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Meet the author Monday: Michael Sullivan August 30, 2010

Posted by kmcalear in Author Interview, Fantasy.
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Hiya folks,Today we start our author interview series, beginning with a debut author Michael Sullivan! His debut book The Crown Conspiracy has received positive reviews from Fantasybookcritic and Odyssey Books.

The Crown Conspiracy is the story of thief Royce Melborn who is framed for the murder of the King. He and his partner must clear their… if not good, at least innocent-of-murder, names or face a death sentence.

So enjoy, pose your questions or comments on the blog, and remember: we’re giving away prizes this month. It seems we just can’t help being Santa Claus. (I’m not as witty as Jana’s intros… but I try!)

Vital Stats on Michael:
Lives: Virginia
Webpage:  Michael-Sullivan
Books: The Crown Conspiracy: (Oct 2008) | Avempartha (April 2009)
Classification: Classic epic fantasyFrom the mouth of the author:

1. What is the fantasy cliché that most bothers you, or what is your book pet-peeve?

What I have the greatest problem with in most fantasy novels is the extreme amount of unnecessary information writers provide about their worlds. Authors work very hard to develop a wonderful and elaborate setting but I get the impression that some are just unable to restrain themselves from sharing. Not everything they invented fits with the plot, but they find all the details and backgrounds so interesting they assume the reader will too. In reality, I think most readers read fiction for the story and the characters, not so much for the setting. The setting should support the story, not drag it down which can happen when for every page of plot, you need to wade through five pages of description, background and ancient history. I am also not particularly pleased with the efforts some authors appear to go through to create unpronounceable names for characters. I will admit I am guilty of using a few long, oddly spelled names for places and things, but these have a plot element attached. Character names I think should be easily recognizable or at least easy to sound out, with at least one vowel and without apostrophes or hyphens. I don’t see the point in making the reader work. Reading fantasy should be fun.

2. What is your favorite fantasy critter or fairy tale character and why? No, it doesn’t have to be one you write about.

I’ve always been partial to Harvey the pooka, just because he is so friendly and polite, but a balrog is a real attention getter.

3. We all know it’s easy to get distracted when a project is taking its own sweet time to bubble. What is your Achilles heel when it comes to getting distracted from writing?

This is a notion I have never understood, although I have heard other writers talk about it. It is like asking what is it that prevents you from skiing, or lounging on a beach. I’ve never been distracted while working on a project. If anything, I spend too much time focused on a story. If I am not writing, I am thinking about it, penning pages in my head. If I take a break and sit down to watch television, I quickly see something that triggers an idea and off I go to work on it. The only thing that prevents me from writing is responsibilities and other irritants like eating, sleeping and walking the dog.

4. With the holidays coming up what is your favorite winter activity?

Writing. I know that sounds like a cop-out, but it is really what I do in winter. I take summers off to play. I bike, paint, hike, etc. But when September arrives, I start my next project and work on it through the winter finishing around spring. When it is cold, snowy and windy outside and the naked branches are rapping the window of my study, sitting with a cup of coffee and writing is great.

5. I’ve heard of inspirational eating, so when you’re settled in to get things done is there a particular food that you just have to have on hand?

Just coffee, otherwise I get my keyboard all sticky.

6. What does it take to write a really good villain? Do you ever find yourself in a mental space that scares you or makes you wonder if that really came out of YOUR head?

What I think makes a good villain is a believable one. There are too many two-dimensional antagonists—characters that are evil because they are evil. I actually think the best villain is the kind you can understand and even to some extent sympathize with. And no, I’ve never scared myself, I am pretty at home with my dark side.

7. Which of your characters gave you the most trouble and was the hardest to write for?

Again another question that doesn’t really apply to me and my writing. Sometimes my characters like to go off and do or say something that wasn’t planned, but it is a random thing. None of my characters have ever really been a problem. (whispers: of course I have to say that or the Fictional Character’s Union (FCU) will come down on me with a lawsuit.)

8. We all have darling lines or paragraphs in our stories. Stephen King even says we should kill them. What is your most favorite murdered darling from any of your books?

Do writers really remember these? I don’t keep a list. It is kinda morbid just thinking of all these little decaying corpses laying around.

9. What is your worst writing habit, the thing which you keep telling yourself you’re going to change and you do it anyway?

I am actively working on trusting the reader more. Readers are more intelligent and observant than I expect. I want to make sure they get all the little clues and points and because of that I make them too obvious, too easy. As a result, I am working on making the gaps between what is said and what is implied wider. Putting just enough information up so that the reader can figure out for themselves what’s happening. I think this makes the book interactive. The reader becomes part of the story as it demands their participation. Of course I need to measure very carefully so that the gaps aren’t too far for the average person to leap, otherwise…well—splat!

10. If you were going to interview another author, whose brain would you want to pick?

I suppose this is another way of asking who my favorite authors are. I don’t have a desire to interview or “pick the mind” of another author, but I’m sure I would enjoy the dinner conversation at a meal with King, Rowlings, Updike, Steinbeck, and Tolkien assuming those deceased can return for the dinner untainted…maybe I would leave King out just to be on the safe side.

From the mouth of Royce Melborn:

1. What is the best piece of advice you’d give to other Fantasy characters on how to survive troubles and tribulations?

Avoid doing good deeds—they always end in disaster and never pay well.

2. How do you feel about magic powers? Indispensable? Only for the Lazy Hero/Heroine? You wish your author gave you more?

Useful, but creepy. As far as getting magic powers…I’d be happy if Sullivan would just leave me alone.

3. What’s the best way to vanquish mad witches, evil dragons… orcs, ogres?

Pay me.

4. Is there a happily ever after on your horizon, or is true love only for those sappy romance books?

I’d bet money the romance books are lying too.

5. Magic artifacts? (You know what I mean, enchanted swords, books of spells…) Useful, indispensable, more trouble than they’re worth…

Not much experience with that unless you’re referring to Alverstone, and if you are you’re obviously listening to dwarves which is a bad sign right there and more than enough reason to end this interview.

Friday Flashback: What I’ve learned August 27, 2010

Posted by kmcalear in Friday Flashback, Writing Craft.
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Flashback from April 28, 2008!

I’ve learned a lot about the writing process since starting on Whispers from the Grave. A good deal of what I’ve learned is due to my co-author, and for that I thank her a great deal. If you haven’t tried writing with someone else, it’s definitely worth it! You learn your own personal pitfalls and quirks pretty quickly. But I thought I’d list some of the things I’ve learned, that have helped me, I hope, become a better writer.

  • Stop worrying just write! I used to be a ‘first draft’ perfectionist, and I’d get so caught up worrying about where things are going and whether everything is conjugated correctly that I’d lose the journey. Jena was always reminding me at the beginning to stop worrying about the details, and it’s made me a lot better at writing.
  • Get rid of adverbs! I never would have realized this if it hadn’t been for reading Stephen King’s On Writing. And looking at my prose, it’s really funny how unnecesary adverbs are!
  • Start “in medias res”, ie… right into the action. Hook people immediately. I learned this from my creative writing teacher in high school, and have been following it ever since. He wasn’t a great teacher, in fact… he was pretty bad, however this was one of the things that stuck with me.
  • Use dialogue for characterization. I can’t recall where this came from, but it’s a great thing to know.
  • Put your characters into great conflict. I’ve learned to pay attention to which books bore me and which catch my interest, and it all comes from the conflict. It seems obvious, but it does have to be put down here.
  • The process of getting published, where to look to do so, and how to find an agent. This sort of thing had never even crossed my mind until Jena taught me about it. I think I probably would have looked at all of the hurdles to jump and freaked out, but she’s showed me how to wade through the process.
  • Treat it like a job… I’m the first to admit to being lazy and a little ADD. But making myself treat it like a job has been an amazing awakening in actually completing stories. I love to rush to ‘get to the good parts’ but I’ve learned to slow down and enjoy the process.
  • If you are feeling blocked, just sit down and write. The movie Finding Forester taught me this, and once I tried it… it really worked! Sure you may throw out half of what you wrote, but you’ve learned something so it’s never a loss!

So, I’m sure there’s more to add to the list, but I thought it good to list my own journey. And, of course, to put some kudos out to the authors who have inspired me, the authors I’ve learned from, and to my co-author. I think I would have certainly been just writing stories to my computer, and never really thought being published was possible if it hadn’t been for her.


~Kristen

Timpanogos Storytelling Festival August 24, 2010

Posted by Realitybypass in Life, Musings.
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I have always had a love for the written word.  I like writing.  I like reading.  I like the texture and the scent and the feel of books.  However, I also love listening.  I love stories told outloud and performed by those who know them well.  I grew up with stories about ancestors and farming life and stories are the only way I know the paternal grandfather who died before I was born.  All of this a long way to just say I love stories.

Once a year in Orem, Utah, not far from where I was raised, national and local storytellers get together for two days of telling.  They tell personal stories, twisted fairytales, cultural mythos and everything around and in between.  And for a few days we all sit in big tents and we listen and live stories of times and places and thoughts.  I always come away from the Timp Festival inspired about my own stories and knowing I have something to share.  If you’ll be in Utah around Labor Day you really should join us (details at http://www.timpfest.org), and if you don’t look for storytelling opportunities in your area.  I truly believe listening to others makes me a better writer and it’s good for the soul.  There’s just something uplifting about gathering around in the quiet and letting go and being told a story.

Jana Brown

Meet the author Monday: Elizabeth Bear August 23, 2010

Posted by kmcalear in Author Interview, Fantasy.
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Welcome to another Interview Friday, folks! I’m really excited for this next one, Elizabeth Bear’s Sci-Fi is some of my favorite out there. Imagine my delight to discover she writes Fantasy as well! Wooohooooo! She has won a long list of awards and honorifics for her writing, including the following in 2008:

  • Philip K. Dick Memorial Award nominee (Undertow)
  • Lambda Award nominee (A Companion to Wolves) (written with Sarah Monette)
  • Asimov’s Readers Choice Award for 2007 (“Tideline”)
  • Hugo Award for Best Short Story (“Tideline”)
  • Sturgeon Award (“Tideline”) Sidewise Award nominee (“Lumiere”)
  • Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Nominee (“Dust”)

Vital Stats

Lives: Connecticut
Webpage: Elizabeth Bear
Books
: The Promethean Age : Blood & Iron (2006) Whiskey & Water (2007), Blood & Iron paperback release (June 2008) Ink & Steel (July 2008) Hell & Earth (August 2008). Iskryne world (with Sarah Monette): A Companion to Wolves (Oct 2007) The Edda of Burdens: All the Windwracked Stars (Oct 2008), By the Mountain Bound (forthcoming Oct 2009) The Sea thy Mistress (forthcoming Oct 2010)
(And many Sci-Fi novels, short stories and more!)
Fun Fact: She was born the same day as Frodo and Bilbo Baggins
Genres: Norse Fantasy, Historical Fantasy and Contemporary Urban Fantasy, Sci-Fi

On to the Interview:

1. What is the fantasy cliché that most bothers you, or what is your book pet-peeve?

Oh, I have a ton. Usually, I start writing a novel because I’m annoyed by some common trope and want to undermine it. Thus, the companion-animal fantasy in A Companion To Wolves, to choose an example at random.

2. What is your favorite fantasy critter or fairy tale character and why? No, it doesn’t have to be one you write about.

I have to pick just one? Oh, that’s hard. I love dragons And they are so very rarely done well. They have to be used sparingly, I think, because it’s easy to wear the luster off–but a good dragon is unmatchable.

3. We all know it’s easy to get distracted when a project is taking its own sweet time to bubble. What is your Achilles heel when it comes to getting distracted from writing?

I’m not actually all that procrastinatory. More often, my frustration is wanting to write and finding that the story isn’t quite cooked yet.

4. With the holidays coming up what is your favorite winter activity?

Well, I live in New England, so my favorite winter activity is waiting for the weather to clear. ;-) Mostly, my life doesn’t change too much in winter: I do less hiking, and more climbing indoors as opposed to out. If I had a dog and a fireplace, my favorite thing would be sitting in front of the fireplace with my dog and a mug of cider.

5. I’ve heard of inspirational eating, so when you’re settled in to get things done is there a particular food that you just have to have on hand?

Not in particular. I often have characters who crave a particular thing, though–I’m a method writer, apparently, and one of the things I do in order to write a character is feed myself things they like. This can be very problematic when it comes to foodie characters, or alcoholics, or a couple of the Shadow Unit characters, whose physical demands are in excess of five thousand kilocalories a day.

6. What does it take to write a really good villain? Do you ever find yourself in a mental space that scares you or makes you wonder if that really came out of YOUR head?

I have shelves full of forensic textbooks. The contents of my own head are not particularly scary to me. Although I did once deeply worry an ex-boyfriend by getting a little too thoroughly into the head of Vlad III or Wallachia. I don’t often write villains, per se. I write antagonists, which is to say, people who are on the opposite side from the protagonists, but who are not puppy-kicking evil. Some people consider this a strength of my work. Others, a weakness.

7. Which of your characters gave you the most trouble and was the hardest to write for?

Michelangelo, one of the protagonists of Carnival. He’s a bit of a sociopath, and he really did not want to let me get into his head and get access to his motives.

8. We all have darling lines or paragraphs in our stories. Stephen King even says we should kill them. What is your most favorite murdered darling from any of your books?

I try not to cut out the good bits, actually. Because I am a chronic under-writer–apparently the opposite of Mr. King, who I know claims to cut 15% of his first draft–I rarely have editors telling me to cut things. More often, they get after me to add bits, and explain more, and establish things more. So my second draft is usually 15% longer than my first draft, because of all the stuff I left out. That advice to “murder your darlings,” I think, often gets misinterpreted. People take it to mean that you should cut out any bit you like, which is just nonsense. What it means, or what I understand it to mean, is if you are getting attached to the pretty at the expense of the story and the character development, the pretty has to come out. If you find yourself going through amazing elaborations to avoid cutting a sentence because you think it’s pretty… cut the sentence. That’s just part of good editing.

9. What is your worst writing habit, the thing which you keep telling yourself you’re going to change and you do it anyway?

That’s another meme I think is nonsense. Any writing process that works is a good process, and this idea that you have to do it in a particular approved way to be a Real Writer is foolishness. As long as what we are doing produces quality, finished work, and the general quality trend is upwards, we’re doing it right. That said, my worst habit is probably a workaholic streak. Even when I don’t really need to be working–or when it might be smart for me to take a break and let my brain regenerate–I often keep pushing. I’ve gotten better about it, though. I’m on vacation right now!

10. If you were going to interview another author, whose brain would you want to pick?

Living or dead? I dunno. I never really thought about it. I do study the work of other writers for technique, and there are some books of writing craft I think are indispensable–John Gardner’s On Becoming A Novelist is a great book on how to observe like a writer. I’d like to buy Edward Gorey a cup of tea.

Friday Flashback: Writing to the beat August 20, 2010

Posted by kmcalear in Friday Flashback.
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Friday flashback from Jun 12, 2008.

It seems to be a trend for folks to be writing about the music we write to. This was brought to my attention over on one of my favorite blogs (Romancing the Blog). So I decided not to be a trend breaker and bring the subject home to scrawl about.

I love music. Very rarely am I wandering around without some kind of music on. I turn music on at home, wander around with my Ipod on, exercise to music, mow the lawn to music. You get the point. Music is a huge part of my emotional frame of reference.

When it comes to writing I see and hear my scenes at once. They play out in my brain like a movie, though I hear and see everything. Sometimes it’s a little overwhelming to my brain, truth told. So while some people feel like listening to music drowns out their inner voice for me it’s a backdrop and enhances everything I experience. Because of this I end up creating multiple play lists for various emotional states and genres. Before my Ipod came along (Thank you to my dear husband) I had stacks of CDs sorted by what I’d play them for and would go a little nuts trying to get things switched around and not lose my train of thought. Now I can just swap around between playlists and I love it. It makes my writing flow and I can’t imagine a manuscript without musical inspiration. Now, I have work to do…where is that Ipod?

For the curious – Some Songs on the Whispers playlist

Boulevard of Broken Dreams – Green Day
Now or Never – Josh Groban
Hurt – Christina Aguilera
Lips of an Angel – Hinder
Breakdown – Daughtry
Wild Boys – Duran Duran
Don’t Pay The Ferryman – Chris DeBurgh
Sober – Kelly Clarkson
Broken – Seether
Don’t Fear the Reaper – Blue Oyster Cult
Fight the Good Fight – Triumph
Renegade – Styx
Fall For You – Secondhand Serenade

Love in the Library August 19, 2010

Posted by Realitybypass in Musings.
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The husband and I are both voracious readers, him even more than me which is a pretty impressive feat.  So to keep ourselves from bankruptcy we only buy a few books a month and then spend quality time with our local library.  The library is a short walk away from the house and they have a nice selection.  We like it there.

A couple of days ago we returned our latest haul and were browsing for new reads.  We’re both fans of science fiction and fantasy books and so ended up in the same aisle, though I was going down the way and he was coming up.  This meant eventually we were going to pass like the fabled ships in the night.  I stepped in front of him and instead of just stepping by laid a smooch on him.  Yeah, I have no problem with Public Displays.  However, I hadn’t noticed that there was another patron of the library in the aisleway.  It was a kid in his early twenties, yes you know you’re getting old when you call someone old enough to drink a kid, and after the kiss he just stood there in shocked silence.  Finally he got his brain about him enough to say, “I did not expect that…”

My husband didn’t miss a beat and replied, “That’s how you pass people in the library now.”

Our observer blinked a few times, grinned and walked out the other way.  The dear husband and I believe we gave the kid hope.  You can browse the science fiction section and still get the girl, and if you’re lucky she’ll be right there browsing with you and sometimes lay one on you.

~J

(cross posted on livejournal)

Friday Flashback: Tagging August 13, 2010

Posted by kmcalear in Friday Flashback.
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Friday Flashback from June 16, 2008.

As much as I’d like to have full time writing be my only job, it’s not that way just yet.  This has a lot of pros and cons, since the office grind and my charming co-workers drive me a little crazy, but also provide a lot of writing fodder and motivation to keep at it, which is a side comment and really doesn’t have much to do with the subject of this post.  Hah.

The subject has more to do with the lanyard I wear for this job.  I work in IT and all of our rooms are locked down so that only folks with the right key card can get it.  The key card connects to a lanyard worn around the neck, so it’s pretty literally the electric collar and leash of the office.  Most of us, myself included, have been wearing the lanyard and card combination for so long we don’t notice it.  It’s such a part of my normal dress that I’ll wander around a store or out to eat without bothering to take it off.  This often leads to hilarity as people recognize a tag, any tag, as the sign of someone that works at an establishment.  Even though the lanyard states the company name on it, I’ll still get people stopping me in a department store to ask if I know where a certain size of shoe is or asking for a list of the specials of the day.  Just the fact I’m wearing a tag resonates with the idea that I must work there or somehow have the answers that someone wants.  I admit playing along sometimes and answering the questions if I happen to know.  It seems mean to send them away even if it reinforces the chance that it will happen again.

So all of this has been mulling in my brain as I’ve been working on character sketches over the weekend.  What things do we automatically associate with a job or a knowledge source and how is that different when dealing with various genres?  I have some of my answers…but I’m going to leave the question open because it bears thinking about.  Maybe my vampire hunters need badges…ones with bright yellow smiley faces that say “Have a Nice Day…”  Yeah…they’d go for that…  Not.

~J

Wednesday Book Review: Wyrd Sisters (Disc world) August 11, 2010

Posted by kmcalear in Uncategorized.
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“Wyrd Sisters”

Genre: Modern Fantasy/Satire

Age: Teen, Adult

Content: Minor violence

Overall: 3/5

Review: This was my first foray into the discworld series and I chose Wyrd Sisters to read. The novel was a clever satire, although it had some significantly slow moments in the plot development. I managed to read 5 or 6 pages a night, but it never really grabbed me. The characters were quirky, but a little flat, all of them took a stereotype and twisted it slightly. Of course in a satire usually characterization is flat in order to avoid distracting the reader from the true message, the satire of modern society and mores. I did finish the book, although I considered putting it down a few times, and I’m glad I did. The end does make the slower progression worthwhile, and I won’t spoil it, but it’s worth continuing.

Meet the author Monday: Mark Henry August 10, 2010

Posted by kmcalear in Author Interview.
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Repost from October 2008

*hack, cough, phlegm…wheeze*  Hallo boys and girls…  Welcome to Halloween week at Reality By Pass.  Yours truly has gotten in the spirit by coming down with the cold from hell.  Brains leaking, shuffling from room to room dragging a blankie…puts me right in line with the zombie creatures of myth, book and movie…which goes right along with our kick off author interview for the week: Mark Henry author of Happy Hour of the Damned, and the forth coming Road Trip of the Living Dead.

<<Snipped for out of date>>

Moving on to Mark.

Vital Stats:
Lives: We’re not so sure about this.  Amanda may have devoured his brains already.
Website: Burlesque of the Damned
BooksHappy Hour of the Damned, Road Trip of the Living Dead (2009)

From the mouth of the author:
Do you have a day of the week that is your most creative day?  Or do all the days just gang up and attack you all the time?
I’m not more creative on any specific day, just less lazy, less distractible.  I have to get into a groove to write well, usually the first 500 words of the day is crap and then I’ll move into something actually readable.

What is your favorite supernatural critter and why?
No joke, mine is zombies.  I still love ‘em.  I should be completely tired and burnt out on them three books into my Amanda Feral series but I’m not.  In fact, my wife and I are going to see Quarantine this weekend (the remake of the spanish horror movie [REC]).  It’s partially due to my mother who introduced me to zombie movies as a kid and partly the   whole metaphor thing.  Need to make a statement about rampant commercialism?  Use a zombie.  Want to get existential on someone’s ass?  Nothing says life is meaningless like the shambling undead.  See?

We all know it’s easy to get distracted when a project is taking its own sweet time to bubble.  What is your Achilles heel when it comes to getting distracted from writing?

Facebook IM and AIM.  I can be minding my own business with a regular distraction like Wordtwist and then all of a sudden I’m sucked into endless chatter involving porn names or celebrity gossip.  One thing leads to another an here comes the AIM chatroom.  Then all of a sudden it’s 5 o’clock and I haven’t written a thing.  I need a 12 step group.  I’m not kidding.

With the holidays coming up and October being a good kick off, what is your favorite Halloween activity?
Definitely going to the pumpkin patch.  When someone first brought it up years ago.  I was like, “why not just go to Safeway?” I had no idea that there were corn mazes (where else do you get an opportunity to scream “Malachi?”), hay rides (admittedly retarded but nonetheless fun) and hot cider (perfect for those chilly fall cider fights, just make sure it’s scalding).

I’ve heard of inspirational eating, so when you’re settled in to get things done is there a particular food that you just have to have on hand?
Not really.  Though spaghettios with meatballs and fritos make me pretty happy.  Also, fat.

What does it take to write a really good villain?  Do you ever find yourself in a mental space that scares you or makes you wonder if that really came out of YOUR head?
Really good villains need to be human, too, have some characteristics that the reader can identify with.
They’re always creepier if you kind of like them.  I feel a real affinity for the villains, I guess that’s why Amanda is an anti-heroine.  If you can fall in love with her then I’ve done my job.  Villain be damned.

Which of your characters gave you the most trouble and was the hardest to write for?
Martin.  Amanda’s therapist/boyfriend.  He was definitely tricky.  I had to write him just thin enough for the reader to let [Massive Spoiler Deleted] slide.  If he was fully fleshed out and likeable that kind of plot point would be unforgiveable.  Maybe it is anyway.  Hmm.

Stephen King says we should murder our darlings.  What is your most favorite murdered darling from any of your books?
He does say that.  So do Strunk and White, right?  I don’t know.  My stuff is so over-the-top that if I deleted the stuff that made me the happiest the book would lose something.  Though, I’m on the third book now and I almost wish I’d killed the idea of footnotes.  That shit is hard to keep up on.

What is your worst writing habit, the thing which you keep telling yourself you’re going to change and you do it anyway?
Comma vomit!  I use commas like Gossip Girls use credit cards.  They’re everywhere.  I have this suspicion that there’s a secret edict at Kensington, where the copy editor just gets to skip that part, lest they go completely insane.  They don’t skip it, of course.  I bet they hate my long dashes, though.

If you were going to interview another UF author, whose brain would you want to pick…or consume, we’re not picky.
I do interview lots of urban fantasy authors.  I’m certainly not shy about asking.  But there is one.  Christopher Moore.  I’m not sure if he’d consider himself an urban fantasy author, but I do.  I’d love to get into his mind for a bit and see how he pieces together story.  Can that be arranged?

From the mouth Amanda:
Boxers or briefs? You know I had to ask.
I don’t really have a preference, just as long as there’s no shit stain running up the back.  I won’t have a man that can’t wipe his own ass.  That goes for dribblers, too.  Pathetic.

Since no one seems to be able to stay out of gore covered trouble how do you get the blood stains out?
I have no idea what you’re talking about.  I’m a dainty eater.  And anything that can’t be dry cleaned is bound for the furnace, if you catch my drift.

It seems most UF characters get a wardrobe I’d kill for.  So what is your favorite article of clothing?
I don’t know what you mean by “character”  but, I’ve yet to meet anyone who could match my wardrobe in real life, let alone in print.  Sure.  Some try.  Sad little posers.

What did your author screw up most about you?
He’s really more of a ghost writer.  I give him the goods and he forms the pesky sentences and shit.  I can’t be bothered with the minutiae, I kind of have a social life if you haven’t noticed.

Is there true love on your horizon, or is true love only for those sappy romance books?
True love.  Hmm.  I guess anything’s possible.  Still, I’ve seen the new book and I can tell you this, I’ll definitely be getting some trim.

Thank you Mark and Amanda!

<<Snipped for out of date>>

~Jana

Friday Flashback: I’m afraid you’ll just have to wait… August 6, 2010

Posted by kmcalear in Friday Flashback.
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Flashback from June 18, 2010

As much as I’d like to have full time writing be my only job, it’s not that way just yet.  This has a lot of pros and cons, since the office grind and my charming co-workers drive me a little crazy, but also provide a lot of writing fodder and motivation to keep at it, which is a side comment and really doesn’t have much to do with the subject of this post.  Hah.

The subject has more to do with the lanyard I wear for this job.  I work in IT and all of our rooms are locked down so that only folks with the right key card can get it.  The key card connects to a lanyard worn around the neck, so it’s pretty literally the electric collar and leash of the office.  Most of us, myself included, have been wearing the lanyard and card combination for so long we don’t notice it.  It’s such a part of my normal dress that I’ll wander around a store or out to eat without bothering to take it off.  This often leads to hilarity as people recognize a tag, any tag, as the sign of someone that works at an establishment.  Even though the lanyard states the company name on it, I’ll still get people stopping me in a department store to ask if I know where a certain size of shoe is or asking for a list of the specials of the day.  Just the fact I’m wearing a tag resonates with the idea that I must work there or somehow have the answers that someone wants.  I admit playing along sometimes and answering the questions if I happen to know.  It seems mean to send them away even if it reinforces the chance that it will happen again.

So all of this has been mulling in my brain as I’ve been working on character sketches over the weekend.  What things do we automatically associate with a job or a knowledge source and how is that different when dealing with various genres?  I have some of my answers…but I’m going to leave the question open because it bears thinking about.  Maybe my vampire hunters need badges…ones with bright yellow smiley faces that say “Have a Nice Day…”  Yeah…they’d go for that…  Not.

~J