Monday, August 29, 2011

Paradise 21

Happy Monday, everyone! I thought we’d start this week off with a bang.

I’ve been lucky enough to interview a fabulous author and friend, Aubrie Dionne. We'll chat about her writing, and her new release which I've been lucky enough to review. And without further ado, let’s get to the good stuff.

1.   What has surprised you the most about being a published author?

Oh boy, that’s a good question! I didn’t realize how many friends I would make along the way, (like you!), and how supportive they would be. I love my critique partners and my beta readers, and I never feel alone in the process.
I really enjoy reading other people’s works (Like Christmas Holly- an awesome ebook!), and it’s so neat I get to talk to the authors behind them. J 

2. Do you need to be in a specific place or atmosphere before you can write?
I used to, but now that I have to write to meet deadlines, not so much anymore! Was it Stephen King that said something like, “amateurs wait for inspiration, while the rest of us get up and go to work!” ?
3. Are you a plotter or a pantser?
A little of both. I know the beginning and the end, and certain key elements in the middle, and then I “pants it” the rest of the way!

4. Since your day job involves music, do you prefer music or quiet when you write?
I prefer quiet, relaxing music (like new age) without words. I listen to Itunes radio. My favorite station is radio Gaia. J They speak in some other language, so I have no idea what the announcer is saying!
5. When not working or writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?

I love to watch movies! Fantasy and sci fi are my favorites (no surprise there, right?). I also spend a lot of time with my family because all of my three siblings and both my parents live about ten to twenty minutes away. I have a new nephew, Evan, about to turn one this month!
6. Most authors are avid readers. Which author is at the top of your auto-buy list?
I love Patricia McKillip. My favorite book of hers in Winter Rose. It reads like a fairytale, which each sentence flowing like music to my ears.
7. Would you tell us about your latest release?
Paradise 21 is inspired by the global population food shortage crisis going on today. I wondered what would happen when the Earth becomes uninhabitable, and came up with a series based on colony ships seeking alternate worlds.

8. What inspired this particular book?

Ummmm….I have to say Star Wars, and the planet of Tatooine. I grew up watching the old Star Wars movies over and over again, so I think it’s been reconstituted into my DNA. J (Not a totally bad thing, heh?)

9. What’s next in Author Aubrie’s world?

I just finished the sequel to Paradise 21 titled Tundra 37. It’s about another colony ship that is forced to land on an ice planet to survive. I’m working on a tie in novella to the series called A Hero Rising. This novella will chronicle the fall of Earth as the colony ships leave and the start of the space pirates! (And there’s even zombies!!!)

10. Where can we find you?

My website:
My Blog:

Thank you for this awesome interview, Sutton! Everyone needs to go out and by Christmas Holly by Sutton Fox. You’ll see my review for it on Amazon. It is amazing!

*Grin* I didn't expect the plugs, but thanks, Aubrie! I've enjoyed having you today. Now let's take a look at Paradise 21. Don't you just love that name? It's like after twenty tries, they finally got it right. And the cover is stunning, it just grabs you and insists you come along for the ride.

Here's the blurb:
Aries has lived her entire life aboard mankind’s last hope, the New Dawn, a spaceship traveling toward a planet where humanity can begin anew—a planet that won’t be reached in Aries’ lifetime. As one of the last genetically desirable women in the universe, she must marry her designated genetic match and produce the next generation for this centuries-long voyage.
But Aries has other plans.

When her desperate escape from the New Dawn strands her on a desert planet, Aries discovers the rumors about pirates—humans who escaped Earth before its demise—are true. Handsome, genetically imperfect Striker possesses the freedom Aries envies, and the two connect on a level she never thought possible. But pursued by her match from above and hunted by the planet’s native inhabitants, Aries quickly learns her freedom will come at a hefty price.
The life of the man she loves.

Here's the review:

Aries is a spunky, strong-minded young woman who had me cheering for her from the first page. She’s determined to carve out her own destiny, no matter the odds. And the challenges she faces are steep. Escaping from the New Dawn is one thing, surviving that escape is another thing entirely.

Although labeled a pirate, Striker is pure hero material through and through. He’ll do what’s necessary, and he’s not afraid to make difficult choices when needed. A soft spot for the underdogs and a hard edge for those who’d take advantage kept me reading to the end just to see if he’d attain his heart’s desire.

Three cheers for Ms. Dionne. She’s created an engaging cast of characters, each desperately struggling to live their lives and find happiness in a universe where living things have all but become extinct. Her skillfully drawn characterizations are captivating. The world building is believable from the first page and enables you to sit back and enjoy the thrill ride that is Paradise 21. A tightly woven plot and a masterfully developed sub-plot will keep you turning pages.
If you are sci-fi romance fan, I highly recommend this book. It’s a fast paced adventure that’s hard to put down. So hard in fact, that I read it in one sitting! I’m glad this is a series. I can’t wait for the next book.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Novel Work #2 – Setting

Working out of town usually gives me time to catch up on movie going, since there’s not much to do once the job site is closed for the day. And depending on what time of day or night that happens, I’m pretty much mentally trashed. So actually it’s become kind of a special treat. Especially since movies have gotten so frickin’ expensive!
Thinking about some of the movies I’ve seen recently, made me very aware of how much of a part setting plays in the story line. I struggle with this sometimes in my own stories. The important things that usually drive a story are plot line, characters, and macguffins. But what’s holding all this up? The setting.

Some days I find I’ve written several pages, and being tied up with characters have not added in any detail beyond the rudimentary about where these people are and how it affects the outcome of their schemes. Then I have to go back and layer in specific things which will enhance the story, making it richer and hopefully more captivating.

My recent viewings have included the last Harry Potter, Captain America, and Cars 2. I mean really, given my line of work, how could I not go see Cars? Each movie is distinctive in its setting. Imagine for a moment how awful it would be if you didn’t have the eloquence of the background detail as the supporting cast.
Where would Harry be without the fabulous world of Hogwarts? And Captain America without the war? So not happening. Not to mention a world where everything revolves around cars that talk.

If you are searching for a way to make your story stand out, don’t overlook the obvious. Don’t just gloss over the setting, assuming that readers will ‘get it’ because it’s set in a world we all know. Take the time to add the details that make it special. Not only will readers thank you for it, but it will make your story shine.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Some Days

If you are a writer, you probably do the same thing I do, which is follow lots of marketing blogs geared towards authors. Lately there have been a plethora of articles on how best to market one’s work. In other words, build the best possible platform to get others to notice your writing, and perhaps buy something you are selling.
Here’s what you need to do according to the pros:
1.   Get personal – people want to know what a writer’s life is really like.

2.   Be professional – you are a professional, keep things on a professional level, don’t whine on about your personal life.

3.   Get involved in social media. Make sure you are all over facebook, twitter, google+, tumblr, etc.

4.   Don’t depend on social media. What if the powers that be decide you’ve done something wrong and delete your page? Then where will you be.

5.   Be real. These days’ people want to be around people who are authentic.

6.   Don’t be too real. Nobody cares what you had for lunch. They want what they are having.
After reading all that, the only thing I want is an adult beverage. Now that things are clear as mud, the best thing you can do is work to build a balanced marketing platform. Don’t be scared off or intimidated by all the advice that’s out there. Use your common sense. No matter where you choose to place your efforts, building a following is an investment over time.
Hey, if I can do this, anybody can. :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Sleepless Night

Usually I sleep pretty well. Working hard does that for me. But like anyone else, on occasion I don’t, because I have things on my mind. Except I don’t realize they are, until the damn middle of the night. Why couldn’t I lay awake in the beginning? Or wake up early thinking about stuff?
No. It’s got to be 2:30 in the frickin’ morning. Can you tell I’m grumpy today? So not one of those people who goes blithely about their day on four hours of sleep. I’m an eight hour girl, and if I don’t get it, shit happens. Usually to me, so you’ve got nothing to worry about.

The weird thing about this time though is it wasn’t the usual stuff that woke me. Not kids and their troubles, business matters, bills, the things we all worry about. This time, it was a story.
The plot line appeared fully formed, the hero and heroine showed up with personalities, jobs and everything. The title even came through clear as day. I was so surprised I actually laid there and thought it through again to make sure I got it right, and then spent time thinking about the research I’d need to do, etc.

I’ve started a file, and carefully written down all the information so I don’t lose it. And hopefully I’ll get it written over the next couple months. I guess I don’t have much choice. It’s not a type of story I’ve ever thought about writing, and during my waking hours this plot line wouldn’t occur to me. Which makes it even more interesting.
This has never, ever happened to me before. And it’s left me a little unsettled, to say the least. For the writers out there, does this happen to you too?