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All posts for the month February, 2013

Author Interview: Studio Dongo

Published February 28, 2013 by jnaomiay

Today, I am chatting with Studio Dongo (not his real name) about his book, The Kugler Dynasty (Danglers).  I’m not going to try to say that again as there are simply too many D’s in those words.  I also have a piece of coffee flavored toffee in my mouth, so everything is all coming out unpronounceable.  I’d like to ask Mr. Dongo why he has chosen the name Studio Dongo when he could have named himself something much simpler such as Mike.  Mr. Dongo is shaking his head beneath his cloak of anonymity refusing to respond.  Therefore, we shall just go forth with our structured interview and allow him to answer the questions that he is comfortable with.

Naomi:  Let’s start with just a brief synopsis of your book.  In 20 words or less, tell me what it is about.

SD: The Kugler Dynasty is the techno-thriller prequel to a science fiction series about the colonization of the ocean.

Naomi:  That’s fine, Mr. Dongo.  You made it within the limit.  Would you prefer to be addressed as Studio?

SD:  SD works.

Naomi:  It does, but it is also reminiscent of STD.  You wouldn’t want our readers to infer anything from that, would you?

SD:  Uh…no, I guess not.

Naomi:  For the sake of expediency, I will continue to refer to you as SD but all readers are advised not to interpret Mr. Dongo’s initials in any other way.  Back to your book, who is your favorite character and why?  Since you successfully passed the word count test in the first question, you are now allowed to be as prolific as you wish in your responses.

SD:  Thanks.  I love my medical researcher Dr. Lila Worth.  She gets pushed around in the beginning of the story because she is even more trusting than she is brilliant.  But you can’t push a girl around forever as her colleagues eventually discover.

Naomi:  If Dr. Worth called you up tomorrow and said, “Hey, let’s go do something.”  What and where would you go with her assuming you did PUSH her in any direction?

SD:  Some place with lots of witnesses and (ideally) a lot of cops on patrol.  Dr. Worth is very upset and unpredictable at the moment, and she has good reason to be mad at me.

Naomi:  Well, I can certainly see why since you are PUSHING her.  What’s the hardest part about writing your book?

SD:  Making bad things happen to good people.

Naomi:  I don’t find that difficult at all.  It’s all the good things that happen to bad people that frustrates me.  Oh damn, I’m getting political again.  Never mind.  I’ll eat another toffee and shut my mouth.  What’s the easiest part about writing your book?

SD:  Definitely the spaces.  Choosing the words has always been hard, but I find putting the spaces between them happens almost automatically.  I think it had something to do with that typing class I took in high school.

Naomi:  I am simply left speechless by either that comment or this toffee.  Spaces.  (Naomi shudders).  If you had to pick one object to represent your story and one color to paint it in, what would it be and why?

SD:  The best symbol for my book is definitely a rainbow-colored unicorn.  I say this because I know several people who cannot help themselves when given the opportunity to purchase rainbow-colored unicorns, and I would like for them to buy my book.

Naomi:  Now you are getting political.  Shall we put rose colored glasses on the unicorn, as well?  Do you do anything else besides write and if so what is it?

SD:  After writing, I think I spend most of my time dreading juice.  My wife is on this new dietary kick that requires her to do a lot of juicing, and somehow I got caught up in it.  As it happens, I don’t care for these crazy juices (especially the ones with beets–blech!)

Naomi:  So, to reiterate, you sit around all day worrying about drinking juice and celebrating the magic white spaces that appear in your text?

SD:  Yeah.  You have a problem with that?

Naomi:  Now, I understand why you named yourself Dongo.  What’s the ugliest thing in your closet?

SD:  A collection of rainbow-colored unicorns.  What can I say?  My wife is a pushover for that crap.

Naomi:  It could have something to do with living with you.  I imagine, she is well medicated.  What’s in the bottom of your purse, backpack, attaché or whatever you carry?

SD:  I don’t carry anything like a backpack, but I do drive a pickup.

Naomi:  With a gun rack?

SD:  Yeah.  You got a problem with that too?

Naomi:  Not at all.  I have one on both my Prius and my Lexus.  Back to your pickup though.

SD:  My junk ends up on the floor.  I guess the floor is mainly studded with peppermints and rusty pennies that have fallen off the dashboard.  I could clean it up, but I think stale candy and tetanus-laden pennies are great for keeping children occupied whenever I have to taxi kids around.

Naomi:  Name one character in your book that reminds you of a real person and tell us who it is and how they are similar.

SD:  Christian the pickpocket reminds me of Marcel Marceau because he is mute.  Of course, in Christian’s case, it was because Ron forced him to bite his own tongue off, but the similarities are otherwise uncanny.

Naomi:  Does he do that box thing?  What’s your favorite game?  Would your favorite character play it and be any good at it?

SD:  My favorite game is definitely contract bridge, and Lila Worth would be excellent at it if she took the time to learn.  However, she lacks both the time and the inclination to play games of any kind.

Naomi:  Contract bridge is not a game as you well know.  It is a serious application of analytical thinking that requires diligence and fortitude as well as deep concentration for the purpose of acquiring the ultimate prize, MASTERS POINTS.  Did you ever wonder if you were a little crazy for writing fantasy/fiction?

SD:  No.  But thanks for creating a sudden nagging doubt.

Naomi:  I didn’t create the doubt.  It has been there all along, falsely cloaked by your odd pen name.  Do your friends ever wonder the same thing?  I am asking this though I am entirely certain that they do.

SD:  My imaginary friends you mean?  The ones you just created by asking me whether I’m going crazy?  I’m not sure what they’ve wondered about me.  They’re all talking at once.  Gah!  Help!

Naomi:  Well, tell them to shut up and deal.  Now, which conventions do you play, strong or weak 2’s?

While we are setting up the card table, you can find out more about Studio Dongo and his book at the following links:

 Kindle:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009S1ULK6

Paperback:

https://www.createspace.com/4036895

Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/246735

kugler

Radio Interview:

http://ktep.org/post/state-arts-author-mike-davis

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Urgent Board Meeting Today!

Published February 25, 2013 by jnaomiay

Today, I’ve had to convene an emergency meeting.  Everyone is assembled in my private meeting room on the top floor of the ever so swanky SdK Tower.

Thad:  Are we ready, Naomi?

Naomi:  Yes, dear.  Go ahead and get everyone’s attention.

Thad raps the highly polished Brazilian Mahogany table with his gavel.

Naomi:  That’s enough, Thad.  You don’t need to put a hole in it.

Thad:  Sorry, Naomi.  Hey, everybody, can we come to order?  We’ve got some urgent business to discuss.

Katie:  Tell him to put out that cigarette.  I can’t stand all this second hand smoke blowing in my face.

Jerry:  Um, Ron?  You know, you’re not allowed to smoke indoors in this state?

Senya:  Fuck off, Jerry.

Jerry:  Hey!  I was only trying to help.

Katie:  Leave Jerry alone.  Naomi!  Will you do something about him?

Naomi:  No.  He can do whatever he wants.  He is the only reason the rest of you are employed.  Now, Thad, let’s discuss why we are here today.

Senya smirks.  Katie picks at her cuticles.  Thad clears his throat.

Thad:  It has come to our attention that all of the books produced are seriously deficient in commas.

Berkan:  Are you serious?  All of them?

Thad:  Unfortunately.

Berkan:  What about mine?  The paperbacks?  The expanded distribution?  The ones released through Smashwords?

Thad:  Everything, Berk.  We’re going to have to do a major recall.

Berkan: Ah, crap.

Jerry:  What about other punctuation marks?  Are we deficient there too?

Thad looks at his report, shuffling through the pages.

Thad:  No.  We’re good on overall word count.  Periods are fine.  We’ve got enough exclamation points and question marks.  Quotes are okay.  It looks to me like it’s just commas.  We’ve had some issues with dropping articles before nouns, but Naomi and I are dealing with that already.

Katie:  So cut to the chase.  What are we doing about it?

Thad:  I suggested, we have Naomi write in another Red Shirt.  We can say he’s stolen the Empire’s entire supply of commas, and then we can have Ron kill him in order to get them back.

Senya:  That’s okay with me.

Naomi:  No!  We deliver a quality product here.  I won’t have our books deficient in anything.  We’re going to add commas wherever they are needed and then we’re going to reissue each addition.

Katie:  All 19 of them?  I can’t.  Luci and I have spa appointments scheduled for this afternoon.  We’re having facials and seaweed wraps.

Senya:  It won’t help.

Katie: (hissing)  Dickhead.

Naomi:  Stop it!  Everybody is going to work on this.  I want commas everywhere as quickly as possible.  What’s the schedule, Thad?

Thad:  Book 8, The Choice has just been repaired and is uploading now.  Book 5, The Days of the Golden Moons was repaired on Friday and has already been reissued.  Um, Naomi?  Do you want to talk about Book 7, Metamorphosis?

Naomi:  Yes, thank you, Thad.  Katie, sit back down right now.  This concerns you.  In addition to the negligent lack of commas in Metamorphosis, the book has garnered a poor rating.  It is the first and only book of ours to do so.

Katie:  What?

Jerry:  That’s because you killed Caroline.  Everybody loved Caroline.

Katie:  No, it’s because we brought in your geek, twin, dickhead, cousin, Michael Silverman.

Senya:  (breathing out a cloud of smoke)  Naomi, may I kill her?

Naomi:  Stop it!  You are all turning me gray.  The reviewers say it’s because of you, Katie.

Katie:  Me?  Seriously?

Naomi:  Unfortunately, you’ve grown a bit tiresome.

Senya:  Did I not say that a long time ago?

Katie:  Shut up!  That was a difficult time for me.  None of you understand what it’s like being a woman my age.

Jerry:  Thank God.

Naomi:  Regardless, there is something inherently lacking in Metamorphosis and I want to get to the bottom of this and figure it out.  We may need to do a complete rewrite.

Katie: No!  I can’t.  Wait.  Would I get overtime pay?

Naomi:  We’ll see.  Was there anything else on the agenda, Thad?

Thad:  Nope.  I think that’s it.  We do need to make all of the customers aware that if they want, they can request an updated version of each book directly from Amazon.  We won’t even charge them more for the extra commas.

Naomi:  Thanks, Thad.  One more thing while you are speaking to the customers, remind everyone that The Boy who Lit up the Sky is still on sale for only 99 cents and it has all the commas it needs.

cover

Test Drive: Grammarly

Published February 22, 2013 by jnaomiay

I’ve had the pleasure of test driving Grammarly this week and just wanted to share my results with you.  Though my lovely and extraordinary editrix, Rebecca goes through every manuscript with a fine tooth comb and though I personally read each one about 4000 times before release, some nasty little errors still worm their way through.  I was hoping that Grammarly would be helpful in catching these bugs, and I have to say, it did.

I test drove Grammarly by downloading it as a Word App, so it’s automatically installed whenever I pulled up Word.  I used it on a blog post for Tag Team in Space last night, which was about 700 words.  As far as I can tell now, it has cleaned up everything including those little nasties that I find right after I post.  Afterward, I spun it through Book 3 of The Two Moons of Rehnor, Of Blood & Angels,bk3cover all 70,000 words.  Grammarly took nearly 5 hours to crunch through with me editing and correcting interactively as it went.  I’m glad to see that the manuscript wasn’t a real mess.  Overall, it found about 5 genuine bad words.  However, it was all over me with commas which are the bane of my existence.  I prefer to avoid them whenever possible but with Grammarly putting them in the right places, commas and I just might come to terms.

One other feature of Grammarly that I particularly enjoy is the interactive thesaurus.  You can specify your writing style, and as you type, it will make word suggestions if you are becoming too redundant or would like your prose enhanced.

In general, I would recommend Grammarly for those with an awesome editrix like Rebecca and those without.  If you don’t use Word, you can copy and paste your content online.  You can find Grammarly online at www.grammarly.com.  For disclosure purposes, I am not being paid to say all this.

Now, I’m 300 words into this blog post.  Do you see any errors?  I don’t.

Tag Team in Space returns with Episode 26 – Enough Waiting Already!

Published February 21, 2013 by jnaomiay

ttis

Katie

“Alright, you guys, I’m tired of waiting.”  I looked at my Spaceforce chronograph display.  “Sheesh, we’ve been sitting here for more than a month!”  Jerry pushed his glasses up his nose and coughed awkwardly while Derrick smiled with a patronizing expression.

“I’m good here,” he said.  “Good coffee, good raisin rolls.  If you had been down in the conduits like we had, you’d be happy to be sitting around for a few minutes too.”

“Fair enough.  Are you rested now?”

“No,” Derrick smiled, “I think I need some time in bed.  Interested, Ensign?”

“Hey!”  Jerry jumped up and poked his finger in Derrick’s chest.  “Ensign Golden is on duty and so are you.  What happened to saving the Earth, hot shot?”

“I can do that too,” Derrick replied swiping Jerry’s hand away.  “Hot shot.  I can multi-task.  Can you, Doc?”

“Yeah, I can multi-task.”  Jerry’s voice grew louder.  “I can save your worthless ass and chew gum at the same time.”

“What?” Derrick said.

“What?  This is ridiculous,” I sighed, now rising to my feet.  “I’m out of here.  You boys can stand here for another month and fight about whose got more testosterone but I’m going to find a way to lure that trader up into the daylight and get the chip back.”  I put my cup and napkin in the recycling bin and then headed out into the terminal knowing those guys, like puppies, would soon follow.  It was just before midnight and the terminal lights had dimmed somewhat.  Only a few tired looking people wandered about as no commercial ships arrived or departed until the next morning.  Overhead, the glass ceiling displayed the vast expanse of stars, Planet Earth, the largest light among them.  I stood watching Earth for a moment, trying to block out of my mind the ramifications of her destruction and instead, concentrated on the fragments of a plan that I had been putting together in my mind.  I needed a woman who would attract the trader.  It would be a nasty job, but Spaceforce had made certain I had plenty of money to pay her well.

“Marla, I love Marla,” an off-key voice sang from the doorway of the bar down the terminal.  “Marla, oh Marla, I love you truly!”

Marla.  The triple-breasted Andorian stripper was displayed prominently on the signage right outside.  Her last show had been at 2300.  Maybe, I could catch her before she went home for the night.

“Excuse me,” I said to the drunken Martian that was serenading the absent Marla.  He turned his enormous eyes on me for a moment, a giant tear leaking from one of them.

“I love Marla,” he told me.  “But she doesn’t even know I exist.  I’m just another big headed Martian in the audience, another Bill at the bar.”

“I’m sorry to hear that, Bill.

“I’m not Bill.  I’m like a Bill.”

“You’re like a drunk.”

“Yeah, I’m that too,” he laughed sloppily, his big head swaying back and forth.  “But what else have I got in this life?  Without Marla, I’m nothing.  I might as well just go home and crawl back down my hole.”

“Listen, Bill,” I started again.

“I’m not Bill.  I’m Fogweet.”

“Listen, Fogweet,” I tried a third time.  “I need to talk to Marla.  Do you know when Marla comes out?  I’ve got a job for her.  Do you think she might be interested in making some money?”  Suddenly, his big head lit up the dark terminal like a beacon.

“Yes,” he cried.  “I can give her money.  Every Andorian loves that stuff.  Can I do the job instead?  I’ll keep the money and then give it to her.  She’ll be so happy, she’ll marry me right away.”

I wasn’t sure I could trust this Fogweet.  On the other hand, we had wasted too much time already.  I really had to get that Rogarian trader up here now.  “Can you go down to the conduits?” I asked.  “I need you to coax that trader up here.”  I waved a bunch of bills in front of his head.

“Oh sure,” Fogweet scoffed.  “I can do that.”  He stood up and swayed on his feet.  He started wobbling to the lift bay.  “I can bring him up here, no problem at all.”

“What are you going to tell him?  How are you going to get him to agree to it?”  I followed him to the lift.

“Easy,” Fogweet replied pushing the button.  “I’ll just tell him, I’ve got his dinner all ready.”

“Okay.”  Food was an incentive I hadn’t considered as I wasn’t sure what Rogarians ate.  “What have you got for him?”

“I have the Rogarian’s favorite meal.”  Fogweet smiled as he entered the lift and shut the door.  “There’s no way he will resist a fresh human girl.”

 

New Release: The Choice (The Two Moons of Rehnor, Book 8)

Published February 20, 2013 by jnaomiay

Can one man’s death change the course of history?

Combining science fiction & fantasy with elements of mysticism, The Two Moons of Rehnor epic saga continues with The Choice. In Book 8, Tuman is faced with a choice: give up his life for a seemingly random group of people or continue to live as a humble farmer knowing he could have freed an entire race from centuries of slavery. As simple as the choice appears, he is reluctant to die. After all, how could one unimportant man have such an impact on so many and why should he have to be the one to sacrifice?

thechoice

Cool Space Stuff: Siberian Meteor

Published February 18, 2013 by jnaomiay

It has been confirmed that a meteor traveling at 46,000 MPH exploded in the atmosphere over the Chelyabinsk Region of  Siberia on Friday.  The resulting explosion that was said to be equivalent to 20 atomic bombs created a hole in a frozen lake, injured more than 1,000 people, blew out windows in 700 schools and 200 hospitals and damaged over 100,000 homes.

Coincidentally,  Asteroid DA2012 DA14 happened to be passing Spaceship Earth on the same day at only 17,100 miles above our heads.

meteor