Travel is at the top of the list, but I also love being at home with my dogs and my cats, and my husband Jason. I read as much as I can, and I like to sew and bake when I have the time. I love my day job work with page layout and design, though I don’t love having to make websites for those projects.

I also love and am inspired by communicating with other writers. It’s such a delight to realize I’m not the only one who sees the world a bit differently.

Do you have certain apps or websites or gadgets you recommend for other writers?

I’m like you in that I adore Scrivener for writing. I don’t know how I’d manage without it, truly. I tend to write out of sequence, so being able to have those mini-documents for each chapter is a lifesaver. I still use Word for short stories, but anything approaching novella length goes right into Scrivener.

Aeon Timeline is brilliant for keeping track of character ages, events, even fitting stories into historical timelines. As a pantser, I use it to make sure those kinds of things are logical, or to see where gaps may be in the timeline. I’d imagine plotters would get even more use out of the ability to see how events fit together. It can sync with Scrivener, but I haven’t played with that yet.

After struggling with ebook formatting for a while, I bought Vellum, and I could not be happier with that. It’s Mac only, which is just fine with me, and it makes formatting for the different platforms simple. And the ebooks really are gorgeous.

InDesign is a must for me when it comes to print. It can seem intimidating at first, but there are wonderful tutorials on sites like Lynda.com. You can get it a month at a time now from Adobe, so I encourage folks who want to learn to format their own print books to check it out. You don’t have to be an expert to turn out a great looking book!

For distribution of review, giveaway, or advanced reader copies, www.bookfunnel.com is fantastic. You upload your files and create a link, then send those out. Then the recipient can download whatever format they want. So much easier than trying to explain how to side load onto a Kindle or Nook, for writers and readers.

I use my iPhone all the time for recording notes and ideas with voice recognition and notes. I haven’t played with Dragon dictation as much as I’d like to, but it makes all kinds of sense to me. The idea of going for a walk or a hike and writing at the same time sounds fantastic! Monica Leonelle has a wonderful book called Dictate Your Book that I’d recommend to anyone who’s interested in trying that out. Monica’s 8-Minute Writing Habit is another great resource for fitting in your writing time in short bursts and enjoying it.

And one last thing is the book 5000 Words Per Hour by Chris Fox, and the app 5KWH that goes along with it. That’s made sprints so much more effective and fun for me. There are other apps like Wordly that other writers enjoy, too.

Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work?  What impact have they had on your writing?

Like so many other writers who get into horror, Stephen King is at the top of my list. I love how while his stories can be suspenseful or even scary, they’re always about the people rather than the monsters. And he crosses genres constantly, so it’s probably no accident that I do too.

Anne McCaffery and her Dragonrider books were another tremendous influence on me. Those worlds are so richly imagined, and I love the way the different series weave together.

Lately I’ve enjoyed Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse books and Jeff Linday’s Dexter books just as much as the TV shows they inspired. They both give great examples of not being afraid of your subject matter or your characters! Jason Gurley is another indie I hadn’t mentioned yet. His book Eleanor is amazing, and it did cross over from indie to traditional.

Philip K. Dick’s short stories are some of my favorite reading, and they’re definitely an influence on my writing. He was so good at putting an ordinary character into an extraordinary situation. And the reader believes it because the other characters do. That’s how we know the strange thing is real, how we know it works. And what an imagination!

What writer organizations are you a member of? How have these writing communities helped or changed your work?

I belong to both the Horror Writers Association and the Romance Writers Association, as do quite a few writers I know. RWA in particular has some wonderful online classes, and they welcomed indies almost from the start. I’ve made great connections and friendships at HWA events, including you! Horror writers as a group are incredibly warm and welcoming.

I also belong to ALLi, the Alliance of Independent Authors, and the IBPA, the Independent Book Publishers Association. Both of those offer training, marketing resources, and support that’s been so helpful as I learn this crazy business.

What is your preferred method to have readers get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal blog, Facebook page, Goodreads, etc.) and link(s)?

I’m working on building these up more over time, but a good place to start is www.karikilgore.com. I plan to keep book listings there, information about signings and such, and eventually sort of a travel journal with pictures. My publishing site is www.spiralpublishing.net. The purchase links will eventually be there for my fiction, Jason’s fiction, and the non-fiction projects. Both have email lists folks can sign up for.

I’m not much of a blogger, but I am on Facebook more than I should be. I’m on Twitter a lot less, but I’d like to get more into that habit (@spiralwriter). I may investigate things like Instagram and Pinterest, especially for the non-fiction projects, but not just yet.

I know you’ve done some book signings already, and you’ve participated in several writing retreats and events. Do you have any other events coming up that you’d like to let people know about?

Not a whole lot after one of the busiest travel years of my life! Jason and I are really excited to be attending a science fiction workshop on the Oregon coast early next year with Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and we’ll go straight from there to the fantastic Smarter Artist Summit in Austin, Texas. After that, we’ll see what comes together.


until-death-ebook-cover-360x570Until Death By Kari Anne Kilgore

Interview by Thomas Gilson

Back in October 2013, I was interviewed by Thomas Gilson from Central Methodist University’s Eagle Radio about my writing. Tom asked some great questions, and we both had a lot of laughs during our discussion. I hope you all enjoy!

Four Intriguing Questions #BlogHop #Books @therealdelia

Hello and welcome to my entry for the fabulous frog blog hop! Thank you to Alexandra Anthony for inviting me to play. Please make sure to stop by her website!

1. What are you working on now?

I just finished writing the finale of my upcoming novel, Ma Chère Antoinne. It’s been sent off to my editor, and I’ll be making revisions at the end of the month to send to a potential agent. I’m really excited about the book, and cannot wait to share it!

2. How is your current WIP different from others in the genre?

My book is a vampire mystery/thriller with a good dose of horror and romance that I think will appeal to a wide range of readers. There is a lot of edge-of-your-seat action that keeps you hooked, but it’s also very character-driven with some historical figures you might recognize making appearances. I’ve incorporated some elements of classic horror, and put my own spin on the vampire mythology that I hope people will find interesting and compelling.

3. Why do you write?

The short answer is “because I need to,” but really, I’ve always written. I wrote my first book when I was five, and I’ve had a compulsion that drives me. I love characters that move me and plots that are full of surprises. I wrote the story I would want to read, and hopefully others will enjoy it as well.

4. How does your writing process work?

I’m a big planner. I have notebooks I carry around with me, a whiteboard for plotting on my office wall, and I make extensive use of Evernote on my iPad or iPhone whenever I see something that makes me think “Hey, that would make an interesting story or scene.”

I outline everything beforehand, though that outline is always being revised as I work. I do most of my writing in the Scrivener program, and break up that outline into chapter chunks that I can use as markers for myself as I write. That outline is very fluid, however. Once I get into the story, sometimes a scene just doesn’t work the way I envisioned it would, and I have to change or scrap or combine elements as I go. Sometimes the flow of the story just isn’t working for me, and I find myself shuffling chapters around or adding something in that I hadn’t originally planned.

I work two other jobs, so I have to keep myself organized and schedule my time carefully. I set aside at least two hours every day for writing. If I have more time available, I use it. If I’m busy, I might only have time to make notes or do some revisions or research. All of that is moving my story forward, however, and I know that if I am patient and persistent, I can finish it.

I also revise many times. With this book, I did at least 15 rounds of edits before handing it off to my editor. I want the book to be the best it can be, and that means a lot of hard work without immediate payoff.

To meet another fabulous author, check out his Q&A blog hop on the following website…

Anthony Hogg, The Vampirologist

Eagle Radio Interview with Thomas Gilson

Yesterday, I was interviewed by Thomas Gilson from Central Methodist University’s Eagle Radio about my writing. Since Blogger, WordPress, and Facebook all lack the ability to post audio files, I created a Tumblr account in order to host the interview file in it’s entirety. Tom and I had a lot of fun doing the interview together, and I think it came out pretty well. I hope you all enjoy!

If you would like to hear more from Tom or listen to Eagle Radio, click through and just hit play.

Featured Guest: CM Doporto

My featured guest today is author Author CM Doporto. She is the author of The Eslites, a Sci-Fi/Urban Fantasy short story. I asked her to discuss her writing with us today. The interview is below.

To learn more about CM Doporto, check out her links:

Visit her heroine blog at:
http://cmdoporto.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/cmdoportowriter
Twitter: @cm_doporto
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/cmdoporto
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/cmdoporto
Email: cmdoporto@att.net

I really enjoyed reading The Eslites. What inspired you to write the story?


I had a dream a few days before Halloween that was a cross between Avengers and The Hunger Games. I immediately wrote it down and a few days later decided to write it for a short story contest.




When I finished reading, I was really compelled to find out what happened next. Do you plan on continuing the story?

Yes, I do with a series of novellas. The Arrival, will be book 2 for The Eslites and should come out by the beginning of Summer 2013.



What authors inspire you?

Amanda Hockings because she started out as an Indie author and believed in her writing and worked hard to let others know about her stories. There are others with similar stories and all of them have taught me to keep trying, work hard, and never give up.

When did you decide you wanted to write and what was it that peaked your interest?


I had been writing from a business professional viewpoint for over fifteen years but had never ventured into creative writing. Four years ago, I decided I wanted to write fiction after feeling tapped out in my professional career. The Twilight Saga peaked my interest with the young adult genre.



What is your process as you’re writing? Do you listen to music, or do you prefer quiet? Do you follow a specific writing style? Do you plan out every part of your story in advance, or do you prefer to let the story lead you as you write? Is there a certain time of day that works best for your writing?


Listening to music inspires me write and think creatively. However, there are times when I prefer silence so I can concentrate and focus on the details. I’ve written from two different processes. With The Eslites, I did some research and light plotting and then sat down and wrote the story in eight hours. For Element, I did quite a bit of research, plotting, character development and scene layout.

Since I was laid off from my professional day job last Fall, I have taken advantage of writing during the day time. It allows me to have a work-life balance and devote time to my son and husband in the evenings.



What are you reading now?


I’m reading The Host by Stephenie Meyer.



Every writer once in a while experiences writer’s block. How do you overcome it?


I take a break, which can be either a few hours or weeks. If the words are not flowing, then I allow my brain to rest and have down time. 



Your new book, Element, comes out on March 29th. Describe a little of what we can look forward to there.

Element Part 1 and Part 2 is very different from The Eslites, because it’s an upper young adult book, now called New Adult, with the characters in college versus high school. It is a sci-fi story but has more romance that The Eslites. The story was initially written as an adult romance and then I re-wrote it from a new adult perspective.

Element has special meaning to me because it was my husband’s dream that he shared with me and the first fiction story I wrote. When he told me about his dream I couldn’t stop thinking about it. The next week we went on vacation and when we returned, I had the entire plot and characters written out.

You may ask, what was the dream? My husband dreamed that every time he came near me his pheromones would change me into a female Hulk. The male Hulk would sense me and come after me. My husband and I were constantly on the run but couldn’t be apart because of the love we had for one another. The problem was if he was near me, I changed, so it made it difficult to be together.
I took that dream and created the plot for Element. I obviously had to come up with something different than the main character turning into a female Hulk, unless I wanted Marvel coming after me.




What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?


Show and don’t tell. One of my editors did a great job in coaching me how to write this way and referred me to various resources to learn how to improve that craft. I’m still learning and do struggle at times.



What is the best advice you ever got regarding your writing?


To allow others to read my story and critique it before it’s published.



The cover for The Eslites garnered rave reviews. Who designed your book covers?


Cora Graphics did the cover for The Eslites. I knew it was catching and that I loved it but didn’t realize it would get so much attention. She recently did the cover Eslites 2: The Arrival. I hope it gets just as much attention as the first cover.



Do you consider yourself an Indie Author? If so, what do you feel are the pluses and minuses of independent publishing? Would you ever consider trying to find a mainstream publisher for your work?

Yes, I do now. Initially, I thought I would just self-publish The Eslites and continue looking for a publisher for Element but that changed after I took a self-publishing class and spoke to a few Indie author friends. 

Being an Indie author gives you the freedom to be your own boss, which I love. You decide your own deadlines, find your own editor, determine what you want your book cover to look like, and define your marketing strategy. There is so much work involved and thankfully, my husband helps with the business part of it and I have a street team that has helped with the marketing aspect. I didn’t realize how much work I had to do until a few weeks after I published The Eslites.

I stopped looking for a traditional publisher and would only consider it if they presented a lucrative deal. If sales do well for The Eslites series and Element, I will offer them in print and probably do that through CreateSpace. 




What advice would you give to other authors who are just starting out?


Learn as much as you can about the craft of writing and make a commitment to write a set number of hours a day or week. Research and take classes about self-publishing and traditional publishing to determine what is the right path for your writing.



JUST FOR FUN:

What is your favorite word?


The word ‘just’. I tend to use it in my dialogue and have to delete it.



What is your least favorite word?


The word ‘was’. I use it way too much!


What turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally?


Music really turns me on creatively, spiritually and emotionally. 


What turns you off creatively, spiritually, or emotionally?


Reading and hearing a lot of foul language. 


What sound or noise do you love?


The sound of the waves rolling in on a sandy shore.


What sound or noise do you hate?


The squawks from our Mexican Redhead parrot. 



What is in your refrigerator right now?


Left over pulled pork from Costco and Mama’s pizza.


What song sticks in your head every time you hear it?


Selena Gomez, I Love You Like A Love Song.



Other than writing, what is your favorite pastime or hobby?


I like doing fresh floral arranging, costume sewing, playing the piano and now jewelry making. I recently made my own author swag which consisted of bookmarkers, key chains, badge clips and my personal favorite, bottle cap purse tags.



What’s your favorite movie and why?


Gone With The Wind. I watch it at least once a year. The history of the Civil War and the Ole’ South fascinates me. Combining that time period with the bittersweet romance triangle of Scarlet, Rhett and Ashley, makes it a love story I can’t get enough of.



What is one thing you cannot get through the day without? 

One piece of dark chocolate.

About C.M. Doporto:
CM Doporto lives in the great state of Texas with her husband and son enjoying life with their extensive family along with their Chihuahua, Mexican Redhead Parrot and several fish.
She writes Young Adult and New Adult Sci-Fi/Urban Fantasy stories about ordinary women who do extraordinary things, become a heroine, and find love along the way.

Books by CM Doporto:

The Eslites is a Sci-Fi/Urban Fantasy short story.

Sixteen year old, Miranda Mays, discovers she is a superior donor for the alien race known as the Eslites, who have come to earth demanding humans to help save their race from extinction. Will she be the one to help them or will their quest continue?

Available in ebook format from:
Amazon

Barnes and Noble

iTunes
Kobo

Element, Part 1: New Adult Sci-Fi/Romance

College freshman, Natalie Vega, offers to be a test patient for several vitamins and supplements created by Kronberg Laboratories, a large pharmaceutical company where she interns. Immediately her body starts going through physical changes but when she runs into her former high school crush, Ryan Garrett, she is unaware of the life altering affects he will have on her.

Available March 29, 2013:
Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Ibooks, Kobo

 
Element, Part 2 coming May 2013

The Eslites, The Arrival (Book 2) coming Summer 2013

$25 Amazon Gift Card
$10 iTunes Gift Card
$5 Amazon Gift Card
2 Element Metal Book Markers
2 Element Magnets
2 Autographed 11×14 ‘Element, Part 1’ book cover poster
2 Autographed 11×14 ‘The Eslites’ book cover poster
5 Autographed ‘Element, Part 1’ 5×7 book cover poster
5 Autographed ‘The Eslites’ 5×7 book cover poster

Taking Care of Business

This last week has been a very busy one. In addition to going through SNOWPOCALYPSE here in Mid Missouri with two rounds of foot deep snowsnorms and accompanying power outages, I’ve also had a lot going on on the professional front as well.

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My most recent book review on Cynthia Shepp’s Book Reviews and Editing Blog just went live–Deadly Kisses by Kerri Cuevas.

There is a giveaway along with the review, so don’t miss your chance to enter! I really enjoyed this book.

Check out the review to find out why!

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I was asked to be a part of the library committee for the Horror Writer’s Association, which I’m very excited about.

I’m also finalizing my plans for attending the World Horror Convention in New Orleans, June 13-16. If you are also going to the event, give me a shout-out.

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ANNOUNCEMENT!!! 

On March 15th, I’ll be interviewing my friend and fellow author, C.M. Doporto here on my blog about her bestselling novella, The Eslites and about her upcoming new release novella, Element Part 1. CM writes Young Adult/New Adults Sci-Fi/Urban Fantasy stories, and I have really enjoyed her work.

Check out her website at http://www.cmdoporto.com/ or follow her on Twitter at @cm_doporto.

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I’m in the process of reading through this book again in preparation for the end of Part 1 of Ma Cherè Antoinne.

Any good detective mystery has to get the details right. I am checking myself to be sure I’ve been thorough. 

Part 2 has now been outlined and storyboarded, and I’m now getting impatient to get started writing that section. Only four more chapters till Part 1 is complete and I’ll be able to start telling the next part of the story. I can’t wait!