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Author Interview: Bryan O’Raighne

Bryan O’Raighne is an author of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Paranormal, but believes that elements of romance and mystery enhances his stories. Please welcome him to No Wasted Ink.

Author Brien O'RaighneMy name is Brien O’Raighne. I am a divorcee and have a son. I, also, have a daily job I go to until my books can make enough to supplement everything I need. I love to write and have been doing so for some time.

When and why did you begin writing?

I think that it is something that I have always been doing. I have always been writing and making up stories, which started with superhero stories. But I really got hot and heavy with it in my sophomore year of High School.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I’ve considered myself that for a long time. Like I said before, I really got hot and heavy with it in my sophomore year of high school

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

My current book, Royal Pains, is really being relaunched since I was released by the publisher who originally published it. Anyways, it is about Douglas Harley and his adventures to rescue Querilla Opaaca and return her home. However, that is not easy. He learns more about his family and ties to her overall. Also, on the planet of Varia there is a resistance movement trying to break the occupation of the Coalition.

What inspired you to write this book?

How long of a list would you like…Well, it is inspired by many, many things. Hmm. Here goes: Star Wars, Star Trek, Stargate, X-Men, Superheroes in general, Dungeons & Dragons, Babylon 5, Firefly, etc. Heavily inspired by Sci-Fi / Fantasy / Superhero mash-up

Do you have a specific writing style?

My writing style specifically is what I call free flowing. When I write, I see the scenes flowing before me as I lay them down first onto the pad of paper or spiral notebook before going back to type them into the computer.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

Wow. Never really thought about this. Most of my titles just come into my head. Not really any spectacular way that I came up with the book title. It’s a fairly common title too. Found out much later about that.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Message in my books? Not really. My characters tend to be rather complicated. I show both sides of the characters. I do not tend to lump them into strictly evil, strictly good categories. I try to show the grayness that they lie in.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Not by a long shot. I try to let my characters tell me who they are and what’s going on. I do go back sometimes to look over the book and my characters sometimes will hand me information they left out in the beginning.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

Mark Twain, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Timothy Zahn, Roald Dahl, and JK Rowling. I find that they are able to tell great stories with concise details, including dialects and imagery.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

Mark Twain is who I would consider a mentor. Not because he is a distant cousin, but because he could help in the mastery of the written word. I don’t pride myself on being an expert. I know I am not. But I expect myself to get better each and every day. They day my work is perfect is the day I stop writing.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

I designed the book cover. I had no other choice on selecting myself as illustrator. This cover was initially started with my previous publisher, but the cover artist left before it could be completed. Thus, I took over and added the rest of the other elements to it.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

My advice to other writers. The obvious is to write. But what are you going to write. You need inspiration. So, take in everything that you can through books, movies, TV, life itself. You never know what you will use to be the writer you will be. Also, remember this simple fact, your first work WILL NEVER be your best it will be your worst, but that’s okay because it sets your bar for you to climb above and continually raise to beat.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I hope you enjoy this book. It is relaunched since being dropped by Ravenswood Publishing. It will arrive through Rising Dragons Publishing. There are new material and edits that were not there before.

Book Cover Royal PainsBrien O’Raighne
Houston, TX

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Royal Pains (Starshot Chronicles: Bloodlines #1)

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Author Interview: Wendy Rathbone

I’ve known author Wendy Rathbone for many years. We are both artisans at several events on the California fair circuit. Wendy has had over 500 poems and 40 stories published in magazines and anthologies. She is the author of the science fiction novel Pale Zenith. Her other novels span the genres from science fiction to vampire to romance or short story and poetry collections. I am pleased to be able to introduce you to this prolific and interesting author here on No Wasted Ink.

Author Wendy RathboneHi, I’m Wendy Rathbone. I love to write poetry, stories, and novels. I have a degree in writing from UCSD but really cut my writing teeth on millions of words of fanfic. I have always been a fan of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. I am inspired by autumn, starships, and desolate spaces.

When and why did you begin writing?

At age 12 I started writing poetry and little stories. I loved how it made me feel to paint images and thoughts with words.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I was first published in school magazines and one city-wide magazine for students. That felt good. I also won 1st place in a city-wide essay contest with a long poem in 7th grade. The prize even came with money. It was then I decided I was a writer. It is my natural way of expressing myself.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

My most current science fiction book is “Letters to an Android.” It is about a young man, Cobalt, who is a created human and indentured for life, unable to travel the stars as he dreams. He meets a young man, Liyan, headed off to work on far-traveling star*liners. The two strike up a friendship and the star-traveler promises to write the land-locked “android” of his adventures. The book takes the reader on a travelogue of various planets as well as diving into the minds of the two men as both deal with the hardships of their lives. The story is told both through narrative and letters.

What inspired you to write this book?

I was greatly inspired by the two characters who suddenly popped into my brain one day with complete back stories. I also took inspiration from looking at pages and pages of alien landscape art on GoogleImages.

Do you have a specific writing style?

Over the years, I’ve developed my poetic mind so much that I would call my writing poetic. Maybe even florid. Texture, scent, and color all command the thoughts of my characters.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

When I decided to write a series of letters from the point of view of these two characters, the title just appeared. Not all my titles are that easy to come up with.

Is there a message in this novel that you want readers to grasp?

Freedom should not be taken for granted. And real love is unconditional and transformative.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Every character in this book is completely fictional. A lot of the characters I write are aspects of myself or people I create to entertain myself. I learn about them as they learn about themselves. Even though Cobalt and Liyan came into my mind with back stories, I still had to explore that. I rarely know in advance what my characters are going to discover and do until they do it. They talk to me as I write. It’s amazing.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

Alice Hoffman. Anne Rice. Stephen King. Anais Nin. Greer Gilman. Poppy Z. Brite. Just to name a few. They inspire me because all of them have listened to their own hearts and written what they love despite some of the themes being dark in nature, forbidden, violent and erotic. They are fearless and they make me brave in my own writing.

If you had to choose, is there a writer you would consider a mentor? Why?

Anne Rice. I have not read every book of hers, but the ones I love make me feel anything is possible. I love that she writes in a fever. That is how I write, in the zone of heat and inspiration, completely outline-free. It sounds scary and is at first, but after awhile it’s like breathing. I also consider the author Della Van Hise a mentor. She’s my significant other. She has inspired me more with her writing and her philosophy than any other human on Earth.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

Della Van Hise and I design all our covers and we have learned so much by doing this. We buy licensed images on Shutterstock.com. I found the image of the man in the glass dome on that site and realized it was just right for this book about an indentured being.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Never forget the five senses when writing. Do not allow a critical voice to put you down or tell you that you aren’t good enough or the story sucks. Just keep practicing, keep writing the next sentence. That’s the key. Just write one more sentence. If you tell yourself that every day, you will never be blocked. Never look back. Don’t rewrite old stuff. Don’t hang on the past. Keep moving forward. The book you are currently writing should always be your favorite, the one you are loving the best and giving your best. And always do your best. Never set out to write a “bad first draft.” That will definitely hold you back.

Do you have anything specific you want to say to your readers?

Thank you to all readers for taking the time to read any book anywhere. All readers of my work are gifts to me. I have no other expectations from them.

Book Cover Letters to an AndroidWendy Rathbone
Yucca Valley, CA

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No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links

writers-linksWelcome to No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links. Every Monday I post a list of writing-related articles that I happened upon during the week and share them with you. I hope you enjoy them!

The Perils (and Benefits) of Reviewing Indie Fiction

How to Write Like Austen? (Maybe)

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GENRE AND CATEGORY?

The Hardest Part of Writing Good Character Arcs—and How You Can Make It Look Easy!

The Not-So-Secret Formula to Writing Character Driven Stories

Writing Habits And Routines, Filling The Creative Well And More Tips On Writing And Productivity

Sightseeing in the suburbs: Thoreau-ly interesting

Under Development: Ways to Create Characters

Don’t Speak: The Power of What’s Left Unsaid When Crafting Dialogue

How audio is beginning to make a noise

Guest Post: So, you want to write a superhero story? by Samantha Bryant

periodicheroes

Superhero is a small, but thriving niche genre under the speculative fiction umbrella. It includes stories with characters and worlds you might already know and love as well as brand new inventions. In some of these stories, superheroes are a brand new thing that no one has ever seen before; in others, they are a known entity and work together in quasi-military groups. Anything is possible.

There have been some great superhero novels and short stories published in the past decade or so, and more great stories are popping up all the time. (Here’s a post I did for DIY MFA featuring five of my favorites). Thanks to the popularity of superhero movies and TV shows, it looks promising for continued growth for a while yet. The potential is endless. There’s room for lots of great storytelling here in the superhero tent, so I’m happy you’re thinking of joining our particular circus.

I love writing superhero fiction. There’s something about the combination of the impossible with the heartfelt that speaks to me. Arguably, a lot of stories in many genres are, at their heart, about the nature of heroism, about stepping up to do what’s got to be done and what kind of person is willing to do that. Great conflicts in all kinds of stories come from moments that force characters to challenge themselves and test their limits. Superhero fiction just does it more directly and on a bigger canvas. The stakes are higher when the characters are just this side of immortal. Plus, it’s just plain fun.

So, whether you’re trying to create a short story or a novel, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  1. It’s actually the human and not the superhuman element that matters. If your character is only a collection of powers, we’ve got nothing to connect with and no one to root for. Readers want to connect with the characters emotionally, not just observe their physical amazingness. That means giving them a full range of emotions and an interior life, people they care about, obstacles and goals.


    That said, the powers are important. Make them cool and interesting, but not so complex that we can’t quickly grasp what your character can do. Readers of this genre are expecting characters who can do amazing and unusual things, but they don’t want to have to take a crash-course in physics before they can understand what’s happening.

  2. Complete originality is not necessary. There’s a repertoire of superhero powers that fans are used to seeing, and it’s more than okay to pull from them–it’s expected. When I was creating the women in Going Through the Change, I didn’t invent new, never-before-heard-of powers. What I did do, though, was give each woman her own individual context and set of difficulties with those powers. So, Helen Braeburn is hardly the first character to be able to wield fire, but how exactly it works for her and what she chooses to do with her power? That’s the original part.

  3. In the best stories, internal and external conflicts intertwine. Peter Parker wouldn’t be the same Spiderman if he didn’t have a strong work ethic and overdeveloped sense of responsibility thanks to his Uncle Ben and Aunt May. For readers to connect to your characters, we have to feel we have something in common with them. So, while I can’t climb walls like Spiderman, I have had a hopeless crush on someone, been picked on for being smart, and felt guilty when I didn’t do everything I could have.

  4. It’s all about the heart. In superhero stories, there’s bound to be some fighting. You can read my post about writing violence well here. Writing good fight scenes isn’t just about the logistics of the amazing feats of strength and wonder, though. Your reader has to have a pony in this race. They have to care about who’s going to win and worry about what will happen if the hero fails. No matter how cool the fight itself is, you’ll lose your audience if you don’t give us a side to be on.

  5. Superhero stories are an escape, and, at the same time, a journey into the truths at the core of human existence. It’s a playground for using and twisting tropes, where naïve underdogs and world-weary curmudgeons partner up and save the world from aliens and mad scientists. It’s an exciting genre. Come, play with us!

Author Samantha Bryant. (Photographer: Miryam Bryant.)Samantha Bryant believes in love, magic, and unexplainable connections between people. Her favorite things are lonely beaches, untamed cliff tops, sunlight through the leaves of trees, summer rains, and children’s laughter. She has lived in many places, including rural Alaska, Kansas, Kentucky, Vermont, England and Spain. She is fierce at heart though she doesn’t look it.

She’s a fan of Charlotte Brontë, William Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, Neil Gaiman, Nicole Perlman, and Joss Whedon, among many others. She would like to be Amy Tan when she grows up, but so far it doesn’t look like she’ll be growing up any time soon.

Samantha writes blogs, poems, essays, and novels. Her debut novel, Going Through the Change: A Menopausal Superhero Novel, came out in April 2015. Mostly she writes about things that scare or worry her. It’s cheaper than therapy. Someday, she hopes to make her living solely as a writer. In the meantime, she also teaches middle school Spanish, which, admittedly, is an odd choice for money-earning, especially in North Carolina.

When she’s not writing or teaching, Samantha enjoys time with her family, watching old movies, baking, reading, and going places. Her favorite gift is tickets (to just about anything). You can find her online on her blog, Twitter, on Facebook, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on the Curiosity Quills page, or on Google+.

Going Through the Change: A Menopausal Superhero Novel is free on Kindle for two days: August 5th and August 6th. You can check it out at: http://bitly.com/face-the-change

Going Through The Change.  Book Cover Artist: Polina Sapershteyn

Author Interview: Nicholas C. Rossis

It is my pleasure to introduce up and coming author Nicholas Rossis, an avid reader and author of fantasy, science fiction and children’s books here on No Wasted Ink. I hope you enjoy his interview as much as I did.

Author Nicholas C RossisHi Wendy, many thanks for having me here. My name is Nicholas Rossis, but I write under the pen name of Nicholas C. Rossis. As a friend said, it’s like Clark Kent’s glasses. No one can identify me when I use that middle C! I write fantasy, science fiction and children’s books, while I also have a special, ongoing love affair with short stories.

When and why did you begin writing?

Ever since I remember myself, I have enjoyed writing. At school, many of my classmates dreaded essay-writing, whereas I could count on my essays to be read in class. In 2009, I felt ready for a career change and decided to try again my hand at writing. A Greek newspaper had a segment called 9, that included a short science fiction story each week. I submitted my story, not expecting much. They published it, and sent me a cheque for 150 euros. I was ecstatic. Sadly, by the time I had written and submitted another couple of stories, the newspaper had ran into financial trouble and discontinued that segment. So, I sent one of the stories to a short-story competition, and, to my great surprise, won. The story was published in an anthology called Invasion.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Right after receiving that first cheque! :D

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

Sure! I am currently working on three projects, actually. One is my second children’s book, called Musiville (you can actually read my first one, Runaway Smile, for free on my blog.

My second project is my second collection of short stories, to be called Infinite Waters. I love short stories, and they are one of my favorite genres. This collection includes many of the shorts I have written in the year since publication of my first collection, The Power of Six.

My third project is Pearseus: Endgame, the fourth book of my epic fantasy series, Pearseus (fifth if you count Schism; the prequel to the series). It continues the story from where Vigil left. Although the main threat has been dealt with, the two main factions on the planet are preparing for all-out war. The characters are forced to fight for what they believe in or lose it all. The remaining story lines will be wrapped up in this last volume.

What inspired you to write your books?

My first inspiration is, surprisingly enough, sleep. More precisely, my dreams, which often morph into stories during that special time of the day when you lie in bed half-asleep. My second inspiration is, of course, reading. There are so many wonderful ideas out there, and they act like seeds in my head, to bloom at night and transform into new stories that just have to be written.

Do you have a specific writing style?

As you can probably tell from my cross-genre writing, I prefer the stories to tell me the genre they’d like to be written in. However, yes, I have gradually developed my own style – or, as I like to think of it, found my own voice. This is an ongoing process, of course, so it’s constantly evolving.

There are many stylistic similarities in my work, although there are obviously genre-specific differences as well. Still, I’d like to think that a discerning reader will have little trouble identifying my work from someone else’s.

How did you come up with the title of your book?

I’ll focus on Musiville here. My illustrator and friend Dimitris Fousekis is currently illustrating it. The idea is that animals-musical instruments share a picturesque village. When they all start carrying their own tune, an unexpected invader wreaks havoc. The title, Musiville, seemed very appropriate for a village full of musical instrument-shaped animals!

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

There are many messages, but, in my experience, everyone reads books differently. You sit down and write, then analyze what you have written. I can tell you what my personal take is on each story, but that assumes you and I got the same thing out of it.

For example, I got a strange call from a psychologist family friend the other day. She said she loved Runaway Smile, my first children’s book, because it said exactly what she had been struggling to convey through her own unfinished book: that all men would turn into criminals if not for the mother’s love.

When I indicated that this was not my personal understanding of the story, she refuted me, explaining that I obviously did not understand what I had written.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

I have this theory of creativity, that builds on Jung’s archetypes. These are unconscious structures that live in our soul and help us organize our lives and make sense of things.

According to my theory, everyday experience filters down to the soul, where it is shaped by the archetypes into novel forms. Artists of any kind are able to regurgitate the new creations back into their consciousness, in order to share them with the world.

This is a long-winded way of saying that yes, I think that all experiences in my books are based on everyday experience. However, it would be hard in most cases to pinpoint which experience gave birth to which passage, as they get all mangled up on their way into my unconscious and back.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

I love Philip K. Dick’s works, and find him tremendously inspiring. Indeed, I consider him a modern-day prophet. His short stories taught me everything I needed to know about that genre, while his many ideas have repeatedly found their way into my work. Then, there are Tolkien and Martin, two of the main influences in fantasy: Tolkien practically invented the genre; Martin redefined it. Also, Clark and Asimov, who showed us how science fiction needs to be rooted into hard fact, to be believable. Their work, and especially Asimov’s Foundation series, have heavily influenced Pearseus. Finally, there’s Herbert, whose Dune series has also been a main influence. In fact, I couldn’t be happier when a reader described Pearseus as “a cross between Dune and Game of Thrones”!

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

That would have to be Dick. I’m currently reading his Exegesis, which is in effect his personal correspondence, and am fascinated by it. Indeed, Exegesis is the best trove of wonderful ideas, as far as I’m concerned.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

I design the covers of my books, with the help of my childhood friend and illustrator, Dimitris Fousekis. He’s the one who has illustrated the Pearseus logo and the scales, and done all the illustrations for my children’s books.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t bother with writing, unless you’re passionate about it! It’s not an easy profession, in the sense that it can take years to build your audience and make a name for yourself. So, for a long time, you may have to work late nights, write whenever you have time and spend a lot of time “normal” people spend socializing, working on manuscripts that no one might even see.

If, however, this is fun to you – as it is to me – then, by all means go for it. Never before has publishing been so easy, with the advent of self-publishing. Just make absolutely certain that your manuscript has been professionally edited and proofread before submitting to Amazon, Smashwords etc!

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

As I often joke, the only thing that grows faster than my waistline is my list of books to be read! So, I really appreciate it when people take time off their busy lives to read my work. So, the one thing I wish I could tell them is that I love each and every one of them! I wish I could give everyone who has read my books a cookie. Heck, a whole basket for those who have reviewed them!

Book Cover The Power of SixNicholas C. Rossis
Athens, Greece

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Cover Artist: Dimitris Foussekis
Publisher: Delta Ekdotiki.

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