Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’m currently writing the third book in my Pendulum Heroes series, with the first book finally getting published now. That said, I have an addiction to writing short stories and I’ve written a slew of them. Those stories have been published in Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine, Apex, Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, Lightspeed Magazine, Daily Science Fiction and several others.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Pendulum Heroes is about four gamers who are stuck not only in the game but in their character avatar bodies. This is particularly troublesome for Melvin Morrow, who plays the game as a warrior maiden whose armor is literally a chainmail bikini. Also not a fan of this predicament is his friend Richard Bates, now an old man with a frazzled gray beard and crazy unpredictable mage power, or his brother Mike Morrow who is now a megrym–imagine an imp + fruit bat + chupacabra and that’s a megrym. The reason they’re stuck here is that mages from this world import players from Earth via the game to do suicidal tasks no sane person would sign up for… only this time something broke.
Stories like Narnia inspired this, mostly because I couldn’t imagine why and who put a portal to another world into a wardrobe. That and my constant love affair with video games.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Sometimes to nail the feeling of the right scene or story, I’ll write to music. I wrote a flash story to Rock the Casbah. One of my highest praised stories “17 Amazing Plot Elements… When You See #11, You’ll Be Astounded” I wrote with Nouvelle Vague’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” on repeat.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
When I was a kid, I pretty much mainlined Piers Anthony’s books. I’m also an avid fan of Kurt Vonnegut, Ursula K. Le Guin and Harry Harrison’s “Stainless Steel Rat” series.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on finishing book three of the Pendulum Heroes series. I plan to have a book for each hero, so there will be four books total.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Book promotion is a pretty new thing to me. I’m more used to writing a short story, selling it to a respectable venue in the business and letting them do the advertisement. That said, I do a bit of blogging about my experiences and I tweet from time to time.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Advice from me is like advice from either an energetic toddler or an old drunken uncle… either its funny and naively simple because I don’t know enough or it’s a meandering mess because I know too much and can’t handle it! I will say that short stories really helped me get experience writing well, coupled with peer review. The act of reading other new writers and trying to eloquently tell them why you didn’t like something can only help you when you’re looking at your own work. To that end, I recommend new writers join critters.org.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
It came from Buddha and it keeps me working when I feel malaise setting in. He said, “that’s the problem, you think you have time.”
What are you reading now?
Ink, Iron, and Glass by Gwendolyn Clare. Speaking of writer advice, the back cover of her novel has one of the most powerful quotes in that regard. It simply says “our best weapons are words.”
What’s next for you as a writer?
I plan to tap into the Buddha’s words, realize time is fleeting and finally finish this third novel, then launch into writing the fourth and final act.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
On a Pale Horse by Piers Anthony
The Stainless Steel Rat by Harry Harrison
A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin