13

Apr

by The Four Part Land

In order to spread out a little from just writing about writing and where I am (which can be somewhat boring, even for me), I thought I’d start posting about some of my other hobbies, which includes things like commercial utilization of space. I’ll start by posting a little piece on asteroid mining I wrote for a class assignment on developing innovative businesses. Note that while I did research my numbers, I did not spend a great deal of time double and triple checking them, so take all numbers with a grain of salt. Also, in the past couple years, a few companies have started to tackle this problem, but they’re mostly in the feasibility study stage.

Humans are evolving technologically at a geometric rate, and that technological growth is fuelled by a series of rare earth metals, many of which are currently found only in China. The recent Chinese announcement that it would place a combined cap of 35,000 tonnes upon all rare earth metal exports has sent the price soaring, as manufacturers around the world in the automotive, green tech, and electronics space all rely on these metals for various segments of their equipment. The scarcity of these metals, and their corresponding high price, can be used to pry open other economic avenues that have been closed, as has happened with Canadian oil shale and the recent spike in oil prices.

These metals, while in restricted supply on Earth, are not in short supply off of Earth, and especially not in the asteroid belt, where a single C-class asteroid of one kilometre diametre contains approximately two billion tonnes of material, which, using 2003-2004 numbers, is worth about 2.5 trillion dollars. Also, because of their lower gravity, and other myriad factors, the required delta-v to reach a near-Earth asteroid is lower than that required to reach the moon, Mars, or any other nearby astronomical body. This reduces the levels of recurring costs necessary for transport, and promotes the economic usage of these asteroids.

Economics for this industry are somewhat difficult to ascertain, as it lies within the purview of the NewSpace start-up focused industry. However, in order to reach the moon, it currently costs NASA $50,000 per pound of equipment. When examining business prospects, a smaller number of $25,000 to $10,000 a pound should be used, as new competitors such as SpaceX’s Falcon 9 and OSC’s Taurus 2 continue to force the price of reaching LEO and GEO downwards. Further cost savings can be created through the use of VASIMR-equipped space tugs, using that engine’s higher efficiency and lack of propellant to create a system where most of the equipment stays at the asteroids, rather than constantly being forced to ship it up from Earth. This creates a situation with very high fixed costs to start, but much lower incremental costs. Investment lag-time from beginning to end is likely on the order of five to ten years before the company begins returning profit, and the initial investment could likely spiral to several billion dollars, although advances from other corporations involved in space industry, such as those focused on space-based solar power, would likely reduce the research and development cost.

As to competitors, there are currently no companies engaged directly in this market, although many are mining here on Earth, and thus direct competitors at the product level. As mentioned above, many of the rare earth metals are found in such limited location that any returning shipments of them could be charged at the same monopoly prices that are currently enjoyed by the existing sole provider, while other, lesser, minerals, such as gold and platinum, could likely be sold at the existing market prices, as gold currently retails for over $30 million per tonne, while platinum is above $35 million. In order to have the highest return on investment, it is better to ship these metals back to Earth in a processed form. If that is not feasible at the beginning of the project, then the economics become significantly worse, but not so much that the company is no longer viable. It is far easier to drop large masses down into a gravity well than it is to pull them back out, and that significantly reduces the return-to-Earth cost for any ore or processed metals.

When the initial implementation succeeds, another aspect in favour of the company will be (hopefully) a near total domination of access to near-Earth asteroids for mining purposes. It is not assumed that this will last for more than a total of five years, as competitors will enter if the business proves to be viable, piggy-backing on the R&D our company had to conduct. However, during those initial years of monopoly access to the asteroids, it is hoped that the most valuable metals can be recovered in sufficient quantities to greatly increase the value of the company, at a benefit to all investors.

Mankind has long ago proven that given adequate resources, it will find a way to move forward. What the company seeks to provide is those adequate resources, ensuring that the supply of rare earth metals and other precious minerals is maintained, thus allowing progress to continue unfettered. The research that the company undertakes will also be licensed to others seeking to use mining in space, especially those who wish to promote the advancement of human living outside of the single basket within which humanity currently resides.

That, then, is the end goal of the company: not merely to provide extra resources for Earth-based manufacture, but rather to change the way in which mankind lives life, and where that life is located. Given the resources, this is already technically feasible. It merely waits on investment to change the course of human history. Will you join us?

23

Mar

by The Four Part Land

Please enjoy this interview with Sheryl Steines, author of the urban fantasy novel, The Day of First Sun. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including $450 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

 

If you could travel in a time machine, would you go back to the past or into the future?

I would go to the past, meet famous people, see history as it happened. I’d be afraid to go to the future. I’m not sure I really want to know when I die.

If you could jump into a book, and live in that world, which would it be?

This might be to expected, but I would love to live at Hogwarts, stroll through Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, play with all the magical stuff, and visit the Weasleys at their house. I saw the Harry Potter exhibit at the museum a few years ago, and it just seemed so fun.

If a movie was made about your life, who would you want to play the lead role and why?

Sandra Bullock. Since she became a movie star, people all over the place tell me I look like her. She’s also funny. I can only imagine how much more interesting and funny my life would be if she were the lead.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I always knew I wanted to be a writer. There were times that I thought I wanted to be an interior decorator, but in the end, I was always much happier writing and creating.

Who are your favorite authors of all time?

I have two. The first would be Stephen King. I was always amazed by the detail and imagination he used in his books, especially the earliest books. I watched him on an interview many years ago and he was talking about the things he was afraid of, one of which was sleeping with his feet outside the covers at night. He would always cover his feet so that the monsters under the bed wouldn’t get him. I laughed so hard because I do the same thing. J.K. Rowling is also a favorite. Her life story and Harry Potter reminded me that I wanted to be a writer when I was seven. She reminded me of the genre that I loved. It got me thinking about what stories intrigued me. I watched her interview on Oprah and cried through the entire thing. It got me thinking of ways to take my personal experiences and hide them in the fantasy world.

What do you do in your free time?

I read, a lot. In the winter, I spend time at museums and go shopping. In the summer, I love to go to flea markets. You could never have too many fleas. I love to travel. I spend most of the summer driving my 1966 Mustang convertible.

What is your guilty pleasure?

I’m a huge fan of Ninja Warrior. Yeah, the Japanese obstacle course. On one side, it’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen. On the other side of it, the obstacles are so challenging, and the participants are so revered for making it through each stage that it is a huge honor to win.

Favorite places to travel?

I love Europe, London being my favorite city. I’ve been to Scotland, France, Italy, Germany and Austria. The Austrian/German Alps are some of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen.

Favorite way to spend a rainy day?

In front of the television watching my favorite movies. Who doesn’t love Ferris Buehler’s Day Off and Sixteen Candles.

If you could have a superpower, what would you choose?

Telekinesis! Then I could clean my house without actually having to do anything.

 

As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Day of First Sun eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include $450 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!

To win the prizes:

  1. Purchase your copy of The Day of First Sun for just 99 cents
  2. Fill-out the simple form on Novel Publicity
  3. Visit today’s featured social media event

Help my blog win:

The tour blogger who receives the most votes in the traffic-breaker poll will win a $100 gift card. When you visit Novel Publicity’s site to fill-out the contest entry form, don’t forget to VOTE FOR ME.

About the book: A vampire, a rogue wizard and an army of soulless zombies are par for the course for Annie Pearce and Bobby “Cham” Chamsky of the Wizard’s Guard. But when the non-magical princess, Amelie of Amborix, is murdered by magical means, a deeper plot unfolds. Get it on Amazon.

About the author: Behind the wheel of her ’66 Mustang Convertible, Sheryl is a constant surprise, using her sense of humor and relatable style make her books something everyone can enjoy. Visit Sheryl on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

20

Mar

by The Four Part Land

Please enjoy this guest post by Sheryl Steines, author of the urban fantasy novel, The Day of First Sun. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including $450 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

 

The Strong Female

I am always amazed to hear that, in the year 2012, women are still talking about strong female characters. It’s funny that we’re always surprised when one comes along. Even in Hollywood, actresses still can’t find roles to sink their teeth into. As a reader, I look for characters that I can relate to in some way; a character who is more than a damsel in distress but less than an unfeeling, mean, witch. I’m putting it gently, but I’m looking for someone, who when facing a problem, doesn’t necessarily need a man to bail her out–a woman who can take care of herself in spite of her vulnerabilities. Because in reality, women are multi-layered and complex. We don’t fall to one end of an extreme or the other.

When I was younger, I started reading Danielle Steele, but I couldn’t read her for long. Her female characters were far too needy and always put themselves in a position of requiring a savior. Even as a child, I couldn’t help but wonder why these characters always needed a man to improve their lives. Why couldn’t they simply take care of themselves? It seemed as though female characters fell into two camps, and only two. They were either villains, witches, someone to be hated and despised, or they were weak, pathetic, your classic damsels in distress. Why is fiction lacking real women, women who can simply be human and celebrate all that they are?

As I got older, I found myself drawn to shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I saw in Buffy a strong character. Yes, she could kick ass, kill the vampires and fight the demons. She also had a brain, could plan, and could save the world each week. But she wasn’t uni-dimensional. She also has a side that liked clothes, shoes and boys, a side that was feminine, a little vulnerable; a side that, okay, sometimes needed to be saved. She was a complex female character, real and human, a character with whom I could definitely relate.

The strong female character isn’t a caricature or stereotype. She’s not a total wimp like Snow White, and she’s not a total monster like the evil queen. She falls somewhere in the middle. She’s reactive, emotional, human, sexual, confident and sometimes unsure of herself.

When I originally wrote my character Annie Pearce in The Day of First Sun, I wrote her as a no-nonsense person, strong and smart, the girl who could survive on her own. But she didn’t feel genuine. As the story unfolded and changed, I rewrote her, gave her friends and family with whom she could interact. I gave her feelings, gave her stress. I let the other characters take charge once in awhile and offer some support. I melded two halves into one woman–a strong woman, who can take care of herself and ask for help when necessary. We’re not perfect, so why should our characters be? Instead, why can’t we make them simply authentic?

Charlize Theron made a really compelling comment regarding her character in the movie Young Adult. She said, “Women are usually either really good prostitutes or really good mothers. Maybe women are finally getting the chance to play more honest characters,” Theron said. “We usually don’t get to play bad hookers or bad mothers — or anything in between.”

Maybe it’s time to be a little more real and a little more honest.

 

As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Day of First Sun eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include $450 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!

To win the prizes:

  1. Purchase your copy of The Day of First Sun for just 99 cents
  2. Fill-out the simple form on Novel Publicity
  3. Visit today’s featured social media event

Help my blog win:

The tour blogger who receives the most votes in the traffic-breaker poll will win a $100 gift card. When you visit Novel Publicity’s site to fill-out the contest entry form, don’t forget to VOTE FOR ME.

About the book: A vampire, a rogue wizard and an army of soulless zombies are par for the course for Annie Pearce and Bobby “Cham” Chamsky of the Wizard’s Guard. But when the non-magical princess, Amelie of Amborix, is murdered by magical means, a deeper plot unfolds. Get it on Amazon.

About the author: Behind the wheel of her ’66 Mustang Convertible, Sheryl is a constant surprise, using her sense of humor and relatable style make her books something everyone can enjoy. Visit Sheryl on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

26

Jan

by The Four Part Land

If you’ve ever seen my author bio, it mentions that I really really love skiing.

And if you’re curious what that skiing looks like, here’s my brothers giving quite a demonstration. They’re better than I am, if you’re curious. Downside of being the oldest.

18

Jan

by The Four Part Land

Would you like to buy my epic fantasy novel Tarranau? It’s available for the low low price of $75.35. No, that’s not a typo. The used book traders on Amazon have gone crazy again.

 

18

Jul

by The Four Part Land

For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been part of a group working on a shared world fantasy anthology since Thanksgiving of last year called Splintered Lands. Each week, we post three flash stories, usually as part of an ongoing serial. My current tale is the story of two bumbling, incompetent thieves traveling overland. Below, I’ve included an excerpt from the latest story. If you’d like to start at the beginning, here’s the complete list of entries.

“The only reason I can’t smell you is because you smell like the swamp.”

“It’s a good smell, isn’t it?” Náhte was grinning.

“Náhte, it smells like a foetid latrine. As do you.”

“Oh.” He paused. “Foetid means I smell like a flower, right?”

Butan sighed. “Well, you might make flowers grow.”

“See? I’m pretty!” Náhte danced. “Pretty, oh so pretty!”

Butan tripped him.

Keep Reading

17

Jun

by The Four Part Land

Over on Splintered Lands today, we have the continuation of my comedy story Thieves Abroad. And here below, I’ve posted an excerpt from a short story set in The Four Part Land. To place yourself on the map, the action here takes place more or less under the text Yn Brydio Ad , which is the place of pilgrimage for those who worship the element of fire. Like many characters in The Four Part Land short stories, Bererin will appear in the novels as well.

In the night, one boot split and fell apart, and so Bererin removed the other, tossing it to the side with its broken companion. Barefoot, he would carry on, for his feet had grown hard and leathery from weeks of walking, and would serve him as good replacements.

All through the night he strode, snacking on what little food he had left and taking light sips of water. He staggered as the sky turned purple, then pink, then bright orange, and when the sun leapt from its hiding place beneath the ground he covered his eyes with one arm, for the distant dunes sparkled and glinted in the first rays of light.

Puzzled, he made his way towards them, and as the angle of the sun shifted overhead and gave him a clearer view of what it was that lay before him, his puzzlement grew, for it seemed nothing so much as giants trees, each with twisted trunks and writhing limbs. Each member of this forest glinted in the sun, and he wondered what calamity had struck this land such that all trees had taken on a metallic hue.

Further still were the trees than his first impressions had told, for they towered further and further overhead as he approached, yet never did he seem to quite reach them. Only when the first bent its boughs right to the ground and sought to touch him did Bererin raise his vision and examine what stood before him.

The trees were glass, a great forest made of glass. A thought struggled through his mind, rising from the fuzzy depths of memory, through the layers of confusion and lost thoughts, until it banged upon his conscious, demanding entry. Only then did Bererin recall the description of Asbri Ffaglu-Cyffyrddedig, for the lightning that struck the ground left great trees of glass, fusing the sand into an unknown forest.

Bererin had arrived, and he sunk down into the sand and cradled the nearest of the boughs in his arms, for a day had come that he thought had long since passed him by. As he wept, a bolt split the sky, and a nearby dune was struck full and hard. More lightning followed, a rain of bolts upon the hill, and with his eyes wide Bererin watched the formation of another tree in this great forest. For that was how they were formed, as dunes suffered the thunderous impact of bolt upon bolt. Then the passing of wind would sweep clear the sand, revealing the glass beauty that hid beneath.

Bererin climbed, his legs pumping with renewed vigour as he sought the summit of the forest, as he climbed through the trees until he could look out and see the great mass of them, the woods that were Asbri Ffaglu-Cyffyrddedig. His feet slid in the sand, and the curve of the hill set him to stumbling, but he would not be denied the summit and his perseverance paid off, for as he reached the peak, his eyes beheld a great forest, a towering land of glass giants that covered the sand for many miles around, glinting and glistening in the new-fallen sunlight.

15

Jun

by The Four Part Land

I’d like to welcome everyone to an interview with J. Cafesin. She’s an up and coming author with one book published and another shortly on the way, and you can look her up at her website. Now give her a big round of applause for stepping up to the plate.

First off, tell us a little about yourself, let us know who you are.
Asked my kids this morning who they think I am since I couldn’t come up with anything, which, in and of itself should tell you something about me. Here is what they said:

Daughter (9):
-Funny
-Loving [a great mom!]
-Over-dramatic and edgy sometimes
-Harsh sometimes, but never out there (meaning I don’t hit, and won’t. Ever.)
-Cool

Son (12)
-Loving/Caring
-Intelligent
-Over-reactive, sometimes
-Kind of a depressive
-Good at putting feelings and thoughts into words

You published your first book Reverb, in October of last year. How’s the reaction been?
Would love to tell you millions of copies have been sold… I’m a recluse and suck at self-promotion, would rather write than aureate; and there’s a bit of trouble with the cover. Fought hard not to have it, as it doesn’t represent the book at all, but publisher insisted. Since the cover is half (or more) of the sale with unknown authors, it’s been hard to get people past it to the rich story of a man at the brink of sanity who finally learns to love someone other than himself.

Given the good reviews, are you going to work more in that world?
REVERB was fun to write, much easier than DISCONNECTED, it flowed off my fingers because James has been in my head since I was a little kid. I know him, his life, his family, his passion for creating music and how the muse can isolate and dictate a lonely life. And yes, if I get to it, there is a sequel for REVERB in the works, an outline anyway, I hope to get to some day.

And you’re now working on Disconnected. Tell us a little about that.
My first draft of DISCONNECTED was over 15 years ago. I set it aside to have kids, and then, of course, needed money, so went back to my ‘career’ as a freelance creative director in advertising/marketing. I wrote it again after REVERB got picked up, been working on it for the last 4 yrs, rewrote it completely, twice. I’m on my four iteration, but this time I have it, the full story jelled months ago with a great ending that most all women can celebrate!

How’s the response to it been so far? And you’ve been using Scribd. Has it helped the writing process?
Not sure if these numbers mean anything, but I’ll give em to you anyway (as of this minute):
5,600+ reads; 200+ Likes and seemingly around 400 following now chapter for chapter.

Working on DISCONNECTED for 4 yrs without any real feedback, so I put it out there to see if I was telling a story worth reading. Apparently it is, but again, I don’t know what the numbers on Scribd mean. I have gotten some great reviews from groups like Urbis and Zoetrope, and many, many emails from readers that like the work, which has kept me writing it–that, and Kate, the main character, finally came off the page and told me her story.

Any characters in these books that are particular favorites?
James Whren is my alter ego, which I guess is weird since I’m a woman. (But maybe not. I know many women who fantasize about being a guy, though I’ve not heard a lot of men who wish to be women, which should tell you something about our social structure.) James is hot, cool, brilliant, beautiful, and better than me, as he’s achieved greatness, which I’ll spend my lifetime striving for.

Now, why’d you decide to go indie?
Random House didn’t want me. But I’m hoping for them, or their like, for DISCONNECTED. If not, I’m going to have to give up writing again and go back to advertising/marketing. Promised my kids Stanford, and if they can get in, it’s going to take a lot more book sales that only a large marketing machine like RH can offer.

What do you find are the biggest obstacles to overcome when writing a novel?
TIME and quiet space!! Especially with kids, my DH, a bratty dog and freelance creative projects to bring in bucks when needed. Love to have a major publishing house behind me, a good agent to handle my marketing gigs, tell me where to go, when to be there…etc. so all I do is show up. I love writing, my true passion besides my family, but with having to market myself, by myself, it’s so time consuming with all my other stuff, it leaves little time to write.

For those writers who have not yet completed their first novel, what advice would you give them?
Write because you love to, not because you think it’s your ticket to greatness, or a financial windfall. Most professional writers I know, even with big publishers, still have ‘real’ jobs, independent wealth or public or private donors to pay the bills.

If you’re writing to tell a story; play with, even satisfy a muse; scratch a mental itch; you’ll finish that novel, and probably more on that.

What famous writer would you most compare yourself to and why?
Wow. Sorry. Can’t. Great writers, like Dostoevsky, Bradbury, Fowles, Dickens…etc. humble me. I dare not compare myself to the likes of these writers, ever, lest I stop striving to model them.

What is one book (besides one of your own) that you think everyone should read?
Can’t speak for everyone. Great books, like movies, art…etc. are only great if the reader/viewer thinks so. I loved The Fountainhead. My DH hated it, couldn’t finish it, in fact. So where does that leave Ayn Rand’s masterpiece? Recommending reading– it’s best to know your audience first.

What book are your currently reading?
Stranger On The Planet, by Adam Schwartz; Something Wicked This Way Comes, Ray Bradbury (reading it with my son who also LOVES it!)

eBook or hard copy, or do you not have a preference?
ebook! I love trees!!!

Have any new and upcoming authors caught your eye?
Just read, I Thought You Were Dead, by Pete Wilson. I thought he captured his character really well, and told an engaging story. Also, Donald Pollock. He did some amazingly raw, real character sketches in Knockemstiff.

If you were a superhero what would your name be?
Don’t want to ever be a superhero. Remember what Spiderman’s uncle said: “With great power, comes great responsibility.” I believe it to my core. Don’t know if Marx meant to change the world, but words are powerful, and the weight of that responsibility gets more intense as more and more people read me.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?
‘Crazy person,’ is one of the meanings of Pantser, so I’ll go with Pantser!

Have you ever thought of a great opening chapter and a devilish closing chapter but just can’t work out how to get from one to the other?
There is a math joke like that: Professor has formula on the blackboard with complex numbers and symbols but there is a big gap in the middle where the board is blank. Under the drawing says: “And now a miracle happens…”

Been there. Done that.

Have you ever written a story where the antagonist made a better protagonist than the one you used?
Not really. My characters struggle with themselves, their battles aren’t really outside, but inside. Even in REVERB, James is imprisoned and tortured, but the real issue is inside James, locking people out, instead engaging with his muse, doing anything to satisfy its incessant hunger to create, so when he needed help, there was no one real to help him.

What kind of routines to you keep when writing ( i.e., exercise, food, chores, etc.)?
I write 7 or more hours a day, and when I’m not writing, I’m thinking about dialog, story and characters…etc. Can’t help it. Always seems to be some character and/or scene in my head vying for my attention. Other than that I’m with my kids doing the mom thing, and/or my DH doing the family thing.

What current project are you working on?
Finishing and selling DISCONNECTED.

Can you share any of it with us?
Next project I’m going SciFi and putting a script I did at UCLA [ages back] into a novel.

Any last words you’d like to say before we give you a stiff drink and let you step away from the podium?
Thanks for having me on your site! Not so much into liquor, but I’ll take sweets—some cotton candy, maybe, or treats—I’m big into backrubs!

1

Jun

by The Four Part Land

I’d like to welcome everyone to a little interview with a friend and co-worker of mine. Lisa is involved in the Splintered Lands and Deepwood Inc projects with me, and has been immensely successful at marketing herself. Now, I hope you’ll all read on and enjoy her wit and wisdom.

First off, tell us a little about yourself. For that one person in the back who doesn’t know you.

Ha! Well, I was born and raised in the Nation’s Capital and relocated to beautiful Colonial Williamsburg about 6 years ago. I studied classical piano and ballet from age 3 on and began writing in my early teens. Then, sadly, my grandfather passed, the words stopped flowing, and I abandoned writing up until a year ago. During the day, I’m a litigation assistant (I know, reeeally exciting stuff) and at night, I run, write, read, form book clubs – the list goes on and on. I’m not exactly sure why I even own chairs, I rarely actually relax enough to use them. So basically, blah, blah, blah, I’m kinda boring.

You’re about to publish your first book, how’s that coming along?

I am, I am. It’s hard to believe that it was just a mere eight months ago when I finished the first draft. The manuscript has been ripped apart several times over since then and is finally taking shape into the final draft. Yay!

So you’re in rewrites?

Don’t. Remind. Me. Yes, specifically round three of my rewrites. I am over half-way done and beta readers have just finished reading the first half. I plan to have the rewrites finished over this next week, if I don’t distract myself with, you know, everything.

And the publication date is when?

My hope is to have the ebook available by the end of June (oh god that’s next month), with the paperback to follow shortly thereafter. Fingers crossed I make my new deadline.

Now, you’ve bounced around between genres a fair amount already. Any favorites you’re going to return to?

Honestly, I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve tried so far. My writing generally crosses genres anyway, but I would say I am most comfortable with romance, comedy and horror. Wow, I know, quite the combination.

What’s the one genre you really, really don’t want to write?

Hmmmm. That’s a good question. I’m not opposed to trying anything once. I’m petrified of writing Sci-Fi though. Not exactly sure why, but I am, which probably means you’ll be making me write that soon.

Right, time to start a contest where you have to write in Sci-Fi.

Seeee, I knew it!

Random question of the day: Best dancing song?

My all-time favorite score of music and therefore, in my opinion, the best to dance (at least ballet to) is Swan Lake Op.20 by Tchaikovsky. Hey, I warned you I was boring in the first answer!

Have you finished writing Kingdoms in Conflict yet? [This is a joint writing project between Lisa and myself for Splintered Lands]

Noooo, of course not. But, I am genuinely starting to feel bad about how long I have been ignoring this, so I’ll get right on that. No seriously, I will!

Of course not. And that’s because you’re working on how many other projects?

Uhm…500. Okay, maybe not that many. But I write and maintain my own blog, coordinate and manage Between the Lines, write with you on Splintered Lands and Deepwood, Inc. and, uhm, I guess that’s it.

Oh come on. There’s a only a few in there. That means you’ve surely got a few more coming.

Well, okay, there are more! I recently formed Black Kettle Publishing, LLC and there are also plans to take Between the Lines to the next level and open an indie book store.

Anything to tell us about them?

Black Kettle Publishing, LLC, for starters, will publish my books. But, after my debut has launched, I plan to track down other talented writers. And yes, I already have a few in mind.

The book store is my long-term goal and I am only in the verrrry preliminary stages of drafting the business and marketing plan and figuring out where and when it will be launched. So this one’s probably going to take me a few years to get all sorted out.

Only three more? Slacker. Tell us a little more about Between the Lines.

Yeah, yeah. Well, Between the Lines is not your ordinary book club. If you are looking to read Stephen King or John Grisham, you’re in the wrong place. The members of BTL only read indie and small press authors. One of the major benefits to this is the readers and authors get to connect directly with one another, both online and via our telephone club meetings.

How’s the response to it been so far?

Amazing! BTL was founded in March of this year and has grown to almost 120 members in under three months. We have our Featured Authors lined up through 2012 and have some exciting new events, including the introduction of Double Feature months, which will be announced shortly.

Have you considered merging it with the Deepwood Inc project?

Why that is an excellent idea! Both Deepwood and BTL aim to promote and assist indie authors, so yes, I think this might be something I need to work on.

Any last words you’d like to say before we send you off to that copious free time you have?

A big thank you to all of the wonderfully supportive people whom I’ve met this past year. I have to say the warmth of our writing community has restored my faith in humanity. So thanks to everyone for reading, commenting, retweeting, making me laugh and well, being you.

No plans for world domination yet, I see. Well, thank you very much for coming around and talking to us, and best of luck with all of your projects. Including the three unannounced ones.

21

Apr

by The Four Part Land

This is an update of one of his older postings, and too damn funny to pass up on reposting.

The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent events in Libya and have therefore raised their security level from “Miffed” to “Peeved.” Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to “Irritated” or even “A Bit Cross.” The English have not been “A Bit Cross” since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorized from “Tiresome” to “A Bloody Nuisance.” The last time the British issued a “Bloody Nuisance” warning level was in 1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada.

The Scots have raised their threat level from “Pissed Off” to “Let’s get the Bastards.” They don’t have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.

The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from “Run” to “Hide.” The only two higher levels in France are “Collaborate” and “Surrender.” The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France ‘s white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country’s military capability.

Italy has increased the alert level from “Shout Loudly and Excitedly” to “Elaborate Military Posturing.” Two more levels remain: “Ineffective Combat Operations” and “Change Sides.”

The Germans have increased their alert state from “Disdainful Arrogance” to “Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs.” They also have two higher levels: “Invade a Neighbor” and “Lose.”

Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual; the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels.

The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.

Australia, meanwhile, has raised its security level from “No worries” to “She’ll be alright, Mate.” Two more escalation levels remain: “Crikey! I think we’ll need to cancel the barbie this weekend!” and “The barbie is canceled.” So far no situation has ever warranted use of the final escalation level.

– John Cleese – British writer, actor and tall person