Saturday, 6 February 2016

#‎B2BCYCON Interview With Author M T McGuire

Over the next couple of months I will be doing a series of author features on this blog and on In the Spotlight (in fact you can check out the first feature interview here).

Now why am I doing this you ask?

Here’s why…



A great event for authors and readers alike is afoot in the virtual world. Coming this April, on the 8th, 9th and 10th, is the Brain to Books Cyber Convention. Being held on Goodreads, with adjunct events on Facebook and elsewhere, it works much like a real world convention only online. With “author booths”, panels, readings, and more, it will be a fabulous gathering for all book lovers. You can find all the details and pertinent links for the groups here: http://www.angelabchrysler.com/brain-to-books-cyber-convention-2016/

Just be sure to join both Goodreads groups if you are an author. One is for convention preparations and information, and the other is the convention site itself.


Now on with the main event, our first Brain to Books author feature.


Today I have a great interview with humorous sci-fi author M T McGuire, so enjoy...


 Interview With M T McGuire



Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

M T McGuire enjoys the real world but wouldn't want to live here full time. That's why she writes books. She grew up, or at least, got bigger, half way up a windy down in Sussex. Her home was also the first location choice for Hogwarts, in the Harry Potter films, so maybe it's not so strange that she's ended up writing spec-fic. Perhaps there's something in the water up there, apart from chalk. She used to do stand up but sat down and started to write books when she got married. She now lives in Bury St Edmunds, in Suffolk, with a McOther, a McMini and a selection of very silly cars. She hasn't found a way to make any of the cars fly, and none of them is fitted with ordnance like the ones in her books, but she and her team of evil scientists are working on that.
Despite being nearly 50 now, and supposedly, an adult, M T checks all unfamiliar wardrobes for a gateway to Narnia. She hasn't found one so far but she lives in hope.


Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

My latest book, Escape From B-Movie Hell, is a standalone humorous science fiction novel about a female student who discovers that a) her best friend is a space lobster and b) that the human race is about to be wiped out in a meteor strike. The story is, basically, what happens next. Thinking about it, the blurb would probably help. Here it is.

If you asked Andi Turbot whether she had anything in common with Flash Gordon she’d say no, emphatically. Saving the world is for dynamic, go-ahead, leaders of men and while it would be nice to see a woman getting involved for a change, she believes she could be the least well equipped being in her Galaxy for the job.
Then her best friend, Eric, reveals that he is an extra terrestrial. He’s not just any ET either. He’s Gamalian: seven-foot, lobster-shaped and covered in marmite-scented goo. Just when Andi's getting used to that he tells her about the Apocalypse and really ruins her day.
The human race will perish unless Eric’s Gamalian superiors step in. Abducted and trapped on an alien ship, Andi must convince the Gamalians her world is worth saving. Or escape from their clutches and save it herself.


Why did you decide to write in the humorous science fiction/fantasy genre?

To be honest, I don’t really have a choice. I write what comes out and what comes out 99.9% of the time, is humorous science fiction fantasy. There’s also adventure, action and some clean romance in a couple of books.
If I tell you that the first book I attempted to write, when I was five, was called ‘Charles the Dragon Slayer’ that probably says it all. But I suppose it’s because I read to escape. I really don’t want to think about everyday life, I read to get away from all that so when I write I want to pimp reality to make it more interesting. Although, having said that, what I really, really like about writing humour is that you can get away with some quite hard-hitting stuff because it’s funny.


Who is your intended readership?

To quote Terry Pratchett, I write for, ‘anyone who is interested.’ I also write for me in the hope that if I like my books someone else will. So far, it’s definitely a mindset rather than an age range. My youngest fan was 9, he’s probably older now and he’d read all the Harry Potter books so he was probably pretty advanced. My oldest fan is in his 90s and there is a big mix of pretty much everyone in between.
So yes, I’m speaking to people with a certain outlook rather than a particular age range. I think that may be quite usual for humour books.


Are there particular challenges in writing for your core readership?

Yes. Trying to sell books to folks with a certain state of mind, rather than a rigidly delineated set of interests, or age band, or the like, is definitely an ... interesting challenge. I’m getting better at finding them and luckily some of them have braved signing up to my mailing list. At least now I can keep them informed on progress with my new books and if they enjoy my stuff some of them may even recommend it to their friends, which is handy. Also, on the whole, once I’ve persuaded someone to read one of my books (albeit at gun point most of the time) an insanely high number of them go on to read the rest.


What did you enjoy most about writing your book?


The one thing I’ve enjoyed writing more than anything else was not in a recent book but in the K’Barthan Series, books 1 and 2 especially, and that was the flying cars – snurds. I absolutely love cars and I have always wished mine would fly – so handy in traffic. So I wrote these amazing James Bond cars which could have dogfights and chases and... yeh... that was a LOT of fun. And baddies, I like a really, really bad baddie they are an absolute gas to write.


Can you tell us about your writing process? Where do your ideas originate? Do you have a certain writing routine?

The way it starts is usually a news story, or a factual book. I’ll read it and think, ‘that’s an interesting idea.’ The next thing I know there are characters and a scenario and a final scene. Then I just sit down and start writing about what they’re doing. It takes a little while for them to settle, usually, and for me to write myself in and then off we go. I love just seeing what happens next. Once I get to know the characters I learn what they will and won’t do, how they react to stuff, it feels more as if I’m a fly on the wall, watching them than that I’m orchestrating the whole thing. Although I know where the end point is I tend to let the characters sort out the logistics of getting there themselves. My theory is that so long as they act true to form, and they usually do, I should end up with an entertaining book.
Where this technique gets tricky is when you’re writing the fourth book of a series which is really one huge 600,000 word story. Because by that time, remembering who has done what and with what and to whom can be a bona-fide brain-fry. I wrote the last two books of the K’Barthan series in one go and I confess for most of that time it felt as if my brain was practically bleeding out through my eye sockets. I binned at least 70,000 words where I’d gone off on a tangent or which just didn’t work. If you take into account that my latest offering is 85,000 words or thereabouts it puts it all into perspective! So it takes me a long time to write a book. And for that reason, alone, I’m experimenting with the idea of having several on the go at once. I don’t think it will extend the completion time by that much but it might make it easier to pop one out every 6 months or every year, rather than taking 18 months each.


Do you have a favourite author, or writing inspiration?

Yes there are three main flows of inspiration on the author front, the really obvious ones are people like Adams, Pratchett a dash of Wodehouse and stylistically, Bryson. Those are the styles I aspire to and the Hitch Hikers’ Guide is the work my stuff is compared to most often (which is very flattering but also very scary). I love music, all sorts. Sometimes I’ll hear a piece and a scene will appear in my head so vividly that putting it in the book is a simple case of writing it up. I also love B-Movies and crap 1960s TV like the original Star Trek and the Men From U.N.C.L.E. and all that 60s UK stuff like the Prisoner, the Avengers, the Saint and Randal and Hopkirk (Deceased). I love films, Star Wars, obviously but also the James Bond films have a big bearing on my work. I love books like the Lord of the Rings and the Narnia series but I also draw a lot of inspiration from historical novels like The Children of The New Forest, the works of Dumas and other unexpected authors like Graham Greene, HE Bates, Neville Shute and even Dr Seuss.


How do you research your books?

McOther is a robot building engineer who has had inventions patented, in the past, and now works as a lawyer specifically to assist folks who invent stuff. These guys are mostly based around Cambridge University so they are often top of their game and as well as inventing stuff, themselves, they are massive geeks and always very switched on about what their contemporaries in other parts of the world are working on.
As a result a lot of the ‘science’ in my books, it’s very soft science fiction by the way, is just concepts McOther’s clients are talking about. For example, things like charging water so it’s positive or negative, 1 or 0, and using it as the mainframe as they do on the ship in Escape From B-Movie Hell is a concept McOther brought home in a ‘hey you’ll never guess what thingwot was telling me about today...’ kind of manner. So the science starts out stacking up, in theory, anyway, but it usually doesn’t by the time I’ve had a go at it! Phnark!


Are you working on another book?

Yes. At the moment I’m thinking about the cycle of civilisation. The human race has got smart and invented loads of amazing things like technology and what happens? The ‘Christian Right’ (there’s an oxymoron if ever I heard one) and ISIL? People who threaten to throw us back into the dark ages where science is denied and it’s better for a woman stay home and starve to death than go out to buy food without a male chaperone. How come we can get so clever but still can’t grow up? It’s like we have some built in self destruct button.
Then you read stories about people finding things in coal, metal bowls and the like. How do those get there? Coal is supposed to be millions of years old, so who put those in there before humans even evolved here? Had humanoid life already evolved and died out? Was Earth an outpost for folks from somewhere else and if it was where did they go? Is it that coal isn’t really that old could we have we got Carbon Dating totally and utterly wrong? Was there some inter-galactic travelling civilisation at some point? All that stuff about wars in heaven in the bible, did we have a sister planet where the asteroid belt is now, Atlantis, which was destroyed? Is civilisation a cycle of progress and destruction? Is the chronic shortage of interesting aliens in our galaxy because we’re the last life forms left after an apocalyptic inter-galactic war?

Then, up pops an idea and the current w.i.p. begins. Mwah hahahahargh! It’s provisionally entitled ‘Space Dustmen’.

I'd like to thank M T McGuire for stopping by today, and be sure to check out her virtual booth at the convention this April.


Friday, 5 February 2016

Book Spotlight: Beauty of The Beast

Today I bring you a book spotlight on the vampire horror novel, Beauty of The Beast, by acclaimed author Sanja Petriska, writing under the pen name Viktoria Faust. Enjoy...





Beauty of The Beast by Viktoria Faust 

Viktoria, a young and not particularly talented painter, comes across war vampires in the middle of war torn Croatia in 1992. She becomes obsessed with them, but socializing with vampires is dangerous. One of them attacks her and infects her with what she believes is AIDS. To save herself she leaves with Damian, the oldest of the vampires, on an adventure that will prolong her life forever … or end it.

Beauty of The Beast  is available at:

Amazon

Goodreads






Book Trailer:







Author Bio:

Viktoria Faust is pen name for Croatian horror/SF/children's fantasy writer Sanja Petriska. Award winning author of 30 something books. Beauty of The Beast is her first novel published in English.






Thursday, 4 February 2016

Book Spotlight - Kingdom City: Revolt

Today we welcome a little dystopia, and join the blog tour for the sci-fi novel Kingdom City: Revolt by author Ben Ireland. It is the sequel to Kingdom City: Resurrection, and continues the riveting story. I have a peek at the book, an interview with Ben Ireland, and a fantastic Rafflecopter giveaway.

So may I present...








Kingdom City: Revolt by Ben Ireland

Paul Stevens has survived a terrorist attack, medical experimentation, and an attempt by the government to “neutralize” their rogue subjects. However, his escape cost him his wife, and now he battles to overthrow Brian Shuman, the dictator responsible for her death. With the kidnapping of his daughter and the disappearance of his son, he must choose between saving what may remain of his family or the fledgling rebellion on the verge of collapse.


Available at:

Amazon

Xchyler Publishing



Interview with Author Ben Ireland




How did you come up with the concept of your story?

Before I wrote books, I thought to myself “I want to write something, but it needs to be cool.” I decided that epic items, like swords, are cool. And then those epic items being needed for something completely unexpected. It was around the swords Fury and Serenity that the entire Kingdom City universe grew. Admittedly, it’s a much more manual thought process than i’ve had with most of my other story ideas; they usually just come to me. But I don’t think that Kingdom City is any less rich or exciting for that.


How did you come up with the title?

My little brother LOVES Dungeons & Dragons. Years before I called myself a writer, he was drawing a map for a campaign he was planning and I walked up behind him. He couldn’t think of a name for the capital city of the kingdom, so he called it Kingdom City. I thought that had an amazing ring to it so I stored it away for later use. Once you read the books, you’ll understand why they are subtitled Resurrection, and Revolt.


Please provide some insight into or a secret or two about your story.

Revolt is not just about the physical fight against what the Representative is trying to do to the population of Kingdom City, it’s also about the internal revolt of the characters against their internal natures. Paul is torn between leading the revolt and forsaking everything to save his family. There are also several characters that are dealing with internal conflicts that aren’t apparent at first. Through a careful reading, I think you’ll be able to figure out who is hiding something.


What was the most surprising part of writing this book?

I was most surprised by how dark it was. I was always fascinated by things that were a little dark and gritty, so I set out to create something edgy. Once I was done and I reread the book, I was taken aback by how dark it had actually become. Reading the first chapter again after not seeing it for several months made me think ‘oh gee, I wrote that?’ I think darkness in art is important to help us see the light and good in life. Though I believe some authors take that too far. RR Martin is a prime example. I feel that artists that write darkness simply because it’s “realistic” miss the point of art.


What was the hardest part of writing your book, and how did you overcome it?

Finding time! I love writing and I love telling stories. I haven’t experienced writer's block, so to speak. My mind it brimming with stories and ideas and the fountain hasn’t run down, let alone run out. As a worker and a father I did the only thing I could do to find time. Sleep less. Some weeks I was going on three and a half hours a night when I had to.

What activities best give your brain a break? How do you unwind?

Anime and X-files. Though i’m all caught on on X-Files.

What's up next for you?
Kingdom City part 3. Working title is Retribution. The original working title was Redemption, but that sounded way too optimistic for Kingdom City.  







And now for some important geeky insight from the author:


Star Wars or Star Trek? Star Trek
Hunger Games or Divergent? Hunger Games
James Bond or Jack Ryan? Who is Jack Ryan? (Googles it...) I still don’t know who he is.
Sherlock: Robert Downey, Jr. or Benedict Cumberbatch? Downey.
Spock: Leonard Nimoy or Zachary Quinto? They’re both so good in different ways. Not a fair question.
X-Men or Avengers? I would have said X men up until the recent Avengers movies.
Aliens or Predators? Aliens. I mean, there is no escaping them. I don’t care how many wrist mounted bombs you have.
Minions or Penguins? I’m insulted by this question.
Batman or Superman? I’ll get back to you after I see the movie.
Harry Potter or Pirates of the Caribbean? Is it even a comparison? Harry Potter.
Beatles or Rolling Stones? Beatles.
Peter Jackson or James Cameron? James. Peter lost my respect with the Hobbit movies. Seriously, though, how could we not see that coming after he made King Kong?
Steven Spielberg or George Lucas? Steven. George lost my respect with episodes 1-3.Go watch the Red Letter Media review on Star Wars 1 -3 and get back to me.
Vampires or Werewolves? To fight with, against, or to kiss passionately?
LARP or MORPG? MMORPG.



KINGDOM CITY: REVOLT by Ben Ireland hits the interweb January 30, 2016!



Follow our blog tour and Rafflecopter giveaway for the chance to win great prizes!

Visit each blog each day for more ways to enter. KINGDOM CITY: REVOLT is Book 2 of the near-future dystopian series by Ben Ireland, with strong science fiction and urban fantasy elements.

January 30 through February 6, 2016


Find Ben Ireland on the web: AMAZON | WEBSITE | GOODREADS | FACEBOOK | TWITTER
Saturday, 01-30 Where the Words Take You
Sunday, 01-31 Perpetual Chaos of a Wandering Mind
Monday, 02-01 Ben Ireland Books
Tuesday, 02-02 JD Spero, Author

Wednesday, 02-03 Slithers of Thought
Creativity from Chaos

Thursday, 02-04 Are You Afraid of the Dark
Semi Short Chic

Friday, 02-05 Songs of Mann
Omega W

Saturday, 02-06 The Cult of Me
Book Reviews & Giveaways

Don't forget to enter our KINGDOM CITY: REVOLT blog tour Rafflecopter give-away below, on the blogs above, on our Facebook page, or on Rafflecopter, with daily chances to win!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Drabble Wednesday: Innocence Lost

Today’s Drabble Wednesday belongs to the fragility of innocence, its trials and its tragedy…



Homecoming

She stood in the shadow of a dying tree.
The same tree she used to climb, the tree she raced around with her friends, where she picked ripe fruit not that many years past. She looked up and sighed.
No, not that many years, but it feels as if the world has spun a hundred lifetimes since. I have the memories, but my joy cracked and scattered across time. Leaving me hollow.
Then she stared at her village, anger rising. “You abandoned me. Sacrificed me. But I survived.”
She moved forward, smiling, returning home.
And blight and death followed her.

~*~



Wisdom

Venerable.
That is what they call me. At least to my face. I hear whispers of other names: doddering, feeble, senile, worn-out clod. They see only age and assume I’m hard of hearing. More the fool them, I think.
I stare sometimes at their young faces, so eager, so arrogant, all hoping to be the next Empire Mage. Half will leave after second level training and end conjuring spells for a village. Some will make it to the higher levels, to serve in a noble house.
Only a few will rise to face me, to try and take my place.

~*~



Alone

The forest is so dark, and I don’t know the way back. I fled my home because some bad men came. They attacked us, but I ran and ran, right into this forest. That’s how I got lost. I was scared and I ran.
Now I just want Mama.
She told me to run. Maybe I should’ve stayed. Maybe I should’ve helped her and Papa fight the bad men. I don’t know what happened to them. I’m cold and hungry. I want to see Mama and Papa.
Why did the bad men come?
Why do the humans hate dragons so?



© A. F. Stewart 2016 All Rights Reserved




Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Book Spotlight: Tales of a Receding Hairline

Today I have a poetry spotlight for the prolific songwriter and poet K.W. Peery and his new book, Tales of a Receding Hairline. Plus, I have a little excerpt from the book. Enjoy...





Tales of a Receding Hairline by K.W. Peery


Tales of a Receding Hairline is a collection of poetry. In the book, K.W. Peery writes about his personal life experiences. As he grapples with morality and mortality, the unvarnished truth is breathtakingly obvious. His unapologetic vulnerability is neatly embedded within each work. He has an innate ability to dig up his past and offer it to the reader as if they were sitting across the table having a conversation with him.  








You can find Tales of a Receding Hairline at:

(Kindle available February 5th, 2016)

Or check out more at GenZPublishing.org





Poetry excerpt from Tales of a Receding Hairline



DAYBREAK

Before the gold of daybreak
Where sunlight warms your face
You feel a hint of sorrow
From the sins you can't erase
A long walk through the timber
For a soul that can't let go
Before the gold of daybreak
Carryin’ secrets ya never show

Before the gold of daybreak
Only truth left in your glass
Staring down both barrels
Praying the buzz will last
Trouble somehow finds you
As the depth of darkness leaves
Before the gold of daybreak
The only witnesses are the trees

Before the gold of daybreak
When your eyes are playing games
Ya swear you see her silhouette
Beyond the lighters flame
You hear a horned owl beckon
To the liar in your heart
Before the gold of daybreak
When your nerves just fall apart 

Before the gold of daybreak
When hope bleeds in the air
You strangle your inner voice
After tying him to his chair
Troubled, torn and tragic
A victim of self-defeat
Before the gold of daybreak
Long after your guilt’s asleep 






Author Bio: 

K.W. Peery is a prolific Americana songwriter and poet. He is most well known as a founding member of the Marshall/Peery Project. This collaboration produced four critically acclaimed studio album from 2005 to present. The Marshall/Peery Project frequently appear on the Roots Music Report and Americana Charts. Peery is also credited as a lyricist and producer for more than a dozen studio albums over the past decade.

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