Friday, December 24, 2010

Jumping trains in Vienna.....

Marty Beaudet's book 'By A Thread' has caused me a lot of thought in the last few weeks. As stated in my review of the book, there are so many directions from which to view the story. The author has many living identities.

I at first imagined Mr. Beaudet, sitting in a crowded Karachi open-market, near a basket of  no-longer-just-ripe dates, taking notes from under too little shade - and under a too-large turban. His notes are in Farsi. He won't admit that is a true imagining - I would have to die to know that... but, his book implies he was there.

I also imagined him sitting in a Viennese café, under a better fitting fedora, but this time, with a goatee and a sherry, taking notes of the same sort in German. Again, he tells me that to see him there would be dangerous to my existence. And, yet again, his book puts him there in my mind.

I'm not so accurately imaginative, to need killing. But this fellow has a secret... and he's blown his cover. 'By A Thread' is an outstanding story, very believably written, by a group of Marty Beaudets.

Each identity has a different point of view, and one, in a simple suit and tie, taught me about Mormon/Muslim beliefs; while another Marty, in a white, nondescript van, taught me about the inner workings of the vast American spook community. To those lessons, comes still another one, from an author who is afraid - a lesson of finding love within desperate confusion.

Damn, I never thought to look for it there.

Now, about the succession to the Presidency, when the sitting fellows are eradicated - new lesson for me - it could be a rough transition; different M. Beaudet. This isn't just a change of clothing. All those varied angles create a smashing work of fiction, about a world shaking political event.  - with religious, romantic elements. Many years in the making, 'By A Thread' must have consumed Marty. It is current, about the world political scene in general, and those changes have a blistering pace to try and keep. Will those changes overtake and ruin the whole thread of your storyline? Mr. Beaudet must have been worried. Most authors might try to reduce the number of elements in the work, to make the whole task easier.

You can't find any confusion in this text, even so intricately woven. Marty has been on target with this book, like a missile, for years. His work, in so many writer's clothing, has honed his skills. A graphics designer, communications consultant and freelance writer, Marty Beaudet has been published in column and newsletter form for years. He's been a features editor for one magazine, a reviews editor for another. Here is the link to his web page, with all those particulars. (I love the music he's attached there.)

Read his novel, and you will quickly recognize a skillful, organized mind behind those words. Here is the link to my review of his excellent book.
Here is a Bookbuzzer link for a preview
Or, you can purchase it here

"Oh, but..." you are asking, "aren't political thrillers dry and boring most of the time?"
I reply, "Yes, because you've been reading the wrong ones."

'By A Thread' is a very personable, character driven work. Some authors, to whom espionage and spy tales seem second nature, have trouble making the characters come to life within the plots. Not so in this book. This author has put his characters into the most colorful threads.
Let's get going with Mr. Beaudet: 

Do Mormons really have such poor decorating taste?
Contrary to common assumptions, I have not been blessed with the gene to make such assessments on my own. I defer to a dear Mormon friend who is an interior designer to the rich and famous, from Las Vegas to Dubai. But yes, that seems to be the case. Perhaps it’s because they’re quick to toss out the gay men in their midst!

Have you lived in the cities that are part of your story’s backdrop? The descriptions are very intimate.
I can only dream of living in Vienna, but I have visited several times. I prefer to see a city on foot, rather than by other means, so that I can get a feel for the ordinary, as well as the extraordinary. I did live in Switzerland as a teenager; there are some similarities between Swiss and Austrian culture, though they are loath to admit it. I’ve been to almost all the locations I describe in By A Thread. Not Guantánamo Bay, but I did spend a year in Puerto Rico.

Explain your expert knowledge of both Mormonism, and the Muslim Quran. Which of those was your upbringing?
Neither. I was raised Catholic! Go figure. I converted to Mormonism at 17, while living in Switzerland. My knowledge of Islam and the Quran is minimal, limited to my own poking around on the Internet.

Which theme, in the book, is the most important for you to express personally; the political, or the spiritual?
If I wanted to express serious opinions about either politics or spirituality, I would write nonfiction! Beyond that I strive for historical accuracy. I want readers to be able to walk onto the “set” of the book and find everything I describe, just as I describe it. If the reader can tell where truth ends and fiction begins, I haven’t done my job.

Which is your favorite Dr. Seuss character?
Horton. I’m always hearing things that others don’t!

Did ‘By A Thread’ evolve as you wrote it, or did it match all your expectations?
Oh, it absolutely evolved! It was in the works for eight years! In my quest for historical accuracy, I tried to tie it to current political and world events. That became impractical after the seventh or eighth revision, as politics moves a lot faster than I do! At the outset, however, I let my characters decide how their lives would unfold. When I write a scene between two characters, I take turns in their skins, saying whatever comes naturally in the conversation. Sometimes it moves the plot along, sometimes it doesn’t. I never know where they’re going until they tell me.

Did you actually reveal any Mormon secrets, any elements of the structure which are still closely guarded?
If I tell you I’ll have to kill you. But seriously, in the age of the Internet, there are no more secrets. Everything’s already out there somewhere. Besides, Mormons claim that their most closely guarded rituals and beliefs are merely “sacred, not secret.”

You mention many things we could debate, but if stated that I would rather allow waterboarding of suspects than forbid it – what would you say to me?
I would tell you to chill and enjoy some good fiction! As strongly as I feel about my own notions of right and wrong, I hate to argue. It accomplishes nothing positive.

Which authors have inspired you to write?
If I tell you I’ll have to kill myself! (Only recently did I become aware that I needed to feel embarrassed for enjoying mainstream fiction.) I have always had ecumenical tastes when it comes to genres. I particularly like books which cross genre lines with unexpected twists. For that reason I like Dean Koontz. I also like books that not only entertain, but from which I can learn something. Dan Brown’s Digital Fortress, about the NSA, inspired me to use my knowledge of the CIA in By A Thread. His later books (cue groans), though widely panned in the indie community, prompted me to use my knowledge of Mormon principles the way he used Catholic doctrine. And Khaled Hosseini inspired me to take a more sympathetic look at Muslims who are not what our culture often makes them out to be.

I would imagine the predominantly Catholic beliefs in Puerto Rico to be as difficult a mission work as speaking to Muslims. Describe your time there.
Though I have never preached Christianity among Muslims, I would have to disagree. Mormons and Catholics both start with a belief in Christ and the notion that He has only one “true church” on Earth. They have never been at war with each other. Muslims, however, were targeted for death by the Christians during the Crusades. That’s a big obstacle to overcome. I found that Puerto Ricans who had questions about their own faith welcomed the discussion of other points of view, while others were more comfortable staying with the traditions of their parents. There was never any animosity involved.

Were you a year in Puerto Rico, and another in South Florida?
Yes. The Puerto Ricans complained that my Spanish had a Cuban accent; the Cubans complained that it was a Puerto Rican accent. Rarely, however, was I accused of being a Gringo!

Did you have no input into your mission location? I would have expected your year in Europe to have been a plus for sending you there again?
The Mormon hierarchy seems to pride itself on dashing the sophistries of Men when it comes to divining mission assignments. The idealistic view is that the assignments are “revealed” by God; the more pragmatic view is that they send missionaries wherever they need them at the time. Either way—rarely does previous experience seem to play a part.

How did you graduate High School at 16?
They were anxious to be rid of me! It was actually the suggestion of my guidance counselor, who thought I would be bored by a fourth year. It could be that some parents were calling for my ouster because I sparked a couple of protests in my second year!

‘By A Thread’ was only published this year. How long did you work on the novel?
As I said, I began writing eight years ago. But I was seriously ill for three of those years, during which time I had given up on the novel. Not until my health improved and NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) came along in November 2009 did I decide to go for it once and for all.

Kevin, your MC, experiences a rush of consumer frenzy when he is released from his mission. Was that something you experienced yourself?
I’m taking the Fifth on that. My current politics decry rampant, unfettered consumerism! But, the truth is, when you’ve had no choice about anything but the color of tie you wear for two years, the idea of going wherever you want and buying whatever you want is a real thrill. For me, it was the chance to eat whatever I wanted! I was no longer the victim of my missionary companions’ lack of cooking skills.

One of your readers had a personal experience with threats of violence while in Rome. Was that something on your mind during your mission, even in friendly locales?
I rarely felt in real danger in Puerto Rico, though there were times we’d get the evil eye and kids would yell “si-ya” at us, meaning CIA. They could only have learned that from adults, so the suspicion is always out there. In Florida, salesmen seemed a greater concern than the CIA, judging from some of the negative reactions there!

We both know an author, who has written another political thriller/fiction. He has endured review attacks for what he wrote. What do you think motivates people who focus on calling out an author as ‘wrong’ for his work?
I would like to hope that it’s because an author has done such a good job of conflating fact with fiction that some people can’t tell the difference. Why should someone feel threatened by a work of fiction, unless they fear that it might be accepted as fact?

How many languages do you speak well?
Does that include the voices in my head? (Remember Horton…) I’m fluent in American, Spanish and German; and not too bad at the Queen’s English. I’ve also had two years each of French, Russian, and Mandarin, with which I can muddle through (or into) a few awkward situations. The rest are just book knowledge.

Please name the funniest movie you have ever seen.
Can I name more than one? My longtime favorite is A Fish Called Wanda. My current favorite is I Love You Man.

What is the most obscure book you have read, that you loved?
It has to be the Ballad of the Whiskey Robber by Julian Rubinstein. I absolutely love that book. Although it may not be obscure for long. Julian said just a couple of weeks ago that Johnny Depp has signed on to make the movie!

Boring Design & Consulting? Is that you, or another MB from Oregon?
Where have you been digging? That’s a CIA front company. Now I have to kill you.

I’ve written a science fiction, which a physicist may find hysterically inaccurate. Do you have any thread of your book, which you dread having mentioned as ‘just not possible’?
Absolutely none. It’s airtight. Try to prove otherwise and you will find a Mormon missionary-turned-CIA agent and a gay Kuwaiti terror suspect on your doorstep with black-suited militiamen bearing “awesome” weapons!

You’ve had a steady presence in print, you are known as a writer, editorialist. Have you tried to expose ‘By A Thread’ to traditional publishing, by querying, and do you believe your published writings will help you?
A good friend of mine who is also a writer has been querying for over a year and endured more than a hundred rejections (or “ignorings”). As a favor to me, after he had read my manuscript and given some good advice, he set me up with a couple of agents and I sent out the queries. I, too, was rejected. I stumbled into self-publishing because NaNoWriMo “winners” get a free proof copy from CreateSpace. So many of my friends and family wanted to see this long-overdue creature I’d been birthing, that I decided to order a case of books for them. But my husband was way ahead of me; he bought me a domain name and a blog without my knowledge, then told me, “start promoting!” I haven’t had time to query since!

Your work in progress ‘The Third Token’ also showcases political intrigue. Is it more, or less difficult to write than your first novel?
Both. Less difficult because I now understand both the process and the potential rewards, the latter of which serves as motivation. More difficult because a sequel can’t be organic; it has to flow from fully formed characters. I’m not free to make Kevin (“Red”) and Jassim whoever I want now. The rest of the story has to hinge on them and their previous experiences.

When do you plan to release your second book?
I‘ve set a goal of next September 1, exactly one year from the release of By A Thread. But I would rather it be right than on time, so I’ll take as long as I need when it comes down to it.

The images of Kevin and Jassim that I’ve been noticing…is that your artwork?
It is my composition and rendering, but not entirely my photography. I’m imagining what my main characters might look like, and asking readers to share their conceptualizations as well.

What do you believe is the single most unjust law in the United States today?
You mean, besides the government-mandated low-flow toilets that don’t flush? It would have to be, not a law, but the waiving of the law: the suspension of habeus corpus. Everyone accused of a crime deserves his or her day in court

That sense of fairness plays heavily in 'By A Thread'. Not every character deserves what you might think about them at first. As Marty said, people are not "what our culture often makes them out to be." That might include being guilty of international terrorism.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Falling in love with your nightmares...

Did you run to greet the darkest shadows in your room when you were a child? Probably not.

Danielle Bourdon did, and she's written about one shadow she longed to catch. She didn't even capture him within her book - but gave us, instead, as much as she saw of him. He was elusive and aloof, for years, in her mind. He remains exactly that way in her text. I have someone in mind, who emulates that exactly, but, let's see if we can draw that comparison out of our author.

Years back - six or seven at least - when she was just 11, Danielle marched to the cockpit of a Southwest Airlines 707 and demanded paper from the pilot. Nothing he was doing seemed important at the time, she had a story to write. Never published, and now at over 5,000 pages, she hopes to complete it next year. It - I'm told, by sources within her family - is about a dog they never owned. She was their 'funny' child for years, and they were relieved when it turned out to be the funny type of 'funny'. (But, none of her dolls kept their heads for long.)

Mention shrunken heads within earshot, and she will come over to the conversation. The grin never fades, even when she enters that frame of mind. Others go all creepy/twisted when they indulge their love for ghoulish things; Danielle goes more 'Edward Scissorhands'. Adorable, but deadly. She killed a perfectly sweet character in Dréoteth, and it shocked me that she did. Snip, snip...your throat is came too close! Grin!

Eww! That sounds just like her dragon. He is fascinating. Fascinated is a better way to describe him. That is his only human quality. Beyond that one connection to us, his unbound curious interest in us, we are, after all, only meat. But you look at him, and fall in love. Danielle did; she loves this dragon, and he loves nothing like her. It is a stunning thing, to read such text, and see her grin, and the life in her eyes - and know - Dréoteth will be owned by nothing human, not even she who wrote that he breathes. He is a pure nightmare, which she still dreams and pursues.

Well, hell. I'm really repeating a lot of this very review of her book.
She is passionate about writing; stresses out when she cannot sit still to do it. And, one of the reasons I adore her, she is adamant about self-publishing, vowing to hold her own against threats of traditional publishing. It would please me to see her pestered to allow it. I believe it would only take a single read, and some lucky agent would have a lot less work for a good while. One of them should try.

Time to listen to Danielle! About that Dragon, will she agree with my guess, to a comparative character? Let's ask:

“I ask for so little. Just fear me, love me, do as I say and I will be your slave.”
"I never ask, I take; fear won't keep you alive; love is a lie. Humans are only ever two things: prey, and food."  -- Dréoteth's take on the Labyrinth quote.

How long have you known the character Dréoteth?
Since 2004 or 2005, I believe.

How many more books will see him?
I have a sequel in mind, or at least the premise, but I'm not sure when I'll get to writing it. Probably one more book but not two.

Did you knit that sweater you are grinning behind?
I did.  It's yellow with a sunflower pattern.

I wanted to put Danielle's new book cover up here, along with the old version. I love the both, but you will see the bottom one in all the retail outlets now. She brought her monster to life perfectly, matching my imagination in a miraculous way.

Why vampires for your second novel? Why not a half-dozen more dragons?
The concept for Bound by Blood had been established, the story all but written. It's one of my favorite stories, so I decided to go with that rather than write the sequel to Dréoteth at the time.

Did Kimberly come to you, to co-author? How did your partnership begin?
I've known Kim for ten years or so. We were talking about the story on the phone one day and I mentioned turning it into a book. Three months later, we published.

Did you role-play while writing – you taking one character, she taking another?
How it worked was that we wrote different scenes, then went back over each other's writing and layered in our own touches/style. It’s the first time I've ever co-authored any book.

Click here to see the trailer

I have completed my read of 'Bound by Blood'. You only need to know this much - I love Danielle's writing. Many would judge this novel to be a modern piece with period themes, and I really believe it is opposite. Ms. Bourdon writes classical elements without effort, also without most of the ponderous language. (No, it is a mistake to think that language alone makes a work classical.) 'Bound by Blood' is a classical horror, with modern elements placed around it. Here is the link to my review.

Danielle loves to play with her cover art, doesn't she? Not a thing in the world wrong with that. This art at the left is the Kindle cover for 'Bound'.

Are you Wildbloom Press?
Yes, I am! When I went to publish Dré, I kept reading that it was better to have a separate name for publishing. Twitter happened to be open on my desktop, so I snatched the name from my account there. I'm so inventive.

Was Sheba mad that you didn’t include her in Dréoteth?
She was. I have lasting scars for my negligence. (Sheba is her cat.)

What are the 4 short stories you’ve written?
The Haunted Carousel, Whiteout, I Am Ellis Moore, and Petrified. I have another handful that will go in the collection I'm working on.  The horror shorts have been a blast to think up and write.  It's very possible there will be another collection because I can't seem to shut the horror spigot off yet.

Oh, she wasn't looking far enough into the future in the original interview. Danielle has indeed been busy, tossing out three short stories and her collection of tales. They can all be found easily here at Smashwords. And here are the books you need to get. (The bottom cover is a teaser - that's her WIP)

Danielle's next novel - Sin and Sacrifice
Watch for it, perhaps Summer, 2011

More than 1000 people follow you on Twitter. How difficult has the effort been, to market your books for yourself?
For me, the marketing part of this process is a challenge. When I get absorbed in writing, I forget to promote and market and that's never good. There's a delicate balance somewhere but I've yet to find it.

Here's the link to her website:

They say Texas is ‘like a whole other country’. Where is your favorite place in the whole State?
I'd have to say where I live. Weatherford. It's prettier here than in the southern part of the state, I think.

We make a great deal of the ‘journey' we are on, bypassing the traditional publishing process where we can, and are forced to do so. Are you a query-nut, as some of us are? (I am a reformed query-monster, by the way; and I know the answer to this, but want others to hear your thoughts.)
After much consideration and thought pre-publishing, I decided not to query anyone and do it myself. So, I've never sent a query letter. Ever. I always intended to however, but it seemed the wrong story at the wrong time, and I ended up doing both on my own.

What was the subject of the first novel you wrote: the one on that plane ride when you were three years old? Did the text survive?
LOL.  It was a 'romance' story centered in--guess where?--Weatherford, Texas.  I've still got that thing somewhere in all my papers. A handful of years go I ran across it and had a good laugh.  And I was 11!

Have you ever put an ex-boyfriend in a novel, and had him squashed by a monster?
No, but that's an excellent idea.  Dréoteth salivates at the thought.

What was your Nano subject this year?
At the last minute, I decided not to participate. This year was just too stressful and I know my limits. If I set a goal, I really get down on myself if I don't meet it. I completed it last year, so I'm happy that I've conquered the Nano competition and won.

You are really hard on yourself to write on a regular basis aren’t you? Taking a break actually causes a bit of panic?
I am. This stems from trying to finish a novel (four of them, actually) for the last nine years or so and being unable to do it.  My problem was editing. I'd write the first chapter, then go back and edit until the story was nearly unrecognizable. I didn't know how to get past it and it was very frustrating. Nano taught me it's okay to write a crappy first draft and go back later to revise. The system works great for me now.

Is your horror collection still on track for an early spring release?
Yes, it is. I thought I'd have it done early but I worked longer on Whiteout, a story I've submitted for another anthology. So far, the release date is Valentine's Day. Blood goes great with chocolate.

Which cartoon do you prefer, Samurai Jack, or The Last Air Bender? (This causes fights in our house.)
I can honestly say I have no idea what either one of those cartoons are!  I rarely watch TV.

Dragons have seldom been given the qualities that Dréoteth seems to possess. What drove him to be so human, in your mind?
Dréoteth has always been very conflicted in my mind. Even when I made him and I wrote journal entries for him, I was fascinated by how he evolved from a creature with no respect or care for humans to one that finally admitted they were more than just food and something to hunt. I found the challenge of making him more than just a beast, very fun to write and different than most other dragon stories I'd heard of.

You make much of his attraction to human creativity. He is lured to it, almost against his will. What sparked you to bring that detail out about him?
The idea for him to be enchanted with art that humans create came about during a scene I wrote. In Dréoteth's head, he doesn't have the talent or patience to make those things but finds them irresistible when he's around them. It seemed a very realistic plight and turned into an aspect of his personality that I loved.

You created two 'facts' about dragons that stunned me.  Their birth in human form, and their creation by the Fae.  I honestly believe those to be wholly your own devices. Were they? Were they influenced somewhere that I cannot find?
In my other writings, I'm known for taking myth/legend/ideas and twisting them to my liking. I've rewritten history for the Djinn and the Faes already, along with what I did for Dréoteth. I wanted something to further complicate his actions toward humans and being born as one because of a curse seemed the perfect way to do it. There was no outside or other influence on that decision at all.

Do you leave the windows down when you sing in the car?
I sing with the windows up!

Do you lock yourself away when you write, to become one of your beasts?
With two boys, that's a luxury I don't have. Although it comes close when they go to school and the house is quiet. That's when I get the best and most work done. I put headphones on and away I go.

Who have you read, who can actually scare the daylights out of you, still?
Dean Koontz. I love his writing. His pacing and rhythm are sublime, and he touches on things in his stories that resonate as truly scary.

So, team Edward, or ‘what’s-his-name’?
Who's Edward?

Vampires really shouldn't sparkle, should they? It’s okay, you can tell us.
I have to admit that I've never read the books or seen the movies, but my gut instinct says… no.  Since this is the last question-- I have to add a big thank you to Joel for the interview and the time he's dedicated to all this. So, thank you!

Oh, you're welcome, but I am hardly done. You are too shy - we shall change that. I am not using the royal 'we', but referring to the band of crazies riding the sideboards at BestsellerBound. They are each going to send you a single question, which you will answer, and I will append to this interview.

Interactive abuse at its finest.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Don't mind the smoke from the engines....

Updates are being added to author features here, and Jaleta's turn came up today. I had to laugh. Still with no new book to mention - 'Priestess of the Eggstone' is moving towards publication - Jaleta manages to stay busier than me, at living life. Her blog (mentioned below) has regular author interviews; recipes every thursday; whatever comes to mind that she wants to post, at the speed of light. She even took time to talk to Alexander M. Zoltai in his recent blog post.  Heck, this week she attended a convention in Seattle.

A short time ago she gifted me a print copy of 'Rotting Tales' (also mentioned below) and it is filled with gruesome fun. Jaleta is still too busy, and still wonderful. Read on ***

Can you be busier than God? I believe so.
                                     Jaleta Clegg surely is, if anyone can do it. I know she tutors Him on how to schedule things.

I was compelled to interrupt this post, to inform you of something Jaleta admitted in the comments...she gets through her day with liquid help. Most of you would be pushing out your glass for a sip, but she puts hers on her head, not in a glass. She wrote the admission for Darcia, who is likely not grossed in the least. I am.
You see, I love Mary Poppins. Always have.
But so does Jaleta. Just snatches the old girl by the umbrella, and squeezes!
Ewwwww! Ewww! Ewwww!
God gives us Angels to help us...Jaleta grins and pulls their wings..... :)

She would be my kids' FAVORITE teacher for sure. Hell, she would be my favorite teacher too; Jaleta likes to blow things up. She helped design some of the mission programs for the Utah Space Camp; honest to goodness Starship Simulators, that kids enter - to boldly go - and in her words "..the Klingon attacks just got added in...for fun and excitement."
I wanna go. PLEASE, I wanna go!

This darling powerhouse has a full house, just of her own family, but 'her kids' number in the hundreds. They know her as the Klingon Lunch Lady; hundreds of squealing kids in Utah know Jaleta as one of those really cool adults. That is precisely the woman I have come to know. One of the really cool adults.

No, I don't live in Utah, but closely enough that I may someday give way to the urge to drive over and meet the author who created one of my favorite characters in fiction; Captain Dace. It is through that book, 'Nexus Point - The Fall of the Altairan Empire', and the dozens of online sites that she haunts, that I was introduced to God's busiest human. Jaleta has 49.32 seconds of spare time - a year.

Captain Dace may be Jaleta's alter-ego; a consciousness which can escape the boundaries of gravity and distance. Jaleta truly belongs in space. It is a realm she embraces with joy and wonder, just like a kid. That is the key to being a cool adult; just ask any third-grader. Dace, the most accident-prone ship's captain in the Empire, does not exist in only a single book. I believe there are 11 books in that series. The second is nearing publication in this next year. I have read it. Neener neener neener! All the rest will appear when Jaleta tutors her publisher in proper scheduling. I am first in line for every book now.

I will inform you, my Dearest Dace spends very little time in space in Book One. But that is simply how this massive story begins, she bumbles into a situation that will play out over nearly a dozen books.  Every moment she spends stranded, grounded, is very important to the whole. In Book Two, strap in and be quiet; Dace flies, and she has skills that will amaze you. Jaleta Clegg knows spaceflight, and we get to come along, like excited little kids.

But, I need to sit down, strap in, and be quiet like a good citizen. Dace's Mommy has a lot to say:

Your daily schedule astounds me, but you jumped into the NANO challenge last month. How many times have you written a November novel?
I entered Nano last year, but only got 25,000 words before the end of the month. This year, I'm within spitting distance of the finish line. Except I'm writing answers for you instead of writing my novel. (Update: I still managed to squeak through the deadline and get my 50k in. (she hit 50,005) Now I just have to finish the story, probably another 100k.) Most of the time, I do my heavy writing during the summer and school holidays. I can lock myself in my bedroom without having to worry about carpools or cooking or laundry or personal hygiene for days on end. I just tell my older kids they have to deal with the younger ones. And if anyone disturbs me, there had better be flames or gushing blood...

Go ahead and tell everyone what it would be like to follow you around all day…
You really want to go there? I'm just a normal housewife. *innocent smile* I get up in the morning, stumble into the shower after taking my first dose of medication, then wake up my kids and get on my computer to check my email. I suddenly realize school starts in five minutes, scramble through the house for keys and phone, then chase my two youngest kids into our monster van. It seats 15 if we put all the seats in. It's my car. We head for the school where they have class and I work.

I spend most of my morning impersonating my boss on the phone and his email. If I'm really lucky, I spend the morning teaching kids about space and gravity and Isaac Newton. Occasionally I get to play in our planetarium and make them really motion sick by zooming in and out on cool things. Or hitting the fast forward button too many times. "Oops, kids, we've jumped a week ahead. Anyone need a happy bucket?"

I usually make it home for lunch. If I'm really lucky, my 22yo son cooks it for me. I take a break, checking email and watching the noon news, while I eat. Then on to work at home until it's time to pick up kids from the Jr. High. I do graphic design, work on promotion, editing, submissions, paying bills, writing my blog*, and sometimes, write new stories. If I'm really organized, I load up the crock pot for dinner.
*Jaleta recently interviewed two people seemingly connected to the Nestor Maronski incident. Her blog link takes you to that interview.

Then it's the rounds of carpools and after school yelling fest, otherwise known as chores & homework. I only have my youngest four in school. The older four are adults and on their own. After dinner, I might have a few minutes to watch TV with my husband before he heads to bed. If it's a good day, kids are tucked in and mostly quiet by 9 pm, but I'm bushed. I'm not as young as I used to be.

On Fridays, I get to wear my Star Fleet uniform. Nobody even bats an eye at the school. They're used to us there.

If it's a special day, I might get to fly one of the simulators at work. So much fun listening to kids scream and panic as the Klingons attack. It's storytelling on a whole different level. Want more info? Yeah, it's my day job.

You call a group of fifteen for Thanksgiving ‘small’ ?
Fifteen is nothing. My kitchen table seats twelve without crowding. My summer job at work is cooking for their space camps, sixty to seventy people at a time. I am the kitchen queen. I used to put on themed dinners for 100 people for a local con. I've got five crock pots and they aren't small. Don't mess with me when it comes to food. And don't you dare get between me and my chocolate stash. People have lost limbs over that.

You are a Sci-Fy master. Don’t blush or dispute it. But, you play quite lovingly with zombies, too. Where does that ghoulish streak come from?
Watching too many old horror movies. The Brain that Wouldn't Die! The Cockroaches that Ate Cincinnati! Damnation Alley! Planet of the Apes! Anything made-for-SyFy! My kids and I laugh ourselves sick over the movies. I do horror, but only the silly stuff. I'm never serious about zombies.

You are partnered in how many anthologies on Pill Hill Press?
Two so far - Rotting Tales (great-aunt Tildie returns from the dead to steal her great-niece's groom and her wedding day in 'Always a Bridesmaid' ) which is now on sale, and Wretched Moments (picture those evil porcelain dolls with the big eyes and onion heads, yeah they're evil as Mary's school finds out in 'Mary Had a Possessed Li'l Lambkin' ). I've got more serious work in The Last Man Anthology from Sword & Saga Press. And a silly vampire story coming soon in Fangs, from L&L Dreamspell. 'The Effect of Degraded Food Supplies on Indigenous Populations'. Sparkling only happens when the werewolves get involved.

I've got a full list of all my stories, in magazines and online sites and anthologies, on my website. You can also check out my novel there, too. Book 2 is coming soon.

Aren’t you also the bane of hundreds with your online gaming skills?
I think you have me confused with my kids. I don't play much online. I do slaughter orcs and entire civilizations on my computer for therapy. I'm also the queen of Tetris.

You had a character bring you nightmares, until you rewrote him, didn’t you?
That's in book three, which is still in the pile waiting edits and other such fun stuff. Lucas Verity made my skin crawl. I reworked the book and toned him way down. He still gives me the creeps.

Boxers or briefs?
A lady doesn't tell. *cheesy grin* I don't care, as long as they're under a uniform, preferably one with the Patrol logo on the front.

What is the favorite meal in your crowded household?
That depends on the day. They rarely complain, mostly because they know that if they complain, I make them cook dinner. It works for me. They love my soups, usually. Anything doused with enchilada sauce is the current favorite. Or bacon.

What food will your clan refuse to eat?
Pickled okra. Most of them refuse to eat mushrooms, but not all.

Have you been surprised at the number of migraine sufferers in the group of authors you’ve met?
Not really. Writing causes massive brain damage which leads to migraines. Right? This topic has come up at several SF cons I've attended lately. It seems writers tend to suffer from depression, fibromyalgia, migraines, pink eye, tuberculosis, etc, etc, etc. I don't know if writers as a whole are sicker than the population, speaking physically, or that we're just more in touch with our inner illnesses.

That's all said with tongue firmly in cheek. I have great sympathy for everyone who suffers from chronic illnesses. It isn't easy to live with. Speaking from my own personal experience. I have a list of chronic illnesses as long as my arm. But that's life.

You’ve said that, as an author, you are somewhere oddly between the traditional and self-publishing camps. Could you explain what you mean by that?
I'm with a small press. So I don't get any of the publicity or marketing that the big NY publishers offer.

I've had Indie authors dump on me for selling out to the establishment. I had one call me stupid for accepting a contract at all and not doing it all myself. But I'm happy with my choice. I have a wonderful editor and a great publisher. Editors don't get the praise they deserve. I let the publisher deal with a lot of the paperwork and things like distribution. I do whatever promo I can. And I get to see my books on shelves. Small press is really a great way to go, if you understand where you're going.

Now if only I'd understood all of this *before* I got published. I went in blind, but ended up with a good choice that works for me through blind luck. Too many aspiring authors have too many misconceptions about the publishing world. Until they get involved. It's changing so fast, it's hard to keep up. Do your homework and know where you want to go before you start submitting. And never ever pay anyone to publish your book for you. If you're self-pubbed, please pay an editor. But don't fall for a vanity press and their promises to "publish" your work.

Quote your favorite Sci-Fi film, and let’s see which comment can identify the movie title…
Oh, goody! One of our favorite games at my house. Let's see how utterly obscure I can get...

"We have blood loss here, Earther."
"Let's see who needs a galaxy hopping garbage man today."
"Do they have any missing limbs? I hate it when they have missing limbs."
All from the same movie. #3 is a giveaway for anyone who's seen the movie.
(answer - for the uncool)

You know Arthur C. Clarke’s birthday, without Googling it, don’t you?
You're kidding, right? I don't even remember my own birthday most years. With the number of family members I've got, I lost track a long time ago. I only know my kids' birthdays because I've had to fill out way too many forms. I do have to stop and make sure I have the right child with the right birthday.

Why don’t you give less than three stars in your reviews?
It's just cruel. If I honestly didn't like the book and wouldn't recommend it, I won't review it. I give three stars if I have reservations or have issues with the book. Four stars if I liked it, five if I just couldn't put it down. Those five-stars are rare anymore. A book has to be really, really good to keep me reading past my bedtime. I'm old and need my sleep.

Could you write a Samurai novel?
Sure I could, but some historical accuracy nut would rip it to shreds. So, as long as I can put my samurai in space or on an alternate reality world, I could do it. Then I don't have to be historically accurate. I can have all the zero-g sword fights and ninja attacks that I can fit into the story.

Is there a clear division between Sci-Fi , and Sci-fantasy? Which camp do you fall into?
All those divisions of genre and sub-genres confuse me. I write what I want to read, which usually involves lots of fights, chases, explosions, fires, explosions, big weapons, chases, and explosions. Did I mention I like watching things blow up? Nexus Point is space opera, which means the adventure is the main focus of the story and that romance will show up somewhere, but only a little. The science is based on real science, though extrapolated into my futuristic universe. As long as most people find it believable, I'm good. It's about the story, first and foremost.

Isn’t Utah the most perfect State to be a geologist? What is your favorite day trip?
Okay, I admit. I have a BS, so I can shovel it deeper.

I graduated from BYU many moons ago with a degree in geology. Utah is a marvelous place to study rocks. First, it's a desert so the rocks aren't covered by trees or other plants. Second, Utah has every kind of rock. Metamorphic in the mountains east and north, sedimentary in the south and east, volcanics all through the west. Part of BYU's program is a 4-credit class. You spend two weeks driving all over Utah, south into Arizona (have to catch the Grand Canyon), and north into Idaho.

There's a reason Utah has so many national parks and state parks - Zions, Arches, Bryce Canyon, Lake Powell, Canyonlands, Goblin Valley, Capitol Reef, the Uintah Mountains, the Great Salt Lake, and on and on. You want mountains with tall pines? Got it. You want deserts? Got it. You want sandstone cliffs? Got that, too. Utah is a beautiful state. Plus it has lots of BLM land, which means you can collect rocks without looking over your shoulder for a park ranger. I know where to find topaz, apache tears, wonderstone, jasper, granite, sandstone, and a whole lot of other fun rocks. My kids love rockhounding. We had to make the rule that when your pants start sliding down, you're done picking up rocks. At least until you empty your pockets.

Favorite day trip really depends on the season. Spring and fall are perfect for rockhounding in the desert. Summer, we head up the canyons and into the mountains. Winter we usually stay home and huddle by the fire.

Do you ‘dress’ for the fantasy conventions you attend?
Yes, I dress up as an author. Oh, you meant do I wear costumes? No, I save those for work. I do sew costumes, but not for myself. I prefer to see other people wearing them.

Name someone who is a MUST for cryogenic preservation.
If I believed it worked, I'd have a huge list. But I don't think it will ever really be viable, at least not in my lifetime. People I would like to see virtually preserved, mostly so I can meet them at least once, include Andre Norton and Isaac Asimov. Think how much fun it would be to sit down to dinner with Gandhi or Mother Theresa or Carl Sagan. What interesting conversations you could have. Current living people? Hmm. I'm too out of touch. Most of the ones I want to meet I already have.

How many books are in your ‘Altairan Empire’ series.
Eleven. All under contract, so they will be published. My publisher said one a year, but I'm still waiting for book two to make it through edits. And yes, book eleven really does end the series. Once you save the universe, everything else is anticlimactic. Oh, did I just give away the story?

Will you admit this for us - are you Dace?
Nope. I've never been an orphan. I did not grow up in an orphanage under a repressive regime. I have never attended the Patrol Academy, even though I would love to. I definitely have never flown my own starship, much to my eternal disappointment. And I've never kissed a Patrol Enforcer, though I'd really like to someday.

Oh, you mean metaphorically. She has a lot of traits and values in common with me, but she isn't me and I'm not her. It's a weird separation, especially since I wrote her story in first person, as if she were telling it. But she lives in a different space in my head than I do. Please don't send the men in white coats, I promise I'm just an author and this is normal for us. I have lots of people living in my head and yes, they do talk to me. Dace had a lot to say, once I finally got her to open up and trust me.

Aren’t you guilty of editing yourself to death? I’ve beta read ‘Princess of the Eggstone’ and it is brilliant. Why on earth would you be editing in that sequel to ‘Nexus Point’?
Thanks. *blushing* I'm still waiting for my editor's comments. I already did the initial edit on the book, mostly to clean up the writing style and make sure I didn't leave a red herring in chapter three that I never resolved. I hate those pesky plot bunnies. I learned a lot working with my editor on book one. I applied that to book two. We'll see what she thinks.

And by the way, it's "PRIESTESS of the Eggstone". Dace isn't princess of anything. She'd kick you in the teeth if you insulted her that way. She'd probably just kick you in the teeth anyway, for asking so many questions. She hates questions. (I adore that she smacked me for that goof!)

‘Nexus Point’ was far from the first thing you had written. Has that series become your love now?
It will always be one of my favorites. I lived with that story and those characters for over a decade. They are more real to me than some of my family members. My favorite story is whatever I'm writing at the time. I have to fall in love with the story or I can't write it.

The first draft of Nexus Point was the seventh full-length novel I wrote. The final version came in somewhere around eighteen. I lost track somewhere in the middle. I count it as a full novel because I chucked the entire first draft, reworked the plot, and rewrote it from scratch. I like it much better than the original.

I know of a book, which contains ‘Mask of the Red Death’ by Poe; ‘The Last Hours’ by D.H. Lawrence; ‘There Will Come Soft Rains’ by Ray Bradbury – and your story, ‘Omega Museum’ shares pages with those astounding names. Did you submit for that honor, or were you selected?
I saw the call for submissions and dreamed up a story that fit. I sent it in the last week of submissions. I was tickled that they accepted it. I've read the anthology and I am very impressed. It's an honor to be included with so many of the great names in science fiction, fantasy, and horror writing. The Last Man Anthology is a great read. Pack some tissues for it, though. It is all about the end and the last. Sad, heart breaking, but beautiful.

Thank you Missy! This won’t be the last you hear from me. I love to tweak things during the weeklong feature. I’ll ask something else, or make something up!
Bring it on, Joel. This has been fun.
Let me know if you want any pictures or links. I'm happy to send them on.
And if you want to ask about hobbies - I make Lego Winnebago’s (with machine gun turrets, trebuchets, and full kitchens), Sunbonnet Cthulu pieced/appliquéd pillows, and bizarrely named foods. Among other things.

Told you guys...she is busier than God.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Looking over there...forever.

For a month, Jason's tractor eluded him. It had been continuously visible, in the only other news item on the front page with our Nestor Maronski story - right under the foul critic's own photo. Posted on election day, but previewed at Bestsellerbound for more than a week, the entire joke fell flat because it was never noticed. So I mentioned it below, in the interview, and voila!...wild goose chase.

But now, our featured author JASON MCINTYRE

That's a Richard Widmark stare. Now I know why the ladies have been thrashing at me to hurry this post. Robert Mitchum, Frank Sinatra both tried to emulate it, but kept their eyes more open. It might have originated with Kirk Douglas, but Widmark nailed it. Hollywood loved it so much, it seemed a requirement - leading men, put your soul into your eyes - well, there's Jason, by giffy.

I've gotten a dozen femails from my teaser page - "Who IS that guy?"  Even my wife; walking past as I diddle with the images in the post just now - "It's about time," she mutters. But, he's painfully shy, I'm told.  He even scheduled the birth of his daughter to derail the timing on this post....his new daughter is so beautiful, I relented to wait but didn't have to.

Me, jealous of whose looks my wife admires? Hell no. Ask me if I'm jealous of his writing...go ahead. I'll admit that. Almost with pride.

Taking time from his busy life: editing, designing, blogging, coaching swim teams, freestyle rock climbing, coloring with his son and singing songs while they fight over the color red...Jason types a few stories and teaches me how it should be done. I play with sparklers in my tales. Jason is firing repeated aerial bombs, and the ground shakes, moments after you are blinded by the text.

If there is an omnipresent, over-arching theme to describe this fellow, I would pick a single word: LIGHT.
He plays with light in your mind, changing single-odd words into something jarringly visual. That's the reason he's perfected the Richard Widmark jab with the eyes; slightly closed. He's modifying how they shine out from his thoughts, or you might be burned with a glance.

Oh COME ON! Some of you are musing.
Ok. Silly. Look at this; the trailer for his book 'On the Gathering Storm.'

I was so confident of that statement in blue, that I didn't even view the trailer until I posted the link here. Jason is that obvious, and damn, he even used the word himself in his own teaser, amid the flash of images which evoke the same word.

Jason doesn't think like you do, or I do. He can't write, without bending light. He is a graphic designer/commercial artist deep inside; and he's smart enough to let that shine. Reading him, is an experience similar to fireworks. It is explained, somewhat, in my review of the book. His style, in 'Storm', is close to the way Eddie Izzard does comedy; a stream of conciousness. But, I would add, with a streak of absurdism mixed in. You find yourself somewhere in time with his character, Hannah, and her thoughts seem to have nothing to do with .... anything. Don't be fooled. Every minute detail relates to the whole.

"But," you are wondering, "you aren't being very funny about him."
"That takes a bit of familiarity," I reply.
'On the Gathering Storm,' his first novel, and the Nestor Maronski story on Bestsellerbound; those are the only two points of reference that I have for him.  Yet.
Well...discounting the fact that he adores the funny things his son might say. (I'm dying to know who Kevin is.) He Tweets those wonderful, sweet kid-mutterings, and wrote a bit of the same humor into the Maronski text, with the cute, three year-old daughter of a character. "Outtadabed! OUTTADABED!"

Yes, he is the second half of the Nestor Maronski incident. From that event, I can assure you, Jason has a wicked humor, and is very open. Maria Savva says that was a great deal of fun for her. Jason talks about it a bit, in his interview. Before we get to that, however, you deserve to know that he has written more than a dozen short stories; blogs at every whim; wrote three other novels...let's get you updated....

'Thalo Blue' is available now after a groundbreaking run as a web-serial. 'On The Gathering Storm' is breaking records for the voice artist, Jeffrey Kafer, it is now an audio book. Jason likes to be ahead of the curve. 'Shed' is also storming the web with outstanding download stats. There couldn't be a better time to grab something by this author, and discover why Indie books are becomming the first choice for readers all over the world.

Here are Jason's collected works, lined up. (and you can find them all at this link) Those images are not in order....

If you've not visited his website yet, please do so, and read this post, Jason teaches what he so easily demonstrates. While you are there, look over the rave reviews being posted. He has an enthusiastic following, many of whom love the word 'weird' when they speak of Mr. McIntyre, and those are other authors saying that. His wife will call him weird, and understand it better than any of us. But, she would also tell you that, though he will almost never dance with her, when he does, he sings in her ear.
Yes, ladies...her guy matches those eyes.

His infant daughter decided to take a nap, so he snuck those moments to answer a few questions... Grab some coffee - this is great.

You count things, compulsively. Don’t you?  14    77     943    2       244
Well, I don’t know as I count things in an obsessive way, but I do have a strange draw to numbers, sequences of them, how they add up and reveal patterns. I use a lot of that in my writing and more all the time. I think we are tied to math, as humans. The need to explain things pulls and pushes us towards the numbers, in all things. Astronomy, history, geometry. Literature is the only art form that doesn’t rely on them. I guess I feel a responsibility to pull them in somehow.

How many nicknames does your son have?
Ha! A LOT! His real go-to name is Squeaky, derived from Squeaks which is because, as a newborn, he, well, squeaked.  For consistency, my new baby daughter goes by either Sneaks or Cheeks. Variations, my goodness, where to begin? Squeaky McGee is a popular one for my older boy. Cheeky Monkey for the daughter. They change from week to week. My wife and I have names for everything in our lives. (Man! Did I nail that analysis, or what!)

Your writing for the Nestor incident is markedly different from ‘On the Gathering Storm’. Which is closest to your natural style?
The style used for ‘On The Gathering Storm’ is closer to my natural voice. I worked with the incomparable Maria Savva on the Nestor Incident and I think, to a degree, I mirrored a bit of what I was reading in her voice. It’s not really method (and I hate that word) but I do have a pattern where I re-read what I wrote yesterday a couple of times to get the rhythm of its voice engrained back into my head. When writing Nestor with Maria, I did the same...and, of course, my re-reads were of Maria’s work from the day before, not my own. I’m like cottage cheese that way: very malleable. I’m a sucker for good advertising. My kids will be able to get whatever they want from me!

Your work as a graphic designer is evident in your writing. Are you still very busy, as a designer?
My day job involves managing bigger Communications and web projects. We don’t always have the proper budget to keep on top of the associated design needs so I end up doing a lot of that. I also have a side business as a designer where I continue to work for clients to get their ideas represented in visual form, whether it’s for ads or websites or other creative. As you can imagine, I’m extremely busy.

You sit down and draw with your son a lot, don’t you?
You know, Joel, when he was born, I went out and bought art sets and markers and all kinds of paper. I was so excited for that exact thing: drawing with my boy. He’s just two now so we’ve yet to really get into it, but I’m itching. We have gotten crayons and paper out a couple of times but he loses interest in two or three minutes. I usually end up sketching cats and puppies and things to make him laugh. I say “What should I draw?” and he’ll point to a kitchen counter or a cup. In those instances, he’s usually pretty underwhelmed with the result.

Your family is growing again, quite soon? Boy or Girl?
We are so fortunate to welcome a baby girl over this last weekend. She is doing well and so is her mum.

You have written a ton of short fiction. Is that a cleaner format – compared to writing a novel?
So much! I like writing a short story, 2,000 words, or even 8 or 9,000 because you can immerse yourself in it but don’t have to give your heart to it for weeks or months. It’s getting harder for me to write 150,000 words. You’ll notice that ‘On The Gathering Storm’ is just around 70,000 or so. It’s a deep read but not a lengthy one. My life is getting more fragmented and I have less time to read so I end up choosing shorter books. Inevitably, I seem to write shorter ones too.

Plus, in long fiction, you may have a story element or character arc that doesn’t see its payoff for 50,000 words. As a reader, it might be a couple of days to get to it, long enough for it to stew in your subconscious and have some meaning. As the writer, 50K can mean a month of distance from the first kernel of thought to the payoff. In reality, I may have been committed to a mental institution in that span of time and may never be able to see how it turns out.

Are you missing a right ear? We can’t tell from your posted pics.
I talked on the phone with my wife when we were courting, always on the right side. I had to get that ear surgically closed because it became very finely tuned to only her voice. The chores would get done and the garbage would be taken out but a strange, female-sounding tinnitus developed only in that side. The procedure what quite simple. Think of stuffing insulation into an old fireplace chimney. I hear almost nothing on my right side and the lobe has turned to leather. That’s where you can stand if you want to talk about me and not have me listen in.

Who is the one literary figure you would love to hand your books to?
Jeffrey Eugenides. I would want to know what this particular, living Pulitzer winner would say and to see if I could raise his eyebrows while reading - even once.

Are you involved in the endless agent-chase that consumes so many new authors?
I simply don’t have time for it. I’ve seen marginal success in e-format in a self-published venue and have had numerous folks suggest to me particular agents that might be interested. I’ve looked into some but have not queried for more than two years. I have so little time and would prefer to spend what little I do have in exploring new written worlds that I create for myself and the readers who come along. Plus, I have little interest in sanitizing or streamlining my work for a traditional audience which many publishers wish to do.

Light in motion. That’s a common visual theme for you. You even mention it, almost in passing in Hannah’s story – with her photography work. Can you define why?
I’m a visual guy. I even love how words look on a page and I pay attention to the size and spacing of paragraphs, where quotations marks fall and all of that. It is almost unconscious how I put the light movement into Hannah’s story -- at least at first. As I re-read early parts, I noticed it too, and began to play it up, using it as a motif tangentially to her love of photography, something I share with her. My upcoming novel, THALO BLUE has another young artist at its center. He is a painter and is obsessed with colour. So much so, it actually manifests itself for him physiologically.

One of your readers said she almost felt like calling you a liar. I rolled at that, but understood it. She reviewed ‘The Night Walk Men.’ Can you tell why she would say such an odd thing about you?
Hmmm. I must go and see if I can find that particular review. Would you mind waiting a moment? I’ll grab you a cup of tea while I’m up. ‘Twon’t be but a moment...

Oh yes, I quite liked that review. I don’t take it personally as the narrator of that short is being a bit of a jerk and telling things in a way that makes you think he’s being, at the very least, selective. It was quite intentional. I like stories that mess with the reader’s attention, aptitude and trust. My hope with the entire ‘Night Walk Men’ series of books (forthcoming) is to take readers on a ride they enjoy but have them constantly unsure of whether the narration is being truthful. I want it to be packed with surprises. And maybe some dynamite.

“Billy Boy...” You’ve certainly damaged that song for me now. How did you select it, and did you try any others? I would be disturbed to know you sing that with your son. (ha!) Do you?
I’ve never sung that and will not sing it to any children I come into contact. It is ruined for me as well and I apologize to anyone else who’s had it ruined. My mother knew this song from when she was a little girl (though she did not sing it to me, either). When I was writing ‘On The Gathering Storm’ I was visiting her at her house and she was making cherry pies. For some unknown reason she started singing this song, dug up from her subconscious. It transferred over to me, and that afternoon, I sat down to write and the song made it onto the pages. Like I said, I’m a marketer’s dream. I have nine hundred of those blankets with the sleeves that you wear like a backwards coat. I also have a lot of potato peelers and can openers and food processors.

Have you ever had a recurring nightmare?
I have loads of them. Joel, you may not be surprised to learn that a great number of my stories have their beginnings from a dream. I also dream a lot about my stories as I’m writing them. It scares me but also fuels the process as I strive for a meaningful, thrilling end.

I hear Andrew Bird as a very young Lou Reed, but maybe, without all the resignation and anger. Do you agree?
I’ve never heard that comparison but love Lou Reed as well as Andrew. Bird is a musician I’ve only discovered in the last two years and adore every note he’s recorded. I would agree with the assessment of Reed as expressing some resignation and anger. Bird, however, has the resignation only starting to peek through. He looks at the world, with all its quirks and quarks and can’t help but comment on his own way. But without really passing judgement, I think. Some of my writing is similar actually, but I still fight with my inclination to share my opinion. That’s where a fellow like Sparrow, the narrator for ‘The Night Walk Men’, comes in handy. I can mask some of my perhaps distasteful passing of judgement as his and not confess that it may be my own.

Name the one film that stunned you visually.
Only one? Forgive me if two spring to mind. The Shawshank Redemption shows sweeping crane camera movements of this dirty old brick prison yard. Such a breathtaking view of something so horrific for the characters appeals to me as I like the dichotomy. I also appreciate the film’s use of lighting, something you noted in my novel. Blacks against colour. Dark corners grow and receded. We move with characters throw brightly lit areas to darkly mysterious ones. It mirrors the ups and downs of life, the in and out of the shadows we all witness.

The Diving Bell and The Butterfly is also a stunning flick because here’s a man who now lives his entire existence in his own mind after a startling accident. As a person who’s writing has been described as ‘heady’ I suppose I can related a bit to the expanses this man travels inside himself. Some of this is tied to why my website is called The Farthest Reaches.

You don’t like clocks?
Hate ‘em. They are constant reminders of what we haven’t finished, what still remains to be done, who we’ve lost, what we don’t know yet. I do not understand why watches and clocks are considered fine gifts to hand out at retirement parties. Would I really want such a ticking thing to remind me of my impending doom?

“Words are powerful things but intent is nine-tenths of their meaning.” Is that yours?
Yes. Did I tweet this? Things occur to me and I used to write them in a notebook or in a text file on a computer. I have a Twitter account now which is a perfect outlet for mental cases like myself. Short, rapid bursts of gunfire. 140 characters? No problem. I’ll give you exactly 140. Just don’t tell me I can’t give you another 140 in an hour.

Whether in a notebook or on Twitter, these little bits of oddness have a way of bobbing to the surface and floating there like a plastic fishing lure until my mind scoops them up and uses them. Sometimes they find their way into stories...or, more likely, they form an idea in a story. Or something for a character to latch onto as a mantra.

That quote, perhaps unintentionally describes poetry – a writing form that lets words become something other than their obvious. Have you attempted poetry? Care to reveal any?
I have written a bit of bad poetry, yes. THALO BLUE, my upcoming novel, showcases some. My best poetry is probably similar to my best prose -- that is, I write it fast and without agonizing over the word choice to much. If I do, it loses itself.

I know where your tractor is!
When Nestor Maronski came to life on BestsellerBound, we recognized it instantly as something unique. Tell us what it was like to trade narrative content with Maria Savva.
It was so satisfying on a number of levels.

One, because it grew organically out of a simple comment that bestselling author, Darcia Helle made. We should write a story about a reviewer who gets what’s coming to him in the most awful way. On a lark, I wrote the intro of the book and was astonished when Maria picked up the torch and kept going.

Two, because it’s the kind of story I don’t write. But I found real joy in learning to write some funny, satirical situations mixed with my usual heavy drama. If there’s something I fall down on it’s probably putting enough humour in my writing, even though I’m, ahem, a wickedly funny individual. There were also some straight ahead action bits that were fun to write. I think every writer, even as an exercise, should write in a different genre than her own.

Three, the fact that we actually gained a small following over the weeks as the story unfolded. People were interested and made comments that spurred us both to keep going. It was exhilarating and I’m toying with doing a larger project as a web serial. Keeping readers up until all hours, keeping nursing mothers from being able to sleep because they’re too scared of my particular brand of monsters, it’s so appealing to me. I really do have issues, don’t I?

I’m terribly interested in writers who put their characters into disturbing, horrible situations. Has any of your family glanced at you with worry, after reading your work?
While supportive, my family has not read one word of my work. I’m not really sure why. I only charge them cover price for the books and require that they purchase multiples if others would like a copy. It’s very odd, but I come from a family of non-readers. People in my family read short magazine articles or the sports section, but they don’t seem to read fiction. As a kid, I was going to the library by myself and filled bookcases at our house with books but others didn’t bother with it.

My wife, however, read an early draft of ‘On The Gathering Storm’ and loved it to pieces. She is incredibly excited that other readers are discovering it. She thinks this indie e-book movement is very exciting because it means more people can share the burden of her husband’s overactive imagination.

Haven’t you noticed the tractor story yet?
I have no idea what you’re talking about Joel. I worry a bit because you’re so astute that you may be referencing something I should know. I think, “I wrote a short story, very specifically about a man driving a tractor in his field near a slew, but this was years ago and it has not seen publication. Is Joel Blaine Kirkpatrick actually able to read my mind now? And, more importantly, is there a novel idea here?”

Thanks, very much Jason. I’m sharing nothing about the tractor; I’m less astute than cunning. Any of you readers who clue him in, will have your keyboard glued shut. I’ve been painting a bit myself, and used Jason in the art. He has to find it.

So, I’ve introduced you, gentle readers, to three outstanding authors in this blog-beginning. Implicit in those mentions is my belief you each should read them. I couched that plea with humor, thinking you would understand it. I will state it plainly for Jason McIntyre: you should buy his first novel ‘On the Gathering Storm’. You need to know it. No chill has ever run your spine as it his words will bring. Another of his readers states; Jason is writing “- some of the most beautiful sentences being published today.”

That means, he’s impressed me?

Here is his picture again, so you don’t break your thoughts to go see it at the top. That stare. Why did I make so much of it in the lead notes? I experience this fellow in flashes, and those silly words about the stare were a flash. He calls it a Grasp. I wrote those words before he answered the interview questions, before his darling little girl was born. One answer in his interview made it all come clear. He hates clocks, and I understand him suddenly. I don’t even understand my own wardrobe retentions, but, I understand Jason. The clocks were the key.

Jason is staring into something that fascinates him, deeply. It’s drawing from his inward energy. He is watching every second of the journey around him, memorizing it; drinking in the light. And he is writing his journey down for us; the first steps to immortality. Look at his stare. He is fascinated by the light in his life. If he can write it, use it, turn it, master it, achieve its speed – Jason will have outrun time.