Reality Bites Book Awards: Final Round

The Reality Bites Book Awards has come to its final round and I’m still in it! I’m in the category for favorite “SciFi Author,” a category I was nominated in because of my book The Selection.

If you have a Facebook account, would you please consider adding your vote? My fans, friends, and family have been awesome in their support in getting me this far. One more week of voting, can you get me to the finish line?

It’s been overwhelming seeing all the help I’ve received. I’ve started nicknaming my amazing support team “The Nuge Brigade” because it sounds pretty cool and they’re encouragement has been awesome!

If you can spare a moment, please add your vote through the link below. I humbly thank you for your help.

Reality Bites Book Awards: Final Round – SciFi Author (If for some reason the link only takes you to the Event page, scroll down until you see the “SciFi Author category”)

Thank you again for the massive amount of support. It’s because of you I am where I am.

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!

 

Reality Bites Book Awards

Hey everyone, this is gonna be a shameless self-promo style of a post.

RealityBitesI was recently nominated in four different categories for the Reality Bites Book Awards! I’m nominated in “Best Horror Book” for my collection of dark tales Moments of Darkness as well as “Best Horror Author.” I’m also nominated for “Best SciFi Book” for my novel The Selection for which I’m also nominated for “Best SciFi Author.”

I’m excited to see that others have found my work worthy of nomination. I’m up against some serious competition too!

If you’ve got a moment and a Facebook account (all the polls are on Facebook unfortunately) could you please consider voting for me? You can vote for more than one author per category so if you feel others deserve a vote as well, please vote for them.

I have the links below. Please consider supporting me and voting for me. If you can share this post with others for their support I’d sure appreciate it. Voting ends Saturday August 12th.

Thanks!


Reality Bites Book Awards Polls

Best Horror Book

Best Horror Author

Best SciFi Book

Best SciFi Author

“The Selection” – Mid-Summer Sale

Hey everyone, I wanted to alert you to a mid-summer sale on my young adult scifi adventure novel The Selection. From now until the end of July, you can get your copy from Amazon for only .99! That’s $2 off the normal price. Please take advantage of this special. Snag one of the images below and share with your friends, family, and frenemies. The easiest link to use is mybook.to/the-selection. It will take you to the Amazon store of your country.

THANK YOU!!

JulyPromo

Humans colonized the planet Kepler 186f after Earth’s near total global collapse. Soon after, supply missions ended leaving the colonists to themselves, renaming the planet Anastasia and building a new society far different than Earth’s. 

As population imbalance threatened stability in the settlements, a horrific and brutal institution known as The Selection was created.

Centuries later, haunted by the screams of his dead older brother, eighteen year-old Eron fears the unknown terror waiting for him and all boys his age in The Selection. He has thirty days to survive to Victory Point and reunite with his crush Mina. He will have to endure brutal circumstances and forge unlikely alliances if he’s to survive The Selection.

Time is short. Threats are constant. Survival means life. Failure means death—or worse.

 

JulyPromo2

mybook.to/the-selection

JulyPromo3

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.

13445360_1236045719790054_1771228305834197707_n

 

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.

 

Author Spotlight: Lisa Wylie

Here’s the latest in my continuing series of “Author Spotlight” interviews. Today I interview Lisa Wylie.


Author Spotlight: Lisa Wylie

Today I’m fortunate to present Lisa Wylie, author of Burning Suns: Conflagration.

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

Hi, and thanks for inviting me. I’m from Scotland, I live just outside Glasgow, and I work for a research software group at an academic publisher. I’m a scientist by training and a sci-fi geek by nature, and I dabble in photography and cooking as well as scribbling in my spare time.

 

How long have you been writing?

In fits and starts since I was a kid – any time there was a writing assignment at school, I’d make up a story. As a hobby, since I was at university, and it’s been a continuous passion since then, so let’s say twenty years.  Yipes…

 

What inspired you to start writing?

The catalyst was having a bunch of friends who were also interested in writing.  We started with our own Star Trek fanfic ship and crew, writing stories for original characters and their adventures within that universe. I fell in love with it at that point. We then moved on to an original work, and writing that, at first as a way to keep a connection, and then for the sake of the story itself, is what really got me hooked.

 

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

Burning Suns: Conflagration is a project of interesting beginnings, actually. Burning Suns itself is a board game produced by Emil Larsen at SunTzu Games. It’s a sci-fi based game, so Emil had got together with a bunch of artists and produced a galaxy that was populated with fantastic races and locations, and he wanted a story to go with that galaxy—which, for me, was like being a kid given full run of the toy store. When you get a picture like this, there’s a story just waiting to be told…

4268502_orig

And thus Conflagration was born. It’s a three-book series following the adventures of two of the playable characters in the game, although the story is totally standalone – you don’t need to play the game to follow the books. There’s a lot of potential for sequels and other timeframes in the world-build as well, so I hope it’ll keep me busy for some time.

 

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

Sci-fi. I dabble in fantasy as well, but I’ve always loved sci-fi a little more, and it was a natural progression from reading and watching to writing. Though, perversely, I think I own more fantasy books.

 

What authors influenced you?

David Eddings, Tom Clancy, Robert Heinlein, Alistair MacLean, Janny Wurts, and Richard Morgan.  That’s an odd list when you read it back, right? Eddings at the top because he was, and is, my favourite author, and even if you haven’t read his other books, the Rivan Codex, which is a companion piece to his Belgariad fantasy series, has a whole wealth of insight into how he wrote the books.  The thing that sticks with me to this day is the advice to: “Write a million words. Then throw them away. Now you’re ready to begin.” It really underscores the importance of practice.

 

What are you currently reading?

The Three-Body Problem, by Cixin Liu.

 

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

I try to write every day, if only for five minutes, although some days I do take a complete break.  Habit is a powerful ally against writer’s block, I find.

 

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

Usually, and yes, very much so.  I often use it to set my mood.  I love movie soundtracks, I always have. I love the way it’s an emotional amplifier for what you see on the screen, and that once you’ve associated a piece of music with an emotion, it can be difficult to ever shift that conception that you’re supposed to feel “this” when you hear “that” piece. So if I need to tackle a scene or chapter that has a certain emotional tone, I’ll pick the music to put me in the right mindset. And sometimes, that needs to be a terribly cheesy power ballad, hah!

 

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

I’m sure I’m echoing many others in a hope that it’s gotten better! But I think it has. I’m more comfortable with different styles, more confident in trusting to the content of a story rather than dressing it with too many fancy words, more aware that you can’t spend ten thousand words describing something in loving detail no matter how cool you think it is. Getting feedback really helps with that.

 

How do you create the covers for your books?

Burning Suns has a very talented artist crew, and they create the artwork that supports the books and the game. The book covers are a team effort between me, Emil, and our principal story artist, Angelita Ramos, about whom there are not enough superlatives I can use. I adore her work, and I’m really lucky to be working with her. You can see some of that artwork in our trailer for Conflagration – you really get a feel for the scope of the galaxy, I think.

 

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

Sci-fi movies and TV series of all shapes and sizes, I would say, and even the odd computer game – Mass Effect was a strong influence on my decision to start writing fanfiction again after a long break. And that led me to the opportunity I have now, so it was definitely a positive influence!

 

What is your favorite book and why?

HMS Ulysses, by Alistair MacLean. The fact that it’s written from experience lends it an authenticity that’s hard to surpass, but the way in which in portrays the better angels of human nature against a setting of such extraordinary hardship and in the midst of war is utterly magnificent.

 

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

Not excerpts as such, but a series of small stories called snapshots that fill in some background and work as teasers for the main story, available here: https://wyles77writes.wordpress.com/snapshots/

 

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

My new book, the third and final installment of Conflagration, will be released May 11th. Book One is free to download on Smashwords, and if you sign up for my email list, you can get Book Two for free as well (otherwise you can pick it up on Smashwords or Amazon.)

Where can we find you online?

My website

Facebook

Twitter

My Amazon bio page

Smashwords

 

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

I’m not really an indie, since technically I have a publisher, but we’re a two-man army so pretty much we do this on our own.  We’re occupying a niche between indie and trad, thanks to the setup of the game world, so we need the control that the indie option brings.

 

Any parting words for writers?

Ooh, gosh—have fun with it! Whatever you’re writing, however far along with it you are, whether it’s fanfic, original fic, poetry, or factual. When you’re putting this amount of time into something, enjoying it is crucial!