Author interview – Paul Cude #Authors @paul_cude

Today I have the pleasure of introducing author Paul Cude who will be sharing his thoughts on reading and writing, and details of his Book, Bentwhistle The Dragon in A Threat From The Past (Book 1)

Paul on Writing

Where do you get your ideas?

From my dreams and life experiences more than anything. Oddly the whole thing started with a dream. Sounds a bit crazy really, but one night, when my elder daughter was just a baby (she’s not far off 16 now) I had the single most realistic dream I’ve ever had. I didn’t remember it until the following day, but when I did, I swear it was just like watching a movie in my head…..so graphic, so intense, so…..mesmerising. Anyhow, I told my wife, who was gobsmacked to say the least. And so was what she said to me, “You have to write it, you just have to.” At the time I just laughed off her idea, bearing in mind that at the time I could only type with two fingers. But over a period of I suppose months, I kept getting more dreams, flashbacks into the story…….sometimes little details, sometimes insights into the characters, sometimes twists and turns to do with the plot. In the end I suppose it was inevitable that I would write it. First I taught myself to type properly…..3 months, and then, well………..I began. At first I needed complete silence to be able to write, something there wasn’t a lot of bearing in mind I was taking care of one young child, with another on the way. But over time I’ve learned to filter it all out and can now write with the kids playing around me if I need to, but I still think I do work more efficiently in total silence. It has taken a long time, and I was surprised how hard and crucial the editing  process was. But in the end it was most definitely worth it. The life experiences part is more about the human sport mentioned in the book. I’ve played field hockey for well over three decades now, and it’s changed my life beyond recognition. I have a great affection and admiration for the other sports mentioned as well, hence the reason they’re included.

What motivates you to write?

Earning a living wage, being a success, but above all, bringing just a little pleasure to the readers. I know how it feels to be lost in a fictional world, staying up all night to finish a book, or “just one more chapter”. To provide others with a story that will get them hooked and give them the pleasure of getting lost for a few minutes or a few hours certainly keeps me focused.

How many hours a week do you spend writing?

It’s so difficult to say. One of the things I love about doing what I do is the freedom it gives me. That said, I do end up on the computer at all times, sometimes starting at 5.30am and most nights not finishing until closer to 11pm and that’s seven days a week. Of course it’s not constant, and a lot of that is the devil that is social media. But writing goes on in between and anytime when I have more than a few minutes. If I had to guess I’d say closer to 20 hours of writing a week, but as so often happens, life can get in the way and as I’m a house husband and look after both of my kids, regularly I have to ditch the writing to look after either one or both of them. The writing is always the first thing that suffers.

Best thing about writing?

The freedom. Not only in the sense that I can write when I like, perhaps in the evening, thus freeing up some time during the day. But freedom to explore my dreams, other worlds, the crazy fiction that regularly plays out in my head, mainly when I’m asleep, but quite often during the day. I’m sure my family must regularly look at me, see my vacant stare and think….. ‘he’s off amongst the dragons again.’

Your biggest writing distractions?

Without a doubt…..social media. A necessity in this day and age, but one that proves time consuming and a huge distraction from writing. I love helping other authors and sharing their work….who wouldn’t? As a reader I don’t just read one book, or one series of books. I read lots of different books in lots of different genres. So sharing the work of others always seems like the right thing to do, so that people who follow me have the chance to find new authors and brilliant new books. You also hope that those authors that you’re sharing feel exactly the same way. Unfortunately though, it is massively time consuming and on any one day can pull you away from your main goal of writing.

How long does it take you to write a book?

Generally I would say about a year, but it depends what life throws at us as a family. Over the past few years we’ve had more than our fair share of ups and downs with health issues, etc, and as I’ve stated already, the very first thing to suffer for me is the writing. I would say if things go well, a year is a reasonable target to get the writing, editing and everything else in place.

Least favourite thing about writing?

It would be hard to choose between social media and editing. I love interacting with all the other people on twitter, facebook and google+ etc, but it’s so time consuming, and I know my writing suffers because of it. And so while I love doing that side of things, I would get so much more done if I just ignored social media all together. As for editing…..I absolutely loathe it. I get to the end of writing a book and the elation on writing that very last sentence is beyond belief. And then it hits you. You’ve still got all the editing to do. Ahhhhh!!! But it is a necessary evil and one that pays off the more time you spend on it. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve read each of my books during the editing process.

How do you measure your success as a writer?

Certainly not money, that’s for sure. I think for me it has to be a combination of reviews and messages from people who’ve bought and read your book. Opening your emails up early in the morning to find a positive message from a reader puts the biggest smile of all on your face. And not just for the rest of the day.

What advice would you give to yourself if you were starting the writing journey again?

Spend as much money as you can to get the right covers. For my first book I’ve had three different covers, and it’s only now that I feel I have the right one, the one I should have had in the first place. At the time it was difficult to know exactly what it was I wanted, and where to find the right person to design it. As well, I was restricted by a rather tight budget. But in the long term, it’s worked out much more expensive. There are so many more great places to have your cover designed now, and they are not too expensive either. Lessons learned.

Paul on Reading

What is your favorite genre(s)? Tell us more about why you love them?

When in my late teens, I mistakenly ordered a Tom Clancy book…..Debt of Honour. I was too lazy to return it, so it sat on my bedside table for weeks, until one evening, when I picked it up and started to read it. Many hours later I put it down, only because I needed a few hours’ sleep before I went to work. I was hooked. After finishing that, I went out and bought all the other Tom Clancy books I could find. It was also about that time that the Star Wars expanded universe books started to appear. I caught sight of the first one while working in a book shop in my role of service engineer. I can remember it clearly: Star Wars Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn. It had a striking blue cover with some of the Star Wars characters on it, and I had to buy it there and then, in the middle of doing my job, much to the amusement of the owner of the bookshop. My love of the expanded universe has continued ever since, and as soon as the next book comes out…….I have to have it.

It seems my love of books goes in phases. If I have nothing to read, I wander around a bookshop until I find something I like the look of and then read it. If I get hooked, I go back and find other books by that author. Examples of this for me are Terry Goodkind and Christopher Paolini…..I love all of their books. The detail, the plot……the characters….are just all amazing. I can only dream of writing as well as they do. Other authors I’ve found and loved this way include Robin Hobb, J.V. Jones, David Gemmell and Trudi Canavan, to name but a few. I love the way they use their imaginations and the worlds that they create on the pages of the book. They’re all very easy to visualise.

My favorite author of all though, is the wonderful Terry Pratchett. If you haven’t read one of his books you really should. While I love pretty much all the books he’s written, the ones about the guards of Ankh-Morpork, Captain Carrot, Sam Vimes, Corporal Nobbs, Angua and of course the Lord Vetinari, are easily my favourites. The characters themselves are described in magnificent detail, all with their own funny little ways. The plots twist and turn like a raging river, and the humour…….well, let’s just say that is exactly on my wavelength. I’ve cried with laughter on many occasions reading some of Terry Pratchett’s books, and I can’t recall doing that for any other author I’ve read. If you’re a reading fan, you really must try one of his books.

So my favourite genres would have to be fantasy, science fiction followed by thrillers, in that order.

Have you ever skipped something important to stay at home and read a book? Details please!

Well of course there’s sleep. Definitely skipped a lot of sleep to read a lot of books. Most of the Star Wars expanded universe, not to mention most of the Harry Potter series and a lot of Terry Pratchett’s books. I do recall feigning illness to stay off work and read when I was a service engineer once. I can’t remember what book it was (I think one of the Star Wars expanded universe volumes) but that was a total one off.

Favorite book hero and / or villain and why?

Hero has to be Han Solo. What’s not to like? Serious attitude, courage, selfless despite outwards appearances, better than good with a gun and of course there’s the flying. A scoundrel for sure, but what a scoundrel.

As for villains…..it would have to be (sorry, spoilers for those who haven’t read the books) Jacen Solo, Han’s son from the Star Wars expanded universe. Reading about his journey, from sweet adolescent to tough but fair, no-nonsense jedi, to Sith lord was just heartbreaking, particularly because of some of the things he did once he’d attained Sith lord status. Good turned bad never felt so despicable.

If you could have a signed copy of a book by an author (dead or living) what book would it be and why?

It would have to be the Fifth Elephant by Terry Pratchett. My favourite book ever. The story is magnificent and the way he paints the characters with words is just outstanding. I must have read the book about ten times in all and it never gets boring. And there’s one part in there, that even as I’m writing this is making me laugh. I won’t go into details, but it’s when Gaspode the talking dog has to tell Carrot the name of the wolf. Makes me cry with laughter every time. What’s ironic about this is that I used to see the late Terry Pratchett in Salisbury (the city where I live) but never had the courage to go up to him. I’m a very shy person and wouldn’t dream of going up to anyone in the street that I didn’t know, especially a famous author like him. If I could go back in time, I most certainly would pluck up the courage to approach him, but only to tell him just how much pleasure his books have given me.

About your Books…

You are living in your latest novel. Where are you living, and what is it like?

I’m living underground in the dragon domain and it’s…..HOT! Unbelievably so. Rivers of brilliant molten magma roll across the landscape, twisting their way between houses, crisscrossing the different dragon metropolises. Crackling lava waterfalls drop hundreds of metres, throwing off steam and heat in abundance, keeping the secret underground world the kind of temperature its dragon inhabitants like. As well as HOT, it’s absolutely bonkers. Dragons stroll down oversized walkways, live in giant houses, work in monstrous office buildings, all going about their daily business, most of which in some way shape or form is related to the running of the planet, and the guidance and protection of the human population on the surface. Realistically a human being down here would be unlikely. Not only is it forbidden by the ruling dragon council, but they would struggle to survive given the heat, the diet, and in particular the jaw dropping monorail that can almost exceed the speed of sound.


Bentwhistle The Dragon in A Threat From The Past (Book 1)

Can you be heroic and naive?

For Peter Bentwhistle, the answer would most certainly have to be YES!

Blissfully unaware of what’s going on around him, for the most part he remains fully focused on blending in and keeping a low profile.

But fate and just plain bad luck have other designs on him.

Not so bad, you might think. Until you discover the TRUTH!

Just like his friends, Tank and Richie, he is a…..DRAGON!

Thrust into a life away from the underground dragon domain, disguised in an awkward human form in an effort to guide and protect humanity, all he has to do is stay out of trouble, learn how to play hockey and piece together all the parts of the puzzle continually playing out around him.

With the help of his two young friends, a master mantra maker and a complete dragon stranger with more than a little history attached to him, will Peter manage to thwart the dark, devious scheme long in the planning?

Ever wondered how dragons travel below ground at almost the speed of sound?

Want to know how they use magical mantras to transform their giant bodies into convincing human shapes?

Learn the true story of George and the Dragon, get a dragon-like perspective on human social issues and gain insight into what to do if you encounter a giant spider grinning at you when you’re wearing nothing but your smile.

Lose yourself in this unputdownable fantasy adventure NOW


About Paul Cude

Paul Cude is a husband, father, field hockey player and aspiring photographer. Lost without his hockey stick, he can often be found in between writing and chauffeuring children, reading anything from comics to sci-fi, fantasy to thrillers. Too often found chained to his computer, it would be little surprise to find him, in his free time, somewhere on the Dorset coastline, chasing over rocks and sand in an effort to capture his wonderful wife and lovely kids with his camera. Paul Cude is also the author of the Bentwhistle the Dragon series of books.

You can also follow Paul on his social media sites!

Author Interview – Cassandra Parker ‪@Marburg759

Today I have the pleasure of introducing author Cassandra Parker, who will be sharing her thoughts on reading and writing, and details of her new book Harley’s Redemption.

 c_usersburgettdocumentscreative-workspublishedcassandra-parkerharley-memariCassandra On Writing

I have always been an avid reader. I am here to write, to learn, to be creative, and to have fun. I write because that is who I am. I see inspiration in everything such as the falling of a leaf, a child’s laughter, etc. I write because I can remember and to keep those memories alive. I remember my mother’s voice calling to me to come in for lunch on a hot summer day. I remember the smell of fresh mowed grass in the early morning. I remember how cool the lawn felt with dew drops glistening from each green blade. I write for pleasure. I write because I must.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

To read, read, read. Study the genres you love to read. Write what you love to read. Never give up. Even if everyone tells you being a writer is hard and you will not make it, look these naysayers in the eye and tell them, “I am a writer. No one can take that away from me. I will always write no matter what.”
Practice the craft. Study it, look at how a story is “shown” and not “told.” Find time to write 1 page a day, everyday. At the end of a year you will have finished a book. Never believe what you have written is too good for editing. Edit brutally, but also learn, and know when to stop. Edit to tighten the story but do not edit so much you lose the heart of it.

What is your favourite genre(s)?

I love romance in all its multitude of forms. Romance is wistful, poignant, and classic. It makes the heart beat faster; it brings a twinkle to the eyes, a tear drop, and a smile. Romance is love, joy, pain, and loss. It is endearing and lasts throughout time for all eternity.

I love SF because it takes place in worlds different than our own.

I love dystopian novels because it explores our humanity and our struggle to remain human.

Have you ever skipped something important to stay at home and read a book? 

Yes, I have. I was so engrossed in the story The Haunting by Shirley Jackson I completely forgot I was scheduled to work.

If you could have a signed copy of a book by an author (dead or living) What book would it be?

Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. It was one of the books that drew me into a whole different world and created a love for books and ultimately for writing.

Are you a one book at a time reader, or do you jump between many?

I read one book at a time so I can savor the story. I become so completely immersed in the tale I lose track of time, location, etc.

Tell us what you are currently reading and your verdict so far?

I’m currently reading Girl on a Train. It is a hard read for me because it is not in one of my favorite genres.

Harley’s Redemption by Cassandra Parker

Harley is a rebel soul, lashing out at his family because all they care about is their social standing.  They are destroying him piece by piece. He is a biker on a downward spiral with his world falling apart. Together with his man servant, Garrett,  he sets out to discover himself and look for the angel in his visions. This is his story about failure, redemption and his search for Mari.
Mari thinks Harley is drop dead gorgeous. He is the guy in most girls dreams. When he smiles she sees the innocent angel and the rascally devil in him. Harley loves her with reckless abandon. To Mari, Harley is her joy, her present, and her future. She loves how he encourages her to seek adventure, and to follow her dreams.
Harley’s Redemption is a romance filled with comedic and tragic moments. It tells the story of two college students as they discover the love of a lifetime. This is the journey of two people who discover true love is endless, endures through all the heartbreak and laughter, and transcends time.
Come Ride With Harley.

You can also follow Cassandra on her blog! CassandraParker.wordress.com.

If you have recently published a book and would like to feature in an author interview,  please email at TheWritingChimp@gmail.com

Author Interview – Greg Levin #authors @Greg_Levin #books

Today I have the pleasure of introducing author Greg Levin who will be sharing his thoughts on reading and writing, and details of his new book, In Wolves’ Clothing.

Greg on Writing

What motivates you to write?

The desire to remain sane. Kafka was spot on when he famously said, “A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity.” I can sometimes make it two or three days without working on a novel, blog post or grocery list, but after that I absolutely MUST write. Even when I’m on vacation in paradise with my beautiful wife, I need to scratch out a page here and there to keep the crazy away. Too much sun and surf and relaxation terrifies me.

Your biggest writing distractions?

My wife’s desire to go on vacations in paradise. That, and any kind of noise other than the clicks of my own keyboard and synapses. I wear silicone earplugs whenever writing to avoid being pulled out of my fictional world by such annoying sounds as my wife saying good morning, my teenage daughter sneaking back into the house, or my forgotten cats begging me to feed them. I know this makes me seem a little selfish and mean, but in my defense, I’m not a very good person.

What are your favorite books or sites you go to for writing tips/advice?

It’s been a while since I’ve referenced the following books (and maybe it’s time I revisit), but I’d have to say Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones, Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life and Donald Maass’ Writing the Breakout Novel. As for sites on the Interweb, I regularly click to Writer Unboxed, Lit Reactor and Writer’s Digest. Joanna Penn’s site—The Creative Penn—is another excellent online resource for writers, newbies and veterans alike.

Least favorite thing about writing?

That’s easy—the fact that I can’t quit it. It’s got me by the goodies and will never let go. Don’t get me wrong, I love writing, but there are times when the relationship turns abusive and I just want out. I’ve tried to leave in the past, but she always finds me and lures me back with her irresistible guile and powerful verbs.

What do your friends and family think about you being a writer?

My friends all think it’s fantastic … until I come out with a new novel and camp outside their homes until they buy multiple copies and write a rave review on Amazon. It’s tiresome for everyone involved.

As for my family, they’re extremely supportive—even when I’m losing my mind and being belligerent and/or neglectful while trying to finish a book. When I do finally finish, my parents always read it in one sitting, then call me afterward to tell me it’s brilliant. I should point out my parents are drinkers. My wife, she’s a bit too supportive. Whenever I even joke about quitting the writing game, she slaps me around—much the way writing does, albeit with better intentions. Still, having someone believe so strongly in you is dangerous.

Most important things a writer should spend money on?

If you’re an indie author like me, you can’t skimp on cover design, editing, proofreading, formatting and marketing. It’s also a good idea to fork over some cash for a course on how to be a drug kingpin or a jewel thief—that way you’ll always have plenty of money to pay for all those other items I mentioned. Finally, bourbon and vodka. (But never mix the two. That’s unhealthy.)

How do you measure your success as a writer?

By the word. It’s a lot more gratifying than measuring success by the royalties. Delusional is my middle name.

What advice would you give to yourself if you were starting the writing journey again?

I’d tell myself debut novels very rarely do well, so it’s better to start off with your third or fourth. I’d also tell myself that trying to make it as a writer is a grind, and that the grind is often painful and miserable, and that it’s important to use that pain and misery to write something worth a damn.

And to never quit. Because you can’t. And if you can, then you were never a writer to begin with. (Insert image of me dropping a mic and confidently strutting away … then blushing upon the realization I still have several interview questions left to answer.)

As a reader

What is your favorite book quote?

Oh my, I have to choose just one? That’s like asking me to choose a favorite snowflake or Rocky film. Hmmm, I think I’ll have to go with the following staggeringly good one from Denis Johnson—an amazing writer we lost earlier this year:

“Talk into my bullet hole. Tell me I’m fine.” (From Jesus’ Son.)

Favorite book hero and/or villain, and why?

I have two favorites, but (spoiler alert) they are really the same person. The first is the unnamed protagonist of Fight Club, and the second is Tyler Durden of Fight Club. I could go on for days explaining why they/he are/is my favorite hero/villain, but I must respect the first rule of Fight Club and not talk about Fight Club. I’ve already said too much.

Your most influential book?

This may shock you, but it’s Fight Club. It’s the book that really got me into contemporary transgressive fiction. And it’s not even my favorite book by Chuck Palahniuk. But it’s the one that awoke in me a fresh new way of writing­—dangerous prose with a minimalist bent. Prose that is dark and startling, but also peppered with pathos, humor and humanity.

Warning: Humble-brag ahead. … You can imagine my elation—and my terror—when, after having been a huge fan of Palahniuk’s for years, I got selected by him to participate in his inaugural “Writing Wrong” workshop in Portland this past spring (along with a dozen other writers). Every Monday for ten weeks I got to sit in a room with Chuck, read sections of In Wolves’ Clothing (a work in progress at the time), and have him tell me everything I had to fix to make the book as good as I had deluded myself into thinking it already was. The whole experience was extremely rewarding, and humbling. Most importantly, it gave me the ability to name-drop Chuck Palahniuk during interviews for the rest of my life.

Tell us what you are currently reading and your verdict so far?

I’m reading Kiss Me, Judas by Will Christopher Baer. It’s dark, sardonic and absurd. You know, the perfect book to bring to the beach. A fellow writer recommended it to me after shaming me for having never read it. I don’t know why it took me so long to discover Mr. Baer’s writing talent. I guess I’ve just been too busy trying to discover mine.

If you could have a signed copy of a book by an author (dead or living) what book would it be and why?

The Bible. Because I want to know who wrote it, and because I’d make millions charging people admission to see my signed copy. But I don’t want to end this interview on such a snarky note, so I’m going to provide another answer: Fight Club. You know, in case I ever lose my current copy that Chuck Palahniuk signed for me. Did I mention I know Chuck?

Before I go, thank you very much, Georgina (or is it Gee? Or G. L.?) for giving me such valuable real estate on your most excellent blog. Also, a huge thank you to your readers, who hopefully stuck around here till the end so I can remind them to check out my brand new novel, In Wolves’ Clothing..

Gee: You’re welcome 🙂

About the book

You are living in the your latest novel. Where are you living, and what is it like?

As the protagonist of In Wolves’ Clothing, I’m based in present-day LA, which is nice if you can stand the brutal traffic, brutal sunshine and all the brutally beautiful people. I, personally, cannot. So it’s a good thing I travel the globe for my job. I might be in Phnom Penh one week, Mumbai the next, and Rio de Janeiro the week after that. It’s not as glamorous as it sounds. Not even close. After all, there’s nothing glamorous about pretending to be a pedophile. Yup, that’s what I do for work. If you know of a better way to rescue victims of child sex trafficking, feel free to share it with me. Until then, my team and I will keep hopping on planes, drinking with pimps, and pulling off the most heartbreaking sting operations you can imagine.

About Greg Levin

Greg Levin is an award-winning author of contemporary fiction with a dark comedic tinge. He resides with his wife, daughter and two cats in Austin, Texas, where he’s currently wanted by local authorities for refusing to say “y’all” or do the two-step.

In Wolves’ Clothing  by Greg Levin

Zero Slade is not a bad guy—he merely plays one when saving children’s lives.

During his seven years on a team fighting child sex trafficking around the globe, Zero’s become quite good at schmoozing with pimps, getting handcuffed by cops and pretending not to care about the Lost Girls he liberates. But the dangerous sting operations—along with Zero’s affinity for prescription painkillers—are starting to take their toll on his marriage. And sanity.

You can also follow Greg on his social media sites!

If you have recently published a book and would like to feature in an author interview,  please email me at TheWritingChimp@gmail.com

Author Interview – Don Foxe #Author #books @don_foxe

Today I have the pleasure of introducing author Don Foxe who will be sharing his thoughts on reading and writing, and details of his book series, Sapce Fleet Sagas.

 Don on Writing

Where do you get your ideas?   Combination of history, my life, and current events.

What motivates you to write?      Joy. It’s fun seeing what happens.

How many hours a week do you spend writing?  

This is a bit tricky, because now that I have published works, I find a lot of my time is spent writing for marketing, not just in production of the next story or collection — still, I average two hours/day on fiction alone, so fourteen to fifteen hours/week.

Best thing about writing?

Again, for me, because of how I write, its seeing where the characters take the storyline.

Your biggest writing distractions?          

I own a health club that is BUSY! Sixty to seventy hours a week with that tends to be a bit distracting from everything else.

What are your favorite books or sites you go to for writing tips / advice?

  • Creative Penn
  • Alliance of Independent Authors
  • Books Go Social
  • GrammarBook.com
  • Writing Forward
  • Quickanddirtytips.com

How long does it take you to write a book?   

Four to six weeks to flesh out the original story, and five to six months to rewrite so it’s worth publishing.

Have you ever cut anything from your book and why? 

Good Lord, Woman! Who doesn’t cut stuff from their books? In my case my wife forces me to cut science-crap down to a couple of paragraphs from the pages I start with. I love the techie stuff, but I realize the average person goes to sleep. The other thing I have to be careful with is the erotic . . . my novels are adult, but I cut out the vivid descriptions. I do keep them, however, in case I decide to release an erotic sci-fi thriller under another name.

Least favorite thing about writing?

Writing — nothing. I enjoy it all. Marketing, however, sucks. I’m actually quite good at marketing, but the number of mistakes you have to make in order to move forward is daunting.

What do your friends and family think about you being a writer?

Mostly, pride. The books have received high reviews, professional and readers ratings, and the haiku exchanges are fun and inspirational, so people close to me think it’s cool I can pull it all off.

Most important thing a writer should spend money on?

Their spouse. No, only kidding . . . actually, not kidding. You best spend time and money on people you love first. Be VERY CAREFUL about spending money on publishing agents. My first experience cost me a lot, and I learned a lot. DO YOUR RESEARCH if you need a publisher. What I did learn was all you really need is an editor. Pay for a professional edit, and everything else relative to writing-publishing can be done very cheaply.

How do you measure your success as a writer?    

Reviews. Real reviews, not just the ones I pay for to boost getting reviews.

What advice would you give to yourself if you were starting the writing journey again?

#1 — have someone you trust to tell you the truth read your book.

#2 — spend the damn time making it a book, and not just a story. If you don’t want to sweat rewrites, consider another hobby.

#3 — hire an editor, and listen to them! But DO NOT RELY on them. You should have done your own substantial edits before sending a draft to a professional.

#4 — develop a taste for alcohol — I don’t drink, but I understand now why so many “great” writers are alcoholics and drug addicted . . . only kidding . . . again . . . maybe.

As a reader

What is your favorite genre(s)? Tell us more about why you love them?

Urban fantasy. Jim Butcher. Benjamin Jacka. Kat Richardson. Faith Hunter. Kevin Hearne. The genre allows for development of characters by placing them in unimaginable situations. It draws on history, fantasy, myth, and suspense. Because the stories are contemporary, it is easy to empathize and easier to accept the supernatural aspects.

Have you ever skipped something important to stay at home and read a book? Details.

The weekend of July 20 – 22, 2007. A family wedding at a resort planned. Friday night reception dinner. Saturday, early afternoon wedding. After that, we get free time to enjoy the mini-vacation. Only Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows is released July 21st and I, of course, will receive my early-ordered book, and, yes, I am sad to say I felt “too ill” to go with my wife to the wedding. Two things — first, I assume my wife will never read this, even if it gets printed; second – second marriage for the bride and I didn’t like her much anyway . . . and I’m not sure she knows how to read, so I’m pretty safe there.

Favorite book hero and / or villain and why? 

Harry Dresden. Kind of a loser, but with heart. Hero because it gets forced on him. Old world chivalry. He uses magic, but it’s usually thought out, until all hell breaks out and it’s whatever happens happens (like real life).

I honestly cannot think of a villain that stays with me. I think I feel a character coming into my near future.

Your most influential book(s)?      

Call of the Wild / Jack London. I read it when I was four (yep) actually four. I hated it, could not leave it, cried, and hoped, and discovered the magic reading created. More than fifty years later and I donate and do fundraisers for animal recovery and adoption, have never visited Alaska (don’t plan to), and will stop and confront anyone abusing an animal. A neighbor’s pitbull was loose and I watched him put the dog on the sidewalk and place a knee across its neck. I got off my bike, and had to be the funniest looking person ever — you can’t walk tough when your bike shoes have clips, okay! Regardless, he got the message, and he’s been very nice to that dog since.

Tell us what you are currently reading and your verdict so far?

This is going to be a cop-out. I’m reading the eighth book in a series I really enjoyed up until number seven. At that point it seemed the writer was getting a bit tired of his own characters, but I gave him a pass, expecting a bounce-back with the next book. Usually I read a book in a couple of hours, especially one I’m already invested in via a series . . . not so much this time. I’ve had it for two weeks and I haven’t gotten half-way through. So I won’t tell the name or series, just sad he either does not realize what is occurring, or more sad, he doesn’t care.

If you could have a signed copy of a book by an author (dead or living) what book would it be and why?

The Gothenburg Bible – because a signed original would make me rich, and I have no problem professing my desire for ultimate wealth, nor having the mercenary nature necessary to sell something “priceless.”

About the book

You are living in your latest novel. Where are you living, and what is it like?

With an entire galaxy to choose from, I’m living on a small ranch north of Barcelona, Spain. Following the Pandemic, the world’s population is less than half. Ocean Creep has drowned many famous seaports, but Spain took great effort to preserve as much of Barcelona as possible. The city is art. Being able to still walk the downtown, visit museums and galleries, and enjoy the architecture is a short ride away.

On the ranch I have my horses. Just a few so I can ride the surrounding countryside, with invited friends, or, my favorite, alone.

It is sad that so many have perished. It is sometimes frightening when the rule of law is not always enforceable. The Earth appreciates the reprieve, and flourishes.

You are your most recent protagonist. What do you like doing for fun? What do you hate doing and why?

Daniel Cooper – metahuman via reengineering with an expanded lifetime – and I enjoy now what I loved as a kid — climbing. As a toddler climbing porch railings, to a child in the trees, to an adolescent learning to climb and repel in the southern Appalachian Mountains. When I need relief – recharging – escape, any mountainside will do. The more I need to concentrate on the next handhold, the more fun the experience of reaching the top.

Deciding life and death is the most hated part of command because, well, someone will die. Deciding someone will die is even more difficult to live with than killing.

About Don Foxe

Don Foxe lives in the scenic southern town of Bluffton, SC with his wife, Sarah. They own Beach City Health and Fitness on Hilton Head Island, SC, consistently rated the best island lifestyle location in the United States. (www.beachcityfitness.com)

Don’s eclectic professional life includes teaching dance fitness (Zumba – Body Jam); presenter of sales and marketing workshops (several awards in both); peer-review for science-based exercise papers (Member of the American College of Sports Medicine); martial arts group training sessions for fitness and self-confidence (Lifetime Awards from US Martial Arts and World Martial Arts Associations), and writer.

He is a member of the Academy of American Poets and Southern Independent Book Sellers. His attention to detail comes from his passion for poetry, especially the Japanese Haiku form. His background in science-based research is evident in his fiction, as commented on by several professional reviews by Readers Favorite, OnlineBookClub, and BookViral.

Don’s guest blogs appear on sci-fi sites like SFFWorld and writing/publishing powerhouses such as The Creative Penn.

Space Fleet Sagas by Don Foxe

Space Fleet Sagas have been described as the next great Space Opera series by BookViral. The sweeping mythology of a future Earth’s introduction to the galaxy, and the trials and tribulations both in space and at home thatensue following first contact.

The plots cross genres, as political mysteries are solved with lots of action and adventure by humans, aliens, and genetically altered protagonists.

Both collections of haiku poetry reached the top one percent on Amazon literature / poetry charts, and both reached #1 on the Amazon Top 100 for Japanese Poetry / Haiku.

You can also follow Don on his social media sites!

If you have recently published a book and would like to feature in an author interview,  please email me at TheWritingChimp@gmail.com

Author Interview – Robert J Hamilton @RjRevelations

Today I have the pleasure of introducing author Robert J Hamilton who will be sharing his thoughts on reading and writing, and details of his new book, REVELATIONS The cost of Foresight.

 Robert On Writing

I grew up watching Star Trek – The Next Generation, and that cemented my love for science fiction. It led me to see other shows like the Stargate series, Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda and the Mass Effect series – a game from Bioware. All those help inspire ideas to make my own new worlds and characters.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

If you have a story to tell, take the plunge, and share it with the world. The best thing I learned from my editor was to showmy story, not tell it. Editors are invaluable.

What motivates you to write?

I think it’s a lot of fun, especially after a hard days work. Sometimes I want to escape the realities of this life, and get involved in the story of my character’s lives.

Best thing about writing?

Best thing would be creating new worlds and the people that live in it. It certainly cures boredom.

Least favourite thing about writing?

Re-reading. When I get to edit something – something that adds a little extra detail here or improve on that sentence there, I don’t mind that aspect. But I must have read over my first book more than two or three dozen times as I am somewhat of a perfectionist. My editor told me that eventually, you just have to ‘let it go’.

What is your favourite genre(s)?

Science Fiction. To me, it is one of those few genres, including fantasy, that can take you to places so truly unique, and far out of this world. I like stepping into an author’s mind, seeing what they alone imagined and created.

If you could have a signed copy of a book by an author (dead or living) What book would it be?

Arthur C Clarke’s, ‘A Fall of Moondust’. It was that book I read back in 1998/99 for an assignment I had to do in school that got me into writing a story of my own – which, more than fifteen years later, turned out to be my first book of the Revelation series. I only started writing it for a hobby, as creating my own story was a lot of fun.

Tell us what you are currently reading and your verdict so far?

I am reading Mass Effect Andromeda – Nexus Uprising. It’s a prequel to the events that transpired in the latest Mass Effect game, and my verdict so far? Well I read the first 120 pages before I had to get ready for my night job. I would have read more, otherwise. I’m loving it.

About your book…

You are living in the your latest novel. Where are you living, and what is it like?

I am currently living in an underground city on the dwarf planet of Sedna. It’s dusty, it’s smelly, I hate it. Just last night, one of the environmental control systems in a small wing of the community failed as well as the backup generators. So, that section of the city had to be sealed off – condemning two thousand people to freeze to death. Lucky it wasn’t me.

REVELATIONS by Robert J Hamilton

Accept the future, or fix the past?

Captain John Russell returns to the Milky Way in order to resume his mission to stop the fanatical Dawn of Revelations cult from unleashing the apocalypse upon the Earth. However, he soon discovers that he has arrived centuries too late.

Knowing he is the last hope to save billions of lives, John risks everything to return to his own time and finish the war before it even begins. But John has another challenge to face—the possibility that one of his crew may be secretly working for the enemy. . .

You can also follow Robert on his blog! http://rh8127.wixsite.com/scifi-revelations

If you have recently published a book and would like to feature in an author interview,  please email me at TheWritingChimp@gmail.com

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Author Interview – M.L. Williams

Today I have the pleasure of introducing author M.L. Williams who will be sharing his thoughts on reading and writing, and details of his book, SEERS OF VERDE.

M.L. Williams On Writing

When I start working on a project, many times the characters come to me in my dreams and either demand their story be told or provide me with ideas for future chapters.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Be true to your ideas and put in the time. Writing can be lonely. Find mentors or other writers who can be a support group or sounding board. Don’t let anyone else’s opinions influence you during the writing process.

Best thing about writing?

Seeing these characters unfold and tell their stories is fascinating.

Least favourite thing about writing?

Rewriting and editing.

What is your favourite genre(s)?

Science fiction and that curious oxymoron, historical fiction.

Both genres appeal to my imagination. With science fiction, the themes and characters can be endless, only limited by the imagination. I guess historical fiction appeals to my sense of romance for another period of time.

Have you ever skipped something important to stay at home and read a book? 

Interesting question. I have not gone to parties or social events sometimes, preferring to stay home and read. I also put off chores when in the middle of a good book and read well into the night when I should have gone to bed.

If you could have a signed copy of a book by an author (dead or living) What book would it be?

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. I read this in a college literature class and was immediately enraptured by his imagination and sarcastic tone. It sparked my love of other fiction, especially science fiction.

Tell us what you are currently reading and your verdict so far?

I am reading Raptor by Gary Jennings. I have had this book on my shelf for years and just needed time to get to it. His writing and knowledge of history and ancient languages is impressive, but he keeps using different languages throughout the story. I was curious about this author since reviewers have raved about his novel, Aztec. I do not like it when authors flaunt their expertise and vocabulary in ways that detract from the story. It’s difficult to stay with the story when the reader keeps stumbling over arcane references and unfamiliar words.

About your book…

You are living in the your latest novel. Where are you living, and what is it like?

In Return of the Earthers, I would be living on the planet Verde Grande, an abandoned and almost forgotten Earth colony. The planet has one huge land mass. A treacherous mountain range divides the lone continent into two tracts.

The largest one is a huge verdant valley that stretches for hundreds of miles. One group of colonists live there and developed a relatively peaceful society ruled by a ever watchful clan of psychic women — the Seers.

The smaller area is a narrow valley strewn with huge boulders but plentiful with wildlife. A second group of colonists escaped to here during an attack and have developed into a hunter society.

The planet was covered by a thick blanket of moss. Most of the moss has been replaced by Earth plants brought by the bioformers and cultivated by the colonists, who have been living there for almost three centuries. However, the mountain range has retained its much of its native moss so the planet looks like a giant emerald as seen by an orbiting space ship.

 You are your most recent protagonist, What do you like doing for fun?

I am Aron Nels, an orchard keeper. Even though maintaining, pruning and harvesting fruit from the trees is my livelihood, I would not trade this lifestyle for another. Being outside in nature and seeing the benefits of my hard work is extremely gratifying. My family has been doing this for generations. It’s in my blood.

After being imprisoned during a misunderstanding, I am told I am one of the last members of a secret warrior sect that has been fighting to protect its people from attackers sent by the Seers. Due to a forced hypnosis, in which my memories have been suppressed, I refuse to believe I am one of the last surviving warriors.

Seers of Verde by M.L. Williams

Marauders from a renegade planet attack an Earth colony ship forcing landing parties to split into two groups in a desperate attempt to escape. Their vessels are destroyed stranding them without their technology on either side of an imposing mountain range on the planet Verde Grande.

Descendants of a mysterious Seer now protect their people but become the bane of the hunter society on the other side of the mountain.

You can also follow M.L. Williams on his blog! https://mlwilliamsbooks.com

If you have recently published a book and would like to feature in an author interview,  please email me at TheWritingChimp@gmail.com