Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Interview with S.M. Blooding

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
This is the first season of Dream Killers. Each season will have 3-4 action-packed novellas. Dreamland is falling apart, unraveling. We follow River as he tries to keep everything together, protecting his Earthen dreamers and the Dreamlanders that reside in his fold of the universe.

This setting is just so rich and so fantastical and whimsical. We really roll through the entire gambit of emotions. This cast of characters is so diverse. I know the series will have to end, but when? There are so many directions it could take, so many characters we could follow, so many plots to track.

Do you have a favorite character?
Oh, of course! Right now, it’s Zoey. She doesn’t speak much, though she is getting better, so writing her in a way the reader will see her and see what she’s saying was a challenge. I think perhaps that’s the reason she’s just so endearing to me, but that little girl got under my skin. I really hate to see her go back home to Earth. I know she has to, but I hope she stays around a while longer.

Have you ever had a minor character evolve into a major one? Did that change the direction of the novel at all?
To be perfectly honest, every single time I write a book, I always have at least one character—usually a secondary—come up and just shock the crap out of me. In this one, I thought there’d be more from Mech, but it turned out that without River, he was able to really settle into the role of a traveler.

The one that really threw me for a loop was Olivia. She started out as this kick-butt girl leading a bunch of abandoned kids through a nightmarish version of Dreamland. She was tough and down-to-Earth, but she was distant, which was exactly what I wanted for the storyline—and for River’s storyline. But…that girl. She just opened up, let us in and now her storyline is about to take off, taking River’s with it. AND this one thing that I wanted to happen isn’t going to happen unless something dire hits Olivia. The thought makes me very sad, but in this story, it could happen.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish your book(s)?
I’ve got a couple of books being traditionally published. In a lot of ways, it’s great. You partner up with someone else, and together you publish your book.

However, there were several of my books and ideas that were just too far outside the box for the traditional publishers to feel comfortable with. A book is an investment, but when the book is wildly unique, doesn’t fit inside the traditional boxes, and breaks a few rules, it’s a bad gamble.

Those, however, are the books I like to read, so they’re the books I enjoy writing. As a self-published author, I’m more in control. I can delve outside of the box, like with this series in particular, and I can gauge it, try new things, be daring. Yeah, this could all be for naught. It could totally flop. Readers might decide this is all just too much. It could happen.

But I’m writing what I love and I’m gonna keep doing it as long as I enjoy it. Well, and as long as I’m at least breaking even.

What have you’ve learned during your self-publishing journey?
A lot. I feel as though I’ve finally made it past the embarrassing lesson. Thank goodness! I learned the hire-an-editor lesson, the get-a-great-cover lesson, and the market-your-book lesson.

The lesson I’m learning now is how and when to take a break. The big thing right now is to get books out there. Get them out there. Get as many quality books as you can into the market. That’s how you succeed.

However, that gets you into a habit of getting up, working on writing, going to work, working on work, breaking for lunch to work on writing, working at work some more, going home, working on writing and going to bed. Friends would ask me if I wanted to go out and do things, and I always said no. I was working. Eventually, people stopped asking.

But then the muse finally quit! She fell down, exhausted, and I was left there going, “Get up! We have all these books we’ve got to write! NOW!”

There’s a line you have to discover. When you write from the heart, you have to keep your heart charged, and you do that by living. Yes, you have to balance that out by writing because you really can’t sell the book that isn’t finished, but you can’t sell a book that isn’t worth reading, either. LIVE life so you can gain the experiences worth sharing.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
That was a killer for me. It really was. However, I did two things.

I started a newsletter. People who actually are interested in finding out more about me will sign up for it, and my news goes directly to their mail boxes. Saves a TON of time!

I hired a publicist. I did some shopping around. I am successful, but only marginally so. I have a tight budget, but I was DYING out there, trying to work full time, enjoy a family life, market my books, write my books, edit my books, and everything else I do with my books. I was tired, run thin. I could read it in my writing. It just sounded very…shallow and dry and dead. You can’t sell shallow and dry and dead. You can’t. It’s icky and boring. Then, my publicist fell into my lap. I love her! LOVE her!  She is a BLESSING and a god-send!

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
Work hard. Be diligent and flexible. Don’t allow your head to get too big.

Oh, and develop a thick skin quick.

Besides writing, do you have any other passions?
Boy, yes!

I’m taking up archery. By “taking up,” what I mean is I went twice, fell in love, and I’m waiting to save up the money to invest in a bow of my own! Because I must. I MUST! I love it.

However, that got me interested in fire arms again. Not machine guns, though I have shot them before. I’m ex-military. I’ve thrown grenades, fired a rocket (completely missing the tank I was aiming at, but whatever), and shot an M-16. However, with the bow, I realized I’m a left-handed shooter, so now I want to try my hand at pistols and the rifle to see if I can’t do a bit better.

This also led me back into a sense of self-awareness. I can get myself into some pretty hairy situations, and while it’s great that I have a silver tongue, I need to refresh myself on self-defense.  

Which then leads to zombies. It just can’t be helped.

But THEN there was this deal for flying lessons. There’s no way I can afford to get my pilot’s license now. My kids are still at home. So’s my sister. I’m not excessively rich from my books yet. However, there are deals where you can take a 6-week course and then fly the airplane for 45 minutes. Oh, I am SO there!

And I’m really going to get into learning a new language. I mean it. Seriously.

Also, love physics. Just LOVE it. Right now, I’m devouring as many theoretical physics books as I can. It’s just so mind blowing and fascinating!

But then that sent me into microbiology and virology. See? It keeps circling back to zombies. Do you have any idea just how cool scientists are?! Holy my freaking PETE! These guys are amazing and should be heroes. Seriously. They should. Okay. Some of them scare me a bit. Truly, they do. However, wow. Just reviewing the advancements we’ve made since 1900. Amazing. Amazing!

And that? That’s the short list. I could go on. Like, holy cow, I could go on.

Some fun facts about you, which do you prefer –
Dogs or cats? Dogs
Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate
Coffee or Tea? Coffee
Talk or Text? Text, please! Yeah, don’t talk to me on the phone. Seriously.
Day or Night? Morning and night, but NOT noon!

What’s next for you?
Right now, I’m working on Menagerie, book 3 of Devices of War. I’m actually behind schedule, so, people, I apologize! Everyone’s asking when it’s coming out. It was supposed to be released in October. It’s looking more like January. Apologies, but I think you’ll understand when you get into this one. These characters just blew my freaking mind with their amazingness.

Then, it’s onto Nightmare’s Dream (Dreamland Stories), which we should be finalizing and, hopefully, launching soon.

Then? A super-secret project I’m extremely excited about.

And then? Season 2 of Dream Killers! OMW! I’m so excited about what’s in store on this one! So many directions! The universes are colliding on an epic scale of awesomeness! I just have to figure out how I’m going to contain it, and how I’m going to end the season, and how I’m going to tie it to Dreamland Stories.

Thankfully, my short reprieve to re-charge my muse succeeded and we’re back at the whole writing thing. Full speed! CHAAAAAAAARGE!

Dreamkillersbanner1DK S1 Covers

The Sea of Dreams spat me out with no memories, no idea of who I was or what my purpose might be. When Captain Bo, dream killer extraordinaire, arrived, I took a chance to explore. On the road of discovery, I tripped upon dreamplanes floating dead in a graveyard, scared children attempting to survive their dreams turned nightmare, strange guardians, rogue Dreamlanders, and ships with hearts of silver. I learned more about Dreamland than I ever thought possible. But people are dying. They're disappearing. Dreamland is twisting, shifting, ripping. 

I don't know how best to help, how to save those I've met, who have wormed their way into my heart. If only I knew who I was, what I'd been born to do. Then I found out. I know who I am. I wish I didn't. Dream Killers is geared for fans of Once Upon a Time. The first season (Spring 2014) consists of 3 novellas called episodes. It follows River as he discovers who he is and his role in Dreamland. Dream Killers is to Dreamland Stories what Agents of Shield is to the Marvel movies. Dreamland is an intense, rich, fascinating world with lots going on. If you like fairy tales, are looking for something new try this one.


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Meet the Author:

SM “Frankie” Blooding lives in Colorado with her pet rock, Rockie, and Jack the Bird. Jack has refused to let her to take up the piano again, but is warming to the guitar. It might help that Frankie has learned more than two strings. She’s added a few more Arabic words to her vocabulary, but don’t invite her into conversation yet—unless, of course, you’re willing to have a very . . . slow . . . conversation. She’s dated vampires, werewolves, sorcerers, weapons smugglers and US Government assassins. Yes. She has stories. 

She’s also an investigator with a local paranormal investigation group, Colorado Paranormal Rescue!

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