Interview with Joe Perrone Jr.

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* Interview #74, with mystery writer, Joe Perrone Jr.!

* Note from Jess: Joe was AUTHOR #1 to be featured on this blog in Jan 2010. He’s back with another book in his “Matt Davis” mystery series! One of the books in the series was recently awarded an Indie B.R.A.G. Medallion — you know you’d like to find out which one…

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joe_perrone

Describe your latest book in 5 words:

Victim, no suspects, no motives.

What inspired the plot?

For years, as a guide on the Beaverkill River in Upstate New York, I passed what appeared to be an old abandoned hotel. Finally, I got the idea for the plot from the thoughts of that old hotel.

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

* Joe’s Comments: In my new book, Broken Promises: A Matt Davis Mystery, an 86-year old woman is found shot to death on the grounds of an abandoned, burned-out old hotel. There are no witnesses, no suspects, and no apparent motive. Here’s an excerpt from when it happens:

broken_promises

“I’m here!” she shouts at last, a broad smile spreading across her face. “I’m so sorry I’m la–”

The man turns and starts toward her, but Maggie doesn’t recognize him. As he moves forward, he trips, and suddenly there is a flash of light and a loud crack like a tree being struck by lightning. Maggie feels a dull thud, then a burning pain in the center of her chest; and in just seconds, nothing.

Share some of your favorite quotations (10-100 words): 

“It’s better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.”
—Uncredited

“It was beauty that killed the beast.”
—Carl Denham, from the movie King Kong

“The coin don’t have no say. It’s just you.”
—Carla Jean Moss, from the movie No Country for Old Men

“Shut the f**k up, Donny.”
—Walter Sobchak, from the movie The Big Lebowski

“Leave the gun, take the canoli.”
—Clemenza, from the movie The Godfather

What is your definition of “good characterization”?

Good characterization is when an author creates a character that is so three-dimensional and real that the reader actually cries when that character is killed in the book. Really great characterization is when you, the author, cry, too!

What is it about mystery that you find most appealing?

I guess I find writing mysteries appealing because they permit me to use my imagination to the fullest, and they genuinely challenge my inventiveness.

Neat :) What are some of your plans for the rest of the year?

I am putting the finishing touches on the print and Ebook versions of Broken Promises, so I can publish it as soon as possible (hopefully by the end of July). Then, I will be listening to auditions for the narration of the audio book version. Then, my wife, Becky, and I are going to take a two-week vacation through New England and out to Lake Ontario. Rest. More rest. Then I will resume work on a literary novel I began seven years ago while I was in Charlottesville, Virginia. Of course, I am constantly working with other authors, assisting them with editing, formatting, and book cover designs.

Jeez, I’m tired already!

Your websites/blogs/etc:

My website is: www.joeperronejr.com

My author email address is:
joetheauthorATjoeperronejrDOTcom

My Facebook pages are: Author Joe Perrone Jr. and The Matt Davis Mystery Series.

On Twitter, I am @catsklgd1

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Much thanks to Joe Perrone Jr. for stopping by — do visit Joe’s Website for more info on him and his projects!

JOE’S BIO (short bio):

Opening Day was recently awarded an Indie B.R.A.G. Medallion, and in 2011, As The Twig Is Bent was translated into Portuguese as Pau que nasce torto by Rafa Lombardino of Word Awareness, Inc. of Santee, CA. Plans are underway to translate Opening Day and Twice Bitten into Portuguese in the very near future.

All of Joe’s books are available in paperback or in Kindle editions on Amazon.com

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Author Interview, Charles Muir

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Interview #70, with “compelled misfit” and horror/dark fantasy writer, Charles Muir!

charles_muir

Describe yourself in 5 words:

Compelled. Hungry. Misfit. Persistent. Transmuting.

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

hollywood

From my story in Hell Comes to Hollywood, “Alone and Palely Loitering”:

Knight had a friend, a writer, who soared to dazzling descriptive heights when it came to women’s breasts. Ample ones, especially. On paper, they quivered and beckoned as a succulent feast of edibles, their “creamy mounds” and “Hershey’s kisses” in contrast to Knight’s lens-like assessment, all dimensions appreciable in his worldview. The woman before him was more than a feast, she was a gateway to gluttony, her breasts densely spheroid with long, shadowed cleavage lines, mounted over the proud breastbone of a Valkyrie. And hips, high-velocity curves like a wildfire along twin hummocks, hips that blazed their own sexual lights against the bosom’s fearful symmetry. A tigress, Knight thought, like that Amazonian knockout in those cannibal horror films he watched with the sound down when his wife wasn’t around, he forgot the actress’s name just now.

“Um,” was all he said…

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

A bright light, like a hot, flickering, yellow star, burned through the ghostly mesh of his death dreams. He looked over and she was standing sideward to the fireplace, holding a burning brand outthrust toward it in her hand. Yet not a stick or twig; it was a scroll of tightly furled paper. And as the flame slowly slanted upward toward her hand, she deftly reversed it, taking it now by the charred end that had already been consumed and allowing the other to burn.

— Cornell Woolrich

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

It took me five years to relearn how to write. I don’t mean writing as a craft, but as an act of putting words on paper without college-grafted perfectionism killing your first thoughts. With my stories I now try to emulate Ray Bradbury’s “seven drafts in seven days” approach (or seven sessions at the computer in my case) allowing my conscious thoughts to take over gradually in the last two or three drafts in a more natural arc. It’s fun and healthy for me, seeing as I’m a solitary doer and prefer to keep my studio closed off until I send out the end-product.

As for publishing, all my work has been in short fiction, which out of long habit I continue to submit individually to the small presses, hoping to find an indie publisher who will be interested in anthologizing my stories someday. This means the usual confetti of rejection letters and the sense of climbing a ladder with only two rungs. But I absolutely see the value of self-publishing these days. The technology is in place, the stigma is (rightly) going away, and emerging writers are becoming increasingly aware of the need to self-promote in a dismal marketplace.

As a side note, the Internet can be terrible for a neurotic person like me. There is a metrical side to seeing your work in print in the form of online feedback and statistics that didn’t exist when all you got was a check and contributor’s copy. Still, the Internet has given me relationships and opportunities I never would have dreamed of otherwise, and is giving artists a chance to get their work out there despite the stagnant commercialism and elitism of big publishing.

What is your definition of “good writing”?

I personally prefer narration that transforms the mundane into the strange, even nightmarish. It wakes you up for a moment. I remember very little about even crucial plot points, but I’ll recall a certain shadow, or a flight of stairs, or the way a character resembles a puppet for just an instant. That transformative vision is what gets me as close to the writer’s mind as I will ever get.

Please share your #1 tip for writers:

You will get better if you love what you do, because you will do it a lot and for as long as it takes to achieve the desired effect.

Your websites/blogs/etc:

My personal website: www.charlesaustinmuir.com

My article on “How to Submit Short Fiction for Publication”: http://tinyurl.com/submittingshortfiction

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Much thanks to Charles Muir for stopping by — do visit Charle’s Website for more info on him and his projects!

CHARLE’S BIO (in his own words):

I’m a writer, primarily in the horror genre. I’ve appeared most recently in the U.K. magazine, Morpheus Tales, and the Stoker-nominated horror anthology, Hell Comes to Hollywood.

I was born on the Oregon Coast but have lived all my life in Portland.

I’ve written psychological horror, splatterpunk, dark fantasy, flash fiction, slipstream, squishy-soft sf, and experimental. Some of my favorite themes include alienation, disease, hunger and metamorphosis.

My aim is to bend reality, skew the mundane, and broadcast my personal horrors. At the same time I don’t take myself too seriously.

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Author Interview, Daniel Clausen

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Interview #65, with the author of “The Ghosts of Nagasaki”: Daniel Clausen!

Describe yourself in 5 words:

Hopelessly romantic coffee drinker.

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

Inoue

This is the first paragraph from my upcoming novel, The Ghosts of Nagasaki:

The long backward perspective one gets from the angle of a word
processor some years later is a tricky one. As a connoisseur of
biography and autobiography I know that there is nothing less reliable than someone writing about his or her own past from his or her own perspective. And for the general welfare of those who look for the bare facts of the matter, I am obliged to stamp on the very first page, in the very first paragraph, in bold italics: All fact-seekers beware.

* You can join the emailing list for this book at: ghostsofnagasaki.com

* If you would like a free paperback or PDF version of the excerpt
“Silence” from this book, you can email Daniel at: lexicalfunk@gmail.com

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

Not my favorite book, but one of my favorite authors, Haruki Murakami.

I actually don’t have any copies of my favorite books, as strange as that sounds. Here is something from Kafka by the Shore.

The massive bank of thunderclouds crossed the city at a lethargic
pace, letting loose a flurry of lightning bolts as if probing every
nook and cranny for a long-lost morality, finally dwindling to a
faint, angry echo from the eastern sky.

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

That’s tough. A great deal of books on book marketing will tell you to begin your writing process with a target audience in mind.
This is counter-intuitive for most writers since most writing comes
from a desire to communicate something deeply personal. In other words, most authors start their books thinking about themselves, not their audience.

Even if you do decide to write something deeply personal, make sure
you get a good editor. Make sure you have an advertising
strategy that is practical and coherent. Make sure your book is the
best physical product you can have. And hopefully, the germ of your
inspiration to write will survive this process…there are no
guarantees.

What is your definition of “good writing”?

I’m not sure what good writing is, but good fiction should aspire to
be more truthful than real life. Good fiction can reach for honesties
not captured by the world most people know.

Please share your #1 tip for writers:

There’s no pot of gold, just the joy of doing good work. Doing good
work is difficult, so when you do it, it’s very rewarding.

Ah, diligence :) Your websites/blogs/etc:

ghostsofnagasaki.com

I just started the website, so please join the emailing list. If
you’re not sure how, just email me at: lexicalfunk@gmail.com

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Much thanks to Daniel for stopping by — do visit his website for more info about his project!

Recommended Erotic Books

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* This post is part of a short series:

QUALITY EROTICA (aka “Jess’s Erotic Stash”)

PART 1: Introduction + Erotic Art Books
PART 2: Erotic Books (Non-Fiction)
PART 3: Erotic Poetry
PART 4: Erotic Books (Fiction)
PART 5: More on Love/Sex/Relationships

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Jess’s erotic stash / “sex education”

[PART 4: Erotic Novels / Anthologies]

These are some of the books/novels that REALLY opened my eyes re: sex/sexuality/gender/love/relationships.

Doesn’t get much better than Anais Nin and D. H. Lawrence, etc etc.

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lolita

16. Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov | Amazon.com

Blurb:

Awe and exhilaration — along with heartbreak and mordant wit — abound in Lolita, Nabokov’s most famous and controversial novel, which tells the story of the aging Humbert Humbert’s obsessive, devouring, and doomed passion for the nymphet Dolores Haze. Lolita is also the story of a hypercivilized European colliding with the cheerful barbarism of postwar America. Most of all, it is a meditation on love — love as outrage and hallucination, madness and transformation.

Excerpt:

Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.

She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita.

(Lolita, opening lines)

Exhilarating –“You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style…” (a quote also from this book).

Link: Amazon.com

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switch_bitch

17. Switch Bitch, by Roald Dahl | Amazon.com

Blurb:

Great wit, melancholy, and lust pervade this collection of four adult short stories by Roald Dahl. Included here are “The Visitor” and “Bitch,” featuring the hilariously vivid exploits of the notorious Uncle Oswald, as well as “The Great Switcheroo” and “The Last Act.”

In these taut black comedies of human weakness and unexpected reversal, Dahl captures the delicious thrill of sexual triumph and the galling deflation of defeat.

Excerpt:

I only hope that my reticence will not create too strong a sense of anticlimax. Certainly, there was nothing anti about my own climax, and in the final searing paroxysm I gave a shout which should have awakened the entire neighbourhood. Then I collapsed. I crumpled up like a drained wineskin.

(The Great Switcheroo, Page 76)

It’s funny how many of the books on this list were just books I “happened” to find or receive (I didn’t specifically look for them to make a purchase). I think I bought Switch Bitch at a used books store in Singapore (for $0.50 or so). I loved Roald Dahl’s books for children. His work for adults is equally impressive/superlative in terms of style and wit.

Link: Amazon.com

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venus_in_furs

18. Venus in Furs, by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch | Amazon.com

Blurb (including excerpt/s):

An early manifesto on the potent relationship between cruelty and the pleasures of the flesh, Venus in Furs was written by a man once called the “poet” of masochism. “To be the slave of a woman, a beautiful woman, who I love, who I worship.” This is the sole desire of Severin, a young aristocrat who has fallen in love with the beautiful Wanda von Dunajew.

Wanda is initially reluctant to embody his fantasy, to become Severin’s Venus in Furs. But empowered by his desire, she begins to play her role with a passion that surprises even her lover. “You will be mine,” she tells him, “my plaything, which I can break to pieces, whenever I want an hour’s amusement.” A fascinating exploration of power in sexual relations, Venus in Furs is an erotic detour down love’s thorniest path.

This is real BDSM in a very non “sensational” or hyped way. The term ‘masochism’ is derived from this Austrian author’s name (that alone is reason enough to check this out).

Links: Amazon.com | Wikipedia

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19. Little Birds, by Anais Nin | Amazon.com

Blurb: Delta of Venus and Little Birds, Anais Nin’s bestselling volumes of erotica, contain striking revelations of a woman’s sexuality and inner life. In Little Birds, each of the thirteen short stories captures a moment of sexual awakening, recognition or fulfilment, and reveals the subtle or explicit means by which men and women are aroused. Lust, obsession, fantasy and desire emerge as part of the human condition, as pure or as complex as any other of its aspects.

Excerpt:

She felt dizzy with conflicting sensations. She did not move or turn her head. A hand now sought an opening in the skirt and discovered the buttons. Each button undone by the hand made her gasp with both fear and relief. The hand waited to see if she protested before proceeding to another button. She did not move.

Then, with a dexterity and swiftness she had not expected, the two hands twisted her skirt round so that the opening was at the back. . .

(“The Woman on the Dunes” / Page 15)

OMG this was *the* erotic book which I started off with (bought it together with the Poe anthology at a book sale). I’d just finished secondary school at the time and this book was unlike anything I’d ever come across. It was the first time I knew of Anais Nin. I didn’t even flip through the book’s contents before deciding to buy (something I do very rarely). The back copy text (i.e. the blurb above) and the cover image convinced me of the inner contents.

I like how the title comes from the first story in the anthology (and the usage of the words in the story too). This slim (but extremely potent/influential) volume made the difference between my “young teenage” life and a more mature/worldly outlook ;) It was really a form of sexual awakening, in retrospect.

Link: Amazon.com

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20. Delta of Venus, by Anais Nin | Amazon.com

Blurb:

Anais Nin’s Delta of Venus is a stunning collection of sexual encounters from the queen of literary erotica. From Mathilde’s lust-filled Peruvian opium den to the Hungarian baron driven insane by his insatiable desire, the passions and obsessions of this dazzling cast of characters are vivid and unforgettable. Delta of Venus is a deep and sensual world that evokes the very essence of sexuality.

Excerpt:

Then John saw that she wanted him, that she was offering herself, but instead of being stirred, he recoiled. “Martha! Oh, Martha!” he said, “what an animal you are, you are truly the daughter of a whore. Yes, in the orphanage everybody said it, that you were the daughter of a whore.”

Martha’s blood rushed to her face. “And you,” she said, “you are impotent, a monk, you’re like a woman, you’re not a man. Your father is a man.”

And she rushed out of his room.

(Many Think Quintia’s Beautiful, Page 56)

I think this one’s even more hardcore (in the sophisticated/artistic/intense way) than Little Birds ;)

Link: Amazon.com

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21. Lady Chatterley’s Lover, by D.H. Lawrence | Amazon.com

Blurb: Lady Chatterley’s Lover is both one of the most beautiful and notorious love stories in modern fiction. The summation of D.H. Lawrence’s artistic achievement, it sharply illustrates his belief that tenderness and passion were the only weapons that could save man from self-destruction.

Excerpt:

Connie was surprised at her own feeling of aversion from Clifford. What is more, she felt she had always really disliked him. Not hate: there was no passion in it. But a profound physical dislike. Almost, it seemed to her, she had married him because she disliked him, in a secret, physical sort of way. But of course, she had married him really because in a mental way he attracted her and excited her. He had seemed, in some way, her master, beyond her.

Now the mental excitement had worn itself out and collapsed, and she was aware only of the physical aversion. It rose up in her from her depths: and she realized how it had been eating her life away.

(Chapter 9)

One of the best of the best. I had to read the book twice in order to appreciate it (I first read it when I was 16 — didn’t really ‘get’ some parts yet at the time). I can remember very well (in my mind — in terms of desire + emotional intensity) the part where Oliver Mellors (the gamekeeper) first meets Lady Chatterley.

Links: Amazon.com | Wikisource (Chapter 9)

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sons_and_lovers

22. Sons and Lovers, by D.H. Lawrence | Amazon.com

Blurb:

D.H. Lawrence’s great autobiographical novel is a provocative portrait of an artist torn between love for his possessive mother and desire for two young beautiful women. Set in the Nottinghamshire coal fields of Lawrence’s own boyhood, the story of young Paul Morel’s growing into manhood in a British working-class family rife with conflict reveals both an inner and an outer world seething with intense emotions.

Gertrude is Paul’s puritanical mother who concentrates all her love and attention on her son Paul. She nurtures his talents as a painter — and when she broods that he might marry someday and desert her, he swears he will never leave her. Inevitably, Paul does fall in love, but with two women — and is unable to choose between them.

Written early in Lawrence’s literary career, Sons and Lovers possesses all the powers of description, insistent sensuality, and scathing social criticism that are the special hallmarks of his genius. “A work of striking originality,” writes the critic F.R. Leavis, by “the greatest creative writer in English of our time.”

Excerpt:

“A what?” she asked brightly and unashamed.

They thought awhile. He was sensible all the time of having her opposite him. Suddenly their eyes met, and she smiled to him — a rare, intimate smile, beautiful with brightness and love. Then each looked out of the window.

The sixteen slow miles of railway journey passed. The mother and son walked down Station Street, feeling the excitement of young lovers having an adventure together.

(Chapter V: Paul Launches Into Life, Page 89)

Wow, another best of the best. Words cannot describe the substance in classic works like this (desire is just one component; there’ll also be the social / societal / human condition aspect). I have other D.H. Lawrence books but if I had to recommend just two it’d be these two.

Link: Amazon.com

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QUALITY EROTICA (aka “Jess’s Erotic Stash”)

PART 1: Introduction + Erotic Art Books
PART 2: Erotic Books (Non-Fiction)
PART 3: Erotic Poetry
PART 4: Erotic Books (Fiction)
PART 5: More on Love/Sex/Relationships

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Author Interview, Cora Buhlert

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Author Interview #42, with Cora Buhlert of Pegasus Pulp!

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Hi Cora! Please describe yourself in 5 words:

Multi-genre writer, teacher, translator.

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

Executioner's Blade

The Kiss of the Executioner’s Blade

France 1516: The executioner Geoffrey de Bressac is called to the town of Charentes to put a traitor and assassin to death. But a shock awaits him. For the condemned is a woman, Angeline de Golon. But how can he save Angeline, when she is to die at sunrise?

And now a short excerpt:

The sun crossed the horizon, its rays striking the executioner’s blade. The Comte’s intestines were quivering with anticipation. With his left hand he was surreptitiously massaging his crotch. With his right he gave the final sign. The crowd held its collective breath. The priest crossed himself and averted his eyes. The executioner finally…did nothing.

“What are you waiting for?” the Comte demanded in irritation, “Do it!”

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

This is a difficult question, because I have plenty of favourite authors. However, I’ll stick to indie authors here and offer you the following excerpt from Mardi Gras Was Over: Three Love Stories by Kathleen Valentine:

“The first thing Minerva Light noticed about Tristan Hancock was his hands. She fell in love with them and then began working her way up his arms to the rest of him.”

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

Writing is the fun part, the burst of inspiration when the characters come alive and everything is possible. Though there are also times when writing becomes a slog, because the words just won’t flow.

Publishing, on the other hand, is work. A lot of it, like revising, editing, copyediting, proofreading, formatting, etc… is nitpicky work and not a lot of fun. Nonetheless, it is necessary and skimping on any of these steps of the process will result in a book that is not the best it can be. Though there also are parts of the publishing process that are fun. For example, I enjoy designing my own covers and have a lot of fun finding just the right images, fonts, etc…to illustrate the story.

Finally, there are few things more thrilling than seeing your own book on the virtual shelves and on the screen of your e-reader or holding a printed edition in your hands. So even if the publication process is hard work at times, the end result still gives me a thrill. And that’s what writing is all about, isn’t it?

Yes ;)! What is your definition of “good writing”?

Most of all, good writing is subjective. One person’s good writing is the next person’s clichéd and clunky crap. One person’s lyrical writing is the next guy’s purple prose. One person’s stark minimalism is the next person’s texting prose. That said, a writer should have a good grasp of spelling, grammar and punctuation and deviate from the rules in these areas only with good reason.

That’s a good point for all writers to take note of :) Please share your #1 tip for writers:

Read a lot, not just your genre but other genres, non-fiction and poetry as well, and write every day. Yes, I know it sounds clichéd. But if you write every day, you’ll get a lot of practice and that makes you a better writer. Plus, you’ll produce a lot of stories, novels, essays or whatever it is that you write. In my experience, it’s best to set yourself a certain minimum wordcount goal per day. However, keep it low enough that you can even meet that goal when you’re busy, tired, sick, etc…Personally, I shoot for 100 words of new fiction and 100 words of new non-fiction and academic writing per day. I mostly write more and my daily average is between 1000 and 1200 words. But those 200 words are the absolute minimum I make myself write.

A daily average is always good! Please let us know your websites/blogs/etc:

My personal website and blog is at http://corabuhlert.com. My publisher website and blog is at http://pegasus-pulp.com.

My Amazon Author Central page is at http://www.amazon.com/Cora-Buhlert/e/B005F04ZJW/

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Much thanks to Cora for stopping by — be sure to check out her website for more info about her and her (very) diverse writing projects!

Author Interview, Topher Sanders

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Author Interview #38, with the music-obsessed Topher Sanders!

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Hi Topher! Please describe yourself in 5 words:

Husband. Father. Silly. Geeky. Music-Obsessed.

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

aysels_arrow

Courtney and I talked for another two hours. It turned out we had a mutual obsession for Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica.

“Absolutely not,” he said. “There’s no way Captain Picard is a better leader than Admiral Adama.”

“What,” I said. “Are you kiddin’ me? All Adama had to do was fight the Cylons — and he never did that very well mind you — he never had to deal with Borg or Q or the Klingons.”

“Well, Picard didn’t deal with them all that well, now did he?” he said. “He did get his ass assimilated.”

We both laughed.

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

He was an introvert who trembled with fear every time gym class rolled around. He watched nerd shows like “Doctor Who” and “Blake’s 7,” could tell you the difference between a Veritech fighter and a Zentraedi battle pod, and he used a lot of huge-sounding nerd words like “indefatigable” and “ubiquitous” when talking to niggers who would barely graduate from high school.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

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

People often talk about the writing process as the hard part. I know a lot of cats with multiple half-written manuscripts. Writing your novel is really the easy phase, it’s that one-page synopsis of your 120,000-word opus that’s a real bitch. The publication process can be brutal, but it’s a matter of how badly you want to share your creation with the world. If you believe in your project and you’ve worked hard to get it clean and ready for eyes, then publish it. You’ll have to roll up your sleeves and do some more work to promote it, but it’s your book and you love it. You’ll love raising awareness for it too.

Hell yeah ;) What is your definition of “good writing”?

Writing that transports and transforms. It doesn’t have to be complex or verbose, heady or erudite, it just needs to tell the story. The best writing for me is simple, clear and keeps me on my toes for the next turn in events.

Yes, I like that type of effect too :P (sounds very much like “good music”!). Please share your #1 tip for writers:

Write and share. I know a lot of people give the ‘put-your-butt-in-the-chair’ advice and that’s good advice, that’s where it starts. But you have to share your writing with readers. You have to expose yourself to the opinions of others to get better. Being in a critique group is good, but those are also creative-types trying to get published themselves and they bring a certain type of eye to your work. But you need your average readers like your Aunt Gretchen or that guy at work who hates you or your girlfriend’s sister to read your writing. Those are the people who will tell you something so painfully obvious you or your critique-group pals should have noticed it, but it just slipped by you. So write and share often.

Please let us know your websites/blogs/etc:

For the novel it’s www.Facebook.com/AyselsArrow.

Folks can follow me on Twitter @tophersanders

The book on Amazon: Aysel’s Arrow

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Much thanks to Topher for stopping by! Be sure to check out Aysel’s Arrow (featuring 29-year-old Latina Aysel Valencia, who is a straight shooter not only with her arrows at the archery range but also with her no-nonsense personality…).

Author Interview, Kate Walker

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Author Interview #36, with multi-genre Australian writer (and animal lover), Kate Walker!

kate_walker

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Hi Kate! Please describe yourself in ~5 words:

Living Delights Me.

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

Excerpt:

“He knew why he loved her and marvelled at the mystery, that without her he was just a man who filled a corner of a store, shifting ties and handkerchiefs, but with her he filled the whole world. Keeping a shelf tidy became a sacred duty, knowing that everything he did was either right or wrong, good or bad for his soul, damning or glorifying to his spirit. There were no meaningless actions any more, everything was significant and either exalted or bestialised him.”
The Man Who Loved His Wife (a short story)

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

I remember…Akira breaking off from what we were doing, tip-toeing to the balcony and leaning right over the rail, so far I feared he might topple over. Then when he came hurrying back, I noticed the strange grin had appeared on his face. The maid, he reported in a whisper, had as expected fallen asleep.

‘Now we must go in! Are you frighten, Christopher? Are you frighten?’

Arika had suddenly become so tense that for a moment all my old fears concerning Ling Tien came flooding back. But by this point a retreat for either of us was out of the question…
Once We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro

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

WRITING is one of those occupations that oscillates between blissful ease and immeasurable toil.

You slip into the zone and the story writes itself. You’re taking down dictation and all you have to do is listen and be a faithful scribe. Words come, one after the other, in an order more exquisite than you could have conceived, and will remain in that order forever more.

Then next day the inaudible whisper is gone and you’re on your own. Words fall in clusters like rotten grapes or handfuls of flint, and you’re lucky if one in twenty will survive to serve your needs.

And then there’s the rewriting, interminable beyond belief. You rehash every sentence fifty times. And only when it reads like someone is again whispering the story into your ear do you know it’s ready and complete.

PUBLISHING, on the other hand, is like being a store keeper. Every job is clear cut. You actually know what you’re supposed to be doing, which is the opposite of writing. I’m talking about epublishing now. You know how the document needs to be formatted, and you can sit doing it late into the night and never flag. It’s just a checklist and when each job is done, it usually doesn’t need undoing…not like writing does.

Then you up-load. They ask the questions, you tick the boxes, press the right buttons, and that’s it — you’ve got a book out there. So little effort for such a grand achievement. It feels wonderful.

Of course, then you have to promote the book. That’s what takes the time out of your day and the skin off your knees. You get on-line and search the known universe for anyone at all who might conceivably give you a few pixels of space. It’s the total opposite of writing and how good is that? Just what every writer needs — a second job (still to do with writing) but nothing like it. Just more checklists and buttons to press. And for your trouble, there’s some pretty nice people out there in the known universe that you’re certain to stumble across.

WRITING vs PUBLISHING? Thumbs up to both.

What is your definition of “good writing”?

Good writing is a story that tells itself. It’s a book that turns its own pages. It’s a style the reader never notices, because it’s so at one with the story, the pain and labour that went into crafting it is totally invisible. There’s not a word that isn’t needed. And yet not a character that doesn’t move about before your very eyes, nor a setting that you don’t walk tangibly through.

For me, that makes a perfect book and I’ve read a few of them, such as: The Remains of the Day & Never Let Me Go by Ishiguro. Oscar and Lucinda & The Kelly Gang by Peter Carey.

Please share your #1 tip for writers:

Meditate first. It wakens the muse and gets her whispering.

I’ve one more question for Kate, since one of her books is a dragon novel for children ;) What do you find most captivating about Dragons?

dragon_mith

[The Dragon of Mith, by Kate Walker (also posted on Dragonsinn.net)]

Dragons are us. They’re that great mysterious beast that is ourselves, projected large. They represent everything we can be: all powerful; treacherous; avaricious for gold; thirsty for blood; gentle; eternally patient; guardians of good. They’re us on a god-like scale, where we can stand back and see ourselves and be awed.

Excellent — I couldn’t have said it better myself (I’ll add your quote to the contributors’ page on Dragonsinn!). Please let us know your websites/blogs/etc:

www.katewalkerwriter4children.wordpress.com

www.katewalkeraustralia.wordpress.com

www.katewalker.com.au

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Much thanks to Kate Walker for stopping by!

Kate writes all sorts of books (picture books, novels, deep and meaningful short stories, etc.). She hates doing the same thing twice and loves the excitement of totally new ventures.

Be sure to check out her website for more info on her award-winning books [including The Dragon Mith, first published in Australia in 1989 and awarded second prize in the Australian Children’s Book of the Year Awards (Younger Readers].