Mercedes Fox ~ Author

My Writing Blog

Tag: dystopian (Page 1 of 2)

Meet Author M. J. Lau

Halo! Welcome to Interview FoxSeat with guest author M. J. Lau

M.J. Lau was born and raised in York, PA. He has spent much of his adult life pursuing his dual goals of being a teacher and an author. He has been teaching English in Lancaster County for the past five years and is now an author with the publication of his first novel, The Buried Few.

Book sample:  The Buried Few

Genre: Science Fiction/Dystopian

Synopsis: Imagine a future where over-ambitious wars leave a generation of Americans without parents. Imagine the remaining citizens doing their best to raise grandchildren, cousins, or neighbors as their own. Imagine every child being overseen by the government, a paper trail following them from birth to adoption and beyond.

Now imagine being involved in none of that… until you find a baby, abandoned but alive, in a park. Daniel Allingham, a computer security specialist, is faced with just such a decision. Despite his efforts to wash his hands of the whole problem, he finds himself — and those close to him — further and further entrenched in a struggle against a relentless government agent.

While the personal, technological, and political issues grow more and more complex, the heart of the matter remains deceptively simple: a child, a man, and the lengths to which he’d go to set one thing right in a world of wrong.

Excerpt:  CHAPTER 1:  Lost and Found

“There you are…”

Three hours of staring at a screen and Daniel had finally isolated it: the bug in the code that kept letting government info leech out to some foreign server.  He worked up a patch in a few moments, but sent a dozen of his latest beneviruses through before sealing the wound; they would track the stolen data and turn it into jumbled pictures of kittens.  Daniel wanted to smile at himself for that, but he was still salty about there being a hole in the first place.  He had built that firewall only six months ago, and someone already managed to batter their way through it.

His head felt hot.  He rubbed the back of his neck, and his hand wandered instinctively to the tiny nodule behind his ear.  Was that bump always there?  Was it something vital, like a lymph node or a salivary gland or a Eustachian tube?  (Is that even in the ear area? He’d have to Wiki that.)  He wanted to avoid thoughts like tumor or clot, but the more he tried to keep those ideas away, the more they teased the fringes of his mind.  Whatever it was, it stirred up something deep and heavy inside him, but he couldn’t put it into words.  Or rather, he couldn’t condense it down from the thousands of words that ricocheted around his head any time he tried to make sense of it.

When Daniel first noticed the lump a few days ago, the droning of his office suddenly became muted.  The buzz and clack of computers faded out, his co-workers pantomiming conversations.  He turned his head and thought he heard the faintest sound, like when it’s so quiet your ears catch something on the farthest horizon of noise, and you wonder if you heard your name, or if someone just breathed too loud, or if there was really any sound at all.

He snapped back to the moment, scanning the dim, cavernous office area again, the blank faces of a hundred computer screens staring back at him.  Only his nondescript corner was faintly luminous, the soft blue light glowing like a child’s tablet under a sheet.  He shook his head in annoyance at himself; he knew no one else was there now. The noise was in his mind.  He had to stay focused on his work.  And what exciting work it was: improving network security for every business bigger than a car wash.  It paid all right, and he had enough rank to have some flexibility about where and when he did his work, but still, the day-to-day of it was hardly stimulating mentally.

At least he knew he would always have a job – everyone wanted more and more virtual safety measures, from the government to grocery stores.  Normally he just crunched code and collected the paycheck, regardless of the client, but this job was different.  When he was tasked with improving the encryption for the local Collection Agency, he was torn about mentioning a conflict of interest.  The rules didn’t outright say he shouldn’t do the job, and he figured half the guys in the department would be equally conflicted, so it might as well be him.  Besides, he wasn’t supposed to be anywhere near the client records, so there wasn’t a legitimate reason to recuse himself.  Still, how could he resist a quick glance at his own info?  It wasn’t like he’d see anything he didn’t already have a right to know.

OK…this should only take a second.  He searched for his data number, and his screen became filled with dates, contributions, regular selections.  He was due for another contribution any day now; better this way than the alternative, he figured.  What a humiliating situation: a year ago, his whole life seemed to be right on track.  Now he found himself stuck in this program, probably forever.  At least he had the career he wanted, even if it meant working on things like this every once in a while that reminded him of –

A vibration shot up his thigh, spurring him to his feet.  Prickling with sweat, he retrieved his phone from his pocket and checked the message: “First Saturday Creator Mixer – Heywood Resort 9p-2a.  Drinks, DJ, Prizes – Guaranteed Connect!  Register ASAP!” His thumb declined the offer.

Exhaling, Daniel laughed at himself and put his fingers under his glasses to rub his eyes.  He needed to get away from all this.  He smoothed the hair down at the base of his neck, consciously stopping himself from feeling for the lump, which of course made him think about it and set the thought-storm churning again.  Weary and irked, he shut his computer down, slid his papers in his courier bag, and took the long walk down to the lobby.  The guards down front weren’t in their usual sociable mood when they did their standard security checks, and Daniel wasn’t much up for banter either, so they all just slogged through the motions.

Stepping outside, Daniel paused for a moment to let his eyes adjust to the brightness.  Daylight always made him self-conscious; he was hoping it would be dark by the time he left work.  Daniel sported the stooped frame, undefined midsection, and sallow complexion requisite for his field.  His black-rimmed glasses were fashionably retro, and his only nod to nonconformity was his lip ring, along with everyone else.

His lenses darkened after thirty seconds, but the sun still glowered faintly behind the tree line of Mordecai Park.  The fields and playgrounds across the street seemed like a distant world, a place forgotten behind the sea of concrete and waves of driverless cars before him.  He stepped up to the curb and summoned a vehicle to pick him up.  When he felt the warm afternoon breeze, though, Daniel decided to forgo the ride and reacquaint himself with an old habit.  It had been months since he’d taken that shaded path through the park, back when he took walks all the time with–

“Excuse me, could you hold this?” a woman asked, holding a large bag up to his chest.

Daniel looked over the heavily burdened woman, and then shook his head into the present.  “Of course, yeah,” he said, gripping the handles.  “Oh, I didn’t–” he cleared his throat.  “Go ahead,” he said, gesturing toward the waiting car.

He felt deeply relieved to have his hands occupied, because he felt completely awkward standing there, watching this woman slowly positioned her very pregnant person, one angle at a time, near, beside, and then into the idling vehicle.  He tried not to stare at her red cheeks, the strain on her face, her quick breathing.  She waggled her fingers at him.  His heart raced.  He forced a smile: “No, thank you, I’m walking.”

“My bag?”

His membership to self-contempt renewed itself.  “Right.  Sorry,” he said, handing her the bag and then closing the door for her.   He waved to her to complete the awkwardness trifecta.

He drove his fists into his pockets and crossed the street hurriedly, then replayed the last two minutes over and over in his head a few times.  He was never a distracted person before, but ever since he lost Renee… no, he wasn’t going to bring that up again.  Just push that thought to the back of your mind, Daniel.  Right back there by that weird lump – he sighed heavily.  He was not going to win this battle.

Not that he would truly put Renee out of his head if he wanted to – that’s probably why his jerk brain kept bringing her to the surface.  Still, he asked himself, what was the point?  What conversation could he ever have with her that he hadn’t had a hundred times already, just like this?  It seemed strange that he could still have so much to say to her, after how much talking they’d done on evenings just like this, strolling through the park, or eating dinner at home, or fighting after he washed her dry-clean-only jacket.  He laughed in spite of himself.  During better times, he would consider that a sign of their bond; now such thoughts were fresh lye in old wounds.

As the path began to slope up, the sounds from the playground began to carry from the top of the hill ahead.  Daniel looked up and saw children running around in the distance, little creatures climbing and tumbling and laughing.  Daniel thought of the crowds of parents inevitably watching soccer matches and couples cozied up on benches just over the hill.  He decided to cut left through the woods to avoid even the possibility of such sights.

Suddenly, a series of beeps resonated from his pocket.  Daniel pulled out his phone and automatically punched in his data number.  His SafCom app indicated that he wasn’t taking his usual route home and offered to redirect him.  He entered his override code and set the maximum delay – fifteen minutes – before it would check for his coordinates again.  He rolled his eyes at the need for such safety precautions, but felt comforted that someone, if only a device, showed concern for his whereabouts.  They had a joke at the office: If you ever felt like no one cared about you, just let your SafCom warnings go unanswered.

He ambled down the path into the thickest part of the woods – or as close to woods as you can get in downtown San Francisco.  Once he reached a fully shaded stretch, Daniel felt a surge of relief.  A faint dampness eased around him, and the cooler air loosened his muscles.  He began to remember why he used to love coming to the park in the first place – the daily walks always unknotted the worries of the day, and the sight of other people, even from far away, used to make him feel less alone.

Around the towering trees he felt so small, like he was a boy again, and more than once he let his boyishness possess his gait as he wandered around the trees.  Once fall came, he would gather a small pile of leaves with scuffing footsteps until his shoes were buried, and he would pretend he was a tree growing out of the ground, ageless and wise, unable to be uprooted.  Lost in the daydream, he only vaguely remembered a world going on outside the surrounding trees.  Everything beyond a few feet seemed muted in a calm and timeless way.  Muted?  Daniel thought.  Wait a minute… where did all the sounds go?

His eyes searched their peripheries.  His fingers fluttered at his sides.  He didn’t even hear his inner monologue.  Slowly cocking his head to the side, he tried to pick up the distant trills of children’s laughter and stock encouragements from half-attentive parents, rhythmic jogging banter and the quarrelsome tittering of birds.  Instead, he heard only the faint keening of silence, like a TV left on with nothing on the screen.

He looked up at the trees arching above him.  The breeze that had been stirring the branches faded.  The subtle chafing of the foliage had stopped.  The sun knifed around the thick limb above him, streaking out at angles but somehow still stinging his eyes.  He raised his hand reflexively, stepping back into the crunch of leaves behind him.  The sound startled him, but then just as quickly calmed him, since he momentarily feared he had gone deaf.

He looked down at the leaves enveloping his shoe, and he smiled to himself unconsciously.  He kept his foot planted there a lingering moment, admiring now the stillness of the air, and enjoying the embrace of the quiet woods.

Just then, Daniel heard a faint noise, like a stifled cry.  He paused and looked toward the sound, but saw only trees, leaves, grass.  A breeze moving through branches.  Maybe a kid fell at the playground.  He shrugged it off.

The lilt of a birdsong drifted through the air as Daniel resumed walking.  After a few steps, he heard it again: a half-whimper pierced the silence, sounding closer than before.  Daniel held his breath.  Waited.  Nothing.  The quiet clutched at his chest—where was the sound?  He looked uphill through the trees toward the clearing; he could make out people flying kites and walking in twos and reading on benches, only they seemed farther away than before.  Much too far to match the nearness of that last quivering whine.

Daniel swallowed hard.  He stepped off the path, toward the noise.  He reached a clearing where a breach in the canopy let some light filter down to the thin underbrush.

A choked gasp.  He froze.  From seemingly nowhere, he heard a staggered sob—the unmistakable staccato cry of an infant.

That was not some voice, he told himself.  That was not in your head.  Daniel’s skin tingled, and the cool air made his throbbing skull ache.  He heard a struggling breath, and a longer, more ardent wail.  His heart began to hammer in his chest.  He looked around, but nothing was close enough to match the intensity of the sound.

Hunched over, Daniel crept across the clearing, feeling completely ridiculous.  Another cry rose up, higher pitch and nearer yet.  He shuffled his feet violently through some leaves, thick around the nearby trees, but turned up nothing.  The sobbing gained momentum now, muffled but steady.  Every way Daniel looked or moved, the crying grew closer, more impassioned.  The gasps came in ragged pulls.  The silences between stabbed deeper at him every time.

Sliding to a stop, Daniel could now feel the ground beneath him trembling with the forcefulness of the crying.  He unslung his bag and fell to his knees.  Clutching at leaves in wild fistfuls, he cleared the ground and clawed at the dying grass and damp loam near the foot of a towering birch tree.  The crying sounded so close it seemed on top of him.  Or that he was on top of it.

Raking at the soil with his fingers, he created a few shallow furrows in the dirt.  He soon formed a hole, gouging at the earth with each shuddering cry.  He worked on widening the fist-sized hole, scratching against the edges.  He caught a fingernail on a hair-thin root, tearing the nail half off his middle finger.

He cursed through gritted teeth, shaking his left hand vainly to dispel the pain.  He clamped his hand against his right side with his arm, his mind racing.  Another SafCom warning beeped from his pants, trilling relentlessly this time.  He fumbled for his pocket, grasping clumsily for the edges of his phone.  Another cry shook the ground at his knees. The phone fell free from his side, and he tried frantically to enter his code with his off-hand.  He failed twice, sending the beeps up several octaves.  Panicking, he ripped the battery off the back and tossed the parts aside.

The cries continued, but he was barely getting anywhere.  He needed to dig faster.  He rifled awkwardly through his bag for something he could use.  What was he going to dig with, his laptop?  A highlighter?  He threw the bag aside in frustration.  It landed near a mossy log, where he then spotted a sturdy, pointed stick.  Daniel seized it and began hacking at the ground.  The edges grew by choppy degrees, now as wide as a cabbage, now as deep as his forearm.

Must. Dig. Faster.

One vicious swing struck at an awkward angle. Daniel pitched forward and quickly caught himself.  He stopped for a second, trembling from his frenzied state.  He didn’t hear anything coming from the ground now.  What if I gouged too hard and hurt whatever was crying?  he thought.  Wait… do I really think something is underground?

He held his breath a moment.  He wanted to make sure the wailing hadn’t stopped.  That he wasn’t hearing it just because it was etched in his thoughts.  Just then, a quaking breath was drawn, and a desperate shriek reverberated up through the hole.  Daniel threw the stick aside and dug back in with his hands, unflinching as more soil went black with his blood from every scoop.

Soon the dirt began to feel looser beneath his fingers.  He clawed across the bottom of the elbow-deep hole, and the rich, dark soil moved in telling clumps, as if there were space just beneath.  Daniel forced his fingers through like a blade and drew back a mass of loose earth, the ground breaking all around his hand into a small cavity below.

He looked into the dim opening, straining to make out its secrets.  Nestled in the black and crumbling recess beneath the tree, it was just barely visible—pink, warm, and impossibly alive:  a naked and utterly transfixed baby boy.

Why do you write? I write for many of the same reasons as everyone else – to get something off my chest, to organize my thoughts, to explain, to entertain.  I’m a teacher, so I write a lot for my job, and I try to impress upon my students that writing is a life skill, not a specialized art that only a select few people actually perform.  Ultimately, I am most driven to write because writing helps me feel like I matter, like I have a voice, and that I can make an impression on the world if I just put my thoughts out there and connect with others through my stories.

When did you decide to become a writer?  I’ve thought about being a writer since I was about 14, when my high school English teachers started to notice I had some talent with words and encouraged my creative flourishes, however misguided, when I wrote for school.  I wrote for fun, too, but mostly for my own amusement, like comics about my day.  Once, I wrote – and attempted to film – a movie with a friend right after graduating high school, but we never completed it.  In college, I wrote several short stories, poems, and even a historical research article that were all published; several poems won prizes, and I earned a writing scholarship for my academic work.  So the thought of becoming a writer has been bouncing around my head for about twenty years, but only recently did I actually decide to commit to becoming a writer rather than just thinking it would always be some unfulfilled dream.

How long does it usually take you to complete a book?  Considering that I’ve only completed one book, and it took me five years (off and on) to do so, my average isn’t looking very impressive right now!  I do have several other novels started, though, and I project that I will finish my second book within a year, and perhaps produce more books at a roughly annual rate.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just seeing where an idea takes you?  My stories usually start out when I get an idea and just start running with it.  I eventually hit a point where I either lose steam or realize the story needs more coherence for me to continue.  That’s when I start mapping out the plot and trying to connect the random dots I sketched out.  I’m frequently surprised by how I manage to tie together various scenes or concepts that weren’t necessarily related initially.

Do you design your own book covers or have someone else? If you use someone else would you tell us who/website? I used Fiverr.com to find a graphic designer for my book cover.  I went with a woman named Angie (pro_ebookcovers) who had a lot of positive reviews and reasonable pricing.  I gave her my “vision”, chose the images I wanted her to incorporate, and provided examples of existing book covers that captured the general style I was going for.  She was very accommodating, did as many revisions as I asked for, and produced all the files I need for the print book and the Kindle edition.  It was a very fun process!

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?  Yes – read this article by Hugh Howey: http://amazonauthorinsights.com/post/154821781295/so-you-want-to-be-a-writer-by-hugh-howey?ref_=ac_bl_hh.

What is the hardest thing about writing?  Finding the time!  I did have moments when I wasn’t sure how to wrap up a scene or plot thread, but mostly I just had too many other priorities demanding my attention.  I’ve learned to make time for the important things, and writing (usually) makes the “important things” list.

What is your favorite movie or TV show?  I don’t have a specific favorite movie, but some of my favorites include Fight Club, The Departed, The Big Lebowski, and The Princess Bride.  My favorite TV show is LOST.  The writing was phenomenal (for the first five seasons, anyway)!

Which writers inspire you?  My favorite current authors are Michael Chabon, Dave Eggers, and Junot Diaz.  Shakespeare will always be the greatest, in my mind.

You mentioned you’re writing a new story. How about a teaser?  My next novel will be part of a fantasy series.  It involves a family that has magic in a recently conquered empire where magic-users are now being hunted down.  I also recently started drafting a book with my son, based on this really interesting plot we developed during a car ride.  We were batting around the idea of kids being trapped in a video game, which they enjoy at first, but then realize they can’t escape!

If your book were made into a movie, whom would you cast?  Great question!  When I was writing this book, I often saw it in my head as a movie, so I think about this frequently.  My gut answer is that I’d prefer to have mostly unknown actors and actresses, based on their fit for the role rather than on star power.  But, just so future casting agents have a general idea, here are some suggestions: Daniel would be played by John Cho (of “Harold and Kumar” fame).  Gozzum would be Mahershala Ali.  I would really want to get the female roles right, because they’re the most interesting, in my opinion; Renee would be someone cool and edgy like Cameron Esposito.  I’d like to see if Q’orianka Kilcher could handle the intensity of Tenebre.

What one person from history would you like to meet and why? I am a HUGE history fan, so this is a question I ponder a lot.  I tend to lean toward the obvious – Julius Caesar, Jesus, Shakespeare – but whenever I hear about some unfamiliar historic event, I usually want to go back there meet the people involved.  Recently, I’ve wanted to meet Enrique of Malacca, Magellan’s slave during his circumnavigation of the globe.  Magellan gets all the credit for sailing around the world, but it’s arguable that Enrique crossed every line of longitude (i.e. circled the globe) before the end of the voyage.  Either way, he traveled to exotic places and saw so many lands unspoiled by modernity – just hearing about his experiences would be incredible.

If there was one thing you could do to change the world, what would it be?  End global warming so there’s still a world for my future grandchildren to enjoy.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?  Is there any living writer who doesn’t wish they had come up with Harry Potter?

What is one great lesson you have learned as a writer?  You have to make time to write.  Nobody is going to carve out that time for you – you have to do it for yourself.

What are some of your favorite books and why?  My favorite books include The Catcher in the Rye, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, and A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.  The main quality they all have in common is a unique, dynamic voice.  Each book is instantly convincing, and spellbinding the whole way through.

Tell us something unique about you.  I’ve moved more than anyone I know… 26 times!

Is there anything else you’d like to add?  Yes – thank you for taking this time to interview me.  Authors need to support each other, and I appreciate you helping me reach new readers!

There ya have it folks! Many thanks MJ for coming by! For more about MJ, his work, and to get yourself a copy, follow the links below:

Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Amazon

Book Review: The Gates by Iain Rob Wright

This is my first book by Mr. Wright and I must say I truly enjoyed it and have already placed my order for the next one. I had no trouble loving all the characters and really getting in their skin. The story moves along at a good clip but you are never left behind. This was a nice different read on the end of the world. This is story (very similar) my very religious Grandparents told me about. Makes you really consider is your soul safe…

I’m giving it 4 stars out of 5 because of the physical book and the Kindle edition. I have them both and when I read I like to read the actual book during daylight and then for night time reading I use my iPad. The physical book ends on page 337, the Kindle edition has a few more chapters introducing new characters to the story. The physical book wasn’t formatted correctly. I too am indie author and making sure your paperback looks professional is important. This did not. The justification and word wrap as well as font changes from top to bottoms of pages make it look elementary. The Kindle edition about 300 pages in is as if the editing stopped. Spelling errors, extra words, etc. were everywhere.

No doubt Mr. Wright is an AWESOME horror author, but I’m not thrilled with the publishing and differences between the two books. They were rushed and new editions were pushed out without edits only for one format.

Meet Author HP Caledon

Hello lovelies! Welcome to Interview FoxSeat with guest author HP Caledon

HP Caledon drinks way too much coffee, reads way too much diverse stuff to be called focused, and is an undecided DC/Marvel fan. He’s a blacksmith by trade, and he loves muscle cars, bacon, and archery. And he collects coffee mugs—the weirder the better.

As an author, HP likes writing action, antiheroes, and the impossible. He also likes delving into the psychological aspects of what being human means. Or alien, for that matter. What drives us? What drives them?

HP Caledon is a trans male. His connection with LGBTQ reflects in his writing. Love is love, and though romance is not in focus in his writing, it is part of living. Therefore, all possible pairings and identities will be found in his writing.

Check out this sample:  Learning the Hard Way is a space opera thriller series taking place in a slightly dystopian future. Mike T. Matthews is a mercenary who collects the big bounties for the law. Keelan Hunter is a mass murderer with an odd set of morals.

In book one, the two men end up as cell mates on a prison planet called Delta Zeich. Power games keep the prisoner’s occupied, and both Mike and Keelan end up caught in the web of one of the most powerful inmates there.

The series follows the two men and their odd friendship, and it looks into trust on the shadowy side of existence.

Small unedited excerpt: The others teased me too when I was released at the age of twenty-one. A few months later I was back on Verion four and back behind bars. Problems seemed to be my only companion through life, and since I hadn’t learned anything useful about the society I was supposed to be a part of it just went downhill from day one.

I don’t even understand why society expects us to try. It never let me feel like I belonged anywhere else—as anything other than something that can be discarded, used as a slave, or is supposed to be behind bars.

Even the rules are different depending on which side of the bars you’re on, so how can they expect me to play by their rules when the only rules they taught me were the ones that allowed me to survive behind the bars?

A couple of fights on the streets and someone died…again. That wasn’t part of their rules so I got send here.

Delta Zeich.

Here it’s allowed to fight and kill each other. Actually it’s demanded if you don’t want to go out feet first and up some chimney or get stuffed in a hole with no name.

At least I’m good at fighting. So good that everybody knows. So good that I don’t have to fight…often.

Learning the Hard Way #2 releases April 7, 2017

If you use a Pen Name why did you choose it?  I write different genres and I choose different names so that my readers won’t have certain expectations when picking up a book. Under this name, I write space opera and crime thriller. Under another name I write gay paranormal and gay erotica. Like, really steamy stuff. It’s a fun vent, and definitely necessary to keep separated.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just seeing where an idea takes you?  A bit of both. First, I usually start out with getting to know the characters and the world by letting them take the helm. I often do this in short stories. Once I’ve gotten a solid feel for the world and characters (somewhere through the first draft) I structure it by developing the plot. I usually write more than one book at a time in a series so that I can streamline details, hints, and character developments.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he do that is so special?  In Learning the Hard Way #2, the POV holder is a mass murderer named Keelan. He’s a really interesting person to dig into because he’s bound by a moral code that sometimes clinches with his life. I love writing anti heroes, and I love playing about with the notions what makes a person good or bad.

Who is your favorite character in your book and why?  Keelan is one of my all time favorites. Other than him, I write a physician named the Physician. He came about as a spelling mistake. Once I’d accidentally capitalized his title to maybe differentiate him from the other physicians, I figured it would be easy to do a “search and replace” once I’d come up with his name, but five pages further in, he took form and evolved to be named the Physician. He’s a mystery, and he’s an evil son of a bitch. Yet I’ve heard that some readers like him.

Do you have any formal education in creative writing? If not are you planning to go to school?  Not formal as in with a diploma, but two established authors took me under their wing back in 2006 and spent the next two years thoroughly teaching me everything they knew. I spent the next many years working with other authors and learned from editors, but it’s not formal. The Danish market is a bit different from the English, though, and you can’t learn that at a school, anyway. It took me a few years, and I read over a hundred books a year to develop my vocabulary and the necessary writing skills to publish in a second language. I didn’t go to school to learn English, either because that level would take 5 years with a pay so small that I wouldn’t be able to provide for my family. So I spent double that time with a fulltime job on the side, and things have worked out. I’m still learning, though.

What is your next project? After Learning the Hard Way series is done, I have a new series in the same universe just set eight years later. It’s called “Evolution – Full Circle”, and I just contracted it with my publisher, Devine Destinies. Some of the secondary characters from Learning the Hard Way will be main characters, and a lot of new ones will be introduced, too. I’m still playing around with the blurb, but the title of the first is “Prodigal son of Balatana”.

If there was one thing you could do to change the world, what would it be?  Inhibit ignorance and promote tolerance. I think that would be important in order to leave a better world for the next generation.

What is one great lesson you have learned as a writer?  That the world isn’t black and white, and that we can’t look at people and how the world works as absolutistic as we sometimes do. Having to delve into characters and understand them and the reasons behind why they are the way they are gave a unique insight into all we hide for various reasons. It has taught me not to expect people to be someone in particular because their person is made up of many more parameters than I can even fathom. It made me a patient and curious person who’s no longer quick to judge others.

Do have a favorite car or truck model?  1963 Buick Riviera, and one day I’m going to have that beauty in my garage! I’ve sworn that since I was about twenty. I’m still too poor to see that dream through, though.

Do you ever feel self-conscious when writing love/sex scenes?  The first one, yeah, I was self-conscious about it because I realized people were going to read it. It pushed me to try different writing styles to grow as an author, and one of those writing challenges became a series now on six books, each around 105.000 words. I’ve since then moved it up a notch and written some pretty raunchy stuff, which is why I have two pen names, and HP Caledon is the no-graphic-sex name.

What are some of your favorite books and why?  The Logan McRay series by Stuart MacBride and the Myron Bolitar series by Harlan Coben are my all-time favorites. They’re on the re-read whenever shelf.

What do you think of traditional publishing vs. self-publishing?  I think they each hold potential. I write under two pseudonyms and both are contracted with traditional publishers, but I am self-publishing a series because I wanted the insight into the business and all the little details that needs to be taken care of. The editor on my self-published books is also the editor my publisher uses on my other books, so the quality is pretty consistent. And quality might be the really touchy subject regarding self-publishing, because some either don’t have the money for a professional editor, or they don’t think it’s necessary—maybe from lack of experience in the business. But self-publishing also makes for stories that wouldn’t otherwise have seen the day of light. It can be niche speculative fiction that no traditional publisher would have dared publish, yet self-publishing platforms allows us that insight without having to go through a strictly monetary gate-keeper system. And I like reading those kinds of books. I like reading and thinking outside the box.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?  They’re more than welcome to reach out to me on Facebook or on Goodreads. I’m a pretty easy going guy, and I like talking to people. Especially my readers.

There ya have it folks! For more about HP Caledon and his work, follow the links below:

Website / Publisher / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Amazon / Smashwords

Meet Author Raita Jauhiainen

Hello my lovelies! Welcome to Interview FoxSeat with author Raita Jauhiainen

Raita Jauhiainen is the author of the Alliance.125 book series. She is an independent author who writes both in English and Finnish. The first books in the Alliance.125 series have received accolades in both the United States and Europe. Ms. Jauhiainen lives currently in Helsinki, Finland.

Book sample: [EXPLANATORY REMARK: The following answers will cover the first part of the Alliance.125 book series, which is something very different: each part of the series is published as two books. The two books constituting the first part are “Hirunda: The First Book” and “Terra Unionia: The First Book” (See the image below).]

Name: Alliance.125
Genre: sci-fi, dystopian.
Earth is deeply wounded by the Great War. Vast areas between the equator and the two tropics are uninhabitable due to a125thefirstonesdesertification, environmental toxins and extreme weather. Mankind is, however, living in an era of progress and peace in the ten world cities.

Despite of peace, there is still a border somewhere separating people from each other. This border is closed and concealed, and therefore crossing it is forbidden. Alliance.125 tells the story of eight people who unexpectedly meet each other on the border. This secret and dangerous encounter changes not only their lives, but also the world around them.

Why do you write?  I write for two reasons. First, I write for my love for speculative fiction. Second, by writing I gain understanding of the world we live in, which can be at times quite confusing.

When did you decide to become a writer?  It was already an option for me when I was six years old, even though at that age I didn’t quite understand what being a writer would entail.

How long does it usually take you to complete a book?  It depends on how much time I can spend writing per day, and how complete the story is in my head before the typing begins. Approximately it takes a year for me to complete a book, yet in winter 2015-2016 I wrote and edited a full-length novel manuscript in only 2.5 months.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?  For the longest time I thought I would never have the patience, nor the skills to complete a novel. One day I got over these assumptions and decided to give it a try. I was 22-23 years old at the time, and what triggered me to reconsider giving writing a try was a realization that I missed something else in my life besides of my studies.

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?  I am an early bird through and through, so I’m definitely most productive during mornings. During my active writing periods I start to write almost immediately when I wake up. I also run during mornings and these runs are an opportunity for me to rethink my story and evaluate what I have already written.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?  I think I have evolved tremendously since my first full-length novel manuscript. More your write (and read!), more creative you become.

Do you listen to music or watch TV/movie while you write?  No, I prefer writing in silence. But when I construct the overall plot music usually helps me to visualize. Music also sets the mood and I often have a “theme song” for a character, or for a specific scene in a story. TV series do, however, provide ideas and inspiration for me, even more so than books.

What have you written?  I write my dystopian book series Alliance.125. The first part of the series is translated in English. I have also other manuscripts in my hands, but for now they are only in Finnish.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just seeing where an idea takes you?  I work an outline first. This has everything to do with my academic background: first you draft your research plan, and then you move forward and write your thesis. So, I usually write somewhat detailed synopsis before typing a single word of the story itself. Of course some details might change during the writing process and it’s more than OK. A plan is only a plan, and preliminary ideas should be deepened further (or sometimes disregarded) as the story starts to evolve.

Do you design your own book covers or have someone else?  I design my book covers just to keep the expenses on a tolerable level.

Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales figures?  Winning a book contest in the US had a huge impact on my book sales here in Finland. Marketing on an international level is entirely different animal, though. I am still searching and learning techniques of doing that properly.

Any advice for aspiring authors?  Don’t rush and take time to plan ahead. A marketing plan is essential whether you publish traditionally or self-publish. You can’t avoid book promotion in a world that is full of great authors and stories. Writing may be the most time-consuming part of the process, and the part you love the most, but it is not the only thing that matters.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he do that is so special?  I have eight main characters in my book series. What makes each of them special is that none of them is special. They are all more or less average people with their beliefs, limitations, and emotional scars. However, when they come together, there is potential for greatness. They just may become a group that is more than sum of its parts. For this reason there is the word “alliance” in the name of the series.

Where do your ideas come from?  The real world and current political events provide me more than enough ideas to work with. I also read non-fiction and autobiographies, which have turned out to be very inspirational for me. For example, a couple of years ago I read a book about political theology. Sounds dry, right? Well, little did I know that the thin blue book in my hands would open new vistas for my fictional Alliance.125 world, and that I would actually end up writing entirely new sub-plot just because I read this book about political theology!

What is the hardest thing about writing?  Finding fresh and unique ideas. I aim to take my readers to the world of unusual, so I am constantly pushing myself creatively.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?  I needed to make some big decisions what to reveal at this point of the series and what to keep under the wraps. I realized that it was time to start giving answers instead of building new mysteries on the top of the already existing ones, but at the same time I didn’t want to reveal too much, either.

What is your favorite movie or TV show?  All my favorites fall in the genre of science fiction and naming just one is almost impossible. From TV shows I’d say Battlestar Galagtica, for instance. Oh, and I am also a Trekkie!

What is the current book you are promoting?  Internationally: the first part of my Alliance.125 series (written in two books).
In Finland: part four of the Alliance.125 series.

Who is your favorite character in your book and why?  All the eight main characters are close to my heart, but at the moment I like writing Lu the most. He is facing some big changes in his life and therefore he has to make pretty tough decisions.

Who is your least favorite character and why?  It must be one of the minor characters and on the top of my head I say Naja. When I started to write Alliance.125 series Naja was one of the main characters. I am very glad I “demoted” her, and decided to make her quiet (and at the time still unnamed) friend Saia a main character instead.

Do you have any formal education in creative writing? If not are you planning to go to school?  I don’t and at the moment I don’t really have time to take any creative writing courses. Could be fun, though.

If your book were made into a movie, whom would you cast?  The world of Alliance.125 with its two different societies and their sub-cultures would work so much better on TV than on the silver screen. The cast of such a TV show would have to consist of people who have very mixed ethnic backgrounds, so no one could really say which “race” they represent. That’s my vision of the cast anyway!

What is your next project?  I am currently writing a science fiction short story in Finnish. After that I will go back writing Alliance.125.

Who is your favorite fictional character and why?  I love strong female characters in science fiction. In my teens Dana Scully (The X-Files) was a huge role model for me. She still remains one of my favorites. I also appreciate the ladies in Star Trek, and I love how badass Kara Starbuck is in Battlestar Galagtica.

If there was one thing you could do to change the world, what would it be?  Gender equality. Having that might just fix other big issues, too.

Who inspires your writing?  Talented people who write awesome TV.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?  Orwell’s legendary “1984”, which is my all time favorite book. When I read it for the first time the story stuck with me for a week, or so. It was mind-blowing and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I know I don’t come close to the level of the writing Orwell demonstrated in this novel, but I can keep it as my goal.

What is one great lesson you have learned as a writer?  Don’t be afraid to push yourself beyond your comfort zone. That is where things are getting interesting and where you will grow as a person.

Do have a favorite car or truck model?  Not really, but as a person who is interested in technology I do follow how electric car industry is taking off. Tesla, for instance, has taken electric cars to another level and I am keeping my eye on how things, such as batteries and EV charging stations develop.

Do you ever feel self-conscious when writing love/sex scenes?  A little bit, yes. I don’t write love/sex scenes much, but when I do I tend to keep them somewhat short, yet impactful nevertheless. They don’t play the main role in my stories, yet sometimes a story needs to be taken there.

What are some of your favorite books and why?  In my childhood C.S. Lewis’ “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” was my ultimate favorite. I don’t even remember how many times I read the book! Theraitajauhiainen story sparked my imagination like no other story ever had, and I saw Narnia in every forest in my neighborhood. When I read the book in my late 20s, the magic was unfortunately gone. Luckily it doesn’t diminish the meaning the book had for me in my childhood. My favorite book at the moment is Orwell’s classic “1984”.

What do you think of traditional publishing vs. self-publishing?  I see pros and cons in both. Traditional publishing obviously has the money and marketing power. Going indie, however, gives an author much freedom.

I believe a change is coming, though. As the ITC technologies evolve, they will have more and more impact in traditional businesses and how they make money. We have already seen what has happened in music industry, for instance, and now Netflix and other on-demand streaming services are gaining popularity over “traditional TV”.

More and more we see success stories in self-publishing sector, more credibility it gains. Perhaps in the future we have a standard that is something in between: a hybrid between the traditional and self-publishing. Already many publishing houses have jumped on the self-publishing train by providing their own platforms and services for self-publishing. MF: I’d love to know which publishing houses.

Would you say there is a stigma to being self-published?  A little bit, yes, and even more so in a small country like Finland. There are still many readers out there who are absolutely sure that self-published books cannot possibly be worth reading. The typical thinking seems to be something along these lines: “something must be wrong with your book, if traditional publishing house has not picked it up.”

Well, how many traditionally published books have you read that you genuinely didn’t like? How many books have you been unable to finish, because the plot was too boring, or the writing was not particularly good?

In the end of the day reading is such a subjective experience and I think we all have held a book in our hands we didn’t like. Perhaps the level of writing varies more in the pool of self-published books, but it doesn’t mean all of them are necessarily poor. There are also other reasons to self-publish than just being rejected by a literary agent, or two. For example, in a small country like Finland there aren’t huge markets for poetry, so there are publishing houses do not necessarily see poetry as a wise investment no matter how talented a poet is. In this kind of scenarios self-publishing is a viable option.

What book are you currently reading or just finished?  I am currently reading “Nothing to envy – ordinary lives in North Korea” by Barbara Demick.

What do your fans mean to you?  I have always thought that if I one day come across fan art based on my writings, I know I have “made it”. Fans are everything.

Many thanks Raita for sharing! For more about Raita and her books, follow the links below:

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Pinterest / Amazon / BookTrailer / BookTrailer2 / YouTube / Google

Meet Author Mika Busch

Howdy lovelies! Welcome author Mika Busch

Mika Busch grew up in a small town in one of those wonderful Midwestern states where, if you were to drive 45 minutes in one direction, you would find yourself in a major metropolitan area with a vibrant immigrant and artistic community, while 45 minutes in the opposite direction would land you in a community full of cows, corn and Caucasians.  She has worked as a food service health and safety advisor, in primary education and, long ago, collection-coveras a freelance photographer.  Her published/public writings include film and literary criticism, poetry, religious and existential philosophy and random bits of fan fiction under various pseudonyms.  The Living Dead Girl series is her first attempt and ‘Young Adult’ fiction and she strives to write fun, engrossing stories while subtly addressing issues important to kids and providing positive, relatable role models for them.  Most of all, she’s a big hippie who believes in random acts of kindness and flower planting.

Book blurb: The Living Dead Girl Collection

Genre:  Dystopian Fiction for Young Adults, Zombie Themed

Saffron loved the little Minnesota town where she lived with her older brother Shane.  She loved the little park in which she spent her afternoons reading and boarding, with it’s Autumn Maple Blaze and the little kids laughing in the background.  She even loved her school and, while she wasn’t really close friends with any of the kids in her new class, neither was anyone really mean to her.  Best of all, Shane was due a promotion at work.  That meant they could move into a bigger apartment.  And that… that meant she could finally get a dog!  Things were going so well.  Then the dead began to walk.  This is a fun, uplifting story, appropriate reading level for 10-14 year olds, about one young woman learning to deal with death and loss and independence, all alone in a town full of zombies.  Her name is Saffron Mabel, she’s 12 years old… she’s the Living Dead Girl.

If you use a Pen Name why did you choose it?  My mum actually chose my pen name.  It was part privacy concerns, part Google search engine concerns.  Apparently there are some weird people out there with names similar to mine.

Why do you write?  Because I can’t draw or paint and I can’t sing or play the piano.

When did you decide to become a writer?  I never made a conscious decision to ‘become’ a writer.  It’s just what I do, every day, for as long as I can remember.  Back as a teenager I kept a thesaurus in my knapsack, a very specific one.  I swore by it and carried it all through university until the pages were falling out and the cover was torn to shreds, but I refused to buy a new one because the new editions were abridged.  I guess I’ve been a word nerd since high school, at least.

How long does it usually take you to complete a book?  That’s difficult to answer because when I’m writing novels I’m generally writing several books at the same time.  I find it easier that way.  I don’t have to worry about something in book one tying my hands in regards to something that may happen in later books and if the story takes me some placemika unexpected in later books, I can go back and adjust earlier ones if needed to ensure consistency.

The Living Dead Girl trilogy took about four months to complete, including editing, but I kinda cheated ‘cos the first book was actually written in 2005, for adult readers, so all I had to do was re-write it for a younger audience.  During that time I had also started the next book in the series.

I guess the short answer is the first four books were (largely) written and completed between August and December of 2015.  The next four books are a bit more sophisticated and probably won’t be done until the end of 2016.

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?  Generally speaking, my day is structured as follows:  I get home from work, pour myself a glass of Scotch (Johnny Walker, Double Black) and sip it while writing my books.  At some point I usually try to eat something.  But really, I write all the time… driving home from work, lying in bed at night (I’m quite the insomniac) or while cleaning my living space.  Half of my books are written in my head and typed out later.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?  I go through phases.  For my university years, I pretty much read/wrote only non-fiction.  I’m a big hippie and those were my existential philosophy years.  Back in high school I wrote mostly poetry.  I went through a literary and film criticism period too.  Now I write mostly fiction.  I think I might try short stories next… that would be a real challenge for me.  I’m not quite certain I could tell a compelling story in such a limited space.  I admire people who can.

What have you written?  Written or published?  Poetry, novels, short stories, literary criticism, film criticism, political commentary, fan fiction… the last of which I never, ever publish, because (for me) it’s complete self-indulgence.  Example:  I re-wrote the third book of Songs of Fire and Ice so that Rob Stark doesn’t die and Arya grows up to be the Witch-Queen of the North.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just seeing where an idea takes you?  I write organically and in a non-linear fashion.  Usually I’ll write the beginning, climax and ending of a given book first, with a vague idea of what needs to take place to fulfill my narrative arc.  For instance, A Grave New World is more about Saffron’s struggle with isolation and depression than it is about zombies.  I had a general idea of the ebb and flow of her downward spiral, I knew the catalyst that would finally break her, but that’s about it.  The rest was just me following the story where it made sense to go.

Do you design your own book covers or have someone else? If you use someone else would you tell us who/website?  I try to work with local university or high school kids.  It can be difficult at times because they tend to have other, more important priorities… like school work and parties.  None of them have websites but if you like my book covers and need something done, I could probably hook you up with an email address.

Any advice for aspiring authors?  Do not edit your own books.  Authors are too close to their own work and need a fresh set of eyes to notice plot inconsistencies or holes that are only apparent to someone who doesn’t know the whole story and back story of your characters.  Also, make sure it is someone objective and qualified.  You need someone who isn’t afraid of hurting your feelings and who knows when to use a comma, a period or a semicolon.  (Incidentally, the answer is almost never a semicolon.)

Don’t be afraid to tweak standard rules of grammar in a way that suits your writing style.  Fiction is an art, not a science, and the rules are more fluid than where one writes a journal article or business plan.  Just make sure you’re consistent.

Resist the urge to ignore inconvenient plot holes or inconsistencies.  Every problem is an opportunity for a creative solution and could lead you down pathways you had never considered.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does she do that is so special?  I think what makes Saffron somewhat different for the genre is that she’s a twelve-year old girl and small for her age, so killing zombies is generally not a realistic option.  She has to survive on her wits alone.  She also has a deeply spiritual side causes her to question what exactly it means to be a zombie.  It’s not a black and white issue for her.

Where do your ideas come from?  Generally speaking, I create my characters, drop them in a situation and imagine how they would react.  A twelve-year old girl, all alone, in a world filled with zombiesfence creates a unique set of problems and solving those problems without glossing them over creates a world of opportunities.

What is the current book you are promoting?  Last year I wrote a trilogy for the ‘tween’ demographic… A Grave New World, Dead of Winter and Return of the Dead… and I thought it was time to release a collection of all three books in one extended novel.  The next set of books will be for the ‘young adult’ demographic and then the end of the series will be for 17+.  All of them follow my protagonist, a twelve-year old girl, as she grows up in a world where the dead walk.

You mentioned you’re writing a new story. How about a teaser?  Sure.  This is the first chapter of book four, Dawn Broken Red…

Kathryn Dawn Kavanagh stood in front of the church bus, admiring her work.  The door was properly reinforced, so no one, or thing, would be able to force it’s way inside.  The seats had been removed, or most of them, making way for a bed of sorts, and a study space and room for supplies.  The windows were darkened and the outside covered in scripture.  A sun roof had been installed, if you could call a hole cut in the roof and a tarp to drape over it a sun roof.  Four plastic tubes ran up through the hole pointing at each corner of the roof, from which she could pump corn oil down the sides to ensure that no one and no thing could climb atop.  All in all, it was a pale excuse for a makeshift RV but Kathryn didn’t want luxury, didn’t need it; what she required was function.  For the task at hand, this would function nicely.

The task at hand…

Winter had been hard.  Kathryn lost her father over the winter.  Not to the soulless, but to the elements.  Kyle Devlin Kavanagh, Pastor Kyle Devlin Kavanagh, was not the sort to huddle up and wait for the storm to pass.  God helps those who help themselves.  Pastor Kavanagh cut his own wood, built his own fires, tended his own grounds.  And in the end, he caught himself hypothermia.  The blow struck her hard.  Not that there was any choice, with the power out and the town overrun by those without a soul, it was either tend your grounds or freeze on them.  Still, Kathryn’s father was the foundation to the house in which her beliefs made their home.  With him gone, she felt as if that house was about to crumble.

Autumn had been hard, too.  Kathryn had lost her mother in the Autumn.  Lost to one of those without a soul while her mother was trying to minister to others in need of guidance.  God helps those who help themselves, but who helps those who forgo themselves in order to help others?  Somehow that bit was overlooked in the Good Book, it seems.  Keira Deidre Kavanagh had been the mortar that held their family together, through tough times and easy.  With her gone… well, that’s when everything started to fall apart.  With her gone, it was no wonder her father wasn’t long in following.

Summer had been hardest of all.  That past Summer, Kathryn had lost her baby brother, Kaleb.  Kaleb Dale was just six years old, too young to have found his place in the world, too innocent to be brick or mortar, too naive to be foundation or root.  He was just a little blonde boy named Kaleb.  He loved fudge pops and trains and anything resembling a worm, anything that squiggled.  And he was first amongst those lost to the Rapture…

That first cut was the deepest.  The loss of her baby brother, taken to a better place but still taken, with something not Kaleb left behind, something with no soul.  Something foul and brutal and hungry.  That first cut was the deepest, and all the rest just seemed to fall into place.  Her mother, cut away as if with a dull knife, her father too… all those she cared for, piece by piece, gone… until there was no more to cut off.  No more Kathryn, devoted daughter of Kyle and Keira Kavanagh.  No more Kavanagh, devout Protestant family going back generations, back to the home land.  There was only Dawn now, and spring.  A new day, a new beginning.  There was nothing else, just Dawn.   

And she had her flock to tend…

Who is your favorite character in your book series and why?  The easy answer would be Saffron but, surprisingly, I’m actually quite fond of Dawn.  Dawn Broken Red was completed last December along with the first three books but it’s sat on the shelf while I’ve been working on the rest of the trilogy.  Then a couple months ago I was asked which character I considered my ‘masterpiece’ and, oddly, Dawn popped into my mind.  Sadly, I can’t explain the ‘whys’ of it without spoiling the whole book but I will say that Dawn is probably the most complex character in the series, aside from perhaps Saffron herself.

Who is your least favorite character and why?  Sergeant Michael Cross.  He’s an arsehole with no depth because his sort don’t deserve the pretense of depth.  He comes along in book five.  Oh, and pardon my Irish.

If your book were made into a movie, whom would you cast?

*Mild Spoiler Alert*

Rila Fukushima as Nat, Bob McKenzie as Shane, Willow Smith as Marley, Ronan Saoirse as Dawn… and of course Saffron will be played by a talented young actress making her debut.

What is your next project?  The next series of books I hope to release is titled The Rapture and the Living Dead, the first book of which is complete… Dawn Broken Red.

Who is your favorite fictional character and why?  The Missing Piece.  I think we can all relate to her at some point in our lives.  I’m still waiting to meet my Miss O.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?  Um… Harry Potter.  Duh.  I’d be rich and could spend all my time writing new books.

Do you ever feel self-conscious when writing love/sex scenes?  I’m a fairly modest individual.  My characters might flirt, maybe throw around some innuendo and definitely cuddle or kiss on occasion, but I wouldn’t want someone watching me sharing my most intimate moments with a lover and figure my characters deserve to have their privacy respected, as well.

What are some of your favorite books and why?  The War of the Souls trilogy by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman.  Dragons and elves are my guilty pleasure and I love all the Chronicles, but I think the character of Mina is their masterpiece.  Also, the Starlight and Shadows trilogy by Elaine Cunningham.

I’m old-school when it comes to horror, pretty much nothing after Richard Matheson suits me.  Some of my favorites would be ‘The Willows’ by Algernon Blackwood.  It’s creepy as hell and some of the scariest scenes from the Blair Witch Project were borrowed directly from this and other Blackwood stories.  The decadence of Machen’s ‘The White People’ is both complex and delicately understated.  I’m not a huge Poe fan but I do love ‘Ligea’ for its three levels of interpretation… ghost story, drug induced hallucinations or a man suffering a psychotic break from reality.  And of course ‘At the Mountains of Madness’ by HP Lovecraft because, really, who can argue with six-foot tall penguins?

The Missing Piece Meets the Big O by Shel Silverstein because it’s the best book ever written.

What book are you currently reading or just finished?  Tiny Art Director by Bill Zeman.  I highly recommend it.

Tell us something unique about you.  Um… my favorite style of music is Bulgarian Folk Pop.  Does that count?

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I would just like to thank everyone who showed enough interest in my work to read this.  Be well and God bless.

I’m not really a tech savvy sort of individual.  Computers hate me, the interweb hates me… even my cell phone hates me.  I’m just started a new website but I haven’t quite figured it out yet.  I have a Facebook that I rarely use.  Someday I’ll probably make an ‘author’s page’ on Amazon and Lulu.

Until I get the website settled, Saffron and I can be contacted via email through our publishing company… soulpubco@yahoo.com.  I’m always open to feedback from my readers and Saffron loves shout-outs from her fans and will most certainly respond.

Thanks much Mika! For more about Mika and her work, follow the links below:

 

New Website

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