Interviews and a Writing Update

imageI don’t do  many general update sort of posts anymore, as lately it seems I’m busy writing. It’s a good problem to have, right? Currently, I have three projects ongoing. More on that below. But, first, some other news.

An Interview and a Shout-Out

I’ve done one interview in the past month or so over on Judy Goodwin’s My Writerly World site and a blog shout-out on Michael Brooks’s Cult of Me blog. I want to thank both Michael and Judy for having me. The interview was a good opportunity for me to talk about my writing philosophy, along with current and upcoming projects. The shout-out was me talking about this blog, its evolution, and where I'd like to take it into the future. Go check each of them out.

Assassin Without a Name Sale

If you’ve been following along, you may have noticed that each week for the past month each Assassin Without a Name title has been on sale for 100% off. 100% off means free, of course. This week The Goddard Affair is on sale at Amazon until 9/22. Get it while you can.

Writing Update

Last, I have a few projects in-progress at the moment.

The first is Thief’s Gambit, the next Assassin Without a Name story. The rough draft is about halfway done and it’s currently sitting at 20,000 words. That puts it into novella territory in terms of length and, when all is said and done, it will be the longest story of the series to date. My goal was to have each story get longer and longer, which was to be expected as the plot continues to grow more complex and involved. So, I’ll be quite happy with the fifth story coming in at something like 30,000-40,000 words.

Meanwhile, in other Assassin Without a Name news…



I’m working on a short piece for a kickstarter campaign promoted by Ragnarok Publications called BLACKGUARDS: Tales of Assassins, Mercenaries, and Rogues, which will feature my favorite assassin character. This is a submission/approval process, so there’s no guarantee my story will be accepted for the publication. However, worst case scenario I’ll have another story to fit into the series. This one would fit into the timeline somewhere after Thief’s Gambit.

And, third, I’m also working on the next Alchemancer novel, The Inversion Solution. Given the other work I've been putting into my Assassin series, this one has not gotten the attention it deserves. I expect that to change real soon, though, as this becomes my primary focus.

Author Interview: Stacey Marie Brown

This week's interview is with Stacey Marie Brown, author of Darkness of Light . Check out the synopsis for the book and the interview with Stacey right after.

Freak. Witch. Crazy. Schizo.

Ember Brycin has been called them all. She’s always known she’s different. No one has ever called her normal, even under the best circumstances. Bizarre and inexplicable things continually happen to her, and having two different colored eyes, strange hair, and an unusual tattoo only contributes to the gossip about her.

When the latest school explosion lands her in a facility for trouble teens, she meets Eli Dragen, who’s hot as hell and darkly mysterious. Their connection is full of passion, danger, and secrets. Secrets that will not only change her life, but what and who she is—leading her down a path she never imagined possible.

Between Light and Dark, Ember finds a world where truth and knowledge are power and no one can be trusted. But her survival depends on finding out the truth about herself. In her pursuit, she is forced between love and destiny and good and evil, even when the differences between them aren’t always clear. At worst, she will incite a war that could destroy both worlds. At best, she will not only lose her heart but her life and everyone she loves. Once the truth is out, however, there will be no going back. And she’ll definitely wish she could.

1. Please tell us about yourself.

I was born and raised in Northern California. I did some acting in Los Angeles for a time. After that I lived and traveled abroad for over 6 years. During my time abroad I fell in love with Design and Architecture. That brought me back to San Francisco where I got my degree in Interior Design. Now, I work by day as an Interior/Set Designer and by night a writer. During those years I never stopped writing. It took me until recently to really realize that is was what I want to do with my life. It’s my true passion. When I’m not writing I’m with friends, hiking, going to concerts, and just enjoying San Francisco.

2. What's the name of your newest or latest book and what's it about?

My book is called Darkness of Light. It is a paranormal romance/ contemporary fantasy. It is about 18-year-old Ember Brycin, who has always had strange things happen to her. After the latest school explosion lands her in a facility for trouble teens, she discovers a secret that changes not only her life, but what and who she is. Love, lies, deceit, and betrayal lead her down a path to the Otherworld, into another realm where she will probably not survive.

3. Is this book part of a series or standalone?

Although you can read Darkness of Light as a standalone, it is meant to be Book One in the Darkness Series. As of right now, there are 3, possibly 4, books in this series. I am hoping to get Book 2 out by August 2013. It is a continuation of Ember’s journey. It is much more raw and grown up. She has a lot of things to deal with:  her own powers, the betrayals, sex, love, death. There are many secrets and twists ahead for her.

4. How long have you been writing?

I have been writing and creating stories from a very early age. It was the way I expressed myself and escaped into a world of make-believe. It was always something I did. It makes me happy and I would do it no matter if one person read my stuff or thousands.

5. From where or whom do you draw inspiration?

Reading, reading . . . and reading more. I also get inspiration from watching people, nature, art, and movies.

6. What advice would you give new or aspiring writers?

Seek therapy it’s quicker and cheaper…

Kidding! My advice is, if you enjoy doing it for fun or want to do it as your job, don’t give up. It is a LONG, grueling process. There is a lot of rejection and times you want to give up, but push through and keep writing. You also have to learn that not every word you write is worth keeping. You have to get thick skin and know people’s critiques are to better your book and you as a writer.

7. Who do you see as your ideal reader?

My books are more in the “New Adult” genre (17+). The first one could be in the YA, but just like in life my main character grows and matures as do the books. My characters are also real. There is sex, swearing, alcohol, and not always does the main character make the right choice. I am older and write for women who still love to read YA type books but want them a little more relatable and real life.

8. Tell us about your writing process. Are you a planner or outliner?

I’m trying to become more structured with my process, but it doesn’t always end up going that way. I like having a general outline on where I’m going; but when I write, my characters take over and sometimes a scene will come out completely different from what I thought. Keeping it loose seems to work for me and gives me the freedom and creativity to follow my characters when they take over my head!

9. Are you a "write every day of the week" sort of writer or do you take days off?

I wish I was disciplined enough to write every day. Life gets in the way and sometimes there are days that not one creative thought enters my brain! But, I do something involving my writing every day, even if it’s editing or focusing on my marketing. I try not to go more than two days without writing a scene.

10. Some book reviewers won't accept independently authored books for review. What are your thoughts on that? Are they missing out?

I understand why some do it; but, yes, I think they are missing out on some incredible writers. Agents aren’t taking on new clients most of the time, so it’s really hard for us “up and coming” to break out. Many choose to go the self-publishing route; but we have to fight the stigma of being “not as good” as published authors, and that is not true at all. I’ve read some horrendous books that were published by a big name and some incredible books that were self-published.

11. Some people feel indie authored books are of lesser quality than those that go through the traditional publishers. Do you agree with them? If so, how can independent authors raise the bar and remove this stigmatism?

Because the publishing world is changing and there are a lot more people self-publishing instead of going through an agent or publisher, I am hoping this stigma will fade some over time. The trouble is there are a lot of people out there that self-publish who don’t get professional help with editing and formatting. Their product is less than par. Unfortunately with no regulations on self-publishing, some really poor quality work is being put out there. Because of this I feel it will be impossible to lose this stigma completely.

12. Any pets? If so, tell us what role they play in your writing, if any.

Living in the city I’m not able to have any pets, but I grew up on a farm—rabbits, ponies, puppies, kitties and even bottle feeding lambs. All my life I’ve been surrounded by animals. I’d say they definitely influence me in some way. I actually want to write a kid’s book called “The Adventures of Pete” based on a true story about my dad’s old dog that got in a stranger’s truck and disappeared for two years before coming back. I want to write about what he saw and did in those two years.

13. Which retailers or others sites can readers find your work at?

My book is on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. All links can be found on my website.

14. Where can readers find out more about you?

My website . Don’t ask any of my friends about me . . . they lie!

imageStacey Marie Brown by day is an Interior/Set Designer, by night a writer of Paranormal Fantasy, Adventure, and Literary Fiction. She grew up in Northern California, where she ran around on her family’s farm, raising animals, riding horses, playing flashlight tag, and turning hay bales into cool forts. Even before she could write, she was creating stories and making up intricate fantasies. Writing came as easy as breathing.  She later turned that passion into acting, living and traveling abroad, and designing. Though she had never stopped writing, moving back to San Francisco seemed to have brought it back to the forefront and this time it would not be ignored.

When she’s not writing she’s out hiking, spending time with friends, traveling, listening to music, or designing.

Author Interview: Angella Graff

It's that time again. Time to sit down for another author interview. This time Angella Graff, author of The Judas Curse, answers a few questions. Let's see what she has to say.

1. Please tell us about yourself.

My name is Angella Graff, I’m 31, a Theology grad from the University of Arizona. I live in Tucson with my husband Joshua and three kids, Christian (12) Isabella (10) and Adia (5). Aside from writing, I also do editing for other authors, and when I’m not doing that, I’m either doing yoga, hiking, or geeking out on the BBC, or playing Mario on our Nintendo system. That’s pretty much all there is to my life, as mundane as it sounds haha.

2. What's the name of your newest or latest book and what's it about?

My latest book is called The Judas Kiss. It’s book two in an urban fantasy series called The Judas Curse. It directly follows the events of The Awakening, where a hard-headed homicide detective, Ben Stanford, has to face the supernatural and come to grips with ancient mythos as a reality.

In this sequel, Mark and Judas are kidnapped by Nike, the angry goddess trying to wield their power, and Ben teams up with some unlikely forces from the Norse pantheon to try and rescue them before she can accomplish her mission.

You get a really decent look at the inner workings of Ben’s mind now that he’s starting to accept a little more of the paranormal side of things, and you get to delve into the history of Mark and Judas, how they came into their immortality and powers two-thousand years ago.

3. Is this book part of a series or standalone?

This is book two of an anticipated twelve book series.

4. How long have you been writing?

Cliché, but I’ve been writing since I could write. I penned my first novel, this 700 page Dragon-y Fantasy epic when I was about sixteen years old. Fortunately for the masses, I never attempted to have that published, but it was then I realized that I could and would be a writer some day.

5. From where or whom do you draw inspiration?

That’s a tough one, because it depends on what I’m working on. For the series, I’m inspired by my theology studies—not just religion or the bible, or even mythos, but the psychology behind it, and the old legends surrounding the more popular stories. I spend a lot of time reading different books about religious history.

Other times I’m inspired by life’s events, in my own life or the lives of others. I feel like everyone has a story that should be, in some capacity, told.

6. What advice would you give new or aspiring writers?

Make sure it’s what you really want to do. You have to be willing to accept the entire thing that goes with the world of being a published author. If you want to write, but you don’t want to hear the bad things about what you’ve done, this job is not for you. I remember when I got my first bad review, and I was broken hearted. I thought, how could someone be so mean and so awful. Do they not realize how hard I worked on this?

I came to realize that part of this world of being a published writer is having your work out there for critique. By anyone. They can be someone who has a Ph.D. in classical literature, or they could be the person who never finished 8th grade, but everyone will have their say if they want to, and you have to learn to take something away from every critique, whether it hurts or not.

If you can’t stand to have people say negative things about your work, this is not the career for you.

7. Who do you see as your ideal reader?

Someone who is able to take entertainment out of different ideas on religion. People who are sensitive about their beliefs are not going to like what I write. You need to be fairly open-minded to enjoy it. I’m not saying that you can’t be a Christian, because I’ve had plenty of Christians who are able to see the book for what it is—fiction—but if you’re overly sensitive about the beliefs, I’d say this book is not for you.

8. Tell us about your writing process. Are you a planner or outliner?

Um, I’m a vague planner. I have a constant flow of ideas going through my mind, and sometimes someone will say something and it’ll spark an entirely new plot-point or scene in my book that I never thought about before. I know my characters intimately, which means I know how they’ll react to any given situation, but I like my writing to flow organically.

9. What are your thoughts on writers paying for reviews as John Locke is reported to have done?

I hadn’t heard about that before and I just looked it up. I guess I’m still fairly uninformed, but I find that a little depressing considering the rest of us self-pub'ed authors who try and stick to the official rules when having our books reviewed. I would never do that myself, but in all honesty, it’s his shame to carry, not mine. I plan to stick it out, and even if I’m never well known, at least I’ll always be able to hold my head high and say that I never bought my own popularity.

10. Some book reviewers won't accept independently authored books for review. What are your thoughts on that? Are they missing out?

I think from time to time, yes, they are. I’m of mixed views on this because while I find it frustrating when my book is refused due to it being self-pub'ed, by the same token I also run a book review blog and understand the frustration that some of these bloggers must feel.

The tough part of self-publishing is, even though amazon tries to adhere to strict rules and even offers readers the option of reporting errors in kindle books, prior to having the errors reported, anyone can have their book published. There is a significant portion of books that are simply terrible. Poor grammar, poor spelling, poor formatting and structure. Undeveloped characters, weak plots, etc. You name it, it’s out there. Asking someone to spend the amount of time it takes to read a book, only to have the book poorly put together can leave a lot of readers jaded against the industry.

However are they missing out? Yes, they can be, very much. I’ve read some real and true literary gems that are not only self-published, but far surpass the quality of some of the most popular traditionally published authors. That’s why, no matter how often I have to turn a book away, I won’t stop accepting indie authors, because more often than not, my time is rewarded.

11. Some people feel indie authored books are of lesser quality than those that go through the traditional publishers. Do you agree with them? If so, how do we collectively raise the bar and remove this stigmatism?

Indie authored books can be of lesser quality because indie authors often don’t have the resources available to them to pay professionals for quality work. Often times indie authors rely on their MS word program and a quick read-through as their editors. I’ve seen authors use MS paint and Photoshop with a copy pasted SIMS character for a book cover. Believe me, I’ve seen the “lesser quality” work out there.

Honestly, if there were editors and book cover artists more willing to offer services that were affordable to indie authors, I think we’d see an influx of better quality writing and covers hitting the indie market.

Not to market myself because that’s not the point of this, but I actually do that. The affordable editing bit, anyway. When I started researching editors for my first book, I was repeatedly quoted prices of hundreds or even thousands of dollars for an editing job. I thought to myself, yes it’s work, but should it really cost so much? Most indie authors couldn’t hope to cover that cost alone in books sales, so to ask someone to come up with that kind of money up front just seems unreasonable.

I’m lucky to live with someone with a heavy creative writing and English background who, despite my horrible nagging attitude during “editing time” is happy to edit for me. I also found an amazing cover artist who does hand-drawn cover art for my books for an amazing price. I thought, the least I could do for the community of indie writers is give back—and so I went back to my old editing for thesis papers state of mind from University and have been able to help quite a few authors out. And that feels really good!

I realize I’ve just been long-winded, but I wanted to make a point that if indie authors had affordable services, I think it would make a huge difference in the quality we see coming into the market.

12. R.S. Guthrie wrote a hard-hitting post ( on reviewers and the veil of anonymity some of them hide behind. Your thoughts on this subject?

I hadn’t read this article before this interview and it actually caused me to stop filling out the answers and take some time to process what he said. Truthfully, I think every single author can relate to this. Every single one. Sure there are authors out there who surround themselves with a network of people who will only leave positive reviews, but for those who throw themselves to the reading wolves, we’ve all experienced that. I’ve had reviews insulting me as a person because I didn’t write what the reviewer wanted to read. I’ve had people take swings at me and my family because they didn’t share my same points of view. There have been reviewers who simply wanted to be mean, and Guthrie is right. Those reviewers are simply stupid.

The moment we get an honest review, it cuts. It bleeds. It burns. It’s like having someone point out every single thing you’re insecure about in your own life and writing, and having it on display for the rest of the world to see. It isn’t fun. However, it means the world to me because someone took time out of their lives to tell me where I could improve.

I remember one reviewer in particular took some heavy swings at me, but there was meat to the review. There was honest criticism. I took the comments privately, and I responded with a simple thank you, and a request that, if he would like to, to give the rest of my series a try. The response I got? He said based on my response to him, he was already a fan of mine, even if he didn’t like my writing.

I think writers need to take more time drawing as much from the negative reviews as we can. It’s the only way to grow and improve. Even if the reviewer is trying to be mean, no other reasons but to be deliberately cruel, I try and take something away from it that I can use. And yes, I think it will always hurt like a son-of-a-bitch, but that’s the good kind of pain in my opinion. The kind that I can grow and learn from.

13. Where can readers find your work?

They can find my book purchase links on my Facebook page on the Read My Book App

And of course there’s my Amazon author page which has all of my publish works listed there.

14. Where can readers find out more about you?

All of my info is available at my website .


Angella Graff was born and raised in the desert city of Tucson, Arizona. She married and became a mother very young, and after getting started with her family, began her University studies where she found her passion for creative writing, history and theology.

She now resides in Tucson with her husband Joshua, three children, Christian, Isabella and Adia, and their three cats, Archive (Ivy), Lasciel and Fix. She prefers to spend her days writing, gardening, and reading non-fiction theology theory books. Angella is also an avid, if not fanatic fan of Doctor Who and BBC Sherlock, which tend to dominate her dry, sarcastic humor, a lot of which is apparent in her writing.

Author Interview: TL Rese

This week I visit with TL Rese, author of Spirit of a Kyrie to be released later this year. Let's see what she has to say.

1. Please tell us about yourself.

I was born in Texas, but soon after, we moved to Iowa then Maryland. My family moved around a lot when I was a kid. We finally settled in Upstate NY when I was seven. Afterwards, I went to college in California, and I did my graduate studies in England, because I absolutely love British literature. UK authors – from J.R.R. Tolkien to C.S. Lewis to J.K. Rowling – have had a tremendous impact on me and my writing. I stayed in England for about seven years and only recently returned to California. So yes, I've been to a lot of places. I love to travel, and I think that's reflected in my writing; my characters are always travelling somewhere, discovering new things, meeting new people, and having their own personal adventures along the way.

2. What's the name of your newest or latest book and what's it about?

My most recent novel is Spirit of a Kyrie. It can be classified as epic fantasy or science fantasy. It's set on a grand scale with magnificent landscapes and detailed worldbuilding. However, at the heart of it, it's a pretty simple story. It's just about a young girl's quest to become a kyrie knight. In order to achieve this, she leaves behind everything she's ever known and journeys across her world, meeting new friends and making new discoveries about herself. It has those elements of travel and adventure that I mentioned earlier, but it's also a celebration of courage, perseverance, determination, talent, skill – all those things that one needs in order to fulfill a dream.

Spirit of a Kyrie will be published later this year, so feel free to check my blog or sign up to the mailing list to be notified when it's released.

3. Is this book part of a series or standalone?

This novel is both. I plan for it to be part of a 7-book series, but each book in the series is a standalone. The books can be read in any order, but your experience of the books will be different depending on the order you read them.

4. How long have you been writing?

Since I could hold a crayon.

5. From where or whom do you draw inspiration?

I've probably been influenced by every writer that I've ever read. I've always been especially drawn to fantasy literature, even as a child – I couldn't get enough – so there's something innate to it, I guess. Later on, the Lord of the Rings films had a powerful effect on me. It was the movies that brought the books to my attention, and to be honest, it was Peter Jackson's interpretation of Middle Earth on the big screen that really inspired me to do my own epic worldbuilding. I definitely get a lot of ideas from movies and television, and I think you can see that in my writing; there's a very cinematic feel to my works.

I'm also inspired by many elements of reality – such as history or real-world landscapes, as well as just normal day-to-day living, something that I might see while walking down the street or running an errand. Anything can be potentially inspiring, so I try to keep my mind open and my eyes peeled.

6. What advice would you give new or aspiring writers?

Don't give up. As hard as it is to keep going, if you give up, you will never make it. If you're serious about being a career writer, then you must keep writing. If your work gets rejected or gets bad reviews, then move on and write the next one. Writing is like any other skill: innate talent is useless without practice. Keep writing, keep practicing, and you will get better.

I would also say: do not publish your first novel. I'm sure there are great first novels floating around out there, but it's more likely that your first novel is not your best because it is your first and you haven't had much of a chance to practice your craft yet. As tempting as it is nowadays to push that “self-publish” button and see your first novel launched into cyberspace, once it is in the hands of others, you cannot snatch it back. Do not do it!! Write two or three more novels, plus some short stories or novellas if you like, get feedback (friends and family do not count), develop a skin as thick as armor to protect you from the criticisms and rejections (remember that praise is nice, but criticism is like bitter medicine), consider the points your critics have made and edit accordingly, then edit some more, then edit it again... Once you have done all this, go back to your first novel. Chances are, only then will you see how awful your first novel truly was and be thankful you never published it.

“Making it” as a writer is a lifelong journey and a big commitment. You only have one life: what do you want to do with it? If you're certain your answer is “to be a writer”, then do it. Go all in and don't look back. The journey will not be a bed of roses, but then the greatest adventures never are.

7. Who do you see as your ideal reader?

Someone who's a fan of epic fantasy, who especially enjoys the worldbuilding aspects, and who likes action sequences and strong female protagonists; also, someone who's looking for more than just the typical good vs. evil narrative, who appreciates more complex, ambivalent stories, and who enjoys descriptive passages.

8. Tell us about your writing process. Are you a planner or outliner?

I'm an obsessive outliner. I have reams of notes stacked on my bookshelf and sitting on my hard drive. I jot down these notes whenever I get an idea, so they accumulate over time. Before I write the story, I sit down and organize all these notes into an extensive multi-page outline. One of my mottos is “Write the story before writing the story” – i.e. I write the entire story in outline form, and then I write the story in its intended form. Then I edit, edit, edit, edit…

9. What are your thoughts on writers paying for reviews as John Locke is reported to have done?

I don't think writers should ever pay for reviews. If you pay money for a review, you become a customer, and those who're selling their reviews will not write a poor review, as it's bad for business. The whole review system then becomes damaged and pointless.

There's been so much recent scandal involving the review system that no one trusts good reviews anymore. I understand the temptation to just buy some good reviews or to get a few friends and family members to post up glowing remarks – it's a quick and easy solution. Moreover, it's not just indie authors like John Locke who're rigging the review system; I know traditionally published authors who've herded friends and family onto their Amazon review page, as well. However, when everyone starts tampering with reviews and it becomes a trend, then there will inevitably be blowback like Amazon's recent purge of reviews.

Reviews should come from honest, reliable, unbiased sources. These are harder to get. Professional reviewers are swamped with requests; most may never reply because they don't have the time. I sent out 70 (not an exaggeration) review requests and only two reviewers reviewed my novelette, Ingress. It's like the agent-querying process all over again, sending out request after request with only a few who reply with interest. But writing is a long-term game. Trying to fix the system in your favor may help in the short-term, but in the long run, it'll only damage your credibility and readers won't come back. Don't think no one will find out, because they will! Amazon will wind up purging your reviews, or readers will become suspicious of a bad book with numerous 5-star reviews. Even in the fast-paced new world of push-button publishing, there are still no short cuts to establishing yourself as a writer. Go slow, hone your writing, get honest reviews, build credibility, and over time, you will establish a good reputation and readers will know they can trust you.

10. Where can readers find your work?

My work is available from most major e-retailers, such as Amazon, Apple, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble. I'm giving away my novelette, Ingress, as a free sample; you can find it on your preferred e-reading device, or go to Smashwords and select the format that you want to download.

11. Where can readers find out more about you?

I have a blog that I will update more frequently once my novel revisions are completed. I'm also very active on Twitter.

Image of T.L. Rese

T.L. Rese is the pen name for Theresa Lee. She was born in Houston, TX (1982 - ). When she was seven, her family moved to Upstate NY, where she grew up before moving to California when she was eighteen. Specializing in epic fantasy, she now has a PhD in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway, University of London, and a BA in English from UC Berkeley. Her hobbies include travel, photography, piano, and horseback riding.


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Author Interview: Tracy Falbe

Tracy Falbe returns to the blog as this week's featured interviewee. Tracy is the author of the Rys Rising series of fantasy novels. Back in December 2012, I participated in her blog tour for the release of Love Lost, the fourth and final novel in the Rys Rising series, so it's great having her back for another post.

Let's see what Tracy has to say.

1. Please tell us about yourself.

Obviously I’m a novelist. If I couldn’t say that about myself I would despair. I’d like to say I have some other fascinating career like safari guide, but writing is what I’ve always wanted to do. Any job I ever had was just a paycheck. Building my publishing company and writing are what define me professionally and I’m so happy to be doing that.

Aside from that I’m very into the local food movement. I support local growers through direct relationships whenever I can, and I am working toward making my yard as productive as possible. I have 10 young fruit trees planted along with grapes, kiwis, and raspberries. I also grow vegetables and brought in 300 pounds of produce for my family last summer despite the drought and its associated difficulties. I use natural growing techniques and follow permaculture principles.

Other things I enjoy are dogs, cats, boating, swimming, bicycling, and fantasy and sci fi. Although I spend much of my creative energy on fiction, my reading has a big nonfiction focus. I’m also an absolute junkie for documentary films. I learn so much from them.

2. What’s the name of your newest or latest book and what’s it about?

My most recent novel is Love Lost: Rys Rising Book IV. Love Lost brings together all the story lines of the Rys Rising series and chronicles a great war between the magical races of the rys and tabre and the humans of two civilizations that serve them. It’s an epic about lust for power and desperate courage in the defense of the ones you love.

3. Is this book part of a series or standalone?

Love Lost is the fourth and final book of the Rys Rising series.

4. How long have you been writing?

Not counting my writing as a child and teenager, of which I did a lot, I’ve been writing seriously as an adult since 1997 when I began my first novel Union of Renegades.

5. From where and whom do you draw inspiration?

Everything inspires me. Anything I read or see or experience goes into the toolbox. I’m very observant of people and sensitive to the emotions they project. To try and be specific I am inspired by the natural world, history, social sciences, and mythology. The past few years I’ve been studying Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung. The first big influence on my writing was Frank Herbert. I liked the scope of the galactic empire and the huge multi-character point of view he created for his Dune novels. I read Dune when I was about 12, and I was delighted with all the shifting points of view and how they were woven into a complex society driven by religious politics.

6. What advice would give new or aspiring writers?

I never know how to answer that question because I don’t want to presume to tell someone how to write. There is no correct way aside from the basic technical requirements of spelling and grammar. I can say what works for me is to try and write daily. This will develop your ability to focus and tap into your subconscious. Also when looking over your work and editing, always ask yourself if other people would be able to comprehend what you’re saying. Although you can’t reach everyone and not everyone will be able to understand, your goal remains communication.

7. Who do you see as your ideal reader?

You know I’m always reading about how I need to know my niche and know my reader, but I honestly don’t know if there is a profile for my target audience. Women and men like my novels. People younger than me and people older than me have enjoyed my novels. My readers are in various countries and belong to various ethnicities. I guess my ideal reader is someone who likes my novels and is willing to spend money on them.

8. Tell us about your writing process. Are you a planner or outliner?

Well I generally have an idea where I’m going with a novel in my head and then I write towards that goal and see what happens along the way. I’ve never outlined a novel on the macro level, but sometimes I need to make plans on a micro level across one or two chapters if I have a lot of complex action taking place across multiple venues and I have to reveal everything in a sequence that is comprehensible and hopefully exciting. Even when I do plan, I usually end up deviating from my notes a little while actually writing. The thought of planning out a whole novel with an outline and then writing it sounds utterly stifling to me. It’s a novel not a research paper. As characters develop they can make unforeseen demands on the narrative and typically I must accommodate them because it’s their novel.

As for the actual writing I try to write every day unless I’m just too mentally depleted by other things. Even then I might write anyway because I hate the thought of not making progress. After making an initial draft, I go through the novel chapter by chapter and edit and rewrite and edit until I am satisfied. I figured out once that I put about 10 to 16 hours of labor into every chapter through all these stages.

9. What are you thoughts on writers paying for reviews as John Locke is reported to have done?

I suppose it’s understandable behavior that is going to happen. Most any industry pays to generate positive publicity, including reviews. I have chosen not to pay for reviews. I spend my marketing budget on advertising and encourage my readers to give me star ratings and reviews. If paid reviews are a problem, I don’t really care. There’s about a million more problems in the world far more pressing than paid book reviews.

10. Some book reviewers won’t accept independently authored books for review. What are your thoughts on that? Are they missing out?

Of course they are missing out. I’ve read some wonderful indie novels and some big name best-sellers that were insulting to the intelligence or at a minimum boring. Of course both approaches can produce brilliance or crap. There are no absolutes, but for a book reviewer to just issue a blanket ban on a certain form of production is like a restaurant critic never accepting a home cooked meal. The truth is most restaurant food is salty mediocre fare meant to sell drinks, and home cooking from a good cook is wonderful and memorable.

11. Where can readers find your work?

Brave Luck Books



Amazon Kindle

Barnes & Noble


Sony Reader Store


12. Where can readers find out more about you?

I invite people to read my blog Her Ladyship’s Quest or browse my Pinterest boards .

Thank you for the great interview.

imageIn 2000, I earned a journalism degree from California State University, Chico with the conscious ambition of becoming a fiction writer. With the rapid demise of the newspaper industry and journalism in general, novelist is not such a daft pursuit after all. It's not like I'm actually going to get a job that values my education. Luckily I'm cursed with the impulse to write in a popular yet competitive genre.