All posts by Wendy Van Camp

Author * Poet * Illustrator

Author Interview: Bill McCormack

I asked Author Bill McCormack (aka Bill McScifi) how he would describe himself as a writer.  He said, “I tend to write dark stuff for adult audiences. It’s not something I do consciously, it just seems that somehow, somewhere, someone needs to be skinned alive with a titanium cheese slicer.”  Please welcome him here to No Wasted Ink.

Author Bill McCormickHi there, my name’s Bill McCormick and I’m a science fiction writer who lives in South Chicago with my fiancée. Before writing science fiction, I did occasional articles for music magazines and sports blogs. Overlapping that I worked as a touring musician and eased into management when it became clear I was going to live my life in bars if I kept playing bass in public. I went on to work with James Brown and many others.

When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve always written for fun and intermittent profit. But, in 2010, I’d lost my job, my wife, and most of my reasons to live. I decided to dust off some ideas I’d had and immerse myself in fantasy worlds for a while. It was a rude, but semi-effective, form of therapy. Oddly, some early beta readers of the stories I was writing said nice things behind my back and I started putting more effort into it. I was able to get a job with a consulting company that gave me some freedom, so I used my free time to write. I cranked out multiple short stories, and garnered multiple rejection letters, until 2011 when I sold And the Beat Goes Phut to Bewildering Stories. That’s when I circled back to a story I’d tried to write a couple decades earlier. I trimmed it, dramatically, and began work on what I hoped would be a novella. It ended up being a trilogy. Oh well.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I’ve always used the term to describe my life goals, but I started using it as a personal descriptor in 2017. By then I’d left my job and concentrated exclusively on writing. I had two comic book series, several one-offs coming, and The Brittle Riders was out and doing well. Being that I was fifty-six at the time, it was a risk. But, so far, so good.

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

SPLICE: HIT BIT TECHNOLOGY is both an interesting and cautionary tale. It starts with a ten-year-old, African American, boy being tossed out of a car in Omaha, Nebraska. He has a crisp fifty dollar bill his father gave him, before tossing him out, and not much else. It is very much a road story as he travels first into Omaha proper, and then across the U.S., until he ends up in the Marines while trying to do a favor for the New York mob. The name comes from a fictionalization of Elon Musk’s theories about enhancing humans with cybernetic implants.

What inspired you to write this book?

Funny story. A gentleman named Tye Feimster, owner of ©Watchdog Entertainment®, had a series of comics he asked me to review. As I did, I noticed one character in the background of all of them and I wanted to know him more. So, I wrote a ten-page sample of what I wanted to do with the character and submitted it. He liked it, but … you knew there was a but, he wasn’t sure he wanted to do a comic. My writing seemed more cinematic. One thing led to another and I signed a deal to write a movie. When I finished the movie I tried, again, to sell the comic as an ancillary and complementary intellectual property. I said I wanted to add some elements that weren’t in the film to give it depth. Tye thought that was a great idea but asked me to write a novel instead. Azoth Khem had the whole thing under contract before I’d finished chapter one. So, short answer, I tried to make a few bucks selling a comic and it all blew up.

Do you have a specific writing style?

Well, as author Steve Silver has noted, “McCormick says more in twelve words than others do in twelve paragraphs.” While that may be a tad hyperbolic, I do tend to be terse. Nancy Chandler, the owner of Azoth Khem, joked that The Brittle Riders was three hundred thousand words of gut punching sentences. SPLICE, however, is even more terse. It clocks in just under one hundred thousand words and I broke them out into eighty chapters to keep the story moving at breakneck speed.

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

Well, SPLICE was the character’s name in the comic books and Tye wanted to add Hit Bit Technology as it’s the link in all of his comics.

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

Verily I say unto you, in as much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (Matthew 25:40). This kid goes through hell. Being an abandoned black kid in a primarily white city, already made somewhat paranoid by his parents, he never really catches a break. He learns early to be as invisible as possible. There are no heroes in this book. Splice grows up to be a super villain with an inexplicable support group.

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

Some of the experiences he goes through are based on stories I have heard from friends. The early strangers in the book are based on lonely old people who would talk to me on planes as I was shuttling between families. They tend to offer information no one cares about. Like how Herbie likes tacos with American cheese.

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

The holy trilogy, Heinlein, Asimov, and Clark, of course, but Walter M. Miller, A. E. Van Vogt, Clifford D. Simak, and Octavia Butler really punched my buttons. They wrote some brain bending stuff and my brain bent happily.

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

David Brin. Mostly because he has answered questions for me and given pointed advice. Also, he’s proud of his growth from his early work, and isn’t ashamed of how much better his stuff is now.

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

Tye and I knocked it out in an afternoon. We both have experience in graphics and knew what we wanted.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t be afraid to suck. You’re going to no matter what so just do it and move on. I once wrote “The yielding shall never commence” and thought it was good. It wasn’t, isn’t, and I learned.

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

Well, this group is your readers, but I hope some of them will become mine.

Splice Book CoverBill McCormick
Chicago, IL

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SPLICE: HIT BIT TECHNOLOGY

Publisher: Azoth Khem Publishing

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BARNES&NOBLE

 

No Wasted Ink Writers Links

No Wasted Ink Writers Links

Welcome to No Wasted Ink’s top ten writers links. This week I have many great writing tip articles for you, but also a sad obituary about author Norton Juster. I’ve been a fan of “The Phantom Tollbooth” since I was a child, and I note his passing with a regretful heart. I found another article about Heinlein’s 5 rules for writers. If you haven’t heard of his guidelines, it is worth checking out. Enjoy your week!


When Everything Changes – Capturing Profound Character Moments
Finding Your Way to the End
Picture Books for Older Readers
Tips for Working With a Social Media Assistant
Amazon withholds its ebooks from libraries because it prefers you pay it instead
The Phantom Tollbooth Author Norton Juster Has Died at 91
Make a Living at Writing?
Six Principles for Becoming a Better Worldbuilder
Heinlein’s Rules of Writing: Principles for Success
5 Ways to Use a Reading Journal to Improve Your Writing

Eccentric Orbits: An Anthology of Science Fiction Poetry 2 Launches!

Eccentric Orbits Poetry Anthology

Fabulous science fiction poetry and scifaiku by a talented international group of poets. There’s robots, there’s aliens, there’s intergalactic war, there’s the eternal quest for peace, and there’s love found and love lost. Underneath all, is the quest, the truth, and the realization of humanity.

Eccentric Orbits 2 is my debut as a poetry anthology editor. I am humbled by the quality and variety of poetry that was submitted for this volume. I am happy to have it available in time for National Poetry Month. The book is available in paperback via Amazon, or via paperback and pdf through the publisher, Dimensionfold Publishing.

Author Interview: Cay Templeton

No one ever knew how to harness her energy and enthusiasm and Author Cay Templeton believes it comes out in her writing. She says of her writing: “I dream big and I write even bigger.”  Please welcome Cay to No Wasted Ink.

Author Cay TempletonMy name is Cay Templeton and I’m a city mouse who grew up in the country and finally moved to the city. I have no intentions of ever leaving this amazing place!

When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve been writing since I was a little kid. I love telling stories to everyone about absolutely everything.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I didn’t actually consider myself a writer until I was in college. I had written a few stories by then, sophisticated ones. It wasn’t until I was in college when I went into my mentor’s office and said, I’m going to be a writer. She was quite proud of me.

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

I am in the middle of a four book fairy tale in the Second Side Series. I found the first two were about Jack and the Beanstalk and the last two are about… I will say another fairy tale but I don’t want to ruin which one when you read it.

What inspired you to write this book?

When I was in 1st grade we had a storyteller come into my grade school with a huge pad of paper. She told us several stories while she drew pictures on the pad that matched what she was talking about. I still remember the first story she told ‘As much as meat loves salt’. You can find the story on the internet.

When I walked out of the gym when she was finished all I could think was I hope I can captivate people the way she captivated me.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I like to be conversational. So when you read my stuff, it’s almost like you’re standing next to me hearing me tell you the story.

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

It’s the definition of a thorn in your side, which is what Jack is to Sarah.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I want people to find value in listening to everyone, even if you don’t agree with them, and decide for themselves what is going on in any situation.

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

Um… I would say more like there are a couple of moments that I wish I could be in the middle of. Sarah is certainly based off of me with her sassiness. Gregor is my ideal type of guy, I like the strong silent type which is just like my grandfather. I would give nothing to dance the Conti Rose with him.

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

Dr. Seuss – Still my favorite. I love how he knows how to captivate such a large and diverse group of people. He finds the kid like playfulness and still speak to adults.

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

Cliche I suppose but probably Austen. She showed me how to write strong women characters in their many forms in a society that would be inclined to think we are the weaker sex.

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

Letty Moreno – She was the graphic artist on the tv show I was working on at the time. She wasn’t just talented but she is excellent t taking what I tell her I want and putting it down. She actually made the beanstalk cover from scratch but she did an amazing job. I could not say enough praise towards her.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

When you decide you are going to do something or write something, tell others. Tell your friends, tell your parents, tell your teachers because now it’s out there. just knowing that others know you are doing it, it will hold you accountable to get it done.

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

I just hope you enjoy the stories. I always want my readers to be under the blanket as they enter into the world of my story. I want them to become 5 yrs again no matter what age they are. I want you to have fun or what’s the point?

The Conti Rose Book CoverCay Templeton
Los Angeles, CA

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The Conti Rose

Cover Artist: Letty Morina

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No Wasted Ink Writers Links

No Wasted Ink Writers Links

Happy Monday! It is time for another round of writers links from No Wasted Ink. I’m excited by the new Scrivener 3 update. Have you heard about it? Below is a link to a great article on the steps to take to install the new program. There are a few more production and writing tips for you to enjoy too. Have a great week!

What is Prose Poetry?
Scrivener 3 For Windows Has Arrived!
The 10 Deadly Sins of Bad Editors
7 Questions You Have About Scenes vs. Chapters
How to Critique Other Writers’ Work
There are some things a poet cannot accept
How Not To Make A Book Launch Video
How to Give a Great Podcast Author Interview
Using Novel Writing Techniques in Your Memoir
All Four ‘Avengers’ Movies Are Getting Shakespeare Adaptations