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Monthly Archives: February 2012

“…as water flows through trembling hands.” – Tag Line Tuesday with JD Mader

This week Tag Line Tuesday is happy to welcome JD Mader, author and raconteur. Let us begin, as always, with two answers to the standard bio-type questions, one honest and one “creative.”

Ed: Name?

JDM: James Daniel Mader, or Reginald Spartakus MCsexypants

Ed: Where you from?

JDM: My Dad was in the Navy. That’s a real tough question to answer.  I’m not really “from” anywhere. I have chosen to live in the SF Bay Area, so that works. Been here half my life, too. But I’m a weird person. I lived overseas, in the deep south, in Southern CA, in New England…also, from a vagina.  That’s not really a lie, I just want to see if you’ll put it in your blog.

Ed: Yes, I will. That should be good for some hits from search engines. You got a day job, vagina boy?

JDM: Freelance writer. Male model/Firefighter.

Ed: Gotta be rough fighting fires in high heels. How about a dream job?

JDM: Rich Freelance writer. International man of leisure.

Ed: And the inevitable, why do you write?

JDM: I write because it is something that I was always kind of good at. And I love to read. Don’t get me wrong…I have gotten much better at it. Practice is everything. I have some kind of manic compulsion to write, now.  If I don’t write I get very…well, weird. Pent up. I keep my cards pretty close to my chest in real life, so I think I need writing to let my neurotic side(s) play around a little.  Now, I write for money, too.  But that’s a more recent thing.  I write because I love it, I need it, and I don’t suck at it.

I write because the man with the whip tells me to.  (Stephen Hise)

Ed: Now, THE LIGHTNING ROUND (for which I told JD he could return to complete honesty, but I don’t think he heard me)

Quick! favorite:

Band – The Kinks, or Hanson

Food – Club Sandwiches, or Brussel Sprouts

Game – Soccer, or Chess (I wish I could be the intellectual chess guy, but no)

Album – Deltron 3030, or Nineties Dance Favorites

Word – Discombobulated, or Past-due

Color – Brown, or Teal

Animal – Peregrine Falcon, or Cockroach

Piece of clothing – My Dad’s old pea coat, or G-string

Movie – The Jerk, or Twilight

TV show – MASH, or Glee

Drink – Bourbon Rocks (though I don’t drink it anymore), or Gin (really, England, are you fucking kidding?)

Song – “Red and Black (7 seconds)” – this is my rally song, or “The Barney Song”

Line from a song – “Life’s a bitch but god forbid the bitch divorce me” or “I have loved you in a tame way, and I have loved you wild”

Pizza topping – Black Olives, or Bodily fluids from the delivery guy

Crime – Jaywalking, or Littering

Place – Phoenix Lake (Ross, CA), or The DMV

Quote – “Some people never go crazy, What truly horrible lives they must live” – Bukowski

“We’ve been smoking PLASTIC?!?!” – me after making my first homemade pipe

Ed: Now, some random things about yourself, please.

JDM: I really, truly hate waking up. It’s my least favorite activity. I hate it with a passion. It makes me unreasonably angry.

I have a perfect ballerina point. I don’t dance, I just have it.

I’m very insecure about a lot of things. I hide it well.

I’m rich.

I have a full head of hair.

Nothing about me is random. It’s all part of the plan.

Now back to full honesty (possibly) for the Book Chat portion of the show. Let’s start with some stuff about books which you did not happen to write yourself.

What’s the biggest consideration when you are deciding what book to read?

JDM: Genre, which usually has to do with my mood.

Ed: What genre do you enjoy most?

JDM: I like character based, literary fiction, genre be damned.

Ed: What genre would you read only if you lost a bet?

JDM: Romance

Ed: Do you have a favorite author, and do you think they influence your own writing?

JDM: I don’t really have a favorite author.  John Fante is always my go to answer because I got into his stuff at a very important part of my life and my development as a writer. I don’t think I am influenced by him stylistically, but I have taken a lot of his advice.

Ed: Do you have a favorite book, and how many times have you read it?

JDM: Stop-Time, by Frank Conroy.  I have read it too many times to count (with students, too). It is the most underrated book of all time.

Ed: What’s the first book you remember buying with your own money?

JDM: Wow.  My parents supported my reading a lot so it was probably something they wouldn’t have wanted me to read.  Do magazines count?

Ed: Any books you have been told you should read, and know you probably never will?

JDM: Pretty much everything Ayn Rand wrote. Don’t know why.

Ed: Ever lied about reading, or not reading, a book?

JDM: Both.  But it was a long time ago.

Ed: Ever read a book you were sure you were going to like, and not liked it?

JDM: Hell yeah.  The Great Gatsby.  Good book, but I don’t like it.

Ed: Ever grudgingly read a book, and loved it?

JDM: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (by Dave Eggers)

Ed: What’s your favorite line from a book?

JDM: “He had a tendency to take off his trousers and throw them out the window.”  (Stop-Time)

Ed: Now on to some books that you did write.

How, and when, do you tend to come up with titles?

JDM: Usually halfway through the piece. I don’t really know how. Sometimes it’s easy. Sometimes I think about it very long and hard before it clicks.  Sometimes I let other people pick the name.

Ed: How do your characters get their names?

JDM: They all start out named John and then I wrack my brain to come up with a name that is not John.  I usually have to force it.  I suck with names.

Ed: If you could live in the world of one of your stories, which one would it be and why?

JDM: I would live in my new novel The Biker. I like the neighborhood and it would be fun to hang out with the characters.

Ed: What do you think your books say about you?

JDM: That I am stubborn. And that I have psychological “issues”.

Ed: Is there anything you have written which you would now like to change or revise, wish you had written differently, etc.?

JDM: I wish I had put more effort into the articles I wrote when I was a reporter. I was in High School and wrote for the local paper. I didn’t realize at the time what an amazing opportunity it was.

Ed: Tell me about your favorite character.

JDM: Chet, from Joe Cafe is my favorite character.  He’s a terrible person, but he fascinates me.

Ed: Have your favorite character tell me about you.

JDM: “Dan? Sorry JD.  He’s just like everyone else. Too big of a pussy to be a real person. He got trapped, you know. People get trapped in magazine cutouts and expectations. He may be honest compared to most people, but that’s different than being honest.”

Ed: Back to Dan, what’s your favorite line which you have written?

JDM: “To live like God, in fiction, as water flows through trembling hands.”

Ed: Now to the more “process” kind of questions about how you do the writin’ thing.

Plotter or Pantser?

JDM: Pantser.

Ed: Best/Worst advice you ever got as a writer?

JDM: Write 500 words a day. (Fante) / Write what you know (everyone).

Ed: Best/Worst thing about being a writer?

JDM: I like creating things by myself. I like control. / It’s lonely.

Ed: Why Indie?

JDM: I got tired of trying to jump through hoops and missing.

Ed: Is being a writer what you expected? How so or how not?

JDM: Yeah. In the back of my mind I always knew I would be a writer. I taught for years. I loved it. But I always wanted to be a writer. What can you be that’s better?

Ed: I’ll ask the questions here! 😉 Have you, or would you ever, collaborate on a story?

JDM: I have, recently. I don’t know if I’m supposed to talk about it or not. But yes, I have. Once.

Ed: If you were starting to write for the first time, what would you do different?

JDM: I wouldn’t think I was such hot shit when I really wasn’t.

Ed: What is the most important thing you have learned about writing?

JDM: It has to be honest. Even when you are writing fiction, it has to be honest. And you can’t worry about how people will react if that takes you to some weird places.

Ed: What’s the moral of the story?

JDM: The grapes probably were sour. Take that, Aesop.

Ed: And finally, some real answers to HYPOTHETICAL questions.

Your computer is smoking, wheezing, and sparks are shooting out of the back.  You can save one thing off the hard drive.  What is it?

JDM: A picture of me and my daughter when she was just born and is sleeping on my chest.

Ed: You are looking at the back of a book in a bookstore, reading on online blurb, or whatever. What sort of thing makes you say “yes,” what sort of things makes you say “pass?”

JDM: Character development – yes.  Sparkly vampires – no.

Ed: You have one perfect day of free time, no obligations, needs, or responsibilities.  What do you do?

JDM: Fish.  Easy.

Ed: Someone “in the business” suggests you change something you feel is a critical part of one of your books, and guarantees it will increase sales.  What do you do?

JDM: It depends on how strongly I feel about it. If it’s a little thing, change it. If it is important, fuck sales.

Ed: You are offered just enough money to live comfortably for the rest of your life, if you will just stop writing.  What do you do?

JDM: Write a letter telling the offerer to go to hell.

Ed: What question do you wish I had asked?

JDM: What are you wearing right now?

—————————

Thanks JD, and to see Mr. Mader arm-wrestling demons in his own neck of the woods, do feel free to take a trip over to Unemployed Imagination. Or, you can hear him making music.

And of course, do check out his books.

Joe Cafe – No one is good/evil. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004ZG8KRK

The Biker – Vengeance is good in theory. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0076FZLLU

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Posted by on February 28, 2012 in author interviews, Tag Line Tuesday, Writing

 

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Ed’s Casual Friday, 2/24/12

For this Ed’s Casual Friday column over at Indies Unlimited, I wish myself a happy one year anniversary of Indie publishing, and reveal that I have learned absolutely nothing in the last 12 months. 😉

http://www.indiesunlimited.com/2012/02/24/eds-casual-friday-happy-birthday-to-me/

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2012 in Writing

 

Thanks much to Roberta M. Roy for stopping by Tag Line Tuesday a couple weeks back, and the reciprocal chat today over in your neck of the woods. 🙂

http://robertamroy.wordpress.com/2012/02/21/roy-and-mcnally-on-serious-fantasy

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2012 in Writing

 

Ed’s Casual Friday on Indies Unlimited

I think I have been remiss on *this* blog in mentioning that I write a Friday column on *another* blog, Indies Unlimited. Today’s “Casual Friday” is a full-throated defense of one of the most despised practices of the day: Infodumping.

Because if a reader/writer of epic fantasy can’t appreciate a good infodump, who can? 😉

Ed’s Casual Friday, In Defense of Infodumping

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2012 in Writing

 

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“Clear crystal symbolizing the light of reason…” Tag Line Tuesday with Valerie Douglas

Today, Tag Line Tuesday is happy to welcome the inestimable (not to be confused with “inesteemable,” which isn’t actually a word) Valerie Douglas, or as she is sometimes known, V. J. Devereaux. I will be using “VJD” to abbreviate Valerie’s name, rather than the other pair of initials. 😉

———–

Ed: So let’s get started, and feel free to answer the bio stuff “creatively,” as creative writers are wont to do. Where you from?

VJD: Moon Base Alpha

Ed: You have a lunar Day Job?

VJD: Wait… I have a JOB?!! NFW man… (decrypt as you pleased… but nof****** way)

Ed: How about a Dream Job?

VJD: I has it.

Ed: And of course, the inevitable, why do you write?

VJD: Everything.

Ed: …is Everything. 😉

Now, on to the Lightning Round (patent pending)

Quick! What’s your favorite:

Band – Nickelback

Food – Steak

Game – Oblivion (I write fantasy, so sue me.)

Word – onomatopoeia

Color – aquamarine

Animal – cat

Piece of clothing – Ummm, no

Movie – too many choices

TV show – Big Bang Theory

Drink – wine

Song – “Feelin’ Groovy.”

Line from a song – “I’m dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep…”

Pizza topping – veggies – especially ‘shrooms

Crime – there’s a favorite crime?

Place – anyplace by an ocean…

Quote – “It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this.” – Bertrand Russell, British author, mathematician, & philosopher (1872 – 1970)

Ed: To round out the bio, how about something random about yourself, please.

VJD: I have four cats, none of which are normal. i.e. one has only one eye, one has a broken jaw, one sucks her tail….

Ed: Onto the BOOK portion of the chat, starting with books you didn’t happen to write.

What’s the biggest consideration when you are deciding what book to read?

VJD: The read the book feature.

Ed: What genre do you enjoy most?

VJD: Fantasy

Ed: What genre would you read only if you lost a bet?

VJD: Memoirs…..

Ed: Do you have a favorite author, and do you think they influence your own writing?

VJD: Of course, dozens! And they all did, I hope!

Ed: Do you have a favorite book, and how many times have you read it?

VJD: No, I have lots of favorite books, those are the dead tree books that fill the shelves of my bookcases, in case the power goes out.

Ed: What’s the first book you remember buying with your own money?

VJD: It wasn’t a book, per se, but a comic book…

Ed: Any books you have been told you should read, and know you probably never will?

VJD: Ulysses by James Joyce. I’ve read a lot of the classics, but that ain’t gonna happen, dude. I tried.

Ed: Ever lied about reading, or not reading, a book?

VJD: *laughing* Never lie, you’ll meet someone who asks your opinion! I’ve had that happen often enough when I DID read it.

Ed: Ever read a book you were sure you were going to like, and not liked it?

VJD: Oh yes! Read one… loved it… kept watching the pages flutter by and trying to figure out how the author was going to end it… and then… “To be continued”. Threw the bloody book against the wall and never read one by that author again. I don’t know who’s brilliant idea that was, but the author lost a fan.

Ed: Ever grudgingly read a book, and loved it?

VJD: Not that I can think of…

Ed: What’s your favorite line from a book?

VJD: “They’re certainly entitled to think that, and they’re entitled to full respect for their opinions… but before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.” – Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Ed: On with questions relating to books which you *did* happen to write. 😉

How, and when, do you tend to come up with titles?

VJD: They tend to come to me. My epic fantasy was originally named “The Otherling,” but I didn’t want that one character to be the focus, and then one day the title came to me. The sequel was even easier, and so alliterative – A Convocation of Kings – because they were so key to the plot.

Ed: How do your characters get their names?

VJD: Like the titles, they just come to me. Occasionally I’ll use a name generator like one of the baby name sites. Or, as in Servant of the Gods and Heart of the Gods, I’ll look for names of that time/period.

Ed: If you could live in the world / with the people of one of your stories, which one would it be?

VJD: An Elf in The Coming Storm.

Ed: You know I *have to* put up the pic of you with the Elf Ears at the end of interview now, right? 😉

What do you think your books say about you?

VJD: That I stand by the courage of my convictions. Which sounds more pompous than I wish it did.

Ed: Is there anything you have written which you would now like to change or revise, wish you had written differently, etc.?

VJD: Oh, always… I forget which painter said it, but he said a painting is never finished, only abandoned. At some point, you have to let go.

Ed: Tell me about your favorite character.

VJD: Oh, there’s too many – I fall in love with all my characters – how do you choose one?  There’s Elon from The Coming Storm – he has such strength of character, and yet he still struggles. Colath has it easier, he doesn’t question as Elon does, he just does what is right. Then there is Ailith, who gives up her crown and chooses to follow because it’s the right thing to do. Or Nike, who’s trying to figure out what the right thing to do is. Kyri, who gives up everything to do what’s right for her people, and has it go so terribly wrong.

Ed: Have your favorite character tell me about you.

VJD: I can’t do that. Never have been able to. My characters live in themselves.

Ed: What’s your favorite line which you have written?

VJD: “Light shone through the dome, the clear crystal in its center symbolizing the light of reason, with the four pillars of knowledge, justice, compassion and wisdom to support it.” (from The Coming Storm)

Ed: A now a few questions about the process of writing, and the life of a writer. (Wow, some of this does sound pompous, doesn’t it?) 😉

Plotter or Pantser?

VJD: Pantser.

Ed: Worst advice you ever got as a writer?

VJD: Stop, you’ll never make it…

Ed: Best/Worst thing about being a writer?

VJD: *grins* The hours… both best and worst. My characters have been known to wake me up at midnight, and let me go two days later.

Ed: Why Indie?

VJD: Because I can tell my story the way I intended to tell it. I don’t have to ‘dumb it down’ and I won’t.

Ed: Is being a writer what you expected? How so or how not?

VJD: At first it was everything I expected, the glorious high of spinning out the story, the rush of seeing it finished, and the sudden inspiration that drove the sequel… and the one after that. Then reality struck as I tried to find a home for my work and the ‘gatekeepers’ slammed the door in my face. I got so close – an agent called me on a Saturday at home, I had a request for a full – but both fell through. I was accepted by a small press publisher, but they made changes to my first book that actually had me in tears. I was horribly offended. Now I’m an Indie, and no one will ever again tell me how my story should go.

Ed: Have you, or would you ever, collaborate on a story?

VJD: I can’t see it happening. With plotters I can see how it would be possible, but I’m a pantser and my stories are too individual.

Ed: If you were starting to write for the first time, what would you do different?

VJD: Nothing, it all taught me something, and now I can pass that down to others, so they can make better decisions based on real experience.

Ed: What is the most important thing you have learned about writing?

VJD: Not to forget the joy of it.

Ed: What’s the moral of the story?

VJD: Never give up… and don’t close your mind to alternatives. As terrifying as it can be, sometimes you have to walk the high wire without a net before you know what you’re capable of.

Ed: And finally, some REAL answers to HYPOTHETICAL questions. 😉

Your computer is smoking, wheezing, and sparks are shooting out of the back.  You can save one thing off the hard drive. What is it?

VJD: *grins* Nothing, it’s all up in the Cloud.

Ed: You are looking at the back of a book in a bookstore, reading on online blurb, or whatever.  What sort of thing makes you say “yes,” what sort of things makes you say “pass?”

VJD: A catchy style, a generic blurb

Ed: You have one perfect day of free time, no obligations, needs, or responsibilities.  What do you do?

VJD: Write.

Ed: Someone “in the business” suggests you change something you feel is a critical part of one of your books, and guarantees it will increase sales.  What do you do?

VJD: I tried that. It didn’t and doesn’t. You have to stay true to your voice. That first novel, the one that got accepted and the editor made changes? The reviews commented on the changes. I took the heat. Never again.

Ed: You are offered just enough money to live comfortably for the rest of your life, if you will just stop writing.  What do you do?

VJD: Adjust my standard of living *grins*

Ed: What question do you wish I had asked?

VJD: I’m just glad you DIDN’T ask me about my erotica!

—————————

Full info on the sometimes “elfin” Valerie Douglas and all her works in mulitple genres (yes, even *that* one) can be found on her website. Do stop on by. 🙂 http://www.valeriedouglasbooks.com/

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2012 in Tag Line Tuesday, Valerie Douglas, Writing

 

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Devil Town, Chapter One

This may be some of that weird self-blackmail authors do in order to keep ourselves working. Along the lines of, “I am not going to ther bathroom until I finish this scene.” Whatever works.

In any case, while I am still progressing on the fourth volume of the Norothian Cycle, working title “Devil Town,” I thought I would go ahead and post chapter one over on Wattpad, just for giggles. Feel free to peruse as desired.

Now, back to work…

http://www.wattpad.com/3370039-devil-town-chapter-one#

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2012 in The Norothian Cycle, Writing

 

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A Free Pair of My Old Shorts…

Free on Groundhog Day via Kindle Select, the fourth volume of my old short stories dating from the flannel-clad Nineties. This is the “work” pair featuring some on-the-job drama in the stories “Flipper the Stripper” and “Justice in Ireland.” Get ’em before they see their shadow, and disappear.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006P8R7D4

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2012 in Writing

 

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