Category Archives: publishing

Author Interview – Bruce Solheim


Author-Interview-Button

 

bruce-solheim

1.      Does writing energize or exhaust you?
When I’m in the zone I can go all day long and stay focused and energized. I’m even manic sometimes if you ask my wife Ginger. Then I crash. When I’m agonizing over some plot point, character, twist, nagging and elusive detail or whatever, that is exhausting, and I can slowly slip into madness (to quote the Grinch).

2.      What is your writing Kryptonite?
Thankless, petty BS piling up that I don’t want to do and that sucks up my precious time. Any kind of paperwork or forms or the like. These things put me in a bad mood and I can’t write when I’m in a bad mood.

3.      Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
How do you know that I’m not already writing under a pseudonym? Yes, honestly, but those thoughts passed quickly, just like my plan to be a caped superhero.

 

 

 


4.      What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
David Willson, my mentor, Vietnam veteran and author of the REMF series (REMF Diary, REMF Returns, In the Army Now). I met David when I started teaching after graduate school in 1993. His encouragement, honesty, attention to the details of quotidian life, sardonic wit, and dark Nordic sense of humor have influenced my writing heavily.

Dr. Gary Hess, my doctoral committee chair and author of many fine history books (The United States at War, 1941-1945, Vietnam: Explaining America’s Los War, Presidential Decisions for War: Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, and Iraq). Gary has impressed me with the volume of his work, the detail and scope of his historical analyses, work ethic, kindness, and service to his community.

Neil H. Weiss, another mentor. Neil helped me learn how to write plays. He is an accomplished screenwriter, television writer, and director. Neil has pushed me to be the best I can be and will not accept anything else other than your best. He is a hard-driver and does not mince words or waste any time.

Jose Cruz Gonzalez, another mentor. Jose writes plays for young audiences (The Astronaut Farmworker, Tomas and the Library Lady). He inspired me and taught me to write through mystical expression and the exercise of capturing butterflies. He is a kind and gentle human being with a heart of gold.
Ali's Bees
5.      Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

I write books, plays, poetry, and songs. They largely stand alone, but there is a common theme in all my written works: find the hero within and make strong choices in your life. We are the heroes of our own life stories. I’ve written about a diverse selection of characters from a gay combat soldier in Vietnam (The Bronze Star) to a 13-year-old refugee boy dealing with Islamophobia in East Los Angeles (Ali’s Bees), from a timid school teacher who finds her inner strength and becomes an anti-Nazi resistance fighter in occupied Norway (The Epiphany), to a wounded Civil War veteran who goes west to find his runaway wife and search for gold, only to find himself and recover his lost soul (Tough Trip Through Hell, a play based on David Willson’s unpublished novel). Most of my written work deals with the impact of war on people and on society. The settings range from the Old West to occupied Norway in World War II to a post-apocalyptic Earth ruled by wandering bands of mutants. My non-fiction books range from foreign policy in the Nordic Region to women leaders to the Vietnam War to a new take on modern American history since the Civil War. They all focus on the individual and how people who make brave and strong choices make our world better and lead the way in search of truth and meaning. My latest work includes illustrations. Gary Dumm, of American Splendor fame, illustrated 12 comic book pages for my anti-textbook (Making History: A Personal Approach to Modern American History) and will illustrate my two paranormal books (Timeless: A Paranormal Personal History and Timeless II). Gabby Untermayerova illustrated my fiction book for middle grade readers. “You can do anything with words and pictures,” as Harvey Pekar once said.

6.      What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Copy editing, line-editing, and more editing. Also, illustrations by inspiring and amazing artists.

7.      What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
I grew up with two languages, Norwegian and English. Because my father could not write in English, I would write letters for him. Actually, I would type letters for him. This started when I was nine years old. I was fascinated by typewriters and books. I loved listening to my dad’s stories of his sailing days in the 1930’s and of the Nazi occupation. I began writing stories at age 10 and have never stopped writing. I wrote short stories, screenplays, poems, and illustrated and wrote comic books (nothing published). I had a short-lived comic strip (Snark: A Space Tragedy) in my school paper at Montana Tech. I published my first book in 1994 and had my first play produced in 2012. Now I’ve written seven books and eight plays. When I visit Norway, I speak Norwegian and it’s almost as if I’m a different person, or maybe a more complete person. My friend Neil said that I’m like a gate that swings between the United States and Norway. That is powerful.

8.      What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
David Willson REMF Diary. David has captured what it is like to be a file clerk in the middle of a war. The great majority of veterans do not see any combat, but that literature is rather thin. David Willson’s REMF Diary set the bar for all others.

9.      As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
Lion. When I was a kid I watched a Daktari on TV. Clarence the cross-eyed lion was a regular.

10.  How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Two books. Three unfinished plays.

11.  What does literary success look like to you?

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

12.  What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Oral interviews, correspondence, networking, and online archival research. I start as soon as I get an idea and write as I research. “Time’s a wasting.”

13.  How many hours a day/week do you write?
On average, 3 hours.

14.  How do you select the names of your characters?
The sound of the name, the interesting people whom I have met who have similar names, and historical figures.

15.  What was your hardest scene to write?

The first one and the last one. If you mess up either one, the book is ruined. In fact, the first sentence and the last one, are the hardest to write and can also mess up your work. Start strong and finish strong.

 

 

 

 

16.  Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

I have a Ph.D. in History so naturally I have written historical non-fiction. My theatrical plays are usually historically-based and then fictionalized, but I’ve broken away from that with certain issues that interest me or problems that I see not being given enough attention. I wrote my first fiction novel just recently. It was geared for middle grade readers and above and it began as a play. My latest play is a sci-fi rock opera set in a post-apocalyptic Earth (Timothy). I feel compelled to write something based on what possesses me. Sometimes the idea is a sudden burst and sometimes it is a slow burning compulsion. I don’t attempt to balance anything, it just happens.

17.  How long have you been writing?

Since age 10, so 49 years.

18.  What inspires you?  

Good food, Ginger (my wife and muse), music of all kinds, my children and grandchild, a thought-provoking book or film, animals, Northern Norway, and a righteous cause.

19.  How do you find or make time to write?

I get up earlier than anyone else. The early bird gets the worm. I don’t like downtime, so I fill my day here and there with research or writing.

20.   What projects are you working on at the present?

I’m working with my friend Carsten Dau on a rock opera based loosely on Timothy Leary but set in the post-apocalyptic future. I’m finishing up Timeless and have already started Timeless II. The premise of my paranormal books is that science has already found evidence for the paranormal and we all experience these phenomena, but many people are afraid to acknowledge their experiences. I’m not afraid, and I encourage others to come forward. As I always say, “it is not that I believe in ghosts, it’s that they believe in me, so I don’t have a choice.” As I write these words I have just started a thriller set in the near future in the Nordic region (written in Norwegian).

21.   What do your plans for future projects include?

More plays, getting my other plays fully produced, more paranormal personal history books, and responding to the next question in life. I also don’t rule out some type of interplanetary travel, as long as I can fly first class. Coach is rough enough as it is here on Earth.

22.   Share a link to your author website.

www.bruceolavsolheim.com
www.thebronzestar.com
www.Alisbees.com
www.theepiphany.net

 Bio:

Bruce Olav Solheim was born on September 3, 1958, in Seattle, Washington, to hard-working Norwegian immigrant parents, Asbjørn and Olaug Solheim. Bruce was the first person in his family to go to college. He served for six years in the US Army as a jail guard and later as a helicopter pilot. He earned his PhD in history from Bowling Green State University in 1993.

Bruce is currently a distinguished professor of history at Citrus College in Glendora, California. He also served as a Fulbright professor in 2003 at the University of Tromsø in northern Norway.

Bruce founded the Veterans Program at Citrus College and cofounded, with Manuel Martinez and Ginger De Villa-Rose, the Boots to Books transition course—the first college course in the United States designed specifically for recently returned veterans. He has published five books and has written seven plays, two of which have been produced.

Bruce is married to Ginger, the girl of his dreams, who is a professional helicopter pilot and certified flight instructor. He has been blessed with four wonderful children: Bjørn, Byron, Caitlin, and Leif. He also has a precious grandson, Liam. Bruce, his brother, and his two nephews still own the family home in Åse, Norway, two hundred miles above the Arctic Circle.

Author Interview – Richard Paolinelli


Author-Interview-Button

richard_paolinelli_headshot_2

  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Both at times, as strange as that may sound. When the words are flowing I seem to gain energy as I go along. But there are times, usually when I am pushing to make a hard deadline, when I feel like I’m dragging about five tons of brick around on my shoulders and it is difficult to write the next sentence.

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

The Internet. It is just too easy to hop on to check my email “really quick” and get distracted by something and three hours later suddenly remember I was supposed to be writing. The house hound also tries his best to distract, usually when I am really on a roll.

  1. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

Briefly. But I was writing for newspapers for so long that it just seemed natural to continue to do so when I transitioned to fiction writing. Plus, I really dislike posting in online forums under fake screen names as I feel that leads to bad behavior by folks who feel they can get away with anything without any accountability. So I have always made it a point to put my real name behind everything I write, online or off.

  1. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

I know so many of them that if I tried to list them all here we’d break the internet. Not to mention I’d probably forget some of them and then have to spend the rest of the year apologizing. But in their own ways they have all helped me become a better writer. Sometimes it is from just reading their work and seeing how they develop a character or lay out a scene. Sometimes it comes from the way they market their books or deal with unfair criticism.

 

 

  1. Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

Almost all of them are stand alone, although I have readers asking me when the sequel to Escaping Infinity is coming out. I do have one trilogy though, the Jack Del Rio political thriller series. Writing in so many different genres as I do I very much doubt there a way for me ever to be able to connect them. All I really hope for is that they are all enjoyable stories that readers continue to want to read.

  1. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

The $20 that I spent on three Himekami CDs many years ago (pre-MP3 era). Listening to the beautifully enchanting synthesized music produced by this group from Japan seems to put me into the perfect state of mind to write.

  1. What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

When I sat down one day at the age of 4 and heard a man say that he hoped for a world where his children would be judged by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin. It took a few more years for me to fully understand the concept, but those words made perfect sense to 4-year-old me. It wasn’t what a person looked like that mattered, it is what they said and did that was all that counted. I’ve always strived to keep that lesson in my heart in the half-century that has passed since I first heard them and am reminded of that day every time I read those words again.

 

 

  1. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

Time Traveller’s Never Die by Jack McDevitt. I loved the way Jack (I get to call him that because we’ve worked together on a Sherlock Holmes anthology and corresponded a few times since) dealt with the paradox of time travelling and it was this book, and discovering Jack’s path to becoming a writer at a later age, that inspired me to try to give fiction writing another try at the age of 46. 

  1. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

Polar Bear. Because they are patiently relentless in their pursuit of their goal. For them it is their next meal but for me it is getting the current novel finished so I can begin working on the next one.

  1. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

About 30 in various states of started but not finished to just outline-only.

  1. What does literary success look like to you?

When I have finished a book and it is available to be purchased on Amazon or in a bookstore. That means another story of mine – another world or universe of my creation – is available to be read and, hopefully, enjoyed.

 

 

  1. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

With my two non-fiction books I spent years going through newspaper microfilms, online searching and interviews before I sat down and started writing them. It probably worked out to two years each from starting research to writing completed and the book released.

With my fiction works I’d say I research for about a week before I start writing. Even then I find I will pause writing at points to do additional research when something does not sound right or if I make a change in the original outline along the way.

  1. How many hours a day/week do you write?

At least 30 hours a week and sometimes as many as 60 depending on other things going on in my life.

  1. How do you select the names of your characters?

I have a couple of ways. Usually the names seem to come to me and I go with them if they “feel” right. But I discovered a website that generates first and last names based on several factors of race, ethnicity, gender and genre. I’ll scroll through a few randomly generated names until I find a combination I like.

  1. What was your hardest scene to write?

In Reservations which was the first Jack Del Rio novel. I had decided to kill off one of the major characters and when I got to the chapter when the death was to occur I found it harder to write with each passing word. I kept going back and forth on whether or not to kill the character or not. It took me 14 hours to write that chapter and I recall finishing it, saving it and then walking away from my desk in tears when I finished writing the death scene that ended the chapter. It felt like I had murdered a loved one. But the response I have received from readers has convinced me that I made the correct decision.

 

 

  1. Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

My early books were sports non-fiction, which were easy to do coming off 20 years as a sportswriter, and then my initial fiction works were political mystery-thrillers. But my first love as a young reader was science fiction and that is the genre I will be doing most of my writing in for the foreseeable future.

  1. How long have you been writing?

Since 1983 when I started as a freelance writer. Aside from being the lead writer for two issues of a comic book series in 1986, I started as a full-time novelist in 2011 after I retired as a newspaper writer/editor in 2010.

  1. What inspires you? 

 My family. I want to leave a legacy in my writings that my children and grandchildren and their grandchildren can be proud of long after I am gone.

  1. How do you find or make time to write?

I am fortunate in that this is my full-time job so I have a nice routine that allows me to write on a regular schedule. Having worked for 20 years in newspapers where I was expected to write 2-3,000 words a day has made it something of a habit now, one that seems as natural to me as breathing.

legacy

  1. What projects are you working on at the present?

Many. I am helping finish the final book written by my friend Gibson Michaels, who passed away last year before he could finish it. It would have been his fourth book and we want to make sure his readers get to read it. I am co-writing a western novel with Jim Christina, with whom I co-host an online show about writers and the craft of writing – The Writer’s Block on LA Talk Radio. I’m editing one of the 11 books in the Planetary Anthology series (and have stories in several of the others) and I am helping start up a new organization for professional creators in science fiction and fantasy, the Science Fiction & Fantasy Creators Guild ( www.sffcguild.com)  .

  1. What do your plans for future projects include?

I have three science-fiction/fantasy projects lined up I want to finish by the end of 2018 – When the Gods Fell, Cursed Firstborn and Seadragon.

  1. Share a link to your author website.

https://scifiscribe.com/

 

Genres of Literature – Fan-fiction


 

fanfic_logo

 

The definition of fan fiction or fanfiction is stories created by fans of original works of fiction rather than the original creator. Since the advent of the Internet it has become a popular form of fan labor. It is not commissioned or usually authorized by the original work’s creator or publisher, and is rarely professionally published but rather qualifies under ‘fair use’. Attitudes differ by the original authors and copyright owners of these original works to fan fiction ranging from indifference to encouragement to rejection. Copyright owners have occasionally responded with legal action.The term “fan fiction” came into use in the 20th century. 

Fan fiction is both related to its subject’s canonical fictional universe and simultaneously existing outside it. Most fan fiction writers work is  primarily read by other fans, such as Spockanalia (1967) based on Star Trek, which was mailed to other fans or sold at science fiction conventions. It is interesting to know that women dominated fan fiction initially in 1970 by 83% and increasing to 905 in 1973. Due to the accessibility of the Internet it is estimated fab fiction comprises one third of all content in regards to books. In 1998 the site Fanfiction.Net came online allowing anyone to upload any fandome content onto it’s not-for-profit platform. This practice came to be known as ‘pulling-to-publish’. In 2013 Amazon.com established Kindle Worlds enabling certain licensed media properties to be sold in their kindle store. The terms included 35% of net sales for 10,000 word plus or 20% for short fiction from 5,000 – 10,000 words but with restrictions on content, copyright and poor formatting.

 

Around 1960-1970 in Japan dōjinshi began appearing where independently published manga and novels, (known as dōjinshi), were frequently published by dōjin circles. Many were based on existing manga, anime, and video game franchises. 

Today there are a multitude of fan fiction internet sites for all sorts of genres from comic heroes to romantic couples to TV shows. It is a growing ‘genre’ and a vehicle for many authors to showcase their work.

Have you written fan fiction? 

What or who was your subject?

Why did you decide to write fan fiction?

Genres of Literature – Speculative Fiction


spec fiction

Speculative fiction

Speculative fiction is included in a broad category, which includes science fiction, fantasy, alternate histories (which may have no particular scientific or futuristic component), and even literary stories that contain fantastic elements. It can also be categorized, in some instances with magic realism. In truth speculative fiction is an umbrella genre encompassing narrative fiction with supernatural or futuristic elements.

The genre ranges from ancient works to paradigm-changing and neotraditional works of the 21st century. It is recognized in the author’s intentions or social contexts within the story versions commonly known. The genre was previously termed historical invention (I personally like this term) as characters from various time periods were within the same narrative. And other terms used were mythopoesis or mythopoeia, meaning fictional speculation.

In general it is the creation of a hypothetical history, explanation or ahistorical storytelling. It is not a ‘new’ genre by any means with the genre being used by ancient Greek writers through to the mid 20th century. In its broadest sense the genre captures both conscious and unconscious aspects of human psychology in making sense of the world, and responding to it by creating imaginative, inventive, and artistic expressions.

Interestingly according to publisher statistics, men outnumber women about two to one among English-language speculative fiction writers aiming for professional publication. However, the percentages vary considerably by genre, with women outnumbering men in the fields of urban fantasy, paranormal romance and young adult fiction.

My current work in progress manuscript is a speculative fiction. Life in Slake Patch is set in an alternative future, where the devastation of a World War resulted in the majority of the male population perishing. This created a world-wide matriarchal society.

LifeinSlakePatch 001

Have you written a speculative fiction story/novel?

Care to share the details below in the comments?

And one last note as I found this delightful snippet of information after I had posted on science fiction on 15th January.

26993663_148742022494041_8405279496534370096_n

The story was “True History” by Lucian.

Author Interview – V.J. Gage


Author-Interview-Button

Vaun photo

  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

When I write it is effortless and energizes me so much, I can write for hours at a time. I have always thought out my plot for months before I write, so when I do, it just rushes to my fingers and onto the paper.  I do not edit when I write, I get the story written as fast as I can, and then I go back once it is complete.

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

I am not sure what you mean, but Kryptonite-weakened Superman.  The only thing that could slow me down was trying to write something without hours of thought.  I would have to think about something for hours, days, weeks or a month or so before I begin writing.  Then once I get going, I am a force to be reckoned with, and little will stop me.

blood games

  1. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

I am writing all of my novels under my maiden name.  VJ Gage for the Chicago Heat series and Vaunda Lynn Gage for the kid’s books.  The adult books are explicit, and I did not want to confuse the reader by using the same name.

  1. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

I have not stepped out into the world to know many other authors, but this year will be different. I need the support of others and to find out what has or has not worked for them.  I am just starting on marketing etc. and now is a great time to meet other authors.

  1. Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

Yes, I have a seven book series called Chicago Heat.  I have published two with a third out this March.  The children’s book is seven novella’s about seven cousins who have adventures with mythical creatures in the Okanagan Valley.  I am working on a second series. 

  1. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Linda at Dream Write Publishing, she has been great, and she has helped to make my children’s book educational as well as a fun read.  Her art for the book has been exactly as I imagined and she was priced right, and we met our deadline.

  1. What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

As a child, I never slept much, so I began to read early.  By the time I was ten or twelve, I could write a book report “likity split,” and, I could write several in a very short time.  So I began to sell extra book reports for those who did not read.

  1. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

Anything that was written by  Janet Coldwell.

  1. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

My first thought is an Eagle, it sores high and has a great view of its landscape.  But in thinking further, I am more like a busy beaver.  When I get an Idea, I will go to work on it until I have completed my task, or I have figured out it is not worth my time.  I can be deadly when I get an idea into my head.

ashes

  1. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

I have four in my “Chicago Heat” series.  One romance, and two for my children’s series.

  1. What does literary success look like to you?

It would be that many thousands of people have read and enjoyed my books. I would want them to say they could not put my books down and that my plots are unique and clever, and that I have a great imagination.  Then I would like to make lots of money.

  1. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

What would we do without the internet?  When I am writing, I have my tablet close by, and I can look up any information I may need.  When I need some information, it is close at hand.

  1. How many hours a day/week do you write?

I may not be able to write for days or weeks at a time.  I still have a full-time job, and I took care of my mother and dad full time for the past ten years.  Both have passed and now my time is open to many more hours to write.

poetic

  1. How do you select the names of your characters?

My main characters in my “Chicago Heat” series are based on the personalities of my own family.  Dennis Kortovich is a profile of my husband.  Veronica, his wacky wife, is a profile of me.  Many other characters are based on the personalities of my family or friends.  The children’s novels are based on real children and adults. 

  1. What was your hardest scene to write?

Sex. 

  1. Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

I found out I am great at killing and that I have a unique ability to be in the mind of the killer.  I like exploring both sides of the crime.  I don’t like a soft “Who Done It”  I think fast and hit hard.

17. How long have you been writing?

 I started in earnest when I was fifty.

18. What inspires you? 

 Writers, like Dan Brown.

19. How do you find or make time to write?

I may not write every day or sometimes not for weeks.  When I do sit down to write, I can go at it for several hours, and I have done up to twelve thousand words in one season.

20. What projects are you working on at present?

I just finished the final edit of The Bible Killings, and this novel should be out by March.  I am trying to figure out how to market my books at this point, and I am putting most of my time and effort into this for the next while.

21. What do your plans for future projects include?

To edit and publish at least one more book next year.  They are all written, but I need to edit the other four.  I will also putter away at the children’s novel.  I am writing a second on for Mysteries at the Lake.

22. Share a link to your author website.

http://www.vjgage.com

Visiting family at the lake during the summer is a wonderful tradition for Canadian cousins: Wyatt, Kadence, Nyomi, Jack, Sophie, Cash, and Cruz. Join them as they share their vacation with you. Discover the secret of Lake Okanagan. Hike the trails and spend time in the amazing forests and cliffs as the seven cousins make friends and solve mysteries with mythical and magical neighbors.
Ride the waters and take in the sun—whatever story they share around the evening’s campfire with hot chocolate and roasted marshmallows, it’s sure to be a memorable one!
Front Cover Icon Mysteries at the Lake
Author Bio:

V.J. Gage has been writing for over three decades. “Celebrity Lunch,” her weekly column in the Sherwood Park News, featured mini biographies about members of her community. Her column “As I See It” commented on contemporary social issues. A successful businesswoman, with many diverse interests, Vaun is also a recording artist, an emcee, and a stand-up comic, all of which serves to fuel the fast-paced, action-packed, serpentine plots of the “Chicago Heat” series. Vaun has lived in Sherwood Park since 1956.  My father was the first fire chief for the county and my mother was one of the first women real estate agents. I have owned a business in Sherwood Park for over forty years.  I now have a home based salon and I work there with my daughter. At one point I owned five salons, a clothing store, restaurant, I recorded with R. Harlen Smith and did Stand-up-Comedy and was an emcee for hundreds of events.  I was also the first in Alberta to have my own Karaoke show. I went home-based almost twenty years ago.

Vaun is currently working on a series of seven novellas,  featuring seven cousins, who have adventures  with some of the most fantastic, creatures to ever catch the imaginations of children and adults alike.

 

 

Thank you Vaun for an enlightening glimpse of your writing life and it’s inspiration.

EVENT:

Join Vaun at Head Quarters, #101, 100 Granada Boulevard, Sherwood Park, AB T8A 4W2 this Sunday 14th January 2pm-4pm for the book launch of Mysteries at the Lake. Karaoke, stories, coloring books, cake, and refreshments.