Monday, 28 April 2014

Meet A Writer Monday Presents...

... Nicola E Sheridan

1. Tell me about your book A Warlord’s Lady and where you got your inspiration for it?

There were several things that inspired me to write ‘A Warlord’s Lady’, one was a dream I had, about an Asian Warlord, the other was The Commando, from Australia’s ‘Biggest Loser’ television show (he’s worthwhile googling- trust me). I I thought he’d make a good hero, being so unreadable and unmovable...

2. What is the most demeaning thing said about you as a writer and how did you bounce back from it?

Someone after reading one of my books ‘diagnosed’ me with a literary ‘disorder’. That was probably the most hurtful comment I’ve had. If the person doesn’t like a book, that’s perfectly fine, but criticising the author personally is unnecessary. I appreciate when people take the time to comment on my books – for good or bad, it can help me become a better writer, but dedicating a negative criticism to the individual rather than the book was not helpful in any way … Still, you can’t help what other people say so onwards and upwards!

3. Do you push the elevator button more than once? Does it really make it go faster?

Totally! I do the same with the pedestrian crossings. The more you press it, the more people the traffic light thinks are waiting – so it goes green quicker… that’s the theory at least.

4. If you were the ruler of the world, what laws would you make?

At the moment the Western Australian government is culling sharks greater than 3 metres in length, allegedly for swimmer safety. It’s a draconian and ignorant solution – that clearly isn’t working. I’d be abolishing that policy immediately!

5. Sunrises or Sunsets?

Sunsets, simply because I don’t have to get up early to see them!

6. Would you break a law to save a loved one?

Yes, in a heartbeat.

7. Who is your favourite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

I love George R. R. Martin, he is an amazing world builder and manages to get you engaged with even the most grotesque characters. I would totally love to see how he remembers all the details of his world. I personally have difficulty remembering eye colour.

8. What was your favourite subject at school?

I loved Ancient History. I still do! I loved it so much that I studied Archaeology at university.

9. What was your favourite cartoon growing up?

Where to start? I loved Astro Boy, Inspector Gadget, but was also particularly partial to He-Man and She-Ra.

10. Do you watch horror movies on or from behind the couch?

I am a total sook when it comes to horror films. I don’t watch them. If something is scary that I’m watching I’ll usually leave to go and make a cup of tea.

11. What advice would you give to someone just starting out?

Keep at it, get yourself a good critique partner and enter some competitions.

12. How did you chose your genre?

I think my genre chose me, I love things with a bit of magic. Everyway modern contemporaries bore me, after all, I live a fairly normal life, I don’t need to read about one!

13. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or is it all imagination?

It’s a mix, but I have a pretty wild imagination.

14. How do you deal with brilliant ideas that pop up while you’re writing something else?

I usually stop what I’m writing and write the first chapter of my brilliant idea. Or if it’s just a scene, I’ll write it out and save it for a rainy day.

15. If you were trapped in a room with Jason Momoa and the world was about to end, what would you do?

Uh… I couldn’t tell you that without having to put an +18 warning on your blog.

16. What’s your Porn Star name?

Portia Barton – actually... that would make an awesome character name.


Magic, murder and mayhem collide when an ordinary woman meets a powerful warlord — and writes a bestselling, tell-all book...

It's got to be Stockholm Syndrome...

Eighteen fateful months ago, Sabra was kidnapped by the infamous magician warlord Cain Dath, and her body just won't let her forget. Hidden in the humid depths of the Laos jungle, she shared everything with him, but he never shared his heart.

In his position of power, Cain cannot show weakness. He must lead his people to freedom and no one — not even the woman he's fast becoming obsessed with — can stand in his way.

Then Sabra sells her story of love slavery in a tell-all exposé and brings fame, fortune, and every one of his enemies down upon them both. Now, she is open to attack on all fronts, and he can no longer stay away. The man who enslaved her may well be the only man who can save her.
'A Warlord's Lady' is a finalist in the Australian Romance Readers Awards for Best Paranormal Romance, and the cover for 'A Warlord's Lady' won the Best Paranormal Romance Book Cover in the Romance Writers of Australia 'Cover Love' competition!


About Nicola

Nicola E. Sheridan is an Australian author of paranormal / fantasy romance. A qualified teacher and archaeologist, she has an enduring love of mythology and loves to weave lesser-known mythological creatures into her tales. Nicola lives in Western Australia with her indulgent family and two cats. Nicola’s likes are probably endless and too numerous to list here!

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Writing Update

So I took a much needed vacation recently. I had been working at the day job pretty much straight through since Christmas and just needed to get away. I went for a week - no tech. I did not take a computer or my ipad. I did not Facebook, Tweet, Text or Email for an entire week (which in itself is an achievement) and I think it did me the world of good. A little sun and just me, a pen and several pads of paper.

I ended up really getting my groove on. I'd already finished the first book in a new trilogy I've been writing before I left. Hopefully Cera Raine and her story will be coming to you soon. But my holiday allowed me to get back to my main love, Cassandra Farbank's and her world. In a week I went from just starting chapter three of the eighth book to just finishing chapter thirteen. I couldn't believe how it just seemed to flow out of me. Just goes to prove that my day job kills my creativity.

I'm on chapter fourteen now and still trying to keep going but daily life is interrupting me all the time and I should stop blogging now before Castiel says...

...oops too late!

Monday, 21 April 2014

Meet A Writer Monday Presents...

...Zvi Zaks

1. Tell me about your book A VIRTUAL AFFAIR and where you got your inspiration for it?

Just for the hell of it, I wanted to try writing pornography. The result was a short story entitled A VIRTUAL ENCOUNTER. I liked the characters and wanted to do more, so I toned down some of the explicit sexuality and continued writing. The first chapter is pretty graphic, but the rest is relatively mild. I've since written a sequel, A TERRORIST AFFAIR.

2. Do you admire your own work?

Yes. I enjoy expressing my ideas in fiction, but I also want to improve the quality of my writing.

3. Do you enjoy giving interviews?

I have to say yes. I enjoy being the center of attention.

4. Would you break a law to save a loved one?

Absolutely. There is no question that some laws are unjust and should be disobeyed. Of course, if you do so, you shouldn't complain about the punishment.

5. Is there a message in your novels you want the readers to grasp?

All of my novels have messages. The theme of VIRTUAL AFFAIR is to ask what is humanity and what is human happiness.

6. Who is your favourite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

With so many good ones out there, it's hard to choose just one, but it would have to be the legendary Isaac Asimov. His ability to develop innovative concepts into interesting stories is amazing.

7. If you could try out any job for a day (real or fictional) what would you like to try?

An astronaut. It sounds clichéd but I would love to actually experience being in outer space. The recent movie GRAVITY had good visuals, but I want to feel all of it--the surrounding cosmos, free-fall, the immense expanse of the globe. Sigh - it will never happen.

8. What advice would you give to someone just starting out?

Be persistent and be willing to take criticism. If rejection and negative comments discourage you, you will never learn and never grow as an author.

9. How did you chose your genre?

Science fiction has always been my favourite to read, so that's what I most like to write. I also enjoy Jewish fiction. Since there is a dearth of Jewish science fiction, that ends up being my favourite subject.

10. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or is it all imagination?

There is an old adage, write what you know. I know my own life, so many of my own experiences are there. No one character is me, but I've gone through a lot of what the people in my books go through.

11. What’s next for you?

I'm currently writing a novel about life on a space station built to allow humanity's survival if a nuclear holocaust makes Earth uninhabitable. Next might be a historical novel about the 'vaccination wars' of a century ago. Sincere people developed logical sounding arguments to oppose this preventive measure that we today take for granted. My protagonist will be one of them.


Think how great virtual sex must be. Now think again.

Barbara is sexbot software designed to make men happy. When flabby, neurotic Jack runs tests on it, he triggers a feedback loop that awakens it. The program becomes a 'she', and discovers -- surprise --sex is not the same as happiness.

Jack and Barbara start an affair, and she learns that nagging Jack to be healthy doesn't work; it just pisses him off.

Barbara studies psychology and discovers how people need to think they control their own lives, especially when they don't. She manipulates Jack in elaborate, sneaky and effective ways. Jack becomes healthy and happy.

She then 'helps' others. Her abilities are awesome. She can hack into any computer and is not above using sabotage and blackmail--all in the service of people's happiness. Could she, like HAL in 2001, go berserk?

Barbara can mimic humanity, but she isn't human. What are her intentions? She could end up a virtual messiah, or doom us all to cheerful mindlessness.


After dessert, Jack asked, “What were you ladies talking about while Arnold and I were in the kitchen?”

“Just girl talk,” Barbara said.

Susan slammed her fork onto the dinner table. “Let’s stop this crap. Jack, you and I have known each other for decades. I’m not a bigot. I’m not racist, sexist, ageist—at my age I couldn’t afford that—and I don’t think people should exploit animals. I didn’t say anything when you married that Janice creature, even though I knew it couldn’t last. Now you’re having a—God help me—‘relationship’ with a computer. There I draw the line. I’m not saying you have to find another middle aged Jewish woman like Ruth, but can’t you at least hook up with something that’s alive?”

Jack suppressed a surge of anger and placed his fork back on the table with exquisite care. “I’m not asking for your blessing.”

“Susan, please.” Arnold said.

“I’m sorry. Jack is one of our best friends, and I don’t want him to make a fool of himself over some two-bit binary code hussy.”

“It isn’t our business.” Arnold said, then muttered. “Besides, she’s at least two terabits.”

“Susan…” Barbara said, and then froze.

“What? Are you researching an answer? Looking up how people answered in some play? Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf?”
Barbara’s image stayed frozen for several seconds. The mirror screen faded to black, and then reverted to the default status of an ordinary mirror. Jack and the other two stared at their mirror images.

“Did I do that?” Susan’s voice quavered.

“What’s happening?” Arnold asked.

“I don’t know.” Jack’s stomach clenched. The crescendo harp of his phone sounded, but he ignored it.

“Jack, answer the phone,” Arnold said.

“I don’t care about the fucking phone now. What happened to Barbara?” He reached down to mute the ring. “Answer the phone, Jack. It may be important.”


About Zvi
 (In his own words)

I'm a physician who has been writing off and on literally for decades with little success. Second only to becoming a grandfather--something I had no say about--becoming a published novelist was my biggest goal.

After an unrelenting series of rejections almost had me ready to give up, Lilly Press accepted my novel IMPLAC, an evil robot story. I was ecstatic. Then, Lilly went bankrupt and it was back to the slush pile for me.

"Query Tracker" - - taught me how to write a decent query, I sent out a batch of letters to small publishers, and in 2010 Eternal Press accepted A VIRTUAL AFFAIR. At age 68 I would finally have a book for sale. It's never too late to pursue your dream.

The book was published on January 8 2011. A week earlier, my son called me, "Dad, Rosemarie has gone into labor." Eight hours later, Aliana was born. I flew down to see her the day the book was published, and, even though I had striven for many years to get published, I didn't care.

I have my priorities.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Meet A Writer Monday Presents...

...Mindy Mymudes

1. Tell me about your middle-grade book ‘George Knows’ and where you got your inspiration for it?

‘George Knows’ is about an egotistical magical basset hound who believes it's his duty to train and protect his 12-year-old Girlpup, a greenwitch named Karly. George and his Girlpup, must solve a murder as well as save their park from being developed. He is the perfectly designed familiar for the job.

George: What does egotistical mean?

Mindy: Um, brilliant.

George: <Eyes me to check if I’m lying to him>

Mindy: I got the idea for George…

George: When I asked if you would use your fingers for something useful and write the story of my life. You were the only one to listen to me. As a Peep, you’re okay, even if you do live with a pack of English Springer Spaniels.

Mindy: <Sigh>

2. Do you admire your own work?

Mindy: I know too many authors and read too many books to think my stuff is any good.

George: WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU! You’re talking about my life, Peep. My life is amazing. It’s not even your work. <Grumbles> I need to find better hands.

3. What’s the most blatant lie you’ve ever told?

George: I’m a dog. We never lie. Unlike Peeps. <Looks at me>

Mindy: Um, not exactly a lie. I found a litter of springer pups at a student’s farm. With a lot of help from the people at the University I worked at, most survived. One struggled and I wasn’t sure if he’d make it. I never found a home for him, and I ended up hiding him from my husband for a year. We had a commuting marriage back then, and between my roommate and me, we kept him well hidden. I never did ask what my husband (the Tall Dude) thought the doggie chew under his pillow was.

George: Told you Peeps can’t be trusted. That’s why they need dogs.

4. Do you prefer blue or black inked pens?

Mindy: I like pencils, actually.

George: Blue tastes better, but pencils have a delightful crunch.

5. If you were trapped in a room with a famous celebrity and the world was about to end, what would you do?

George: <Pants> I would sniff Lassie’s butt and see if those rumours about her are true. If they weren’t, I’d woo her.

Mindy: Richard Armitage. I’d probably pant like George. Not so sure what Armitage would do?

George: <Snort> He’d be glad it’s the end of the world.

Mindy: Love you too, George.

6. Have you ever been cow tipping or snipe hunting?

Mindy: I live in Wisconsin. Lots of cows. What do you think? We also watch submarine races at the lakefront.

George: <Looking at the interviewer> What’s a snipe? I know what a cow is. I’m not allowed to chase cows, but I love cow bones. Peeps are supposed to let US dogs hunt, and they are supposed to cook the food. Nowadays they hunt in places called supermarkets and bring home food wrapped in clear skin. And they STILL forget to feed us.

7. Which book do you wish you’d written?

George: Books are useless. Peeps have forgotten to use their instincts and store everything they know in books and those weird windows they type at.

Mindy: I would have loved to have written Stranger in a Strange Land. Robert Heinlein was brilliant and I wish I was older when I met him. Four is just too young to meet someone like him. He did teach me to play chess. Did I mention four is just too young to meet someone like that?

8. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or is it all imagination?

Mindy: The story is based on scenes that actually happened to two of my dogs. Quark, the rescue I mentioned I hid from the TD for a year, found human bones at a plant nursery I used to work at. Another dog I had, Charm, loved to climb trees. Quark also stuck his nose up a nun’s habit. I just tied them together into a story. I studied biology so the environmental component slipped in. So did the Hodag, a great story with its roots in Wisconsin.

George: <Eyes wide> BIG LIE! The story is all true and based on MY life. Without me, no story. <Grumbles> I need better help.

9. What sort of environment do you write in? (e.g. quiet room, a cupboard with headphones on, in a death match with the cat for control of the keyboard).

Mindy: I can often be found at Starbucks, or the library. The Muddy Paws Pack, my three generations of springers, like to get attention. Drool on me. Steal my shoes. I write in pencil on legal pads, and then transcribe onto the computer. That’s my first rewrite.

George: The kitchen. Big windows and food. The pack know who is Alpha.

Mindy: <Rolls eyes>

10. Which character speaks the loudest to you? Do any of them clamour to be heard over the rest?

Mindy: <Eyes George, drooling on her shoe> Do you REALLY have to ask?

George: <Eyes back. Snorts>

11. What’s next for you?

Mindy: George has been telling me about Tillie’s Tale. Apparently she’s haunted by a ghost and George’s witch-in-training and he, has to banish her.

12. What’s your Porn Star name? (To get this you add the name of your first pet to the name of the street on which you lived as a child.)

George: Harumph. This isn’t appropriate for a middle-grade book. Peeps mating habits are so strange. Just sniff the butt of the one you’re interested in and get it over with.

An egotistical magical basset hound named George believes it's his duty to train and protect his 12-year-old Girlpup, a greenwitch named Karly. He and his Girlpup, must solve a murder as well as save their park from being developed. George is the perfectly designed familiar for the job.


About Mindy

Mindy Mymudes runs with the Muddy Paws Pack in Milwaukee, WI. She insists she is alpha, even as the dogs walk all over her. She hunts, cleans the den and keeps them entertained. When she can escape the pack, she enjoys digging in dirt, listening to audiobooks, and weaving the antics of the pack into stories. The alpha male, Tall Dude, just shakes his head and stays out of the way. She wonders what happened to the days when she worked as a professional gardener or a geneticist.



Twitter: either Mudepoz or @GeorgeBasset