SciFi Blog tour – Tabitha

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Bio

Tabitha Chirrick is an author of all things speculative, geeky, and/or badass. Her most recent release is a YA Space Opera called Overshadowed, which she feels includes an about-right number of explosions. She makes her base in a little-known town so close to San Diego that it’s just much easier to say “San Diego.” She lives in San Diego.

Tell us about your novel, Overshadowed.

Sure thing! Overshadowed is a YA Sci-fi about an orphaned refugee who teams up with a raider princess and a dangerous test subject to take down a group of invading alien shapeshifters called Rokkir. I like to pitch is as Star Wars meets Avatar: The Last Airbender (the kickass TV show, not the movie)

It’s got space pirates, war-time intrigue, explosions, and just a dash of romance. I had a lot of fun writing this one, and I’m currently working on its sequel.

 

What is the hardest thing about writing?

That’s a tough one, because writing can be pretty challenging. Developing three dimensional characters with meaningful arcs that affect story, developing story that lets characters shine, filling in plot holes, developing a unique voice, pacing everything just right… It’s almost like a giant, 3,000 piece puzzle, and it has to be assembled perfectly for it to actually work.

But I think one of the hardest parts – despite all that – is pushing through the insecurity those challenges can bring about. In the middle of writing a book, it can feel pointless, like the story is total garbage, like the characters are uninteresting cardboard cutouts of overused cliches, like there are a million other books out there better than the one I’m working on, so why even bother?

I think writing itself is challenging, but oftentimes, the biggest challenge is me getting in my own way. I relentlessly pull in outside factors that have nothing to do with the story. Things like: would other writers judge me for this? Is this even good? Does anyone really love me? Maybe I should become a doctor instead.

I see a lot of other writers do this, too. We get in our own ways. But when I can push those doubts away (especially the all-consuming question of whether or not my fans are shills paid by my mom) I make progress. Then it’s a matter of fitting the puzzle together, piece by piece.

Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?

I think I end up having long periods of time between one writing binge and another, but it’s never really planned. When I hand off my story to beta readers, for example, I stop working on the book because what’s the point of continuing to work while I’m waiting for the feedback that’s going to inform my editing process?

As for writing a draft and leaving it to simmer, wanting for the light of day, I’m not good at that. I’ve heard the endless benefits of letting a book percolate, but upon finishing a draft, I’m always motivated to get cracking on the next one. I do my best work when I’m motivated, so for me it would be silly not to work for the sake of…what, not working, so later when I’m unmotivated and have to remind myself of the story’s intricate details, I can work harder? I guess? This idea has never jived with me. Breaks from happenstance? Sure. Forced breaks? Ehhhh. Know your process and what works for you, is the advice I try to write by.

What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing and traditional publishing?

I think the decision of how to publish is very personal. It depends on you, what kind of career you want, what kind of books you write, and how you want to spend your time. I think citing certain things as advantages or disadvantages is a little presumptive, because everyone has different tastes. Some people might not want to have “full control.” They might not care about choosing their cover designer, they might not care about setting their price point. Other authors might care less about being on a bookshelf and more about having a professional editor they don’t have to vet and pay for. I believe everyone chooses their publishing path for their own reasons, and despite a lot of pushback on self-publishing, I think both paths are valid.

I chose to self-publish Overshadowed. For me, the biggest benefit of this path is that I get out directly what I put in. The harder I work, the better I write, the smarter I market, the more I blog and connect with my fans, the more people buy my book. If I get lazy, my numbers drop. There’s no relying on anyone else to do their job right. There’s no getting frustrated at a team who isn’t giving my writing enough attention. There’s just me working for me, and I like that. I like seeing the direct results of my efforts.

The biggest benefits of traditional publishing – in my mind – are validation and reach.  Self-publishing doesn’t prohibit you from hiring a professional cover designer, a professional editor, or even a publicist, if you really want one, but it’s unlikely you have decades of contacts and tried and true relationships with booksellers. If I’m willing to spend the money, I can get a product comparable to a traditionally published book, but I’d be hard-pressed to get it into international bookstores.

As for validation, how fulfilling is being “chosen?” That’s pleasant to anybody. Who doesn’t want to rise to the top of a slush pile and “win” an agent and get paid in advance for something they wrote? I imagine to many traditionally published authors who look down on self-publishing, self-publishing looks like cheating. Skipping the slush pile? Making some money anyway? Come on, man. No one likes a cheater.

I think the real winners in this game are the hybrid authors, though. In fact, one of my favorite authors, Rachel Aaron, is hybrid, and she has an EXCELLENT article on self-publishing vs. traditional publishing. I highly recommend it if you want answers instead of my senseless ramble.

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?

I wrote a ton of stories as a kid, but even though it’s not the first, my most memorable early creation was a short, hand-drawn picture book for a school contest I made when I was in second grade. The book was called “The Tiger’s Lunch.”

I’m pretty sure the story followed a Toucan who was trying very hard not to end up the tiger’s lunch. In the end, Toucan made Tiger a sandwich, and they ended up being pals. It won second place. I don’t remember getting the award, but I like to falsely remember that my acceptance speech involved a sombering tirade about breaking down barriers between bird and feline kind. And maybe that is what happened. I hear the book did much for Toucan-Tiger relations.

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AudioBook Review – Clan

If you really love Sci Fi like I do. This is a total MUST listen. I loved, loved it.


Clan | [Realm Lovejoy]

“One of the best I’ve ever listened to.”

This was a really interesting story. As a Jeff fan, I can’t help myself, so picked this up as soon as he posted on facebook.

What I really loved about this story was just that, the story. It was so intricate, so well written and of course performed that I was totally hooked in from the first five minutes. This is, in fact going to be one of my all time favourites probably for a long time. If I could give this one 10 stars I would.

The characters in here, were so deep and wonderfully developed, their backstory and lives just so heartbreaking and wonderful. I felt and went through their journey with them and was on the edge of my seat with it many, many times.

I think my only criticism was the ending and I won’t spoil it for anyone, honestly I think it could have ended much sooner. But, that’s my only real quibble. I don’t know if this is going to be something there can be another story with but I’ll be watching for more, especially from the writer, it was just brilliant. Thank you very much for this. Some of the best hours I’ve spent listening.

🙂

Our books are not free!

The biggest event on facebook, I’ve seen in a while! and it starts soon!

https://www.facebook.com/events/206705409792190/

Sorry facebook for the double tap. Well worth it I think. 🙂

I’ve had the best time since we launched TSK’s second book in December, with a really well laid out plan of attack and some well-placed blogs and adds, we’re doing okay, sales and KU reads are really steady! and I’m proud of that.

But in the launch I did what most authors do, I had giveaway prizes. I love and will always love doing things for others if they REALLY want them, but I gave away between 2 events over 16 audiobooks, out of those prize winners only 6 actually have claimed their books.

These books cost a tonne of money to produce, and each gift costs around $20 or £20 (we’re almost even in cash value)

So I gave away £200 worth of goods, that no one really wanted.

So when a facebook friend decided enough was enough and she shared her idea on this event, I fully supported her, and I’m very proud of the gathering that is involved with this event.

Writing is not easy, it’s fun… sure.

It can be highly stressful too.

It is expensive.

To compete in the real world we have to pay out for many things.

Editing,

Cover art…

Proofing.

Marketing.

Our time is worth something.

Yet, all the time, artists and not just in the writing world are berated and asked for stuff for free.

My other qualm was before my book launch in December I took part in a big event for a $100 amazon gift card. We gathered email addresses for our mailing lists, which was fab.

However in January and up to date, because I gave my email address in, I’ve had over 350 emails, with authors GIVING books away for free 😦

I am very saddened by this, and it has to stop.

We are worth it!

Our time is worth it. You as a reader want hour after hour of entertainment, right?

But you won’t pay more than 2.99 ?

What’s that coffee cost you there, that you’re drinking? how much is that barista on per hour?

Yeah, you get my point, right?

I love my readers, and I love my fans, the comments and notes I get all over social media make my day, but I have to eat, I have to put a roof over my head.

Hugs to you all, and I really, really hope you guys will support this fab event.

I’ve got spending money tonight! So I’m going to buy some amazing books from some of these fabulous authors!

 

Sci Fan Magazine – Feb issue

I have been so bad at doing the self promo stuff. And let this one get into February before posting.  oops. My bad.

But of course we’re in this months mag, and it’s a great one! promise.
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I got my printed copies today of the mag, and I’m still so very impressed. The second part to Octav and Chace’s story is out. 🙂 This was co-written, by myself and Steven Kogan (whose novel will be published this year! as a spin off from our TV series penned in 2010) and of course we had some parts read out by the amazing Jeff Hays over on twitch!

from 35.05 – over at – https://www.twitch.tv/videos/118348053

I know you want to go listen in! Go go go!

This is the fab logline from the short –

With King Valor dead and pandemonium spreading, Kendro must make the journey to see the Heart while Octav takes on his new role as Ainoren and attempts to prevent all-out war.

So go grab a copy, pick it up as an ebook or the real deal a printed mag!  This one is much brighter and better than the first! The mag founders took all comments to heart on their first pub and I love how this one turned out!

PS…. you have to wait for the next one, this is a double whammy! from Team TSK!

heheehehhe

 

 

 

SciFi Blog Tour – Heather Hayden

Today I’m interviewing Heather Hayden for the SciFi blog tour! I’m excited for this because I love the cover. 🙂

 

Bio:

Though a part-time editor by day, Heather Hayden’s not-so-secret identity is that of a writer—at night she pours heart and soul into science fiction and fantasy novels. In March 2015 she published her first novella, Augment, a YA science fiction story filled with excitement, danger, and the strength of friendship. She immediately began work on its sequel, Upgrade, which continues the adventures of Viki, a girl who loves to run, and her friend Halle, an AI. Her latest release is a short story “Beneath His Skin,” which is part of an anthology her writer’s group put together called From the Stories of Old: A Collection of Fairy Tale Retellings. You can learn more about Heather and her stories through her blog and her Twitter, both of which consist of equal amounts of writerly things and random stuff she’s interested in.

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Questions:

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Don’t dwell on the dark times. When things get rough, reading and writing will help you make it through. Don’t abandon your books or your stories, because that will only make it worse. Do things for yourself, not just for others. It’s not selfish, it’s taking care of yourself. Run on the beach at night. Take long bike rides. Read.

Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?

It depends on the book. A short story might get a few days or a week. A novel might get a month or even longer, in some cases. Augment didn’t have that luxury because I had a strict 6-month window in which to write, edit and publish it. But its sequel, Upgrade, had a gentler deadline and took closer to ten months to complete the first draft.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

Eventually I would like to earn my living through writing. Though it may take a few years to reach that point (or longer), it’s how I want to live. I’m not looking to become the next J. K. Rowling or anything, just earning enough to afford an apartment or a house, food, and travel; that last is especially important, since I want to see the world, and plane tickets can get pretty pricey depending on the destination.

I’m not as proliferous (yet, anyways) as other writers I know, who can release an amazing book every few months, but I’m working hard and eventually I hope to reach that goal. I’ve already released Augment, a YA science fiction novel (2015), and From the Stories of Old, an anthology with other writers (2016). I hope to release Upgrade early this year, with other publications later in the year.

What drew you to write science fiction?

Ever since I was a child, fantasy has fascinated me. When I started reading science fiction, I found it just as captivating. For that reason, I read both genres and also write both genres. Augment, in particular, drew a lot from my knowledge of computer science, genetics, and implant technology. Augment was my Senior Project (a requirement for graduation at my college), and in it I combined all my passions—for writing, for science, for science fiction. I’d written science fiction before, but never to the level of technical detail thatAugment required. It was challenging, but also rewarding.

What hobbies do you have, other than writing?

My hobbies tend to vary, depending on where I am and who I’m with. Sometimes I enjoy beading—usually making bracelets, since the loom I use is small. Other times I spend more free time gaming—often Minecraft, but also a variety of RPGs and 4X strategy games. Or I might play a lot of the card game Magic the Gathering. I’ve done knitting (scarf), crocheting (afghan), and cross-stitching (various projects) in the past, too. As a bookworm, I also read a lot, but I don’t consider that a hobby—more like sustenance for life.