An Interview with…Me! – Short Flights Bundle Author (and Curator)

So, Mike Jasper over at UnWrecked Press turned the tables and asked me to answer some of my own questions in connection with Short Flights. Here’s the post where we chatted recently: https://unwreckedpress.com/an-interview-with-author-sherry-d-ramsey/. It was fun, so click over and have a read!

The Short Flights bundle from BundleRabbit is still available across many online platforms. Along with my collection, The Cache and Other Stories, you’ll find ten single stories and four more full collections in the bundle, enough short fiction to keep you reading for a while! At just $4.99, it’s a real steal, so don’t miss it.

An Interview with Blaze Ward – Short Flights Bundle Author

Today, we have Short Flights Bundle author Blaze Ward stopping by to answer my interview questions. Blaze makes his home in Washington, and writes science fiction, superhero tales, fantasy, and alternate history. He keeps a website at www.blazeward.com, and you can find him on Facebook, Goodreads, and other places around the Internet. So let’s dive in…

SDR: To start, tell us a little about the story you have in the Short Flights bundle.

BW: “The Librarian” is the first of the Alexandria Station universe stories I wrote. She’s turned into my narrator for over 10,000 years of human history.

SDR: Imagine you’ve been kidnapped or trapped by a natural disaster. Which of your own characters (from any work) would you want to rescue you? Why?

BW: Vo zu Arlo (Jessica Keller books). Man’s a total badass who will stop at nothing.

SDR: Describe your current writing workspace.

BW: The peninsula dividing my kitchen from the living room. Just the right height to stand and work.

SDR: What’s your current writing project? How do you feel about it right this minute?

BW: Seventh Jessica Keller novel: Lord of Winter. Just started Act 3 and can see the end. Really hyped. Also just wrote a short story in the Fairchild universe.

SDR: Do you remember what sparked the idea for your story in the Short Flights bundle? What was it?

BW: I needed to know more about the AI in Javier’s ship, for The Science Officer. Already knew she survived the galactic apocalypse, so put her in a place to be discovered by my favorite salvager: Doyle Iwakuma.

SDR: Do you remember what sparked the idea for any of your stories? Tell us about one.

BW: The Science Officer was something I wanted to write for years, before I discovered that I could just publish stuff myself and make money. Having a character who was a scientist, a botanist, rather than a Jim Kirk/James Bond action figure. I grow things, and wanted to put that into space.

SDR: Why do you write short fiction? Love, necessity, marketability, or something else?

BW: The ability to take the worlds of my novels and spin off little side things about various characters. Or to create new worlds where I can play.

SDR: Do you belong to any writer’s groups or communities? Do you think these types of social interactions are important for writers?

BW: Got a monthly lunch group in Seattle where we talk business more than craft. Won’t do a critique group. They always fail in rancor, or fall apart in indifference.

SDR: Which one of your characters is the most like you? The least?

BW: Vo zu Arlo, probably. He gets his relentlessness from me. His intensity. Javier’s snarkiness and chaos-surfing. Hard to nail one. Most of my characters are actually amalgamations of people I know, where I take bits and merge them.

SDR: Have you written any series characters? What’s their appeal for you?

BW: Bit stories. Jessica is 6 novels now, and will be nine. The Science Officer (Season One) is eight novellas. Season Two will be nine. Everything tends to be serial with me.

SDR: I understand that feeling…like even when the story’s over, the characters aren’t. Do you remember the first story you wrote? Tell us about it.

BW: Absolutely not. Drek, and the statute of limitations has not expired. :)

SDR: Oh, all right. I’ll give you a pass on that one. :) Have you had to deal with bad reviews? How do you manage them?

BW: I never read a review that’s less than 5 stars. Better that way.

SDR: Are there certain themes that keep coming up in your work? If so, is it intentional, or something that just happens?

BW: “Sticking it to the man.” That’s probably intentional, but no.

SDR: Are you a planner/outliner/architect or a pantser/gardener/discovery writer?

BW: Yes. And. Both. Neither. Have done extensive outlines. Have sat down and discovered the next sentence as I typed.

SDR: Do you think there were early influences as a reader that have guided the stories you create as a writer? What were they?

BW: Doc Smith. Isaac Asimov to a lesser degree. Robert Howard. David Drake. CS Friedman.

SDR: Do you think the place where you live (or somewhere you have lived) influences what you write? In what way?

BW: Lived in a LOT of places. August 1990 – October 2001, moved 17 times. Time zones, three. Zip codes, almost all of them.

SDR: What’s the most challenging thing about being a writer in 2018? What’s the best thing?

BW: I am in control of my own career. Someone else is in charge of me making enough money to survive.

SDR: Do you prefer music, silence, or some other noise in the background when you write? If music, what kind?

BW: I zone out noise around me when I work.

SDR: Many writers also put their creativity to use in ways other than writing. Do you consider yourself a “creative person?” What other creative outlets do you have?

BW: Role-playing games. Poetry. Sewing. Gardening. Zen. Archery.

SDR: Tell us about your other works, projects, publications, and what’s on the horizon next. This is the shameless self-promotion portion of the interview. :)

BW: Book six of the Jessica Keller novels, The Red Admiral, comes out May 10. Going to do a special on the first three books in April as a lead in.

SDR: What question do you wish you’d be asked in an interview, but it never seems to come up? Ask it, and tell us your answer.

BW: “Money or fame?” – Money. You can pursue Traditional Publishing and see your name in the bookstore, but most of the people I know doing that still have to have day jobs. And there are few people making a living in TradPub anymore. I retired from a good job as a database architect in February to become a full-time writer, and most people have never heard of me. Making good money, though. :)

SDR: Well, thanks for answering all my questions, Blaze! It’s great to have you in the bundle!

The Short Flights bundle from BundleRabbit is available now across many online platforms. Along with Blaze’s story, you’ll find nine more single stories and five full collections in the bundle, enough short fiction to keep you reading for a while! At just $4.99, it’s a real steal, so don’t miss it.

Come back next week for more interviews!

Friday Desk Report – February 2, 2018

I was going to start this post with a pithy quotation about selling books, but all the ones I read were starting to make me depressed, so I changed my mind. Yes, this week I’ve been largely focusing on marketing, promotion, and how to help readers find my books (and want to read them). While I did make many pretty pictures, and learned many new things, I also came to realize that I need to get all of this stuff organized on my computer, in one easily-accessible place. Everything probably took me twice as long as it should have as I searched for cover images, blurbs, links…it’s definitely time for some computer housecleaning. *gulp*

On a brighter note, I worked on the next Nearspace novel (started in November, currently in the process of getting it back on track), and some editing on another, older project. Wrote some new words on the current Olympia Investigations story I have underway, but the brain was not really in a word-writing place this week. Considering the time of year it is, I’m in a remarkably good head space (much of which I attribute to my new daily yoga practice), but it’s still best to work with what my brain tells me it can handle. I think next week the words will be inclined to flow better, since I took a bit of a break this week.

I’ve also switched up the newsletter signup freebie, which has been the same for a while. As of today it’s a newly-compiled and packaged collection of five of my short stories, all about alien encounters. They’re a nice mix of serious, funny, heartwarming and thought-provoking. If you haven’t signed up before, or haven’t read these stories, click over and take a look! The cover image is a beauty by by Joel Filipe on Unsplash, where you can find some really amazing images the artists have made freely available for whatever use you wish. Thanks, Joel and Unsplash!

January Stats!

Okay, so I didn’t really get back at the treadmill desk until almost the middle of the month, but even then, I was a little spotty on it. 419 minutes for the month, which translated to 5.14 miles walked. I can do better!

Word metrics for the month worked out to 5633 written, and 12,509 revised. I’d like to keep up this revision pace for February, but really up the writing. Guess we’ll see how it goes.

Finally, both my Olympia Investigations stories are in bundles right now! The Immortals bundle and Weird Fantastic Detective Stories are both available at BundleRabbit, so hop over and take a look if you love getting great reads for reasonable prices. And really, who doesn’t love that?

 

More on the Immortals Bundle

The Immortals Bundle from BundleRabbit has now gone live on all platforms, so here’s a little more about it:

Gods, nymphs, vampires, deathless clones, cursed mages and those who serve them face perils where immortality acts as either curse or blessing or…both. Souls and selves lie at stake in this eclectic bundle.

 

Immortals includes 14 ebooks from short stories to novels, including my novelette, “The Goddess Problem.” This is the second installment in the Olympia Investigations series, featuring Acacia Sheridan, a private detective with a special gift – she can communicate and interact with supernatural creatures of all sorts. In “The Goddess Problem,” a heartbroken Greek goddess comes asking for her help. Acacia’s investigation takes her from an isolated cavern on Earth to the Olympian heights…but can a mortal sleuth wring the truth from a phalanx of dysfunctional deities?

Here’s an excerpt from the beginning:

The moment she walked into my office, limned in a faint silver sheen, with that grinning, lupine dog at her heel, I knew she was no ordinary client. She didn’t proffer a hand, just sat down in the blue leather chair opposite my desk, and said, “Hello, Ms. Sheridan. My name is Selene. Do you find missing persons?” Her eyes were very serious, very blue, and very fixed on mine. They shimmered a little with unshed tears.

She’d made it past the reception desk and Oliver, my often-annoying assistant and cousin, so he must think I should hear her story. Despite our frequent personality clashes, Oliver had developed a keen proficiency at weeding out the cases I’d absolutely hate. I gave Selene my most professional and sympathetic smile, and met those unnerving, if lovely, blue eyes. They were hard as sapphires; old as the sky.

“I do my best for every client, but I won’t make any promises beyond that,” I told her. “I’ve had some success with missing persons cases in the past.”

The dog, rangy and shaggy as a wolf—maybe it was a wolf?—settled on its haunches beside her and panted lightly, tongue lolling. Selene stroked the creature’s head with gentle fingers, never breaking our eye contact. “This will be a difficult case, Ms. Sheridan, and I may prove to be a difficult client. I will tell you some things that you may find challenging to accept.”

I leaned back in my chair, which protested with a squeak. I was suddenly intensely aware of the dust in the corners of the room, the scratched and scabbed surface of my desk, the faint layer of windswept grime on the window behind me, and the lingering scent of tuna sandwich from my lunch. Oliver had been pestering me to repaint the place and freshen it up, but I’d resisted. Maybe he had a point.

“I’ll try to keep an open mind,” I said. “Challenging clients are a bit of a specialty here at Olympia Investigations, which is probably why you chose me.”

She smiled a little, and didn’t deny it. I’m the person to see when a non-human client needs help, and I rely on a lot of supernatural word-of-mouth.

“So, will you be explaining why your skin seems to glow? And I don’t mean the kind of glow they promise in tv commercials.”

She lowered her head in a slow nod. “I will. What you make of that explanation will be up to you.”

I was intrigued, and business had been—let’s face it, boring—the past two weeks. Too many mundane insurance investigations and spousal surveillances, and I start to wonder why I wanted to be a private investigator in the first place. A faintly glowing woman with a half-wolf for a pet promised to be, at the very least, not boring.

“Fair enough,” I told her. “Two hundred a day plus expenses, I report to you at least twice a week, stop when you’re satisfied with the results or don’t want to pursue it any further. If that’s agreeable?”

She shrugged elegantly, nodded, and held out a hand. I shook it, her skin pale and cool and luminescent against mine.

And that’s how I first met Selene, Greek goddess of the moon.

~*~

The missing person in question, she told me, was her…hmmm. Not husband, because they’d never married, although according to legend he had fathered some fifty daughters for her. Consort, perhaps? I put him down on my information sheet as “significant other.” Endymion, the man who, either at Selene’s request or his own (reports varied), and by the acquiescence of Zeus himself, slept eternally in order to avoid growing old and dying.

I didn’t know that it was much of a trade-off, but there were those fifty daughters to consider.

We’d made it only that far when Oliver knocked on the door and bustled in without waiting for me to answer, even though he knows I hate it when he does that. He was the picture of the efficient assistant—ebony hair slicked to one side, not a strand out of place, lint-free black turtleneck with the sleeves pushed up just so, and charcoal grey trousers pressed with a crease sharp enough to cut paper. And a mild, disinterested smile, camouflaging his raging curiosity.

Oliver carried a tray bearing two steaming mugs; sweet black coffee for me, and something pale and floral-smelling for Selene. She accepted it with a smile so I assumed he’d asked her in the waiting room what she’d like. He looked a question at me with raised eyebrows—anything else? want me to stay?—and when I shook my head minutely he left us again. To listen at the door, I had no doubt. Oliver could play the detached professional but it was all an act.

Anyway, Selene’s story went something like this: after hundreds of years of peaceful slumber in a secret cavern, where Selene joined him every night, Endymion had somehow disappeared. A week ago, Selene arrived at the cave on a Tuesday night and found it inexplicably empty. Although she’d searched for him herself and questioned her fellow divine and semi-divine colleagues, she’d found no sign of him and uncovered no clues to his whereabouts. That’s when she decided to hire me.

 

In addition to “The Goddess Problem,” The Immortals bundle features:

Glamour of the God-Touched by Ron Collins
A Man and His God by Janet Morris
Unnatural Immortal by Russ Crossley
First Chosen by M. Todd Gallowglas
Walking Gods by Leah Cutter
Rainbow’s Lodestone by J.M. Ney-Grimm
Brainjob by David Sloma
Silver Dust by Leslie Claire Walker
Vale of Semūin by Eric Kent Edstrom
Fate’s Door by J.M. Ney-Grimm
Kaylyn the Sister-in-Darkness by Barbara G. Tarn
The Legend of Oeliana by A. L. Butcher
Jamal & the Skeleton’s Heart by Ezekiel James Boston

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can pay a minimum of $4.99 USD and receive all 14 ebooks. Find it at any of these links:

Universal Link https://books2read.com/Immortalsbundle

Bundle Rabbit https://bundlerabbit.com/b/immortals

Kobo https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/the-immortals-bundle

Amazon.com

Amazon UK

Barnes and Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-immortals-bundle-a-l-butcher/1127826108

I Tunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1335201648

Bundles are great fun and an excellent deal! I hope you check this one out.

Friday Desk Report – January 26, 2018

Whew! It’s not hard to tell it’s the beginning of the year. I got some writing done, worked on promotional stuff, made a new short story available on a bundling site, set up a new bundle I’d like to curate, and poked around on Patreon for a while.

I’ve been thinking about Patreon for some time now…is it something that could work for me as a writer? I’m leaning toward giving it a try, but no firm decisions yet. I’ll keep you posted here on any developments. I do have some fun things I could do on the platform, I think.

The big news this week is that my copies of Beyond the Sentinel Stars arrived! I think it wasn’t really real until I held a copy in my hands. Which also meant I was able to take this picture…full trilogy!

This has also been my second week of doing a yoga practice every day and–wow! I am really feeling the effects (in a very good way). Of course I’m still at my treadmill desk, too, but the yoga is bringing something entirely new and welcome to my physical state. I discovered this wonderful channel on YouTube–Yoga with Adriene–and if you’re thinking you might like to try it, I can’t recommend her strongly enough. No pressure, no stress, no demands to do things perfectly or quickly. Adriene’s laid-back and restful style of instruction is exactly what I needed. Check out her beginners’ videos if you’re curious. Every day I can’t wait to get to the mat for my practice.

Just for fun, this year I’m tracking what I research for various stories. Things I looked up on the Internetz this week for writing: old general store images, row houses, and words in the Mi’kmaq language.

 

The Immortals Bundle!

A new bundle from BundleRabbit, The Immortals, is now available for pre-order. I’m so pleased that my Olympia Investigations novelette, “The Goddess Problem”, is included in this bundle, along with thirteen other great-looking tales.

Gods, nymphs, vampires, deathless clones, cursed mages and those who serve them face perils where immortality acts as either curse or blessing or…both. Souls and selves lie at stake in this eclectic bundle.

Click over and check it out; the bundle is curated by A.L. Butcher and is available for pre-order from Kobo, Amazon, B&N, and iBooks. Fourteen books for as little as $4.99 is a great deal! It goes live at BundleRabbit on January 31st.

 

2017 in Review: Publications!

So, this post will be a little more upbeat than yesterday’s treadmill desk lament. I published things in 2017! And strangely, I realize, they mostly come in twos.

Two short stories in anthologies: I had stories in Where Evil Dwells: The Nova Scotia Anthology of Horror (“The Girl in the Stones”), and the 2017 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide (“Station Run”). Two very different anthologies and very different stories! “The Girl in the Stones” is set in Cape Breton, when a couple moves into a house that comes with a strange pile of stones in the yard, menacing dreams, and a frightening history. “Station Run” finds a young girl on a space station discovering that her programming skills have unearthed a secret that will rock the world of the station and those who live there.

Two self-published novelettes, “Waiting to Fly” (set in the Nearspace universe), and “The Goddess Problem” (an Olympia Investigations story). “Waiting to Fly” is set in the early days of Nearspace colonization, when getting to a space station was only the first step, and getting off it again might not be easy-especially if you’re a young woman on your own. “The Goddess Problem” finds our favourite supernaturally-attuned detective, Acacia Sheridan, employed by a Greek goddess on a missing-persons case.

Two books: a new collection of short stories, The Cache and Other Stories, and the third book in the Nearspace series, Beyond the Sentinel Stars. The story collection includes stories published since my last collection in 2011, as well as a couple of bonus stories you won’t find anywhere else. And Beyond the Sentinel Stars finds Luta and her brother Lanar embroiled in a desperate attempt to prevent another Chron war from ravaging Nearspace.

On the editorial side, 2017 saw the publication by Third Person Press of Rise of the Mudmen by James FW Thompson. I’m very pleased to have been involved in the publication of this first novel. The story follows a group of young survivors through a zombie apocalypse in an alternate 1980’s timeline in Cape Breton.

Cover Reveal: Beyond the Sentinel Stars

I’m super excited to reveal the cover for Beyond the Sentinel Stars, coming in December from Tyche Books! This is the third book in the Nearspace series, and you’ll find all the characters you love onstage again. The art is once again by Ashley Walters, who did a wonderful job of setting the scene for this novel. Luta and Lanar really look like brother and sister to me!

Oh yes, I should probably actually show you? Here you go:

 

What’s happening in Nearspace now, you ask?

Luta Paixon and the crew of the Tane Ikai have made it back to Nearspace safely, but that safety is short-lived. As if a disastrous diplomatic mission to the crow-like Corvids isn’t enough, Luta’s old enemy Alin Sedmamin is back—and asking Luta to help save his life. In exchange, Sedmamin is offering secrets stretching back more than a century into Nearspace’s past—secrets that could prevent a war.

Meanwhile, Luta’s brother Admiral Lanar Mahane is faced with an awful truth: the Protectorate is spread too thinly across Nearspace to offer adequate protection or defense when the aggressive Chron turn their murderous sights on Nearspace again. They must forge new alliances if Nearspace is to survive, but it’s almost impossible to know who to trust.

As interstellar conflict looms on the horizon and a political plot of tremendous scope and daring threatens to destroy Nearspace from within, Luta and Lanar will test the bonds of family and the strength of hope as they struggle to maintain peace in a world that seems destined for war.

It looks like the official release date will be December 19th, but you can pre-order now at AmazonKobo, and Amazon Canada.

Friday Desk Report – September 29, 2017

*looks around, swipes a finger across the desk*

Wow, pretty dusty in here. Looks like I’ve been away for the whole summer!

Well, yes, I was. Not away from home (much), but away from my digital home. and from my office, too. That was messy enough to take two days to clean up, but that’s done, so I’d better clean up here, too. And I actually do have stuff to report, because I was back at my desk much more this week.

First up: Over the summer, I turned in the manuscript for Nearspace #3, Beyond the Sentinel Stars. It’s been through edits and although I don’t have a definite release date to share with you yet, it’s coming! For those who love Luta and her crew, I think you’ll really enjoy this installment of their adventures.

Next up: pre-orders are now open for the Gumshoes Bundle from BundleRabbit. If you’re a mystery lover, you won’t want to miss out on this one! It includes my urban fantasy/mystery The Murder Prophet, as well as a host of other great titles.

More news: Where Evil Dwells is out! This anthology of Nova Scotia horror includes my story, “The Girl in the Stones,” and some other writers you’ll probably recognize. Available in stores and at all the usual online locations.

One more thing for today: I’ll be at CaperCon 2017 as a guest, and I have a great lineup of panels and workshops! I’ll post details about them all here next week. CaperCon runs October 20-22 and takes place at Centre 200 in Sydney this year, so plan to come by and visit! It’s set to be bigger and better than ever!

They’re Live!

My two new non-fiction ebooks are live as of yesterday! The Two-Week Short Story is a guide to brainstorming and writing a fast first draft, and the Short Story Workshop for One is a workbook for improving fiction when it’s difficult to get outside feedback or comments. For now they’re exclusive to Amazon, and priced at $2.99 and $1.99 respectively. More details about them, and buying links, are here.