Author Spotlight: Greg Alldredge

Welcome to another installment of my ongoing “Author Spotlight” series where I bring new and talented authors to your attention. Today’s guest is author Greg Alldredge.


Hi Greg, thanks for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

The other day I had a professor tell me I had a unique way of reinventing myself every few years. I like the sound of that and I might steal it. Writing is my fifth career. Before that I was a teacher, an actor, a plant manager for a medical manufacturing company, and a sailor for twenty years. At one time or another I sold insurance, appliances, paint, and delivered pizzas all since I was eighteen. I would like to think I’m a well-rounded person, pun intended. Though I have lost some weight and I am not nearly as round as I once was.

 

How long have you been writing?

Since the early 80s. “Lights in the Night” is the first novel I have completed, but I have been writing in one form or another since the early 80s. It just took me a long time to finish something.

 

What inspired you to start writing?

When I started in the early 80s it was for school or work. There was nothing fun or exciting about that writing. Now, I think for everyone there is a time when something motivates you to do something else. I had an idea that just couldn’t not be written down.

 

Tell us a little bit about your current project. Is it a novel, short story, or something else? Is it part of a series?

The only book I currently have for sale, I like to call a proper novel. That’s how I explain it to my friends so they don’t think I wrote a pamphlet. When I originally thought of the idea it was a standalone book, but the deeper I got into the story the more I enjoyed writing it and I wasn’t finished with the story after one book. That’s how it became Book One of the Ostinato Series. I am currently halfway finished with Book Two but other obligations have sidetracked me specifically writing a couple of short stories for upcoming anthologies.

 

What genre do you prefer to write in, if any?

I prefer Science Fiction. I believe in science fiction you can write with a flavor of the other genres. Though I am going to write a straight suspense, horror, and I have an idea for a Western. I know I should pick a genre and stick to it, but right now I’m writing to please myself and I don’t want to pigeonhole myself, there are plenty of people in the world willing to do that for me.

 

What authors influenced you?

So many, but I think Douglas Adams, William Gibson, and Parke Godwin. I’m also a theatre teacher so I must add Tom Stoppard, David Mamet, and Samuel Beckett.

 

What are you currently reading?

“Man of Two Planets” by Judith Rook.

 

Do you write every day? A few days per week?

I still work full-time as a teacher, so I write every day just not on my novels. Normally I think about writing more than I write. That sounds like I procrastinate a lot, and I guess I do, but normally when I sit down to write a book I have the story mapped out, including much of the dialogue. This way I can do a couple thousand words at a sitting. This last summer I completed my last year towards my Master of Theatre Education degree. That had me writing a lot, just not the kind I wanted to be writing.

 

Do you listen to music when you write? Does it influence how you write?

Yes, depending on the scene I’m writing, is the music I will choose to listen to. I feel the rhythm and tempo of the music help guide me when I’m writing the words for certain scenes.

 

How do you think your writing has changed from when you first started?

I finish things now. Over the decades I started a couple of novels and for one reason or another life’s distractions caused me to look away and never finish. Now I am motivated to finish what I start. Maybe it’s an age thing, I don’t know, I just feel ready to finish my novels.

 

Cover2smallHow do you create the covers for your books?

I use online software and royalty-free images off the Internet.

 

Are there any non-literary influences for your writing?

I think everything influences my writing. I think my theatre studies and being an actor helps me to tell the story I want to tell. I think learning about history and the styles of writing before the modern era also influences my writing. I also feel traveling enriches the soul, plus it gives me great ideas for stories.

 

Where can we purchase your current book? What about previous books?

For now I only sell on Amazon though I am looking at the other platforms to increase my reach. Here is the link for the kindle version: http://amzn.to/2fyvxuA

 

Where can we find you online?

Amazon Author Page

www.greg-alldredge.com

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

 

What is your favorite book and why?

“Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” I love the writing style. There are other books I have read but that one matched my sense of humour.

 

How do you market your books?

Some might say not well enough. Mostly through social media and a few advertisers. I do suck as a salesman, I probably need to find someone to help me sell my books and pay them a percentage.

 

Do you have an excerpt from your current work you’d like to share?

Not at the moment, they are still in rough draft and everything I’m working on needs work.

 

If you’re an indie author, what made you choose that route?

I wanted to get my work out there. My first book I honestly didn’t even think about sending it to a publisher I wanted to make a name for myself and control my own work. For the second book, I’m considering sending it to publishers but I’m still thinking that over.

 

Any parting words for writers?

Sure, don’t expect friends or family to buy your book. Don’t expect people you think care about you, to understand what and why your writing. It may sound cynical, but you cannot control the actions of others, if you don’t expect them to do something, you can never be disappointed when they fail to do it. Peace out!

 

Author Spotlight: Mercedes Prunty

If you’ve been following along this year, I’ve featured many new and “new to you” authors on my blog. I believe in supporting my fellow authors and I hope you’ve been able to find new authors to follow and read. Here’s my latest “Author Spotlight,” author Mercedes Prunty, author of Junia and many more books.


Hi Mercedes, thanks for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Hi, well I’m a mother, wife, author and blogger and I currently reside in a small seaside town in East Sussex in the UK. I trained as a hairdresser before finding out I was pregnant with my eldest and it was on my maternity leave when I was bored (Before the baby arrived) that I really started writing. I had always written things as a teenager such as short stories and poems in my notebooks in class instead of paying attention so I guess it’s always been in me to write but I didn’t think I would pursue it. But I didn’t actually write and self-publish my first book until after I’d had my second child. I just needed a confidence push to get me going, which my husband gave me with a pep talk of ‘If you don’t try you’ll never know’ and I’m so glad he told me to.

 

How long have you been writing?

Properly, about 4 years. Not properly, my whole life.

 

What inspired you to start writing?

My first proper novel idea came to me whilst visiting my grandparents. My baby was asleep in her travel cot and my grandad had a documentary on TV about temples in Peru and ancient gateways around the world and to be honest I’d always loved things like ‘Tomb raider or Indiana Jones’ and that was when the idea hit me. So I wrote it down and threw it in a drawer, that was until a night feed at 1am one night and I was wide awake, so I wrote the first chapter, the next night the next chapter and so on. It still took me a year to write but that’s what awakened the true writer in me. Thanks Nan and Grandad.

 

Tell us a little bit about your current project. Is it a novel, short story, or something else? Is it part of a series?

It’s a novel which is going to be around 50,000 words, I’m writing it for a competition and that’s around the limit they want, because normally my novels are 100,000+ words. It will be a stand-alone and it’s a Zombie horror novel set in my home town. (I mean why not right?) The idea for this one came to me in a dream and I began writing it, then I spotted the competition and thought, why not.

 

What genre do you prefer to write in, if any?

Fantasy and Horror and those are the genre’s I mainly read although I will read pretty much anything just depends on my mood.

 

JuniaWhat authors influenced you?

Funnily enough one of the authors who influenced me a lot was S.D.Perry who wrote the novel adaptions from the Capcom game ‘Resident Evil’. As a teen I was obsessed with Zombie horror (I still am) but I loved those books and read them to death, literally, I had to buy them all again they were unreadable after the 57th time. Another author who influence me was Laurell K Hamilton, this mainly influenced my voice as for most of my works I write in first person as she did with the Anita Blake novels but with my new WIP I am in third person which is actually a nice change.

 

What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading the Resident Evil series that are adaptions of the films. (See I told you I liked zombies). I recently brought the last book in the series but thought I would read them all in a book marathon so I remember what happens and can envision it like one long film. Although I have seen the films hundreds of times over too.

 

AloneDo you write every day? A few days per week?

If and when I can. I have two young children and it’s hard to find the time sometimes. So I just wing it and if I have a quiet day I’ll write, if it’s crazy I don’t.

 

Do you listen to music when you write? Does it influence how you write?

I have to listen to music when I write, I get so easily distracted by other noises, even the fridge talking distracts me. (My desk is in the kitchen. I’m not really a piggy…much). I tend to have a separate playlist for each novel but I mainly listen to film or video game soundtracks. For my book Junia I listened to the Final Fantasy X soundtrack on repeat for months.

 

How do you think your writing has changed from when you first started?

It’s neater and by that I mean less sloppy, my vocabulary is broadening, my ideas getting more vivid, less mistakes but still a few, the formatting and page layout has improved. I take it all in my stride though and learn as I go along.

 

KeeperOfTheKeyHow do you create the covers for your books?

I’ve done photography and art in school and college (Before I went off to do hairdressing), so I love drawing and taking photos so I tend to use them as my covers. One day I would love a cover to be made for me but my finances can’t accommodate that so I use my own, which isn’t a bad thing as people have commented on how they like my covers as they are not all the same generic ones you get from the shop.

 

Are there any non-literary influences for your writing (movies, actors, music, etc)?

The Resident Evil films and games, The Last of Us video game (Honestly if you haven’t played it you haven’t lived, it is awesome and so is the soundtrack), Final Fantasy X video game, (I like video games if you haven’t guessed and yes I am a bit of a geek). The Walking Dead… Just anything Zombie horror and Fantasy.

 

Do you have an excerpt from your current work you’d like to share?

‘Suddenly Alicia stopped, it looked as if she was trying to listen to something behind the scream of the alarms. Joel stopped and raised his gun up still holding onto the case, then his eyes widened. “RUN!” he screamed grabbing Maria’s hand and dragging her along the corridor.

Glenn turned to see a whole army of the turned chasing after them, their eyes focused on one thing, “The case Joel, drop the case!” He shouted as he also took Alicia’s hand and ran behind them.’

It’s not been edited yet but I’m working on it so this part may or may not change.

 

What is your favorite book and why?

Hard to choose just one but… Maybe… The Enemy by Charlie Higson. (Yes it’s another Zombie horror book)

 

How do you market your books?

Social media mostly because it’s cheap / mostly free although I have been planning to try and branch out a little into the paid Facebook and Amazon ads so we’ll soon see if they bring any more punters in. I have also been to a few book festival type events and sold a few copies there too.

 

Where can we purchase your current book? What about previous books?

They are all available on Amazon…

From Amazon.com

Junia

Alone

Lone (Alone Book 2)

The Keeper of the Key

From Amazon.co.uk

Junia

Alone

Lone (Alone Book 2)

The Keeper of the Key

 

Where can we find you online?

Twitter – @MercedesPrunty

Facebook author page

Blog

 

LoneIf you’re an indie author, what made you choose that route?

I chose the Indie route because I have so many ideas in my brain for stories, that I worried I would forever be trying to find agents or publishers and not have time to write. I have been told by many that even if you score a publishing deal with a traditional publisher that they might not want to take on all your works, so that would mean finding new agents again and I can’t be harassed with that. Although if one day I decided to try it I wouldn’t mind giving traditional a good go. I guess right now the indie scene suits me and it’s so hot right now it’s a great and inspirational scene to be involved in.

 

Any parting words for writers?

Never give up, keep writing, even when it all feels like rubbish and your failing you truly are not. True writers never give up, quitters are the people who didn’t believe and you must believe.

Author Spotlight: Myrod Byers

Today’s “Author Spotlight” is Myrod Byers, author of the memoir “The Literary Works of Me.”


Author Spotlight: Myrod Byers

 

Hi Myrod, thanks for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Hello my name is Myrod Byers. I was born in 1968. Grew up in rural Indiana, Mt.Vernon, New Harmony. Was born into Islam. My father was a shoe repairman. Enlisted into the US Navy after High School where i served for 7 years. Went to USI to study Social Work. I have 3 brothers/3 Sisters. Have worked in manufacturing for the last 23 years. Have 4 children. 3 boys and 1 Girl.

 

How long have you been writing?

I actually have only been writing since 2013.

 

What inspired you to start writing?

I am not sure as to what inspired me to write. I woke up one morning and started to write. Maybe it was something spiritual, although I am not a spiritual person.

 

Tell us a little bit about your current project. Is it a novel, short story, or something else? Is it part of a series?

My current published project is a memoir. It is a collection of personal thoughts on a variety of different topics from life to death, success to failures, and from friendships to enemies.

 

What genre do you prefer to write in, if any?

I like to write memoirs. I like the aspect of inspiring people. Try to make a change for the better in one’s life for the better.

 

What authors influenced you?

I like Edgar Allan Poe, Emily Dickinson, Dan Brown, and Robert Ludlow.

 

What are you currently reading?

Dan Brown’s “Inferno.”

 

Do you write every day? A few days per week?

My writing comes in spurts. I have 2 completed memoirs and I am also working on my first novel.

 

Do you listen to music when you write? Does it influence how you write?

I actually don’t listen to music when I am writing. I just have a literary flow in my head. I write until it runs out.

 

How do you think your writing has changed from when you first started?

When I first started writing, I wrote about different topics. Now I have fine tuned my writing where I focus on 1-2 key topics.

 

How do you create the covers for your books?

41e2pe0mtlI have only published one book. The publishing company designed my book cover for me.

 

Are there any non-literary influences for your writing (movies, actors, music, etc)?

Actually I like DL Hughley and Joey Zsa Zsa as they have personally supported my book.

 

 

What is your favorite book and why?

My favorite book is “Nightmares and Dreamscapes” by Stephen king. I like it because of the short story format. I loved “Dolan’s Cadillac.”

 

How do you market your books?

I mainly market my book through Facebook and through various local book signings.

 

Do you have an excerpt from your current work you’d like to share?

Sure.

Lots of people not only think within the box, But they live also live within the box. Therefore, they are limiting their own potential in dealing with life skills.

 

Where can we purchase your current book? What about previous books?

My current book can be purchased from me directly and also on my publishers website www.tatespublishing.com, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.

 

Where can we find you online?

I am on Facebook as Myrod L Byers, also have a book page on Facebook titled The Literary Works of Me- Myrod L Byers. I am on Twitter as Slimboi68, also I am on Instagram as Nerdyauthor68.

 

If you’re an indie author, what made you choose that route?

I am not an indie author on this book, But I plan on being one on my upcoming books. I feel i have a great support team in place.

 

Any parting words for writers?

I can only say if you want to do it, do it. Don’t give up on your dreams. You may impact someone’s live in a way you never thought of.

 

Author Spotlight: J.S. Frankel

In my year long quest to bring you new and “new to you” authors, I’m please to present young adult fantasy author J.S. Frankel, author of The Titans of Ardana (and many other YA Fantasy novels).

Hi, J.S., thanks for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

My real name is Jesse Frankel, but I never cared for it, so I go by my initials most of the time. I was born in Toronto, Canada, a long time ago, and grew up there, attending university and graduating with an Arts Degree, which is about as useful these days as an empty beer bottle.
When I was twenty-six, I moved to Japan to teach ESL (English as a Second Language) and never really went back. I got married a long time ago, and my wife and two sons make our home in Osaka. I teach English and write when I have the time.

Star Maps on AmazonHow long have you been writing?

Not very long, really. I started when I was forty-eight, and now I’m fifty-five, but I didn’t get into it until I was around fifty-two.

What inspired you to start writing?

Something my son said to me back in 2011. We’d been watching a cartoon, something about trees, and he said, “Papa, it would be great if the trees could talk.” It was a throwaway line, really, but that night—cliché time!—I had a dream, and later on I turned it into my first novel, The Tower. (That’s out of print, but I may self-pub it in the future).

Tell us a little bit about your current project. Is it a novel, short story, or something else? Is it part of a series?

I’m working on a number of projects right now. Actually, I’m waiting for the edits to Master Fantastic, a YA novel I have with my publisher. Then I have the third Titans novel to edit, and two more, and I’ve just completed the rough draft of Ether, a fantasy novel with a hard-edged twist. So, I’ve always got something going.

What genre do you prefer to write in, if any?

CatnipYA, as it is fresh and exciting and new. Teens always have something new happening in their lives, and I like to record those happenings, as it were.

 

Do you write every day? A few days per week?

Yes, every day, unless sick. If I don’t write, I get withdrawal symptoms. OCD, I know, but that’s how it is.

 

How do you think your writing has changed from when you first started?

When I first started, I was pretty decent with writing dialogue and action, but my narrative was poor. I knew it, the reviewers knew it, and they mentioned it to me—kindly. I went to work on it, and now my narrative has improved quite a bit, although I still feel there’s room for improvement. I like to keep things simple, no excess, no waste, just enough description to spice things up, and then let the action carry things along.

 

How do you create the covers for your books?

MASTERFANTASTIC final cover!I don’t. I work with a cover artist who goes on basic ideas I put out and she carries them through. I’ve worked with a number of people, but two of them stand out: Carmen Waters and Martine Jardin. Both work for Devine Destinies. Carmen did most of my covers including those for Catnip, Picture (Im)perfect, and Mr. Taxi, while Martine did the Titans covers as well as Master Fantastic and a few others. Both are excellent artists!

Are there any non-literary influences for your writing (movies, actors, music, etc.)?

I’m a huge YouTube video watcher, and I can honestly say that music and music videos have provided me with the inspiration to pen my novels. Mr. Taxi, Twisted (a gender-switch action/comedy) Star Maps, and a couple of others all came about due to watching music vids. They gave me ideas and I ran with them.

 

Do you have an excerpt from your current work you’d like to share?

THETITANSOFARDANA510-253x379Excerpt from my novel, entitled The Titans of Ardana. This is from the end of Chapter One, where the main protagonist, Martin Calder, attempts to get an autograph from his favorite television action star, Dana. And…he finds out that things aren’t quite what they seem…


Peering inside, the brother-sister combo stood in the center of the room. Dressed in jeans and long-sleeved shirts, they stood ankle deep in a sea of empty candy bar wrappers and cookie boxes. Three assistants fussed around throwing garbage into a large trash bag.

In a lazy, idle motion, Dana lifted the front of her shirt to reveal a firm midriff. Yeah, she had the abs, along with a line of bumps that started from a triangular bellybutton and ran around her narrow waist. All of the bumps were a perfectly round shape, the size of pearls. Multiple bumps… that wasn’t a rash. Neither was the three-pointed navel.

Oh hell! My heart immediately accelerated to mega proportions and I flattened my back against the wall, breathing hard. Bumps, I’d seen bumps and…no…it had to be some kind of prosthetic. Sure, that was it. In a second, she’d peel it off, scratch her stomach, and I was an idiot for believing something had been wrong in the first place.

Risking another peek, the assistants turned around, and all of them were clones of Van. With a sudden, massive inhalation of breath from him, they melted into his body. “Holy crap, they’re…”

Reflexively, I put my hand over my mouth in order to stifle the gasp of surprise. This couldn’t be happening! People didn’t just split apart and reassemble, did they?

“Hey, what are you doing here?”

The voice—Dana’s—startled me. Damn it, I’d been busted. Hands on her hips, she wore a pissed off expression. “What did you see?” she demanded.

“Uh, nothing, I saw—”

“You saw nothing. Now what do you want?” That came from Van. He’d come outside to stand alongside Dana and I felt his eyes rake my form over as if searching for a spot to tear me a new one. At six feet and around two hundred pounds, the guy looked strong enough to lift a tank.

Put on the spot, trying desperately to hang onto the real and true, I sputtered out an excuse. “I, uh, was hoping I could get an autograph from Dana. And you, too,” I added. “I’m a big fan of the show.”

Dana visibly relaxed and a smile began to play around her lips. “You’re a fan, huh? If you are, tell me what happened in episode twelve, midway through the show.”

plit-second answer time and it was a no-brainer. “You were captured by the Shadow Agency. They tortured you, sent a rogue mutant agent named Saldar to kill your brother, and you busted in and saved him at the last moment.”

Yes, perfect response, and in an attempt to look cool, I crossed my arms over my scrawny chest. A second later, I dropped them to my sides. My chest was too small and my arms resembled sticks. Glancing at her brother, his reaction was to offer no reaction at all. Rocks showed more emotion.

“Great,” he said. “We got us a fanboy.”

He then took a step toward me, violence flashing from his eyes. Please don’t hammer me too hard. In a quick move, Dana put her hand on his arm to restrain him. She may have been shorter and lighter, but she had some grip. Van struggled, but couldn’t go anywhere. Finally, he jerked his arm away. “All right, sis, it’s cool.” Impaling me with a glare, he said, “Fine, you’re hardcore. So, what did you see?”

“N-nothing,” I stuttered. My confidence shattered and sweat poured down my face. After wiping it away and hoping not to appear too pathetic, I managed to say, “I just, uh, walked in and saw all the candy wrappers and—”

“And now you’re here because you wanted an autograph. That’s all, right?”

“Yeah, an autograph, and then I was going to leave.”

Unfortunate situations made people feel like total tools. Call me Tool Dude. Van grunted something unintelligible, and then pulled a piece of paper and a pen out of his pocket. He scribbled something on the paper and thrust it at me. Pivoting around on his heel, he walked inside, back turned to me.

Dana stayed a moment longer, long enough to give me that same curious smile, a faint curling of the corners of her mouth. Dawn purple glowed in her eyes, and the color seemed to leap out and swallow me up. Something was there, something I couldn’t figure out. Maybe it was interest or maybe not. “What’s your name?”

“It’s Martin, Martin Calder. I’m a student at Tacoma High.”

Dana didn’t bat an eyelash and then went over to the table to grab a sheet of paper and a pen. Following her brother’s lead, she wrote on the paper and handed it over. It read From Dana to my biggest fan.

Lifting my head, our eyes met once more. She was in the process of giving me that same curious look, and then the door closed. Well, mission successful and I’d achieved the impossible. I’d seen it as well. While exiting the building, a security guard confronted me. “Hey, how’d you get inside?”

“Uh… uh, well…”

The expression of mess with me and you’ll suffer major trauma was written all over his face. “The exit is over there.” He stabbed a thick forefinger at the gate. Message given—message received.

Once outside the entrance, the shakes began. What I’d just seen had rocked my world and shaken the very foundation of my grasp on reality. Two people I idolized weren’t people. Aliens lived here and I was the first one to know their secret. The only problem was no one would believe me.

Where can we purchase your current book? What about previous books?

Here are the links to where they can be bought.
Amazon
Devine Destinies
Finch Books
Smashwords
Barnes & Noble

 

Where can we find you online?

I’m on Facebook and Twitter.

How do you market your books?

I use mainly Facebook and Twitter, and hope that word-of-mouth will carry my name around.

Any parting words for writers?

Don’t give up! I know that sounds like a cliché—and it is—but the most popular writers—not the best, maybe, but the most popular, are those who stayed the course and kept at it when others folded. You have to be persistent as well as consistent. If you have those traits, you have a good chance of getting published.

 

Massive book cover from Sara

 

 

Author Spotlight: Lucinda Moebius

In my ongoing “Author Spotlight” Series I’m pleased to present Lucinda Moebius.


Author Spotlight: Lucinda Moebius

101_0680Today I’m fortunate to present Lucinda Moebius author of a number of books published through Haven Novels Publishing.

Hi Lucinda. Thanks for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Hi back and thank you for giving me the chance to talk about my journey as an author. I grew up in Idaho as part of a large family. I am the third out of eight children, putting me smack dab in the middle. As a middle child I was always torn between wanting to be included with the “big kids” and being responsible for the “little ones”. I never quite fit in with any of them and as a result ended up needing to find ways to entertain myself. When I was eight we lost a sister to SIDS and this loss sent our family into quite a tailspin. We found joy in the birth of another sister, but some wounds can never heal. I struggled and as a result found escapism in fictional worlds. There were never enough books out there for me to read so I started writing my own.

My family was poor. We always said we were lower middle class, but looking back on our situation I realize we could only be described as poor. At one point we actually lived in a cabin in the Idaho mountains. It was a tiny, two-roomed structure heated by a wood stove and lit using gas lanterns. Our running water consisted of running down to the creek and filling up the water buckets. My parents didn’t let us know we were living in the cabin because we were poor. For us it was a grand adventure. A year and a half long camping trip in which we learned to live off the land and entertain ourselves without the benefits of television (the home computer was only just becoming accessible to the general public not that it would have mattered much because the cabin didn’t have electricity). We moved from the mountains to a trailer park. Yes, I lived in a trailer park. In fact, the majority of the town was a trailer park. Even the church was a trailer. My class was held in the bathroom. Our chapel was built a few months after we moved into the town.

My parents gave us the best gift they could: the gift of the desire to gain knowledge. They pushed each of us to get an education. It worked. Five of their surviving children have bachelor’s degrees and a sixth will graduate with hers soon. Two have Master’s and one (me) has a Doctorate.

 

How long have you been writing?

I have been a storyteller for as long as I can remember. I started writing them down about the time we moved into the cabin. We moved the summer I turned eleven. My mom would always hit the back to school sales and stock up on spiral notebooks. It’s a habit I keep to this day. I always had a notebook handy for writing stories. Although I do most of my writing on a computer now, I still have a collection of notebooks full of story ideas and outlines.

 

Tell us a little bit about your current project. Is it a novel, short story, or something else? Is it part of a series?

I have so many stories bouncing around in my head at one time it’s difficult to tell you about one current project. I am writing two novels right now: Hunter: Book Two of Chronicles of the Soul Eaters and Lakota’s Strength: Book Three in the Haven Novels series.

My goal is to finish both books this year and send them off to editors and proofreaders. If I can stay on track with my writing Hunter should be out about mid-summer and Lakota’s Strength should be available in early 2018.

 

What genre do you prefer to write in, if any?

I write every genre. The Haven Novels series is Science Fiction and the Chronicles of the Soul Eaters is Paranormal. I have published books in the following genres: Science Fiction, Paranormal, Literary Fiction, Romance, Non-fiction, and Children’s books. I have a few Fantasy novels planned out. Once I have finished the two series I am currently working on I will get started on the Fantasy series.

 

What authors influenced you?

There are too many to name. I am a huge fan of the bard! William Shakespeare understands the true spectrum of the human experience. He wrote every genre even Fantasy and Paranormal (Witches, Spirits, Magic, Histories, Insanity, Love) He wrote it all.

My favorite book as a teenager was Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I was supposed to read it as an assigned book in High School. I found it under my bed one hot summer day between my Junior and Senior year. I think I read it in one night. I don’t know how many times I read it that summer and I don’t know how many times I read it since, but it is still one of my favorite books.

I think I read through every Science Fiction and Fantasy book in our school library as well as the ones I found in my brother’s bedroom (I might have also read a few of the letters I found from his girlfriend, too). He had quite a collection of comic books and I might have “borrowed” a few X-Men and ElfQuest comics from his collection. He used to steal my babysitting money to fund his collection so I don’t feel too guilty about it.

 

Do you write every day? A few days per week?

I try to write every day. I may not be able to write on my current WIP, but I at least try to get some kind of writing done.

 

Do you listen to music when you write? Does it influence how you write?

No, I watch TV. There are a few shows I binge watch: Star Trek, Grey’s Anatomy, Law and Order, CSI, Criminal Minds and although I don’t really pay attention to the shows the background noise allows me to concentrate. I like music, but my auditory perception of the world is different than the average persons. I had my hearing tested once and it was discovered my hearing is 10% above the average human beings so I don’t hear music the same way as most people. I can’t zone out and just let the sound wash over me and I become overstimulated easily.

 

How do you think your writing has changed from when you first started?

Every book I write allows me to improve. The most important skill I’ve developed is the art of Showing vs. Telling. Most importantly, I have learned I still have a lot to learn. I am not afraid to take critique and improve my writing.

 

How do you create the covers for your books?

41gveqdiqwlI have some very talented friends who create covers for my novels. Amazon has a cover making template I use for my 30 Days Stream of Consciousness novels. I use my own photography for the images on these novels. I am going to continue exploring my cover options in the future.

 

Do you have an excerpt from your current work you’d like to share?

Excerpt from Hunter: Chronicles of the Soul Eaters book 2

I could feel the creature’s energy pushing at my back as I followed the Warrior out into the street. Her energy pulsed and grabbed deep in my core. Every ounce of my soul reached out to draw her in to my existence. I wanted her to be a part of me, to become intertwined with my being. The raw power in her soul called to me, pulling like the moon pulled on water. Since the first day I saw the creature in the graveyard so many months ago she consumed my thoughts and invaded my dreams. I couldn’t explain my desire to possess her, I just knew she belonged to me like nothing else in my past ever did.

The monster had a name, Maria Christine, but I couldn’t bring myself to call her by the name I had spent my entire life regarding the name as the most holy of holies. Even now, when I know I would never complete the path to the priesthood I still couldn’t see calling this creature the name I regarded most holy from my earliest memories.

We were moving fast. Buildings flashed by in streams of light. There were people on the sidewalk but we breezed past them as if they weren’t even there. We melted through the crowds, passing through their energy like a hot knife cuts through butter. I could see the bodies all around me. They were crowded in front of me and on all sides, pressing in as I made my way down the sidewalk. None of them moved out my way, but somehow I passed by all of them, keeping pace with the fast moving slayer ahead of me.

 

Where can we purchase your current book? What about previous books?

All of my books are available on Amazon.

Echoes of Savanna: Book One: The Parent Generation

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006RM66QM

 

Raven’s Song: Book One: T1 Generation

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006YJ92GO

 

Write Well Publish Right

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product

 

Feeder: Chronicles of the Soul Eaters Book 1

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0615968325

 

30 Days Stream of Consciousness V. 1

http://www.amazon.com/30-Days-Streams-Consciousness-1-ebook/dp/B01BW8JXBU

 

30 Days Streams of Consciousness Vol 2: A Haunting

http://www.amazon.com/30-Days-Stream-Consciousness-Haunting-ebook/dp/B01D7T9CFY

 

30 Days Streams of Consciousness Vol 3: Abduction

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01F1DMOBI

 

30 Days Stream of Consciousness: Fire and Ice A Love Story

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01GGL8QUM

 

Raising Grandpa

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OPP1FCI

 

I Know I am Awesome

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QYAQBZI

 

Oh Brother!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01A1PC5YM

 

How can we follow you online?

Lucinda Moebius Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/Lucinda-Moebius-Fan-Page-136358979707547/

 

SFF Promo Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1132459036786385/

 

Twitter Handle https://twitter.com/?lang=en

 

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4176363.Lucinda_Moebius

 

Blogs:

Your Next Favorite Author: http://mynextfavoriteauthor.blogspot.com/

30 days Stream of Consciousness:  http://30daysofconsciousness.blogspot.com/

 

If you’re an indie author, what made you choose that route?

I was originally published through a small independent press. The owner made a lot of big promises and when it came time for follow through he quickly faded. I lost creative control and my work suffered for it. I paid for editing and proofreading and the quality or the work was sadly lacking. When I gained creative control back I decided to self-publish. I love the control self-publishing gave me. It’s a lot of work to promote and try to get my name out there, but I doubt I ever go the traditional publishing route again.

 

Any parting words for writers?

Write. Every day. Just write. People tell me all the time they want to write a book but they don’t know how. If you want to write a book you should just write the book. Then join writing groups and hire editors and proofreaders to fix the issues you have with story structure and grammar. Stop telling people you want to write a book and just do it. That is all.

Author Spotlight: Jay Shaw

Today I’m fortunate to present Jay Shaw, author of The Space Colonel’s Woman.

The Space Colonel's Woman - by Jay Shaw - CoverHi Jay, thanks for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Hi Jason, thanks for having me. I’m a New Zealand author, a mum of two teens, and a lover of books. I’m an incurable romantic who stays up early and sleeps in late, writes in bed, loves both action and romance movies, survives on a diet of M&Ms, bottled water, and steak with mushroom sauce.  I have a passion for tall, dark-haired, military men in thigh holsters and combat boots, photography, baking, thunderstorms, bootleg jeans, and boots. My ultimate guest list for a dinner party would include: Queen Elizabeth I, Leonardo Da Vinci, JJ Abrams, Patty Jenkins, Jerry Bruckheimer, Jason Momoa, Ashton Kutcher, Michelle Obama, and Carrie Fisher.

 

How long have you been writing?

Five years now, though it wasn’t until last year that I published my first novel Wolfhaven – a paranormal action romance set in a world of feuding wolf-shifter packs.

 

What inspired you to start writing?

I’ve always been in love with the written word and the power it has to transport you to another world. It’s limitless, and the idea that with the turn of a page you can escape whatever life is throwing at you – even if it’s only for an hour or three – is intoxicating in the best way.

 

Tell us a little bit about your current project. Is it a novel, short story, or something else? Is it part of a series?

I have two current projects.

Limelight and Longing is the first of four movie star romance novellas in which Jenna Long meets actor Jacob Starr at a convention. The attraction is immediate and scorching, but neither is in a position to act upon it. It seems their connection will forever be chalked up to missed opportunity and fantasy. Until, eighteen months later when…

The Shifting Tide is the third full-length novel in the Dragonus Chronicles – my science fiction action romance series which hails the adventures, trials and tribulations, losses and loves of Brigadier General Mark Holden, Julia Holden, their family, and the inhabitants of Dragonus Galaxy. It follows on from The Space Colonel’s Woman, and The Hunted.

 

The Hunted - by Jay Shaw - eBook coverWhat genre do you prefer to write in, if any?

I prefer a mix of genres in my books, because I tend to get easily bored as both writer and reader. A story which has both action and romance within its pages has my full attention, be it on Earth, or set in another realm, universe, or dimension. I love the freedom of science fiction, the way my imagination has free rein to explore the endless possibilities.

 

What authors influenced you?

Wilbur Smith – his ability to plunge his readers into majestic sweeping vistas, while making us believe in the courage and determination of his characters.

Clive Cussler – all hail to his power of description, for his sexy rugged heroes and their taste for adventure, who allow readers to join the treasure hunt.

Diana Gabaldon – for proving a book doesn’t have to be just one genre.

Anna Hackett – at the top of my one-click-to-buy list. She writes action romance and sci-fi romance with such enviable skill and her characters live with you long after the story is finished.

 

What are you currently reading?

Diffraction – by Jess Anastasi

Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant! If you haven’t already you need to read her Atrophy series.

 

Do you write every day? A few days per week?

Yes, every day. The quality, however, isn’t always the best. But then you can edit a bad page, unlike a blank one. I keep pen and paper beside my bed and immediately on waking I’m writing. You know that space between sleeping and waking where all those fantastic perfect ideas and visualizations live? I can’t always decipher what I’ve scribbled, but it’s better to have it down than to forget forever.

 

Do you listen to music when you write? Does it influence how you write?

No. I listen to music while I’m editing. I don’t find it influences how I write, but after I’m finished I’ll notice the lyrics either reflect my story, or add extra depth; almost as if they’re the soundtrack.

 

How do you think your writing has changed from when you first started?

I love that our writing grows with our experiences. I’ve tightened it up. There are less ‘ly’ words, though I’m still fighting to eradicate ‘had’ and ‘that’, lol. I think the more we get to know our characters and the worlds they inhabit, the better we get at telling their story and crafting their journey. It becomes our journey as writers and I think that’s the most obvious when starting a series from the beginning. You travel with not only the characters but the author as well. And I think by the time you reach the end, you’re part of an enduring friendship.

 

Wolfhaven - ebook CoverHow do you create the covers for your books?

I have a mental vision of what I want the covers to look like. Then I send a tonne of stock images to my designer and hope like hell she can translate them into gorgeousness using her artistic genius. Choosing a designer is the hard part. I recommend Googling and checking out their portfolios until you find someone who mirrors your own creativity, then having a chat to see if you’ll work well together.

 

Are there any non-literary influences for your writing (movies, actors, music, etc)?

Hell yes!

I grew up with such influences as Star Wars, Star Trek, Indiana Jones, MacGyver, Battlestar Galactica, Romancing the Stone, Wonder Woman, and Tour of Duty. Then along came Stargate Atlantis, Jupiter Ascending, and The Dresden Files. Everyday heroes standing up for what is right against intimidating odds, finding great love and fighting to keep hold of that love while their world around them heaped danger and adventure on them. An environment where they can prove themselves, can grow and learn who they are inside, and use that knowledge to gain victories. Without struggle there is no strength, without strength there can be no triumph.

 

Where can we purchase your current book? What about previous books?

All my books are available from:

Ebook: www.amazon.com/Jay-Shaw/e/B01CXLFUMG

Print: https://www.createspace.com/pub/simplesitesearch.search.do?sitesearch_query=jay+shaw&sitesearch_type=STORE

 

Where can we find you online?

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JayShawAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jayshawauthor

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15094075.Jay_Shaw

Pronoun: https://books.pronoun.com/jayshaw/

Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/Jay-Shaw/e/B01CXLFUMG

 

What is your favorite book and why?

To write: is always the one I’m working on because I’m immersed in those characters and their story.

To read: is a much harder choice and I’d never be able to narrow it down to just one. Here’s my top five:

Valhalla Rising – by Clive Cussler

The Burning Shore – by Wilbur Smith

Pillars of the Earth – by Ken Follett

Voyager – by Diana Gabaldon

Plus anything by Anna Hackett, Jess Anatassi, Veronica Scott, and Sarah Madison.

 

Do you have an excerpt from your current work you’d like to share?

“Black Wing eight, clear and headed for uploaded coordinates.” She radioed while staring out the canopy at a squall of vibrant cobalt, lime, and fuchsia clouds, and the blink of golden stars, smeared across the vast ink-black ocean of uninhabited space. Julia understood the concept of a nebula, but to see one in reality; sheer brilliance and scale dwarfing anything that dared to challenge it, was awe-inspiring.

“Acknowledged, Black Wing eight.” Major Walker, Second Helmsman for Columbus, answered in her ear. “Initiate Flight Evasion Sequence one, under Subsection A.”

Julia accessed the menu on her display, loaded a program similar to the flight simulator Stephen and Lieutenant Colonel Dawson created for Phoenix City’s glider training program.

“Initiating Flight Evasion Sequence one, confirmed.” A red AIA icon waited at the base of her display while the F490’s radar matrix registered the outer rim of the Solaris asteroid belt with soft pings and a rash of white dots.

“Black Wing eight, you’re cleared for commencement. Black Wings four, seven, and twelve you’re on a sixty-second staggered start. Confirm.”

“Copy, Columbus Flight, Black Wing eight commencing simulation. Wings out.” Halo and the other pilots radioed their confirmations in her ear as Julia accelerated her AIA through the Heaven’s Arch.

It was breathtaking. Black Wing eight cut through the soaring cotton-candy clouds like a samurai sword through the finest silk. Julia’s wrist didn’t ache as it had after her teaser flight with Halo, proving Black Wing eight was born for space. The inertial regulators didn’t compensate for all the Gs as they cut swathes through Solaris’ luminescent layers of gas and dust, but the push-pull on her body sure added to the thrill. Static scratched in her ear, making Julia wince as Black Wing eight plunged from auroras of bright color into the midnight chaos and lightning storms of the asteroid zone.

Despite the lack of telepathic communication between her and her craft, Julia was lost to the addictive power and graceful beauty of a CobraF490 in her natural element. The two of them flew together in a symbiotic union of style and speed; an osmosis of motion. Black Wing eight translated Julia’s subtle stick-twitches into breakneck swoops, spiral-dives, arcs, and last minute wing-tip turns around, over, and between, the stately avalanche of colossal planetoids.  

Lightning struck from on high in lethal stabs, one-two-three, and Julia gasped; blinked through the livewire echo on her retinas, to haul Black Wing eight into a vertical climb. Her display bleeping with virtual panic as rock debris the size of houses and aircraft carriers cascaded through their previous position, down into the abyss beyond. Bright gold stars streaked by as the excess Gs held her into the seat. Adrenalin licked cool and addictive over every inch of her skin, kick-started her heart and sent it racing. She whooped in delight; thighs tensing to contain the surge of heat pooling low in her belly. Only one other thing ever made her this hot, this primed. And stuck in his office, half a system away, her General was totally missing out. Julia crowed on a bubble of pleasure as she rolled before executing a smooth forty-degree sweep between two massive asteroids and streaking toward the co-ordinates where Columbus waited with her time score.

The Shifting Tide – Dragonus Chronicles III, Jay Shaw

 

Any parting words for writers?

Write what you want to read.

Pay for a professional cover.

For every story there is someone somewhere waiting to read and love it.

Go with your gut. If it feels wrong it usually is.

Enjoy the ride.

 

Author Spotlight: V.R. Craft

Today in my series of “Author Spotlights” I present author V.R. Craft.


Author Spotlight: V.R. Craft

vrcraftToday I’m fortunate to present V. R. Craft, author of “Stupid Humans.”

 

Thanks for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I always heard you should write about what you know, so I decided to write a book called Stupid Humans, drawing on my experience working in retail and my subsequent desire to leave plant Earth. (Nowhere will you meet more stupid humans than in retail.) I also worked in marketing, advertising, and public relations, where I found even more material for my book. I’m now self-employed, and I consider myself a professional shopper. I enjoy the contact sport of shopping clearance sales, slamming on the brakes for yard sales (seriously, you do NOT want to tailgate me), and wasting time on social media, where I find inspiration for a sequel to Stupid Humans every day.

 

How long have you been writing?

Since I was a kid, really. I wrote for some local newspapers and magazines, but never got paid much, if anything, so that made me lose interest in writing for a while. I have a background in journalism, but was always more interested in making up my own stories than writing the truth. I guess it was either politics or writing, and I’m not much for kissing people’s asses, so writing it was.

 

What inspired you to start writing?

I guess I have a lot to say. I’m opinionated. I want everyone to know what I think, and I’d like to think my books and stories make a point. They’re also humorous, because I think sometimes the best way to make a point is to get people laughing and hope they think about the absurdity of the topic.

In Stupid Humans, I poke fun at stupidity, and a lot of things we do in society that don’t make sense. In the book, humanity has discovered that some super-smart humans left Earth about four thousand years ago—the lost colony of Atlantis. So we find our long-lost, distant human relatives, and five minutes later we’ve started a war with them. I honestly think that’s what would really happen if that scenario were true. Or if we encountered intelligent life on other planets. If there’s one thing human beings are good at, it’s picking fights over stupid stuff. In the book, this manifests in a peace rally that goes great until someone starts throwing peace symbols, and then the whole thing deteriorates fairly quickly. It’s a funny scene, but it also makes a point about how we human beings are.

 

Tell us a little bit about your current project. Is it a novel, short story, or something else? Is it part of a series?

Well, I have several projects. I have some short stories that will be published this year—Not Enough Scotch in Scotland, Don’t Feed the Trolls, and A World Without Stories. All are variations on alien abduction stories, which I also do a lot of on my blog, vrcraftauthor.wordpress.com.

Stupid Humans is also being adapted as a serial, due out in early 2017. It’s interesting watching it be adapted into a shorter form.

I’m also working on my next novel, a parallel universe story that will probably be out sometime in 2018.

 

What genre do you prefer to write in, if any?

I mostly write science fiction, because that’s what I like to read.

 

What authors influenced you?

Jack McDevitt, Ben Bova, Douglas Adams. I loved The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy because it was so funny, but it also had a lot of science fiction themes that were interesting. I guess that inspired me to write comical science fiction.

 

What are you currently reading?

Right now I’m reading Saturn Run by John Sandford and Ctein, then I’m going to read Death Wave by Ben Bova.

 

Do you write every day? A few days per week?

It varies. When I’m attempting a Nanowrimo, every day. Or if I’m trying to finish a project. Funny story about Nanowrimo—I started Stupid Humans in November of 2012, thinking I was actually going to write it in a month. Now the finished version of that book is about 140,000 words. The first draft was about 176,000. I finished it in November, all right—November, 2014. Hey, they never said it had to be November of the same year, right?

But there are also some days and even weeks when I don’t write. I know I should write every day, but mostly I write sporadically.

 

Do you listen to music when you write? Does it influence how you write?

Yes, I sometimes listen to music. I don’t really know if it influences how I write. I’m a pantser, so I don’t have anything planned when I write, music or not. I wrote most of the second half of Stupid Humans while listening to Bruno Mars’ Unorthodox Jukebox playing on repeat. It’s still one of my favorite albums, and sometimes I remember writing a scene when I hear those songs.

 

How do you think your writing has changed from when you first started?

I’ve learned a lot about writing style, like deep point-of-view and avoiding passive voice. That’s the main thing. I also try not to overwrite as much. Like I said, Stupid Humans was 176,000 words in its first draft. Part of that was due to being a pantser, but most of it was due to writing a whole lot of crap readers don’t care about. When I edited the first draft, there was so much stuff that I looked at and said, “Do I really need to spend two pages on this? Can I just sum it up in a sentence or two?” Mostly if it was neither relevant nor extremely funny or interesting, I decided the answer was no. The second draft was only about 155,000, and I later cut more from it.

 

How do you create the covers for your books?

My publisher, a small press called Oghma Creative Media, designed the book cover. I really like how it turned out.

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Do you have an excerpt from your current work you’d like to share?

Absolutely! Here’s an excerpt of about 600 words. This is the peace rally scene:

For reasons Hailey didn’t quite understand, the second the shaking stopped, everyone ran for the exits. Hands pulled apart, feet pounded the floor in heels and soft soles, and signs fluttered to the ground as their holders fled.

“This door is locked!” someone screamed from the end of the concourse.

“So is this one!” Clark had joined the fleeing crowd. She’d thought better of him than that, but he’d been dating a Human, and while stupidity wasn’t contagious, people sometimes picked up each other’s habits.

Farley, running through the crowd in his “Peace for peace’s sake” t-shirt, threw the first peace symbol. Samantha said something Hailey couldn’t hear to Sheila, as she flounced out the door of her restaurant and surveyed the scene. Sheila grabbed for the nearest emergency exit door, jostling Samantha, who stumbled into Farley.

“This one’s locked too!” Sheila bellowed.

“It locks automatically after an impact to protect the inner part of the station in case of….” No one could hear her over the noisy crowd, and finishing the sentence with “a hull breach” would only worsen the panic, anyway.

“This is your fault, Human!” Farley yelled at Samantha. “I bet you caused whatever just happened, didn’t you? Your people can’t stand peace.”

Two minutes earlier he’d been holding hands with two Earthers and singing some old Human song, the lyrics of which sounded a lot like, “Come buy bombs.”

“Oh, that’s great!” yelled a Human at the back of the crowd. “Some peace organizer you are.”

“Seriously? You helped organize this display?” Samantha sneered at Farley.

“Not anymore!” He slammed his peace symbol onto the ground. Due to the lightweight plastic and the lightweight gravity, it bounced off the floor and flew up into the crowd, smacking Clark in the face.

Sheila shoved Samantha up against the wall, grabbing the collar of her black jacket. Was that messing up one of the camera shots? “Time for you to stop asking questions and start answering them. What do you know about this Human attack? Which of your people blew up that ship, and how stupid was their reasoning? Or were you in on it, Human?”

“Leave her alone, or I’ll make sure you stop getting an Economic Crisis discount on your rent.” Hailey hoped to come off as a beacon of peace instead of a miserly manager. It was so hard to gauge these things before they hit the news nets.

Sheila let go of Samantha and stomped back into her restaurant, slamming the door on other frantic fleers, but the Human/People clash was far from over.

While Hailey yelled at the crowd to calm down, every peace symbol in the room was lobbed at someone. Fortunately, the cheap plastic limited the damage, but a few pieces managed to leave red marks. One found its way to the mouth of a shop owner just as he yelled, “You people are sub-Human!” The peace sign drove his lip into a nearby tooth, and blood trickled down onto his “Give peace a fighting chance” t-shirt.

What was she doing? She was supposed to be in charge here, and she was gaping at this idiocy like, well, an idiot. Remembering her data pad, she called up the emergency preparedness plan she’d signed off on after Clark wrote it last month. She hadn’t actually read the plan, so hopefully Clark knew what he was doing.

 

Where can we purchase your current book? What about previous books?

Here is the book link for Stupid Humans on Amazon. It is also available on BN.com, and other online stores where books are sold.

 

Where can we find you online?

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/VR-Craft-104391266655648/

Pinterest:

https://www.pinterest.com/vrcraftauthor

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/vrcraftauthor

Book Link on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01H7FQ3VU

Author Page on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/V.R.-Craft/e/B01H7POQPU/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Blog:

https://vrcraftauthor.wordpress.com/

 

Any parting words for writers?

Find a good writing critique group. I go to a couple, and they have helped me improve my writing a lot. Because of them I learned about things like deep point-of-view, avoiding passive voice, and other things that tighten up your writing a lot. I also learned how to condense two pages worth of back story into a short conversation in a way that still gets the necessary info to the readers without boring them in too much back story.