Holly Rae Garcia, Galaxy of Authors

Holly Rae Garcia, Galaxy of Authors

Holly Rae Garcia

‘Nolitete bastardes carborundorum’ (Don’t let the bastards grind you down) ~ Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

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In the beginning…tell me what made you decide to start writing?

I wanted to see if I could write a book. And I know that’s a terrible answer, because I’m not one of those writers who have been writing since they were old enough to hold a pen. I have been a voracious reader all of my life, so I have always appreciated and loved the written word. I figured, what better way to learn how to write a book…than actually writing a book? The learning curve was steep and at times almost impossible, but I finished it and proved to myself that I could do it. It was tons harder than I ever thought it would be. Along the way I also fell in love with writing short stories and flash fiction. The short form is a fantastic way to flex your writerly voice, and learn which genres you prefer to write in. I continue writing books because I’m addicted to them. I never dreamed I would have this much fun challenging myself.

Are there any authors or artists who influence(d) you?

I’ll be that clichéd author who says Stephen King, because that’s what was on my mother’s bookshelves. And he’s Stephen Freaking King… the man is a legend for good reason. That, and true crime about mothers who killed their children were usually on our coffee tables. I should have slept with one eye open. I’ve loved Poe for as long as I can remember, and of course my younger years were filled with Christopher Pike, RL Stein, and Mary Higgins Clark.

Tell me about your book / series.

A mother loses her grip with reality as she seeks revenge for her son’s death.

Rebecca Crow’s four-year-old son is dead, and her husband is missing.

Divers find her husband’s car at the bottom of a canal with their son’s small, lifeless body, inside. The police have no suspects and nothing to go on but a passing mention of a man driving a van. Guilt and grief cloud Rebecca’s thoughts as she stumbles towards her only mission: Revenge.

James Porter knows exactly what happened to them, but he’ll do anything to keep it a secret.

James didn’t plan to kill Rebecca’s son, but he’s not too broken up about it, either. There are more important things for him to worry about. He needs money, and his increasing appetite for murder is catching the eye of a local detective.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Unpublished: zero.

Outlined but not started: two.

Finished and currently with beta readers: one.

Surprisingly enough, I don’t have any that are half-finished.

What’s your opinion on the practice of ‘banning’ books?

This is a tricky one because my first instinct is to say that I think it’s ridiculous. But some books are filled with racism, hate, bigotry, misogyny, etc., and probably deserve to be shelved forever. The question I suppose is whether or not we can still learn from those books. As for banning due to stuffy parents wanting to control what their little darlings take in, I have one word: PornHub. Or is that two? Either way, kids these days have access to far more damaging media than a book.

Tell me about a principal character in your book(s). What makes them memorable?

James Porter is memorable because he’s the bad guy you can’t help but like. You wouldn’t want him to date your sister, but you would drink a beer with him if he was buying.

Indie, or traditionally published – and why?

I went the route of a small press (Close to the Bone/UK) because there are much higher royalty rates, and a much more personalized experience. They were also great to work with in letting me design my own cover.

It’s said that to write well, you need to read a lot. What do you think?

Absolutely. I feel it’s important to immerse yourself in your craft. I always find it odd when writers aren’t readers and/or “don’t have the time to read”, because why would you want to benefit from a culture you don’t partake of? I do have to watch what I read while first drafting, as style and voice tend to bleed over.

Tell me what you feel the worst, and the best, aspects of being an author are, and why.

The worst bit: It’s changed how I read novels and how I watch movies. My husband (also a writer) and I now discuss plot/character/etc. and why something is or isn’t working with other movies and books. It’s one of those bells that can’t be unrung.

The best bit: Having just written something and feeling like I’ve nailed what I was trying to do. I also love the subculture of writers, both Indie and traditionally published. They are incredibly supportive and encouraging.

Are you a plotter, or a pantser? What do you think of the opposite approach?

Plotter. I like to have a timeline and a chapter-by-chapter summary before I start drafting. Of course, it changes almost immediately as I write. I think writers should use whatever works best for them.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

I don’t think so, not consciously anyway. I did put the number 1418 in Come Join the Murder on purpose, since it’s my photography studio’s room number at work. I think I used it as someone’s address but now I can’t remember.

Tell me about one favourite hobby or pastime that isn’t writing or reading.

Photography is a big one, mostly macro stuff and food photography. I also like to watch cheesy B-Horror flicks with my husband (I’m looking at you, Zombeavers) and go to the beach.

What are you writing at the moment?

I’m co-writing a horror novella with my husband featuring Bigfoot, tentatively titled Easton Falls Massacre. It is currently with beta readers.

What’s your opinion on the belief that indie books are badly edited and lower quality than traditionally published?

I think Indie gets a bad rap by a few authors who want to skip the editing step, either because they can’t afford it or just don’t care. I’ve read a few poorly edited Indie books, but I’ve also read some fantastic ones. I think traditionally published books tend to all have the same “feel”, and Indies get to play around more and experiment with ideas and form. I like both.

What is your favourite genre to write, and why?

I’d say it’s a tie between psychological thriller and horror. I love psychological thrillers for that in-depth headspace you have to immerse yourself in, and it’s fun to play around with people’s emotions (that probably makes me sound like a sociopath). Horror is fun because it’s something I grew up with, and it feels very natural to me. It’s stepping to the edge of those intense emotions, but with a safety net that you can close at any time.

If you could, would you live in the world you’ve created? Why / why not?

For Come Join the Murder, I basically already live there. I made the town a hybrid of Galveston and Surfside, TX. I was born in this area, and still live here now.

If you could go back to the start of your writing career, what is the one piece of advice you’d give yourself?

Not everything you write needs to be (or should be) published. Some of it is for the exercise, or fun, or a contest, etc. I put too much pressure on myself at the beginning to get that “published” stamp.

Do you listen to music when you write, and if so, what do you like?

Oh, definitely. For Come Join the Murder it was a Van Morrison playlist on repeat. I pulled it up when I was trying to think of something Rebecca could listen to in the car while she was driving, and just kept listening. Morrison is very soothing. For the action scenes I did switch to atmospheric sounds (rain/crowds/highway/etc) to get in that space. For my current book, the Bigfoot horror novella, the playlist is a lot of Five Finger Death Punch, Alice in Chains, and Shinedown.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

That it is 1,000x harder than I thought it would be. I have so much more respect for the process now.

Tell me three unique things about you.

– I’ve moved 21 times in my 40 years of life (I don’t like to sit still).
– I once met and photographed the President of Argentina (Mauricio Macri).
– I have an Advanced Open Water Certification from PADI (Scuba Diving) but haven’t been diving in years. One day I’ll pick it back up.

Holly, thank you for participating in Galaxy of Authors!

Galaxy of Authors: Keyla Damaer

Galaxy of Authors: Keyla Damaer

Keyla Damaer

‘Farewell, wherever you fare.’ ~J.R.R. Tolkien

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In the beginning…tell me what made you decide to start writing?

I don’t have an answer to that. I’ve been writing since I could. Words can be magic if combined in the right way.
A few months back at my parents’ house, I found stories I wrote when I was a teen. They’re garbage, of course, but the desire to put down words has always been there. I could say that I write because I must and when I don’t, I feel sick. I write for myself stories that I would like to read.

Are there any authors or artists who influence(d) you?

Indeed. When I was a kid, I used to read sci-fi books in Italian. I don’t recall the authors or the books though. I suppose the first one to influence me was Marion Zimmer Bradley with her Darkover saga, for the science fiction part. Then, when I started reading in English, I discovered Asimov, Clarke, Adams, and others. Yet, don’t expect to read hard sci-fi. Too much technobabble bores me, and for this reason, I limit it as much as I can in my stories. Also, I’m not a scientist and I prefer to write something scientifically inaccurate.

Tell me about your book / series.

Some people say to never trust a spy.

The Parallels is the first installment of The Sehnsucht Series. The keyword here is Sehnsucht, a German word for “The inconsolable longing in the human heart for we know not what” to quote C.S. Lewis; a yearning for a far, familiar, non-earthly land one can identify as one’s home. It’s the longing for something or someone unattainable, Utopian, that possibly doesn’t exist. All my characters, mostly aliens, suffer from this ‘syndrome’ in a way or another.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Book two, three, and four of The Sehsnsucht Series are all in first draft stage. They all require heavy editing and a great deal of rewriting. Last year, I wrote some short stories that I intend to publish in an anthology introducing the readers to my world. Right now, my critique group is reading them and one by one I’m sending them to beta readers. It’s going to take a while before they’ll be out.

What’s your opinion on the practice of ‘banning’ books?

Books are a free-speech medium. They shouldn’t be banned even if they offend a group of people. Whether that group is big or small doesn’t matter. We live in a world that has become too sensitive. I’m not afraid to use words to tell stories. No one should. Besides, I come from a country where education is free for everyone. Mind that in this context, free means affordable for everyone. No one needs to get loans to have a college degree here. Culture should be available for everyone at a fair and affordable price.

Tell me about a principal character in your book(s). What makes them memorable?

Halazar is an alien female and a soldier. She has lived all her life in times of war and always fought for her people. She deeply believes in duty and justice and will have to choose between them.

Indie, or traditionally published – and why?

I’m independent. Mostly, because I write for myself, I write what I would like to read. I don’t want to be told what to write and how. I don’t want others to be responsible for the marketing choices for my stories. Just this month, I received two offers from two minor publishing houses without prompting them. I refused. I’m not saying I’d say no to a good deal. I’m just saying I don’t want to waste time waiting for it. If someone likes my work, it’s out there. They can reach out for me. In the meantime, I’ll be my own employer.

It’s said that to write well, you need to read a lot. What do you think?

Absolutely. How can anyone write without reading?

Tell me what you feel the worst, and the best, aspects of being an author are, and why.

The answer to this question changes in time. A couple of years ago it would have been different from now and in a couple of years, it may change again. Right now, my worst enemy is marketing. I’m still trying to figure it out.

Are you a plotter, or a pantser? What do you think of the opposite approach?

Lanees

Probably more a plotter than a panster. There have been times when I sat and wrote a scene I hadn’t planned just because it came out of my head that way. I wrote Lanees’s final chapter in The Parallels like this. It wasn’t planned at all. I was watching the news, something grim I still remember vividly, and boom. I imagined the final scene in all its details, and the next day I wrote it. Of course, I edited it a few times before it reached its final shape.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

If we’re talking about Easter Eggs, they’re filled with it. If we’re talking about details only a few people will notice, I hope not.

Tell me about one favourite hobby or pastime that isn’t writing or reading.

Reading, travelling, gardening, meeting new people, and drawing. I’m not really talented with that, but I drew all the symbols in my Series. I also drew my characters and then sent those drawings to my cover artist who used them to create The Parallels’ stunning cover you can see.

What are you writing at the moment?

Book two of The Sehnsucht Series. It begins where the first one ended and introduces some new characters. The main character changes too. This time it’s going to be a Manderian male.

What’s your opinion on the belief that indie books are badly edited and lower quality than traditionally published?

Some indie books are badly edited, and their covers scream amateur all over the place. The cover is the first step into marketing because it’s the first thing the reader will see. The second is the blurb, and the third is the content of the book, if they ever get to that point. Authors shouldn’t publish a novel until it has been edited unless they’re really good at self-editing. I know some of them. I also know editors are expensive if they’re good, but we need them. I must say, and this pleases me deeply, that the majority of the indie books I read do not have this problem, and I’ve read a great deal of indie books in the last two years.

What is your favourite genre to write, and why?

Sci-fi and that’s what I write. Like I said before, I grew reading this genre and I’ve always been fascinated by space. I can cry if I spot the ISS passing over my head and I get all emotional when I recognise a planet in our night sky. If I win the lottery, I’m gonna buy an expansive telescope.

If you could, would you live in the world you’ve created? Why / why not?

Eleanor

As a human, I wouldn’t want to live in Manderian space. Manderians, the alien species featuring in The Sehnsucht Series, don’t fancy Terrans. They tend to be xenophobic, some more some less. They’re also at war against Earth—or Terra Prime as they call it—and the other planets allied with Earth.

If you could go back to the start of your writing career, what is the one piece of advice you’d give yourself?

Confront yourself with other authors, let them read your story and listen to their advice. And most of all, hire an editor. A developmental one can be helpful to make you understand where you’re going and where you can’t go. Those can be very expensive, but they can light up your path. Read a lot and practice. Write, write, write. Do it every day, every moment that you can.

Do you listen to music when you write, and if so, what do you like?

Sometimes I do. When writing, I prefer classical music, especially Ludovico Einaudi. When I’m self-editing the first draft I prefer silence. When working on the editor’s suggestions anything will do. Pop, rock, usually something from the ‘80s or ‘90s. I don’t listen to a great deal of contemporary music.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

I learnt many things while creating my stories and I think the most important one is that we aren’t alone. I found a great number of people willing to help and I also helped many more. I don’t do it with the expectation they will do something for me. One can learn a great deal even from others’ mistakes. Cooperation with other authors in my same shoes encouraged me to do better. It still does.

Tell me three unique things about you.

  1. I’m Italian but I write in English.
  2. I’m not a chocolate fan.
  3. I can dream entire scenes of my stories.

Keyla, thank you for participating in Galaxy of Authors!

J I Rogers, Galaxy of Authors

J I Rogers, Galaxy of Authors

J. I. Rogers

‘If you don’t like what you’re reading then write something that you’d want to.’

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In the beginning…tell me what made you decide to start writing?

I can’t remember a time where I didn’t have concepts for stories; as an artist, it’s difficult not to create them while you’re working on a project. I did my first concept art for “The Korpes File Series” in 1985 as I was thinking about heading off to art school in Vancouver. I did, I took film animation (pre-CGI) at Emily Carr College of Art and Design but didn’t complete the degree. I spent the next couple of decades working, raising a family, doing the sci-fi and fantasy convention circuit as an artist, and running ‘pencil and paper’ role-playing games for my friends.

When I moved back to the small town my parents live in my gaming outlet ended, and the voices in my head got bored.

In 2012 I did a bit of world-building / concept art for a game designing friend of mine, and everything fell into place. Two weeks after that project concluded I signed up for NaNoWriMo, and I haven’t stopped since.

Are there any authors or artists who influence(d) you?

I read many genres, and as an artist, I appreciate a lot of styles. Indie or traditionally published?

Traditionally published: Jaime Hernandez, H. G. Wells, Jules Verne, Isaac Asimov, Anne McCaffery, Orson Scott Card, D. C. Montana, J. R. R. Tolkien, C. J. Cherryh, R. A. MacAvoy, Arthur Conan Doyle, Iain Banks, William Gibson, Spider Robinson, Neil Gaiman, Mercedes Lackey, George Orwell, Guy Gavriel Kay, and Barbara Hambly.

Indie: I plan to publish a list of indie authors that have influenced me on my website later this year – and give them some well-deserved recognition. Releasing names now would act as a spoiler.

Tell me about your series.

“Genetic throwback seeks kindred souls for illegal antics that will‘transform’ the existing corporatocracy; voices in my head need not apply.” ~ Nash X. Korpes

The closest definition I could come up with for “The Korpes File Series” would be that it’s a blend of dystopian and science fiction elements. There’s a healthy dollop of space opera mixed in as well; I’m a fan of character-driven plot. Summing it up, the story is set against a dystopian sci-fi backdrop, and told from multiple point-of-views, and centers around the main character’s experiences as a genetic anomaly. The protagonists and antagonists each offer clues that ultimately reveal the dark machinations behind the scenes. It contains everything from Aliens hiding in plain sight to a toxic, sentient Jungle that’s inexorably encroaching on the known world.

The Korpes File – Book 1

“It’s dangerous to be Diasporan, and Technician Nash Korpes knows this only too well. As a ‘throwback’ he was coveted by the shadowy Korlune Military Research and Development for his genetics, and he’s spent more time in Med-Bays than he has at work. When he’s torn from those he loves by an act of war he seeks to make sense of it all and uncovers a nemesis that threatens them all.”

The Korpes Agenda – Book 2

“Something dark is stirring in Korlune, and there’s only one person who sees it; brilliant, but haunted, Master-Tech Nash Korpes. Freshly escaped from the clutches of Korlune Military Research and Development he finds safety within the ranks of tech giant Harlo-Fyre. As the line between friend and foe blurs and friction between Korlune’s military factions reach boiling point, Nash is forced to act.”

I’ve just started work on the final draft of book three.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Seven, but there are more flitting around in the belfry. There are currently ten planned for the world of Tamyrh.

What’s your opinion on the practice of ‘banning’ books?

I don’t believe in either banning or burning books. I prefer having the option to read or not read work based on my personal assessment as opposed to having it decided for me by a government or a mob, and I believe that others should enjoy that same right. I trust my moral and ethical judgment. Enlightenment comes in many forms, and even the worst books can serve as a caution, lest we forget where we’ve been and what we’re capable of. Our fiction is just as valuable as a time-capsule of an era and should be treated as such.

Indie, or traditionally published – and why?

I went the indie route after researching my options.

My why is simple; I have plans for my work and wish to maintain creative control. There was a time when traditional publishing was the only course outside of vanity presses, but that’s changed. Social media, the ability to create personal websites and use POD services that are credible have placed a lot of power in the hands of the authors.

It’s said that to write well, you need to read a lot. What do you think?

I absolutely agree. Read multiple genres, traditionally and independently published work, comics/graphic novels, go attend plays and watch a plethora of movies (I suggest International films as well as classics). All of it is fuel for the Muse.

Tell me what you feel the worst, and the best, aspects of being an author are, and why.

Worst: Waiting for reviews.
Best: Writing something that someone else loves as much as you do.

Are you a plotter, or a pantser? What do you think of the opposite approach?

I am both. The overarching plot has been set, certain key events are set, but what the protagonists and antagonists do in their free time is somewhat fluid.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Oh yes. My beta-readers and Patrons all have things to look for.

Tell me about one favourite hobby or pastime that isn’t writing or reading.

I’m a professional artist, and my Muse happens to love mythological, sci-fi, and fantasy themes. I explore them through illustration, sculpture, and painting.

What are you writing at the moment?

Two more interviews and book three “The Korpes <insert an appropriate word here>” are the other open Word documents on my laptop right now.

What’s your opinion on the belief that indie books are badly edited and lower quality than traditionally published?

“You’re an author? Who reps you? Oh… You’re self-published? How cute. You’re not a ‘real author’ though, it’s just a hobby.” ~ Something someone has actually said to me.

I’ve encountered a few ‘unreadable’ books by those that hold they can produce a finished product in one draft, but they are not the majority. Everyone has had to up their game with the rise of the ‘indie author’, and I can’t honestly say I know an unprofessional author.

There’s still a snobbery surrounding being traditionally published, but that’s losing its shine as the advantages once offered are dwindling. Now we can access the services of professional editors, formatting software, and cover designers. Social media has made it easier to create and maintain a fanbase. What about the glamour of being offered a book deal and an advance? For myself, I’m not certain money would mollify the control freak in me regarding my current project… Perhaps the next? 😊

What is your favorite genre to write, and why?

My Muse is happy writing science fiction right now – probably because my office walls are covered in maps and sketches, and my laptop is filled with story ideas based in my world.

If you could, would you live in the world you’ve created? Why / why not?

If I were to there would be caveats, so I guess I’d have to say no. Why? The water is caustic, the jungle is toxic (and sentient), and humanoids require special equipment to survive for longer than a couple of days ‘topside’.

In the Northern country of Korlune, if you aren’t Korlo, you’re Diasporan (refugee) and a second-class citizen. While the Korlo inhabit the larger more modern cluster cities and have access to the best of everything, the Diasporan do not. They live in the rundown stations and mini-cities the Korlo set aside. Trains connect all of the population centers via an elaborate tunnel network, though airborne transports fly between cities.

The Southern country of Ankoresh is on a high desert plateau and receives almost no rain, but sandstorms are a problem. Though they are not as technologically advanced as the Korlo, they have greater numbers and a fine martial tradition. The Ankor and Diasporan populations are more integrated and while things appear better on the surface, underneath there are still elements that still resent the refugees… even after a couple hundred years.

If you could go back to the start of your writing career, what is the one piece of advice you’d give yourself?

Keep your metadata consistent across all platforms!

Do you listen to music when you write, and if so, what do you like?

I create soundtracks for writing, and I’ve found downtempo psybient electronica, industrial, and angsty bands from the late 90s and early 2000s inspire my dystopian Muse.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

I was surprised and delighted to learn that people like my work.

Tell me three unique things about you.

– I lived in Kenya and Tanzania for a total of six years.
– I’m ambidextrous.
– I’m a bit OCD when it comes to clover patches and find a lot of four-leaf clovers as a result; I suspect I’m an honorary Leprechaun at this point.

J. I., thank you for participating in Galaxy of Authors!

F Stephan, Galaxy of Authors

F Stephan, Galaxy of Authors

F. Stephan

‘Only augmented pilots can cross space. But at what cost?’

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In the beginning…tell me what made you decide to start writing?

It had been a dream dormant for many years. The day my mother had a severe health problem, the time came to face this envy and begin writing. It was also a way to work with my father, an illustrator.

And when I began, my friends said “At last, we told you so …”

Are there any authors or artists who influence(d) you?

Recently, I’ve read a lot from L.E. ModesittJr and I love both the coherence of his worlds and the philosophy behind. I’ve also read a lot of the classics (P Anderson, R Heinlein, J Vance, …).

Tell me about your book / series.

Six student fly to a distant planet to become starpilots, the first from Earth, charged to help their planet surviving from ecological collapse. Do they have what it takes to succeed?

In one hundred years, Earth is falling into an ecological collapse, looking for a way, any way, out. When an alien Star Federation offers assistance, the planet jumps on it. There’s only one catch. This Federation desperately needs Star Pilots, and very few individuals can sustain the nanorobots required to perform this job. Earth will receive all the help it requires, provided its inhabitants can prove future pilots. Six are chosen to go. This is their story.

In Human Starpilot, they will face the first stage of the training on distant Adheek and learn to manage their nanorobots.

In Interstellar Starpilot, two students go on to the Core Worlds of the Federation to further their training and face new dangers.

In Space Station Acheron, the other four return to Earth to build and run the first station to link Earth and the stars.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Interstellar Starpilot is just out of structural assessment and will be a month in copy editing. It should be live in June or July.

Space Station Acheron is 50 000 words strong and fully outlined. It could be released in late fall.

The next one is only at outline level with a thousand words of intrigue.

What’s your opinion on the practice of ‘banning’ books?

Books shouldn’t be banned. It’ll always remember Usher II from Ray Bradbury in Martian Chronicles. If you haven’t read it, well, you don’t know what is in for you.

But at the same time, some books aren’t meant for all and some warning should be given to readers either when content can be offensive to certain belief or dangerous to certain age, or common readers. As a reader, I would appreciate it. I believe this transparency is important to keep book from being banned.

Tell me about a principal character in your book(s). What makes them memorable?

Brian has chosen his life, got a degree and is suddenly thrown into another career, as space pilot, sent to another planet and injected with nanorobots which can destroy him. He isn’t a super hero, someone normal thrown into an abnormal situation and trying to survive the adventure. He’s also thrown out of his universe into another one and trying to find his place in it.

Indie, or traditionally published – and why?

Indie.

I’m learning the trade and there’s only one way to it: write, write and face readers. Listen to what they like or don’t like and work, again and again.

I have no issue with traditional publishing and would be delighted to enjoy this type of support.

It’s said that to write well, you need to read a lot. What do you think?

100% aligned. I have been a ferocious reader for years in many fields. I began with a lot of classic books both in French and English, then I went into different styles and type, from mysteries, thrillers, sci-fi, fantasy, and many other.

Tell me what you feel the worst, and the best, aspects of being an author are, and why.

The best, first, is to be able to share your dreams and ideas with others, and not just play with them in your head. And, meeting others, talking with them about your books is an incredible experience.

The worst is when someone, after reading twenty-five pages, tells you your book is crap because he wants murder and gore first and then explanations. This is very hard after so much effort into a book.

Are you a plotter, or a pantser? What do you think of the opposite approach?

Plotter, absolutely. I would love to be a pantser but it doesn’t work for me right now. I can focus on the scene I write once I know where it starts and where it leads, not before. But it goes beyond that. Some sci-fi books are ever expanding. The universe keeps growing as the author adds features after features and it has often left me disappointed. I want a tighter story.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Not really, there are clues into the next books, but they aren’t secrets per se.

Tell me about one favourite hobby or pastime that isn’t writing or reading.

I’m part of the theater amateur group, with a focus on improvisation. This is shared creativity, beginnings, ends, small snapshots of stories. I love the gifts of stories and emotions that come out in these sessions.

What are you writing at the moment?

Right now, I’m revising my second book. The pure writing is on the third one. How do you build a station on a planet under global warming where resources and popular support are scarce? How do you come back to your birth place after seeing a wide universe and find your place again?These are fantastic themes to explore!

What’s your opinion on the belief that indie books are badly edited and lower quality than traditionally published?

Editing is a real art and very expensive. I once delivered a book of a quality that shamed me, not running a second editing after the initial assessment. This was a mistake. I learned that lesson the hard way.

But on that same occasion, I also found a good team to help and support me on editing. It’s hard because as Indie you don’t “know” the process, the right steps. I have had the chance to find people who suggested a more professional approach, more cost effective. It remains a huge investment for me now on each book, making this writing endeavor absolutely not profitable. But if you do something, do it right!

What is your favourite genre to write, and why?

For now, I love to write science fiction for the freedom it gives in the world building activity. I want to travel to foreign places when I read, and this is what I want to provide my readers.

This may change over time, naturally.

If you could, would you live in the world you’ve created? Why / why not?

I’d want to travel in the Federation’s worlds and especially its center, which is the focus of Interstellar Starpilots. First, because it boasts the last working star elevator in the Federation and I’d love to ride it, second because this is a beautiful place from where you can travel anyplace.

If you could go back to the start of your writing career, what is the one piece of advice you’d give yourself?

There are so many lessons learned in that career, so much advice I wished I had had or understood sooner. The only give I would is: Go. Do it. Write, publish, you’re going to love it.

Do you listen to music when you write, and if so, what do you like?

I listen to all sort of contemporary music, played at random. Some scenes have a musical theme in my mind when I write. But, I don’t often listen to it while I write, maybe just before.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

Characters have a life of their own which is, nearly, out of the author’s control. You set up a character initially for a scene. Then, you need someone in another situation and you bring him or her back. And suddenly, someone is there, facing you, with its own motives and desires, and will move on his own course from now on. You may not call the character again or another scene may lead to an intervention.

Tell me three unique things about you.

I was born in the USA and raised in France, and I love both countries.

I’ve worked and lived in many countries, been part of a student organisation whose aim was to reconnect Eastern and Western Europe and went even Down Under in Australia on a job.

I was in West Berlin 2 month before the Wall fell.

Fabrice, thank you for participating in Galaxy of Authors!

C Rene Astle, Galaxy of Authors

C Rene Astle, Galaxy of Authors

C. Rene Astle

‘It’s hard to heal when your head has been severed from your body.’

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In the beginning…tell me what made you decide to start writing?

I can’t say I actually decided to start writing. I’ve written for as long as I can remember. I have a box full of story ideas that go back to when I was growing up. I have so many stories waiting to be written that I haven’t opened the box in a long time; I’m not sure I want to.

Are there any authors or artists who influence(d) you?

Probably every book I’ve read has influenced me in some way, but not the answer you’re looking for 😊. Certainly, books like The Lord of the Rings and the Chronicles of Narnia had a big impact. My mom (also an author) read those to us when we were kids, and that gave me a lifelong love of fantasy. On the other side, my dad had a telescope and we spent some cold night star-gazing, and I remember reading Cosmos by Carl Sagan, which is non-fiction, when I was still fairly young. I didn’t read a lot of science fiction until I was an adult, but I think that love of Space and a childhood watching ‘Star Trek’, ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Battlestar Galactica’, led to reading and then writing it.

Tell me about your book / series.

Mina’s dying for life to get back to normal.

After the sudden death of her mother, all she wants is to get back to art school and work at the tattoo shop. Unfortunately, her roommate convinces her she needs a night of dance, drink and debauchery. When she wakes up, she finds that she’s not only a vampire but has been recruited into an eternal fight to protect the humans from the things that go bump in the night. And now an ancient terror awakes. 

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Hmm, what counts as half finished? Let’s say more than 50% done. Four, I think? Maybe five. I used to be really good at starting books but not so good at finishing them. Luckily I’ve become much better at finishing books, but I still have a few from that phase where the characters are waiting in limbo for their tales to be wrapped up. But now I have so many scraps of paper with new story ideas to get to.

What’s your opinion on the practice of ‘banning’ books?

As a general rule, I don’t agree with it. For most books, I’d rather see open discussion – why are people upset about the book or the subject matter or the author. This helps us develop our ability to think critically and learn discernment.

Indie, or traditionally published – and why?

Indie. Like A.M. Rycroft, I didn’t have the patience to wait for submission, rejection, submission, revision, submission. At the time, I was also hearing from fellow writers that they were being asked for marketing plans and what not…and that’s the part I hate. So if I have to do a lot of the marketing stuff anyway, I might at well just do it all.

It’s said that to write well, you need to read a lot. What do you think?

Yes. I absolutely agree with this. I don’t understand when I hear writers say they don’t read. Besides loving books, I think it’s critical to honing my craft, and one of the best ways to make the mechanics second nature. Reading deeply in my chosen genres is important but reading broadly is also valuable. I find it hard to read critically (as in discerning), because I get lost in the story, but it’s important for me to understand what I like and don’t like and what works for me as a reader and why.

Tell me what you feel the worst, and the best, aspects of being an author are, and why.

I don’t know that there is a worst, other than not being able to make a living at it…yet. I love entertaining people and being able to connect with people from around the world over a shared interest. I love bringing characters to life and then living vicariously through them.

Are you a plotter, or a pantser? What do you think of the opposite approach?

I used to be a pantser. My first novel took at least five years…I needed to be a more efficient writer to be able to get all these stories rambling around my brain on paper. So I started a journey to becoming more of a plotter. For me personally, I don’t think it stifles creativity; in fact, I think it gives me more space to be creative because I don’t have to worry about the framework – it’s already there.

As for the other approach, I don’t think anything. People need to find what works for them to get their stories written.

Tell me about one favourite hobby or pastime that isn’t writing or reading.

I have what’s called an allotment or community garden plot. It doesn’t take a lot of work in winter, since my particular plot tends to flood. But during the summer, I’m out there a lot, getting my hands dirty, listening to the birds, talking to the bees and the earthworms. It’s very different from the stories I write.

What are you writing at the moment?

Right now, I’m wrapping up book 3 of my Bloodborne Pathogens series. Then I can get back to work on the first book in a space opera series – one of those unpublished books from question 4.

Tell me three unique things about you.

I talk to bees and earthworms…I’ve already mentioned that.

I think octopuses are phenomenal creatures.

I love watching British mysteries…who knew those quaint towns were so deadly.

C. Rene, thank you for participating in Galaxy of Authors!

M J Stoddard, Galaxy of Authors

M J Stoddard, Galaxy of Authors

M. J. Stoddard

‘The calling of an author is more than just to entertain, but also to share one’s experiences with the world.’ ~M. J. Stoddard

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In the beginning…tell me what made you decide to start writing?

I just love to create, in elementary school I wrote TMNT fan-fiction and during my freshman year in high school, I wrote a Christmas themed sci-fi short-short story. My sophomore year, I knew I wanted to be a full-time author, I knew I had a gift, being a major sci-fi/fantasy buff in all aspects from movies to video games, I wanted to take my writing to the next level and create an original epic sci-fi/fantasy.

Are there any authors or artists who influence(d) you?

Yes, Frank Herbert, J. R. R. Tolkien, Orson Scott Card, Stan Lee and more.

Tell me about your book / series.

A jaded mercenary…a corrupt military official…and an ancient  artifact known as…The Sixth Eye.

The fate of the galaxy hangs in the balance as tensions escalate between the United Terran Confederacy and the Independence Mining Corporation.

An elite pilot and mercenary known as Blain Ross confronts a formidable enemy ahead, so must he confront the enemy within himself and thwart his former Commanding Officer’s hellbent agenda to obtain an ancient artifact with dark, mystical powers that would bring total anhillation across the galaxy and the universe. The artifact is known throughout the galaxy as…The Sixth Eye.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

I have several, two of which are series: Gemini Continuum and the Shadowbane Chronicles. The others I’ve started are stand-alone stories, but still have a connection with the Twilight Legacies multi-verse.

Tell me about a principal character in your book(s). What makes them memorable?

My principal character goes by the name ‘Blain Ross’, who is an expert marksman, martial artist and star pilot. What makes Blain Ross memorable is his quick wit, intelligent and his innate knowledge of an ancient magic.

Indie, or traditionally published – and why?

Indie, because as an author, I keep all my rights and royalties are descent.

It’s said that to write well, you need to read a lot. What do you think?

I agree and not necessarily in the genre that you are writing. I know during my times of liesure, I read a bit here and there; historical fiction, adventure, besides sci-fi and fantasy. I also read books that are more academic in nature – primarily for research for the series I am working on.

Tell me what you feel the worst, and the best, aspects of being an author are, and why.

The worst aspect of being an author is not having enough time in the day to finish the next chapter. This is discouraging, especially when working a full-time job to provide for the family and pay the bills. The best aspects of being an author is creating, designing and moreover, the payoff of such an investment; which can take a lifetime before coming to fruition.

Are you a plotter, or a pantser? What do you think of the opposite approach?

I am both a plotter and a pantser.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Absolutely, I have so many woven into the plot.

Tell me about one favourite hobby or pastime that isn’t writing or reading.

I love to spend time with my family, I am a martial arts instructor and co-founder of Bastress Stoddard Hogosha Samurai Karate Jutsu and I love to design starships, logos and book covers. I’m also a musician – I play the electric guitar.

What are you writing at the moment?

Currently, I am working on Book 2 of The Twilight Legacies, entitled Crimson Vortex, Gemini Continuum: Empire of the Gods and Shadowbane Chronicles: Prophecy.

What’s your opinion on the belief that indie books are badly edited and lower quality than traditionally published?

I don’t believe that’s the case, that is a stereotype. I have read some traditionally published books that have a few grammatical errors or typos, but it doesn’t take away from the quality of the story.

What is your favourite genre to write, and why?

I love to write sci-fi/fantasy because there are no limitations on how the stories evolve and so much can be expounded upon from a single premis or idea.

If you could, would you live in the world you’ve created? Why / why not?

Yes, because I’d love to travel the stars and explore the universe.

If you could go back to the start of your writing career, what is the one piece of advice you’d give yourself?

The one piece of advice I would give myself is not all publishers are as they seem – Do more research.

Do you listen to music when you write, and if so, what do you like?

Yes, most of the time. I prefer game tunes, like AVP, Dark Star One, Freelancer, classical music every now and again.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

One of the most surprising things I learned in creating The Twilight Legacies: The Sixth Eye Special Edition is a new way of storytelling.

M. J., thank you for participating in Galaxy of Authors!

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