FROM TRADITIONAL TO INDIE AUTHOR

A writer takes a leap

 

Author Photo 2019There are many reasons why I decided to go indie and not one of them had anything to do with my original publisher, who was great and very supportive. In fact, if there’s anything I miss more it is the community that came along with them. So many writers came up with me and it was from one another that we learned how to write better books.

 

I’m on my own now, and with that isolation comes the daunting task of self-teaching through trial, error, tears and YouTube “how to” videos. How to format. How to submit. How to deal with roadblocks. It wasn’t easy.

 

Perhaps the biggest lesson I’ve learned so far is that publishing platforms accept or reject works based on their own set criteria. For example, what some may see as funny or amusing others could interpret as insensitive or offensive. When that happens, it is up to the writer to decide whether to alter the work or move on to the next platform.

 

Rejections can occur for simple things, too, like submitting confusing keywords or author names. What if your legal name differs from your nom de plume? Be prepared to explain and explain again until someone actually contacts you from the mothership.

 

It all takes time and a level head.

 

Which brings me to my next points: go slow and be patient. Imagine working on a platform’s unique formatting program only to find that it’s an older version and won’t upload the finished book because of it? When this happened the other day, I had to let out a huge yell. Then I downloaded the current program version and started all over again.

 

Note: I ran into a lot of trouble using open source programs as well as sanctioned proprietary ones. This was because of my laptop’s unique firewall configuration. To download formatting software successfully, it may be necessary to turn off your firewall. I had a pro do that for me for the price of food and beverage. I strongly recommend this.

 

Because the process is slow and precision driven, I would recommend engaging a professional for some elements of the process. For my first release, I went with a fantastic cover designer who took my vision and turned it around in a matter of days. I would have taken weeks had I dared to try that myself. For my next release, I will employ a line editor. No matter how good a writer thinks they are, there is nothing better than a fresh set of eyes. Grammarly is great and I wouldn’t send anything to the line editor without running it first. But it doesn’t catch everything: pore and pour. The difference is huge when it appears in a paperback glaringly out of context. Cringe is all I’ll say about that.

 

I’m told by those that know that the first self-published book is always a hair puller. Until the DIY author masters the rules of pagination, kerning, cover trims, and—here’s the big one—different formats for different platforms, it’s going to be a long march to getting everything out there in a way that we like. There will be do-overs a plenty. I left two family members out of the acknowledgements section in the ebook. Luckily for me, they are back where they belong in time for the print version.

 

Whether the writer is indie or trad, the pure act of creation is what makes all this worthwhile. We are lucky to be living and writing in year 2019. More than ever before, we have outlets where we can offer our creations for sale at prices we choose.

 

That is the stuff of variety.

Write on everybody and keep learning.

Adult, unapologetic and wholly cognizant (I wasn’t the other day, believe me),

 

I am

 

A.B. Funkhauser

May 11, 2019

 

A.B. Funkhauser is a multi-genre author with three titles currently undergoing do-overs and three new unreleased works that may see daylight before the end of the year.

 

Morticians and Mayhem: Take a walk on the wild side of funeral directing.

Facebook author page 2019

 

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NF READS INTERVIEW

It was my great pleasure to be interviewed by Tony Eames of NF Reads, a general interest site that explores the creative process and stories behind the lives of the people who pursue it.

Past interviewees have included scientists, business leaders, health professionals, politicians, and www influencers. Learn more about NF Reads here: https://www.nfreads.com/about-contact/

The interview is reproduced below.

 

Please introduce yourself and your book(s)! 

 

I’m A. B. Funkhauser and I’m delighted to be profiled here on NF Reads. My on-line biographies variously describe me as an outdoor enthusiast, classic car nut, mother, mortician, monkey and purveyor of gonzo mortuary revenge fiction. What that actually means is that I write blended genre fiction based on what I see and hear and then I warp and bend everything to the peril and salvation of my morally flexible characters.

 

I’m currently working on a series of books, some with interrelated plots, others not, each with large casts and a vaguely menacing omniscient voice to taunt and trick along the way. The common thread they all share are characters that are unapologetic and very often chaotic in their life choices. They are not wholly villains or angels but somewhere in between, and the results of their actions can only be guessed at until the last page is read. The thing I get most from readers is that while they may not like all the characters, they inexplicably find themselves rooting for them. I think that’s cool. The other draw is the setting: a funeral home over many decades with a revolving door of staff cycling through, each coping with life and death and their own well-being. A reader needn’t tackle the books in order—they stand alone. In fact, I’d recommend going at them out of order. The character that dies in book two is back alive and well (and doing a great deal of damage) in book four. That’s fun to write, let me tell you!

 

What inspires/inspired your creativity?

 

A combination of work life, family folklore and an overall love of world history collided to produce work that is equal parts dark and light. I drew a lot of inspiration from Jerry Seinfeld and Kurt Vonnegut in early days; the former writing voluminously about nothing, the latter about things both profound and irreverent. Both made anything possible in the sense that nothing was off limits and everything could be grand or ridiculous. Likewise, QuentinTarantino. His non-linear storytelling that enabled a dead character to walk away alive and well in the final act opened my eyes to all kinds of possibilities.

 

How do you deal with creative block?

 

I stop and push away from the keyboard. I can’t force it to happen. It has to appear, and it always does.

 

What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?

 

Rushing—Not taking the time to read it through one more time before hitting the send button and not taking the time to read it again after it’s printed. Spelling and grammar matter and it amazes me how many errors actually sneak past the spell checker, beta readers and Grammarly-type programs.

Editing while in a terrible mood—You will do more damage to a work with a fractured lens than you will after a short break. Take a week off to clear your head. The manuscript will still be there waiting for you.

Rambling on—It’s one thing if a character is fatuous in speech and manner; it’s another if the writing is. Trim those sentences. You don’t need to go on and on.

Beware the expository paragraph—There are underpinnings to every tale (the backstory) but unless it’s an essential “tell” (sometimes you just need to say it in order to get on with things) leave it to the characters to show it through action and dialogue.

 

Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?

 

If the writer has something specific in mind, something from the gut, they probably have 50% of it right. The cover and title are not for the author but for the reader. Whether designing it yourself or choosing to go with a pro, take the time to shop the concept. Run it by the betas, your writer’s group, family, friends and CRITICS to get a temperature. And be prepared to change the cover a couple of years post pub. I’m doing that right now. What I believed to be grand and clever five years ago really doesn’t work now.

 

How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?

 

Criticism is essential to becoming a better writer. Trolls notwithstanding, a tough review almost always has merit. Do not rush to make changes after a heavy critique. If time allows, let it sit, let it percolate. I’ve gone back to a manuscript after a month-long break and have found that the feedback was usually correct. It’s tough to learn this, but it will save the writing.

 

How has your creative process improved over time?

 

I’m faster. The first book took five years, the second and third a year each. This is because I managed to figure out how to do it. But fast isn’t necessarily good. My next book will take longer because I’ve learned the importance behind taking the time. (See above)

 

What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?

 

One thing I’ve learned from reading Hunter Thompson’s gonzo journalism is that the best way to tackle serious issues without being preachy is by shining a light on them with humor. By creating morally flexible characters in absurd/exaggerated circumstances, I was able to get my points across without scaring the reader away. That was and continues to be the best thing.

 

The worst thing might have been formatting, but that gets better with practice. I’ve taught myself to like formatting by chalking it up to another opportunity to reread the text and catch those hideous spelling mistakes that spellcheck misses. Pore and pour. OMG!

 

The most surprising thing has been the way the work has been received to date. Make no mistake, a book is NEVER completed. It’s published, promoted, critiqued, and, if the writer chooses, improved with new cover designs, back jacket blurbs and layouts. I released my first book believing I had written a paranormal romance. It went on to win horror prizes. My second book, a sequel, won multiple humor prizes. This led me to a very valuable lesson learned: my books aren’t what I say they are but what the reader believes them to be. That journey continues to be amazing.

 

Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?

 

I’m currently working on book four in my series and I still aim for personal satisfaction before getting to the business of making it accessible for readers. It’s important to me to love the book first. How else can I expect a reader to feel something similar? However, after the first, second and third draft “love-in,” I step back, wait, and read through it again to see if any of it makes sense. I clear up the vague spots, kill some darlings, and trim the back story. Then I let the betas have at it. That’s how I balance.

 

What role do emotions play in creativity?

 

A great deal, but these are tempered by structure, pacing, arc and characters. Emotions can blind and if they’re not in their place, you can wind up with a mess.

 

Do you have any creativity tricks?

 

Be honest and tell the truth in the first drafts; then decide if your truth will serve readers in a meaningful way. There’s a fine line between truth and rant. I don’t rant in my fiction, but my characters often do.

 

What are your plans for future books?

 

I have four lengthy unfinished manuscripts screaming for attention. These compete with the new work generated during NaNoWriMo. I’m currently sprucing up the back catalog with new covers and layouts and find that one in particular has inspired a return to a trunk book. It’s been collecting dust for about four years. Its time has come, I think.

 

Tell us some quirky facts about yourself

 

I write fiction but read mostly non-fiction these days.

I enjoy binge watching series from multiple genres. Netflix is my university.

I go south to the hot ocean in summer but gladly hole up with the snow in winter.

I love vintaging. I can’t remember the last time I bought something new.

 

 

When will your books be available on-line?

 

The first three books should be available on Amazon by mid-summer 2019. Paperback versions will follow thereafter. The best way to find out what’s going on is to visit my website https://abfunkhauser.com/

 

 

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MARINA BLACK: BIKERS, BADASSES & A LITTLE ROMANCE

It’s my great pleasure to welcome #GuessWrite winner for March 2017 Marina Black. Marina is a practicing registered nurse and multi-published romance author with a taste for bikers and happy endings. Now seeking representation, she is currently pitching her work on today’s #pitmad pitch party on Twitter. Join me in wishing her luck!

 

1.

Welcome, Marina. Your work designation suggests medical thrillers, yet you write badass bikers. Tell us how you got there.

Thanks for having me! I often get this question and the answer is two-fold. When I’m not 51pogTvnjZL._UY250_at work, I like to keep my thoughts separate from my occupation. On a daily basis I deal with the critically ill, distraught, and dying. Coming home, I write romance to escape and as a coping mechanism. It’s a really great way to unwind! The second reason I prefer not to focus my writing on medicine is: as a nurse, if you didn’t chart it, it didn’t happen. I find myself compelled to write in gritty detail of each and every assessment my patient—character—might encounter. I have a very lovely beta reader who reads everything and tells me when I’ve gone too far into detail. Trust me, it’s quite often!

Ed. – The temptation to share specialty knowledge is huge. I get where you’re coming from. 😀

 

2.

So you write romantic thrillers?

51z-VpfYWxL._UY250_I write contemporary romances. It just so happens that I also enjoy the suspense elements sprinkled in with my romance; it gives my novels some extra pizazz! My Badass Bikers series and upcoming novel Bargaining for Blood have a mystery, dramatic storyline that runs parallel to the romance. For Unintentionally Yours, there is no mystery or suspense involved—unless you’re wondering if they will or won’t live happily ever after!

 

 

3.

I noted recently that a lot of modern ‘romances’ end badly. What, in your opinion, accounts for tragic endings? Is this a trend in romance writing?

Tragedy in romance is all well and good, however this is not something you’ll find in my 51uS9RwPAJL._UY250_work. I see enough heartbreak, violence and bloodshed in my day-to-day life—I’m not looking for that when I’m reading or writing! Certainly ‘happily ever after’ eventually will come to an end for one reason or another, but you won’t find it in my work. I’m a big fan of the ‘happily ever after’.

Ed. – It’s nice when things work out!

 

4.

Your current protagonist (from the new novel BARGAINING FOR BLOOD) Adeline is charged with rescuing the one she loves, yet she makes an interesting compact that reminds me of 1,001 Nights. Do you like to blend the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ in your characters, or do you prefer to keep them behind their own lines?

I love to strike the balance between good and evil in all of my characters for sure. Each and every one of us has a ‘line’ and I like my characters to flirt with it on the regular! Adeline in particular learns a lot about herself in BARGAINING FOR BLOOD and, as the story progresses, begins to see that things are not always black and white.

 

5.

What feeds a series? As the writer, do you find this exhausting, exhilarating or just plain psychotic? (last part said tongue-in-cheek! lol)

Characters are the drivers for me. In DEALING WITH THE DEVIL, I introduced four distinct 51PCLDICpLL._UY250_Motorcycle Clubs and a set of characters. After the book came out and people were reading I kept getting readers asking me about Cecelia and Danny and if their story was next. So, as an author I started thinking about them and that’s when SINNING WITH LOS SANTOS came into play.

 

6.

What are you watching on T.V. right now?

I’m a huge DC junkie so the entire Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow lineup is my jam. The 100 is absolutely fantastic—and my drug of choice. I’ve also been greatly enjoying Superstore—my guilty pleasure show!

 

7.

Have I forgotten anything?

BARGAINING FOR BLOOD is coming soon! I’m also seeking representation, and that’s very exciting. Here’s an excerpt from CHAPTER ONE:

 

Bargaining for Blood COMING SOON

 

“Ms. McGinnis?” Malcolm Savage lurked in the shadows like a panther stalking his prey. Adeline straightened her spine, coppery hair spilling from its bun and framing her cherubic face. Her steely eyes were wet and her cheeks were flushed; she stormed past him like a vengeful angel and his palms itched with the need to touch her. “Adeline,” he growled, more sharply this time, and she stilled.

“How did you get in here?” she demanded. “Mr. Savage—”

Malcolm,” he corrected, narrowing inky black eyes at her. Their gazes caught and held, the electricity palpable in the air as he grasped her arm. “You and I are well enough acquainted by now, wouldn’t you say?”

Her body seemed to contract and she wrenched away from him like a caged animal, snarling and sneering. “Get away from me!”

If he was perturbed by her outburst, it didn’t show on his face. “I’m not here to hurt you, if that’s your fear. Frankly, I’m not even angry. Color me impressed.” She was wound tight enough to snap and he didn’t blame her. Adeline had always clung to her moral values; turning down the lucrative lifestyle he offered took guts. He may not have understood it on a fundamental level but he certainly respected the hell out of her gumption. For her to go and do something like this…it was out of character and out of desperation.

“We need to talk. We can do it quietly amongst ourselves…or we can do it at the police station. What would you prefer?”

 

Other Books by Marina Black

41GtbqG7cLL._UY250_Losing Charlotte left a deep chasm within Bellamy Blake. It was the kind of hole that could only be filled by Clarke Griffin. This story chronicles the soul-binding love of two people who are destined to be lovers and leaders, despite the odds.

 

 

 

 

51pogTvnjZL._UY250_Lucy was born to ride. Three generations of Harding men have pledged their loyalties—and their lives—to the Devil’s Own Motorcycle Club. The club is her legacy, its blood runs in her veins, and she’ll be damned if she lets them exclude her. Lucy Harding will stop at nothing to take her place among the Devils and prove her worth once and for all.

 

 

 

51PCLDICpLL._UY250_Cecelia Santos was born for greater things. As a brilliant electrical engineer and a member of Los Santos Motorcycle Club, she’s always been regarded as a force to be reckoned with…but that doesn’t mean she’s had it easy in life. Cece has always been a fighter and now that she’s home after being kidnapped by a rival gang, she’s harder and tougher than ever. When a new threat rears its ugly head in her hometown of La Verdad, she vows to crush it all by herself. She doesn’t need help…especially not from the redheaded menace she’s trying to deny her feelings for.

Daniel Harding knows all too well how difficult Cecelia can be. He’s not only seen her as a warrior on the battlefield but as a woman warm in his bed. Although she’s made it clear he doesn’t stand a chance, he can’t back down. Los Santos are outclassed, outmanned, and outgunned; if they fall prey to Los Lobos, it won’t just be Cece’s family that’s in danger. For the good of everyone he loves, he has to make sacrifices…even if it means stepping on a few toes.

Tensions run high, blood runs hot, and the stakes get higher…will they be able to protect La Verdad or will they be damned for good?

 

41QDCieq24L._UY250_The battle for control rages deep within the heart of New Orleans. While Hayley seeks to comprehend what it finally means to have a family, Niklaus must fight a thousand years of darkness to find a shred of humanity. The bond of blood runs deep…family, love, loyalty. All will be tested as two unlikely lovers come together. Will they find happiness or destroy one another?

 

 

 

51z-VpfYWxL._UY250_When Mona Gallo finds herself accidentally pregnant, the life she worked so hard to build begins crumbling around her. Although she’s determined to raise the baby on her own, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to her sexy boss despite his rakish ways. Maybe it’s just hormones but Mona can’t seem to help herself when it comes to Reno. She should know better, of course. She’s been a stripper for half her life and seen first hand how letting down her guard only leads to heartache.

Vincent “Reno” O’Keefe’s life is falling apart. He lives three thousand miles away from his family, dates all the wrong women, is a terrible Catholic, and his fortieth birthday is around the corner. Now, his little sister has announced her engagement and he can’t bear to go to the wedding alone. Asking Mona seems like the perfect solution. She’s newly single, gorgeous, and in desperate need of a vacation.

Mona is eager to see Boston and enjoy one last trip before the baby comes. She can hide a pregnancy for a week, right?

Besides, what’s the worst that could happen…?

 

518KHIkIpKL._UY250_The treatise between the Grounders and the Sky People is a tenuous one. Danger lurks around every corner and war is imminent. Against all odds, Murphy befriends a young orphan and catches the eye of the Commander. For the good of their people, sacrifices must be made…the choice was almost too easy.

 

 

 

 

51uS9RwPAJL._UY250_Harper’s life hangs in the balance as she rests in the depths of Mount Weather. Past, present, and future collide as Harper fights against the experiments the Mountain Men are doing on her. The only thing she’s sure of is that there’s only one sick, broken man who can save her…Harper has no choice but to put her faith in Cage Wallace.

 

 

 

51K+piwqNNL._UY250_The road to perdition is fraught with violence, anger and heartache. The way back to redemption is twice as bad. John Murphy lost his way in the world long ago. He vowed to numb the pain with bloody revenge. But she was the only one who wasn’t there to watch him hang for a crime he didn’t commit. Hurting her was never an option…

 

 

 

All Titles Available Through the Author’s Amazon Page

https://www.amazon.com/Marina-Black/e/B00W4C05E8

About the Author

Marina BlackMarina Black was born in the state of Connecticut. She is a busy registered nurse who works at a bustling inner city hospital. By night (and the occasional weekend), she is a prolific writer who has penned many short stories and works of fiction over the years. Dealing with the Devil (August 2015) was her debut original novel and Book 1 of the Badass Bikers series. Unintentionally Yours (November 2015) is a fan favorite! Sinning with Los Santos: Book 2 of the Badass Bikers series is on sale now! For author updates, follow Ms. Marina Black on Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter!

 

Amazon.com: Marina Black: Books, Biography, Blog

Twitter: @MarinaBlack99

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

 

INDIE AUTHOR DON LORAH TALKS WIPS & NEXT STEPS

For frequent flyers on the Twitter hashtag game circuit, Don Lorah is a familiar face. #MuseMon, #2bitTues, #1lineWed, #Thurds, #FictFri, & #SlapDashSat know him for his regular contributions. Gritty, honest, funny and thought-provoking, his words find a home 140 characters at a time.

With three books already available on Amazon.com, Don looks forward to completing his current WIP with a mind to querying. Agents, be aware!

 

Welcome, Don.

 

 

 1.

Like me, you’ve had a lot of jobs, changing careers with apparent ease. Pop commentators on job trends say that this is the way in North America. Did you find career changes easier with each transition?

 

I don’t know if it’s easier. I’ve never really thought of it that way. I became a teacher because everyone said I’d be good at it. I wish people had told me I’d be great at making money. I might still be doing that.

But I am a seeker. My philosophy is if I haven’t used something or done something within a two-year time frame, I get rid of it. This philosophy is in contrast to my wife’s. Disagreement’s ensue.

People get upset about that. They think I’m rejecting them. I’m not. I love the people I meet at different stations in my life. But I’m not ready to settle. I’m not someone who will be doing something for 40 years and accept a plaque at the end of my life. Some people — that’s what they want and I think that’s excellent for them — but it’s not for me. I am a creature of habit, but I’m also someone who can have a conversation with anybody. I’ve never met a stranger, just someone I haven’t talked to yet.

Right now, I am patiently/not patiently waiting for my kids to graduate so I can pick up stakes and move again. If I could get paid to travel that would be awesome. That’s one of the things I like about writing. I can type away on my computer anywhere!

 

2.

Wouldn’t it be cool if we could change our perceptions in the same way? You seem to have through your fiction. Good characters, bad characters, all with equal amounts of flawed and redemptive qualities. Are you a ‘character’ author?

 

Yes. Yes. And more Yes.

People fascinate me. I tend to read mostly biographies. I want to know people’s stories. I want to know what they’re thinking. When something happens, what’s their reaction? Why? Why do people do the things they do?

Plus it’s so cool creating someone you would want to hang out with. It’s like creating your own friend.

Dean Koontz wrote two books Fear Nothing and Seize the Night. The characters he created in those books made me go and read the rest of his collection. There was a part in the second book where Bobby and Christopher were sitting in Bobby’s jeep drinking beer and I kept thinking I want to be there with them knowing full well murderous monkeys were hot on their tail!

When you break most stories down to their basic elements it’s the same thing; good guy vs. bad guy, bad guy vs. really bad guy, guy meets girl, etc… But it’s the characters that make you care about the story.

I can speed read a mass market paperback in an hour and tell you the butler did it. The books I care about enough to slow down and savior the words are the ones with lasting characters.

I hope to one day create such a character.

 

3.

You long for the beach. What draws you to water?

 

Two reasons really. One, I love the ocean. I love the waves crashing over and over. I love the feel of the ocean breeze. I love how I feel floating in the water. The beach is a happy place for me.

The other reason is because of nature. Me and the outside do not get along. I break out from everything. I hate touching plants because I know a rash will form. I cut the grass and look like I’ve got walking pneumonia. (Maybe that’s an exaggeration.)

But every spring, every fall, when the weather changes, I break out. Right now I have these spots on my arm, I get them every year, that make me look like I’m a heroin junkie. Poison Ivy will send me to the emergency room. I’m a pro at taking my steroid shot.

The ocean helps wash all that away. It’s a cleansing every time I go in the water. Hiking in the mountains is a completely different experience.

With the ocean, I’m refreshed. We’re drawn to each other. That being said, I cannot surf. Tried. I’m not coordinated enough. I also hate open water. I don’t do well on boats. I have heard every shark story ever. No thank you.

 

Ed-I hear ya! I never go in past my knees. JAWS really ruined it for me. Lol.

 

4.

The list of writing credits you’ve supplied is lengthy and varied. Will you give us an excerpt from one of them?

 

The following was something I submitted for a short story contest. You had to use the line “You don’t have enough points, sir.” as your opening line. I didn’t get nominated. The contest encouraged creativity but the five finalists were all dystopian society pieces. If the contest rules had said they were looking for dystopian pieces I would have written something along those lines. Either way, I had fun. It was a short 700-word contest. Title of the piece is Devil’s Grin.

“You don’t have enough points, sir,” the young attendant scolded Big Jim.

“Points? Who said anything about points?” Big Jim scowled. “I want that doll.” He spread his hands on the counter with a thud demonstrating his strength and willingness to do anything to get the doll.

“Sir, in order to get a prize, you need to collect points through those machines.” She pointed. “You don’t have enough points.” The young girl was matching his intensity.

Big Jim squinted trying to stare her down. She matched his gaze. He knew what was up. He stood up and grabbed his wallet. “Alright, how much?” Big Jim threw two twenties on the counter.

The prize attendant blew out an agitated breath, “Sir, I can’t sell the doll to you. You obtain the doll through points.” She pointed towards the video game machines with their beeps and flashing lights.

Kids wired on sugar stared blankly into the screens accumulating that which Big Jim did not have.

He threw two more twenties on the counter, “My little girl wants that doll and I ain’t staying here all afternoon chasing electronic pellets.”

The attendant folded her arms in refusal.

Big Jim tossed another twenty on the pile. A young punk eyeballed the cash. Big Jim shot him a look telling him to move on.

Big Jim scooted the five twenties towards the attendant. “Look, I don’t care if you keep the money or not. I just want the doll.”

The girl looked at Big Jim, then at his young daughter. She was covered in melted sugar. Sticky. No woman accompanied Big Jim.

“Must be hard raising a daughter without a wife.” The young attendant motioned towards Big Jim’s little girl.

Big Jim followed her motion seeing his princess sucking on a lollipop. He smiled, sure he’d won, “Sure is.”

The attendant smiled back and pushed the money back towards Big Jim. She leaned in close drawing Big Jim down to her level. With a wicked grin she whispered, “Still gonna need more points to get the doll, sir.”

If Big Jim thought he could have gotten away with it, he would have slapped her. He slapped the counter instead. The attendant, those nearby, and Big Jim’s little girl all jumped from his sudden outburst.

He poked a finger in her face, “Look here, missy!”

The young attendant stepped back, folded her arms across her chest and smiled.

Big Jim’s face was redder then the polo shirt his adversary was wearing.

Big Jim was not used to people treating him this way. Usually, he demanded something and he got his way. This insolent little girl was due for a spanking. That’s what he told her.

She feigned fright, “Why are you threatening to beat little ol’ me? Do I need to be punished? Was I a bad girl?” She swayed from side to side with her finger to her lips teasing Big Jim for his outburst.

Big Jim finally read her name tag, “Nancy.”

She raised her eyebrows at the sound of her name.

Big Jim pulled out his wallet and threw a hundred-dollar bill on the stack of twenties, “May I please have the doll?” He asked as calmly as he could.

Before Nancy could answer, her manager walked up, “Nancy, is there a problem here?”

“No.” Nancy looked at Big Jim.

The manager looked Big Jim over, “Well, then let’s get a move on, you’re starting to get a line.”

The manager walked away.

Nancy pushed the money back towards Jim, “You’ll need to get more points, sir.” She smiled the same smile the devil wears when meeting someone in the desert.

Jim grabbed the money off the counter and walked towards the machines with their beeps and flashing lights. He sat his daughter up on a stool facing the electronic screens like so many other children. They chased pellets, points and dignity one token at a time.

Fifteen minutes later, Nancy finished her shift. She stole the doll off the shelf, clocked out and never went back wearing the same devilish grin she’d worn every day of her life.

 

5.

The promo tag I saw recently on Twitter for SHARE GIRL carries a warning: Not for the faint of heart. Exercise caution when reading. Was it your intention to shock and awe, or did the characters hijack you?

 

The characters totally hijacked me. I never really know what’s going to happen. In Share Girl, she’s attacked. But it couldn’t be a simple attack. It had to be something horrific to change her from Amber to Share Girl. Otherwise it’s unbelievable. We watch her as she is slowly sucked into a world she is not prepared for. It leaves her broken both physically and spiritually. What is she going to do? How does she change into Share Girl? What type of person is Share Girl?

I want to write a nice story about a guy and girl who love each other. But the guy isn’t cooperating.

The Love Tree was like that. I sat down to write a witty, romantic short story but a couple sentences in, I knew the guy was lying. He bummed me out, but it gave me a great story.

The characters hijacked what I wanted to do, but they helped me create this world, a dark world, a world I wouldn’t have been able to create on my own.

That totally sounds weird.

My characters always do that. In the book I wrote, Something Wild, the same thing happened. My main character got into his car and was joined by someone else. I wrote the scene not revealing the other person. My wife is reading the draft asking, “Who is it? Who is it?” I’m like “I don’t know? I’ll find out tomorrow.”

It adds some excitement to the day!

 

Ed – I do that too, create characters with nic names not really knowing their true identities until they reveal themselves. It’s always shocking for me!

 

6.

We met through Twitter #hashtag games. Care to comment on this trend? What do you get from playing them?

 

I love playing the #hashtag games. I love the sense of community the games provide. We’re all in this together. We met through Twitter, we may never have met otherwise. Like I’ve said earlier, I love meeting new people. Some of my biggest fans are people who I’ve connected with on Twitter. I find that amazing.

Plus, there is such an abundance of talent on Twitter. How some people can take 140 characters and evoke such strong feelings is amazing.

I love the instant feedback a line can give. It’s awesome to think of a great line and share it with the world. I’m always amazed at what people like and don’t like. Something I think is great may only get a couple of likes, but something I think is a throwaway could be my most popular tweet that day.

 

7.

I love writing series, but I need breaks from time to time, usually through short stories and novelettes. Do you write more than one manuscript at a time? If so, how do you keep it all sorted?

 

For a while I was. I’d have a couple of things going at the same time. That’s changed with the last book and the one I’m working on now.

I was writing short stories for different contests and magazines, but I found the process difficult.

The last book I published on Amazon completed a trilogy, and this book now is tying a lot of my recent short stories together.

I haven’t been blessed with a new idea yet. Most of my ideas come from dreams. Maybe I need to sleep in a little bit more and the good stuff will flow once again.

 

8.

Have I forgotten anything?

 

I don’t think so.

I’ll end with advice. Write because you can. Write because you love to do it. If you become famous or successful, awesome, but don’t do it because of that.

Yes, you have talent. Yes, you have incredible ideas. Yes, no one may ever read them. But you did. You took the time to create something that is from you. You have value, therefore, your work is valuable, even if no one has ever put a price tag on it.

You never know what may last in this world and what will fade away. None of us knows the future. In a time we may not be a part of, your words could be what changes a generation.

If your words, your story, your creation changed the world, changed the course of human history for the better, would it matter if you never made a dime?

Maybe your words will do nothing more than prove to your kids anything is possible. Dreams are worth chasing. There is more to this life than social media and video games.

We all have something to say. Some of us simply have the courage to write it down.

 

In his own words

donI grew up at the beach in Delaware. After a couple of twists and turns down the road of life, I got stranded in Northern Virginia. But I’ve got my wife and kids with me, so life isn’t so bad. Trust me, as soon as the youngest graduates, I’m out of here. Life is short, I need to spend it at the beach.

I’ve had an abundance of day jobs. My family owned a well-drilling company, so I dug a lot of holes every summer. I finally got out of that and worked at a bookstore, selling books and learning how to make foam for a cappuccino.

People always told me I’d make a great teacher. I didn’t like school, but that didn’t stop me from becoming a teacher. News flash, if you didn’t like school as a student, it isn’t any better as a teacher. At least, for me, it wasn’t. I taught 7th and 8th grade math and social studies.

I hated every day!

I’m not exaggerating. Every day.

Still I won several awards: Outstanding Student Teacher, First-year teacher of the year, Math teacher of the year, Social Studies Teacher of the Year, and yes, Teacher of the Year.

Imagine if I had liked teaching!

I left teaching to become a youth minister. Here’s another tidbit to tuck away for future reference: Do not work for small minded people who have no want for growth, personal or otherwise. Too many people get comfortable and don’t want to explore new things. I want to change my whole life about every two years.

In the end, we both believed in God but the similarities ended there. Again, good with the kids, terrible with everyone else.

I gave up ministry life, and worked at a gym for two years. I’m not big on fitness, just really good at picking things up and putting them down. Simply put, I love sugar, carbs and all the other bad things I’m not supposed to like.

I workout regularly but I’m not interested in being Mr. Universe or extending my life cycle.

Now I write. I’ve got a website: www.donlorah.wordpress.com. It contains short stories I’ve written. Some I’ve submitted to magazines and contests, some I haven’t. I also have a three books on Amazon.

something-wildThe three books in the series are told from the point of view of three different people. In the first book, Something Wildthe story is told by Bodhi, a children’s writer whose wife, Rachel, has gone missing. After accepting the fact she may never be found, clues start popping up that may help him find her.

In A Bona Fide Good Guywe find Gene, a demolition specialist good-guyfor the mob trying to make a better life for himself. He’s paved with good intentions, but that doesn’t always make things right. He learns about Rachel and tries to rescue her.

the-winter-roseWith The Winter Rose, we learn there is more to Rachel then a simple missing wife. There is something evil attempting to change our world forever. Our new hero, Kendall, wants to find inner peace after a lifetime of pro ball and wealthy living. He becomes the final piece of the puzzle, helping Bodhi, Rachel, Gene and the others stand against a force more evil than Satan himself.

 

My current WIP

 

I had two different ideas. I even had people vote on them. The first story was about a two siblings with special powers in search of their mother. The other was a full length novel based off of some short stories I had written. The stories revolved around characters found in the Blue Tree Forest. Simon and company, if you’ve read the stories, are not good people. Some unlucky travelers ended up in the forest and are in a fight for their lives to escape.

The story about the siblings won. It made sense — happier ending, people like kids. I’ve been working on the story in my head longer, etc. But when I sat down to write, the second story came out.

I have very little idea where the story will end, and how my travelers will fare. I do know the story will combine, Simon, the fairies, the Blue Tree Forest, The Love Tree, Share Girl and Limbo.

The whole concept of the story came about from one of those crazy late night pillow talks you have with your wife, when you’re half tired, half loopy.

I don’t remember the details, but we got talking about mischievous things and fairies came up. I said I should write a story about fairies. I had this idea of a man taking a leak in the forest and fairies biting his butt. My wife asked if the fairies could have blue hair. I said sure, their hair will be blue as an homage to the Blue Tree Forest they live in.

https://donlorah.wordpress.com/the-blue-tree-forest/

 

The Love Tree was supposed to be a sweet love story. Something sappy. But I realized early on that my male character was a liar. His lying introduced me to Simon. Simon is in charge of the Blue Tree Forest, a forest that contains the Love Tree.

https://donlorah.wordpress.com/2016/06/24/the-love-tree/

 

Once I had those two stories, I realized I had a world to explore.

The idea for Share Girl came about from a miscommunication. One day the hashtag #Sharegirlstalkboys was trending on twitter. It was to promote the single, Girls Talk Boys, from 5 Seconds of Summer. The song was featured on the Ghostbusters Movie Soundtrack.

I didn’t know all of this when I saw it. Not a big 5 Seconds of Summer fan. Not really their demographic.

Anyway, I inquired, “was the hashtag Share Girls Talk Boys or Share Girl Stalks Boys?” I liked the character called Share Girl. It’s a hard read. It was hard to write. Our main character Amber is Share Girl. She is used, goes through a metamorphoses with Simon’s help and comes out as Share girl.

https://donlorah.wordpress.com/2016/07/19/share-girl/

 

Limbo was a five part mini-story based off of a series of dreams I had. The first night I dreamt of losing my youngest son. So I wrote a story with this character in mind. Each night I would dream different details I would add to the story. Limbo ended up in the Blue Tree Forest as a challenger to Simon.

https://donlorah.wordpress.com/2016/08/09/limbo-part-1-the-creation/

 

So now, I’m attempting to unite all these characters into one story. Crossing my fingers, it can come out like I want. I won’t self-publish this book like I have done with the others. This will be the one I send to agents in the hope of landing a book deal.

Thanks for joining us Don, and best of luck with the querying. *sending good vibes* — ABF

 

TOMORROW:  Historical fiction author Ralph Peluso tries his hand at short stories and wins with a new anthology coming SOON.

 

HUMANIST, ARTIST, PHILOSOPHER RAY CHILENSKY

Writing’s been a long time coming according to author Ray Chilensky, but once he got going there was no turning back. A ‘penciler’ in his spare time, his career as storyteller began with a “penchant for improving” source material in childhood. Today, he creates layered characters in dystopian worlds with a message that finds a home in the time we live in. Welcome, Ray.

1.

We have more than a few things in common. Let’s begin with the drawing. Is it an inherited gift? What are your favorite subjects?

 

You can be born with the talent to draw, but I really can’t point to any family member that I inherited any talent that I may have from. Even if you have natural talent, you have to work to develop it. I once aspired to be a comic book penciler so I spent a lot of time studying anatomy and basic things like perspective and foreshortening.

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F.I.R.E. Team Alpha began as a concept for a comic book series but the story outgrew that medium. My favorite subjects for artwork are usually characters that I created over the years. My favorite genre is fantasy art. I love drawing ornate armor, weapons and ancient ruins.

 

2.

You worked in law enforcement and private security. What aspects of this kind of work did you bring to your fiction? Did it inform your passion for storytelling, or was that always there?

 

My time in law enforcement and security exposed me to the fantastic camaraderie the people who work in those fields share with one another. Many of the people that I worked with were military veterans as well, and I was impressed by the bonds of fidelity that people in those kinds of professions form. I try to convey that sense of respect and loyalty in the Team Alpha books.

I’ve always been a story teller. If someone told me a story when I was kid, I tended to make ‘improvements’ when I retold it. That got me into more than a little trouble. I used to write stories based on the role playing game campaigns my buddies and I played and only showed those stories to them.  I wanted to be an author my whole life, I think. It’s only been within the last few years that I’ve taken writing seriously.

 

3.

The F.I.R.E. Team Alpha series is jam packed with topical issues: global warfare, eugenics, profiteering. Is it humankind’s destiny to repeat the mistakes of the past? Does your series offer hope?

 

Sadly, yes, mankind will continue to repeat his mistakes. We’re in the process of repeating them right now. There is a frightening lack of historical knowledge these days and that lack of knowledge lets the powers-that-be repeat their mistakes and use the same old bag of tricks to further cracked agendas. It really is the doom of man that he forgets.

Although my subject matter is bleak, I do offer hope in the form of my characters. My protagonists don’t give into despair and they never, never give up. They say ‘Ok, the world is broken; let’s fix it’. They never say ‘the world is broken, let’s whine about it.’ My protagonists work together to make their world better. They have hope, so the reader has hope.

 

4.

Give us a sketch of Douglas Carter. Do you identify with him?

 

01-Carter-2013I’ve psychoanalyzed Carter quite a bit over the years. What defines him more than anything else is that he cares deeply about humanity. That may seem odd if you read my books because he tends to leave a trail of corpses in his wake. But when he kills he does it with the conviction that he is fighting evil and freeing people, all people, from slavery. He takes tons of bad karma on himself so that other people can have better lives.

I, myself, identify with Carter only in that I share his caring for every individual on the planet. Until everyone is politically and morally free, no one really is. Carter is in a better position to act on his convictions. All I can do is write books and weave sociological and geopolitical elements into my stories and hope anyone who reads them is inspired to ask some questions. They don’t have to agree with me, but I hope that if they disagree they’ve done enough homework so that they can disagree logically.

Ed-Ray literally gave me a sketch. Fantastic!

 

5.

Filmdom is dotted with awesome war scenarios: The Mouse that Roared, Dr. Strangelove and, more recently, In The Loop come to mind. What’s your ‘go to’ movie in this genre?

 

‘The Guns of Navarone’ and ‘Where Eagles Dare’ (both written by Alistair MacLean) are two of my favorite war movies and influenced the Team Alpha series. Black Hawk Down is also a favorite. The 1975 film ‘Rollerball’, although technically not a war movie, is also one of my top ten faves. It’s set in a corporate run world that has replaced war with very violent sport.

 

Ed. I’ve seen all of these many times. They really stand out!

 

6.

Let’s talk about SEVENTH. Similar, but different, it has that fantastic ‘other-worldly’ component to it.

 

Seventh has a different feel to it than the Team Alpha books.  It’s the first of the Blessed Warrior series and revolves around the Selkirk family, which is one of seven Blessed Bloodlines; each of which is  endowed with supernatural powers by one of the seven archangels so they can defend mankind against the  demons that have stalked the Earth since before the flood of Noah. The main character is Cadell Selkirk, the seventh and youngest of the Selkirk brothers.  Being a Seventh makes him very special an extra- powerful Blessed Warrior and puts a lot of pressure on him.

What I like most about writing the Selkirks is the family aspect. There’s a tendency in a lot of fiction today that if you have a family featured prominently in a story it has to be dysfunctional. The Selkirks, despite having lost their father and a brother while fighting the demons, are a loving, supportive family. They have their issues, but they stick together no matter what. I’m the youngest of four brothers and I’m close to all my siblings. When I’m writing the Selkirk brothers, I can draw on those normal, but precious brother-to brother moments that siblings everywhere share. The normalcy of the way the brothers interact with one another, their mother and their grandfather is a great contrast to the distinctly abnormal activity of fighting demons. I think that the supernatural aspects of a story work better if their grounded in a reality that is relatable to everyday life.

 

7.

Have you ever experienced preternatural phenomena? If ‘no’ is there anything to it?

 

When I was seven, I was with some friends when I saw a huge glowing triangle in the sky. At the time I was convinced as a seven year old could be that I’d seen an alien spaceship.

 

8.

When has this planet ever been war free? What the heck would we do if we suddenly went peaceful?

 

Well, I think mankind knew a measure of peace before he became ‘civilized’. There might have been some fighting over land, food or mates, but the real carnage didn’t begin until man got organized. We’ve institutionalized religion, food production, education and most other things. We’ve really, really institutionalized warfare. Individual people can live together peacefully. Institutions can’t.

I don’t know what would happen if peace were to suddenly be achieved. A case could be made that civilization would collapse because all civilization is based on force or the threat of force. Jared Diamond wrote an excellent book on this subject:’ Guns, Germs and Steel’, which was made into a PBS documentary. I’ve worn out two hardcopies of it.

 

9.

The other day you shared an observation where you had completed a scene that would ‘probably make some people mad.’ I gotta know: can you throw out a teaser line or two?

 

That scene had to do with the corruption of many of the world churches and how the institution of the church became more important than the mission of the church. Here’s a quick expert:

 

…Cadell chuckled and shook his head. “No, we’re not religious in that sense. When a Blessed couple gets married they can have whatever kind of ceremony they want. It could be a big, traditional church wedding or they could go to Vegas and get married by an Elvis impersonator. For the Blessed it’s the commitment a man and a woman have to each other that matters, not a ceremony. Our ceremonies are for casting spells when the words spoken have real power.

The Blessed don’t have a particular sacred book or a bunch of sacraments that only elite class of oligarchs can perform. We don’t have a pope, or deacons or saints. There are no councils or conclaves. We do what is right and we answer to our own conscience and to God and his angels. We worship in our own way and interpret the Holy Word for ourselves without middle men or bureaucracy to get between us and God. The Blessed deliberately avoid organization and making the Blessed into an institution. Everything works around the family unit.”

Evelyn began her own pre-workout stretching. “Why? Wouldn’t organization make you more effective at fighting the Grigori and Nephilim?”

Cadell took a training broadsword from the rack used it to make a figure-eight in front of him. “At first maybe,” he replied. “But as soon as you make an institution out anything and start giving people titles and authority the institution almost always become more important that the reason for its existence; more important than the mission. People start jockeying for position and influence within the institution and forget about what the institution is supposed to be doing. All of that gets even worse as soon as money gets involved.”

Evelyn’s Vulcan eyebrow arched. “That would be a pretty bitter pill for many Catholics, Mormons and most Southern Baptists to swallow,” she observed.

“Look at the Vatican, though,” Cadell retorted exchanging a series of sword-strikes with an imaginary foe. “There’s proof that the Vatican knew about the Jewish Holocaust during World War Two and did nothing. It made a deal with Mussolini’s gang of Fascists so he would leave the Pope and his cronies alone. A let’s not forget that the Vatican, as an institution, covered up the fact that a good many of its priest were molesting children for decades. All of that was to preserve the institution and keep its reputation clean…”

 

 

10.

What are you working on right now?

 

I’m about two-thirds of the way done with Seventh and should have the rough draft ready to submit in mid- September. After that I’ll take a week or two off from writing and then start outlining and researching for the third Team Alpha book: ‘The Pandora Principle’.

 

11.

Any last words?

 

Just to thank you for having me on you blog. And thanks to your readers for taking the time to learn about my work. I hope they enjoy it.

 

Thanks, Ray. Let’s jump right in…

 

 

F.I.R.E. Team Alpha: The Series

The Fast Intervention Raiding and Espionage teams; elite units of genetically enhanced special operators are the tier one striking forces of the United States and its Free Nationalist Forces allies.  Drawn from the world’s finest special operation forces; the F.I.R.E.  teams combine the best, most demanding military training in the world with more than human physical and mental capabilities granted by advanced genetic engineering. The F.I.R.E. teams are the most lethal warriors in human history.

 

The Fate of Nations: F.I.R.E. Team Alpha Book One

The Fate of NationswpOver thousands of years, the tools of war have evolved from simple clubs to precision guided missiles while the warriors wielding those weapons have changed very little. In 2099, the warriors became as advanced as their weapons. The potential of human evolution was unlocked and accelerated. Soldiers became faster, stronger and smarter. In 2099, genetics became the deadliest science. Douglas Carter was among the first of this new breed of living weapons called paranormals. Already a consummate soldier before undergoing transformation into a paranormal, he has fought for his country for his entire adult life. With the United States and all other nations at the brink of destruction, he and a team of other genetically enhanced soldiers from many nations fight a war that will either free humanity from global slavery or doom it to a life under tyranny

Amazon Link

Blood and Treasure: F.I.R.E. Team Alpha Book Two

Fire Team Alpha Book 2In 2108 the First Sovereignty War is in its final stage. The World Central Authority has disintegrated after the destruction of its European command centers at the hands of the six allied F.I.R.E. Teams. American led allied armies are marching across Western Europe; bringing sovereignty and self-determination back to formerly enslaved nations. While the Pan-Asian Homogeny watches the fighting and waits for the Allies and Europeans to slaughter each other, the Corporate Consortium profits by financing all sides.  With the planet already devastated by fourteen years of global war, a cabal of scientists plans to enslave a remnant of mankind in a Utopian oligarchy after unleashing a plague that would kill most of the world’s population.

 

Without official sanction, F.I.R.E Team Alpha is sent into the corporate exclusion zone in Frankfurt, Germany to stop the scientist’s plot. The team becomes entangled in a web of deceit, conflicting political agendas, and genocidal eugenics. Operating without outside support, and able to trust only in one another, the operators of F.I.R.E. Team Alpha must not only accomplish their mission, but also discover what forces in their own government are working against them.

Amazon Link

 

The WIP: SEVENTH

The Selkirk family is one of the seven Blessed bloodlines; true emissaries of God empowered by his seven Archangels. The Blessed have protected humanity from the Grigori and their demonic allies for over nine hundred years. Trained from birth to battle the Grigori,  the Selkirk brothers fight forces that most people do not believe in yet still instinctive fear.   The seventh son of a seventh son, Cadell Selkirk has power beyond that of his brothers and the other Blessed. That power has made the Grigori fear him and mark him for destruction. With the Grigori gathering their forces against them Cadell and his brothers are the only hope of stopping a plague of vengeful demons from being unleashed on an unbelieving and unprepared human race.

 

About the Author

Ray Chilensky lives in rural Tuscarwarus County, Ohio. He has worked briefly in law enforcement and for several years in private security. He has studied political science and history at Kent State University. Late in life he decided to pursue his passion for storytelling and combined that passion with a lifelong interest in history and politics to seriously peruse a writing career. In his free time Ray’s interests include the martial arts, shooting sports, drawing and, of course reading good books.

 

Links

 

TOMORROW: Author Raegyn Perry talks LAVENDER FIELDS and her WIP follow up CYPRUS GROVES.

 

 

 

 

AND WE’RE BACK!

Something about September 1st gets me going. Maybe it’s a throwback to the division between school and summer holidays, that work v. fun mindset that drives us into a corner believing that happiness has a shelf life limited to the number of days the sun actually comes out.

I’ve always tried to ignore the lines we draw. Whether artificial: hot v. not; or natural: spring v. fall; summer v. winter — tripping the continuum is the preferred route. Nothing comes to an end on the first of September; nothing begins either. In 2016 CE, September 1st is merely a Thursday in another month of Thursday’s.

Or is it?

I, for one, had a bonzer Summer. Severe drought and weather notwithstanding, I pursued the usual things associated with the time of year. Movies with the kids; beach days; volunteerism; reading; writing and reviewing.

Suicide SquadOn the movie front, I was pleasantly surprised a couple of times. Proving once again that I am free to choose, I ignored the rhetoric surrounding Suicide Squad and went and saw it anyway. Man, am I ever glad I did. No matter how much shoot ’em up ’em’s film makers insist on serving up, nothing works better than good repartee and a STORY to go with it. Producers take note.

At the beachWith one of the hottest summers on record where I live, I was delighted to reconnect with a place long forgotten: the shores of Lake Ontario. Long seen as a place to look at water rather than wade in, I was pleasantly surprised to find environmental responsibility paying off with clean water in 2016. I went in: not once, not twice, but more times than I have in my ENTIRE lifetime (which is getting pretty long, but I don’t dwell on that!) Bravo to the good people who persevered all of those years and got at least some of our beaches cleaned up! Salutes all around.

Then there was the matter of this thing called writing, reading and reviewing. I am so close to finishing the WIP that I’m already dreaming about NaNoWriMo and the HEUER prequel. I’m also staying true to my promise to review ten books each year. A promise made, a promise kept makes me glad, and – wow – what talent abounds! Look for all ten reviews to be posted here very soon.

Today is not any old Thursday, it turns out. It’s a time to reacquaint.

There is so much to tell, including the awards won and the one’s still in balloting. There’s The Word on the Street Toronto Book and Magazine Festival to chat up as well as my growing affiliation with the amazing Sisters in Crime Toronto Chapter. Authors, new and returning, will be lending their insights as well, with cool new releases, WIPs and interview questions and answers all through the month of September. Invisibility, the art of knowing Jackie Chan, and how to get a broom with a blown spark plug off the ground, among other things, will be examined.

It’s September 1. Hello!

Adult, unapologetic and wholly cognizant, I am

FUNKHAUSER SIGNATURE

Links:

Geo Buy Link: http://myBook.to/ScooterNation

Geo Buy Link: http://myBook.to/heuerlostandfound

Walmart:  http://www.walmart.com/ip/Scooter-Nation/53281677

Website: www.abfunkhauser.com

Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/abfunkhauser

Twitter: https://twitter.com/iamfunkhauser

Facebook: www.facebook.com/heuerlostandfound

Branded: https://branded.me/abfunkhauser

Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/u/0/118051627869017397678

Publisher: http://solsticepublishing.com/

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1FPJXcO

Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/unapologeticadult

FAQ’s: https://abfunkhauser.com/faqs/

 

INDIE AUTHOR ANG D’ONOFRIO BREAKS OUT WITH A RIFF ON INSPIRATION & BUSTER HEYWOOD

Well read and schooled in the art of Netflix and Chill, independent author Ang D’Onofrio brings enthusiasm and an indomitable spirit to the writerverse. With the tools of the trade always in reach, she is quick to record what she sees for translation later into her bold and inventive fiction. Welcome Ang!

 

 

Your character Buster Heywood lives in Aviario. A quick Google tells me that Aviario is in Costa Rica. Is FROM THE DESK OF BUSTER HEYWOOD a South American novel?

 

Short answer: nope!  Long, more interesting answer: I named my fictional Connecticut town “Aviario” (pronounced AY-vee-uh-REE-oh) ages ago, back when it only had two inhabitants.  At the time, I had been writing my stories with the characters as animals – think Brian Jacques’ Redwall in a more modern time.  But I knew that I’d reach a wider audience with human characters … so the town name became a nod to the characters’ beginnings.    It took me until partway through my first draft in college to Google the word, and realize that there were other Aviarios.    Here’s a map I made of mine … minus the key, which is still under construction.  I keep it hanging next to my desk.

Map

 

So nice to meet another cat woman. My feline chap is also my muse. Do your kitties contribute to your process?

 

They supervise.  Bella likes to sit on the arm of one writing perch in the living room, but on days when I’m on my laptop, The Sneak sits under my chair and hopes I drop snacks.  One of the characters in my second novel, In The Cards, has some strong ties to cats, and I took a lot of inspiration from my girls when I wrote a couple of his scenes.

AngDsKitties

 

We met on Twitter. Care to tell the readers how?

 

It was #1lineWeds that brought us together, back before I started #2bitTues.  I noticed the theme of Heuer Lost & Found, and thought,”Hey! I have a mortician character, too.  And this lady seems super neat.  Maybe I should follow her.”   I had no idea what I was in for … but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  Our conversations never fail to make me smile.

 

Ed. Lol. Morticians have a sense of humor. You didn’t see that coming! *wink wink* 

BE SURE AND VISIT ANG AND CREW EVERY TUESDAY ON TWITTER AT #2bitTues, A PLACE WHERE AUTHORS CAN TROT OUT THEIR CHOICE ONE-LINERS FROM WIPS. BE PREPARED TO BE AMAZED.

 

THE BOOK BLURB:

As lives go, Buster Heywood’s got it pretty good. His job with the town offices of Aviario pays him just enough to keep a roof over his head and food in his kitchen. His job even keeps him free from having to deal with his social anxiety. He’s always seen things a bit different from everyone else, and now that he’s found a comfortable little bubble, he’ll do everything he can to stay inside it.

But life never goes as planned, and a combination of the wrong place and the wrong time warp Buster’s cozy, quiet life into something he would never have imagined. His problems quickly become more than just a contest between his structured worldview and the way things are: soon he’s toeing a line between following his sense of duty and losing himself to a dark, dangerous underworld.

I love the book blurb and immediately think of Winston Smith from Orwell’s 1984. To what extent are we, as individuals, removed from the day to day world outside? Is this by intent or is it beyond our control?

 

BusterHeywoodFinalCoverWow, what a GREAT question!   I love getting the Big, Deep Ones.  I think both extent and intention depend upon the individual.  Introverted people are, no doubt, more removed due to their natures … but it doesn’t stop them from being curious, either (For example: my hero, Buster, avoids face-to-face interaction, but he’s a very, very avid reader, and likes to consider himself knowledgeable).  People have a very deep-seated, subconscious drive to protect themselves, and sometimes that protection is so amped-up that it shields us from our community and our world, whether we’re aware of it or not.

I like to think there are levels, too: someone can be a very gung-ho volunteer for their local community, but be oblivious to refugee plights or natural disasters in other countries … or, vice versa.  In a way, this sort of protection can be good: too much involvement would, without a doubt, overwhelm a human soul and tear it in too many different directions.

It’s my belief that if we’re lucky enough to notice that subconscious protection, overcome it, and make the effort to involve ourselves with our world, we need to be able to pick and choose our battles.  Sometimes, that’s a very hard choice to make: and most of the novels of Aviario deal in one way or another with those choices, and their consequences.   For me, the best stories happen when you push a character past their comfort zone and make them grow.

 

Available in eBook and print format, FROM THE DESK OF BUSTER HEYWOOD, can be bought here: www.angeladonofrio.com/from-the-desk-of-buster-heywood.html .

 

You tote your tools around with you in case inspirational lighting strikes. Care to give us an anecdote?

 

Several years ago, my dad, bless his stubborn soul, injured his wrist in a fall at his job as a telephone lineman.  He was on workman’s compensation, and I had found myself unemployed due to some legal skullduggery at my workplace that ended up, shall we say, putting them completely out of business.  So we were stuck with one another, and usually pretty happy about that fact.   I went along with him to his check-ups for the injury, and we’d go out to lunch, maybe a movie, and generally make something good out of the miserable hand we’d both been dealt.

I was sitting in the cab of his truck, waiting for him to come out of such an appointment and dealing with an allergy flare-up … his dog, Lucy, loved truck rides to the dump and hardware store.  My nose did not love the dander she left behind afterwards.  I’d just managed to stop a particularly horrid attack of the sniffles, when I saw a very unique woman heading toward the hospital doors at a fair clip.  She was a consummate professional from head to … er, ankle.   The neon running shoes were the only exception.   I had a tiny little notebook stashed in my purse, and scribbled down the detail.    That scribble became one of the plot points of From The Desk of Buster Heywood, and since then, my friends & family have learned to be very patient with me, should I call a grand halt to whatever we’re doing and dive for the notebook.  Everything can be used.  Everything!

 

Ed. I hear you, although family are less tolerant, I find, when I go for the notebook in the middle of the night.

 

Do you Netflix and Chill? If ‘yes’ why? If ‘no’ why?

Oh, I Netflix, all right.  My fiancee, Laurel, is a huge TV and movie buff… bigger than me, which is saying something.  We’ve been known to burn through a season of something in a weekend, if we don’t have anything planned.  Currently our guilty pleasure is the animated Clone Wars series (we’re Star Wars fans), and I’m waiting until she’s in the mood to burn through American Horror Story: Freakshow.  As for the Chill part?  Well.  Let’s keep that private, shall we?  Wink wink.

 

Ed. I gotcha there. Maybe staying indoors isn’t such a bad thing after all???

 

What are you working on right now this minute?

 

InTheCardsFinalCoverRIGHT NOW THIS MINUTE?  These questions.   (Sorry.  I am a proven Grade-A smartass … something else I got from my father.  THANKS, DAD!)   Ahem.   Beyond that, I’m carving away at the stubborn, knotted block of wood that is my next villain.  My third book, The Proper Bearing, is set in a 1970s British Public School, and the sinister Biology professor, Cole Goddard, has been very tight-lipped about himself since last September.  I’ve just barely managed to get to the heart of the block, and I can see him much more clearly than I could when I started my draft … so hopefully, by the time Camp NaNoWriMo rolls around in April, I’ll be ready to dive back in.    If nothing else, it’s keeping me occupied while I wait for my beta readers’ feedback on In The Cards, so I can spiff it up for its September release!

 

Ed. I love, love, love NaNoWriMo. It’s the only way I can get new stuff down. Also love the block of wood analogy. Michelangelo said the same thing about marble and the figure inside. He was just taking the extra away, liberating the inner beauty.

 

Your favorite woman in literature or history? Your favorite man in literature or history?

 

I’m going with literature, because my history brain is really out to lunch, today…  I’ll probably have brilliant answers for historical figures at about 1 AM this morning, with my luck.  My favorite literary female is, hands down, Clarice Starling from Silence of the Lambs.  She’s written with such a perfect balance of vulnerability and strength!   The scene when she goes to review Frederica Bimmel’s body in the morgue will always be one of my favorite pieces of writing.  Clarice draws her strength from such a painful memory and uses it to her advantage: not just to do her job, but to overcome a bit of sexism, as well.   I know most people remember her for the showdown in Buffalo Bill’s basement in the film, but the novel gives that morgue scene so many more layers that show her strength.
My favorite literary male is a tougher question: I have a few that fight for first place.  Given the gonzo nature of your books, though, I’ll go with the zany answer: Zaphod Beeblebrox!  I’ve got a soft spot for characters with huge egos, questionable intellect, and an immense amount of dumb luck – and Zaph takes the cake.

 

Ed. In your face intellect always bears close examination for the awesome flaws it reveals!

 

The place you run to?

 

Great, now I have Madonna’s “This Used To Be My Playground” stuck in my head, thank you for that.   I have two.  The first is my bedroom, which is a careful mess of ancient books, art from around the world, my mask collection, and a snuggly cat.  The second is as close as a gal like me can get to a Mind Palace: the first building in Aviario I ever created.  Marlowe House is a big, Victorian mansion, the kind of house I want to own someday, and if I really need to get my head on straight, I go hang out there.  Sometimes I sit in the foyer window seat and read, other times I chill out in one character’s bedroom and let him play piano.

 

Ed. Great answer! And I love Madge BTW. 

 

Your greatest joy?

 

That lovely high that comes from writing a perfect scene that sucks you in as it unfolds.  The world drops away so hard and fast that I forget it’s even there, and I’m always a little baffled when it comes back in around me after I’m done.

 

Thanks for sharing, luv.

 

For more on Ang and her books, visit her website at www.angeladonofrio.com where you can sign up and receive regular updates.

 

ABOUT ANG

HeadshotAngela (or Ang, but never Angie) lives in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire with her lovely fiancee, Laurel, two particularly eccentric cats, and one opinionated conure named Jupiter. She roots the places she creates in the places that she loves, and friends and family may just find hints of the familiar in the streets of Aviario. While writing is not currently her only bread and butter, she spends much of her free time on aspects of the process, toting around her tools of the trade in case inspiration strikes.