Monday, September 26, 2011

Meet SB Jones, Author of Requiem

SB Jones is the author of Requiem, The first book of The Eternal Gateway trilogy, a thrilling Action-Adventure Fantasy with "steam-punk" overtones. It's one of those books you just can't put down if fate somehow places it in your hands.

Check it out, if you get the chance. Until that time, meet the author now.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. What else do you do besides writing?

Hello, I am SB Jones the author of The Eternal Gateway trilogy. Other than writing Science Fiction Steampunk novels, I am part owner of an insurance agency. I take random break fix calls from Chase bank. And lastly I test the quality of beer while sitting under the sun at a fresh water spring lagoon.

2. How did you first get into writing?

I got into writing after being laid off by Dell in 2010. I wanted to do something that was as far away from a cube farm as possible. I had story ideas bouncing around in my head for a while so I took the opportunity.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Meet Thomas D Taylor, Author of GEO-213: The Lost Expedition

I met Tom Taylor on an Indie Author forum, and heard about his new book, Geo-213: The Lost Expedition, a Sci-Fi Adventure novel with Environmental themes. The book takes you out into space, but then buries you underground. It's a thriller steeped in moral reflections.

Check it out! In the meantime, meet the author below.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. What else do you do besides writing?

I paint and sketch. Prints of my artwork are hanging around the world, and art cards with my paintings on them circulate around the globe. I did the cover art for Geo-213: The Lost Expedition, the cover art for singer/songwriter Elyse Bruce's "Midnight In Chicago" and "Countdown to Midnight" CDs to name a couple of things I have done. I have made some attempts at songwriting, co-writing "Late Night in the Borough", "Somewhere in Detroit" and "How do I Begin to Believe? (Lying in the Arms of My Judas)" with Elyse.

I am an environmentalist and, along with founder Elyse Bruce, the Co-Creator of Midnight In Chicago, an international initiative that raises awareness for people with disabilities.

Trying to raise awareness for people with disabilities is very important to me. Often in my stories you will find characters with disabilities, or else characters that are facing some kind of medical obstacle that is difficult to overcome without cooperation between many people. There is an instance of the latter in Geo-213: The Lost Expedition, but if I said specifically what it was, it would spoil it for the reader.  

I write with these themes in mind because I want to show people--instead of telling them--how people can overcome their difficulties, or, more to the point, show people how to help other people overcome their difficulties. And of course also to demonstrate the need for people to be more accepting of those with disabilities.

Dangers of Self-Promotion for Indie Authors

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about self-pub and self-promotion. I mean, that’s really the doom of the indie author. And there are a few important things to understand about going this route as a writer.

1. Why do we go self-pub? Lots of reasons, I suppose, but a common thread is probably the difficulty of getting the attention of a traditional agent or publisher. But this means foregoing the editorial assistance of an established professional, as well as the promotional assistance (dubious as it may sometimes be) of a publishing house. We then have to supply both of these essential functions on our own, and most of us are not very qualified at either one.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Silence and Violence

As a writer of action/adventure stories, someone whose stories frequently contain descriptions of violence, I’ve been wondering about the meaning of violence.

First, does violence have a meaning? In a social context, it always seems to have an intention, even if we often term it “senseless.” People engage in violence when they have no other way to get what they want or need. Words won’t work for them. But their violence can serve the purpose that words would have. At least, that’s how they “mean” their violence.

We are all probably familiar with the rather cynical remark that diplomacy is war continued by other means. This identification is meant to bring out the threat of violence that underlies words between nations. It also highlights the interchangeability of words and violence. Words can do the bidding of violent intentions. But words can also cancel violence, either by heading it off, preempting it as it were, or by making amends for it afterwards.

Words, then, are like the alter ego of violence, the Dr, Jekyll to the violence of Mr. Hyde. Violence is the silence of words. It speaks when words no longer do. Of course, words sometimes speak violently, or in the service of violence. But we may well wonder if such words still “mean what they say.” They may only speak under compulsion. Can such words be true? Or must they be somehow false? Words that have no truth of their own to tell lack the eloquence of peaceful silence.

There’s a fundamental irony here: silence is peaceful, but it is also complicit in violence. Violence begins where words end, but it also somehow ends words. It silences them, forcing them to submit to its will.

I’ve probably only skimmed the surface of this difficult topic, and maybe overlooked the most important features of the relationship of words and violence. But I’m mainly interested in the meaning of violence in a narrative context. In a story, what does it mean when the hero engages in a violent confrontation? Or when the villain carries out a hideously delicious attack upon the hero?

The onset of violence in a story is both the end of words (for the antagonists) and the beginning of a new kind of description. The moment of violent conflict is a target of descriptive prose of its own kind. The narrative typically becomes compressed, events are packed together tightly, as are the passions that find expression in conflict. The compression of the description is essential to the depiction of a violent scene, not only from the point of view of showing rather than telling, but also in order to capture the hectic energy of violence itself.

Violence punctuates a story, both in terms of pacing and in terms of meaning. A story cannot sustain the pacing of a violent encounter continuously. It must juxtapose the energy of the violent scenes with the loping stride of the rest of the story. Without a contrast in pace, the constant energy of the story becomes turgid and oppressive.

The semantic dimension of violence also punctuates an otherwise smooth flow, and it does so either by confirming or inverting the sense of the surrounding events. Explicit violence is perhaps not a necessary semantic element of narrative, but it may be implicit in all stories. If what we said above is correct, that violence represents a sort of silent semantic limit of language, then we might suspect that violence is essential to any linguistic semantic achievement. Since in our inversion, war is the continuation of diplomacy by other means, it becomes the violence implicit in all diplomacy. Without it, diplomacy loses its meaning.

This mutual implication of violence and linguistic meaning shows why scenes of conflict can heighten the semantic energy of a story. It shows us the limits of the semantic capacity of language. But it is also clear that too much conflict can undermine a story, just as too many power chords tend to make heavy metal music tedious. Our fascination with descriptions of violence, with their semantic extremism, can distract from the narrative that they are supposed to energize and punctuate.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Meet R. A. Pedersen, Author of The Epcot Explorer's Encyclopedia

So.. I'm R. A. Pedersen - author of  The Epcot Explorer's Encyclopedia in paperback and on Kindle/nook/etc. It's available worldwide and has sold in Japan, Italy, Norway, Germany, the UK, Canada, etc.. and of course the USA.

It occasionally hangs out in the top 10 of the genre and is generally
well reviewed. I also work/write as a blogger for the Unofficial Guide
to Walt Disney World and as well as my own website,

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. What else do you do besides writing?

I have an affinity for theme parks and travel. I'm also trained a a
theatrical designer - sets, props, lighting etc. - and have worked as
a scenic painter. My interest in theme parks and themed design is
what got me into theater. I wanted to learn how to create entire new
worlds in the physical realm.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Character Interview: Wendy Williams, High School Student, former Goth, Emily Kane's Friend

Can you tell us a little about yourself? Who are you and where are you from?

I’m Wendy, and I’m originally from Baltimore, which was really cool. And then my parents decided like out of nowhere to sell everything and move out here. It was like sooo unfair. Now we live out in the boonies in this Bed and Breakfast they bought because it was their dream. And my brother and I have to work in it, you know, cleaning and arranging stuff, and talking to guests. It’s all really irritating. Sometimes I wish we never left Baltimore. I mean, we lived in this great neighborhood, and I had lots of friends and there was so much to do. And the food was so great there, Italian food, German food, Polish food, Chinese food. Out here nobody’s even heard of a canolli, or char siu bao, and the only place you ever see pepperoni is on a pizza. And forget about sausages. There’s no way you’ll find any of that stuff down here. I mean, they spell deli D-E-L-L-Y here! Sometimes I can get so angry just thinking about it.

It sounds like you’re pretty unhappy living in Warm Springs. Have you made new friends here?

Yeah, I’ve made friends here. When we first got here, I kinda found a few cool kids, you know, Goths. They knew how I felt, how phony everything was down here, and especially the people. Most of the kids just seem so phony, like they’re just pretending to be something to get approval. Well, I certainly didn’t want anyone’s approval. So I guess I really fit in with the Goths.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Interview with Ellis Jackson, Author of "Simon and the Wardrobe of Destiny"

The latest interview in our series of Author Interviews is with Ellis Jackson. His book, Simon and the Wardrobe of Destiny. It's a fantasy novel now available on Amazon and Smashwords right now. Also, check out his Author Profile at Smashwords and his blog.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. What else do you do besides writing? 

By night a fantasy author, by day a humble Civil Servant... I actually work for Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunal Service in London, England, but it really isn't as interesting as it sounds. My job is to force criminals to pay their court fines or face prison. As far as jobs go it’s pretty dull compared to what I have been: An Army Officer, TV Producer, Motorcycle Journalist and much more. It's always a worry knowing your most interesting years are behind you!

My hobbies - besides writing of course - include motorbikes and learning. I go to Latvian language classes most weeks, and am about to start studying for a post-graduate diploma in management. Not sure how much that will help the writing though! Oddly enough, for someone who spent 8 years working in television, I don't actually own one. Most evenings I write, or surf the web researching stories or just reading the news. It's amazing the freedom gained by not having a TV.

2. How did you first get into writing?

It's a very odd story I suppose. I started writing for a small motorcycle magazine in the UK, simply because I liked the idea. I've always enjoyed writing, and felt I was pretty good at it. Turning that into books took two very odd interventions: a facebook post and a foreign girlfriend.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Adventure Bread

Okay, it's really just Pumpkin Bread, but it's just the sort of thing to have as an afternoon snack, or a quick breakfast with a glass of OJ. A few bites and you're ready for whatever the world can throw at you. I thought I'd better release this secret recipe for the sake of world piece (er... peace). If more people ate this (or other breads like it), they'd be ready for more adventures, and maybe less fighting.

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