Monthly Archives: April 2013

Interview with Pedro Barrento, author of The Prince and the Singularity, A Circular Tale

ImageThe Prince and the Singularity – A Circular Tale is a take on the Creation myth, drawing from different religious and philosophical sources and mixing them in an original, challenging and often very funny way. It is written in a multi-layered format, allowing it to be read both as a simple and entertaining fable and as a deeply philosophical work, full of hidden references and satire.

Author Bio

ImagePedro was born in Mozambique 51 years ago, attended English schools in Lisbon and pursued his education until finishing a degree in Law. When he was around 33, Pedro decided there’s more to life than being a lawyer and tried his hand at various business activities, the most successful of which was a company that produced and managed rock bands. A year ago he decided to pick up again a long-forgotten hobby of his: writing. He started with a blog, mainly dedicated to political satire. Encouraged by the feedback from the blog Pedro then decided to try his hand at a whole book, an effort which resulted in the creation of The Prince and the Singularity – A Circular Tale.

It’s the story of the Prince aka the Master aka Francis, who is more or less immortal and goes through the millennia fighting Desire and Rejection, the roots of all unhappiness and evil. He always fails until the moment he loses interest and decides to die, which he doesn’t. Instead he gets promoted. 

We’ve had a mix of creatures hanging around here, so it would be wise to be cautious. It seems every writer interviewed is leaving behind impressions of some of their stronger characters as well as the ones who are already following me around from my books. They are starting to chose sides, and I am concerned that fighting may break out. Pedro’s theory about where stories come from, may explain why this is happening. Pay close attention to where his ideas come from and see what you think.

You sound like a bit of a philosopher. Tell us a little something about yourself as both a person and an author:

I’m a maverick, a loner and someone who loves to think about problems too complicated to ever have a solution. I also have very peculiar beliefs, as I do not believe in the existence of God but I believe in the existence of spiritual dimensions. It’s a very uncomfortable position to be in, because religious people consider me an atheist and atheists just consider me incoherent.

What made you decide to be a writer?

I always wrote short pieces, mainly about political satire, and I have a blog dedicated to that (mostly in Portuguese, though).

One of my satirical pieces, “The Euro Crisis Explained to Grannies”, has now been viewed almost 14.000 times, so I guess at least some people must like it.

I then started having ideas for longer and more complicated stories.

What made you pick this genre to write?

My book is cross genre. It’s a mix of literary fiction with shades of Pratchett humour over a New Age background. I should’ve picked a genre but unfortunately I didn’t, which makes marketing the thing an uphill struggle of Himalayan proportions.

Tell us a little about your latest book.

My idea was to write a book that would simultaneously:

a) be funny (both funny peculiar and funny ha-ha);

b) could be read as a simple story that anyone could understand and appreciate;

c) had several “hidden” layers below the basic story that different people could read differently, depending on their cultural and religious backgrounds;

d) would mix concepts from different religions and philosophies, in a thought-provoking way.

While writing the book, I toyed with the idea of creating three different self-contained stories that could be read in any order whatsoever and would make sense either individually or in connection with the other two, but that proved to be too difficult and I abandoned the concept. As a leftover of that idea, though, chapters 1 to 12 make up a self-contained story of their own.

The book is a reflection of the Great Fusion Era in which we live, where lifestyles, religions, beliefs and economic and political systems are fusing together, with the inherent social confusion and clashes between cultures.

We live in times where people feel insecure and troubled, but these are epic times, the transition between one era and the next one.

The book is a reflection of all that. It fuses concepts from different religions (which has been done before) and, more importantly, it fuses religion with atheism, an exercise most people would consider a logical impossibility.

How do you come up with your ideas?

You’re going to think I’m completely nuts, but I believe all books are already written, in some other dimension. Writers get their stories when they somehow connect to that other dimension. As no writer is capable of receiving a whole book, what happens is that they receive some parts and then fill in the missing parts with their mind. The more parts they “receive”, the better writers they are. The parts they “fill in” tend to be the weakest bits of their books.

That’s what happened with my book. I suddenly “saw” parts of the story, usually in situations where I was totally relaxed and thinking of nothing in particular, especially while swimming or driving a car.

I wrote down those parts, which came in a non-sequential way (Ch.1, Ch.2,  Ch. 12, then Ch.9, etc). The book has 27 chapters. In the end, I had big chunks of the book written down and I had some parts missing in several places in the middle. Those parts I wrote with my mind, just trying to connect what had been “received”, if you may call it that way.

I have very little hope that you’ll believe my version of how the book was written but I can assure you it’s the truth.

Also the writing process was very odd, because on top of being non-sequential, I started by writing a draft in Portuguese, then someone translated that draft into English, then I rewrote the English translation because I thought it had lost the right “feel”. Afterwards I finished writing the book in English, meaning that 30.000 words were written in Portuguese, translated, rewritten by me and then 14.500 words were added directly in English. I then had to translate the part that was written in English into my own language, which is a very odd situation.

Actually, I don’t think you are nuts at all and I do believe you. I call it inspiration, but it doesn’t really matter what you call it. Is there someone in particular you would like to thank for supporting you through this process?

Lynn Curtis (http://www.lynncurtis.co.uk/), my editor and literary consultant must come first and foremost. In fact, I believe that calling her a literary consultant is an offense. She is a living goddess, no less.

Teresa Frederico, the person who revised the Portuguese version is also someone who deserves a HUGE “thank you”, especially as she did it for free (well, I promised her untold riches if the book is successful). I’d also like to thank Sandro Marques for several suggestions made while I was writing the initial Portuguese draft. Fernanda Gil and Paula Soto Maior have also helped in the graphic department, with several sketches for covers which unfortunately ended up not being used.

I don’t think we can give enough praise and credit to the people who help us achieve our dreams. Tell us one positive thing that has happened to you since you published your book(s).

People have finally stopped seeing me as a lawyer (which I hated) and now see me as a writer (which is a lot sexier)

Tell us one negative thing that has happened to you since you published your book(s).

I’ll tell you something that happened before I published the book.

I tested it extensively on several sites, especially on “authonomy.com” and I found out that writing a book which mixes sources from different cultures is a very delicate process. To my (probably naïve) astonishment, in the beginning, I was getting raving reviews from readers of Asian origin and very mixed reviews from American readers, which ranged from “great book” to “you’ll burn in hell”. I reached the conclusion that the “you’ll burn in hell” readers just weren’t understanding the book.

 I then added a Prologue, to make the book easier to understand to readers less familiarised with some of the philosophies involved and after that I’m glad to say I’ve stopped receiving “hate mail”.

Give us your links to learn more about you and your book

The book is available both as a paper book and an ebook on Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, etc., and all those sites allow you to read a sample.

I’ll leave you with the Amazon USA Kindle link, but whether that is the ideal link to check out the book depends on where each reader lives. Seen from some countries it will show a USD 2.99 price while seen from others it may show a price as high as USD 6.14, so people should choose the site most adequate for the country they live in:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B3B3QNS

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Legend of The White Werewolf, The Forgotten Ones

I published The Forgotten Ones, first in the new, free series Of Legend of the White Werewolf, to Smashwords, today. Anyone interested in reading it can follow the link. https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/309551 I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Please give me a review so I can continue to improve.

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The Legend of the White Werewolf Series

I am almost finished with the first book of a new series. The series is The Legend of the White Werewolf and the first book will be The Forgotten Ones. It is a Paranormal Romantic Suspense book. It will be available on Smashwords free within a month as a thank you to my readers both old and new. You guys are the best! The whole series will be available free as they are published. The next book in the series will be The Second Son and it will be out sometime later this year. I hope you will enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them.

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April 21, 2013 · 10:54 pm

Interview with J. Dewayne Pierce

J wrote his first adventure story, just for the fun of it, at the age of 10. He was always the guy in class that was told to sit down and quit throwing experimental airplanes out the window and that was at the university. He has been a US Marine, Active and Reserve, serving in the Vietnam War as a radio operator for convoy escorts in an area tenderly referred to as “Leatherneck Square”. He also served in the Persian Gulf War of 1991 as the Communications Chief for a self-propelled 155mm Howitzer Battery, being among the first military units to liberate Kuwait and the Burning Kuwaiti Oil Fields (The “literal” Mouth of Hell). After his adventures in the Arabian Peninsula J returned to his humdrum job, all things being relative, as a Radiochemist at Sequoyah Nuclear Plant. As you’ve probably already guessed, J uses his combat experience and recollections of his world travels to make his stories come alive, while underpinning them with his knowledge of basic nuclear physics(That’s “nu clee ur” not “nu clur”). He lives with his wife Patricia, his hamster “Chesty” and his time machine in Rock Spring, Georgia.

Oberlux:

photo1The earth’s first faster than light starship, preparing for its maiden voyage, receives a demand from extraterrestrials thousands of light years away. Should the demand be heeded or ignored? Earth’s decision leads to terror, sin, selfless courage, combat, altruism, romance and salvation of an alien world in the distant regions of our galaxy. The crew of the Oberlux will never be the same.

Hello J, I’m so glad you agreed to join me for this interview. We’ll just dig in right away so you can get back to the sequel to Oberlux that your currently working on.
Q. What made you decide to write a sci-fi book ?
I’ve always been fascinated with science fiction in literature. Robert A. Heinlein’s Red Planet had a strong positive influence on me as a young boy. I was also heavily influenced by Edgar Rice Burroughs’ eleven Martian novels and his Venus Series. James P. Hogan’s Inherit the Stars Series was a real impetus for my starting to write science fiction, however. He showed in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s that actual detailed science in a novel could be entertaining. These influences got me to writing earnestly in the 1980’s.

I sounds like we like many of the same authors.
Q. What is the most difficult thing about publishing a book?
There are plenty of venues for publishing, so the publishing itself is not the problem. The real challenge is getting one’s book in front of one’s target readers. In my case, people who love science fiction and have the ability to imagine fantastically different worlds and futures with me.

Q.I noticed you went into some technical detail in your book. How much of that is fact and how much is possibility?
My science is based in voraciously wandering fact, luscious speculation, and spontaneous theory with a dash of prevarication. All of which are most likely to come true.
I Studied Chemical Technology and Creative Writing at Chattanooga State Technical Institute, Organic Chemistry and Physics at UAH, and Basic Nuclear Physics and Radiochemistry with TVA.

Q.What has been your overall experience when dealing with other authors?
Other authors have been surprisingly friendly, supportive and helpful. I’ve been writing for quite a while now, but when I actually decided to get serious about making a literary mark in this world fellow writers were the most helpful. I thought authors would be my biggest detractors, but they are fellow travelers.

Q.Is there a website or writers group that you found particularly helpful to your writing?
I think Goodreads is the only website that really allows writers to find each other, share experiences, give advice to one another and actually help. Other websites I’ve seen try to imitate this kind of thing, but right now only Goodreads has enough fellow author members to do this.

Q.Is there a type of music or something else that helps you write when you get stressed out or have a bad day?
It’s somewhat uncanny that you asked me this today. Just the day before yesterday I voiced my opinion on this subject in a writer’s group on Goodreads. I said that I felt a writer should focus on what they are doing and not listen to music while writing. I went on to say that such distractions were not fair to your readers and that by so doing your quality of work would probably suffer.
It was not well received by one writer and he said, in fact, that he had been insulted by my comment. My reaction to this was, “You have a right to your opinion.”, which by saying this I really meant that I also had a right to MY opinion. So, to sum it all up, no, I do not listen to music or anything that would distract my focus. Now, this could be because I’m feeble-minded. However, I like music, so I find when I hear it I tend to listen to it and then the muses go to sleep.

After reading your book, I would say you are certainly not feeble minded.
Q.How long did it take to write your book?
That is an interesting question when considering my first novel, Oberlux. I wrote the first draft of it in 1985 in about a nine month period, type written and double spaced. I’m sure some readers and writers out there have heard of those days. I sent it to every SF publisher I could think of. One publisher sent me a particularly interesting letter, saying they liked it, but not to contact them they would contact me. I was excited. A year later I got a rejection letter from that same office. I put Oberlux aside and wrote about five chapters of another novel and then re-enlisted in the Marines after a 10 year hiatus. Then came the 1990-1991 Persian Gulf War. I kept writing fiction off and on over the years, but never confided in anyone about it much. I had considered self-publishing in the late 80’s and 90’s but it was just too expensive at the time. Then in 2010 I heard about Smashwords, but I didn’t have a good feeling about eBooks until 2012. It was then that I decided to dig up my manuscript, brush the dust off of it and read it as a new reader. It had been a good amount of time since I wrote it. I was able to read it with a great deal of detachment, since I figured it would never make it to print anyway.
I was amazed at how entertained I was by it. I had forgotten a lot of the details. Now, mind you, I had not forgotten the gist of the plot, but specific dialog, certain events and the life in the characters I had forgotten. So, I was being re-introduced to the universe I had previously created.
After a complete rereading of it, I decided it was okay to try it on the world one more time. However, it needed some editing and updating. Yeah, updating! Some of the things I had predicted would be discovered in the universe of 2150 had already been discovered by fall of 2011. Eight hundred extrasolar planets for one thing. Rewriting was a necessary task, but a pleasant one. It allowed me to get intimately familiar with my characters again and was the genesis of the novel I working on now. So, to sum up how long it took to write, I guess about two years of actual writing, editing and returning it from the typed page to digital format for an eBook.

Q.Have you found family and friends to be supportive and if so, how?
Oh, family and friends have been very supportive. They are the ones that bought my book in the first couple of weeks after it’s debut. Without their cheering and asking for a second novel, I might not have published the first. A family member, Scott Hill, who is a professional artist, painted the cover for Oberlux and has just recently completed the cover for my next novel. Tatiana, his wife also beta read the final version of Oberlux.

Q.Are you working on any other books?
I’m so glad you asked. Yes, I’m working on a second book, and I’m really stoked about this one. It is tentatively entitled Suszaja Marva: Power of the Cross, which I think will probably develop into a trilogy. I have an idea spinning around in my head and a skeletal outline for the third, but I don’t want to reveal too much at present.
If you’ve read Oberlux and liked it, I’m sure you’ll want to read Power of the Cross. It has many plot twists and turns that hopefully will surprise and entertain my readers, such as what does Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of the Knights Templar have to do with a software company in the 21st Century.

Q.Is there anything you would like to share with other authors or your fans?

To my fans I would like to say, thank you and hang on. There is more excitement coming your way this summer. I don’t think you will be disappointed, Templar Knights, time travel, a bumbling 21st Century inventor and a solemn lesson for us all.
Thanks to Crystal Dawn and a couple of other Goodreads authors.

To connect with J. Dewayne Pierce go to: http://www.facebook.com/JDeWaynePierceAuthor?fref=ts

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The Next Great Literary Work

I often hear people asked, “How does someone become a good writer?” I think that there are a lot of things that go into that. A certain amount of creativity needs to be present and I think some of that has to be natural. I think there are ways to stretch your imagination, but you must have something there to work with. You also need a willingness to share with others. You have to be prepared to deal with rejection (lots of it), criticism (even once you are considered successful), and failure, because even once you are successful, most of us never truly please ourselves completely. I can write something and every time I look at it I see the need to improve on it. At some point, I have to let it go or I would never publish a thing.

I think you need to be around other writers. Not just good ones, but also struggling ones. You need to read, but not only the works of those that you think are good, but sometimes you learn the most from reading something you don’t really like at all. I’ve read some harsh reviews of books and the reviewer said the book was a waste of their time. I have read things I didn’t care for, but I have never read anything that was a complete waste of my time. At the least, they show you what mistakes you don’t want to make and reinforce what you truly like to read. But at the best, they can show you what other people like or don’t like to read. It can open you up to writing something completely different than your usual subjects so that you can appeal to a whole new group of readers and it can fill your brain with new inspiration and creativity.

There are so many things that go into becoming a good writer that I couldn’t possibly discuss them all. I will end with one more thing to think about. Never stop chasing your dreams, whatever they may be. If you want to be a good writer, follow that dream and never stop learning, improving, hoping, dreaming, and pursuing your next great literary work.

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Back by popular demand: Get your free download of Planet Amazon the Rebirth Part 1, for free, by following the link below. It is half of the original book Planet Amazon the Rebirth.

Smashwords — Planet Amazon the Rebirth Part 1 — A book by Crystal Dawn

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April 1, 2013 · 9:49 pm