Monday, July 29, 2013

Introducing Charles Muller!!!

Welcome to todays episode of meet the Staff member. Today we will be meeting Charles Muller, a great mind and poet extrodinaire.

So sit back and enjoy the read!

1. What elements do you feel create the "perfect" piece of writing?

The authors I’ve most enduringly enjoyed were those who have mastered the power of implication. William Faulkner is one of my favorite authors because he tells a story without offering too many obvious answers, allowing me to decide for myself why I liked it. I’d say another essential element is a piece of writing’s ability to convey a realistic plot, rather than one that feels contrived. In this case, Kent Haruf’s Plainsong comes to mind. The story is tight and controlled, but none of it felt as though it was trying to appease me. To sum it up, I really like authors who treat me as an adult.

2. How has your military background influenced you as a literary mind?

It has made me more conscious of the technical aspects of writing, since that’s almost exclusively the type of writing I did for five years. I’ve also begun to rebel in my opinions a lot more concerning what writing is allowed to get away with stylistically. I appreciate stream-of-consciousness a lot more now, for example, because I’ve realized the level of skill necessary to make it successful. I am a much more voracious reader after my intellect’s lengthy hiatus. Finally, from an editing point of view, I’m not afraid to expect the best quality of work from both myself and the author, whereas before I think I would have let a lot more slide out of timidity.

3. If you could sit down and have lunch with ANY character from a book/series, who would it be, where would you eat, and what would you talk about?

I would time-travel back to the 1970’s to sit down with Hunter S. Thompson at his home in Aspen, Colorado. We would talk about whatever the drugs wanted.

4. What is your biggest pet peeve in literary works?

Apart from all of the hallmarks of poor editing, I can’t stand it when characters die just to move the plot along. I am all right if they die in a twist I didn’t see coming, but I guess this goes back to my dislike for cheap storytelling. Also--if I could pick a backup--it’s authors who seem self-impressed. The reason why I like Dostoevsky more than Tolstoy is because the latter reads like he is entirely aware of how good an author he is. This is a pretty hazy criteria; I’d say it just depends on my intuition from book to book.

5. If you had to write a children's book, what would it be about?

This is a tough one. I think it would be about knights, because I thought they were awesome when I was little. Maybe those knights could time-travel and have adventures in parallel universes, too.
If you could pick any story idea and were guaranteed it would be an absolute success, what would you write about and why? I’d write the fictitious autobiography of a man whose mind slowly unravels over the course of his life until the book ends by trailing off into gibbering insanity. Maybe that’s been done before.

6. Do you prefer to have a schedule or wing it?

When I have a definite set of ideas that I’m lassoing together, I need a schedule to prevent the feelings of guilt that are inevitable without one. It’s a largely random process before that point. What is your obsession with cats in space? Blame my brother for this: he’s the one that slowly revealed to me the beauty of cosmic felines.

7. Would you ever base a book character on someone you know in real life?

Absolutely. The more people I meet, the easier that seems like it would be. The challenge would lie in remaining true to the random whims of most personalities, and juggling that with the individual’s relatively constant convictions.

8. Have you ever thought of writing a story about space cats?

Maybe my children’s story about knights could include an episode in which they travel to a period in the future in which the Internet has merged with reality. Then the knights would be taken prisoner by a cult who worships cat memes in the style of the ancient Egyptians. This is getting pretty hot.

9. What type of atmosphere do you find conducive for your writing?

I’ve discovered that I enjoy writing in the university library down the block from my apartment. I like a quiet place where there are enough distractions to periodically take my mind off what I’m writing, since those little breaks often help me past mental roadblocks.

10. Do you prefer background noise or absolute quiet when you write?

I’d say muted background noise is my favorite. When it passes the threshold where it’s too damaging to my concentration, I’ll put on some music. It has to be gentle music, though, or else I’d probably get into it and end up either dancing like a moron or smacking the cell phone out of their hand.

Thank you Charles for entertaining us today and answering some questions. We look forward to reading your words soon.

Join us again next week when we get someone else in our hot seat!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Introducing Kristina Gehring!!

Welcome back, today we will be saying hello to and meeting our amazing Editor and Fellow author Kristina Gehring.
She is who we turn to when we are lost with our words, and need expert advice. Please enjoy the interview and be on the look out for her works very soon.

1. How old were you when you realized that you had an interest in books/literature, and when did you know it was something you wanted to pursue as more than just a hobby?

I've always had an interest in books as far back as I can remember. I know that my mom said I started really reading at 3 years old, and I haven't stopped since. I remember being in elementary school and told my mom that I was going to "make books" someday. I never really lost that ideal/dream. As I grew older, I realized that I don't quite have the knack for creating a fantasy world like so many other wonderful authors do. I do however have the knack for helping those wonderful authors polish their pieces so they shine like gold. I knew for sure by the time I started high school that I wanted to turn my love for books into more of a hobby, it just took another decade or more before I was able to make that dream come true.

2. What is your biggest focus when editing a piece?

I don't have "one" sole focus. For me, each piece is unique - almost like a person is an individual. I take into consideration the genre, length, and purpose when editing. I look for the flow of the piece to be consistent, the rhythm moves accordingly to the scene, dialog sounds natural, and that the overall information doesn't conflict with itself at any time. I edit more for the reader than the author. The reader needs to be happy with the piece or he/she may not continue reading it, or be interested in any future pieces. I want that reader to be as happy about reading the piece as the author was about writing it.

3. If you could re-edit ANY book on the market currently, what book would it be, why, and what changes would you make?

I honestly would re-edit ANY book I've read before, even those by big names (i.e. Stephen King, Dan Brown, etc) because I've found errors in some best-selling books over the years. I've even found errors in text books when I was in college, so for me it is a matter of any piece I would be willing to re-edit if given the chance. I'm an "equal opportunity editor".

4. Tell us what a day in the life of Kristina Gehring is like.

I work a regular day job, that I love, of about ten hours a day, 6 days a week. When I come home, I have two children and a husband that I try to spend some time with, then I spend the rest of my evening working on editing. I try to fit in a little crocheting before bed, and then I wake up the next day and do it all over again.

5. What is your biggest pet peeve that other authors do?

Use of parenthesis! In a technical piece for citation, fine, but when I'm reading a fiction piece, I feel that the use of parenthesis is a cop out to being able to finish their thought. I know this sounds harsh, but I don't think in terms of parenthesis, and I certainly don't speak in terms of parenthesis, so I don't like to see them in written works because I think there is so much more the author can do to create that suspense, drama, pause, etc. in the writing.

6. What do you hope for when reading someone else's work?

I hope to be on the edge of my seat for the next piece of the story or puzzle they are creating. I want to be so into the story that when I reach the end, I'm sad it ended, but happy because I was able to experience it.

7. If you could write for just one genre, what would it be?

I think that I would like the paranormal/fantasy genre the best. I really enjoy the idea of creating a world from scratch, and perhaps someday I'll be able to make that dream a reality, *grin*.

8. What does your editing process consist of?

Annoying authors? Seriously though, I read it. That may sound like a "duh" moment, but it's true. I read through and look for inconsistencies, for instance, if at one point the author makes a character have an "accent", then the next time they talk it isn't there - that is inconsistent and it needs to be fixed.
If I feel that a sentence or paragraph doesn't flow well or the rhythm of it is just not right, I'll make a note that it needs fixed and leave it up to the author to change. I also make notes for the author when things in their story are either missing something, or if there is too much unnecessary information.
I want the author to be complete in getting their point across, but this shouldn't be like a story problem in math class where you have to sort through un-needed information.
There are some things that just need minor changes, like spelling, comma usage, hyphens, dashes, etc, and I note those changes for the author.
When I edit, I edit SOLELY for the reader, the author writes for the reader, so I should edit for the reader. I want to make sure that the reader can read the story from start to finish and not have any problems with consistency, flow, or anything else that might annoy or confuse them. I want the reader to have a seamless and perfect experience with the story so that they continue to come back for more.

9. When you're writing, what type of music helps you with your process?

It really all depends on my mood. I have everything on my playlist from the 1950's to today. Some songs I'll skip over because they aren't striking the right "chord", others I might hit repeat. There are songs I will listen to, every time, guaranteed. Those are mostly because I like the artists, not the specific genre in particular. I am very eclectic in everything I do, so it really is no surprise I feel the same about my music choices when writing. 

Thank you for being here and reading about our amazing staff and authors. Keep your eyes open for lots of good stuff coming up from Tiger Dynasty Publishing.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Introducing Megan J Parker.

Introducing Megan J Parker:
We are pleased to be spotlighting the AMAZING and BEAUTIFUL Megan J Parker on our blog today! Her Limited Edition of “Scarlet Night”, the first in her Behind the Vail series, releases tomorrow, 07/09/2013! We’re very excited to have this Limited Edition with us! Without further ado,  Megan J Parker:
Megan J. Parker lives in upstate New York in a small town that is no easier to spell than it is to pronounce. She lives with her adoring fiancé, Nathan Squiers, and her two devil kitties, Trent and Yuki (don’t let their innocent looks deceive you, they are devious little cats). Normally, she can be found with her face plastered to her MacBook Pro either designing a new book cover or writing/plotting her latest story.
Currently, she is a full-time college student majoring in Visual Communications and once she graduates, she plans to continue writing and work more on cover designing as well as layout and format designs for novels/short stories.
On her down time, she likes reading and watching comedy or romantic movies. Her passion for telling stories is portrayed in all her work and when there’s a story to tell, you can be sure she’ll tell it to its full extent. She now is a co-owner for the up and coming publishing company, Tiger Dynasty Publishing, and is hoping to continue to expand this company to great lengths.

You got your first taste of the writing process through your poetry. In what way would you say your poetry
finds its way into your fiction narrative?
Where I admit that I normally tend to keep the two separate due to not wanting to be overly or under descriptive, I feel my poetry comes more into my visual sides. Where I’d describe a character’s features or a landscape’s vision more poetic and use a metaphor to describe what the image looks like.

How do you come up with the characters in your pieces and what inspires their personalities?
My characters are all over the place, from people I’ve met to people I’ve overlooked sometimes I can’t even come up with who my characters were based off. I feel my main character from “Scarlet Night” (Serena) was based off of what I want to be and how I feel females should be portrayed in literature more often.

If you could date any type of creature from the mythos universe, what kind would it be & why?
Therion. All the way. I am into guys who are more bestial in nature and I feel a therion would fit my personality and my needs ( ;) ) perfectly.

When you are creating book covers/wraps, is there one element you MUST add/change to each one to make it unique for you?
I tend to always add a unique spin to my covers and wraps, however there is nothing as a MUST have really. I like my designs to have variety and different themes but I love keep type consistent and using different symbols and visuals to make my typeface stand out.

Of the characters you've created, is there one that you feel is most like you, or most like how you WANT to be?
Serena is definitely the one I want and feel like I am the most like. She is sparky and strong and confident and everything I want to be.

If you could pick just one of your characters to become a live person, who would it be and why?
Oh goodness. I think I would choose Zoey from “Scarlet Night”, she is a sweetheart and a great friend to those around her, plus she would be a lot of fun to hang out with. She would also be able to give me some logical advice when I need it! Lol!

What animal would you choose to represent you and why?
A fox, I am playful but dangerous at times and I have a very fierce/playful nature. I also love their looks! They are so fluffy and cute!

How do you come up with your characters?
Randomly. I will be sitting in the car and suddenly come up with a new character and story to write her into. Sadly, my list of WIP just continues to grow due to my character growth.

Are your characters ever based on real people that you know?
Yes. Most my characters are based on people I know well, however there are a select few who aren’t based on anyone I personally know.

If you could pick any one genre to be your personal favorite, what would it be?
Paranormal Romance, the beauty in forbidden love and the magical elements that can be added into the romance genre make this my favorite one.

How real are your characters for you when you're writing them?
Extremely real! To the point where I will be writing a scene and I go right into the mindset of Serena and when I then break the scene, I find myself still acting like Serena would and still thinking in her mindset verse my own. Lol! It sometimes gets a little weird when I’m around my fiancé or others while I’m in that mindset still.

If you had to choose just one character's life to keep writing, who would it be?
Serena’s. She has so much potential in a story-based sense and even with her confidence, she grows so much in the trilogy of Scarlet Night and I feel that her growth would only continue in spin-off series and other books/stories that could include her.

Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to give us a little insight into how you work and what goes on inside your mind. We appreciate your time and hope to see you back sometime soon :-)

Gone with the Sin
The Lover (A Behind the Vail prequel)

Don't forget that "Scarlet Night" Limited Edition will be available tomorrow, 07/09/2013! Make sure you get your copies! :-)

Monday, July 1, 2013

Introducing Nathan Squiers: The Literary Dark Emperor

We are spotlighting the AWESOME and VERY talented Nathan Squiers on our blog today! He has a release coming soon and we wanted to know what went on in his mind when he was writing. Without further ado, The Literary Dark Emperor:

 Born in Massachusetts in 1986, Nathan Squiers (The Literary Dark Emperor) grew up in Andover, where his affinity for story-telling flourished due to a love of books and movies as well as an overactive imagination. At the age of 13, Nathan and his mother moved to Upstate New York to be closer to their family.
After surviving public school, where he spent most of his days locked away in the AV room watching old 80s movies on Laserdisc and planning out his next video project, Nathan began a shaky college career. A love of weaving tales and telling stories was motivation enough to pursue an education in English, and, as luck would have it, a series of phenomenal professors were available to get him pointed in the right direction. It was in his first years of college that Nathan began to actively pursue a writing career, starting his first literary journey with a piece that would later become "Noir", the first book of the Crimson Shadow series.
Like any good story, a chaotic turn of events brought Nathan from the very brink of insanity and loneliness to the warm, comforting embrace of Megan, his best friend, lover, kindred spirit, and--more often than not--personal handler. It was with Megan at his side that Nathan was able to continue his writing (sometimes solely motivated by the young lady's threats of dismemberment if he tried to stop). With Megan's help, Nathan was able to see Death Metal, his fourth manuscript, through the publication process.
Nearly ten years later, The Literary Dark Emperor (now a multi-award winning author and co-owner/manager of Tiger Dynasty Publishing) continues to invent stories and put them into a literary sequence that he hopes will be somehow decipherable by other readers. As a lover of all things creative, he works in both novels, novellas, short stories, as well as comic book scripts (just don't ask him to draw something if you don't like stick figures and poorly-executed shapes).
If he's not submerged in the realm of fiction or burning out his retinas with horror movie marathons, Nathan is planning/getting a new piercing/tattoo or enjoying life with his lovely fiancé and fellow author, Megan J. Parker.

1. When writing, what is the one MUST HAVE thing that keeps you in the groove to finish the part you are working on at that time?

I’m pretty much touch-and-go with my projects if I don’t have my writing playlist blaring. Having music/noise in the background isn’t enough, because any lyrics or dialogue in English intermingle with the words in my head and I end up re-writing what I just heard or some weird hybrid of the two. Because of this, I have a playlist that’s comprised of almost entirely Japanese rock and metal (though there is a bit of German stuff in there as well).

2. If you could have one attribute of any of the characters you've created, which would you choose and why?

While I’m compelled to wish for a sleeker, more action-hero or metal rocker’s body over my marshmallow-y own, I think I’d want to have Xander Stryker’s red right eye. Given the sort of attention I seem to get on the streets already, having a blood-stained eyeball would be nothing less than gory icing on the cake :-p

3. If you were offered a movie deal on your books, who would be your dream pick for director?

Without a doubt I would opt for Guillermo del Toro! Aside from being the mastermind behind A LOT of my favorite movies (and major inspirations—Hellboy and Blade 2 FTW!!) the man’s got not only an eye for making a film truly entertaining, but one for applying elements of color, shot-angles, transitions, and soundtrack to optimize how the movie is received by the audience (a technique that I try to recreate in my writing).

4. If you were a food, what would you be and why?

Everybody who knows me sees this coming, but I’d definitely be bacon; meaty, fatty, and despised by vegetarians.

5. Do you make an outline or just write?

Little bit o’ both, actually. For the novel-length pieces (or something that is heavily reliant on a crucial plot element that needs to be delivered “just so”) then I have an outline set up to make sure that I don’t make a mistake that’ll force me to go back and try to seamlessly fit important parts into the piece. However, for short stories and the like I tend to let the sequence play out in a more organic manner.

6. Do you ever base your characters on real life people?

While EVERY character I write is based on people I know/have witnessed in my everyday journeys, no single character is ever based on one single person. A lot of the time, when we meet new people, we tend to associate some role or trait to somebody we’ve met before. We’ve all had that moment of “Oh, that guy reminded me of my cousin” or the like, but nobody is ever EXACTLY like anybody else. Because I want my characters to always feel organic, I sort of mix-and-match traits from people I know to create what I need. For example, Xander Stryker’s vampire mentor, Marcus, is a fusion of my uncle, Jim Morrison, Johnny Depp, a stereotypical 80s punker, and a healthy dash of yours truly.
Each and every character I write has a mixture like that.

7. Do you keep any writing in notebooks or just in your head?

For the most part I’ll think something up and, if I’m not readily at my computer and able to write it down, then I’ll write a note or text message myself from my phone so I can refer to it later.

8. If you could have any powers from your characters what would it be?

I think it’d be pretty cool to have abilities of an auric vampire. To be able to read minds or lift and move things without touching them would be useful (not to mention a GREAT way to scare people).

9. How did you come up with the mythos for your Crimson Shadow series?

The mythology was actually co-created by myself and my fiancé/partner/fellow writer, Megan J. Parker. I’d started writing Crimson Shadow about a year-or-so before Megan and I started dating, so I’d already developed a great deal of the base species from several years of research into cultural mythology, but after we got together we began refining a lot of what I’d come up with and working other creatures into the mix.
     Most of our creatures are based on actual myths or were hybrids of various legends. The term “theriomorphs” is actually the generic term for any creature—werewolves, werecats, werebears, some forms of vampire throughout history, etc—that changes its shape; therio- being a Latin root word for “beast”. Our vampire species (yes, there are more than one) vary between the more popular Westernized blood-drinkers and a fusion of various psychic “breeds” to create our auric vampires. Other creatures (such as the cat-like nejin and or gerlins, winged gliders) were things that either Megan or myself came up with that we decided we wanted to work into the world for some reason or another.

10. Why is your Crimson Shadow series so important to you?

Though it might sound corny, I owe the Crimson Shadow series (and, more importantly, the series’ central protagonist, Xander Stryker) my life. Originally, the project was supposed to be a short story—a “creative suicide letter” of sorts—and I had no intention of it going any further than that. I wanted to portray a character who, like me, had given up and felt that there was no point in going on because of the pain in his past and felt no way of salvaging those “failures”. Even then, though, I’d been too bored by myself and my own life to have it be autobiographical, so Xander got a decorated history, a more shocking routine, and more than just a little magic (‘cuz, y’know, magic’s cool).
In writing that short story, however, I felt driven to create more of a story for Xander, and the short story became a chapter, and soon chapters became more. Before I knew it, Xander had become somebody that I genuinely wanted to see succeed—to achieve what I couldn’t; to do what I felt I never would: persevere—and, before long, I wanted to see Xander win.
Funny thing about writing a suicidal character who decides to live: you have to explain it.
And I wound up feeling it.
So it was that in writing Xander’s story of survival, I taught myself how to survive. By the time the project was done (what would later go on to become “Noir” and the first book of Xander’s series), I had overcome my self-destructive desires and found my path in life.
It’s because of that series that I’m here today and doing what I do for the awesome readers of The Legion.

Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to give us a little insight into what makes The Literary Dark Emperor tick. We appreciate your time and hope to see you back sometime soon. :-)