26 February, 2017

Five writers sit down to Google Hangouts . . .

Now that Cabover Cabaret has been published, the new year is finally ahead of me. And that means getting back to the beast that is Comedy of Rain!
"Though the road's been rocky it sure feels good to me." ~ Bob Marley
When I last updated you, the little heathen had been evading my every attempt to complete its ending. Having had my mental break from it to handle Cabover Cabaret, I came to realize that part of my problem with Comedy of Rain was that I couldn't focus on its ending while stressing about all the NaNoWriMo word vomit I'd padded the opening chapters with. I'd rehashed the plot of Tragedy of Ice so much that Comedy of Rain wasn't standing on its own.

First order of business when picking it back up was to return to the beginning. Working with the presumption that folks reading Comedy of Rain will have read or reread Tragedy of Ice before starting it, I began stripping out any details for equipment, places, history, etc. that had already been thoroughly covered in the first book. For everything I pulled out, though, I took pains to flesh out concepts and plot points that are new and relevant to Comedy of Rain's plot line. Since I have the majority of book two written, I drew in issues that Kadiza and the others would be facing, and began laying a more solid foundation for them.
"Stop making excuses. [. . .] You’re old enough to make the decision to start over and rewrite your script. Nothing will change for you until you do.” 
~ John Carlton, The Entrepreneur's Guide To Getting Your Shit Together
And then there was the other matter to attend to, the one of greatest importance. With everything I had already written, I knew Franklin and HipĆ³lito's personal goals for Comedy of Rain, but I didn't have anything hardline for Kadiza. Which, to be blunt, was total horseshit considering she's the main character. I sat down with some writer friends, and I made bullet points for events and Kadiza's reaction (or lack thereof) to them, and eventually there was that "EUREKA!" moment where we figured out what her personal goal for Comedy of Rain was supposed to be.

Once that was settled, I began tackling Comedy of Rain in full force, shaping Kadiza's attitude and POV chapters around her personal goal, and I gotta say it's made quite the difference. Then to top it all off, I was doing an art party with two other artist/writer friends, and they gave me an epiphany for my ending.

Needless to say, I'm gung-ho toward the ending and chock-full of renewed enthusiasm for this book. If you've been following me on Twitter, then you know I've already made my way up through chapter 5. I'm striving to hit the full ending by the last week of March, so if you want to follow me, tweet exchange, and chit-chat about writings-in-progress, I'd love to hear from you!

11 February, 2017

Author Spotlight: Zeta Lordes

As part of my continuing series of spotlighting fellow authors, this month I'll be interviewing Zeta Lordes.

Zeta is currently working on a Sci-Fi novella that follows the adventures of a team of Galactic Peacekeepers. The first in a planned series of books, it will follow the efforts of a cadet trying to qualify for field duty, despite the odds being stacked against her. Like many authors before her, Zeta has written a world with endless possibilities, and is planning multiple works within the same fictional universe.

Let's get started now, shall we? Zeta, do you ever model your story characters on real life people?

Zeta: Not consciously, no. Of course all characters are a compilation of real life people, but I don’t think of people in terms of… “gosh they would make a fascinating character to write about”. My characters are strictly the stuff of imaginings.

Do you strive for diversity in your characters?

Zeta: Absolutely. With the caveat that diversity can mean many things both in and out of socioeconomic parameters. Since I mostly write Speculative Fiction, I have a lot of opportunities to write outside stereotype considerations and address diversity from different perspectives. I love messing with how people perceive the lines between differences and likenesses.

What are your favorite types of female characters to write?

Zeta: I almost exclusively write autonomous female characters. Whether they start from a position of strength or weakness, their stories are about their choices and the consequences of those choices. Even when outside forces pummel them beyond endurance (I try to do that a lot), it’s their choice how they live with that. Of course, I often use their own flaws, and even their strengths, against them but ultimately I want to expose the strength and resiliency of character… male or female.

What are your favorite types of male characters to write?

Zeta: I confess I love the Alpha type males to both read and write. No shrinking violets for me. Of course, they have to be true Alphas who deserve and give respect in appropriate proportions and situations. I recently read a book by James Scott Bell called Manliness: The Robert Mitchum Way. It was a fascinating study of the Alpha male. Sometimes a little dated, but never in areas that really count. Like my female characters, I want my male characters to come out at the end a better, wiser [fictional] person than when they started.

Last question! Is there anything you’d like to add about character writing?

Zeta: I think characters are probably the most difficult, and satisfying, aspect of storytelling from both a writing and reading perspective. That includes both protagonists and antagonists. Crawling into a stranger’s head and telling their story in a memorable way, is both liberating and limiting. Obviously it’s more work with primary characters, but I try to make nearly every character shine through in some way. It’s a complex balancing act. Ultimately it’ll be up to the reader how well I do.


Zeta Lordes is an author of Science Fiction and Paranormal Fantasy flavored with plenty of suspense and romance.  When she’s not writing, she’s often playing with photo projects, including book covers for herself and other author friends. She lives alone in a rambling house littered with three generations of passed down books and three cats—who have their own litter.

She’s just started reaching out on social media. You can follow her website and Facebook.


Ash Litton

Ash Litton is a writer and lover of sci-fi, fantasy, and all things fictional. She is the author of Thoroughbred, Evening Hallow, Comeuppance, and Cabover Cabaret, and works on other Appalachian Dream Tales between her ongoing novel projects. She's also written No Diet, No Surgery, No Sweat, an ebook chronicling her weight-loss journey.

When she's not writing, she's drawing, and when she's not doing either of those, she's dreaming up new projects to work on. Born and raised in rural West Virginia, Ash has always wondered what things lay hidden in the hills around her. She attended West Virginia University, where she studied the English language before returning home to her family in rural West Virginia.