Monday, April 29, 2013

Blog Ring of Power Interview: Lisa Gail Green

Today's interviewee is both a member of Broad Universe and the Scene 13 group blog I'm part of. Please welcome Lisa Gail Green to the blog! Her interview starts with me, so let's get to know her:

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing on and off since I was seven. I used to write (and still do) poetry and short stories, but even before that I used to sit for hours in my room and make up stories in my head.

Tell us about your early works—what was the first thing you ever wrote?

I wrote a short story about a girl who gets locked in the zoo and meets a talking giraffe. Yeah, I know, original, right? But my mom the librarian contends it was the best story ever and I credit her for giving me the confidence I needed to continue on a difficult path!

When did you first consider yourself a professional writer?

About 5 years ago I’d been trying to find a job after being a stay at home mom for ten years. I always thought I would be a writer “eventually”. But when no one was interested in even interviewing me, I decided that if I was going to be rejected anyway, I might as well try what I liked! So I approached it as a full time job, researched it as a business as well as craft and made myself write my first novel. It all snowballed after that. I think I just needed to know I could do it.

What genre do you write?

I write mainly YA paranormal and fantasy. I do dabble in other areas also though. But I always gravitate back. :D

If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?

I’d be an actress. I was one for a short time believe it or not. I guess I need that creativity in my life. But even then, I wrote one of the shows we performed (at Old Tucson Studios).

Lisa's interview continues as shown below:

Part 2 @ Dean C. Rich - Tuesday, April 30th

Part 3 @ Terri Bruce – Wednesday, May 1st

Part 4 @ T.W. Fendley - Thursday, May 2nd

Part 5 @ Emily LaBonte - Friday, May 3rd

Tricked into slavery by the man she loved, the Djinni Leela has an eternity to regret her choices.

Awakened in the prison of her adolescent body, she finds a new master in possession of the opal that binds her. But seventeen-year-old Jered is unlike any she’s seen. His kindness makes Leela yearn to trust again, to allow herself a glimmer of hope.

Could Jered be strong enough to free her from the curse of the Binding Stone?

Facebook page:   
Goodreads author page:
Twitter: @LisaGailGreen

Is your book in print, ebook or both? Both

Sunday, April 28, 2013

And the Winner Is....

Thanks to Goddess Fish, the hosts, and all the commenters during my two-week blurb book tour. It ended Friday, and there were 87 eligible comments for the drawing. chose #62, and that is....

VampedChik (Amber)!

Congrats, and I'll be e-mailing you later today.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Science of the Week, 4/26/13

Happy Friday, everyone! Here are some science links for your weekend:

Hundreds of tiny untethered surgical tools deployed in first animal biopsies 
(they run on body heat and can collect more cell samples than a conventional biopsy)

Finding spawns supertough, strong nanofibers

ReRAM: battery and memory device in one

Bacteria may contribute to premature births, STDs

 First vaccine to help control autism symptoms
 (It protects against a type of bacteria more often found in the GI tract of autistic children than normal ones)

Scientists map all possible drug-like chemical compounds

Humans feel empathy for robots

Rescue me: new study finds animals do recover from neglect

Fertilizer that fizzles in a homemade bomb could save lives throughout the world

The May 2013 issue of Scientific American has a special feature on the future of manufacturing. Wondering what it'll be like when robots become our overlords or how 3D printers look? Check it out. Also in this issue are articles on toxic proteins that affect the brain, Homo sapiens hybridizing with other species of humans, and curing bad breath.

May you have lovely spring weather this weekend, and see you Monday!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Recently Read and Other Reminders

It's a little early in the year for a reading recap, but I feel like doing one anyway. Here are some of the books that I really enjoyed reading so far:

Her Own Devices--Second in a series about a young female inventor who becomes the leaders of a gang of street urchins.

Khe--A science fiction novel about two alien races--no humans involved.

All the Paths of Shadow--A fantasy novel about a king's mage who has a talking plant as her familiar. Reminds me of Patricia McKillip's work.

The Chocolatier's Wife--Fantasy, chocolate, and a sweet romance--what more can you ask for?

A People's History of the World--A thought-provoking--and at times depressing--look at history. This is the longest book I've read this year.

The Curse of Chalion--I finally discovered Bujold.

The Uncertain Places--Few books can evoke a sense of wonder in me these days, but this one did.

For what it's worth, I've already read over 14,000 pages this year.

As part of my birthday giveaway this month, my fantasy short story "Letters to Psyche" will be free on Amazon Thursday and Friday. After this week, it will be out of the Select program and coming to Smashwords and B&N, so this is the best time to get it for Kindle. Also, don't forget Lyon's Legacy is only $0.99 at Amazon and B&N through April 30. Although you can read Twinned Universes without having read Lyon's Legacy first, Lyon's Legacy does provide more background.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Blog Ring of Power: This Week's Guest Is....

Er, it's me.

I feel a little funny about hosting my own interview, so this interview will be a four-parter, not five. Here's the schedule:

Part 1 (4/23)--Dean
Part 2 (4/24)--Terri
Part 3 (4/25)--Theresa
Part 4 (4/26)--Emily

Please come along and learn more about me, my writing, and Twinned Universes! Thanks! In the meantime, please enjoy these photos from Member's Night at the Field Museum in Chicago on Friday:

 Alex makes a new--or very old--friend.

 Alex stamps his name in hieroglyphics.

 Alex and Eugene assemble an Egyptian tomb.

Behind the scenes looking at Mexican folk art.

Native American tack. All of this is for a single horse and meant to be worn at once. I don't think I got the entire table in the shot!

Alex meets a friendly snake.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Back on the Blog Chain: Growing a Thick Skin

For this round of the blog chain, Alyson wants to know how well we handle criticism:

Have you developed thick skin as a writer? How do you handle having your work critiqued? Do you love revising? Hate it?

I'm a lot better at handling criticism now than I was when I first started writing. Considering all the workshops I've attended, I've had lots of practice receiving it. That doesn't mean it's easy to handle criticism, but if it's delivered constructively, that helps. If I need to, I set the comments aside for a while and come back to them when I can look at them more objectively. I've also learned how subjective criticism can be; one person may love what another loathes. So I try to get feedback from several people and look at the comments in aggregate before I revise. I may not agree with every suggestion my crit partners and editor offer as far as changing the story, because sometimes doing so would take the story in a direction that doesn't feel right to me. However, these suggestions are still helpful because they force me to look at the underlying problems that inspired the suggestions and come up with another way to address them.

As for revising, yes, at times it can be frustrating, especially when you feel you're close to done with the story and realize you're nowhere near that point. However, as long as I feel the change is an improvement, taking the story closer to where it needs to go, then it's worth the pain of revision. I've lost track of how long I've worked on Twinned Universes and how many drafts it went through, but I feel the final product is all the better for it.

For more about thick skin and revising, visit Kate's post from yesterday, and tune in tomorrow to see what Christine has to say on this topic.

Monday, April 15, 2013

It's a Book Blurb Blitz Tour for Twinned Universes!

Today marks the official start of my Book Blurb Blitz tour for Twinned Universes. In addition to sharing the premise of Twinned Universes with everyone, there will also be excerpts from the book and possible reviews. But best of all, one randomly chosen commenter from the tour will win their choice of either a $50 Amazon gift card or the following prize pack of items related to Twinned Universes:

Two Shakespeare mugs (since the main character is an actor, and there are elements of Hamlet in the book).
A Sears Tower pendant (The hero and his friends travel to 1980 Chicago, and they stop at the tower. You can see the pendant on the cover of Lyon's Legacy.)
A book by Carl Sagan (Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space), since the spaceship Paul lives on is named after him.
A signed copy of Lyon's Legacy, the first book in the Catalyst Chronicles series.

And here is the schedule of blog stops on this tour:

4/15/2013 Book 'Em North Carolina
4/16/2013 Andi's Book Reviews
4/16/2013 SECOND STOP It's Raining Books
4/17/2013 Loose the Hounds
4/18/2013 JeanzBookReadNReview
4/19/2013 My Devotional Thoughts
4/22/2013 Out of the Lockbox
4/23/2013 Welcome to My World of Dreams
4/24/2013 Straight From the Library
4/25/2013 Long and Short Reviews
4/26/2013 Deal Sharing Aunt

I'll be stopping by each blog, so feel free to come along and comment for a chance to win!

Also, since this is the 15th, I have a post up at Scene 13 about the sweetness and shortness of spring. You can read it here. And don't forget to scroll down for this week's BRoP interview with A.W. Exley!

Blog Ring of Power: A.W. Exley

It's Tax Day, and I feel like I should be playing the Beatles' "Taxman." But I don't want to distract from our Blog Ring of Power Interview. Today I'm talking with A.W. (Anita) Exley about her current work. You can find the previous parts of her interview on these sites:

Part 1 (About You): Terri
Part 2 (The Writing Life): Theresa
Part 3 (The Creative Process): Emily

The interview concludes tomorrow on Dean's blog with Anita's words of wisdom.

Tell us about your new book—what is it about—and when it is out? Where can people purchase it?

Nefertiti's Heart was published 14 Feb 2013, by Curiosity Quills. It's a steampunk novel about a young woman who arrives in London after the death of her father, and ends up tangling with a serial killer and a sexy viscount.
It is available in e-book and paperback format, from Amazon and for your Kobo.

Is there anything new, unusual, or interesting about your book? How is it different from other books on the same subject?

I love steampunk because everyone has their own take on it and creates something different. Mine is set in 1861, a time that pre-dates Tesla (a popular steampunk inspiration). Some writers take the Victoria era and completely turn it on its head, mine is gently shaken, with a light twist. Sounds like a cocktail recipe doesn't it? lol

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

Chapter Eleven, when Cara goes sparring with Nate in an underground pit, surrounded by his men. It was an evocative scene to write and showed aspects of both their characters and highlighted the danger swirling around Nate that could overflow to Cara if she gets too close.

Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?

The electric light bulb was invented in 1835 by a Scottish inventor, that's pre-Victorian!

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in this book?

I think you could tinker with a manuscript endlessly, always finding things to tweak. I have often thought I could have gone deeper into the mind of the serial killer, but I didn't want to turn this into a crime thriller. At its heart, it's a story about Cara, and I didn't want to overshadow her with the whackadoodle chasing her :)

Tell us about your book’s cover – where did the design come from and what was the design process like?

I love my cover! I wanted something really simple. A lot of steampunk covers have a woman wearing a corset and I wanted to stay away from that. I knew in my head I wanted a hand, holding the heart. Curiosity Quills have an awesome graphic artist working for them, and I was really lucky that he nailed it and delivered exactly what I wanted.


Books and writing have always been an enormous part of Anita's life. She survived school by hiding out in the library, with several thousand fictional characters for company. At university, she overcame the boredom of studying accountancy by squeezing in Egyptology papers and learning to read hieroglyphics.

Today, Anita writes steampunk novels with a sexy edge and an Egyptian twist. She lives in rural New Zealand surrounded by an assortment of weird and wonderful equines, felines, canine and homicidal chickens.

Book blurb:

Cara Devon has always suffered curiosity and impetuousness, but tangling with a serial killer might cure that. Permanently.
London, 1861. Impoverished noble Cara has a simple mission after the strange death of her father - sell off his damned collection of priceless artifacts. Her plan goes awry when aristocratic beauties start dying of broken hearts, an eight inch long brass key hammered through their chests. A killer hunts amongst the nobility, searching for a regal beauty and an ancient Egyptian relic rumored to hold the key to immortality.
Her Majesty’s Enforcers are in pursuit of the murderer and they see a connection between the gruesome deaths and Cara. So does she, somewhere in London her father hid Nefertiti’s Heart, a fist sized diamond with strange mechanical workings. Adding further complication to her life, notorious crime lord, Viscount Nathaniel Lyons is relentless in his desire to lay his hands on Cara and the priceless artifact. If only she could figure out his motive.
Self-preservation fuels Cara's search for the gem. In a society where everyone wears a mask to hide their true intent, she needs to figure out who to trust, before she makes a fatal mistake.

Please let us know where your readers can stalk you:
Facebook page:
Goodreads author page:
Twitter: @AWExley

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Indie Life--Short Stories and Collections

If it's the second Wednesday of the month, it's time for another Indie Life discussion.

One of the great things about self-publishing and eBooks is that you can publish stories of any length. I was able to keep Lyon's Legacy at novella length instead of padding it out to a novel (although some reviewers have mentioned they wished it was longer, I feel the story says what it needs to say). Although there have always been markets for short stories in speculative fiction, I like being able to write them without worrying about finding a market for them. Short stories can also help flesh out series. My Catalyst Chronicles series has a short story between Lyon's Legacy and Twinned Universes, and I plan to write another one (though it might be a novella) set between Twinned Universes and Catalyst in the Crucible.

At some point, I plan to assemble my short stories into a collection. This will be a better value to my readers and also allow me to put them out in paper. My main concern right now is how many stories to include. I was originally planning to wait until I have thirteen stories out and put them into a single collection, but now I'm debating on putting out smaller collections. Story length will be a factor; another possibility might be doing some themed collections (for example, a collection of my SF or Catalyst Chronicles stories, another collection of stories set in my fantasy world of Challen, and another collection of miscellaneous fantasy stories.) 

If anyone else has put out a collection, how did you decide the number of short stories to include? Were they all previously published, or did you include a bonus story?

For more Indie Life, check out the links below:

Monday, April 08, 2013

Blog Ring of Power--E.B. Black

Today, I'm talking to E.B. Black about her current work. Please see the links below for the other parts of the BRoP interview:

About You: Terri
The Writing Life: Theresa
The Creative Process: Emily
Words of Wisdom (posting 4/9): Dean

Tell us about your new book and when it is out? Where can people purchase it? 

My debut novel and newest release is Medusa's Desire. It was released in November of 2012.

Is there anything new, unusual, or interesting about your book? How is it different from other books on the same subject?

It's different because it takes a character that's considered a villain and someone I'd personally be terrified of meeting in real life and humanizes her. I tried to understand what it would feel like to be a monster like Medusa and what kind of emotional trauma she'd have from turning everyone she meets into stone.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?

There's a lot of plot holes, contradictions, and different versions of the same stories in greek mythology. I wanted to stay accurate to the original stories, but it was difficult to do so in places.

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

My favorite chapter to write was the moment Medusa and Perseus first meet. It's so emotionally charged. They change each other's lives.

Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?

I learned that sometimes having an experience doesn't automatically make you good at writing about it. I've had many people that were close to me die in my life, yet I struggled to write about it when Medusa went through the same thing.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in this book?

I'd keep it the same, but maybe write something else as a debut novel. It's a very intense book.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? Medusa faces a lot of injustice throughout Medusa's Desire. It's similar to what a lot of us face in real life, but she's strong because she never gives up. I want people who are struggling and suffering in life to feel encouraged and not alone.

Tell us about your book’s cover – where did the design come from and what was the design process like?

I created the cover long before I finished writing my novel. I created it in stages. First I used photoshop to create the image of Medusa and Perseus together. I went through several different background images before I decided on the purple forest. I searched and tried out many fonts before I saw one that matched my theme. I kept tweaking it. If I had gone with my first cover design, it wouldn't have been as good.

E.B. Black lives in southern California with her family and two dogs. She spends her time daydreaming about the worlds she will thrown her characters into next and what it would be like to dress up as a necromancer for Halloween.

Medusa's Desire

When Medusa was beautiful, finding a man to love her was easy. Poseidon fought for glances from her heavy-lidded eyes against suitors who proposed whenever she left her house. Even goddesses weren't treated with such worship.

Athena grew jealous. She allowed Medusa to be violated in the Parthenon and turned her into a monster for her indiscretion.

Now when Medusa stares into the eyes of men, they scream as their skin hardens into stone. A caress against her cheek will be rewarded with the poisonous bites of the snakes that slither on her head.

No man is brave enough to approach her, until Perseus is ordered by the gods to kill her.

When they meet, desire sizzles between them. They are willing to risk it all-death, the wrath of the gods, the destruction of their families-if it means they can spend one more night together.

Author Links:

Facebook page:
Goodreads author page:

What format is your book(s) available in (print, e-book, audio book, etc.)?

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

April Sale on Lyon's Legacy

My birthday is later this month, so for my birthday treat for everyone (and to introduce readers to the Catalyst Chronicles series), I'm putting Lyon's Legacy on sale this month for $0.99 at Amazon and B&N. Here's the blurb for those new to this blog or the story:

Sometimes being a geneticist isn’t enough to understand your family....
Joanna Lyon is the great-granddaughter of the legendary TwenCen musician Sean Lyon. Joanna may have inherited some of her ancestor's musical talent, but her parents' bitter divorce and her Uncle Jack's attempts to remake her into another Sean have left her hostile toward her family and music. Her passion is for science, but since she has no access to the family funds, she struggles to earn enough credits for graduate school. Then her uncle sets up a business deal with her employer to make Joanna go on a mission for him: travel via the spaceship Sagan to an alternate TwenCen universe where Sean is still alive. Joanna must collect a DNA sample from Sean so her uncle can create a clone of him. She refuses at first, but finally agrees to go. Secretly, however, Joanna believes her uncle will exploit the clone, and she plans to sabotage the project to stop him. But when she falls in love with one of the scientists in the Sagan's genetics lab, clashes with other time travelers who fear she'll change how history develops on the alternative TwenCen Earth, and receives devastating personal news, Joanna will find herself pushed to her limit even before she comes face-to-face with her hated ancestor. Their encounter will leave her changed forever. Will she still be able to thwart her uncle's plan, and what will she have to sacrifice to do so?


Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Back on the Blog Chain: Reading Non-Fiction

It's my turn to pick the topic for this round, and it requires some deep reading:

We all know it's important to read fiction if you want to write fiction, but what about reading non-fiction? How much non-fiction do you read? What kinds of non-fiction books do you read, and why? Has reading non-fiction influenced your fiction writing style?

As always, I come between Kate and Christine in the blog chain.

So far, I've read 45 books this year. Of these, eleven are non-fiction, so 24% of my reading this year has been non-fiction. I'm currently in the middle of three books, one fantasy, one a non-fiction book on writing, and one about Native Americans (research for a story). This is actually a lot of non-fiction for me; last year, I read 34 non-fiction books out of 174, or 19% of my total reading. I typically aim for one or two non-fiction books a month. I suppose the proportion of non-fiction reading would go up if you include news articles, blog posts, and issues of Scientific American.

As for types of non-fiction I read, they include books on writing/self-publishing/marketing, science, history, parenting, and what I'll call home economics (cookbooks, cleaning/organizing tips, or other practical advice books). I mostly read non-fiction to learn. Sometimes I'm looking for something specific--perhaps to research something for a writing project--but other times I'm just absorbing tidbits of knowledge to use later for world-building. Reading history gives me ideas on how to construct societies in my worlds. Some of the non-fiction applies more to my personal life, such as books on parenting.

Has reading non-fiction influenced my writing style? Well, I could point to my unholy love of semicolons and complex sentences as an example. That aside, I do try to keep my fiction style easy to read while respecting my readers' intelligence. By "easy to read," I try keep my writing as clear as possible to avoid misunderstandings that might take the reader out of the story. That's probably an influence of my technical writing training.

How about you? Do you read non-fiction, and if so, what types of books do you read? I'd love to see some people answer this question in the comments.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Blog Ring of Power--Sarah Jane Drum

Welcome to April, and good luck to everyone participating in the Blog A-Z Challenge! I already have several other blogging activities going on, so I won't be joining the fun.

This round of the Blog Ring of Power we're interviewing Sarah Jane Drum, paranormal romance and fantasy author. Please see the links below for the other parts of the interview:

About You: Terri
The Writing Life: Theresa
The Creative Process: Emily
Words of Wisdom (posting tomorrow): Dean

We'll be learning about her current work today.

Tell us about your new book—what is it about—and when it is out? Where can people purchase it?

My newest release is Caged in Myth, written under the name J.T. Fairfield.

Blurb: The Bayou Zoo, where magic is real, the beasts are deadly, and a bad day at work can literally mean the end of the world.

Octavian Julius McKellter— “Jay” to everyone who doesn’t want a punch in the face— struggles with keeping the secrets of his supernatural community and his own secret...he's gay. Throw in a dose of danger, deceit, and Louisiana heat, and you'll find yourself CAGED IN MYTH.

Is there anything new, unusual, or interesting about your book? How is it different from other books on the same subject?

Caged in Myth is told from a first-person POV by a male main character. The Urban Fantasy genre is dominated by female leads and, if the lead is male, it’s rarely told in first-person. Also, there’s the tiny fact that my main character is gay.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?

The hardest part is keeping all of the creatures, species, and supernatural beings straight in my mind. There are so many different myths in play from various cultures, I keep a ton of notes so I can remember what characteristics and abilities I’ve assigned each animal and person. Keeping the count and placement of the magical creatures inside area five is also tricky. I had to draw a map for myself and post it up on the wall behind my computer. I wouldn’t want Jay to be eaten because I can’t remember where the Gryphon enclosure is located! 

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why? 

Any section involving the ambience of southern Louisiana. When I lived there, I loved the sweet scent which always lingered in the wet, heavy air and the sounds of the critters and creatures in the dark.  

Former zookeeper turned author S.J. Drum writes Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance Novels, each with a bit of Steampunk flair. She also writes an erotic series with tattooed heroes, first-in-series is SINFUL SOUTHERN INK (Ellora's Cave 7-6-12).

S.J. Drum also writes LGBT Upper YA Dark Urban Fantasy under the pen name J.T. Fairfield. The first book in the Bayou Zoo series was released on 10/22/12, CAGED IN MYTH.

When she's not changing diapers or writing, she enjoys scuba diving and has been known to make an elephant do a headstand.

You can find S.J. Drum on Twitter, at,, and Facebook at

Caged in Myth by J.T. Fairfield
$0.99 on Amazon


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