Posts tagged ‘good books’

Interview with Talented Author Walter Rhein


Hi Walter. Thanks for coming on my blog and doing this interview. Here are some fairly enlightening questions our readers would like to know about you. I wish you great success with your writing!

How long have you been writing?

I have been writing since I was first able to make letters with a pencil. The other day I was going through some old boxes and I came across pages and pages and pages of old stories and manuscripts. It was actually almost freaky, as if I suffer from some bizarre addiction (I think most writers refer to their writing habit as an addiction…I do anyway).

I had my first story published when I was a Freshman or a Sophomore in high school, and I studied English Literature in College. I would have studied creative writing, but I thought it was better to study writers in a literature class and get the information straight from the horse’s mouth as it were, rather than be taught by professors of creative writing. I suppose that attitude was a little arrogant, but I’m a bit mistrustful of pretty much any academic system.

What kind(s) of writing do you do?

Anything and everything. I was the editor of a web page in Peru for a while which required me to write semi-formal articles. Since then I’ve started up a blog about Peru called “Streets of Lima” (http://streetsofperu.blogspot.com/ ) which is a series of highly informal rants.

My latest book with Rhemalda is a Heroic Fantasy (http://www.rhemalda.com/bookstore/bone-sword-p-31.html), but I’ve also got a couple travel memoirs floating around in my hard drives. As long as I can pound out some words and phrases on my keyboard, I’m happy.

What cultural value do you see in writing/reading/storytelling/etc.?

I’ve thought about this question a lot because I think those of us with degrees in English spend a lot of time defending our social significance :). I think that stories are a model for behavior. That’s why people get so angry when they see a character in a film behave in an inappropriate way. The belief is that sooner or later that attitude will be repeated by people who have seen the film in real-life situations (which is probably true in some cases).

Stories are a great way to convey useful information in a way that is safe and secure. There are times in your life when you are vulnerable and you need some guidance, and, unfortunately, there are many unscrupulous people in this world who will instantly try to take advantage of you in those moments. If you turn to a book, however, you maintain a lot more control. You can put the book down at any time that you want, and it’s up to you to provide the inflection to the characters’ voices that shapes how you perceive the story. The written word is a much gentler form of sharing knowledge. The reader gets to participate far more than if s/he was just being lectured at.

This is especially important today when the sum total of what we know as a race is far greater than any person could discover in his/her lifetime. It’s vital that we have a good way of communicating this information. It’s the great inherited wealth of the human race.

What/who inspires you?

Well, my wife and I have just had a beautiful daughter who has been lighting up our house for the last month. She’s the first person I thought of in answer to that question. Since she’s been born, I’ve found myself compelled to work twice as hard as ever before. Although I’ve never really felt I needed a lot of things in order to be content, I find that I just don’t want to deny my lovely little daughter anything.

As an extension of that thought, I’d also love for the world we lived in to be a little more reasonable for her and for everyone’s sake. There are so many days that I see people making decisions based on flawed logic or false information. These decisions lead to tragedies which lead to overall disharmony. As a writer, you find that poor logic kind of clears itself up through the process of writing it down. I think most writers have had to abandon novels when they realized the premises they were working with just didn’t hold up to support the weight of the work. Writing, for me, is a great way to clear and to organize my thoughts. The more of that I can pass on to others, the better the world should become.

How did you get to be where you are in your life today?

I’ve been pretty unconventional all my life. At one point when I was fairly young I decided it was better to fail by doing things my way than to succeed by doing things another’s way. I think that too many people simply get caught up in the “rat race” of thinking that they need a 55 inch plasma TV and a new car and all that garbage. When I was about 23, I decided that I wanted to travel and write above all else. So I moved to Lima, Peru where I was able to live for between $6000-$8000 a year. Now, living in Peru meant that I had to give up on a lot of luxuries that people in the US “enjoy,” but I didn’t miss them in the least. I love being able to live cheaply and maintain my mobility and do the things that I want rather than the things other people expect of me.

I always look a little skeptically at those people who are working jobs they hate for the promise of a pension or retirement package twenty years down the road. It seems to me that the precedent is for these companies and corporations to renege on their promises the second the dutiful employee comes to ask for them. I suppose it’s the lure of “security” that keeps people in positions like that. But I think you’re a lot better off when you realize there is no “security” in this world. You’ve got to live each day like it’s your last, spend as much time with your wife and children, and do the things you love to do. Never trade that for the promise of some pension that may or may not even be there in twenty years.

Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work? What impact have they had on your writing?

I’ve just been reading Douglas Adams’ “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detecive Agency” and it’s been a surprise to see how much his narrative voice has affected mine. But that’s mainly for my blog writing and things like that. For “The Bone Sword” (my recent fantasy novel), I suppose I’m more influenced by people such as Piers Anthony, Terry Brooks, and Tolkien.

Another big influence that I’d be remiss not to mention is Charles Bukowski. Of all writers, I think Bukowski achieves the greatest readability. His novels just flow from one word to the next, and I think his voice is simply staggering. The thing that I love most about Bukowski is that you can give one of his novels to a person who has never read or enjoyed reading before and they WILL enjoy Bukowski. Writing should be catered to the widest possible audience, and that, I think, is Bukowski’s greatest strength.

What did you find most useful in learning to write? What was least useful or most destructive?

I think when it comes right down to it, all you have to do is write a lot and keep on writing. Sooner or later your own voice will establish itself. I think there are many people who make the mistake of thinking that there are hard and fast “rules” that you have to follow in order to make your writing any good. To some extent the things that creative writing instructors say are true, there are little conventions here and there that you should avoid. However, I like the line from the last scene in “The Wonder Boys” with Michael Douglas in which he says all writers have to figure it out for themselves…teaching doesn’t help.

If you want a teacher, make it be the editors you send your stories off to, the people who read them, and the reactions you get from them. Don’t base your changes on “hypothetical writing theory,” base it on real life reactions that you can see and feel.

How do you feel about ebooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?

I think ebooks are great in that they can greatly bring down publishing costs and therefore allow for a lot more publishing companies to become established and a lot more voices to be heard. I know a few people still grumble about the idea of reading an electronic book, but those e-readers (like the Kindle and the iPad) are here to stay (and they’re pretty darn cool too).

When it comes to a choice between alternative and conventional anything…I’m always going to pick alternative. The alternative is just the evolution of how things get done, it’s the cutting edge.

When you think about it, it’s really an exciting time for writers and writing. Blogs, for example, are such a great way to get the word out there, and social media like Facebook and Twitter allows you to have instantaneous contact with thousands of people with just the press of a button.

What are some ways in which you promote your work? Do you find that these add to or detract from your writing time?

The main things are my blogs. I already mentioned “Streets of Lima” (http://streetsofperu.blogspot.com/ ) which is my Peru blog. I also have a “Heroic Fantasy” blog at (http://walterrhein.blogspot.com/ ). In addition to this blog, I have a Facebook group called “Heroic Fantasy” which is up to over 2000 members. You can join at: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=108822105819999&ref=ts

Of course, maintaining all these things takes a lot of time, but I don’t view it at all as a detraction. I think all writers have a certain amount of energy they just have to “burn off.” In the old days, that would be ground up by early drafts and notes that were eventually tossed into the waste basket. Today, you dump all that stuff into your blog which gives your readers an interesting day to day insight as to how you’re thinking. Blog entries are like the news, they’re not great literature, but they’re entertaining for that afternoon. After you’ve gotten done “warming up” by writing your blog…you can move on to working on your more important tasks.

What do your plans for future projects include?

I’ve been in talks with Rhemalda to do a couple sequels to my fantasy novel “The Bone Sword” already (http://www.rhemalda.com/bookstore/bone-sword-p-31.html). In addition to that, I’d like to see if they might eventually publish some of my South American travel narratives (those are a bit dicey…really pushing the envelope). Also, I’ve just finished up a book which is kind of a memoir of my cross-country skiing and marathon running days. They haven’t gotten back to me on whether they’re going to publish it, so keep your fingers crossed for me!

In addition to all that, I will continue to enjoy working on my blogs and various e-publications. Feel free to contact me if you think I can bring some visibility to your work. I feel it’s the responsibility of writers to help one another out, and I’m happy to do it!

walterrhein@gmail.com

An Interview with Angela Korra’ti- Author of Faerie Blood


Faerie Blood, by Angela Korra’ti

Kendis Thompson of Seattle thinks she’s as normal as the next computer geek, and up till now, she’s been right. But her world is about to turn on its ear, for she is the daughter of a Seelie Court mage and her mortal husband–and her faerie blood is awakening. Suddenly the city she’s known all her life is transforming before her eyes. Trolls haunt the bike trails. Fairies and goblins run loose in the streets. An old woman who is not what she seems and a young wanderer running from his past stand ready to defend Seattle–and Kendis–from magical assault. She will need those allies, for the power rising within her is calling her fey kin to the Emerald City to find her. And kill her.

Q: Where did you get the idea for Faerie Blood?

Basically, it goes back to this–as a lifelong fan of Elvis Presley, I’m very finicky about Elvis impersonators. And as a lifelong fan of fantasy novels, I’m also very partial to elves. Elves. Elvis. Only one vowel’s worth of difference, and it was inevitable that I’d come up with a scene involving what would happen if an elf showed up at an Elvis impersonator contest!

I wrote a scene fragment for this many, many years ago. But fast forward to Nanowrimo 2003, and my deciding that I’d try to make the writing as easy as possible on myself by throwing everything I loved into it: Seattle, biking, computer geekery, magic, elves, and most of all, music. Several people in the cast of Faerie Blood are musically inclined–and Elessir a’Natharion, bard, Unseelie, and all-around rogue, is absolutely shameless about milking his Elvis look.

Elessir would also shamelessly tell you the story’s really all about him. Don’t listen to him. Even if he can play a hell of a guitar.

Come visit Angela at http://www.angelakorrati.com if you want to find out more about Faerie Blood, and tell her about your favorite music!

New Interview With Julie by Mike Angley


1) Brief bio

Julie Achterhoff has enjoyed writing since early childhood. She impressed her teachers with her stories written in many genres. One teacher in the eighth grade told her that after reading one of her scary stories she couldn’t sleep all night! Julie didn’t start writing seriously until after raising her five children on her own. During this time she worked as a homebirth midwife. Her first published work was a novella titled Native Vengeance. This was followed by her fictional thriller, Quantum Earth. Deadly Lucidity is her most recent thriller.

1. Please tell me a little bit about your professional or personal background…the prequel if you would to your writing career.

I have always loved reading, especially horror and thriller type books. They scared me to death as a kid, but I read whatever my mother handed down to me, so I was kind of forced into it! I read a lot of Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and I’ll never forget Tales of the Cthulu Mythos. I guess I figured that it was fun to scare people with your writing. My first major writing, though, was a play I wrote for a women’s lit class I took a few years ago, which wasn’t horrific in the least. It was about three women in three different centuries, and the struggles each of them had being women writers. It’s called Angel In The House. Before my writing career began I delivered babies at home, something completely different from writing!

2. Why did you choose to write novels?

I think it’s because I feel like writers can have such a huge impact on people if they write well enough. I started writing a few novels over the years, but never had the extra time until recently to actually finish one. Whenever I was writing, I just got the greatest feeling! It made me feel excited and important. I could just imagine other people reading my words and maybe really liking what they read. It was a thrill just thinking about it.

3. Tell me about your story.

Since this interview is focusing on Deadly Lucidity, I’ll talk about that one. Marie is kind of an eccentric woman who has learned to stay lucid during her dreams. That means she is totally conscious when in the dream state. She can go where she wants to and do anything. But she suddenly starts dreaming about a crazed psychopath who is trying to kill her. Then, her dreams become so real that she becomes trapped in them. They are becoming more and more bizarre, too. She meets a man named Murphy, who ends up helping her try to escape this nightmare. They journey together towards a place they’ve been told is a way out, while trying to stay one step ahead of the psychopath, among other strange beings and situations. Marie’s growing passion for Murphy causes her to have to make some tough choices, though. How can she leave her “dream man” behind?

4. How did you develop the character of your protagonist?

Marie starts off being in therapy, relying on medication to prevent recurring panic attacks and general anxiety. She is basically alone in the world. Her only “real” friends are in her dreams. She is also a writer. I kind of modeled her after myself, only more of a caricature of me. Through her dream experiences she is pretty much forced to come into her own power. She doesn’t have much choice but to become stronger and grow. There are some weak moments for her, of course, but she overcomes the obstacles that come her way to save her own life.

5. What are your hero’s strengths and weaknesses?

Marie is very fearful. She doesn’t want to go on. She hides in her own little world, writing day after day. She doesn’t realize her true strengths until she is faced with people and situations that will make or break her. Her whole world is turned upside down, which presents challenges she has never even considered before this. All she can do is pull herself out of the way she was, and on the way changes from a caterpillar into a butterfly.

6. What about an antagonist…is there a unique “bad guy” or a recurring nemesis of any kind?

Oh, yes. This crazy lunatic that is chasing her down is a real weirdo! He has somehow fixated on her, and his only goal is to torture and kill Marie. He also has some really interesting idiosyncrasies. All I’ll say is that she gets into some very tight spots with this guy!

7. Did any of your real-life experiences factor in to the plot at all?

Yes. I’ve had some very lucid dreams myself. Some of them have been nightmares that I’ve had a tough time getting out of. This book was actually inspired by one of them. I thought I woke up from a perfectly nice dream, when in reality I went straight into the realest nightmare I’ve ever had! I actually thought it was really happening. Luckily, I was finally able to really wake myself up, but I was practically hysterical. It took quite a while to calm myself down.

8. Beyond this novel what are your future writing plans?

I’m almost finished with my third book titled Earthwalker. It takes a completely fresh approach to the world of vampires. In it, vampires originated from another planet, and have a common ancestry with humans. It’s only when they live on Earth for too long that they get a taste for human blood. On their own planet they only drink animal blood, and are even more civilized and advanced technologically than humans. One of them crashes his spaceship in the wilderness near where a young woman named Willa is camping. He is severely burned, and she nurses him back to health. His English name is Paul, and the two fall in love. But that’s just the beginning. They must go through many terrible situations together before their story is told. Both of them are stretched to their very limits.

9. Will you continue to feature the same protagonist in future stories? Will any other characters migrate over to future books?

I’m not sure about that yet. Probably not. I like to write books that are completely different from each other or anything I’ve ever read before.

10. Anything else you might want to add?

I had a video trailer made for Deadly Lucidity, which can be found at: http://www.associatedcontent.com/video/687534/book_video_trailer_deadly_lucidity.html?cat=38

Readers can also read part of the book at: http://www.freado.com/book/6046/Deadly-Lucidity

It can be purchased here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0984421904?ie=UTF8&force-full-site=1

It’s now on sale on Kindle for $3.19

Here is a review:

4.0 out of 5 stars An Engaging Suspense Thriller, June 16, 2010
By Apex Reviews (Durham, NC USA)
(VINE VOICE)

This review is from: Deadly Lucidity (Paperback)
Caught in a dream world from which she can’t escape, Marie finds herself hunted by a dangerous psychopath. Her situation is far from hopeless, though, as a handsome Ranger named Murphy vows both to protect her and help her find a way back to the real world. Over the course of their shared adventures, Marie looks very much forward to getting her life back to normal – but her growing passion for Murphy makes the prospect of leaving him behind an increasingly difficult choice to make…

Skillfully crafted by author Julie Achterhoff, Deadly Lucidity is an engaging suspense thriller. In it, Achterhoff has crafted a compelling alternate nether world straight out of the darkest regions of any imagination. In addition, as Marie wends her way through a series of increasingly perilous events, you find yourself rooting not-so-silently on her behalf, turning each fresh page in rapt anticipation of precisely what fate awaits her as the story progresses. Furthermore, the genuine affection that she and Murphy feel for one another adds a layer of palpable tension to the overall tale, drawing the reader in even more as this modern twist on the age-old tale of good vs. evil plays itself out in fantastical fashion.

A dynamic, riveting thriller with a host of intriguing twists, Deadly Lucidity is a recommended read for lovers of well crafted fantasy suspense tales.

Chelsea Perry
Apex Reviews

THE BLOODGATE GUARDIAN by Joely Sue Burkhart


Worlds within worlds await through the Maya Bloodgate….

Dr. Jaid Merritt doesn’t do digs. The last time she ventured into the
jungle, someone died. Now she’s content to decipher Maya glyphs from
pictures sent to her by her famous archaeologist father. But when he
goes missing while trying to perform a ritual based on her
translations of an ancient codex, Jaid must put aside her fears and
travel to Guatemala to find him.

After misusing the Bloodgates to bring his twin brother back from the
afterlife, the Maya priest known as Ruin was cursed by the gods to
stand as the guardian for all time. He was unable to stop Dr. Charles
Merritt from opening the gates, and now demons roam this world. The
last thing he wants to do is hurt the beautiful woman who is somehow
infused with his magic, but if she uses the codex to retrieve her
father, Ruin must do his duty. And this time, he won’t fail. Even if
it kills him. Again.

~ * ~

I’ve always loved the idea of blood sacrifice. From vampires to the
symbology of communion, I’m fascinated by the inherent power in this
essence of life. Add mythology to the mix, and I’m one happy camper,
so of course, the Maya have always been one of my favorites
mythologies. Bonus: pyramids!

One of my inspirations for THE BLOODGATE GUARDIAN is a demotivator
poster (link http://www.despair.com/sacrifice1.html) that shows the
famous El Castillo pyramid of Chich’en Itza that says “All we ask here
is that you give us your heart.” While there’s no archeological
evidence that the Maya sacrificed hundreds or thousands of victims
until the pyramid steps ran red with blood as in Mel Gibson’s
Apocalytpo, they did practice blood sacrifice. Most of the time, they
cut their ears or (men, avert your eyes and cover yourself) penis,
caught blood on special paper, and then burned it with incense to
honor the gods.

And yes, occasionally people were sacrificed, especially the losers of
the famous ballgame or captured kings from other villages. Sometimes
people were simply tossed into the cenote—large sinkholes that form
over thousands of years in the limestone, often with an extensive
network of caves. If they were still alive hours later…or possibly
the next day…then they might be rescued to see if they bore any
messages from the gods. Sadly, children were often the victims of
this type of sacrifice, inspiring a short story that I’m offering for
free on my website Well of Sky, link
http://joelysueburkhart.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/Burkhart.Well_.of_.Sky_.pdf).

Most of the time, it was the willing sacrifice—of his own blood—that
imbued so much power into the priest’s prayers and rituals. Ruin, the
hero in THE BLOODGATE GUARDIAN, has paid that price numerous times
himself. In fact, he’s died many times in service to the Bloodgates.
He willingly pays the ultimate price over and over to protect that
sacred magic.

When this man falls in love, he falls hard. How many times will he
die to keep her alive?

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