Author Interview & Contest: Carol R. Ward

An Elemental Earth Cover

If you haven’t read one of Carol R. Ward’s books, you should start now, because An Elemental Earth, the fourth book in her Ardraci Elementals series will be available this coming Monday! You can read the books out of order and not get too lost, but there’s a whole weekend between now and release day. What better way to spend it than catching up on the first three books!

Today, Carol’s agreed to have a little chat with us about her books, and cats in space. Pull up a comfy chair and get a nice cuppa! While you’re reading, consider what flower might spontaneously pop up (so to speak) if you were makin’ out with your main squeeze surrounded by nature.

Now, let’s chat a bit:

Wind, Fire, Water and now Earth. Can you tell us a little about what inspired you to write this sweeping “elemental” space opera series?

Uh, actually, you did. LOL You talked me into doing a serial story for my blog, so I dipped into my well of story ideas and came up with one that started out as kind of a revenge thing on another world. The resulting novel was An Elemental Wind and bore only a passing resemblance to the original idea. The elemental aspect of it took me by surprise, and once I was finished I figured I might as well continue the underlying story using the other elements.

If you could have one of the Elemental powers, which one would you choose, and why?

Hmm. According to the Chinese zodiac my element is earth, and I have to say that would probably be my first choice. I love plants and could only imagine what my garden would look like if I was able to help it grow. And I could avoid the winter doldrums by making it stay green all year round. My second choice would be fire because, you know, fire!

There are rumors that Gra’anna kept a journal much like Wynne Ignitus did in An Elemental Fire. Will we get a peek into that in the next book?

Man, you and your journals! LOL If Gra’anna kept a journal, it’s news to me. Plus, considering she’s ancient, even by Illezie standards, it would span many, many volumes. The journals in Fire and Water served a purpose – they told the back story and a little foreshadowing without bogging the story down with unnecessary detail. While it might be interesting to have someone recording the events that take place in An Elemental Spirit, I’m not quite sure how I’d work that in, nor who would be writing said journal. I could see starting each chapter of Spirit with a couple of lines from the prophecy Gra’anna was talking about in Earth, but of course first I’d have to come up with the whole prophecy.

Well, it was worth a try, anyways. *sigh* For those of you who have no idea what we’re talking about here…go read the first three books! 

What’s the first thing you would order from the food replicator system if you’d just come out of a decades-long stasis?

That’s a hard question to answer! I love food, especially food that’s bad for me. If, during my time in stasis, I was cured of both my diabetes and IBS, then I’d go for a Canadian pizza and a side of New York fries with the works and honey garlic chicken wings, with a strawberry daiquiri to wash it down with, and coconut cream pie for desert. Or maybe an apple dumpling with caramel sauce. Or that mile high chocolate desert thing they have at Montana’s. Or maybe just bring me the desert sampler. And then you’d better have a bucket handy for when I’m sick after eating all that junk food. LOL

The Illezie are quite the enigmatic bunch. Will we ever learn more about them and their end-game?

I’ve given you hints about the Illezie throughout the first four books and seeing as a lot of the action of the final book takes place on their home world you’ll be learning a lot more about them. There are two possible end games, and I haven’t quite figured out which one it will be. This is one of the pitfalls of writing an unplanned series – I’ve been setting things up for the end to be one thing, but I’m actually leaning towards a different end than the one I first envisioned. I might have to *gulp* plot it out.

I know you’re a cat person – why do you think we never see cats on spaceships in fiction? Would you ever consider writing about a “spaceship cat” or cats?

Seriously? Not a Star Trek fan, are you? Data had an orange tabby named Spot on the Enterprise and it even made an appearance in the movie Nemesis. Don’t make me recite Data’s poem, Ode to Spot. And wasn’t there a cat (also an orange tabby) on Ripley’s ship in Alien? In literature we have The Hani in the Chanur books by C.J. Cherryh who are a race of space faring cats; Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough created the “Barque Cats”, who were bred to live on spaceships; George R.R. Martin features genetically engineered cats on his space ship in Tuf Voyaging; there’s Tales of a Starship’s Cat by Judith R. Conly – I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point. 😉

As to the second part of your question, yes, I have considered writing about a cat on a spaceship. It might be a novel, or it might be a series of stories, I haven’t quite decided yet.

Note: I am a Star Trek fan. Not so much a cat fan, so I tend not to notice cats. Yours truly is a dog person, of course…

What are you working on now?

Right now I’m working on overcoming my addiction to on-line solitaire and hidden objects games so I can move forward with Wandering Wizards (the half-written third installment of the Moonstone Chronicles) and get started on the fifth and final elemental book, An Elemental Spirit.


Thanks for chatting with us, Carol! I can’t wait to see how Wandering Wizards turns out…

Everyone remember that question I asked you at the beginning – the one about which flower might spontaneously grow when you’re getting all hot and bothered out under the stars? Great! Comment either here, on Facebook or on Twitter with your answer – just the name of that flower – and you’ll be entered to win a print copy of Carol’s new book, along with a surprise gift basket! 

Entries will be accepted until noon next Monday (February 20, 2017). Must be 18 yrs old or over, no purchase necessary to win. The winner will be announced here on the blog first thing next Tuesday morning (Feb. 21st)! 

Author Interview & Contest: Meet Ford Forkum

Cinderelleper Cover

Cinderelleper releases on Valentine’s Day (next Tuesday!), and today, we’re pleased to interview the author himself, Mr. Ford Forkum! You’ll want to pay close attention to his answers, because our dear Mr. Forkum has *lied* on a few of his interview questions (tsk, tsk!). If you spot one of these lies, and can tell us at least one question he lied on, you’ll be entered into a drawing to win a gift basket that will include your very own print copy of Cinderelleper!

Without further ado – let’s have a chat with our less-than-truthful scribe:

Ford, the number one question on everyone’s mind after they read the blurb for your book is probably: why on earth would you take a well-loved fairy tale character who already goes through hell and give her leprosy on top of everything else?

Apparently, it’s because I have a sick mind. Seriously, though, I wanted to contrast the Disney Cinderella, which is the familiar rendition of the story, with the original Brother’s Grimm tale, which is appallingly gruesome in places. But I wanted to take it a step further and go even darker than the Brother’s Grimm while staying true to the conventions that the Disney version popularized.

I think it’s important to point out to potential readers that every awful thing that happens to Cinderella is still in the context of the sanitized Disney version. So, even though she gets leprosy, it’s a cartoonish version. It’s “body horror” on the level of The Simpsons. There’s no gross-out humor involved. In fact, though the leprosy element is a primary twist in the story, it was really just a place to begin. The real fun is in the mashup and mockery of the original story and the Disney elements to the extreme.

Do you have a favorite pair of shoes? What do they look like? How long have you had them?

I don’t have a favorite pair of shoes. Or a favorite shirt or tie or anything. As long as what I’m wearing is reasonably comfortable and appropriate to the situation, it’s all good.

Have you ever found a lost shoe (with or without a foot inside)? What did it look like? What did you do?

I have never found a lost shoe. I have, however seen a pair of sneakers that were tied together and intentionally thrown in the air to get caught on utility wires. I saw this once when I was working “on location.” I asked my coworker, rhetorically, why someone would do such a thing. My coworker replied, in a very matter-of-fact tone: “It lets you know you’re in the hood.” My only response was a somewhat delayed, “Oh.”

Have you ever lost a shoe? Was it ever found/returned?

I have never lost a shoe. I did, however, lose a pair of pants. I have no idea what happened to them. But I was miffed because they were new pants and, last I knew, I was wearing them at the time. I don’t want to get into the specifics of how I could “lose” a pair of pants I happened to be wearing. But I think any possible conjecture might have an element of truth to it. And that’s enough said about that.

If you had to pick a theme song or playlist for Cinderelleper, what would it be?

The playlist would include the following songs: “Nobody’s Fool” by ‘80s hair band Cinderella, the 1993 song “Hey Cinderella” by Suzy Bogguss, Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone) by the ‘80s hair band Cinderella, the song “Cinderella” by Steven Curtis Chapman, and “Gypsy Road” by 80’s hair band Cinderella. Also “Cinderella Man” by Rush, just because it has the name “Cinderella” in the title. Also because Rush rocks (but not as much as ‘80s hair band Cinderella.)

Have you ever shared your home with a mouse (intentionally or not)? What was his name?

I once lived in Boston in a rented apartment. And let me tell you, there are three primary animal life forms you will encounter if you spend any time in Boston: mice, pigeons, and cockroaches. The mice and cockroaches are your roommates and the pigeons are your travel companions if you’re walking anywhere.

Those frigging pigeons will crowd around your feet as you walk and you’ll get the illusion that you’re walking on a moving patch of land that are controlled by the pigeons moving at your exact pace. It’s totally disorienting and you literally can’t “watch your step” as you step up from the street to the sidewalk because every step you take disappears into a flowing mob of pigeons. If you kick at them to try to scare them away, they’ll just dodge you like it’s nothing.

It’s just as bad as the mice that won’t stop coming no matter how many of them you trap or how diligently you clean. Eventually, you just give up. The only name I’d ever give a mouse is “Filthy.” Mice suck Except, of course, for the main mouse in Cinderelleper. As far as fictional mice go, he’s a stand up kind of mouse.

Have you ever smashed a pumpkin?

You’re posing the question as though that’s something I don’t do whenever possible

Can you tell us a little about the last time you stayed out past midnight?

My brain turned into a pickle. I had to summon the Ibuprofen Fairy to change it back.

Can you tell us anything about the next story you’re working on?

It’s actually a Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs parody that I put aside when I got the idea for Cinderelleper. One of the twists in the story is that the dwarfs are all different from the originals and there are more than seven of them. When I started writing it, it hadn’t occurred to me what great source material it is to have fun with. Now that I’ve picked it up again, I’m on a roll, and, if I do say so myself, it’s coming together in amazing ways, conceptually and in readability and humor. As long as I don’t get carried away and screw it up, it should end up a very tight and funny read with ample content to leave the reader nicely satisfied. I’m excited about it, and it will be a great follow-up to Cinderelleper.

Thanks so much for chatting with us today, Ford! I know I’m looking forward to your next fairy tale parody…

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Readers, do you know which question(s) Ford lied on? Leave a comment here on the blog, on the BSB Facebook page, or on our BSB Twitter stream. Be sure to tag us so we see your answer! Everyone who guesses at least one lie correctly by 5pm (MST) Monday, February 13th will be entered into a drawing to be held next Tuesday evening (February 14th). A list of qualified entrants will be posted in the early morning, February 14th. Good luck!

***Contest Extended! Entries will be accepted all day Tuesday until 7pm Mountain Standard Time. Post your guesses! Drawing winner will be announced Wednesday morning, February 15th! ***

Must be 18 or over to win, no purchase necessary. 

 

Weekly News & Audio Books

BSB News

Did you catch our first writing prompt story on Saturday? If not, go read Broken by C.R. Ward (opens in a new tab)! This week’s prompt is below – don’t forget to send in your stories!

Last week’s free download was Cold Feet, a Brazen Bites anthology. This week’s download is live now – peruse the Available Books section to find it…

Next week, Cinderelleper by Ford Forkum will be released on Valentine’s Day, and this Wednesday – Feb. 8th, we’ll post an interview with the author himself, along with a contest to win your very own print copy of his new book. It’ll be fun and funny, so remember to check back! And don’t forget to pre-order the ebook, so it’s delivered right to your kindle (or that of someone you love) in time for Valentine’s Day!

Topic of the Week: Audio Books – Yay or Nay?
Did you know we have several of our books available in audio formats from Audible? There’s a little something for everyone – a little romantic suspense, contemporary romance, paranormal romance, some horror, and some erotic romance (that is very steamy when read aloud!). I’ve never been much of an audio person – it’s more work for me to process audio than text. But I’ve listened to all of the audio books we have available, and I have to say, they’re all very well done. We really got lucky with attracting exactly the right narrators, in my opinion.

I know a couple people who don’t read text books at all, but prefer audio books exclusively. They listen while driving or doing household chores, and it works very well for them. They still get to discover the story, just in a different way. It’s actually more like one would hear stories in an older culture, where traditions and history were passed down through the ages.

Do you listen to audio books? Are you an audio-only fan, or do you read text as well?


Writing Prompt of the Week: A dachshund runs by, barking incessantly. He finally stops at the base of a tree and starts digging down into the snow and dirt, only to find something completely unexpected…

Write a 500 – 1000 word story based on the prompt, and email it to brazensnake@brazensnakebooks.com. We’ll pick the one we like best to post right here on the blog the following Saturday.