I'd like to introduce you to Joseph Grant. He is a Pushcart Prize nominee. For those non-writer readers, this is something of a big deal.
You can connect with Joseph on Facebook.
Q: What's your favorite writing quote?
A: "If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.” Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell To Arms.
Q: Who is your favorite author?
A: Ernest Hemingway, Egdar Allen Poe, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Q: What's your favorite book that has been turned in to a movie?
A: Not the most favorite but one of my top 5 which I thought was well made: "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow".
As a Pushcart Prize nominee, my short stories have been published in 239 literary reviews such as Byline, New Authors Journal, Underground Voices, Midwest Literary Magazine, Inwood Indiana Literary Review, Hack Writers, Six Sentences, Literary Mary, NexGenPulp, Is This Reality Zine , Darkest Before Dawn, strangeroad.com, FarAway Journal, Full of Crow, Heroin Love Songs, Bewildering Stories, Writing Raw, Unheard Magazine, Absent Willow Literary Review.
I'd like to introduce you to writer Maude Larke, a contest entrant. Here is her site.
Q:If you could date someone famous, who would it be?
Q: You get to be Santa Clause for one day. While you're driving your sleigh around town, you have the chance to run over grandma. Do you do it?
A: If it's the maternal one, yes: the paternal one, no.
Q: Who is your favorite author?
Q: What's your favorite hobby?
Q: What's your favorite movie?
A: 1973 version of the Three Musketeers
Q: Name one pet peeve?
A: Only one? Well, people who don't know how to recognize the space they're occupying
Q: What's your favorite color?
Q: In 200 words or less, tell us about a project you're working on, a story you've written, a book published, or a future project.
A: I'm working a project titled, Allanrgando. Rachel Ellinson – feisty, ambitious, passionate about music to the point of one-sidedness, ready to “show the sexists” – arrives at Northeastern Conservatory to participate in a conducting competition along with her “soccer mom” parents and her mentor, Randall Fielding, as well-known for his conducting as for his arrogance. When she wins, the judges ask Rachel to spend a week at the Conservatory to share her experience with the students, and during this time she gets to know the runner-up better – Madeline, gifted, articulate, a real sharer; they compare their different attitudes to music and to sexism. As Rachel begins her career, she descends into a vicious circle, responding aggressively to the hostility of the musicians which she attributes to this sexist attitude. It is at the point when she is about to scuttle her career out of frustration, irritation, and incipient alcoholism that she thinks of Madeline’s example reassesses her approach.
Q: If nothing sticks to Teflon what makes the Teflon stick to the pan?
A: Double-stick tape.
Here is an e-interview with our contest winner, Cathy Bryant. Her is a link to her website.
Q: Describe the perfect kiss in three words
A:There's a toilet paper ad in the UK that uses the slogan 'soft, strong and very very long'. That's also my perfect kiss.
Q: Is it wrong for a vegetarian to eat animal crackers?
A:I have a meateating friend who believes that it's wrong for a vegetarian to eat - anything. Then the planet would be rid of them very quickly. He's teasing, of course - I hope, as I'm a vegan! What's an animal cracker? We don't have them over here.
Q: What's your favorite writing quote?
A:"A professional writer is just an amateur writer who didn't quit." - Richard Bach. This one can keep me going on tough days. I've seen so many wonderfully-talented people give up.
Q: What's your favorite color?
A: Blue. It's the only good part of getting a bruise.
Q: What's your favorite food?
A: A globe artichoke eaten very slowly, each leaf dipped into melted Vitalite before the flesh is sucked off. Someone once said that eating an artichoke is like getting to know someone really well - I agree with that, but I'd add that it's like getting to know someone sensual and fabulous really well.
Q: In 200 words or less, tell us about a project you're working, a story you've written, a book published, or a future project.
A: I'm currently editing my first attempt at a novel since I was 19. It's tough work. The novel I wrote at 19 was typed out on an ancient typewriter, and over the years the print slowly faded until the entire novel had disappeared. Though from what I remember, that's probably a very good thing (excruciating sex scenes. Really, really bad). This new one is hopefully better, but as I wrote the first draft in a month (Nanowrimo) it's hard in places to work out what on earth I'm on about. Just like real life...
Q: Can you cry underwater?
A: Perhaps fish cry all the time, and that's where oceans came from.
Q: If you could date someone famous, who would it be?
A: I’m not on the market, but if I were, it would be a tossup between actors Steve Buscemi and Peter Dinklage. They always have interesting things to say and have a wealth of fascinating characters inside them....it would make brain picking a breeze!
Q: You are racing the Tortoise and the Hare. Who do you murder? What are the ethical implications choice?
A: Well, I can’t honestly condone murder, but as someone who does reptile rescue as a serious avocation and enjoys hasenpfeffer quite immoderately, the choice is not even close.... As to ethics, I’d be guilty as sin. I admit it. Send me to prison but only after dinner (with a nice carrot salad as a starter).
Q:What's your favorite writing quote?
A:“Mon verre n’est pas grand mais je bois dans mon verre.”The last line of an alexandrine couplet by French Romantic writer Alfred de Musset. In the context of his scorn for plagiarism and self-aggrandizement, it acknowledges the freedom in relying on oneself, not undertaking a commitment one cannot fulfill, and being true and honest in one’s work. I love it and try to live by it.
Q:What's your favorite TV show?
A: Love American Style. Sometimes a bit dated but it still makes me laugh, and I adore the genre of short comic skits.
Q:What's your favorite movie?
A:Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein. Brilliant writing and fabulous character work, inventive in ways still unmatched, in my opinion.
Q:What's your favorite food?
A:Berries and cream. My favorite would be mixed berries with an emphasis on fraises des bois and blackcurrants, with some whortleberries thrown in for good measure. Thick cream lightly whipped with just a touch of sugar, with some ground cloves or nutmeg added. Perfection!
Q:In 200 words or less, tell us about a project you're working, a story you've written, a book published, or a future project.
A:I’m working on the sequel to my e-novella The Younger Games, a satirical take on the YA-dystopian genre epitomized by The Hunger Games. In the first book, world-weary tween heroine Dogny is forced to compete with screaming toddlers (and her boy crush, Petter) in a series of children’s games that are as deadly as they are sublimely ridiculous. It helps to know the original series, but it’s not mandatory; the narrative can stand on its own three feet. The sequel will be available in e-version format late this summer or in early fall by WitsEnd Publications. Its working title? The Younger Games II: Pants On Fire. Watch for it on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. (And if you can’t get enough of The Hunger Games, I recommend the scholarly anthology Of Bread, Blood and The Hunger Games, eds. Pharr and Clark, published in 2012 by MacFarland. Yes, it contains an essay on monstrosity by yours truly....)
Q:If you were a can of soup, what kind of soup would you be and why?
A:Cockaleekie. It would be delightful to make people laugh just by saying my name.
S. D. King holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from UCLA and is an Associate at the UCLA Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. A working character actor, she also does scholarly presentations / publications and writes works of fantasy and horror, with an emphasis on humor.
Recent publications include the YA-dystopian spoof novella The Younger Games and the horror story “Merry Christmas, Saint Lawrence”, both e-published on Amazon and B & N. Her short satirical film Plant Life, (www.bluepippin.plantlife.com) , co-written and produced with her husband, is currently on the festival circuit: Official Selection, Fresno Film Festival 2012; Best Mockumentary, Hyart International Film Festival 2012; Official Selection, MockFest @ Raleigh Studios Hollywood. For over two decades she has translated and performed short Spanish and French comedies from the 15th-17th centuries with her troupe Les enfans sans abri (www.lesenfanssansabri.com). She and her husband do work in reptile and amphibian rescue (www.RARN.org) and are ministered to by five reptilian muses.
Connect with S.D. King here.
First, I've delayed my short story collection release as I search for proofreader. I'll have a post soon about my experience and some thoughts on hiring an editor. Moving on. I'd like to introduce you to Noortje de Graaff, another rising star who entered the Write While you Wait contest.
Noortje lives in the Netherlands with her brother and parents, in a city near Amsterdam. When she was a child she was diagnosed with dyslexia. In case you don't know dyslexia is a disorder that causes the brain to not recognize certain symbols. Many people with dyslexia have above average intelligence but have trouble reading. Noortje was encouraged to read by her father. Due to the enormous amount of books she read and still reads, she doesn't have very much trouble. It also resulted in a love for language (especially English) and books. Because of her parents' love for English books and series, she and her brother have spoken English nearly all their lives.
Connect with Noortje on twitter at @Lordkiwii or on her blog.
Q: Tell us about your writing experience.
I first started writing longer stories when I was nine years old. I still remember showing my father the first few pages of what would become my first manuscript. At first my parents didn’t believe I wrote it and thought I had copied it from one of my Goosebumps books, a series I was obsessed with at that time.
I finished the story within a year and came back to it when I was thirteen to revise it. I rediscovered my passion for words and started another book, this time in English. It evolved into a fantasy series of three books. Currently I’m editing the first book and writing on the ending of the third.
I had sent the manuscript to several publishers and agents and got rejected every time. One agent said that she loved the idea, but didn’t find the story as compelling as she hoped it would be. I stopped sending the story and decided to do some mayor editing.
Shortly after the rejections I spend a year in England to improve my skill of the language. I began to realize how foolish I had been in sending it out WAY too soon. Even now, editing and changing the story for the third time I find some hilarious mistakes.
I’ve written another fantasy story with the help of NaNoWriMo and have been exploring some other genres and trying my hand on some more serious subjects, but have stuck mostly to fantasy.
I hope to be finished with my edits within a few months and will be sending out letters to agents again in the summer.
Q: What authors are you inspired by?
The Dutch author Thea Beckman inspired me because her books made me realize how much freedom you can have with creating your own stories; twisting history or creating events that will change the future.
J.K. Rowling because her books have been my companions throughout my childhood and she made me care for character like I never had before. She made me realize the important of good fleshed out characters.
And J.R.R. Tolkien made me realize how important it is to create the history of the world and to know as much about is as you can to create a wonderful and realistic story.
Q: What was your favorite book as a child?
I never really had one favorite book. But as a series I loved Harry Potter the most.
Q: What is your most played song on your iPod or MP3 player.
I’m not sure because I recently managed to delete all my songs but I think at the moment Adam Lambert – Better Than I Know Myself or Taylor Swift ft. The Civil Wars – Safe and Sound, because I’m obsessed with those songs.
Q: If you were a reality TV show, describe briefly what the show would be about.
Haha that’s a good one. Probably about my studies in Amsterdam, my friends and family but mostly about my writing and trying to publish something. But I doubt it would be very interesting to watch.
Q: We've established or are establishing that I'm obsessed with breakfast food. Are you a pancake or waffles person? Why?
Pancakes. We never really eat many waffles and although I like them, they are too filling especially for breakfast. In the Netherlands it’s unusual to eat pancakes for breakfast (we eat them for dinner) but I’ve tried it when I was in the USA and I really enjoyed them! And it’s about the only food I’m good at making.
Q: How long have you been writing? What things inspire you?
I have always loved to write and had a great imagination as a child, but it was only in the last few years that I was able to hold onto an idea, research it, and watch it come to fruition. I'm inspired by all the wonderful people I have met, all the fabulous books I've read, and particularly stories that transport us to another world.
Q: What's the most played song on your iPod or MP3 player?
Right now??? I listen to music most often when I run, Linkin Park, Muse, Prince, Tom Petty, just a lot of different things.
Q: A little birdie told me you're working on your first novel, care to share a little about this project?
The Energy Crusades takes place after the Great Oil Wars have destroyed the majority of civilization on Earth. An alien race has taken over, creating a government based on the currency- energy. All children are required to join an Energy Crusade by the time they are 18 years old. Kaia has lived her whole life as a dedicated Athlete for the Reformation Republic. Her ability to generate energy for her Grid affords her a life of privilege and celebrity. But when the Resistance attempts to capture her in the ruined city, she begins to understand that she has a bigger part to play in the struggle between the Reformation and the Resistance. She thought she knew who the good guys were, but now she's not so sure. Discovering the truth may be the key to her own identity.
Q: Who are your favorite authors? What was your favorite book as a child?
Wow, I have so many. I absolutely LOVED Mark Twain and Huckleberry Finn is my all time favorite book. I loved the Harry Potter Series, the Percy Jackson Series, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and so much more. I just finished a book called The Orphan Master's Son, by Adam Johnson, which was fantastic. I love George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series too, but darn it, I wish he would finish already!
Q: This next question is going to be a bit personal-- feel free not to answer-- but everybody is dying to know, do you prefer pop-tarts or cereal? Why?
Cereal!! I don't think I've ever eaten a whole pop-tart. We weren't allowed to have them when I was a kid.
Valerie has a background in property management and an education in food science. While studying chemistry, an idea for a story began to take root, and she has recently completed her first novel. It's a science fiction story for young adults called The Energy Crusades.
Because Valerie is both awesome and a great writer she was hired to ghost write a non-fiction project, an endeavor she's still working on. (Hopefully Valerie will come back for a second interview about ghost writing when the project is finished. I know that would interest a lot of writers.) She has a new a blog, www.noblevalerie.com which she says was inspired by my contest. (I'm blushing!) She recently attended the The Big Sur Writing Conference hosted by The Andrea Brown Literary Agency. ( In other words, the creme de la creme.)
She says, "There isn't much there yet, but I plan to work on it."
You can connect with Valerie on twitter @noblevalerie .
Mariel R. is an ESL teacher, horse trainer, writer, editor, sporadic blogger, and lover of beer. She lives in South Korea with two cats, three horses, a German Shepherd and 17 chickens.
Bear (Gom in Korean) then (above) now (below)
Geumbi (Goldy in English) R.I.P February, 23, 2018