D. Alan Lewis & A Double Dose of Lycanthropy

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With the release of not one but two werewolf-themed anthologies from Dark Oak Press this week, I thought it expedient and enlightening to interview one of the people who made it possible. Author, editor, and good friend D. Alan Lewis has been sweating these two Luna’s Children collections since last year, working diligently to comb through the massive amount of submissions, select the best stories, and then edit them for publication. Though he has not been alone in this daunting task, his drive and dedication have made these anthologies possible.

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This is a glowing introduction and rightly so. But then again, I am clearly biased as Alan saw fit to anchor the first volume, Luna’s Children: Full Moon Mayhem, with my edgy, ultra-violent revenge fiction piece entitled “Beta Male, Alpha Wolf.” As editor, Alan also selected my Cycle of Ages Saga story about dwarves on a submarine powered by a dirty nuclear reactor for Capes & Clockwork, Dark Oak’s recent steampunk superhero anthology.

In addition to his duties as editor, technical writer, and father, D. Alan Lewis is a writer of some of the most imaginative fiction to make it onto my bookshelf. When I first met him at MidSouth Con in Memphis, this unassuming, quiet fellow with the wolfish baby blues sat behind a table with his first novel, Blood in Snowflake Garden. After reading the back cover, I took this absurdist Cold War-era noir tale of murder, mystery, and cupcakes at Santa’s North Pole home with me and enjoyed every page. You will never read another Christmas story like this one. Since then, he has written and published several pulp stories and a few novels. Of them, the gritty, unflinching supervillain tale, The Bishop of Port Victoria, is another favorite. Of course, I could go on and on about telling you about this talented technical writer turned genre author and editor; instead, I’ll let him tell you about himself, his influences, and his projects.

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Q. As writers, we all come from different backgrounds and found our way to this profession in our own way. How did you make the transition from amateur to professional writer? When?

A. I grew up telling stories, some for honorable purposes and some not. As a teen and young adult, I got into roleplaying games and usually ended up running the games, since my friends loved the stories I’d weave for them. I’d toyed with writing for many years, but never got started. This was partly due to procrastination and partly due to a lack of support from family and friends. After my last divorce, I decided to jump in to the writing world with both feet. I hooked up with a writer’s group in Nashville and with their support, I managed to finish my first novel.

From there, it became a matter of networking. I’d been going to SF&F conventions for years, so I started talking to authors and publishers who attend. Those contacts lead to multiple book and story deals. And that leads to the latest work, the 2 Luna’s Children books.

Q. What genre(s) do you write? And do you prefer writing short stories, novellas, or novels? Why?

A. I’m a bit of a writing slut. I write a little bit of everything in all kinds of lengths. I have 3 novels out at the moment; a murder mystery, a pulp/noir tale, and a steampunk adventure. As for short stories, I have steampunk, pulp/noir, superhero tales, horror, and vampire & werewolf stories, and straight-up Sci-Fi.

I don’t have a preference about the length, as long as I have enough room to tell the story that I’m trying to convey.

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Q. What writer(s) has/have influenced your writing the most? How have they influenced you?

A. Douglas Adams has always been a favorite and a major influence. His works were so ‘over the edge’ at times and I loved that. While I didn’t want to be his clone, I did want to write like him. Early on, all my stories were developed as comedies, but I didn’t feel that I could match his level of craftsmanship. And as I worked, I found that my skills were more along a darker path of storytelling. 

Q. Is there a work of fiction that you keep coming back to, one that you read over and over again? If so, why?

A. Douglas Adam’s ‘The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul’. I just love it.

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Q. As a writer, are there common themes or topics that you like to explore?

A. I love surprise twists, so everything I write has something in it that I hope will catch the reader off guard. I also love having tortured, troubled characters. As far as topics, I don’t have anything that I include in every story.

Q. As an editor, where do you find the time and patience to edit something as daunting as an anthology?

A. Patience is needed in ample amounts, some of the time. It never fails to amaze me that some authors will send in a story riddled with errors, but if an editor misses one and it gets in the final product, those same authors will throw a fit.

 As the first reader, I look for a story first. Does it fit a need that my anthology needs? If so, then I look at the errors. If there are too many, I send them back to the authors and explain what mistakes I’m seeing and ask them to rewrite it. Then, once it comes back, I get to work. With Luna’s Children, there were so many stories that I had a team of editors helping me with all the stories, making sure that I didn’t miss anything. 

With Capes & Clockwork, I was dealing with mostly established writers who knew their craft. I also had only 16 stories to deal with, so that anthology fell into place quickly and efficiently. The Luna’s Children books were the complete opposite. While there were a number of talented writes, there are a lot of first-timers. Still, many of those first-timers were giving me great stories, underneath all the mistakes. Luna’s Children includes 43 stories in the 2 volumes, which were drawn out of over a 150 submissions.

 Needless to say, the werewolf stories took much longer to weed through, edit and put together.

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Q. What special challenges do you face in editing an anthology versus a novel?

A. An anthology is a collection of stories from OTHER people. These are not my stories, so I can read it as an outsider and can spot problems and issues. When I edit my own stuff, I have to try and remember not to read it as the writer but as an outsider. While in my mind, I know how a scene is playing out in the words. But as the reader, is that scene playing out in the same way? Sometimes as a writer, you can’t see the obvious mistakes since you’re too close to the story. 

Q. What can you tell us about your newest releases, the two volumes of Dark Oak Press’s werewolf-themed Luna’s Children anthologies? And where can readers find it?

A. Luna’s Children: Full Moon Mayhem and Luna’s Children: Stranger Worlds is now available on Amazon Kindle and will soon be available in print and other ebook versions. All will be available at your local and online book retailers. 

Full Moon Mayhem contains 22 stories that are more based in the real world. While, the 21 stories in Stranger Worlds takes the werewolf genre into new worlds, other times, different realities.

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Q. Now that these collections are finally being released, what will you be working on next?

A. Currently, I am working on the submissions for Capes & Clockwork 2, which is an anthology of Steampunk’d superhero stories. The first volume came out early this year and was such a hit that the second book was green lit immediately.

In addition to that, I’m working on short stories for the upcoming ‘Black Pulp 2’ and ‘High Adventure History 2’, both from Pro Se Productions. I’m also outlining an untitled Steampunk/Noir detective story that I hope to have out by year’s end. In the long term planning, are the next books in the Hawke Girls and the Snowflake Garden series.

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Q. Finally, where can we find out more about you and your other works of fiction?

A.  My website/blog is:  www.dalanlewis.com

      I am on twitter:  @Dalanlewis

      I’m on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/AuthorD.AlanLewis

     And I have an author page on Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/D.-Alan-Lewis/e/B006DA9P2U/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1331611519&sr=8-2

 

Thanks for sitting with us for the interview today, Alan. Good luck on your future projects and upcoming appearances. In the proud tradition of tired werewolf cliches, I hope you have a howling good time. 😉

 

 

 

Writing Process Blog Tour: Jeremy’s Entry

I’m not much of a blogger or self-promoter for that matter. I find it easier and derive more joy from promoting the works of others. That being said, I was talked into participating in a blog tour about the writing processes of different authors. I tend to field similar questions at conventions or whenever someone finds out I’m a writer.

Before we get into the question-and-answer portion, I would like to thank A.G. Porter, the talented, alluring author of The Darkness Trilogy, a series of YA Paranormal Thrillers. She brought me onto the tour.

Amanda Porter

You can find out more about her and her works at the following links:

http://agporter.wordpress.com/
https://www.facebook.com/TDTAGP

In this installment of the Writing Process Blog Tour, you’re getting a sneak peak into the world of a writer who likes to write horror, fantasy, and speculative fiction. Namely, me! Good luck! Hope you come out with as many sanity points as you had going into this blog. If you don’t blame A.G., not me. 3:)~

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What am I working on?

At the moment, I am working on a number of short submission projects for various anthologies with a few different publishers. I finished the rough draft of a submission for Chaosium’s The Summer of Lovecraft anthology, which features Cthulhu Mythos stories set in the 1960s. However, I ran long, so I had to edit it down a couple of thousand words before the deadline. Thankfully, several beta readers helped me through that difficult process. I’m in the planning stages for a hardboiled detective short story for Dark Oak Press. And have a couple of other short stories in various stages of completion for upcoming Pro Se Press projects.

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How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Hmm…good question. I’m assuming that other people are being read more than me. My career as a professional fiction writer is just getting started, so I’m working on developing my style, playing with characters and different narrator voices, and experimenting with different genres. In doing so, I produced a truly unique piece of steampunk fiction set on our fantasy world of Faltyr. It’s a story about dwarves on a submarine deep within the abyssal seas contained within the planet. I tried to handle the steam technology in a different way and fused much of it with our Aethyr magic system.

Why do I write what I do?

Various reasons. It depends on what I’m writing actually. I’ve written stories to expression emotions, viewpoints, beliefs, conflicts, or tackle touchy or controversial subjects. I’ve written strictly to entertain and have fun with it too. So, what I’m writing at the time is really influenced by my mood and what scenes my imagination station is developing at the time. However, most of my work tends to be darker, grittier pieces as I tend to have a very pragmatic outlook on many subjects and have highly critical viewpoints on other topics. I also tend to live by the phrase: hope for the best; prepare for the worst. So, that mindset tends to influence the tone of a lot of my work. And then there’s the revenge fiction. Muwahahaha! One of those will be coming soon in Dark Oak Press’s werewolf anthology, Luna’s Children: Full Moon Mayhem.

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How does my writing process work?

Well, first there’s the concept or initial idea. Followed by a flurry of activity, which is mostly planning and research. Then there’s the procrastination. And the hem-hawing, the paralysis-by-analysis, and finally some forward progression. More procrastination aids in the percolation process for imagination station. Occasionally, there’s some advice from outside sources along the way. Then I wrestle with Act II. Hate myself and my writing. Procrastinate some more. Get frustrated. Maybe have a smoke to relax and then go back to writing. Finish the third act, usually well above the anticipated word count and then move onto editing. But not before I criticize, procrastinate, and proofread. After I’m done editing, some other poor bastard beta-reads it and then unloads on me with both barrels. I fume. Mostly, I think things like: Why does everyone hate adverbs anyway? And adjectives, don’t I need those? I sulk and then procrastinate. Then I edit some more. Eventually, it goes to a professional editor before coming back to me. We send it back and forth like a game of pong, only less fun, until the publisher is happy. Some months down the road a check shows up in my mailbox or I get some free copies or both. And there you have it. The guide to being a very poor professional writer.

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Well, there you go, kiddies. That’s how the magic happens, from its origins in imagination station to publication. If you feel enlightened and/or educated, I have succeeded. If you feel slightly traumatized, I have succeeded better than I could have possibly imagined. If you have any other questions about the writing process or need help with yours, feel free to look me up on social media or chat with me at a convention or booksigning.

In the meantime, check out my newest release, a Pro Se Digital Single Shot entitled “The Savior of Istara”, another standalone tale from The Cycle of Ages Saga. It’s only 99 CENTS on Kindle and Smashwords. Click the picture below to purchase it through Amazon.

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As part of this Writing Process Blog Tour, I am supposed to tag three more people with this blog and provide links to their material. Coming up on this blog tour, you can look forward to the following authors:

HC Playa:

HC Playa

HC Playa is a writer, a mad scientist in training (translation: full –time graduate student), a mother of three, and an animal wrangler. Although, some days she wonders if maybe she’s the one being wrangled.
An avid reader since the precocious age of four, she devoured books from numerous genres, but science fiction and fantasy hold a special place in her heart. A rambling, late night phone conversation with her sister sparked an idea, which led to discovering a new passion. Bitten by the writing bug, at last count she had seven novels in various stages of completion, and a growing collection of short stories.

Her favorite activity is to play in fantastical worlds, as it’s the best adventure there is.

https://www.facebook.com/HCPlaya
https://hcplaya.wordpress.com/

John McColley:

John McColley

John A. McColley lives in a vortex of worlds, characters, machines and language, constantly dragging images and forms out of the storm onto canvas, paper or computer screen to share them with others and give them new life. When not wrestling with words, he cranks dials and makes sparks at his local hackerspaces and searches the wilds of New England for semi-precious stones with his wife and son. His work is currently available in Crossed Genres’ first issue of the year, various anthologies, including the first Capes and Clockwork, and at Mad Scientist Journal.

John has an author page of Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/John-A-McColley/105420682981117 a twitter account @JohnAMcColley and a blog http://johnamccolley.wordpress.com/ that he’d love for you to visit.

J.H. Fleming

JH Fleming

J. H. Fleming is the author of the upcoming Lifting the Veil: Tales of Discovery and Magic. Her work has been published by Visionary Tongue Magazine, Evil Girlfriend Media, Mocha Memoirs Press, and Seventh Star Press. She writes fantasy that isn’t afraid venture into the shadows. When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her with her nose in a book, or possibly playing a video game or watching anime. J. H. lives in Arkansas with a Yorkie, a cat, two turtles, and her Asian American friend with a voice to rival an anime character’s.

http://www.someplacetobeflying.com/apps/blog/someplacetobeflying.com