Ain't Technology Wonderful?

My wife recently purchased a Kindle Fire 2nd Generation,  I'm jealous. I own a regular Kindle e-reader with the e-ink technology. Don't get me wrong, I like my Kindle, it sure beats trying to hold open a paperback with one hand while I'm eating a sandwich with the other. Since I only have time to read during my lunch break at work.

Fridays 5 with Thaddeus White

1.)When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Ages and ages ago, probably when I was about 5 and wrote a story for school. I've loved reading as long as I can remember and started writing stories off my own bat whilst still at primary school.

2.)What is the hardest part of writing?

Depends if you mean writing specifically, or include peripheral stuff that's essential but not actually writing. For the latter, it's promotion/marketing. There's a stereotype of Englishmen being a bit backward about coming forward, and I'm even more introverted than that. It just feels awkward trying to promote myself and my work.

For writing specifically I don't get writer's block often but when I do it often takes days or even weeks to properly overcome. Better background work (planning the plot and building the world) have helped to reduce the number of times this happens.

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

Relieved that Bane of Souls was out there, but also immensely nervous of public reaction. Getting the first few reviews was cathartic. I also felt very keen to get cracking with the next book (Journey to Altmortis, hopefully out in the next few months).

4.)In addition to writing, what else are you passionate about?

I follow Formula 1 pretty closely, and love reading classical history and fantasy. As well as being fascinating in its own right history makes it easier to understand the modern world, the context of events and to build a more coherent and realistic fantasy world for writing.
5.)If you could ask any author, living or dead, one question, what would it be?

I'd ask Polybius whether he broadly agreed with Livy's account of the latter period of the Second Punic War.

Thaddeus White is a pen name for someone else. He's a Yorkshireman, and as well as being an avid fantasy reader/writer enjoys classical history. In addition to his fantastical writings, he offers tips on F1, with varying degrees of success.

Website (dedicated to writing):

Bane of Souls (Amazon)

Do characters in a novel read?

Watch movies?

Do they listen to music?

Do they reference works by real authors or do you, as the writer, make up a fictional author for your character to read?

Personally I believe it’s okay to make reference to popular creative figures in the real world. To me it lends depth to a fictional character to recall their reaction to a given scene in a movie, or passage from a book, as they move through your story. After all if the same thing were happening to you, wouldn’t you automatically compare what was happening with a scene from a movie you’d watched? Or a book you’d read?

I’ve been a fan of Stephen King's work since I first read one of his short stories in a Men’s magazine when I was stationed in Texas with the U.S. Army. Since then I’ve followed his career, purchasing and reading everything he wrote. He is the ultimate storyteller, an American icon, and a prolific writer with an amazing output.

He is the reason I write. Not for the money. Or the fame. But because during a sitcom whose name escapes me at the moment, the story line dealt with the death of a pet. The children wanted to bury their pet in the backyard, but the mother refused with the line.

“Hasn’t anyone read Pet Sematary?”

That right there is how I would like to be remembered for my work. It is why, in my novel Shadows of the Past, I make references to two of Stephen King’s works, my simple way of paying homage to a man who has inspired thousands to write, though some would never admit it. 

Can you figure out which two?

In the next two weeks I’ll be starting a month long giveaway for all those who can answer that question.
The prize will be a $25.00 Amazon gift card and a paperback copy of Stephen King’s Under The Dome delivered to your door. It’s slightly used, the corners of the cover have curled a bit, but it was a good read.

Once I’ve sorted out the details I’ll be posting more info right here. So check back.

Friday's 5 with Kristen Irving

1.) When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I first knew I loved writing in primary school, thanks to encouraging teachers and a voracious library habit. I've never stopped writing for long, even in stressful times. However it's only been in recent years, with readings, the pamphlet and the book, that I've managed to de-weird the term 'poet' for myself long enough to don it.

2.) What is the hardest part of writing?
I recently described the 'frustrated Bingo' feeling, from times in Scrabble games when you have a beautiful 7-letter word lined up and nowhere to put it. Having a killer last line and having to abandon it after much thrashing around, because the piece as a whole just isn't working and needs completely rethinking. Other than that, trying to continually develop my vocabulary and not always write to type. Being aware of the phrases I return to and use as crutches and working at finding new ways to say things.

3.) How did you feel upon publication of your first completed project?
Excited and immediately anxious. It was like leaving the door to my house unlocked and going for a long walk.

4.) In addition to writing, what else are you passionate about?
Promoting poetry creatively, women in science, equality issues, kindness, compassion and robots.

5.) If you could ask any author, living or dead, one question, what would it be?
I'd ask Orson Scott Card if he still believes the homophobic words he wrote in 1990 and give him a shot at rethinking.

Kirsten Irving's poetry collections are What To Do (Happenstance, 2011) and Never Never Never Come Back (Salt Publishing, 2012). She is one half of the team behind collaborative poetry publisher Sidekick Books and the submissions editor of Fuselit magazine, and is a copywriter and proofreader with freelance collective Copy That.

What does your muse look like?

The broken queen wanders among the dead.

This sentence, in its entirety, just popped into my head last night as I was working on my latest WIP. Where it came from is anybody's guess. With it came the image of a field covered by the corpses of a recent battle.  Scavenger birds swooped in to feast on the offered banquet. Meanwhile a solitary figure picked its way carefully through the remains. Stopping every so often to inspect an object on the ground. I sensed the figure was looking for something important. She wore a regal gown cinched tight at the waist with sleeves that reached her wrists. Perched upon a head of flaming red hair rode a tarnished crown encrusted with sparkling jewels, some of which were missing, as if they had been pried out to pay for assorted necessities. The broken queen wandered among the dead seeking what only she could discern

Is the Broken Queen my muse?

Many writers in the past have described their muse, that mythical figure who whispers in their ear, and drives them to pour their souls out upon the page. Descriptions have ranged from angry midgets kicking them in the shins to shadowy beauties who hovered over their shoulder as they wrote, guiding their hand, breathing life into their words.

Until this moment I've never given any thought to what my muse might look like. But the image fit what I imagine a writer of dark fiction would have as an inspiration. Leaving only two possible options. My muse has revealed herself to me. Or my muse, who wishes to remain unseen, has given me but a glimpse of a future work. Of a place that exists so far only in my subconscious imagination. A place ruled by a broken queen whose kingdom encompasses a shattered landscape of eternal despair where the sun never shines and the gray clouds blend seamlessly into the dull countryside.

Do you have a muse?

What do you imagine they look like?

Friday's Five with Michael Brookes

I've resurrected Monday's 5Q's and renamed them Friday's Five. Every week a different author will answer the same five questions. If you're a writer and would like to participate, drop me a line at rschiver(AT)gmail(DOT)com and I'll send you the questions. Better yet answer the five questions below and send them to me along with a brief bio and links to your work for sale and I'll schedule it for the next available slot.

This week Michael Brookes, author of Cult of Me, has agreed to answer five questions so without further adieu I give you Michael Brookes.

1.) When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Only recently. I have written since an early age, but only last year did I decide to put it into the public eye. Thankfully the response has been positive so far.

2.) What is the hardest part of writing?
For me it's proofreading, I just can't spot all the errors. I love writing the first draft and I enjoy the edit process, but proofreading I get other people to do for me.

3.) How did you feel upon publication of your first completed project?
I hadn't been that excited since my youth :-)

4.) In addition to writing, what else are you passionate about?
Computer games are one of my other passions and I'm lucky enough that is my day job. Even better I've been asked to write the official novel for one of our upcoming games!

5.) If you could ask any author, living or dead, one question, what would it be?
I'd ask John Milton if he deliberately made Lucifer appear heroic in Paradise Lost.

Michael Brookes is an Executive Producer with a leading UK games developer. Working in games and writing are two of his life passions and considers himself fortunate to be able to indulge them both. He lives in the east of England, enjoying starry skies in the flattest part of the country. When not working or writing he can sometimes be found sleeping. Which is good as that is where many good ideas come from.

Book Links:
The Cult of Me
For too long he dwelt apart, watched those who passed him by. With his unique abilities he entered their minds and inflicted terrible suffering upon them. They didn't even know who he was. The game has lasted for years, but now the game has become stale. On an impulse he decides to make a final and very public last stand. After surrendering himself to the police he enacts his plan to seize the prison for his final bloody act.

There he discovers that he's not as unique as he once thought.

An Odd Quartet
A quartet of dark short stories (10,000 words) to thrill and chill.

The Yellow Lady
Grave robbing is a dirty business, in more ways than one. When he disturbs the grave from a childhood scary story he discovers it's not always treasure to be found.

This Empty Place
At the heat death of the universe, Death contemplates his existence.

Forced Entry
Terrorists seize an average suburban house. A Special Forces hostage rescue team is sent in and encounter more than they were trained for.

The Reluctant Demon
A young demon prepares to take his possession exam.