Interview with Terri-Lynne DeFino

Out of all the writers I’ve met online, Terri-Lynne was one of the first who connected with me on other levels other than writing. She encouraged me with her sparkly comments (literally), and shared her wisdom with me on a whole variety of other subjects. She is truly a beautiful woman, and I am so happy to bring this interview with her.

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1. Let’s get to know you a bit. Where are you from, and what genre do you write?
I am a “Jersey girl” born and bred; and it’s true, you can take the girl out of Jersey, but you can’t take Jersey out of the girl. I escaped to Connecticut twenty years ago, and while I’ll never go back, I’ll never stray too far either. I write epic fantasy, with a bend towards magical realism, I’ve been told. I like stories behind the stories, so if there’s a war going on, you can be pretty sure I’m writing about the galley cook, not the ship’s captain who will probably be a woman.

2. With all the risks and uncertainty around publishing, what was it that drew you to a career in writing?
Like most writers, I’ve never not written. I’ve been a stay at home mother most of my life. Writing happened when the kids were napping. When the last started school, I had a choice–focus on writing and hope, or get a job that would pay me enough to give it right back to the government in taxes. The choice was pretty simple. So

I don’t think I was drawn to a career in writing; I just started doing it with all my heart, and the rest followed. After spending many years teaching myself what I needed to know (by critiquing others, for the most part) I wrote Finder, with the goal of submitting to and being published by Hadley Rille Books, a small press out of Kansas. It was a perfect fit. I’ve since become one of the fantasy editors for my press. Writing with all my heart resulted in a career–yeah, really.

3. Now that you’re one of the editors, do you find it harder to find the personal time to write?
Egads, yes! There are times I have to set aside my own writing to push an edit too close to deadline through. I have learned to plan for that, because writers are writers and very few will EVER get anything in short of last minute (because, let’s face it, nothing is ever perfect enough for us.)

That being said, I am one of those writers who gets her manuscript in well before last minute; and that comes from being an editor. A manuscript will never be overdue because of me. I know the chaos that causes in house.

I am one of those lucky writers who gets to write full time. I manage that time well, because squandering it would be a smack in the face to all those writers squeezing novels out of spare time. I don’t begrudge that time I take away from my own work to do the editing part of my gig, possibly because I love editing nearly as much as I do writing. Nearly.

4. What is the best thing you like about being a writer? The worse?
There are so many good things about being a writer, it’s hard to choose. Living inside one’s own head, creating worlds and characters and the circumstances of their lives–very godlike. But I think the best part of being a writer is the community, especially in my Hadley Rille Books family. Artists working together towards a common goal–it’s absolute bliss.
The WORST part of being a writer, for me, is the waiting. Waiting for acceptance/rejection, waiting for edits to come back, waiting for reviews, waiting for the book to come out, waiting to see the sales figures. WAITING!!! I’m not an impatient person, truly, but all the waiting really does get to me.

5. Have you ever thought about giving up? If you did, what changed your mind?
Honestly and truly? Never once. Just the thought of it gives me shivers–and not the good kind.

6. Tell us about your latest project.
My current project is actually the fourth book, The Shadows One Walks, set in the same world as Finder, A Time Never Lived, and Beyond the Gate (third book coming out in summer 2013.) You see, Finder’sworld is one modeled loosely after North Africa, and Southern Europe, most of the action taking place in the desert country of Therk. A Time Never Lived takes our heroes into the Dragonback Mountains in the east, a heavily wooded, largely uncharted area of that same world. Beyond the Gate would be the Australia of this particular world existing in my head–distant from the first two settings, but part of it, known to it. Then we come to The Shadows One Walks; it takes place in an as-yet unused part of Therk (Howling Coves) about a century after A Time Never Lived. Each book stands alone. Each book leaks a little bit into another, and another. You don’t have to read them all to get the story, but there is more of a story if you do. The Shadows One Walks is the tale of Calryan, the soul survivor of his small seaside village, of a tempest that decimated the island nation of Vales Gate; and of Fraeda, a young woman who makes her way in the world by collecting the last thoughts of the dying and selling them to the ones left behind. Their stories come together by way of the legendary Siren’s Curse, a pirate ship that rides above the waves on a spectral cloud of pilfered mist. The more I write this story, the more I love it. Ghosts and pirates, folklore come to life, altered time and the labyrinthine path to right it again–great stuff, if I do say so myself. And there’s love. There’s always love–because life doesn’t really exist without it.

7. What was your biggest influence for writing this story?
The biggest influence on my most current work is actually past work. I know the magic number is three, but for me, it always seems to be four. I have four kids, four cats, I am one of four siblings–it’s a number of completion for me. I actually wrote Beyond the Gate first, but it comes third in this series of books. As I did my revisions on it, I was also working on final revisions for A Time Never Lived. I saw so many little things overlapping, twisting together, making really awesome storylines even cooler when combined. They just worked together–and thus came The Shadows One Walks. I’ve always loved editing; when it can be combined with CREATING? It’s a beautiful thing.

8. As a reader, what are some things that attract you to a story?
I love a good adventure tale; one with lots of action and characters I can sink my teeth into. Beautiful writing is nice, but I can forgive a great story some less than elegant writing; I can’t seem to forgive a poorly told tale for the lovely words it’s told with. When a story has the ability to turn off my internal editor, it’s a big-time score.

9. What books (if any) have influenced you over the years?
Always first on the list is Tigana, by Guy Gavriel Kay. That book taught me more about writing and characterization than anything I’ve ever read. Best lesson: Good and evil depends upon the eyes one looks out of. It’s a great story. If you’ve not read it, you should! Also–anything by Patricia McKillip. The woman blends folklore and her own imaginings so intricately that there’s no telling which is drawn upon, and which is fancy. She, more than any other single writer, has influenced me as a writer, and a reader.

10. Most writers have manuscripts that will never see the light of day. Do you have a few of those or will they eventually come out?
I have twenty-two of them. Yup! Twenty-two complete novels–the shortest being about 90K words and the longest being well over 300K. They will never see the light of day. Ever. They are my education. I didn’t go to college. What I learned of writing I taught myself over years of trial and error, trial and triumph. I honor those old manuscripts for what they are, but I can see them clearly. In the trunk they stay!

For Fun Questions:

1. If you could be any breed of dog, what would it be? –greyhound. To be able to run that fast would almost be like flying.

2. Is there one food/beverage that you can’t live without? –Iced tea. I make a pitcher daily, and drink it as I write.

3. Bungee jumping: exhilarating hobby or death wish? –Well, I’ve a double-edged answer for that one: It’s an exhilarating hobby I, personally, would never take up!

4. What is your favourite movie? –The Princess Bride. It never gets old, never stops being funny, always makes me cry.

5. Question from Sithboy; If you were a Jedi, what colour would your lightsabre be; green, blue, yellow, red, or purple? –Purple, baby! If I’m fighting the baddies, I want them to know their opponent is STYLIN’!

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If you would like more information about Terri or her books, please click the links below. She’d love to hear from you!

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Interview with Jen Wylie

One of the best things about being a writer is connecting with other writers. To know you’re not the only one crazy enough to follow this path, makes the hard days easier to deal with. Because I live out in ‘cow & pig country’, I rarely get to mingle with my writing friends in real life, but hopefully, that will change with my guest today.

I met Jen Wylie online and soon learned that we live thirty minutes from each other, and while we haven’t met in real life yet, there are plans in the works for a future meet-up. Oh, and hands off guys, she’s taken.

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1. Let’s get to know you a bit. Where are you from, and what genre do you write?
I live in rural Ontario, Canada. So rural, I’m not even in a village. I do however, quite dislike snow and cold–something got messed up somewhere with that!

I write fantasy, everything from paranormal to romance to urban fantasy. I also write for all ages, from children’s to adults.

2. With all the risks and uncertainty around publishing, what was it that drew you to a career in writing?
My daddy told me to. 🙂  I’ve been writing since I was in public school, though I slowed down when I had my kids, I eventually started up again when they were older. My parents pushed me to give it go with getting my book published, and so I did. It took me quite a while to get going, I did the ‘search for an agent’ thing for over a year. After a few hundred rejection letters I eventually found a small publisher and since then I’ve been off and running. I currently have published 1 novel, 1 anthology and 10 shorter works  (6 of these are a YA novella series). 4 of the shorts and the anthology have come out this year, and I’ve a number of other projects on the go. I’ll hopefully have at least two novels out this year, another 1-2 anthologies and bunch more shorts!

3. That’s a lot of writing done! Do you have a secret to getting so much work done?
Of course. Chocolate. Rum and Coke (or Pepsi, I’m easy as long as it’s not that zero crap), skittles, chocolate, fun dip, rum, Lots and lots of lists, and very little sleep.

4. Now that you have a few books published, what’s your take on the whole process? What was the hardest part for you? What was the easiest?
The easy part is writing. For me, marketing/promoting comes rather naturally too. The hardest parts are the edits for 2 reasons. First is you see all those errors and get those moments of doubts. The very worst though, is going over the same story again, and again and again and again and then yet again… until finally it is done! And then you get to go over the proof, at least once. Now this process I don’t mind so much for the shorts, but for the novels… ya.. not my favorite part. I mean… I could be writing!

5. Some writers print out their story to do edits. Do you have a special way or a process for editing?
Not really. I usually don’t print anything out unless I want my mother to do a read over for me. When I get edits sent back from my publisher I work from within the MS and slog my way through. There is normally a lot of coffee and chocolate involved.

6. Have you ever thought about giving up? If you did, what changed your mind?
Occasionally I’ve wanted to give up on a project…though never writing in general. I love writing too much. It’s often the everything that comes after which can be stressful, or sometimes a story just doesn’t want to finish itself. Sometimes I just need to take a break from a project for a little while before jumping back in. If that doesn’t work I’ve a wonderful support group in my kids, parents and boyfriend who keep my butt in gear and encourage me to get things done. I don’t know what I’d do without them.

7. Most writers have manuscripts that will never see the light of day. Do you have a few of those or will they eventually come out?
I have a few I hope to get out eventually, though they are very rough and with my current projects they probably won’t come out for years LOL Sadly (or maybe it’s a good thing…) all my first books I ever wrote disappeared in horrible computer crashes… back in the day of floppy discs.

8. What books (if any) have influenced you over the years?
All of them of course 🙂 Yes, even all the way back to Leo the Lop, on to the entire Black Stallion series, Nancy Drew and whatever else I could get my hands on until Mom FINALLY let me start reading ‘the good stuff’. Which of course, she started with Anne McCaffrey’s Pern books. Books have given me a wild and vivid imagination, which only continues to be fed and grow the more I read.

9. What other things influence your writing? And have you ever written them into a story?
I rarely write about real life events, however my own personality appears quite often in a number of my characters. The only other main influence is music, be it the general mood of a song, or sometimes even a few words will set off a whole story in my head.

10. Let’s talk a little about your latest project. What was the inspiration behind this story?
My latest ‘biggish’ project has actually been an anthology, with half of the stories by me and the other half by my partner in crime, and everything else, Sean Hayden. It’s called Flashy Fiction and Other Insane Tales. The title pretty much says it all, it contains a number of short works, from flash fiction up to short stories, that cover a broad range of topics from zombies to girls with the power to make people forget. It was a really fun work to do, especially as the pieces are really different. It was fun to show various writing styles and emotions, from funny to sad to scary.

For fun questions:

1. If you could be any breed of dog, what would it be?
Well, I’d rather not be a dog, though I suppose that’s better than a cat. I guess an Australian Shepherd. They’re smart, fast and cute. 🙂

2. Is there one food/beverage that you can’t live without?
Chocolate. (Really, you had to ask???) [NOTE: Yeah, I should have known. – Darke]

3. Bungee jumping: exhilarating hobby or death wish?
Death wish. Crazy peoples!

4. What is your favourite movie?
The Princess Bride

5. Question from Sithboy; If you were a Jedi, what colour would your lightsabre be; green, blue, yellow, red, or purple?
All of the above. I’m rainbow girl!!!!!! [NOTE: Again, I should have known. – Darke]

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Flashy Fiction and Other Insane Tales
By Jen Wylie and Sean Hayden
Anthology
Published March 2012 by Untold Press

An anthology of the strange, bizarre, and just plain weird.

Zombies, vampires, ghosts, and …crickets? Try a taste of writing from two very different fantasy authors. Flash stories are super short and perfect for when you ‘just have a minute’. This anthology contains 15 stories from authors Sean Hayden and Jen Wylie. Run the rampart of emotions in this exciting mix of tales. From humor to twisted, there is something for everyone.

Available at:
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Flashy-Fiction-Other-Insane-ebook/dp/B007Q33YB6

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B007Q33YB6
Prime members borrow for free!

My website: www.jenniferwylie.ca

My blog: http://jlwylie.wordpress.com/

Twitter: @jen_wylie

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4499919.Jen_Wylie

Facebook fan page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jennifer-Wylie/151266004895266

Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/Jen-Wylie/e/B004HQ9XD8/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Look out! He’s Back! Guest Blogger Sean Hayden! *runs for cover*

Greetings and salutations, silly mortals! It is I, your future world ruler once again hijacking various blogs to suit my nefarious purposes! Today I have the pleasure of hijacking a good friend of mines blog to tell you about my new book and the great giveaway I have in store!
So, for this one I decided to share one of my favorite parts of the book so you can get a feel for what it’s all about. In this chapter, our young hero has joined the ranks of the Fallen and is finally learning the consequences of his wish. His mentor, Clarisse, has driven him out into the countryside to start his…um…lessons. Hope you enjoy!
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“Yes, they are. Our Scholars spent centuries perfecting them. You won’t need it when I’m through with you though. I’ll let you keep it until you can control your transformations. Concentrate now. Think of your wings and spread them.”

I closed my eyes and heard a thwump, but when I opened my eyes with a triumphant smile, I saw only one. Unless we were going to practice flying in circles, I was screwed. I closed my eyes and tried again. Thwump, I looked and saw the other wing. I smiled and looked at Clarisse, but she rolled her eyes and shook her head. Confused, I looked around and saw the first one had gone away again. It was harder than it looked.

“Try again.”

I closed my eyes and thought of both wings sprouting magnificently from my back. I heard another thwump and quickly looked behind me. I saw two wings alright, but they weren’t right. They looked like tiny bat wings. I tried not to laugh when they started flapping comically on their own. Clarisse sighed and I looked over to see her sit on the grass and stretch her legs out to tan her already bronzed skin. I guess she figured it would take a while.

Thwump, they were a little bigger.

Thwump, they were normal sized, but matched the color of her car.

Thwump, they hung from my back completely boneless.

“Clarisse, I can’t do this.”

“Yes, you can.” Apparently she’d grown bored while waiting.

She stood, pulling an evil looking knife from somewhere behind her and launched it at me full force. Without thinking I launched myself into the air and heard a resounding thwump. I willed myself higher, away from the path of the spinning blade. With a powerful down-stroke of my wings I cleared it by inches.

“Good work, worm.”

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Well I hope you liked the little preview. Now lets get on with the prizes! If you’ve been following the tour, you know what to do! If you haven’t shame on you! Click on the pic below to find out all the details!

 Link that to http://untoldpress.com/promotions

Born the son of a fire chief, Sean naturally developed a love of playing with fire. His family and friends quickly found other outlets for his destructive creativity. Writing is his latest endeavor.

Always a fan of the macabre, mythical, and magical, Sean found a love of urban fantasy and horror. After writing several novels in this genre, he found, fell in love with, and immersed himself in steampunk. He has always wanted to rewrite history and steampunk gave him that opportunity.

Sean currently lives in Florida as a fiber-optic engineer as well as an author. He was blessed with the two most amazing children he could ever hope for, has met the absolute love of his life, who coincidentally is his partner in everything. His hobbies include grand designs on world domination as well as a starring role in his own television sitcom.

Western Horror; My Interview with Kenneth Mark Hoover

Over the years I’ve met a lot of writers online. Some of them were passing acquaintances, but a few, like my guest Kenneth Mark Hoover, became a good friend. Even though we don’t write the same genre, that never stopped our friendship from developing. I am honoured to have him as my first interview guest. So let’s begin…

Paranormal Pit-Stop: Let’s get to know you a bit. Where are you from, and what genre do you write?

Kenneth Mark Hoover: I was born in New Iberia, Louisiana but I grew up in South Texas. There wasn’t a lot to do in South Texas other than look at horned toads and cactus, so I read science fiction as a boy and got hooked. One day, I was about ten or eleven, I read H.G. Wells’s First Men in the Moon. That was when I knew I wanted to be a writer. I had always wanted to be a writer from my earliest memory. I never wanted to be anything else. But while reading that novel it sort of hit me. I wanted to tell fantastic stories just like that. I even began my own “novel” about astronauts going to the Moon, haha, but never finished it. However, it was my beginning as a writer. From then on I kept on writing. I didn’t always finish what I started back then because I was still forming my views as a writer. But that was the beginning.

PPS: With all the risks and uncertainty around publishing, what was it that drew you to a career in writing?

KMH: I never started to write or wanted to write because I wanted to see my name in print. I have never, and will never, care about that. That has never motivated me at all. What I do care about is telling good stories so readers can escape for an hour or two. You see, I used reading as an escape hatch when I was young. I want to pay that forward for other people, if I can. Now, it’s true the entire publishing world is in flux. Writers who adapt to the rapid change will be successful, and those who don’t will be left behind. Writing, like evolution, is red in tooth and claw. This has always been the case but now it’s more so because we are no longer just writers. We have to be publishers, editors, marketers, distributors, and everything else. Writing has always been a difficult and lonely process anyway. These new changes make things more difficult. But I have no intention of failing. Failure is not an option. But I will always think and define myself as a writer first. Everything else is a distant second.

PPS: Flux is a good way to describe the publishing industry right now, but do you think this new digital tsunami will help or hinder publishing?

KMH: I think the digital revolution is a very good thing for writers in the long run. It will help empower writers to a degree we have never seen. This can only be beneficial. I am not one who believes that because new technologies are at hand we will see a decline in fiction. Quite the contrary. However, the bulk of the responsibility now lies on writers to safeguard their work and establish their career. We simply no longer have gigantic publishing houses that are going to go out on a limb and hold our hands. Whether we win or lose is all in our hands now. I like that power. I like that responsibility.

PPS: Speaking of publishing, how are your Haxan stories doing?

KMH: The Haxan stories are doing quite well. CZP is going to publish my Haxan novel this year or early next, and many of my Haxan stories have been put out on Kindle and other formats by Argo Navis Publishing http://argonavispublishing.com and you can find older Haxan stories published by other online magazines. My most recent sale was a Haxan story to Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine in the February 2012 issue. I am now eligible for the Western Writers of America and I am thinking about joining them. I already belong to SFWA and HWA, it’s just a question whether I want to belong to another professional organization. I am not sure they bring the gravitas to writers they did in the past. Nevertheless, I am pretty happy with where I am on the Haxan stuff, but I am not satisfied. I am never satisfied, though, haha. I always feel I have one more story to write, one more story to submit. It never ends.

But that’s the life of a writer. 🙂

PPP: What was your biggest influence for writing the Haxan stories?

KMH: I am a big fan of Old Time Radio. So much so I started a website and online Internet radio at Theater13.net to reflect that. One day I started listening to the classic Gunsmoke radio episodes which were created by John Meston. I was completely swept away by Meston’s superb writing and the layered characterization and research he brought to these stories. It wasn’t long before I wanted to start writing westerns myself and I have never looked back. I know westerns aren’t a very popular genre right now, but there is a lot of untapped here that excites a writer like myself. The west was filled with millions of different people with different ideas and outlooks. We have been inundated by the iconic westerns on television and the movies, but there was much, much more to it than that. Those are the stories I am trying to bring to the fore.

PPS: Have you ever thought about giving up? If you did, what changed your mind?

KMH: I have often thought of quitting. I’ve even tried to do it from time to time. I can’t. There is something inside that drives me to keep telling stories. I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s just who I am. Me. I can’t pretend to be something other than who I am, who I was born to be, I guess. I am a writer. Nothing in my life has ever changed that or can change it. I have learned to accept it and live with it, and in the process I hope I can bring some solace and enjoyment for a few hours to my readers. When you come down to it, that’s my only real motivation for writing.

PPS: What other things influence your writing? And have you ever written them into a story?

KMH: Very few of my life experiences have found their way into my stories. Unless you want to count research trips and vacation experiences of things I have seen. Mostly I try to write about deeper emotional content and how people react to stressful situations. Of course, I draw upon my own life for that, but I also draw upon my years of a writer and watching other people and how they behave.

PPS: How do you handle negative/criticism of your work?

KMH: I listen to editorial suggestions and if I think they will make the story stronger then I make the corrections without thinking twice about it. I am never so committed to a story I think it cannot be improved. My one focus is to write the best story I can for my readers. So if an editor or publisher has a suggestion then I listen very carefully to it and 99% of the time I make the change because that’s my goal. As far as positive criticism goes, it’s nice when it happens and it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy. But it’s a trap because you might get to thinking that since readers like that one aspect so much you are unwilling to ever change or adapt or grow as a writer. For me, writing is an organic process, it is not static. I have no interest in writing the same story over and over again no matter how popular it is with readers. I know many writers have great success doing exactly that. But that is not why I write, and it is not, and never has been, my philosophy.

PPS: As a reader, what are some things that attract you to a story?

KMH: I like characterization and good writing, period. No matter the genre, no matter the subject matter, good writing will always draw me in and keep me captivated. Also, characters who come across a living, breathing, and believable, always make the story more memorable for me.

PPS: What books have influenced you over the years?

KMH: I’ve had several influences in this regard and many of them are literary. Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller was a very big influence on me. As for genre I have to give the nod to The First Men in the Moon by H.G. Wells and several of the James Bond novels by Ian Fleming. I read them when I was about eleven and that’s when I knew for sure I wanted to be a writer. It also got me seriously interested in science fiction, which was my gateway into horror and dark fantasy and finally, westerns. But for the pure literary aspect of what writing could aspire to, and how it could eventually transcend itself, Tropic of Cancer has had the biggest influence on me. 🙂

Thank you Mark for taking the time to do this and I wish you the best for your writing career. 🙂

Kenneth Hoover has sold over fifty short stories and articles to professional and semi-professional magazines. His first science fiction novel, FEVREBLAU, was published by Five Star Press in 2005 and sold out its first print run. At present, he is working on dark western short stories set in the mythical town of Haxan, New Mexico, circa 1874. His newest novel,HAXAN, has been accepted by ChiZine Publications and will be released at the end of 2013 or the beginning of 2014.

For more information on the author, please click the link below.

http://kennethmarkhoover.me/about/

His new book Alpenglow is now available at Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/Alpenglow-Haxan-ebook/dp/B006TZ0IDY/ref=sr_1_5?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1325945763&sr=1-5

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