Thursday, April 23, 2015

HEIDI'S PICK SIX: Samantha Holloway

HEIDI'S PICK SIX


Samantha Holloway

1. Which of your characters is your favorite?

2. Tell me about your travels.
When I was a baby, my dad got a job as a teacher for the Department of Defense Dependent Schools--DoDDS. We moved to Turkey before I was three (my sister was born there and my brother was born right before we left). Then Italy before I was four, Japan when I was six, Scotland at eight, and back to the States when I was eleven. I had no idea how to be American! This is a weird country! Since then, I've been to several states, Canada, and a glorious two weeks in London for a mini-study-abroad. I try to travel as much as possible, but it's not nearly enough to keep back the wanderlust! One of my favorite things is just wandering around some old part of a new city and eating things I've never eaten before!


3. Coffee, tea, or milk?
Tea! I drink at least one cup almost every day (though after I was keeping warm all winter with up to eight cups, I've had to cut back for a bit!), usually unsugared, though sometimes British style when I'm feeling homesick.
I love the smell of coffee, but after I worked at a cafe for two years in undergrad, and lived off the stuff, I just have very little tolerance for the acid and caffeine. Also I'm way snobby, and no one lets me clean and work the espresso machines myself!


4. What else can you do besides write?

5. Who are you reading right now?
This minute, I'm reading Seriously Wicked by Tina Connolly for review, and it's quirky in a way I'm really liking. I've got Cassie Clare's The Bane Chronicles lined up for next, and then maybe one of the stack of travel memoirs or poetry books I picked up from the last library book sale!


6. Pop culture or academia?
7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?
8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?
9. Food you could eat everyday.
10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?

11. What kind of music speaks to you?
I don't usually outline. I don't like feeling hemmed in, and if I write it all out it feels like I've already written it and makes the actual writing feel like repetition. What I mostly do is break it down into arcs, then after each day's writing, list three or five things I can do the next day.


If I do make an outline, it's because I'm doing an intensive project like NaNoWriMo (which is fun but usually somewhat disastrous because it's too fast--I missed literally half the needed plot in my last one and I'm still wrestling with it!), and then I make the barest skeleton of an outline to leave space for inspiration and magic!

12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?

13. Celebrity crush.
Oh god, I'm like that girl on Teen Girl Squad--"I'm in love with all the boys!" Right now, my top five are David Tennant, Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch, Aaron Stanford, and Chris Hardwick. I love a good cheekbone, an expressive face, and a goofy smile.


14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?
Anne McCaffrey's Pern books were the first things I read that made me go "damn, I need to write a thing", and I did and it was awful, but I never stopped writing since that day!

I've read almost every book Robin McKinley and Neil Gaiman have ever written, and I'm working on getting my grubby paws on the rest. I love Cassandra Clare, Jim Butcher, and Jasper Fforde's stuff is awesomely mind bending.

When I started out, though, I think I was more influenced by Narnia and a hundred 80s fantasy movies. Now I've got two writing degrees adding literary theory and lots of classics I don't like to the mix! I mean, who decides on what's a classic? So many of them are the opposite of how I want to write!


15. Do you still watch cartoons?

Samantha Holloway is unfit for anything but writing expansive fantasy and the occasional science fiction story, so she does it full time. She's the author of the new epic fantasy novel Married to the Wind, and has published dozens of book reviews, TV reviews and a few short stories. In between writing and thinking about writing, she lives in North Carolina with a cat aptly-named Ninja, wears too much jewelry, runs a home made nail polish company for a lark, and subsists mostly on tea. Find her at Herding the Dragon.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

HEIDI'S PICK SIX: Liz Coley

HEIDI'S PICK SIX

LIZ COLEY

1. Which of your characters is your favorite?
2. Tell me about your travels.
3. Coffee, tea, or milk?
4. What else can you do besides write?

5. Who are you reading right now?
At the moment, I am re-reading Scott Lynch’s wonderful Gentleman Bastards series The Lies of Locke Lamora, Red Seas under Red Skies, and The Republic of Thieves. Scott spins a great yarn, creating both romance and bromance in the midst of these intricately plotted caper/adventure stories. His descriptions are to die for. So besides really enjoying myself, I’m immersing in great writing while I polish up my own caper stories.


6. Pop culture or academia?

7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?
The toughest scene I ever wrote is in a currently unpublished manuscript. I had to realize my protagonist’s worst fear of loss and disfigurement and make it happen to her. Worse yet, I had to make her choose it willingly. Authors are so cruel to the people they love. I know people will say, “Why did you have to do that to her?” And the answer is, because that’s where the story was leading all along; you just didn’t know it yet. Maybe I’ll call that “the Veronica Roth defense.”


8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?
Most of my inspiration comes from listening and reading and daydreaming. I listen to public radio, which is great for offering up stories. I listen in on conversations, as does every other author on the planet. And I make a point of talking to strangers, because some really great ideas have come out of left field that way. I read a lot of books, about fifty to sixty a year. But I also read Time magazine, Discover Magazine, Cosmos Magazine, MIT Tech Review, Seventeen, Teen Vogue, and whatever else ends up on the bathroom floor. It’s all fodder for connecting ideas from wildly different places. Daydreaming is the act that smushes it all together, bringing that AHA! moment.


9. Food you could eat everyday.

10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?
When I first did this quiz in 2007, the answer would have been “hardly!” But I’ve been playing weekday ladies’ doubles team tennis regularly for a long time now, and I’ve been a captain numerous times, so I guess that means I’m into it! Tennis is my great social as well as physical outlet. I never considered myself coordinated or athletic as a kid, but the past eight years of tennis play have developed my skills and endurance more than I ever expected. Also, we make lunch for each other after every weekly match, so that’s a good thing! The only downside is wearing out my knees ahead of schedule, but it’s a fair tradeoff.


11. What kind of music speaks to you?
12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?

13. Celebrity crush.
I’m in the thralls of a character crush at the moment. I find myself madly, passionately, and of course, hopelessly in crush with Sidney Chambers of Granchester (Masterpiece Mystery). This is very unexpected. I’m usually not like this. I wept during the last episode of the season—like really. I miss him so much, it hurts my heart. There’s something about this wounded soldier’s passion, demeanor, sensitivity, smile, and lovely British accent (not to mention he looks great in everything from army beret to clerical collar to pullover sweater) that has captured me.

My daughter says, “Now you know what it’s like to be a teenage girl.” As if I didn’t!


14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?
I really admire the authors who create rich, memorable characters facing emotionally charged moments in beautifully plotted stories with a heart of adventure. I’d include Lois McMaster Bujold, Scott Lynch, and Patrick Rothfuss among these. Something they all have in common is injured heroes. (That seems to go along with my character crush as well!) Since I cut my reading teeth on seventies (and earlier) science fiction, I guess my sense of aesthetics was formed around larger than life stories. I enjoy an excellent contemporary, romance, or mystery story, but the stories that I aspire to tell take “ordinary” people into extraordinary circumstances.


15. Do you still watch cartoons?

Liz Coley has been writing long and short fiction for teens and adults for more than ten years. Her short fiction has appeared in Cosmos Magazine and several speculative fiction anthologies: The Last Man, More Scary Kisses, Strange Worlds, Flights of Fiction and Winter's Regret.

In 2013, psychological thriller Pretty Girl-13 was released by HarperCollins in the US and UK. Foreign translations have been published in French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Swedish, Norwegian, Russian, Czech, Slovakian, and Chinese (simplified and traditional).

Her independent publications include alternate history/time travel/romance Out of Xibalba and teen thrillers in the new Tor Maddox series.

Liz lives in Ohio, where she is surrounded by a fantastic community of writers, beaten regularly by better tennis players, uplifted by her choir, supported by her husband, teased by her teenaged daughter, cheered from afar by her two older sons, and adorned with hair by her cats Tiger, Pippin, and Merry.

Liz invites you to follow her as LizColeyBooks on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and visit her website at LizColey.com.

Monday, April 20, 2015

BOOK: Zombie Girl: Dead Awakened by Pippa Jay

BOOKS


Imagine waking up to find the world has ended, but unfortunately you're not alone...

For Connor Innis, awakening from a year-long coma with no memories, no ability to move, and unable to speak was bad enough. Then he learns that a bioweapon set off a zombie apocalypse—for real—while he was sleeping, and the world he can't even remember no longer exists.

Rehabilitation might be torture, but far worse awaits him outside. All too soon, the hospital Mentor declares him fit to leave but with nothing to go home to except a city full of mindless, flesh-eating monsters. That is, until he forms a strange relationship with the one he nicknames 'Zombie Girl'.

PRE-ORDER ZOMBIE GIRL AT LYCAON PRESS!

After spending twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metals and Minerals laboratory, Pippa Jay is now a stay-at-home mum who writes scifi and the supernatural. Somewhere along the way a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. In between torturing her plethora of characters, she spends the odd free moment playing guitar very badly, punishing herself with freestyle street dance, and studying the Dark Side of the Force. Although happily settled in the historical town of Colchester in the UK with her husband of 21 years and three little monsters, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head.

Pippa Jay is a dedicated member of the Science Fiction Romance Brigade, blogging at Spacefreighters Lounge, Adventures in Scifi, and Romancing the Genres. Her works include YA and adult stories crossing a multitude of subgenres from scifi to the paranormal, often with romance, and she’s one of eight authors included in a science fiction romance anthology—Tales from the SFR Brigade. She’s also a double SFR Galaxy Award winner, been a finalist in the Heart of Denver RWA Aspen Gold Contest (3rd place), the EPIC eBook awards, and the GCC RWA Silken Sands Star Awards (2nd place).

You can stalk her at her website, or at her blog, but without doubt her favourite place to hang around and chat is on Twitter as @pippajaygreen.

NEWS: Ambasadora Book 1: Marked by Light on SFR Station

NEWS




Marked by Light (Book 1 of the Ambasadora series) is currently a featured title at SFR Station. Browse by sub-genre, pairing type, author, and series to find the romantic science fiction read you're in the mood for today!




Friday, April 17, 2015

COVER REVEAL: Rising from the Darkness by D. A. Bale

COVER REVEALS


RISING FROM THE DARKNESS

It’s finally here – the explosive finale of the Deepest Darkness series.

Samantha Bartlett has a new mission – and this time it’s one of her own choosing. Armed with information worth killing for, Samantha pieces together secrets spanning generations and uncovers the key to Debrille’s plans, including the horror of his true identity. But will it be enough for redemption? Especially when facing the bridges she’s burned?

Life was once clearly black or white, but now Joe Roberts has a target on his back – and it’s sighted by his boss at the FBI. It’s not just from running off with their primary suspect in President Warner’s murder and then allowing her to escape. No. He’s the Elite’s latest scapegoat. That alone begs the question. Is Sam a cold-blooded killer or a mere pawn used in a global chess game?

World War III looms on the horizon as the Middle East threatens to implode, world alliances are scrapped, and a once tenuous truce with a former enemy collapses – all under President Durksen’s watch. Shadowed by the Elite’s constant and vigilant guard, Durksen must find a way out of the hole he dug for himself long ago. But can he accomplish it in time, or will the United States die like so many nations before it?

Explosions light up the night. Friend becomes foe. Sister against sister. Lives are lost. Sacrifices made. But in order to realize true freedom, evil must be defeated.

No matter the cost.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

COVER REVEAL: Tor Maddox: Unleashed by Liz Coley

COVER REVEALS


INTRODUCING

Tor Maddox, a heroine for our times

“I know that one day, I’m going to have to live in the real world. I’d like it to be a decent one.” - Tor

Book I Tor Maddox: Unleashed

When sixteen-year old Torrance Olivia Maddox, self-confessed news junkie, figures out that the mysterious and deadly New Flu is being spread by dogs, she has one question—if the danger is that obvious to her, why hasn’t the government revealed the truth and taken action?

Her search for the answer will take her farther than she ever imagined. But then again, she never imagined that man’s best friend could become public enemy number one, that men in black might show up in her cozy suburban neighborhood, that she’d spend her sixteenth birthday as a teenaged runaway, and that her effort to save one dog would become a mission to save them all.

Liz Coley has been writing long and short fiction for teens and adults for more than ten years. Her short fiction has appeared in Cosmos Magazine and several speculative fiction anthologies: The Last Man, More Scary Kisses, Strange Worlds, Flights of Fiction and Winter's Regret.

In 2013, psychological thriller Pretty Girl-13 was released by HarperCollins in the US and UK. Foreign translations have been published in French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Swedish, Norwegian, Russian, Czech, Slovakian, and Chinese (simplified and traditional).

Her independent publications include alternate history/time travel/romance Out of Xibalba and teen thrillers in the new Tor Maddox series.

Liz lives in Ohio, where she is surrounded by a fantastic community of writers, beaten regularly by better tennis players, uplifted by her choir, supported by her husband, teased by her teenaged daughter, cheered from afar by her two older sons, and adorned with hair by her cats Tiger, Pippin, and Merry.

Liz invites you to follow her as LizColeyBooks on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and visit her website at LizColeyBooks.blogspot.com.

Monday, April 13, 2015

BOOK: Married to the Wind (Wisewoman's Daughter Part 1) by Samantha Holloway

BOOKS

MARRIED TO THE WIND (WISEWOMAN'S DAUGHTER PART 1)

Everything she thought she knew was wrong.

Annissa of Yorra knew she was the Wisewoman's daughter. She knew she was to be married in just a few short months. She knew her tiny village near the Wall was unimportant. She knew her country was safe, the sacred homeland of the First Lady's Chosen People.

And she knew her life would be unremarkable, though such quiet left her restless.

She didn't know destiny had so much more in store for her.

When she rescues a boy who falls from the sky the same moment an impossible evil returns from Over the Wall, everything changes. Soon, she must make a choice--safety, or the truth?

Samantha Holloway is unfit for anything but writing expansive fantasy and the occasional science fiction story, so she does it full time. She's the author of the new epic fantasy novel Married to the Wind, and has published dozens of book reviews, TV reviews and a few short stories. In between writing and thinking about writing, she lives in North Carolina with a cat aptly-named Ninja, wears too much jewelry, runs a home made nail polish company for a lark, and subsists mostly on tea. Find her at Herding the Dragon.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

BOOK: Oblivion by Sasha Dawn

BOOKS

OBLIVION

One year ago, Callie was found shivering in an abandoned apartment, the walls covered in her red-inked scrawls. She remembers nothing of that night. Nothing of the thirty-six hours before. All she knows is that her father, the reverend at the Church of the Holy Promise, hasn't been seen since. Neither has Hannah Rynes, a young girl from the parish.

Since that night, Callie has been plagued by graphomania--a compulsion to write. The words that pound in her head and flow through her red felt-tip pen onto the pages of her notebooks (onto her jeans, onto her limbs) make no sense, yet they may be the key to unlocking her memory.

The anniversary of Hannah's disappearance is approaching. The words are coming faster and faster. Then Callie meets a guy at school who might be able to help her sort through the jumbled nonsense and piece the puzzle together, revealing her past.

But some secrets are better left buried...

Starred review: Kirkus Reviews and ALA
Recommended read: School Library Journal
Best Books for Teens 2014: New York Public Libraries


Sasha Dawn, writer, philosopher, and collector of tap shoes, started writing when she was seven years old and hasn't stopped since. Her debut novel is the acclaimed Oblivion. Find her at www.sashadawn.com.

Friday, April 10, 2015

EVENT: Heidi Ruby Miller as Guest for Pennwriters Presents

EVENTS


Here is the spring line-up for Pennwriters Presents, a members-only online program of Guest Star authors, editors, and agents. You can submit questions to be answered during each program from 9 AM ET - 9 PM ET.

Find out more about the guests, the topics, and the program at the Pennwriters site, including how to become a member.

Friday, April 17 Carol Silvis

Monday, April 27 Heidi Ruby Miller

Tuesday, May 5 Catherine E. McLean

Monday, May 11 Annette Dashofy

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

HEIDI'S PICK SIX: Fred Adams, Jr.

HEIDI'S PICK SIX


FRED ADAMS, JR.

1. Which of your characters is your favorite?
That’s like asking which of my children is my favorite. I’d have to say Mister Smith, henchman of the arch villain The Whisperer in my novel Hitwolf. Mister Smith is murderously evil and jovially enjoys every minute of it. He is a tall, snaggle-toothed hunchback who has apparently been wearing the same brown suit for twenty years and has never taken it off long enough to send it to the cleaners.


2. Tell me about your travels.
3. Coffee, tea, or milk?

4. What else can you do besides write?
I am a working musician; I have played the guitar since 1958 when I started taking lessons and have been playing in bands and solo since 1963. I also perform annually at the haunted attraction Castle Blood and at the Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival under the monicker Cedric the Balladeer.


5. Who are you reading right now?

6. Pop culture or academia?
Despite my degrees and academic career, pop culture hands down. Love the cheap, trashy thrills.


7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?
The toughest scene for me was one in a story I wrote for an anthology of new Sherlock Holmes stories in which Holmes explains to Watson (and thus to the reader) the issue of causality related to time travel. The problem was maintaining reader interest while presenting ideas essential to Holmes’ deduction; I didn’t want it too talky. I set the discussion over breakfast and interspersed the dialogue with the mechanical side of dining (sawing at a sausage, pointing with a jam-laden table knife, etc.).


8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?
9. Food you could eat everyday.
10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?
11. What kind of music speaks to you?

12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?
I usually know how they start and how they end. My stories have a tendency to fill the space between organically as I play with the characters and ideas present themselves.


13. Celebrity crush.

14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?
The pulp writers, Shakespeare, and the Romantic poets: Byron, Shelley, Keats, Blake, Wordsworth and Burns.


15. Do you still watch cartoons?

Fred Adams, Jr. is a lifelong Western Pennsylvania native who started writing fiction when he was six years old and finally was published at the tender age of twenty. Since then he published over forty short stories (almost exclusively horror and science fiction) in amateur and professional publications plus hundreds of newspaper features as a staff writer for the (now) Pittsburgh Tribune Review. Now retired from his job as an English Professor for Penn State University, Fred is able to devote his attention to what he’s always wanted to do: write.

Two of his novels, Hitwolf and Six Gun Terrors: Volume One were published by Airship 27 Productions and three more, Dead Man’s Melody, Six Gun Terrors: Volume Two, and Monsters and Mobsters: the Adventures of C. O. Jones are due out from Airship 27 over the next year. In addition, he writes genre stories for Airship 27’s many new-pulp fiction anthologies. His story “Masks” recently appeared in Laurel Highlands Publishing’s horror anthology Moonshadows and his story “Astrotrash” will soon appear in LHP’s science fiction anthology Across the Kármán Line. Fred’s novella The Chaos Spawn has recently been re-released after being out of print in a 40th anniversary special edition on Amazon Kindle.

Fred is also a professional guitarist who performs with bands and as a solo singer-songwriter. He has recorded two CDs of original songs, The Doctor is In and Searching for a Vein. Visit Fred’s website: http://drphreddee.com/author

TERROR ON THE PLAINS

Former Union scouts and saddle tramps Durken and McAfee are more than satisfied with their lives as cattle-punchers for Homer Eldridge and his Triple Six ranch. When a mysterious, black clad preacher arrives in town leading a congregation of dwarfish foreigners, strange things begin to happen. First cattle from various spreads are found savagely butchered out on the range for no apparent reason. Then several Triple Six hands go missing.

McAfee begins to suspects there is something very sinister about the new reverend and his people. Something that will bring more horror and destruction with it.

Writer Fred Adams, Jr. spins a weird western tale that will have readers on their edge of their seats and jumping at shadows. Mixing a heady brew that is half H.P. Lovecraft and half Louis L’Amour, SIX-GUN TERRORS is a creepy adventure not soon forgotten.

HOWL OF THE WOLF

It is 1969; Newark, N.J. Former Green Beret Jim Slate comes home from Vietnam to live a quiet, peaceful life. His wish is cruelly denied him when he is kidnapped by Michael Monzo, a local gang boss who wants to rule the entire city. To do this he must bring down his rivals.

Monzo recruits an occult practioner who can turn an ordinary man into a vicious werewolf and then control his actions by the use of a magic amulet. But to carry out this heinous plan, he needs a subject. And so Jim Slate is snatched and turned into a “Hitwolf.”

But Slate is no one’s puppet and, despite the curse put on him, he will not be controlled. After he manages to escape his master, Slate disappears into the thousands of acres of New Jersey woodlands known as the Pine Barrens. But Monzo has no intentions of losing his pet killing machine. Now the manhunt begins to capture Jim Slate…dead or alive!

“The secrets of the Universe are here. I can’t stop now. I have to know it all.”

In this modern tale of the Cthulhu Mythos graduate student Harlan Baker discovers ancient evil while cataloging a trove of antique books donated to the Wakefield college library by the estate of an eccentric alumnus. Baker's workmate Carl Barnes becomes obsessed with the project, a sinister stranger arrives claiming that some of the books belong to him, and then young women begin to disappear. Originally published in 1974 and out of print for decades, Fred Adams Jr.'s The Chaos Spawn returns in a special 40th Anniversary digital edition featuring new cover art by the talented Christopher Miller. Read it tonight and leave on the lights.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

COVER REVEAL: Indelible Ink by Matt Betts

COVER REVEALS

PREORDER NOW!


It's what's inside that counts.

Something lurks inside Deena Riordan. She never once questioned her life in the criminal underworld as the star of Mr. Marsh’s illegal empire and his youngest assassin. Her ruthless demeanor and dark magical powers have kept her at the top of the heap for years. But one day she pushes the sorcery too far and something snaps. Only then does Deena realize she’s always been a puppet of that dark power with no true will of her own.

Now, in order to get out of the crime business for good, she needs to save her sister from Marsh’s angry clutches. It won’t be easy. She’ll have to make her way through friends turned foes, dodge determined federal agents, and stay out of a particularly stubborn fellow hitman’s sights. Worst of all, Deena will have to wrestle with the darkness inside to keep it from swallowing her up again.

Cover Art by Bradley Sharp

Foreword by Heidi Ruby Miller

Urban Fantasy Paperback coming from Dog Star Books in June 2015


PREORDER NOW!

~~~

What they're saying about Matt Betts:

"It's impossible to say this too strongly: this steampunk-horror-historical-thriller crossbreed is an amazing book. Word of mouth could turn this from an under-the-radar debut novel from a little-known imprint into a genre-busting cult classic. Get on board now."
-David Pitt, Booklist (starred review)

"The stakes are high and the action and surprises are nonstop as Betts skillfully mixes elements of steampunk, alternate history, science fiction, and horror."
-Publishers Weekly

"A compelling story line, light humor, and a steampunk vibe make this an interesting and fun read."
-Library Journal

~~~

Also by Matt Betts and Dog Star Books:
ODD MEN OUT

BOOK: Killer Kung Pao (Health Nut Mysteries Book 1) by Patricie Lyle

BOOKS

Killer Kung Pao (Health Nut Mysteries Book #1)

Dr. Piper Meadows heads to the Body, Mind & Spirit Expo expecting to solve health problems, not murder. But her first day starts off wrong when famous psychic Mystic Ming compares her hair to a "dung beetle's nest" and tries to get her kicked out of the show. But Piper's bad-hair day gets worse when her Aunt Alfa gets in a public scuffle with Mystic Ming, where he accuses her of trying to poison him with her peanut oil-based essential oils. When Mystic Ming drops dead from his serving of killer kung pao laced with peanut oil, it's no surprise that Aunt Alfa is fingered as the prime suspect.

Unwilling to let her auntie squander her golden years in prison, Piper orders a set of How To Be a PI flashcards and sets out to find the real killer. Secrets and suspects sprout up faster than wheat grass, including a handsome tattoo artist, Tattoo Tex, who intrigues Piper more than she'd like to admit. But can she trust him? Piper had better solve the case of the killer kung pao before the murderer turns his sights on victim number two...one sleuthing doctor!

Patrice Lyle loves green smoothies, dark chocolate, mysteries, and humor. She wove these elements together when she created the Health Nut Mysteries, a cozy series about a naturopathic doctor who solves mysteries at health expos. Patrice also writes paranormal young adult and middle grade fiction, as well as holistic medical suspense. She has an MA in Writing Popular Fiction and a PhD in Holistic Nutrition. She's also a Certified Traditional Naturopath. She now lives in Florida with her husband and two kitties, and is a firm believer in the theory that laughter is the best medicine.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

EVENT: Pennwriters 2015 Conference Schedule

EVENTS


The schedule is out for the Pennwriters 2015 Conference - Building Bridges.

Here is where you can find me officially, but make sure to stop and say hello anytime during the weekend!

FRIDAY, MAY 15, 2015
12:00 - 1:30 - Published authors’ lunch & retreat with Jane Friedman - Ohio
5:30 - Cocktails - Salon A, B, C Foyer
6:00 – 8:15 - Dinner & keynote address with Ridley Pearson- Salon A, B, C


SATURDAY, MAY 15, 2015
8:00 – 9:00 - Breakfast/General meeting - Three Rivers Ballroom
9:05 – 10:00 - Heidi Ruby Miller – Science Fiction in Thrillers - Robinson
12:10 - 1:40 - Lunch, awards & speaker Don Helin - Three Rivers Ballroom
4:15 - 5:30 - Authors’ tea and book signing - Hospitality Suite


SUNDAY, MAY 15, 2015
11:30 – 12:30 - Closing ceremonies - Hospitality Suite


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

HEIDI'S PICK SIX: Deanna Dee

HEIDI'S PICK SIX

Deanna Dee

1. Which of your characters is your favorite?
2. Tell me about your travels.
3. Coffee, tea, or milk?
4. What else can you do besides write?
5. Who are you reading right now?

6. Pop culture or academia?
Pop culture. It’s kind of what I write about. That said, I do enjoy school. I’ll eventually get my doctorate because I’m a glutton for punishment…or something.


7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?

8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?
Life. So many funny, geeky things happen all the time. I go out in the world and see something that’s vaguely geeky. BAM—book fodder.


9. Food you could eat everyday.
10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?
11. What kind of music speaks to you?

12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?
I do something in-between. I start with an opening scene, a closing scene-ish, and a general direction. Then, I write and let the wind take me where it will. That works, and I’m keeping it.


13. Celebrity crush.
Orlando Bloom with the long hair and pointy ears, much to my co-cap’s (bf’s) chagrin. Though, he has long hair, so maybe he’s not so upset.


14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?
Douglas Adams, Ernest Cline, Kevin Hearne, Cora Carmack. The first three are geeks like me, so it’s a no-brainer how they influenced me. Cora Carmack is my fav new adult author. She made me realize that NA could be light and fun, and I ran with that idea.


15. Do you still watch cartoons?
I have a DVD shelf in my room. It is full of Disney movies. Enough said. :)


Deanna Dee is strictly human and does not, to her knowledge, own a hyena. She lives by the sea, which she takes full advantage of in the summer time. Nerd culture and pop culture make up the shameless downtime of her life. The rest of it is writing, and she’s okay with that. Her debut novel of gamer romance is Critical Hit-On.

CRITICAL HIT-ON
Roll for attraction.

Molly Moreau used to be a geek with the best of them—role playing games, multi-user dungeons, trading cards—the works. Then she found her long-time boyfriend in a dark corner with a girl dressed as Lara “boobs and guns” Croft. That was it for the relationship and for her geekiness. After moving back home, she got a job at a normal bar and grill with normal people to live a normal life. That is until Craig shows up with his RPG character sheet.

Craig Lawrence has been rolling 1s on the relationship front ever since his last girlfriend broke up with him because he apparently spent too much time playing guardian to his rebellious little sister. When he meets Molly, he wants more than anything to win her heart, and this time he’ll do anything to keep his family problems from interfering.

When fate (Molly’s best friend) brings Craig and Molly together (sets them up on a date), will this relationship roll yet another 1? Or will it score a critical hit?

Thursday, March 05, 2015

BOOK: Keys of Heaven by Adina Senft

BOOKS

KEYS OF HEAVEN

Sarah Yoder is learning to help the people in her Amish community as a Dokterfraa, creating teas and tinctures from the herbs she grows. But her latest patient seems to have a problem that can’t be resolved with Sarah’s remedies—a woman who, in Sarah’s mind, would flourish anywhere other than where she lives. Meanwhile, as Sarah’s relatives attempt a little matchmaking between her and a visiting Amish man, she struggles to let God show her His choice of partner … and not allow her friendship with her neighbor, Henry Byler, to grow into anything more.

Henry has seen some success as a potter since a major store commissioned his work for their catalog. But the trouble is they want to market him as Amish. Though he was raised in the faith and lives in Amish country, Henry has never joined church and doesn’t plan to. Which also means, despite the attraction between them, he must keep his distance from Sarah. But what will happen when Sarah and Henry are called upon to help a runaway whose Englisch family is blind to how lost their son has become? The plant Sarah calls Keys of Heaven can grow in impossible places, but it’s hard for people to find their own place, which creates quite a temptation for Sarah to take matters into her own hands …

Adina Senft grew up in a plain house church, where she was often asked by outsiders if she was Amish (the answer was no), she made her own clothes, and she perfected the art of the French braid. She holds an M.F.A. in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University in Pennsylvania, where she teaches as adjunct faculty.

Writing as Shelley Bates, she was the winner of RWA’s RITA Award for Best Inspirational Novel in 2005, a finalist for that award in 2006, and, writing as Shelley Adina, was a Christy Award finalist in 2009. Three of her books have shortlisted for the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Carol Award for book of the year. Of her fiction, publisher and industry blogger W. Terry Whalin has said, “Readers will be lost in the vivid world that [she] paints with incredible detail and masterful storytelling.”

A transplanted Canadian, Adina returns there annually to have her accent calibrated. Between books, she enjoys traveling with her husband, playing the piano and Celtic harp, and spoiling her flock of rescued chickens. These days, she makes period costumes and only puts up her hair for historical events and fun.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

BOOK: Shadow Study (Soulfinders Book 5) by Maria V. Snyder

BOOKS

New York Times bestselling author Maria V. Snyder wowed readers with Poison Study, the unforgettable story of poison taster Yelena. Now she's back with a new tale of intrigue.

SHADOW STUDY

Once, only her own life hung in the balance…

Oddly enough, when Yelena was a poison taster, her life was simpler. But she'd survived to become a vital part of the balance of power between rival countries Ixia and Sitia. Now she uses her magic to keep the peace in both lands—and protect her relationship with Valek.

Suddenly, though, they are beset on all sides by those vying for power through politics and intrigue. Valek's job and his life are in danger. As Yelena tries to uncover the scope of these plots, she faces a new challenge: her magic is blocked. She must keep that a secret—or her enemies will discover just how vulnerable she really is—while searching for who or what is responsible for neutralizing her powers.

Yes, the days of tasting poisons were much simpler. And certainly not as dangerous…

When I was in sixth grade, I learned about meteorologists and decided I wanted to be one. My visions of chasing tornados throughout the Midwest and flying through hurricanes didn't pan out. Mostly because I wasn't good at forecasting, and my grades weren't exactly stellar. Let's face it, I'm a daydreamer--always have been, always will be.

I did graduate from Penn State University and was hired as an environmental meteorologist--try and say that five times fast ;) and I started writing when bored at work. It's never a good idea to get caught just staring out the window, so I wrote my daydreams down. After fooling around with short stories, I wrote my first novel, Poison Study. It was published sixteen years later. A lesson in patience and persistence! I had caught the writing bug and Magic Study and Fire Study soon followed.

Even though I went on to earn a Masters degree in writing from Seton Hill University, I never lost my fascination with storms, which is evident in my Glass Series (Storm Glass, Sea Glass and Spy Glass), and I still consider myself an environmentalist. The green part of me comes out in both Inside Out and Outside In. Trella's world is contained inside a big metal cube and they must reuse and recycle everything. One thing they got right in one otherwise messed-up world!

My latest series is about a healer and I happily let my nurturing side take over. Touch of Power starts the series with Avry on the run in a world recovering from a devastating plague. Scent of Magic is the second book and the third, Taste of Death will be out December 2013.

Aside from a writer, I'm also a teacher and mentor for students enrolled in Seton Hill University's MFA program in Writing Popular Fiction. I enjoy working with aspiring writers and helping them complete their novels. I've won a half dozen awards and been on the New York Times bestseller list, but nothing compares to being the proud mentor come graduation day!

Other things I enjoy are playing volleyball, photography and traveling. I'll go anywhere at anytime - much to my mother's dismay since my husband and I frequently bring along our son and daughter on our adventures.

I love my job. Where else can you take fencing lessons, learn how to ride a horse, study martial arts, learn how to pick a lock, take glass blowing classes and get a personal tour of a maximum security prison and call it all research? I'll give you a hint--not working as a meteorologist.




Tuesday, March 03, 2015

BOOK: Diner Stories: Off the Menu Edited by Daniel McTaggart

BOOKS

My husband and some friends are in this one!

Diner Stories: Off the Menu is a collection of exciting stories and real tales, all serving up a fantastic fare about the one place we all know, love to go to, and enjoy no matter your walk of life. Cozied up inside this collection are people who love and hate, learn and squirm, and above all, eat—maybe some meals that might surprise you. Come on in and join us for a selection of great stories all garnished with sensory delights, served up on a platter of fun and imagination!

TABLE OF CONTENTS
"Flying Lessons over Lunch with Saint Joseph Cooper Tina" by Eric Fritzius
"Layers and Pockets" by Karyn Cantees Stagg
"Julian's Restaurant" by Erin Nicole Cochran
"All the World's a Stage (But the Diner is my Church)" by Joey Madia
"Bleu Plate Special" by Jason Jack Miller
"The Bread Bowl" by Rich Bottles, Jr.
"Just Think about It" by Mary Lucille DeBerry
"Midnight at the Oasis" by Todd Ludy
"The Most Important Miracle" by Scott Emerson
"Genevieve from the River" by Steven Anthony George
"Words in Rain" by Vicki Crawford
"Donovan's Intuition" by Sarah B. Robinson
"White Smoke and Mirrors" by Jolene Paternoster
"Mary's Place" by Chris Leek
"Hungry for More" by Frank Larnerd
"All Night Diner" by Garland Steele
"Is Freedom on the Menu?" by Theodore Webb
"Love's Old Sweet Song" by Susanna Connelly Holstein
"Desert Diner" by Julie Cunningham
"Old Blue's Treasure" by Jennifer Dietz Weingardt
"Snapshots" by Eliot Parker
"The Slaving Hen" by Mike Mehalek
"The Last Stop" by Kathleen McClure and K. Ceres Wright
"The Teddy Bear" by Mary Lou Pratt
"Theoretical Cheese" by William F. DeVault
"Frank's Place" by Daniel McTaggart

Thursday, February 26, 2015

BOOK: Hard Days Hard Nights by Pat DiCesare

BOOKS

GREAT MIDWEST SELECTS "HARD DAYS HARD NIGHTS" AS GRAND PRIZE WINNER
CHICAGO_ An illuminating backstage pass to some of the greatest concerts ever held is the grand prize winner of the 2014 Great Midwest Book Festival.

Southern California Book Festival Runner-Up Best Non-Fiction
Hard Days Hard Nights is the fascinating, behind-the-scenes story of the birth and development of modern rock concerts, as told by one of its most illustrious proponents, Pat DiCesare.

For 36 years, starting with his first show in Youngstown, Ohio with the Four Freshman to his big breakthrough promoting the Beatles concert in Pittsburgh, PA in 1964, through his last major show in 1999, Pat DiCesare ruled the Pittsburgh concert scene.

Virtually every major rock and pop act of the area from the Rolling Stones to Led Zeppelin to Bruce Springsteen passed through Pittsburgh during these years to perform in concerts produced and promoted by Pat DiCesare.

These are the backstage tales of those shows and how they came to be--the untold story of one of America's most beloved industries.

Pat DiCesare is widely considered to be one the fathers of the rock and roll concert business, not only in Pittsburgh, but nationwide. After an illustrious career spanning five decades he retired in 1999 to his home in Greensburg, Pennsylvania with his wife, Kathy, and they have three sons. Pat now makes numerous public speaking engagements and writes for various music and business publications. Hard Days Hard Nights is his first book.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

EVENT: Pennwriters Conference 2015 Registration

EVENTS


The 28th Annual Pennwriters Conference Registration is now open.

We hope that you will attend this year as our conference keeps getting better. We were voted Best Overall Conference in 2014 by Book Architects Writing Conference Awards. We've garnered a great deal of positive feedback about the content of our workshops as well as the affordability in comparison to other conferences.

This year we are in Pittsburgh at the Pittsburgh Airport Marriott.

New this year!
We have a keepsake Conference T-Shirt for sale when you register. Just choose your size within the registration form, where the shirt is pictured.

Each one is $20. Please pre-order so that we can have your shirt ready with your registration packet. Shirts will not be available at the conference for sale.

When booking a room at the Pittsburgh Airport Marriott, mention "Pennwriters" to receive a discount. For your convenience, their contact information is also on the registration site.

If you are coming in from out of town and need us to know the travel itinerary you have arranged, there is a place for that information as well.

Everyone is excited about all the workshops and keynote speakers, Ridley Pearson and Don Helin. If you haven't had a chance to peruse the agenda, here's the link:
Click here for the Conference Agenda

REGISTRATION LINK:
Click Here to Register for the 2015 Conference


If you have any questions, please contact me.

Looking forward to seeing you all again,

Carol Silvis
ConferenceCoordinator@pennwriters.org

Monday, February 23, 2015

HEIDI'S PICK SIX: Jay Smith

HEIDI'S PICK SIX

JAY SMITH

1. Which of your characters is your favorite?
In my audio drama series HG World, one character is a survivor of a worldwide zombie catastrophe. He is considered a hero by the generations who inherited the world he saved. Now an old man with a fading, increasingly unreliable memory, he tells the story of how a small group discovered the cause of the zombie plague and - totally by accident - how to end it. In the middle of the action Ken Peters proves to be a bright but troubled everyman who grew up dirt poor and angry at the world. His life actually improves because, as he reflects, he was promoted from running squatters out of slums to driving cargo trucks full of corpses to a mass grave site twice a day. He could have become an evil bastard, particularly once the rich and privileged who abused him are reduced to his level of scrounging to survive, but he found purpose, even a noble cause in the apocalypse.

I loved writing the older Ken character and letting him weave the story in his own sardonic, reluctantly nostalgic way. He’s the old war hero who embellishes a little to keep listeners engaged not only in the story, but just in the tiny details of that post-zombie world that grew out of his heroism. He never exaggerates his own accomplishments and. In fact, the flashbacks show the reality of his situation and we realize that the horrors of that time were far worse than Old Ken is letting on. I listened to a lot of Harlan Ellison's lectures and speeches as a basis for Ken's voice and tried to inject a bit of wonder and excitement about that deadly world. Ken is also suffering from a degenerative brain disease which begins to influence his story the closer he comes to his personal end.

It helped that an amazing actor named James Baxter Patton gave the character a unique voice. I think Ken is charming, funny, angry, a little guilty, and a bit scared that it's all coming to an end for him and that realization helps him tell his story with passion and a growing urgency as he feels his own faculties melting away.


2. Tell me about your travels.
3. Coffee, tea, or milk?
4. What else can you do besides write?
5. Who are you reading right now?

6. Pop culture or academia?
I wonder if it is the conceit of getting older, but I find it hilarious that some of the pop culture icons of my youth are now getting lifetime achievement awards or a milestone anniversary event, like the 30th Anniversary of “The Breakfast Club” this year (and “Ghostbusters” last year). TBC was a fun movie but certainly not in the same league as “Out of Africa” or “The Color Purple” which came out the same year. I’m always surprised by what we embrace as culturally relevant and what disappears within a few months of being dubbed the next biggest, most-awesome thing ever.

I believe that if something sticks around long enough, pop culture can become part of our academic or literary consideration. This applies to most forms of popular entertainment. Once upon a time, you looked to an established generation of comedians like of Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis, Jack Benny, Sid Caesar as “legends” while The Smothers Brothers, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, and Lenny Bruce were young upstarts. Then they became the legends to a generation raised on The Blues Brothers, Rodney Dangerfield, Steve Martin, and Monty Python. We’re still a couple of cultural generations out when we add artists like Sam Kinison, Bill Hicks, Eddie Murphy, and Steven Wright. At one time, all of those acts were merely popular entertainers. What made them popular also translated to an enduring quality that exceeds the value of nostalgia.

In other words, much of today’s pop culture will influence tomorrow’s innovators and enter the history of its medium. While flashy mass-market books about the latest, faded boy band fill the remainder bins of your local galleria book store, that band may return in 20 years to fill stadiums and inspire thick hardcover retrospectives into their enduring musical legacy. We have to accept that the kids growing up on Justin Bieber will become the adults who may put him in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and speak of him in the same way my generation spoke of Elvis.

Sorry for that terrifying view of the future. Did I mention I write horror?

While enduring veneration does not necessarily equate to “academic” I submit that the “elder statesmen” of popular culture inevitably become the most studied because they have always challenged us, but they change the way other artists approach their work. That influence begs the complex question, “Why?”

I believe this is because there are artists who can make you feel something and they endure because you will associate those feelings to a time and place in your life that is uniquely yours. It’s the song on the radio when you first kissed your girlfriend or the country song that made you want to punch your car stereo because you just broke up with her. Then there are others who make you feel AND think. They take you beyond the moment and the self and create a bond between you and something greater. I remember seeing Robin Williams and George Carlin in concert and details of their acts, but I can’t remember who went with me or – of the top of my head – the year I saw them. Those are the artists who are immortalized by the thoughtful discussions and essays that outlive the artists and transcend their body of work.

Of course, you have enduring, conventional work that persists in popular culture without aspiring to be more than consumable, disposable experiences. Those Spice Girls reunions won’t make us wonder “why” (except perhaps “why” it happens at all) and we’ll go to a Jimmy Buffett concert for the full Parrothead experience one can’t get listening to his Greatest Hits at a TGI Friday’s, or watch another Adam Sandler movie because an afternoon of weed and Four-Loko puts us in the mood. And that’s all cool. Even enduring phenomena like the zombie sub-genre of horror become part of college sociology, culture, and literature courses. And where I’m working on my Masters of Fine Arts at Seton Hill University, Pop Culture is academic.

So, short answer: Both.


7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?
A few years ago a colleague of mine in podcasting noted that I killed off 99% of the population in HG World, I murder characters every episode and subject them to constant stress and suffering (one character gets shot with more frequency than an 80s action hero), but the one scene that listeners still cringe over is the violent assault of Doreen Garrison. It happens in the seventh episode of our first season (“It’s A World of Dread and Fear”). I invite you (with caution!) to listen because doing so will make more sense of the answer. There’s something about the fact that the scene plays out in the listener’s imagination that makes it more difficult to hear than I imagine it would be to watch. Listeners frequently point to this scene as the most frightening and disturbing few minutes of the series – and that’s in a show that once fed a bad guy to a playpen full of zombie toddlers among other things.

Doreen, by her own account, is an unremarkable woman who valued her family above everything else. She’s lost all but her youngest son, Aaron and struggles to stay useful by helping a group of elderly or sick refugees at a secluded church. She’s a wonderful character voiced by the remarkable Tracy Hall. Despite her personal loss, Doreen feels an obligation to help others, recognizing that she wouldn’t be alive without the humanity and charity demonstrated by others.

The scene in question is the culmination of a difficult relationship between Doreen and another survivor, Thomas, who has also lost almost everything he loved or was important to him. Thomas is a younger man who sees Doreen as a caregiver and a leader. I’d like to believe that at one time Thomas was a decent person. But this cruel, new world taught him that decency is a terminal illness. In his twisted brain, Doreen represents a fleeting chance at something resembling normal. She comforts the refugees with her smile and laughter. She inspires others to keep fighting through her own tireless example. She treats Thomas as a human being and that recognition triggers his obsession with her. What begins as an awkward crush gets more ominous as Thomas, who was brought to life by the talented writer/voice actor Eric Avedissian, includes Doreen in his view of a world where everyone stakes claim to resources and power. Doreen becomes something he needs to survive and like all things essential to survive, they must be taken by force.

Writing that final confrontation was difficult for several reasons. It would have been easier to paint Thomas as a pure monster with no redeeming qualities. In doing so, I may as well have had Doreen eaten by zombies because there would have been no emotional resonance. In the attack, Thomas loses the last pieces of his humanity. In Doreen’s response, she chooses to act in the only way that would allow her to live, continue to protect her son, and care for the people at the church. In this act, she retains her humanity. Her actions during and after the assault do not define Doreen but they establish her as someone willing to do whatever is necessary to protect herself and her family.

Making a dire choice for a character is hard because you want there to be a positive outcome. You want to put the dropped weapon just close enough that she can reach it before it’s too late. Doreen’s character provided me a convenient “out” – she was so good with people that I could hear her reasoning with Thomas. But that wasn’t how those characters would serve their own stories. I knew I couldn’t have a convenient conversation about what makes us human and grant Thomas a quick epiphany before dinner.
The scene was never just about one person. It was about how two people process tragedy and loss in different ways. This is a show about catastrophic loss, which is often depicted in the broadest way possible because you can’t really stop to think about the true emotional impact of such a thing on people. Coming up with clever ways to dispatch walking corpses can be fun. Thinking about the previous lives each of those corpses and what they lost isn’t.

Writing Doreen was easier than Thomas. Doreen has a clear moral compass and it's only when she begins to break down to compromise her values that her voice becomes inconsistent. After this scene, she is clearly in a darker place but continues to act with integrity. Thomas struggled hard to justify what, I imagine, was still a terrible thing. In his mind taking ownership of Doreen’s body in the hope of winning the rest of her came from the same exhilarating fear he might have experienced looting for the first time or stealing a car to escape town, maybe even killing someone for the first time to avoid being killed himself. Thomas comes to us with the common attitude of “if you don’t take it, someone else will”. I think Eric understood this goal as well because his read of Thomas’ threats and ultimatums are saturated by guilt but contain just a hint of a hope.
Another challenge I faced was respecting the subject matter and avoiding presenting the scene in either a gratuitous or hyper-violent way. Ironically having only the audio makes the scene harder to control in terms of the implied violence. Tracy Hall is a rape survivor, a fact that she mentioned in our initial discussion of the script. I thought she was courageous in agreeing to do the scene and I worked with Tracy and Eric to make sure the dialogue was carried out with precision and with the sound mixer to make sure the scene painted the right picture for the mind’s eye. Even so, we edited that scene a few times before we were confident it worked.

I’m proud of the result, but I’m not looking forward to revisiting it in the script I’m working on for the final season of HG World.


8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?
I go into the woods. There’s a spot about a mile north of my house along a disused Norfolk-Southern line that cuts between Blue Mountain and Peter’s Mountain. I go there when I’m not feeling particularly creative and I sit on a pile of rocks and listen to the wind in the trees and the stream flowing parallel to the tracks. Around the time the sun sink behind Peter’s Mountain Old Man Martz comes out of the tall grass from the shadows. He carries a letter he wants me to take to his wife. Of course the letter is written on the same ether or ectoplasm that constitutes a spirit, so I transcribe what I can to my notebook. In exchange for taking the letter to his wife, Old Man Martz gives me six or seven ideas that I could use for short stories. He speaks in a whisper, so I have to get very close to him to hear. The breath from the lips of a ghost freezes the hair on my neck and burns my skin a bit. It smells like the inside of an old clothes trunk. Or maybe a coffin. When he’s done, I have to get off the pile of rocks so he can sink back into his grave.

His wife enjoys the letters. I feel a little silly reading those notes between relative strangers and I sometimes pronounce the names of their family and friends incorrectly, but when Jenna Mae rises from her grave to sit on her headstone, she sets me straight. You don’t hear the laughter of the dead so much as you feel it. It’s like a sudden chill on a warm, summer day.

She never has a message back to Old Man Martz except that she misses him from the other side of eternity.

Fun fact: Never let a ghost kiss you, even in gratitude. You may as well embrace an Arctic storm.

Otherwise, I find my inspiration like all other writers: in a catalogue issued by Schenectady Idea Mechanics, Incorporated.


9. Food you could eat everyday.
10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?
11. What kind of music speaks to you?
12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?
13. Celebrity crush.

14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?
I hate to admit that my earliest literary influences have been white men. Growing up, the voices that appealed to me sounded like what I wanted to sound like one day, so it makes sense that I would list Harlan Ellison, Hunter S. Thompson, Douglas Adams, and Somerset Maugham. I love Dorothy Parker and Shirley Jackson, but otherwise my strongest influences represent a shameful lack of diversity.

In terms of audio drama, my earliest influences were Carlton Morse and Arch Oboler, even if I didn’t know who they were at the time I first heard their work. Of course Orson Welles for his work with the Mercury Theater and on The Shadow radio show and Douglas Adams for the mental theme park he built with The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. In modern audio, Dirk Maggs and KC Wayland helped me define my own voice that I want and continue to guide me toward mastering it. I also have to consider the contribution of concept or progressive rock acts like Pink Floyd and Queensryche whose concept albums were experimental forms of audio theater. If I had ANY musical skill at all, an audio musical would be a project for my next ten years. I grew up listening to The Beatles and find their later work inspiring to this day.

My biggest personal influences are personal friends who thrive despite prejudice or adversity. It is not my place to call them out here by name, but they are the ones helping to create a more diverse and inclusive world for those living with discrimination. They inspire me with ideas of selflessness and heroism against constant, sometimes dangerous social and legal conflict. We live in a country that prides itself on setting the example for personal liberty and equality to the world, yet we have so far to go in embracing it in all Americans. The people who influence me are the ones who fight every day taking the rest of us forward toward that national ideal.

Because of them, I try very hard to create diverse, engaging characters as both heroes and villains.


15. Do you still watch cartoons?
Yes! Archer, Adventure Time, Venture Brothers, anything from DC Animation, and I’ll even watch The Simpsons if it’s on. Animation can be just as complex and meaningful as live action. I also enjoy revisiting the cartoons of my youth. Jabberjaw. Scooby Doo. Super Friends. Space Ghost. Laugh-A-Lympics. Star Trek’s animated series is a little trippy, but holds up pretty well. Of course I could watch Wile E. Coyote chase the Road Runner all day. I might excuse it by saying it’s an excuse to spend time with the kids, but I’ve learned never to pass up a chance to laugh along with my kids.


Jay Smith is the creator and executive producer for the Parsec Award-winning audio drama series HG World. Since 2009, Jay and his company of players and producers have been telling the story of survivors in the middle of a global zombie uprising. Now in its third season, this "satellite" production has featured dozens of actors across four continents making it a production truly on a global scale. Since its debut, episodes of HG World and its spin-off series, the Parsec finalist The Diary of Jill Woodbine and The Googies have been downloaded close to a million times.

Hidden Harbor Mysteries is a pulp era adventure with a stellar cast of voices produced by award-winning producer Bryan Lincoln. Check it out at www.hiddenharbormysteries.com.

Jay’s books include the gamer-geek satire Rise of the Monkey Lord, Blue Collar Gods, Seven ‘til Sunrise, The Diary of Jill Woodbine, HG World: The Audio Scripts, and Hidden Harbor Mysteries: Anatomy of A Modern Audio Drama Series.

Jay holds a BA in Creative Writing and is working on his Master of Fine Arts from Seton Hill University’s innovative Writing Popular Fiction program. He attends and speaks at various science fiction and literary conventions about podcasting, writing, audio drama, and zombies.



Thursday, February 19, 2015

LIST: Ambasadora Book 1: Marked by Light on SF Signal List

LISTS

John DeNardo, Managing Editor at SF Signal and columnist for Kirkus Reviews, researched this great list of 385 Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror eBooks Priced Less than $5 Each. Marked by Light, the first book in the Ambasadora space opera series was there, as well as three of my husband's books (The Devil and Preston Black, Hellbender, The Revelations of Preston Black by Jason Jack Miller). Other authors include fellow Seton Hill Writer Tim Waggoner as well as Brandon Sanderson, Paul S. Kemp, Michael Swanwick, Tim Powers, Peter Straub, Lilith Saintcrow, Gail Carriger, Philip Pullman, Marissa Meyer, Justin Gustainis, Chuck Wendig, and obviously hundreds more.

BOOK: Critical Hit-On (The Games of Love #1) by Deanna Dee

BOOKS

CRITICAL HIT-ON

Roll for attraction.

Molly Moreau used to be a geek with the best of them—role playing games, multi-user dungeons, trading cards—the works. Then she found her long-time boyfriend in a dark corner with a girl dressed as Lara “boobs and guns” Croft. That was it for the relationship and for her geekiness. After moving back home, she got a job at a normal bar and grill with normal people to live a normal life. That is until Craig shows up with his RPG character sheet.

Craig Lawrence has been rolling 1s on the relationship front ever since his last girlfriend broke up with him because he apparently spent too much time playing guardian to his rebellious little sister. When he meets Molly, he wants more than anything to win her heart, and this time he’ll do anything to keep his family problems from interfering.

When fate (Molly’s best friend) brings Craig and Molly together (sets them up on a date), will this relationship roll yet another 1? Or will it score a critical hit?

Available for preorder at Amazon.

Deanna Dee is strictly human and does not, to her knowledge, own a hyena. She lives by the sea, which she takes full advantage of in the summer time. Nerd culture and pop culture make up the shameless downtime of her life. The rest of it is writing, and she’s okay with that.

Find her online at http://ddgeekwriter.blogspot.com