Author Corner–Robert DiBella

E: Welcome to Erindipity, Robert.  Did you bring me a tribute?

R: Thanks for having me. I hope whiskey counts as a tribute.

For future reference, I prefer my alcohol to come in margarita or rum form.  However, there is a certain angry cat that I can make an offering to.

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E: You had a book just come out earlier this year?  What can you tell us about it?

R: It’s called “Memoir of a Variable”. It is the story of X, an assassin for the CIA’s organization Grey Sector. X has been a professional hitman for ten years, and he starts to have doubts about who he has been killing. When the CIA tasks him to kill the outspoken liberal daughter of a conservative Senator, X decides to go rouge by protecting the girl, and turns the tables on the CIA.

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E: What was your process like?

R: Once I get an idea in my head, I tend to sleep on it for a while then jump right into the story. I don’t have a plan or organizer. I get all my ideas out on paper, then go back and see what needs to be changed. 

E: As a newly published writer, what are some things you’ve learned that you wish you knew before you started the process?

R: How long it takes to properly edit and revise your work. When I finished my first book, I was so excited to get it out there I sent it out to close to a hundred publishers and agents without thoroughly looking over what I wrote.

E: Are you currently working on anything?

R: Yes, I am working on “Ten Names” (Working Title), the sequel to “Memoirs of a Variable”. I am also working on a comedic story called “Who at the Garden” about a father and son going to a concert at Madison Square Garden. I also have a piece coming out in the Rainstorm Press Author Anthology, titled “Man from Ino”. A suspenseful story about a young man stranded on Molokai, a Hawaiian leper colony during the 1870’s.   

E: Do you have any upcoming events, such as book signings, etc?

R: I will be doing a reading and book signing at the Mineola Public Library in Mineola, New York. The date and time are still being determined, follow my Facebook page or on Twitter for more information.  

E: What drew you to writing?  Was it something you’ve always wanted to do, or did you come by it later in life?

R: I feel like I always wanted to do this. I remember playing with action figures and GI Joes with my cousins and my friends, and always making up crazy stories for our games. I didn’t really start writing until my senior year in high school. My twelfth grade English teacher would let us write fictional stories instead of doing essays, and those were the only papers I enjoyed writing. When I got to Molloy College, I took a playwriting class and really took a liking to it, that class inspired me to take writing seriously and commit to it.

E: Who are some of your favorite authors and what was the last book you read?

R: The last book I read was “007 Carte Blanche” by Jeffery Deaver. Some of my favorite authors are Tom Clancy, Elie Wiesel, Sharon Shebar, Robert Langdon, and Stephen King. I love reading about history, espionage, and the super natural.    

You can find out more information about Robert’s book signing on Twitter.

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Author Corner–Ella Medler

E: Welcome, Ella.  Glad you could stop by.  I just made a fresh batch of lemonade.  Care for some?

EM: Oh, I love home-made lemonade. Thank you. It’ll go perfectly with these fresh cream mini-cheesecakes, don’t you think?

Note to self: Invite her back.

E: You have several things out in the world right now, including a book that came out last month.  Before we talk about the new book, can you tell us about the first book in the series?

EM: You must be referring to the Eternal Series, co-written with Kristie Haigwood. The first in the series is Eternal Island. Eternal Island is a fictional place where vampires and witches live in perfect harmony, away from the perils of mingling with the humans. There is interaction between the two worlds, of course, but Eternal Island has the sort of community spirit many of us can only dream about and a no-nonsense attitude to people who only take and never give back. According to a crystal ball, Ariana, a human, and Abe, Eternal Island’s vampire king, are destined to be together. The powerful attraction they feel confirms this to be true, but others are determined to keep the two of them apart. With everything against them and their lives in danger, the soul mates have to find a way to be together. Their obstacles are not only physical; there is a lot of emotion to deal with, too, and a lot of knowing oneself. Both protagonists must make sacrifices in order to save the one who owns their heart.

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E: What can we expect from this second book?

EM: Eternal Immortality is deeper, darker, and the stakes are much higher. Abe and Ariana face a huge challenge, and monsters the likes of which no one can imagine. There is love, too, as another couple must recognize and admit their feelings for each other, and the secret of the spirits in the cave finally comes out. It’s a good book. We’ve had wonderful sales and feedback since its release on May 10th.

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E: Do you have a rough idea how many books will be in the series, or are you seeing where the characters take you?

EM: Kristie and I have so many ideas, so many places we want to take this story to! You realize the first two books barely covered two weeks in real time? It’s action all the way. You really need to be fit to keep up with it! At this precise moment in time we have enough material for six books, but I bet you we’ll end up writing more! Watch out for book 3, Eternal Inception, coming out early 2014.

E: You have a second series out, as well.  What can you tell us about it?

EM: The Hunter Series is an action thriller trilogy. Book one, Blood is Heavier, is available to download for free from Smashwords. It’s on Amazon, too, but they haven’t price-matched yet. It’s been free since its release day, to increase exposure and as a means for my fans to sample my writing without losing out in any way. As soon as the sequel, Blood is Power, comes out (end of this month), both books will be available at full price only. There will be one more book in the series, estimated release 2014, and a sister-novel describing the life of a secondary character – Tequila – which has been requested by the fans. I hope to get Tequila’s story, provisionally titled ‘Deal With It’, published later this year.

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E: You’re from Cornwall.  Are you going to shank me for some scones?  I mean, Sakina was here last week and I swear she was sharpening the handle of Charlie’s toothbrush.  I’d rather we get it all out there.

EM: Ha ha ha. I’ve moved to Cornwall in 2003. To the locals, I am still an outsider. Don’t get me wrong, Cornish people are a friendly bunch, but they also know where to draw the line. I’ve lived and worked all over the world, so to me nowhere and everywhere is home. I live on Earth. That’s a good enough postal address for me.

E: You’re included in “First 5 Chapters.”  Can you tell us about it and how has that impacted your audience base?

EM: The First 5 Chapters is an anthology-type experiment intended to give the reader a good deal of insight into the works of six authors at a time. The authors are responsible for promoting the book in which they feature, and we also collectively help lift the book off the ground and get it published. I know there were some difficulties in finding the support needed to continue, though at the time it started there were at least nineteen volumes planned. Everyone’s individual projects took over, and there was little time left for the First 5 Chapters project. The first three volumes are out, but the others have cooled, for lack of author involvement, as far as I know. There’s a First 5 Chapters page on FB, where any developments are posted and authors willing to participate can join.

E: If you could pick one type of story and forbid anyone from writing that type for at least 5 years, what type of story would you choose and why?

EM: Oh, what a lovely thought! Erin, I could hug you right now! It would be contemporary fantasy. I could write in that genre forever and a day! Imagine not having competition! Wow! The possibilities are endless. The first book I’ve published is in that genre – Martin Little, Resurrected (the only one I have published traditionally) – and while its market niche is very narrow, its review rankings are the best.

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From my point of view, writing a fantasy story is completely liberating. You can put as much drama in it as you wish, you can infuse it with romance or not, build up the pace, make it into a thriller – anything, really (mine is a satire poking fun at today’s society in Britain, including CCTV use, health and safety and the usual bureaucracy choking us all).

And the contemporary setting has two major advantages: the need for lengthy, in-depth research is low, and most readers will be able to understand and identify with the characters and situations, therefore eliminating the misinterpretation often associated with novels set in a different age, for example, when people’s behavior was influenced by factors no longer common.

Thanks to Ella for dropping by and for bringing those delicious cheesecakes.  They went smashingly with the lemonade.  If you’d like Ella to bring you mini cheesecakes, she won’t.  Because you’re not me.  But you can always ask her on her blog.

What No One Tells You

You might remember a few months back I mentioned that I wrote a monologue for our local production “Michiana Monologues.”  Not only did my monologue appear in the book produced by the organization, but it was chosen to be performed.  Some of the performances were funny.  Some were thought provoking.  Some made me cry.  All were fantastically performed and powerfully written.

The video from those performances is now available for viewing!  All works are unattributed to protect privacy, but I have no problem telling you that my piece is titled “What No One Tells You.”   My particular piece starts at the 37:45 mark of the first half of the performance, but please feel free to watch the entire thing.  You can also access the second half of the performance from this page.

Only a select number of monologues were chosen for performance, but many, many more were submitted and included in the book.  Please consider buying a copy.  The cost is $10 and the proceeds go to benefit several local charities that benefit women.  There are a few ways to get them, but if you are not local, the third option is the best.  You would need to contact April Lidinsky for shipping information, as I do not have that.

Guest Blogger Brent Kelley

You are in for a special treat today.  Brent Kelley, author of Chuggie and the Desecration of Stagwater, has dropped by to tell you about his newest Chuggie book, Chuggie and the Bleeding Gateways, and to tell you about this amazing thing he’s doing.  So, let’s welcome Brent back to Erindipity.  You have the floor, sir.

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He’ll get you, my pretties, and his little dog, too.

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Howdy, Folks! It’s me, your old pal BMK.  Why should you read this guest post? Great question! You’re clearly wise beyond your years, and everyone should listen to your ideas all the time. But let me answer the question, not dance around it for ten paragraphs and then never address it. You should read this because I’m going to tell you about my new book, Chuggie and the Bleeding Gateways. And then I’m going to make an announcement that will make you want to buy it this very second.

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I started writing about my buddy Chuggie back in college. I think it was 2002, but I’ve been wrong before. Over the next several years, I managed to build a story around Chuggie. In 2011, I was fortunate enough to have Chuggie and the Desecration of Stagwater published by Omnium Gatherum Media. Chuggie is part of a bigger story, and I’ve named the series Mischief, Mayhem, Want, and Woe.

Mischief, Mayhem, Want, and Woe describe four characters who happen to be walking calamities. Fire, Sickness, Drought, and Flood. Chuggie is the embodiment of Drought, and his word is Want. In his own words, “It means I’m poor. Means something’s missing. Means I fall short.”

Chuggie’s sister Wildfire likes a little Mischief. She isn’t out to hurt anybody, but she can be a tad careless. We get to meet her in Bleeding Gateways. Chuggie’s other sister is the embodiment of Flood. She is, naturally, full of Woe. We haven’t met her yet. Last is Brother Sickness. He’s all about Mayhem, and we haven’t met him yet, either. They’ll all have their own stories to tell. My hope is, in the coming years, I’ll get clacking on the ol’ type-o-tron and get those stories down.

Here’s the synopsis for Chuggie and the Bleeding Gateways:

“Chuggie, the perpetually intoxicated embodiment of drought, returns for another adventure in Chuggie and the Bleeding Gateways. It’s been five days since the Desecration of Stagwater, and our hero has work to do. With the help of some ghostly new cronies, he searches for a lost little boy, explores a new world, and does his drunken best to avoid the clutches of pursuing Steel Jacks. What are the secrets of the bone dagger he carries? What allies and enemies will he find in the wilderness? Where will he get more booze? In the second installment of Mischief, Mayhem, Want, and Woe, Brent Michael Kelley takes us through the Bleeding Gateways to the strange horrors beyond.”

Do you want to read it yet? You look a little interested, so let me sweeten the stew. Ha! Stew! That’s funny because there’s some stew in Chuggie and the Bleeding Gateways. I can say no more on the stew, but if you like stew, you’re gonna like THIS stew. But that’s all just me dancing around the whatever before I make the announcement.

I’m going to South Africa for three weeks! Just kidding. But not really. I really AM going to South Africa. Leaving next week. That’s not the announcement, though. The real announcement is…

I’m donating half of my royalties to the American Cancer Society. For the first year, every cent I make from Chuggie and the Bleeding Gateways is getting chopped in half. One half is going into my pocket so I can take care of my one-year-old. The other half is joining the fight against cancer. I hate cancer. I’m guessing you do, too, so buy lots of copies. Tell everyone else to buy lots of copies. The more copies you buy, the more cash we raise to fight stupid cancer. If you help spread the word, you’ll be rewarded in Valhalla! (Oh, and you’ll also be rewarded by getting to read Chuggie and the Bleeding Gateways. I think it turned out pretty good.)

Chuggie is a foul-mouthed drunk. He says and does awful things. His stories are not for children. And cancer shouldn’t be, either. If Chuggie can raise some money for fighting cancer, though, I’ll be one happy author.

Thanks for reading this post all the way to the end, folks. I’d hug you if I could. Chuggie and the Bleeding Gateways will be available Friday, June 14. It’s also available for pre-order.

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Thanks, Brent.  Pre-order your copy today to get the second book in a great series and help kids get that much closer to the cure.  Haven’t read the first one, yet?  Not a problem.  You can find Chuggie and the Desecration of Stagwater on Amazon.  If you’d like to get ahold of him, you can find him loitering on his website or on his Facebook page.  You can even tell him you saw it here.  Spread the word, get a great book, and raise funds to fight cancer.  What a great way to spend your day.

Author Corner–Sakina Murdock

Sakina Murdock came to visit me from the other side of the pond today.  Charlie is very excited to see her.  This might not end well.

E: Welcome to the blog.  Have a seat, make yourself comfy.  Charlie wanted me to make you scones and tea, but I told him he was a racist and he should go back to rotting in the corner like a good corpse.  Unless you wanted some tea…

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This is Charlie’s idea of refreshments. Like I even own anything this nice.

S: I hate tea. Unless it’s green tea. Or fruit-herb-don’t-know-what-the-shit-it-is-but-it’s-good-for-me tea. Cheese scones, yes. No tea.

E: Your book is called Autotherapy.  What can you tell us about it?

S: Autotherapy is a vampire novel with a difference. Lots of differences. It’s not a horror in the true sense; a detective thriller. It gives us a twisted, scientific reason for a vampiric condition with serious implications for the future of humankind, and is seriously short of the gothic romance which you normally get (sired vampires, deep love and posh people). It’s set in secret tunnels underground, disused quarries, merciless weather and English countryside, and the intention was not only to write a great story, but to capture the essence of Cumbria’s Eden Valley, too. I live in a really magical place, and I’m a natural show-off.

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E: Do you have anything new in the works?

S: I’m working on a couple of ideas right now. One’s a premise; environmental disaster backdrop, which I’m really excited about. I haven’t yet wrestled my characters into position.  The other is sitting in my laptop with a third of the story blocked out, heavily involving spirit possession, but with a mental health theme.

Where are the cheese scones? I thought there were going to be scones.

I briefly considered reminding her that the scones were Charlie’s idea, and that I called him a racist corpse, but I figured if I pretended not to hear her, she would stop asking for them.

E: Who are your favorite authors and what was the last book you’ve read?

S: My favourite all time author is Terry Pratchett. I never read a book of his that I didn’t love. I read them again and again, and I always laugh. The last book I read was Alan Bennett’s Smut – Two unseemly stories. It was laugh-out-loud funny, examining the intricacies of ‘ordinary’ people and their relationships. Just hilarious. I also liked it because it was set in suburbs of Leeds, a city I know pretty well.

I take it there are no scones.

It appears that ignoring the scones is not, in fact, making them go away.

E: You also do some freelance work, right?  What’s that like?

S: It’s the best ever. Writing words that people pay you for. It’s also a nightmare, because all I want to do is write, 24/7, and live happily ever after, but I’m not ready to jump to full time writing just yet. My strategy requires a few more maneuvers yet.

I only stayed for the scones. I love cheese scones.

E: You have a day job in the medical field.  How much does that help you when you’re writing?

S: Sorry, Erin, it’s way not a medical job. I work in home care, which involves assisting older and disabled people with tasks they struggle with, to enable them to live independently in their own homes. Tasks run from personal care, to cooking and cleaning, and helping with medications and ailments, but the main aim for me is to get my customers laughing. If there’s a smile and a joke, then life doesn’t seem so bad, does it?

E: You live and write from the UK.  What can you tell us about the differences between the European and North American markets?  Are there things you have to do for one that you don’t for the other, etc.?

S: Oh man, I have no idea what that even means. Beyond spelling, requirements seem to be the same across the board, but that’s probably because I’m brand new, and I know nothing.

You know, you probably shouldn’t invite people over on the basis of something which isn’t true. I could have done with some scones. Slathed in slightly salted butter.

E: What piece of advice has someone given you that you found to be the most helpful, and what was the worst piece of advice someone gave you?

S: The best piece of advice lately was when my mum told me to move my face away from the dog’s face. As I got up, he bit me on the arm. To be fair, I think I knelt on his tummy fur as I stood, but hell am I glad I had my face turned away.  Right on my sunburn, mind you. Wear sunscreen is probably the best bit of advice ever.

Bad advice is harder. I try to listen to advice, but I assess it under my own terms and take my own choices. I suspect I’m a know-it-all through and through. Bad advice makes things difficult sometimes, but I always make my own decisions. Only got myself to blame for bad ones.

Gimme the scones or the corpse gets it!

She threatened my corpse. Shit just got real.

She threatened my corpse. Shit just got real.

So, what I’ve taken away from this interview is that Sakina loves cheese scones and she will stop at nothing to get them.  You can send them to her at her blog or her Facebook page.

Ebooks vs Tradition Print

I have a lot of ebooks waiting to be read.  I’ve tried to read them.  I just can’t do it.  It’s not the quality of the book.  I read Game of Thrones in hardback and devoured it.  I tried to read Clash of Kings on ebook, and I’m lucky if I got halfway through it.  Ebooks feel…wrong.  I don’t judge.  In fact, my book Celia is available in ebook format.  The ebooks I have read I’ve had to force myself to finish because the format just wasn’t working for me.  What about you?  Do you have any preferences?  Are you OCD like I am in the preferences department and actually have a hierarchy of preferences?  For any given book, I will choose them (based on availability) in the following order: hardcover, paperback, ebook.  Although, if I’m honest, if the ebook is all that’s available, I’ll probably wait for one of the other two formats to free up.  I always go for hardcover first, though.  I do like how I can have so many books saved up on my Nook so I always have something to read.  I don’t have the physical space to house all the books I want to have.  It’s not the staring at the screen as it is the inability to turn a page.  Swiping a screen is not the same as physically turning a page.  The sound the page makes.  The smell of them.  The way the page feels in your hand.  All of that is missing with electronic reading and for me, personally, I think that’s a deal breaker.  I need a bigger office.

Ready To Work

Tonight was the first workshop for Enraptured.  Overall, I found it pretty helpful.  It looks like i have a goodly amount of clarifications I need to make so far which I had a feeling was going to happen.  Other than getting feedback, I love having a workshop to talk through ideas.  It helps me clarify in my head what it is I want to accomplish and how I can go about doing that.

I handed out some of my shiny new bookmarks tonight to the workshop people.  There were ooohs and aaaahs aplenty.  We met at Barnes & Noble, and I was sorely tempted to either hand some of them out to the people who were there reading or leave them on the tables.  Then I remembered my book is no longer listed with them and they would probably just throw them out.  So, I kept them.  They’re too pretty to throw away.

Be on the lookout in the next couple of days for a guest blog from my friend and author Brent Kelley.  He stopped by several weeks ago to talk about his book Chuggie and the Desecration of Stagwater.  He’ll be talking about his new book Chuggie and the Bleeding Gateways. I sure hope Charlie behaves.  He can be pretty territorial for a corpse.