Saturday, April 25, 2015

EVENT: Heidi Ruby Miller on Pennwriters Presents

EVENTS


FROM PENNWRITERS:

Writer, Traveler, Educator Heidi Ruby Miller will be our Guest Star on our Pennwriters Presents program Monday, April 27, 2015 from 9 am to 9 pm. She will answer your questions on several topics, including:

BEING A HYBRID AUTHOR (I’m published with the big publishers, small presses, and have self-published.)

HOW MENTORING MAKES ME A BETTER WRITER (My ongoing learning as faculty at Seton Hill)

COLLABORATING (How my husband and I write our thriller series together and still remain married)

WRITING IN MULTIPLE GENRES (Branding is second only to good books.)

WHY TRAVELING IS ESSENTIAL TO MY WRITING (It’s more than simply inspiration for me.)

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.

Wednesday, April 15, 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.