Rocky Mountain Writer #30

Jack Marshall Maness & Filling the Gaps in Historical Fiction

 
On Saturday, Feb. 6, Jack Marshall Maness delivered a presentation titled "Filling the Gaps in Historical Fiction." The talk was given at the Bear Valley Branch Library in Denver to a packed room. Maness, the winner of the 2015 Colorado Book Award for best historical fiction for his novel Song of the Jayhawk, talked about his research process and how he finds the space between fact and imagination to move his stories forward. Song of the Jayhawk focused on pre-Civil War Kansas and so will the follow-up, due soon.

Jack Marshall Maness

Intro music courtesy of Moby Gratis
Outro music courtesy of Dan-o-Songs

For suggestions about content or to comment on the show, email Mark Stevens. Also feel free to leave a comment about the podcast on iTunes or your favorite podcast provider.

Host Mark Stevens: http://www.writermarkstevens.com

Sex With Strangers

Michael Kingsbaker as Ethan; Paige Price as Olivia in 'Sex With Strangers'
Michael Kingsbaker as Ethan; Paige Price as Olivia in 'Sex With Strangers'

Can you judge an author by his or her books?

Should you go Kindle Direct Publishing or hold out hope for Farrar Straus Giroux to come your way?

I’m urging you to book a night to head down to Curious Theatre Company, 1080 Acoma St., and check out “Sex With Strangers” through Feb. 20. You can get in for about $18 and sit upstairs in this amazing theatre space. (Hey, upstairs is closer to the wine bar anyway.)

Don’t let the title mislead you. This is a PG-13 presentation—a bit of skin and some groping on stage. But it’s all in the name of a play about publishing, writing, identity, fame, fortune, selling out, managing reputations and that special tug of war between high art and crass commercialization.

It’s a simple set-up but playwright Laura Eason (“House of Cards” to her credit and much more) wrings every possible nuance from the odd coupling in a remote Michigan bed and breakfast.

In some ways the play is PAL vs iPAL, to put it in RMFW terms. And it’s also about what the two can do for each other.

In one corner, we have blogger-writer-screenplay guy Ethan who has (quite literally) spilled himself all over the Internet. He wrote a blog called “Sex With Strangers” that was started on a bet. It is titillating and tawdry and it has left more tawdriness in its wake. The blog became a book, then two, and a movie is now in the works. Cash is raining down on a guy who admits he’s a bit of jerk in public. It’s a role, you know. It’s not really him.

In the other corner, we have a reclusive, thoughtful, obscure, under-the-radar writer Olivia, author of meaningful fiction who is happy writing in solitude and, she believes, perfectly fine with her status. Her first book fizzled, in part because of a so-wrong “chick lit” cover. “The people who would have liked it didn’t buy it because of what they thought it was,” she laments. “And the people who did buy it hated it, because it wasn’t what they expected.”

Ethan is all Kindle and e-books—a fast-writing man on the move.

Olivia is all leather-bound classics and the smell of an old book. She’s caution and contemplation.

First, mud flies between these two—and then sparks.

Laugh lines are piled high, but so are some razor sharp observations about different attitudes toward publishing, marketing and ownership of art, particularly when he steals her latest manuscript to give it a read. She’s incensed at this brazen break in trust but gets over it when he begins developing ideas for how to re-launch her career by rebranding her first novel, which sank without a trace.

There are a couple of implausible moments in the plot, especially the lightning-quick response from New York agents and publishers, but it’s all in the name of a good story. There was no funnier moment to me than Olivia’s reaction when Ethan recites a line from her long-ago, “forgotten” novel. What’s more seductive than that kind of intense adoration?

We writers know. Absolutely nothing.

The set is terrific, the acting is stellar. Don’t miss “Sex With Strangers.” Well, you know what I mean.

Amazing set at The Curious Theatre Co. For 'Sex With Strangers'
Amazing set at The Curious Theatre Co. For 'Sex With Strangers'

Rocky Mountain Writer #29

Kerry Schafer & Dead Before Dying

 
Kerry Schafer writes fantasy with its teeth sunk into reality. She also writes mystery that delves into the paranormal and women’s fiction that embraces the dark and twisty realms of humanity.

On this podcast, we chat with Kerry Schafer about Dead Before Dying, coming out in early February, and Closer Home, written under the name Kerry Anne King and due next month, in March. Kerry talks about a host of topics including dream worlds, grief, the pros and cons of Kickstarter and the benefits of writing under two names.

Kerry Schafer

Diversion Books-Dead Before Dying

Closer Home

Intro music courtesy of Moby Gratis
Outro music courtesy of Dan-o-Songs

For suggestions about content or to comment on the show, email Mark Stevens. Also feel free to leave a comment about the podcast on iTunes or your favorite podcast provider.

Host Mark Stevens: http://www.writermarkstevens.com

Rocky Mountain Writer #28

J.D. Dudycha & Sitting Dead Red

 

The podcast today is with J.D. Dudycha, who has ten years of experience in baseball at the collegiate level. He retired from the sport shortly after the birth of his son. Since his retirement, he developed a love for writing, an outlet he so desperately needed in the absence of playing the game.

His first novel, Paint The Black was published last summer on Amazon and his second, Sitting Dead Red, comes out in February just as pitchers and catchers are getting ready to report for Spring Training.

Jon Dudycha

Deb Hall

Intro music courtesy of Moby Gratis
Outro music courtesy of Dan-o-Songs

For suggestions about content or to comment on the show, email Mark Stevens. Also feel free to leave a comment about the podcast on iTunes or your favorite podcast provider.

Host Mark Stevens: http://www.writermarkstevens.com

Rocky Mountain Writer #27

Nathan Lowell & Going Your Own Way

 

The podcast today is with Nathan Lowell, a member of IPAL writer who clearly starts by taking what’s typical and turning it inside out.

Nathan Lowell goes his own way.

Nathan has been writing for only nine years yet has developed multiple series under the broad category of speculative fiction. As you’ll see, he sets a hard-charging pace for his daily production.

Nathan has developed a large and adoring audience. His latest title, In Ashes Born, came out in September of last year and already has drawn 400 reviews on Amazon, carrying a rock solid five-star rating.

Nathan Lowell was born in Portland, Maine, in 1952. He grew up in an agricultural community in rural Maine and spent time working on fishing boats along the coast. His first literary success came with the publication of a poem while still in elementary school. That early success was followed by forty years of attempt, rejection, failure, and ultimately giving up on the dream of writing science fiction.

In 2007, with the rise of podcast fiction, he started writing again. He completed his first successful novel – Quarter Share – in January, 2007, and podcast it through Podiobooks.com over February and March, 2007. Since then he has written eight novels, several short stories, and a novella. His podcast novels have been finalists in the Parsec Award five times, and he’s won Parsec Awards for Speculative Fiction (long form) twice — 2010 and 2011.

He holds a BS in Business Administration with a minor in Marketing from SUNY/Buffalo (92), an MA in Educational Technology (98), and a Ph.D. in Educational Technology with specializations in Distance Education, Interactive Media, and Instructional Design (04). He lives Colorado with wife, two daughters, and a trio of feline companions.

Nathan Lowell

Podiobooks

Intro music courtesy of Moby Gratis
Outro music courtesy of Dan-o-Songs

For suggestions about content or to comment on the show, email Mark Stevens. Also feel free to leave a comment about the podcast on iTunes or your favorite podcast provider.

Host Mark Stevens: http://www.writermarkstevens.com

Rocky Mountain Writer #26

Colleen Oakes & Queen of Hearts

 

Colleen Oakes is making the jump from indie publishing to Harper Collins with a three-book deal based on her prequel to the Lewis Carroll classic, Alice in Wonderland. Her young adult novel Queen of Hearts has been out for two years through an independent publisher but buzz drew the attention of the big New York house and, next May, the book will make a splash on a whole new level, all with two sequels waiting in the wings—the second in 2017 and the third in 2018.

On top of that, Universal Pictures just optioned Queen of Hearts for a movie and asked a top-flight screenwriter to work on the movie adaptation.

Colleen Oakes is the author of the Elly in Bloom Series, the Wendy Darling Series and the upcoming Queen of Hearts Saga. She lives in North Denver with her husband and son. When not writing, Colleen enjoys swimming, traveling, and immersing herself in nerdy pop culture. She has two tiny dogs and an Underwood typewriter.

Colleen Oakes on Facebook

Spark Publications

Emily Kiebel

Intro music courtesy of Moby Gratis
Outro music courtesy of Dan-o-Songs

For suggestions about content or to comment on the show, email Mark Stevens. Also feel free to leave a comment about the podcast on iTunes or your favorite podcast provider.

Host Mark Stevens: http://www.writermarkstevens.com

Antler Dust: The Longest Ride

I wrote Antler Dust in the mid 1990’s. I’d tell you the exact date or year, but I have no clue.

Friends gave me feedback and fellow writers, too.

In pretty quick fashion, I got a good agent in New York City.

(This was my third manuscript and third agent in New York; I was unpublished but gaining experience.)

The agent gave me feedback. Editors at “big” houses gave me feedback.

I re-wrote it for the agent. I re-wrote it, for nearly a year, for the editors.

But, no sale.

Layout 1I put it aside.

I wrote another mystery about a television reporter and finished it.

In 2007 a small, independent publisher in Niwot (not that there would be any “big” independent publishers in Niwot) read both Antler Dust and the mystery about the television reporter. The publisher liked Allison Coil and Antler Dust came out—2,000 hardbacks! Good advance, the whole bit.

I did 42 bookstore stops in two years, had a blast getting my first book out there. Antler Dust hit the Denver Post best-seller list in 2007 and again in 2009.

But that publisher went under.

When Buried by the Roan (the second book in the series) was ready, I got picked up by George Stranahan’s People’s Press in Aspen. They offered to print a trade paperback of #2 and a trade paperback of Antler Dust. Good advances, the whole bit. Buried by the Roan came out in 2011.

But, guess what? More editing for Antler Dust. Two (count ‘em!) professional editors made more suggestions and edits. Whole chunks taken out; other parts touched up.

Then, People’s Press closed shop.

I was thrilled to get picked up by Midnight Ink in 2013 and the third book, Trapline, came out in 2014 and the fourth book, Lake of Fire, came out last September.

4 Covers With Shadows SmallI started my own company, Third Line Press, so those two books would remain in print.

(It was a good move. Mystery readers love starting at the beginning of a series.)

But, when the Antler Dust files were uploaded to Ingram (Lightning Source) for the new version, yes, I made a few more tweaks. Nothing too noticeable.

My point?

Books have a life of their own.

My other point?

You never know.

I can’t begin to count the number of editors and agents who have weighed in with ideas on that first Allison Coil mystery. (Maybe that’s a good thing. Antler Dust carries a five-star rating on Amazon with 52 reviews posted. That’s not a ton of reviews over the course of eight years, but still, I’ll take it).

Anyway, Third Line Press (yours truly) recently applied for a promotion via Book Bub.

So this coming Friday, Jan. 8 through Tuesday, Jan. 12, the e-book of Antler Dust is free (only on Kindle; not other e-book platforms).

Yes, I’m still promoting Antler Dust.

After eight years.

You never know.

You just never know.

(P.S: Tell your friends.)

Rocky Mountain Writer #25

Lisa Manifold & IPAL

The guest on Episode #25 is Lisa Manifold, who serves Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers in a double capacity as newsletter editor and IPAL rep.

She’s also a busy writer – with plans, as you’ll hear, to become much more productive.

IPAL is The Independent Published Authors Liaison, a relatively new slot within RMFW that exists for the purpose of providing networking and promotional opportunities for independently published authors and for promoting RMFW itself.

Lisa talks about IPAL and IPAL membership and her own double life as a writer, working under her own name, Lisa Manifold, and as Laney Powell for stories on the spicier side of things.

Topics include Amazon, Kindle, independent publishing, book marketing, the Dragon Naturally Speaking approach to dictating a book and much more.
Show Notes:
Lisa Manifold

Laney Powell

Dragon Naturally Speaking

Elizabeth Ann West

Draft 2 Digital

Intro music courtesy of Moby Gratis
Outro music courtesy of Dan-o-Songs

For suggestions about content or to comment on the show, email Mark Stevens. Also feel free to leave a comment about the podcast on iTunes or your favorite podcast provider.

Host Mark Stevens: http://www.writermarkstevens.com

Rocky Mountain Writer #24

Kevin Wolf - Winning The Tony Hillerman Prize

After years of entering and frequently winning writing contests at Rocky Mountain Fiction Writer's annual Colorado Gold contest, Colorado writer Kevin Wolf entered and won the Tony Hillerman Prize for his novel, The Homeplace. The win means the novel will be published by St. Martin's Press next fall. On the podcast, Kevin talks about his writing process, provides a glimpse of the storyline for The Homeplace, chats about the writing approach he calls storytelling, and describes what how it feels to be working with a major publishing house after so many years of "almost." Kevin Wolf is a member of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and Crested Butte Writers. He hones his work at regular meetings of the Southwest Critique group. He lives in Littleton, Colorado with his wife of forty years and their two beagles.

Show Notes:

Kevin Wolf

Intro music courtesy of Moby Gratis
Outro music courtesy of Dan-o-Songs

For suggestions about content or to comment on the show, email Mark Stevens. Also feel free to leave a comment about the podcast on iTunes or your favorite podcast provider.

Host Mark Stevens: http://www.writermarkstevens.com

Rocky Mountain Writer #23

Margaret Mizushima - Killing Trail

First-time author Margaret Mizushima, whose debut mystery Killing Trail launches on Dec. 8 (2015), talks about her path to publication and how she developed a police dog, Robo, as a major character. She also talks about a key moment at the Colorado Gold conference where she opted for patience—a moment that led to a key pitch and a book contract. After earning a master’s degree in speech pathology, Margaret practiced in a hospital and her own rehabilitation agency, and now she assists her husband with their veterinary clinic and Angus cattle herd. Her short story “Hay Hook” was published in the 2014 Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers anthology Crossing Colfax. Killing Trail earned a starred review from Publisher's Weekly.

Show Notes:

Margaret Mizushima

Crooked Lane Books

Intro music courtesy of Moby Gratis
Outro music courtesy of Dan-o-Songs

For suggestions about content or to comment on the show, email Mark Stevens. Also feel free to leave a comment about the podcast on iTunes or your favorite podcast provider.

Host Mark Stevens: http://www.writermarkstevens.com

Margaret Mizsushima

Crooked Lane Books