Author Interview: Melissa Cuevas

Author Melissa Cuevas describes herself as “A little scatterbrained, but hopefully quite creative.”  I will vouch for the creative side!  Please welcome Melissa here on No Wasted Ink.

Author Melissa CuevasMy name is Melissa Cuevas (pronounced kway’vis…the Spanish word for caves). My father was career military so I grew up moving every few years. I was born in New Mexico and have lived in Idaho, the UK, Arizona, Utah and Texas. That made it very difficult to keep friends, so I spent a lot of time reading by myself. I am married and have two adult children. I have lived in rural Southwestern Wisconsin for the past twenty or so years. I play video games, write fanfiction, cosplay and attend the occasional convention.

When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve always been a reader, and the thought of becoming an author seemed like a way to go. It was the dream job idea that survived into adulthood with me. As things went on and I started to come up with my own stories, I realized that the voices in my head…the snippets of head movies that played over and over in my brain as daydreams could be silenced…for awhile at least, if they were written down.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I think I took myself a little more seriously as a writer in 1999 when I finished my first novel. Before that, I had started numerous, numerous projects and every single one of them failed at about page 15. Then I started ‘The Emperor’s Finest’, assuming that it would also die young. It kept going, so I told myself I would take it seriously at about, oh, one hundred pages, never thinking it would make it that far. So when it started to approach that, I started looking at submission requirements and realized that I had not been measuring it correctly, by word count instead of pages. The second epiphany was that the formatting was completely wrong and the work that I thought was short was much larger than I’d thought and I was nowhere near done with it.

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

The Book of My World is a portal fantasy turned on its head. I’d read and heard about many stories that involved game players getting sucked into their games and trying to fill their characters’ shoes and becoming heroes, but I haven’t really heard many stories that involve a game character who is not the human player’s character getting out of the game world to go find their beloved friend (the player).

What inspired you to write this book?

I was honestly sitting around and working on a video game based fanfiction and musing over my character’s in game companion/love interest for that series and how much time and ‘love’ can be invested in a fictional character. Then I started to think about leaving a game, or losing access to a game and the idea of abandoning a companion that, as a player, I could have devoted hours of gameplay to making them care about me, be loyal to me, or even, love me, and how devastating my player character’s sudden disappearance would be to them if they were self-aware. Then I asked myself what they might do in that circumstance, and that become The Book of My World.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I am a terrible pantster. I plan nothing. I know the beginning, have a vague idea of some points in the middle, and usually have a good idea of how it’s supposed to end when I start writing. The Book of My World was a bit of a technical challenge to me because, although it is third person, it is not split narration. The main character is the only point of view throughout the book. I’ve done that with first person, but never third.

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

The title is actually the title of a book in the book, it belongs to Tiernan’s beloved Dyre. My World is a translation of the name of the game that Tiernan comes from.

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

I guess I’d have to go with ‘You can’t have courage without fear.’ because Tiernan is often overwhelmed and frightened, but he still does what he thinks he should do.

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

It’s based on my experiences as a video game player, but no, it’s not based on any real life occurrences or people I actually know.

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

Growing up, I definitely loved Anne McCaffery. She had an amazing ability to transport me into her world and keep me transfixed.

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

An actual mentor? No. I kind of live in my own little bubble. As for a writer I respect and hope one day to become somewhat as good as, it would be S.M. Stirling. Although I know his style is vastly different from mine, I really appreciate his character building and storycrafting skills.

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

I chose the stock images for my cover, sent them to the wonderful Rachel Bostwick and cried “Make me a pretty cover out these; please, please!” And she did.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Read. And then write. And then read. Wash, rinse, repeat.

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

I love them all. Even if I don’t know who they are.

bomwcover1Melissa D. Cuevas
Argyle, Wisconsin


The Book of My World

Cover Artist: Rachel Bostwick 


No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links


Mondays are the fun days here at No Wasted Ink.  It is the day I share the articles on the internet that interest me and I hope will also interest those of you who write too!  The writing process is a difficult one to learn, but well worth the effort.  How else do we share those stories that lurk in our souls?  LOL  Okay, I’m waxing a bit too much here.  Time to get on with the articles!


5 Ways to Use Myers-Briggs for Characters

A Question of When: Indicating Time Passage in Our Stories

What American Horror Story Taught Me About Anti-Heroes

How To Use Dictation To Write Faster And Stay Healthy With Scott Baker

Loglines and Blurbs – Short and Sweet and Stinkin’ Hard

The Problem With Cross-Genre Fiction

Horse-Riding Librarians Were the Great Depression’s Bookmobiles


Are you forgetful? That’s just your brain erasing useless memories

No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links


Welcome back to another Monday of writer’s links.  This week I was back to finding general writing articles for you, but I’ve thrown in a historical piece that you might find interesting and another notebook article.  Sit back and relax and put your reading groove on.

These 5 Rules Will Help You Work More Productively at Home

The Elusive Naming Process

Learn How to Make the Most of the 5 Stages of the Writing Process

Let Your Characters Live and Breathe

Silent Voices: How Poetry Can Help Those Who Struggle To Speak

An Agent’s Advice: The Big Five No-nos to Querying a Literary Agent

How to Handle Conflicting Critiques

Why Keeping a Daily Journal Could Change Your Life

Austerity and the British Library


Author #Hashtags for Twitter

Twitter Hashtag

As an author, being on twitter is a great way to attract new readers to your blog and published books.  Developing your twitter feed is an organic process that you should attend to each day.  I personally spend around ten minutes each day going over my list, following back new followers, blocking bots and “follower sales pitches”, and looking over notifications for comments to respond to.  Over the years, my list has grown to thousands of followers and allows me to promote the authors and guest posters that come to my blog as well as drop in the occasional pitch for my books and poetry.

One of the best tools I have as an author using twitter is the use of hashtags.  It is a word preceded by the pound symbol that allows anyone on Twitter to find my post, even if they are not a follower of my twitter feed.  I try and use two or three hashtags in my posts for this reason.  Any more than that would be overkill.

List of General Hashtags for Authors

This list is some of the more common hashtags used by authors to promote their blog posts and work.  I’ve included tags for poetry too, they are fairly obvious!

Connecting with Authors

  • #AmWriting
  • #AmEditing
  • #IndieAuthors
  • #NaNoWriMo
  • #PoetTues
  • #WordCount
  • #WriterWednesday (or #WW)
  • #WritersLife
  • #WritingPrompt
  • #WIP
  • #WritingTips
  • #WriteTip
  • #WritersTellMe

Connecting via Genre

  • #Fantasy
  • #FlashFic
  • #KidLit
  • #History
  • #Horror
  • #FanFic
  • Memoir
  • #NA (New Adult)
  • #PNR (Paranormal Romance)
  • #Poetry
  • #Romance
  • #Scifaiku
  • #SciFi
  • #YA

Connecting With Readers

  • #BookGiveaway
  • #bookpost
  • #books
  • #bookworm
  • #bookslover
  • #free
  • #FridayReads
  • #iBooks
  • #kindle
  • #MustRead
  • #nook
  • #ReadingList
  • #StoryFriday
  • #TeaserTues
  • #WorthReading
  • #WhatToRead

Author Interview: Jess Frankel

Dreamer, visionary, a person constantly trying to perfect their craft, and someone who is never satisfied, Author Jess Frankel works hard to produce his YA fantasy novels.  Please welcome him here on No Wasted Ink.

Author Jess FrankelMy name is Jess Frankel, pen name J.S. Frankel, and I’m your sort-of-average guy from Toronto, Canada, who now lives in Japan with his wife and two children. I had your usual upbringing in Toronto but caught the wanderlust when I went to Japan to teach English when I was twenty-six. That was—dramatic pause—a long time ago. I’ve been here ever since, fighting the good ESL (English as a Second Language) fight, and writing on the side.

When and why did you begin writing?

I started not that long ago, when I was about forty-eight. I’m fifty-five now, but didn’t get serious about it until my third novel, Twisted, came out. That’s when I took up writing in earnest.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Good question. I think that everyone is a writer if they write something, regardless of whether they are published or not. In my case, though, I didn’t feel comfortable being called a writer until Twisted came out…three years ago.

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

The Titans of Ardana is a YA Action/Fantasy novel. It’s a wish fulfillment, in a way, with the hero idolizing—and crushing on—a star of his favorite television show, The Metas. In an effort to get an autograph, he finds out that Dana, the star, and Van, her twin and co-star, aren’t from around here, and the tale takes off from there.

What inspired you to write this book?

Mainly because I’m a superhero geek, and I wanted to explore the process of becoming one. It’s the mindset I wanted to look at, not the powers. In the beginning, the hero of the tale, Martin, is your average nerd, but he learns what it really means when he acquires super powers. His catchphrase is “Hold nothing back. Give everything” and that applies to any given situation.

Do you have a specific writing style?

It’s very minimalist. I don’t go in for florid prose. I simply give the basics and then some, and try to give the reader a solid mental picture of what’s going on without going overboard.

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

I always wanted to do a book about some special kind of hero. In ancient Greek mythology, a field I love, the Titans weren’t the best group of people around. I wanted to make my Titans different, people to be proud of.

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

I don’t go in for messages, really, as that can get awfully preachy. My message, if you will, is to believe that you can do what you want to do if you put your heart and soul into it.

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

In this case, yes, as an old girlfriend of mine was really into chocolate, so I sort of drew upon that experience.

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

I’ve always liked Ray Bradbury for his creative use of English, and Robert McCammon for his explorations of the human heart.

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

Martine Jardin, who works for Devine Destinies, my publisher, designed the cover. She took my suggestions and came up with this, and I was/am very pleased with it.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

It may sound trite, but keep writing. Many writers agonize over penning the perfect sentence and by doing so, they limit themselves. Realize that the first draft of anything will more than likely be bad. You can always fix mistakes. You can’t fix an empty file.

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

Just to say thank you to anyone and everyone who has supported me, and to those who haven’t yet read my work, I hope you’ll take a chance on this novel and my other novels. I would also like to thank you, Wendy, for giving me the chance to appear in this interview!

My pleasure, Jess.  I’m glad to have you here on the blog sharing your author experiences. 🙂

Book Cover The Titans of ArdanaJ.S. Frankel
Osaka, Japan


The Titans of Ardana

Cover Artist: Martine Jardin
Publisher: Devine Destinies


Author Interviews * Book Reviews * Essays * Writer's Links * Scifaiku

%d bloggers like this: