I am interviewed for #SunStoppedShining Blog Tour

I am featured on Johanna K Pitcairn’s “The Manicheans” Blog

Click the above  to find out what we talk about.

 

 

Hunting for the Truth | Interview with Reid | Patti Larsen

We Are Hunted

Kids are going missing. We see the posters everywhere. The kids from happy families are the ones with posters up and rewards are offered. But what about all those faceless kids lost in the system. The street kids, foster kids and orphans. Who misses them? Who notices that they have gone missing too? Where are these missing kids? Why aren’t we asking more questions? Enough is Enough. One brave woman asked too many questions and she went searching for answers. Her name is Patti Larsen. She was one of the people who started asking questions about the faceless kids, the ones nobody had wanted in the first place. She got in contact with one of these missing kids. Through covert meetings and phone calls he told her his incredible story. When I first read the four accounts of the horrors that are happening to kids, my heart jerked in terror. I also wanted to meet this faceless kid, an orphan, who had such a harrowing story to tell. Patti thought it would be a good idea for the kids to tell their side of the story. It is time for us to put faces and names to these lost children. It might be late for some but it might just be in the nick of time for other lost children.
Patti:
Yeah, he’d rather stay in the dark anyway…
Wants to know if you’re a reporter…
Trying to tell him this is about his story but he’s a little freaked.
Kim:
No….I am sort of a investigator…a seeker of truth.
Too many kids have been going missing and I am asking questions.
Reid:
Yeah, I know all about that.
Kim:
I am on the kids’ side.
Reid:
What do you want to know?
Kim:
Hi Reid…can I call you Reid?
My name is Kim.
Reid:
That’s my name.
Hi.
Kim:
So Reid….I have been really concerned…and I am not the only adult who is….some kids are going missing…it seems without a trace.
Patti told me I should get in touch with you.
Reid:
I’m trusting you. But only so far. Okay? You have to understand what we’ve been through.
Kim:
Can you tell me…firstly…are you with some of these kids? How long have you been missing for?
I cannot even imagine what you have been through.
Reid:
We’re in a safe place now. I can’t tell you where. And don’t bother tracking the IP address.
Yes, I’m with some survivors.
Kim:
Ok…good…so there are survivors….but then…that means there are some who didn’t survive? Is that correct?
Reid:
Yes.
A lot…
Who didn’t make it…
Kim:
Oh No! That was my worst fear!
Reid…do you know who is behind this?
Reid:
I’m not supposed to talk about it. But… damn it, people need to know. And understand.
It was a government program…
Kim:
Well let me help you get your story out there…
Reid:
Through the military…
Kim:
I am all ears…
Reid:
This crazy scientist. Dr. Kirstin Lund. She was doing experiments on animals, creating super creatures or something, decided to start testing on humans.
I guess she figured orphans–foster kids–were the most disposable.
Kim:
Like you?
Reid:
Hired this guy, Syracuse, to round up kids.
Yeah. Like me.
The cops, they figure we just ran away, you know?
Kim:
Reid….do you mind if I take notes? Should have asked you before?
Reid:
Yeah, go ahead
Drew told me you’re not tracking this.
Sorry to check up on you but we can’t be too careful.
Kim:
No I am not.
Please go ahead…I have nothing to hide…you can trust me….and I know that is difficult for you right now.
Reid:
It’s not so bad anymore. We’re okay. Trying to forget. But, it’s hard.
Kim:
Well…I have been investigating this for a couple of weeks now….the officials have been telling us that all you kids were runaways and since you were troubled kids…you probably ran away to join a gang or something.
Reid:
That is crap.
They really don’t give a shit about us, Kim.
They never did.
Kim:
I am beginning to see this Reid.
Reid:
And it’s not like this program wasn’t sanctioned.
They had a military base.
Kim:
Reid…can you tell me how many survivors there are now?
Reid:
One of the guys–Marcus–his Dad was the commander.
Kim:
Oh that is terrible!
Reid:
Eight and Minnie – she’s my lab
Kim:
Eight including you?
Reid:
Yes.
Kim:
Are you all roughly the same age?
Reid:
Well, the youngest is thirteen–hang on, let me ask.
Kim:
Ok.
Reid:
Yeah, Cole is thirteen and Marcus is eighteen so that’s the range.
They’re all here you know.
They want to know what this is about.
Kim:
Can you give me the names of the survivors? It is better for me to be able to make people realise you are just kids and knowing your names will help…you are not faceless then.
Reid:
Let me ask…
Kim:
Ok
Reid:
Milo’s pissed because I counted wrong and he thinks I missed him on purpose. LOL
Kim:
You can tell them all I am here to get the truth out…your truth? Enough is enough!
Reid:
So nine: Me, Leila, Drew, Kieran, Nishka, Sarah, Milo, Cole, Marcus and Minnie.
Kim:
Ok and where are you all from?
Reid:
I’m from Arizona.
Drew’s from NY state.
Leila’s from Cali.
Marcus says he’s from nowhere–army brat.
Kieran is from Ohio.
Nishka from Maine.
Milo’s from South Philly he says.
Cole is from Seattle.
Kim:
Ok…so all from the US?
Reid:
Yeah…
Sarah’s from New York too.
Kim:
Reid…I think this is bigger than just the US though….
Reid:
Why?
Kim:
Kids have been going missing from Mexico and lower Canada.
Reid:
There wasn’t really a whole lot of time to ask where people were from, you know?
Kim:
Which is why I am here asking questions….it has been making international news.
Yeah I get that.
Reid:
Barely had time to ask names…
Kim:
How long have you been hiding? on the run?
Reid:
Since June.
Kim:
What is the last thing you remember that was normal?
Reid:
My mom and dad alive. Nothing was normal after that
Foster homes for a year.
Kim:
But you have a sister…I have spoken to her…
Reid:
We made a new normal.
WHEN???????????????????
Kim:
About a month ago.
Reid:
Oh.
Kim:
I interviewed her, as one of the family members…
Reid:
Well… What did she say?
Kim:
She said that you were troubled since your parents died…..
She thinks you ran away.
Reid:
Maybe if she wasn’t sleeping with the guy who got me into this–
Whatever…She had no idea if I was troubled or not.
Kim:
Reid…something did not gel with me when she told me her story…
Reid:
She never even tried to contact me the whole year after Mom and Dad died until the day she got me out of foster care.
Kim:
She just did not seem that worried….I mean I have a younger brother and if he went missing I would go after him.
Reid:
It was her fault…She told her boss/boyfriend about me…I didnt’ know at the time.
Kim:
This guy…she is together with…is this Syracuse?
Reid:
WAS Syracuse…Guess she didn’t tell you she killed him.
Kim:
Was? No!
Reid:
Almost got away with it…
Kim:
Reid … what is Marcus’ dad’s name?
Reid:
Colonel Brackett.
Kim:
Right…so the suspects are: Dr Kirsten Lund, Colonel Brackett and this Syracuse fellow – who is now dead…as well as your sister Lucy?
Reid:
Yes. She was part of it for sure.
Brackett worked for Lund. So did Syracuse. One was her collector the other her bully but she was the core of the whole thing: She made the stuff that turned kids into monsters.
Kim:
What sort of monsters?
Reid:
The hunters.
Kim:
Hunters? Men with guns?
Reid:
Not exactly….
Okay, so we’re getting to the stuff that you’re going to judge us for.
Kim:
Only tell me what you think is necessary Reid.
Reid:
Dr. Lund was running this secret program to create super soldiers…
She developed this stuff that turned normal kids into these hybrid creatures
silver eyes, shark teeth, claws — you get the picture?
Thing is… The stuff made us into monsters…bloodthirsty. So when under the influence so to speak, the kids became bloodthirsty…hunted other kids…
Kim:
So that would make it appear that you are the guilty ones….cunning evil plan by this Dr Lund.
Reid:
Yeah.
Yeah totally…like we were the bad guys.
Kim:
Are you still under the influence of this experiment?
Reid:
um… I don’t know how to answer that
I mean, we’re all changed.
But we don’t take dust anymore. Unless there’s a mission…
Kim:
Ok…so the changes are permanent? They don’t wear off?
Reid:
Our senses are different, like hyper…
Eventually they don’t…if you take enough and Dr. Lund changed the formula
she said we were immortal but we’ll see… I don’t really believe her…
But we’re not bloodthirsty or anything, not dangerous.
Kim:
This Dr Lund? Is she still alive? Where is she?
Reid:
Unless you’re our enemy…
She’s dead.
Kim:
And Colonel Brackett?
Reid:
Dead.
Kim:
But there will still be people who know about this…their soldiers and helpers?
Reid:
No, not really–well sorta.
There was a general who came to clean up the mess but everyone who was responsible is no longer able to stand trial, you know?
(Trying to be subtle.)
Kim:
Yes I understand…but Reid if you kids are all changed, it also means it is not safe for you to come forward.
Reid:
No.
Kim:
Is that the sum of it?
Reid:
That’s why I was (we were Drew made me type) worried about this.
But people need to know!
‘Cause if it gets out, they’ll think we’re monsters…and we’re not…not anymore.
Kim:
OK…Could you tell me this? Do you think this is still going on? Maybe that we don’t know about?
Reid:
I… we never thought about that…
Lund is dead so we figured…
Drew wants me to ask you why you’re asking?
Kim:
Reid….kids are still going missing…
Reid:
I…from here?
Kim:
Yes
Reid:
The US?
Kim:
Yes and other places.
Reid:
I’ll ask–I have someone I can check with…but I don’t know how it could be… not with Lund dead.
We’d have to do something about that!
Kim:
That’s why I am talking to you.
I am going to do something about it…and I have people I trust who are going to help me.
Reid:
If there is more going on, this is your only warning:
Stay out of our way!
Kim:
Reid…you need to promise me that you kids will stay in hiding? Don’t tell me or anyone where you are…
Reid:
We’ll do what we have to if this is still going on!
Kim:
But I will give you an email address that you can contact me on.
Reid:
We ALL agree!
Okay.
Kim:
Reid…is there anything you kids need … anything at all?
Reid:
No. We have everything we need.
Thanks for asking and for telling me about the other kids.
Kim:
OK…..then the last question is: is there anything any of you want to say to the world? Tell me now and I will be your mouthpiece.
Reid:
I’m not so great with words… hang on, Leila wants to answer this…
Leila:
Hi, Kim. We just want everyone to know that we’re real. We exist. We’re not evil or monsters, that we may be foster kids but we’re not disposable. And we’re not dangerous. We just want to live our lives and not hurt anyone ever again. That’s all. Thank you for your kindness. Leila..
Reid:
Okay, she’s done.
Kim:
Ok…Leila, Reid and everyone else I will get the truth out there….
Trust me.
Reid:
Just be careful…if you’re poking around there’re going to be consequences.
Kim:
I will…I don’t trust just anyone….I have been trained to take care of myself…
Reid:
Listen, if a guy named Aberdeen knocks on your door? Go with him – don’t hesitate, it means you’re in danger…
Okay?
Kim:
Ok…Aberdeen…I will remember that.
Reid…I have got to go now..in case anyone else is trying to track this…I have it pretty heavily encrypted but you never know…
Reid:
Okay. Um…Thanks.
Kim:
Contact me if you need to…anytime…any day ok.
Reid:
I will.
We will.
Kim:
And thank you for trusting me…and telling me the true story behind all your kids’ stories….
Please take care of one another. Be safe.
Reid:
Just get it right!
Bye.
Kim:
I will.
Bye.
Ok…..Patti…done
Patti:
WHEW!
That was intense!
Kim:
Not so bad…
That was intense.
Patti:
The kids were right here with me.
Kim:
Its’s going to be a good story…
Well the kids were brilliant…I thought it would be a good idea to get their story…in their words…
It is time for the truth to be told.
All four books are now available on Amazon. If you want to read more of Reid, Drew and the others’ story get your copies now. It is a story that needs to be read and shared. The order of this harrowing series are:
Patti Larsen | In the Spotlight | Run or Hide (dragonflyscrolls.wordpress.com)
Run | Patti Larsen | This year’s Next YA Amazon Hit (dragonflyscrolls.wordpress.com)
Night Terrors in Patti Larsen’s Mind (kimkoning.wordpress.com)

 

Alberta Ross | Blog Tour | Giveaway Alert

 This week I have the pleasure of Alberta Ross’s company. She and I talk about how important characters are to a story, the love of traveling and reading and what made her a writer. She also shares her battles with Dyspraxia with us. So make yourself comfortable and sit back and enjoy my talk with Alberta.

Don’t be shy in commenting. Every commenter on this post gets a chance to win their own e-book copies of Alberta’s books. More details about this giveaway at the bottom of the post.

 

Introduce us to Alberta Ross

Well I was born just after the Second World War in a London suburb. Very middle class background and surrounded by books, hundreds of them.  My parents and grandparents were great ‘bookaholics’.  I can’t say I was the brightest child around  However, I did manage, I don’t know how, to gain a small handful of certificates before I left full-time education.    

All I had ever wanted to do since a child was travel so, as soon as I was free, I was over the hills and far away. For about twenty years. I managed to visit every continent for varying lengths of time, including five years in Australia.  I was six months based on the North shore in Auckland – had a great time youth hosteling around the two islands – before your time about 1974/5 I think. 

I came back home to help out, various family members had health problems by then. So with no travel in sight and with what I can only describe as a menopausal hiccup, I decided I would go to University – me! –  few hidden smiles amongst friends at that idea.  A science degree took my fancy, I had no science or maths anywhere in my background and to this day I am not sure how I got accepted; maybe I ticked a box somewhere.  I did so enjoy it.  With a great deal of help from my friend from forever who struggled to get verbs into my sentences and keep my spelling within the range of acceptable English I gained a BSc Hons in Anthropology and Nutrition and a high enough pass to go on to do an MA.  Was amazingly chuffed to say the least!

I’m retired from paid employment now and having a whale of a time writing and networking.

How long have you been writing for?

Seriously I guess since 2007, after I had retired. On a whim, I joined a writing class in our local town and signed up for a couple of writing workshops held at a local organic farm.   I wasn’t at all sure about either but found both experiences such fun I kept going back for more and the teacher we had, Emily, was a very inspiring young lady.   

As a child I had dabbled, doesn’t every child who enjoys books? Later, in my 40s, I had tried again but I knew they weren’t good and had put them away when I went to university (I am thinking of resurrecting one of them in NaNoWriMo this year!

I still felt a bit of a fraud but, early last year, I decided I was a ‘writer’, the computer was my tool and time spent writing, researching and networking was ‘my work’.  So maybe 2007 or maybe 2010.

Who or what influences your writing?

Who knows the answer to that one?  The Sefuty Chronicles are fed and probably inspired by all my interests – such as science, genetics, ethics, anthropology and, of course, climate change as well as by my interests in crafts and gardening.  The original spark for writing?  Haven’t a clue!  I blame it on 60 + years of reading anything I could get my hands on. 

What aspect of the writing life do you find the most challenging?

I think my Dyspraxia. I only discovered recently that is what I had all these years.  Apart from the ‘clumsy child’ bit there are often  problems with the neurone development of the brain, affecting the way the brain processes information, particularly when it involves thought, perception and language.  Children with this problem are often called stupid (I certainly was back in 1950s schooling), but we are as intelligent and as creative as anyone else.  We can understand information but our brains are unreliable in regurgitating it.

My main problem is the ordering of words, (I don’t talk in public because of this, I once managed to insult a visiting judge at our local photographic contest, I still don’t know how I managed to mangle up ‘Thank You’ but I did!)  spelling and punctuation.   My friend from forever/editor and I have long –  er –  ‘discussions’ on my use of words.  It is a continuous struggle for her to get my writing into shape.  I have improved since I began writing full-time, however I can still read a whole page of un-punctuated words and not realise there is not even a full stop at the end.  Drives her to distraction. It does take some of the spontaneity away from such as blogging, and commenting.  I will attempt the shorter ones but it takes hours of agonizing over.  Does it make sense? Is there a full stop anywhere? Have I offended anyone?  I think sometimes it comes over as sounding bit abrupt as a consequence.  (By the way she is away on holiday at moment so I am winging this myself; with every finger crossed that there are no terrible mistakes apparent!)

It just means really that everything takes longer.  Manuscripts and longer blogs have to be e-mailed to her and then corrections back.  The computer has been a godsend for people like me – oh I know the limitations of the spell checker but it has helped alert me to some of the mistakes. 

Do you have a Write time of day set aside or do you write when the inspiration strikes?

Not really – at the beginning I could only write late at night as that was the only time I could (was caring for my mother full-time then) since I began writing all day I try to do networking, e-mails etc first thing.  Then writing and or correcting.  Networking again in the evening to catch time differences.  But it’s very flexible if I’m on a creative roll then networking is left right out.  If there nothing to write about then I go researching on the web.  Nothing is ever set in stone.

Tell us what inspires you as a writer?

Every thing I guess.  Certainly every author I have ever read, the thousands of books.  My travels, all the people I’ve met, places I’ve seen.  All my many interests past and present.  Everything.

Do you have a muse?

I don’t really understand this muse everyone on cyberspace talks about.  I have always used the word to mean ponder upon, to think carefully.  I guess how you all are using it is as an imaginary (female usually) force guiding your creativity, in which case probably not.  I have great trouble with imaginary forces!!!  I guide my creativity, my mind with all it’s filing systems stuffed to over flowing – I allow no meddling busybody telling me what to do! On my use of the word then yes.  I think a lot about my characters and plots.  Carefully working them out over periods of time.

Where do you write? Describe your place of writing to us?

On the dining table!  I have, since I decided to write full-time, taken over that area.  Open plan to the living area and kitchen.  We haven’t used the table to eat at for years and if we have visitors we eat off smaller individual tables.  I have transferred a lot of my reference books into the dining area (into the china cupboards).  Laptop and printer on the table, cats wherever they wish to be!  It works well, I’m around if needed and coffee refills are only a couple of steps away.  I have a window looking onto the garden, which is itself only a dozen steps from where I sit.  I can slip out there whenever the desire moves me. 

Are you a pen and paper writer/typewriter/digital writer?

I have been through them all.  When I wrote stories, as a child, it was pencil then pen.  As a teenager, when I tried writing, I had a typewriter.  After I finished travel, and began writing again, it was on the first of the computers, no ‘windows’ ‘graphics’ and no ‘internet’ for ordinary folk!  I don’t remember how many I have had now. I would miss my computer, more than any other technology, if I had to give it up.

Do you have any writing superstitions or traditions that you follow?

No.  I don’t go for superstitions and, although I have a fondness for some great traditions, a personal tradition in the way you mean it is, for me, akin to being in a rut, a routine and in something else’s power.

What genre do you write in and why?  

Well I shall say soft sci-fi/post apocalyptic/dystopian/romance and the why? is because that’s what everyone says.  Me? I think of my writing as fiction.  I have struggled so hard to make sense of this genre business.  

Because the series is set in the future people want to label it science fiction or speculative fiction; the last is, I suppose, accurate as both books are set in the future. But both books are romances also, as the central themes running through are love stories.  I want my books in general fiction because the books themselves deal with people, their emotions, trials and tribulations, and these are universal concerns.  

The only science used is a continuation of what is happening now, such as GM, alternative power and food sources.  I think my books would disappoint a real science fiction fan; I don’t think there’s enough doom and gloom for speculative fiction and certainly if labelled a romance (which it is) it would disappoint romance readers.  So you see, although people feel the need to label like this, I would be happier if there was more cross over in what books are about.

So why this subject? Well many of my of my interests feed into the books, sustainability, social history, anthropology and ethics for instance and I am very concerned with environmental issues and have thought for many decades that we haven’t, as a species, been thoughtful enough. I am, on the whole, though optimistic about the human race and our ability to adapt and have tried to write hopeful books. 

What genre would you like to write in but have not yet? And why?

The story I thought of back in my 40s was set today and was a love story I guess but exploring the stresses on all relationships when a traumatic event happens.  I’m intrigued with how folk ‘work’ so I think when I have finished trying to warn the world of their approaching doom!!! I’ll start on psychological fiction.

Do you have any beta readers or critique partners? Do you think they are a necessary resource for writers?

Well only my friend from forever.  She edits, checks inconsistencies, makes sure what I say makes sense – warns me when I’m assuming the reader knows as much as I do!!  

I think everyone needs someone who’s going to be honest about the writing, and she is, always has been! Also someone who can stand back from the emotional ties us authors have for our work and say ‘Oh for goodness sake woman!’ 

As we have been friends for almost 60 years, dreadful thought that! She also understands my word problems.  A stranger would struggle even harder than she has to.

Would you describe yourself as a punster or a plotter?

A bit of both I think.  I live with the story in my head for weeks/months before I get anywhere near the paper, usually when writing the previous book!!  I have long imaginary conversations with the characters, I know all the hidden story that will never be written.  I know them and what happens to them very well, I don’t necessarily have a plot line though.  I also find it impossible to write from beginning to end in a straight line.  I write like fury, episode by episode, and then at the end write linking bits to join them up and hopefully by then will know the beginning and the end!

Are you working on anything at the moment? Can you share a little about your latest WIP?

The third in the Sefuty Chronicles is, I hope, coming out in the autumn. Jack’s Tale is a little darker than the previous two.  I have had to research more about warfare, torture and post traumatic stress than I needed for the first books. I also have included some actions which may shock those who expect their romance to be only loving affairs.  I’m a bit nervous of doing it but, in The Storyteller’s Tale, I got away with having a heroine who wasn’t very nice, most of the time.  So fingers crossed I can get this character through his nasty deeds in one piece! 

What is more important to you story or character? Why?

I’m not sure that, in the books I’m writing at the moment, they can be separated.  If I did try psycological stories I think the characters would have to be slightly more important.  But the trouble with trying to separate these two things, is that they drive each other don’t they? How the character acts and reacts to his life however mundane (I’m not necessarily talking thriller/action) will drive the story.  The events of the story will cause the actions of the character.  I suppose the only way would be to write a book entirely as a train of thought; but even then the thoughts would include some kind of a story.  No I don’t think they can be separated.

Who is your favourite character that you have created and why?  

I have two. The one that is written  is Ria from The Storyteller’s Tale.  I like her because she’s such a troubled soul.  With her screaming tempers, distrustful reactions and fears she was great fun to write about. Ellen, from the first book, was difficult to write because she was so good (I’m not, so it was like writing about an alien being!)  The second character I like, might get written this year, was from an idea of a novel I had when I was 40 something.  She is a free spirit who lives just on the boundaries of acceptable social behaviour.  Slightly out of kilter moral values and ethics and I’m sure she will be fun to write as well.

Who is your favourite character in the literary world and why?

So many difficult to choose.  Ever since a child I have liked Scout in ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’.  As a child I understand her puzzlement and confusion at the world around, and her gradual knowledge and acceptance of life as it is, the unfolding beginnings of understanding others is great.  

Samwise from ‘The Fellowship of the Rings’ great fellow – he was always the hero of that saga.  The little man, the ordinary man, pitted against forces beyond understanding, armed only with basic knowledge of what’s important. Honest, loyal, a true friend, a strong sense of duty, and if you think about it that quest would have failed without him 

Then of course Scarlett O’Hara what a girl! – what a role model she was. Never one to be bound by rules, conventions.  She was a survivor and what a lot of people don’t seem to get is that she enables others to survive also.  The ‘good’ ones like Melanie and Ashley owed their lives to Scarlett’s determination and courage.  Okay that’s enough gab from me on the subject.

If you throw a dinner party and invite 5 famous creative people, who would they be and why?

Dorothy Dunnet, George Elliot, Beatrix Potter, Michelangelo, Stephen Fry

All of them had/have a wide range of interests, skills and creative talents, educated not just in their time but in the classics of their time, so could bring a wonderful wealth of conversation and wit to the table. They all trod/tread their own paths without letting society tell them what to do.  Think of the range of creativity at that table, authors, sculptures, painter, actors, engineers, visionaries.  Let’s hope my cooking could live up to it all!

If you could give yourself one piece of advice at the beginning of your writing career, what would it be?

Difficult, but I think it would be research.  Decide which path one is going and research it.  So, for me, to suddenly decide I would be an Indie writer after I had written the first book meant I have been playing catch-up all the time.  There were such a lot of skills I didn’t possess, that have been needed to work the possibilities of the internet.  Apart from e-book formatting, web site design, blogging the various network site etc.  I am still struggling to learn all the jargon!  Getting there, getting there.

What do want your lasting legacy? As a writer, to be?

Oh goodness, well probably to be remembered as a teller of some quite nice tales.  I know my books are never going to be classics but I do think they are good reads.

Thank you very much for allowing me on here to natter – I’m afraid I do go on a bit!

My books can be found on my official website

http://www.albertaross.co.uk where extracts, readers comments and purchase details can be found.

The e-book editions of  Ellen’s Tale and The Storyteller’s Tale can be found on http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/29886

I also blog about the process of writing and self publishing and writing in general on 

http://sefutychronicles-albertaross.blogspot.com/

and my general interests on

http://www.didyoueverkissafrog.typepad.com

you can also follow me on 

http://www.twitter.com/albertaross

GIVE-AWAY ALERT:  http://sefutychronicles-albertaross.blogspot.com/ – Blog Tour dates.

Alberta is running a Give Away during the tour.

2 winners of draw will win  e-book editions of

The first two books of the Sefuty Chronicles
Ellen’s Tale and The Storyteller’s Tale

3 runners-up will win an e-book edition of

Ellen’s Tale
 (unless already read in which case The Storyteller’s Tale)

How to win

A comment on each visited host site gives you one chance to win, also on my sites on those days I am posting there during the tour
an extra entry will be given if you mention the post on Twitter or Facebook
an extra entry will be given for a mention of the post/tour on your own blog
Let me know where you have spread the word., with a link.
So make sure you comment on this post, mention it to Alberta on her blog to be in with a chance to win. Also if you mention it on Facebook or Twitter you will get a bonus chance to win.

My visit to Rachna’s Scriptorium

Interview

A couple of weeks ago my good friend and one of my writing partners, Rachna Chhabria, asked if she could interview me on her lovely blog: Rachna’s Scriptorium. Rachna and I became friends through an online writers group called Scribblerati that we both belong to. Very soon we were Facebook friends and this year we became writing partners.

For those who follow my creativity blog, Dragonfly Scrolls, you will be aware that I am usually the one asking questions in the interviews. Asking the questions is the easy part. Rachna turned the tables on me this week and put me in the “answer” chair.

The interview will be posted in 2 parts. In this first part, posted today, Rachna asks me about my writing process and the NZ publishing scene. My thanks to Rachna for a lovely interview. If you have not visited her Scriptorium before, bookmark her blog because one visit will soon turn you into a fan.

Part 1 – My visit to Rachna’s Scriptorium.

nVrkvW2

Tales of Fantasy | Tim Ahrens

Today I have the pleasure of writer, Tim Ahrens,  in the interview chair. 

Please join me in giving him a warm welcome. Make yourself comfortable well we talk about fantasy, the importance of strong characters and the tales that have inspired him over the years.

Welcome Tim…

girl with a quill: If you were a character in a story, how would you describe yourself in 6 words?
Tim: Short in stature, strong in heart.

girl with a quill: How long have you been writing for?
Tim: I have been writing since I was about thirteen. That would make it about 33 years I think.

girl with a quill: Who or what influences your writing?
Tim: Oh I go way back. Lets see there was Ray Bradbury, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Robert Jordan, Stephen King, among others. What got me writing was the urge to tell stories that would spirit others away on new and wondrous adventures. Much as the writers I have mentioned did for me.

girl with a quill: What aspect of the writing life do you find the most challenging?
Tim: Finding the energy to write. I work full-time as well as care for my mother and my home. I try to squeak in what little time I have to continue my writing.

girl with a quill: Do you have a Write time of day set aside or do you write when the inspiration strikes?
Tim: Both, On my days off I read what I have completed and get inspiration from that. On work days I wait until the sun has set and the house is quiet so that I can slip into the world I am weaving.

girl with a quill: Tell us what inspires you as a writer?
Tim: The tale itself is what inspires me. Really I am sometimes as eager to see what will happen next as my readers are.

girl with a quill: Do you have a Muse?
Tim: Music and mood is my Muse. I can sometime start and finish an entire chapter just based on one song I am listening to or the mood I am in at the time I start to write.

girl with a quill: Where do you write? Describe your place of writing to us?
Tim: It a room about ten feet by ten feet. I have taken great pains to fill this room with things that I have grown up with as well as figures and posters and such that I have collected over the years. An oak desk sits against one wall of the room giving me a view of everything within it. A computer sits on the desk, with a large stereo near by. The floor is carpeted in grey shag. On the walls there is a star-scape painted.

girl with a quill: Are you a pen and paper writer/typewriter/digital writer?
Tim: I use a computer and word processor. I am hopeless without my spell checker as anyone who knows me will tell you lol.

girl with a quill: Do you have any writing superstitions or traditions that you follow?
Tim: It has to be dark outside and I have to have a hot cup of coffee near my right hand at all times.

girl with a quill: What genre do you write in and why?
Tim: I love fantasy. But I also write some sci-fi, horror, and contemporary. I try to keep my hand in a little of everything just so I don’t get stuck writing only one genre. It also keeps my mind and writing nimble and fresh.

girl with a quill: What genre would you like to write in but have not yet? Why?
Tim: Mystery. I really don’t think I have any talent for that genre.

girl with a quill: Do you have any beta readers or critique partners? Do you think they are a necessary resource for writers?
Tim: Yes I do. Several close friends as well as a few great friends on Facebook give me their take on how things are going. I think this is very necessary! Even if you do not end up taking their advice you do get a look at what you have written with fresh eyes.

girl with a quill: Would you describe yourself as a pantser or a plotter?
Tim: I would have to say pantser. I have a rough outline in my head when I begin a tale. But never really know where it’s going to go until I am in the meat of it. I think it’s more fun that way.

girl with a quill: Tell us about your process of getting a new idea for a novel or story?
Tim: I first create the type of character that I want to write about. I then build his world around him or her based on the type of person I have made him or her. From that point I fill in the people and place around him or her. Then when I have a complete picture of who he or she is what he or she looks like and who is most important to him or her I set up the reason for the need for his story to be told. The character is everything for me. If they to not live in my mind at the time I am writing the story then there’s no point.

girl with a quill: Are you working on anything now? Can you share a little about your latest WIP?
Tim: I am trying my hand at an epic. It will have seven central characters not including the villains. Its fantasy and will take place in several countries with the central characters being drawn together to do battle with a massive foe. I am shooting for something at least as big in scope as Lord of the Rings was. I hope 🙂

girl with a quill: What publishing market are you aiming for?
Tim: All of them. I want as many people who like my style of writing to have a chance to read it.

girl with a quill: There is a lot of talk right now about Digital Publishing (Ebook) versus Traditional Publishing?
What are your thoughts on this debate?
Tim: Although I like the feel of a real book in my hands, as well as the sensation of the pages being turned; I can understand that not everybody has the space or the money to buy a real book. In that case I feel e-books are just fine. Anything to get the written word out to people who enjoy reading a great book.

girl with a quill: What is more important to you: Story or Character? Why?
Tim: Character. They create the story in my opinion, not the other way around.

girl with a quill: Who is your favourite character that you have created and why?
Tim: His name is Torg Stumpchewer. He is my favorite because he is half-human and half-troll. But accepted by neither group. Although he has a massive and somewhat hideous appearance he is still a kind and heroic figure on the inside. It’s kind of my way of saying don’t judge a book by it’s cover.

girl with a quill: Who is your favourite character in the literary world and why?
Tim: His name is Dar-elLan-Martak. He is from the Cenotaph Road series. By Robert E Vardeman. Not only is Dar a heroic and steadfast hero. He is also thrown into the situation he find himself in by accident. With only his companion, Man sized spider, to help him he travels to unending world on the Cenotaph Road. Trying to find his purpose and his way home. What’s not to like?

girl with a quill: If you could throw a dinner party and invite 5 famous creative people, who would they be and why?
Tim: Ray Bradbury, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Robert Vardeman, Edgar Allen Poe, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I have learned how to write what I like and how to build a great character all by reading their wonderful work. In short without them and many others I would not be published today.

girl with a quill: If you could throw a dinner party and invite 5 of your favourite fictional characters, who would they be and why?
Tim: Super girl (from the comic) Ayane (from D.O.A.) Inyx (from the cenotaph road) Sassafras one seven four ( from the story with the same name) Circe ( from remnants of the gods) What a party they would make!

girl with a quill: If you could give yourself one piece of advice at the beginning of your writing career, what would it be?
Tim: Never throw anything out!!!!

girl with a quill: What is the one piece of writing advice you could give your future self, 10 years from now?
Tim: See I told you, you were a good writer!

girl with a quill: What do you want your lasting legacy, as a writer, to be?
Tim: That anyone can pick up one of my books and escape into a world of wonder.

girl with a quill:Tell us where we can find you and your work on the World Wide Web?
Tim: Please look for my book, The Salvation Of Tanlegalle, at any fine online book store as well as Amazon.com. You may also find it as well as my self and more samples of my work at www.Creative2at.com/client/tim-ahrens/home.html

Bringing back Fantastic SuperHeroes | Jack Hessey

Joining me today is a fan of all things fantasy and dreams of creating superheroes the reader won’t forget. Jack Hessey is a writer that I met in an online Facebook group called Fellow Writers. Like all the writers that belong to this group, this is a man devoted to creating fantastic fiction. So pull up a chair and make yourself comfortable as we discuss all things writing and how to create great characters that live on in the reader’s imagination.

Welcome Jack.

girl with a quill: If Jack Hessey were a character, how would you describe him?
Jack: I’d be the comic relief I think. I’m a bit clumsy, forgetful etc and often make a few smart remarks. Maybe the bumbling sidekick for the main villain, the guy who gets given the easiest jobs in the world to do yet still ends up messing them up.

girl with a quill: How long have you been writing for?
Jack: About 4 years now. The first few attempts at writing a novel failed, then in late 2009/early 2010 I finished my first novel, Steam Queen.

girl with a quill: Who or what influences your writing?
Jack: I don’t really have any inspiration. I just think of an idea, characters and such and write.

girl with a quill: What aspect of the writing life do you find the most challenging?
Jack: This may sound odd but I’ve always found the query letters to be the hardest. It’s so difficult to condense a hundred thousand word story into a few little sentences and make it sound interesting.

girl with a quill: Do you have a Write time of day set aside or do you write when the inspiration strikes?                                                                                                                                  Jack: I just write when the inspiration hits. I try to write at least for an hour a day when I have an ongoing project.                                                                                                        

girl with a quill: Tell us what inspires you as a writer?
Jack: Nothing really, I honestly can’t think of anything that inspires my writing.

girl with a quill: Do you have a Muse?
Jack: Nope

girl with a quill: Where do you write? Describe your place of writing to us?
Jack: My bedroom. It’s just a plain old bedroom with the usual bedroomy things like a bed, a tv, a PS3 a stack of comic books etc. It’s a bit of a mess but really it’s the only place in the house where I can find the quiet I need to be able to write since downstairs there will be my dad and brother watching television and talking which would be distracting.

girl with a quill: Are you a pen and paper writer/typewriter/digital writer?
Jack: Digital! Writing with pen and paper hurts my hand after a while and I like the option of being able to correct things I wrote if I mess up.

girl with a quill: What genre do you write in and why?
Jack: Anything fantasy. I guess it’s because it’s what I mainly read. Another reason is that it allows me to use all of my imagination without being shackled by what is or is not possible in the real world. By writing fantasy, if I want to include strange, mystical creatures of my own device (I haven’t yet but maybe one day I will!) or magical weapons and superpowers and cool things like that I can do.

girl with a quill: What genre would you like to write in but have not yet? Why?
Jack: I’ve always fancied dabbling in horror. I like horror stories but I honestly don’t think I could manage writing a good horror story. I have more of a fantasy imagination than a horror one.

girl with a quill: Do you have any beta readers or critique partners? Do you think they are a necessary resource for writers?
Jack: I don’t have any so of course, I don’t think they are necessary. I can see how they can be useful though.

girl with a quill: Would you describe yourself as a panster or a plotter?
Jack: Plotter, definitely. I can’t just wing it, I need a clear of idea of where my story will end up and what will happen next. Although sometimes the story does surprise me and takes an alternate route than planned!

girl with a quill: Tell us about your process of getting a new idea for a novel or story?
Jack: Whenever I get the workings of an idea I write it down and go back to it if I think I can develop it into a novel. At the moment there’s a folder on my laptop with 4 or 5 potential story ideas that I may get round too. After I’ve got an idea I think of characters, a storyline and plot out each chapter.

girl with a quill: Are you working on anything now? Can you share a little about your latest WIP?
Jack: A sequel to True Hero? Anyone currently reading or planning to read True Hero? Might not want to read further since it spoils the True Hero? Ending a bit. (warning – contains spoilers**) It follows where True Hero? Left off with Stella, The Fist and Enigma about to carry out their plans of taking on the corrupt superhero team, The Empire. The new major enemy for Stella to face are a group called Trinity. A trio of villains who have secretly being pulling the strings of The Empire and are responsible for the experiments, the cover-ups, the deals with super villains etc that the superhero team have done. **

girl with a quill: What publishing market are you aiming for?
Jack: I’m not sure to be honest. Any who want to read my book!

girl with a quill: There is a lot of talk right now about Digital Publishing (Ebook) versus Traditional Publishing?
What are your thoughts on this debate?
Jack: I like E-Books. They’re much more convenient really. I went away to Sri Lanka a few weeks ago and it felt so much more reassuring to carry around 50-60 books on my kindle than having to try and make the 2-3 books I usually cram into my luggage last for the whole trip!

girl with a quill: What is more important to you: Story or Character? Why?
Jack: Character. I can read a poor story if it’s got fun characters but I can’t read a good story if it’s got characters who I don’t like or don’t find interesting.

girl with a quill: Who is your favourite character that you have created and why?
Jack: Erica from Steam Queen because she’s a complete psychopathic nutcase. She isn’t a good person at all and readily admits to that. I think it’s quite unique because in Steam Queen she does end up doing good deeds but it’s mainly for selfish reasons and, although the deeds she does do help a lot of people she doesn’t exactly do them in a heroic fashion.

girl with a quill: Who is your favourite character in the literary world and why?
Jack: Ohhhh, this is tough one! Gonna have to go with Samwise Gamgee from Lord of the Rings is a fantastic character. He’s the true hero of the story since without him supporting and helping Frodo, Sauron would have got the ring in a week. He was just a brave, loyal, likeable character. Others that I’ve got a soft-spot for are Luna Lovegood and Professor Snape from the Harry Potter series and I loved Iorek from His Dark Materials.

girl with a quill: If you could throw a dinner party and invite 5 famous creative people, who would they be and why?
Jack: J.K Rowling, Philip Pullman and Philip Reeve because they are my three favourite writers. Emilie Autumn because she’s an amazing singer and just seems like a really interesting person too. I can’t think of a fifth person to be honest. Maybe George Lucas so I can serve him cold food for messing up Star Wars?

girl with a quill: If you could throw a dinner party and invite 5 of your favourite fictional characters, who would they be and why?                                                          Jack: 1) Luna Lovegood: She would make the dinner party quite entertaining, she’s awesome. 2) Molly Hayes from Marvel Comics: She’s an 11 year old girl with super strength who once threw Wolverine out of a church and once punched The Punisher in the gut. What’s not to like? 3) Sam Gamgee: So I can serve him a special meal for saving Middle Earth! 4) Yoda from Star Wars: He’ll have some fun stories to tell. 5) Spiderman: I’ve always been a fan of Spidey, he’s just a chilled, funny guy who seems like he’d be cool to hang out with. girl with a quill: If you could give yourself one piece of advice at the beginning of your writing career, what would it be?
Jack: Edit edit edit! I didn’t edit enough when I wrote Steam Queen and it shows with some of the reviews I’ve gotten where reviewers have picked up on errors

girl with a quill: What is the one piece of writing advice you could give your future self, 10 years from now?
Jack: I don’t know really. I’d like to think in 10 years time I’m still writing, maybe “Stop being lazy and write instead of getting distracted all the time?” I could do with following that advice now to be honest.

girl with a quill: What do you want your lasting legacy, as a writer, to be?
Jack: To be THE author when it comes to superhero stories. You know how when people say horror they think of King, fantasy they think of Rowling, Tolkien and  Pratchett, vampires they think of Rice etc? I want when people think of superhero stories to think of Jack Hessey 🙂 Hopefully it’s not too ridiculous a goal. Superhero fiction is a pretty empty market so hopefully I can make myself known in the genre. Preferably make a bit of cash in the old bank account too whilst doing that!

girl with a quill: Tell us where we can find you and your work on the World Wide Web?
Jack: My blog and my website.

Www.jackhessey.com   and  http://stellastargirlblog.wordpress.com/

Visions of creativity in words & pictures | Tina Hoggatt

Today I interview a lady who brings a triple threat of creativity: writer, artist and illustrator. It never fails to amaze me at the endless talent and creativity of the warriors that I interview on this blog every week. Tina Hoggatt is another of these super-talented ladies. She has not allowed bias or criticism to encroach on her dreams, instead she forges on ahead. Having had a successful career in Art she has recently gotten back to her original creative dream: writing. She has also managed to meld together these two creative pursuits in the guise of an illustrator. She has kindly allowed me to include a few illustrations here in this interview for your enjoyment. Without giving too much away, I will allow Tina to do the talking for herself. So pull up a chair and make yourself comfortable as Tina and I sit down for a one-on-one chat. 

Welcome Tina Hoggatt….

 

girl with a quill: Ernest Hemingway famously wrote a six-word story. Tell us a bit about yourself in 6 words. Who is Tina Hoggatt?

Tina: Seriously fun, loves words and pictures. 

girl with a quill: When did you decide that you wanted to be a Writer?

Tina: Early on – I didn’t make novels as a child but I did write stories and was fairly clear about it as an identity by the time I was eleven or so.

girl with a quill:How long have you been writing for?

Tina: I was committed as a writer in middle school and had a writing group with a few girlfriends but was discouraged by a mentor at thirteen. This had sexist overtones (‘there are no truly famous women writers; only men are serious writers’ etc ) which I knew were both wrong and incorrect but at the time I lived in between two happily married women painters so I thought I’d pursue art. Who needed the grief?  I wrote in my twenties and then committed to an art career, which actually worked, but I have come back to writing in the last five years or so and have been very focused for the past few years.

girl with a quill: Besides writing, what are your other passions / hobbies?

Tina: I make paintings and prints and have been working in porcelain enamel on steel recently, which I adore. I have a letterpress shop in my studio and don’t use it enough. 

girl with a quill: Who or what is the greatest influence on you as a writer? and Why?

Tina: The greatest influence on me as a writer were my parents being who read to their children twice a day for the whole of my youth. From this I learned that there needed to be music in the language and that story was king.

girl with a quill: If your life story were a novel, what genre would it be and what would be the story-arc up to this point?

Tina: Contemporary fiction. Late bloomer finds husband and confidence, experiences setbacks and family turmoil, emerges in midlife with clarity and urgency to kick some serious ass.

girl with a quill: Tell us about the place that you write? What do you fill that space with?

Tina: I have two office spaces and a studio and mostly sit at the kitchen table when I write so I can watch the birds at the feeders and see the garden. I also write every day on the bus during my commute.

girl with a quill: Tell us about your writing process from that magical moment when the story’s idea / character voice interrupts your thoughts…what happens next?

Tina: I often see a scene, a character in a place with some very simple action. I may write a page or so that becomes the nut of a story. I’ll write a huge hunk of it, then finesse the plot.

girl with a quill: Are you a plotter, a pantster or a little of both?

Tina: I come from an honest pantser background and have been dragged into plotting, at which I frankly suck. But I’m working on it. Plotting is a time saver and time is what I don’t have enough of.

girl with a quill: What genre do you write in and why?

Tina: I write YA and MG and have created illustrated books. In adolescence crossroads are reached that force a choice about both action and character – defining moments. These happen with much more frequency than in adulthood, at a time when emotions run high. I’m interested in exploring those points and in speaking to them for the reader.

girl with a quill: We all have little habits and quirks that make us individual. 

What are your bad habits in writing? What are your strengths in writing?

Tina:

  1. I have a tendency toward complication and complexity that can get in the way of fluid storytelling.
  2. My visual training and art practice make me a good observer. I think this comes out in the writing. Also I’m pretty good with dialogue and its integration.

girl with a quill: If you could try your pen at another genre, which genre would you choose?

Tina: Biography. 

girl with a quill: Can you tell us a bit about the book/s you have written?

Tina: I have contributed essays to two books edited and published by fine letterpress printer Jules Remedios Faye, The Ladies Printing Bee and Fallen Angels. What is the Panda to You? an artists’ book in a tiny edition was a collaboration with artist Jeffry Mitchell. I wrote the text, printed the book and collaborated on illustration. I’ve made several other similar editions as well.

I’ve illustrated several books for mainstream publishers, My Jim by Nancy Rawles and Home Field, a collection of essays on baseball edited by John Marshall. I also have some manuscripts moldering in virtual space.

girl with a quill: What is your best sentence you have written?

Tina: Gray and quick and flipper slick, here and gone – yoohoo!

Is it the best? Maybe not, but fun.

girl with a quill: Are you working on any WIP now? Can you tell us a bit about it?

Tina: I’m working on Clickstream, a YA book I’m calling contemporary para-scifi. Boy recovering from the death of his brother is visited by the ghost of his dead dog and a shimmering particle stream of a naked girl from the future, discovering that his brother’s essence has been preserved in an experimental chip developed by his dad, who is working to retrieve him. Complications ensue. It’s about bringing back the dead, bicycles, friendship, comic books and love. Also it’s funny.

girl with a quill: First drafts are for the writers themselves. Who reads your work after you?

Tina: I work on my first drafts with two writing groups in real life and one online group. These are my beta readers for finished work. Also, my mom is an invaluable reader.

girl with a quill: Why do you write?

Tina: At this point it’s a practice, and without a creative practice I turn into a real creep. 

girl with a quill: Do you have a common theme or Omni-Premise that threads its way through all your writing? If so, what is it?

Tina: Despite life’s emotional hardships there is friendship, unexpected wonder and joy to be had in this life.

girl with a quill: Do you believe in Muses? If you do, who/what is your Muse?

Tina: My muse is a donkey whose tail I hold as it leads me through a darkened room. Sometimes I bump into the furniture. Sometimes I get a glimpse into another room.

girl with a quill: If you found a golden lamp with a genie and he told you he could either make one of your stories come true or that you could become a character for a short time in another author’s book, which option would you choose and why?

Tina: It has to be a character in another author’s book, to spend time with people I have come to know and love, and see their places.

girl with a quill: What is more important to you: Story or Character? Why?

Tina: My writing is character driven, but without story there is no sustained engagement. I’ve proven this, actually, to my chagrin.

girl with a quill: Who is your favourite character that you have created and why?

Tina: Right now I’m very fond of the ghost of a dog named Gus who is taking time out from a pleasant afterlife to help out a messed up boy here on earth. 

girl with a quill: Who is your favourite character in the literary world and why?

Tina: Mary Russell, from the genius mind of Laurie R. King. Scholar, sleuth and wife to Sherlock Holmes – who is no slouch himself. 

girl with a quill: If you could throw a dinner party and invite 5 famous creative people, who would they be and why?

Tina: It’s a dinner party, right? There has to be synergy. Mark Twain for sure – he was funny, told fabulous stories and always wore a white suit – at least in his later years. So right there you have a keystone. He’s going to have to smoke outside though. I’ve been in love with Myrna Loy my whole life and Twain would love her brains and sass, as well as her legs – so Myrna’s next to Twain. I’d invite Dorothy Parker but she was a mean drunk and you know there will be drinking. Julia Child’s in the kitchen. She makes great conversation and she’ll sit at that end of the table so she can check the miracle sauce at regular intervals. This dinner will need a poet and a fabulist. Pablo Neruda may feel a little shy at first but he’ll warm to the northerners, and he can recite for us in Spanish. And I think Joan Baez would round out the table nicely. She’ll put everyone at ease and tell surprisingly funny anecdotes, imitate Bob Dylan and lead the singing after dessert.

girl with a quill: If you could throw a dinner party and invite 5 of your favourite fictional characters, who would they be and why?

Tina: All sleuth dinner: Mary Russell, Sherlock Holmes, Nancy Drew (I wanted to be her), Yashim the eunuch and Maisie Dobbs.

girl with a quill: If you could give yourself one piece of advice at the beginning of your writing career, what would it be?

Tina: Don’t quit, it’s a waste of time and talent.

girl with a quill: What is the one piece of writing advice you could give your future self, 10 years from now?

Tina: Don’t quit, it’s a waste of time and talent.

girl with a quill: What do you want your lasting legacy, as a writer, to be?

Tina: The first book you reach for on the bookshelf of a summer cabin.

girl with a quill: Where can we find your book/s for sale?

Tina:  You’ll have to wait for a year or two.

girl with a quill: Finally where can we find on the web?

Tina: My blog: http://tinahoggatt.wordpress.com/

My website: http://tinahoggatt.com/