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An Interview with Ed Wetterman

Today I welcome a good online friend and relative several times removed, Ed Wetterman. There is a missing link that occurred when my ancestors migrated from somewhere in Germany/Austria, via Sweden, to America. But my remembrance of my grandfather in his youth looks a lot like Ed Wetterman teaching class on his photo page on Facebook. I discovered Ed is passionate about fantasy and gaming when I searched for my first book on Amazon by typing in the name “Wetterman” and finding Ed’s name pop up. Please welcome Ed to our blog discussion. 

Howdy cousin.  I’m grateful for the opportunity to take part in this blog discussion and I hope whenever someone does a search for Wetterman that both our names pop up often.

I’ll second that. How did your love for fantasy and gaming get its start?

I was nine years old and it was 1977 in a dark movie theatre.  The movie was Star Wars.  I wanted to be Luke Skywalker.  I wanted to be Han Solo, and sometimes I wanted to be Darth Vader.  Combine that with an ADHD imagination (think Calvin and Hobbes) and a love of reading and it was not long before I was diving into Tolkien, Brooks, and many others.  I was soon introduced to Dungeons and Dragons and I’ve been an avid lover of fantasy and gaming ever since.

Does Tracey share your love of gaming or has she developed her own pastime for when you dive into the dark cave of creativity and play?

No, she is not a gamer.  However, she is an avid fantasy reader and we both share a love for Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series and many others.  She has always let me explore my creative side and has been supportive of all my endeavors.  My first company was called Memory Writers, and I would write up people’s family histories, stories, etc.  My favorite book I put together at this time was for a man named Wardell Leisk who played football for LSU in the late 1920s and played professional football in the infancy of the NFL as well.  I learned a lot from the experience.

Let’s talk about Reality Blurs. You do both writing and line development for Agents of Oblivion. Describe for us the concept behind what you call, “The perfect Cocktail of Horror and Espionage” and how this integrates into Savage World.

One of the next companies I got involved in starting up for production of gaming adventures was 12 to Midnight.  We were dedicated to producing good modern horror gaming adventures and we were pretty successful for an independent company.  We began by writing for the Open Gaming Licensed d20 system that became the rage of the industry in 2000.  Later we were contacted by Shane Hensley of Pinnacle Entertainment Group best known for his Deadlands and Savage Worlds games and adventures.  Mr. Hensley is one of the true greats in the gaming industry and he brought 12 to Midnight into writing for the Savage World’s system.  It soon became my system of choice for both writing and playing (though the older I get the less I really game).

It was during this time that Savage World’s was opened up to a few licensees.  One of them was by a guy named Sean Preston and his company was Reality Blurs.  He had written a great plot point setting for Savage Worlds called Runepunk.  Over the next few years Sean and I became friends and though he lives in Tennessee and I live in Texas, we usually communicate at least once a week.  His company grew and I started doing some things for him including editing, writing, and we bounced lots of ideas off each other.  I contributed to Realms of Cthulhu and several other of his books such as Iron Dynasty.  One of his ideas was for a horror-based, espionage game full of international intrigue, global politics; fiendish groups bent on world domination, and of course, monsters!  It was called Agents of Oblivion.  We even wrote a common timeline for his imagined world and 12 to Midnight’s Pinebox campaign. 

About two years ago, Sean contacted me and asked if I would finish the product for him as he had way too many projects to see to.  I said yes, began editing, and then realized that I thought it needed a little more rounding out.  Sean had other staff writers and told me that I could give them some of the writing assignments.  I’ve never been great at delegating and soon was writing away on it with pure joy.  I knew that this one would be a hit with the consumers and gamers out there.  It was different.  It was James Bond meets Cthulhu (think big, bad scary end-of-the-world-monster), and I was hooked. 

The best thing about Agents of Oblivion is that there are simply so many ways to play it.  You and your friends could play real-life type espionage games, Bond-esque games, or games that include aliens, governmental conspiracies, approaching apocalypse, bug hunts, or many others.  With its high-tech gadgetry, powers, and agencies it is a real thrill for gamers everywhere.  That’s why we call it “The perfect Cocktail of Horror and Espionage.”

You write for Savage Worlds and one of your works is Last Rites of the Black Guard. Describe the setting and its place in the Savage World game system.

Last Rites was the first published adventure I ever wrote and the first one 12 to Midnight produced.  It is about an evil Nazi who is seeking the power of immortality and though he lives an extra-long time, he eventually dies and is raised as a Mummy.  The adventure takes place when the heroes are contacted by a lady who is in dire need of help.  Her home and children are being haunted by ghosts and she has exhausted all her resources hoping to put an end to it.  With creativity, investigation, and adventure, the heroes help her and defeat the bad guys (I’m always about good defeating evil!)

At the time (2002) we thought it was a great product.  Later I realized just amateurish it was and it was rewritten and re-released for the Savage Worlds system. (See comments above about Shane Hensley). 

We produced several great adventures including Bloodlines, Green’s Guide to Ghosts, Weekend Warriors, Innana’s Kiss, Fire in the Hole, and several others, though my favorite book is not an adventure-but a book of short stories about our fictional setting of Pinebox, Texas.  The title is Buried Tales of Pinebox, Texas.  Pinebox is in deep East Texas (Texans always capitalize East for East Texas) and is a small college community with many dark secrets.  Several great writers wrote short stories for us including gaming greats Jason L. Blair, Jess Hartley, Shane Lacy Hensley, Charles Rice, Monica Valentinelli, Filamena Young, and J.D. Wiker, as well as more prodigious authors like Derek Gunn and David Wellington.  My 12 to Midnight partners also wrote some stories in it (Preston Dubose, Trey Gorden, and yours truly).    If you want to find out more check out www.buriedtales.12toMidnight.com  and even better, buy the book!

A couple of years ago, 12 to Midnight became the property of Pinnacle Entertainment Group and we are thrilled to be working with Shane Hensley-who has encouraged us from the beginning.

I’m told you speak Klingon. Sometimes my version of English sounds like Klingon, but I have never learned the language. Do you, and if so, which spinoff from Star Trek is your favorite? Mine is Deep Space Nine.

I speak a rare dialect of Klingon that mixes hard consonants with the long drawn out vowels of East Texas, so I’m not really sure anyone out there can understand me.  I’m a fan of the original series and the recent JJ Abrams version (wow, loved it), though I have watched it in all its incarnations.  Will Wheaton of Wesley Crusher fame is actually a fan of Reality Blurs and reportedly loves Agents of Oblivion!  I think that news made my geeky year.

What new can we expect from Ed Wetterman? What’s in the works?

Preston Dubose and I (rarely now, more Dubose than Wetterman) are still rewriting and reworking our East Texas University plot point setting for Pinebox in the Savage Worlds system.  I have many short stories, novels, and essays that I am always working on as well, and hope that someday more of my writing will be produced instead of gaming materials, but I need the time to really devote to the craft.  It is the War of Art, and many times I am losing.  Maybe it’s my own ADHD mentality or the fact that I have so many hobbies in my life.  I am currently working to become a lay-minister in the Methodist church, coaching football, teaching US History to 8th graders, and have been asked to direct a play next summer for the local community theatre.  I am also kept very busy by my two boys, David (soon to be 17) and Kevin (10), my two dogs, one cat, my love of horses as I volunteer on a friend’s ranch, my own twenty acres of land,  and with the tasks my wife requires of me to keep my job as husband and father.  I have been active in the Walk to Emmaus movement, and am hoping to join the Kairos Prison Ministry for Christmas.  Oh, and on the rarest of occasions I like to fish, dabble in genealogy, watch football on TV, or catch a movie with my wife and kids.

Thanks for being my guest. I’ve enjoyed our conversation. I attend the Lexicon Writers Conference each year. But that’s almost a year away. I think Denton is a bit far for us to meet, but if I ever get down your way, I’ll give you a buzz.

Please do.  I’d love to get to know you better and maybe partake of a bit more of your own wisdom when it comes to writing.  If you ever make it down to Dallas, Houston, or Austin let me know.  Thank you for letting me have this conversation and I hope to read more good things of yours in the future.  “To everyone reading this, God Bless, be joyful in all you do, keep God first, and remember to love your neighbor as yourself and you will find joy.”  De Colores.

To buy Ed Wetterman’s books, click on the following link.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss/186-9988924-7682815?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Ed+Wetterman

To buy my novels, click on the following link.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_14?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=bill+wetterman&sprefix=Bill+Wetterman%2Caps%2C126

 
2 Comments

Posted by on October 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Interview with Bob Doerr

My blog guest today is Bob Doerr. Bob and I met at the Lexicon Writer’s Conference in Denton, Texas. We hit it off right away. His military background defines him and his writing. Please welcome, Bob Doerr.

Hi Bill, it was nice to meet you and all the other attendees at the conference.  I hope to get back there next year.

Bob, you were a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award in 2010 and 2011. You also won the 2011 Silver medal for fiction at the Military Writer’s Society of America’s annual conference. Explain to our readers what the Eric Hoffer Award and the Military Writer’s Society of America are, and which of your novels won distinction.

The Eric Hoffer annual writing contest solicits books published in any manner other than by the big six national publishers.  It is a large contest with a couple of thousand submissions each year.  International authors can submit, too, as long as their book is in English.  While there are individual awards given out in different categories, the best of the rest compete for the big award and are called finalists – unless they win the big prize, of course.  My books were submitted in the small independent publisher category.  The two that were selected as Finalists were Cold Winter’s Kill and Loose Ends Kill.

The Military Writer’s Society of America is a national organization with around a thousand members.  Most members are related in some way with the military and are authors.  The Association holds an annual writing contest.  In 2011, Loose Ends Kill took the silver medal for Fiction/Mystery.  This year Another Colorado Kill is a finalist in the same category.

You grew up in a military family, had a career in the Air Force, and managed to remain married for 38 years. Is your wife a saint?

Calling her a saint may be a little extreme, but she certainly deserves my appreciation for putting up with me for all these years.  Of course, our joke is that we would have divorced long ago, but neither one of us wanted the kids or the furniture. Actually, we have great children and now super grandchildren.

With your upbringing and Air Force experience, I would think your novels would be centered on International espionage and combat, instead you focus on crime solving in the southwest and the Rockies. Why did you go this direction?

I selected the southwest as the setting for my books because I’m very familiar with the area, and I think the settings work well in my stories.  I decided to write murder mysteries mostly because it was simpler for me to do so.  While I actually did have more expertise and experience in the counterespionage arena, due to the classified nature counterespionage there are a lot of restrictions that I would have to be concerned about if I wrote in that genre.  That being said, I may dabble in the world of espionage and terrorism in a future work.  One of AFOSI’s major missions, like NCIS, is investigating felonies within or directed at the Air Force, so I had plenty of experience with criminal investigations.

Will you continue to use Jim West as your key character, or as Jim Patterson said, “If you don’t buy my book, I’ll kill Alex Cross? 

I started writing with a goal of doing five Jim West books.  I’ve met that goal now with my fifth book coming out later this year, and I have to admit, I’m torn between doing another West book or something new. In the next thirty to sixty days, I’ll have to make up my mind.

How would you describe your writing style and what authors influenced you?

I like telling stories, and when I write I like to get started with a general idea and let the story develop as I go along.  I have some direction in mind, of course, but as I write, plot twists and subplots pop into my mind.  I know a lot of good authors who outline everything, some in great detail before they start their book, but that style doesn’t appeal to me. My first book has one chapter that is fairly intense and violent, but in all the books since I’ve tried to keep my writing at the PG-13 level to appeal to a wider audience.  A lot of authors have influenced me. The first few that come to mind are Rex Stout, John D. McDonald, and Raymond Chandler.

Describe TotalRecall Publications and your relationship with them. How have they been to work with?

TotalRecall Publications is a small independent publisher that operates out of Friendswood, Texas.  We have a good relationship.  Since they are a small publisher, most of the editing and marketing is left up to me, but everything else is done by them at their expense.  We work together on cover design and title but they have the final word.  The covers they have done for me have been great. Overall, we have a good relationship.

What can we expect next from Bob Doerr?

More books, that’s for sure.  I enjoy writing.  Keep an eye out for my new book No One Else to Kill that should be available in all formats around Thanksgiving.

Do you have any advice to give to up-and-coming writers, tips on learning the craft, publishing, and marketing? 

My advice is for them to stay with it.  Keep writing – you’ll only get better!

Thanks again Bob for taking your time with us. Good luck in your future endeavors.

Thanks you, Bill.

To buy Bob Doerr’s books, click on this link.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_9?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=bob+doerr&sprefix=Bob+Doerr%2Caps%2C318

To buy my books, click on this link.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_11?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=bill+wetterman&sprefix=Bill+Wetter%2Caps%2C437

 
1 Comment

Posted by on October 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

An Interview with Minnie Lahongrais

Today, I’m honored to interview a true pioneer of paranormal/urban fantasy. She writes in a style so realistic you walk with her character, Sinner, through the scenes and feel her emotions. Welcome, Minnie Lahongrais.

Wow! What an introduction! Thank you! And, thank you for this opportunity to talk about this passionate love affair I am having with writing. I am honored to be here.

A good friend of mine has had two knee replacements in two years. I know second hand the difficulty you’ve faced. So let me ask, how is your knee doing, and did the recuperation time steal precious moments away from your writing? I have pictures in my mind of you, leg up and braced, typing away at the computer.

First, I will say that pain and I have become intimate, which will enable me to write more honestly about it. Initially, I didn’t believe it would ever get back to normal, but I’m now feeling I will recover within the time frame my doctor said I would (12 – 18 months for full recovery). That wasn’t the case six weeks in.

Your friend is extremely courageous! I had a knee cap replacement on my right and arthroscopic on my left. To have two knee replacements in as many years, takes a lot of guts! Kudos!

Did my surgery and recuperation take away precious time from my writing? Yes, it did. I had the same vision you did. When I was told I’d be off from work until the end of October I thought: “Wow! Three months! I’m going to be a writing goddess!” Not!  It was terribly difficult for me to do any writing while at the hospital and later at the rehab center because of all the interruptions. Then when I was released and went home, all I wanted do was sleep because I was so heavily medicated. Once I got off the medication, I suffered from insomnia and couldn’t focus on anything but trying to sleep. I was a zombie.

The muscles in my leg are stronger now, thanks to two-hour physical therapy sessions three times a week. I’m sleeping regular hours now and I’m rising at a regular time so I’m writing more now.  I’m a happy (sober) camper now because I am doing what I love.

Minnie, your themes show the dark side of life. How did growing up in the Bronx influence the stories you write, particularly Sinners Ride?

As background, I didn’t grow up in the Bronx. I grew up in an area of NYC’s Manhattan called El Barrio or “East Harlem.” It is now called “Spanish Harlem” or “Spa Ha.”

I became socially conscious at a young age. It was the 60’s and the Civil Rights Movement was in full swing when I noticed certain injustices because my family was directly affected. I wasn’t entirely sure if what I was thinking was correct because it was the exact opposite of what my parents were teaching us at home. In other words, it doesn’t matter what we look like; we all bleed red.

It wasn’t until I began middle school that I realized how idealistic that mantra was. Talk about culture shock! 

I married in 1979 and moved to the Bronx knowing full well that it wasn’t Park Avenue. I wanted to get away from the neighborhood I had grown up in but didn’t want to live a “white bread” life, so I moved to the South Bronx until the early eighties when, as a divorced mother I went back to East Harlem to be near my family. When my daughter was 13, I bought a co-op in a section of the West Bronx that offers all the multi-cultural differences that I crave. 

Now to answer your question, there have been many influences from my life in my writing. Everything that I write is based on some true event in my life. Sinner’s story evolved very organically. It wasn’t even supposed to be about the sexual abuse she experienced at the hands of her father. But when I sat down to write the story it just came out that way. The prologue is the result of a conversation I had with my daughter regarding how we would do a video for Mary J. Blige’s hit “I’m Going Down” after we had gone to see her in concert at Radio City Music Hall. In the song, she sings about the “sound of the rain against her window pane slowly driving her insane” and that part made me think about a hospital or mental ward and the story took flight.

I have known people that have been sexually abused by family members. I have never known someone who was abused by their Dad, but I have known people who had Dads who creeped me out.

The event that inspired this story was not perpetrated by the person’s father, but I thought “What would this person do if it were their father? They’d probably kill him.” Once that thought was planted in my brain, I let my imagination run with it.

I read an interview you did with Sinner where she interrogates you about your second novel, Divergent Lives. Like most authors, I believe my characters are real. Apparently, Sinner doesn’t appear in your second novel. How does she feel about that, about are you going to bring her back?

Sinner is very real to me. She’s a bit touched (meaning “in the head”) and there are people in my life she reminds me of and vice versa. I still love them just as I love her. She’s my baby, my first born so to speak, but once Sinner’s Ride was done and released, I thought her story was done as well.

Afterward, as I got into the technicalities of writing, I began to think I should revisit that story and re-write it with an alternate ending. Now, I’m sitting on the fence about that. It is imperfectly written, and having learned as much as I have since its release, I feel I could improve on it but I’m not sure when I would do that or even if I would.

By the same token, I wanted to keep Sinner alive … because she bugged the hell out of me! LOL!  So, I decided I’d let her do the “Pink Diamond Interviews” and give her an opportunity to show me something; show me what she could do with the mess her life was left in at the end of her story.

Up until I gave her the interviews to do, she was very noisy and annoyed that I had turned my attention elsewhere. But she’s maturing and understands that I too have to grow. So, we’re ok now.

Tell the readers more about Divergent Lives, its premise and significance to you.

Oooh!! Divergent Lives!! In the beginning, this story was so hard to write but now, I can’t believe the things that show up on my screen.

Again, this is based on a very small true event in my life. I overheard a conversation as a child that stayed with me. It haunted me my whole life. The wheels got to turning and I thought “What if?”

This story is about fraternal twins born to Puerto Rican immigrant parents in 1962 in New York City. At the time of birth, one of the children has a physical deformity. The attending doctor decides that he will sell the imperfect child on the black market and only tell the parents of the one healthy child.

The parents go home with a child they named Adina Cruz Rosario and the other child is sold to a couple in a town called Lebanon in rural Pennsylvania. The adoptive parents are a former prostitute and a Baptist Pastor and they name the child Rhys John Preston or “RJ” for short.

Adina grows up in a happy household and RJ is consistently and repeatedly verbally and physically abused throughout his life.

The story is told in parallel. Adina and RJ experience life changing events almost simultaneously that affects their mental health. In early adolescence they independently show signs of sociopathy. Each of their sociopathy is treated but only one is treated by a doctor. One grows up to be a serial killer. The twins never learn of each other but their paths do cross.

How’s that? LOL!!

I’m a researcher. It takes me two months of research before I write a novel. What’s your method—by-the-seat of your pants, a general outline, or an elaborate amount of pre-planning?

I do a lot of research as well, and with each piece that I work on, the research becomes more and more intensive. I spent about 4 months doing research for Divergent Lives and as I begin the editing process, I am still double checking some of it.

Sinner’s Ride was a word dump. I had no plan, nada. I had no clue what I was doing. I wrote it during a month of weekends during NaNoWriMo, November, 2010. The following April, I published it because I was so proud of myself. I didn’t think anyone would read it but at least my name would be in the Library of Congress. How naïve was that?

I had a very different approach with Divergent Lives. I didn’t outline but I used the Marshall Plan Novel Writing Software to flesh out the characters and nail down a general idea for the novel. Once I had the characters locked in and the ideas in place I began my research on psychopaths vs. sociopaths; serial killer typologies and police procedures.

After reading all that material, I had conversations with psychologists, ob/gyn doctors, police personnel and lawyers. With each professional that I spoke with, the more excited I got about this project and the more excited I got, the more wrapped up with the characters I became.

I know your trilogy centering on the Radocian Clan still in the making. Can you give us a peek into what’s coming?

Absolutely. This is the first piece I ever sat down to write. I started writing it as a way to deal with my father’s death. It is a very personal piece and one that I am itching to get back to. Originally, it was going to be just one book, but the more I thought about it, the bigger the story became. There are three main arcs, each demanding its own book, and I had to create a masthead of characters and their backgrounds.

Here’s my premise: Have you ever missed someone who has passed on so badly that you wished you could see that person just one more time? Hug or kiss that person just one more time; have just one more conversation with that person just to hear their voice again? This is my wish every day. My father was my best friend and I miss him dearly. The Radocians is to pay homage to him.

When the story begins, the protagonist, Mica is a single woman in her late 40’s. She has a grown daughter and a grandson. She adores them both but she is struggling with life in general. She’s unhappy at work, she’s just broken up with her cheating live-in boyfriend and she’s depressed because she hasn’t come to terms with her father’s death. She’s suicidal. She makes an attempt but survives only to die when a bomb goes off in her office building in New York’s Times Square.

But does she really die?

She’s “rescued” by a fireman, Anatoly Dimitrikov, who in reality is a centuries old creature with vampire-like qualities. He tells her he can bring her to her father if she so wishes, but she only has a small window of time in which to decide: Does she want to go to her father’s dimension or does she want to die an Earthly death and maybe reincarnate only to do it all over again? Initially, Mica is stunned, but she sees that this is an opportunity to have what she’s wanted since her father “died” and she chooses to accept Anatoly’s offer.

It is only once she arrives at this new dimension that she thinks about the consequences. How will her disappearance affect her daughter and grandson? To add another layer of craziness, Mica is unaware that there is a shape shifting creature that is now impersonating her on Earth and is wreaking havoc. When this is revealed, all hell breaks loose.

In closing, I need to ask you about Indie Publishing. I noticed you switched from Xlibris to Indie Author’s Press. Have you found the switch to be beneficial to you? Even the big New York houses can see that the wave of the future is small publishing houses, Indie publishing, and digital E-books. Otherwise Penguin wouldn’t have bought AuthorSolutions. Please comment.

I published Sinner’s Ride via Xlibris simply because someone who is not a writer gave me a list of vanity publishing houses that I called. Xlibris were the only ones who called me back.

Though Indie Authors Press was very good to me, I’ve decided to end that relationship and go the fully independent route. As a very hands-on type of person wanting to learn as much as possible about this industry, I thought independent was the best route for me.

Thank you so much for taking your time. I’m enclosing a link to your Amazon page and mine at the end of our chat. Best of success to you in the future. Write on!

Thank you for having me! This was a lot of fun for me. I am very excited about Divergent Lives entering the world on 12/12/12 and I can’t wait to see how my readers react to it. Also, I particularly appreciate your interest in my Radocian Series.

As a woman of a certain age and background, I write about characters that resonate with me; that are like me: though experienced in life, still confused about certain things; sometimes even a little bit idealistic who maybe has a little child tucked away somewhere inside who just wants to have fun.

I’m often asked what genre I write in. To answer that question would be limiting, it would put me in a box and I’m claustrophobic. So I’m creating my own genre – “The Pink Diamond” genre.

To purchase Minnie’s books, click on this link.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Minnie+Lahongrais

To purchase my books, click on the link below.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_11?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=bill+wetterman&sprefix=Bill+Wetter%2Caps%2C354

 
3 Comments

Posted by on October 10, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

An Interview with Author/Illustrator Kinsy McVay

I’d like to thank Kinsy McVay for taking time from his many projects to appear on my blog.

Kinsy McVay was born in 1978 in Liberal, KS and was raised with his younger brother and sister by two wonderful parents in the little blip-in-the-road of Plains, KS. He attended junior college in Liberal before moving on to the University of Kansas in Lawrence where he earned his degree in Illustration. While in Lawrence, Kinsy married his long-time love, Tricia, who has since blessed him with two wonderful sons. Kinsy currently lives with his family in Fort Worth, TX, where he teaches elementary art. He wrote his first children’s book, “Just Line Around”, to be used in his classroom to inspire and encourage his awesome students.

Welcome Kinsy,

Thanks, Bill!  It’s great to be here.

Tell us what Tree House Illustration is.

Simply put, TreeHouse Illustration (www.treehouseillustration.com) is where I offer my illustration services to the world at large (dream big, right?).  Right now, I am primarily focused on illustrating for children’s books and cover art for novels, but I hope to expand into other venues in the future (magazines, advertising, etc.).  I have also recently begun branching out (pun intended) into book and cover layout, and, surprisingly enough, I find that I quite enjoy it.

My business was formerly known as Kinsy McVay Creations, but I had never been very happy with that name. I just wasn’t very imaginative or memorable.  In other words, it was lame.  One day, though, as I was driving around Fort Worth, I came across this piece of land that was for sale.  Sitting right in the middle of it was a nice big tree.  When I saw it, I immediately pictured a sprawling tree house nestled among the branches.  All kinds of boyhood hopes and dreams came back to me in that moment.  I mean, who wouldn’t love to have an awesome tree house?! Better yet, what if I could build an art studio as a tree house?  I began to imagine rope ladders, fire poles, trap doors… the whole nine.  (It was at this point that I wondered if I would ever actually get any work done in a place like that!)  From then on, the tree house not only represented a wild-eyed goal for the future, but also the imagination and fun that I enjoy through creating art every day.

How do you divide your time between teaching and your company?

I’ll be honest with you.  This is an issue that I am struggling with.  Over the summer, I had plenty of time to work on projects and begin working on new ones.  Now that school is back in full swing that is no longer the case.  School takes up most of my day, and that only leaves me with a few short hours with my wife and kids afterwards.  To help adjust for this, I have started getting up an hour earlier each morning to get some uninterrupted work done.  My wife and I have also been discussing setting aside some specific times that are strictly set aside as work time.

In addition, we will be moving into a larger home soon, so I should have a space that is dedicated to my illustration business.  I’ve found it’s a little difficult to get quality work done sitting at the kitchen table while the TV is on, the kids are playing, and there are dishes that need doing (why are there always dirty dishes?!).  Having a place to go where I can shut the door will help my productivity immensely!     

Your children’s book, Just Line Around, features Stew, an ordinary line who discovers he can be more. How did you come up with the concept?

The idea for Just Line Around came from a need I had in my classroom.  Lines are the very first Element of Art that we learn about, and I always like to have a book or two to tie into the concepts that I teach, especially for my Kinder – 2nd graders.  Although there are a few great line books out there (Harold and the Purple Crayon, for example), I just couldn’t find exactly what I needed.  So, on a whim, I started sketching out the types of lines I wanted my younger students to learn about.  Then I went back and created a story that would support the images.  In that way, I worked a bit backwards from tradition.  The pictures came first, and then the story followed.

I’ve watched the video and was astounded. In creating Stew’s movement, do you use the old cartoon animation techniques or something new?

Creating that trailer was a lot of fun!  I made it using old-school, stop motion animation (It’s been around since the late 1800’s).  I do a similar project with my 4th graders at school, but I had never considered it for a book trailer, until I saw an exhibit of William Kentridge’s work at the Fort Worth Modern Art Museum.  He does a lot of work with charcoal and stop motion animation.  Because he uses the charcoal on the same sheet of paper, you can see the entire process of the animation as it unfolds.  It was very inspiring!  Since Stew is nothing more than a moving black line, I couldn’t think of a better combination.

Just Line Around has been translated into Spanish. The school you teach in has a Spanish name. I’m seeing an outreach to the Spanish community through your book, is that correct?

Absolutely!  The school where I teach is about 95% Hispanic, and as soon as Just Line Around came out, the teachers at my school wanted to know when the Spanish version would be available.  Honestly, I hadn’t even thought of it until they said something, but I’m glad they did.  It was actually a bit nerve-wracking working in a language I don’t speak.  I had one teacher do the translation for me, but she recommended that I share it with others for feedback.  Everyone that read it had slightly different suggestions for it.  The major change came, though, when someone finally told me that the word “line” in Spanish (la línea) is a feminine word. Since my main character was currently male, it would be confusing to Spanish readers.  So Stew underwent a minor procedure (outpatient, really) and became Stephanie. 

It took me a while to get it finalized, but now it’s ready, and I will be giving copies out to my fellow teachers very soon (and praying for good feedback!).

You’ve done some book covers. Amanda Thrasher’s, The Ghost of Whispering Willow is an example. Are you expanding that part of your business, and how can our readers get a quote from you on a project?

I’ve really enjoyed working on book covers and hope to do many more. The great thing about cover projects is that they are easier for me to fit into my daily routine.  Compared to a picture book project that contains at least 16 images, book covers are much easier for me to complete in a timely manner.  At the same time, though, because the cover is the first thing people see, it can’t be rushed.   A lot of thought and planning have to go into what the author does or does not want to say with the image.  For example, with The Ghost of Whispering Willow, Amanda said that she was aiming for an “eerily mysterious” feeling.  Although it’s a ghost story, it’s not a story that is meant to frighten.  There won’t be any bad dreams after reading this book.  So we had to work together to find a balance between scary and spooky, between frightening and creepy.  It’s this author/illustrator dynamic and the challenge of creating the “right” image that comes with it that I find so appealing.

Anyone interested in contacting me, can e-mail me at kmcvay@kinsymcvay.com.  We can bounce around ideas, throw down some sketches, and find out if my style of art matches the vision for their book.  There is no fee until the author agrees on a final image and final art is started.    

What new is Kinsy McVay thinking about in the way of books, illustration work, and other projects?

That’s a tough one!  So many ideas and so little time…  I’ve been working on a new picture book with Amanda M. Thrasher for the past year called There’s a Gator Under My Bed!, and we’re hoping to have it out in early 2013.  I’ve also been knocking around some ideas for a sequel to Just Line Around where Stew learns about colors and emotions, and another picture book that is a Christian parable for the story of Jesus.

The most notable project I’m currently involved in is the creation of Rising Phoenix Press (www.risingphoenixpress.net) with my fellow authors, Amanda M. Thrasher and Jannifer Powelson.  All three of us had a less-than-ideal experience with our previous publisher, so we decided to pool our talents and get our work out there the right way.  We are currently using CreateSpace as the printer, but we are handling all of the layouts and design ourselves, making sure that all aspects of production are held to the highest of standards.  We already have 7 titles under our belts between the three of us and will be releasing more soon.  As of right now, we are not signing on any new authors or illustrators, but we will be changing that soon, as well.  Interested parties can e-mail us at submissions@risingphoenixpress.net.

Thanks for being my guest. To buy Kinsy’s book and learn more about Stew, click on the link below.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_11?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=kinsy%20mcvay

To buy my books, click on the following link.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_14?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=bill+wetterman&sprefix=Bill+Wetterman%2Caps%2C270

 

 
7 Comments

Posted by on October 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

An Interview with Jeanette Baird Vaughn

Please welcome Jeanette Baird Vaughn, a strong woman who writes about other strong women. I take every chance I get to promote stories about strong women. I’m married to one of the strongest. Jeannette is a mom, a nurse, a sheep farmer, and a great writer.

So tell me, how long have you been writing?

I was first published in 1985, at age 21 with a newspaper article regarding dying with dignity.  From there, I was published in a number of nursing journals and magazines.   However it was writing for my Master’s degree, that I found my voice.  I wrote a screenplay about men in nursing, Angel of Mercy. And bam…I was in love!   Have been writing in reality based fiction since then.

Flying Solo looks to be an intriguing story based on the cover description.  Tell me about the story.

Nora was born and raised in The French Quarter of New Orleans.  She marries money way to young.  The sedate life she is required to live just doesn’t match her adventurous spirit.   So, she  takes flying lessons on the sneak.   When all hell breaks loose as her marriage falls apart, she resorts to stealing his plane in order to get her children back.

You say it was based on a true story. How do you know this person?   

I met her in real life about  15 years ago.    When I heard bits and pieces of her powerful story, I was intrigued beyond belief.    I just had to hear how in the heck, as her first official act as a pilot  she went about stealing a plane!  And wanted to know why?

Nora  is a unique character.  She wants to be strong and independent,  when in the story do you think she achieves this?

Nora was a woman of the 1960’s.  The woman’s movement had not taken place yet with women’s lib and bra burning etc.    Catholic girls were expected to get married and have babies, not careers.   This just didn’t fit Nora at all.  She had too much of the wanderlust for that.    She constantly defied the norm, in just about everything she did.    I think she first found liberty when she first learned to fly.    But it wasn’t until she broke free from her jerk of a husband that she finally started asserting herself.    When she steals the plane as leverage, that seals the deal.

New Orleans is a city with such a unique culture of jazz, food and traditions of the deep South.  How is it that you knew the area so well?

All of my family is from New Orleans.   I grew up around the sites, smells and sounds of the The French Quarter.    Mardi Gras, jazz greats, mufallatta sandwiches and po-boys.   It was a joy to be able to include much of that in the book to bring the reader as close as possible to experiencing it there.   Just to make it real.

This story was set in racially turbulent New Orleans of the 1960s.   Why do you think Nora’s relationship with “the help” in her home transcended that?

Although Nora grew up in the South, due to her own Cajun mixed background she just did not see color.  People were people.    The genuineness and kindness she found in the maids in the story and their brave “will to survive no matter what” resonated with her.    It was hard for her to deal with the racial slurs projected onto her even by her own husband.  Her friendship and later reliance on the maids assistance for her “escape” from her marriage belies her belief that people are all just people.   Equal in every way.

Some of the language used in the book is strong, and some of the content quite salacious.   Was that necessary?

I wrote the characters as I saw them.  Nora was not married to a nice gentleman of the South.  She was married to an ogre   So sure, some of the language is harsh, but in character.   When she has an illicit affair, I wrote it as I saw it unfolding before me.   I wanted to put the reader in the moment, just like I did when I wrote about the cockpit and aviation scenes.

The trailer talks about how sometimes in life the choices we make have devastating consequences.    Do you think Nora learns from hers?

I think in the denouement of the story, she finally does.    In fact, she has to prove to herself just how strong she really is.    I think she finally realized the effect that some of her choices had on her own children.

Flying Solo is definitely not a romance, but a look at what certain choices one might make in life complicate and effect relationships.    Talk about Nora’s choices and the outcomes.

Nora wanted true love more than anything.  But as happened in the story, some loves, no matter how powerful are star-crossed and not to be.  That is a harsh reality to except, especially for Nora who believes if you want to do something….just do it!

Were you happy or sad to see what happened at the end?

Not to spoil the plot, but the end always gets me.  I cry each and every time.

Why should readers go out and buy a copy of this book?

Mainly because it is a salacious page turner.  However, the bigger reason is to celebrate  one woman’s powerful journey.  It’s a story that gives hope to women out there that need to make a change for the better.   If you can dream it, you can do it!

Thanks for sharing with us, Jeanette. To buy Flying Solo, click on the following link.

http://www.amazon.com/Flying-Solo-Unconventional-Navigates-Turbulence/dp/061561888X/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1349281298&sr=1-3&keywords=flying+solo

To buy my books go to www.bwetterman.wordpress.com, click on the page for the book you want, and follow the prompts, or click on this link:  http://www.amazon.com/The-Fifth-Step-ebook/dp/B0099XL3OQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1349359340&sr=1-1&keywords=bill+wetterman.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on October 4, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

An Interview With Brinda Carey

 

Brinda Carey is the author of Don’t Cry, Daddy’s Here. My wife and I met Brinda at the Lexicon Writer’s Conference in Denton, Texas. When you see Brinda’s smile and the twinkle in her eyes, you would never believe the life of abuse she has overcome. She is a living example of God’s loving power and grace. After reading her novel, my wife placed this review on Amazon. 

“Brinda Carey, a marvelously gifted author, powerfully unmasks incest in her family. She offers the reader her story with tasteful candor and stirs every emotion on the human barometer. The courage she demonstrates offers hope to every sexual victim who reads her painful account. The story carries the reader from the depth of incest to the mountain top of health.

 Her voice shouts from the housetops. So many children are abused every day. Her story reveals the family curse and the behavioral signs to watch for. My hope is that every parent and teacher will read her story and become a soldier in the fight to end this abuse.”

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your life growing up.

My father was a farmer, so most of my childhood was spent either on a farm or in a very small town in the Texas Panhandle. We had farm chores such as feeding chickens, laying irrigation pipe, and setting out salt blocks for the cattle as well as household chores. I enjoyed working in the garden and helping my mother can food. We lived in poverty and learned from an early age to make do with what we had.

As the oldest of six children, I helped quite a bit with my siblings and was expected to be an example. I also felt a strong need to be their protector. Therefore, when my mother went off on us with a belt or my dad began to sexually abuse me, I felt the need to take blame and be submissive, thinking that in some way I was protecting them. In actuality, I really didn’t do much to keep them from suffering from abuse.

That is just a minuscule glimpse into my childhood, which resembles neither the way I chose to raise my family nor the blessed life I enjoy today. The hard part was getting from there to here.

What or who inspired you to write such a delicate personal memoir?

Along the road to recovery, I have been privileged to meet many beautiful women who were also struggling to mend their broken lives. My reason for writing this book was to share what helped me with other survivors to aid in their healing. With the silence and stigma of sexual abuse, it took me longer than I think it should have to find the answers and tools to get where I wanted to be. Hopefully, my book will allow them to know that I am one of them and understand something of what they are going through. That said, the resources I’ve included offer them a starting point to jump into their recovery and fly into a better future.

With some additional checklists and resources, I believe that my book is also a valuable tool for parents, teachers, counselors…anyone who loves children and wishes to protect, rescue, or help in the healing process.

With the topic as sensitive as incest and sex trafficking, how difficult was this book to write as honestly as you do and not shock your audience?

It was a fine balancing act for certain. When immersed in my memories, I often wrote words and images just as they were at that time. Upon revision, I looked at my work with the eyes of the woman and mother that I am now and easily removed much of the graphic descriptions, slang, and vulgarity. However, this isn’t to say that I don’t want my readers shocked. On the contrary, I want them to be utterly appalled and compelled to action! A survivor reading my story may find it tame, but read into it all I left out, and leave understanding and knowing me as a sister. It wasn’t easy writing this book and making into the tool I want it to be, but I am glad to have accomplished what I set out to do.

Describe for us the turning point in your life when hope and faith conquered the dark.

I don’t know that I can do justice to that experience and still have room for you to print this! I will say up front that there was a major turning point, but it is difficult to reprogram the way a person thinks and make a 360 without some time.

That major turning point involved a certain period of my life when I began seeking answers to questions I had about religion. My two year-old son was extremely ill, in fact, he was dying. Kris was the second son I had conceived due to the abuse of my father. I wanted to know if I needed to get him baptized or something to assure his place in heaven. I also wanted to know if he was dying due to my sin and what I must do to gain favor with the Lord.

The first person I ever told about the abuse was a religious leader who stated that I was not to blame for the abuse nor the failing health of my son. I felt the truth of his statement course through my body and my soul was filled with a peaceful knowing of the truthfulness of that statement. It was like God wrapped me in His arms and soothed the child crying out to Him.

Kris died later that year and I honestly don’t know how anyone can withstand such grief without the grace of God to uphold them. My faith in eternal life helped me bear the weight of it all and gave me hope of an eternal life with Him in the afterlife.

Do you have other published works, or works in progress?

Yes, Bill, just give me a moment to take a deep breath and switch gears from survivor to author.

Take all the time you need.

Okay, here goes. In 2008, I had a short story and a poem selected for the Tyler Junior College Arts Journal. I was taking a creative writing course and this was my first attempt at submitting my work for perusal. This gave me confidence to continue working on my book. The short story, Grandma’s Cactus Garden, went through a revision and was recently published as a Kindle single.

I’ve had six articles published in magazines, three of them in While U Wait and the other three in online magazines for survivors.

I have a two act play ready for submission now. Two novels are in the works: Peeling Onions, a story about women bonding and growing close as they support one another through recovery, and one with a working title of Twins. I plan to have it out next spring. It’s the story of a young woman who learns she has a multiple personality when she finds herself pregnant with twins. She has a rare medical condition which resulted in two uteruses…and now she is pregnant by two different men. I took my time getting around to fiction, but now that I’ve tackled it, I’m extremely excited about the way the story is developing.

How did your relationship with White Bird Publications come to be?

The publisher at White Bird, Evelyn M. Byrne, and I were (and still are) members of the East Texas Writers Guild. She and I became friends and she patiently answered my questions, and I had tons of questions. I didn’t have a clue how to go about getting a book published.

Evelyn had no interest in publishing non-fiction and even less interest in having to read and help edit a book about the subject of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. However, in the course of hearing more about my life and reading a few excerpts, she offered me a contract to be White Bird’s first non-fiction publication.

How much of the marketing and promotion are you involved in?

Nowadays, regardless of who publishes your book, an author is expected to do the majority of their own promotion. This is certainly true for me. Fortunately, I had already built a platform through my work with survivors and organizations that work in the field. Evelyn helped me set up all my social media long before she agreed to publish my book, so that was in full swing. White Bird has given me the opportunity to participate in several book fairs and festivals. My book has been well received when I speak at recovery groups, such as the one I went through, Celebrate Recovery. I just continue to live my life serving survivors and working to make a difference and book sales follow.

Do you have a specific writing style? What books or authors influence you?

Is pouring your heart onto paper a writing style? You know, I had a book ready for publication before I even figured out there were more genres than fiction, non-fiction, murder mysteries, and romance.

I like Anne Lamont and Stephen King, who write much different genres, but write in the same manner. They both advocate letting the story flow freely onto paper and allowing the characters to come alive as you see them in your mind. Okay, my book, and most of my writing to date, has been non-fiction; however, my work now in fiction comes from what I’ve read, including their books on writing.

I happen to enjoy writing non-fiction and creative non-fiction pieces which includes: articles, poetry, and personal essay. And when it comes to fiction, such as Grandma’s Cactus Garden, I still want my work to be infused with realism and offer an inspirational message.

I have several favorite authors and read most all genres, so it is difficult to attempt to name them without knowing I’ll be second guessing how I answer that question for DAYS. So how about we leave it at that for now?

What advice do you have for readers who have experienced physical and emotional abuse?

Wow…that needs to be another book! Yet, with one in four girls being molested by the age of eighteen and one in 6 boys (realizing many victims never speak out about their abuse), I know that many of your readers will want this advice. Victims of ANY abuse, including verbal abuse, suffer greatly and much of the same advice can be given to everyone. A reader may know someone to share this information with, so I’m going to give you a condensed version that I hope will be helpful. It will not be all-inclusive nor does a person need to do ALL these things. These are just some of the things I found helpful.

TALK TO SOMEONE: Immediately tell someone you feel is a safe person if you are currently being abused. Things cannot get worse than they are right now. Even if your abuse occurred years ago, it will be a huge step n total recovery to talk to someone.

PRAY: Draw strength and comfort from your Father in Heaven who loves you unconditionally.

SERIOUSLY CONSIDER AN ASSESSMENT BY A PROFESSIONAL: A professional can assess the potential need for medication, therapy, or counseling.

KEEP A JOURNAL: Doing so is very therapeutic and can give you many insights into your life. It will also help you evaluate where you are, give you a clearer picture of where you want to be, and help you set goals.

NURTURE YOUR INNER CHILD: Allow yourself the experiences that brought you joy or comfort in your childhood or that you missed because of the abuse. My favorites are play dough, crayons and coloring books, and a stuffed animal. One woman I know had never blew bubbles before. Finally doing so really put a smile on her face.

PAMPER YOURSELF: This is different from the above because this is for you as you are right now. You are beautiful and deserve to indulge yourself regularly in some “me” time.

PRACTICE PATIENCE: Don’t beat yourself up when your recovery isn’t going as well or fast as you would like. Just as babies must learn to crawl before moving on to walking, then driving mom nuts as they climb on the furniture and run away from mom in the store, you, too, need to allow yourself time to progress.

AVOID THE PERPETRATOR: If possible, I’d suggest prosecution. Even if you love the person who hurt you, they will only get help when they are discovered and held accountable. But, by all means, do not continue to put yourself in harm’s way.

FIND A SUPPORT GROUP: Professional counseling can help a great deal; however, you need a support system in place that you can rely on day and night. I mentioned Celebrate Recovery earlier. There I found a sponsor and several women that I felt safe with and who I knew understood what was going on with me. Having a church family also can serve this need in more ways than one. We help one another…which brings me to:

LOSE YOURSELF IN SERVICE: Focusing on how you can help someone else takes your mind off your own troubles and just plain makes you feel good!

FORGIVE: Okay, this may take a long time. Remember that forgiveness doesn’t mean that you can forget or that you condone what they did. Nor does it mean you can now be “friends”. What it does mean is that you determine to be obedient to God and to place trust in Him to deliver perfect justice. Then you can “let go and let God” and free yourself from the cancer of unforgiveness. Practice makes perfect J

That’s all for now, but it is quite a list, especially for someone beginning recovery. Don’t be overwhelmed, just read through the list occasionally and try out some things to see what is helping you move forward.  Remember that this is simply my advice as a fellow survivor, not a licensed professional, and focus on one day at a time.

Thank you, Brinda, for sharing with us some of your most private hurts. I can’t tell you how ,much I admire your honesty and courage. You love of God shows clearly through.

To buy Brinda’s books, particularly Don’t Cry, Daddy’s Here, click on the following Amazon link.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_12?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=brinda+carey&sprefix=Brinda+Carey%2Caps%2C332

To buy my novels click on the novel page at the top of my blog and follow the prompts.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on September 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Countdown To Publication – One Day Away

The Fifth Step is a controversial novel. I’m a Christian. I believe truth must expressed honestly. As it is in the Bible. The Bible depicts life with no sugar coating. So do I. I fear many will  misinterpret my intentions, because the book is about a preacher who is addicted to pornography. But I will take that chance to present a realistic novel. 

You may ask why I decided to publish with Kindle KDP only and have the paperbacks printed and sent to me exclusively. The answer is simple. Traditional publishing is in the twilight of its years. Small internet and paperback companies and self-publishing is the wave of the future. If it wasn’t, why did Penguin, my former publisher, buy AuthorHouse and a group of other vanity presses.

As authors with a future view, we need to find a method of sifting out great work from poor work. The only way to do this is to price our books reasonably and ask readers to give an honest, unbiased review. That’s what I am requesting of you, my Facebook friends. The E-book is priced at $2.99. The paperback is priced at $14.00, the difference is in the cost of printing and shipping.

I would like to thank J.P. Jones at Paige 1 Media for her wonderful cover design. And I’d like to thank Jason Countryman, at Pocket-Pak Albums for publishing an excellent paperback.

 

 
2 Comments

Posted by on September 12, 2012 in Uncategorized