Monday, August 31, 2015

Christopher Mannino, Sword of Deaths

AUTHOR: Christopher Mannino
BOOK TITLE:  Sword of Deaths (The Scythe Wielder’s Secret: Book Two)
GENRE: YA Fantasy

Please tell us about yourself. 
            I am a high school theatre teacher, who primarily writes in the summers. I’m lucky enough to pursue all of my greatest passions: theatre, writing, and teaching, at a professional level.  I grew up in rural Massachusetts, and now live with my wife outside of Washington, DC. The Scythe Wielder’s Secret is my first published series, and was largely inspired by my graduate work at Oxford. In the future, I plan to branch into other genres, and have already started the novel which will come after this series is completed.

Please tell us your latest news.
            Sword of Deaths releases at the end of August in both print and eBook. This is the second novel in The Scythe Wielder’s Secret, which is a trilogy. I am roughly half-way through the final novel, which I hope will release sometime next year. 
            I am also thrilled to announce original artworks inspired by the books are now on sale on my website, and at conventions I attend. My cousin, Jennifer Eldreth, loved the books, and has started created wonderful pieces based on them. I’ve taken the art and turned them into matted prints. 

Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?
            (Laughs and rolls eyes). This is honestly a terrible challenge for me. I write part-time, and teach a lot. As the theatre teacher of a school with a massive theatre program, I’m usually the first teacher to arrive in the morning, and the last one to leave, late at night. A typical school day, including after-school rehearsals, is twelve hours long. My principal once asked when I find to write, and I replied (only half-jokingly) that I don’t sleep. My largest blocks of writing time occur during summer vacations, when not teaching part-time at a local children’s theatre. However, even during the school year, I find time every week to get some words down, and need to continuously juggle time for marketing and promotion.

When and why did you begin writing?
            My first serious attempt at writing started in 1998. I was a freshman in college, and decided to write a fantasy novel. I’d been an avid reader for as long as I can remember, and a dreamer for even longer than that. I had stories I really wanted to share, images and characters I just wanted to explore in a written setting.  It took me ten years to write my first novel, which I eventually shelved. It remains unpublished, but gave me a lot of the drive to write in future years. Later, when I started School of Deaths, I remembered some of the imagery from that first attempt, and it helped me write.

What inspired you to write your first book?
            In 2011, I finished my graduate degree with a semester abroad at Oxford. One of my personal goals was at least once a week, to journey somewhere I’d never been before. I’d visited England several times before that trip, so constantly wanted to see new things.
            On one such excursion, I became stranded in Tintagel, the supposed birthplace of King Arthur. Tintagel is an ancient castle ruin on the coast of Cornwall. It is a beautiful place, one I’d wanted to visit. When I arrived, I discovered the tourist office had closed (for budget cuts), and couldn’t find a hostel or hotel. I went pub to pub asking if I could stay the night. I hadn’t plan for it to be a multiple-day trip, but found only a bus a day traveled from Exeter, and I had no car.
            I visited the castle my first day, after finding a pub right near the historic sight. I slept very little over the noisy bar, and the next morning departed before dawn. I crawled out onto Barras Nose, a long promontory with no paths or railings. It was dark, and the winds were howling at about 40 miles per hour, and I often had to drop to a crawl to avoid getting blown right into the sea. I watched the sun rise from those cliffs, listening to the crash of the waves beneath me. I felt utterly alone, attacked from every direction by fierce winds. I imagined a character being completely isolated, attacked from every direction, and yet feeling happy. That is how Susan and the story of The Scythe Wielder’s Secret first came into being.

What are your thoughts about promotion?
            Every time I advanced in the publishing world I thought the current phase was the hardest. Drafting was the hardest, until I finished, and then editing was hard. Well, nothing in publishing is harder than marketing. The publishing industry today has fewer bookstores than ever, overall lower numbers of readers, and yet 2000 books published each week, mostly by self-published authors. The field is completely flooded with books, and getting attention is a constant struggle. 
            My biggest pushes recently have been through live events, such as conventions, and I will continue to market that way as well as other avenues. I have a yearly marketing plan, which I follow. I am active on social media, have used many paid marketing options, and will continue to keep researching marketing techniques. My biggest frustration with marketing is the amount of time it takes, which is time away from writing.

What was the toughest criticism given to you? What was the biggest compliment? Did those change how or what you did in your next novel?
            One of the critics of School of Deaths complained that for a fantasy novel, the main characters all had boring names, while many of the older characters had more interesting ones. My three main characters are Susan, Will, and Frank. I hadn’t even thought about it, and none of my editors or beta readers had mentioned this detail, but I found myself agreeing with the critic. In Sword of Deaths I added a section explaining how older Deaths select a name. It’s a minor detail that doesn’t change the series much, but was in response to criticism.
            The biggest compliment I got from the novel was at AwesomeCon, a convention I attend selling books. The convention was three days, and on the final day a woman came to my booth with a broad smile. She’d bought my book the day before and had spent all night reading it, and then came the next day with a ton of questions about what to expect in the second book. I didn’t answer most of her questions, not wanting to give spoilers, but it was still a great compliment.

Do you ever have writer’s block? If so, how do you get through it?
            I think writer’s block is an illusion. There are times when I’m unfocused, or find it difficult to write. There are times when I don’t know what will happen next. The solution is to simply keep writing. In the absolute worst cases, I’ll write three pages of “I don’t know what to write” before I go back and start re-writing that filler. Turn the internet off, take a walk, listen to inspiring music (Pandora’s “Film Scores” station is a particular favorite), and then just keep writing.

What do you plan for the future?
            Sometime next year, I will release Daughter of Deaths, the final novel in The Scythe Wielder’s Secret. I have grown drastically as an author with each novel I write, and definitely feel that Daughter of Deaths is the strongest thing I’ve ever written thus far. I am immensely proud of how the series concludes.
            Following this series, I plan to write an adult science-fiction thriller, an adult high fantasy novel, and several pieces of historical fiction.  

How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc.?

Tell us about the current book you’re promoting.
            Sword of Deaths is the second novel in The Scythe Wielder’s Secret trilogy. The story continues to explore the World of Deaths, exploring why Susan Sarnio is the first female Death in a world with only men.
            In the second novel, the arc moves to a higher fantasy feel, with more epic situations. At conventions, I’ve told potential readers that the trilogy starts with a Harry Potter “light fantasy” feel, but ends with a more Lord of the Rings “high fantasy” conclusion.
            The back story in the novel is developed much more thoroughly, relating events from two very different time periods. The characters also deepen a great deal. School of Deaths is told from a single Point of View (POV). The second and third novel both use three POVs, which was really fun and really difficult to write. One of the three POVs is non-human, which proved specifically challenging.
            Unlike the first novel, which I wanted to stand alone with the possibility of a series (all of the seeds for the series as a whole are laid in the first book), this novel was written knowing there’d be another after it. In some ways that greatly affected the pacing of the story, and left a lot of room open for how the series would emerge.

What is your experience working or being around children or teens?
            I spend more time with teens than I do with other adults. I teach high school theatre, including six classes and a massive after school program. I interact with roughly 400 students a year, encouraging them and watching them grow and become more mature. I teach part-time over the summers, working with middle schoolers. 

Do you outline before you write?  If not, what’s your initial process?
            Somewhat. Once I received a contract for School of Deaths I immediately revisited my plan for The Scythe Wielder’s Secret. I had some specific ideas in mind, especially around the series’ conclusion and climax, which have not changed at all. 
            For any novel, I generally start with a handwritten (pencil and paper) description of where the story’s going, along with some specific images. I am an image-driven writer. In other words, I might picture something very strongly, but not know how it fits in.           
            Writing a trilogy has its own challenges. I outlined a lot more for Sword of Deaths than I had before, and even more than that for the final novel Daughter of Deaths. My outline changed as I wrote, but I did have a rough idea of where I was going.

What comes first: the plot or characters?
            In my series, the plot definitely came first. The best example is from the first book. In the earliest chapters of the first draft, the protagonist was a boy. I took many of my own experiences and used that to model the story. As I wrote, I wanted to increase their isolation, and ended up changing the concept so she was not only a girl, but the only girl in a world of men.

Which characters were the hardest to develop and why?
            The trickiest character was the eponymous Sword of Deaths, or Grym. Grym is a central figure to the trilogy as a whole, but he’s ancient (over a million years old), and is basically a soul trapped in an ancient scythe. He’s an extremely dark character, at times some of his moments felt more like horror than fantasy. While the first book has dark overtones, this novel definitely moved in a darker direction, and that was challenging.            

What, if anything, bugs you when you read a novel?
            POV inconsistencies really bother me. One of the worst books I read in the past couple of years was JK Rowling’s first adult novel The Casual Vacancy. She’d jump POVs multiple times in a single paragraph, and I just found the entire thing very poorly written.
            Another thing I really hate is not identifying with any characters. Whether in books or in film, if I can’t relate to someone, and cheer them on, I stop reading or watching.

What seven words would you use to describe yourself?

            creative, adventurous, imaginative, passionate, dedicated, artistic, kind  


The Death laughed. He waved his scythe and the world behind her
vanished. Two immense eyes rose behind him, surrounded by leathery
skin. She heard the beating of wings.

“You are weak,” said the Death. “You’re nothing at all,
Suzie. Just a girl.” He laughed again.

“Leave me alone,” shouted Suzie. She walked forward but
stopped as a sharp, shooting pain coursed through her.

“So weak, so worthless.”

“Go away! Leave me alone!”

The man, the strange eyes, and the entire world in front
of her shattered, splitting into fragments of glass. The glass flew
toward her, burying itself in her skin. So much pain.

She looked down. The glass was gone. Markings covered her
hands. The marks crawled upwards, moving onto her neck: strangling

Suzie gasped for air, struggling to breathe. Something
clawed at her throat, pulling her down, ripping her apart.

She exploded into a burst of light.

Monday, August 24, 2015

PJ Lamphear , Eme: The Protocol

AUTHOR: PJ Lamphear  
GENRE: Soft Science Fiction…more techno fiction, although that’s not a known genre…YET!
PUBLISHER: Create Space

1.     Please tell us about yourself.

I am the author of a soft science fiction series (Eme), a screenplay (Beneath Shamaroon), the developer of several classroom programs: Messy Math, a program that had my 2nd graders off their fingers and through division facts, in ten minutes a day, by the end of the term; It Takes a Village to Teach a Child, or how I survived in a capitalist classroom; and Spelling by the Numbers, a systematic approach to spelling.

Besides my writing hobby, I spend time volunteering at school and church, and am slowly immersing myself in the exhausting world of Social Networking. (Actually, a friend threw me in head first, and I’m slowly drowning.)

I am the proud mother of four beautiful and wildly successful adults and grandmother to seven adorable and brilliant children. A native Californian, I was raised in the gorgeous Napa Valley, graduating with the Napa High Class of '61. After four years of education and art classes at Chico State, I received my BA and teaching credential and was hired as a classroom teacher in the Fairfield/Suisun Unified School District where I taught for over thirty years. After retiring in 1999, the stock market retired our retirement account, so my husband and I returned to my former school and taught fourth grade for another three years, next door to one another. We had a great time; he was commander of Seabee City, and I was head fowl in Ducky Village—we were the birds and bees of Suisun Elementary.

When we re-retired, my husband, two dogs, and I finally escaped the summer heat of the Central Valley to bask in the fog and rain of the Oregon Coast. Great writing weather! Throw in a view of the ocean, and…well, it’s almost perfect—I just need to convince my family to escape California and join us!

My Motto: Writing, like Life, is a road trip, best experienced at full throttle, shifting gears before steep hills and sharp turns, braking only at The End.

2.     Please tell us your latest news.

Eme: the Protocol was published by Create Space in 2013. I recently finished Eme: Swiss Family Fugitives which I will publish as soon as I finish Eme: And Now it’s Tomorrow—I don’t want to box myself in, just in case my Muse, Hijack, leads me astray of what I’ve already written in Book 2. Seriously, Eme is nothing like I originally imagined; Hijack commandeered my keyboard, and I just sat back and enjoyed the ride! When she’s not onboard, I’m dead in the water.

3.     Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?

I’m a part-time writer and full-time procrastinator. Setting a word-count goal worked for a while, but I think I’m too rebellious; I hate schedules now that I’m retired. In a way, I wish I had a collaborator who could keep me on track.

4.     When and why did you begin writing? And what inspired you to write your first book.

The year before I retired from Ducky Village, the name of my capitalist classroom, I looped my entire second grade class to third grade. We hit the ground, running; they knew me, I knew them, and, since we were already authors (we collaborated on two fairytales the previous year), I taught them how to write news stories. We produced a classroom newsletter: Duck Tales from The Village which we entered into a contest sponsored by Kellogg and Scholastic. Since we were really into investing in the stock market with our Ducky Bucks, the prize of a class trip to NY City, and the New York Stock Exchange, was enticing. (No, all we won were Kellogg’s cereal bowls.) Anyway, our resident artist, Tony Nguyen, suggested we add a comic strip to the newsletter. Since it was 1999, and Y2K was the buzz, the kids came up with this cartoon: A duck is sitting at the computer at one minute to the new millennium, as depicted with a clock and calendar over the computer. Another duck is standing in the doorway, asking, “Aren’t you afraid to be working on the computer? Look at the time!” Computer duck asks, “What could possible happen?” Last frame of the cartoon shows his little duck butt disappearing through the computer monitor.

I then asked the kids if they would like to travel by e-mail, and we spent a few minutes speculating about how that might be possible. The name, E-me, popped into my head and wouldn’t leave me alone; however, it took me ten years to actually sit down and write the story—a story that was nothing like I imagined for all those years; it was hijacked by my Muse. Instead of computer genius Eme and her teenage friends finding CIA agents emailing themselves in the basement of an abandoned neighborhood house, Hijack decided that Eme was the daughter of famous movie stars.

Seriously, I have no other explanation for how this story unfolded the way it did, except to say that it was hijacked! Now, the set-up for the story:

Because Eme’s twin sister was lost during the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center, her parents keep Eme shielded from the paparazzi and other unknown entities. To escape her “prison,” her great-grandmother helps Eme concoct a wild scheme that eventually finds Eme Venture on a plane bound for a renowned Swiss Technical Summer School.

Because a message from the future prompts the designer of an e-mail protocol to rename his program, Venture: Eme, Eme is kidnapped by two Rogue CIA agents. Gunter Dexter and his partner had the computer programmer under surveillance for many years, waiting for him to complete this program which digitizes solid objects, allowing them to pass through a hologram port of the computer and travel as emails. When Gun learns that Eme Venture is on the plane bound for Switzerland, he panics, orders the plane down in Bermuda during a hurricane, and takes her prisoner. Murder and mayhem ensue when the teens rescue Eme and the Venture: Eme designer through the protocol. They race through cyberspace to keep the programmer and his protocol out of the hands of terrorists and world governments, while they try to determine what happened in the future to end the world and how to keep the same thing from happening again.

5.     What do you do when you’re not writing/editing or thinking about writing/editing?

I’m an incurable Potterhead! My students talked me into featuring The Sorcerer’s Stone in our Literature Circle, and I was hooked.

After I retired and reread all the HP books for the fourth time, I discovered fan fiction. My all-time favorite HP fan fiction story is “Nightmares of Futures Past” by Matthew Shocke. Since it takes him so long to update, I have fun rereading it while I do my own personal editing—you can take the teacher out of the classroom, but you’ll never pry the red pen from her cold, dead hand! I thought about writing my own HP fan fiction; however, Eme is always in the back of my mind.

5.     What are your thoughts about promotion?

After I win the lottery, I will promote Eme. Until that happens, it will languish on Amazon. Actually, I have been doing some promoting on social media, to little avail.

    6. What was the toughest criticism given to you? What was the biggest compliment?

Toughest review was 3 stars… “There’s no sex...”
Greatest compliment was 5 stars… “As a fan of dystopian fiction, I try many new authors. I can honestly say this book is one of the best, if not the best start of a series I have read in a long time.”

7.     Did those change how or what you did in your next novel?

Yes, I added a fairly steamy scene to book 2—two of the parents of one of my teenage protagonists get stuck in a traffic jam during a hurricane, and... Well, my husband thought I went overboard with the sex in a YA novel, so I cut it! Darn, it was good, too! J

8.     Do you ever have writer’s block? If so, how do you get through it?

Oh, yes, I certainly do get writer’s block. When Hijack escapes to her favorite bar in the Outback, I am scre…er, sunk! I find this especially true when I’m in edit-mode. Since creative writing takes right brain engagement, and editing is a more analytical, left brain task, I suppose it makes sense…at least for me. Since I have trouble focusing, I have a routine that works fairly well. When I was a kid, I set my alarm for 4 a.m. to get my homework done…any distraction kept me from focusing. Now, with noise-canceling headsets, I plug them in, turn on my Brain Wave Generator program, set it to “Creative Increase,” turn on my “Focus for Clarity” program by Mozart, and let Hijack take me away.

9.     Who is your publisher and how did you connect with them?

I gave up trying to find an agent, and I uploaded everything to Create Space. I will probably do the same with the rest of the series.

10.  What do you hope your readers will take away from this book?

I hope that readers will enjoy the ride through cyberspace with the teens and their families. Reading about the resourcefulness of the teens as they triumph over evil while having fun saving the world from destruction is inspirational. Even though the readers would never find themselves in this exact situation, the underlying theme of perseverance and friendship may be encouraging if they are ever faced with adversity.

11.  What was the process of creating this book from the first idea to the final published book?

This isn’t true for everyone, but it is for me, an unfocused/ADD writer. A friend once chided me for editing while I write, and he was right. As I said before, if you’re writer, your right brain should stay fully engaged, and if you switch into edit mode, it can take you from the right side of your brain to the left side, consequently quelling the creative drive. An outline can do much the same. So, I let the creative juices lead the way. Once the rough draft is complete, it’s time for me to fill in the holes and tighten up the prose.

12. What was the hardest part of writing your book?

The hardest part of writing Eme was making up my mind that the creative process is not a Dementor. Once I sat down and started typing, my muse did the rest. Seriously, the writer’s subconscious is the best creator—give it a go and have fun.

13. Do you outline before you write?  If not, what’s your initial process?
What comes first: the plot or characters?

In this case, the character and the plot were simultaneous. What if you could travel by email? Eme. They went together like mac and cheese!

14. Which characters were the hardest to develop and why?

Rafe was difficult. I fashioned him after a computer hacker by the name of Damien Spinelli on General Hospital…my favorite soap opera. His hacker name was The Jackal, and he loved quoting Shakespeare and speaking in the third person. I made Rafe a bit more roguish and romantic, but just as ingenious. Since I’m neither a computer nor a Shakespearean expert, I had to put in many hours of research to pull off a believable story.

15. How did you decide how your characters should look?

I loved Ginny Weasley, in the HP series and just had to make Eme a redhead. Rafe needed to look like Romeo with long wavy black hair and blue eyes. No looks like my first boyfriend…tall, blond, athletic, and sarcastic.  Kala, who is part Aboriginal, had to come from Australia. She is blonde, amber-skinned, heavy-set, and has a photographic memory. There is a lot more to Kala’s family history that will be revealed in the third book.

16. Do you have any tips for writers who are new to children’s literature?

My best advice to future children’s writers is to first remember why they liked their favorite childhood books. Was it the characters? The plot? The setting? Borrow some of the elements and come up with a wild idea that starts out: “What if a boy/girl/antelope/mosquito/robot, etc. wanted to…” Once they have the basic plan, they should sit down at the computer, and let Hijack do the rest!

1.     What do you do when you’re not writing?


2.     What do you look for in a book when you sit down to read for fun?

I want something to take me to a place I’ve never been to before. That’s what drew me to Harry Potter. The idea of attending a boarding school has always intrigued me. Too bad they aren’t mandatory here in the US; it would take kids out of their safe or not-so-safe environments. All kids would be on an even keel in a new environment. I also have a curriculum in mind: Along with the basic educational requirements, the kids would learn physical training, personal economics, household skills, auto mechanics, a hobby, child rearing, sensitivity training, pet care and training, and the importance of community volunteer work. It would never happen here—too costly. But think of the problems that could be solved!

3.     What, if anything, bugs you when you read a novel?

The indiscriminate use of the past perfect tense really bothers me; also, authors of series who take 17 books to tell a three-book story. That’s not an exaggeration either…I just finished such a series.

4.     What book are you currently reading? What do you like or not like about it?

I’m not in reading-mode at the moment; I’m still reeling from the last series mentioned above.

5.     What books have most influenced your life?

I read The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand when I was in the eighth grade and decided I wanted to be an architect. I signed up for a drafting class in ninth grade. Since I was the only girl, I really believed I was on to something. Then, when I told my counselor what college major I was set on, he looked at my math and art grades and told me that I’d build beautiful buildings, but they’d all fall down. So, I majored in elementary education. My father was furious. His comment: Them that can, do; them that can’t, teach. Thankfully, I didn’t listen to him; I really enjoyed all of the years I spent teaching children.

6.     What seven words would you use to describe yourself?

Pam is: personable, patient, patriotic, polite, passionate, playful, and a procrastinator.

7.     Describe your writing space.

I love my new office that overlooks the Pacific Ocean...especially on stormy days, as long as the power doesn’t fail.

8.     What has been your favorite part of being an author? What has been your least favorite?

My characters are like my imaginary family. Their lives are in my hands, and their happiness or misery depends on my mood. That’s a weird feeling. But it’s also very satisfying to deliver them safely to the last page. Also, it’s true what they say: Never anger an author; a writer will name a character after you then immortalize you by killing that character gruesomely, lingeringly, before millions of readers. (It's very satisfying.)

My least favorite part of being an author is my undisciplined writing habits. When I set a schedule or a word-count goal, I’m pretty good at looking for an activity or chore that interferes with that schedule. Maybe I haven’t outgrown my rebellious teen years.

9.     What was your most embarrassing moment as an author?

I think I’m the only author who has misspelled her granddaughter’s name…seven times. Her name is Shae and I spelled it Shea. My daughter wasn’t amused when she read my rough draft.

Thanks, Penny, for interviewing me. Putting all the answers to your questions on paper was very enlightening (for me) and very cathartic!

Most of us receive and send emails every day; however, have you ever wondered: what if it were possible to send and receive solid objects by email? Would your spam filter stop unwanted cyber-terrorists, cyber-bombs

Monday, August 17, 2015

Charles Suddeth, Experiment 38

AUTHOR: Charles Suddeth
BOOK TITLE: Experiment 38
GENRE: New Adult (YA) thriller
PUBLISHER: 4RV Publishing

Please tell us your latest news: 
My mystery, Eighth Mask, Library Tales Publishing, will be released June 12, 2015.

Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time? 
I write full-time and write/edit daily, editing as I go.

When and why did you begin writing? 
I started writing when I was 11. I was always interested in stories, even when I listened to music I wanted music with stories.

What inspired you to write your first book? 
Halloween Kentucky Style, my first published book, has some childhood experiences woven together to make an adventure story about a group of fictional characters in Halloween 1959.

What do you do when you’re not writing/editing or thinking about writing/editing?
Not even thinking about writing? I am widowed, so I date. I still like music that tells a story.

What are your thoughts about promotion? 
Hard question. Online social media. Develop relationship with bookstores and writer’s groups. Trailers are good, if you know how, but I don’t.

Do you ever have writer’s block? If so, how do you get through it? 
I seldom suffer from writer’s block, but I have two cures: First, I go hiking in Tom Sawyer State Park, a quarter-mile from house. Second, I meditate, which I usually do if the story bogs down.

Did you learn anything from writing your book, and what was it? 
I always learn from writing books. I live in Louisville, but my book takes place in North Carolina. Although I’ve visited the state many times, I used Google images, examined maps, and talked to North Carolina natives.

Who is your publisher and how did you connect with them? 
4RV Publishing. Found their name on Children’s Book Insider.

What is your marketing plan? 
I have a marketing plan tailored for each book, because I write in varying genres and for age groups from picture book to adult.

What are your current projects? Dream Flyer, a New Adult sci fi/thriller. A college senior is kidnapped and given drugs that make him dream of the past, because people are searching for Tesla’s Lost Papers.

How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc.?
Twitter: @CharlesSuddeth
Any other news you’d like to share?
I signed a publishing contract for my mystery, Eighth Mask, with Library Tales Publishing. The contract includes print, eBooks, digital media, and movie rights. To be released June 12, 2015

Tell us about the current book you’re promoting.
4RV Publishing, New Adult (older YA), paperback

Eighteen-year-old Emily, small for her age, lives alone with her scientist-father and learns too late that he holds a terrible secret, one that might destroy her life.

As she and her boyfriend, Nate, try to unravel the mystery behind her father’s secret, they face danger and uncertainty.

What gave you the idea for this particular book?
I have always been interested in genetics, and I like to find situations one else has used. My late wife went to Duke and we visited the Durham area, so I set my story there.

Why did you choose to write a children’s book? 
I write anything from picture books to adult mysteries. I let the story find its genre and its audience.

Do you outline before you write?  If not, what’s your initial process? 
I don’t outline, but I do need a beginning and an end. Then I do a grid/table to keep track of chapters, time, characters, location, and plot twists.

What comes first: the plot or characters? 
The initial idea comes first, but I didn’t outline, so the plot and characters developed together.

Which characters were the hardest to develop and why? 
Emily’s father was difficult to develop because he had to be a mixture of secretive, weak, but aggressive with her. Then he had to change, but not letting the reader know if the change was for the better or worse until the last minute. And the antagonists are always hard, because I am always tempted to make them evil instead of multi-dimensional.

What do you do when you’re not writing? 
I’m a widower. I date!

What, if anything, bugs you when you read a novel? 
People who don’t get science/historical facts right. People who use modern words like Epicenter in a 19th century context.

Describe your writing space. I write everywhere: kitchen, Tom Sawyer State Park, mall, coffees shops, even my car.

Experiment 38

Experiment 38 (young adult thriller, 4RV Publishing, paperback)

Eighteen-year-old Emily lives with her scientist-father and knows nothing about her mother. When Emily dates Nate, two men in a Lincoln Navigator follow them. After Nate discovers her mother’s identity, the two men kidnap Emily, but her father doesn’t try to save her. When Nate’s rescue fails, she tries to escape on her own.

Her father holds a secret about her past. Are the two men working for him? Will Nate rescue her? Why do the two men want her? Can she escape and have a normal life?

ISBN: 78-1-940310-02-2

Monday, August 10, 2015

Jason L. Bradshaw, Beneath Creek Waters

AUTHOR: Jason L. Bradshaw
BOOK TITLE: Beneath Creek Waters
GENRE: New Adult Fiction, Action/Adventure
PUBLISHER: Mystic Harbor Press

What inspired you to write your first book?
I had the concept of the storyline back in 2009, I had toyed with the idea of turning it into a novel until a good friend of mine finally inspired me to take the next step and just jump right into it. I had written small pieces before but didn’t think I was ready to take on a full length novel. After doing quite a bit of research (hours upon hours!) I just started typing, and the rest is history, I never realized how much I would enjoy putting the stories together and developing characters.

What do you do when you’re not writing/editing or thinking about writing/editing?
I am a husband and a father of two crazy boys, so the family life keeps me pretty busy, we all enjoy getting out and exploring new things together, riding mountain bikes and going to the coast whenever possible. I love the outdoors and anything that comes with getting out there and exploring is what I enjoy; I am an avid SCUBA diver and surfer; I also ride my mountain bike on new trails when I get the chance. I will typically carry the book I’m reading in tow, as well!

Who is your publisher and how did you connect with them?
My publisher is Mystic Harbor Press; they have been an outstanding group of people to get the chance to work with. They continue to push to get the books out there and really work hard from every angle of the business; they have come to be like part of my family. We met through a mutual friend in Houston Texas. I had already self-published my book back in 2009, but after signing with Mystic Harbor we did an abridged version of the novel and the rest is history. I could not be any happier with the outcome so far.

How can we find you?:
You can find me at the following links.
I always enjoy any posts and will personally reach out to those who ask questions or comments. Upcoming news on signings and events are usually shared on all of the social media outlets. Stop in and say hi.

What are your current projects?
I recently turned in my second book of the series titled “Beneath Gulf Waters,” and now I am going to take off a few weeks to read a book, or two, that I have wanted to tackle; then I’ll switch back over to completing up a few smaller technical projects before working on some larger projects that I will begin in May.  I have also completed two action/adventure screenplays with a fellow writer and friend Todd Rodgers.

What are your plans for the future?
To keep writing for sure, I have multiple ides for new books but I am about 80% complete with the first book of a new series titled “The Hobbyist”. Once I finish The Hobbyist, I will be collaborating with another writer on a new untitled screenplay, and from there I will be rolling on another novel “White Shores” that I have outlined. I hope to do many more signings and meet a lot of readers along the way.  I have enough slated to keep me pretty busy for a while!

What genre do you write and why?
I am a huge action/adventure buff, so it really comes down to what I enjoy, what I know and feel most comfortable with. I like a lot of fast paced action, so I try to bring that out in my writing.

Tell us about the current book you are promoting:
The current book I am promotion is titled “Beneath Creek Waters.” It follows two young,  up and coming treasure hunters through Southeast Texas in their search to locate a famous, yet scant, Texas “S”coin treasure. The book flashes between current times and the mid 1800’s. Here is the blurb: In 1845, 200 gold coins were minted to commemorate Texas’ entry into the United States. Slated to be given to all major players that helped Texas into the Union, the coins were loaded onto a wagon on rainy night near Dallas, Texas and never seen again.  Over a century later, traces of the coins resurface, after a couple of local kids stumble upon what appeared to be one, in a Southeast Texas creek. News of the find reach Parks Leslie and Stan Atcher, both treasure hunters and historians—always looking for their next big find, and long-time seekers of these coins. Parks and Stan's interest proves to be an unexpected journey, tangled with blood history ties, new friendships and near-death experiences, calling for sacrifices no one could have predicted.

Did your book require a lot of research, If so what kind?
Yes, the book has chapters that play out in the 1800’s so dialog and settings for those chapters had to be researched. I researched information about weapons, history, SCUBA diving and locations in the areas where the story took place. I also visited with the Montgomery County Historical Society at a few local sites to get some background on the area and get some additional inspiration.

What are your current books out right now and books coming up for release?
Beneath Creek Waters is currently available in stores and online. The second installment of the series “Beneath Gulf Waters” is currently in the hands of my editor, and may be ready for release at the end of this year.

What advice would you give a new writer starting out?
Get started and jump in with both feet, don’t dabble in it, get yourself a good outline and get rolling. You may be surprised of what you’re capable of. If you get stuck, talk to friends about your story and ideas, talk to other authors on the net if you don’t have direct access to them. Most will always give you some input or ideas. If you want to write a book then do it, you can. Oh yeah,  and during the writing stage work on thickening up your skin a bit, the publishing world can be a bit tough at times, not to mention critical, but use it to your advantage on how to only get better in the future!

Describe your writing space.
For the most part it’s tucked away behind my desk in my office. I am really on the go, so I don’t always get the luxury to sit and write there. I take my tablet and laptop everywhere I go, thus my space may range from an airplane, a hammock, in my vehicle or wherever I find myself. Often I get ideas when I am out so I turn all of my spaces into writing spaces!

What seven words would you use to describe yourself?

On what day—and only seven?—Kidding, here are the first that come to mind. Outgoing, active, caring, fun, loving, creative and optimistic.

In 1845, 200 gold coins were minted to commemorate Texas’ entry into the United States. Slated to be given to all major players that helped Texas into the Union, the coins were loaded onto a wagon on a rainy night, near Dallas, Texas and never seen again. Over a century later, traces of the coins resurface, after a couple of kids stumble upon what appeared to be one, in a Southeast Texas creek. News of the find reach Parks Leslie and Stan Atcher, treasure hunters and historians, always looking for their next big find, and long-time seekers of these coins. Parks and Stan's interest proves to be an unexpected journey, tangled with blood history ties, new friendships and near-death experiences, calling for sacrifices no one could have predicted.