I suspect we often forget just how much stuff we have to hang on the walls. I know I didn’t actually realize just how much I’ve got. SCA awards and memories, sports memorabilia, family and friends, maps, ships and aircraft, and, of course, Rush posters and memories. Oh, and fantasy art. Plus other random stuff.
And that doesn’t count the stuff my sweetie has. At least we’ve started the process but man there’s a lot.
After I finish this email, I’m headed off to TopCon in Topeka. I’ve generally done a poor job of publicizing myself in the region, and this is another opportunity to fix that. I’m making progress, but I should have done better previously.
The Magazine Reviews have helped with that. I often don’t get to go to the Kansas City SF/F fan group meetings because of conflicts. September’s is scheduled for tomorrow, for example. However, I’ve been able to interact with some of those writers and fans a bit by chatting about the reviews. This week’s review, by the way, is the Analog of September, 1968.
In general, I’ve been very pleased with the response on those reviews. It’s especially gratifying because I enjoy doing the reviews and I can see them already improving my writing. Lots of win to go around.
This week, I didn’t write a ton, but what I did is good. Damn good. I’m making progress and stories are starting to flow on their own. I probably won’t finish The Feeding of Sorrows by the end of September, but I will have finished another project that will be announced in due time.
And now, time to get to Topeka and make ready for the weekend.
Current Playlist Song
Today Brewbaker’s Pandora is set to disco and motown. I have to admit, I enjoy a goodly amount of disco and motown, even though I’m more of a metal and hard rock guy. Seriously, you can’t go wrong with Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.
Quote of the Week
Today’s quote is sort of by me and sort of by Dante Alighieri. I’ll be at a con this weekend, which means I’ll be signing books, which then means I’ll be having customers roll on my Wandering Signature Chart. This is one of my favorites…
So, I announce a new schedule where I’m aiming to put the interviews up on Monday, so of course I immediately don’t get this one out until Wednesday. Sheesh. Some weeks.
Anyway, this week I’m interviewing Bethany Loughlin-Frost, who I’ve enjoyed chatting with on panels at a couple of conventions now.
Interview – Bethany Loughlin-Frost
What is your quest?
I’m hoping to create a really great series based on the wiccan culture. There is so much negativity around witchcraft, and I’m hoping to change that with my novels. While they’re paranormal romances, I wont people to see that witchcraft isn’t scary or some kind of devil worship. One of my favorite authors is Larissa Ione. She creates a world where demons are not really evil, and I think that it’s really inspirational. As for other kinds of creators, I love art! Mostafa Moussa is a great artist that does really fun takes on cartoons and other kinds of characters. I love his steampunk princess! There are just so many artists I really enjoy… it’s hard to narrow it down.
What is your favorite color?
I love to put a lot of purple in my stuff. Purple is my favorite color. It’s a really calming color for me, so I keep my office purple, or if I’m somewhere I have something purple with me. Water is also very calming for me, so I like a lot of blue. If I’m having a rough day, I usually go outside and look at the sky and take in the colors. I also color code things. When I do write I color code based on importance. I have my own kind of color code, but color coding in general really helps me prioritize.
What is the average flying speed of an unladen paint brush?
I get writers block a lot, and it frustrates me mostly because it comes in the middle of writing. I’ll know how a story is going to start and end, but the middle is always a struggle. I’ve also learned not to rely on others for a lot of help. If I need help with something small, I usually don’t have a problem with getting help, but if I need long term help (like a PA to help with websites, or someone to help with publicity) people seem to run scarce and not be willing to led a hand. Or they will start helping me, then disappear, so I tend to get really dejected and not get things finished.
What are the powers of your personal Holy Hand Grenade?
I’m really good at character development. Mostly because I want to know all I can about a character in order to personify them in my writing. They have birthdays, favorite foods, favorite colors, etc. I’m also really proud of finishing my first novel, The Witch’s Savior, because it took me almost 2 years to write, and I didn’t have much help doing it as I lived in Germany at the start of writing it. I worked really hard, and edited it myself. I think the story line is great, and it is what inspired me to make a series instead of just the one novel.
Favorite Muppet? Oscar
Crunchy or Creamy? Creamy
Favorite Sports Team? Syracuse Orangemen
Cake or Pie? Cake
Lime or Lemon? Lemon
Favorite Chip Dip? Bacon Horseradish by Hellavagood
Wet or Dry? Dry
Favorite Musical Performer We’ve Never Heard Of? Magic Goat (it’s my friends Ska band from when I was in college. They disbanded about 10 years ago, but they were really great!)
Whisky or Whiskey? Whiskey
Favorite Superhero? Thor
Steak Temperature? Medium
Favorite 1970s TV show? I Love Lucy (is that 70’s?)
Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall? Fall
Favorite Pet? Dogs
Best Game Ever? Never Have I Ever
Coffee or Tea? Tea
Sci-Fi or Fantasy? Fantasy
What question(s) would you like to ask me?
What prompted you to start writing? What have some of your struggles been with writing, and how did you over come them?
My Answer: I got into writing in part to save myself. I was going through a hard time. Too educated to get most jobs, not educated enough to get others. Just went through a divorce. Really down place where I did very little. It’s a good thing to have days every now and then where you don’t actually do anything. It’s a very soul-stealing thing if you do that for weeks on end.
So I needed to do something. Writing was a way out. At the end of the day, I’d at least have a number of words on the page. As I got more and more professional about things, it began to be work, which though I’m generally a lazy person I like to have work to do.
I don’t know what thing in this job I haven’t struggled with, to be honest. Right now, what I’m struggling with is a tendency to sabotage myself. I’m making progress as a writer and I’m in the middle of a couple of projects that I think will push me to the next level, but I have to fight through my imposter syndrome to convince myself I’m worthy of making that step.
How do I solve that? Baby steps, really. I do a little on a project and then a little more. Then, all of the sudden things start rolling and I’m stop struggling to start the project and begin struggling to stay on top of the wave. A little bit here, a little bit there, and then at some point you’ve got something that’s precious to you and that you want to finish.
Tell me again where we can find your stuff? (All the web presence you’d like me to link to)
I love meeting people and getting their input on my stories. If there is something you don’t like, I want to know. If you loved it, I want to know. I write my stories for myself, because I love them, but if something isn’t working for my audience, I need to know so I can tweak it. I’m also looking for more signing opportunities, so if there is a signing near me (Kansas City), and the price isn’t crazy, let me know!
Final question for you: What should I have asked but did not?
You should have ask what I wish was different about the industry. I wish that authors really wanted honesty. I recently wrote a review for a fellow author about their book. I didn’t like the book because of the content, but I did not let that affect my review. I also did not like the book because of how it was written and some of the issues with plot, storyline, grammar and events. I included all this in my review and was very polite, but very honest. It has been up for less than a day and I’ve already had people attacking me because I didn’t give it 5 stars.
I also wish that people (readers) would review more. I know that there have been quite a few people that have read my novels, but many have not reviewed. I don’t know if they don’t want to write a bad review or what, but I would rather have 30 (1 star) reviews, then no reviews at all. I can’t make my writing better if I don’t know what to fix.
You should have also asked what is the hardest part about meeting people. I love meeting people, but I have no idea how to “sell” myself so that people will want to read my books. I can make friends no problem, but I have no idea how to talk them into buying, reading and reviewing my stuff. I guess I’ll never be a good salesperson…
Thanks to Bethany Loughlin-Frost for taking the time to answer my questions.
If you have any suggestions or comments about this interview format, let me know so I can keep tweaking it.
If you are a creator, especially an independent creator, and you want to be spotlighted in a future interview, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, if you want to join my mailing list, where I’ll announce every interview, as well as what’s going on in my life, go to www.robhowell.org and fill out the form (Name and Email Address) or drop me an email and I’ll add you.