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What can I do for you?........Free Fic…....Writing_Tips
...Interviews…............Interactive Resumebyjenfinelli.com

Monday, February 17, 2014

Forget-Me-Not Release Day: Interview with an invisible girl on the run

Do you have any idea how hard it is to create a pocket dimension?

It takes more than a little newt blood and bubble bubble, that's for sure. But the girl I'm about to interview just landed herself in so much bad juju, there's literally nowhere in her world I can pop in for a little Q&A. Anamae's a senior in high school who works part time at a local diner, Joe's, and when you first meet her in the book she's at home with her Dad—but all those places? Totally off-limits and guarded by a mysterious, evil organization called the Collective. She's holed up now in a protected area with an interdimensional shield, so I've had to make a pocket dimension to get in touch with her for this interview. See how hard I work for you?

Hey, shut up, here she comes.

I rise as Anamae enters the little study, her steps muffled by thick wine-colored carpet. The curious teenager glances around for a second at the mahogany bookshelves covering the walls, and at the two overstuffed burgundy arm-chairs, before shaking my hand.

“Sorry,” I say. “It's not usually this formal. I just like old-fashioned studies. Have a seat! Anything you say isn't real, anything that happens here isn't real, and everything you see is less than a dream to you, so you can, you know, cut loose. Or not! No pressure. I'm a big fan by the way. So.” I grin as we both take a seat—“What's the craziest thing that's happened to you lately?”

“Now that's a loaded question.” She leans in and lowers her voice to a whisper: “The other day when I was having a bit of fun with Will, we found this old pendant and, oh my gosh, it turned me freaking invisible. Can you believe that? I put it on and poof, gone. 

I still can’t believe it. Who knew stuff like that actually existed.”                    

“Apparently you're not supposed to, huh? So, we couldn't meet at your house because of the Collective. But your father's still at home, so what do you think is happening with him?”

“Gosh, it’s so hard to tell,” she sighs. “The whole pendant thing led to a whole slew of trouble. I’m scared that may have caused the weirdness. I don’t know though; there’s something a bit...not right going on.”

She looks stressed—obviously, I mean, who likes saying something's wrong with her dad?—and as guarded as she is I'm not ready for the interview to get stressful yet, so I stand and pull two books off the shelf. “Coffee or tea?” I ask.

“Coffee,” she says, glancing around for a clock. There is none. “Only in the mornings though, I can’t wake up properly without it. Any other time of the day, I prefer water.”

“Is it morning here? Let's pretend it's morning, do you feel morning-ish? I do. Here.” I open the fattest of the two books and from its hollow innards pull out a steaming mug of Colombian roast to hand her. I open the other book for a chai tea and sit back down. “So who do you live with usually, Anamae?”

“I live with my Dad, there’s just the two of us. But after the incident with the invisibility...” she shakes her head. “Sheesh, home’s not all that safe. I’m hiding out at this place Al calls a ‘safe house’.”

My eye sparkles like a fangirl's. “Any potential romance there?”

“Ha! Now there’s a likely story. The dog’s pretty cool,” she winks.

You do know you're in a scifi romance novel, right? I'm laughing inside. “Heh, well I guess you've definitely got bigger things on your mind right now,” I say. “Let's talk about that—what's your dearest dream for the future, Anamae?”

“That somehow my family is reunited. I miss my mom something fierce.” She answers without a droplet of doubt—but then pauses. “There’s not a lot of hope that she’s still alive, but deep inside, I kind of feel like she is.”

“What's your sweetest memory from the past? Is it—about her?”

“I have a few. Mom and I used to visit central park a lot when I was younger. She’d always order a takeout coffee and we’d sit on one the benches talking, or I’d play.”

My tea tastes heartsick for a moment; I put it down. I always want to console my interviewees and don't usually know how, and now I gotta bust out the big one. I force down another sip. “Anamae, what are you most afraid of?”

“Boy, that’s another tough one.” She takes a second to respond, but when she does, she sounds pensive, not tremulous. “I think I’m afraid of being alone. That this thing with my Dad won’t get better, that Mom will never be found, that I’ll lose Will too. Without the people I love, I’m not sure I could go on.”

That's that. Nothing fancy, just quiet honesty and a soft, faraway glance into the coffee mug.

“Wow,” I breathe. “You are by far the calmest person I have ever interviewed. With everything you're going through, I think I call that bravery.”

Her face colors just a tiny bit as she shrugs; I smile and gesture with my cup towards the blue pendant she's wearing. “So you've got the little thing that started the trouble here with you. I wanted to ask: turning invisible is kind of cool, but it's not exactly something you chose—if you could choose one superpower, what would it be?”

“You know, that question is kind of irrelevant considering all the cool tech around. Anyone can be a superhero if you know where and how to find it,” she grins. “Just don’t let the Collective catch you. Yeah, that wouldn’t be very good. All of that aside though, I wouldn’t mind being able to travel through time. There sure are some things I’d do differently.”

Like what?

But she stands and whirls, as if she hears someone calling her name, and before I can ask the bookshelves begin to morph into stardust. I'm not a very good pocket-dimension-maker, apparently: the chairs dissolve into piles of sand, grass shoots out of the carpet, and my tea begins to bubble over out of my cup, and before I can become some kind of Alice-in-Wonderland knock-off I smash my mug on the coffee table to close the dimension. Interview over.

And Anamae's gone, back to the world where she's a criminal for knowing something.

If you want to find out what Anamae would do differently, you'll have to follow her into that world. You can check out her story at Goodreads (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18130928-forget-me-not), on Amazon and through the Entranced Publishing website. You can follow Anamae's author, Stacey, on twitter, or on Facebook. Anamae is part of a whole series, so you'll probably want to follow her author to find out when the new books come out!

I leave you with one last little tidbit.

Friday, February 14, 2014

What Blog Blitzing Is For--and What It Is NOT For

Hey errybody! You may or may not already know, but writer DL Hammons runs a "blog blitz," where once a week an unsuspecting writer/blogger gets visited by pretty much a hundred-and-something people.

It sounds like a blogger's dream come true, right? So many commenters! And if you happened to write something particularly fabulous the day you're blitzed, you might get new subscribers and followers!

So that's what a lot of people join the blog blitz for--a pretty decent "lottery" chance to get new readers. You can join the blitz here.

But there is a wrong way to blitz.

Every now and then when I participate--which is every now and then--I see blitzers commenting like this:

"Okay, you've been blitzed! Now you must visit the blog of all of us who commented and leave a comment because that's only polite!" I think I literally read a comment that said, "I blitzed you, now you BETTER visit my blog!"

I choose not to paste screenshots here because I don't want to single anyone out. But are you serious? The poor blitzed person may not have time to visit 200 blogs and leave comments on every single one of them. Some people have jobs and kids. More importantly, your comment is irrelevant to their blog post, and therefore, really, it's just spam. Very demanding spam! This isn't about you, it's about the person getting blitzed. Who is not you.

Blog blitzing is way more fun and pleasant if you see it as a way to discover new writing blogs and spread some love.

That's it. Bottom line. If you're in it to win it, you will lose it.

When you blitz, try to find some way to actually interact with the blogger. It can be as simple as the, "Oooh, Thai food is yummy!" I saw one blitzer leave today, or as deep as a discussion on the value of the new NA category. If the blogger writes the same stuff you do, then I could see you directing them to your blog, maybe. As in, "hey, you write about flying cows? Oh man, me too! What's your favorite flying cow?" But see how I finished that with a question, so it's not all about me? So it's more genuine, and less, "aha! Let me just slip right in here and start blarghing about MYSELF!"

If you absolutely can't leave a real comment, maybe you should just limit yourself to Happy Blitz Day. But it's kind of a bummer if that's literally all we can come up with. Aren't we...uh...writers?

Okay, mean lecture over.  I'm not the most consistent participator, and I'm a "happy blitz day" leaver, too, sometimes. But at least we can all agree never, never, never to bully other bloggers into looking at our stuff. Let's please stop being so frikking grown-up and market-y, and let's be more wide-eyed and explorer-y and child-y and just have fun. Come, my children, let us dance in the light of blog exploration and happiness, wherein there be found much chocolate and cookies and delights neverending kind of like how the french fries at Red Robin never end and I love them!

*deep breath*

Sign up for the funsies here.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Why you DON'T want to make your living writing

I know, weird, right? Usually writers dream of making money writing; we drool over all those great e-mails telling you how you can quit your day job and spend forever doing what you want.

But I'm here to tell you maybe you don't want that.

I totally lived that dream, and I'm glad I did—quitting my day-job pushing pills probably did more for my business-sense, faith, and guts than any other experience in my life. Definitely my first choice for a full-time job, if I don't make it in medicine. I didn't get rich, and I didn't get famous, but for almost a year my frantic typing and lots of grace from above provided just fine for my tiny family (me, in-college husband, and hedgehog!). I ghosted four books, tons of articles, and even got my name out there a little bit. One of my ghosted books made it to Amazon best seller's list in its category for a week. (Because it was ghosted you have to ask me privately for my client's permission to prove that, but I totally can if you're curious) Yeah, it was awesome. 

But you know what? I'm a much happier writer now that it's not keeping the air conditioning running. Because--
When writing isn't your bacon and cheese, your rice and kimchee, your bread and butter, you can write:

1. What you want

Sorry, but if you blog for a living, or ghost, or even write news, at some point someone's going to tell you, “I want it like this.” And at some point, unless you have magical mind-control powers, you are going to have to obey. It's the client's blog, it's the client's voice in the book, and it's the client's money. Fortunately, I've worked with some really good clients and editors who listened to me and played a pretty decent back and forth, but I've also worked with folks you can never please, folks who lose your work, and folks who make grammatically-destructive edits (cringe). And even the best clients in the world won't pay you to write your dream novel. They want you to write theirs. That's fine, but if you've got a story to tell, it's frustrating spending all your time telling other people's stories.

It's not much different in fiction-writing, from what I hear. I mean, think about it, if writing brings home the tofurkey, not all the publishing people living off your established werewolf-driven urban fantasy will let you just up and start writing historical fiction. They know people in the new genre might not take you as seriously, and they don't want to risk their incomes because you got some Roman classics on the brain. So you either jeopardize your income stream because your established crew won't publish you, or you keep writing the same lycanthropes until you vomit silver bullets.

Or, if writing's not your main source of sizzling, greasy, life-sustaining bacon, you go ahead and write that historical fiction anyway. You've got time for rejections.

See how much easier that is?

2. When you want

Sure, if you're a writer for a living, you can write all day long. And sometimes all night long. And then you have to spend the next day catching up on networking. And then you realize “networking” became wasting time on twitter and you have to start all over again with five energy shots to pump out 15,000 more words in the next eight hours. And then you have writer's block for a week, and your husband comes back from class in his clothes and you're still dead exhausted in your pjs with drool in your hair, and you know he's wondering if you're all going to starve.

People often underestimate the physical pressure of having to write all the time—and I think people really underestimate how that affects the quality of your work. You get tired. You need to experience life. Living creates new ideas and scenes and expressions for your writing, and without brain stimulation from science and problem-solving and people and struggle, your writing can stagnate fast. Your life is outside your writing. Writing is what you do about it.

So, it's definitely pretty great to set your own schedule for work and everything, but it's also pretty great not to have to. Stealing an hour a day, or half an hour a day, into your own little sanctuary without worrying about deadlines—that's lovely. Freedom from yourself, really, is kind of nice.

3. How you want

The junction between art and writing might get you into museums, but unless you can prove your avant-garde Arizona-tea-labels-glued-to-the-wall will make $$$ it's a no-go for a paid writer. You wanna add a comic strip to your novel? Make a digital hyperlink chase all over the internet? What's new and unique to you looks weird to other people. Not to me—I love it—but it's tough to get money put down on stuff that's not proven itself before, especially during an economic down-turn. 

That's not to discourage you from trying crazy new techniques. Absolutely not. There's Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Youtube—tons of ways to pull in money for your crazy new mind-meld. It's just easier to run that crazy new idea when you know it's not going to put you out on the street.


I am not saying all this to tell you to keep your soul-munching office job. No. Please quit that. A veteran newspaper editor I respect once took the time to tell me a secret: “They want all of you kids to finish college and work for a corporation or the government where you're neatly controlled, like in a commune. But that's not what you're supposed to do. You're all supposed to be graduating to start your own small businesses.” It sounded kind of intense at the time, but you know what? We were meant to be masters of our own lives. Running a farm, or your own little market stall, or hunting and gathering your own food may not sound glamorous to most modern people, but our souls stagnate without risk and opportunity, just like our immune systems attack us without parasites to fight (that's where autoimmune disease and allergies come from). We should be creating and fighting for products and services we believe in and coming up with new ideas, not just taking what's there. Please quit your job and write instead of melting.

But you know what? Maybe writing full-time isn't the risk you're meant to take. Maybe you're meant to be an astronaut or ITC gal or brilliant home-maker or that pizza-guy who arranges peperoni into hearts for people in long-distance relationships. (True story) Maybe you've got something else to add to the world besides the words on your page.

And maybe then you'll always have something to write about.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Character Interview: White One, from Nezumi's Children by T.L. Bodine (What's it like to be a rat?)

Purchase the novel here
Sometimes I bend my body to obey the Rules. Today's protagonist is white, fluffy, naked-tail'd, and about the size of my human fist, so to interview her--

Well, I'm disguised as a rat.

It's tough for me to coordinate four limbs in a scamper, but I've got crawling down. The main thing that gets me is the swap between vision and smell--wow the smells! It's like I've been blind all my life, and now I see a painting, a broad palette of scents all speaking to me about--

About how I smell really human. Crap. Totally overlooked this in my transmogrification--just like a human would. I lick myself, but it doesn't help. Now I smell like a human covered in spit.

Well, the show must go on.

I creep to one corner of the plexiglass, wire-mesh, 36'' by 8'' cage on the floor of the pet shop and whisper to the nearest rat inside. "Hello?"

Her nose wrinkles; she slips closer to me, staring at me through the mesh.

"Hey, I have some questions for you!" I say.

"Never mind me," she says. "I have some questions for you! What are you?"

"I'm the Traveller. What's your name?"

"They call me White One. It's not a proper name, but it's what they call me for now, and I can't deny it's practical. Among all of the others, I am the white one."

Oh, good! I've got the right rat.

"How old are you?" I ask.

"I'm five months old," she says. That's just the age where rats reach social maturity and work out their rank within the colony. So she's like--a college kid. A college kid with a curious nose twitching and sniffing up and down without pausing, like a little motor. "What's going on?" she asks me.

"What do you mean?"

"There's something happening outside. No one seems to know what it is, but it's making us all on edge. The prophet is calling it a 'storm.' That might be true. What I know: The air smells damp, and I feel a tingling in my whiskers like something big is about to happen. I wish I could get outside to get a proper look at it."

Her eyes seem to sharpen, or glimmer at me with meaning. I grimace; my tail stiffens. "I get the hint. But I can't help you get out, and I can't tell you what's going on--and I actually mean can't, not may not, or don't want to. I wish I could, but my freedom to travel comes with some handicaps."

She digests that for a moment; I don't know how long I've got before her story begins, but my whiskers are tingling too and I don't want to die, so I jump right in with the biggest questions.

"What's your biggest fear?"

She's still hung up on the whole "outside"-thing. "None of us know what happens when we leave this place.  If you ask Nezumi, the Beyond is like a paradise. If you ask Monster, it's just another cage, a trap loaded with danger. I think they're both right, but probably both wrong as well, and I can't be satisfied with not knowing for sure." She flicks her tail and looks away from me, beyond me. "I'm afraid of never finding out what actually rests outside. But I'm more afraid that I'll get outside and discover that there was really nothing to discover in the first place. Does that make sense? I've tried telling the others that, but they look at me like I've gone mad."

"Well, they're just more easily satisfied than you are," I say. "I understand you--but you probably understand them a little, too, right? You like some things about where you are. Food, for example--what's your favorite food?"

"Every so often, the Great Ones give us a mix of seeds with our kibble, and there's peanuts in them, still in the shell. A lot of them have gone sour with age, but when they're fresh they're the very best. Sometimes we fight over them. Usually it's Cookie who gets hold of them first, but she'll drop them when Bitey challenges her, and I can just sneak in and get them while they tussle. No one ever notices. I think it makes them taste better."

I like the glimmer in her eye, and the way she gnashes her teeth when she says that. I feel my rat-tummy getting grumbly--I distract myself. "And sounds," I say. "What's your favorite sound?"

"Footsteps approaching.  When the sky opens, food comes, and I can get a little glimpse of outside -- and the sky always opens after footsteps sound outside."

"You really want out, don't you." I'm smiling or smirking--I think. I don't know how rats smile. "It's like your personal dream or something."

She twitches her ears 'yes.' "Once, I ran free in the Beyond," she says. "It was a brief moment -- just a few minutes before they caught me and dropped me back in the cage -- but it was amazing. The smells! There was so much out there to explore. I ache to see it again."

"Well--I'm sure you will. Am I allowed to say that?" I glance around as if the Rules might get me. I whisper. "White One, you've got big things ahead of you. Be--careful."

I look around again. That tingling she mentioned--it's tickling my whole face now, and I think I hear an ominous rumble in the distance. I need to get out of here before everything goes to rat-poop--but--

Just a few more questions. I don't know when I'll get an opportunity like this again.

"Hey, could you tell me a little more about--what's it like, being a rat?"

She tilts her head. "What's it like being something else?"

That's easy. "Like you've lost your sense of smell, and your eyes fill up with details and colors you've never imagined--you can't see ultraviolet anymore, though, so no signatures in pee--but far away things look clear, and you're very big and clumsy on your hind-paws but really, really precise with your front-paws."

She parses that for a second. I'm sure by now she's figured from the smell I share my species with the things that feed her--and sure enough, she says,

"Well, imagine that you are very small, very cunning, but ultimately weaker than nearly everything else around you. Even when you're completely safe from predators, you know in your bones that the safety won't last. You have to be ready to run at any minute. You have to stick with the others. You have to keep your eyes and ears and whiskers looking for danger at every second, because you could be food for something else at any moment.  You know this, and you've always known this, but you can't let it consume you. It's just a part of who you are. That's what being a rat means."

My turn to pause. "You know, maybe that ever-present danger is what being alive means. Maybe huma--uh, my species--just tries to spend a lifetime forgetting it."

She begins to answer--

A scream from another rat in the cage! It's Nezumi, the prophetic mother rat--she tears at the glass, hurls her sickly form at it--"Get out, get out!" she cries. "Before it comes!"

Every hair on my body stands on end like a soldier snapping to attention. Her wild eyes--

Whatever my philosophy on human mortality, the fact remains--a rat can die in a rainstorm, a rat will die in this rainstorm, and I need out. Now.

I always hate this part.

I gaze past White One over the cage. All her friends, such unique and strange and beautiful creatures--to think that within a week they'll--and I can't do anything--

Sometimes I hate my job.

But rats don't cry. I touch my nose to the side of the cage; White One salutes me back, her round liquid ruby eyes brimming with questions. I give her one last nod--"You can do this"--and I'm gone.

You can buy the book White One's from, and find out what the big scary happening is, at these places!
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00EWTMONG
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/nezumis-children-tl-bodine/1116813472
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/350275

And of course, if you want to learn more about White One's author: http://tlbodine.blogspot.com

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Check out this Character Interview! With Necronite Jesse Sullivan, from Dying for a Living (Not a zombie!)

Add to your Goodreads
The interdimensional travel leaves me queasier this time--my head's throbbing, and I'm clutching a nearby trashcan to stand. Or vomit.


Either way, I'm thrilled. In my experience, the worse the pre-hangover, the wilder the character I'm about to meet--and after last time's heart-wrenching frustration, I'm ready for some kick-ass and snark.

But I didn't expect to find pigeons pecking the pavement in front of hip downtown shops; dirty automobiles edge around each other under shadows etched against a clear blue sky. "Nashville, Tennessee. Huh." I was expecting a cemetery or something.

It's not hard to find the unobtrusive little office on Broadway, a sign directing me away from the comic bookstore in front to a back entrance with Jesse Sullivan, Death Replacement Agent written above the door.

I knock, stifling my queasy stomach; as the door opens a shiver runs down my spine. I've found her.

Jesse's wearing dark jeans, a black zip-up hoodie, and mismatched shoes--one red Nike and one black and red Adidas. She raises an eyebrow.

"Hi, uh," I pause. "I made an appointment? For an interview?"

She opens her mouth to respond, when a familiar growl rumbles behind me.

Jesse's eyes shoot wide open like searchlights.

"Oh crap," I mutter.

I whirl; the bundle of scales and heat slams into me and my back pounds the carpet with a muffled thud. Claws wrap around my throat--I'm trying to jam my pen into its jugular--

A hiss! All the lightbulbs blow; the grip on my throat loosens as a pulse blasts out from Jesse's body. She's cursing and apologizing as glass from the ceiling-light shatters around the beast. It shrieks in panic, fades into the air, and disappears, leaving me with a panting, shouting, freaked out, and apparently-super-powered protagonist.


“Shit,” she says and throws her arms up. “I just replaced that computer, man.”

I scramble to my feet stammering: "Uh, sorry, that's a Dragon Spawn--sometimes they follow me through dimensions, they're--uh--mostly harmless to anyone who's not me--" I'm still stumbling. More praise, more praise! "Hey, uh, thank-you!" I say. "You were great! Really cool. It's very dead, very gone, thanks to your rave show there..."

I'm still talking as she flops into her desk chair to inspect the damage.

I rub my forehead. "Wow, so uh—interview.”

“You wanted to know what I do for a living,” she offers. She writes something on a notepad before taping it to the still smoking computer monitor.

“Yeah,” I say and take out my notepad and pen. "That."

"I’m a death-replacement agent for FBRD--Federal Bureau of Regenerative Deaths." She jingles the dog-tags around her neck. "Basically, if someone is about to die, they can hire me to make sure that doesn’t happen. Except, of course, this means I have to die instead." She rolls her eyes up and sticks out her tongue in a cartoonish parody of death.

I'm not supposed to giggle, but I do. "Ahem--hm, well uh--how does that work?"

"You should attend one of Dr. York’s sensitivity seminars over at the hospital," she says. She replaces the light bulb on her desk lamp, supplementing the afternoon glow. "He explains all this in detail. But long story short, I have this neurological disorder—NRD—that doesn’t let me die. Assuming my brains don’t get damaged. If my brain stops working then I’m just dead—like dead, dead. So I kind of have to be careful in the jobs I take. Not that being careful is really part of the job description. I’m always sore and bloody and I’ve got all these scars." She lifts one foot, looking at her un-paired Adidas. "And shoes! I can’t keep a pair of shoes to save my freaking life."

"That sounds--rough. Why do you do it?"

She shakes the busted bulb before tossing it. "You can blame that on Brinkley, my handler. He got me into the mess. I suppose I should be grateful. I’m paid really well for a high-school drop out. Even if the hours do suck. And I can’t get health insurance. To. Save. My. Life." She grins. It's a bad joke, but I'm grinning too now--Guess I've thrown professional sensitivity right out the window…

"Ha. What's the worst job you've taken so far?"

"Eve Hildebrand, hands down. Not only because she’s a prostitute—sorry, sex worker—and I had to see her—never mind, what I saw wasn’t even the worse part. The worst part was after—all that--" she makes a suggestive gesture with her hand--"She tried to kill me! I was hired to keep her alive and then she tries to decapitate me." Her index finger slices across her throat with flair. "Can you believe that shit?"

I shake my head. "I feel like incidents like that would really get in the way of--uh--family life and stuff. If you don't mind my asking--who's closest to you in your life right now?"

"Ally. She’s my best friend, and well, my personal assistant too. But I’d die for that girl. Again." No joke--a shimmering sadness overtakes her eyes.

"I know, that's really personal, I'm sorry," I say. "Hey, where is she right now? Day off?”

“She's meeting with Kirk, the mortician, about an upcoming replacement.” Jesse grimaces, looking at the computer again. “She’ll never shut up about this.”

“Ah. Uh, I'm sorry, here's something more fun: What's the most important sound in the world to you?"

She arches an eyebrow, then shrugs. "Probably my heartbeat I guess. It’s usually the first thing I notice when I wake up after a replacement, and it means I didn’t really bite it—like for real."

Okay, we're not getting any more light-hearted, so might as well rip the bandaid right off. "What's your biggest fear?"

She snorts. "I can't die. What do I have to be afraid of?"

But she looks uncomfortable. As an interviewer, I'd pursue that question further if I knew her better--but I don't want to press it. I want to find the ray of joy in her life, and watch it glimmer. So: "What's your dearest dream?"

She shrugs again. "It used to be to get the hell out of death-replacing. I hated the people and I hated the job." Her tone softens. "But after Eve and everything else, I know that’s not even an option. So I guess I don’t have a new dream yet. Unless—well, I hope that the people I love survive this. Things are just going to get worse for me from here on out, you know?—So I guess my greatest wish is that I can keep them alive."

"I hope you gain your dream, Jesse," I whisper under my breath, leaning back in my seat. But I can feel the somber air stifling her spunk, so aloud I say, "Okay, no more questions. You wanna go for Krispy Kreme?”

"That was a question," she smirks. “And I’m not sure I want to hang out with someone who gets attacked by dragons. I can’t die today. I go on the clock at midnight, and you’re a bit of a hazard to be around.”

“You’re one to talk,” I say.

She grins. “Touche.”

"So? Donuts?"

"Are you real?" she arches a suspicious brow. “Sometimes I—you know—death can be hard on the brain.” She taps her temple.

“Eh, I'm as real as you are. Maybe a little more real, or a little less, depending on where you go. Don't worry, no one will think you're crazy talking to me. Now, people will think you're crazy if you don't take me up on these donuts.”

“No more questions?”

"No more questions." I rise, flipping my braids over my shoulder. “Coming?”

“Ok,” she grins. Grabbing the keys, she locks up behind us. “I know just the place.”

I'll be keeping an eye out for this protagonist. If you're similarly intrigued by Jesse and her job, you can check out
Dying for a Living when it comes out March 4! In the meantime, follow Jesse's author Kory M. Shrum on twitter, and on her blog, for news on the upcoming release!


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Sneak Previews: Interview with Star Thief Author Jamie Grey

Barnes and Noble
Today, we've got Jamie Grey, the author of the new NA Science Fiction novel, Star Thief. And when I say new, I mean, hot-and-piping-so-new-you-couldn't-get-this-three-days-ago-new. You can check out the blurb and cover copy by clicking below that snazzeh picture over there.

<<<< Go ahead, we'll wait. Do come back though. We're going to explore some author/character relationships and get you some exclusive content insight into this new book!

Okay, Jamie, I think they're back. That looks like them, anyway--aren't they beautiful? 

So, why did you write Star Thief?

Jamie: I think it was because I was a huge fan of sci-fi romance books and just didn’t find very many out there. So, basically I was trying to write the type of book I wanted to read! And I love space, so there’s that too  

Jen: Oh, I love that! Besides the contribution to the genre, what, to you, is the most important aspect of the book? By that I mean, what do you want most to leave with your readers when they've shut the back cover?

Jamie: I want them to be in love with the characters and world, and breathless from the ride. I also want them to be desperate to read the next book!

Jen: Cool. So--what is a Star Thief?

Jamie: LOL Good question. I can’t give away *too* much, but let’s just say a Star Thief is someone who can steal the most heavily guarded artifact in the galaxy and not get caught.

Jen: What's the biggest problem for your protag throughout the book? To deepen the question, what does Renna consider worse: the fate of the universe in her hands, or the relationship issues?
Jamie: I think Renna’s biggest problem is trying to balance the fact that she’s spent all of her life trying to look out for herself and do what’s best for her, and now suddenly she’s in a situation where she has to look out for other people and she has no idea how to react.

She’s been careful to keep her relationships superficial to protect herself, but somehow she’s gotten sucked into this complicated situation where she has to face her feelings and be responsible for other people and all sorts of things she doesn’t like. So yes, she’s fine with the action of saving the galaxy, not so much with having to figure out her emotions and feelings.

Jen: Do you think you and Renna would get along?

Jamie: Great question. To be honest? Probably not. I think I’d be really intimidated by her! The girls is pretty much bigger than life. She’s smart and abrasive and demanding and very self-confident. I think she’s the kind of person we all wish we could be, but don’t really like in person LOL.

Jen: Haha, well let's flip the question then! If Renna met you, what would she like most about you? Have you written anything that would make her mad?
Jamie: I think she’d like that I’m smart, a computer geek, and that I can blend in in most situations --always key for a good thief. As far as I know I haven’t written anything that would make her mad, but sometimes you just don’t know with Renna!

Jen: Speaking of content--just as a helpful guide for readers, what would you rate your book (G, PG-13, R) and why? (e.g., "super-steamy," "a scene of really dark violence and decapitation," "just some light kissing" or "nothing like that what's wrong with you")

Jamie: Since The Star Thief is a NA sci-fi romance, there are some definitely steamy scenes! Romance isn’t the only focus of the book, but it’s there. So, I guess if I had to rate it, between the sex and some mild violence, I’d probably have to rate it PG-13 or R.

Jen: Thanks for that, the honesty's super-helpful. Do you have a pet peeve in writing? This could range from a deep literary need or philosophical gap you want filled in science fiction right now, to something small like affect vs. effect. Whatever frustrates you a bit.

Jamie: I think right now in some old-school circles there’s a feeling that women can’t write good science fiction or don’t belong writing in the genre. That frustrates me on so many levels. I think we all bring different perspectives and experiences to the genre and excluding women lessens everyone’s enjoyment. Not to mention excluding a whole group’s ideas, characters and stories actually hurts sci-fi as a whole.

Jen: I see. Alright, now to the good! What's your favorite aspect of science fiction as a story-telling medium?
Jamie: The freedom to create a new world or play with our current world and explore different themes and ideas you can’t do in contemporary books. Seeing how someone reacts to a completely alien culture or world, or putting them in a situation no one has ever had to deal with before is really satisfying. But there’s also the ability to show that people are the same no matter when/where they live. Plus it’s just fun!

Jen: Right? I love new cultures, I love science, and I love space; it's the best genre. Anyway, finally, what's the most important sound in the world to you?
Jamie: I spent all of my summers with my grandmother at her lake house. We’d spend hours at night just staring up at the stars and watching for shooting stars with the sound of the waves lapping at the shore as a background, so I’d have to say the sound of water, specifically waves on a beach, is the most important sound to me!

Jen: I like that one. Water's probably the most common emotional response I get to that question--and everyone's bond to it is so very different. I love yours, that's a lovely image. 

Hey, thanks for indulging us with a visit to this little corner of the internet.

Jamie: Thanks so much for the fun interview and having me on your blog! I appreciate it! 

No, thank-you! 

So, my peeps, if you liked what you saw here, and you want to hear more from Jamie, feel free to check her out all these places:

 And, if you'd like to read more author interviews, click on the little "author interviews" tag there, below this post. Right there.

I've also got a new batch of character interviews coming up, and a little free fiction, so stay posted! 

Remember--you're loved.