As I have only a few chapters of re-editing to complete on my steam punk novel before it goes to my publisher, I thought I would let you vote on which book I delve into next. I have two manuscripts that I can choose from. So let’s see which is the most popular.
1. Willow Tree Tears. Western romance. Barrel racing champion, Madison Beauchamp has two suitors, one who knows her lifestyle and works on her father’s ranch with her but who has a hidden agenda, and the other, who lives in another country, a world away from her norm. Who should Madison choose? The one who knows her life all too well or the exotic wealthy Italian?
2. The Giving Thief. Suspense. He ran away from a horrific act, now living in the forest alone. How long can he stay hidden? Can he survive alone? A true hermit or a murderer? Which one appeals the most and let me know why.
TBR Pile Book News
I was happy to receive new books this month. One for my birthday:
If It Bleeds by Stephen King
And the first novel by an old school chum’s daughter
One Step Closer by Sophie Pollard
Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs – excited for the third instalment of this excellent series.
Now the problem is which do I read first? Which one would you pick?
And remember review every books you read on Goodreads or Amazon or Smashwords or anyway you can. Reviews are an authors lifeblood.
Today I am ‘interviewing’ one of the main character’s from Creature Hunt on Planet Toaria, a YA novella. Lenni is the main instigator in persuading her three friends to seek out the invading alien monster on their planet.
Can you tell us about why you live on another planet instead of Earth?
I can tell you what I know from history lessons. The human race suffered multiple pandemics over decades, which decimated the world population. In an effort to save the human species, one hundred generation ships were built and several space stations. These were built to offer a temporary home above the planet until the virus’ could be controlled or eliminated.
So how did you get here?
The expected term for being on the ships was extended over and over for years until each generation ship struggled to sustain its population. As the remaining human population on Earth died, a decision was made to head out in as many different directions as possible. The hope was that one or more of the generation ships would find a suitable planet to populate. After many years my ancestors ship found Toaria.
So then they landed and built all the domes?
It took another generation to build the domes and establish the growing pods. Several new technologies were created so that ‘soil’ was artificially grown from agar, molds and vermiculite and then seeds regenerated from capsules that had been frozen in transit.
Can you describe Planet Toaria?
It is mainly rock and dust but there are frackist trees and whickety vines. We have two moons and when they align, the sky becomes magenta then burgundy before total darkness. That’s our curfew time – we must be home by then. All the other plants are from germination of seeds brought here and cultivated in the home dome’s central gardens or in the growth pods. We have metal paths in-between the home domes and the community domes. Apart from the living areas, there is a complex of industry domes restricted to only workers and the military. Most of the planet is uninhabited still but as our population grows we expand with more sections.
Can you describe frackist trees and whickety vines, they sound fascinating?
The trees have thick trunks, which are topped with branches that look like an upside-down scalene triangle. They have sticky buds, which you mustn’t touch as the sap causes instant numbing to anything it touches. Climbing them is discouraged because of that. The vines have a natural luminescence in the leaves and they are planted along the main paths to grow along them and climb the metal columns.
I noticed that you do not have ‘normal’ pets, like dogs and cats. What do you have instead?
No, we do not have animals as such on Toaria, they were not allowed on the first ships from Earth. We have robotic ‘pets’ or bots as we call them. Each child is assigned a bot when they are born. It is a protector as well as a companion. They are made up of a series of metal intersecting plates, have compartments for supplies and technology and power up overnight as we sleep.
Can you tell us a little about the alien invader?
Initially, no one knew there was an invader but then my bot, Bubble chased off something and did not return for a long time. This is unheard of as they are to stay with their owner no matter what. When Bubble was found, his recording data did not identify what the thing was and that’s when I began to wonder.
Why did you decide to find the alien with your friends?
At first I thought it would be a fun thing to do with Troon, Braze and Nevis. You know to explore a little further than we are allowed. There are sections to the habitat only open to the military. I didn’t really think we would find it! As our search continued it got more serious and we all thought it would be an excellent way to be considered for a position within the security force.
Thank you for being with us today, Lenni and telling us about your life on Planet Toaria.
If you want to know more of the story the e-book is available here, on Smashwords, Kindle, Kobo and Barnes & Noble.
How do you prepare for a book event? Can you share tips/knowledge/experience?
I happen to have two book events this month, which is exciting. The first one is Word on the Street in Lethbridge 21st September.
I have attended this event several times before and accompany my publisher, Dream Write Publishing. It is an outside event so there is the added preparation for any weather condition – wet, cold or hot. We have experienced all of them at this event, unsurprisingly as September weather in Alberta can be changeable to say the least. As always given the opportunity we have extended our weekend to four days so we can explore the area – back roads and hamlets missed by the highway A to B drivers.
The second event is Words in the Park, Sherwood Park, which is my official launch date for the anxiously awaited, Rython Legacy – the sequel to The Rython Kingdom. I have two tables at this event as I now have eight books to display plus promotional items. It was difficult last year so I will have to do mock-up’s of the full display and take photos so I can get it all set up with looking too cluttered. As I write in three genre’s I am thinking the display will be grouped in age sections. I have summaries of each book, which helps buyer’s to peruse the story lines. Each section will have different coloured table cloth – which worked well last year. I’m still planning obviously. I have found multiple tiered stands are a great way to increase the amount of room I have to display.
Below is last’s year’s display.
I would love to see how you arrange your book event display’s – please share in the comments after clicking on the headline.
I enjoy celebrating Canada Day as it is my new homeland. We are lucky to have a deck overlooking part of the parade route so can sit in comfort and watch it drive past. Canada is a young country, becoming the Dominion of Canada on July 1, 1867. This is in direct contrast to my former homeland, Britain which was founded a lot earlier.
United Kingdom = England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The Kingdom of England was founded in 927 AD and The Kingdom of Wales was founded in 1283. They joined together in 1536 so Britain was founded in 1536. The Kingdom of Scotland was founded in 843 AD.
I do miss the history and pageantry as well as the ancient sites, historical houses and castles but have been fortunate to have traveled quite a lot of the province’s of Alberta and British Columbia by way of road trips. When I first came to Canada, I had no real sense of the vastness of the continent until someone showed me this view of the whole of Britain easily fitting into Alberta. This is just one province of ten!
I have seen wildlife and plants I would never have observed, spectacular scenery and many objects purportedly to be the largest! Here are some of them.
I also ‘discovered’ a passion for writing in Canada, which may never have been part of my life elsewhere. It was a happy accident walking into that first sharing meeting of the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County in 2009. Not only do I have something that interests and absorbs me but it has also given me some incredible friendships. I am making up for ‘lost’ time publishing (to date) seven books, with several in the pipeline but it is the process of creating that engages me and having the opportunity to share my stories.
Here’s to many more years discovering this country, writing stories and enjoying family and friends.
Both, by the time I finally get to sit down and write, I have probably been thinking about the scene for a good chunk of the day. I don’t write regularly because I can’t unless I have a clear objective in mind. That being said, I get excited because I know that my idea is a good one, otherwise I wouldn’t have been thinking about it all day.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Silence. I need noise to be able to focus. I wrote my first book in a noisy airport, between flights, and I finished my book in 7 months. I worked there, so it was a matter of bringing my Ipad and writing while waiting for the next job. When I went on a writer’s retreat I didn’t get nearly as much done, even though I had nothing else to do but write. Too quiet.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
No, it may sound selfish but I would like to be recognized. My last name is fairly unique and I want to use it to my advantage. When my name gets called somewhere public, I want people to know that it is indeed their “favourite author” and not a look alike. Dreams write?
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
A lot of the members of my writing group in Sherwood Park, Alberta, are friends of mine. The Writers Foundation of Strathcona County has several published authors within it’s organization. Many of which are also with the same local publishing company Dreamwrite Publishing. We share stories and read each other’s books and offer constructive feedback to one another on a regular basis. This helps greatly in developing our writing skills. It also encourages me to explore my craft and expand my horizons. It is because of their feedback on one of my stories that I will be branching out into the children’s book market in the next couple years.
Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
I have an eight and half book series in the works write now and plans for another series in the future. They may seem to be stand alone, but there are little “Easter eggs” that would suggest otherwise. I have a MSU. (Mike’s Stories Universe) If I reference a character with the same name from another story in my piece of writing, it’s the same character. In fact, in my current series, my main character will meet another main character from a future series at some point. Best bet is to read as much of my works as you can. You never know who will make an appearance or have a secret origin story revealed.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
I-pad. More compatible than a laptop by far
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
As a child grade four to be exact, I was asked a question, “If I could be anyone else for one day, who would I want to be and why?” I answered that I didn’t want to be anyone else but me, because I am comfortable with who I am. The teacher was shocked that a kid could write something like that. I still feel that way today.
What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
I don’t know if it is under-appreciated or not, but Ishmael, by Daniel Quinn, is amazing. The Humans, by Matt Haig is my most recent obsession though. I enjoyed it so much, I bought most of his other books.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
I’d choose a Sloth or a Bat. A Sloth, because I tend to do things slowly when it comes to writing and a Bat because my writing is mostly done at night.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Six. Three children’s books unpublished. One romance thriller, Book one of a Trilogy/Quadrilogy and my third book in my Shadowsite Chronicles series. I am considering compiling my poems I have written and publishing a poetry book, but I am uncertain about that.
What does literary success look like to you?
I want to have a complete series out and available to the public. Fame and fortune would be nice of course, but simply having a childhood dream come true would be enough for me. The renown is a side effect of the project.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
My research consists of me reading my age group books that I am writing for. I write fantasy mostly, so my research is limited, unless I need a real world situation, then it takes me as long as I need to find the answer.
How many hours a day/week do you write?
What is this hours a “day”? hours per week is… a few. My Sloth tends to be a procrastinator when it comes to writing. I plan to change that though. Hopefully the Nanowrimo challenge will light a fire under my back end.
How do you select the names of your characters?
Sometimes it’s a play on their abilities. Other times it’s people from real life. Mostly though, it is the first name that pops into my head. In the case of Bruce, from my Shadowsite Chronicles series, my sister had a spruce tree that she named “Bruce the Spruce” and it made me laugh. I wanted to use that in my writing, so I did.
What was your hardest scene to write?
Fight scenes. Too many times, as a reader, I find myself disappointed with the climax of a conflict. I try to make my scenes exciting and satisfactory to read. There is nothing worse than having a amazing build up, followed by a lackluster fight scene. I want the readers to feel like the effort of reading was worth it in the end.
Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?
I find Fantasy easiest to right. It’s what I read the most. I don’t balance, I write what my muses tell me to write. I believe that there is no bad story, there is just a inappropriate format. If I am having trouble telling a story, I might write it in a play or a poem instead. That’s the way I balance
How long have you been writing?
Since I was in grade three technically, although I have only in the last five years tried to have a go at it professionally.
What inspires you?
Life. My children’s story came to me when I was working at the airport, loading luggage under the plane. You never know when inspiration is going to hit. Anyone who is interested in writing needs to leave themselves open at all times. Step outside your comfort zone, listen to people talk, ask questions. Some of my best ideas came to me when I least expected them too.
How do you find or make time to write?
I get a friend to tie me to a chair so I can’t move anything but my hands and neck and say, “no matter what you hear, don’t untie me…” Just kidding of course, I write when the mood strikes. I can’t write if I don’t have an idea in mind. Something I plan to work on in the future though.
What projects are you working on at the present?
I am working on book three of my Shadowsite Chronicles series, writing song lyrics for a couple local artists and helping write stories for a new video game company called Bedlammage. I am hoping that project takes off so I can start writing perminantly, for a living.
What do your plans for future projects include?
Finishing my Shadowsite Chronicles series starting my other series after that, hopefully acquiring more lyric writing opportunities, publishing my children’s books and writing for Bedlammage.
A playwright, novelist, poet, game writer and lyricist, Mike enjoys expanding his writing experience and hopefully inspiring others to follow their hobbies and dreams. Once he joined the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County, in Sherwood Park, Alberta, because of his friend Kelsey Hoople, he found support that he needed and started his journey to become a published author.