#author

Ask a Demon - Easter Edition by Ryan Hill

 

It goes without saying that a demon* like myself isn't a huge fan of Easter. Nobody associated with Hell likes the holiday, which with Good Friday thrown in, is a THREE DAY HOLIDAY THAT TAKES UP AN ENTIRE WEEKEND EVERY YEAR. It's bad enough having to face Easter Sunday, but Easter weekend? That's like watching the Alvin & the Chipmunks movie, then somehow getting roped into watching its three sequels. 

Pure

Unadulterated

Torture

But to every cloud there is a silver lining, and Easter is no different.

To draw attention away from what Easter really is, a few demons got together and decided to "kill 'em with kindness," which in this case entails bunnies, eggs, and candy.

The Easter Bunny is a symbol people can get behind that isn't, well, you know. Throw in the candy, which is terrible for people and causes cavities, diabetes, noxious gas, weight gain, and the occasional heart attack, and Easter weekend is almost bearable. 

Almost.

For those who look forward to the weekend, try not to O.D. on jelly beans. Or do. I know I'll be drowning myself in them.

 

* So I'm currently an ex-demon. Tomato, Tomahto.

On to the questions... I mean... question.

Danny Danny Danny asks...

You know my mind and desires, where is what I seek?

A fortune cookie kind of question merits a fortune cookie kind of answer: In bed.

Need advice from Bartholomew? Want to know what movie to see this weekend? Send your question to ryan@ryanhillwrites.com.

Whole 30 Update No. 4 - Rebellion by Ryan Hill

 

This Whole 30 demon, "life style change," whatever you want to call it, is a never-ending pit of despair and hopelessness that would make even the most peppy person's butt hole cringe. On Saturday, my wonderful fiancee and I - led by me - went into full on rebellion mode. 

rebel.jpg

For the day.

And it felt glorious.

I've mentioned before how food is not only for the body, but the soul. After a day of ingesting all the junk and alcohol our bodies could stand, I can say that good food is almost as important for your spirit as your body.

So what if I gained three pounds that day? WORTH IT.

This week has been more of the same. A little cheating here and there, but trying to keep it under control. Whole 30 is no longer running/ruining the lives of my wonderful fiancee and myself. We've applied some lessons learned, but the program as a whole? (Phrasing). FINITO.

That program can eat a bag of pig's feet covered in grass and dirt.

 

New Year, New Plans, New Hopes by Ryan Hill

 

Welcome to 2017.

Are you excited? Petrified? As wild as 2016 was, 2017 could be an even crazier ride. Somethings, LIKE GETTING MARRIED, I'm very excited about. Others? Cautiously optimistic... emphasis on cautiously.

But one area I'm excited about for sure is books!

There's going to be a lot happening in the world of books this year, and by "world" I mean myself. These things are happening for sure:

  • Bart of Darkness: The Book of Bart - Verse 2 (May 23) - Yup! It's happening! All I can really tell you about it at the moment is Bart and Sam are both back. Quite the tease, amirite? LOLOLOLOLOLZER 
  • New branding - Everything from my website to swag to book covers is getting a face lift. All of it. The covers are going to look uniform, like they came from the same author. The website/author logo stuff will probably have a similar feel. I can't say for sure, because a new logo image hasn't been selected!
  •  A Book of Bart prequel starring Sam - This short story has been on the back burner entirely too long. I'm currently polishing it up, then unleashing it upon the world. It basically shows how Sam came to need Bart's help in Verse 1. This will most likely be a free download for anyone who joins my newsletter.
  • Utopia Con 2017 - I'll be back in Nashville this year with my amazing fiancee for the latest iteration of Utopia Con, which features WARM BODIES author Isaac Marion as the featured speaker. Will I bring my copy of BODIES and it's sequel - coming soon - for him to sign? There's a fair chance. 
  • Oct. 29, 2017 - Save the date, cuz I'm gettin married!!!

These are the things I want to happen, or at least I'll start on them on 2017:

  • Bart's Inferno: The Book of Bart - Verse 3 - Oh... oh my. Did I just reveal a third Bart book and it's title? I think I did.
  • Another Bart short - I'd like to do one or two of these a year. We'll see how well that works out.
  • A super secret collaboration with my fiancee - No, this isn't the wedding. Yes, that's super, but it's not a secret. No, we're not eloping. Yes, we are working on something together. And it's going to be pretty awesome. At least, I think so.
  • Blog more - It's bound to happen at some point... right?
  • Attend more book conferences - Money is the big obstacle here, but I hope to attend at least three this year. 
  • Read more - Because everybody says this.
  • Lose weight - I need to. And because everyone says this.

That's it for me. Hope everyone has a great 2017!

Ask a demon! by Ryan Hill

 

Welcome to the inaugural edition of ASK A DEMON. It's kind of like a Reddit Ask Me Anything, only with me. A demon. Well... ex-demon. For simplicity's sake, let's act like I'm still a full-fledged demon.

I'm Bartholomew, and I used to be - excuse me - I AM a demon. Been around for thousands of millennia, ruined plans, parties, virgins, all that jazz. Go to LinkedIn if you're looking for a resume, because if being around for thousands of millennia (and all that jazz) doesn't convince you of my credentials for handing out the greatest advice in the history of the known universe, then do me a favor. Ask someone to slap you across the face. As hard as they can. It doesn't matter who they are, just ask. After, LET THEM SLAP YOU, then tell them thanks from Bartholomew. If you need more proof of my credibility, read THE BOOK OF BART. It's about me. By me. For me. And you too, I guess, but mostly me.

Let's see who needs some of my tried and mostly true advice.

Lay Lady Layla asks:

Humans and demons have different skin, and you're always so disgustingly attractive, I have to know. What is your skin care routine?

Demons technically don't have skin. We did when we were angels, but that got messed up when all of us went to Hell. Demons have scales like a snake, but we don't molt. That would be the pits. The good news is demons can disguise our true from underneath human skin. Sort of like a Terminator, but easier to manage and higher quality. In terms of a skin care routine, I try to keep things simple.

Danielle Don't Tell asks:

What is the most unassuming way to get slated for Hell?

Assuming the most assuming way to get into Hell is to be the mastermind behind, say... the Holocaust? Probably saying something along the lines of, "I'd give anything for an hour alone with insert name of person you want five minutes alone with HERE," around the right demon. They'll set it up, but don't be surprised if that hour is spent in a broken elevator along with a screaming baby, a panicky woman who thinks all of you are about to die, a Diabetic in need of an insulin shot, and a man who's hungover and claustrophobic, all while you're stuck with a bladder that will explode at any moment. 

Just sayin'.

Juan John Silver asks:

What's the best way to get a cat out of a tree?

One could go up there and get the cat themselves, wait for the cat to get bored and come down, or call the fire department, but what's the fun in any of those? Instead, I propose stealing a car - the greasiest one available - and crashing it into the tree going at least 40 miles-per-hour. In theory, the force should throw the cat from the tree. And since cats always land on their feet, no harm no foul. Right?

Want your question answered by me? Send them to ryan@ryanhillwrites.com with ASK A DEMON in the subject line. Who knows? You might get lucky.

Until next time...

Bartholomew signing off

 

 

 

Introducing... ASK A DEMON by Ryan Hill

Have you ever needed advice on something, but were too scared to ask your parents? Want to know the best way to get revenge on that bully who won't stop giving you noogies? Then you've come to the right place!

Bartholomew, that handsome, smooth, dastardly scoundrel of a demon (his words, not mine) has graciously decided to take some time away from his busy schedule of chasing virgins and corrupting souls to answer questions from YOU, for FREE. Normally, this kind of thing requires payment in the form of a Maserati or, oh, YOUR SOUL, but Bartholomew is doing this for free. He'd never admit it, but personally? I think his friend Samantha put him up to it in the hopes he might actually help someone. Can't say for sure, though. 

Send your questions to ryan@ryanhillwrites.com with the subject line ASK A DEMON, and maybe Bartholomew will answer your question!

In the meantime, you can follow Bartholomew's shenanigans in THE BOOK OF BART, with parts 2 and 3 coming 2017!

On Going From One Manuscript to Another by Ryan Hill

 

I've picked up on an interesting trend with my writing. Ever since I finished The Book of Bart - Verse 1 - the draft that was submitted to agents and publishers - I've had a tendency to bounce around from manuscript to manuscript for whatever reason. Sometimes it's from writer's block, others because my attention has been pulled elsewhere. The reasons vary, but the point is the same.

I struggle to stick with one manuscript from beginning to completion.

It's not a good or a bad thing, but it is a thing with me. Take my latest release, The Conch Shell of Doom. I wound up writing about 30k words, then abandoned the manuscript. My anxiety/depression had been gnawing at me the entire time I'd been writing (even before), and I'd had enough, so I dropped it and moved on to another book, one that was intended to be more commercial and the first of a trilogy called The Luminari Crown. I only made it 20k words into that one before the anxiety/depression got to me again, and I dropped that manuscript as well. 

I took some time for myself, then sat down to read what I'd written of The Conch Shell of Doom. Without the anxiety clouding my judgment, I noticed that Conch Shell was pretty good, and worth finishing. In between then and now, I had both The Book of Bart and my zombie novel Dead New World published, forcing me to leave Conch Shell for a time. In between edits on Conch Shell, I started The Book of Bart - Verse 2, then had to leave it for more Conch Shell edits, and wound up starting a dark, young adult mystery novel. Earlier this week, I finished the first draft of Bart 2. It's okay if you're having trouble keeping up.

The playing of musical chairs with manuscripts has paid off in an unexpected way. So many writers - myself included - can get so deep into a story they can't see the forest for the trees. Leaving a manuscript to work on something else not only gives you breathing room and the chance to use creative muscles that may have atrophied on the previous work, but it gives you perspective.

Yes, it's difficult getting back into the flow of a manuscript this way, but after a couple of days, it feels like I never left. I also feel refreshed upon return, which brings new ideas that wouldn't have popped up if I hadn't moved to something else. Sure, some continuity issues can arise, especially with things from the beginning of the novel, but that's what editing is for; to smooth out the story and flesh out portions that need more exploration. 

I don't know that I'd recommend this method of writing, but it's been working for me the last few years. If you're stuck or feeling down about your work though, it may be just the ticket to helping the manuscript get back on track.

Enjoy!

On being 36-years-old by Ryan Hill

 

No joke, that title felt weird to write. It brings up so many thoughts. Where the time went, what to do with the time ahead of me, and the fact that in the grand scheme of things I'm not old, but hot damn. I'M 36.

Pretty much

Pretty much

Getting older is always something you worry about when you're younger. Twenty-somethings fret over every birthday, because it brings them one digit closer to the end-all, be-all that is thirty. Why? Because it's a number all of us have seared in our brains as TIME TO GET YO SHIT TOGETHER AND BE A REAL, ACTUAL ADULT. Heck, my mom cried when Dad turned 30.

Guess what? Being in your thirties really isn't that bad. At all. I prefer it to being in my twenties.

I was a friggin mess in my twenties. I was still trying to figure life, the universe, and everything out with little success. I didn't have a foothold in, well, anything. My early-to-mid twenties were mired in a haze of longing for my college days while trying to figure out the whole adult thing. My late twenties were more about trying to squeeze as much fun in before the big three-oh hit. I even wrote a manuscript about a guy reflecting on his life before he turns thirty. I can't say I was a mess about it, but some people are.

My thirtieth birthday turned out to be kind of a baptism by fire into "adulthood." I'd discovered someone stole my mail, taking checks intended to pay bills and counterfeiting them to buy stuff to the tune of $800.

Welcome to adulthood, Ryan! Here's a swift kick in the ass to get you started!

It really was kind of a harbinger of things to come. My thirties have by far been the most difficult decade of my life, but it's also been the most rewarding. I've become a published author. I still get to review movies, i.e. see them for free before everyone else and write about them. More than that, other things happen in your thirties that are pretty awesome.

Mainly, you stop giving a flying f--k about everything. By everything, I don't mean ev-er-y-thing, but everything that doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things. With some life experience under their belt, people settle into themselves in their thirties, and with that comes a level of comfort with who you are - some might even call it self esteem - that elevates you above worrying about whether someone thinks you're full of it, and other assorted items like that. Ya just don't care. And it's a wonderful thing. It builds up confidence, and makes dealing with all the B.S. that life throws at you that much easier to handle.

Granted, being in your thirties does have the drawback of OMGZ MY BODY WON'T STOP FALLING APART.

This part is actually worse for me, since I blew my back out six-years-ago doing too much weight on a Lat Row Machine. I've got two ruptured discs that irritate the Sciatica in my left leg. It's been awful. But enough about me.

I liken the physical deterioration in your thirties to a toy. When it's new, everything is strong and sturdy, but over time, wear and tear sets in. Some things don't work as well as they used to. That's kind of what your body is like in your thirties. It's not terrible, but you do notice the changes, which range from achy joints to inability to stay up late, less tolerance to extreme cold or heat, etc. Basically, if you blew out your knee at some point, that knee is going to remind you of it on an almost daily basis in thirties. Your hair also turns grey on a more steady basis, but that's kind of whatever. It doesn't bother me at all.

So to anyone afraid of turning 30, don't be. Like everything else, it's a mix of good and bad. Sure, it's different and your mortality starts coming into focus, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Then again, as someone who's never been married, has no kids, a spotty (at best) relationship record, I could be talking out of my ass.*

I pretty much always reserve the right to admit I'm talking out of my ass. If I'm wrong on something, so be it.

 

 

On Adapting THE BOOK OF BART For Film/TV by Ryan Hill

 

Fun fact: I originally wanted to be a screenwriter. After I finished grad school in 2004, I even moved out to Los Angeles in the hopes of making that dream a reality. Long story short, I came back to North Carolina after six months. I missed my family, friends, clean(ish) air, and a zillion other things. But I never lost the writing bug (obviously).

Last year, I got the idea to write a pilot script for The Book of Bart. I've always felt it would make a good show, something that could be a book-end to, say, Supernatural, so while I was in the middle of edits on the upcoming The Conch Shell of Doom, I set to work turning Bart into a 50-odd page pilot script. I'd written feature-length screenplays before, but not an adaptation.

For anyone out there considering adapting their novel, know that writing a script is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING like writing a novel. They're different beasts with different rules. A novel can really dig into details and emotions, enveloping the reader in the soft, gentle sway of a tree branch in the wind. If that line were written in a script, the reader would toss it in the garbage and move on to the next script. With novels, that kind of writing is welcomed, and sometimes even praised. It can also mask potential deficiencies in plot or dialogue. 

Guess what?

SCRIPTS ARE ALL ABOUT PLOT AND DIALOGUE.

Scripts require the most sparse, bare-bones writing possible. Every single word matters. A script is meant to serve as a blueprint for a film or TV production. What's on the page is meant to be on the screen. If it can't be seen or heard, it shouldn't be in the script. Emotions, motive, all that stuff has to be left to the cast and crew for interpretation. Ever read a play, like Thornton Wilder's Our Town? There's the scene location, characters, and dialogue. That's it. Everything else is left to the director, actors, set designers, etc., to interpret as they see fit. A script is similar, though there's room for just enough description to paint a visual picture. 

The transition from book to screen is never seamless. Even films like The Hunger Games and Harry Potter have differences/departures from the books. The change in medium makes it impossible to stay 100 percent true to the source material because of length, a scene isn't visually compelling, or what works as a book doesn't necessarily work as a film. Some books just aren't meant to be adapted, while others are.

This one wasn't.

This one wasn't.

I knew going in that adapting Bart to a visual medium would be tricky. Much of the fun comes from Bart's narration, and only so much of that can survive before characters wind up standing in front of a camera, waiting for the voice over narration to finish so they can move on to the next thing. It became a balancing act of mixing the narration into a mix of voice over and dialogue. 

While I'm happy with the pilot for The Book of Bart, there's a lot of work left before it can even think about seeing the light of day. And that's fine. If nothing else, it was a learning experience, so onward and upward, and all that stuff. I'll share it one day, but today it's about the challenges of adapting one's work to a different medium.

John Irving won an Oscar for adapting his novel The Cider House Rules. Suzanne Collins wrote a draft of the first Hunger Games film. So adapting your work can be done, and done quite well. Just go into it knowing that by no means is it a cake walk, and good luck!

Interview with LINK author Summer Weir! by Ryan Hill

 

Apologies for being a day late on this, but anytime yours truly conducts an interview, it's always well worth the wait. Always. This time, my vic- I mean my interviewee is Link author Summer Weir!

About Link:

For seventeen-year-old Kira, there’s no better way to celebrate a birthday than being surrounded by friends and huddled beside a campfire deep in the woods. And with a birthday in the peak of summer, that includes late night swims under the stars.

Or at least, it used to.

Kira’s relaxing contemplation of the universe is interrupted when a piece of it falls, colliding with her and starting a chain of events that could unexpectedly lead to the one thing in her life that's missing—her father.

Tossed into a pieced-together world of carnivals and gypsies, an old-fashioned farmhouse, and the alluring presence of a boy from another planet, Kira discovers she’s been transported to the center of a black hole, and there’s more to the story than science can explain. She’s now linked by starlight to the world inside the darkness. And her star is dying.

If she doesn’t return home before the star’s light disappears and her link breaks, she’ll be trapped forever. But she’s not the only one ensnared, and with time running out, she’ll have to find a way to save a part of her past and a part of her future, or risk losing everything she loves.

Dreamy, fluid, and beautiful, Link pairs the mystery of science fiction with the minor-key melody of a dark fantasy, creating a tale that is as human as it is out of this world. 

Available now from Amazon, and other retailers.

TO THE INTERVIEW!

Congratulations on having your first novel published! Do you feel kinda like you got away with something? When you're alone in your car, sitting in traffic, do you laugh to yourself and say, "Suckers!" out loud? 

Thank you! It is pretty amazing to think that I actually wrote a book, finished it, and someone loved it enough to publish it. I'm not sure that it feels like getting away with something... and if I WAS trying to get away with something I wouldn't be sitting in traffic waiting to get caught.

Link has a nice, meaty plot. Pitch it to me in one sentence. Example: Batman & Robin meets Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Ready? GO!

A Wrinkle in Time with a Stargate twist. Boom. 


You and your family have moved around quite a bit, correct? Is this because you're light on your feet and whenever a stiff breeze comes along you get carried away to somewhere else? Are you worried you may get dropped off somewhere like the Sudan, or the middle of the Pacific Ocean?

Yes, we have. And you know, there may be something to that 'stiff breeze' theory. But it's more like I get settled somewhere and get an itch to be somewhere else, to experience another adventure (though Sudan and the middle of the Pacific Ocean are not on that list). After living out of the country more recently, we're super excited to be back in the states, and I reckon we'll be planted in Texas for a while. And yes, I just said 'reckon'.

Ryan note: I've lived in North Carolina almost my entire life and make it a point not to use words like "reckon" when speaking. Just saying.

Link is your first published novel. How many manuscripts did you write before Link? Do you feel bad about leaving those other manuscripts behind, because you probably should.

I have absolutely no other manuscripts that would be jealously plotting my demise. Link is my first, my last, my everything... okay not my last, but it definitely holds a special place in my heart. And now that you mention it, I guess I should feel like I got away with something, having my first manuscript published and all. 

Link has a black hole in it. What are your feelings on black holes? Wouldn't people get crushed by the intense gravity in black holes? Or do they pull a Matthew McConaughey and visit their daughter throughout the years via the back side of a bookcase?

Black holes are such an amazing phenomenon. Used to be, scientists thought nothing could escape the gravitational pull of a black hole once an object made it to the event horizon. But the premise of Link is that some starlight can escape and in doing so creates a portal for travel.

More recently, however, world renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking has confirmed Link's theories, describing this escaping light as a "hologram." I know some of this science-y mumbo jumbo can be hard to swallow, so think of it in terms of less Matthew McConaughey popping through bookcases and more Captain Kirk "Beam me up, Scotty."

Is there radiation in a black hole? Was there concern that your MC may go through a black hole and come out the other side with no hair? That'd definitely be a concern for me. 

I understand your concern, as traditional science would tells us black holes do emit traceable amounts of radiation. However, if you're traveling in the protection of starlight (which I'd recommend), rest assured, you'll lose no hair in the process.

Why Link? What was so special about this story that it grabbed you by the throat and choked you until you turned purple and then you finally gave in and agreed to write it? What influenced it? Psychedelic drugs is an acceptable answer, by the way.

When I started writing Link, I envisioned two characters connected in some way, maybe through dreams, or alternate realities, or something. I quickly realized all of these concepts were becoming really common in young adult books (maybe that's where psychadelic drugs come in). There was a point where I even stopped writing until I figured out what I could do to make LINK stand out. One day I stumbled across as NASA video, and somehow all of the pieces fell into place. My ideas clicked as I watched this video again and again--it was perfect for what I was trying to do with the plot and story. Check out the NASA video that inspired the theories behind Link

Does Link have a character in it named Zelda? If not, why? 

It should. It really should. There's no excuse for this. 

What are you working on now? Link II: A Zelda to the Past?

Ha! Now I really want to play Zelda (the Super Nintendo version, best ever). Anyway, I'm currently working on Link sequels, Lost and Light. I'm the slowest writer in the history of writers, but I'm halfway done with book two. I also have the final book in the series mapped out, so I just need to dig in and write!

In haiku format, explain why people should not only go out and buy Link, but read it. Also, do you care if they read it after they've bought it? 

I'm soooo much better at limericks, but here goes nothing:

The book is unique
it might even make you think
the stars will guide you.

Eh? Eh? Guess I should stick to limericks. And I guess you don't HAVE to read it if you buy it, I can't make anyone do that, nor would I if I could. Free will and what not. But I'd hope that if you buy Link, no matter where it falls on your TBR, you'll make your way around to it. It's out of this world!

Thanks for having me, Ryan! Always a pleasure.

Well. Seems Summer escaped my clutches relatively unscathed. Congrats?

About Summer Wier

Summer Wier is an MBA toting accountant, undercover writer, and all around jack-of-all-trades. Link is her debut novel and the first in The Shadow of Light series. She has three short stories appearing in Fairly Twisted Tales for A Horribly Ever After and co-authors the Splinter web serial. When she’s not digging through spreadsheets or playing mom, you can find her reading/writing, cooking, or dreaming of the mountains in Montana.

Check out more of YA author Summer Wier on her blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

Wait! There's more! Check out the Rafflecopter giveaway!!


New Month, Same Goals by Ryan Hill

 

It's a new month, which means there's got to be one or two people out there interested in what I have to say, right Mom and Dad? Mom? Dad? Anyone?

*crickets*

Pfft. Like my parents read my stuff anyway. And I'm 100% okay with that. I meant it. Really. I STILL LOVE YOU TWO. NO HATE AT ALL.

New Month

September should be a fun month. I finally get to meet my little niece Jo, college football starts (Go Wolfpack!), fantasy football also begins, and the otherworldly, non-climate change* induced armpit of heat and humidity known as summer goes away. 

sarcasm

Same Goals

My goal(s) are the same they have been for the past few years. Have enough success to where I can write novels full-time, then go from there. 

To get more specific, I'm still shopping around my latest manuscript, The Conch Shell of Doom, to agents in the literary world. Some of you may think that's an absurd title for a novel, and to that I say OF COURSE IT IS. Some of you may also think nobody worth their salt would be interested in a novel with such an absurd title, and to that I say SHUT UP MAYBE SOMEBODY WILL.

Anyone who knows me knows that a novel called The Conch Shell of Doom is right up my alley. It's a fun, paranormal, Goonies-style romp. It will see the light of day, that much I can promise. I'm just not sure how.

I'm also hard at work on an UNTITLED YA MANUSCRIPT, which is a non-funny, non-silly, dark story with one of the most original titles in the history of books. Yes, I mostly write silly books, but I also like to stretch my writer muscles and dive into areas that are new or unfamiliar to me - in this case, a female POV. The story revolves around an 18-year-old teen girl who visits her brother's killer in jail, only to come away wondering if the wrong person was convicted. Scandalous! 

Work also continues on the TV pilot script for The Book of Bart, which I'm co-writing with my friend Josh Lanier, a writer for the Charlotte sketch comedy group Robot Johnson. I'm still a little over halfway through with The Unspoken Rule: The Book of Bart Verse 2, but it's currently on the back-burner while I expand my writing horizons. Not to worry! Once my Untitled novel is finished, Verse 2 is next on the docket.

 

 

COVER REVEAL - UNDEATH AND TAXES by Drew Hayes!!! by Ryan Hill

 

After discovering just how filled with magic, intrigue, and adventure the parahuman world of being an Undead American can be, Fredrick Frankford Fletcher did exactly what was expected--he became a certified parahuman accountant. Myths and legends, as it turns out, are not so great at taking appropriate deductions and keeping their receipts, and Fred is more than happy to return to a life others view as woefully dull, expanding his accounting business to cater to various monsters and their respective financial needs. 

Said monsters are, unfortunately, still spectacular at pulling Fred into trouble, though. And despite merely wanting to stick with simple paperwork, Fred once again finds he is going to have to deal with enchanted weaponry, government agents, possessed houses, and one enigmatic dragon’s interest. In the parahuman world, any business can turn deadly, even one as mundane as accounting.

 

Add Undeath & Taxes on goodreads


Author Bio:

Drew Hayes is an aspiring author from Texas who has written several books and found the gumption to publish a few (so far). He graduated from Texas Tech with a B.A. in English, because evidently he’s not familiar with what the term “employable” means. Drew has been called one of the most profound, prolific, and talented authors of his generation, but a table full of drunks will say almost anything when offered a round of free shots. Drew feels kind of like a D-bag writing about himself in the third person like this. He does appreciate that you’re still reading, though.

Drew would like to sit down and have a beer with you. Or a cocktail. He’s not here to judge your preferences. Drew is terrible at being serious, and has no real idea what a snippet biography is meant to convey anyway. Drew thinks you are awesome just the way you are. That part, he meant. Drew is off to go high-five random people, because who doesn’t love a good high-five? No one, that’s who.

See Drew talk about himself in first person on his website and twitter.

Interview with Ashley R. Carlson, author of THE CHARISMATICS by Ryan Hill

 

The three or four of you who frequent this site no doubt have come across my author interviews, which are the greatest pieces of hard-hitting journalism this side of Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis (fun fast: We both went to NC State). The latest author to go under the knife is debut author Ashley R. Carlson, whose steampunk novel The Charismatics released wayyyy back on Dec. 13. Of 2014. 

Charismatics_FRONT 2.jpg

 

First, congratulations on your debut novel! The lead up to a release can be pretty hectic/stressful. Has any of your hair fallen out during this whole process? You have to be careful out there. ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES JOHNNY A DULL BOY.

Thank you! It has been exciting but mostly surreal--a year ago I was tinkering on my NaNoWriMo project and dreaming of finishing a book one day. Now it's actually happened, and The Charismatics is something I'm really proud of.

No hair has fallen out, thankfully. This hasn't been that stressful for me, mostly because I love the process so much. I hired two amazing guys (Stuart Whitmore of Crenel Publishing for formatting and M.S. Corley to design my cover) and they've helped me SO much to create a fantastic product.

Now it's just a matter of marketing it, getting it into readers' hands, and WRITING THE SEQUEL. That part is what scares me.

When you picked up the first physical copy of your book were you overcome with emotion? Did a single tear drop from your eye and land on the cover, prompting a "Shit! It's ruined!" Follow-up question: Did this make you consider flinging yourself into the Grand Canyon?

I actually recorded myself unboxing my first physical copies and posted it on YouTube for my readers. You can find it here.

This is my genuine reaction--I didn't cry, but I was very excited and getting overheated and my entire neck was red at the end of the video. That happens when I get excited/nervous/overcome with emotion--imagine going on a date and having your entire neck/chest red and blotchy when you talk to the person. Basically a neon sign that says "I'M NERVOUS RIGHT NOW ISN'T THAT COOL." So yeah, basically the opposite of cool. 

Admittedly, you're a good-looking woman. Do you plan to use your beauty to help sell books? Hint: you should.

HA all of this after I talk about my gross, red neck. (Jennifer Lawrence moment, perhaps?) I don't know how to answer this question without sounding egotistical or something.

I do think that a person's appearance can help or hinder in selling their product--an author who is put-together, clean, and attractive is going to be someone you put more trust in with their writing than a scruffy, unbathed, scary "Gollum" look-alike (and believe me, I've had those days).

Ultimately though, I want readers to enjoy my personality. I try to be very forthcoming about who I am not only as a writer but as a person, and invite you into my life. My dating mishaps, my everlasting love for Jennifer Lawrence and animals, and my desire to help those in need (I have a charity page on my website that you can see here, and I'll warn you--it's got some graphic photos of animals who have been abused. But it's necessary to see, so that we can help them). So yes, perhaps my appearance will attract the attention of some--but I hope it is a genuineness and compelling writing on my part that keeps them around.

Ryan note: This is a good, albeit serious answer to a silly question. Also, I gave $15 to a foundation in Africa that helps elephants last week. SEE??? I can be charitable too!

Back to THE CHARISMATICS. Every author puts a part of themselves in their work. What parts of the novel were more autobiographical? The forced marriage? Oh! Wait. DO YOU REALLY LIVE IN A STEAMPUNK REALITY???

HAHA! Thankfully our government isn't evil (erm...) and forcing young people into advantageous marriages to further there secret motives. Alas, I do not live in a steampunk reality--it is very much real reality (as in I have an entire house to clean today and a menu to memorize for my new job at an Irish pub nearby).

I would say that the main character, Duchess Ambrose Killaher, is the most autobiographical element to "The Charismatics." She is strong, but her strength does not lie in her physical abilities. She is no Katniss (The Hunger Games) or Tris (Divergent). She is also not a Bella (Twilight), wrapped up in a romantic relationship and not thinking of much else.

Ambrose certainly wants love and companionship, but there are more important elements that come into play in "The Charismatics" besides that--namely that the poor in her world (called denizens) are starving, and live in horrid conditions. And she has the ability to change that, or at least try to.

So in that sense, I feel a kinship with her--I have always felt the desire to help those who are struggling, especially children and animals. A lot of time however, life and excuses can get in the way. So in The Charismatics Ambrose has to make a choice--whether she is going to keep making excuses, or whether she is going to buck up and do something about the problem. 

What's your idea of a good steampunk? What the heck is steampunk? Does it involve "steamy" punks? Is it like punk rock, but with smoke machines to simulate steam? Maybe it's some new kind of drug the kids are taking...

I didn't set out to write a steampunk novel, that's for sure. I don't even know a lot about the culture, aside from the general definition: 

Victorian science fiction. What makes my book "steampunk" would be the clothes that they wear at times (fancy top hats and "fascinators") and dresses or suits. Think of the elite of Victorian times--similar to that, except that this is an alternate universe, not set in the future or past. So they also have sneakers, and pants... it just has some of those themes/undertones of elaborate dress from that time period. Also, the transportation is steampunk-inspired--there are no cars, because the nobility live in floating cities over the poor denizens. So they use airships and copters and zeppelins to get around--all flying machines in various sizes. Aside from that, my book is more fantasy-inspired. There is a supernatural realm forbidden to speak of, and invisible companions, and winged horses... all my favorite things.

Speaking of drugs, were there any hallucinogens involved in creating THE CHARISMATICS? Alcohol? Surely you had some drug of choice.

Probably sounds like it after I just described The Charismatics, doesn't it?! No, no hallucinogens or drugs or alcohol of any kind. Honestly, I don't drink much and especially when I'm writing--I need my mind clear. For me, the drug is when I get so wrapped up in a scene I'm writing that I can see it playing out in my head lie a movie. THAT is magical. 

Name three of your favorite authors. And yes, I can be one of them.

HA. Well number one is Ryan Hill, obviously. I don't read as much as I should, because a lot of books lose my interest. I find that adult books are too descriptive or deal with things I don't care about, and that young adult books can sometimes be too juvenile and also deal with things I don't care about.

Not a great thing for an author to say, is it?

There are a few authors that will always have my heart though, and they are:

-J.K. Rowling (of course).

-Gail Carson Levine. She wrote Ella Enchanted, a book I've read close to fifteen times. I have a lot of inspiration from her woven into my own novel.

-Stephen King. I am getting into his work--I find that sometimes he can detail things too much and I get bored, but MAN does he know how to build suspense. He's a master. 

Now play the marry f--k kill game with them.

With the authors? Oh geez.

I'd probably marry J.K. Rowling since she's insanely rich and could fund my writing career until I can myself.

I'd f--k Step--oh no. But I don't want to kill Gail Carson Levine.

Want to know which author I would f--k? PIERCE BROWN, author of Red Rising. That guy is gorgeous. 

Ryan note: NOT AS GORGEOUS AS ME!!!!!

So, why get into writing? Is it because you can't count? Science too confusing? I know those two things played a big part for me.

Basically. I have no other skills.

According to my third grade teacher on one of my writing assignments, "I should write a book." So it must be something I've shown promise with for a long time. Just took me a while to realize it--now that I have however, I never want to stop. Ever. 

Tell us, in haiku format, why we should buy THE CHARISMATICS.

A secret realm of

Dangerous dark rebellion

Is waiting for her

I looked up what a haiku was. Hopefully I got it right. Thanks so much for this Ryan, it was the most fun I've had today!

Ryan note: Yes, this is correct. Also, the lack of people not knowing what a haiku is disturbs me, and I may have to make it a mission in life to educate people about them.

Bio

Ashley R. Carlson grew up wanting a talking animal friend and superpowers, and when that didn’t happen, she decided to write them into existence. She lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with three (non-talking) pets and one overactive imagination. Follow Ashley R. Carlson’s writing at ashleyrcarlson.com, on Twitter @AshleyRCarlson1, and facebook.com/ashleyrcarlson1.1.


Book Blurb

An arranged marriage. A corrupt government called Legalia. A forbidden spiritual realm.

Duchess Ambrose Killaher was just seventeen-years-old when exiled to Shinery—a city of snow and darkness—to marry a man who despised her, finding her only solace in an invisible companion named Roan.

Now as the poor starve in the streets below and rebellious acts become a frequent occurrence, Shinery holds its yearly celebration to commemorate Legalia’s rule. But when Ambrose stumbles into a hidden courtroom and witnesses a violent murder, she is thrust into a secret world of the supernatural—one that could endanger everyone she cares for. With the help of a handsome stranger, Ambrose learns of the past Legalia has covered up, and that she alone possesses the power to stop their unspeakable plans for the future.

Find it on Amazon and Goodreads now.


Things I can (theoretically) say now that I'm an award-winning author by Ryan Hill

 

On Wednesday, USA Book News announced their 2014 USA Best Book Awards, and my debut, THE BOOK OF BART, was awarded as a finalist in the Humor category. Now that I'm an award-winning author, there's so many new things I can say to people, things that are now infinitely less douchey... though still douchey.

At a bar

"Hey. I'm an award-winning author. What do you do?"

"Oh, I won an award for humor. Because I'm funny."

At a restaurant

"I am an award-winning author and I demand to be seated!"

If I get shafted

"You can't do this to me! I'm an award-winning author!"

If I die

"Award-winning author Ryan Hill died today..."

In the office

"I deserve that last cup of coffee. Why? Because I'm an award-winning author, dammit!"

When cleaning a dirty toilet

"An award-winning author shouldn't have to subject themselves to this kind of tomfoolery."

Watching my team lose

"This is bull$hit! An award-winning author should only be watching winners!"

When buying liquor

"My good man, I do not have a drinking problem. I am an award-winning author, and this is my writing fuel!"

When asked to see a Matthew McConaughey rom-com

"How dare you ask me to see such filth! I'm an award-winning author!"

When asked to see a McConnaisance era McConauhgey film

"Uh, YEAH. An award-winning author has to support other award winners. Just gotta keep livin, baby!"

When farting

"It's okay. I'm an award-winning author."