Matt Mullenweg Interview (WordPress founder!)



Interview #21, with WordPress founder, Matt Mullenweg!

Note from Jess: I’ve used WordPress.Org in the past — I’ve never forgotten the tagline at the bottom of the page: “Code is Poetry.” So I decided to send a quick Q&A to 26-year-old Mr. Mullenweg, on the subjects of coding, reading, and life/WordPress!

* * * * *

Hi Matt! Describe yourself in 5 words:

Co-founder of WordPress and Automattic.

Give an example of code which you consider as poetry (and explain how/why, for the less technowizically-inclined):

The best type of code poetry comes from reduction, where you’re able to take something that used to be long or complex and reduce it to a few lines of intuitive code. (Or sometimes, none at all.)

How have your experiences influenced your vision for WordPress?:

There is no five-year plan for WordPress, but what we work on next is usually very apparent in the feedback I get from users all over the world at WordCamps and other places where I meet WordPress users, like airplanes.

How does coding inspire you?:

For me coding is incredibly satisfying because it’s very concrete. You can start in the morning, finish at night and look back at the day and point to something you made with your two hands. That’s not possible to the same extent with strategic or managerial work.

Were you already thinking about/working on WordPress (beta versions, etc) during high school?

Nope, it was after I had started college.

Would you/do you write poetry and/or fiction, under a pseudonym?:

In my life, I’ve found that truth is stranger than fiction.

What aspect of traveling around the world do you enjoy the most?:

My favorite thing about travel is seeing how cultures and cities adapt to their surroundings, and take on the characteristics of what surrounds them.

Please share your #1 tip for fellow netizens:

Encrypt your wifi traffic. :)

Your websites/blogs/etc:

Much thanks to the gracious and very cool Matt Mullenweg (aka Mr. WORDPRESS himself) for sharing his thoughts! Check out the other great interviews @ Matt’s Blog (Press Coverage).

Author Interview, Joseph Robert Lewis



Author Interview #20, with science fiction author, Joseph Robert Lewis!

* * * * *

Hi Joseph! Describe yourself in 5 words:

Obsessive, disciplined, inquisitive, busy, anosmic.

Share a blurb of your work (10-100 words):

Heirs of Mars — The dream that was Mars has become a nightmare for the children born there.

To save New Troy from falling birth rates, Asher Radescu secretly clones people in the back of his old truck. To save New Troy from despair, Claudia Cruz hosts the most popular racing show on two worlds. And to save the city from destruction, they’ll rally persecuted cloners, resurrected colonists, and racing celebrities to fight homicidal AIs. HEIRS OF MARS follows the lives of six men and women through the final days of the first war on Mars, a war between humans, machines, and the resurrected souls who aren’t truly one or the other. But even if they survive the war, there is no escape from the red planet.

Visit my site for two free short stories set before Heirs of Mars (19 years and 24 hours, respectively):

Share a list of your favorite author’s novels that influenced your new book:

Accelerando, by Charles Stross

A Song of Ice and Fire (series), by George RR Martin

The Wreck of the River of Stars, by Michael Flynn

Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:

Writing is work. (Fun, cool, exciting work, but work nonetheless.) Heirs of Mars took a total of 250 hours of research, writing, revising, editing, and polishing. I believe a book has to be perfect — every word, every idea. If you expect someone to pay for your work, then they deserve the best work possible. Never settle for “good enough”! But with practice and experience, I’ve found a process and a rhythm for completing an entire novel in 3-4 months and while it is still work, it is work I really enjoy.

In sharp contrast, publishing is easy. It took me less than an hour to properly format and upload the book itself. And then a handful of hours to update my website and blog and to post announcements on the various ebook forums and review sites, as well as my fellow indie authors’ blogs. The best part is that I can simply reuse the same text and images and links for most of those announcements. And at that point, it’s pretty much up to the world to either take an interest or pass. As for me, I’m off to write another book!

What is your definition of “good writing”?

There’s no such thing. Good writing is whatever an audience enjoys. (Seriously, we’re all people and we all have different tastes.) It can be over-written purple prose, like Tolkien, and it can be under-written dots and dashes, like Hemingway. Any abundance or lack of description, dialog, action, and exposition can be “good.” All you have to do is find your audience.

(But if you can’t find an audience, well, then you’re writing may not be good. Or you may have forgotten to get published. Check your royalties if you’re not sure which.)

Please share your #1 tip for writers:

Have a goal. I don’t mean as an author: “I want to be rich and famous.” But as a writer trying to write a book, have a goal. Don’t just try to tell a story. Try to accomplish something, whether it’s as simple as making your readers laugh or as ambitious as inspiring them to lead a revolution.

Do you want to be funny, or scary, or erotic? Do you want to fight social injustice by creating heroes for a certain type of reader? Do you want to expose people to exciting new ideas in science or fascinating facts from history? Once you have a goal, hold on to it. As you write your book, keep asking yourself whether you’re moving closer to reaching your goal. If the answer is no, then start reaching for your Backspace key.

Your websites/blogs/etc:


Heirs of Mars is available on —

Much thanks to Mr. Lewis for the chat!

Project Runway, Gretchen, FAIL


This post is a Project Runway, Season 8 rant. I would format certain things a little better, but I have some exams next week, so don’t have the time to prettify the post up too much. Excusez-moi. Also, it’d be easier to understand this rant if you’ve been watching Project Runway for some time :)

P.S. I tend to “react” when my aesthetic senses are violated, lol.

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Author Interview, Stacey Wallace Benefiel



Author Interview #19, with action/adventure and YA paranormal romance author, Stacey Wallace Benefiel!

* * * * *

Hi Stacey! Describe yourself in 5 words:

Dorky, funny, gutsy, loyal, pale.

Share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):

Glimmer blurb:

Zellie Wells’ life is changing. Her relationship with Avery is growing stronger every day, but their parents are still giving them ultimatums and trying to keep them apart. Her newly discovered powers have all but disappeared. Benjamin, another young Retroact, is back and has brought with him a painful shared vision and a troubled past. While working together to figure out what the vision means, Zellie discovers that Benjamin is a worthy friend and mentor. If only he could keep his hands off of her – if only she wanted him to…

Glimmer excerpt:

“Ouch!” I let go of Claire and dropped my books. Clutching my head, a vision crackled and sparked behind my eyes, short-circuiting my ability to concentrate on what I was seeing. The pain was excruciating. Wait, why was there pain? I fell to my knees on the ground.

Claire knelt beside me. “What’s wrong? Should I go get the nurse?” She pulled at my hands. “Look at me! What can I do?”

I clutched my head tighter, squeezing my eyes closed. I felt extremely hot. I could see Claire in my mind, coming in and out of focus. I couldn’t tell where she was or what was happening. “Just…hold on. Don’t get the nurse…I’m trying to…you’re in here…”

“Hush,” she whispered, “people are looking at us.”

The halls became congested as other students stopped to stare. Only a few said anything.

“Is she okay?”

“She doesn’t look so good.”

“I didn’t think she could get any paler.”

Claire hovered over me, blocking me from view. “Come on,” she coaxed, “try and stand up. Let’s go to the girl’s room.”

I shook my head. “Wait. The pain’s going away a little. I can see…you…and Benjamin?”

“Am I kicking his ass?”

I managed a weak smile. “No, just talking. Actually, you both look happy…and you’re both in…formal wear? That can’t be right. Benjamin’s too old to go to prom.” I opened my eyes enough to see and stood up. The vision was over. My head throbbed a little, but the pain was gone for the most part.

Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):

This is from TRUCK by Katherine Dunn:

Cecilia, Vince’s little sister, bought four paperbacks and my transistor radio when I told her about running away to the Mission Mountains. She swore not to tell. Holy hair. Probably won’t. She goes hiking a lot. Says she’s got boots I can borrow. She’s a lot taller. Five six maybe. But her feet are the same size as mine. Look at the boots tomorrow. Get her money.

Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:

The writing is more enjoyable. Easier. I’m not super comfortable with marketing myself. I’m too silly to be professional all the time. Learning how to format and do layout has surprised me, though. I like it and feel a sense of accomplishment when I’m done. The indie writing community has been really supportive and I’ve made good friends whose opinions I can rely on. Trying to break into traditional publishing was a drag and I’m glad I don’t have to want that anymore.

What is your definition of “good writing”?

If the story is engaging and doesn’t get bogged down in describing every little thing, then I think it is good writing. I’d also like to come out and say that I don’t give a shit about typos. I don’t love having them in my work and I try very hard to catch them so haterz can’t hate on me, but they never pull me out of a story. I’ve got a mom multi-tasking mind, I can note them and enjoy a story at the same time.

Please share your #1 tip for writers:

Keep writing. I’m not a write everyday kind of writer, but I have consistently written for more than half of my life. Being discouraged and thinking you suck is all part of it. Just write your way out of the doubt.

Your websites/blogs/etc:



* “Glimmer” will be available on 1 November 2010.

Much thanks to Ms. Benefiel for the chat!

Author Interview, Chris Kelly



Author Interview #18, with film student/writer/independent publisher, Chris Kelly!

Chris: First, I just wanted to thank you for interviewing me as part of my October blog tour. I am touring all over the internet this month, and if any readers want to follow my progress they can check out my blog.

Anyway, thank you, Jess.

Jess: No problemo! I’m glad to feature you today :)

* * * * *

Hi Chris! Describe yourself in 5 words:






Share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):

Blurb: It is 1912, and the British Empire faces the worst magical threat it has ever known, the misuse of ancient Incan crystal skulls. 72 year old former adventuress Matilda Raleigh is brought in as an adviser. But when she realises she has been lied to and betrayed, it falls on Matilda to save the Empire, and possibly the whole world.

Excerpt: Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Alexandra begin to move, and knew she couldn’t crawl fast enough to beat the queen. Matilda forced herself to her feet, almost blacking out at the pain which flooded her body. She couldn’t walk, but she didn’t have to.

She toppled forward, falling against the clockwork man. Her left arm encircled its waist. She stopped screaming, but tears were streaming down her face and she was gasping at the pain, struggling to breathe. She had one chance to destroy him.

She raised her right arm.

“Sham, protect my hand.”


Matilda forced her hand into its chest cavity. The gears bit into her flesh and her eyes blacked out at the pain. She started screaming, and she couldn’t stop. Her hand was on fire, her fingers were alight with agony.

The clockwork man’s chest cavity nearly exploded with the pressure inside. Cogs and gears popped this way and that and rained down on the floor of the ballroom. The automaton let go of the king, and collapsed to the floor, broken. Matilda fell with it.
(Invictus, by Chris Kelly)

Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):

People who are rather more than six feet tall and nearly as broad across the shoulders often have uneventful journeys. People jump out at them from behind rocks then say things like, “Oh. Sorry. I thought you were someone else.”

That was Terry Pratchett, in his novel Guards! Guards! It’s the best Pratchett novel, and I love it.

Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:

Writing Invictus was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I had managed to get it to 90,000 words but a lot of it was crap. There wasn’t enough action (it is sword and sorcery, after all) there wasn’t enough steampunk. The pace dragged. There was a whole story (about 20k words) told in flashback, which I did kinda like.

And then I decided to go indie, and cut, cut, cut! I changed lots of it, cutting out 40k words in total (including my 20k word flashback), and replacing another 15k words. Invictus now is vastly different to Invictus then, and much better for it.

On the other hand, the publishing has been relatively easy. I put a free short story on Smashwords to familiarize myself with the technology there. At the beginning of September I published an ARC of Invictus on Smashwords. It didn’t have a cover, and it was available free. I pointed it out to some people, asking for reviews. Those reviews are coming out this month, and might reflect the fact that the Arc was an earlier version… there were errors, which have been fixed in the latest round of revisions.

And now the cover is on it and the price is $2.99.

What is your definition of “good writing”?

The fiction I write and read is very much character driven. I love the interactions and relationships between two or more characters. The way I see it you can only be one person in real life, but well written fiction can make you feel like so many more people. You can fight aliens, or be a serial killer. Well written to me is all about the characters, and the most important part of characterization is the relationships between characters.

Please share your #1 tip for writers:

Write. I know that sounds corny and clichéd, but I think it’s more important than ever for writers to realise that what they do is art, and when they are doing it they should put all other questions, thoughts, worries or beliefs aside. If you want to go indie (as I have) you will have a long difficult road ahead of you, where you will have to do everything except things you choose to farm out. If you decide to go traditional, you will have a long difficult road ahead of you where you will still need to do a lot of things (for example, the bulk of your marketing). The writing is the most enjoyable bit and, to be honest, it’s probably the easiest bit (I’m not saying it’s easy. I know it’s hard, I just wrote a novel.) Write, and enjoy the time you spend writing, and don’t worry about whether your book is good enough or marketable or any of that.

That’s kind of long, so I’ll try to sum it up. When you’re writing, just relax and enjoy the fact you are writing. Writing should be fun. There’s time enough for panic when the editing starts.

Your websites/blogs/etc:

Follow me on Twitter @Indiechris

Invictus on Smashwords:

Much thanks to Mr. Chris Kelly for the chat!

Sketches, Drawings


Some of these are on my Facebook account, and/or “all over the place” — I might draw another female figure next.

* These are sketches from 2003 – 2010. I’ll try to draw more/when I can. It can be tremendously calming (mentally), though it requires a certain amount of intensity/concentration, at the same time.


1. Edgar Allan Poe, early 2003 | one of my earliest sketches

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