Winners: J.L. Gribble Scavenger Hunt!

I very nearly forgot about this, but the Scavenger Hunt to win a complete e-book set of J.L. Gribble’s Steel Empires series has come to a close! First of all, thank you to ALL who read the J.L.’s interview. If you’re coming to this late and you’re wondering what the fuss is about, you can start reading part one here.

Secondly, thank you to all the entries. Sadly, despite my best efforts at promotion, we didn’t have many entries at all, but fortunately, those that did answered the questions correctly. I’m forwarding your email addresses to J.L. Gribble so that she can get in touch with you regarding your prize!

Lastly, be sure to check out Calico in Conversation with Matthew S. Rotundo. We just kicked off his interview yesterday, and you can read it here. Yes, he’s interesting in hosting a Scavenger Hunt after his interview wraps up, but we’re going to do things a wee bit differently, so stay tuned, and keep reading!

Taking Off Like A Rocket with Matthew S. Rotundo

Matthew Rotundo
Matthew S. Rotundo

Matthew S. Rotundo wrote his first story, “The Elephant and the Cheese,” when he was eight years old. It was the first time he had ever filled an entire page with writing. To his young mind, that seemed like a major accomplishment. It occurred to him shortly thereafter that writing stories was what he wanted to do with his life.

Matt gravitated to science fiction, fantasy, and horror at an early age, too. He discovered Ray Bradbury’s “The Fog Horn” in a grade school reader, and read it over and over whenever he got bored in class. (Needless to say, he read it a lot.) Other classics soon followed — Dune and Lord of the Rings and Foundation, the usual suspects. As a boy, he often pretended his bicycle was Shadowfax, and that he was Gandalf, riding like mad for Minas Tirith. Yeah, he was that kind of kid. Half the time, his family and friends didn’t know what the hell he was talking about.

Matt’s story “Alan Smithee Lives in Hell” placed second in the 1997 Science Fiction Writers of Earth Contest. In 1998, he attended Odyssey. The workshop led directly to his first sale — “Black Boxes,” in Absolute Magnitude. In 2002, Matt won a Phobos Award for “Hitting the Skids in Pixeltown.” He was a 2008 winner in the Writers of the Future Contest. He has since continued to publish in various magazines and anthologies, and is the author of Petra, the first book in The Prison World Revolt series.

Matt lives in Nebraska. He has husked corn only once in his life, and has never been detasseling, so he insists he is not a hick.

Editor’s Note: this is part one of a three-part interview. Parts two and three will be published August 9th and August 16th, respectively. Also, this interview was originally conducted in March through July of 2016.

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Now, to get started, I ask all of my interviewees the same starting question, and that’s this: how do we know each other?

We both attended the Odyssey Writing Workshop — I in 1998, and you in 2005. We got to know each other via an email group for alums. You graciously volunteered to read and critique an early draft of my novel Petra. (Thanks again for that, by the way). We’ve kept in touch ever since.

I’m really starting to go into denial regarding how quickly the years are passing. Tell me, since my initial beta read of Petra, can you talk about your process from that stage to the published stage it’s at now?

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Scavenger Hunt with J.L. Gribble

So some of you may be intuiting a pattern: as Maria V. Snyder did after her interview, so J.L. Gribble is doing with hers! That’s right: IT’S SCAVENGER HUNT TIME!!! That means it’s time to see how closely you were REALLY paying attention to the interview!

Below are three questions: each question correlates to one part of my interview with J.L. Gribble. Answer each question correctly, and you’re entered into a random drawing for a prize: an e-book copy (in your preferred format) of both Steel Victory AND Steel Magic!

There will be two winners, but the contest is open internationally. The winners will be contacted by email so that you can collect your prize from J.L. Gribble!

Ready?

Question #1: (from Boosting Confidence): Who is one author J.L. would like to study under (BUT HASN’T), and what specifically would J.L. like to learn from this author?

Question #2: (from Monsters Are People): What would J.L. love to see her Steel Empires series get adapted into?

Question #3: (from Getting My Name Out There): Who does J.L Gribble think is criminally under-read?

Just click the link below to go to the entry form (at Google Drive) and fill out each question. Each person answering all three questions correctly will be placed on a list for a random drawing.

You have until Tuesday, August 2nd to enter, and the winners will be notified by email on Wednesday, August 3rd.

One entry per person, no purchase necessary, void where prohibited, all entrants’ information will be deleted once winners have been confirmed, etc. If you’re unsure as to whether or not your entry came through, please comment here to ask.

To enter, please click below and fill out the form. May the odds be ever in your favor!

ENTER: Scavenger Hunt with J.L. Gribble

Calico in Conversation: Getting My Name Out There with J.L. Gribble

Morgantown Poets SocietyWelcome to third and final installment of Calico In Conversation with J.L. Gribble. If you missed Parts One and Two, click below to catch up:

Part One: Boosting Confidence
Part Two: Monsters Are People

Editor’s Note: this interview was originally conducted in March through June of 2016.

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One thing I’ve admired about your writing career, to date, is how well you seem to manage all the things required of you in addition to writing. You go to lots of conventions (well, more than one to me is a LOT, since I’m lucky to manage one convention per year). Can you talk about your experiences as a small press author at conventions?

Going to multiple conventions and events per year depends on a few different variables for me, such as the reasonable traveling distance (where reasonable can refer to time driving and/or cost of plane ticket) and the price I’m willing to pay for lodging and other necessities. Money is a huge factor in both of these, because I always know going in that there’s no way I will sell enough books to cover the entire cost of the trip. Most authors I know, whether small or large press, are in a similar situation, since we are long past the days of book tours paid for by large publishing houses. In my case, I’m fortunate enough to have a day job that covers these types of expenses (again, reasonably), along with a husband who shrugs it off as the cost of what could be any other expensive hobby.

So because I know I’m going to lose money at every convention I attend, I have a pretty specific criterion about whether I will go. I just have to have the chance to get my name out there. That’s it! I’d like to be on a panel, have a reading slot, have a chance to sign books at a scheduled time, and/or participate in a workshop. Pretty simple, especially since I’m not even asking for free registration, much less lodging, meals, or travel assistance. The drawbacks to this are, of course, that I don’t go to all the conventions I could. Ironically, this means I don’t even go to the two of the conventions closest to where I live, because despite my repeated attempts to volunteer, neither have expressed an interest in including me on their schedule. However, I’ve now been a multi-year guest at a few conventions, and I’m excited to add a few more to the list this year!

My schedule for 2016:

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Calico in Conversation: Monsters Are People with J.L. Gribble

Steel Victory Launch 1Welcome to Part Two of Calico In Conversation with J.L. Gribble. If you missed Part One: Boosting Confidence, feel free to click here to catch up!

Editor’s Note: this interview was originally conducted in March through June of 2016.

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Let’s move on to influences: as writers, we all have them. What do you think influences your writing the most?

There’s never a simple answer to that question! I draw my inspiration from the other media I consume (books, television, movies, graphic novels, role-playing games, etc.), courses I’ve taken in school, and the people I meet around me. But that’s a pretty cliche answer in and of itself, so instead I’ll talk more about the challenges I’ve set for myself in my writing.

My favorite take on the concept of immortality is that presented in the television show Highlander: The Series, where even people who live forever are still people. I wanted to write about paranormal monsters who are also still people first. In addition, my debut novel, the thesis I wrote for graduate school, started out as a reaction to the Twilight craze. I wanted to write about a vampire who can be a romantic creature, but whose story wasn’t necessarily a romance. Thus, the character of Victory, a vampire in a mature, adult relationship, was born. But characters don’t exist in a vacuum, so I gave her a family, friends, and a career. The conflict of the novel was born from taking all of those things away, one by one.

The rest of the Steel Empires series continues along the vein, with other challenges that I decided to set for myself. Steel Magic could be considered a coming of age story for Victory’s daughter, inspired by a class I took in college on the female coming-of-age novel. Book 3, Steel Blood, was deliberately structured around the scenes set by William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. And book 4 is going to be a time travel book…because I freaking love time travel stories.

Interesting…. It’s funny, because you’re reminding me of a Tor.com post written by Alex Bledsoe regarding his Eddie LaCrosse series, wherein each book of the series was written in response to a particular THING the author was inspired by or wanted to explore. I can’t begin to explain HOW MUCH I LOVE THIS APPROACH. While I haven’t read Bledsoe’s series (and I’ve only read your first book), I imagine it gives each book a unique approach, despite the characters and the world tying it together into one series. Thoughts?

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Winners: Maria V. Snyder Scavenger Hunt!

First of all, I want to thank everyone who 1) sat down to read the interview with Maria V. Snyder, and 2) who participated in last week’s Scavenger Hunt. We had 37 entries, and almost everyone answered correctly (though kudos to the one person who CLEARLY did NOT read the interview, but answered wrongly with confidence!). I’ve contacted the three winners privately by email to confirm your information, so if you haven’t yet responded, please do so I can get you in touch with Maria, and you can collect your prize!

In the meantime, you may be wondering: will there be another Scavenger Hunt? Well, that depends on the author, but I must tell you, J.L. Gribble seems VERY agreeable, so you should encourage her by reading her interview (in three parts) and signal boosting the interviews the best you can. The more, the merrier!

Happy Reading, and thank you again for participating!

Calico in Conversation: Boosting Confidence with J.L. Gribble

gribble-photo-color
J.L. Gribble

By day, J. L. Gribble is a professional medical editor. By night, she does freelance fiction editing in all genres, along with reading, playing video games, and occasionally even writing. She is currently working on the Steel Empires series for Dog Star Books, the science-fiction/adventure imprint of Raw Dog Screaming Press. Previously, she was an editor for the Far Worlds anthology.

Gribble studied English at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. She received her Master’s degree in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, where her debut novel Steel Victory was her thesis for the program.

She lives in Ellicott City, Maryland, with her husband and three vocal Siamese cats. Find her online (www.jlgribble.com), on Facebook, and on Twitter and Instagram (@hannaedits).

Editor’s Note: this is part one of a three-part interview. Parts two and three will be published July 12th and July 19th, respectively. Also, this interview was originally conducted in March through June of 2016.

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Now, to get started, I ask all of my interviewees the same starting question, and that’s this: how do we know each other?

Hi, Shara! We both attended Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction program. Our terms overlapped by a few years, and I’m so glad that gave us the opportunity to meet. My earliest memory of you is that your first residency was the year we all gave ourselves Battlestar Galactica names. I was Officer Dualla and you were D’Anna Biers. I have equated you with the badass Lucy Lawless ever since.

Badass Lucy Lawless? I’LL TAKE IT. Hell, why don’t I cosplay that more? I’ve totally got the hair and the jawline… just not the muscles.

I’m glad you brought up Seton Hill. Back then, it was a Master of Arts, which has now become a Master of FINE Arts in Writing Popular Fiction. I never went back for the “F” in my MA. Did you do that, and if you haven’t, would you consider doing that, considering this point in your career?

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Scavenger Hunt with Maria V. Snyder

What, you thought Maria was finished with us? Oh, no…. just because the interview is over doesn’t mean there isn’t fun to be had. In fact, we’re going to play a little game, just to see how closely you’ve been paying attention to the past month’s interview.

Below are three questions: each question correlates to one part of my interview with Maria. Answer each question correctly, and you’re entered into a random drawing for a prize: your pick of either 1) a signed copy of Poison Study (for those of you who’ve never read her work), or 2) a signed copy of Night Study (the latest in the series), or 3) a signed copy of the Australian edition of Night Study (for those of you who have ALL the books and want something a little different).

There will be three winners. Two in the United States, and one international.  All winners will be contacted by email and asked to confirm their mailing address so that Maria knows where to send the prizes.

Ready?

Question #1: (from Eye-Candy): Who would Maria cast to play Yelena if Poison Study was made into a television show?

Question #2: (from Getting Goosebumps): What’s one thing Maria would change about her already published books?

Question #3 (from My Readers Brought Me Back): What is Maria working on after the Soulfinder series wraps up?

Just click the link below to go to the entry form (at Google Drive) and fill out each question. Each person answering all three questions correctly will be placed on a list for a random drawing.

You have until Tuesday, July 5th to enter, and winners will be notified by email on Wednesday, July 6th.

One entry per person, no purchase necessary, void where prohibited, all entrants’ information will be deleted once winners have been confirmed, etc. If you’re unsure as to whether or not your entry came through, please comment here to ask.

To enter, please click below and fill out the form. May the odds be ever in your favor!

ENTER: Scavenger Hunt with Maria V. Snyder

 

Calico in Conversation: My Readers Brought Me Back with Maria V. Snyder

Sunday LNP Photo 2Welcome to third and final installment of Calico In Conversation with Maria V. Snyder. If you missed Parts One and Two, click below to catch up:

Part One: Eye Candy
Part Two: Getting Goosebumps

Editor’s Note: this interview was originally conducted in March through May of 2016.

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You started out with the Study trilogy, then the spin-off Glass trilogy, an SF YA duology, then the Healer trilogy, and now you’re back to the Study universe. What brought you back to this world and these characters?

My readers brought me back. They kept asking for more books about Yelena and Valek and I really wanted to write more for them, but I didn’t have an idea that seemed…big enough for another book. Yelena was too powerful and Valek just too skilled a fighter. I thought of writing a prequel about Valek’s life before meeting the Commander up until he meets Yelena, but I think the relationship between the two of them is what really makes the stories. Then I thought of having some hot shot new assassin try for Valek’s job and his interactions with her would be a nice segue for flashbacks into his past…and that was enough to write a new Study book. The plan was to write one, but once I finished Shadow Study, I knew I could write two more. Now, I’m trying to finish Dawn Study before I leave for Australia. [Maria’s Note: which didn’t happen, I’m just wrapping it up and it’s the end of May!]

It’s nice when the ideas come to you! Once this trilogy is done, what’s next? Can you talk about it?

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Calico In Conversation: Getting Goosebumps with Maria V. Snyder

Welcome to Part Two of Calico In Conversation with Maria V. Snyder. If you missed Part One: Eye Candy, feel free to click here to catch up!

Editor’s Note: this interview was originally conducted in March through April of 2016.

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Sunday LNP Photo

So I have to say, you are one of the most prolific writers that I know personally. I think you average about a book a year. Can you talk about what your schedule is like and what you have to do to meet those deadlines?

I do average a book a year and try to write short stories in between. I write every night from 10 pm to 3 am from Sunday to Thursday. I set a minimum word count goal for each evening. I can’t go to bed unless I write at least 1000 words. Most nights I exceed that count. I also do a writing retreat twice a year where I go to a cabin at a state park with an author friend and we write all day. When my deadline is looming and I’m falling behind, I’ll write on Friday and Saturday nights and even during the day if I’m desperate. Right now I’m trying to get Dawn Study finished before I jet off to Australia in April and I still have 15,000 words to go! Next week, I believe I’m gonna be desperate! [Maria’s note: Sadly, I didn’t get Dawn Study done before leaving. I’m just finishing it up now and it’s the end of May!]

Your schedule seems surprisingly doable to me. I’m assuming you no longer have to work the “dreaded” day job?

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