AuThursday – Gabriella Balcom

QOl9KLjv-2227000682Please welcome Gabriella Balcome to The Clog Blog!  Gabriella, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I live in Texas with my family, work full-time in the mental health field, and I’ve loved reading and writing my whole life. I write fantasy, sci-fi, horror, romance, literary fiction, children’s stories, and more. I’ve had 360 works accepted for publication and was nominated for the Washington Science Fiction Association’s Small Press Award in 2020. Clarendon House Publications awarded me a publishing contract when one of my stories was voted best in the book in which it appeared. My anthology of short stories, On the Wings of Ideas, came out afterward. In 2020, I won second place in JayZoMon/Dark Myth Publishing’s Open Contract Challenge (a competition in which around one hundred authors competed for cash prizes and publishing contracts), after which my novella, Worth Waiting For, was published. I self-published a novelette, Free’s Tale: No Home at Christmas-time and Black Hare Press released my sci-fi novella, The Return, in 2021. Five others pend publication.
How do you make time to write?
I work full-time but plan in writing time before and after work.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Writer’s block isn’t something I’ve had trouble with. I usually have the opposite problem, with ideas flooding my mind all the time, to the point it’s hard to keep up with them.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
I love several genres and write in each of them, too. Many things appeal to me, and all types of ideas come to me, so I don’t restrict myself to just one genre.
How are you publishing your recent book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional, or both)
I’ve published both ways, but mainly via traditional publishers. That’s been easier this far because I haven’t had time to publish more myself.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
Introvert. It makes it harder for me to publicize my acceptances and ongoing steps, not to mention handling marketing.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
Never give up.
I also like:
You can do anything.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Believe in yourself and NEVER give up. Also, having your work edited is always a good idea.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

AuThursday – Chistina Nordlander

chris nordlander photoPlease welcome Christina Nordlander to The Clog Blog!  Chistina, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I was born in 1982 in Malmö, Sweden, but fell in love with an Englishman (now my husband), and moved to England in 2001. I went to the University of Manchester and hold a Ph.D. in Classics and Ancient History. Nowadays, I live outside Birmingham with my husband and two cats.
How do you make time to write?
I’m unemployed at the moment, so I have more time than I really want. Essentially, I spend the evenings writing. I give myself a set time each day, and once that’s up, I take it easy. Or edit.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Yes. Sometimes motivation comes, and sometimes it doesn’t. Nowadays, farmers can irrigate their crops so that lack of rain doesn’t automatically equal famine, but we haven’t figured out how to get inspiration on tap.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
I don’t really have a set genre. I prefer speculative fiction, primarily dark fantasy and horror. Can’t say for sure why; it just seems to be the form most of my ideas take.
How are you publishing your recent book?brinn era djävlar
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
Introvert, definitely. I suppose that makes it easier to write since I like to withdraw and avoid distractions. On the other hand, I might well find more opportunities for publication if I were more extroverted.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
Pain is just weakness leaving the body.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
When trying to publish your work, send it everywhere (short of obvious scammers, obviously), and don’t give up. I got my first story published in a very narrow small-press anthology that I’d heard of by chance. After the first one is published, you’ll get an enormous boost of self-confidence.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
The woman, a physician or nurse, got ready to remove the slippers. She started pulling at one lace and underneath was a lipped stripe of red. I still had sensation, because I screamed. Someone came with a pair of scissors to cut up the shoe proper. Perhaps that wouldn’t hurt as much. I knew it would pull up chunks of flesh. I knew they would cut my feet to ribbons.
~from “The Contents of the Shoes”

AuThursday – Lynda Cox

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’ve been a writer all of my life, but it wasn’t until my mid-30s that I got serious about publication. I now have 11 books published, both traditionally and as an indie. I hold a master’s degree in English that other than being a point of pride doesn’t do much for me. When I’m not writing, I raise and show collies.
How do you make time to write?
I have a set schedule. I may not be writing during that scheduled time, but at least I’m sitting at the keyboard and playing with words.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Yes and no. Yes, I believe outside influences can stymie the creative flow. But, there are other ways to be creative. When the words won’t come, I play around with promo images or I make beaded “bling” show leads to support my dog show addiction or I make beaded string bookmarks.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
Under my real name, I write western historical romance, some of it very steamy. I grew up on a steady diet of Westerns and John Wayne movies. I love that so much of that time period seemed to be cut and dry/black and white. It wasn’t because that’s the romanticized version of the Old West, but there is a bit of comfort in holding on to that romanticized ideal. Under my pen name Linnea Fletcher, I write fantasy romance with my writing partner McKayla Jade. That stuff is VERY spicy.
How are you publishing your recent book and why? 
The most recent is under the pen name. It’s called *Monster* and it is indie published. I like the control that is open to indie authors as well as the significant lack of a time lag between acceptance by a publishing house and actually publishing said book.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
I’m an extreme introvert. Writing under my own name, I struggle with certain “smexxy” scenes. Writing under my pen name takes away that struggle. I can be an extrovert. I can be outgoing and push the boundaries of my comfort zone.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
Actually, I have two and both are believed to be attributed to Ernest Hemingway. The first one is
“The first draft is always sh*t.”
The second is
“Write drunk. Edit sober.”
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Don’t give up. I signed my first book contract when I was working on my master’s degree when I was 37. Keep writing. Keep cultivating a reader base. Don’t stop writing. The world needs your unique voice because you’re the only one who can tell your story.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

AuThursday – Rachel D. Adams

BW normPlease welcome Rachel D. Adams to the Clog Blog! Rachel, tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I grew up in the US South/Bible belt and my research and writing grew from wanting to dive into subjects that many in my culture saw as taboo. I’ve been writing since age 11 and am just now going out on a limb to publish some of my collaborative fiction.
How do you make time to write?
I write for work. I write content for websites and freelance while also managing with the use of HB90 and sprints to keep myself on track – to write, edit, and revise my manuscripts.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Yes. But so far mine has rarely lasted more than a week and it is usually focused on one type of writing.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
I write multi-genre fiction. However, the first series I plan to publish is Urban Fantasy / Paranormal Romance. I love these because I used to read Christopher Golden and Anne Rice. Then, I got into some writing groups (fan fic) and someone told me I wrote like Laurel K. Hamilton. So, I had to look her up and that’s when I realized…maybe I liked these kinds of worlds, but with character-driven scenes. I also like steamy scenes (though this 1st book in the series is kind of tame…slow burn folks…) and I love dragons. Being pagan and a previous TTRPG enthusiast, I’ve put a lot of research into the magic systems in my worlds, too. So that makes it a load of fun. The reason I love the Paranormal Romance setting is because all of my books will have a relationship if not more in it. And they are not all conventional romances. Some are LGBTQ, some are polyamorous, some are reverse harem, some are BDSM… and paranormal romances don’t tend to limit the author.
How are you publishing your recent book and why? 
I’m going indie publishing because I like the idea of having control of my work.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
Introvert – though I often come off like an extrovert. I’ve got anxiety and depression along with ADD – so if I’m over social, I have to go dark and build up those “social batteries” again before I can keep going. As an introvert, I prefer to stay home and don’t like being the center of attention. So…it can be bothersome for any kind of work. But since I work remotely, it doesn’t affect me as much as it used to.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the approbation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty; To find the best in others; To give of one’s self; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived – This is to have succeeded. — Ralph Waldo Emerson
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Don’t give up. Give your best.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
racheldardams.com has all of my links and my newsletter sign-up on it. Everyone who signs up for the newsletter will be getting a copy of our prequel eBook as soon as it’s published and ready. I spend most time on Twitter and Facebook right now.
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
Doppelgängers-&-Deceit---bonus---promo-post-comingThe idea frightened Gabriel – being taken and someone replacing you?
How many human lives had already been taken by the doppelgängers? Had this one not made a mistake, shining a light on other odd deaths or murders in recent months, no one would’ve thought about it. As Gabriel placed the notebooks and scribbled on pads in his briefcase at the desk, he thought back over the unusual amount of missing person reports in Whitley. Reports he hadn’t even had time to peruse. For a college town, the possibilities were deadly. Students could go missing and not be reported for weeks.
He heard the phone vibrate on his desk. Regarding the device, Gabriel sighed heavily. “Jean-Michel Raudine” was on the screen. The Councilor answered the phone immediately. “It’s about time. What use is having a Tasker assigned to me if he never responds? I’ve been trying to get hold of you for two days.”
“This Tasker was on assignment for someone on a higher pay grade than you, Councilor Kennedy,” The sound of ice and sloshing liquid could be heard. “Take my absence up with him.”
“Apparently, the Director is too busy to be bothered. And you’re my Tasker, not his.” All Gabriel heard was a grunt and the sound of liquid being poured from the other end of the call. “Are you drinking, Jean-Michel?” Gabriel flattened the palm of his free hand on the desk while he waited.
“Yes. If you had a day like mine, you’d be drinking, too.”
“No. I would be doing my duty,” Gabriel heard a release of air from the other side of the call. “Sorry to be so boring, but there are things to do besides getting drunk. There may be lives on the line.”
“There are always lives on the line with you lot. You should be taking that stick out your arse and pouring your own drink,” the Tasker chuckled.
Gabriel’s eyes glared down at the phone he had just pulled from his face. Why did this man always get his goat? He took a deep breath, swallowed, and continued.
“In case you were blissfully unaware, there’s a possible emergency happening here. I’m trying to save people from a horrible end.”
“Let me guess, human lives?”
“Well, yes, but it could also be argued that I’m trying to save supernatural lives. Who knows why doppelgängers are doing what they’re doing? So,” Gabriel took another pronounced breath. “I’m trying to save both supernatural and human lives. And for that, I need a Tasker who is available to me. And not drunk.” If it were any other person…
“Oh, come on, Gabriel. Surely you don’t think the Council and Crimson are here for supernatural benefit?” Jean-Michel took another drink.
“It is stated in the vows and pledge of duty….”
“Fuck that! I want your opinion, not some fuckin’ vow!” The Tasker growled from somewhere close to his soul. “Stop hiding behind someone else’s words and empty promises!”
Gabriel’s voice caught. Large brown eyes waited, trying to overcome the sudden catch in his throat and his chest. There was a flash of memory, a sleeker, younger version of his Tasker…using that voice while arguing with his father. The Councilor could feel the anger and tension in the room that day – years ago – and he swore to himself he’d just felt it again. After all, Jean-Michel had been the Tasker assigned to several human Councilors over the years – Kennedys all in a line. He was definitely not human, though he was listed as such. Perhaps, human magi? They had longer lives.
No. he knew better. His eyes moved to the cart where the books had been. He swallowed. “Crimson just wants supernaturals cleaned up and out of sight, so their precious humans don’t ever have to be burdened by knowing supernaturals exist,” the Tasker scoffed. “And you know what the funny thing is? Humans, who know about supernaturals? They want to become them or wipe ‘em from the face of the earth out of jealousy. So which are you?”
“You…are…drunk…” Gabriel spoke with measured patience. “You know how I feel about drinking and being drunk.”
“Why are the rules all made about you creatures? Humans don’t even treat one another properly. Consider all these murders and wars. You use one another and us! Skinner’s a fine example, using Crimson to herd supernaturals and keep’em under control. We’re not the ones out of control.”
“That’s news to me, considering I just got a report of a doppelgänger in Whitley taking the life of a human and becoming him. Supernaturals have the upper hand. A balance must be kept, Tasker. Crimson and the Council are about balance.” This wasn’t the time for a philosophical discussion. He needed to reel this conversation in. “Jean-Michel, I need you to come back here. The supernaturals in question are killing humans, replacing them, and wreaking havoc on other people’s lives,” Gabriel whispered every phrase in the sentence slowly. His hand was popping his thumb against his thigh.
“Yeah, well, I’ll get right on it.”
“Raudine!” Gabriel shouted the Tasker’s last name as if that would better get his attention, but the call had ended before he’d even finished the second syllable. He stared down at the phone. Where had that much venom come from? Why the sudden indignation? They had both taken vows, had they not?

AuThursday – Claire Kohler

Claire Kohler
Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
My favorite preschool activity was story time if that tells you anything. I’ve loved writing since I was ten years old. I wanted to pursue an English degree in college but felt it would be too hard to make a career out of writing, so I became a teacher. My husband actually encouraged me to get back into writing in 2016, and that’s when I got the idea for what became my debut novel. It took me five years from that idea to publication, but now I’m finally chasing my dream and am about to publish my second novel in October.
How do you make time to write?
I have a three-year-old and a one-year-old. I made it a habit to write during afternoon naps five days a week.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Yes! One of my strengths from the Clifton Strengths Finder is intellection. That means it’s important for me to turn ideas over and over in my mind. If I go too fast, I tend to get stuck or the story won’t feel right, and I’ll have to go back and think for a while until the right idea comes to me (I’m a discovery writer, so I don’t plan out my stories before I start writing them). It’s also important to soak up new information, and sometimes that means taking your nose away from the grindstone and enjoying others’ stories, so you can improve your own.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
I write historical fantasy! I’ve always enjoyed monsters and the magic of fantasy, but I also love learning about cultures from around the world. Historical fantasy allows me to blend the two, so fantasy seems like maybe it isn’t such a stretch to believe in. Maybe mythical creatures did exist once upon a time.
How are you publishing your recent book and why? 
I’m an indie author. I originally tried the traditional route, but without connections, it’s hard to get an agent. Plus, you’re limited to the type of story a publishing house wants to print. With indie, I can create what I would like to read.The Heart of Everton Inn
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
I’m an introvert! I love people, but working with them can be intimidating, so being an author is great. I hide away in my office/cave and create works of art that I can then share with the world.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Learn, learn, learn as much as you can, and then be brave enough to chase your dream.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
First off, there’s my website: www.clairekohlerbooks.com, but I’m also on Facebook and Instagram.
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
“I shall always love you, my dear bairn. Remember that, no matter what happens. And you must promise me something before I go,” the older woman whispered.
“Anything, Mum,” Briony answered.
“You must stay away from the water.”
Briony looked down at the floor, holding back tears as she tried to get a handle on herself. She couldn’t fathom why this was her mother’s dying wish, why this was so important.
Is her fear o’ the sea that strong? How can she hate it so much?
Briony felt the enigmatic pull she always did when she thought of the ocean. It called to her in a way she could neither explain nor understand. She had no reason to desire it as she did, for the sea had stolen her father from them years ago. At least, that was what her mother told her since Briony had no memory of the man.
She glanced out the window of the small cottage, wishing she could run to the waves at that very moment and escape the expectation lurking in her mother’s eyes. No matter how Briony replied, she knew she would cause misery; the only question was who would have to bear it.
She turned back to her mother, ignoring the lump in her throat as she said, “I promise.”
At hearing those words, Bethany gave Briony an earnest smile that lit up the room much more than the candles around them. Then, with a small sigh, the older woman closed her eyes and relinquished her spirit.
Briony almost felt it depart, ascending from her mother’s physical form before slipping away.
And it was at that precise moment that a series of bloodcurdling howls rang through the air. The sounds rose from just beyond Everton’s shores, filling the entire village with dread. The only person who didn’t notice them was the young woman herself, for the cries melded with her own moans of anguish as perfectly as if they had all come from the same throat.
The Secret of Drulea Cottage (Betwixt the Sea and Shore, Book 1) by Claire Kohler

AuThursday – Katherine Brown

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Please welcome Katherine Brown to The Clog Blog!  Katherine, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’m a book-obsessed mom raising a book-obsessed toddler and a great teen while trying to carve out time to write and occasionally shower. I live in Texas and love spending time with my husband and family. Also, there is no such thing as too much chocolate.
How do you make time to write?
I cram all of my writing in when my two-year-old daughter is napping or the one day a week she stays with my mom.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
I believe in writer’s procrastination and in tired brains that find creativity hard, at least for myself.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
I’ve written a few genres. Primarily cozy mystery, a few kids mysteries, short sweet romance, and am preparing to publish my first steampunk mystery/adventure. One thing all of my works have in common is that they are clean fiction meaning fade to black and minimal to no swearing etc. I want any age to be able to enjoy them and I want to model my personal values for my daughters even when I write. With mystery, I love it because you can follow the trail and still be surprised by the ending even if you are the writer in my experience.
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How are you publishing your recent book and why? 
Indie and probably because I’m too impatient to wade through years of potential rejections before being able to offer my story to book lovers everywhere.
BookBrushImage-2022-8-24-5-253
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
An introvert who can mingle and hold conversations with no problem but finds too much peopling to be exhausting and also struggles to market my books because I hate to be “pushy” or “selly” lol.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
Do something today you will thank yourself for tomorrow is probably one of them.
Another is Psalm 46:5
God is within her she will not fail. Even when I feel like I’m failing, I remind myself I can’t see the future or even the whole picture of now; if I’m pursuing my writing with the creativity I was given, then I’m blessed.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Write. Then write more. Don’t stop even if you have to work another job. You can’t edit a blank page or publish an idea. Write it and figure out what to do with it when you get the chance.
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
_cover a spoonful of gunpowder
“A woman who can still give orders when she’s scared; just what I need.” He pulled a cutlass from the scabbard at his side. Pushing Marie further back, he swung and smoothly severed the head from the wriggling creature. Not that decapitation ceased the wriggling.
Marie closed her eyes. It was one of the things she hated about the wily little devils, snakes didn’t have the decency to just die and be still.”
~An excerpt from my steampunk mystery coming in 2022!

AuThursday – Freida Kilmari

Please welcome Freida Kilmari to The Clog Blog!  Freida, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’m an LGBTQ+ Fantasy Romance author who specialises in breaking down barriers and categories by experimenting with gender and sexuality on the page. I grew up reading complex fantasy worlds, beautifully written romances, and tense and exciting plots, but as an author, I like to use those things to explore what it means to be human when you don’t conform to life’s standards.
How do you make time to write?
Writing is now my day job, but it wasn’t always. I used to write at night, where the world was quiet and everyone was in bed. But now I write all day and have a more regular schedule. I do miss the night time writing, but I have more free time now.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Yes, but no. Yes, I believe that writers get stuck, but no I don’t believe in this “oh, it’s just writer’s block, it’ll move on its own” mentality. We’re usually stuck for a reason: creative burnout, not knowing what comes next, plot holes, lack of confidence, anxiety, or some other reason. If you can pinpoint the reason, then you can work on fixing it and moving forwards.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
Growing up, I never read any sexually and gender-diverse characters. Even now, as an adult who searches for them, I haven’t read many. And so I decided to write some. I often write the things I feel are missing in the literary world. So I write about characters going through identity crises because the only times we really get to see trans people or gender fluid people or gay people, etc., is when they’ve already transitioned and are comfortable with who they are. But what about before? What about before you knew what label best fitted you? What about before you slept with the same gender for the first time?
How are you publishing your recent book and why? 
Indie. I love running my own business, building my readership, and having control over how my content is consumed. I also really enjoy the publishing aspects of my life.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
Introvert. All my characters are introverted, I think. And it means I don’t have a lot of social experience to draw from, so I don’t tend to write lots of friend characters and things, but when my main characters do make friends, it always feels kind of beautiful to me.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
“If I run out of power today, I’ll just borrow some from tomorrow!” – Fairy Tail, Episode 93
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Write something you love. Something you feel passionate about. Delve deep into yourself and write about the things that lie there. Because when you love what you do, it shines across the pages and produces a better product.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Amazon has my ebooks (Kindle Unlimited), but you can grab my paperbacks from any major retailer, including B&N and Waterstones.

AuThursday – V. Mull

Please welcome V. Mull to the Clog Blog.  Virginia, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
My name is Virginia, but I go by the pen name V. Mull. I’ve been telling stories since I was five and writing them since I was old enough to. Being a published author was my dream. I had to put it on hold because of life – I got married and had three amazing kids, but something was missing. I finally figured it out. I NEEDED to write, to create. And so I did.
How do you make time to write?
It’s so hard to write when you have the constant needs of those around you. The questions, the noise – it pulls you out of the world you’re creating. But there are ways around that. I use notebooks, of which I have multiple in every room, to jot down ideas that flash through my mind while folding laundry or making lunch. Then, when I do get an hour or two of quiet, I’m able to glue those ideas together.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
I sure do! Writer’s block isn’t the lack of motivation or inspiration, it’s not even laziness. It’s when you have all the tools to write – you have the need – the want – to write, yet forming sentences, even words is difficult!
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
Fantasy romance. Oh, the magic, the creatures born of magic, the amazing relationships between characters – I live for it. Gail Carson Levine (author of Ella Enchanted) was my first inspiration for creating such worlds. And I’m a sucker for a good Jane Austen love story, so I mix the two together.
How are you publishing your recent book and why?
Indie. I was always against self-publishing, only because I didn’t understand it. But I knew how long the wait could be if I chose traditionally, so I decided to take the expensive fate into my own hands. It’s hard, so hard. But I’m happy.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
I suppose introvert, though I’m not a fan of labeling myself as such. I have extrovert tendencies with certain people and in certain situations, but I need to recharge for at least half a week. I suppose, from the description of an extrovert, being an “introvert” helps me immensely because I really don’t mind being alone. I prefer it at least 80% of the time, which gives me the time to write and create (if I didn’t have the kids, of course)
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
JUST DO IT – Shia LaBeouf.  It was the first thing to come to mind, to be honest!
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Practice makes perfect! Cliché, absolutely. But true! I could never understand the saying because in everything I tried I simply couldn’t do better. But with writing? You can physically SEE the progress. Write something. Write more and more. Then look back on your old work and I promise you will see a difference.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
World Wide Web sounds terrifying! And it is, for an author. I’m on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and my website (where you can find all social media links) authorvmull.org
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
The Secrets of Gelid Lake
Again, they laughed like angels. “We all get angry, Nathalia. It’s what you are angry for, and how you choose to react after making a mistake that makes you pure. Your sensitivity is not a weakness, no matter how many tears you shed. You feel to your very core, and that, my child is strength.”
~Excerpt from my upcoming novella, The Secrets of Gelid Lake

AuThursday – James Pyles

james2Please welcome James Pyles to the Clog Blog!  James, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’ve been writing information technology textbooks for over 20 years published by houses such as McGraw-Hill and O’Reilly. Since 2019, I’ve branched out into writing science fiction and fantasy short stories and novelettes.
How do you make time to write?
I try to block out time in the evenings after my day job, but it doesn’t always work out. Frankly, I write whenever I can carve in an hour or more.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
I believe that stress and my emotional state can drain away my motivation to write. I have to be in the right space to be creative and to be focused enough to write.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
I’ve been reading science fiction since I was a kid in the mid-1960s. I’ve always wanted to write SciFi but over the years, my attempts felt forced and derivative. With the advent of indie writing and publishing, I finally got up the nerve (after practicing writing on my blog for a few years) to start submitting stories. I just love time travel, space operas, and all the tales I grew up with. I love being a part of lending my imagination to all of that.
How are you publishing your recent book and why?
I’m finally working on my first novel. It’s set in a shared universe created by an indie publisher. I’ve had stories published by them before and they’re interested in me expanding my ideas into a much larger work. Indie publishing affords opportunities to write innovative stories that otherwise wouldn’t see the light of day with a traditional big box publisher.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
Introvert. I like my space and I like it quiet. Fortunately, I have a home office where I can close the door and immerse myself in my craft.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
“When I was young, I used to admire intelligent people; as I grow older, I admire kind people.”Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
There is no one right path to writing and being published. The journey is unique for everyone. You don’t have to follow someone else.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
This is from the first draft of my WIP, so it’s pretty rough:
Ciara was relieved that the four soldiers who silently accompanied her back to the shuttle bay were Assembly regulars and not DOID Appendices. It was an irrational fear, for if the DOID had been ordered to kill her, she would never have seen them coming.
The footfalls of five pairs of boots echoed metallically off of the deck plates and the barely audible hiss of the doors sliding aside signaled their arrival at the launch bay. Without a word, she was deposited at the foot of the stairs leading into the shuttle, a winged, light-gray dove in stark contrast to the abyss-black of the massive envoy vessel she was currently housed in. The size and armament could have been a response to the constant threat of the Kaamus occupations of the local star group, but in reality, it was a reflection of the authority wielded by the Assembly’s DOIDs.
The pilot officiously announced departure from the shuttle bay and feeling like a tenuous angel, she once again fell toward the planet below.
Once in orbital space, the Representative’s jump ship loomed over her like a harbinger of death, which could still be its role. She would make planetfall in less than thirty minutes and be returned to the chateau of House Palendale two hours hence.
It had been just past dawn that morning when Ciara pulled her battered trunk from a closet in her personal chambers. It could have sheltered a small family from some of the more impoverished corners of the realm, but such were the benefits of both rank and royalty. She had again gone through the ritual of dismantling the chest, eventually reaching the hermetically sealed remains of the La-La doll. The prize had been uncovered by the revered Kekijek over three millennia ago on a frozen moon orbiting a gas giant in the Kaamus system.
“We’ve begun La-La, but our chances are not good. Yet what else can I do and still be worthy of what you represent?”
So unlike a General, Ciara held the plastic-covered stuffed toy to her breasts and strode out to the eastern balcony. There were fifty kilometers of farmland surrounding the estate and she had an unimpeded view of tender crops being watered by large, rolling arms spraying life. Her gaze, however, was directed upward toward the last stars being extinguished by the morning light.
Her brother Amir remained a prisoner of the Kaamus military governor Kenan Isom on Eirsyn, and if reports were accurate, he did rule with an iron fist. As long as Amir had value as a hostage, he would be kept alive and even treated with privilege. But he was still a prisoner in the hands of a master who played with his human possessions as a feline would with its living dinner. Agents reported that large swaths of the planet’s general population were not so fortunate. Over a million had lost their lives so far, and millions more were pressed into service in work camps.
Then there was Jepheth Shinzi who had fallen into her own powerful hands a year ago. In return for a certain freedom, they had woven an alliance that in another reality might have passed for friendship. But upon granting his wish, she used him to fulfill her own, which most likely had sent him to his death.
As the shuttle made its final approach to one of the landing pads in the military compound near the city’s edge, Ciara raised the inside of her left wrist and pressed a code sequence.
“Major Kann. Good evening, General.” Her aide’s pleasant baritone voice reminded her that she wasn’t alone after all.
“My shuttle’s landing at Pad A35. Have my transportation ready when I touch down.”
“Acknowledged, General. Anything else?”
She almost laughed, but a miracle wasn’t something even her devoted second could provide. “That’s all for the present. Ciara out.”
Minutes later the roar of the landing thrusters jolted her out of her musings. She hoped it wasn’t too late to ask for that miracle because she would need so many before this was over. Nearly a day before the DOID’s ship had jumped into the Pheothese system, Code Name Soiran had issued the go order. By now, the assault team had jumped into Eirsyn’s solar system and with any luck, they were already in position to strike. Her audience with the DOID had been perfunctory on her part. She would be damned if she’d wait for the Assembly’s nod before waging her own war.

AuThursday – Lesanda Moore

20201126_141648Please welcome Lesanda Moore to the Clog Blog,  Lasanda, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’m a mother of 3, a lover of nature, and an avid reader. Oh and I love to travel. I’m a licensed educator as well.
How do you make time to write?
By making it a priority and scheduling writing time.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
No
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
I write romance, women’s fiction, and children’s picture books. I love telling stories about love and life lessons with relatable characters.
How are you publishing your recent book and why?
I’m an indie author. I’ve only been published since January 2021. I want to learn as much as I can about the industry before pitching to a traditional publisher.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
I think I’m a bit of both. Sometimes I write alone and other times I participate in live sprints with other authors. It depends on my mood.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
It’s gotta work or it’s gotta work!
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Start writing
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
what the heart wants ebook cover #1What the Heart Wants
Chapter 1: Cheers to Summer Break
Cirilla
June 2018
Sweat dripped down my forehead as the afternoon announcements blared through the loudspeaker. It was the last day of school before summer break, the last day in hell, both literally and physically. The air conditioning system conked out a week ago and the whole school was riddled with fans to combat the Virginia heat.
“Boys and girls, make sure to grab all of your belongings or else they’ll be going in the trash,” I said, fanning myself with a piece of folded construction paper.
As I watched the fifth graders interact with each other, I counted down the seconds until the final bell rang, until I was a free woman.
“We’re gonna miss you, Miss Matthews.”
“I’m gonna miss you guys, too.”
They lined up against the wall and waited for the principal to dismiss the bus riders. I walked to the front of the line and handed each student a bag of treats. After the last rider left, I escorted the remaining students to the front of the building for parent pickup. While waiting, I made small talk with the other members of the fifth-grade team.
“Are you ready for some fun in the sun?” I asked.
“Yep. Me and somebody’s son,” said Maddie.
“Girl, you are too much.”
“I’m tryna get like you. I want to go to South Beach and get my booty rubbed by that fine-ass boss of ours, too.”
“Shhh,” I said, looking around to see who else heard our conversation. “Are you tryna get me fired on the last day?”
“My bad,” she whispered.
The last two students dashed across the grass to meet their parents and I headed back to the classroom to gather my belongings. Looking around the room, I took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. I made it through another stressful, but successful school year and now it was time to go home and pack for my much-needed baecation to Miami. Butterflies fluttered in my stomach just thinking about how much fun, and sex, I was about to have.
“See you later,” I said, turning off the lights and closing the door behind me.