Another Five Star review for Sam and The Sea Witch
I loved Sam and the Sea Witch. I wanted to keep reading on and on to discover what would happen next. I would recommend it to readers of probably 11 and upwards. I am a mum and I really enjoyed it! I would give it 5 stars.
Sunday, March 9, 2014
I believe in keeping busy. Idle hands and mind are a sure path to an early demise. To that end I’ve always given my all to a favorite activity. In my youth, I ran track, setting a Louisiana state record in the long jump. To this day I still do three or four miles five times a week. I grew up with Elvis and the Beatles and spent twenty-three years in the Navy, where my claim to fame is surviving being left on the bridge of a submerging submarine. That experience set forever the perspective of what was important in life. I’ve been writing and raising tropical fish on and off since I was nine. I still have a collection of stories from the fifth grade. The centerpiece is a sequel to HG Wells’ War of the Worlds, complete with illustrations of US Marines doing to the Martians what the British army couldn’t. One day I may revisit that story along with the sequel to The Time Machine l lost during a move.
Last fall, I met Anne Rice and learned she grew up in the same neighborhood where my mom’s side of the family lived.
Another project is writing screenplays for my books. The Progeny of Evolution series has a one hour TV pilot making the rounds. The seven books have many seasons worth of episodes. The paranormal of True Blood meets the generational intrigue of Dallas with a bit of Wellsian Sci-fi and Orwellian Dystopia thrown in.
What motivated you to become an author?
From the third grade I had all these stories buzzing in my head and struggling to get out. Over the years, the urge to write rose and fell, depending on what else was going on. When I fully retired in the fall of 2007, I cast about for something to do. For two years I tried different things, but nothing fit. Then, with the arrival of an abysmal fall TV line-up I decided to give writing a try. After a couple of false starts, I entered and won a short story contest with a little ditty titled The Girl in the Library (TGITL), the hook of which is the vampire stalking the redhead he spotted in the library is a werewolf doing the same to him. The short grew into The Other Kind, Book One of the series.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Discovering where my muse is leading me. In other words, getting to the point where the story falls into place.
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything. As my base developed I drew encouragement from their support to weather the dry spells of writer’s block and come up with new ideas.
Who are your favorite authors?
There are many. HG Wells, George Orwell, Harold Robbins, Michael Crichton are prominent among them.
What three words describe you as a person?
Relentless, conscientious, industrious.
What three words describe you as a writer?
Perseverant, innovative, diverse.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Volunteer work at granddaughter’s school, yard work, honey-do list.
How do you discover the e books you read?
Through recommendations from wife and other friends.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, Battleground, inspired by a war movie The Halls of Montezuma. I was eight.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The fairy tale Thumbelina made me think of Sci-fi themes about worlds of small creatures interacting with us, or us running across civilizations of larger people.
What do you read for pleasure?
Not much. Mainly texts on writing and screenplays.
Describe your desk:
A lap top dominates the topography with a printer off to one side. My wife Cynthia smiles from a picture among others of my grandkids and one of me with Richard Simmons. All are lined up across the back edge. On overflowing in-box, untouched in months and filled with nothing important eyes me with reproach from the other side of the laptop.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Metairie, Louisiana, a suburb of New Orleans. I think the shadow of Crescent City culture falls across everything I’ve written, even the sci-fi.
Where do you get the inspirations for your book(s)?
They come from most anywhere. Amy Adams inspired the character for TGITL, which started the chain reaction resulting in seven books, each of which grew from the other. Interest in the process of substance abuse rehabilitation in confluence with TGITL’s strong willed daughter, Cassie White, inspired The Daughter.
Let our readers know why your book is different from others in the same genre:
Ten Reasons Why Progeny of Evolution Books Are Different:
1. My werewolves are lycans and come in more than 50 shades.
2. My vampires don't sparkle.
3. Despite their powerful libidos, my vampires and lycans (The Other Kind) have a deep spiritual side.
4. I built a world from scratch for The Other Kind, a world where they could plausibly live among us. Your next door neighbor could be one.
5. The Other Kind choose mates who are beautiful and sexy only for them, intelligent creatures who set their lovers' hearts and parts afire.
6. My stories are well-written, full of action and excitement, set in a world that is easy to believe.
7. The Other Kind come from all walks of life—college professors, astronauts, corporate CEOs, soldiers, explorers, even attorneys, all with extraordinary powers.
8. The Other Kind can be dark and edgy, but have a loving side and fierce family devotion. Over three generations, they network, form corporations, seek redemption, and battle persecution.
9. My characters evolve from Creation’s vilest expression toward becoming the noblest. Before the adventure is over, they explore space, colonize Mars, travel in time, and learn their place in God’s plan.
10. While they’re erotic, my stories have character development, a plot, some deep thought, and most important, romantic love with a happy ending.
Any advice for new writers just beginning this trek down the wonderful world of publishing?
Follow the publisher’s submission guidelines to the letter. Try to learn from each event in your writing adventure, both good and bad.
The Other Kind
Setting the stage: Vampire Jim returned home after rescuing lycan Sam (Samantha) from police custody. With them is human attorney Oscar Young. Waiting at the apartment are young lycan Cynthia and elder vampire Ed, the rest of the support group. Oscar had just answered Jim's question regarding the rules of attorney client privilege. Jim unfolds the scene:
“Am I to understand what we tell you or show you will remain privileged and you can’t disclose it?” I asked.
“That’s correct,” he answered. “I may decline to represent you further based on the information or evidence you provide, but I cannot reveal what you tell me.”
“Even if we are what they say we are?”
Oscar chuckled. “Yes, Doctor White, even if you're a pack of werewolves.”
Encouraged by his answer I morphed, with fangs, pallor and red eyes. Oscar instinctively jumped back but recovered and said with another chuckle. “What an excellent effect. How did you do it?”
By then I returned to human form. “You don’t understand. I really am a vampire,” I said.
Oscar stood and sternly replied, “Doctor White, if you think this is all a joke perhaps you should seek other representation.” He retrieved his briefcase preparing to leave.
A vampire morph is not dramatic. Most of it happens internally, expanding joints and modest bone growth. Except for the fangs I could pass for large pale man with a bad hangover. We needed a more dramatic demonstration.
I turned to Cynthia. “Show him what you can do.”
“Do I have to?” she complained. “This is a brand new outfit.”
“Please, it’s important.” Sam added. “Besides, I sewed in Velcro morph seams.”
Cynthia stood and stepped to the middle of the room. She faced Oscar who paused at the door. Shimmying out of her panties, she kicked them to the side with a last flick of a bare foot. Stretchy lingerie fabrics didn’t tear. Because a lycan grew when morphing, most underwear bound them painfully. Ed’s eyes locked onto the sexually aromatic wrinkle of white material shimmering at her feet. She stood erect with legs apart and hands on hips. As it molded to her butt, the black miniskirt sparkled with sequins, round like half of a disco ball. I surveyed the pleasingly dramatic arching cleft of her spine under the white blouse.
“Okay,” she said. “You asked for it.”
With a ripping of Velcro, the garments separated and fell away. She expanded in all directions nearly touching the ceiling, seeming to fill the room. Arms and legs elongated as if made of modeling clay. A curved fanged snout grew out of the face some said could launch a thousand ships. Upon completing the morph she peered down on Oscar. Casual predation emanated from the height of coal black eyes.
“Convinced now?” I asked above the sound of Cynthia’s low growl.
Bug-eyed, Oscar slowly retook his seat.
Posted by MuseItUp Publishing at 12:39 PM
Saturday, March 8, 2014
Last week we learned more about our backgrounds and how we came about. And I've always been amazed at the magic behind a writer's fictional world and the characters they bring to life.
As a reader, I have to feel the reality of the fiction.
How did you create the reality of your fictional world?
As a reader, I 'see' the books I'm reading unroll on a mental movie screen. As a writer, I build up the image in my head by creating my characters, the background world they inhabit, and then setting them off on my mental movie screen.
When I started 'Relocated,' the first Novel of Aleyne, it was mostly to prove to myself I could write science fiction. I was intimidated by the world-building, so I spent the six weeks from the time I decided to take the project on until Nov 1 world building. I had about a page, if that, of plot notes. I constructed a 'lot' of background - culture, history, number of planets in the Federation, where the humans had first met the aliens, aliens' art, politics of the Federation, politics of my aliens, their appearance, how they differed from humans. Alien language. Alien music. Climate. Geography. Scenery. I wanted a very complete picture of the alien society and their interaction with my Terran Federation before I could bring myself to start writing.
Matthew Peters author of the coming soon THE BROTHERS’ KEEPERS
I brought my fictional world to life by doing extensive biographies of my characters. I also did a great deal of research into the Jesuits and the Vatican to get a feel for my protagonist (a Jesuit) and the antagonist (an evil cardinal). For the historical puzzle part of the book I researched the history of early Christianity. Finally, I drew on my background as a political scientist to create a realistic political climate.
Pauline (P.M.) Griffin author of THE STAR COMMANDOS series
I know the challenge my characters must face and work from there to create the necessary world and society. That means research. Them more research. Then even more research. No problem -- I love researching topics of interest to me. For example, FIRE PLANET involved a detonating volcano, so I read and viewed everything I could get my eyeballs on about volcanoes. Actually, I had most of the material already in my library and made haste to order the rest. The same was true of MISSION UNDERGROUND (caves) and JUNGLE ASSAULT (jungle and jungle river ecosystems).
As for the characters, The idea for Varn, the series male protagonist, came to me suddenly. It was powerful enough to drive the writing of STAR COMMANDOS. Islaen, the series female lead, and Jake came in that book. Bandit was born in my mind one night in Ireland during a lashing rainstorm. She first appeared in COLONY AT PERIL. Bethe was to be a standalone character in MISSION UNDERGROUND but so developed that she joined the unit. Other characters are either citizens of the various planets or grew over the length of the series. Jack Dundee is one of the latter group and will appear in his own book, STAND AT CORNITH.
For ‘Life With a Fire-Breathing Girlfriend, I started with a crazy idea and asked, “why’ and ‘what happens next?’ The idea started with a dream about a friend I met 30 some-odd years ago. We were at a meeting of science fiction fan club, and she was wearing a shirt that said ‘Kiss me twice, I’m Schizophrenic’. So I did. Thankfully, she laughed about it, and we became good friends.
The dream replayed that event, but the young lady in the t-shirt was a dragon. She kept herself fed by killing and eating people whose absence made the world a better place. I woke up from it and crawled to my computer at 4:00am to get all the details I could down. In the morning, I started asking “why”, and noting the answers. I recalled a piece of advice I’d read once that said, what happens in a story must be what must happen. There must be a reason for the dragons to be on Earth, and they must come here instead of anywhere else. They must need something from us. I kept going like that until I had all the story points accounted for. Then I asked, ‘what happens next?’ and started writing
The first two parts of the book started as short stories that took about eight hours total to write – they flowed like nothing else I’ve done. I submitted them to an anthology about non-traditional dragons, and they both got rejected for foul language and immoral content. I rewrote them, took out the one F-bomb and added more immoral content. The third section of the book outlined itself while I was making a list of unresolved story threads. From short stories to first submission took about four months.
The reality of my fictional world in The Ginseng Conspiracy came out of the fact that ninety-five percent of all American, cultivated ginseng is grown in Wisconsin.
Take one professor who is murdered because of his research on the ginseng crop and whose death is reported as accidental. Add one woman, Kay Driscoll who is inclined to take risks to solve a case along with her two best friends, the free spirited, Deirdre and the untamed modern woman, Elizabeth. Their crime-fighting headquarters aka home-away-from-home is Sweet Marissa's Patisserie. Add one oblivious, preoccupied husband and murders that increase at alarming rates. Mix this all together along with a corrupt set of prominent citizens in a small town setting with lots of red herrings, plot twists, and humor and you have The Ginseng Conspiracy - A story of murder and risk and pastry.
Viola Ryan author of THE MARK OF ABEL
Much of the reality of The Mark of Abel comes from a simple question: If the Devil punishes people for their sins, isn't he more interested in justice? From there questions started snowballing. Why did he get Eve to eat the fruit in the Garden of Eden? Why did he try to overthrow God? Simple answers that painted in him simple shades of black were no longer good enough. As a writer, I needed to understand his motivation and as I did, I realized there was a lot more to his story.
To tell that story, I needed to keep one foot in the established Biblical world, with characters like Mary Magdalene, Jesus, Lilith and Eve, and one foot with new characters, such as giving him twins and creating contemporary characters to ground the story in today.
The series ultimately revolves around various Biblical and extra-canonical prophecies that I didn't create. In this way, the reality is created though the millennia these words have stood.
Heather Brainerd co-author of JOSE PICADA, P.I.: DECEPTION AL DENTE, JOSE PICADA, P.I.: THE SOUND OF SIRENS, and author of DREAM SHADE
The José Picada, PI series - co-written by my brother, David Fraser - is the tale of new detective Josie Cates. To make Josie's world real, we drew on our own experiences. Josie was a Worker's Comp insurance adjuster before striking it out as a private investigator. I spent (way too many) years in the Workers' Comp field. Josie attended Syracuse University (just like Dave and me) where she majored in Video Art (as did Dave). Her friends are either left over from her artistic days (we know a lot of artists) or in the restaurant industry (we also know some professional chefs). Her stepsister is skilled at first aid and is training to be a vet (Dave's wife is a doctor and LOVES animals). Josie's mother is a meddling nutcase. Uh, we have no idea where that last one came from. Nope, none at all.
Marsha R. West author of VERMONT ESCAPE and upcoming TRUTH BE TOLD
I based the reality of my fictional world on my personal experiences. As a former school board member of a large urban district, I had served on the Texas Association of School Boards and on their legislative committee for three years. In that capacity, I met with legislators, visited the State capitol, and made presentations to House and Senate sub-committees. While, there are no scenes like that in VERMONT ESCAPE, I’d internalized the process of getting legislation passed. I’m a political person and read the newspaper still, and keep up with election cycles.
I researched gun laws in both states and gambling laws, too. In Texas, in every session, legislators have tried to pass a casino gambling bill. I was terrified they’d actually accomplish that before my book came out! So far, it hasn’t happened.
Because of the timing of Texas Legislature (meeting every other year from January to the end of May), I had to structure the story that way. I wanted to show both deaths as they happened, but it would’ve dragged out the story. Ultimately, those deaths show up in dream sequences.
I needed at least 2 years to pass before I felt okay letting Jill, the heroine, become attracted to someone else. I went on line to learn about how the Vermont legislature works. It’s called the Assembly and not the Legislature. They meet every year. It’s a small rural state. I’d visited Woodstock twice and had collected information while on those visits that hopefully, made the setting in the book almost as beautiful as I believe it to be.
My Next book, TRUTH BE TOLD, to be released sometime this spring, is set in Fort Worth, a city I’ve lived in for many years. While I didn’t base the characters on anyone in real life, they’re very much like people I’ve known. Well, except for the bad guy. I’ve never personally known anyone like him. The house where much of the action takes place is one I’ve driven by many times and always wondered, who lives there? And What if? I admire those who completely make up their worlds, but my stories are solidly based in the reality of my own experiences.
Dawn Knox author of the upcoming: DAFFODIL AND THE THIN PLACE
I didn't have to try too hard to conjure up the fictional world in DAFFODIL AND THE THIN PLACE, because the 13th Century St. Nicholas Church, where the story unfolds, is a real church in Essex, England.
The annexe on the western end of the church was originally the priest's house and then became a charity school and home for the schoolmaster, his family and up to six boarders, who slept there during the week.
The building consists of three floors, the downstairs school room, where a maximum of fifty children were taught, the first floor room, where the school master and family slept and the tiny attic at the top, where the boarders stayed - all linked by a quirky, winding staircase of differing sized steps.
I love to go up the stairs and imagine the many people who have climbed them before me, bending and stooping to avoid banging their heads – even at 5ft 2”, I have to crouch! The first floor room leading directly off the stairs still contains solid carved, wooden furniture and books from the Victorian times and if I focus on them, I can almost see the school master and his wife there. Carrying on up the winding stairs, into the attic, there are now Victorian artifacts, such as washing bowl and jug, as well as Victorian costumes such as the pupils may have worn – all waiting for the annexe to be used as a heritage centre for the community to learn about the history of the school and to celebrate its existence.
For me, the church and Priest House have always been a place that fired my imagination but it wasn’t until I first encountered the concept of a ‘thin place’, that my story really began to come together. Perched on a hill above the hustle and bustle of the town, the church is an atmospheric and peaceful place where it’s easy to imagine the distance between this world and others is thinner than elsewhere. And if that were so, what might happen if people found their way through the ‘Veil’, the thinnest part separating worlds and times?
Although the eponymous Daffodil is an imaginary character, I’ve included various people who were really associated with the church and school, such as the school master, James Hornsby. The Grey Monk may or may not have existed but a local legend persists that if you walk round the church three times at midnight, he will appear. One foggy Hallowe’en night at the church, several of us were up at the church and there was a rumpus outside, as a group of teenage girls began screaming they'd seen the monk and then stampeded down the hill. Seconds later, a man entered the church, looking rather bewildered and flustered. He was wearing a grey duffel coat with the hood up and must have given the girls quite a shock as he materialised out of the mist! So, it seems that despite lack of evidence, his legend endures.
Money raised from sales of my ebook DAFFODIL AND THE THIN PLACE will be donated to the fund to repair and maintain the church and its annexe to inspire the imagination of future generations.
For Earrings Of Ixtumea I drew my world from my research into my own past. I was taking Chicano Studies classes at the time and my professor at CSU Fullerton opened up a whole new take on US history told from the Latino viewpoint. Professor Ortega told us that it’s the victors who write the history books. I also have been fascinated with Mesoamerica history. I thought it would be fun to create a fantasy world that for once wasn’t based in Celtic/English mythology but rather one of my own Latino roots.
In Crossed Out I used a personal experience my family had after the tragic murder of my younger sister Colette. Plus husband suggested a ‘what if’ scenario on the crosses. I blended them together. I’m also a huge Buffy the Vampire fan and loved the snark. I tried to add that to my story. And of course I love anything on the paranormal.
In No More Goddesses I thought it would be fun to have Egyptian mythology mess with a teen. I looked for a goddess of love-Hathor and had her do a whole twist on bringing couples together. In my second book in this series Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love has her turn. My younger sister is studying Egyptology and her husband is an Egyptian national. I also found out later that there is actually a group that still worships Hathor. A prophetess gave me permission to use one of her chants in my book.
And my current project is using experiences from my early Mormon pioneer’s background when they settled in Desert(Utah). Only my community is mostly Latinos. For some reason people are fascinated in cults and I’m using that with my protagonist and adding the conflict of her being banished to ‘our world’ where she falls in love with the enemy.
Dear reader, thank you again for joining us and we’d love to hear from you. Keep smiling and have a fun week. See you next Sunday…hopefully this cold will be gone by then, but there’s nothing better than being cozy in bed with some Musings.
If you have a question or comment you’d like us to muse upon, do not hesitate to contact me Christine Steeves-Speakman at MuseChrisChat@gmail.com