Tag Archives: guest post

Boundaries in Erotica

Boundaries in Erotica
I recently guest-posted over on D.C. McMillen’s blog on the topic of boundaries in fiction, and more specifically in erotica. There have always been topics that are taboo, and it seems like The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty breaks a great deal of them. 

Hop over to D.C.’s blog for my discussion on whether the conduct of the characters in the book is criminal, immoral, or just downright yucky. Note that while I am aware a book can have a world that operates by different rules than ours, and that therefore conduct which we find unacceptable can be acceptable within that world, I don’t believe Anne Rice has established such a sufficiently three dimensional world with alternative rules as to make the reader stop applying their usual sensibilities – and thus the debate. 


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Interview With Russell Blake – Guest Post By Amber Norrgard

Russell Blake
 
Today I’m welcoming Amber Norrgard to my blog to interview author Russell Blake. I know I said there wouldn’t be any more posts until April, but, well… I didn’t have to write it. We’ll actually be having another guest blogger, Kelly Stone Gamble, guest blogging here later in the week as well. 

Amber is the author of The Color of Dawn, a book of poetry, and you can find her blog here or follow her on Twitter @AmberNorrgard. I’ll now hand you over to Amber to introduce us to our guest, Russell Blake!

~

Not too long after my husband gave me a kindle for our seventh anniversary (sigh… still the BEST GIFT EVER!), I came across an independent writer by the name of Russell Blake.  In June of 2011, Fatal Exchange was Blake’s only novel, and was avail only in e-book format – and with its low price, what did I have to lose? Well, for starters, I lost a great deal of sleep the night I started reading Fatal Exchange, due to the fact that I could not put it down. 

After finishing what was one of the most amazing, not to mention unique, thrillers I had read in over twenty years of being a literary junkie, I sent a tweet to Blake on twitter letting him know how much I enjoyed it, and asking him when his next novel would be available. Fatal Exchange was the first of many novels I’ve written reviews for, and after almost a year, still one of my favorite of Blake’s work.  One thing has changed, and that is Russell Blake has pulled the incredible feat of THIRTEEN novels being published in just ten months, and the only thing cookie cutter about any of them is the amazing genius behind it.  So I am very happy, and quite honored, to have interviewed Russell Blake on the occasion of his thirteenth book going live, as well as to kick off a guest blog tour.

The thirteenth novel is The Voynich Cypher, and I can tell you firsthand that it’s an amazing read, in the tradition of The Da Vinci Code and Raiders of the Lost Ark, but at lightning pace.

Where did the idea from Voynich come from?
I wanted to write something different than my customary conspiracy-driven thrillers, and I’d always had an idea floating in the back of my mind for a Raiders of the Lost Ark kind of treasure hunt as the basis for a book. When I finally decided it was time, I started looking for something that was real, and would lend itself well to a mystery, and I remembered a discussion with a buddy of mine years ago about this obscure medieval document written entirely in code that had confounded cryptographers for nearly ever. One thing led to another, and pretty soon the first 20K words were written.

Voynich seems to be grander in terms of details on real places.  How long did the research take for the novel?
Hundreds of hours. On the Voynich Manuscript itself, on geography and history, on cryptography, you name it. It was a TON of research.

Will we see Dr. Cross again in a later work? 
I think so. I’ve already got a glimmer of an idea in my noggin. Just need to sort of let it steep for a bit until it’s got more substance.

You always seem to have several work in progress projects lined up. What’s up next for you? 
I’m putting the finishing touches on the sequel to King of Swords, tentatively titled Revenge of the Assassin. That should launch end of April/early May. Then I’m thinking the sequel to Fatal Exchange, and then a sequel to Delphi, and then probably a sequel to Voynich. The protag, Dr. Steven Cross, is the protag from my Wall St. thriller Zero Sum, so I think he’s going to feature in a few more books over the next year or two.

What made you start writing?  Is there an author who inspired you to write?
You know what? Probably Stephen King, and John Grisham. Because they made it appear easy enough that I foolishly thought, “I can do that.” I think Ludlum and Forsyth influenced me a lot as a reader, but I really think when I first sat down to write, I was thinking, “I’ll write The Firm, and A Time To Kill, and be done by lunch.” Needless to say, there’s more heavy lifting to it than that. I’ve spent the last twenty years figuring that out.

You’ve stated in previous interviews that Al from the Geronimo Breach is one of your favorite characters.  Will your readers be seeing him again?
Boy, I don’t see any reason to reprise him at this point. Because part of his beauty, his symmetry, if you will, is that he is what he is, and the more situations you put him in to draw it out (milk it) the less like he is that he necessarily has to be. Al’s essence is that he’s almost irredeemably flawed. How can you have him evolve in Geronimo, and then come back in book two, without him being the new, improved Al, which to me spoils some fascinating part of him; or have him not evolve, in which case he stops being interesting, and just becomes a regression to his loathsome and reprehensible self? I think the interesting thing about Geronimo is that it’s a road novel. A journey, in which the protag changes over its course. Hard to sustain that without becoming formulaic. 

And I’d rather not do sequels if I feel the character hasn’t got something to carry the second book. Some characters, like Steven Cross of Zero Sum, or Michael Derrigan in Delphi, or ESPECIALLY El Rey and Romero Cruz in King of Swords and Night of the Assassin, beg to be reprised. So I plan to. My new one, The Voynich Cypher, uses Dr. Steven Cross from Zero Sum, and continues with a new adventure. Next one, Revenge of the Assassin, is an El Rey/Cruz book. But more Al? I just don’t see it at this point. When I sit down to write, I always have a little voice in the back of my brain that asks, “Why? Why this, why now?” And I can’t think of a good reason for Al to share more about himself than in that one book.

How long did it take you to write your first novel, Fatal Exchange?
About 18 12 hour days. Not counting rewrites.

You seem to have a wealth of ideas.  How do you come by them?
Tequila. No, honestly? Tequila. And I am naturally skeptical of everything and everyone, so I assume that I’m being told a lie whenever I hear anything, until proven otherwise. That lends itself nicely to thinking up alternative explanations, which brings me back to Tequila.

What do you do in the mornings to get yourself woken up and going?
I feel a constant sense of unfinished work, and a fascination with what I’m going to write next. Not in a creepy, ‘I’m standing outside of myself watching my fingers type words I can’t later remember’ kind of way, although we’ve all had that – right? But I am excited to get the story out. That’s why I write like I do – very intense, 12 to 15 hour days of keen focus. I wake up wanting to get the scenes out. Hard to explain. That, and a sense that I’m making progress and getting better at my craft. I feel like a kid, when you’re looking at the teenagers going, ‘I can’t wait to get there.’ I can’t wait to get to the next chapter. I realize that sounds completely weird, so maybe I should change my answer to cocaine and hookers. I hear they can keep you awake…

Do you have any writing quirks?
No. I am in every way normal, other than the nude ice dancing thing and the preoccupation with Latvian and Estonian prostitutes, and of course, battling world domination by clowns, and their chimp minions. What’s a writing quirk, by the way? Nerdy fetishism of some sort? Just curious…

What do you think of books that are later made into movies?
Depends. Silence of the Lambs didn’t suck. Most do. I tend to write in a very cinematographic style, so I’d love to have some studio squander millions ruining one of my books. I personally think that either Banderas or Del Toro should option King of Swords, because that book, and the rest in the series, would be their Die Hard or Terminator. So call them. Please. Really. I’m not kidding. I think William Morris Endeavor reps Banderas. I could get you the number…

If you were going to be stuck on a deserted island, what three items would you take with you?
Anti-clown weaponry, Latvian and Estonian companions (those count as one, right?) and Tequila. Although I’m assuming there will be a three star Michelin restaurant with a rotating menu there, right? If not, I could probably give up an Estonian in exchange for food…

What three books are on your “to be read” list?
Groan. I really don’t have one. It’s too embarrassing. I have at least 16 books on my kindle now, 8 of which I was sent for a “browse” which I am months behind looking at. So much as I’d like to appear deep, and claim the Dalai Lama’s latest (I assume he is still pumping them out) is on there, I have nothing for you on this one.

What is the best thing about the town/city you live in?
Are you kidding? It’s frigging Meheeco, baybee. Beach, warm water, cold beer, blue sky, easy living and friendly natives. Summertime, and the living’s easy. You want California dreaming/endless summer? Come to the pacific coast of Mexico. Just try not to get beheaded by the cartel enforcers. Puts a damper in your day.

What book could you read over and over again?
David Foster Wallace. Infinite Jest. Like going to church. More on a single page than most authors can muster in a career.

What is your favorite band or musician?
Boy. So many bands. Rhino Bucket, album one. AC/DC, the Bon Scott years. Stevie Ray Vaughn. T-Ride. Stanley Jordan. Jean Luc Ponte. Holdsworth. Queen. Floyd. There are just too many. May I also say I haven’t heard anything worth listening to in a decade? I know. I’m an anachronism. But it’s true. Sorry Snoop. Dre. Eminem. Even you, Beyonce, and you know I have strong feelings for you. But you aren’t the Beatles or the Stones (and how is Keith Richards still alive?) or even Bon Jovi. Sorry. Hope the billions soften that blow. Tough love.

What book do you think is a necessary read?
Necessary? Again, hard to say. The Magic Mountain. Infinite Jest. PS Your Cat Is Dead. The Holographic Paradigm. Day of the Jackal. Ludlum.  Anything by Le Carre. All for entirely different reasons. Essential for what reason? Entertainment? Style? Philosophy? And of course, all of mine. In no particular order. I’d buy them all to be safe. Wink.

What advice can you give to newbie independent authors?
You probably won’t make it. Odds say you won’t. Overwhelmingly. So write out of ego, or a need to tell a story, or pride of craftsmanship, or some ephemeral drive you can’t describe, but don’t do it to be a hit. Do it to tell the story you need to tell, in as vital and competent way as you can. That’s the why. The how? Read and reread The Elements of Style. Then you can toss it. But only once you’ve internalized it. Especially, rule number one. 

Eliminate unnecessary words. Meaning tell the story as clearly and eloquently as you are able, in as direct and efficient a manner possible. “To be or not to be” is infinitely more eloquent than two paragraphs saying the same thing. And the other how – force yourself to write, every day, no matter what. No whining or sniveling. Nobody’s holding a gun to your head. You want to write? Be a writer. That means write. And do so better than anyone else – or at least aspire to, and put in the work to be better every day. Appetite comes with eating. So eat. Every day. 

Be your own harshest critic – your internal dialogue should be ruthless, and demanding. Push yourself. Constantly. You are either shrinking or growing. Stasis is death. You want a ticket into the game? Be the player that is worth calling onto the field at the bottom of the ninth. Make your work a small miracle for those who read it. Less is, well, less. 

Having said all that, delight in crafting sentences that resonate – that nobody else could have created. Because in the end, that’s probably all you’ll have from the effort other than an ulcer, a fat ass, and lasting bitterness. And twelve cats. Can’t forget those. Mister Mittens will not be denied. Trust me. Humans won’t want to be around you much, and the animals only because you feed them. And their love will be conditional and temporary.

Other than that, it’s a pretty fulfilling gig.
You can connect with Russell Blake at the following: 
twitter: @BlakeBooks

Russell Blake is the acclaimed author of the intrigue/thrillers Fatal Exchange, The Geronimo Breach, the Zero Sum trilogy of Wall Street thrillers, King of Swords, Night of the Assassin, The Delphi Chronicle trilogy (The Manuscript, The Tortoise and the Hare, Phoenix Rising), The Voynich Cypher (March, 2012) and Revenge of the Assassin (May, 2012).

His first satirical non-fiction work, How To Sell A Gazillion eBooks In No Time (even if drunk, high or incarcerated) released to rave reviews from literary luminaries like Lawrence Block, John Lescroart and David Lender.

His second non-fiction book, “An Angel With Fur,” is the true story of Lobo the miracle dog and is an international bestseller.

“Captain” Russell lives on the Pacific coast of Mexico, where he spends his time writing, fishing, collecting & drinking tequila, playing with his dogs and battling world domination by clowns.

Things That Go Bump – Guest Post by S.G. Rogers

S.G. Rogers
Today I am welcoming my very first guest blogger to Flight of the Dragon
 
Originally from Southern California, S.G. Rogers has lived in Asheville, North Carolina and Laurel, Mississippi. She earned her first black belt in taekwondo from martial arts champion Billy Blanks.  Later on, she earned black belts in taekwondo and hapkido from Master Myung Kim. Currently residing in beautiful Savannah, Georgia, S.G. Rogers writes fantasy and romantic fantasy stories.  She’s owned by two hairless cats, Houdini and Nikita, and lives on an island populated by exotic birds, deer and the occasional gator. Although she’s most often drawn to speculative fiction, she’s been known to break away to write other genres.  Tab is her beverage of choice, but when she imbibes, a cranberry vodka martini doesn’t go amiss.

S.G. Rogers is the author of The Last Great Wizard of Yden and here to share her thoughts on fantastical creatures – just in time for this month’s mythical creatures post due out next week! Here I will leave you in Ms. Rogers capable hands. 

~Ciara Ballintyne

From goulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night
Good Lord, deliver us!


– The Cornish and West Country Litany, 1926

Er…I rather like things that go bump in the night.  I particularly enjoy writing about fantastic creatures in my stories.  Sometimes these beasties stem from myth and legend, such as dragons and demons, but others are flights of fancy based on how I’m feeling at the time.  Writing unfamiliar ‘designer’ creatures, however, can be fraught with pitfalls.

In my fantasy adventure The Last Great Wizard of Yden, a group of kids from Earth are transported to the magical world of Yden, where they encounter all sorts of unusual beasties that go bump in the night…

Excerpt:

The bitwings kept coming in a seemingly endless wave.

“Is this normal?” Jon asked Kira.

“It’s a bitwing stampede,” Fred said.

“They are fleeing something,” Kira replied.

“Are they scared of the dragons, do you think?” Casey asked.

The bitwings passed and Kira jumped to her feet. “We should flee as well,” she said. “Bitwings are afraid of very little. Not even dragons.”

They reached the forest just as another flock of flying beasts flew overhead, circling the clearing as if searching for something.

“Those aren’t wingbats,” Fred muttered.

“Bitwings,” Casey corrected. “But you’re right. They look more like flying monkeys.”

“Gnoamian Imps!” Kira exclaimed.

“What’re ‘No Man’s Imps’?” Fred asked, peering upward. “They’re kind of cute in an ugly way.”

“Imps are the magical creatures guarding Gnoamian Territory. They may look innocent, but they have razorsharp teeth. Once they swarm…” Kira trailed off with a shudder.

Jon’s ring flared and Casey slapped his hand over it. “Cover the light,” he warned. “We don’t need to attract unwanted attention.”

“Good idea,” Jon said. He stuck Ophelia in his armpit. “We’re still in Mandral Territory, aren’t we, Kira?”

“Yes.”

“I wonder what Gnoamian Imps are doing here?” Jon asked.

As the creatures swarmed, Jon noticed a black bird flying among them, unafraid. Kira saw it, too. “The Imps are looking for us! That’s a spyrrow. I saw it at Mandral’s castle,” she said.

“What’s a spyrrow?” Fred asked.

He stood up to see the black bird better. Jon and Casey grabbed him by the shoulders to pull him down. For a long moment, Ophelia’s glow was visible. The Imps stopped swirling and formed a big, black arrow of death pointing straight at Jon.

“Oh, no,” he murmured.

“Now would be a good time to transport us elsewhere, wizard,” Kira said.

The Gnoamian Imps rustled closer, the gnashing of their teeth sounding like the sharpening of knives. A rush of cold air preceded the Imps’ descent through the trees. Fred, Casey, and Kira grabbed onto Jon wherever they could.

“Dude!” Fred yelled, his voice rising two octaves above normal. “Go, go, go!”

Take me to Brett, Jon thought.

The Imps were so close some were vaporized in the flash of light and energy from Jon’s transport—but not before one of them clamped down on Fred’s arm.
~
My challenge in this scene is to give enough detail to create a descriptive picture in the mind’s eye, but not so much that the narrative reads like a back issue of National Geographic.  In addition, it’s critical the reader grasps how to pronounce unfamiliar names.  To me, there’s nothing worse than an invented animal called khwolumnt. The author may think it clever, but I can’t enunciate it.  What’s worse, when they make the movie, I finally discover khwolumnt is pronounced ‘cat.’ 

So please don’t deliver me from magical creatures.  I just want to make sure we’re all on the same fantastic page.

~ S.G. Rogers

The Last Great Wizard of Yden has been nominated for book-of-the-month at iBookBuzz.com!  To vote, please go to http://www.ibookbuzz.com/Vote-for-Next-Book.htmlbefore March 14, 2012.

The Last Great Wizard of Yden is available in e-book and paperback format at Amazon, and e-book format wherever online books are sold.



Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-last-great-wizard-of-yden-sg-rogers/1106658023?ean=2940013308275&itm=1&usri=last%2bgreat%2bwizard 

Thank you, S.G.,  for sharing your take on fantastical creatures and an excerpt from The Last Great Wizard of Yden. If you’d like to vote for The Last Great Wizard of Yden at iBookBuzz.com, don’t forget to stop by the link above. If you haven’t yet read it, you might like to check it out in paperback or ebook. 

If you’d like to know more about S.G. Rogers, you can follow her on Twitter @suzannegrogers or check out her blog Child of Yden.

Don’t forget to drop by next week for this month’s mythical creatures post, where we’ll be taking a closer look at creatures of the sea, from sirens and silkies through to mermaids and more!


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