Saturday Showcase: A Visit with David Bridger

I’m tickled to be able to bring you a talented and interesting author today.  Author and retired Naval Officer David Bridger joins me from across the Atlantic to talk about writing, life, and his foray into the Young Adult space with his new book, A Flight of Thieves, Book 1 of the Skyships series.

ACN: I heard a broadcast on NPR (National Public Radio) recently, which is the public radio station here in the states. They interviewed the filmmaker of Twelve Years a Slave, as well as various actors and others in the film industry who have worked on similar projects recently. One of the comments was that “the money’s in the States, so if you want to make an expensive movie, you’ll eventually have to work there.” It got me thinking of the “four hundred pound gorilla,” if you will, relative to my friends who are authors in other countries and who write for audiences that aren’t exclusively American. How does “Americanization” affect your writing?

DB: It doesn’t affect my writing at all, but depending on the publisher it can affect the final product. I heard recently that some young Americans posted book reviews complaining about lots of spelling mistakes, when actually those books had been written and published with correct British spelling. I don’t concern myself with that sort of thing, but I suppose publishers have to decide whether or not they’ll take any notice of it.

So an example of a way in which Americanisation might affect me would be if a novel was set in contemporary Britain and populated with British characters, but my publisher’s house rules were to always use US spellings. That would feel odd, and would undoubtedly be scorned by my British readers. I’d just have to hope they would understand the decision wasn’t mine and would still be able to enjoy the book.

ACN: Writing in the Young Adult category is a departure for you. What made you take the plunge?

DB: I want to recapture the thrill of adventure and exploration, and to reconnect with the honesty and wisdom that is closest to the surface for many of us in our teens. I like and respect that in my readers.

ACN: Why steampunk?

DB: Airships, pirates, intelligent robots, adventure, friendship and loyalty, enemies and betrayal, an untamed world and the freedom to explore it, and, and, and breathe… ☺

ACN: How much period research went into writing A FLIGHT OF THIEVES?

DB: Apart from frontier-type medicine, very little. The steampunk elements are practical and arise from my future world’s ecological situation, rather than from social pressures or mores. My research was mostly about geography and steam engines.

ACN: What surprised you about writing A FLIGHT OF THIEVES?

DB: How the world grew. The story idea I started with was big on human action and impact, but it was contained within the quite small geographical area that is the Irish Sea and the coastal places around it. The world outside the immediate story grew fast while I was writing. That wasn’t a chore or a pressure. It was a delight, like hiking through unexplored lands discovering secret valleys and mountain ranges and isolated communities. So at the same time as I was writing A Flight of Thieves I found myself planning the rest of the Sky Ships series, and seeding into this first story elements that will take us all over the world later.

ACN: Where do you do your writing?

DB: In my study at the back of our house, which is cut into a hillside. (Photo below.) It’s warm and comfortable, with no distractions. Perfect.

ACN: What’s the worst piece of writing advice you ever got?

DB: “Show, don’t tell.”

Okay, we all know it’s right, in moderation. The problem with these nuggets of wisdom is that some people fashion them into hatchets and use them to chop hell out of other people’s good writing. It’s mindless fundamentalism, and you see it a lot in critting circles on certain writing sites. That’s the sort of place you’ll see me walking out of quicker than I walked in.

All I can say is, there are times when a story needs to move on, so its write just needs to tell. Not everything has to be shown. Imagine a novel in which every single thing was shown. Nothing would ever happen. And if it did, it would take so long we wouldn’t care anymore. There’s a time and place for everything, and my place is anywhere I can’t hear anyone standing on a soapbox shouting, “Show, don’t tell!” at people.

ACN: What’s it like being in the Royal Navy? Would you ever go back?

DB: I had a hell of a time. Some great highs, some terrible lows, and a lot of grinding-it-out sheer bloody hard work. As time went on I found myself attracted to working in small, specialised units. So I wouldn’t say my experience was typical, but I expect many people would say the same of theirs. It was just that I avoided big formal military outfits whenever I could.

I wouldn’t go back. For one thing, in the end it broke my body quite badly so I couldn’t do it now. But more importantly, I’d find it impossible nowadays to accept military stupidity, and that wasn’t easy even back then.

ACN: How did your experience in the Navy inform A FLIGHT OF THIEVES?

DB: Two ways: in the command structures and shipboard routines that I adopted and adapted; and in my old tendency to want to go off and work outside the big formal stuff.

ACN: If you could Captain a dirigible, what kind of craft (military, merchant marine, pirate) would it be and where would you ply your trade?

DB: I’d be a smuggler! Oh, yes! There are lots of coves and crannies along the coast where I live.

ACN: What’s it like living in England’s West Country?

DB: It’s the nearest thing to heaven on Earth that I’ve ever found. Green wooded hills, clean air, clean rainfall into our rivers and clean seas surrounding us. It’s beautiful and I love it.

ACN: You’ve lived a life full of adventure – Royal Navy, science-fiction and fantasy author, now YA author. What other careers interest you, if you retired from writing tomorrow?

DB: I’m an amateur archaeologist and years ago flirted with the idea of taking it up professionally, but it was a popular career choice and nowadays the industry is crammed full of people so I think I was right not to pursue it. Maybe an academic historian. In another life, maybe a Viking blacksmith. The truth is, I love writing and no other career would tempt me away from it.

ACN: If the leaders of the G20 gave you fifteen minutes to speak to them, what would you say?

DB: “You are a disgrace. You have the resources to end poverty, thirst and starvation in the world right now. Do it. Do it quickly before your souls wither any further into shameful corruption.”

I really appreciate David taking the time to put his thoughts to keyboard for us and look forward to the reading his book.  Here’s a teaser to whet your appetite:

In a world of isolated island communities, a thousand years after Earth’s apocalyptic flood, Princess Victoria and her robot mentor, King Henry, recruit a ragtag band of airship adventurers to help her fight the military traitors who intend to murder her family and enslave the kingdom.

Victoria has spent all of her sixteen years in a secluded palace on Ben Nevis Island under the protection of King Henry, one of the three original robots programmed by the ancestors to rule the flooded planet Earth. She’s safe there, but her family and their intelligent clockwork servants treat her like the tomboy child she used to be—and sometimes still is. She yearns to fly away in one of the great iron airships to see the world.

It seems too good to be true when Henry asks Victoria to board the Royal Airship Elizabeth, with him disguised as her robot footman, and fly over the sea to meet the Lord of Ireland. Victoria jumps at the chance for an adventure and they take to the skies together. But the world is a dangerous place. Air pirates prowl trade routes, and slaver fleets cross the oceans to raid unprotected islands. The Royal Navy is building up to a war, and Henry’s old friend, the Lord of Ireland, is accused of giving safe harbor to pirates. Victoria and Henry must overcome them all in order to make their way home to a kingdom that might not still be standing.

Available from:  Taliesin Publishing | Barnes and Noble | Amazon | Amazon UK

David Bridger settled with his family and their two monstrous dogs in England’s West Country after twenty years of ocean-based mischief, during which he worked as a lifeguard, a sailor, an intelligence gatherer and an investigator in the Royal Navy. He writes science fiction and fantasy for teens.

One, Two, Three, FOUR!

I moved recently. If you’ve read my posts recently, this will not be news.  If you’re new here, welcome!  ~waves~  I’ve moved recently.

Yeah, I said that already.  Stress makes me repeat myself.

I moved… Just kidding.  But as part of that move, I got all out of whack with myself and my promotional calendar.  I’m in the process of climbing back on that horse and, apropos of that, have been wandering around the interwebs, looking for places to share the luv.

Well, today I hit the jackpot and have not one, not two, not three, but FOUR posts to share with you!  (I know I sound like a late-night television ad – “Don’t wait, call now and get TWO widgets for the price of one.”)  So, in an effort to spare you my move-inspired sense of humor, I shall get to the links:

First up, my friend and mentor Tina Holland invited me to be on her blog and I jumped on that one with all four feet!  Hell, I even borrowed feet to jump on it with.  With which to jump on it…  Whatever, I’m there.  I’m so excited!  She wanted to know more about what it’s like to write with a partner.  Come on by!  The Clog Blog

Next up, we have my regular monthly post for Beyond the Veil.  I have to laugh – I started to write it and realized I’d started writing to next month’s theme.  Oops.  I went with it, though, and give you ‘Dem Bones, ‘Dem Bones…

As rarely happens, my regular post for Torquere Press’s LiveJournal coincided with my Beyond the Veil post, which is why I have FOUR offerings today instead of one.  Lucky you!

My first journal post is about searching for the magic formula that makes a short story something special.  (Wow!  Look at that accidental alliteration.)  Seeking Short!

My second journal post is about music, writing, and inspiration.  I share some of my favorite musicians that inspired the Persis Chronicles.  The Music of Persis.  Check it out!

Thank you for visiting!

Contests, and How They Help Your Writing – A Conversation with Kimberley Troutte

My friend Kimberley Troutte is up for several awards – congratulations, Kimberley!  I got to thinking, why would an author want to work on contests?  Does it help their writing process?  I mean, obviously it’s awesome to get the recognition, but how does it fit into all the other stuff that helps us write and publish and do all the stuff we’re supposed to do?

Then it hit me – ask someone who’s done some contests!  Derp!

And she didn’t even laugh when I asked to interview her.  Real peach, this one is.  Just don’t tell her I said that, or I might blush.

Come on over to the Writer’s Retreat with me and join me as I talk to Kimberley about all the stuff you’ve ever wanted to know about contests, but were afraid to ask.

Tue Cent Twosday – A Guest Post by Moira Keith

I was asked to share my tue cents and I’m not sure that my darling host realized what she was opening her blog up to. Then I had to come up with something brilliant to share tue cents about. Did I have enough of an opinion to offer up on any one given subject? Of course! I’ve got many passions and it was difficult to decide which would be selected and put on a pedestal today. I managed though, after much deliberation, and will blog about tue of my favorite things—drawing and writing.

My mother and sister are quite fond of saying I took all the creativity in this branch of the family. When I was younger, I would sketch for hours. In my senior year of high school I took art for three hours. That was my escape. My chance to let my pencil move across the page and erase the small aggravations of the day. While I don’t draw as often as I did in the past, having allowed writing to take its place, it is a hobby I find myself giving to some of my characters. For example, in my new book Blood and Moonlight my heroine Kiara tends to pick up a pad and pencil, it helps her think, ease stress, or even at times, helps her remain connected to parts of her life that she is no longer a part of.

I think working in some of your own passions into your writing and through your characters really helps bring them to life, make them easier to connect with. We all have things that we are passionate about. Perhaps your passion is cooking, or singing, or maybe you are a sports fanatic. My question to all you fantastic readers and writers out there is this:

To my fellow writers out there – what passions have you incorporated into your stories?

For all the lovely readers out there – are there particular passions that endear a character to you?

One lucky commenter will receive an e-book copy of my new release Blood and Moonlight!

Saturday Showcase – Jody Wallace!

I’m so pleased to be able to bring you of my fellow Beyond the Veil authors, Jody Wallace.  A fellow cat-lover, Jody is creative, modest, and talented.  Please help me make her feel welcome at Knoontime Knitting.

KK: Tell me a little more about amigurumi. What is it? What do you like to make?

JW: Amigurumi is, according to Wiki, “the Japanese art of knitting or crocheting small stuffed animals and anthropomorphic creatures.” (From Wikipedia.)  There’s more to it than that, but that’s the basic definition. I like to make scary little critters, people (I once made the characters of one of my romance novels) and other funky animals. I also like to make gifts for friends (zombie wedding cake topper!), family and industry professionals who visit our local RWA chapter. Note: I have my chapter’s approval to do this. I don’t just push the amigurumi on the editors and agents in a creepy fashion :).

KK: When did you learn to do it? Did you crochet for a while before you learned the art?

JW: My grandmother taught me some basic crocheting when I was a kid. I made a scarf. And half of a poncho. But the fact is, I’m lazy and a mini-project takes so much less time than a scarf or an afghan or a sweater. The first amigurumi I ever made was a tiny, evil gnome, also a character in one of my romance novels. I like to crochet hats, too, but today I’m talking amigurumi.

KK: Have you ever given a craft to a character? How did you go about it? What research did it require?

JW: Nothing extensive enough that required research, no. Since the plots of my books often involve the hero, heroine and other characters being jerked out of their ordinary lives to save the world and whatnot, the characters never have much time for knitting or woodworking.

KK: What effect does your writing have on your crafting and vice-versa? Does one fall off when the other is stronger, or do they synergize?

JW: I write more than I crochet, but sometimes I crochet writing-related items. In addition to the instances I mentioned above, I also make amigurumi for reader giveaways. Right now I’m working on a wee zombie horde that will function as basket toppers for a promo group organized by author TJ Michaels. The baskets will be given away at the Authors After Dark conference.

KK: What do you dream of making when you have the time or skills?

JW: Videos and comic strips featuring the amigurumi I created for my novel One Thousand Kisses. Alas, my time management skills, not to mention my graphics editing and videography skills, have not yet allowed me to complete this lofty goal.

KK: Where do you get ideas for your crafts?

JW: The garbage, usually. I also love the book Creepy Cute Crochet by Christen Haden.

Gallery

Amigurumeme

Beachgnome

Crochetchaun

Devohat
(Note from Noony – I TOTALLY want one of these hats.  Adorable!!)

PVSN21

Zombies
(Awesome!)

Biography

Jody Wallace grew up in the South in a very rural area. She went to school a long time and ended up with a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing. Her resume includes college English instructor, technical documents editor, market analyst, web designer, and general all around pain in the butt. She is a terrible packrat and likes to amass vintage clothing, books, Asian-inspired kitchenware, gnomes, and other items that threaten to force her family out of the house. She also likes cats. A lot.

Saturday Showcase – A Conversation with ID Locke

I recently had the opportunity to hear from ID Locke about her process of art and writing and how they go together.  I’m excited to share her interview with you!

KK: Tell me a little more about what crafts you do. What do you like to make?

IDL: Generally, I do a lot of knitting and hand sewing. Knitting is whatever strikes my fancy at the moment or something that I “need” to do. Currently, my “need” project is a baby blanket for my soon-to-arrive grandbaby #2. I have another project that I’ve only gotten as far as casting on the required stitches before I realized that I had a month to knit said baby blanket.

I have a collection of BJD’s (ball-jointed dolls) that are physical representations of the characters in several of my stories. I mostly sew clothes for them, but also knit sweaters and travel blankets to provide additional protection when I take them out somewhere. Doll sweaters are fairly quick to knit even if you need to use baby/fingerling yarn and 2.5mm needles.

I typically knit and sew while watching TV as I can’t just sit there and do nothing. Long car rides are a challenge as I’ve found I can’t knit while in a car because it makes me feel queasy.

One of my favourite things to do is pick up random balls of yarn at second-hand shops and see what I can make with them. I like the challenge of taking a ball of one colour/texture/weight and mixing it with something else to see what happens. Quite a few of the things I knit are one of a kind as I often have no idea where the yarn came from and can’t get more of it.

KK: When did you learn to do crafts?

IDL: My mom got me started on sewing. She’s a wonderful seamstress and had me using a sewing machine by the time I was 6. I saw a friend knitting when I was about 8 or 9 and thought it looked neat so I decided to try it.

KK: Have you ever given a craft to a character? How did you go about it? What research did it require?

IDL: I have. I have one that actually knits and another who is a face-up artist for BJD’s on the side. The knitting aspect… well, I already do quite a bit of that so it was easy. The details about face-up work I asked face-up artists some basic information and browsed through a doll forum for info. I have a character that is a glass blower as his job and I researched that as well as spent some time watching some local glass blowers at work.

KK: What effect does your writing have on your crafting and vice-versa? Does one fall off when the other is stronger, or do they synergize?

IDL: I have to make time for each thing since they can’t be done at the same time. Generally, I’ll knit/sew after supper for an hour or two then switch to writing. On the weekends, depending on what is most pressing for me to get done is what gets worked on the most. For a while I focused exclusively on writing and learned the hard way that wasn’t a smart thing to do. I try to be more balanced now. I also find that if I’m working a simple pattern, my mind will go off on little day trips and either take a WIP into new territory or give me something completely new to work on.

KK: What do you dream of making when you have the time or skills?

IDL: I’d love to make a tree of life sweater but the idea of following a chart pattern to that degree turns me off. If I had the money, I’d love to make a sweater out of quivik yarn but at nearly $100/1 oz ball (and it’s a lace weight yarn)… yeah, not gonna happen unless I win the lotto.

KK: Where do you get ideas for your crafts?

IDL: I usually see something I like and want to make that for myself or somebody I know who’d really like it. When it comes to doll things, I generally need to make the various clothes as they’re typically created species of mine and their cultural clothes doesn’t really exist outside of my head.

Gallery

2 wigs for Jolen and a pair of boots I made. The outfit he’s wearing I also made out of a pair of dress socks.

I sewed Dakvir’s outfit and modded his wig to add the silver-white hair

Kysmirhea’s wig was made out of dyed fox fur and I sewed his cat ears to it. The white top he’s wearing is made out of a mesh glove and I also sewed the quasi military jacket, too.

Biography

ID Locke is an obsessive/compulsive writer who often ignores things like the need to eat and the fact she’ll be even later for work if that document isn’t closed right this minute. Writing has been a life-long obsession for her, and people have commented that she appears to get twitchy if she doesn’t do it on a regular basis.

ID Locke has been married for more than twenty years, has a grown son and is now a grandma. She has an exceptionally dirty mind filled with kinky possibilities and enjoys writing hot man-on-man sex (with Plot no less) for her own amusement and the entertainment of others. She works, writes, and knits, squeezing reading and some anime/TV watching in there somewhere. She also enjoys creating clothes and jewellery for the ball-jointed-dolls she has turned into many of the characters from her novels. She’s blunt, sarcastic, and not afraid to speak her mind. Music is one of her loves, and she often listens to her rather eclectic collection while writing to help the creative juices flow.

Saturday Showcase – MJ Fredrick Talks About Her Passion – The Other One!

KK: Tell me a little more about what crafts you do. What do you like to make?

MJF: I love to do all kinds of things, but am probably best at sewing. I love love love matching fabric and patterns, and compared to writing, sewing is instant gratification!

KK: When did you learn to do crafts?

MJF: When I was 14, my mom told me she didn’t have time to sew for both of us, so she started me out making simple drawstring shorts and halter tops. When I was in high school, I worked in the fabric department at the local five and dime. All my money went back to them for fabric! Some nights I’d go home from work and make an outfit to wear the next day!

KK: Have you ever given a craft to a character? How did you go about it? What research did it require?

MJF: Not that I can recall. I do have a heroine in a future novel who’s a gardener and will be opening a nursery. I’ve been pinning ideas for her nursery on Pinterest, lol.

KK: What effect does your writing have on your crafting and vice-versa? Does one fall off when the other is stronger, or do they synergize?

MJF: Oh, the writing definitely falls off when I craft. Last summer I managed to balance it pretty well–I’d write in the morning and sew for an hour when All My Children was on 😉 Then at the end of summer I got a new machine and started making things like purses, e-book reader covers and laptop bags, you know, when you see some cool fabric but you’re not sure what to do with it? So I barely wrote in the fall. So far this summer, I’ve spent more time on crafts than writing, mainly because I have a lot of nervous energy and can’t sit still!

Look at the interesting fabric effects in the center of this design!  Wow! -KK

KK: What do you dream of making when you have the time or skills?

MJF: Something retro, like from the 40s or 50s. There was a time, before I got serious about writing, that I could make anything if I just sat down to it. These days I just don’t trust myself to try. Also, I avoid labor-intensive crafts, especially when I know I should be writing.

KK: Where do you get ideas for your crafts?

MJF: Pinterest! Evil, evil Pinterest! Although I’ve been inspired by Project Runway, or even just seeing things at the store. Nothing will inspire me to sew like seeing a $400 skirt.

Biography:

MJ Fredrick knows about chasing dreams. Twelve years after she completed her first novel, she signed her first publishing contract. Now she divides her days between teaching fourth grade students how to write, and diving into her own writing—traveling everywhere in her mind, from Belize to Honduras to Africa to the past.

Website | Blog | Facebook | @MJFredrick | PINTEREST

Addendum

MJ went shopping today and found a ninety-nine cent sale at JoAnn Fabrics.  Here’s what she bought:
MJ says, “Here are two I’ll probably never make.”
MJ says, “Going to make this fabric in this pattern.” 
MJ says, “Going to make this fabric in one of these patterns.”

MJ says, “I think I may already have this pattern but I bought it anyway!”
She also plans to make a flip flop wreathe, and here’s a link.
And also, this.
Sounds like a productive shopping trip, MJ!

LOL.  I just got another email from MJ, and she wants to make this skirt on Pinterest.

I think we’re going to have to bring MJ back in a month or two and see what she’s made, yes?  Yes!  MJ, come baaaack!

~happy sewing~

Join the Conversation! An Interview with Jennifer Colgan, Author and Artist

I had the opportunity to interview Jennifer Colgan about her artistic pursuits in addition to her authorial ones.  She does many different crafts and gave me some awesome pictures for examples.  Come on by and see what Zentangle is!  It’s on my craft blog, Knoontime Knitting.  While you’re there, consider subscribing to the blog; the button is at the bottom of the blog.

Enjoy your Saturday!