Wordsmiths – January 2018 – Bethany A. Jennings

Wordsmiths is a monthly post that interviews new and established authors, links to their media and published work, and best of all: excerpts!

January’s post is a little bit late because of the holidays (oh my gosh, can you believe we’re in 2018 already?!) Today I’m chatting to Bethany A. Jennings, author of the short stories, Threadbare and Dragon Lyric.

Let’s get started!

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Hi Bethany,

Thanks so much for agreeing to this interview!

To start with, paint me a picture of your favourite writing space. What’s in it, what colours do you surround yourself with, and what would you change about it?

My favourite writing spot is my living room couch, followed closely by my bed (pecking out something intense on my phone after midnight, usually!), and I haven’t customized either of those spaces for writing, so I’ll describe my third favorite place—my desk. It sits in the family dining room, where the walls are a warm cream color and covered with maps and my children’s abstract paintings. I have fantasy art by Julia Busko around and on the desk itself, a stack of books, a rock salt lamp, and a very messy basket full of paperwork and odds and ends. If I could change anything about it, I’d have that desk inside a quiet room with purple walls (and a comfy chair instead of a folding chair!), but for now I make it work with what I have. 

About You:

1. What is the first book that introduced you to the fantasy genre?

That’s hard to say because my mom read me SO many books growing up! It was my father, however, who introduced me to The Chronicles of Narnia, and read the whole series to me. While I doubt it was my very first foray into the fantasy genre, it was a memorable one! Another series that shaped my taste for fantasy early on was The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander.

2. Are you friends with other authors? How do they help you become a better writer?

I have several writer friends who are very close and dear to me. They inspire me with their ambition, broaden my taste with genres or book elements I might not normally read or consider, give me feedback on my writing, and cheer me on so I can push through discouragement and make progress.

3. If you could choose any language to write in, would you still choose English?

I don’t think I know enough about other languages to decide fairly! I probably would still write in English, though. 

4. What would you give up in order to become a better writer?

Spending money. Hahaha. In all seriousness, though, investing in an author coach has been one of the best things for my career! My coach (Janeen Ippolito) has revolutionized the way I see my writing, pursue it, and market it. Another important investment has been going to an annual writing conference.

5. You’re a Christian fantasy writer, a combination that is sometimes viewed as a contradiction of beliefs. How does Christianity impact your fantasy stories, and how do you personally reconcile magic with belief?

Ooh, that’s a meaty question! My faith in Christ is foundational to my life, and although it may not be visible in all my stories, the underlying worldview always flows from that. I often work deep symbols into my stories, using my fantasy worlds as a metaphor for reality, mostly because that’s how my brain works—I create fantasy so I can understand and process the real world from new angles. When it comes to magic, I’ve approached it from a few different directions: in some stories it’s just science we don’t understand yet, and in some it’s a supernatural gift. Often it is both.

6. What is your favourite punctuation mark, or the one you inadvertently find yourself using the most?

The em dash! My precioussss…

Gollum
Image by Gage Skidmore on Flickr

7. If you had to list story elements in order of importance to you as a writer; from most to least, where would you place the following: plot, character, setting, conflict, resolution?

Character, resolution, conflict, plot, setting.

About Threadbare:

8. Threadbare is the first short story you published. How did publishing it change your writing process?

There is a thematic depth to Threadbare which, after publishing it, forever “spoiled” me—it made me realize I craved that depth, and I couldn’t honestly share a story with the world unless I knew there was a meaning and a purpose behind it, as I knew I had with Threadbare. So now a major part of my writing process is understanding the WHY behind a story, the reasons I’m writing it, and the purpose I have in sharing it with others. I value stories that are meant as pure entertainment, for sure, but as an author I feel compelled to ensure there is a piece of sincere truth from my heart in everything I publish.

9. The story is clearly part of a much bigger world. It opens with Bess fighting a battle with magic, but very quickly it’s revealed that she’s one of a few who use magic in a world similar to ours. Do you have plans to write more stories, or even a novel, based in this world?

Yes, I do hope to write more stories! I would love to write a series of them, each focusing on a specific member of Bess’s team, but the thought of writing a full-length novel has occurred to me too.

10. Threadbare is a lovely story of courage and hope. What inspired the idea of magic seen as threads?

Threadbare was born from a long personal struggle I endured with a “gift” of my own. I had to set aside a major project for a time (I didn’t know for how long, at the time), which was brutal. Doing so made me realize that the project and my goals for it had become unhealthily integral to my identity—without them, I didn’t even know who I was. While working through the pain of that struggle, unraveling layers and layers of faulty thought processes and loss and grief, I began to think of my trouble as “tangles” entrapping me. Every time I unraveled one tangle, it seemed, I’d find a worse one beneath. One day I had the thought, “What if there was a character who had literal tangles entrapping her?” And so Threadbare was born. Writing it was very cathartic, and became a part of my healing.

11. The cover for Threadbare is gorgeous. Who designed it, did you have any input on the creative process and how much of the design matches your original vision for it?

It matches my original vision almost perfectly! I made some mock-up covers of my own to serve as a rough idea, and then hired LoriAnn Weldon of Magpie Designs, Ltd. She took my ideas and recreated them as the beautiful cover Threadbare has now! I especially love what she did with the title text. 

 About Dragon Lyric:

12. Dragon Lyric was quite possibly one of the most unique short stories about dragons that I’ve ever read. What inspired it, and how long did it take you to write?

I actually typed up the first few pages one late night in 2014, and I was so disturbed by the darkness of the story that I tucked it into a folder in my computer, unfinished, and left it there for several years. In 2017, I was older and more prepared to handle the material, and showed it to some friends—who begged me to finish it. So it actually took me several years to complete. But the actual work of writing it only took a few days or weeks, combined; it’s just that the writing sessions were very far apart! As to what inspired it initially…I’m not actually sure! It was one of those “flash of lightning” inspirations. My running theory is that I felt “devoured” by my responsibilities at the time (I had just found out I was pregnant with my fourth child) and my subconscious created a cruel dragon out of the overwhelm I was feeling.

13. Like Threadbare, this story seems destined for more. Do you plan to write more about Theryn and her world?

This should probably be a secret, but…yes. 😉 I have actually already written a partial draft of a sequel! We shall see if it ever sees the light of day…

Excited

14. What did you edit out of this book?

Not much! It was very tightly written. However, I did rework the ending several times to hit all the emotional notes that I wanted.

15. Theryn is not a typical heroine of a romantic fantasy. Nor is Roth the typical hero. Reading the blurb, it seems the story may be destined for a happily ever after, but the ending was quite delightfully unexpected. Without giving too much away, why did you choose to go that route? Were you just trying to avoid clichés or is there a message you hope readers will take away from it?

I definitely hoped for readers to take away a message, or at least for the story to spark thought. Speaking as a Christian, I know that in the church there is often pressure for an abused wife to stay with her husband—despite the danger to her physical, mental, and spiritual health—and that grieves me. There are some situations where I believe taking Theryn’s course of action is necessary, and I wanted to show that in how I ended the story.

About Your Future:

16. What does literary success look like to you?

Being agented, with my novels published through a major publishing house and (let me dream big here!) developing fandoms of their own. J I would also like to continue self-publishing shorter works—so ultimately I’d like to be a hybrid author. But traditional publishing has always been my goal and will probably continue to be my “barometer” of success unless something drastic changes.

17. Do you think that as your readership grows, you may fall into the trap of changing your stories to give people what they want, or do you plan to avoid that?

I don’t think I would fall into that trap easily, because I have very strong feelings about what I feel called to write and pretty good self-awareness about what works for me. So I plan to avoid that!

18. If you could have a discussion with your future self, what would you remind her of that you think you’ll want to be important to you for your whole life?

You write for Christ your King—seek Him first, trust Him with your journey, and remember that being close with Him is a greater joy than any earthly success can give you.

19. If a significant person in your life were to give you one piece of advice about your plans for the future, who would it be, and what would you want to hear from them?

I would love to hear from any number of successful authors how they pursued their vision for a project through the difficulty of making it marketable and appealing to a broad swath of readers. And how to keep a balanced perspective on their own craft and calling.

20. Social media plays a big role in modern society. I know you have your own Facebook group, and you’re on Twitter. What would you most like to see developing from the platforms you use in the near future?

I would love to see my Twitter platform gain more prospective readers and continue to encourage authors through my hashtag game, #WIPjoy. And I would love to see my author Facebook group grow, and for members to be bold and share their thoughts about my books (or just their lives!) in it. I’d love for it to be a space of mutual enjoyment and nerdy fun.

Big Bang Theory

Excerpt from Threadbare

A long sleep does nothing to help my magic. I wake, still exhausted, with a knot in my middle that rivals the one I saw in my hands the night before. The tiny windows of the safe house bedroom cast sunlight down on the concrete floor. The door is closed. It’s quiet— an oppressive kind of silence that beats on my ears, reminding me how alone I am. I sit on the edge of my bed, stiff and sore, wondering if the others have gone to the store or chased down another Drifter, leaving me here alone.

Useless.

Magic drifts around me, faint but appealing— a sensation that feels more like a taunt than an invitation right now. Its faint pressure tugs at me, prickling on my skin, begging me to interact with it.

Fighting the ache in my bones, I reach out and catch a wave. The mass reappears in my hands.

Trembling and gritting my teeth, I try again and again to disentangle it, but I can free only one tiny, glittering strand. I bury my face in the tingling threads, crushing them in my hands, and cry until my heart feels like it will tear in two.

I’m trapped. I can’t manipulate the waves anymore. I can’t continue my training. I couldn’t withstand the current, couldn’t hold my own threads steady.

I’m worthless.

The rattle of the doorknob and the creak of hinges are dim details on the edge of my awareness. Then Marshall sinks onto the squeaky mattress beside me, wrapping a wiry arm around my shoulders.

I turn and weep into the soft folds of my mentor’s flannel shirt, taking in the scent of pine dryer sheets and Cajun seasoning.

“I’m so sorry! I’ve put the whole team in danger. I’m no good for you all. I shouldn’t have tried to train with you. Why did I think I was ready for battle?”

He rubs gentle circles on my back until my agony fades to desolate sniffles on his sleeve.

“It’s a great loss, Bess,” he murmurs finally, “and there’s no shame in being sad about it.”

I smudge away my tears. “No, I’ll untangle it. I’m sure I can.”

“It’s pretty bad.” He’s quiet for a long moment. “I know this isn’t what you want to hear, but I’ve never heard of such a severe tangle unraveling.”

He falls silent, leaving me to piece it all together.

Everything in me fights back against the suggestion he’s planting. “I won’t let you cut my threads.”

He lets out a quiet sigh. “But either way, you’ll be free.”

“Free to do what? To be helpless and useless?” I push away from him, my throat constricting. “You leveled up to a blade when your threads were severed, but most people revert to Threadbare and their magic never comes back.”

“And they’ve gone on to live quiet, normal lives away from this conflict.” His voice is measured, cautious.

I picture living as a Threadbare: plugging away at a meaningless job, blind to the magical forces eroding my confidence and motivation, surrounded by others who are sapped of their strength and peace by enemies no one can see.

I tremble. “I don’t want that! I’m not a super magic warrior with extra special powers, like you are. This is all I have.” My voice breaks. “I have to untangle it.”

“Bess…” He tries to lay a hand on my arm, but I edge away. “I didn’t have special powers either. When my threads were severed, no one could’ve predicted I’d advance to a blade instead of losing my magic.”

“Like I said, you’re you.” I slide back against the wall and pull my knees up under my chin, fresh tears rolling down my face. “I’m nobody. I never belonged here to begin with. I’m nowhere near as gifted as the rest of you.”

Hardened ferocity comes into his face, and he stands, shaking a single finger at me. “Whatever you do, kid, I don’t ever want to hear you say you don’t belong here. I wanted to train you. You’ve apologized to me again and again for failing, but all I see is a girl who always gets back up.” He rests a hand on my shoulder for the briefest moment, then walks out, shutting the door behind him.

I sit on the bed, huddled against the wall, until the shadows lengthen and the sinking red sunbeams pierce my eyes. Anna raps on the door and calls me to dinner, but I ignore her. Over and over, I draw out my hideous mass of strands and tug and pull at the endless loops.

By the time darkness fills the room, the glowing ball has threads trailing out of it in all directions. It’s an improvement. At least it’s something. I picture Marshall summoning his blade and slicing my tender strands apart, and anxiety grips me. No; I will fix this, even if it takes years.

***

Threadbare is on sale on Amazon now!

Bethany’s short story, Dragon Lyric, can be found here.

Thanks so much for taking the time to spend with us today, and we look forward to what’s still to come!

Author pic

Bethany A. Jennings is a science-fiction and fantasy author, a sandwich aficionado, and a chronic night owl. She is endlessly passionate about the power of speculative fiction to shape hearts and cultures and unveil hidden realities. Though worlds and stories are always dancing in her head, she is often found wrangling her younglings, running Twitter events, editing, and doing graphic design. Born in SoCal, Bethany now lives in southern New Hampshire with her husband, four kids, zero pets, and a large and growing collection of imaginary friends.

You can connect to her on her Facebook page, follow her on Twitter or Instagram, or reach her on her website

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If you are a wordsmith (whether you’ve been published, self-published, or are in the process of publishing), and you’d like to be featured on our blog, please let me know in the comments, or by sending an email to chasingdreamspublishing(at)gmail(dot)com

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Wordsmiths – December 2017 – John Cordial

I’m so excited because today I’m introducing a new feature – Wordsmiths– a monthly post that interviews new and established authors, links to their media and published work, and best of all: excerpts!

Today, we get to chat to John Cordial, author of the Glass Fate series, which you may have heard me raving about here. He also gives an excerpt from Tybalt Perdition, which you don’t want to miss!

So let’s jump straight in!

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Hi John,

Thanks so much for agreeing to this interview!

I’d like to start with a little something different today. If you had to give readers a photo of everything important in your life at this moment, what would be in the shot?

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Hello! My laptop and cat, right now. I’ve got a tablet and phone too, but that’s about it. I live spartan.

About You:

  1. What is the first book that made you cry?

The first I remember was the Fires of Merlin by T.A. Barron. No spoilers or anything, but not everyone makes it to the end. Also just a few weeks later, I read Sandman: The Kindly Ones and that hit pretty hard. I’m sure books before this made me cry, I’m… easy with my emotions, but those are the ones that really wrecked me for days.

  1. Are you friends with other authors? How do they help you become a better writer?

Oh yes, quite a few on Twitter. I’ve learned so much from them, through conversations, beta-reading, blog posts, and just random support when I needed it pretty badly.

  1. Tell me about the first time you realised that language has power?

I don’t remember exactly when, I was young and reading the Boxcar children series and was just totally enthralled. Five or six, I think, it was the first series I really liked. Took me a few years to realize the full scope of my linguistic love liaison, though.

  1. What would you give up in order to become a better writer?

Uhm, quite a bit. I’m pretty much dead set on being the best and everything else will have to hold a bit.

  1. How did your childhood (or misspent youth) prepare you for being a writer?

I read a lot. Not much else I did, besides playing with action figures and stuff. Everyone else just liked to play war or whatever, but I built some pretty complex story-lines. Spiderman betraying GI Joe and all that jazz. Why yes, I was a weird kid, why do you ask?

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  1. What is your favourite punctuation mark, or the one you inadvertently find yourself using the most?

Ellipses. My characters love them in dialogue, and they sound natural, people pause for just a second or two and trail off for the right sentence or word a lot. I edit them out a lot of the time.

  1. If you had to list story elements in order of importance to you as a writer; from most to least, where would you place the following: plot, character, setting, conflict, resolution?

Character, conflict, plot, resolution, and setting. Character’s drive the story, conflict keeps readers invested, but the plot does have to be decent, people like good resolution, and setting is there. I don’t do much with setting or description, just what I need to… probably a little less, really, but I hope my wit and characters make up for that.

About Crane. Wife: A Cyberpunk Tale:

  1. Crane.Wife is the first novella you published. How did publishing it change your writing process?

Hmm, so far that’s a little hard to say. Not so much, besides I’m getting more comfortable as an author… I still smile pretty hard when I think about being an author now. We’ll see as I edit a full project, I guess. That’s where the real magic weaves into my stories.

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  1. The story opens with Kadence; an injured soldier, dealing drugs to make a few extra bucks, but it quickly becomes clear that he’s not a bad guy. What is it about this situation that reflects in your own life experience?

Nothing really all that personal, the scene is more about situations. Kadence is on the edge of broke and physically broken, but he wants to give his wife the world. The pills they give him are worth real money and they give him a lot, which is partially social commentary too. We have a similar issues today, I was just displaying some reality…

People do what it takes, especially if they’re out of options. Even good people. It’s the symptom of a depressed society and if pills are free and can feed your family, the pill trade will boom. Especially with them pushing excessive pills on people just to keep them quiet, which is rarer, but alluded to in the story too.

  1. The novella is full of emotional ups and downs. What was the hardest scene for you to write?

Spoilers, but I was wrecked for days afterward. Still have trouble rereading it.

  1. The names you used for the characters are quite unusual. How did you select them, and do they have any special significance to you?

Again, spoilers, but a few of them do add something to the story. I can say Amias and Opie are both male names for lady characters, I like to do that. Also Kadence is more a lady’s name and just pretty. I like pretty names.

 About Tybalt Perdition:

  1. This novella is Book 0 in the Glass Fate I would almost say it’s set up as the prologue of what’s to come in the rest of the series. Why did you decide to publish it first?

Because it is a prologue. Stuff you learn in chapter one affects the last book and jazz like that. I might not be a planner, but I got a trick or two in store.

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  1. Do you want each book to stand on its own, regardless of which one a reader picks up; or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

Glass Fate won’t really stand alone, especially in later books. Sorry, you’ll just have to start at the beginning, friends. My cyberpunk stories will. Clearly you should read them all though and everything I write.

  1. What did you edit out of this book?

A snack scene, Caldyr takes a package of Fig Halleys to bed with her for some quality brooding before bed. Also some jokes about chili dogs and a much longer opening that includes Caldyr going to war against some people. (That last bit is coming later.)

  1. The Glass Fate series carries a lot of mythology in it. Where did you go for your research, and will you share an interesting fact that you left out of the books with us?

All over. Most of it is just from reading when I was younger. Some is online research. Just read a lot and make your own judgement calls for how deep you want to go. I’d recommend at least two or three sources though, if the original isn’t available/in dead language.

Tyr! He’s my favorite god and he led the Aesir, the Norse gods, before he lost a hand to his own pet Fenrir. Shows up later, but in the original idea he had Safkhet’s place. He’s the bee’s knees.

About Your Future:

  1. What does literary success look like to you?

When they start paying me in gold bars instead of cash… do they do that? No, lol. Uhm, I seriously think just for me it’s having money to go where I want and to be respected for my writing. I want to travel and write more, so that’s success to me.

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  1. Do you think that as your readership grows, you may fall into the trap of changing your story to give people what they want, or do you plan to avoid that?

No, I’m pretty independent and I make my own choices, part of the reason for my indie-ness. Also I’m a weirdo and not all that into the whole traditional scene. People will get what I give them and it’s probably going to have candy, strong ladies, and crime. No other promises.

  1. If you could have a discussion with your future self, what would you remind him of that you think you’ll want to be important to you for your whole life?

I tweeted when I got five followers. That. I’m not famous yet, by a long shot, but I always want to remember where I started and the hands that pulled me up from nothing.

  1. If a significant person in your life were to give you one piece of advice about your plans for the future, what would you want to hear from them?

Can I ask for a review? Just if I did good on the stories, nothing really specific I’d ask her.

  1. Social media plays a big role in modern society. What would you most like to see developing from the platforms you use in the near future?

Smell-o-tweet? Nah, trolling on that would be… horrific. Jesus H. Crackers, that’d be terrible. Uhm, can I take a mulligan? I don’t know what I’d like to see really…

Oops, nope, edit button on Twitter. I’m a terrible typist.

Excerpt from Tybalt PerditionGlass Fate Book 0

The Court Clerk, Athena today, sat behind a counter.  Safkhet, an Egyptian goddess and an old war buddy, leaned against a pillar nearby.  Both wore sunglasses, to protect against the odd glare from a jewel or shiny bit of metal.
Judging by the bored faces the goddesses were discussing their respective menfolk.
“Katana were just one weapon,” Athena snapped.
Or maybe not.
“Knights could absolutely take down samurai,” Safkhet insisted.  “They’re not even in the same weight class. Don’t be silly.”
Athena chuckled.  “Silly. Right. Coming from someone in leopard print shoes, that’s cute. But, seriously, samurai had the advantage with speed and skill with the bow. Armor don’t mean much to a sharpshooter.”
“Afternoon, ladies,” Reynardine interrupted.
“Not interested,” they said in unison, barely glancing his way.
“That is low. Have I ever ever hit on both of you at the same time? In this courthouse? On a Tuesday?”
“We’d have to check the records, General.”  Athena smiled wearily.  “But yes, a few times. You here to pay your weekly fines?”
“Fair enough then. And no, I avoided any rule breaking or tomfoolery since last week. I’m a walking no fun zone.”
“Avoided getting caught, at least.”  Safkhet pushed him and the touch lingered a second longer than either cared for.
‘Specially today.  Reynardine shook his head and smiled at Athena.
“Did you need something else, General?” Athena asked.  She called her laptop from thin air and started it up.
“You ladies got everything I could ever need,” Reynardine said and tossed out a trademark wink hidden by the heavy protective eyewear.  “But, yeah, I do. I’m quitting and I need some forms, I think. Probably a tax or some kind of fee, eh? Governments always love their fees.”
A cricket couldn’t cut the all consuming silence.  Reynardine expected the planet exploding would’ve been like the brush of silk against velvet.
Without a word, Safkhet slapped him hard enough to launch his glasses into a far wall.  The world vibrated with agony.
Athena’s lips moved, but no sound cut through the pain. Safkhet responded sharply, and was gone in a puff of smoke.
Reynardine rubbed the stinging cheek.  Noise took it’s own sweet time returning to the shiny world.  “Wow, Sarsaparilla’s not happy with me.”
Athena shook her head and—probably—rolled her eyes behind the sunglasses.  “She hates that nickname and she really isn’t a fan of friends getting suicidal, either. You’re not the brightest fox.”
Reynardine didn’t consider himself a slouch, but he took the bait.  “How so?”
The goddess called his smashed glasses from the floor.  A hard click of power and she forced them backwards through time until they were whole once more.  “You do know you’ll be mortal right?”
“I was going for a Myth, again.”  Reynardine laughed.  “I’m something of a fan of not dying.”
Athena flinched and shook her head.  “What you wanted doesn’t matter. We don’t make you a Myth, we just pull out the god’s blood and drop you on Earth.”
Reynardine stepped back as if Athena got slap-happy too.  “Como se va?”
“We just take out the ichor, we can’t make you a Myth. Isengrim will kill you, if any of your other enemies aren’t quicker.”  She pushed the sunglasses into Reynardine’s limp hand.
He looked around, good eye scanning the world for a bit of hope to latch onto.  “But what do I do?”
“‘Do’? Nothing. Once you’re a mortal, we can’t help you. I don’t think anyone can. Even I can’t see a way out of your tangled ass web.”
“What if I pull a trick or something? Do a little tap dance? For old times sake?”
Athena’s focus fluttered to her paperwork, then her computer, and finally settled on the Fox himself.  “It’s gotta be legit, Reynardine. Not just for old times sake, you’ve really got to impress some people—gods would be best. If it really becomes a Myth, a proper story to tell, then one of us can give it life and gift you with Mythhood. Although I don’t know why you’d prefer that to godhood.”
The Fox didn’t feel like drowning the moment in details and Athena would never understand the appeal of a simpler life.  She just wasn’t built that way.  “I’m pretty certain that the other gods do not like me, very much, at all.”
“Reynardine, I’m one of your closest friends. You led well, better than well, you saved the cause. Me personally, twice. Almost everyone I know considers you a great general, you’re a really clever guy. But some days I’d shiv you myself, if I could get away with it. As a person, you’re… abrasive, at best.”
“No, I’m a fox,” Reynardine mumbled, eye lost in thought.  “Just a dumb fox.”
***

 

Tybalt Perdition is on sale on Amazon now!

 

John’s Cyberpunk novella, Crane.Wife can be found here.

 

Thanks so much for taking the time to spend with us today, and we look forward to what’s still to come!

Thanks for having me!

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John Cordial Profile Pic

John Cordial lives in California with a cranky cat. He writes dark, weird tales of all types. Follow him on Twitter, or connect with him on his blog.

 

If you are a wordsmith (whether you’ve been published, self-published, or are in the process of publishing), and you’d like to be featured on our blog, please let me know in the comments, or by sending an email to chasingdreamspublishing(at)gmail(dot)com

Jozi Flash 2017 – Meet the Authors – Kim Wainer

Today is the last day of the Author Q&As from the contributors of Jozi Flash 2017. The anthology will be available for free download from December – just in time for Christmas!

Today, last but certainly not least, we’re welcoming Kim Wainer to the anthology! (Don’t believe what she says about her Instagram – it’s pretty awesome.)

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What’s your favourite genre to write and why?

My favourite genre is fantasy, largely because there’s so much leeway. If you write in the real world, you have to follow the real world’s rules, but in fantasy you can decide on your own rules. There are also so many shades of fantasy, from ‘magical realism’ all the way to out-and-out orcs and dragons stuff. I can neither confirm nor deny that I also like it because it allows me to throw a dragon into the story whenever I get stuck.

Have you published anything else?

No. I’ve edited a recipe book that can be bought in actual shops – does that count?

How do you feel about social media and which platform is the one you use most?

Largely, it’s a waste of time, but if you use it right it can be valuable. I do a lot of work on social media as part of my job, so I’ve seen some of what it can do beyond reminding people of other people’s birthdays and enabling benign (mostly?) stalking. The only platform I use for my own personal purposes is Instagram, but don’t let that fool you into thinking I am somehow cool or, indeed, prone to taking selfies. I mostly use it for my attempts at interesting photographs and humble-bragging about the upper end of my baking adventures.

Which of your stories in Jozi Flash 2017 is your favourite?

Personal has one of my favourite lines in it. It’s difficult to pick a favourite, but I did enjoy writing For the Want of a Nail, just because it’s a bit silly.

Who or what inspires your writing?

Inspiration doesn’t have a fixed source for me. An idea can pounce on me at any time – usually when I don’t have anything on hand to write it down with. I find that the good ones tend to stick around in my brain anyway.

Are you taking part in NaNoWriMo and what are you working on?

Of course – and, naturally, I’ve no idea. I’m sure something will turn up before the first. It generally does.

Who is your least favourite book character and why?

Oh dear. Don’t get me started. Let’s just say anyone who always has a solution to any problem, especially if they’ve been lightly garnished with “flaws” that never actually seem to have any negative impact on their life.

Pet peeve as a reader?

Bad grammar and punctuation. Badly-applied commas set my teeth on edge.

Pet peeve as a writer?

When the right word is just on the tip of my tongue, and then it disappears, never to be seen again.

How do you feel about editing?

It’s daunting, but it also seems like something that would be quite satisfying to do. I just have to finish something (just!).

Connect with Kim on Instagram!

 

That’s it for our Author Q&As, but stay tuned, because we’ve arranged a few extra surprises for you while we’re waiting for the release of Jozi Flash 2017

Jozi Flash 2017 – Meet the Authors – Nicola Tapson

Every day for the next two days, I’ll be posting the Author Q&As from the contributors of Jozi Flash 2017. The anthology will be available for free download from December – just in time for Christmas!

Today, please join me in welcoming Nicola Tapson to the anthology! She has the cutest little logo and name for her company – the Inquisitive Hedgehog.

JoziFlashProfile pic

 
What’s your favourite genre to write and why?

My favorite genre to write is romance because I enjoy seeing where my characters go with the story.

Have you published anything else?

I have had a poem published in Reminiscence – a Southern African Poetry Collection – in 2009.

How do you feel about social media and which platform is the one you use most?
I love social media but it can be a time culler if you not careful. I use Instagram the most.

Which of your stories in Jozi Flash 2017 is your favourite?

My favorite story is my fantasy story about Tsohanaoi and Tayanita.

How do you feel about editing?
I think it is very important to ensure that your reader doesn’t get annoyed by typos or incorrectly used words.

Connect with Nicola on InstagramFacebook, or on her blog!

Jozi Flash 2017 – Meet the Authors – Nicolette Stephens

Every day for the next three days, I’ll be posting the Author Q&As from the contributors of Jozi Flash 2017. The anthology will be available for free download from December – just in time for Christmas!

Today, please join me in welcoming … well, myself! Hi, everyone! I’m Nicolette Stephens! 🙂

Me

What’s your favourite genre to write and why?

I love pushing my writing to the limits by playing with every genre. I keep coming back to fantasy, romance, and horror – the last with a bit of dismay as I’m not really an avid reader of the genre.

Have you published anything else?

I published stories in Jozi Flash 2016, but nothing since then.

How do you feel about social media and which platform is the one you use most?

I have a love/hate relationship with social media. Part of me loves the useful interactions with like-minded people. The rest of me is meh. I really enjoy Twitter lately, and I’m loving my blog.

Which of your stories in Jozi Flash 2017 is your favourite?

I love Bucket List. It’s a tragedy, which isn’t my favourite genre, but the bittersweet story stayed with me for a long time after writing it.

Who or what inspires your writing?

Lately I find myself inspired by people. How we interact with the world and each other, the dreams and hopes that we thrive on. The successes and failures of plans that don’t always work out as we’d anticipated. In short, I suppose life inspires me.

Are you taking part in NaNoWriMo and what are you working on?

Yes, I’m attempting plantsing this year. I’m returning to the first book in a fantasy series that I’ve been working on for the last seven years.

How do you feel about editing?

I love editing, particularly when it’s other writers’ stories. There’s a fine line between editing and rewriting, and sometimes I need to step back and ask whether I’m suggesting a change because of the way I would tell the story, or if it’s because I genuinely believe it would make the story better in some way. Depending on my reason, I will either scrap or keep the suggestion, but I always tell people that my edits are only suggestions, and it’s ultimately their choice whether or not to make the change.

Connect with me on TwitterFacebook, or right here, on my blog!

Jozi Flash 2017 – Meet the Authors – Liam Oliver Kai Selby

Every day for the next four days, I’ll be posting the Author Q&As from the contributors of Jozi Flash 2017. The anthology will be available for free download from December – just in time for Christmas!

Today, please join me in welcoming Liam Oliver Kai Selby, the man with many names!

Liam Selby

What’s your favourite genre to write and why?

Fantasy… fantasy by far! I have always been fascinated with the worlds that people can create, using only their imaginations. Through fantasy, I have been able to escape to whole new worlds, filled with new kinds of people and animals, and sometimes even plants. I love writing fantasy because I want people to see the worlds I can create and because I hope to give others the same chance I had to escape the hustle and bustle of the real world and see new worlds.

Have you published anything else?

No, I have not published anything before. Except if you count my school newspaper as a publication.

How do you feel about social media and which platform is the one you use most?

I have mixed views surrounding social media; it has its pros and cons. I mostly just use Twitter and Reddit as my go-to platforms.

Which of your stories in Jozi Flash 2017 is your favourite?

Ahhhhh… That’s a toughy. I would have to say my favourites are my sci-fi, fantasy and comedy stories. I can’t really choose between those, but I definitely had the most fun writing my comedy story!

Are you taking part in NaNoWriMo and what are you working on?

Yes, I am most definitely taking part in NaNoWriMo! Since I learned about it (about 2 years ago) I have tried to participate as much as I can. This year, I am working on a fantasy novel, which is currently titled The Mountaineer.

How do you feel about editing?

I really enjoy editing. Especially when I am editing someone else’s work – I am a freelance editor, after all.

 

Connect with Liam on TwitterFacebook, or on Instagram.

Jozi Flash 2017 – Meet the Authors – Nthato Morakabi

Every day for the next five days, I’ll be posting the Author Q&As from the contributors of Jozi Flash 2017. The anthology will be available for free download from December – just in time for Christmas!

Today, please join me in welcoming Nthato Morakabi, whose prolific writing is second only to his sense of humour!

Nthato Morakabi

 

What’s your favourite genre to write and why?

I’ve made my name as a horror writer. This is due to my entire youth spent reading R.L. Stine, Stephen King, Clive Barker and a host of other horror giants. So perhaps before I would have said horror immediately, but now I’m not so sure. I love the fantastical aspect of horror, which is also present in fantasy and sci-fi. Short answer, I don’t have a favourite genre, I have favourite genres.

Have you published anything else?

Yes. This is mostly thanks to my blog, where networking with another blogger got me in touch with a writer working on an anthology. This would become my first international platform where my horror short story The Taxi Driver would feature in Dark Tales. The following year we worked on Dead Tales and my short story The Salesman also featured.

How do you feel about social media and which platform is the one you use most?

Social media, like anything else in life, can be amazing but can also ruin people. Personally, it’s thanks to social media that I became a published author. I have met many amazing authors who I can now call friends even though we’ve never met face to face. I spend most of my time between my WordPress blog and Twitter.

Which of your stories in Jozi Flash 2017 is your favourite?

Haha, hard to say. I loved Colours of Freedom. I wrote it as a flowing melody that told a story of love and sacrifice with a touch of African history. Then again Neapolitans was hilarious to write and The Family Recipe was a tribute to my first published horror, which I also wrote in 2nd person.

Who or what inspires your writing?

Everything. Music. Movies. Anime. Books. Random conversations. A single sentence on a billboard. There’s inspiration everywhere, it’s just about how my mind interprets it.

Are you taking part in NaNoWriMo and what are you working on?

Oh yes, I am definitely taking part in NaNo. This year’s novel is a horror, which, surprisingly, is a genre I haven’t written for NaNo. Ever. The premise is based on regret, and the personal inner darkness we all have to deal with. Intermingled with a supernatural entity of course.

Who is your least favourite book character and why?

Gee, this one is tough. Wait, no it’s not. It’s the entire cast of The Desert Spear, the second book in Peter V. Brett’s Demon Cycle series. It’s like they became new people compared to the first one, and the choices they were making annoyed me.

Pet peeve as a reader?

Bland writing where the narrator/main characters sound like a robot. Just mechanically going through every day things that don’t really do much for the story. I don’t care how you put on trousers unless you explain you have eight legs and four of them are made of jello.

Pet peeve as a writer?

Editing. Nuff said.

How do you feel about editing?

Ha should have known haha. See the previous answer? Okay uhhh editing is a necessary evil and when you have 50 000 unedited words, with grammar issues that could topple a small country … well you can imagine how I feel.

Connect with Nthato on Twitter, on his blog, or on Facebook.