Author Interview with Francis Moss

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I’ve always written. I remember sitting at my parent’s Underwood and typing out stories, probably about dogs, cats or spacemen. In college, I wrote for the school paper and a couple of local papers, the Berkeley Barb and the San Francisco Express-Times. In 1979, a friend asked me what I wanted to do with my life. “I want to be a writer,” I said. She said: “Write for television. That’s where the money is.”

I took her advice and cranked out a few spec scripts for TV shows I liked. One of them got the attention of the producer of Buck Rogers, and I wound up writing two episodes, which got me into The Writers’ Guild. Then the Guild went on strike, and I, with a family to support, needed work. A local company, Filmation, was looking for writers for a new cartoon show, She-Ra, Princess of Power (cartoon writers were not in the Guild). I got on staff at the show, wrote and edited a bunch, and spent the rest of my TV career writing ‘toons, along with a few non-fiction books for kids.

2) What inspired you to write your book?

This sounds like a line from a bad movie, but it came to me in a dream. I was sitting in an office with – of all people! – Mindy Kalin, who was reading a script I’d written. In my waking life, I’d never have thought of pitching to her. She put it down and turned to me: “This is pretty good. Did you write it?” My dream self was offended, and I replied: “No. I got it from the Story Store.” (it’s a writer’s jokey answer to the question, “where do you get your ideas?”). My book, once called “The Story Store” came to me. Of course pretty much everything including the title, got changed.

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

I don’t think much about messages. I mostly write things I’d like to read. A reviewer pointed out a theme in Losing Normal  of “screen addiction.” So let’s go with that.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

I’ve always written for kids. I am a twelve-year old boy in an old man’s body.

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5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

My first thought was, I’d like to ask Sophie how she could think that adoration from mind-numbed people had anything to do with ‘perfection.’ That seems pretty tongue-in-cheeky, though. I ought to have a more serious answer.

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

None of them so far. I have some Facebook friends, a few Twitter followers. But I’m lousy at it.

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Read a lot. Write a lot. Don’t wait for ’inspiration.’ Find other writers, either IRL on online, and share your stories. Do something for your writing life every day.

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

My current project is promoting the hell out of Losing Normal (hence this prompt reply to your questions).
Books: I’ve got more stories to tell than I have time to write. KillGirl  is my next one (currently 50K+ words in a 2nd draft): a teenage girl seeks revenge for the murders of her grandparents. After that, a middle-grade adventure (maybe a series), about a young boy in WW II England; and a science-fiction story about the multiverse.

Losing Normal is available at Amazon.com:
https://www.amazon.com/Losing-Normal-Francis-Moss/dp/1732791023/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42746625

I am available (more or less) at: https://www.francismoss.com
https://facebook.com/fcmoss
https://twitter.com/fcmoss

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About the Author

Francis Moss has written and story-edited hundreds of hours of scripts on many of the top animated shows of the 90s and 00s. Beginning his television work in live-action with Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, he soon starting writing cartoons on She-Ra, Princess of Power, Iron Man, Ducktales, and a four-year stint on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, writing and story-editing more episodes than you can swing a nuchaku at. 

One of his TMNT scripts, “The Fifth Turtle,” was the top-rated script among all the 193 episodes in a fan poll on IGN.COM. A list of his television credits is at IMDB.COM.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Losing-Normal-Francis-Moss/dp/1732791023/ 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42746625

www.francismoss.com

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Author Interview with Jason Arias

Writing was my outlet for all the things I saw at work, all the things I had neglected in my head throughout my life, all the emotions I’d pushed down because I didn’t want (or know how) to deal with them. Writing became my therapist.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

  1. I wrote some when I was a kid and teenager. My wife and I started a family early and married when we were twenty. For the next fifteen years I wrote very little. It was about working, putting food on the table, and spending time as a family. Once I established a job as a paramedic I was so sick of reading technical books that I developed a deep hunger for fiction. I wouldn’t call it a problem, but definitely an addiction. I read a lot trying to make up for lost time.

In my thirties I attended one of Chuck Palahniuk’s book launches. Lidia Yuknavitch was his guest reader. I read her book The Chronology of Water. That memoir blew me my face off. The way the tragic coupled with the humorous. The heart left on those pages. A year or two later I realized Lidia was teaching fiction classes at my local community college. With the kids getting to that age where dad (I) was way less than cool to hang with, I found I had a little extra time. The first class turned into a second. The end of the second class rolled into a weekly writing critique group for the next couple of years with some of my peers.

Writing was my outlet for all the things I saw at work, all the things I had neglected in my head throughout my life, all the emotions I’d pushed down because I didn’t want (or know how) to deal with them. Writing became my therapist. The cheapest and most fulfilling therapy I’ve ever had. I told Lidia that one day during my mid-terms conference and she didn’t laugh. She just nodded. I can, without question, point to that first fiction class with Lidia Yuknavitch as the catalyst for everything I’ve published since.

What inspired you to write your book?

It’s really just a product of continually upping the ante. The first goal was just to get a story published. Anywhere. Then to get five published. Then to get one hundred rejections. After creating and reworking a story every week or two for a number of years I had somewhere around thirty stories published in different places and a bunch of unpublished pieces. At that point I felt like I’d stopped moving forward and was moving in circles. That’s the story I tell myself.

The real story is that my writer-ly friends kept asking, “So when are you going to write a book?” And after some self-evaluation, I realized that I kind of already had.

What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

Definitely the themes written on the back jacket are in there (life and death, identity and race, change and resistance to change). There are also themes that question presuppositions about family and masculinity and decision making. But hopefully readers get more out of it than I even realize I’ve put into it. And I hope they get a hold of me and tell me what they find.

I use writing as a way of sorting out what’s confounding about myself or the world or a specific idea. In a sense these stories are writing themselves while I’m trying to pull pieces of answers out of them to build a more comprehensive picture. I’m hungry for these pieces. Every time someone tells me what they’ve gotten from a story they’re given me another piece. It’s like we’re filling in this puzzle together. A puzzle with no box picture. No edge pieces.

I guess what I’m saying is that I know what these stories mean to me, but I’m more interested in hearing what somebody else sees in them. I’m so much more interested in my blind spots.

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What drew you into this particular genre?

Part of what’s always drawn me to short stories is their conciseness. Everybody has time for a short story. There’s an economy to them. Every word is essential. There’s this close, tight world that you can explore these big ideas through. Short stories are sneaky like that.

Also, some of my favorite authors have great works in the genre. People like Junot Diaz, Amy Hempel, Larry Brown, Joy Williams, Scott McClanahan, Elizabeth Ellen, Roxane Gay, Denis Johnson, Mary Gaitskill, Ray Donald Pollock, Lorrie Moore, and so many more. To be able to feel or invoke such emotion from so few pages is like a magic trick. BTW if you haven’t already read Friday Black and Heads of Colored People seek them out. These collections are bringing short story to the cultural foreground.   

If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

I would ask Lacey from Inner Workings what she ever saw in Uncle Timmy. Because, really, she’s better than that.

What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

As much as it pains me, I’d probably have to say Facebook has been the most connecting social media to my readership up to this point. I can link people to my blog, places to buy the book, and promote upcoming readings the easiest there. But to be honest I’m not a great social media user. I don’t get it like my kids do. I’m a little afraid of it. And probably for these reasons, even though I’ve gotten the best results from Facebook, vs. Instagram or Twitter, they’re still not good.

I was just talking to a fellow author and friend at Indies First and he was saying how the best way for indie authors to find their audience is still face-to-face, at readings and bookstores. The downside is that it’s on an individual basis and amounts to small handfuls at a time. It’s a grind and, unless you travel a lot, it’s largely regional. But it’s a start. Unless you’re getting major media or large publishing house help the personal gigs might get you the most loyal bang for your buck.

What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Read. A lot. Write. A lot. Read more than you write, and write a ton. While you’re doing that, have people that know more than you be honest with you about your writing. And understand that they’re not doing it to hurt you. Unless they are. Either way you’ll learn where you need improvement. Be thankful for them.

Find a way to love the editing process. Millionaires on Mtv’s Cribs always used to say, “This is where the magic happens,” and then open the door to their bedroom. For us writers the magic happens on the cutting room floor. Start butchering. Maybe leave a little fat for flavor. Foreplay for a well-honed piece is the Backspace button.

Once you’ve finished the feedback loop of cut up, dressed up and re-critique then send that baby out into the big bad world. While it’s out keep honing other pieces. Know that your words, experiences, and perspective matter but they might take a while to find a home. It’s really just about making the right match. Anybody on dating sites probably already knows that can take some time.

Finally, if you have the chance to take a workshop or class with an author you really respect, do it. It could prove to be an invaluable experience.

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What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

I’ll keep promoting Momentary Illuminations of Objects In Motion to try to give it the best shot possible, but I’m always writing new pieces. I’m always sending shorter stuff out. I’m also currently researching and plotting for my first novel. It takes place in the early to mid-1900s in a West Coast resort town that ended up slowly falling into the ocean.  

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jason Arias’ stories have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. Momentary Illumination of Objects In Motion is his first short story collection. 

He has worked as a hospital patient food courier, charter bus after-event cleaner, DMV records consolidator, lithography product deliveryman, one-hour photo developer, cashier, vinyl windows warehouse worker, UPS loader, EMT, paramedic, firefighter, LYFT driver, specimen collector, and sometimes a writer. 

Author’s Website: http://jasonariasauthor.com/

Author’s Facebook page is: https://www.facebook.com/jasonariasauthor/ 

Interview with Author Ben Schneider

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1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

  1. A) I am currently active duty in the Air Force. I have worked for the military 15 years. I am also a cartoonist and a comedian. I discovered many of my jokes work better in literature than they do in cartoons or on stage. In addition, I am a fan of thriller novels, which inspired many ideas in my own stories.

2) What inspired you to write your book?

  1. A) The work of other action/sci-fi authors and films based on such books inspired my novel.

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

  1. A) My book has several messages I hope to give readers. If I were to choose just one, it would be: “Life with a bad attitude is far too difficult.”

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

  1. A) Several things drew me to action/sci-fi, especially James Cameron films.

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5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

  1. A) I would ask Sonya McCall what she would do if she were the first female president because she is very ethical and tough.

 

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

  1. A) Facebook.

 Author Pic2

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

  1. A) Make your characters people you would admire and give them strong motives for everything they do.

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

  1. A)Realm Journeyis my first book and is like a cross between Lord of the Rings and Treasure Island. I finished it in 2009, but never tried to get it published. Now that I’ve seen some success with my second novel, Chrome Mountain, I am rewriting Realm Journey with the intend to have it published. Someday, I would like to write a sequel to Chrome Mountain as well as create and publish my 3rd Airman Artless cartoon book.

 

About the Author

 

BIO:  Ben Schneider was born in Oklahoma. In 2003, he earned a B.A. in Graphic Design at Oklahoma University, married his fiancée, and joined the Air Force. Ben and his wife, Suzy, have been stationed in Italy, Okinawa, and Alaska. Aside from writing fiction, Ben’s other interests include drawing cartoons—mainly his Airman Artless comic strips. Chrome Mountain is his debut novel.

To order Chrome Mountain on Kindle or paperback, go here:

https://www.amazon.com/Chrome-Mountain-Ben-Schneider-ebook/dp/B07DMZ86B3/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

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To see 30+ reviews on Chrome Mountain, go here:

https://www.facebook.com/Chrome-Mountain-281058869320535/

 

Chrome Mountain is also available at the following sites:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40409574-chrome-mountain

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/903483

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/chrome-mountain-ben-schneider/1128858008?ean=2940161675625

To message Ben Schneider or see more of his work, go here:

https://airmanartless.com/published-work.html

https://www.facebook.com/ben.schneider.9237

https://www.facebook.com/Quotes-by-Ben-270127620244047/?modal=admin_todo_tour

https://www.facebook.com/Airman-Artless-281460331901271/?ref=page_internal

https://twitter.com/pinscratch5

https://www.instagram.com/airmanartless/

https://www.pinterest.com/schneiderben/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlYhC99bDcM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=000QgYUF_20&t=9s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3nWcx0NP4c&t=43s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6_r47K9jN4&t=53s

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Write On Your Terms: Why You Can Succeed As A Writer Without Committing To NaNoWriMo

Let me start off by saying this: I love NaNoWriMo. I’ve participated twice in the last four years, and each time I felt myself challenged, excited and creatively supercharged with each passing day. The process of writing in 30 days a full 50,000 word or more novel is exhilarating to say the least. So this post is not a knock to the event at all. In fact the event is still a very huge presence in my writing in the month of November.

However, for any authors out there who are not participating or can’t participate in the event, know that it is ok. You do not have to participate in the event to be a great writer in life or even just in the month of November. I struggled for a couple weeks on whether or not I wanted to participate in this year’s event.

Am I participating?

So many factors came into play when it came to my ultimate decision. I am working four jobs right now, all of which take up a lot of my time. In addition to this, I have responsibilities at home that take up even more time of my day, so by the time I get to the point where I have time to write, I’m either exhausted or have very little time to write, only getting a few hundred words in at most. I also have a project I am deeply committed to, but I am already at over 40,000 words. I’m not sure how many more words my project will end up taking on, but I don’t want the pressure of having to write another 50,000 just to satisfy the goal of NaNoWriMo and writing more than I really needed. Each story is unique (as many of you writers know), and should not be constrained by word counts for the sake of statistics. It usually sacrifices the story and flow of the novel overall as a result. I started coming up with an outline for a short story anthology I want to write to create a whole new project to work on, but with all of the other factors in play, the timing for NaNoWriMo 2018 just didn’t feel right.

So I decided ultimately to hold off for the year. I felt at first like I was failing to join the writing community or failing to be the best writer I could be. Then I started to ask myself: why? My day jobs consist of writing. I have a whole project I’m in the midst of working on that will include more writing. I’m neck deep into the world of writing. Why should I feel any less of a writer just because I’m not participating in the event.

Your Terms

There is no shame in taking your own path when it comes to writing. Whether you have an existing project, a project that doesn’t require 50,000 words or more or already is near that goal, you don’t have to commit to an event to feel like a great writer. The best advice I can give to a writer is to just be you. Write what you love, and write it on your own terms. Whether it takes you a month or ten years, don’t let anyone else tell you, (although, unless you are writing the next great novel, ten years is a bit long. Just kidding). Even I am still growing as a writer, and learning that you cannot rush the creative process or a project as a whole. To anyone participating in NaNoWriMo, good luck to you guys and I wish you well. I look forward to reading some of these projects in the future, and to interacting with you guys throughout the month as we all write alongside you. To everyone else, be you, and write on your own terms.

What do you guys think? Does this help any of you writers out there? Do any other authors have advice for anyone not participating in NaNoWriMo? Leave your comments below and be sure to share this post on your social media sites.

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5 STAR REVIEWS FOR JACK DAWKINS’!!

5 STAR REVIEWS FOR JACK DAWKINS’!!

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Jack Dawkins, AKA as the Artful Dodger, wants to set the record straight about what happened to him after he was obliged to take up lodgings in Newgate Prison.   Thanks to the genius of Lionel Bart, we all have a lasting image of him skipping away into the sunset, arm in arm with Fagin. Well, the young jackanapes is here to tell you that the truth is very different.

You don’t have to know your way round archaic words, history or the works of Mr. Dickens, because Jack has very kindly provided a Glossary that you can refer to as he relates in his own inimitable fashion, his encounters with an unusually erudite Bow Street Runner, murderous villains, turnkeys, philanthropists, Innkeepers, Owlers, passing strangers-and Miss Lysette Godden, the first human being he has ever loved.  Strangely enough, Jack also reveals that, as he conducts what proves to be a highly dangerous search for his mother and father, he finds his true self.

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I thought you might like to take a look at Jack Dawkins’ ghost-writer.

You can see more of both of us on the You Tube video ‘the spirit of the Artful Dodger’,

in which Jack does the decent thing by returning from ‘Mutton Pie and Porter heaven’ to give me a helping hand.

 

Interview With Author Thomas Neviaser

Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I’m a retired orthopedic surgeon who opted for the “good life” after 33 years of practice in Virginia. I decided to trade in my scalpel for a word processor.

In theory, I’ve been writing for decades, but all of that work has been in the orthopedic field of medicine. I have authored over 40 peer reviews articles, written chapters in orthopedic textbooks, presented at symposiums and instructional courses, but did not start writing for fun until I retired in 2000. Mm first endeavor was an informative yet humorous book, Man’s Unofficial Guide to the Use of His Garage, followed by a collection of short stories, The Comb in the Urinal and other Perplexities of Life, about everyday objects we all see in very unusual places and how they got there. Some stories are fictional but some of the stories actually happened to me.

At the encouragement of family and friends, I published (2016) my non-fiction orthopedic manuscript, THE WAY I SEE IT: A Head-to-Toe Guide to Common Orthopaedic Condtions, a guide for the layperson and orthopedic patients so they could educate themselves to their conditions and be able to converse with their doctors in intelligible manners. There are 90 conditions discussed as well as 80 diagrams/photos/x-rays included. Medical terminology is phonetically spelled and explained in easy to understand language.

What inspired you to write your book?

My first novel, YOU DEAR SWEET MAN (2017), was inspired by a digital photo in a subway car advertisement poster while I was traveling into Washington, DC. It was so vividly clear and almost three dimensional, I thought the woman in the ad would move if I stared at it long enough. Hence, the idea for the book was born. A blue-collar worker is seduced into the unsavory world of advertising by an attractive but evil woman whose alter-ego poses as a model in a most unique subway car ad, becomes his living fantasy, and ultimately defines his destiny.

What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

I think this book illustrates how easily people can be swayed from their lives and think that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.

What drew you into this particular genre?

I always loved books and TV shows that were somewhat out of box, made me think, and yet surprised me with the ending.

If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

I would choose Samantha, the antagonist in YOU DEAR SWEET MAN. The question would be, “Sam, why in the world would you use your exceptional extra-sensory abilities for evil rather than good?”

What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

I have never been interested in social media until I started writing. I’m still not a fan, but found it necessary to have some platform for myself, my orthopedic guide, and all of my books. I would have to say, Facebook, but as I said, I’m not that enthusiastic about it. I’m not on Twitter and a novice at Instagram. I guess I’m old school to the core.

What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Write what comes to your mind and keep writing. Correct all the mistakes later. I found that if trying to write grammatically correct, one loses concentration and tends to grind to a halt quickly. It one of the reasons for “Writer’s Block!”

What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

I have just finished my second novel, THE MYSTERY OF FLIGHT 2222, a book I’ve been writing for sixty years, believe it or not. When I was in high school, I wrote this short story about a plane crash and the subsequent trials and tribulations of nine passengers as they endure stresses well beyond one’s imagination leading to physical and mental decline, paranoia, death, sharks, bad weather and open seas pirates. Their subsequent rescue only initiates another trip from which they can never escape.

I finally decided to expand the story that had been in the back of my mind for six decades, and now:

THE MYSTERY OF FLIGHT 2222 will be launched on July 25, 2018 on Amazon. It should soon be on the Amazon’s pre-order list, and I hope all your readers will read and review it.

Thank you so much for asking me to participate in your blog interview,

Thomas Neviaser

 

Man’s Unofficial Guide to the Use of His garage:

 

Guest Post: Why Authors Should Get Social on Social Media Networking Sites by Michael Okon

Hi Everyone! I am honored to share with you this amazing guest post from author Michael Okon on the importance of social media for authors. Enjoy!

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Why Authors Should Get Social on Social Media Networking Sites

By Michael Okon

Any serious author wanting to be discovered by readers knows how important it is to engage online. Whether we love social media or we hate it, it’s necessary for branding purposes. Authorship is a business. And like all businesses, you MUST actively participate in your marketing efforts. Social media platforms make this possible.

Truth be told, I actually despise social media. Yes, I said it. But that doesn’t mean I ignore it. It’s time consuming, and at times can be downright silly. All that follow to unfollow nonsense. Who has the time? I’d rather be writing than worrying about getting and maintaining followers.

At first, I did most of my social media management on my own. Trust me, I wasn’t an expert and I recognized that pretty quickly. There’s no shame in hiring someone to help out with your social media efforts. That’s what I eventually did, but I do still try to stay as engaged as I possibly can.

Now I have a team of social media experts who work tirelessly to get my name out there in front of as many potential readers as possible. Indie publishing is a tough business to be in and you absolutely need every edge possible to get people to notice you and your books.

If you don’t yet have the finances to hire a social media manager I implore you not to ignore this side of book marketing. Just posting once or twice a day on the biggies – Twitter, Instagram and Facebook – will help readers find you. And don’t forget to comment, like and repost while you’re at it. Social media is here to stay so you may as well get used to it!

Michael Okon is a bestselling author and screenwriter. Monsterland Reanimated, Book Two in the Monsterland series, was just released on April 13, 2018 and promises to be bigger and badder than Book One. Michael invites readers to connect with him on his website.  

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