Posts Tagged ‘interview’

Blog Tour Wrapup and PRIZES!

May 11, 2012

Well that’s it, folks. Show’s over. Well, the official blog tour, at least.

One (semi) unexpected stop this week was my success story over on Miss Snark’s First Victim. If you’ve never been over there, WHY NOT? It’s an amazing support network for aspiring authors and a place where readers can weigh in and help new authors reach their dreams. I’m only one of dozens of people who give credit to Authoress for helping them get where they are now, and there will no doubt be many more. She’s a wonderful person, and I have on good authority that she’s really cute too, behind that red hat.

Also a new review went up yesterday:

Michelle Ristuccia: Review on #sffwrtcht

Then there were the official blog tour stops:

Interview on Welcome to My World of Dreams

Interview & Review on The Reader’s Roundtable – Infinity and Beyond

Interview on It’s Raining Books

Guest post on Beyond Romance: The Challenges of Writing Science Fiction

Interview on Wendi Zwaduk

Interview at Kacey’s Konnections

Drawing for the winners of the blog tour PRIZES is coming soon, so hurry over to one of the stops and leave a comment so you’ll be entered too!

And that’s it! There will be a few more things popping up here and there, including a live interview on the popular #sffwrtcht June 27, 2012, at 9:00pm Eastern which I’m very nervous and excited about.

#5MinuteInterview with Brian Cortijo from When the Hero Comes Home

September 15, 2011

He’s Brian Cortijo, @briancortijo and I like him a lot. He was our judge for 5MinuteFiction this week, and he’s also one of the authors featured in When the Hero Comes Home, the new anthology from Dragon Moon Press. I like it a lot.

Now, let’s meet Brian. He’s agreed to one of my long, tortuous, 5MinuteInterviews (without any spaces between the words, even.)

So, because we only have five minutes, let’s not muck about:

1. Your short in When the Hero comes Home, “One and Twenty Summers” sticks with me even now, months after reading it. What do you think, as the author, was the one thing that really made that one work?

To respond to that question, I’ve actually got to hearken back to a lesson I’ve learned as a reader: the story doesn’t begin and end with what’s on the page. As an author, I think one of the most difficult things to do is to avoid the temptation to tell all of the story. We’re coming in on a moment, a snapshot of the lives of our characters–sometimes the most important, but not always–and that there are two things that we don’t always need to know about: the after, and the before.

2. So I’m impatient for the next Brian Cortijo effort. What else is coming from you?

Well, I’ve recently been asked to participate in a follow-up anthology to When the Hero Comes Home, and I’m tinkering with a short story or two of my own that I may start shopping around in the beginning of next year.

There’s also my game writing, for D&D and Pathfinder. I’m in the middle of a rather large series of articles for Dungeon and Dragon Magazines (the online, monthly installments of D&D support), of which I’m rather proud, to be honest. Not quite fiction writing, but honestly, some of it’s pretty darned close.

3. When the day comes that you’re a fabulously successful and wealty author, and you look back and say “this is where it started for me,” what is “this” going to be?

Hmm. That’s a toughie, because it assumes there’s a single moment. There could be the first time I played D&D. Or the time I decided to pipe up and say something on an RPG author’s message boards. Or the day that author (Sean K Reynolds) offered to forward some of my stuff along to Ed Greenwood for him to look at. Or when I read the email I got back from Ed saying that he’d love to see fiction from me, even though I’d never written any of it.

As an author, I’ve been blessed with a number of supportive people as readers, editors, and developers, and my current fiction work grows out of that. But the fiction work comes from my RPG roots, which all goes back to finding the old red box in a friend’s basement.

4. What’s the question you wish I’d asked that I didn’t? And what’s the answer?

“Will you please write more so I can give you all my money?” It’s a lovely question, and the answer is always “sure!”

More seriously, the question that I wish you’d asked is “What is your favorite part of writing? Your least favorite?”

I love creating living things: characters, settings, creatures. The idea that I’m making something whole cloth that someone else will look at, and get the feeling that there is something larger to that thing–a before and an after and a before-before–is a splendid one for me.

What I like least is the part I call ‘choreography.’ While I appreciate that a story has to hit certain beats, sometimes it’s painful to force your characters or lovingly crafted details to contort to meet those beats. As a writer, I’d love the opportunity to let the story live its own life without my guidance. Of course, that’s not usually the case, so then the dance begins.

So don’t forget to check out Brian Cortijo, @briancortijo one of the authors featured in When the Hero Comes Home, the new anthology from Dragon Moon Press.

#5MinuteInterview – Steve Umstead & Gabriel’s Return

September 1, 2011

I’m very pleased to introduce today the lovely Steve Umstead. He’s celebrating the release of Gabriel’s Return, book two of the Evan Gabriel series, and we’re going to celebrate with him! Stay tuned to the end of this post for details on how you can WIN your copy. There’s a fun 5MinuteInterview in here but, first, why you should care.

Here’s the scoop:

Gabriel’s Return

On the far-off icebound planet of Poliahu, North American Federation Navy Commander Evan Gabriel suffered the loss of several team members in order to free a native species and save his brother. Now he is being called away on a new mission by a friend in trouble, and by a name from his distant past. He and his surviving team must again travel across the galaxy to the planet where he lost his naval command, and his original team, so many years ago: Eden.

Evan Gabriel must face three distinct threats on Eden: the well-armed terrorist group that has been raiding Eden City, the dangerous planet itself, and his own haunting memories of his past.

Now, as I said, this is a sequel. I haven’t had the pleasure of reading it yet, time constraints and all that, but I’m looking forward to it, because I did read the first book, Gabriel’s Redemption, and Mr. Umstead is a fine writer indeed.

Here’s the skinny on Gabriel’s Redemption.

Can a disgraced Special Forces soldier find redemption, and will redemption cost him more than just his own life?

North American Federation Navy Commander Evan Gabriel was dishonorably discharged after losing his covert team on a far off world called Eden. Now, he’s being offered an opportunity to command a new team, on a new world, with a new mission, but the true motives behind the mission are unclear.

From the decaying Caribbean to politically-charged South America, from the slums of Mars to a tiny colony on a planet six hundred light years from Earth, Gabriel’s Redemption follows the disgraced Commander Gabriel as he leads a Special Forces team to an ice-bound world. Their given mission: to eradicate a drug cartel that is producing a highly-addictive stimulant brutally extracted from the bodies of the native inhabitants. Upon arriving, Gabriel and his team find the mission isn’t exactly what it appeared to be, and that they weren’t the only force dispatched to the planet.

Now that we’ve got the business out of the way, and you’ve got Amazon or B&N or whatever your preferred poision open in another tab, let’s learn a little bit about this author with a little thing I like to call the 5MinuteInterview.

So, Steve:

1: Your current trilogy is a sci-fi/adventure and I’ve seen it also billed as a military sci-fi. Why did you write in this genre?

I write in that genre, something I’ve come to refer to as “near future science fiction,” as it’s by far my favorite type to read. I certainly enjoy the far-flung adventures, thousands of years from now, with near-magical technologies and so on, but I feel like I relate better to a more realistic type of scifi. From a VERY young age I was into science fiction (and who my age wasn’t affected to the core by Star Wars?), but as I got older I tended to gravitate towards the technothrillers (Tom Clancy, back when he actually wrote his own books). When I ventured back into science fiction, that stuck with me. I love tech that can be easily extrapolated from today, or locations that aren’t entirely out of the realm of possibility. I think that gives a wide range of readers a chance to get into the story and the technology without being overwhelmed. And while I’ve never had the honor of serving our country in the military, there is no higher calling, and I love telling stories from a military perspective – to show the human behind the uniform.

2: Gabriel’s Redemption and Gabriel’s Return are the first two books in a trilogy. Do you plan to write more in this universe or are you moving on after this?

Well, I guess you’re assuming I have a Book 3 coming, right? 🙂  Actually just started the outline, and perhaps when this posts, will have already started Chapter One of the final installment. My wife asked me the same question – when you finish the trilogy, will you end the story? I did tell her I don’t plan to kill Commander Evan Gabriel, but I don’t know if I’ll go any further with it. There is a backstory, the failed mission that made the main character who he is today (in the time frame of the trilogy), that I do think I’ll go back to with possibly a novella, sort of the beginning of Evan Gabriel. But before that, I’ve got a story just dying to get onto ‘paper’ that I’ve been thinking about recently, and might make for a good NaNoWriMo challenge this year. Still scifi, but not military…time travel. Oh dear…

3: I met you at Readercon. In real life you looked just like your picture and were just as nice as you are online. So one creepy offline experience avoided. (On my side, at least.) With all the online promotion and social networking you do, have you had any odd/scary/traumatizing experiences?

That’s so kind of you to say! Like a mutual friend said, it would have been fun to pick you up in a car with plastic sheeting and an axe in the trunk, but I digress… I do find myself very much wrapped up in social media sometimes, and I’ve done my absolute best to avoid controversial subjects. I knew well before writing (I own an online business and started up the social media program for it last summer) that I would never send any type of religious or political messages…even innocuous ones. I don’t think that’s the platform for it… But as for odd experiences, I did have a ‘run in’ with a woman who vigorously objected to my reposting of an article she had linked to. She saw it as me promoting her as the author, and she was throwing around phrases like “heinously unprofessional” and “grounds for a lawsuit,” and had even taken to contacting friends of mine online to complain. (I had unfollowed her on Twitter in the middle of it – not vindictively, but as a method of ensuring her tweets would never get retweeted, thereby avoiding problems.) After a few days of explaining the system, she was fine with it, very apologetic, and ended up being a great online friend of mine

4: Does Gabriel have a favorite weapon?

Hmm, good question. In the two books he’s used several types, and worn completely two different types of combat armor. His personal weapon is a 7mm Heckart mag pistol, one with a very worn grip, that he’s had for many years. However I think his most important, and most used, weapon would be himself. He’s been fitted with an enhanced musculature for strength and speed (think Wolverine, just not nearly as silly), and he’s got black market upgraded neuretics (brain implants) that give him a huge tactical and strategic advantage on the battlefield. So he doesn’t often need an actual weapon. I think readers will see his brains and brawn really put to the test in the final book, as he’s got some personal scores to settle…so he won’t be handling them from long range.

Thanks so much, some excellent questions – and a great pleasure to meet you in person as well!
Back to your host: Awww, ain’t he sweet? Don’t neglect to check out his books, Gabriel’s Redemption and the newly-released sequel, Gabriel’s Return. In fact, let’s help you out with that. One random commenter on this thread will WIN a copy of  If there’s a nice turn-out, I’ll give away a copy of BOTH books to a second commenter. So, whatcha’ got to say to me or Steve? This your type of read? Willing to give it a try if it’s not?

Gabriel’s Return is available as an ebook for Kindle and Nook, and is also available on Goodreads.

More information about Steve can be found on his blog here:

In Leah’s Wake Social Media Whirlwind Tour Stops Here!

August 25, 2011

Announcing the In Leah’s Wake Social Media Whirlwind Tour—WooHoo!

As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the In Leah’s Wake Kindle edition has dropped to just 99 cents this week.

What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes, including a Kindle, 5 autographed copies of the book, and multiple Amazon gift cards (1 for $100, 3 for $25, 5 for $10, and 10 for $5 – 19 in all)! Be sure to enter before the end of the day on Friday, August 26th, so you don’t miss out.

 To win the prizes:

  1. Purchase your copy of In Leah’s Wake for just 99 cents
  2. Fill-out the form on the author’s site to enter for prizes
  3. Visit today’s featured event; you may win an autographed copy of the book!

And I can win $100 too if you vote for my blog, Write Me!, over on the author’s website. The blog host that gets the most votes in this traffic-breaker polls wins, so please cast yours right after purchasing In Leah’s Wake and entering the contests!

The featured events include:

Monday, Blogaganza on Novel Publicity! We’re kicking-off on the Novel Publicity Free Advice blog. We’ll ask the writer 5 fun and random questions to get everyone talking. Leave a comment or question in response to the post, and you may win an autographed copy of In Leah’s Wake. Don’t forget to visit the author’s blog to enter for the other prizes!

Tuesday, Twitter chat with the author! Tweet with us between 4 and 5 PM Eastern Time, using the hashtag #emlyn. We’ll be talking with the author about her favorite books and best writing advice. Bring your questions about In Leah’s Wake and don’t forget to use #emlyn or to follow Terri @tglong. By joining in the tweet chat at the designated time, you may win an autographed copy of In Leah’s Wake. Don’t forget to visit the author’s blog to enter for the other prizes!

Wednesday, Google+ video chat with the author! Join our hangout between 12 and 3 PM Eastern Time to talk with the author and us via video chat. We’ll be gabbing about great books including In Leah’s Wake and about writing. Did you know that Terri is a creative writing instructor at Boston College? She’s got tons of good advice for aspiring writers. By joining in the Google+ video chat at the designated time, you may win an autographed copy of In Leah’s Wake. Don’t forget to visit the author’s blog to enter for the other prizes!

Thursday, Facebook interview with the author! Stop by Novel Publicity’s Facebook page and ask Terri questions. She’s chosen three of her favorite topics to talk about: writing, parenting, and gourmet cooking. Of course, you’re welcome to ask about In Leah’s Wake too. Leave a comment or question as part of the thread, and you may win an autographed copy of In Leah’s Wake. Don’t forget to like Terri’s Facebook page or to visit her blog to enter for the other prizes!

Friday, Fun & games based on the book! We want to close this whirlwind social media tour with a gigantic bang, which is why we’ve set-up two interactive book-themed features on the author’s blog. You can take the official Facebook quiz to find out which In Leah’s Wake character is most like you and learn how that character ties into the story. Then try out our crossroads story game. Throughout the course of the narrative, you’ll have several decisions to make. What you choose will affect the outcome of the story. Play as either rebellious teenager Leah or the trampled peacemaker and mother Zoe. Leave a comment or question on any of Terri’s blog entries, and you may win an autographed copy of In Leah’s Wake. Don’t forget to check out the other give-away contests while you’re on Terri’s blog!

About In Leah’s Wake: The Tyler family had the perfect life – until sixteen-year-old Leah decided she didn’t want to be perfect anymore. While Zoe and Will fight to save their daughter from destroying her brilliant future, Leah’s younger sister, Justine, must cope with the damage her out-of-control sibling leaves in her wake. Will this family survive? What happens when love just isn’t enough? Jodi Picoult fans will love this beautifully written and absorbing novel.

An interview with Terri Giuliano Long, author of In Leah’s Wake

*Questions courtesy of BookBundlz

Terri’s book was voted the 2011 book club pick of the year by the BookBundlz staff and community!

Author Terri LongAbout Terri:

1. If you could have coffee with any 3 authors, living or dead, who would they be?

This is a tough question. Let’s see: Joan Didion – I love her work. The Year of Magical Thinking is a powerful book. I’d like to have coffee with her because she’s a brilliant, courageous woman, a true pioneer, and she’s led a varied and interesting life. I’d love to hear her stories.

Cormac McCarthy – although I’m not a fan of his early work – too macho for my taste – he hooked me with No Country For Old Men. I enjoyed the novel so much that I taught it in one of my classes. The Road is the most moving novel I’ve ever read. The man says to his son: “You have my whole heart. You always did.” That line has stayed with me – as have so many stark, tender moments. I’m in awe. I think I’d be too dumbstruck to talk. I’d probably just sit there.

Alice Hoffman – I love her work and I admire her ability to write a bestselling novel, year after year. It took me several years to finish In Leah’s Wake. To produce a book a year requires tremendous determination and discipline. You’ve got to be willing to sit down and write, whether you feel like it or not. That discipline helped her overcome breast cancer, after which she established the Hoffman Breast Center at the Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, MA. She’s also written screenplays and children’s books. And friends who know her say she’s a lovely, giving person.

2. If you could only take one book, food item and drink with you to a deserted island what would they be?

Oh, goodness, another tough question! If I had to choose one book, I’d take the Bible. The stories are fascinating, with so many layers of meaning, and the imager and language are captivating. You can read the stories over and over and never grow tired. For nourishment, champagne and dark chocolate – I’d be tipsy and fat, but I would be smiling.

3. What are your secret indulgences?

Travelling and trying new foods – my husband, Dave, and I have had the great fortunate of visiting many beautiful, interesting places. I love ethnic foods and I’m fairly gutsy when it comes to trying new dishes. In Beijing, a few years ago, we went to a tiny restaurant with two students we met. The restaurant was a local spot, as opposed to a tourist trap, the menu written in Chinese, so they ordered for us. When the steaming bowl arrived, I dipped my chopsticks into the stew – and pulled out a frog. The head was gone, thank goodness, but the body was fully intact. I realize that a lot of people eat frog; this was actually green. I thought Dave would gag when I ate it. To his credit, he didn’t.

4. What about you would surprise your readers?

When they meet me, people almost always assume I’m in my thirties, so they’re surprised to learn that I have adult children and grandkids. I was 18 when I married Dave and he’s the love of my life. Like all couples, we’ve had our ups and downs, but we still enjoy each other’s company, we have fun, and we love being together. This surprises people.

5. What is your perfect day as an author?

Being in a quiet place, with beautiful scenery, and no phone or Internet. A few years ago, we spent a heavenly winter in Stowe, Vermont. I would sit at my desk, looking out at the mountains. Dave would be working in the other room, so I wasn’t alone; we’d work all day, then have dinner together, maybe a glass of wine by the fire. Now I’m actively involved with social media, which I really enjoy, but I long for a quiet day with no interruptions, no distraction.

6. If you could be any fictional character who would it be?

Sara Paretsky’s PI, V.I. Warshawski – I have a special place in my heart for police officers. They risk their lives for us, every day, and they’re the connectors, the glue that holds communities together. I’ve always admired Gail Mullen Beaudoin, a police officer in Chelmsford, MA. Gail brings strength, dignity and grace to a very difficult job. In a fictional character, V.I. is the closet I can come to Gail – two very strong, caring, centered women. Theirs are very big, wonderfully feminine shoes to fill.

7. What are the book(s) you are reading now?

The Trust, an engaging, fast-paced legal thriller by Sean Keefer, and A Walk in the Snark, a wise, sexy, very funny nonfiction read by Rachel Thompson, and Take One Candle Light a Room, an insightful, gorgeously textured literary novel by National Book Award finalist Susan Straight.

8. What was your favorite book as a teenager, and why?

Please don’t laugh – The Exorcist. By today’s standards it’s tame; then The Exorcist was a shocking literary sensation. I was a bit of a rebel when I was younger. I didn’t use drugs or take the risks Leah takes in my novel, but I hated being told what to do. Although I’ve always loved reading, I never got the full enjoyment from the classics we were forced to read in school. That The Exorcist was forbidden gave it a wonderfully sweet edge. I also loved Exodus, a glorious book by Leon Uris, about the birth of the nation of Israel. It was, to my mind, the first truly important book I ever read.

9. (Aside from your own) What book(s) have you read that you think are perfect for book clubs?

Elizabeth Strout’s heartbreaking novel Abide With Me would make a terrific book club selection. Her Pulitzer Prize winner, Olive Kitteridge, is one of my favorite books. Abide With Me, a moving story about a young minister struggling to raise two small children after the premature death of his wife, is so real and relatable on so many levels, and it raises thought-provoking questions about family and life.

About In Leah’s Wake:

10. Where did the inspiration for your book come from?

Years ago, I wrote a series of feature articles about families with drug and alcohol-addicted teens. The moms talked candidly about their children, their heartbreaking struggles. Those stories stayed with me.

My husband and I have four daughters. Most families struggle during their children’s teenage years. We’re no different – though, thank goodness, we experienced nothing remotely akin to the problems and challenges the Tylers face in the book. As a parent, I knew how it felt to be scared, concerned for your children’s welfare and future. These were the primary forces driving me to write this story.

My work with families, my personal experiences and core beliefs – all these things played on my conscious and subconscious mind, and ultimately emerged as this book.

11. They say every book written is the author telling a personal philosophy. What personal philosophy are you trying to get across?

The epigraph, from The Grand Inquisitor, says it best: “everyone is really responsible to all men for all men and for everything.” Hillary Clinton famously said that it takes a village to raise a child. I believe we must all do our part, be supportive members of the village. The Tyler family is far from perfect, but they love one another. Our flaws make us human and that humanity connects us. I very much hope that readers feel this sense of connection—and hope.

12. Writers are often surprised by something that happens in their book. Perhaps a character says or does something you did not think they would, or something you thought would only be a couple of paragraphs turns into 10 pages. What surprised you about your book?

The challenges Leah faces in the aftermath of her sexual awakening. In the first draft, she lost her virginity; in the context of her rebellion, that felt right. In later drafts, darker incidents emerged. As a mom, I found these scenes hard to write, but they felt very true to Leah’s character and experience.

About Terri’s Writing Process:

13. What is your writing process like?

With the first draft of In Leah’s Wake, I had no idea where I was going – in writing programs, this sort of organic writing is usually encouraged. In the revision process, I looked for and developed themes. In Leah’s Wake is character driven, so outlining would have produced a different book. I think it’s helpful to know who we are, as writers, and what our goals are. For literary fiction, the goal is to develop and understand character. I hope I’ve done this adequately.
My novel-in-progress, Nowhere to Run, is a psychological thriller, so I’m approaching that differently. I’ve mapped a partial outline – plot points to use as markers – and writing the sections organically. While I recognize the benefits of outlining or plotting, sticking firmly to either feels limiting. Giving myself this freedom allows for possibilities. Of course, it also makes for a messier process.

14. What gets you in the mood to write?

When I first sit at my desk, especially if I’ve been away for a few days, I often feel blocked, the nasty editors on my shoulders heckling: A writer? Are you crazy? Nine times out of ten, I dig in; the writing may be choppy at first, but eventually I regain fluidity. If the demons are too loud to ignore, I read. Reading, like meditation or yoga, settles my mind, calms me. Soon I find my mind wandering to my story, and I can’t wait to start writing.

15. What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Believe in yourself. I know wonderful writers whose first, second or third books, really good, strong books, were rejected. To deal with the rejection, boot your computer, day after day, when it seems as if no one cares, the stars misaligned – or to indie publish in a world that still privileges the traditionally published – you have to believe in yourself.
Writing is a lonely profession. Most of the time, we’re alone with our work. The loneliness can wear on you, and cause you to question yourself. A few supportive writer friends, supporting and encouraging you, can make all the difference.
Hold onto your dreams. You can make them happen. Don’t ever give up!