J.B. Reynolds


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Author Interview: M.D. Neu

Marvin NeuThis month’s author interview is with paranormal and science fiction writer, M.D. Neu.

Living in the heart of Silicon Valley (San Jose, California), and growing up around technology, M.D. has always been fascinated with what could be.  He is inspired by the great Gene Roddenberry, George Lucas, Stephen King, and Kim Stanley Robinson—an odd combination, but one that has influenced his writing.

Growing up in an accepting family as a gay man, he always wondered why there were never stories reflecting who he was. Constantly surrounded by characters that only reflected heterosexual society, M.D. decided he wanted to change that. So, he took to writing, with a desire to tell good stories that reflected the diversity of our modern world.

When M.D. isn’t writing, he works for a non-profit and travels with his husband of eighteen years.

In October, as part of a special Halloween themed set of releases, NineStar Press published M.D.’s short story, The Reunion.

The Reunion by M.D. Neu

I had the pleasure of being given an advance review copy of the story prior to its publication. It’s a suitably spooky little tale; a ghost story with a twist and a cast of intimately drawn characters. I highly recommend it. Now, on with the interview.

Hi, M.D. Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for me and my readers today. You must be thrilled with the publication of The Reunion. Can you tell us a little bit about how that came about and what it means to you?

Thank you for having me.  I appreciate the opportunity to chat with you today.  The Reunion, man there simply are no words with how lucky and blessed I’ve been these last few months.  How it got started is a bit of a long story, but I’ll try and be brief.  Back in May I sent my manuscript for The Calling (my full length novel) to NineStar Press. I figured, I would get the standard “thank you but no thank you” response.  Anyway, about a week later I heard from a buddy of mine who is signed with NineStar telling me to send them my work and to let him know when I did.  He said he would let his editor know so his editor could pull my manuscript and take a look.  I was floored.  So, I let him know I just sent something to NineStar, so he told his editor and wished me luck. That was that.

A few weeks went by and I still figured I would get the “thank you but no thank you” letter.  Instead I got an email telling me they wanted to publish my book.  I couldn’t believe it.

When it came to The Reunion I was going to use it as a giveaway piece, but I knew it needed some editing.  So I chatted with my editor, the same one who read The Calling.  I told him about the story.  He told me he wanted to evaluate it, so I sent it to him and the next day he sent me a note saying he loved the story and it needed to be published. He wanted to include it in their Halloween Series.  I was stunned and thrilled.  In the matter of a few weeks I needed to do a massive addition to the story (take it from 3,600 words to 22,000 words), have it edited, proof edited, and copy edited.  It was the quickest turn around I had ever seen but we did it. The folks at NineStar Press held my hand the whole way through and I couldn’t be happier with the final product.

Every time I think about how quickly this has all happened I have to pinch myself.  I really am very lucky and so honoured to have this opportunity.

Wow, that’s awesome. Congratulations. The main character in The Reunion, Teddy, is an interesting one. He’s a gay man who returns to his small home-town after having escaped it many years ago. In your bio, you give yourself the challenge of writing stories that reflect the diversity of our world. Can you tell us a bit more about Teddy and how he meets that challenge for you?

Teddy.  Oh man, I love him.  What people have to understand about Teddy is that he’s more than a random stereotype,  which is what they will first see and probably call me out on. Teddy is an occasional drag performer and a full-time hair stylist. He is over-the-top and overweight, and he’s not a handsome man. However, Teddy is warm, caring and a wonderful person. He can be your best friend and give you all he has to give. His heart is as big as his drag wigs. Teddy’s not your typical main character, but he’s real. You see, Teddy is based on two people from my life.  A wonderful friend of mine who did drag and was a hairstylist and my mother—she was a hairstylist as well. Both are no longer with us, but I love them and I think about them all the time.

When I say I want to write stories that reflect the diversity of our world,  I really mean it.  I want to show people who may not be the typical protagonist.  I want to show people who we may joke about and tease. These people have stories and these people deserve to be shown and not just as comic relief but as real people.  Just like Teddy; he’s a character in a book but his heart and soul are based on two wonderful people who deserve to be in the spotlight of a story.  I hope that answers your question.

Yeah, for sure. That’s a great answer. So, what else are you working on at the moment?

Oh, wow.  There is a lot happening.  On December 18th, NineStar Press are releasing my second short story, A Dragon for Christmas. It’s about a cursed little Latina girl called Carmen, who also happens to be a lesbian. She needs to get a dragon to help her fight off this curse she was born with. The fact that she is a lesbian isn’t the focus of the story. It’s her struggle to battle with this awful curse that can kill her.  This story is personal to me for many reasons and I hope people fall in love with Carmen and the story.

On January 1st, NineStar Press are releasing my debut full length novel, The Calling.  The story is about an average gay man named Duncan, who on a fateful trip to San Jose, California, is introduced to the world of Immortals. There is much more to Duncan than anyone realizes. Even himself.

I’ve always loved vampire stories (thank you Anne Rice), so I wanted to offer my take on the genre and NineStar Press is giving me that opportunity.  I hope people enjoy it.

I’m also working on a fantasy story about angels and I’m still working on my science fiction series, so there is a lot going on and I have a lot of stories in the works. I also have a weekly blog and on occasion I write poetry, all of which can be found on my website.

Sounds like you’re a busy man. What is the hardest thing about writing?

The hardest thing about writing is the editing and cutting the story down.  I love detail.  I love descriptions.  I love creating full rich worlds, where everything is there ready for the reader to explore and see.  However, not everyone likes that.  So, editing and trimming.  Keeping it all focused so that people don’t skim to get to the good stuff.

I hate that, because for me it’s all the good stuff.  Why else would I include it?  Plus, I put things in one book that may or may not show up till the next book or even the book after that.  It’s all part of the world building, so don’t skim… cause you never know what you’re going to miss.

Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?

I try and write two to three chapters a week.  Clearly that doesn’t always happen but it’s my goal and I’m happy if I can get one chapter a week written.  Sometimes, instead of writing chapters I’m editing or outlining both of which I count.

I’ll also spend time blogging and writing poetry, which also counts in my book.

Where is your favourite place to write?

I typically write in my study or in my dining room.  However, I’ve been known to write on the plane heading off on vacation.  I’ve also written while on vacation.  My laptop normally travels with me so I can write when the moment strikes me.

Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?

I belong to a Writer’s Group that provides critiques to whatever you post.  I’ve used that and I love it.  Not only do I get their feedback, but I get to read and provide feedback to their work, which helps me learn and improve.  I can’t tell you how much I’ve learned by being part of this Writer’s Community.

Writing is obviously a major part of your life. Outside of your writing, how do you relax?

I love to cook, travel, go to the movies, spend time with family and friends, play board/card games, read (I bet you thought I would forget about that), and have quiet evenings at home with my husband.  Really anything that takes me away from reality for a little while.  Even though we are living in one of the safest times in human history, with social media, there is so much noise that getting away from it is the most relaxing thing I can think of.

Well, that’s us for today. Thanks again for your time, M.D. It’s been great to chat with you. All the best with your future writing.

Thank you.  It really was a lot of fun.

To find out more about M.D., check out mdneu.com, or connect with him on Facebook or Twitter.

Author Interview: D. de Carvalho

D de CarvalhoThis month’s author interview is with erotic romance writer, D. de Carvalho.

A native of far-flung locations, and a grade A student of life, Carvalho developed his passion for fine foods and erotic encounters at a young age. He is proud to be a practicing member of the BDSM community, as well as a self-confessed and widely acknowledged grumpy old man.

In the Hot Pink series, D. de Carvalho serves up a smorgasbord of hot ‘n spicy erotic tales. Whether you savor sweet romance or crave the delicious tang of dark desire, Carvalho caters with tales to tempt every taste. Each sexy story arrives with a side order of humor, sprinkled with a touch of suspense.

What are you currently working on and what is it about?

Hot Pink Links is an erotic romance. The day Christie’s divorce is final, bestie Megan convinces her to take some golf lessons instead of sitting at home and feeling sorry for herself. However, unbeknownst to the ladies, the Complete Hot Pink Package at the local golf club aims to teach that addressing the balls correctly is all in how you swing.

Humour is obviously an important element in your writing. What’s more important – the humour or the sex?

That’s a really tough question. In the Hot Pink stories humour and sex go hand in hand. That’s the entire concept behind Hot Pink. But, if I were really on the spot, I think sex would just squeak into the top spot. You can’t really have humourous sex if you don’t have the sex in the first place, and sex  isn’t always funny.

When myself and the other authors featured in this Blog World Tour were first organising the interviews, there was a little bit of resistance to including an erotica writer in the mix. How do you find people react when you tell them you’re an erotica author?

They’re almost always fascinated, but they react in different ways. Some people’s eyes pop wide before they grin and say, “Cool! Tell me more!”. The majority purse their lips and look shocked. Some of them will sidle up later and whisper questions as if they’re doing something daring and naughty. Others, will just look away but keep their ears pricked while other people are going, “Cool! Tell me more!” And a few look horribly disapproving and tar all erotica with the same brush, assuming it’s all BDSM and Fifty Shades knockoffs. Well, my stories are a far cry from Fifty Shades. I like to think of them as an exploration and celebration of all the wonderful sexual ways humans have of expressing themselves and sharing intimacy.

How are you publishing your books and why? (e.g. Indie, traditional or both)

Hot Pink is Indie all the way. Indie works for me because I’m a control freak. I don’t share well, especially not the things that are important to me. With the way the publishing world is today, authors have to do most of their own marketing even if a traditional publisher picks them up. I reckon if I have to do most of the work, I’m darn well going to get most of the money from that work.

Do you prefer to write series or stand-alone novels?

Both. At least, that seems to be what I’m doing. Hot Pink is a series in that all the books are related by the concept of something in them being Hot Pink, or Hot and Pink, and all of them celebrate the beauty and play of sex. But other than that, each story is a stand-alone. With Hot Pink, you can read the books in any order. Knowledge of one is not necessary for enjoyment of the rest.

Do you prefer to write alone or in the company of other people?

Always alone. When I’m writing I want to be able to tap into my innermost thoughts. I can’t do that with other people around.

Any amusing story about marketing books that happened to you?

I’m doing it. I never in my life thought I’d be marketing anything. I don’t do marketing. Only it seems I do do marketing now. That’s funny as hell.

I know what you mean. I feel much the same way, and now I find the marketing side of Indie Publishing really fascinating. That’s something I thought I’d never say. Anyway, thanks for your time today, D, and all the best with your future writing.

You can find out more about D. de Carvalho and his writing at thehotpinkpress.com or follow his Facebook or Twitter accounts.



Author Interview: Francisco Cordoba

Francisco Cordoba

This month’s interview is with passionate romantic and obsessive equestrian, Francisco Cordoba. Francisco has been writing for as long as he can remember. However, it’s only in the last few years, since completing his Master’s Degree in Linguistics and suffering regular chastisement from his wife, that he has dared to fully unleash his muse. He loves writing about romance, relationships, adventures and sex.

Francisco lives a largely reclusive life tucked away in an old farmhouse, somewhere, with his wife, teenage son, four cats, two dogs, horse, ducks and chickens. He freely admits to loving them all, although he refuses to allow more than three bodies to occupy his bed at any one time. His six-book, slightly erotic, paranormally romantic, mysteriously suspenseful, thrillingly adventurous, and possibly fictional debut series, The Horsemen of Golegã, will be self-published soon.

Welcome, Francisco. Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for me and my readers this month.

Hi JB, thanks for having me.

To start, can you tell us a little about what you’re currently working on?

My current project is The Horsemen of Golegã series that I’ll start publishing in September this year. It’s a complex set of stories focusing on the relationship between a 23-year-old woman and the 250-year-old man she falls in love with. Many threads weave through the books as we learn about the lives not only of the main characters but also their friends and families.

Love and Loss, Death, Jealousy, Revenge, Coming-of-age, Courage, Ambition, Betrayal, Loneliness: it’s all happening in The Horsemen of Golegã.

Each book is a complete story in itself, but each book also builds on the earlier ones to create an overarching look into a world just slightly to the left of our own.

Where do you get your inspiration?

I get inspiration for from the world around me, my past experiences, the people I meet, and the books I read. Sometimes ideas just jump into my head seemingly from nowhere.

When you get a writing idea, what is the first thing you do with it?

Write it down. Get it out of my head and onto paper as fast as possible. If I don’t it either takes over my brain and won’t let me rest, or I forget it and waste time beating myself up for losing the best idea the world has ever seen.

What tense do you prefer to write in? Is there a reason behind your choice?

Past tense. Although I’m happy with either first or third person. I write in past tense because I have a problem with writing in present tense. It seems illogical to me. I can get my head around a narrator or whoever writing a story after the fact, but writing while in the moment is largely impossible. It’s hard enough to write when that’s the only thing you’re doing. Trying to get words onto the page or into the computer while slaying dragons or making love to a sexy partner… Not happening.

Past tense makes sense.

I like the way that rhymes. What was your favourite book as a child?

As a young child, The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss. It’s a brilliant observation on some of the more ridiculous human behaviours, as well as a few of the better ones, told in a way that causes even small children to nod wisely.

The Sneetches

Yeah, I think there’s a lot of people out there who can count Dr. Seuss as a favourite, and not just children. I can think of two or three events I’ve been to in the last few years where a passage from Oh, The Places You’ll Go has been rolled out for its inspiring message (I’m talking about school prizegivings and the like—nothing as exciting as Burning Man).

Okay, Francisco, onto my last question for today. Do you have hobbies other than writing?

Riding and training horses is my number one passion after writing. It mostly translates into rehabilitating damaged horses. I’ve ridden all my life and studied the old masters of classical horsemanship in depth. So much knowledge and skill has been lost over the years as people strive to achieve greater heights in less time. The goal is reasonable, but in practice, with horses at least, it doesn’t work. The old masters knew this and were prepared to take the time each horse needed to develop without physical or mental damage. This is my joy, too, going on a journey with each horse.

Other hobbies include hanging out with my wife and son, reading—I read all the time. And on the rare occasions the planets align and give me the opportunity, I enjoy hiking, swimming, cycling, travel, running, and dabbling in martial arts. I used to pursue hobbies more actively, but frankly, right now, writing and working to promote my writing has pretty much taken over my life. Like many new business ventures, it’s 24/7.

Yeah, as an indie-published author, I’ve been blown away by just how much time you need to invest in the promotional side of things. For me, it takes at least as much time as the writing.

At least. Self-promotion is a daunting and sometimes discouraging task. Like many writers, I tend towards introversion, so putting myself out there and saying ‘look at me!’ is a time-consuming challenge.

It sure is. Well, Francisco, thanks again for your time today and all the best with the publication of The Horsemen of Golegã.

To find out more about Francisco, check out franciscocordoba.com or connect with him on Facebook or Twitter.

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