Thursday, August 28, 2014

Characters Days: Luke Coles from Luke Coles and the Flower of Chiloe

Sorry for the late character days, had to take the day off yesterday.  ^__^

Character Days: Luke Coles from Luke Coles and the Flower of Chiloe

Tell me a little about yourself and the world you live in.  (If the character and story is our world, tell me about the neighborhood or city, town, country etc)  

First, I don't know what my real name is, or where I am from. The first memory I have is of Gettysburg, when I fought there under Colonel Joshua Chamberlain. After that battle, I became a traveler of sorts. My world is your world, but I see a side of it that most don't. Every myth, fairytale, and god you have ever heard of -- they exist. Magic and monsters are real. A person can live a whole lifetime without seeing them, but, if you look hard enough, you will find them. In this world I have known two homes: Guaymas, Mexico and Chiloe Island. I was a miner in Guaymas, but it is hard to work in a haunted mine. After, I was a school teacher, in Ancud, on Chiloe Island. It is a haunted island off the coast of southern Chile: known for witchcraft, mythological creatures, and magic.

Tell us your most closely guarded secret?

My biggest secret is that I am a mimic, that I am not dead, or that I am two hundred years old. I'm not sure which one.

Tell us about your single most important memory.  What was it and how does it affect you now?

My most important memory is hard to single out. The most important memories are the ones about Flor and the time I spent with her. Our relationship and how everything ended -- these motivate me to become as strong

What type of person are you?  Are you a hero or do you shy away from conflict?  

I try to do the right thing. It took me a while to learn how to value my own life, so risking it for others was never a problem.

Do you have any hobbies, any special talents?

I like spending time with my pet coyote, Shadow. Swimming is fun. It helps me get away from the rest of the crew. Although, occasionally it makes me a target for Ce's practical jokes.

And in that line, what would be your ideal day?  

My ideal day would be spending time with my friends, not worrying about anything. I know it sounds cheesy, but just being with the people you care about is all you need to get through the hard times.

Do you have anyone close to you, any family or friends of interest?

When I was in Guaymas, Miguel and Gigante were my best friends. On Chiloe, Flor was my world. Now I have the Captain, Ce, Juan, Alrek, Sonya, and Jamie. Through it all, Shadow has never left my side.

What is your most prized possession?

My sword is my most prized possession. It was created by Masamune, the greatest blacksmith in the world's history. He named it Ten Thousand Cold Nights. Most weapons don't hurt ghosts and demons, not unless they are plated with silver. Cold Nights is one of the few steel weapons that can harm them.

What initially spurred your actions in this story.  Obviously it had to start somewhere for you, give us an idea of where that starting point is and where it all started.

I was looking for a place in the world. When you don't remember your past, that is all you can do. I ended up where I could find a job, and, more importantly, peace and friends.

How do you envision your future? 

I see it much like the present. In the last one hundred fifty years, time has become relative. Everyday is a lot of the same: hunting monsters, helping people, learning magic, and growing stronger. At some point, I hope to get revenge on Neuale, in Mexico, and Righteous Province, in Chile.

Tell us where we can read more about you?  (The book(s) they are featured in)

Luke Coles and the Flower of Chiloe is the first book I am in. There are three other books I will be featured in and others where I will play a side role. There titles are a secret for now. The second features the Cegua, from Costa Rica, and the Bunyip, of Australia, as partial antagonists. Corpo Seco, a Brasilian myth, takes center stage for the third book. The fourth book involves an army from a golden city and the principal antagonists of the series. It will conclude my main story, but, when you are immortal, you never know when another adventure may find you.

Author: Josh Walker
Author's blog or website:
@elsharkwalker <---author twitter

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Character Days: Jack Gawain and Where to Find Us this Weekend!

It's Wednesday, so it's time for another character days, found below!

I also wanted to quickly say that we'll be at Geek.kon in Madison this weekend!  You can find out more about the convention at the link above and here's a map for if you're attending so you can stop by our table!  We'll have our books, plus all the different crafts and costumes we make.  Hope to see you there!

Oh, also, if you'd like your character interviewed for Character Days, feel free to fill out this form!

Character Days: Jack Gawain from The Standard, Standard II (The Citadel)

Tell me a little about yourself and the world you live in.  (If the character and story is our world, tell me about the neighborhood or city, town, country etc)
I was born in Belfast in Northern Ireland during the Troubles around the Eighties. My parents were murdered by the Official IRA in front of the rest of our family during a home invasion when I was a ween. I joined the Ulster Freedom Fighters and ran my own crew until I was arrested in 2005. I was facing life imprisonment in Maghaberry Prison until MI6 made me an offer to work for them. It's all about God and Country for me, I could care less which side of the fence I'm working,

Tell us your most closely guarded secret?
That would be all the bad guys I've done in. My so-called partner, William Shanahan, has filed numerous complaints but so far nothing's been done. Logic dictates that if I let someone walk away to tell the tale, chances are either they or their colleagues will be looking to get even in future. I've got fantasies of having a wife and kids one day, and I don't want to bring them up while looking over my shoulder. Plus, the kind of people we're sent after are not the sort that you want to be living on the same planet with. I can't imagine anyone missing the people I've taken out, except maybe their next of kin.

Tell us about your single most important memory.  What was it and how does it affect you now?
As I mentioned, the murder of my parents. It taught me that nothing's forever, except God and country. My siblings were parceled out to foster homes and I never saw them again. I was lucky enough to end up in a Loyalist home where I was coached up along the ranks, from the Apprentice Boys to the UFF. After that, everything I've done was in defense of God and country, from taking out the IRA to protecting the United Kingdom from enemies here and abroad.

What type of person are you?  Are you a hero or do you shy away from conflict?  
I don't consider myself a whole lot tougher than the next guy - well, that's not entirely true. My work requires me to be a rather dangerous sort. I consider myself fearless because I've got nothing to lose. That's why MI6 and the Narcotics Division of the Police Services of Northern Ireland call me in for the tough jobs. I'm like one of those bunker blaster bombs. I go in as deep as possible and kill everything down there. The peelers don't seem to mind, it saves the Crown the cost of room and board for all those I don't bring in.

Do you have any hobbies, any special talents?
Well, I'm not a shoddy domino player. I did reach the finals in the World Domino Championship last year when I was harassing Enrique Chupacabra, if you remember. I got the best of him at the poker tables in those Miami Beach casinos as well. Back in the day I was a pretty fair administrator on Shankill Road in Belfast. I had a twelve-man squad and we were bringing in over a million pounds a year with our various operations. Aye, and I'd also say I'm a pretty good actor. No one's blown my cover on the field yet. Otherwise I wouldn't be sitting here.

And in that line, what would be your ideal day?  
Well, since I've been out of prison, I try to make it a point to wake up with a good woman alongside me every morning. I'll usually take her out on the town or along the countryside for a drive and a picnic. At night I'll take her to dinner and a nightclub, or just go pubcrawling. I don't have any male friends, the less that's known about me the better. Having the right girl is the key to happiness. Of course, when the new wears off, sometimes you just have to cut your losses and move on.

Do you have anyone close to you, any family or friends of interest?
At risk of being what the Yanks call a 'spoiler', I've hooked up with Lucretia Carcosa from INTERPOL after my last job. She's a beautiful woman, highly intelligent and incredibly capable. Before that, there was Darcy Callahan, that lass I met in Texas on the previous assignment, and Fianna Hesher. She was Morgana Mc Laren-Shanahan's best friend. As far as male friends, I'll always consider the fellows on Shankill Road and my comrades in the Ulster Defense Association as my band of brothers. I suppose that William Shanahan and I have saved each other's lives enough times to add him to the list.

What is your most prized possession?
Nothing. I don't consider women a possession, they're like your other self. Worldly possessions don't really mean anything. I've taken countless scores in my time and gambled them away. Friendships are of enormous value, to know that the fellow at your side will place his life at stake for you. Loyalties are just as important, when a man you don't know will endure torture to keep your secret because of the code he lives by. Friendship, honor and loyalty - if you consider those possessions, they are truly priceless.

What initially spurred your actions in this story.  Obviously it had to start somewhere for you, give us an idea of where that starting point is and where it all started.
Well, as regards Operation Citadel, I suppose it was when Colonel O'Shaughnessy briefed Shanahan, Lucretia and me on the mission. He told us that the Russian Spetsnaz, their special forces, were smuggling weapons across Europe from the Ukraine and might be hauling a WMD to New York City in the USA. Shanahan was still working that European Council scam of his that he used to sting the Corsican Mob. Lucretia and I infiltrated the Citadel, which put us next to the Russians. Long story short, Shanahan and I saved the world again, and Lucretia nearly sacrificed her life to save mine. I'm greatly enjoying this wee vacation.

How do you envision your future? 
That's a hard one. Lucretia and I are sorely tempted to set up a shop of our own somewhere. She's got her EUROPOL connections and I've got East Belfast, we could make good money together. Still, I'm tired of dodging the law, so I may just sit and wait until MI6 or the PSNI call again.

Tell us where we can read more about you?  (The book(s) they are featured in)
The novel is called Standard II - The Citadel by John Reinhard Dizon. The fellow seems to be quite a writer.

Author: John Reinhard Dizon

John Reinhard Dizon was born and raised in the Cobble Hill section of Brooklyn, NY. He participated in local and high school sports at Bishop Loughlin MHS, and was a key figure on the Brooklyn rock scene during the Punk Revolution of the 70's. Relocating to San Antonio TX in the 80's, he moonlighted as a pro wrestler before pursuing a BA at UTSA and degrees in Korean martial arts during the 90's. He currently lives in KC MO where he is studying for his MA in English at UMKC. Mr. Dizon has been studying and writing about American and European society and culture for over twenty-five years.

Monday, August 18, 2014

How to Survive a Bad Convention

In our writing career - and experience with selling at conventions for years before this - if there's one thing I've learned it's how to cope with bad conventions.  As a new author trying to get your books out there or even as a veteran whose been doing this for years, here's a few tips that may come in handy.  These can also apply to other markets where you might personally show up to sell your book.

1. Don't bitch

This is completely and totally the most important thing and it calls back to normal customer service days.  Everyone has conventions that suck and I'm sure you can turn to the right or left and they'll complain with you all day.  That's great - after the con.  Do not bitch at the con!

The problem with complaining at the con is that it bring a lot of trouble with it.  First off, customers can hear you.  You're in a huge convention hall with a lot of people, but you'll be surprised how much your voice carries, especially during the lulls in the white noise around you.  Even if they can't catch all of your words, your whole mannerism when you're complaining carries.  There's a way you sit, a way you move and a way you talk that people will notice - probably subliminally, but they will notice. So just don't.

(Also, if another author feels the need to come over and bitch at your table, deflect them as much as possible.  While it may be fun to rant, the sale floor is not the place.  Urge them politely to move on and not scare away potential customers who might see the conversation and pass your space completely.)

2. Smile

This is customer service 101.  When you smile, it changes your voice and your posture and whole outlook.  Even if you're faking it, it helps.  People who smile when they're talking sound happier.  So even if you hate how the day is, remember that you don't want to convey that to the person in front of you who might be buying your stuff.  Happier people seem more friendly and interesting - so smile.  Just don't over do it - being super fake will backfire on you.

3. Make connections

No matter where you are selling, remember you're surrounded by people.  All of these people have jobs and connections in the real world, and if you talk to them you can catch onto these.  So, simply put, make friends.  If you're signing at a bookstore, talk with the other employees.  If you're at a convention, talk to the guests and staff and talk to your table mates.  The idea is that even if you don't sell that many books, you should walk away with at least a couple business cards and some things to look up and into when you get home.  Use your down time to research so that next time it'll be better.

Protip: if it's someone who does things like this a lot, talk to them.  If you're lucky, they might clue you in on a few of the tricks that helped them get so far.  And this leads into the next tip...

4. Learn from your table mates

When you're selling, you're more then likely surrounded by a lot of people doing the same thing.  Talk to these people.  Chances are they've done this before and they have tips and tricks for you.  If it just so happens that they don't want to talk to you - that's ok.  Watch them.  Listen to their pitches, watch their techniques and pay attention to what works and what doesn't.  Important:  Don't steal their ideas, but don't be afraid to learn from and modify them to work for you.

5. Don't be desperate

If there's something a customer can smell from miles away, it's the "I'm desperate to make a sale" stench.  If your entire day sucks and you haven't made a single sale, you have to remember that each customer is a new person and a new chance.  In that mode, don't betray that you've been doing bad and don't complain to them.  Also, and this is the main one, don't beg for that sale.  You are selling something of worth, if you beg for a sale or say you've had a bad day and not sold any, that puts the notion in the back of their mind that maybe your stuff isn't worth their money.  After all, it wasn't worth anyone else's.

So don't be desperate, you're there to sell and that's what you've been doing.  Just don't be arrogant about it either, that can also backfire.

6. Have fun

Finally, have fun.  Wherever you are, whatever you're selling, chances are you've gone into this because you enjoy your work or you enjoy the act of selling it.  So revel in that.  Show others how much you love it, show them how much fun you're having.  Forget the entire bad convention and take a moment to enjoy the good things, because they are always there, you just have to find them.  Keep a positive outlook and even if it doesn't improve your sales, it will help improve your mood so you don't defeat yourself.  Being positive is a self-fulfilling property and positive people make more sales, because they're a joy to be around.

So have fun at the venue, even if you aren't making money.  Besides, when you're having fun, you're more pleasant to buy things from anyway.

Got any tips that you've noticed work?  Share them!  Anything you disagree with?  How so?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Character Days: Brigid of the Tuatha de Danann from Once a Goddess

Hey all!  We have a weekend to relax before we head out to another convention!
For the weekend of August 22 to the 24th, we'll be in Madison Wisconsin!  Come stop by our table if you're there!

Character Days: Brigid of the Tuatha de Danann from Once a Goddess

Tell me a little about yourself and the world you live in.
I used to live in Danann land in Eire, now known as Ireland. The Danann are both a people and a place. I had to marry the enemy, Bres of the Fomorians. His tribe invaded our land and have taken over our most sacred places. But we can't fight them forever - we'll die. We must have peace. I'm the peace offering. Our marriage is the truce.

Lets jump right in, what's your most closely guarded secret?
The Fomorians cannot know about Danann ability to speak with our minds and to shape shift. Our telepathic communication is the only thing that saved us during the battles.

Tell us about your single most important memory. What was it and how does it affect you now?
When I was a child, I learned to blend into stone. We all shape shift into an element of nature. Doing this as a child, the feeling of accomplishment, is something I draw on know. Shape shifting has saved my life many times.
What type of person are you? Are you a hero or do you shy away from conflict?
I fight when I have to. I fought Bres. We met sword to sword. But I - and all the Danann - would prefer not to fight at all.

Do you have any hobbies, any special talents?
Aside from have the supernatural abilities that all Danann have, I've been a healer for my tribe. I've also done a little bit of jewelery making with silver, copper, and gold. I'm good with animals, sheep and lambs, in particular.

What sets you out from the crowd? Like your talents, would I be able to spot you if I passed you by?
Red hair and green eyes - I'm told by both Bres and Adraic that they are striking attributes.

What's an ideal day for you?
My best days have been with Adraic. We tend the flocks together, spend our days outside of the Fomorian tuath (village). Everyone is suspicious of me, and I of them. I enjoy getting away.

Do you have any one close? Any friends or family of interest?
Adraic has been my best friend.

What about your most prized possession?
I don't have material things, not like your people think of them now. What we have as a tribe, is our land that we are connected to body and soul. Our spirits are part of the earth and it pains us to give up our land to the Fomorians.

Back to your story, what initially spurred your actions? Everything had to start somewhere, so where's your beginning?
My parents, leaders of our tribe, pushed me into the marriage with Bres...I had to do it or the peace treaty would have fallen apart...

Where do you think your future will lead?
I'm scared about living in Fomorian land, Bres scares me too. But I have to make the best of it for the Danann. I have to protect our secrets and I have to let them know if the Fomorians are breaking the peace treaty. I feel like a pawn, with no control over my own life. Adraic is the one bright spot.

Where can we find more about you?
I'm known as a goddess, druid, and saint in Ireland. Fiery Arrow, the second book in the trilogy, is forthcoming from Solstice. That story is about my incarnation as a druid's daughter. I come face to face with Patrick, who tries to convert Eire, yet he has his past, our past, to contend with.

Author: Sheila R. Lamb
You can buy the book here!

Facebook: sheilarlambauthor
Twitter @sheilarlamb 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Character Days: Emma Roberts from How to Date Dead Guys

Back from Fandom Fest, we now have some time to rest and re-coop before Geek.kon in Wisconsin.

Character Days: Emma Roberts from How to Date Dead Guys

Tell me a little about yourself and the world you live in. 

My name is Emma Roberts. I grew up in Hudson, Wisconsin and now attend University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. I'm an only child. (Please don't ask me if I was spoiled. Fine. I was. I got everything I ever wanted. Actually, that's a lie. Does anyone ever get everything they want? And what if you want all the wrong things?)

I fell in love with the UW-Eau Claire campus when our state high school music contest was held here. I stood on the bridge gazing out at the beautiful trees lining the Chippewa River which runs right through the middle of campus. Everything looked so lovely, I thought I would feel at home here. But I was wrong.

I never realized that the river would try to kill me. 

Tell us your most closely guarded secret?

Mom told me not to tell you. I think sometimes she gets overprotective just because I'm an only child. She had so many rules when I went to college:  "Don't sleep around, don't burp in public, and don't tell anyone you see ghosts." Whoops, that just kind of slipped out. Now you know the truth. I usually don't talk about it because most people think I'm crazy enough as it is.  

Tell us about your single most important memory.  What was it and how does it affect you now?

I started hearing voices in junior high. One strange day, while I played in the woods near my home, the skin on my neck prickled with the creepy feeling I was being followed. When I spun around there was no one there.

At least at first. Then I spotted a girl among the trees, wearing a gingham dress and a bonnet. She waved her arms and invited me to walk with her.

We spent the rest of the afternoon together. Her name was Elsie. She told me about her life, which sounded just like my Laura Ingalls Wilder books.

When Elsie told me how she'd died of scarlet fever, I guess I should've run away. Or at least been frightened. But I wasn't.

When I got home and told Mom about my new friend, she scolded me, saying I was much too old for "imaginary playmates". 

The next time I saw Elsie I tearfully begged her to go away and leave me alone.

She did.

Ever since Elsie, I've been seeing ghosts a couple times a year. I rarely speak with them. Instead, I pretend they don't exist.

But after Mike died, this changed, and maybe not for the better.

What type of person are you?  Are you a hero or do you shy away from conflict?  

A hero? That's a laugh. I can't even win a single argument with my roommate. She gets whatever she wants. And I get so nervous that I find it hard to form complete sentences around men I find attractive. 

To be honest, I would've even shied away from this interview if you had asked me before I found the Book of Shadows. But the book gives me strength.

Do you have any hobbies, any special talents?

I get good grades and read a lot, but I don't want people to think I'm a total weenie so I never tell them my gradepoint average. I don't know if getting good grades even counts as a "special talent". You just have to put in the time and effort. 

Hmmm…special talents. Does raising people from the dead count?

And in that line, what would be your ideal day?  

If I could fix everyone's problems and still have time to study for that Zoology quiz tomorrow.

Do you have anyone close to you, any family or friends of interest?

After being bullied relentlessly in junior high and highschool, I didn't trust anyone enough to consider them a "true friend" once I got to college. Girls are so fickle. One minute they're your best friend and the next they're talking behind your back. Why do they do that? 

Oh well, perhaps I'm more comfortable with the dead than the living. 

What is your most prized possession?

The Book of Shadows. Now that it's mine I'm never giving it back.

What initially spurred your actions in this story.  Obviously it had to start somewhere for you, give us an idea of where that starting point is and where it all started.

Mike Carlson drowned in the Chippewa River on his 21st birthday. I was there babysitting him, because he was really drunk. So it was all my fault. I don't even know how it happened. He just slipped away without a sound. 

Mike's death changed everything for me. I would've given my life for his.

How do you envision your future? 

That's a really difficult question for a college sophomore who changes her major every other week. I only wish I knew.

Tell us where we can read more about you?

Book One of the Under a Blood Moon series, entitled HOW TO DATE DEAD GUYS will be released July 2014. Books Two and Three will follow.

Author: Ann M. Noser

Author's blog or website:
@AnnMNoser (twitter handle)

Back of the book blurb:

College sophomore Emma Roberts remembers her mother’s sage advice:  “don’t sleep around, don’t burp in public, and don’t tell anyone you see ghosts”.  But when charming Mike Carlson drowns in the campus river under her watch, Emma’s sheltered life shatters. 
Blamed for Mike’s death and haunted by nightmares, Emma turns to witchcraft and a mysterious Book of Shadows to bring him back.  Under a Blood Moon, she lights candles, draws a pentacle on the campus bridge, and casts a spell.  The invoked river rages up against her, but she escapes its fury.  As she stumbles back to the dorm, a stranger drags himself from the water and follows her home. And he isn't the only one.  
Instead of raising Mike, Emma assists the others she stole back from the dead—a pre-med student who jumped off the bridge, a desperate victim determined to solve his own murder, and a frat boy Emma can’t stand…at first.  More comfortable with the dead than the living, Emma delves deeper into the seductive Book of Shadows.  Her powers grow, but witchcraft may not be enough to protect her against the vengeful river and the killers that feed it their victims.

Inspired by the controversial Smiley Face Murders, HOW TO DATE DEAD GUYS will ignite the secret powers hidden deep within each of us.