So I haven't been getting out as much as I'd like. It makes me a little batty. If only that looked as cute as the picture above. But it doesn't so I've got to do something. And that thing is for me to blog more, Blogdor.
Expect to see more posts here, probably every two weeks but possibly weekly instead. I'm aiming for Monday to get something up. You could see all sorts of posts, like pictures at past events, book recommendations, or bits of lore I've researched for works in progress.
I'll also be updating the site with more information on the worlds in my books. Like any good ex-DJ and recovering performance artist, I take requests. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with ideas of what you'd like to see here. I'm happy to talk about, where ideas come from (not the stork), what a typical writing day is like, et cetera.
This is going to be a busy summer. Will I find time to breathe? Who knows? I'm working hard on Clerical Error. I hope to get it out by the end of this month. Kallisti: A Collection of Poetry will release next week. July 13th is the date I hope to have Body Count out in the world.
I'm not sure what comes later in July or in August but I will need to be ready to travel to Dragon Con on the 30th. Maybe I'll take a break and not publish anything that month. If Counting Stars is done, that will complete Valentino's 3-book arc in Supernatural Vigilante Society, so we'll see.
The book after Clerical Error focuses on a different character but likely won't be ready until September or maybe October. That's okay because I have a second book of poems slated for one of those months. And sometime in the fall, the third La Famiglia book will drop.
At least I can say I'll meet my goal of publishing nine works in 2018. Whew!
Anyway, thanks for being here. What are you up to? Tell me in the comments.
Are you looking for something new to read? Click the picture below to see some releases for May, 2018.
“I have to kill you. You're too good.”
Now that Providence Paranormal College is done, I have been working on this. It's a new trilogy about kids from an Alternate Timeline version of the 80s who get stuck in a virtual reality game. Here's my elevator pitch:
Kids go missing all the time and are never found. But six of them end up stuck in a game instead of dead in a ditch. Can they convince a misguided GM to let them go home to their families by beating the game? Do they all want to? Find out in this Retro GameLit adventure.
I'll release some of it over on Patreon but remember, it's still in draft form. Elements and events are subject to revision. This trilogy might also connect to other books down the road. $5 and up Patrons get to see it a few days earlier than the rest. The cover's only temporary, but Jim has some ideas in mind for this one.
Today, I'm here with J.D. Cunegan, author of the Superhero meets Sci-Fi Jill Andersen series.
D.P.- You're ready to write and have your pen and paper or computer or microphone ready. What else do you need during your session?
J.C.- I almost always have to have a hot mug of something – either coffee or tea, depending on the time of day – at the ready, and something I can use for background noise. I have music I like to listen to, the heavier the better, or sometimes I’ll put a TV show or movie I’ve already seen several times on in the background. I can’t write in silence; I have to have something going on in the background to get me going.
D.P.- Tell us one thing you don't want to put into your stories.
J.C.- All the typical sexist trappings normally found in genre fiction; e.g., needlessly skimpy clothing, awkward revealing poses, storylines that rely on sexual violence (or the threat thereof), character backgrounds that also rely on sexual violence (or the threat thereof). Female characters in genre fiction, the headlining heroes in particular, are not props, but fully-formed people with their own agencies.
D.P.- If I only had time to read one of your works, which one should it be?
J.C.- Bounty, because moreso than anything else I’ve ever written, that book exemplifies who I am and how I view the world. Jill is, in a lot of ways, the sort of person I wish I could be, and being able to use the world she inhabits to examine problems, both real-world and hypothetical, in a grounded and personal setting is one of my greatest triumphs as an author. I love what I wrote in Notna, but Bounty is more true to who I am and what I believe in – and as the first book I ever published, it’s the volume that made everything since possible.
D.P.- Tell us about a time when you almost gave up on a project but decided to keep on going anyway.
J.C.- I’ve lost count of how many times I almost gave up on Notna. It’s been a lifelong labor of love, something I’ve plugged away at for over two decades. I’ve lost count of how many times I would rage-quit, walk away because I was convinced the plot didn’t work, the characters didn’t work, or I simply felt I wasn’t good enough. When I was in college, I was in a dark period, one in which I didn’t do anything, didn’t care about anything… and during that time, I stopped writing. Period. But upon discovering the TV shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, the spark to write came back – and the first thing I tackled was Notna. The fact that I finally published that book is a tremendous source of pride.
D.P.- What's new with you?
J.C.- My latest novel, Behind the Mask, is now available in paperback, Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Apple iBooks, and other digital outlets! Also find the first three books in the Jill Andersen series -- Bounty, Blood Ties, Behind the Badge -- on those same formats, as well as the contemporary fantasy Notna. Coming spring 2018: Betrayed.
You can follow J.D. on Patreon, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, Author Central, and at his website.
He's also started a newsletter for exclusives and the latest updates.
Thanks for reading about J.D.
We're here today with Janet, who is a freelancer with one published work and several more to come in the future. Speaking of which, she writes about the future, also alternate versions of the past. I've had the privilege of beta reading some of her work. Here's a bit more about her.
D.P.- What's your favorite thing to cook?
J.G.- I love to cook Thanksgiving, and it's actually been a few years since I've done it on the real turkey day (I've been going to my folks') so it ends up being late December holiday fare. I do the whole nine yards - turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green veg (usually asparagus or broccoli), salad, fruit. We usually don't do the big dessert as that's enough already! Oh and I make bread but it's in the machine. Does that count?
D.P.- Tell us about the coolest writing-related thing to happen for you recently.
J.G.- My coolest recent writing-related thing happened while podcasting. I am one half of a podcast called Semantic Shenanigans. We discuss how law, society, scholarship, and fandom all collide. Because of the kerfuffle about the new Dr. Who being - oh my God! - not a man, we wanted someone on who knew Who (that's hard to say, but you know what I mean). I then recalled a cousin of mine has a podcast, Who Back When, where they review new and classic Dr. Who. We got in touch and had him on, all the way from Oxford. We had a lovely time of it and then at the last 10 minutes or so, he said, "And I also wanted to talk about this compelling book I recently read. It's called Untrustworthy." I hadn't known that he had so much as read it! So that was cool, as he truly had enjoyed it and wants to talk to me about in person but we need to get on the same continent as he's from Sweden and currently lives in Oxford.
Check out the video below!
As I stand here shivering on the diving board that is the last day of 2017, I hang ten off the edge. It's almost time to make as big a splash as I can but before that happens, I'll take a breath and remember everything that 2017 had to offer.
Over the winter and for much of the spring, I struggled with a mystery illness. We still haven't pinned it all down but the worst symptoms have been medicated. If you saw me at an event and I fell on my hiney, that's why. I hope I can maintain my balance when it's most important, though. This still-mysterious illness hasn't just dumped me on my butt, it's kicked it into higher gear. If I have to put my bum in a chair, might as well write while I'm there, right?
Two amazing events bookended my summer; Awesomecon and Dragon Con. I met some of the best writers I know and learned loads from them. A Change In Crime got shortlisted for a Dragon Award and am privileged to say that I lost to Harry Turtledove himself. Maybe I'll get a rematch in 2018 with Wiser Guys. The ballot is already out, so who knows? (I nominated E.A. Copen's Beasts of Babylon in Horror, R.R. Virdi's Grave Dealings in Fantasy.)
Providence Paranormal College is a wrap. As soon as everything's polished and covered, expect book 10, Kindle bundles of books 1-5 and 6-10, and intermission short stories. I'll take a break from the PPC universe after that to work on other projects, but might go back to visit them later on.
The Doctor took a huge leap of faith in this year's Christmas Special, moving on to experience time and the universe in a completely new way. I'll leave this year with his words: Laugh hard, run fast, be kind.
Thank you for sharing some of your time with me in 2017. Now, let's all cannonball down off this diving board. It's getting cold out here.
I interviewed R.R. Virdi because he's had a ton going on since the last time. Here's the shiny new cover of book three in The Grave Report series, Grave Dealings. Read about R.R. and then check out the description below.
D.R.- You're ready to write and have your pen and paper or computer or microphone ready. What else do you need during your session?
R.R.- Music (without lyrics) really helps me focus. I'm ADHD, so the constant engagement without distracting lyrics helps me tune out other things and set a constant workflow/pattern. I prefer what some people call, "Epic music." It's bombastic, orchestral, evocative, stuff from movies, games, anime.
D.R.- Tell us about the coolest writing-related thing that's happened to you in the last month.
R.R.- New York Times best-selling author, Larry Correia, gave me these words about my writing: "His stuff's badass." Pretty encouraging stuff.
D.R.- Have you ever been so inspired by a noun (person place or thing) that you finagled it into your story?
R.R.- Oh yeah! Central Park during winter, under full snow, near night time. Ethereally gorgeous. Had to fit it into The Grave Report. So, it feautures into a nice scene in Grave Beginnings. I'd like to return to that and write it again somehow in one of my works. Truly beautiful--magical.
D.R.- If you could talk to any single person, alive or dead, for research, who would it be and what would you discuss?
R.R.- I'm a huge philosophy buff, just thinking/talking about life. I'd love to talk someone like Bruce Lee. He was a student of it, but also put his own into practice in interesting ways. Phisolophy through motion, through his life, so much more. He taught, fought, believed certain things, and loved to enlighten. All of my works touch on some personal beliefs, philosophical views about the world, things in it, people, places, monsters, and good and bad. I think I'd learn loads.
D.R.- What's the coolest fan feedback you've gotten?
R.R.- Fanart. I can't pick one, but I've been blessed to receive all manner/styles of fanart. Truly a wondrous gift and pleasure.
D.R.- If I only had time to read one of your works, which one should it be?
R.R.- I'd honestly say, Dangerous Ways. I know it's odd, what, with The Grave Report being a super success, earning rave reviews, award nominations and all, plus having more books out. But...there's something about that one. I poured my heart and soul, like I do always, into that piece too...but, there was something else. Can't put my finger on it. But in writing it, all the time it took on the draft, dreaming it up, it felt like there was more magic going into it. I can't explain it. It just...still feels ethereal to me. Would love for more people to go check it out. I plan on writing the second soon enough.
"His stuff is badass!" – New York Times bestselling author, Hugo-nominee, and two-time Dragon Award-winner, Larry Correia.
Don't make deals with the paranormal. They're better at it than you, and they never play fair.
Paranormal investigator and soul without a body, Vincent Graves, did just that—a deal made in desperation. Now it's coming back to bite him in the middle of a case.
He has 57 hours to investigate a string of deaths involving people who've made some devilish bargains. Too bad devils don't deal in good faith. It'd be easy enough, if he didn't have to deal with things such as:
Not great for a tight clock, because if he doesn't get to the bottom of this case in time, Vincent and company might just lose their souls.
Dirty deals are never done dirt cheap. And the supernatural always collect—big!
Find the whole series here.
You can follow R.R. Virdi on Facebook, Twitter, or sign up for his mailing list at his website. He's also on Patreon, where you can support him for access to advance content and other cool stuff.
It's been a long and busy year so far and I am sorry for saying I love you and then making like a ghost. That said, here's a bit of what I have been up to, in video form, from my Facebook page.
I'll be starting up Winter Writers, where I post about other people who also write books, again in December. Be on the lookout for a post about NaNoWriMo in the near future as well.
I'm going to get a little bit personal here for a second. Okay, maybe more than a second. And yes, I want to talk about love today.
People keep on writing about being a ditchable prom date; "this day isn't for me. I'm alone." Hold my beer, you idjits.
Somebody loves you, somebody cares. But everyone's an idjit some of the time. I'm an idjit, too.
Some idjits close their mouths and never say how they feel. Some look down at their empty hands instead of offering them in friendship or brotherhood. And some of these idjits try to drive Baby all the way home in reverse instead of looking forward. I've done all these things, because I'm a natural-born idjit.
You are loved. Somone cares. You are not "alone" on Valentine's Day. Idjits are all around, being their idjit selves and thinking no one cares about them because they're not out on dates or whatever.
But love isn't about dates or even figs, idjits. There are so many ways to love and be loved it's damn near idjit-iotic. Own your feelings. Embrace your inner idjit.
We're in this folly together, you know the one: the folly of assuming no one cares because the trappings aren't there. Don't let those red roses and pink ribbons snare you like you stepped in a bucket of syrup. Yes, we're all idjits. And that's what makes us human, what lets us love, and what makes us loveable.
Now get out there and tell your friends you love them. Your family, too, if you're lucky enough to have them. Here, let me start.
I love all of you idjits. You make this world better just by being in it.
Back on Halloween, I interviewed Author Madeline Dyer. She's got a shiny new cover on her book, Untamed, as well as availability on multiple platforms! Check out her interview with new updated links, or click one of the images to buy a copy.
I have a consummate artist here today. You might remember Lia from her Friendly Neighborhood Friday feature as a designer. Well, she's written a book as well and it's been released today! Read on to learn what her book's about and after that, check out her book trailer and author interview.
This is what happened when something devastating crashed into an unusual mind.
When I suffered a brain injury at the age of 19, I was not told what I had. The
world became a dreamlike haze. I was cut off from my own thoughts and memories.
Instead of receiving medical treatment, I was sent into psychotherapy. So began
a ten-year battle to recover my lost self. This memoir is a window into the
surreal internal landscape of a brain injury survivor striving to find reality
Positive thinking and pills couldn't fix me, but a bizarre and cutting-edge
field of medicine just might.
D.P.- Share a guilty pleasure with us.
L.R.- There's a snack called Wild West beef jerky which I love. It's literally just
dried meat, sweet vinegar and spices. It's insanely expensive - you get a small
scraping of it in each packet - and the texture is like chewing on leather. I
also adore sushi and huge blocks of those cheeses that smell like your feet
after two weeks' camping.
D.P.- What's your favorite song for writing?
L.R.- Ah, now you're talking. I've always loved music. My actual book is stuffed with
musical references - the chapter titles are existing song titles. (Author tip:
titles aren't copyrighted, but lyrics are!) I actually made a playlist for the
book. It's alt-rock meets electronica, rounded off with some Pink Floyd.
But "music to write to" is a very small subsection of the music category. The
current state of my brain is too befuddled to write with anything distracting in
the background, so chillout, electronica, classical and film soundtracks have
taken the place of the loud rock and raucous pop I used to love. I appreciate a
quiet, melancholy mood, interesting musical textures, and not having to get up
in the middle of work to put another album on (yes, I still think in terms of
D.P.- What's the funniest book you've read and why?
L.R.- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. People dismiss it as science fiction, but
that's the mask it wears. It's a hilarious satire on the absurdities of human
psychology and politics. Pick it up if you haven't already.
D.P.- Beach or woods?
L.R.- It's winter here in England, so I'll say the woods. My ideal place to live would
be near a deep dark forest, where a person could go at any moment to be alone
with a book. I'd spend entire nights lying under the branches, looking up at the
stars, and sleeping under the quiet trees. Obviously there'd be no wild animals
in this fantasy wood, or random dog poo.
D.P.- Which genres do you write and what's your favorite one?
L.R.- I've been a science fiction fan from the start of my reading life. Fantasy can
be amazing too, but I'm allergic to epic good-versus-evil and pseudo-medieval
settings, and it's a little difficult to avoid those in fantasy. Once I fix my
brain, I have a science fantasy trilogy to write: The City That Dreamed. The
heroine, Beth, lives in a futuristic city where humans mingle with creatures
spawned from the imagination. Searching for her missing sister, she uncovers a
religious conspiracy and starts to learn the secrets of the city. The idea was
born during my aimless wanderings and inspired by the surreal sensations and
rootless nature of the post-brain injury world.
D.P.- Tell us about your plans or ideas for the future.
L.R.- There's this idea for a concept album called Infinity Mirror. It would be my
musings on individual freedom and human potential. The title is inspired by
those beautiful, cleverly designed mirrors that reflect an endless series of
lights into the distance. That's the way I see personality and culture - a long
chain of reflections and projections bouncing off each other, with the
impossibility of finding anything fixed and true. But no less beautiful for
I won't completely abandon the subject of brains. There'll also be "Normal Is
Irrelevant: The High IQ Brain Injury Book", about what exactly happens when
people of above-average intelligence suffer brain injuries. There's a serious
need for this book. I've seen it in the community, and when I mention the idea
people say "Write it NOW". Ideally, it should be written by a rehabilitation
professional - someone with qualifications and years of knowledge in the field.
But if anyone's writing it they certainly haven't told me, so I'm taking up the
challenge. It'll be more journalistic and less "memoirish" than the one I've
D.P.- Breakfast, brunch, or lunch?
L.R.- Lunch. I like it so much that I also eat it at breakfast time. Cereal? What's
OMG, I have a Dragon Award Nominee on my blog! This is amazeballs! His hair is bigger and more awesome than mine. And what better interviewee for Winter Writers than a guy who has just released book one in a series called The Books of Winter? No better, that's what! Okay, so here's a bit about Mr. Virdi for those who don't already know.
R.R. Virdi is the Dragon Award—Nominated author of The Grave Report, a paranormal investigator series set in the great state of New York. He has worked in the automotive industry as a mechanic, retail, and in the custom gaming computer world. He's an avid car nut with a special love for American classics.
There are rumors that he wanders the streets of his neighborhood in the dead of night dressed in a Jedi robe and teal fuzzy slippers, no one knows why. Other such rumors mention how he is a professional hair whisperer in his spare time. We don’t know what that is either.
You can sign up as a minion and read stories at R.R. Virdi's website, and follow him on Twitter.
D.P- What's your favorite song for writing?
R.V.- I don’t listen to songs per say while writing. I listen to music without lyrics.
D.P- Do you have a writing routine?
R.V.- I used, I need it back again. My life has been abhorrently disruptive of late. I used to write 2k a day without a break.
D.P- Beach or woods?
D.P- Coffee or tea or something else?
D.P- Share a guilty pleasure with us.
R.V.- I like lying down to day dream a lot.
D.P- Cake or pie?
D.P- Breakfast, brunch, or lunch?
D.P- Who is your favorite TV or movie character and why?
R.V.- TV, animated batman, or, John Constantine. Movie, I honestly don’t know. And, why? Because animated batman...nuff said.
D.P- Who is your favorite character of all time and why?
R.V.- Batman. He’s a normal man who’s pushed himself to be the absolute best. Speaks dozens of languages, mastered so many martial arts, is a genius level person and a polymath having studied nearly every discipline known to man.
D.P- What's the scariest thing your villain of choice has done?
R.V.- Clichéd, but, trying to end the world. Think about that for a second and what it entails. It’s comical because of how much it’s been done...but trying to end all life on the Earth!? That’s terrifying and cold.
D.P- What's the funniest book you've read and why?
R.V.- Spiderman comics.
D.P- What's the food or drink you always tell other people to try?
R.V.- Bubble tea, taro slush with bobba
D.P- What book do you recommend the most?
R.V.- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
D.P- Where is the one place you think everyone should go?
R.V.- To bed ;)
D.P- Who is one person you'd like to meet from any point in history and why?
R.V.- Tesla, honestly, I don’t know why, I just do.
D.P- Which genres do you write and what's your favorite one?
R.V.- I write most genre fiction, but urban fantasy is my favorite.
D.P- What do you do if you see your idea has already been done?
R.V.- Do it anyways. No one can do it like you can.
D.P- What's the best advice you've gotten about writing?
R.V.- Write anyways.
D.P- Tell us about your plans or ideas for a new-to-you genre in the future.
R.V.- Finish my current novel. At the moment my life’s so stressing I can’t think past that.
R.R. Virdi has a YouTube channel where he talks about writing, does what we like to call "the motivates." and plays video games. Here he is unboxing the hardcover version of Dangerous Ways!
Today we have another Winter Writer, Daniela! She has a lovely Instagram, an excellent blog, and a book, of course! Here's a bit about her.
"Fiction and well-being writer. Author of Loveandpizza.it, Founder of "The Writing Shed", the "go to" online magazine for women searching for wellbeing, empowerment, and to regain their self-esteem and confidence. Avid reader of chick lit, crime and historical novels. Amateur photographer. Believes that writing can help heal broken hearts, build up self-esteem, and empower people."
D.P.- What's your favorite song for writing?
D.P-A.- It depends on the part of the story I’m writing. When I wrote “Loveandpizza.it”, I created a playlist with Italian songs that would put myself back in Napoli, and set the mood to the love stories, and mishaps, and also the tense parts. When I am writing my courses or articles for The Writing Shed Magazine, I like to listen to classical music or country music ballads.
D.P.- Do you have a writing routine?
D.P-A.- Not really, as I work full time and only have evenings and weekends to write. But when I sit down to write, I forget about the world. My husband usually says that “I’m in the zone”, and that the world could fall apart around me and I wouldn’t notice.
D.P.- Dancing or singing?
D.P-A.- I love both, but I guess I sing more than I dance. I love music and I’ll sing along (and loud!) to the ones I like, even if I get all the lyrics wrong.
D.P.- Beach or woods?
D.P-A.- Definitely the beach. I am an ocean lover! Everything about beaches fascinates me. When it’s sunny, when there’s a storm, rough or calm sea. I just love it. The sound of the waves breaking at the shore, the salty smells. That’s why a house at the beach, where my writing space would have a panoramic view of the ocean, with a golden retriever by my feet while I write, is my ideal place to live!
D.P.- Coffee or tea or something else?
D.P-A.- Coffee. Always. Although I won’t say no to a gingerbread latte, or a glass or two (or three, or four) of Baileys!
D.P.- Share a guilty pleasure with us.
D.P-A.- I’ve recently finished a Gilmore Girls Netflix marathon!
D.P.- Who is your favorite TV or movie character and why?
D.P-A.- Alicia Florrick (The Good Wife). She’s an amazing character, and I believe has so much to offer in terms of the “model” of a chick lit heroine. She has so much to teach women about resilience, and focusing on her goals and keeping to her values, all while being a good mum and a good professional.
D.P.- What book do you recommend the most?
“D.P-A.- Tuesdays with Morrie”, by Mitch Albom. This book was the first book I read as “self-development“ material. My father recommended the film, and I found out about the book later on. Morrie’s lessons touched me deeply and made me aware of things about myself I never knew existed. Feelings, fears, love for some people that had gone way too long unshown. This is a book I usually buy people as a gift. :)
D.P.- How do you get ideas for stories?
D.P-A.- I tend to get ideas from my surroundings. People I meet, situations I am a spectator of. Sometimes things in my own life. I don’t write as if it were me, because that would be too tacky, but I find a character straight away that could relate, and react and develop even the tiny situation into a funny short story or a novel. My next novel, which I’m writing at the moment, was inspired on the fact that one day, tired of feeling down, I went and bought a sewing machine by impulse, so I could make pretty things. I guess I went as far as four cushions and a pair of curtains for our bathroom!
D.P.- What's the best advice you've gotten about writing?
D.P-A.- I can’t remember where I read it, but it stuck with me: keep writing, no matter what. While writing my first novel, there was a long period when I just couldn’t think about what to write. I literally put the half-finished thing aside. It wasn’t until I did NaNoWriMo, in 2015, that I brought it back to life. I guess that the “pressure” of writing 50,000 words in a month gave me that emergency of finishing in a way that I’d be happy to call it a “complete first draft”. From then on, you became much easier. I edited it myself, and sent it to my beta readers. It was a lot of hard work, but the novel was finally published on 13th February 2016, exactly three years after my mother passed away, as I had wanted to pay a homage to her with my first published novel.
D.R. Perry's books on Goodreads
Bearly Awake (Providence Paranormal College, #1)
ratings: 98 (avg rating 4.18)
Fangs for the Memories (Providence Paranormal College, #2)
ratings: 30 (avg rating 4.33)
Of Wolf and Peace (Providence Paranormal College, #3)
ratings: 21 (avg rating 4.33)
Dragon My Heart Around (Providence Paranormal College, #4)
ratings: 20 (avg rating 4.20)
A Change In Crime: A Supernatural Depression-Era Thriller (La Famiglia di Mostri, #1)
ratings: 14 (avg rating 4.43)