Press Release: Grime and Wonder on the Streets of Malinky Robot

Image Comics Collects Sonny Liew’s Inspired Short Stories

Berkeley, CA – 1 July 2011 – The captivating world and quirky characters detailed by award-winning artist Sonny Liew’s (LIQUID CITY VOL. 1 and 2, My Faith in Frankie, Wonderland, Sense and Sensibility) loose and emotive watercolor-drenched pencil work are set to charm readers in August, with the release of MALINKY ROBOT: COLLECTED STORIES AND OTHER BITS from Image Comics.

A recipient of the Xeric Award and Best Science Fiction Comic Album award at the Utopiales International SF Festival, MALINKY ROBOT blends dystopic sci-fi and indie sensibilities into a uniquely oddball world, where street urchins Atari and Oliver scrounge, steal bicycles and watch Giant Robot movies. Liew says, “The stories of MALINKY ROBOT have always been the ones that I feel most personally connected with, from their rhythms and structure, to the character and architectural designs. It’s very exciting to see them collected together in this book.”

MALINKY ROBOT not only includes short stories like “Stinky Fish Blues” and “Karakuri” from the LIQUID CITY and Flight anthologies, but also a gallery of Liew’s concept and sketch art, along with pinups by incredible artists such as Mike Allred, Roger Langridge and Skottie Young.

Writer Gail Simone (Birds of Prey, Secret Six, Deadpool, Wonder Woman) described the collection as “[a] book so full of wonders and treasures it feels like you should need a pirate’s map to find it. A stunningly gorgeous mix of urban fantasy and charming adventure that I plan to read until the spine falls off.”

MALINKY ROBOT: COLLECTED STORIES AND OTHER BITS TP (JUN110503), a 128-page full color collection of short sequential art stories retailing for $16.99, will be available at a comic store near you on August 3, 2011. It is available for pre-orders from Diamond Comics, and from retailers such as Amazon.
For more information, please visit http://www.malinkyrobot.com.

ABOUT SONNY LIEW

Sonny Liew is an Eisner-nominated comic artist, illustrator and painter. His work includes titles for DC Vertigo, Marvel, SLG and Disney. He has also served as editor and contributor for Image Comics’ Eisner-nominated LIQUID CITY anthology. For more information, please visit http://www.sonnyliew.com.

ABOUT IMAGE COMICS

Image Comics is a comic book and graphic novel publisher founded in 1992 by a collective of best-selling artists. Image has since gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. Image currently has five partners: Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri and Jim Valentino. It consists of five major houses: Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions, Shadowline, Skybound and Image Central. Image publishes comics and graphic novels in nearly every genre, sub-genre, and style imaginable. It offers science fiction, romance, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, humor and more by the finest artists and writers working in the medium today. For more information, visit www.imagecomics.com.

Check out Sonny’s Inspired Short Stories here!~

moon

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Interview: Wena Poon & the proper care of Singaporean writers

Woots! moon is in da house and she has managed to interview Ms Wena Poon! It’s really quite exciting because she is not only a Singaporean, she is also one of the better-known ones whose work has earned quite a few nominations locally and overseas. Quite an inspiration to us here in Singapore.

Of course, this interview serves more than just to showcase another successful writer. You see, thanks to Sarahcoldheart, I found out that even Wena has problems getting her books carried by major bookstore chains locally. Her books are available online of course but Wena needs all the love she can get from readers, hence this interview.

In fact, I was spurred to interview her because of this comment she made on Facebook,

Do you guys know, The Proper Care of Foxes (shortlisted for Singapore Lit Prize this year) is not even in most Singapore bookstores? It was written for people to take on airplanes. I talked to the Changi Airport bookstore managers re: stocking my book, they looked at me like I was insane. All they had were Da Vinci Code. I strongly believe that travellers in Singapore should have the chance to buy Singapore books. They don’t want to buy the same books they can buy at home.

I agree. So guys, don’t get stuck in the mindset that once you are signed on by a publisher (especially a small one), you have it made for life. Even as a published author, you still have to go about making sure people know about you. =3

The work never stops!

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Photo Credit: Shanti Mantulewski

First of all, congrats on being nominated for the Singapore Literature Prize for “The Proper Care of Foxes”. How does it feel to be picked out from so many writers? =)

It’s my second time! First time was 2008 (the prize is only once every 2 years). It is a big honor, it’s a national prize for a country of 5 million. I hope it means more people will read the book, it’s written for you all, all you young and lovely people out there. Read it and tell me what you think! It’s easy to read. Complex but not boring. Simple but not corny. Excellent bathroom reading. And good for plane rides.

Alex y Robert is a book on an American girl who aspires to be a matador. Who or what gave you this idea for the book?

A friend said, “Do a book. On Spain and bullfighting.” I was like, God no. I don’t know anything about either subject. Then I went to Spain. And I fell in love. And I was hooked. You have to read it to believe it. If you read Alex y Robert, you will want to go to Spain right away. And it will not be my fault.

Why the “y” between the two names in your book title? Does it signify anything?

“Y” means “and” in Spanish. In Spanish-speaking countries, very hip restaurants and cafes are called a boy’s name “y” a girl’s name. I thought it was kinda cool. Alex is Alejandra, Robert is Roberto, and since the book is a transatlantic love story about two young people in America and Spain, and the girl’s a bit of a tomboy, it’s Alex y Robert. I made it as a movie. I Tweeted Michelle Rodriguez (the Hollywood actress) and said, I wrote this book and you should star as Alex, she’s just like you (asskicking Hispanic female lead role). She actually Tweeted me back and said she was pleased to hear I had written a strong female role. But no promise to star. Sigh.

Photo Credit: Salt Publishing London

You mentioned Singapore bookstore chains do not carry small literary presses and I’m rather surprised because you had been nominated many times before for your work. Why do you think books written by local writers are not as well received here in Singapore?

Same old reasons lah, hiyah, no need to say already. So depressing. Perception issue mah. To be entirely serious, I don’t think Alex y Robert is particularly Singaporean. It doesn’t even have an Asian character in it. But it is a very Singaporean book. Read it and guess why. I’m being mysterious. For The Proper Care of Foxes and Alex y Robert, I’m interested in showing the true range of the Singaporean vision. We have always been a cosmopolitan society. These books show our range.

Share an instance or two when you ran into a brick wall when it comes to ensuring your books reach as many local and foreign readers as possible.

Hiyah, so depressing, dowan to say already. If you are a small press woman author, you’re at the bottom of the totem pole. Perception issue. Bookstores everywhere, in every country, feature the same few books published by the same few mainstream presses. Bookstores are going bankrupt; readers now buy online and seek out what they want directly, they hear of cool stuff via word of mouth. It’s the Internet Age. Please, please help me be a cult classic, like Donnie Darko. It’s the most I can hope to be!

What do you think can be done to ease this stranglehold on local writers?

I think the Gahmen can help by setting up a bookstore in Changi Airport to just feature local books – fiction, art, poetry, photography, cooking – alongside all the Bengawan Solo and Merlion keychains. I travel a lot to different countries – usually souvenir shops have local books, tourists want a sense of the country through its literature. We have good writers. We need to sell their products.

Your work has been described as having “mastered the art of writing with the cautious economy of Singaporean writers without the baggage of being/seeming local”. Do you think that local writers in Singapore have this problem of seeming too Singaporean, thus unable to gain recognition?

I think it’s their choice – they can write in a very Singaporean style, or they can decide not to. It’s a question of range. Every writer needs to think about his or her target audience. Why do you write? Who do you want to talk to? I write because I want to reach out to people in different countries; my books are my love letters to people, to celebrate the diversity of contemporary life and the technology age. If nobody reads, I mati. I want to bring cultures together, so I write for a diverse audience. I think Singaporean readers are very sophisticated; they want a lot of things. They hold local writers to international standards. The Business Times said how come I am still not as good as Kazuo Ishiguro. See? I have to catch up.

Did you approach BBC Radio 4 to adapt Alex y Robert into a 10-episode series or was it an initiative on their part?

It was their initiative.  A young American woman matador in Spain? It’s an irresistible premise!

Since you tweeted Michelle Rodriguez the Hollywood actress about the possibility of her starring as Alex, any plans to actually make this book into a movie?

I wrote this book as a movie.  I’d like to co-direct it with a Spanish film director, someone cutting-edge and my generation, like Alejandro Amenabar (The Others, The Sea Inside).  Magic happens when you let the creator co-direct, like Frank Miller and Roberto Rodriguez’s Sin City. It’s only when you cut out the creator that you get crap movies, like League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.  We have enough of those already; I don’t want to add to the pile. (moon: Wah! Can I have a cameo? =x )

For more information on Wena and her books, head on over to her website at WenaPoon.Com. You can also check out the GORGEOUS photos she took while in Spain plus download the “unofficial iTunes movie soundtrack” for Alex y Robert or buy the book and enjoy free shipping to Singapore!

moon

Interview: The crew behind Bubble G.U.M speaks

Thanks for agreeing to doing the interview for AMWC. Wow, it’s been only a year and you guys are out with your second book already! How did you guys do it?

Rosemary: The novel idea came before the short stories idea but as it turned out the novel was a lot more work because of the collaboratively element so it took longer to do. In effect it was 18 months rather than the initial six months we’d anticipated but it was definitely worth taking the time to do it well.

Sarah Coldheart: With a lot of time. Technically the book was written when Happiness at the End of the World was being done too. We just spent more time on refining the storyline and ending. The time most used for Bubble G.U.M was for fixing up the ending. Everything else was relatively “easy” once we went past that hurdle.

Raven Silvers: With a lot of prodding from our editor, hah. We actually started on Bubble GUM first, but with editing and everything, Happiness at the End of the World came out first because it was easier to edit, proofread and critique. After that we kind of lost steam, but our editor prodded us along and eventually we finished Bubble GUM properly.

Lina: A lot of effort and time. The writing process didn’t take that long actually but the editing part, that took the longest but in the end, it’s how much we wanted it to get done that pushed us to complete it.

Joelyn Alexandra: What Sarah said and loads of willpower. Just kidding. I think the synergy between the six of us works fantastically not only because we’re all genre writers but also because we work with a mindset that this should be stuff that local writers produce as well. So it’s not only just time management and what not, it’s also about a similar destination.

Notkieran (Yuen Xiang Hao): The net helped a lot. With one of us defining what was needed and wanted, it was easy for us to supply the parts needed to build a novel (although I think it would have ended up rather patchwork without some heroic editing work)

Happiness at the End of the World was a collaboration of short stories written by you guys, how does it feel to have a 6-people collaboration for a full-length story this time round? What was the process like? Is it more difficult to write as a group than as an individual writer?

Rosemary: It’s much more difficult to write as a group. Individual stories were easy to edit because each person was identified as the author of their own story. A collaborative work such as Bubble G.U.M. has six styles of writing, six different ideas of what should happen next and so on. Really it turned out to be a better novel because of that since characters developed strong personalities because of the input from so many people. The most difficult part, though, was keeping the three narrative voices distinct and consistent. The novel is told from the point of view of three characters and sometimes this slipped and had to be ironed out, re-written in places and sadly, in some instances, completely deleted. Overall, though, it came down to me as editor bringing it all together with a big red pen.

Sarah Coldheart: It was more interesting to me since it started out as a round robin and then it got refined into a draft by our editor and contributor Rosemary. I don’t know if it was more difficult but I know that with the 6 of us writing it, we had our own specialties such as romance, drama, weaponry etc. When combined, it turned out like a well read story… After edits of course.

Raven Silvers: It was a really a side project at first, but it grew into something really big. I’d say on hindsight, it was harder than the individual short stories because we all had to agree on plot points, characters, settings and stuff like that. But our editor and fellow writer Rosemary had the unenviable job of beating it into shape, in terms of style and punctuation since we all have very distinct styles.

Lina: I must say that it wasn’t easy but it was mightily fun. All six of us have different writing styles and with our own ideas on how the story should go. It started out being a round robin but after a few chapters, we just divvied out the different parts to each of us and we wrote what we’re good at; drama, romance, naughty bits and especially the fight sequences. After that, it was just editing everything into a smooth story line.

Joelyn Alexandra: Many people tell me that it’s not easy because of the different styles and the need to standardise the styles and make sure that everyone knows what’s going on. But many people also don’t realise that this is not a magazine or a reporting medium. It is a novel. And while everything needs to be standardised and stuff, everyone in the team knows the style of each other so that we can write accordingly while not compromising on our own style and still going with the story.

So what was the inspiration for this book? National Service for females seems…well…a little daunting in my opinion. =x Why that particular theme for Bubble G.U.M?

Rosemary: The inspiration was the idea that eventually a huge bubble will be built over Singapore so that the whole country can be air-conditioned. Next came bikinis. Bikinis were very high on the list of must-haves in the novel. After that the ideas just came out thick and fast (we’d had a lot of coffee by that stage) and then it just took on a life of its own.

Sarah Coldheart: Heh, the future was the inspiration and we figured why not? Everyone needs to do something to contribute to Singapore and we wondered how it would be like.

Raven Silvers: The NS inspiration came from an idea. I mean, you always hear guys complain that girls have it easy because we don’t spend two years doing NS. We wanted a strong female character who was more like us – funny, smart, and who could stand on her own feet when it came down to it. And what better way than to throw her into strange, stressful situations than NS?

Lina: With the climate change happening, we thought, why not do it and see how the world would be like if the worst did happen. Why not have females doing NS? I’m thinking that the ladies of the future would be stronger and hardier than we are now, especially if the world as we know it is gone.

Joelyn Alexandra: Also, it went along with Happiness at the End of the World, which was thought off at the same time as well. And also, I feel that the HSWG, being made up of so many girls with strong characters, had some kind of a “strong female character” influence on the story as well. Of course, our guy gives us a lot of useful pointers with regards to the NS area, without actually downplaying the female characters, which is highly commendable.

Notkieran: National service is a convenient setting for a novel about coming of age; traditionally this has only been reserved for boys in Singapore, so why not the ladies? It seems to work for the Israelis.

Being writers, have you ever been tempted to pretend you were one of the characters in the story you’ve created? Did that happen for Bubble G.U.M? If so, which character would you say is most modeled on yourself? If not, which character would you say is most like you?

Rosemary: Oh yes! I’m often in bits of my characters, although not all me is there and not of them is me. But I did put in a real Mary Sue moment in the novel and told the rest of the writers that this was an “I wish” moment. I’ll let you see if you can spot it for yourself!

Sarah Coldheart: I started the intro of Bubble G.U.M since we did the round robin thing as one of the earliest drafts so I wrote the intro of Prix. So I wrote her with a bit of me in it but as I wrote more of the other characters, there was one particular lady called Slider that I started to like more. She was actually unnamed the first time round although I wrote her rather descriptively. You’ll really see what I meant by descriptively in the first few chapters so if I were to pretend to be one of the characters, I’d like Slider. Or Prix. Either of the two.

Raven Silvers: Grandpa. HAHAHAHA. I guess because I wrote a lot of Prix’s grandfather’s lines, so the way he talks and thinks is pretty much modeled on me when I can’t be bothered to speak proper English – and, if you think about it, I would probably be around Grandpa’s age in 2045, so it makes sense that he’d talk and feel like my generation. Plus, I’m always scolding people like he does 😀

Lina: Personally, I think that each character that we write has a part of us in it. As for G.U.M., I didn’t come up with Slider but I think she’s a lot like me since we both date younger men. hur hur hur 😉

Joelyn Alexandra: I juggle between Prix and Holly. I think many of us may identify with Prix and Slider because we either keep talking about them and stuff. Holly is because I’m the eldest in the family and I’ve always wanted an elder brother who is somewhat (note, somewhat) like Jax. Oh and the fact that I like the whole “still water runs deep” thing though I utterly fail at that.

Notkieran: While we’re on the subject of Slider, I want to put it on the record that I was the one who created her name. She then ran away and somehow merged with another character and when I saw her next, she’d grown quite a bit, in every sense of the word. I imagine that’s how it feels to be an absentee parent. Seriously: No, I don’t imagine that I am one of the characters. I do believe, however, that there is a bit of me in every one of the supporting characters you meet in the NS parts of the story, especially the older ones. But probably not Slider.

You guys are like SO active in the writing scene! Where do you get your energy from?

Rosemary: I think the energy for writing is always there. It’s getting the energy to do all the other stuff that is the problem.

Sarah Coldheart: We just do it. There are few others that are “loud” about being active even though they do write! We just want to get loud and known so that others will know that writing genre fiction is ok and that we’ll eventually make it a regular staple in the local fiction instead of what serious or horror fiction you see there. Plus, we have enough imagination to write our stories.

Raven Silvers: Each other, I think. Alone, there’s no way we’d be able to do what we do regularly, but put us together and suddenly we’re like batteries in a torchlight. And probably a certain sense of indignation that there isn’t stuff that we like, written by local authors – or if there is whatever genre stuff written by local authors, it’s depressing. And we do not like depressing.

Lina: Caffeine. Lots and lots of caffeine. Actually, that’s only partial true. We want to see the local writing scene be more diverse and so we want, no, needed to do something about it.

Joelyn Alexandra: It’s my comfort blanket, honestly. I always tell people that I already have the perfect career only that it may not exactly feed me as people will expect. I get a lot of energy and inspiration from almost anything and everything I do and see – the adventures with friends, stuff you see on the streets and dreams. And opening yourself to see that anything is possible (no matter how bizarre) works as well.

Notkieran: Sugar helps. An irresistible urge and habit to write helps more. What helps the most, though, is a base state of insanity.

Who would you say are your writing muses, mentors or inspiration?

Rosemary: Everyday life probably. But for the comic element in Bubble G.U.M. I’d just have to read Janet Evanovich or Terry Pratchett to get in the mood to write some of the funnier scenes.

Sarah Coldheart: Tamora Pierce, Terry Pratchett, Meg Cabot. They’re all pretty much different in styles but in the end, they entertain and the stories they write are fun. And S. Meyer. She is… a certain inspiration alright. Bwuahahahaha!

Raven Silvers: I’d say Terry Pratchett for his funny, Neil Gaiman for the way he can weave different mythologies into one coherent world, and Jim Butcher for his ability to write funny, believable characters who’re like the average guy, even if they have powers or whatever.

Lina: David and Leigh Eddings, Mercedes Lackey, James Mallory, Patricia Briggs, Kelley Armstrong, Nora Roberts. They write about strong yet flawed characters, plots that drag you in and leave you gasping for more and best of all, they’re entertaining. Their female characters are strong, independent and absolutely no damsels in distress, which is a big draw for me and inspires me to write about strong female characters too; characters that, hopefully, can be role models for others.

Joelyn Alexandra: I will sound absolutely cliche here but James Patterson, Stieg Larsson, Wena Poon, David Hosp and Eoin Colfer. All of whom have written Crime or Action fiction, which is what I’m inclined to. I also like Shoko Tendo, the person who wrote Yakuza Moon, while it is not fiction per se, her “biography” of some sorts did give me a good idea of how it’s in another person’s shoes and not falling asleep halfway like I usually do with other biographies. Looking to TRY and read Freud though. TRY.

Notkieran: Arturo Perez Reverte, Sergei Lukyanenko and Raymond Chandler. All of them are genre writers who have never surrendered the sense of beauty in their writing.

Complete this sentence: If I had just one day to live, I will…

Rosemary: … die the next day.

Raven Silvers: Go to Disneyland and drink bubble tea until I explode.

Lina: Spend the day with the loved ones and indulge in everything possible.

Joelyn Alexandra: Simulate the Millenium trilogy as Lisbeth Salander from start to finish. And I mean everything. HAHA.

Notkieran: Live it up with my loved ones. But first I need to check if my life insurance is still paid up.

Sarah Coldheart: Do non-PG things.

Thanks guys!!!

moon

Interview: Joyce Chng has finally made it!

I’m happy to announce that one of my writer friends, Joyce Chng, has FINALLY MADE IT! BY GETTING HER BOOK ACCEPTED BY A PUBLISHER! Ahem…of course, you may think it’s nothing to get excited about but hey, when you’re a writer, any form of positive recognition is more than welcome. =3

Here is the interview I did with her so enjoy!

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First of all, I’ll like to congratulate you on getting one of your books signed up with Lyrical Press! How did this miracle happen? =3

Thank you. How did the miracle happen? Well, I started looking for publishers in the beginning of the year and threw out query letters. I had a couple of rejections. Then Lyrical Press picked it up.

 

Tell us more about Wolf at the Door. What gave you the idea of werewolves roaming among humans in Singapore?

“Wolf at the Door” is an urban fantasy novel set in Singapore, revolving around the Lang (Chinese word for ‘wolf’). For a long time, I have been wondering about writing an urban fantasy story set in Singapore. I mean, we have urban fantasy tales set in other places like the US, the UK and Australia. Why not Singapore? Singapore is also urban and rich with legends and stories. So I wrote the novel as last year’s Nanowrimo project. It was quite an exciting (and frustrating) ride!

 

Why Singapore in particular? Why not another country or universe of your own making?

Why Singapore? As I have said, Singapore is urban and she is rich with many legends and stories. The immigrant races brought in their own cosmologies. Add them to the already existing cultures. I mean, we have ghost stories packed with local ghosts and spirits. Likewise, if you read about the local legends and myths, we have a lot to tap into.

 

You call yourself a mother wolf on your online profile, any reason why?

I see myself as a wolf. Metaphorically, that is. 😉

 

Do you have any tips on how to make queries to publishers?

I think, if you ask many writers, you will probably get a hundred answers regarding publishers. Publishers will have their submission guidelines listed clearly on their websites. FOLLOW THEM. They can be strict in that way. Also, try to find out what kind of stories the publishers are looking for. They will have submission calls. Please follow the dos and don’ts. Know your market. Know your genre. Be clear. Your synopsis has to be clear and concise. To tell you the truth, I am also learning all the time.

 

When will ‘Wolf at the Door” be out?

It will be out by 2011.

 

Can you tell us more about Lyrical Press?

Lyrical Press is a primarily digital/ebook publisher, although they publish print books (for novels that meet the length requirements) as well. Lyrical Press publishes erotica, but they are also open to science fiction and fantasy, urban fantasy and romance.

 

What was your first reaction when you received the good news from Lyrical Press?

I danced around the room!

 

Thanks, Joyce!

moon

DreamWalker – “A Child’s Dream” out now!!

Hiya guys…

if you’ve enjoyed the first volume of DreamWalker, here’s the second volume for your consumption pleasure~!

DreamWalker – “A Child’s Dream” out now!!

In the second series, Yume and Ken finally encounters their first tough opponent, Belle. Are they able to defeat her? Will they be able to put an end to the nightmare incident?

Get your copy of the comic at all leading bookstores. You can also purchase the book on ComixPandora.com and CelestialZone.com.

*With any online purchase, you are entitled ONE free character badge. There are five designs to choose from. Please indicate one alphabet badge you want and indicate your PO No. and email to tczstudio@pacific.net.sg.

Click here to view badge designs.
Click here to preview.

In other news, AMWC is mentioned in today’s edition of MY PAPER~!

Although there are a few *cough* errors, but hey, a little exposure is good for AMWC! Thanks Pamela!

PS: The online version is here.

moon

Interview: A Tweeterview with Happy Smiley and Friends

Sarahcoldheart & friends recently published an interesting book called Happiness at the end of the world. She sent me a free copy of the book in a neon blue package which stood out starkly from the rest of my mundane mail. Shall get around to reading it soon. But before that, just to let you guys know that for the first time, I’ll be conducting the interview via Tweeterview where questions and replies are limited to the creative use of 140 characters. So stay tuned for updates on the time and date of that interview. =D

Update: I know this is a little last minute but the above interview will be held tomorrow at 11am, Singapore time! See you then! My apologies. My internet was down for the ENTIRE MORNING and I only just managed to get online. Will do the interview after 2pm. Shall put the link here for your convenience! Sorry about it!

LIVE NOW. Done.

moon

Virtual Book Tour #18-The summoning of Clade Josso: The first descent into the Vein by J. Dean

CladecoverWhat is your story about?

This novel is the first of a series of novels (at least eight that I have planned). They encompass a central place callled the Meridian, a sort of “Bridge dimension” between Seven different Worlds. Many years ago, a terrible war broke out between two factions, which resulted in a cataclysmic disaster: The Meridian was sealed off, cutting the Seven Worlds off from each other.

Once a paradise of unity, the Meridian is now an inhospitable place, inhabited by deadly monsters and treacherous beings, subject to dark times until a Being from each world, bearing an Artifact (the only means to enter the Meridian alive) arrive in order to set things aright.

These Seven beings, once coming to the Meridian, must brave their way to the central region, and enter a place called The Vein.

Within this Vein lies a power called the Control, which will not only restore the connections between the Seven Worlds once again, but will also grant to one of the Bearers the ability to fulfill one desire.

Enter the first Bearer-Clade Josso, a young being from the world of Cyrco, who has entered the Meridian. His motivation for wanting the Control: to restore the broken home and family business owned by his parents, who have been devastated by the death of Clade’s sister. He must brave the perils of this alien place, aided by members of a mysterious Sect, in order to make his way to the Vein.

And after that, the real adventure begins.

Tell us a little about yourself as a writer.

I first became interested in writing when I was in the fifth grade. At the time, the movie RED DAWN was out in the theaters, and my buddies and I were putting out these two page stories about the Russians invading our schools, and us being forced to make a stand and drive them off (Yeah, pretty far-fetched, wasn’t it?).

When we hit junior high, the writing bug stayed with me, even though most of my friends seemed to have given it up by then. About my freshman year, my writing abilities received a real education; I had discovered Stephen King . After reading his works, I said to myself “I wanna write like that.” Not necessarily in a horror genre, but rather with the vivid description and character depth that King puts in his stories.

The next big influence on me was Ray Bradbury. Bradbury uses an economy of words and unusual phrasing for his descriptions. He does a fantastic job of avoiding cliches and typical words, instead coloring his writing with unique setups. Whenever people ask me about recommended authors, King and Bradbury are always at the top of my lists. You can’t go wrong with them.

Now, finally, at 35, I decided to try to make a real go at writing. After trying my hand at various short story and novel attempts, I finally completed the first book of the Vein series. Currently I’m dividing my time between the promotion of CLADE JOSSO, writing the second novel in the Vein series, and amassing a collection of short stories on the side.

Has it been difficult writing your book and self-publishing it?

Writing it? No. I’ve never had more fun in my life working. Writing is one of the most enjoyable jobs I’ve ever done. This is not to say it hasn’t had its hard days, but those days have been few and far between. What more fun could you have than putting your imagination to paper so that you can share it with everybody else?

The only part that’s been really difficult about the whole process has been attempting to get the book out there for people to see. That’s probably the biggest drawback. You have to work extra hard on getting your product out there, and do so aggressively-people aren’t going to flock to the website on their own. Add to this the fact that I’m not really the “salesman” type; marketing isn’t one of my strengths. That’s why I’m glad for sites like yours that help me out in that regard. (moon: hehe, thanks!)

Do you have any future plans for more books?

Oh yes. There will be at least seven more books for the Vein, not to mention the short stories I’m writing on the side. As long as the God-given imagination I have keeps churning ideas up, I’ll keep writing!

If you get the chance to write a book of a different genre, what type of genre would you choose?

That’s a hard one to answer, because I’m perfectly content for now to be in the scifi/fantasy genre. There’s so much room for imagination in scifi and fantasy that I’d be hard-pressed to write in another genre. I’ve learned that you have to be careful spreading yourself out too thin as a writer.

There’s a saying that goes like this, “You don’t become a master by doing a thousand things; you become a master by doing one thing a thousand times.” That’s true for writing. You need to get solid in one genre before you try to branch out into too many other genres. If you branch out before you’re established in one genre, it can be difficult to remain consistent.

Having said all of that, if we’re talking fiction, maybe I’d try my hand at a horror or crime drama story. At the same time, I wouldn’t necessarily rule out non-fiction either. I have a small booklet about making business meetings more economical for time and usage that I might get back to work on in the future. Right now, though, the fiction is just too much fun!

J. Dean’s book is available at Smashwords. Do hop on over to check his book out!

Want to be featured as an author/mangaka on the AMWC Virtual Book Tour? Check out our simple guidelines and we look forward to hearing from you! =3

Virtual Book Tour #17-The Bum Magnet by K.L. Brady

bumcoverHow did “The Bum Magnet” come about?

The story came to me in an epiphany as I was reading a self-help article about dieting. I laughed to myself because I thought, “How many of these dang articles have I read?” They give you 12 steps to follow, and the first I do in my mind is negotiate. “Well, I don’t have to walk two miles a day, maybe just two blocks” or “I can eat vegetables three times a day, but I’m going to eat them with fried chicken.” Yet, I still expect to lose 112 pounds.

So, I thought I’d write a story about a woman who attracts players. She knows it’s a pattern in her life that she needs to stop. She sees a self-help article about emotional baggage and toxic men, and one of the suggestions is a “man diet.” Just like a dieter that drives past the McDonald’s, stops for “one little Big Mac” and knows full well she should go home and eat a carrot stick, the main character Charisse stops for a big “something else.” That’s how her journey begins.

Tell us about your story.

Real estate agent Charisse Tyson seems to have it all-a great job, a dream car, and a McMansion in high-and-mightyville. Everything in her life is just right…except the Mister. While lamenting the break-up with her most recent “the one” during a holiday meltdown, Charisse realizes she has a type when it comes to men—players, players, and more players. A magazine article motivates her to swear off men and examine the complex roots of her romantic fiascos.

Just five simple steps to turn her life to the stuff of legends, right? Life is never that easy…

Charisse commences her do-it-yourself therapy project and barely cracks open her emotional toolbox when she encounters the monkey wrenches: an irresistible new beau, two persistent ex-flames, and an FBI agent with life-altering secrets threatening to turn her world upside-down.

A tug of war ensues and Charisse is dead center, trying her best to distinguish the Don Juans from the Romeos. As her love life is propelled into unpredictable twists not even she could imagine, will a twenty-seven-year-old secret keep Charisse from finding the right “one”?

Laugh loud and often as Charisse discovers whether her choices in men reflect more than a penchant for good looks, great sex, and bad judgment.

Was this your first book? Tell us a little about your journey as a writer. Has it been difficult?

Yes, this is my first novel. I had an Oprah “aha” moment one day last summer. I was coming up on my fortieth birthday, feeling like I’d reached some level of success in my life, but what I was doing didn’t really fulfill me. As I got to thinking about what I wanted to be when I grow up, it just hit me that I wasn’t living my best life. I’d always wanted to be a writer. I’d been writing in my diaries and journals since I was maybe seven or eight years old. I’d always let the fact that I didn’t have a degree in English or any fiction writing experience keep me from starting. I pushed those negative thoughts out of my head and decided to give it a try.

Has it been difficult?

It’s been more challenging than difficult. When you put yourself and your writing out there for all the world to see (and criticize), you have no choice except to grow. I’ve had to learn how to process criticism and accept rejection without allowing it to paralyze me. But I have also experienced the joy of making people laugh, entertaining and touching people through my work. There is nothing better than getting a note from someone who says they read and loved your novel, that it made them laugh until they cried. That’s like writer’s crack.

Is it tough writing a romance novel? If you had the option to do it all over again, would you have done another genre?

Well, it’s not exactly a romance. It’s funny women’s fiction with a romantic element, but the romance is not the core of the store. A woman’s journey for emotional growth is the driving factor, but there are certainly romantic elements in it. Many characterize it as chick lit, but the main character in The Bum Magnet is not your typical “chick lit” girl. She’s not a perky blonde and she doesn’t obssess over shoes and clothes, although she knows the value of a Marc Jacobs handbag. She is hilarious, however, which I think is the reason for the characterization. I love funny women’s fiction so I’m going to do it again and again.

Did you self-publish it yourself? Tell us a little about the process that led to the book’s realization.

Yes, I created my own imprint, LadyLit Press, and published it myself. I shopped it around to some agents for a while and, of course, I got rejection after rejection. But instead of letting it get me down, I took most negative comments and used them to fix my novel. By the time, I got to the version that I published, I was getting multiple requests to read the full manuscript.

If I had kept querying, I have no doubt that I’d have found someone to take me on, but I just decided that I didn’t want to give the publishing industry the power to determine my worth as a writer or the worth of my work. So, I stopped. I hired an illustrator to do my cover, a former acquisitions editor from Simon & Schuster to give it a final editorial review, and I put it out myself. It’s a lot of work because you have to become your own publishing house, from writing and editing to marketing and distribution. But it is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done and it never feels like work.

What, in your opinion, makes a good writer?

I think good writers just make you feel, you know? They transport you. They can make you laugh, make you angry, make you cry, make you want to change your life–they move you. It’s not an easy thing to move someone emotionally through writing, but when you can pull that off, through some element of truth, it’s very powerful.

K.L. Brady’s book is available at her website. Add one more self-publishing author to your shelf by reading her book. =3

Want to be featured as an author/mangaka on the AMWC Virtual Book Tour? Check out our simple guidelines and we look forward to hearing from you! =3

Virtual Book Tour #16-Celtic Evil: A Fitzgerald Brother Novel: Roarke by Sierra Rose

CelticEvilcovernewWhat made you decide to be a writer? Tell us a little about your journey to becoming a writer.

It seemed like I was always writing something or jotting something down since I was little. I’ve also always had a vivid imagination and liked to make up little stories in my head so I would jot them down.

It wasn’t really until middle school that I began writing seriously and then that was for extra credit in English. I was homebound with a school sent tutor due to illnesses and while I love to read and write, I’m horrid at English so the stories were taken as extra credit.

In high school, I decided I could actually do something more with my writing and started writing novels and have gone from there.

What is your book about?

The first in a five part paranormal series in which five brothers must each face their own personal challenge against a foe that seeks to destroy their very line.

Once a world famous young singing group, the Fitzgerald Brothers of Fitzgaren, Ireland believed they had it all.  Until an ancient witch took the lives of their parents and ended up separating them Now, it has been fifteen years and that evil has returned to finish the job since the long-time family prophecy has said it will only take one of the five brothers to fall in death or surrender to evil to make it fail.

Reuniting for the first time since their parents’ deaths, the brothers must get past the pain, their differences and years apart to begin stopping the threat.
Roarke Fitzgerald, the fourth born son, has been many things in his twenty-six years but mainly he has been running from his past since the fateful day he witnessed his parents’ murder.

Now, forced to return to the land of his birth to face his shame and pain to protect those he cares for from harm or all that he loves will end.  Can he do that or will his own demons destroy his chance for peace and love. Can he forget his past and the bitterness he left behind and reform a bond between his brothers that many, both within their family and without, have worked hard to shred?

It will take all his power and that if his brothers to take the first step in defeating the demon who sought his death so long ago and now will seek it again if he cannot face and overcome this first challenge.

Why did you choose to write a paranormal series?

Truth? It chose itself actually. When I first started this book, it was aimed to be more an action/romantic suspense type of thing since action has always been more my genre. Then, one night while plotting another scene it just took on a more paranormal aspect. So I changed the whole thing around and it became what it is now. I’ve learned early that a good plot or strong characters will rewrite themselves to be what they’re meant to be and I don’t argue with that.

If you had a choice, would you go for self-publishing or getting published by a reputable publisher?

Actually, the book is self-published with Createspace and Amazon. After I get the other four books written for the series, I still plan on trying the traditional publishing route but after looking around the various self-publishers that are out there, I decided for me at this time in my life that self-publishing or using Createspace was the right thing. Though, I admit e-books are much easier in some aspects.

What future plans do you have for your series?

To write it, lol. I’ve been told by some that doing a five book series is too large and it does at times seem like a huge undertaking. These characters though have a life of their own and deserve to have their stories told and hopefully…have a happy ending.

Sierra Rose’s book is available at Smashwords and Kindle. Do show your support by reading her book!

Want to be featured as an author/mangaka on the AMWC Virtual Book Tour? Check out our simple guidelines and we look forward to hearing from you! =3

Virtual Book Tour #15-Sage: Tales from a Magical Kingdom by Maria E. Schneider

twentyfivepercentgrannyWhy did you decide to write three novellas about the kingdom of Sage instead of one entire novel?

I originally started writing short stories to hone my writing skills. I hoped that getting a short story or two published would help my writing resume so that I might be able to sell one of my novels. Foolishly, I went about the task completely backwards. I wrote the first novella, “Toil, Trouble and Rot,” before studying the short story market.

When publishers say “Short story” they mean short. Most magazines want works of 5000 words or less. “Toil” checked it at nearly 10,000 words when I was finished!!! I had some paring back to do…

While a somewhat shortened version of “Toil” was on submission, I started writing another short story in the same world. I loved the main character–a fifty-five year old grandmother. Demetria was a very unlikely hero, but one that reminded me of real heroes in my own life. Yes, my grandmother was a gardener, and like Demetria in my story, she was magic to me, creating a beautiful world in which she had a magical way with plants. I worked on four stories in the Kingdom of Sage before I finally sold “Toil” to Coyote Magazine. The problem with all the stories was that they were getting longer–not shorter.

With few markets to submit to due to the unlikely hero and the length, I decided one day to clean them up a final time and turn three of them into a book: Sage: Tales from a Magical Kingdom.

Since publishing “Sage” I’ve had several people ask if I plan on writing a novel set there. Maybe that is where I should have started…

Tell us about your story.

Sword and Sorcery meets Agatha Christie. Three novellas introduce the Kingdom of Sage and those who protect its boundaries. Join Demetria and her husband Ward in their adventures as they protect Sage from evil: Rats, Snakes and perpetrators from within.

Sometimes it takes a more experienced hand to save an entire Kingdom.

The first of these stories, “Toil, Trouble and Rot,” was published in “Coyote Wild Magazine.” The other two are all new, original stories. “Toil, Trouble and Rot” finds the Kingdom of Sage under attack from a deadly and mysterious enemy. In “Dungeons and Decay” find out just how far a mother will go when her child is in danger–and how much magic it takes to keep him safe. In “Call to Arms” every hand is needed when a ghost invades the kingdom demanding old wrongs be righted.

What has your journey as a writer been like? Was there any time when you felt like giving up during the journey?

Oh goodness, I give up on writing on a regular basis! I didn’t at first–enthusiasm and ignorance carried me for at least five years. Then I began submitting to publishers and agents. The rejections were inevitable. I’m stubborn so I just continued to edit each work, resubmit and work on new ones.

After I obtained an agent and she shopped one of my manuscripts for a year…I finally did reach the point where I wanted to give up. At least…give up on the publishing aspect. I stopped writing anything except a short story here or there for probably six months. Truthfully, had Kindle not come along, I might still be there.

Where did you get the inspiration for your writings?

Inspiration is easy for me. I have more ideas than a garden has bugs. Discipline is what I want more of. I need to get my butt in the chair and write the words–and then edit the heck out of them to turn them into a story. The ideas I have always seem greater than the story I produce. I want to create the perfect work that “captures” the entire idea, but perfection is a mirage–always off in the distance, beckoning me closer, but escaping my grasp.

Self-publish or published by a reputable publisher? Why?

I’m self-published, mainly because there was only one or two markets for novellas. When the Kindle came along, I heard that Kindle readers were more open to self-published works. And Amazon was open to publishing my work. So I gave it a shot. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the results.

Do you have plans to develop your novellas in other mediums or otherwise?

I’ve had a few readers suggest that “Sage” needs to be developed into a full novel. I’ve also had a few people request it in paperback. At this point, I don’t have any concrete plans to create a novel…but. There is that fourth “Sage” story sitting on my hard drive. It was too long to make into a saleable short story.

It was getting more and more complex…so, never say never. As for creating a trade paperback, I have no plans to do so at this point. I’m not sure that I could sell enough copies at a fifteen dollar price tag to make it worth my while. One of the reasons I think “Sage” is doing so well is because it is an e-book. It’s inexpensive–and for an unknown author, I think that is working in my favor.

Maria’s book is available at Amazon, Smashwords.com (multiple formats), Barnes and Noble and will soon appear in the Sony store. Go check out her book now!

Want to be featured as an author/mangaka on the AMWC Virtual Book Tour? Check out our simple guidelines and we look forward to hearing from you! =3

What has your journey as a writer been like? Were there any time when you felt like giving up during the journey?