Friday, September 21, 2012

Something New! Author Interivew with Gus Gallows

Hello ladies and gents! I have been interested in doing author interviews for a while now and thought that the best approach, to fit with the theme of the blog, would be to ask the authors questions regarding a specific aspect of writing that they consider themselves to be experts on. Today we get to have our first author interview with Gus Gallows, a fantasy/ sci-fi author. Gus wrote The Price of Honor, Book 1 of the Lore of Algoron and The Price of Dignity, Book 2 of the Lore of Algoron series. 

Gus has an interesting approach to creating his stories. (Remember when we talked about planning out your book, and finding what works best for you? Here is a cool thing to try if story boards, lists, or outlines aren’t your thing!)

 He is a very organic writer and develops his stories in a role-playing environment. So here is the interview!

Heidi: Gus, you say that you develop your stories using a “play to write” technique. Can you explain that a bit to everyone?

Gus: Certainly. Most of my stories have come from a game my brother runs. It is a MUD (Multi-User Domain) that was developed starting over 20 years ago. In this text based role playing game, I got to develop cities, and kingdoms, and most importantly, characters and role play. I would develop the beginning of a storyline to get the role play flowing and then simply let it flow organically. Each player played their part to grow the story. I became so engrossed in these story lines that I and all who participated had an amazing time while at the same time, inadvertently, I had captured enough material for a complete series of novels. 
     All that was left was to organize the material, make a few creative changes and embellishments, fill in some gaps, and BLAM, a novel emerged. Early Dungeons and Dragon novels were written using the same concept. They would run a campaign and at the end, loved the storyline so much that they were able to embellish it where needed and come out with some fantastic novels.

Heidi: What games do you typically like to play to get you in the right mood?

Gus: Pretty much any role playing game. Anything from my brother’s mud, The Dark And Shattered Lands, to World of Warcraft. Sometimes you can find inspiration in unlikely places, like a board game. So many games are out now that are story based that it is not that big of a stretch to lay the foundations for a novel.

Heidi: Do you think this technique only works for authors of fantasy or sci-fi as those are typically the genres where you find role playing games?

Gus: Actually no. It is a pretty common misconception that RPGs are limited to Fantasy/Sci-Fi. There are excellent mystery RPGs like the Call of Cthulu, or even something as open ended as the Sims. You are only limited by your imagination.

Heidi: So, how do you manage the time? Is it kind of like you play for an hour, then write about everything you just played?

Gus: My first book was written on a storyline I had developed in game over 4 year prior. The story had been nagging at me and I had written a few short stories on it to try to let the story out, but what really put it to print was when I participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). NaNoWriMo is an annual challenge during the month of November where you have 30 days to write 50,000 or more words. I decided to write mine on the story line I developed while playing a disgraced Minotaur who was trying to reclaim his honor. 
     It had been 4 year since I had played the character, so I had to add a lot to it and omit a lot, but at some point, the story took over and pretty much wrote itself as the memory of the experience came pouring back to me. You don’t have to play then write, play then write, play then write. For me, it works best if you play to completion, or at least to a reasonable part 1 conclusion and then take time to absorb everything that you experienced, maybe take time to interview the participants and then put it to paper. Most prefer to write while it is fresh in their memory’s, I prefer to wait, let the story mellow and blend a little bit. If I try to go right from the experience to the writing, I lose some of the cool things that happen when you let your memory fill in the blanks with things that weren’t necessarily there. :)

 Heidi: How do you think this style has helped to improve your writing?

Gus: I think that it has freed my mind from what would normally develop into a writer’s block. It’s like a collaborative effort. When many are involved, the human dynamic can take the story into direction you would never have considered. On a side note, you can’t always follow the developed storyline 100%. There are time when your author side has to change things to keep it flowing in the right directions. This is also largely due to the human dynamic. You just have to know when to step in and change direction of the stream or when to just let it flow freely on to the river.

Heidi: Do you think there are any drawbacks to this style of writing?

Gus: I don’t think it is for everyone. I think you have to be of a certain mindset to write this way. There are many OCD types that would have a stroke if they came in while I was writing. There is no rhyme or reason behind it, very little organization, and a sense of chaos that could overwhelm most traditional writers. You do have to be organized to the point where you keep track of your characters and descriptions and city names, etc, so that they do not inadvertently change throughout the story without a reason. But most of it is organic. You just let it happen.

Heidi: What advice would you give to a budding author who would like to try this technique?

Gus: Pay attention. Pick good role play partners to participate in the game so your story does not wind up on the side of ridiculous. Most important though is to have fun. If you’re not having fun and if the game becomes too much like work, it will not be as memorable as it needs to be for you to create from it days, months, or years later.

Heidi: Do you have any projects in the works that you’d like to tell us about?

Gus:  I am starting my third book, The Price of Love, book 3 of the Lore of Algoron. I can’t wait to write this one. It was my favorite storyline in the game and it is even told to this day in character by the many bards still roaming the text based world of Algoron. It is the tale of a Dragon who inadvertently inherits the foster care of a toddler elven girl. It is a tragic story that I can’t wait to put to print. Right now, it’s just a matter of finding time to do it. My work and my life has me way busy, but I will do it soon enough.

Also you can find my current books in print on Amazon worldwide or on my CreateSpace stores and they can be bought for the Kindle. The links are as follows:

Paperback on CreateSpace


Paperback on

The books also have their own FaceBook pages at:

I also try to keep everyone up to date on my latest developments which can be found on one of my blogs at

Heidi: Well, thank you so much for your time today! This is such an interesting and exciting method to creating books and I am thrilled to find someone who has experience and can give us some of the ins and outs!

Gus: Thank you, Heidi, it was a sincere pleasure.

Readers, I hope you found it as exciting as I did! Look forward to a guest book review on Booksfor Linda in the near future! Better yet, go try them out yourself!! Any questions or comments for me or for Gus? Ask away in the comments below.

Until next time,

Keep writing!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Vote for The Hunters Book Cover Art!

Hello all my lovelies! Final edits are well underway for The Hunters and I have three cover options. As a reminder, here is the back cover description:

The Hunters
What would you do if you found your town had been infested with vampires? For Chris and his brother Lucas, the answer was simple enough: you fight back. Gathering a small band of other people in their town who have been affected by the vampires, they begin a resistance. But after a year of fighting, they have only managed to kill a handful, while the vampire leader has turned five times that many.

Then two enigmatic strangers appear, changing the groups lives even further.

Fury and Havoc. They call themselves hunters, and want no part in this little band of heroes. Ordering them to lay low, the duo vow to rid their town of vampires. When Fury is injured, Chris aides these strangers, entwining his future with theirs.

Now that the vampires know the hunters are here, and that Chris and his friends have helped them, the group is in more danger than ever before. Lucas is torn between protecting his new family from the vampires, and protecting them from these seemingly inhuman beings who say they are there to help.

After all, what beings could be so powerful as to scare a vampire?

And here are the three covers.

Cover 1

Cover 2 

Cover 3

So which one do you like best? Why? Let us know in the comments below

Until next time,

Keep Writing

Friday, September 7, 2012


or "How Being an Author is Like Being Unemployed, and What You Can do to Deal with the Stress"

That was the original title for this blog post, but that is a bit wordy, isn't it? This blog post is inspired by the fact that my business account is dwindling, delays on Hunters publishing are stressing me out, my husband is under-employed and for all intents and purposes, I am technically unemployed. Given today's market climate, even the non-writers out there can understand that stress. 

What matters is what can I (or if this relates to you, what YOU) can do about it?

Most writers have a full-time job while they struggle at the beginning to "make it". The reality is that money is a necessity in this world we live in. We need food, clothes, a roof over our head. Many writers work a full-time job and then put in 20 hours a week to their craft. Just like any good entrepreneur we are putting in long hours with no immediate benefit.

Yet, with the economy as it is, many who always wanted to be writers have turned full-time to this pursuit because we thought it would be less depressing than the constant rejection of all those applications. In some ways it is. We are actively pursuing something we love. We are constantly learning. We are developing skills. We aren't just pushing applications around the internet hoping something will give.

BUT (I hate that word!) in a lot of ways being a writer is like being unemployed. There is no one there to make you put in job applications, and there is no one there to make you sit down and write. You can send out application after application and never hear back why you were not accepted for the jobs. Writers live on rejection letters that are as pro-forma as the rejection notices the unemployed receive. Those who have been unemployed for months get desperate and apply for any job, not just ones they are qualified for. Authors who keep getting rejected may settle for lower quality agents/ publishers, or worse pay what little money they have to a vanity press in hopes of providing the basic needs for their loved ones and themselves.

Some who have been unemployed may track back to that good old American trait of ingenuity and create a start-up business. Everything from handyman services, to tutoring. It is no different with writers, we turn to self-publishing. In modern America it has never been easier to self-publish. And as any other entrepreneur, when writers turn to self-publishing they find themselves doing more than they ever expected. It is overwhelming.

As bills come due, and money isn't coming in, the entrepreneur may find themselves tempted to cut corners. Writers have to publish to make money. It is tempting to put out as much work as you can, without taking the time to make sure it is quality work, in hopes of making money now. I know. I am feeling that pressure intensely.

But like any good business person, you must remember that quality is more important than quantity. Take on those extra hats. Sure, if you can send your book out to a professional editor, you should. But when you only have $60 in your business account, find a creative way to get it edited. Writer's groups help a lot. Friends and family will often be happy to do so. English teachers are great. Just know that it will take time. Send it to more than one person. I have yet to have a single person who offered to edit get all the way through the book. Learn from what they send you and fix the rest yourself.

Book covers are hugely important. Many people stop to look at your book solely on the look of your cover (especially if you are new in the business and don't have a name out there). Putting the bare minimum cover together is not an option. Talk to friends and family who are artistically inclined. Check out DeviantArt, and ask people whose artwork you like if they would be willing to do it for a % of sales. If all else fails, do it yourself. It takes time. It is hard, but make sure you make the best cover you can. Don't slap something together and say "Meh, good enough."

Marketing, especially on little or no budget, is tough. It takes a lot of time and energy. But without marketing, you are just another author out there with no audience. Marketing is much like pushing a really big boulder up a hill. You will backslide, it will get heavier and harder the closer to the top that you get. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, you will be running to keep up!

Most importantly, keep at it. Step-by-step, you will be closer today than you were yesterday. Eventually you will get there. Take your time and produce quality work. You will build a following. You will make something that you can be proud of. You will get the work out there. Then one day, if you work really hard and make sure that the product is the best that you can make it; perhaps you too can become the next John Locke, Amanda Hocking, and J.A. Konrath!

As always until next time,

Keep Writing!