The Flight of the Phoenix – Authors

Last but not least is HJ Kruger. I met this multi-talented artist/writer/designer during my university years. He is an absolutely fascinating creature and I have spent much time marvelling at his art (photography, paintings, stories, designs and more).

He has slaved away hours working on cover and banner designs for The Flight of the Phoenix and we are eternally grateful for his fantastic work.

Here is his interview:

How has your participation in The Flight of the Phoenix changed your approach to writing?
Let me start by saying what an amazing experience it’s been collaborating on this anthology. Flight of the phoenix taught me to be more focused in my writing and also to be more flexible. In developing a story specifically tailored for a publication I leaned to be receptive to constructive criticism and respect the creative process. The best thing of working on this project was the support and developmental feedback from the publisher, Siygrah Books, that always assured me that my story was in the best possible hands from the start.

Is writing a short story much different from screenwriting?
Screen writing is a lot more structured with a more defined format. The use of adverbs and inner dialogue, especially narration, is widely discouraged. Because a screenplay is never supposed to be a piece of literature by itself, it should rather be looked at as the creation of a blueprint that will guide and aid the filming process. When writing a short story I feel a lot freer to explore the minds of my characters and describe their inner realms, something that is sadly absent when you have to tell a story visually.

As the cover designer of the anthology, what was your biggest challenge?
The original image was a stunning hand-drawn image by Elsabé Viljoen; my biggest challenge was to reinvent the image to better suit the market and genre expectations and I think that the process was well worth it and yielded a image that both me and the publisher were happy with.

Get into contact with HJ Kruger:

https://www.facebook.com/hjkrugerwriter

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The Flight of the Phoenix – Authors

Ahhh, Richard. The man who set me on the next journey in my writing career. He’s one of those guys who will charm the socks off you. I can’t help but listen to his advice. Heck, today I came home with a tub of coconut oil and a packet of coconut flour just because he was telling me about its amazing baking applications.

Initially, I actually met him because he was my middle sister’s best friend’s little brother (at the time, all I really knew about him was that he kept a rat called Rattex). Try that for a tongue twister! Say “my middle sister’s best friend’s little brother” six times fast!

He kept popping up in my life and I never suspected that he would one day be writing right along with me…and that I would learn so much from him.

Here’s what he had to say when I asked him a few questions:

What was the biggest lesson you learned as a contributor to the anthology?

Each writing project teaches you something about yourself, but a collaborative project can acquaint you with your limits. Limits of personal time management, limits of personal leadership and, more importantly, the limitless potential of a collaborative effort. Writing is usually a solitary affair, but when writing for an anthology it’s not just you. Your work needs to match up to others, so you naturally up your game.

An anthology gives you an opportunity that you also don’t always have readily available, access to other writers and an overarching volume editor. These two parties also have a stake in the quality of the anthology, so they tend to provide focussed and valuable feedback to your work, and you to theirs.

If you have the opportunity to write for an anthology, I’d recommend it. Your co-authors will make you a better writer, and hopefully, so will you them.

What are your current writing projects?

It’s a pretty exciting time, actually. I am writing a series with a co-author, the talented Carmen Dominique Taxer, and simultaneously blogging about the process of writing, post-production, publication, and marketing the series on DauntlessWriting.com. I have the aim of doing this full-time, as opposed to trying to squeeze it in between full-time drudgery at a traditional nine to five. We’re going full indie, taking responsibility for every facet of the creative process. Marketing is creative too! I’m hoping that the non-fiction work will be of some help to others who walk the same path as we are.

The series itself is something that I believe will have seen the light of day if the traditional gatekeepers of the publishing world had their say. The beauty of indie authorpreneurship is the ability to do what you want, when you want to, and not being beholden to someone else’s idea of what will be “worthy” for publication. If traditional publishers were honest with themselves, they would admit that they have no idea what makes one book explode onto the bookshelves of every home in the world and another fizzle back down into obscurity.

The series is called Sanguinem Emere, (which is an archaic legal term that, loosely translated, means redemption bought through blood). It is a Gaslight Vamp series which draws from diverse inspirations, such as from the Anne Rice Vampire Chronicles to A Song of Ice and Fire, to the Steampunk genre, to the classics’ Gothic Horror. Like I said, traditional publishers would have had no idea what to do with this.

If an aspiring author approaches you about writing their first novel, what advice would you share?

ABC. Always Be Creating. There is a reason that the first episode of the Dauntless Writing Podcast is on this topic. The rest of the stuff will follow, just get yourself in the seat and write. Even if you think your writing is no good, even if you think you have a bunch of other stuff to do first, like reading up on craft or publishing. Write, because the best way to get better is by writing. Read up, by all means, but never let that stop you from putting words on paper.

Priority number one is Always Be Creating. You can always make it better later as you learn new skills and techniques.

Contact Richard T Wheeler

His personal website

Dauntless Writing

Vampire Bibliographica

Goodreads

Facebook

Twitter – @RichTWheeler

The Flight of the Phoenix – Authors

Of all the authors, I have known Elmien Grove by far the longest. She and I met one fateful day just before we turned ten. We spent a heck of a lot of time together. We would ignore each other for hours on end reading books side by side. We wrote shameless fan fiction stories throughout high school…for each other…about our favourite musicians… Hahaha… Ahem!

She has always had a gift for writing. Her style is approachable and speaks directly to the reader. Where I like writing high fantasy because of the vaulted language and flowery words, she writes in a way that has you through the story before you even realised that you have started reading.

I love this woman to bits and I’m sure you will too. Here is what she had to say when I asked her a few questions:

What was the biggest lesson you learned as a contributor to the anthology?
The biggest lesson I learned while contributing to this anthology was that writing a story is only a small part of what you need done in order to have a polished end result to publish. The beta readers, the editors and the marketeers have blown my mind with their expertise and sharp sense of what is currently on point and in demand. It has been a huge learning opportunity for me.

What are your current writing projects?
Currently I am focusing on writing the invitations for my wedding, autobiographical pieces about both my fiancee and myself for the wedding website, my blog and the story I aim on entering for the next edition of this anthology. With all the tools I’ve been given by the other writers and editors during the process of compiling The Flight of the Phoenix anthology, I have high hopes that this one will need slightly less tweaking.

If an aspiring author approaches you about writing their first novel, what advice would you share?
If an aspiring author asked me for advice on writing a novel, I would probably say: “I have no idea, but when you find out, please let me know”. On writing in general, I would suggest getting into a routine, in order to minimize the emotional component and fear of running into a bout of writer’s block. Even if you sit down for only half an hour everyday and just start typing, eventually it should flow more naturally and your confidence will improve over time. Spend less time trying to come up with ideas and more time rambling right onto the paper. You might be surprised at what emerges.

Connect with Elmien Grove

Blogger: http://ellenell.blogspot.com/

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/elmiengroveauthor

 

STORM – Release the Geek podcast

I did mention, did I not, that the authors of STORM were interviewed on the day of the book signing?

Les and Vic were an absolute treat on the day. Funny as always and all kinds of entertaining while us authors were trembling with excitement, fear, nerves, happiness and a whole mish mash of other emotions.

After joking around so much that I wasn’t sure we’d get around to the interview, the mikes were put on and we started recording.

I must admit, I feel like I didn’t say half the stuff I meant to say. I think I come across as bland to say the least. When I got asked how I got started…I think I was planning a ten-minute tangent, but I enigmatically got cut short. What have I learned? As an author, I get to be over the top and weird. Also, don’t pause between thoughts as you would in a normal conversation – if you stop for a moment, your interviewer will move on. Next time, I will most assuredly relax and just enjoy the whole process. (And yes, there will be a next time. *gleaming grin*)

So, with no further ado, please feel free to go check it all out!

You can find Release the Geek on their website, Facebook and Twitter (@GXPza).

STORM Authors – Richard T Wheeler

Tell me about your journey as a writer.

How much space do you have available on your blog?

In short, when you are raised by a librarian and a university lecturer, you tend to grow up with books. I remember a dissatisfaction with the TV shows and comic books that my primary school peers were spending their time on as well as an ennui towards school work in general. Most of my time was spent in the dazzling embrace of books. My most vivid memories came from an illustrated version of King Solomon’s Mines by Sir H. Rider Haggard, and, while it terrified me utterly, it instilled in me sense of wonder in the written word. Now, I don’t recommend that book to someone as young as I was, what with the bloody giant ice skeletons throwing spears through intrepid adventurers and Zulu warriors, (yes that image is still ingrained in my memory), I would, however, recommend reading as a primary escapist entertainment vehicle for children. It made me interesting at dinner parties as a child.

With that background, I find the odds that I would be interested in the inner workings of creating fiction quite staggering. I found that I was good at telling tales from an early age (lying is such an ugly accusation), and started writing short, plagiarism riddled stories by the time I hit high school. Thankfully, all those early attempts were lost to humanity when my parents moved house for the first time. From there, it was a losing battle to attempt to integrate into normal middle class society before I caved to my inertia and started taking writing seriously.

I am currently consuming literature and books on the craft of writing at a ferocious rate while attempting not to deride every attempt I have at writing as drivel to be deleted for the good of future generations who might be as ill-advised as to publish it posthumously.

 

How did you decide on the name for your story in STORM?

Naming a thing gives it identity, gives it form in the imagination and an anchor point for whoever is experiencing the thing. It’s of little help, say, if you are experiencing the object “elephant”, but is a lot better than the terror of the unknown when experiencing said elephant without that framework.

There is a lot to be said about the title of a short story, a novel, or similar. It is the first impression that you will make to a prospective reader, and as such the single most important thing to entice the reader (up until she opens the work and reads the first line, whereupon that line becomes the most important thing, and so forth). Without a great title, she might never get to the first page.

A book can be written on the process of naming a story, the semiotics of it, the psychology of it, the marketing angle, I’d be genuinely surprised if there weren’t several in existence already.

How did I name this story? I took a line from the denouement that seemed to fit and then retroactively tried to apply all the above angles to it. A moment before I decided to become insane and call myself a lemon and declared the puddle in the back yard a gin and tonic, I gave it a rest and stuck with A Girl called Storm.
What was your favourite part of the writing process for your STORM story?

The challenge of facing off against the shorter format, knowing that I’ll have no space to wax philosophically, to extrapolate extraneously, for additional expositional information or for redundancies.The word count limitations tested my current skill at exposition, and I relished that challenge. I found that I grew as an author by writing this short story and pushed out at my horizons to complete it within the deadline that I was provided.
What was the most difficult part of the writing process for your STORM story?

“A person who publishes a book wilfully appears before the populace with his pants down. If it is a good book nothing can hurt him. If it is a bad book nothing can help him.” ― Edna St. Vincent Millay

I have a bit of a pathological fear of letting a piece of writing go. What if one more draft would have made it suitable for human consumption, whereas currently it was an affront to sighted individuals everywhere? I had it edited by our miracle worker in-house editor, Vanessa von Mollendorf, and with her blessing, I pressed send and tried my damnedest not to panic like a father dropping his teen daughter off in front of a crack-house in a bad neighbourhood. I let it go, the cold never bothered me anyway.
What other projects are you working on?

Currently I am in the process of completing the first draft of the second novel in the SanguinemEmere series. It had a bit of a rough time on the backburner in the writer’s equivalent of development hell and I feel that one more push through the breach will get it to the editing stage, and then, to indie publication like its predecessor.

There is also a new project for my author page (http://www.richardtwheeler.com/), where I intend to serialise a novel over 12 months via the page at no cost to the reader. That project will launch with the first two chapters on 1 June 2014, with two chapters delivered on a monthly basis thereafter.

I have also been approached by the esteemed proprietor of this fine page to contribute to a short story to the Flight of the Phoenix collection that she is involved with. I look forward to seeing her reaction to the submission.

On top of that, there is a ghost story novel set in 2010 South Africa that is in development if I can find the time. I hope to finish it this year in light of all the above. It’s going to be literary fiction, because the themes hijacked the story at gunpoint.

 

Author bio

Richard T Wheeler is the co-author of the SanguinemEmere mythology and author of A Girl called Storm in the STORM Anthology. His first co-authored novel, Bought in Blood was published on Amazon in an attempt to save the reclusive and endangered Lesser Spotted Old School Vampire. It is an ongoing conservation project.

Born in Pretoria, South Africa, he farms stories and crippling self-doubt from wherever he can make a laptop and wine spend time in the same room with him. That is if and when he can pry himself away from the novels by Jim Butcher, Sergei Lukyanenko and Terry Pratchett.  He considers borderline alcoholism as part and parcel of the writer’s job description and is starting to understand why Ingrid Jonker walked into the sea.

 

Get in touch with Richard:

http://www.richardtwheeler.com/

http://www.vampirebibliographica.com/

STORM Authors – Vanessa Wright

Tell me about your journey as a writer.

I have been making up stories; some would call them tall tales, since the age of five. I wrote until I matriculated and university, marriage, work, children; the ordinary things we attribute to life interrupted the flow. In the intervening years, I have always felt as if I had lost a vital part of myself. Now, I have come full circle and the most important thing driving me is the need to tell these stories that make their presence felt whether I am awake or dreaming. The flood gates are open and I have no idea how to curtail the flow.

How did you decide on the names for your stories in STORM?

A storm in a teacup, the science fiction story, was easy as the story revolves around a teacup, much like my grandmother’s set which I still own. It was a precious item which was only brought out when the pastor came around on his yearly visit. I decided to have fun with the item, although I know my grandmother would surely have frowned upon it. Dandelions for Mother was the difficult one. The story had been edited and was sitting there in my files, burdened with the moniker Storm 1. It was only after my friend Linze Brandon suggested a few titles that I suddenly knew what the title should be. It changed the ending slightly.

What was your favourite part of the writing process for your STORM stories?

The joy of telling the tale and laughing out loud whilst writing A storm in a teacup. My youngest son popped in to inquire as to his mother’s insane giggling and I had to admit to entertaining myself with the writing thereof.

What was the most difficult part of the writing process for your STORM stories?

Dandelions for Mother took me to a darker place and I imparted part of my being. Grief and heartache lies at the heart of the story and I lived it while I wrote it. It is always difficult to bounce back thereafter.

What other projects are you working on?

What am I not working on should be the question. Red Tape, a crime thriller is currently being submitted to publishing houses in South Africa. I am putting the finishing stories in place for Bikinis and double fudge sundaes, a book that has grown from my blog and features the inimitable, hilarious Muse. I am working on a sequel to Red Tape, named Something evil comes… featuring the same detectives. I am 13000 words into Dead-Lee, which was born in entirety from a dream. Last, but not least is Fever Dreams, a literary work in four parts featuring transformation, living, dying and regeneration. The A to Z blog challenge and Camp NanoWrimo kicks off in April. Looking at all of this, I realise how insane I truly am….

 

Get into contact with Vanessa:

Twitter: @Artysoul1966

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VanessaWright.Auth?ref=hl

Smashwords author profile: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Artysoul

Goodreads author profile: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7303329.Vanessa_Wright

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/artysoul1966/

Reddit: http://www.reddit.com/user/Artysoul1966/

STORM Authors – Carmen Botman

Meet Carmen Botman! I thoroughly enjoy her company and can’t wait to read her work.

Tell me about your journey as a writer.

My journey has actually been a lifelong one. I knew that I wanted to be writer from a very young age, writing my first story at the age of six. When I was nine, I asked my parents for a typewriter so that I could start typing out my stories. My parents were always (and still are) very encouraging and bought the typewriter (an orange/pink Olivetti), which I still have to this very day. After school I studied something completely unrelated (Occupational Therapy) and stopped writing for a few years. About three years ago I started writing seriously again and I don’t intend on stopping anytime soon. After all these years, things have come full circle, and I realise that I have always known that I still want to be a writer.

How did you decide on the names for your stories in STORM?

Dahlias and Daisies was straight forward – it’s the flowers that feature in the story. For The Icarus Curse, I was trying to think of a metaphor for one of the characters in the story. I remembered the Greek myth of Daedalus and Icarus that we learnt about at school and thought that it was a good match.

What was your favourite part of the writing process for your STORM stories?

The flow was really easy for both stories. I actually started Dahlias and Daisies first, but struggled a bit because dramas are not really my forte. I got the idea for The Icarus Curse, started on that and it flowed easily. When I was done, I rewrote the beginning of Dahlias and Daises twice and then the words came – thankfully.

What was the most difficult part of the writing process for your STORM stories?

I challenged myself in both of them. This was both the first dystopian story and the first drama I’ve written. It was difficult at times, but very rewarding in the end, so much so that I want to experiment with more genres to see what else I might like.

What other projects are you working on?
I am currently working on another, yet untitled story for The Flight of the Phoenix anthology. I am once again challenging myself to the nth degree, so we’ll see what happens in this one.

Get into contact with Carmen:

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