Author Interview with Sherry D. Ramsey

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I am thrilled that my next author interview is with my friend and best selling author Sherry D. Ramsey! I have reviewed some of her books in the past and will be again soon enough. Right now I am reading her collection of short stories, The Apprentice Files. 

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Sci-fi and fantasy author Sherry D. Ramsey.

Me: Hey Sherry! Thanks so much for stopping by! So let’s get to it! For anyone who hasn’t read your Nearspace series, what can you tell us about it?

SD: Well, the series is set about 250 years in the future, and in that future we’ve expanded through space through the use of wormhole travel. So there’s lots of spaceships and aliens and other worlds. 🙂 But it’s also about a woman, Luta, who is in her 80’s, but hasn’t aged physically past about 30, and she doesn’t know why. This non-aging has a profound affect on her relationships, and she’d like to understand it and what it means. She thinks it might have something to do with her mother, who was a genetic researcher, but disappeared when Luta was around 14. There’s also the corporation her mother worked for, who thinks they might have a proprietary interest in whatever’s making Luta the way she is. The series starts in One’s Aspect to the Sun with Luta’s search for answers, and different story threads carry on to other books in the series.

Me: I have loved these books and I plan to get book three soon! One’s Aspect to the Sun recently hit the bestseller list! How exciting is that!?

SD: It was pretty exciting! I have a lot of screenshots saved to my computer as it rose up the charts! And I’ve had some really lovely new reviews of both that book and the series lately. They are always nice to see because it means someone genuinely enjoyed the story.

Me: I would have screenshots too! 🙂 That’s awesome, I am really happy for you! Your third book in the Nearspace series, Beyond the Sentinel Stars, came out late last year. Do you plan to go beyond book 3? Or keep it as a trilogy?

SD: I’m actually working on a fourth book in the series right now. I do try to keep them standalone to some extent–no real cliffhangers–but people who like series will also enjoy a sense of continuity throughout the books, I think. This one takes place about a year after the end of Sentinel Stars.

Me: Oh that is awesome! *writes down another book on the To Read list*  So I am curious, which character has been your favorite to write? Why?

SD: Ooh, that’s a really tough one. If we’re moving outside the Nearspace books, there are two characters who were just super fun to write. One was a talking cat in The Seventh Crow, because she gained the ability to talk by accident and really didn’t want it. She has a very prickly and sarcastic voice and she doesn’t have much patience with humans. The other, coincidentally, is also a talking animal, a goose from The Murder Prophet. He’s fun because he also has a very distinct personality, kind of goofy and easily excitable. It’s interesting to channel him and try to stay true to his character. He plays a large role in the next book in that series, which I’m working on concurrently with a few other projects, so it’s fun to see him grow and change but still keep those essential personality traits.

Me: Those characters were funny! You have a way with talking animals 😉 What does your writing area look like?

SD: I’m very lucky to have my own office at home. It’s not terribly large, but it holds a sitting desk and a treadmill desk, and a lot of books and plants. A lot of artwork on the walls and too much paper in general! Probably also too many bits and bobs and little writing talismans. I guess it reflects my mind–usually too cluttered up with too many things! But it’s my own sanctuary and I really appreciate having it. There’s one extra chair for someone to visit me and also a door I can close. Both very important!

Me: Yes both are important. It’s great when you can have your own little writing sanctuary. You have both novels and short stories published. Which do you prefer to write?

SD: That’s also a tough question. I like the compactness and focus of short stories, and of course the lesser demand on writing time to finish one. But I find it difficult to write very short pieces–my stories only rarely come in under five thousand words or so. Novels allow for much greater exploration of ideas and complexity, and character development over time, so they’re great to stretch those creative muscles. I’m starting to think my very favorite length to write is novelette/novella. You can get a little more complex than in a short story, but still write them fairly quickly. Sadly, there’s a much smaller market in traditional publishing for those lengths.

Me: Seems I have a knack for asking the hard questions. 😉  You write sci-fi and fantasy. Which one is your favorite to write?

SD: Lately I lean more toward sci-fi and urban fantasy than other flavours of fantasy. I’ll write in any of the speculative genres if I get an idea that fits, though. Even horror, occasionally.

Me: If you were going to be stranded on an island, which 3 books would you want to have with you?

SD: Well, these days I’d just have my ereader, loaded up with enough to keep me going for a long time! But to choose three…difficult. And I could give you a different answer tomorrow. But today I’d choose To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, and The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. Hopefully I won’t be stranded for too long…

Me: I know, it isn’t easy for book nerds to choose their three fave books. Mine would also change on a daily basis. I know you are a creative person. What sorts of creative projects do you do when you aren’t writing?

SD: I like fiber arts, like knitting and crochet, as well as machine embroidery and sewing. In the past I’ve made wire and bead jewelry, although I haven’t done much with that lately. I can’t wait for spring to get out in my garden, which might not strike some as creative, but I think it is. And I mess around with various forms of art, on and off the computer. My approach to creative or crafty things is basically that I’ll give anything a try. 🙂

Me: Can you tell us a little something about what are you working on right now?

SD: I’ve just finished up a new novelette in my Olympia Investigations series (urban fantasy) called “Dead Hungry,” which will release on the 15th of April. I’m juggling the fourth Nearspace book, a paranormal romance (a genre I haven’t written before), another urban fantasy novel and a couple of short stories. That sounds like too much, I know. But that seems to be how I work!

Thanks so much again for stopping by for a chat! You are welcome to pop by anytime!

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Sherry D. Ramsey is a speculative fiction writer, editor, publisher, creativity addict and self-confessed internet geek. When she’s not writing, she makes jewelry, gardens, hones her creative procrastination skills on social media, and consumes far more coffee and chocolate than is likely good for her.

Her books include the middle-grade fantasy, The Seventh Crow; three books in the Nearspace series, One’s Aspect to the Sun, Dark Beneath the Moon, and Beyond the Sentinel Stars; the urban fantasy/mystery The Murder Prophet; and two short story collections. With her partners at Third Person Press she has co-edited six anthologies of regional short fiction and a first novel. Every November she disappears into the strange realm of National Novel Writing Month and emerges gasping at the end, clutching something resembling a novel.

A member of the Writer’s Federation of Nova Scotia Writer’s Council, Sherry is also a past Vice-President and Secretary-Treasurer of SF Canada, Canada’s national association for Speculative Fiction Professionals.

You can visit Sherry online at www.sherrydramsey.com to find free stories and more,  connect on Facebook  and keep up with her much more pithy musings and glimpses into her life on Twitter and Instagram @sdramsey.

 

 

 

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Book Review: The Devil’s Heart by Candace Osmond

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Hey everyone!

I am back from an awesome trip away. I came home feeling refreshed and inspired. For the next few weeks I will be writing about Toronto Comic Con, posting author interviews and more! 🙂

So, when I was packing for my trip, I decided to take my e-reader. I didn’t expect I would have a chance to do any reading, but I took it just in case. It was good thing I did, as I missed my second flight to Toronto, and had a three hour wait in Halifax.

So I took out my Kobo and started reading a book I was anxious to start. The Devil’s Heart by Candace Osmond. Book one in the Dark Tides series.

When Dianna Cobham accidentally breaks an enchanted ship-in-a-bottle she’s washed away to 1707 Newfoundland and taken prisoner aboard a pirate ship captained by the infamous Devil Eyed Barrett. Dianna fights to survive by proving herself indispensable to the crew, all the while forging a secret plan to get back home.

But when Dianna learns of the Devil’s vengeful mission to seek and kill her ancestors, her hopes for returning to the future transform into an elaborate plot to save her lineage. Can she charm the Devil’s heart and change his mind before it’s too late? Or will she sacrifice herself to save the man hidden underneath it all?

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The book blurb sounded yummy and right up my alley!

Part of the appeal for me was the setting. I’m an East Coaster and my dad was from Newfoundland. It is a stunning place. I also love the ocean and the sea, and I was looking forward to diving into this book! I wasn’t far into it when I was thinking “Thank God there is going to be another book.” I was loving it and wanted more.

Candace is a fantastic writer and story teller. Her style of writing is beautiful. I eagerly devoured each line. During my stay in Toronto (to see Mr. C)  I finished this book. For the first time I was thankful he likes to read his Facebook feed at night and in the morning. I felt guilt free grabbing my Kobo. 😉

This story had so much to offer. An adventure, mystery, romance, pirates, characters with layers, magic and time travel. What a yummy combination!

I loved Dianna, the heroine in the story. She was believable in her actions with finding herself thrust in the past. She also didn’t let the men of the 1700’s treat her like women were treated at the time. The crew learned to trust and love her. I especially loved Captain Devil Eyed Barrett. There was much more to him than meets the eye. I don’t want to spoil the fun, so I will just say that the more I learned about him, the more I loved him. The supporting characters were also well written and developed. I especially loved Finn, a burly Scotsman.  He was loyal to the Captain, and became like a big brother to Dianna.

The big baddie in the story was a villainess. It was so refreshing to read a novel that had a female playing the bad guy. She was a pirate who was bad for the fun of it. She took what she wanted and didn’t look back.

The story flowed well and as a whole I thought it was excellent. It ended on a cliffhanger, so thankfully book two The Pirate Queen will be out next month! I am hitting Amazon soon to pre-order. I can’t wait to read more of their journey and see where their adventure takes Dianna and the mysterious pirate.

I will be doing an interview with Candace soon, so be sure to keep your eyes out for that! I can’t wait to chat to her as a writer and as a fan of her work! 😀

 

10 Minute Con-Guest Blogger

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I am very pleased to welcome my very first guest blogger, Pam Humphrey! Pam is a part of 10 Minute Novelists, a group on Facebook for writers of all genres. I joined the group late last year, and I am really enjoying it! Pam, welcome to my little corner of the universe, and thank you for being here!

By Pam Humphrey
As writers, some days we struggle to find ten minutes in a day to dedicate to our writing. We scrape together small snippets of time each day, adding words to our work-in-progress. Those words add up.Our small things, brought together, can make something great.
The writers of the Facebook group 10 Minute Novelists believe that this is true. Started by Katharine Grubb, who wrote the book, Write A Novel in Ten Minutes A Day, the Facebook group offers tips,encouragement, and community for time-crunched writers worldwide.

August 9-11, 10 Minute Novelists will be hosting their first ever conference in Cincinnati, Ohio. The theme is fitting: Small Things Brought Together. The conference hopes to bring this online community of hard-working writers together for learning, support, and fun. Through the speakers and learning opportunities, they hope writers can make connections, amplify writing energy, and add tools to their writing toolbelt.
Their speakers include:
James Scott Bell, bestselling author of Plot & Structure, and award-winning thrillers like Final Witness,Romeo’s Rules, Don’t Leave Me, Blind Justice, Deceived, Try Dying, Watch Your Back, and One More Lie,will give the keynote.
Donald Maass, founder of the Donald Maass Literary Agency and author of The Career Novelist (1996),Writing the Breakout Novel (2001), Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook (2004), The Fire in Fiction(2009), The Breakout Novelist (2011) and Writing 21st Century Fiction (2012), will speak on The Fire InFiction. This hands-on presentation will reveal how master contemporary novelists make every book great—and how participants can use the techniques of greatness in their current manuscripts.
Janice Hardy, founder and owner of FICTION UNIVERSITY, is the award-winning author of The Healing Wars trilogy, including The Shifter, Blue Fire, Darkfall from Balzer+Bray/Harper Collins, and of multiple books on writing, including the bestselling,Understanding Show, Don’t Tell (And Really Getting It). She’ll be speaking twice on Saturday: Planning Your Novel in Ten Easy Steps: 10 Surefire Steps to Planning a
Bestseller! and (later that day) on Revision Readiness: How to Revise.

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For more information go to http://www.10MinCon.com The conference price is $329, but will go up to $379 after March 1, 2018. Price does not include travel, airfare, or hotel accommodation. Price does include lunch for Friday, August 10 and Saturday, August 11. Hotel accommodation information is also available at http://www.10MinCon.com.

Make time for your writing this summer. Join us at 10MinCon!

Pamela Humphrey, author of Finding Claire and Finding Kate, has been a member of 10 Minute Novelists since March 2016. She lives in San Antonio, Texas, with her husband, sons, black cats, and a leopard gecko.

Why Every Writer Needs A Writers Group

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No matter if it is an online group or an in-person meeting, being in a writers group can help you out a lot. Joining my group was one of the best things I have ever done. I joined The Story Forge about fifteen years ago.

My group is laid back. We get that life happens and you can’t make it to every meeting or that you can’t get so many chapters written. There are also groups out there with more structure.

A Mixed Bag.  Our group has everyone from those who write for fun and for themselves, as well as published authors who are busy in the writing community. (Writers in schools programs, signings, readings etc…) We bounce around ideas and talk about various topics. We all also have different genres that interest us, from poetry to sci-fi and mainstream. Everyone has something to offer.

Support and Encouragement. I have left more than one meeting feeling inspired and ready to concur my current writing project. And on days I have felt like I want to give up, my friends help me realize that I am being crazy. If one of us is in the middle of something big or crazy, like NaNoWrimo, we encourage each other to keep going. Not every one in our daily life understands what a writer is feeling, but your writing friends always do and are there to back you up or give you a kick in the pants if needed.

You Learn A lot. My writing and editing skills have improved immensely since I started going to The Story Forge.  I also feel more confident when I critique someones work. While I am far from perfect, I enjoy helping others and feel I can help.

Brainstorming. Stuck with a plot? Need advice on a topic? Or maybe you are unsure if killing a character will help or hinder your story? Ask your writing buddies. They will give you feedback that you can mull over and help you figure out where to go next. Sometimes more brains are better than one.

Feedback. Finished a piece and need a second pair of eyes? Odds are someone will offer to read your work for you. The great thing about this is that they may see something you missed. When you read your own work umpteen times, you are going to miss the little things, or a problem you didn’t realized you had.

A Night Out. Writers tend to be solitary. Not always, but I am one of them. When I am not at work or out with friends, my favorite night in is curled up with hubby watching tv or with a book. It’s good to get out and talk with people who share your interests.

 

Where to find a group: Check your local library and ask a librarian. That’s how I learned about The Story Forge. You can also find them online like on Facebook. I belong to online groups as well, but meeting up in person gets you out of the house for an evening out, and you can make real life friends you can meet up with in between times. One of my friends is coming over tomorrow, for a coffee and a mini writing session. When all else fails, start your own! Put up a flyer at a local library or start your own online group.

How I have changed and benefited since joining my group: I have been published four times. (Soon to be a fifth…our group is putting an anthology together and the money made will go to our local library.) I have learned a lot about writing and improved so much. I have made some great friends; one of which was my matron of honor. I have become more confident and learned how to turn my inner critic off.

That’s just my take on it. I love my group so much and think every writer can benefit from having one.

Do you belong to a group? What is your favorite thing about it?

 

A Gift For One of The Writers in My Life

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Last Christmas I was trying to get creative with my gift giving as well as shopping local as much as possible.

I am lucky to have other writers in my life, and two of them are my closest friends. When trying to come up with gift ideas for them, I decided to do something “writerly” for them. Now, I won’t share my original idea as I might do that for Christmas 2018 for both of them. 😉 But I would like to share a part of  what I made for one of them.

My friend Jo-ann from Inspiration Pie and I had been out for coffee one afternoon, and she was talking about feeling stuck, being in a rut and whatnot. Later that day I was in my office looking through craft supplies when an idea struck!

I found a mini Smashbook I had bought ages ago. I was saving it for the perfect project. And I found it! I am a sucker for a homemade gift.

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With the help of stickers, washi tape, printouts I had and *Pinterest, I made her a mini survival kit. 🙂

I tried to include as much as I could. One important thing was inspirational quotes, to help keep her motivated on a bad day. 🙂

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Another important thing I wanted to include was some writing prompts. Some I made up, while others I found online. I did several pages with prompts.

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Of coarse, I also included various writing tips for getting unstuck.

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I searched old hand outs from writers group and online for other tips for world building, characters, etc…

 

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I had a lot of fun making this for her, and she was genuinely thrilled when I gave it to her. I used to make handmade gifts a lot, but got out of the habit. I think I will get back into that old habit, at least a little bit.

What writer themed gifts have you given/gotten?

*Pinterest is my Google. I give full credit to those whose posts I printed.

NaNoWrimo: Day 4

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Last night I went to our first Nano write-in and managed to get my word count of the day plus a little extra. It was a small group with about seven of us but we had a great time and everyone made progress! 🙂

I felt like the pace was a bit slow. I had been planning so many action scenes and events in October, and I kind of forgot the fact I had to introduce my characters. And I wasn’t sure how long it would take for the action to pick up.

Today while at work I had some time to write. Well, it was a slow day so lots of time. I wrote almost 3000 words, bringing my grand total to just over 10,000!!! AND the pace is changing now. I am where I wanted to be. There is upset in my FMC’s life. Things are just going to get even better from here.

How is your progress? No matter if you write a few words or lots of them so far, the main thing is this: you wrote. You created. Keep it going. We got this! 🙂

One Week To Go

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A week from today is Halloween, which means that NaNoWriMo is on the horizon. For all of us taking part, we have one full week left to plot, plan and brainstorm. To get in as many finishing touches as we need to begin what I affectionately call ‘The Month From Hell’. (Or as one of my friends call it, ‘The Month That Kerry Disappears’.)

I am panicking slightly.

Okay, I’m lying. I am panicking A LOT.

Which is normal for this time of year. I feel like I am back in highschool and a big exam is in a few days and I realized that I haven’t really even begun to study.

I’m not totally unprepared. I’m writing a dark fairy tale/fantasy. So I have a map printed off and I have gotten totally addicted to creating a little world. I have a semblance of a plot. I don’t like planning every moment because that takes the fun out of writing the actual story. I have a hero I am in love with and he is so fun to work with. He’s flawed and has an interesting backstory and has these little secrets. And he’s yet to tell them all to me.

My heroine is another story. I like her, I really do. But creating her is a bit more…work then it is to create my hero. And I still need to add touches to my world building and figure out a bit more of my actual story.

The part that worries me is my FMC, because I don’t want her feeling like a cardboard cut out the day I start writing.

How is your novel planning going? Are you all ready to go or are you panicked like I am?