July 24, 2014

Q&A Thursday with Robert Clark

Today's Q&A is with author Robert Clark

Enjoy & Comment!

What is the worst thing you’ve written, how did you learn or know it was bad, and what did you learn from it?

Lanigan’s Woods.  It’s the first book I had published.  I think it’s an excellent story, but when I looked at it again, years after it was released, I found the writing painfully simplistic and amateurish.  As far as the plot goes I don’t have any complaints.  As I said, I think it’s a good story, but if I had it to do over I’d do several more rewrites, preferably with the help of a good editor.  Now I do many rewrites on my novels, whenever possible with the cooperation of an editor.

Why did you start writing and when did you decide to go professional?

I can’t remember not being interested in writing.  I was lucky enough to have public school grade, junior high, and high school teachers who encouraged me.  In college, aside from the standard English courses and the technical writing I needed for my science courses, I took a journalism course and worked extensively on the college newspaper.  When the union I was president of was forced out on strike in 1986, my wife realized I was stressed and suggested I write a novel to release my frustrations.  I did, and ended up producing several as I kept writing after the strike ended.  Later I attempted to market the books.  The first was published in 1996.  I haven’t stopped writing novels or getting them published since, and am always working on at least two, sometimes as many as four or five, at the same time.  At the moment I’m working on three, a science fiction, one that could be considered either horror or fantasy, and one that could be placed in any of the three categories, depending on how you look at it.  I’ll do a draft of one, let it sit while I work on the others, and then go back to it for a rewrite.  I’ve had people ask me if the process confuses me, but actually it seems to work the opposite way and helps me concentrate on what I’m doing at any given time.

Do you write in more than one genre?  Which ones and which do you like best?

My writing is in three genres, science fiction, fantasy, and horror/supernatural.  I don’t actually have a preference.  Something kicks in as an idea for a novel, and the basic idea more or less funnels me into a specific genre.  It isn’t quite that simple, and the three areas often overlap in my writing.  Bricks, for example, is a science fiction, but has strong horror elements.  Depending on how you judge them, Boringville and Incubus could be placed in any of the three genres, although I consider them in the horror/supernatural category.  The overlap isn’t always there.  Askarjan is a straight science fiction; El Duende and Blade of Iron are straight fantasies.  Lycanthrope Book 1 and Lycanthrope Book 2 are horror novels.

Do you read other author’s books when you’re writing?  If so, do you read the same genre or something different?

Writing or not, I always have at least two or three books I’m reading.  They may or may not be the same genre I’m writing in.  I read in all three genres I write, but also in other fiction areas.  I read about as much non-fiction as fiction, almost all the non-fiction in the fields of history and science.

What is the most difficult part of the entire writing process for you? Queries, pitches, editing..etc.

No question.  Pitches.  I love the initial writing.  Rewrites aren’t bad, letting me add and delete things to improve the book.  Editing is boring but critical.  If I don’t love it, at least I don’t hate it.  I consider writing queries drudge work.  I don’t like writing them, but don’t agonize over the process. Pitching the book is something else.  If I wanted to be in sales I’d get a job selling cars.  I hate almost every aspect of it and am not good at it.  Things like doing interviews or book signings are the only exceptions.  I enjoy them because they give me a chance to interact with other people who share my interests.

If you could have the same type of career as any author currently publishing who would it be and why?


Me.  Sure, I’d like to have a string of best sellers.  What author wouldn’t?  On the other hand, I value my privacy, and if someone’s work is well known their privacy is almost sure to take a hit.  In many ways I’ve got the best of both worlds.  I sell enough books to support my writing habit.  After 36 years of teaching, saving for retirement, and being thrifty, I can afford the life style I want without having to make a living from book sales.  It would be nice if I could sell a few more books and make an actual profit on my writing, but even if that never happens I still have the fun of writing the novels and seeing them get published.  Hakuna matata.

Robert Clark was born and raised in Eerie (Erie), Pennsylvania. He was brought up on Creepy, Eerie, and Vampirella comic books, stories of Ax Murder Hollow, science fiction novels, and late night horror and science fiction movies. He delighted in scaring the neighborhood kids with stories he made up or swiped from comic books. His fifth grade teacher told his parents he’d end up either in prison or as an author. To the surprise of almost everyone who knows him, he graduated from college. After graduation he spent years teaching biology. While doing so his fifth grade teacher’s prediction (?) threat (?) curse (?) whatever, came true. Tired of reality, he decided to try writing fiction. The genres he writes in are science fiction, fantasy, and horror/supernatural, although these often overlap in his books. He and his wife live in northwestern Pennsylvania. Clark is no longer teaching biology, but is still writing. At this point he hasn’t been in prison and hopes to keep it that way.

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July 16, 2014

Read the Prologue to #TivaBoon: Royal Guardian

Prologue

King Harer Delos emerged from the shadows when High Healer Riin rushed into the critical care chamber with a motionless infant in his arms. After placing her on the table, Riin attempted to breathe life back into the stillborn child. His efforts seemed in vain.

“The Boon child, sire,” he said gravely between breaths. “She was born with no spirit…”

Shocked, Harer backed out of the room to allow Riin privacy to work, praying he could somehow save the child. A gentle cry rose from behind, Harer approached the child and read the name.

“Infant Tyra,” he whispered. The sight of his child in the swaddling cloth filled him with joy. He pulled back the blanket and caressed her cheek with his finger. “You are a beauty, my princess.”

He picked her up, rocked her gently in his arms. His spirit soared as her tiny fingers curled
around his thumb. Harer bounced his daughter tenderly and moved closer to the critical care door
only to see Healer Riin placing a silk death shroud over the Boon child. His heart sank. He could
not fathom losing a child, especially now, but he knew, under the circumstances, that it would
happen no matter what decision he made.

His former lover, Ziola, continued to manipulate him. Concealing her pregnancy until he
married another, forcing her way into the palace to seek him out, and threatening to reveal their
secret if he didn’t come to the medical ward was proof she was determined to have her way. He
refused to be at the beck and call of anyone, even the mother of his first-born. He knew of only
one way to rectify the situation.

Before entering the chamber, he called one of his guardians to ready his hovercraft to ensure
a swift exit. High Healer Riin turned with a solemn expression on his face. The king placed his
daughter in Riin’s arms. “You will present this child to the Boon family as if their own.”

“What of the Lady Tyra?” he asked, confusion crossing his features.

“I will handle her. Inform your staff that Lady Tyra’s child did not survive, but you saved
the Boon child. I trust that you understand what is at stake here. You are to speak of this to no
one. Am I clear?”

“Yes, your Majesty.”

$2.99 on Amazon! BUY NOW!

July 15, 2014

Teaser Tuesday with Robert Clark

Today's Teaser Tuesday is from Author Robert Clark!

In a town where a significant percentage of the population consists of individuals sometimes considered paranormal, Drew’s ability to detect potential trouble is valued.  Is the problem he senses the vampire hunters Boringville has to keep from encountering the vampires who live there?  Is it the people claiming to be looking for a vicious rapist?

Whatever the threat is, the town’s residents have to find a way to neutralize it without shedding innocent blood, at the same time keeping the world from knowing many beings from legend are real and live peacefully beside normal humans in Boringville.

Excerpt:     

He almost laughed.  Even in a place like Boringville there were problems, although not always the same ones a person would to encounter in most areas.  “Ray.  Over here, please.”
The ten year old of Asiatic background came to him at once.  Drew went to one knee so he could look the boy in the face without looking down or forcing Reynard to look up.  “I thought you were taking SCUBA lessons.  Why aren’t you in school?”
            “I was.  We just ran through some basic drills in the pool today, stuff like mask clearing and recovering lost mouthpieces.  We got out earlier than normal.”
“Good.  You know the SCUBA lessons weren’t what I wanted to talk to you about, don’t you?”
Looking guilty, the boy put his hands to his ears.  Drew nodded.  “What does The Law say?”  While Boringville had a town charter and under normal conditions followed the leadership of the mayor and town council, a place with a population as unusual as Boringville’s had problems most places didn’t and needed special rules to deal with them.  A hidden government, headed by elected individuals called leaders, could be called on to deal with situations not covered by the standard town charter.  There were things the residents of Boringville couldn’t risk talking about.  In those cases they followed a detailed set of rules known as The Law.  Boringville residents were taught The Law from the moment they were old enough to understand it.  People who moved into Boringville from outside, in every case Drew knew of individuals who were aware of Boringville’s secret, had to learn The Law before they were considered true residents of the town.  Only by cooperating with each other and living not only by the standard laws any place like Boringville would, but also by obeying The Law, could the citizens of Boringville maintain the lives they wanted to live.
            Reynard said, “No transformations, even partial ones, where outsiders can see us.
“I didn’t think what I did would cause any harm.  I didn’t think anyone would notice and I can hear better this way.”
            “What would your parents say if they saw you like this?
            “I’d be in for it, wouldn’t I?”
“I think you would.  Most normals would consider fox ears on a human a bit shocking.  They might think they were part of a costume and ignore them, but you know we can’t depend on them convincing themselves they saw something other than they did.
“You know how proud your parents are of you.  Very few shifters can manage partial metamorphosis.  Being able to do a partial at your age is outstanding.  The fact you inherited their abilities is even rarer.  The special traits are recessives.  Even with both your parent’s being were-foxes, the odds of you being one were slim.  You wouldn’t want to embarrass them and yourself for something as silly as having the wrong ears with the wrong body, would you?”
Reynard’s ears took their human form.  “I’m sorry.  Are you going to tell them?”
Drew laughed.  “Tell them what?  I imagine they know you got out of SCUBA class early.  You’ll behave yourself, won’t you?”
“Sure, Drew.”
“Good.”  Drew stood up.  “I’m sure you have things to do.  Don’t let me keep you.”
            “Some of us were going to meet at the creek and go swimming.”  Reynard started away, turned, and said, “Thanks, Drew.”
Reynard headed in the direction of the creek and Drew kept moving toward the center of town.  Even as a newcomer he was acquainted with a large percentage of the people who lived here.  Longtime residents knew everyone.  In a town the size of Boringville getting to know everyone wasn’t difficult, but no other place Drew’d ever been was as friendly.  In a way it was vital.  Any word of Boringville’s secret getting out could be a disaster for the town, and the normals like himself would be in as much trouble as the people of various subspecies.  True, he was a normal with a special ability, but was still a mainline human, not one of the subspecies like a lycanthrope or vampire.
A van pulled into a parking place near him and he knew where his feeling of a potential problem was coming from.  Someone inside could prove dangerous to Boringville.
Five young men and women, all people he guessed to be in their early twenties, piled out.  They were laughing and talking.  He couldn’t be sure, but from the way they were acting he guessed they were college students or recent college graduates on a road trip.  An attractive blonde woman inclined her head in his direction and spoke to her companions.  Drew’s hearing was exceptional, but he couldn’t make out her specific words well enough to tell what she said.  They walked to Drew with a tall, thin, dark haired young man taking the lead, although it was clear he was doing so because the blonde woman was directing him.
The small group of tourists stopped a few feet from Drew.  They seemed a little nervous, but not frightened.  The man in front looked embarrassed at being appointed the group’s spokesperson, but managed a smile.  “Officer, we, my friends and I, wondered if you could help us?”
“I will if I can.”
“Could you, well, maybe tell us…?  I’m not sure how to say this – ask this.”
The blonde woman said, “Jack, just ask him.”
            “Yeah.  I guess.  Officer, could you tell us where we’d have to go to see some of the vampires living in Boringville?”
If Drew could have believed he was looking at some clown trying to make a joke at the expense of a police officer, or a complete idiot asking a stupid question, he wouldn’t have been concerned.  He knew better.  These people were smart and the question sincere.
He wondered if he should be relived.  At least he knew where his feeling of unease came from.  The problem was; what was he going to do about it?

Robert Clark was born and raised in Eerie (Erie), Pennsylvania. He was brought up on Creepy, Eerie, and Vampirella comic books, stories of Ax Murder Hollow, science fiction novels, and late night horror and science fiction movies. He delighted in scaring the neighborhood kids with stories he made up or swiped from comic books. His fifth grade teacher told his parents he’d end up either in prison or as an author. To the surprise of almost everyone who knows him, he graduated from college. After graduation he spent years teaching biology. While doing so his fifth grade teacher’s prediction (?) threat (?) curse (?) whatever, came true. Tired of reality, he decided to try writing fiction. The genres he writes in are science fiction, fantasy, and horror/supernatural, although these often overlap in his books. He and his wife live in northwestern Pennsylvania. Clark is no longer teaching biology, but is still writing. At this point he hasn’t been in prison and hopes to keep it that way.
Links:

July 14, 2014

BEST Weekend EVER!

After a ten year journey I was able to bring Tiva's story to life with the help of the amazing team over at Crushing Hearts & Black Butterfly, an awesome publisher with awesome authors!!

Tiva's book hit #2 on the UK Sci-Fi Genre list!!

















And #5 in the US!!

















I've probably thanked and over-thanked everyone a million times already, but it never hurts to say it again.

THANK YOU!!

July 10, 2014

Tiva Boon: Royal Guardian Release Day & Party!

It's Release Day for Tiva Boon: Royal Guardian!! 

This has been a very long journey for me and I'm so excited to celebrate with you all!

You can join me on Facebook for an ALL DAY party with flash giveaways and a grand prize drawing. Stop by and check it out: https://www.facebook.com/events/293417760826659/

You can purchase Tiva Boon: Royal Guardian now on Amazon: http://smarturl.it/TivaBoonRG or use your smartphone:


Thank you for your continued support!

Jenn