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MuseItUp Author Interview: Margay Leah Justice


Today’s interview is with Margay Roberge, author of Sloane Wolf, a book published by MuseItUp.

1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your book, Sloane Wolf?

Certainly, I am the author of two published books and I live in Massachusetts with my two daughters and our two frisky felines. Sloane Wolf is my second published book and it tells the story of Shiloh Beck, an empath on the run from a nefarious organization, and Micah Sloane, a wolf shifter bound by honor to keep his family’s legend a secret.But when they meet, they soon discover that their lives are bound in ways they couldn’t imagine and they must work together to keep everyone safe from the men of the Institute.

2. When did you know that you wanted to write as more than a hobby?

I have been writing since I knew how to hold a crayon/pencil/pen in my hand, so I don’t think I ever considered it just a hobby. It was always something I did with diligence. At first, it was just for me – and then for my family and close friends who kept begging me to read what I wrote! But I think I was in my mid-teens when I started to think this was what I really wanted to do for a living, but I was so unsure of myself at that time that I didn’t gain the confidence to actively pursue the dream until years later.

3. Who are some of the authors that inspired you to start writing?

As I said, I started writing around the same time I started reading, so I wasn’t inspired by a certain writer to do it myself. I was, however, inspired by writers along the way to keep pursuing it. Whenever I read Jane Austen, Julia Quinn, Marilyn Brant, or Stephenie Meyer, I really get a burst of creative spirit and off I go again!

4. What inspired your book, Sloane Wolf?

There was a contest being held awhile back with the theme of (were)wolves, so I decided to try to enter it because I’d been kicking around this idea for a story ever since I was inspired by a movie I’d seen with this as a sub-theme.At first, it was just a little nugget – a scene or two that kept popping into my head when I was trying to fall asleep at night – but when I saw the call for the contest, I decided to run with it and flesh it out. Unfortunately, I fleshed it out too much for the contest (which was for a novella) and rather than cut my story down to fit the requirements, I went in a different direction as far as publication goes.

5. What is the hardest part of the writing process for you, and how do you make it easier for yourself?

The hardest part is really the first page. I know it probably sounds cliche, but that first page is a real killer because you’re always so conscious of that little rule about hooking the reader from the first line. I really labor over that first line sometimes! But sometimes, I just have to push myself to jump in and say to myself, “You’re not married to it. Just write something down – you can always change it/improve it later. The important thing is to just start writing.” Yes, I do have pep talks with myself sometimes! But I do have to remind myself that First Drafts are for getting words on paper. Revision is for making those words shine.

6. Can you tell us a bit about preparing your submission package for Sloane Wolf?

It’s an interesting story. I had shopped Sloane Wolf around for awhile and had various people show interest in it – it actually won a contest, but the agent never followed through on the request, and one publisher actually sat on it for three years! – but nothing promising came of it until I pitched it at an online writers conference. What’s interesting is that the publisher I was supposed to pitch it to never showed up for the conference, so the woman running the conference – who also had a publishing company – took the pitches for us instead. Well, she loved my pitch from the start and asked me to send the whole manuscript to her and the next thing I knew, I was offered a contract for it. It literally happened within a matter of weeks (the pitch to the contract). And just a few short months later, I was published!

7. What made you decide to go with an ePublisher instead of a print publisher?

Because the ePublisher took a chance on me and loved my idea enough to want to publish it. Besides, I think e-publishing is really the wave of the future. With all the ereaders out there, it’s only a matter of time before that’s how it’s done first, and print books become secondary.

8. What is your ultimate writing dream?

Ultimately, I would love to get a call from Hollywood asking permission to make my book(s) into a movie. That would be incredible!

9. If you could talk to any one dead writer, who would it be and why?

Jane Austen. She’s the one who really paved the way for the modern female writer. Sure, there were other female writers before her, but none had had quite the success that she did with her amazing stories. First, I’d like to thank her for paving the way – and for setting such a high standard for the rest of us – and second, I’d love to find out if Pride and Prejudice had any basis in fact!

10. What are you working on next that readers can look forward to?

I am working on the follow up to Sloane Wolf (so much more story to tell there) and a series about angels, and one about a reluctant ghost hunter who finds herself caught up in a curse/legend that ties her family to that of the hero all the way back to the 1800’s. I also have a handful of YA books I’m working on. So many ideas!

Author Bio

Descended from the same bloodline that spawned the likes of James Russell, Amy and Robert Lowell, Margay Leah Justice was fated to be a writer herself from a young age. But even before she knew that there was a name for what she was doing, she knew one thing: She had a deep and unconditional love for the written word. A love that would challenge her in times of need, abandon her in times of distress, and rediscover her in times of hope. Through her writing, Margay has learned to cope with every curve ball life has thrown her, including the challenges of single parenting, the harsh realities of living in a shelter, coping with the diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis, and the roller coaster ride of dealing with a child who suffers from bipolar disorder and Asperger’s Syndrome. But along the way she has rediscovered the amazing power of words.

Margay currently lives in Massachusetts with her two daughters, two cats, and a myriad of characters who vie for her attention and demand that their own stories be told.

You can buy a copy of Sloane Wolf here.

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Review: Perfect Ten by Karina Fabian

Perfect Ten is a short story written by Karina Fabian and published by Museitup. It’s the story of a life insurance adjuster named Sheila who ordinarily lives a life without risks. She recently won a vacation, however, and this vacation leads her to Las Vegas and then to an anonymous dating service.

Sheila encounters the thrills of her life but finds out that Coyote, however attractive he may be, is not the perfect ten for Sheila.

As a Reader:
This is a fun little story that’s been sitting in my inbox for… a while… and I’m glad I finally got around to reading it. Sheila’s a funny character with some odd quirks, and that makes this story work a lot better. The adventure she goes on surprised me entirely and kept my interest until the very end.

I highly recommend this story to anyone who likes what feels like a romantic comedy.

As a Writer:
There’s not too much to say about this one as I particularly enjoyed it. It stood up to scrutiny; the story could’ve happily stretched another few pages but it didn’t have to, and it has a classy ending. In particular I like the characterization of Sheila, down to the little cautious gestures-putting on her purse with the flap facing her side to avoid pickpockets. It’s a pretty well written story and I’m pleased that I finally got around to reading it.

You can buy it for just $2.50 here. It’s a fun little read and a great way to kill some time.

Review: Earthly Forces by Kevin Hopson

Kevin Hopson is an up-and-coming MuseItUp author. Some of you may remember when I interviewed him or when I reviewed his first short story, World of Ash. Today I’m very proud to review his second work, Earthly Forces.

Blurb:
When their friend disappears on a small lighthouse island, two fishermen try to find him before becoming victims themselves.

Overall Rating: 7/10 -Worth Reading

As a Reader:

As a reader I quite enjoyed this story. It’s difficult to write a full-length blog post reviewing a short story, particularly one that you really enjoyed reading. As a reader this story does leave me wondering quite a bit about the forces at work here; part of me would really like to know what’s going on at a deeper level. The ending of this story was well-written and did complete the story quite well, but it also left it open for a new story to be built on top of it. I look forward to reading more of Kevin’s work.

As a Writer:

As a writer I still enjoyed this work and I would still recommend it. There were some things I would have done differently-there always are-and a couple of things which I didn’t particularly like. I like the concept of Kevin’s previous story better-it’s a somewhat less common and more interesting idea-but this story shows that he is growing as a writer. He’s very good at writing a two-person dynamic between friends; I look forward to see him expanding into larger groups-or perhaps detracting into a one-person story.

Overall I’m quite pleased with this story. I look forward to reading more-not just of Kevin’s work but of other MuseItUp books.

You can buy Earthly Forces here.

Read any good books lately? I’d love to hear all about them.

MuseItUp! Author Interview: Nancy Bell

Today I’m proud to introduce Nancy Bell, author of the YA book Laurel’s Miracle. I chose to interview Nancy because Laurel’s Miracle struck me as a beautiful concept-but I’ll let the interview speak for itself.

1. Can you tell us a bit about your book, Laurel’s Miracle?
Laurel’s Miracle is the story of thirteen year old girl’s journey to find a cure for her mother’s illness. There are many levels to this theme, during the course of her quest she learns many things about herself and the world around her. The children in the story deal with bullying and abuse, but they also discover the magic which exists in the world around us. The crux of Laurel’s quest is she must solve a riddle given to her by a White Lady she meets at a spring, there are many ancient and sacred springs, wells and pools in Cornwall which is where the story takes place. The riddle’s clues lead them along the earth energy lines that run across SW England from St Michael’s Mount to East Anglia. The lines are called The Michael and Mary lines, with the Michael line being the more famous of the two. They follow the clues from Mounts Bay (St. Michael’s Mount) to the Cheesewring on Bodmin Moor to Glastonbury Tor. There are lots of adventures and mythical creatures who make an appearance, a Selkie, which is a shape shifter who is either human or seal, they can be male or female, in Ireland they are called Roans, a Cornish piskie named Gwin Scawen which is Old Cornish for White Eldertree, he is very mischevious and plays a major role in the story. I have also incorporated the stories of a sea monster seen off the Cornish coast and he plays a small but important role. A Cornish giant makes a cameo appearance. There is tons of educational information threaded through the novel so readers will absorb the knowledge as part of the story. While it is geared primarily to the Middle Grade audience, there are plenty of layers which will capture the imagination of readers of any age.

2. When and how did you decide you wanted to become a writer?

I don’t think I did decide. I have always written, even when I was very young I would scribble silly stories and poetry, whatever words came into my head. Somehow, it seemed very important that I capture my thoughts on paper. I have no idea where that notion sprang from.

3. Can you tell us a bit about your poetry and how you started writing poems?

Poetry is a way to share my view of the world, I tend to see beauty and magic in any situation. I write mainly nature poetry and spiritual stuff, but not all. Some of it is just silly whimsy, but if it makes you smile then I’m happy. I write poetry mostly for myself, to capture a vision or a moment in time, if others enjoy it that’s a bonus for me. I wrote April Earth while I was walking the dogs, the plowed field was steaming in the spring sun while the snow still covered the hills. I wrote- I saw the earth breathe today… and the poem wrote itself from there. It was published in the ezine Earthsongs and is included in my self published book of poetry Through This Door. I self published it because no one is going to get rich from a book of poetry and I wanted to share my words with whoever wished to read them.

4. What advice would you give to a writer trying to write a middle grade or YA novel?

Advice would be, remember never to preach, speak with a voice which is appropriate for your target audience and try to avoid the ‘hip phrases’ as it will date your work. No teenager today wants to read a book full of “groovy” and “dude” even though in the 1960’s that was cool. Opps, now I’ve really dated myself, haven’t I?

5. How do you help yourself get back into the voice of a kid?

Oh my, I don’t think I ever quit being a kid. I listen to my grandchildren and kids in the mall as well, people watching is a great source of information and inspiration.

6. What has your path to publication looked like?

I was very lucky to have my first poems and some short stories published in the local newspaper when I was in grade school and throughout high school. I wrote lectures for Pony Club on horse care and some were published by a major publication which was a thrill. Laurel’s Miracle is my first long novel to be contracted and I am very excited about it.

7. What was the happiest moment of your writing career?

The first time I got a cheque in the mail for one of my stories. And surprisingly when I wrote the chapter that connected the pieces of Laurel’s Miracle together. I have always written in order, each chapter following the next, with Laurel my Muse would jump all over the place and I wrote the last chapter while I was part way through the story. It took me six hours straight but I just couldn’t stop until it all came out.

8. Other than writing, what interests you most?

I love horses and have always had them, I do some rehabilitation with rescue dogs and special needs horses. I love discovering the mysteries that lay right under our feet.

9. What are you reading right now?

I’m reading “Hamish Miller, A Life Devined” This is the story of Hamish Miller renowned dowser and co-author of the book The Sun and The Serpent which I discovered while researching Laurel. I had some questions so I emailed the publisher, Penwith Press and to my delight Hamish himself emailed me back. He was an amazing man and started a movement called Parallel Community which has members worldwide, the aim is to honor the earth and change the way the world is by starting with ourselves.

10. What are you working on that readers have to look forward to?

In December 2011 A Step Sideways will be released from MuseItUp Publishing. This book is a companion book to Laurel and has some of the same characters. The main character in A Step Sideways is Gort from Laurel’s Miracle and a journey within which he takes in search of his true self. It sounds stuffy when I say that, you can be sure there is lots of action and humor. Gort takes a step sideways in time and discovers he is Sir Gawain, one of King Arthur’s knights. His horse, Ailim is my editor’s favorite thing in the whole book. The names have meanings, you can read more at my website http://www.nancymbell.ca. Gort in particular is the name associated with the Ivy in the Celtic Tree Ogham and is associated with the spiral of discovery of self and finding your place and how you relate to the world. That is very much the journey which my character takes. Aillim means Silver Fir, the horse is a large gray war charger and so the name fits. I am also working on the story of Laurel’s grandmother, once you have read Laurel’s Miracle it will be clear why that story will be most interesting and address some unanswered questions from the subplot. I had the great pleasure of meeting with Jack Whyte at the Surrey International Writers Confernce last October when he read a short piece from A Step Sideways, it was a fight scene with the knights and horses and I really wanted an experts opinion on the fighting. Horse behaviour I know, fighting with swords and whatnot not so much. I was ecstactic when Jack gave it his approval. Definitely a high light.

Bio: Nancy Bell is proud Albertan, horsewoman, wife, mother and grandmother. She lives on a farm near Balzac, Alberta with her husband, five horses, two ponies, various dogs, cats and whatever else happens to wander into the yard. Nancy’s first poems and short stories were published while still in grade school and she won the 2009 Earthsongs Bardic Competition. Nancy works as an editor with MuseItUp Publishing a new Canadian epublisher where she enjoys the excitement of working with authors in the creative process. She also enjoys writing poetry and short stories. Nancy welcomes feedback from her readers and can be contacted at emilypikkasso@gmail.com

Author Interview: Jamie Grey

I’m really excited to present today’s author, Jamie Grey. Most of the interview choices I’ve made so far have been based on publisher-with a special focus on MuseItUp-or nationality, the latter usually being Canadian. I chose Jamie Grey from a list of MuseItUp publishers specifically because I thought her story sounded fantastic, and I’m hoping I can get my boyfriend to buy it for me since I don’t have a credit card.

I hope you enjoy this interview and I hope that you check out Princess for Hire when it comes out on March 1st. Jamie will be hanging around today to answer any questions you might have.

1. Can you tell us a bit about your story with MuseItUp Publishing, Princess for Hire?

Here’s a short blurb about my short story, Princess for Hire:

After winning his kingdom in a legendary poker game twenty years ago, Princess Mina’s father loses the kingdom just as easily. Now alone and penniless, Mina must rely on her sword to support them both. When the princess-turned-mercenary is offered a contract to save a prince that will pay enough to keep her father in luxury for yet another year, she and her business partner snap up the deal. Dragons and all.

2. When and how did you decide that you wanted to become a writer?

I’ve wanted to be a writer since I could read. I used to make up little books for my mom with illustrations and everything. But I finally got really serious about writing three years ago, found some critique partners and started working on my craft.

3. How did you first come up with the story of Princess for Hire?

I wanted to write something that was a bit of a twist on the typical handsome Prince rescues beautiful, helpless Princess story so often seen in Fantasy. And I wanted to play a little with changing gender roles and expectations. Somehow, Princess for Hire was born from that.

4. What does your writing process look like? (Give us an idea of how you plan, write, and edit, and how long it takes)

It varies for each project, and if it’s a full length novel vs. a short story, but usually, I try to come up with a basic plot outline to work from. I try to hit the important plot points, get a sense of the characters, and ending. Then I write – I basically just get the words on paper as fast as I can, not worrying about editing as I go.

The editing process takes a bit longer – I usually sit down with the manuscript and do a read through, marking plot holes, inconsistencies, problems, etc, and then come up with an editing plan. After that first pass is complete, I start working on the details – wordsmithing, description, characterization, setting.
On average – a novel takes me 6-9 months to have polished and ready to submit. A short story might only take me a couple of weeks.

5. How did you find MuseItUp Publishing?

One of my fantastic critique partners submitted a novella to a brand new Canadian ePublisher last year and really loved working with the Muse team. When I found I had a short story I wasn’t sure what to do with, she suggested that I try submitting it there. And the rest is history!

6. What’s your favourite thing about working with MuseItUp Publishing?

Everyone that I’ve met at Muse has been fantastic! The other authors are friendly and supportive, and Lea, the publisher, goes above and beyond to take care of her writers and editors. It’s just been a really great first publishing experience. I’m afraid I’m spoiled for anyone else!

7. Do you think ebooks will take over and that print will… go out of print?

I have to admit that I am a total bookworm. I love the feel and experience of reading a “real” book. That being said, I do think ebooks will take over – probably sooner rather than later. The ease of immediate downloads, the ability to read anywhere/any time, and the availability of millions of works at your fingertips will almost guarantee that ebooks are the way of the future.

I don’t think print books will ever entirely go away though. There’s just something about having that book in your hands. But what I’d really love is if publishers moved toward the DVD model – you buy the physical DVD and also receive a code for a digital download at the same time. That would be the best of both worlds!

8. Your story Princess for Hire isn’t a full novel. Are you planning to move to writing novels?

It’s funny – Princess for Hire is actually a bit of a departure from how I usually write! I am most definitely a novelist. I love the freedom of having 80k words to play with to craft a story. However, my crit partners and I came up with a short story challenge last year and this was my attempt at playing with the form. It’s actually the first short story I’ve written in a really long time! I’m back to writing novels now, but I may take a stab at another short story in the future. Maybe I’ll even continue Mina’s story!

9. What are you working on right now that readers can look forward to?

I am working on a full length YA novel set in Japan. It’s a contemporary fantasy about a Dragon, and the two girls from two different eras who must save him. I’m hoping to have that out to query by late spring.

10. What are you reading right now?

The book on my nightstand right now is The Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith. It’s an interesting read – it’s targeted as YA, but it definitely feels much older and darker than what I’m used to. I also have Paranormalcy by Kiersten White sitting beside my bed. I can’t wait to get to that one!

If Princess for Hire sounds like something you might be interested in, I have an excerpt up at my website: http://www.jamiegreybooks.com and you can check out my blog there as well. Princess for Hire will be available March 1st from the MuseItUp bookstore.

Bio: Writer. Geek. Tech enthusiast. Tea diva. I’m either a multi-faceted young-adult author or a commitment-phobic escapist. Probably a little of both.

Residing near Ann Arbor, Michigan, I spend my days writing as an instructional designer. At night, I try to create fantastic worlds populated with remarkable characters. Some days are better than others.

Did you find this interview interesting?

MuseItUp! Author Interviews: Ginger Simpson


Today’s author is Ginger Simpson of MuseItUp, whose book, Hurricane Warning, was published with MuseItUp on November First, 2010. This interview was done and put away before the book’s publication.

About the Author: Ginger retired in 2003 to devote more time to her writing but soon discovered there is much more to being an author than just penning a novel; you have to promote and market yourself. Amidst the time spent online, blogging, chatting, and posting excerpts and blurbs, she also enjoys time with her eight-year-old grandson, Spencer. He’s the light of her life, and she’s inspired by the way he’s overcome hurdles that autism has put in his path. Ginger may never be a NY Times best-selling author, but she’ll settle for being Spencer’s “Nee Nee.”

~Can you tell us a bit about your upcoming projects with MuseItUp?
I signed six contracts with Muse It Up Publishing; five short stories and one Young Adult that I hope will go to print when the time comes. I’m very excited to be part of Lea and Litsa’s new venture, and with them at the helm, I see great things happening. In case anyone is interested, I’ve written The Forget-Me-Nots, which was inspired by memories of my mother and father in pictures from WWII, A Wing and a Prayer, which is about a flight attendant on her first day and how first impressions aren’t always what they appear to be, Masked Love–about a middle-aged women who is aghast when she learns from the doctor that she has sleep apnea, Just the Right Fit,a story inspired by a true experience of my highschool chum, Karyl and her shoe-shopping experience, and Hurricane Warning, a little tale about a divorcee who moves to Florida and faces her first hurricane and the growing attraction to a hunky neighbor who comes to her rescue. My young adult, Shortcomings, introduces a high schooler with a birth defect and her lack of ability to deal with the rude stares and comments from her peers.

~How and when did you decide you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always written in come capacity, but it wasn’t until 2001 that my first “character” spoke to me and urged me to tell her story. I still remember that day I sat down at the laptop I’d borrowed from work and made Cecile Palmer’s acquaintance. That was a life-changing day for me. The end result was my debut western historical romance, Prairie Peace.

~What was the first genre you wrote in?
Not surprising, western historical! I grew up watching all those old TV westerns and read every book Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote.

~Do you find that different skill sets are used for writing in each genre?
Not really. My stories are driven by characters who usually show up already named and armed with a great plot. All I have to do is type. The only way I can explain it is the experience is like telling myself a story, and I can’t wait to see where it’s going and how it ends. The hardest story I’ve written is entitled The Locket, and the “star” is a piece of jewelry. I started this one on a dare from my sister who wanted me to write something more mysterious. I finished it, and I was really proud of myself and loved how the story turned out. I actually wrote this one without the help of a character.

~What suggestions would you give a writer looking to break into a new genre?
I don’t think you “break” into a new genre. I’ve written romantic suspense, contemporary, humor, time-travel, historical, a mystery…and I didn’t do anything different except for the one I mentioned above. That story required me to do some heavy thinking.

~What’s the easiest genre for you to write in and why?
The best way to answer this question is to tell you that historical fiction is the hardest to write. Being a credible historical author requires that you research your era and make sure your historical facts are correct. If you don’t, you won’t be taken seriously. For example, in the old west, “kids” were goats, and “okay” wasn’t even part of the vocabulary then.

~How did you find MuseItUp Publishing?
Lea has been a friend for quite a while now and when she told me she was starting her own publishing company, I new immediately that if I could get contracted, I would be making a great move. Luckily, Lea likes my writing and only rejected one of my short stories until I made some suggested changes. That’s what’s awesome…even if you get a rejection, it isn’t written in stone. She’s always willing to entertain another look.

~What’s your favourite thing about working with MuseItUp Publishing?
I have never been part of a publishing company that includes their authors in the decision making process. Everything Lea does, she runs by “the team” for input. This is exactly how it should be. Rather than employer/employee…we are all on the same team, building a future together. I cannot say enough good things about Lea and her approach to publishing. I’m very fortunate to be contracted there.

~Have you ever participated in the Muse Online Writers’ Conference? If yes, how did you like it?
I was supposed to last year but I got sick. This year, I’m going to present a one-day workshop on The Pitfalls of Publishing. I’ve been doing this for over ten years now and I feel I’ve learned some valuable tips to share with others.

~What are you working on right now?
I recently started another western historical romance set in 1840 Missouri. The name is Hattie’s Hero, and I’m very excited about it. The real reason I started it was that I wanted to get back to my fabulous historical critique group who helped me hone Odessa which will be releasing early next year. Of course, I always have a folder full of stories I’ve started, so when I get bored or Hattie isn’t in a talkative mood, I work on something else for a while…like Joy’s Revelation. She’s really mad at me for letting Hattie take cuts. 🙂

Thanks Dianna for letting me share so much of my self. Your questions were stimulating and fun. I invite people to visit my blog at http://mizging.blogspot.com and my newly created website http://www.gingersimpson.com. All my new covers are up there along with blurbs for some and videos for others.

MuseItUp! Interviews: Krista D. Ball

Hi everybody and welcome to the second MuseItUp! Interview, with Krista D. Ball, author of Harvest Moon. I’ve enjoyed working with her, as I have enjoyed working with all the authors I’ve interviewed so far. I think writers are really gracious people-and there’s a special breed of writer who participates in Nanowrimo. But Canadian authors are my favourite, so without further ado, let’s get to the good stuff:

1. Can you tell us something about Harvest Moon?

Harvest Moon is a Canadian First Nations tale that explores a young woman’s gender identity. Dancing Cat angers an ancestor and her punishment is losing everything, including her own gender. Now in the skin of a man, she has to rebuild her life while being cared for by an enemy.

2. What first inspired Harvest Moon?

I was working in Edmonton’s inner city, where there is a large aboriginal population, plus several members of my extended family are aboriginal. I love Canadian-themed stories, being Canadian. And, then, there was an anthology call out for gender-bender stories. All those things mixed together and Harvest Moon came out of it. It became way too long for the anthology, turning into a short novella, so I decided that I’d sell it as its own stand-alone work.

3. On that note, what first inspired you to become a writer?

I soon figured out that I wasn’t qualified for any other job.

4. How did you find MuseItUp Publishing?

I found them through http://www.duotrope.com. They were listed as a new market and I was willing to take the risk to sign up with a new publisher.

5. What is your favourite thing about working with MuseItUp Publishing?

I enjoy being a part of a Canadian publisher who is interested in Canadian works. Most of their authors and subject matter is American, which makes sense considering that there are a heck of a lot more folks in the US than in Canada! However, as a Canadian, I didn’t have to change themes and setting which some state-side publishers have requested in other works. I was able to keep the setting of Harvest Moon Canadian (even if I don’t come out and explicitedly state “THIS IS CANADA.”) That’s important to me and I’m happy that my publisher respects the cultural uniqueness I try to aim for with my work.

Also, I write mostly speculative fiction and it’s really wonderful to see an e-publisher that takes those genres and who understand them.

6. Would you like to continue working with MuseItUp Publishing for future works?

I have a time travel short story coming out in March through them called “Flying Kite, Crashing Ship.” It’s important for me to find the best markets for all of my work. Some of my upcoming projects might be suited for Muse, while others I already know aren’t the best options for Muse, or that Muse isn’t the best option for the project. I see the relationship with my publisher as a business arrangement. We work with each other, but it’s also important to ensure that each project is situated with the best possible house for it.

7. What are you currently working on?

I set aside November, as part of National Novel Writing Month, to write a few small projects that I’ve been wanting to all year. Let’s see. I just finished a draft of a paranormal mystery novella set in Newfoundland where the Vikings are (accidently) brought back to life. Then, a novella exploring a Mi’kMaq girl’s identity as a human when she discovers her shape shifting abilities. I also explored healing and moving on with a woman who had lost her wife in an accidient within a rural Alberta setting. I have a couple more projects to write this month to finish off NaNoWriMo.

December is set aside to finish the edits on my science fiction novel, Road to Hell.

8. If you could do any one thing in your writing career differently, what would it be?

Nothing. The fact remains that I wasn’t in a stable enough situation in my twenties to have handled the business end of things. I moved several times, I got married and divorced, I went through several jobs. It really wasn’t until I turned thirty that I felt in a stable enough situation to really start focusing on writing the way that I wanted to. Now, at thirty-five, I’m finally where I can financially write close to full-time. I balance non-fiction freelance, fiction, and a part-time contract job where I do a number of tasks, writing being one of them. I’m really happy where I am right now and all of the choices I made earlier in my life have allowed me to make my choices today.

9. If you could have dinner with anybody, alive, dead, famous or unknown, who would it be and why?

I’d love to swap dirty joke with Jane Austen. You know she knew some good ones.

10. What’s your favourite book about writing and why should my readers check it out?

I’m not a huge writing book person. There are some good ones and all, but I find that often new writers spend all their time reading instead of writing. With that said, I really enjoyed “I’d Rather be Writing.” It’s out of print, so you’ll have to check with the library or ebay to get a copy. This book is what got me serious about writing again. It’s meant for those of us with really busy lives and can’t see to get back into writing. It was comforting that someone else was struggling, too.

Bio: Krista D. Ball is a writer because she’d been fired from every other job out there. Also, writers don’t work a lot, get big cheques, and get to drink cocktails whenever their Muse demands it. She talks about her adventures (but never misadventures) on her blog over at http://www.kristadball.com/blog. She also rants a lot at http://www.twitter.com/kristadb1.

You can buy Harvest Moon here.

If you’re interested in more author interviews, check out the first one in this series, with MuseItUp! Author Kevin Hopson.

My current word count: 81, 995.

MuseItUp! Interviews: Kevin Hopson

Hello everybody and welcome to day three of Nanowrimo. For the last several months, since my Interview with Lea Schizas, I’ve been working on a series of interviews focused mainly around MusItUp! authors. I will be posting one of these interviews a week, each Wednesday, until I run out of interviews to post.

Today’s author is Kevin Hopson, whose story World Of Ash has just been released. He’s the first author that I interviewed and his interview was done during the summer. I’ll also be reviewing World of Ash in the next week or two here on the blog.

Introducing the Author

Kevin has only been writing fiction for a short time, but he has been a freelance writer for nearly 10 years, covering subjects such as energy, finance, and sports. He focuses on short works of dark fiction with an emphasis on science fiction, horror, and the paranormal. Kevin currently has four eBooks (three short stories and one tween novelette) under contract with MuseItUp Publishing. He also has a print book – Darkness Abound – available at Lulu.com, which collects three of his short stories.

The Interview

Welcome to Fictional Worlds, and thanks for agreeing to do this interview.

When did you first start writing?

I started to write regularly about 10 years ago.

When did you decide to pursue writing as a career?

Though I have held part-time freelance writing jobs over the years, I did not dedicate myself fully until last year (2009). I jumped into the fiction market and have not looked back.

Tell us something about your stories.

No matter what the story, I always try to bring a fresh perspective to the genre I am focusing on. Even if there are similarities to other works, my main goal is to make the story unique, differentiating it in some way.

Which genre did you start writing in?

I tend to do a lot of cross-genre writing, but I guess it all started with science fiction.

Which genre do you enjoy writing in most?

I would have to say science fiction. I like the fact I can tie a story to real science, making it believable, yet still have the freedom to roam an imaginary world or create new technology. Science fiction allows me to have the best of both worlds.

Which genre do you think you write best in?

Again, I would have to say science fiction. Given my passion and interest, no genre motivates me to write more than science fiction.

Currently you have three (four?) short stories coming out with MuseItUp. Are you working on any novels?

I have three short stories and one novelette under contract with MuseItUp Publishing. I have considered writing a novel, and I may choose to do this one day, but it is not a priority for me right now. I love the pacing and eventual pay-off with a short story. Furthermore, my wife and I
are expecting our first child in September, so time will be limited in the near-term.

Can you recommend three books about writing to my readers?

“How to Write a Short Story” by John Vorwald and Ethan Wolff
“On Writing Horror” by The Horror Writers Association
“Body Trauma – A Writer’s Guide to Wounds and Injuries” by David Page

Who is your favorite author and why?

I would have to say Brian Keene. In addition to his entertaining stories, he has a very simple style, which makes for easy reading.

What do readers have to look forward from you other than the stories mentioned here?

Since I will hopefully be a dad soon, readers can look forward to my new perspective on life. Perhaps this will rub off on my writing going forward. For example, a novelette titled The Vanishing is my first stab at the tween audience, so maybe there will be more books aimed at this age group.

Me: Thanks again for agreeing to do the interview. Readers, you can buy a copy of Kevin’s story World Of Ash here.

Did you find the information in this interview useful? Do you have any questions for Kevin? (He may or may not be available to answer. I suggest you try anyway.)