Friday, October 2, 2015

Guest Blog Questions and Answers - Lynn Townsend

Every now and then you meet someone online that has so much in common with you it's crazy. One of those persons for me is Lynn Townsend, we have so much alike and yet we are very different people.

I'm very happy she agreed to answer a few questions for me and so without further ado here is Lynn!

What was it that got you into writing?

I've been a reader as long as I can remember, but it never occurred to me that writing was a thing I could do as a profession until I was in 5th grade. We did a book project in 5th grade where we wrote a short story, edited it, made a blank book and then copied the story into the blank. Most of the kids in my class hated that project; I remember particularly listening to my best friend in class, Layla, complain for the entire two weeks of the project. I... loved it.

Yes, I still have my book... no, I won't let you read it. But it was fully illustrated with my uber bad drawings and had a blue cover. I wrote short stories and whatnot after that -- had a few of them "published" by the school's literary magazine when I was in high school. 

Unfortunately, for a long time that's where my interests stopped. I wrote, shared with my friends sometimes, but that was all. I rarely submitted anything until I was in my late 30's.

What was your first piece of published work?

I started in erotica with Cleis publishing. Through some social contacts at my local coffee shop, I met Kristina Wright and helped her set up a book signing at the coffee shop. A few months after that, she drew my attention to her call for submissions, knowing that I was into Steampunk. I wrote a short story, Golden Moment, for that call and sent it in. I was so stunned when I got the acceptance that I actually had to have my husband come over and read it out loud to me so that I could be sure I saw what I thought I saw. 

That was May of 2009. Since then, I've published over 30 pieces, including seven novels, with contracts for two more.

Has the genre you write in had an impact on your everyday life and relationships?

No one important has completely disowned me; I write both erotica and LGBT romance/erotic romance, and I refuse to shut up about it. I'm not ashamed of what I do, and this has made me slightly less popular with some of my more conservative relations. I can't say that's a bad thing, the ones that are highly offended, I didn't particularly like to begin with, so there's that. I've had one super-big fight with a person I gamed with (MMO type gaming, so no one I know in meat space) and one meat-space friend who doesn't talk to me anymore.

That being said, I'm highly political, an LGBT activist, a Black Lives Matter supporter, and a feminist. There are people who disown me for who I am, not just what I write. I'm kinda controversial anyway, before you add my job into the mix. 

On the other hand, one of my daughter's teachers reads my work and loves it, so you never know where you're going to find supporters.

What was the first thing you did this morning?

Well, school starts up for us next week (yeah, I know, we start REALLY late around here) and so we're still in practice mode. My daughter (and husband) are natural night owls, so during the summer, she gets herself on this 2am - sometime after lunch sleep schedule, and we've been having to roll back through the last few weeks. So today, I got up at the "normal" time, woke her up, and we went through our "pretend we're going to school" routine. I think she fell asleep in the recliner, so I'm not sure this is helping any...

If you become stranded which one of your characters would you want to be stranded with and where would you be stranded?

This may sound odd, but I think I'd rather be stranded without a character. The main male character from my fantasy novel-set (two books, A Marked Man and A Wanted Woman) is Bastian Hooke. I first wrote a short story about him... maybe back in the 8th grade? Quite a long time ago, at any rate. He moved into my head back then and he's never moved out. Seriously, the guy camps out in my brain and comments on my life. Given that Bastian is a thief and an assassin, he's not exactly the safest, sanest person to be giving me advice. I am 43 years old now, which means I've been living with an assassin for about 30 years.

I'd really like him to shut up. Just for a while. That'd be great!
What are you working on now?


I just wrote The End on book three of my urban paranormal romance series, Sins of Angels, yesterday. (publication date, March, 2016)

Technically, that's not true, but I'm always a little gleeful when I can put a project to bed. SoA will be in sleep mode until the end of the month. In October, I'll take 2 weeks to run through my draft and make any changes that I can see, then ship it off to my beta readers... 

Book three in my LGBT collection comes out Sept 2, so I've been working on blog tours and some marketing for that...

In the meanwhile, I'm working on editing a collection of short stories about weird shape shifters for a charity anthology that I'm showrunning this fall. (Coming Together: Strange Shifters, probably out Oct 30th). I just sent out acceptances yesterday. I also just got the list of anthologies that Torquere Press is hosting for next year; so I'm eyeballing those and trying to decide which ones I want to do.

I'll be starting work in October on my next LGBT contemporary novels; All That Jazz...

And I have several other projects that are in various states of pre-planning, including a series of young adult space opera stories, a steampunk romance, and a contemporary western LGBT novel.

But Today, TODAY I have the day off!

What got you into writing your current genre?

My best friend, Elizabeth L. Brooks, is also a writer and editor. About 10-12 years ago or so, we used to write stories for each other's entertainment. We... sort of accidentally wrote 2 and a half novels with an m/m/f poly relationship at the core -- they are terrible and we both wish that we had time to re-write them because the story is quite good, but we really had no idea what we were doing at the time. Neither of us had any idea that this sort of work had a market, at the time... 

And then Liz sort of stumbled onto Torquere's stuff. So, that happened, and now we're both rather joyously writing stories about hot guys boinking. And getting paid to do it.

Coffee, Tea or Hot Chocolate?

Coffee. Coooooooooooffffffeeeeeeee. 

I hate tea. Tea tastes like weed water.

What's the most valuable piece of advice you've been given about writing?

You can't edit the words that aren't written.

I used to have the worst time making progress; I'd write and rewrite the same three pages over and over again, striving for perfection.

These days, I've been known to put a note in my novel, midway through -- PLOT CHANGE, go back to chap 1, 3, 7, 8, and 9, and fix this... because truthfully, editing is also hard work, but it's not as hard as filling in that blank space to start with. You can always, always fix things. 

What's the worst?

Write what you know.

It's so limiting. What most of us "know" is television shows and hanging out with our friends at the Applebee's, and stupid cubical hive jobs. Do your research, talk with experts in the field (you'd be surprised how many people will talk to you if they know you're a writer and you're doing research. I've talked to an officer working for Scotland Yard, three scientists, a doctor, several nurses, a few people who lived in Bangkok, a mixed martial arts instructor, an auto-mechanic, a farmer, and the dean of a college -- I actually had to sign a non-disclosure agreement with that source, that while I could use the information provided, I am not allowed to disclose the university where that person works.) and add in little personal details. 

I have a little note-taking program on my phone, and I have a disconcerting tendency to start scribbling notes whenever someone says something interesting. Sometimes it's things people say that I want to transcribe. "Ah, watered down Jack and Coke... tastes like college." or sometimes it's just stuff they know... I wrote down almost three pages when my cousin was telling me about Bogota and how the triangle of official government, drug cartels, and rebel guerrilla forces interact. (He was down there a few years ago, adopting some children) I don't know if I'll ever have a use for the information, but I've got it, just in case. 

Where can readers find you and your books?


Lynn Townsend is a geek, a dreamer and an inveterate punster. When not reading, writing, or editing, she can usually be found drinking coffee or killing video game villains. Lynn's interests include geek comedy music, romance novels, octopuses, and movies with more FX than plot.

Social Media Links

Twitter: @tisfan

One of the many things we have in common is our love of the Coming Together series of books. We have both edited and sent out into the world books in that series. Every story in a Coming Together anthology has been given for free by the authors so its all about authors coming together to do good!

Lynn's most recent Coming Together is Coming Together: Among the Stars an anthology to support the International Still’s Disease Foundation.

Thanks so much to Lynn for dropping by! Don't forget if you would like to be interviewed and feel up to answering a few questions for my blog shout out!


Friday, September 25, 2015

Guest Blog Questions and Answers - Zak Jane Keir

This week for Friday's Friends I am happy to introduce someone who stars in Valves & Vixens. Zak Jane Keir has written a lot of varied pieces and has done a lot of varied things too - so without further ado here's Zak.

What was it that got you into writing?
I was one of those kids who was always either reading or scribbling stories. I wrote my first 'novel' when I was in my teens - it was unpublishable rubbish, of course (a lot of mary-sue mayhem involving a girl rock star who gets kidnapped and loses her memory, and her boyfriend, who thinks she's dead, goes nuts and embarks on a revenge mission...)

What was your first piece of published work?
An interview with Screaming Lord Sutch (he was a former rock star who got into politics. Nice chap.) I talked my way into a job (unpaid, or so it turned out) on a local music fanzine when I was 18 and that was the first assignment they gave me.

Has the genre you write in had an impact on your everyday life and relationships?
I worked for a publisher of 'top shelf' magazines for many years, and it did lead to some interesting conversations (and some very careful ones with new acquaintances when we got to 'And what do you do for a living). The one good thing I would say about EL James is that it's made people more open about discussing erotic fiction and less likely to pass out if they realise that they are in the company of an actual erotic writer. It does even seem to have gone some way to stopping people asking you if you've done all those naughty things yourself...

What was the first thing you did this morning?
Went to the loo. Doesn't everyone?

What are you working on now?
Stories for a Kinky Brits anthology, polishing up some very old short stories I wrote for magazines and putting them together into an anthology of my own, and fiddling around with the concept of a steampunk erotic novel featuring some of the characters from the story I had in Valves and Vixens 1.

What's the most valuable piece of advice you've been given about writing?
Have something to say, a point to make. Even when you're writing something that's a bit of fun, it needs a bit of a spark to it.

What's the worst?
It's not so much specific advice but I do read some of the writers' magazines, and when I look at how bloody awful most of their competition winners' work is, it makes me think their advice on writing probably isn't up to much.

Where can readers find you and your books?

(and Valves and Vixens too)

Thanks so much to Zak for popping along to answer my questions! Don't forget if you would like to be interview please do get in touch.