Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Paradise Earth: Day Zero by Anthony Mathenia

The Curiosity Quills Press Sci-Fi Tour is still chugging along and coming to another stop here, which means I am preparing to tell you about someone else's writerly exploits once again! The next book to be featured here is Paradise Earth: Day Zero by Anthony Mathenia. He will be stopping back by for an interview, which I am very excited about. A self-proclaimed escapee from growing up in a religious cult, his history is intriguing and seems to serve as a bit of inspiration to him for the themes of his books. I can't wait to find out more!

But unfortunately you guys will have to wait since his interview will be posted on February 10th. Until then, you can find Anthony on his website, Twitter, Facebook, or Google+. Paradise Earth: Day Zero is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. You can also enter the Curiosity Quills Photo Contest for your chance to win a free signed copy of Paradise Earth: Day Zero and a $15 Amazon Gift Card!

Day Zero is the first of three parts to this story, so prepared to be hooked as you read on and contemplating banging on Anthony's door until he agrees to release the remaining two parts sooner rather than later.

When the ground quakes and blazing balls of fire fall from the sky, a religious sect interprets it as the fulfillment of long-held prophecies foretelling the end of the world. The members flee to their religious sanctuary, believing that this global cataclysm is the portent of a new paradise of eternal happiness.

Inside, one cold and starving man struggles to hold onto his hope for the future. He’s sacrificed everything for his faith in the prophecy, including his family. As the tortuous night drags on, he struggles to hold onto his hope for the future and grapples with a lifetime of beliefs, and expectations.

If he survives to see the paradise earth, will it be worth it?

Paradise Earth is a deconstruction of faith at the end of the world and beyond.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Interview with a Prince (Disciple: Part 1 by L. Blankenship)

It's not every day my blog gets visited by royalty, but today is one such special day as I feature an exclusive interview with the Prince from L. Blankenship's Disciple: Part 1. I've been featuring a lot of books as of late, so let me give you a refresher on what Disciple is about and some hints as to how this Prince features into our heroine's story. For more on Disciple: Part 1 and the upcoming Disciple: Part 2, check out L. Blankenship's website or look for the book on sale at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo among other places.

The saints favor her, else-wise a peasant girl like Kate Carpenter would never be apprenticed to the kingdom’s master healer. But her patron saint also marks her ready for the duty of tending to a mission that must cross the ice-bound mountains. Their little kingdom faces invasion by a vast empire and desperately needs allies; across the snow-filled pass, through the deathly thin air, is a country that’s held off the empire and may be willing to lend an army.

Kate knows about frostbite and the everyday injuries of wilderness travel. She can heal those.

She’s not ready for the attentions of a ne’er-do-well knight and the kingdom’s only prince, though.

And she isn’t ready for the monsters that harry them night and day, picking off their archers first, wearing the party to exhaustion, pushing Kate beyond the limits her healing abilities.

She must keep them alive, or her blood will be on the snow too.

Prince Kiefan is the only surviving son and heir of the king of Wodenberg. Like his father, he has a reputation for discipline and stern expectations -- and he has a need to prove himself, now that he's coming of age and intent on stepping out of the king's shadow. I had some questions for Prince Kiefan just before the mission left home.

L: You're an alpha male in training, and this mission is your most important command yet. Do you feel ready for this?

Kiefan: I trust the saints' judgement. Though Father and I disagreed over the cavalry charge that I led, some months ago, he cannot deny that it won the battle. And the saints have judged me fit to lead. I will not fail in my duty to them or my people. 

L: You didn't expect the master healer to send his apprentice, though.

Kiefan: No, I was told he would be with us, in this, and when he brought Kate in his stead -- but the saints affirmed her, gave her charge of our well-being. One must work with what's given. 

L: It's not because she's a girl, is it?

Kiefan: (he laughs) I squired with Captain Aleksandra. Any who dares doubt her will be put straight on the matter of a woman's strength and courage. But Kate's no disciple of the sword. She's a healer. It's clear enough this will be no easy journey across the mountains -- none have made it and returned, that any know of. It's much the saints ask of us, as it is.

L: So the problem is more that she's -- bookish?

Kiefan: Kate has never even been in the saddle before today. Surely she'll learn it, but yes, she's spent more time among books than --

L: I hear you're fond of books yourself.

Kiefan: (he fumbles for a moment) Father's seen that I've studied tactics and --

L: No, I mean those philosophy essays you've been sneaking peeks at.

Kiefan: (he frowns) Father's kept my days busy enough with serious matters.

L: There's nothing wrong with a little philosophy, surely?

Kiefan: The king of Wodenberg must be a knight, firstly. He must see to duty. We're at war.

L: Yes, it's always duty for you. Including a political marriage someday.

Kiefan: (he gets up from his seat, impatient) The privileges of the throne have their price. I've a mission to lead, if you'll -- (strides away, armor clinking)

L: You're not concerned about traveling with a cute, philosophy-reading healer?

Kiefan: (he circles back) Pardon?

L: Well, she is cute.

Kiefan: (he spreads one hand, confused) Yes, certainly she's… cute. Philosophy-reading?

L: Oh, yes. She's been reading those essays too. Her teacher might've sent some homework with her on the mission.

Kiefan: (he doesn't know what homework is, but he gets the gist.) Why should that be troublesome?

L: I'm sure it won't be, Mr. All Work And No Play.

Kiefan: Which books is Kate bringing?

L: (shooing him off.) It's not part of your duty, is it? Go, you've got a mission to lead.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The ABACUS Protocol: Sanity Vacuum by Thea Gregory

Time for another stop on the Curiosity Quills' Sci-Fi Tour! Today we will be taking a look at Thea Gregory's Abacus Protocol: Sanity Vacuum. First, let me say that I love that this book is a result of NaNoWriMo! Thea Gregory completed the first draft of this book for National Novel Writing Month in 2011. I love NaNoWriMo and love showing off the wonderful successes people who participate can experience! If you want a chance to win a signed copy of Sanity Vacuum, be sure to enter Curiosity Quills' photo contest. If you are looking to pick up your very own copy, you can find the book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo or follow Thea on Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads. I'll be interviewing Thea personally on February 7th, so check back then! For now let's see what Thea cooked up during the month of November!

Vivian Skye just finished university, and landed a dream internship. Not many would consider the distant and isolated Extra-Galactic Observatory cushy, but to Vivian it’s a dream come true. Hailing from the low-tech planet of Aurora, she studied for years to work on advanced quantum supercomputers. This is her chance to start a career and leave her past life behind.

Her assignment is simple: a routine upgrade for the station’s supercomputer, quIRK.

Her reception isn’t a friendly, one, and she finds that her only friend is quIRK. However, the station’s administrator, Bryce Zimmer is obsessed with quIRK—he suspects that the AI may have achieved sentience, something explicitly prohibited by the ABACUS Protocol.

Bryce’s traumatic and privileged past makes him distrust Vivian from the beginning; his jealously compels him to set Vivian and quIRK against each other. Deciding that the ends justify the means, his power-hungry sabotage threatens to consume the entire station and send them into the unknown void of intergalactic space.

Vivian must struggle to survive not only Bryce’s megalomania, but also the emerging artificial super intelligence that is quIRK.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Excerpt from Decision Maker (Anniversary of the Veil book 2)

Now I know that my blog has been a whirlwind ride of great books for you to salivate over reading, but today I am going to make you guys drool even more. That's right, it is time for a taste from the Anniversary of the Veil series by Vanna Smythe! We are going to read the prologue from Decision Maker, the follow up book to Protector. If you are looking for more, you can find the book on Amazon, or you can find more information on Vanna on her website and Facebook or follow her on Twitter. And just a heads up: Vanna has the first 21 chapters of Protector available as a free ebook! Check out her website for more information on how you can get a copy of your own!

Decision Maker (Anniversary of the Veil, Book 2) by Vanna Smythe Excerpt

Prologue: The Games Commence

She came to meet him as one of them, one of the lesser beings their leader, Amorannyn, known also as the Hand of Fate, placed into the weave of the world to amuse them all.  Soft, golden colored locks of hair enveloped her face and streamed across her breasts down to her waist. Her bright blue eyes held resolve and a challenge. ‘You will not cause me to change my mind,’ they seemed to say.
Rhyssa’s essence filled the lush spring meadow they met in, as it could not all be contained in this lesser body. It called his own essence to her, just as it had all that time ago when they first knew each other, first met in this meadow. How she hoped to live without him, Kraytan did not know. He willed his own essence to form into a body of a Lesser too. He stood in front of her, his skin dark brown, his legs long and muscled, just like the first men of the world Amorannyn created to amuse them all.

He walked to stand before her, challenge thick in his voice. “Is this how you want me, Rhyssa? Because there is no need to leave me for that wish to come true. All that you can have in the Lessers’ world, you can have here.”

Rhyssa laughed with the sound of birds singing in springtime, and ran her hand along the muscles in his arm, sending sparks all through him. “You are mimicking a man from the wrong world, Forever Husband. I am bound for the world where the Life Force flows in all, as all were created in our image.”

Kraytan pulled his arm out of her grasp and changed into her copy. “So this is what you want? There is no need to tear your essence apart to have your copy, Forever Wife.”

She laughed again, then her form disintegrated into pure white light, speckled with gold and silver. Her essence enveloped him, called him towards her. 

“Come with me. It will be fun. We will have the power to shape the world, it will not be just boring observation as it is now.”

He let go of his own physical form and allowed his essence, red with a hint of yellow and white, to entwine with Rhyssa’s. “This is how it should be, forever.”

“Forever is a long time and all is always the same here. Do you not want to have some fun, a diversion from all this sameness?” Rhyssa’s essence found ways to entwine with his even more tightly.

He broke the connection and took the form of an essence body, a human shaped being of pure Life Force.

She pulled away from him, once again stood before him as a beautiful golden haired girl. “I am going. I want to have fun. Please come with me.”
“No. Too many things can go wrong with this immature game. I’ve seen them begin to use their Life Force down there. How long before they realize just how much more of it you and the rest of you idiots have to use? How long before something goes wrong?” Kraytan’s red essence throbbed and pulsed, burned.

“We are not stupid and there is nothing to worry about. We are the Higher, beings made purely of the Life Force. How could the Lessers ever learn to wield the tiny amount of the Life Force they contain to ever threaten one of us? You worry too much, Kraytan, and you are no fun.  When you begin to miss me too much, come after me. If I do not return before then.”

The challenge was back in Rhyssa’s eyes. She meant to leave, there was nothing he could say to stop her. They had not been apart since the day their essences found each other. Now they would be forced to exist in separate dimensions, and her essence would not even be whole. Just so she could play around in the world the Hand of Fate created, and change it in some small insignificant way. Move some trees and mountains, build some buildings, remove some forests, create this hierarchy and remove another. Pointless. She would grow tired of it soon enough and return. Kraytan would wait. He had no choice but to wait.

He too changed back into a male copy of her and ran his hand through her hair. “I prefer to watch and wonder. You will realize you do too, soon. Let’s just hope you can come back as easily as you are now leaving.”

She swatted his hand away and anger shot from her blue eyes. “It is not easy for me to leave you. Why won’t you come too? Only because you think it stupid? You will regret your decision as soon as I am gone.”

“I regret your decision now. But I will not go with you.”

“Yes, you will be well rid of me,” Rhyssa said, morphing back into her essence body and floating away from him.

She’d left him standing on a tall pedestal jutting out of a black void. She knew his fear of the void and never once failed to end an argument with making him look upon it. He willed his essence to cover the void, make it disappear.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Interview with Jason of Theocracide (by James Wymore)

Life is full of surprises. You wake up one Monday expecting to start classes, and instead find you have a stomach virus pinning you to bed (and possibly to video games for one last day). Or you have a militaristic upbringing by a paranoid and delusional father teaching you that the apocalypse is going to come crashing down on your heads at any moment only to go off to college and become a sports star. Such is the case for Jason, the 22 year old star of James Wymore's Theocracide. Jason was kind enough to stop by the blog and answer some of my questions about his life, his past, and his hopes for the future.

Question: Jason, You are quite the sports hero! What can you tell us about the war games?

Jason: The game I play is called "Tag", and it is really the only sport anybody plays live anymore.  Four people on each team go out and try to shoot each other with virtual guns.  They all wear computer glasses which scan the world and overlay pictures right on top of what they see.  So the game can be pretty intense.

Q: There can be no denying that you are quite skilled. Any plans to become a soldier yourself? Tell us why or why not.

Jason: I have no interest in becoming a soldier, at all.  I don't need to go out and die for the Undying Emperor just because he can't do it for himself.

Q: You've definitely earned the status you have now, especially after what some might call a rough childhood because of your father. What can you tell us about him and the way he raised you?

Jason: My father is a paranoid man, hiding away in the woods and trying to uncover government plots.  He forced me to train for some unknown Armageddon my entire childhood.  Of course, that made me fit enough to get a sports scholarship in college.  But that hardly makes up for having to constantly hide my embarrassing relations from everybody I meet.

Q: We hear a lot about your father, but not much about your mother. What does she think about your skills in the war games?

Jason: My mother is preoccupied with watching interactive soap operas and taking care of my sister who suffers from Alien flu... In that order.

Q:  The innovation of the glasses has caused a sort of evolution in society--some say for the good and some say for worse. What is your take on this technology?

Jason: I can't imagine life without the glasses.  But it does make me think everybody is taking it a little too far.  I mean, some of them live and die without ever leaving their house.

Q: What do you see when you put on the glasses?

Jason: Everybody has a different favorite world view.  I like my friend's view where we are all pirates.  Mine is simpler.  I see the world as Olympus and all the people as Olympians.

Q: Tell us about your girlfriend, Di. How did you meet? Was it love at first sight?

Jason: We met during an online college course.  We worked on a History project together and just kept talking when it was done.  She has an amazing world view and a very artistic eye.  She always wears fabulous virtual outfits.  So I was intrigued by her from the first moment, yes.

Q: Your father is known to be quite the conspiracy theorist and is said to live in the wilderness. Do you speak to him often? What do you think of the theories he is known to spout?

Jason: I wish my father would let somebody help him, but he wouldn't trust them.  I only see him twice a month, every other weekend.  His conspiracy theories have no relevance to my life.  Even if the government is corrupt, what difference does it make to me?  I still have my life to live.

Q: Rumor has it the Undying Emperor has taken quite an interest in you and your father. What can you tell us about that and how this new development has changed your life?

Jason: The police have been harassing me since I was a kid because my SID (security identification) box registers that I am forty-two instead of twenty-two.  It's frustrating.  Especially since I don't want them connecting me to my father by it.

Q: What are your hopes and dreams for your future?

Jason: I just want to graduate, get married, and become a pro athlete.  A nice normal life in the spotlight.  Who wouldn't want that?

If you want to learn more about Jason and his journey, be sure to check out Theocracide by James Wymore, available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Want a chance to win your very own copy? Check back here February 1st for an excerpt from the book and a giveaway!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Striking a Writerly Balance with Editing

Wow, it really has been a minute since I've blogged about my own writerly exploits, hasn't it? Well, I have been hosting quite a few blog tour stops, which are incredibly exciting. I love interviewing these authors and hearing all about their new books. The downside to this is that my reading list has been growing exponentially, but I have hope that one day I will get around to reading them all.

The other thing keeping me from personal blogging has been the very personal--and very trying--editing journey I've been on since November. I have learned so much over these past couple months to make my novel even better. Here are just a few nuggets of wisdom I'd like to share:

  1. Be very wary of the words "that" and "of" as most of the time they are filler words.
  2. Don't head jump. If you have a story told from multiple POVs, stick to one person's head per chapter. If you can't do that (which I have discovered I can't since so many people are involved in mine), try to stick to one person's POV per scene. Abiding by this rule cut my 149k manuscript down to 119k easily. 
  3. Try to get your hands on a Style Guide. This will make editing so much easier. Belle Bridge Books has a basic one on their site, but I would recommend checking out misused words and passive sentences.
  4. Don't think you know everything about comma usage. Finding out you don't will be very humbling.
  5. Don't be discouraged! Editing is a tough and time consuming process that all writers have to go through. They don't lie when they say writing the first draft is half the battle. Realistically, the first draft is probably only a quarter of the battle when you factor in editing, querying, and marketing in general.
This last one is easier said than done, and it is something I've been struggling with since I started the hardcore process of editing Heirs of War. Here's the thing: I always say that I am a far better storyteller than I am writer. My prose is weak at best, but I have a knack for creating characters that jump off the page and storylines that twist and turn. So when I really take a look at my prose, I tend to be more than a little shamed by it. I have no flourish with words. I'm no George RR Martin and if I reread Tolkien right now I would probably cry. I would actually describe my prose as dry, to be completely honest.

Now, before you start arguing that you are you're your own worse critic, hear me out. I had a bit of an epiphany tonight. My manuscript was 149k long before I started editing. Even now at 119k, some might argue that it is still too long. If I try to flourish, first of all it won't be me. I have my own style (which some have called "conversational", I think meaning my writing seems like I am telling you the story), and flourish isn't part of it. Not to mention the fact that I am pretty sure I would be bad at it. Second of all, my wordcount would go up exponentially. Again. And that would definitely be bad.

So what is the biggest lesson that I have learned throughout this whole editing process? My writing style is just that--mine. And that is okay. At the end of the day, I still love my characters and the stories they have and I want to share them. So I will continue to push through what I am now considering to be my first round of major edits so that I can do exactly that--share them.

The good news is that I am almost done with said round of edits. Going through misused and compound words, then running each chapter through Autocrit (Best. Writerly. Investment. Ever.) and I will be back to sending the manuscript off (provided certain possibilities on the horizon don't pan out, but I still have my secretive fingers crossed).

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Excerpt for Gritty Fantasy Romance "Disciple"

Today's Blog Tour stop is the first book in L. Blankenship's Disciple series. This book is described as a gritty fantasy romance and is soon to be followed up by Disciple Part II on April 1, 2013. I'll be hosting another stop for Disciple Part I on the 25th, so check back here for an interview with the dashing prince of this tale! Until then, be sure to check out Disciple Part I on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo among other places!

The saints favor her, else-wise a peasant girl like Kate Carpenter would never be apprenticed to the kingdom’s master healer. But her patron saint also marks her ready for the duty of tending to a mission that must cross the ice-bound mountains. Their little kingdom faces invasion by a vast empire and desperately needs allies; across the snow-filled pass, through the deathly thin air, is a country that’s held off the empire and may be willing to lend an army.

Kate knows about frostbite and the everyday injuries of wilderness travel. She can heal those.

She’s not ready for the attentions of a ne’er-do-well knight and the kingdom’s only prince, though.

And she isn’t ready for the monsters that harry them night and day, picking off their archers first, wearing the party to exhaustion, pushing Kate beyond the limits her healing abilities.

She must keep them alive, or her blood will be on the snow too.


Snow still fell when Ilya shook me awake in the middle of the night. The patter of flakes on the overhead tarp blended with anxious whispers and sharp coughs. A pony puffed nearby and hooves shifted.

“Ulf says stay close,” Ilya whispered in my ear. “Get the bedroll off and flat so nobody trips. Careful of Acorn, he’s right here.”

I blinked and rubbed at my eyes and a whiskery horse nose nudged my cheek. Acorn shifted away as I struggled out of my bedroll and to my feet. I put my arm over his neck for balance as I kicked the heavy blanket off and tried to spread it flat. Puck snorted, close by too.

The fire, half sheltered by our tarp lean-to, had lowered to glowing coals. Ulf and Sir Kiefan stood on the far side with their backs to it, one with bow and nocked arrow, the other with sword in hand. Kiefan asked something of the woodsman and he muttered a reply. Beyond them, the black forest waited, crusted by a layer of snow that glowed blue when moonlight fought through thin patches of the clouds. Tumbling flakes kept up a quiet patter as we all fell silent, even the ponies.

Fear drove off the lethargy of waking so late, but there was nothing to see in the clusters of squat pine trees and thickets. Ulf and Kiefan moved a few steps apart, tense and alert. I wanted to ask what was wrong.

Lantern eyes lit up beyond the fire, paced by, and vanished. A shape moved across a snow-laden pine branch. That coughing sound came again, from the moving shadow, and it was answered from behind me.

Ilya, holding Acorn’s bridle beside me, whispered, “Mother Love, we’re surrounded.”

I sidled closer to the middle of the tarp, though it meant letting go of the solid mass of the pony. Ther Boristan stood holding Puck. A few steps out from that side of the lean-to, Bjorn faced the forest with bow and arrow ready. Beyond him, another pair of eyes caught the light.

“I could stoke up the fire,” Ilya raised his voice to a murmur.

Ulf answered, as he was closest. “They’re not afraid of fire. Whatever you do, stay together. Stand and fight.”

I looked over Puck’s rump, and Sir Anders stood watch on that last side with his sword in hand. A snow-covered bush there offered a clear backdrop for the form that stalked across it. The lamia were perhaps the size of a hunting hound, if bulkier in the shoulders. Their tails ran long and hairless, and lashed like a cat’s.

I felt around in the dark mass of bedrolls and found my medicine bag. With it on, I was a little more useful. I’d taken my dagger off for the night, but I’d be little help with it.

A bit of wind drove the snowflakes in my face for a moment, then they fell back. The lamia stalked their circle around our smaller circle and coughed to each other in little patterns. Snow slowed its pace, and the moonlight strengthened. I watched along with Ulf and Ilya and Acorn, all of us shifting on our feet.

The lamia went still and silent. Ulf’s bow rose as he drew his arrow halfway.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Interview with Author James Wymore (Theocracide)


It's Author Interview time again in my corner of the blogosphere and I am more than thrilled to announce that today's victim willing participant is none other than my amazing mentor for the Haunted Writing Clinic and Contest, James Wymore.

Yes, I am pausing for applause. Why? Because he deserves it! I'm clapping, dangit. And you will be too by the end of this interview. This is actually the first stop on my blog for the Curiosity Quills Sci-Fi Tour, so if sci-fi is your thing, make sure you check back here for more on James as well as his cohorts in this tour, Thea Gregory and Anthony Mathenia. And some giveaways, of course. ;) For more information on Theocracide (and most importantly, where you can purchase it), you can find the blurb following the interview.

Question: Before we get into the nitty-gritty of the questions, let's start with your book Theocracide. What can you tell us about your main character, Jason, and the trouble he is about to be in?

James Wymore: Jason has grown up with a secret.  Everybody considers his father crazy and he spent his youth listening to conspiracy theories and heresy.  The up-side to it all came when Jason went to college and found the doomsday training he hated as a child made him strong and skilled so he excelled at sports enough to get a scholarship and lead a championship team.  The down-side is that police are constantly harassing him and he has to try and keep all of it a secret from his new girlfriend.
Q: What was your inspiration for Theocracide?

JW: The inspiration for this book came spread out over decades.  I thought of the rail cars in high school.  I came up with the idea for an Undying Emperorin the middle of teaching a science class one day.  The idea for computer glasses hit me when I was waiting for somebody at the dentist.  I started drawing and writing in the end pages of a paperback I brought to read.  Eventually all the ideas kind of fused in my mind and I knew I had to write this book.
Q: Your biography mentions that you were a teacher before you decided to start writing on a more serious level (like when you wrote The Forbidden Novels in high school). More often than not, we find that authors have to balance writing with the lives they lead and the jobs they already have. What can you tell us about what your process was when you first ventured back into novel-writing territory? How did you balance your life with your dreams?
JW: Life always came first.  I had time to write in high school, of course.  During college and starting a family I only wrote a few short stories here and there.  Then as I settled into a career and my kids grew, I gradually found more time to write again.  I spent a disproportionate amount of time on brainstorming and world building at first.  It took a long time to work through a novel.  Eventually I started taking it more seriously.  I found I had to cut back on other pursuits (games, video games, television) in order to free up more time for writing.  I still envy authors who don't need a day job.  I know my work would improve much faster if I could dedicate myself to it full time.  I'm hoping to get to there in time.
Q: Writing science fiction can seem like a daunting task for some authors because of the science aspect of the genre. What kind of research did you do for Theocracide?
JW: This book doesn't have as much science in it as most sci-fi.  It's set in the future.  However, the technological advances are really all in the computer glasses.  Everybody wears a pair of wrap around, clear glasses which use a camera to scan the world and then project images right over what they see.  So people literally see whatever they want to.  This over-stimulated, media based culture has led to a decline in many technologies because most people spend their time in the virtual world.  It mentions space travel and time travel, but only in passing.
Q: Are you more of a pantser or a plotter when writing a novel?
JW: I am more of a pantser.  I've written both ways, but as this book progressed I found the characters and situations often surprised me.  In fact when the ending came, it crashed down all at once, leaving me in shock.  It's a real rush.  I recommend it to anybody.
Q: Theocracide has been published with Curiosity Quills Press. What has your experience been like with them?
JW: I have loved working with CQ from the beginning.  Everybody I worked with there has been awesome.  When I submitted my work, I didn't realize what a great business model they have.  It's different from any other publisher I've looked at.  As the publishing industry changes around new communication and distribution systems made possible by the Internet (Amazon, print on demand books, etc) everybody in the business has been looking for the best way utilize the new technology.  Of all the places I've looked at, CQ has the best, most forward thinking structure.  I really believe this company will grow exponentially.
Q: Did you always set out to publish with Curiosity Quills, or did you try querying agents with Theocracide first?
JW: I tried other agents and publishers before CQ without any success.  However, some of the early drafts I sent out needed work.  I'm sure CQ wouldn't have wanted it before I did the later drafts.  Now I am glad it worked out the way it did.  There are a lot of advantages to publishing through them, which will play out better in the long run.
Q: As someone who has served as an amazing mentor for authors looking to get published (no bias here, of course), what sort of advice can you give writers working on their query letters?
JW: (Thanks!)  What I recommend for query letters is planning to write several drafts.  Start by writing a general query you can later tailor to each publisher or agent.  I've found every time I change something to be more clear or include more details, it becomes clinical and loses the most important ingredient-- voice.  The way I found to fix it is to work on one letter until it has all the right details in it.  Then, toss it out and write a new one completely from scratch.  The new one will have the right information, but in a fresh voice.  It took me several tries to finally get the right combination of information and voice in my query letters.
Q: You have your writing soundtrack for Theocracide linked on your website. How do you choose the songs for your soundtrack? Do they have a particular draw or beat or is it more about the inspiration for particular scenes that pulls you to them?
JW: Music has always been important to me.  When I write I often play music to match the mood of what I'm writing.  So when I saw some writers putting soundtracks out for their books, I knew I wanted to.  I have a pretty big collection of music and as I build a book I collect songs matching the themes or ideas into a playlist.  By the end I pare it down into a soundtrack.  I did all the editing rewrites for Theocracide to this soundtrack exclusively.
Q: What is ahead for your writerly future?
JW: I already have a second book under contract with another publisher.  Exacting Essence will be out soon from Wolf on Water Publishing.  I also have a book entered in the Curiosity Quills Press Na-No Virtuosos contest.  It's called Salvation and anybody who sees this, I'd appreciate you going to the website to vote for me!  I have two short stories coming out in themed anthologies inspired by Kurt Vonnegut and H. G. Wells, as well.  Of course the long term goal is to get to where I can be writing full time.

*insert applause here*

News headlines in the future repeat endlessly. Aliens bent on conquering the world close in on a weakened America. Epidemic alien-flu leaves people afraid to go outside their homes. America, led by the Undying Emperor, is drafting people of all ages despite the plummeting world population. Nobody really cares. They live in a fantasy facilitated by computer glasses, which project images right over the parts of the world they don’t like.

With a sports scholarship and an amazing girlfriend, Jason had it all. As captain, he led his college team from one victory to another. His new love, Di, created digital artist in a world where life didn’t exist outside of the virtual. As long as they ignored the constant barrage of terrible news, their lives would turn out to be perfect. Perfect, except for Jason’s secret.

Jason liked to imagine his family was just dysfunctional in the usual ways. He easily concealed his father’s rampant paranoia because the man lived alone in the wilderness like a hermit. In a world where everybody saw whatever they wanted, nobody noticed Jason’s father. But when Jason goes to visit, his father drops a bomb on him. Jason’s very existence is a heresy against the Undying Emperor. People would burn him at the stake if anybody found out. Also, his father secretly dedicated his life to finding and assassinating the theocrat.

Why did his father wait so long to tell him this? Because he didn’t want to worry Jason until the government found out. Why was he telling the secret now? The government just found out. They are coming to get them both.

Theocracide is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Want more of Theocracide? Check back here on January 15th for an interview with Jason before watching his journey unfold and also on February 1st for an excerpt from the book and a chance to win your very own copy!