1. My inspiration for “Sounds Fishy” just came from jostling ideas around in my head. I tend to come up with some odd, humorous ideas with relative ease, so this concept was pretty tame by most standards. However, when I thought about a space crew flying around, it only seemed natural to make them fish!
2. My initial idea for characters was somewhat foggy and ambiguous at first; but when I thought about how they were going to be astronauts, it made sense to me that I should name them after actual astronauts and cosmonauts. Cally Wide for Sally Ride, Fuzzy Baldwin for Buzz Aldrin, and Journey Grey Area for Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first human to journey into outer space. I enjoyed the play on words that their names have become.
3. In the book, the three crew mates face off against the galactic shark mafia. Once victorious, they scoot off and make the statement that you never leave a friend behind. I’d like kids to think about that concept of loyalty and dedication, and to consider how they would look after one another if presented with a dangerous situation.
4. Why sci-fi? I love sci-fi. I think this is the genre that allows for the most creativity and the greatest allowance of the imagination. Plus, it’s just a lot of fun when a bit of whimsy is added.
5. Being that this is my first book, I learned about the whole process of constructing a story and illustrating it. I also learned what it’s like working with a publisher and the methods of advertising. There’s definitely more to it than I thought!
6. This is the first in what I’m planning on making as a three-part series. I am currently working on the sequel, “Smells Fishy Too”. It’s already written, and I am working on the illustrations at this time. I hope to have it out soon.
7. I need a quiet place to write, but the world is a noisy place, so I typically put on my music and block it all out. Plus, music helps me get my first ideas to the forefront of my mind.
8. Well, I love Steinbeck and Dean Koontz. I was never much into comic books, but one of my favorite illustrators is Todd McFarlane. He has a very Hogarth-inspired look to his work.
9. I don’t belong to a writers group, but that is something I may become part of. As a new author, this is still all new to me, so I’m sort of taking it a day at a time.
Lucas Salmon is an independent artist with over 35 years of experience in drawing and painting. These days he’s focused mainly on painting with watercolors. His style can be called “Realistic”, or “Photo-realistic”, depending on the subject matter.
In his early 40s, Lucas lives near the east coast where he continues to hone his skills as an artist, always seeking to improve his craft. Inspired by science and nature, he continues to experiment with different styles and subjects.
Lucas has found writing to also be rewarding. He has written, illustrated, and published his first book, ” Sounds Fishy”. He is now putting the finishing touches on his second book, “Smells Fishy Too”, the sequel. Both books were inspired by his great love for science fiction and remembered ideas from his childhood as he would create imaginative characters and worlds in his mind, just to keep busy!
As I relay in the article, as writers we should invest in our craft, to become better equipped not only to write, but to understand the complexities of this art form. There are as many methods, genres and avenues to choose from as there are individual writers. We can learn a new genre, research a new topic or gain insights into another writing style. It is a lifelong learning journey.
To gain new knowledge we can access workshops, writing coaches, buy (or borrow – a library is a great resource) relevant books and discuss methods and outlets for our writing within a writing group.
What new aspect of writing have you learnt recently?
This past weekend, I enjoyed a special four day weekend away in Pincher Creek and visited for the first time, Waterton. Although, the devastating fire of two years ago has left the forest slopes covered in blacken and bone white perished trees, there is an abundance of lush green undergrowth springing up everywhere. Nature restores herself and brings about beauty only she can achieve. Experiencing such magnificence does inspire not only my soul, but a deeper need to be in nature. Growing up, my parents encouraged us to explore, learn about and cherish the natural world. I grew up with Sir David Attenborough’s dulcet tones enthusing over a multitude of wildlife. My children’s book, Ockleberries to the Rescue is my small homage to the natural world – with a magical twist, of course, you know me! – Of magical sprites caring for the animals within. Maybe, deep down, I hope for magical beings to save the world’s wildlife, although in reality there are many individuals and organizations that try.
We were so lucky to encounter two brown bears and two black bears on this trip!
My creativity is born of a multitude of inspirations, some from the familiar, but others from unexpected sources. One draft manuscript, lying in wait, has the seasons as the ‘four’ chapters of a relationship. Another is the result of several news reports, culminating in a story, where I meshed them together. Unrelated or applicable, each inspiration source has the ability to evolve into a story. Some remain as short stories, poems, or even a paragraph or two, but all have enabled me to create. I have kept all these inklings in an electronic folder for many years and from time to time click on one or two. Sometimes, I remember the initial idea source, but many are a mystery now. I read them as if they are written by someone else, enjoying their ‘newness’. A couple have become ‘inserts’ in a subsequent manuscript, in one way or another – a character description, a scene or something a character experiences.
This short story written a long time prior to The Twesome Loop might have been a precursor to it! Perceptions of future or past events.
The Coin by Mandy Eve-Barnett
Sunday is my favorite day of the week. After working hard all week and completing chores and shopping on Saturday this is my time to relax. With the sunshine warming through the patio door, I curl up on my oversized armchair with a glass of wine within easy reach. Now I can start my new novel without interruption, pure bliss.
My absorption in the make believe world is rudely interrupted when a drop of water splashes onto the page. Where could that have come from? I look up to see a glassy sheen on the ceiling and another drop hits my cheek. Oh no, it must be a leaking pipe or something overflowing. I fetch a bowl from the kitchen and place it beneath the circular patch. Another drip makes a pinging sound as it hits the glass. What shall I do first, phone the landlord or go upstairs and check with my neighbor? The latter wins the day and I climb the stairs to apartment eight. With a couple of gentle knocks I stand back and wait for an answer. I hear shuffling sounds and then an elderly voice asks.
“Hello, my name is Annie and I live downstairs. There is water coming through my ceiling.”
“Water in the ceiling? Oh my, that may be my fault.”
The owner of the voice opens her door and I am faced with an old lady wrapped in several jumpers.
“Do come in. I think I may have caused the leak. Come and see, maybe you can switch it off. My hands are so frail I can’t seem to fix the damn thing.”
I follow her and realize her apartment is a mirror image of mine. She stands to one side as I walk into the bathroom to find an overflowing toilet cistern.
“Let’s see what’s happening. The ball cock has stuck, it’s an easy fix.”
With a few twists and by levering the float’s rod up and down I free up the mechanism.
“That should do the trick for now but you should call the landlord and ask him to replace it.”
“I don’t think he will do that, he’s not very capable with this sort of thing. I can call a plumber.”
“Plumber’s are very expensive and really it is a simple fix. I could do it for you if you like?”
“That’s very kind, Annie, I’d pay for the parts of course. Would you like a cup of tea?”
“Thank you that would be nice. Sorry I didn’t catch your name.”
“How rude of me. My name is Annie just like yours.”
“What a coincidence.”
We walk back to the kitchen and I realize how cold her apartment is, I have goose bumps. I rub my arms and wish I’d brought a jumper it had been lovely and warm in my armchair. As Annie organizes pretty little china cups, sugar bowl and milk jug on a tray I notice she has the same cookie jar as me.
“Another coincidence, Annie, I have a cookie jar just like that one.”
“Do you, dear? Would you like a cookie with your tea?”
“No thank you but I have to say you need to put your heating up a bit, it’s cold in here. You will catch your death.”
“I’m used to it I just put on another jumper. You can borrow one if you would like.”
I begin to decline her offer but it is so cold I acquiesce. She turns and hands me a jumper that had been hanging on the chair. It is wonderfully soft and warm.
“Could you carry the tray into the living room for me?”
“Of course I can, Annie. “
It seems strange using my name for another person. I follow her into the main room and stop short when I see my cozy armchair – well an older version of it anyway. There are several objects on the coffee table that are similar and I place the tray down with shaking hands.
“Sorry Annie, I think I’m having a déjà vu moment. You have so many things just like mine.”
“They are yours, Annie, you are at a crossroads and you have to choose the right path. I chose the wrong one so came back to warn you.”
“I’m sorry? What are you talking about?”
“Take this coin and you will see.”
Annie hands me a brass coloured coin tied with a red velvet ribbon and the apartment spins. When it stops I am watching myself weeping and calling out to someone called Carl.
“Please stay, Carl, I’m so sorry. I was scared and acted on impulse.”
I swing around as a male voice speaks and I’m confronted with Carl from my office.
“Annie, I trusted you. How could you betray me?”
My mind is whirling, what did I do? When did I start going out with Carl? When did this happen? My other self replies,
“It was going too fast for me, I wasn’t sure about us. It’s only been five months.”
“You could have told me to cool it off a bit, Annie, I would have understood.”
I feel a tug on my hand and the illusion disappears. I’m back in old Annie’s apartment. My knees give way so I sit with a thump on the armchair.
“Don’t be afraid to let go of your emotions, Annie, trust them. He won’t come back and you’ll be alone like me- forever regretting that one night stand.”
“How did you do that? How are you here with me? I feel sick.”
“Take a few deep breaths you will be alright. I came from another reality to warn you. Keep this talisman as a reminder.”
A thud wakes me my book has fallen from my lap. I look up to see a perfect ceiling, no dripping water, no glass bowl catching the drips. What a dream it was so vivid. As I sit up I smooth the cashmere jumper and grasp something in the pocket. A coin wrapped in red velvet ribbon.
1. What differences are there between writing urban fantasy and children’s books?
While most of my books have common themes, like redefining families and finding their own tribe, children’s books and urban fantasy are quite different. Charlie’s Fables, my children’s book series, is focused on providing life lesson to little ones. With only 800 words to work with, the pictures in the book are just as important as the words to convey the messages.
My urban fantasy stories are more action-packed and a faster paced. They are full of quirky characters and magic to keep you turning pages. I add social commentaries throughout my books, but it’s not the focus of the stories. The books are entertaining and designed to provide the readers with a delightful adventure to escape from their everyday world.
2. Which genre do you enjoy writing the most?
This is a hard question. I’m a huge fan of all the genres that I write in, so I have a blast writing in them. To not get burned out in any one genre, I have switched genres after each project. That is probably the reason each book just feels exciting to me and full of new possibilities.
3. Where does your inspiration for your stories come from?
It is a huge blessing that inspirations come to me from everywhere. A song, movie, or just a conversation with a friend has inspired the background for a character or a book. My nephews were the inspiration for my children’s series. When my oldest nephew was born, I knew I wanted to create a book that help him see himself as a talented and amazing child. I did not want him to be 35 and wondered what he was good at. With that idea in mind is how I created Charlie, what’s your talent?
4. You state you help with encouraging people to overcome their self-limiting beliefs. Is this through your stories or motivational speeches?
I’m able to help individual overcome their self-limiting beliefs and overcome their fears both through my non-fiction books and my speaking /coaching services. The Dare Collection is a series of self-help devotionals designed to aid readers in working through their own beliefs system and the things holding them back.
As a motivational speaker, I’m usually hired to give presentation or seminars both to adults and youths. This is one of my favorite parts of my business. To connect with individuals and be part of their transformational journey. I understand feeling stuck in your life and knowing there is more out there you can be doing. Providing people with tools on how to achieve their dreams, and encouraging them is critical for their success.
5. What incident sparked you onto your writing career path?
After years of working in the corporate world, I found myself miserable and hating everything. I always considered myself a storyteller, with a very active imagination. My undergraduate degree is in film and television. After college, I joined the military to learn more about people and to create characters people could connect with. Unfortunately, while I was finishing basic training, 911 happened. My goals and dreams changed completely. I still had the dream of creating stories, but I focused on my career instead. I’m a genuine believer we all should follow our passions and gifts. Because I wasn’t living my creative purpose, nothing I did made me happy. At the suggestions of my spiritual director, I agreed to take a chance and write my first novel. My entire world changed. I was hooked on this form of storytelling, and just kept on writing.
6. Do you have a work in progress at the moment? Can you tell us something about it?
At the moment, I’m working on developing a new series called The Order’s Assassin. It is a spinoff from my Urban Fantasy series, The Intern Diaries. One of our side characters in the Intern Diaries, Eric, has left Texarkana to join forces with the Order of Witches. They have hired him to find the people who betrayed them and bring them to justices. This is an action-packed series with lots of crazy plots, and even a love interest for Eric. I’m super excited to be working on this series.
7. Can you tell us about your latest book? Where did the idea come from?
My last Urban Fantasy Novel was Judgement Day. This is book 5 in the Intern Diaries series. The series is based on the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, and it’s the story of Isis Black as she becomes Death’s Intern in North America. The book introduces Isis to the wild world of the supernatural, and all the powerful being that lived around her. Death’s Intern is book 1 in the series, and readers start their journey here. Isis is just a normal girl, who is an Army vet and a musician. She doesn’t have any supernatural powers, which is the fun part of the series. This is her journey, learning about the horsemen, saving her friends, and in book 5- the world.
8. How can readers find you?
Readers can find me in many locations. They can start with my website at http://www.dcgomez-author.com. There they can download the free novella, The Origins of Constantine. I’m also easy to find on social media at:
Many of my books are also available in Kindle Unlimited, so readers can take advantage of that as well.
9. Do you write every day?
I would love to be the writer that sits down every day to write. Unfortunately, that is not the case. I’m a bit of a binge-writer. I’m either writing nonstop for days/weeks, or I’m not writing at all. This is probably not the most efficient habit, but it works for me. After years of feeling guilty for not writing every day, now I gave myself permission to be me. The system works so far. When it stops working, then it’s time to make a drastic change.
10. Is there a message you would like to say to your readers?
To all my readers, and future readers, the first thing I would like to say is Thank you! Thank you for going on this magical journey with me and loving these characters as much as I do. I’m super-blessed to create this book and have so many people enjoyed them. Second, follow your dreams, my friends. The greatest gift you can give yourself is to be happy. Take a leap of faith and go for it.
D. C. Gomez is an award winning USA Today Bestselling Author, podcaster, motivational speaker, and coach. Born in the Dominican Republic, she grew up in Salem, Massachusetts. D. C. studied film and television at New York University. After college she joined the US Army, and proudly served for four years.
D. C. has a Master’s Degree in Science Administration from the Central Michigan University, as well as a Master in Adult Education from Texas A&M- Texarkana University. She is a certified John Maxwell Team speaker and coach, and a certified meditation instructor from the Chopra Center.
One of D. C. passions is helping those around her overcome their self-limiting beliefs. She writes both non-fiction as well fiction books, ranging from Urban Fantasy to Children’s Books. To learn more about her books and her passion, you can find her at www.dcgomez-author.com.