Camp Q&A, Part 1: We Are So Super Doing This

This past month – *waves back at April* – was the year’s first Camp NaNoWriMo. (There’s another camp session happening in July, in case anyone’s interested in signing up. ^o^) And somewhere in there, I came across a character questionnaire—

“Did someone say ‘character questionnaire’?!”

Yes, Annabelle Iole Gray of the “Inspired” novels, I did indeed say that.

“Fun and a half! Where’d you find the questions?”

Fittingly enough, on the NaNoWriMo blog.

“Can I be the one to A the Qs? Ooh, or one of my characters?”

Actually, I was thinking I’d bring in the main trio from my camp project.

“Which was…?”

The refining of my Fall 2018 novel.

“Ah. Okay. I guess that’s… allowed. Just keep us in mind for next time, will ya?”

I shall strive so to do. Now, let’s see what kind of answers we can pry out of Brenna Walsh, Thackeray Kyle, and Nicky Ellenbogen-Jones – the big three of “So Super Dead”!

  1. What does your character do when they think no one’s looking?

Thackeray Kyle, the Vampire Hunter: “Kill people.”

(Annabelle, in the background: *spit take*)

  1. What’s the one thing your character would save in a fire (beyond the necessities)?

The ghost of Brenna Walsh: “Would’ve been nice if I could’ve saved my parents.”

(Annabelle: “Well, dang.”)

  1. Who’s on speed dial?

Nicky, aka superhero Xtra-Medium: “Dead people, mostly.”

(Annabelle: “Okay. I’m getting it. This book’s got a theme.”

Brenna: “<_< Did you not read the title?”)

  1. Your character gets turned down for their dream job. What’s their second choice?

Nicky: “If I can’t make a career out of talking to ghosts, there’s always… um… real estate agency? I dunno why that’s the first thing that came to mind, but I mean, I could do worse.”

  1. What would they tell their ten-year-old self?

Thackeray: “ ‘Find a non-vampire-related hobby. Just… trust me on this.’ ”

  1. Where would they want to go on a first date?

Brenna: “First, ew. Second, 24-Hour Pancakes. Third, no.”

  1. What’s the best advice they’ve ever received?

Thackeray: “ ‘Find a non-vampire-related hobby.’ Sorry, Dad. Maybe if you’d been me from the future, I’d have listened.”

  1. What’s the worst advice they’ve ever received?

Brenna: “I’ve lost track. Grownups are always giving crap advice. It’s like they think I care.”

  1. What’s one physical detail they’d change about themselves?

Nicky: “I, ah, well… if I could maybe have, um, one or another kind of standard reproduction system, that would be… special.”

  1. When was the last time they were held? By who?

Nicky: “Oh, my best friend hugs me all the time. He’s demonstrative, like that.”

  1. What’s their favorite thing about their favorite season?

Thackeray: “Winter is quiet. Muted colors. Muffled sound. Nature half in hibernation. I find it restful in a way the rest of the year can’t match. Figures the novel takes place in summer.”

  1. Their wallet gets stolen. What do they do?

Brenna: “Before or after my life got stolen from me?”

Author Danielle E. Shipley: …Before?

Brenna: “In that case, I hate humanity.”

(Annabelle: “My money says that’s her ‘after’ answer, too.”)

  1. Prioritize: Love, money, power, knowledge?

Thackeray: “Knowledge.”

Nicky: “The power of love!”

Brenna: “Waffles.”

  1. What’s something nobody knows about them?

Nicky: “Who my birth parents are, and why they abandoned me and my phone as an infant. Like, the book doesn’t look into it, but low key, you know I’ve got questions.”

  1. What’s in their fridge?

Thackeray: “Whatever my camera crew wants. They’re the ones with opinions on the matter.”

  1. What (creature, object, substance) are they most disgusted by?

Brenna: “Thackeray Kyle.”

(Thackeray: “Way to steal my answer.”)

  1. What’s their second worst habit?

Nicky:Second worst? Um, well, if the first is my tendency to chatter too much, I guess the second would be negative self-talk.”

Brenna: “So… both of your worst habits are talking.”

Nicky: “I’m consistent?”

  1. What are the victory conditions for their life?

Brenna: “There is no winning at life. We’ll see how the rules change once you’re dead.”

  1. In the end, your character fails to save the day. Assuming they survive, what do they do?

Nicky: “See Worst Habit #2. I’ll also probably get ice cream.”

  1. Your character is charged with a crime they didn’t commit. What do they do?

Brenna: “Canonically? Get murdered.”

  1. Your character is charged with a crime they did commit. What was the crime?

Thackeray: “Well, shoot. Sounds like someone found out what I do when no one’s looking.”

And on that full circular note, we’ll pause so as to prevent this post from going on for twice as long. Thanks for what cooperation you had to give, “So Super Dead” peeps! We’ll continue with the questionnaire another day. ‘Til then, let’s remind our audience (of however many plus Annabelle) of the novel’s summary:

So Super Dead cover, remix 02.3, gallery

The ghost: Sure, seventeen-year-old Brenna hadn’t thought much of her life, but she’s not about to take her murder lying down. With one death to live and nothing left to lose, Brenna’s out for vengeance. Trouble is, her murderer’s already dead.

The killer: The reality of TV star Thackeray Kyle, the Vampire Hunter, is not the kind one lives to tell about. He’ll do whatever it takes – and take out whomever he must – to keep his secret safe. If only he could get his dead conscience to quit haunting him…

The talker: Agender mutant teen Nicky finally has himmer’s superpower, and s/he’s ready to save the world. …Or, y’know, talk to dead people, since that’s really all s/he can do. But now, caught between a responsibility to Brenna, a debt to a closeted monster, and the inevitability of a super-villainous terrorist attack, Nicky’s scrambling for the right words to bring two lifeless friends peace and prove himmerself a hero. Because if s/he doesn’t, the world’s dead will number far more than one ghost-whisperer can handle.

So Super Dead” – coming this fall!

The rest of the Camp NaNo character Q&A – coming in some future blog post!


A Song’s Conclusion (“Song Caster” Launch Week, Closing Remarks)

Launch Week for “The Song Caster” has come to an end, but we have a few orders of business before we can call this thing a wrap.

First, an announcement of the three Grand Prize Day winners in my giveaway.

Congratulations to Emerald Barnes and Chelsea de la Cruz,

who will receive their choice of any two postcard designs pictured below, in addition to seven selected chapters of “The Song Caster”, with commentary from yours truly and Gant-o’-the-Lute!

Congrats also to Alyson Grauer,

who has won a set of all four postcards, plus a signed proof paperback of “The Song Caster (Book Four of The Wilderhark Tales)”! Huzzah for you three, as well as all the previous winners of this past week.

''Song Caster'' prize postcards

Next on the agenda, I would like to extend special thanks to a pair of pals who were good enough to host my minstrel on their blogs during the celebration. On the blog of Kimberly Kay (an “anthology sister” of mine in the “One More Day” short story collection), you’ll find Lute’s telling guest post, “The Author’s Power, and Mine”. And on the blog of my writing bestie Tirzah Duncan (author of “Cry of the Nightbird”, that other novella I’ve been advising you to purchase, ‘cause it’s awesome), Lute bared his heart in an interview with Tirzah’s Thief Lord, Syawn. So if you’ve not read these posts yet – or if you have, but it was so much fun the first time that you’re up for a re-read – click on over and say hey to the gracious hostesses.

…Oh, and Will Scarlet would like kudos for his special efforts to pimp “The Song Caster” during his Interactive Theatre sketch on Saturday. So thank you, Will, and Allyn, too, and all the players you’ve roped into your onstage shenanigans, God bless ‘em all.

Song Caster Cover, resize

Thanks also, of course, to all you readers who’ve come around and shared in the Launch Week fun – which would, I’ll have you know, be zero fun without you. Thanks to everyone who’s already purchased the book (via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and/or CreateSpace) and been spreading the word, which I hope you’ll continue to do even well beyond this week’s end. After all, “The Song Caster”s adventure in the great, wide world has just begun! If you haven’t yet, I’d be super-duper grateful if, following your read of the tale, you’d leave a review on any or all of the book’s retail sites. Just a few lines of public praise (and/or criticism) are a huge favor to we author types, for which our appreciation knows no bounds.

I think that’s the long and short of it! I’m off now to run myself ragged on a list of other writing projects, including an “Outlaws of Avalon” companion novella for Camp NaNoWriMo July, and… ahem, other awesome stuff. Keep your eyes open for word on that, as well as the next book in the Wilderhark Tales, which I expect to have ready for you sometime late this fall. My piece now spoken, I bid you all farewell, and happy reading!

Blog Tour’s End, Next Chapter’s Beginning

Got a double order of business, for ya! About a month back, Michelle Proulx tagged me in a blog hop, so I’m pleased to be finally getting around to participating in that. And afterward, we’ve got the final stops on the “Inspired” blog tour to summarize. Let’s get hoppin’!

Part One: The Writing Process Blog Hop

1) What are you working on?

It’s April – a.k.a, Camp NaNoWrimo, a.k.a. one of those glorious months where I tell the affairs of “real life” to take a number while I put writing first. This time around, I’m working on a follow-up to “Inspired”. Same amazing characters, startling new situation. Beyond that… *zips lips*

2) How does your work differ from others in the genre?

Since “Inspired” apparently qualifies as literary fiction, I expect that means its sequel will, too. A quick online search for a genre definition still leaves me a bit confused as to what literary fiction even is, but I’m getting the sense that it has to do with language style, a character-driven story, perhaps pays little heed to convention, and, I dunno, makes some sort of philosophical commentary on the human condition? Mmm…okay. I don’t generally tend to think of my work as all that serious, but if we can have all that and throw in some lighthearted laughs, then sure, what the hey, call my novel baby literary!

3) Why do you write what you write?

Because they’re the stories in me that demand to be told. Because it feels right when my head is in those worlds. Because it’s fun, and it’s fulfilling, and I want to be a friend to the characters therein. And if I don’t get these things down on paper, who will?

4) How does your writing process work?

Once I’ve got an idea I want to pursue, I get started on mapping out the story’s arc. I get down what I know, and brainstorm answers to all the questions that crop up along the way. I track what the characters are up to at any given time, and probe their motivations and emotional states. There’s a lot of wondering, “Now what?” as I strive to hook everything up to, y’know, an actual plot. Eventually I’ll have a beginning, an end, and a semi-solid grip on what goes on in between. Nothing to do after that but write out the book, one eye on the plan, the other on the surprises that characters are always pulling out of the blue. In a NaNo month like this, it shouldn’t take more than three-and-a-half weeks before I’ve got a lovely unedited draft on my hands.

Now I’ve got four other author friends to tag. If they’re up for hopping in, I nominate the following:

Tirzah Duncan, author of Cry of the Nightbird;

Emerald Barnes, author of Entertaining Angels;

Kimberly Kay, author of Sleepless Beauty (One More Day);

and Alexander Nader, author of Beasts of Burdin.

Part Two: Meanwhile, on the “Inspired” blog tour…

On Friday, my interview with Laney McMann addressed the important questions, like: Which of my “Inspired” characters would I first reach to save if they all fell off a cliff?

Monday on the blog of fellow One More Day anthology author Erika Beebe, I compiled a list of ten fictional characters in my life who have inspired me.

And my last-but-not-least stop takes place today on the blog of Emi Gayle, where I’ve been author-interviewed!

To catch up on any tour stops you missed, you can check out the full schedule on my website’s homepage. And of course, though the tour may be over, the fantastic book behind it all is still gloriously available for purchase. So if you feel thus inspired, make sure to get your copies!


P.S. – Last chance to enter my giveaway for a shot at nabbing the awesome free “Inspired” goodies up for grabs! I’ll be back later with an edit announcing the seven lucky winners. Stay tuned!

Edit: And the giveaway winners are…

Abishan bookmark = Kendra Conine!

Wilbur bookmark = Desnica Kumar!

Uri bookmark = Emerald Barnes!

Yves bookmark = Laurie Goudge!

Annabelle bookmark = Chelsea de la Cruz!

Luc bookmark = Tirzah Duncan!

“Inspired” paperback, signed = Mara Jacobi!

Congratulations, one and all, and thanks to everyone who in any way joined in the celebration of the release of “INSPIRED”!

“Experience” or “Reflections of a Sailor in Sight of the Shore”

Arrgh, mateys, this be the final time I sail beneath the bloggin’ Buccaneer’s banner.

The Buccaneer Blogfest now comes to an end, and its captains have left me with one final essay question: Share your experience from this blogfest. What are the next steps you want to take with your blog?

It’s my “apprehension of an object, thought, or emotion through the senses or mind” ye be wantin’, is it? Here, then, I’ll give ye the short version: I had fun.

Now for the long version. (Sit down, you in the back! You knew I wasn’t done! The short version is never the end, with me.) I got the chance to hear from a variety of new blog voices that I might never have stumbled across otherwise, including those of some bloggers whom I now happily follow. Likewise, I’ve gained a number of new followers of my own, which is always a delight – (thanks again, my beloved Ever On Wordians!) – and have had some great interactions in the comments.

And speaking of action in the comments…

Will Scarlet grins unrepentantly. “Referring to my going about, socializing in your behalf, are you?”

My behalf?? And here I got impression you were running amok for your own pleasure.

“Call it multitasking. Come on now, in all sooth, you can’t say that the people haven’t been enjoying it. I’m always a hit with patrons, it’s just my way. Plus I made a new friend! Shout-out to Ashley Vaandere, whoot-whoot!”

Aye, new friendship is always good. (:

As for the next steps for Ever On Word… Well, in the coming weeks, I’m going to have a lot on my plate, word-wise. My announcement on the “Ballad” page a few days ago laid out the basics pretty well:

Tomorrow’s August 1st. Know what that means, lads?
“Irish Bank Holiday?” Robin Hood guesses.
…Possibly. But I was referring to the start of Camp NaNoWriMo.
“Ah, yes,” says Allyn-a-Dale. “The summer version of the November madness that birthed my ballad.”
Yup. 50,000 words in a month; 2,500 words a day.
Marion whistles. “The minimum last time was 1,667 words a day!”
I wasn’t working weekends at a Ren Faire, then. I was just writing about people who did.
“Are we in this new novel, too?” Will asks eagerly.
‘Fraid not. I’ve got a whole new story-world to build, involving fairies and kidnapped children, mermaids and demon pirates, shapeshifters, a dragon, and a boy who refuses to take “ordinary” for an answer.
“Augh, that sounds awesome! Are you sure we’re not in it?”
Positive, Will. But I’ll be sure to keep everyone here apprised of my progress; maybe highlight my favorite lines of the day, like I did during “Ballad”s creation.
“I’ll be in it,” Gant-o’-the-Lute says smugly.
Um, no, not really.
“That’s what you said last time,” he says breezily. “And yet, somehow…”

So that’s what’s happening now. (Have you seen the nifty word-counter widget on my home page? That will keep us all in the number-related know.) Fortunately, I’ve got a nice stockpile of blog pieces ready to post, skillfully avoiding both neglecting my readers for a month and having to scramble to write an additional couple thousand words a week. And come September and beyond? – the beginning of my second year of blogging? We’ll all just have to wait and see. Don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to it! Bring me that horizon!