Saturday, July 9, 2016

Interview w/ Judy Nickles, author of Susanna's Secret

Where did the idea for your novel come from?
   My newest release, a short read called Susanna’s Secret, began as a story written for a fan fiction site on which I was active for several years. It lent itself perfectly to ‘mainstreaming’.

How did you start writing?
   I’ve written since I could hold a #2 pencil in my fat fist. Unfortunately, my earliest literary masterpieces, “Fishnet” and “Butterfly Net” (think the old television program “Dragnet”) never quite made it to the New York Times Best Seller List (although I can’t imagine why not)!  But after retiring, I ended up with four contracts for full length novels from The Wild Rose Press (a fifth contract is newly signed) and had several short stories published in print and ezine periodicals. Then indie publishing beckoned me for a cozy mystery series, a romantic suspense series, two books of short stories, and a stand-alone novel.

What does your writing process look like?
   I just write--but rarely anywhere except on the computer. I may write several thousand words or only a few hundred at a time. No real deadlines except those impose by editors--and for indie publishing none at all. Hey--I’m retired!

Where is your book set?
   Susanna’s Secret is a western novel--but it could easily be set in contemporary times with a little tweaking. Like my other stories, it’s about the human condition which spans generations.

Are your characters based on real people?
   Not in Susanna’s Secret. However, other novels have characters which combine characteristics of the many interesting people I’ve been privileged to know.

Did you always want to write?
   I guess I always needed to write. As a rather solitary child brought up mostly among adults, writing (like the piano) became my escape from the real world.

Which character is your favorite and why?
   I’m partial to Susanna because I admire strong women--especially women who have risen from being squelched and undermined as individuals. Like Susanna, I found myself on my own after my husband’s death, but I was younger with two children to raise. So I can identify with the struggles of a woman to take charge of her own life.

What authors do you enjoy reading? Why?
   I love mysteries--Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, Margaret Truman, Agatha Christie, and John Grisham among others. They spin intriguing tales and keep my mind busy trying to figure out “whodunit”.

What are you reading right now?
   The Moonstone by Colin Wilcox. It’s an old book with the predictable stilted language and “going around the world to get to the next corner” sort of narrative, but it’s the book assigned for Sleuthers, the mystery book club to which I belong at the local library.

Dog or Cats?
   Neither one, thank you! I love my empty nest, although I often have two of my granddaughters with me. At ages 9 and 6, they are housebroken and don’t demand constant attention. As I write, they are “in office” in the living room, occupying themselves with only brief forays into the study. And I don’t have to board them out when I choose to go traveling!

What’s next for you?
   Well, I have another short read, The Showboat Reunion to submit following Susanna’s Secret. There are two completed novels in the dock waiting for vetting by a second beta reader and a sequel to another published novel which needs to be completed. In addition, probably half a dozen novels in various stages of completion (or incompletion) lurk on computer, not to mention “the great American novel” which I’ve only been working on for 40 years and which may never see the light of day--or the black of print. The positive side is, I can’t die--I don’t have time!

Susanna's Secret, Get it NOW

In a moment of loss and crushing despair, she struck a deceptive bargain with her husband to protect his name as he built his Texas empire. Years later, when he was gone in a hail of bullets, it came back to haunt her in ways she never imagined. Now she must strip away the hatred which has festered over a lifetime before it destroys her. But will the truth, reborn like the Phoenix, sever the carefully forged bonds between herself and her children?  Susanna feels fenced in and ripe for slaughter like the longhorns beyond her window. Damn you, Nathan Kingsley! Damn you for what you did! Damn you for dying and leaving me with the mess you made!

Pre-sale Review
Susannah's Secret is a fast paced tale of human failings and triumphs. It typifies how courage and compassion in the face of adversity works to the advantage of all. The characters are so believable through their human failings but rise above their selfish interests. Readers who have wanted, birthed, raised, or lost a child can especially connect with Susannah and her choices which is what good reads do by pulling us into the story with our emotions.   ~Georgia

Friday, July 8, 2016

Interview w/ Brandon Crilly, author of Science is for Real

Where did the idea for your chapbook come from?
   I went to see Pacific Rim with some friends of mine, one of whom is an engineer. Afterward we talked about how terrible some of the science was in the movie – and then how Hollywood sci fi is usually pretty heavy on the fiction, but light on the science. Then I started playing, and came up with some funny microfiction pieces showing how certain big-budget sci fi films should’ve turned out. There were a lot of ideas, but four made it into the chapbook: The Core, Godzilla, Armageddon, and The Empire Strikes Back.

How did you start writing?
   When I was a kid I mimicked some of my favorite SFF stories – Star Wars and Harry Potter, for instance. I got some great encouragement in school, and my university had an awesome Creative Writing program that (somehow) I was able to get into. A few truly amazing writers – Carolyn Smart, who runs the program, and one of our writers-in-residence, Stuart Ross – showed me what it means to do this professionally, and I just kept going from there.

What does your writing process look like?
   Science is for Real involved a lot of brainstorming, research/consultation with my engineer friend, and multiple drafts to get the phrasing just right. For my short fiction, I’ll make some notes and then go through a few writing drafts; there’s a lot more discovery writing there. On the novel side, I spend a while making notes on characters, world, boil down my major plot points and a skeleton of an outline, and then discovery write to fill in the other details.

Did you always want to write?
   Pretty much. I can remember really getting hooked on stories when I watched the original Star Wars trilogy as a kid (yep, I’m that kind of nerd). I didn’t figure out I wanted to be a professional writer until later, though.

Which story in Science is for Real is your favorite and why?
   Hmm … tough call. If I absolutely had to pick, probably the story centered on Godzilla, titled “Thump … Roar … Thump.” I think it’s the best written of the four (though people are free to disagree).

What authors do you enjoy reading? Why?
   Joe Abercrombie, Pat Rothfuss, Jim Butcher, Marie Bilodeau, Brandon Sanderson, Jonathan Maberry, Jack McDevitt, Mary Robinette Kowal … okay, I’ll stop there. It’s brilliant character work and worldbuilding that hooks me, and every author I’ve listed is awesome in that regard.

What are you reading right now?
   I just finished Persona by Genevieve Valentine, which is a great near-future political thriller with an environmentalism slant. Definitely worth checking out. I’ll be starting Firefight by Brandon Sanderson next.

Dog or Cats?
   Cats to own, dogs to play with. I’ll gladly spend time with someone else’s dog, but I don’t want to live with one or train one. I’ll take a cat – a pet that loves you to death and then disappears for a while.

What’s next for you?
   "I'm currently shopping around a fantasy novel called Convoy, and hoping to find an agent, while I write the first draft of a space opera novel. On the short fiction side, I have a sci-fi/horror story titled "Waiting Room" that will be released July 20 in Creepy Campfire Quarterly #3. Later this year I have four more stories slated to be published in Third Flatiron Anthologies, The Breakroom Stories, The 2017 Young Explorer's Adventure Guide, and Sunvault."

Visit the author's webpage

An Ottawa teacher by day, Brandon Crilly has been published in On Spec, Solarpunk Press, Nonlocal Science Fiction and other markets. He was a Semi-Finalist in the 4th quarter of Writers of the Future 32. Science is for Real and other chapbooks are available at You can also follow Brandon on Twitter: @B_Crilly.

 Summary of Science is for Real: What would happen if big sci-fi blockbusters didn’t ignore the laws of physics? Four Hollywood films get an overhaul in Science is for Real.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Author Interview w/ Jim Cronin

1. Where did the idea for your novel come from?
    I have always been a fan of science fiction, especially when it deals with current social issues. The struggle between science and religion and government is something I dealt with as a science teacher, as well as my current work at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, so it was a natural topic for Hegira.

2. How did you start writing?
    My brother was writing a novel inspired by his experiences in the Peace Corp in the South Pacific. As we talked about his novel, the conversation turned to what I might write if I were to try my hand at being an author. One thing led to another and I came up with the idea for Hegira.
3. What does your writing process look like?
    I generally start with a rough outline of the characters and story line, but once I sit down to write it always seems to go best when I let the characters themselves write their own story. I am frequently surprised by sudden shifts in the direction I believed things should go, but then the character takes over and shows me what they would actually do in those circumstances. If I try to argue with these voices in my head the writing bogs down and becomes more of a chore than fun, so I prefer to listen to the voices. So far, they’ve stuck to my writing and not anything beyond.
4. Where is your book set?
   Hegira is set in a distant and imaginary galaxy, on two worlds. The Brin live on the planet Dyan’ta, but not for long. Their sun is about to go supernova and destroy their world. The only hope is to find a new planet out among the stars to relocate their population.
5. Are your characters based on real people?
   Not really. While the situations are not far removed from controversies we face in our world, and the actions of the characters may feel familiar, they are a complete and total work of my imagination.

6. Did you always want to write?
   No. In fact, this was probably one of the things furthest from my mind. The English language has always been a mysterious and bizarre land of seemingly incoherent rules with infinite exceptions. I was a science geek. However, it is possible some of my teaching partners may have corrupted me enough to make me believe writing might be something worth trying. It did take me forever to learn how to write well, and I am still early in that process, but hopefully getting better. I have been receiving many positive reviews so maybe I am learning.
7. Which character is your favorite and why?

   I actually like Maripa the best. She is a powerful female with many skills and, possible spoiler alert, one of the most influential characters as the story progresses into the future of the sequel. I have been surrounded by strong women most of my life (four sisters and many incredible women as teaching partners) so I guess Maripa was inevitable in my writing.

8. What authors do you enjoy reading? Why?
    I love authors from a wide range of genres. Of course Arthur C. Clark and Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Orson Scott Card, Larry Niven, and others among the science fiction world are some of those I read most. J.R.R. Tolkien, David McCullough, Steven Ambrose, Stephen King, and Jeff Shaara are also high on my list of favorites.
9. What are you reading right now?

   Currently I have three books I’m reading. Blood Star by Nicholas Guild, Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream by Doris Kearns Goodwin, and, on audiobook, The Dragon Reborn, book three of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series.

10. Dog or Cats?
   Dogs… unless the cat is a Bengal Tiger. Tigers are pretty awesome, for a cat.

11. What’s next for you?
   I am in the final editing process for Hegira’s sequel, Recusant. This picks up a few hundred years after Hegira’s conclusion and sends one of Maripa and Jontar Rocker’s descendants on a wild adventure which overturns everything the Brin believed. At the same time, I have begun writing the third and final book of this series which I now call The Brin Archives.

Latest Novel Click Here

I worked for thirty-five years as a middle school science teacher, but am now semi-retired, working part-time as an educator/performer at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. I have been married for thirty-seven years to the love of my life, Diane. Together, we raised two incredible sons, and now have a beautiful granddaughter to spoil rotten, with one more grandchild on the way.
I was born in Kansas City, Missouri and lived in Arlington, Virginia before moving to Denver where I attended High School and eventually college at Colorado State University, graduating with a degree in Zoology and a teacher certification. I currently live near Denver in the small town of Parker.

Author Links:

Twitter:  @authorjimcronin

Friday, July 1, 2016

The Important Critique Group


Rachael Tamayo

Amazon Author Page click here 

As much as it pains us writers to offer up the words that we poured our heart and soul into to others to cut apart, it’s a very necessary part of the process. A critique group can do wonders for your writing. It can be what makes you great. The ability to look over a detailed critism of your work with an eye trained to toss out the crap and use those little golden nuggets can be the single thing that teaches you the skills you need to break the boundaries into publication.

It's a difficult step to make, truly. You sit at your computer day after day, pouring this world you’ve created onto the pages of your computer. You edit. You revise. Eventually you develop a sort of blindness to your own work after reading it over and over again. This is why you need someone else to look it over. Preferably someone that will be honest, knows a bit about writing and grammar, and can go through it for you and find those plot holes, ask you the questions about your characters that you didn’t think of, or present options to you that get your imagination sparked anew and creating whole new scenes for you precious manuscript.

So, how do you go about this? You have your work ready for that fine tooth comb. That red slash of ink. There are many options. Do you have writer friends that will help you out? Give you inline critiques or an overall commentary of your work chapter by chapter?  There are also online options. I prefer these. Strangers that also write will be your best critique partners. They know the way things work, and they are strangers. They have no interest in saying “it’s great” in fear of hurting your feelings.  They will bust out the proverbial red pen and be brutal.

I’ve found a website that I’m very loyal too, called critique Circle. For a minimal monthly fee, I’ve found that this site and these other writers are the thing that I needed to push me, help me find my voice, and improve my writing. I’ve made some great friends as well, all around the world. 

So, in the end. When you think you’re ready to take that next step, find your critique buddies and tell them to do their worst. You will be better for it in the end.

About the writer: Rachael Tamayo is the author of Chase Me (Friend-Zone series book One), and The Stones, a short story that is currently in Solstice Publishing’s anthology: Let’s Have Fun Vol 3 and is soon to be released in a stand-alone short story version to be available on Amazon.

You can learn more about Rachael and her works on her website:

Follow her on facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and Goodreads.

New Release - Chase Me