Fridays 5 with A.L. Butcher

A. L. Butcher is the British author of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles fantasy series, and several short stories in the fantasy and fantasy romance genres.  She is an avid reader and creator of worlds, a poet and a dreamer. When she is grounded in the real world she likes science, natural history, history and monkeys.  Her work has been described as ‘dark and gritty’ and her poetry as evocative.

1.) When did you first get serious about writing?

A.) I’ve written poetry and short stories for years, but I would say ‘serious’ was about 5 or so years ago. The first novel came out of stories written for a game, plus something I’d been working on for a while. At first I wasn’t sure if I should publish – it’s a very daunting step. A few people had read the book, and past short stories and persuaded me to give it a shot. I wasn’t writing to make money, I was writing because I had a story which wanted to be told, and because I enjoyed creating worlds and characters.

2.) What is the hardest part for you about writing?

(A) The discipline! I have a full time job, a few health problems and so finding the time to sit and write when I’m not too tired, too stressed, or too lazy is hard for me. Often it will take me a while to get started and usually I have several things on the go. I actually find it easier to concentrate on many projects and tasks at once, focusing on only one thing I find difficult.

Also marketing. In many ways this is the most challenging part of publishing.  I don’t like pushy sales people and the line between acceptable promotion and spamming people is very thin. Many readers don’t like any author promotion and knowing when to mention one’s book is tricky.  It’s also hard finding marketing strategies that work – what works for John doesn’t work for James, and James has a strategy which Joanne finds bizarre. Writing the book is relatively easy – selling the damn thing – that’s hard.

Oh and formatting. I hate it. BORING!!!!


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Synopsis:
Meet the Kitchen Imps - mischievous creatures who lurk behind the cupboard, and under the fridge.

Where do all the missing socks go? Find out with The Joy of Socks.

Learn the mysteries of the Secret Kitchen and gaze upon a rather familiar world with Free Will.

Dare you risk the king's wrath when you venture into the House of Treasure?

Short fantasy/fairy tales for readers of all ages. (Contains dark humour and some moderate mischief).

3.) How did you feel upon publication of your first completed project?

(A) Terrified. As I’ve said it’s quite daunting, and there is always the fear readers won’t like it or even find it. For many authors a book can take months or even years to write, rewrite and produce for publication and so there is a sense of relief, pride and achievement.

For me – there was a lot of joy and sadness. My mother was in the last stages of terminal cancer when I published but even so she was so proud of the achievement. I took the print version for her to see, and she had tears in her eyes. Even though she was so ill she told everyone about it – neighbours, friends, family members. For a while she had something else to think about and focus on. I was so pleased she was able to see it.

4.) What is more important to you, story, or character? Why?

Both. Although if I had to choose, I’d lean towards characters. Flat, one dimensional characters can kill a book. If a reader doesn’t give two hoots about the characters then the plot doesn’t matter. That reader is lost. Well-written characters can carry a dodgy story but not vice versa.

5.) What is a typical day like in your world?

Chaos usually. Get up, make breakfast, fed pets and man of the house and tidy kitchen a bit. Go to work. Spend day grumbling about work and wishing I had time to write down all the story ideas which poke me. Get home, walk dog, have dinner, then maybe write if I’m not too tired, or annoy Facebook if I am and then walk dog again, then bed. Repeat cycle.

So exciting…..

Author Links

Blog: http://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6430414.A_L_Butcher

Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Alexandra-Butcher/e/B008BQFCC6/

Twitter:@libraryoferana

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DarkFantasyBeyondTheStorm

Parasite: Excerpt

They have watched from the shadows since the dawn of time.
Jealous god who once ruled a young planet.
Seeking a return to their former glory.
Only one person stands in their way.

They've awakened from an ageless sleep.

Quietly taking over the world one household at a time. Moving in the dead of night, replacing those smiling neighbors across the street with an unholy union of man and beast. They've waited eons to reclaim this world as their own, and when the balance of power tilts in their favor,the feeding will begin. Until that time they make every effort to remain hidden from view, relying on man's ignorance of the true nature of the cosmos around them to mask their movements as their influence spreads.

One man has witnessed first hand the power these creatures' possess.

Sam Hardin defeated them in the past, or so he thought, for what should have died in the fire at his cabin didn't. After losing his wife and daughter to this creature's vengeance, Sam shoulders his role of executioner, and with his son at his side sets out to conduct a covert war against this growing menace.

If he fails mankind will awaken one morning to new master, for there is only room for one at the top of the food chain. 

Excerpt:

Movement out of the corner of his eye drew his attention and he turned his head to see Dave emerging from the forest on his left. From his right came the sound of leaves stirring and he quickly swiveled his head to the right, spotting a kid he knew only by sight. It was one of Randy’s friends from school. Now there were three of them and he had as yet to see that strange animal.

“Could you run down to the basement and get me a jar of corn?” His mother said as she stepped out onto the porch. She stopped when she saw Randy at the edge of the woods.

“Are they your friends?” She said.

Anthony shook his head as he removed his hand from within his backpack and stood up. “They’re no friends of mine.”

His mother’s eyes hardened and she stepped off the porch. “You get out of here right now, you hear me?” There was anger in her voice, that motherly instinct kicking in to protect her young.

“I know who you are,” Anthony’s mom shouted, “I know your mother, what would she think of the way you’re acting?”

“Mom, don’t.” Anthony said as he stepped off the porch, panic washing through him as he imagined what would happen to her if Randy and his friends got a hold of her. He had the gun in his hand and he brought it up to aim it at Randy who took several steps back. “You don’t understand.” He said.

“I understand what’s happening here.” She said, glancing back at him, her eyes widening in fear at the gun in his hand. “Why do you have that? Where did you get it? Who gave it to you?”

“Please, mom, go back inside, you think you know what’s going on but you really don’t.” Anthony settled into his shooters stance.

“What in the hell is happening to you? You put that gun away, right now. Do you hear me? I’m your mother and I’m telling you to put that gun away right now.”

“I can’t.” Anthony said.

She reached for the pistol and Anthony sidestepped her. “Give it to me right now.”

“No,” Anthony shouted, “go back inside, now, you don’t know what’s going on.”

“I’m calling your father,” she said as she turned and marched back into the house.

Anthony retreated to the porch, never taking his eyes off of Randy who watched him silently. Inside he heard his mother talking to his father on the phone, her voice crackling with emotion, rising and falling in response to his father’s unheard comments.

“Where did he get the gun?”

Randy stepped away from the forest and started across the back yard towards Anthony who stood up and brandished his weapon.

“No I am not calling the police on my son.” His mother said inside as he stepped off the porch and brought up the pistol to aim at Randy.

“Stay away from me.” Anthony shouted as he settled into a shooters stance and aimed down the barrel.

Randy smiled and in that lopsided grin Anthony saw his own demise. They would never stop until he was dead and buried along with anyone else who got in the way. Including his mother and father. He had to stop it here, now, and with the decision made he drew a bead on Randy’s forehead. It didn’t matter what happened to him anymore, as long as his mom and dad were safe he would be happy.

With the decision made he found his nerves settling down as a cold, emotionless, calm overcame him. Gently he caressed the trigger, taking up the slack, and gave it a gentle squeeze. He knew what to expect this time and rode out the recoil as the forty five-caliber slug crossed the distance between them almost instantly. Randy’s head whipped back as a bloody third eye miraculously appeared on his forehead.

Anthony was only dimly aware of his mother screaming on the telephone as the sound of the shot faded into the distance like thunder. Randy dropped lifelessly to the ground like a puppet whose strings had been cut unexpectedly.

As he lowered the pistol, returning to level from the recoil, Anthony swung the muzzle around until it was pointing at Dave. Without thought he squeezed the trigger again, the bridge of Dave’s nose exploding in a spray of blood, flesh, and bone as the blunt nosed round plowed into his brain. Like Randy Dave dropped to the ground where he remained motionless.

His mother was screaming from inside the house as Anthony spun around to confront the last of his would be tormentors. But he had vanished into the gloomy depths of the forest.

Then it came to him, his emotions flooding his body and he dropped to his knees and vomited as the sound of a distant siren warbled in and out of focus. They were coming for him.

End Excerpt 

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Writers Regret.


Sixteen Years!

I've often wondered, usually late at night as I toss and turn while sleep eludes me, exactly where would I be today if I had spent the last sixteen years as focused on my writing as I am today.


I began writing earnestly in 1991, and over the course of the first five years of my writing life I amassed drawers of rejections as I followed the time honored route of submitting then moving on to the next story. In that time I managed to create about fifty short stories all in various stages of completion. I had about twenty that were making the rounds at any one time. If one were to have gone through the steadily growing pile of rejections they would have discovered a writer slowly honing his craft as form rejection letters gave way to personal notes from editors.


By 97 I had one novel ready for submission, with four others in draft stage, and began the long drawn out process of finding a publisher for my manuscript. I sparked the interest of a junior editor at Del-Rey books, a  division of Random House, who requested the first three chapters that I happily sent out the following day.

After a year and a half, that's right, eighteen months later I received a rejection along with my first three chapters.

By then I was closing in on my fortieth birthday. I lost my father when he was forty seven, I was eighteen when he died, and from that point on a countdown was initiated in my sub-conscious. While growing up I was always told that I looked and acted just like my Dad. So was it any wonder that on occasion I would be struck by the realization that I might never see fifty.

Looking back now, after having reached fifty seven and still counting, I can laugh at myself, but at the time it was serious business. Based on how long it took Random House to respond to my submission, and with an understanding of how the process worked, I might never see my work in print.

I believe it was this fear that drove me to be more open to self publishing when in 1999 I discovered a small start up called iUniverse. Get your book published for only $99.00. Before then the only way to see a print copy of your book was to have a publisher, or purchase an entire print run. With little time to spare, remember I'm now over forty, and without enough savings or room to store a print run I signed up.

It was a learning experience, and let's leave it at that. I will say I believe I made every mistake possible while publishing that book.

 A year later, in 2001, it was all gone. Everything was lost in a computer malfunction that fried my hard drive. Seven novels in various stages of completion, eight screenplays, and an untold number of short stories. Ten years of blood sweat and tears gone in the twinkling of an eye.

I gave up, yes I surrendered!

I got a better job, bought a house, and tried to live like a normal person. But late at night, as I tried to sleep while the world was quiet around me, I'd often wonder if I had given up too easily.

In 2008 I hit the big 50, I had outlived that sub-conscious countdown. The housing bubble burst and suddenly I found myself in the unemployment line. I've always lived in an area with high unemployment, by choice, it's where my roots are, so it's really my fault I was unable to find permanent work for nearly two years.

In the time I was off I began writing again, building upon the foundation that had been laid in the early nineties. By the end of 2011 I had rewritten my first book and released it through Amazon. At the present time I have5 novels, 2 novellas, and a short story collection available with a whole lot more to come.


The two biggest regrets that haunt me to this day are.

#1: Not getting the schooling I needed when I first started out. I believe a creative writing course would have helped me solidify the path I'd chosen, and built a strong foundation upon which to build my writing career

#2: Not getting right back into it after I lost all of my work. Yes it would have been hard at first, but I would have gotten through it. This is also my biggest regret. Where would I be now if I'd been as focused on my writing as I am now?

So when you get that rejection from the publisher you'd hoped would fall in love with your work, always remember, you're not alone. All of us are following the same path you're on.

What are your regrets?

What bad writing decisions keep you up at night?

And how did you overcome them?




All Roads Lead to Terror Giveaway: Second Chance Weekend

This is your second chance weekend to enter to win this one of a kind candy jar.


The image is of one jar from 3 different angles as the design wraps halfway around.
I do sandblasting on glass as a hobby and created this myself.
Vector art courtesy of Designed by Freepik
 
All you have to do is download a free copy of All Roads Lead To Terror and leave a verified purchase review on Amazon.com before midnight on August 20, 2016,and you will be entered into a drawing for this one of a kind candy jar that will take place on August 21, 2016.


Click on cover to grab your free copy today!
Sales ends Midnight July 17, 2016

As an added bonus everyone in the continental United States who leaves a review for All Roads Lead to Terror, will also receive a personally autographed bookmark absolutely free.


It costs absolutely nothing to enter but a bit of your time. Reviews are important for authors for two reasons. It gives potential readers an opportunity to see what others think of the work. It also helps in ranking with the Amazon algorithms.



Thanks for you help.

How to enter:

Download a free copy of All Roads Lead To Terror this weekend. The price goes back up midnight Sunday. Read and enjoy the adventures of Meat, Window, Einstein, and Billie-Bob as they explore a post apocalyptic world. Leave your honest review on Amazon.com before August 20, 2016, and send an email containing the link to your review to rschiver@gmail.com and you’re entered.

Good Luck!