Monday, April 28, 2014

The Cult of Me - Author Interview

One of the great things that come along with getting a book out for the enjoyment of the reading masses is being able to meet so many wonderful folks along the way.  Whether that's meeting them at a show, a book signing, or some where here in the vast and wild pages of social media.

The writing community has always been a supportive one and finding so many people along the same literary journeys really opens your eyes as to the resources out there that are available if you chose.

Recently, I was able to talk a little writing and promote my novel - Welcome to GreenGrass over at the website  - The Cult of Me.  I had a great time and hope you find the time to check it out. 

Here's the link:

The Cult of Me - author interview S.A. Check

Friday, April 25, 2014


Hi all!  Another Saturday is here, which brings us a brand new installment of Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday.  Welcome back and I hope you found a seat up front.  What is SciFiFanSat you ask?  Well, it’s a group of authors who come together every weekend and share writing snippets from some of their published works and works in progress.  Sounds like fun, right?  We’re always looking for fresh voices, so climb aboard and give it a shot with ten to fifteen sentences of one of your own literary treasures.  This week, we’re still following the adventures of Annie from my WIP, STEIN.  Last week her mysterious hero was accidentally shot by a member of her group.  Undeterred, she was determined to bring him back to their home in hopes you will join them.  If you need to catch up, all the previous snippets are posted on my site.  Read on and enjoy!______________________________________________
          Ever since the first day she met him, Mr. Cliff told her never to stray too far away and always know what was going on around her. 
          Still, the giant sunflowers across the street practically pulled Trudy under the fence and into the vacant lot across from the garage.  Her hand brushed over the petals and the sun warmed her cheeks as she dug around the base of one of the flowers.  She would plant it in the exposed dirt in the corner of the garage and already rehearsed her speech to Mr. Cliff on how she would water and take care of “Daffy” every single day. 
          Suddenly, her face grew cold, like someone had turned off the sun.  Looking over her shoulder, the silhouette of a man stood between Trudy and her yellow friend.
          “We just don’t have the room to take in anyone else, Annie.”  Mr. Cliff stood inside the bay door of the ram shackled building with his arms folded across his chest.
          “But we can’t just leave him out here.  Brody, tell him how saved my life.”
          “All I saw was the two of them coming out of the alley after a pack of shoppers just went through,” Brody said.
          Mr. Cliff asked, “So where is this mysterious hero of yours?”
          “Umm…we left him across the street so I could prep you a little before we introduced him.”
          A panic stricken young girl, maybe fifteen, ran up to the group and pulled at Mr. Cliff’s jacket.
          “Has anyone seen Trudy?”

Uh, oh.  This could turn bad.  Thoughts?  I hope you enjoyed the read and, please, leave a comment on your way out.  Feel free to use the 15 items or less lane and thank you for shopping Check-Mart.  See you in seven!           

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

T.K. Toppin and life on The Edge of the Blade

Today's literary sampler brings us the awesome and talented T.K. Toppin, here to share with us some of her prosed prowess! T.K.'s impressive book catalogue includes the popular Jax Marlin series, The Lancaster Rule, The Master Key, and The Eternal Knot, not to mention what's she's got in store for readers coming in 2014. She's an author who crafts her words with a veteran's touch, allowing us access into her fantastic worlds of adventure and fantasy.

T.K., welcome to my blog and I want to hear all about it:
Who are you and what brings you by today?
I’m T.K. Toppin and you extended a gracious invitation to stop by your blog and answer some questions. I write tall tales because I’m a compulsive liar. Don’t worry, I only fib in fiction. I was born in Barbados where I still live with my husband, my odd cat and two dogs.
What drives you to write the kinds of books that you do?
I’m not quite sure. At first, it was because I wanted to write a story that I’d enjoy reading. After reading so many amazing books by writers I admire, it got to a point where I said to myself: I want to do that too. Writing (creating) has always been there, inside me. I just didn’t know how to ‘let it out.’
But now that it’s out, I can’t stop. It’s not completely about writing exciting stories; it’s more about wanting to create them. I love the whole process of when a story comes together, takes shape, get’s fin-tuned, get’s little sprinkles on top. Creating things from scratch and watching it grow organically — that appeals to me.
How would you describe your writing style?
I started out being a staunch plotter. Now, I seem to be incorporating a bit of pantsing as well. It’s like sticking to a script, an itinerary, but at the last minute having unexpected changes, like a flat tyre, a sudden rainstorm that adds a nice spin to the story. I still need my notes; it’s like the light at the end of the tunnel but it’s nice that I’m growing a little more confident about my writing that I can fly by the seat of my pants sometimes.
What are your influences?  Favorite books?
Frank Herbert’s Dune series has always held my attention and always will. There’s something about the incredible world he created. It’s a richly detailed universe, populated by amazing characters, each with their own unique story that compels them to do what they did. Of course, there’s J.R.R. Tolkein — who doesn’t love his series?
C.S. Lewis (my induction into reading fantasy) with the Narnia series when I was seven-ish or so, and I also loved the real-life tales of Laura Ingalls-Wilder and her Little House of the Prairie books. I especially loved and still remember her knack of writing with vivid imagery. How her description of food and scents literally seemed to jump out at you. It’s like Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, rich with detail and characters.
And then there’s Jonathan Stroud and his Bartimaeus trilogy (a particularly impish jinn) who’s books are considered young adult but simple addictive. Other young adults writers are Eoin Colfer and the Artemis Fowl series, J.K. Rowlings Potter books. Yeh…I could go on and on.
Hmm, looking back on what I just wrote, I seem to like a lot of serials.
What songs would be included in the soundtrack of your life?
That’s a hard question. I love music, mostly classic rock from bands like the Rolling Stones, Credence Clearwater Revival, Dr. Hook, Three Dog Night, Queen, ACDC, the Eagles, Grand Funk Railroad, etc. And there’s a whole heap of songs that have influenced me throughout my life. Each song set the time and date in my chronological life. And then there’s all those alternative, instrumental, popular music…okay…all music. I love them all.
If I were to break it down, it all started during my under-10 years and when I kicked the nursery rhyme songs habit — it was “Only Sixteen” by Dr. Hook. It played all the time, any time, everywhere. After that, “Hotel California” by the Eagles. Then there was “Jesse’s Girl” by Rick Springfield, John Mellancamp’s “Jack and Diane” (when he was still known as Cougar), Dire Strait’s “Money for Nothing,” Bruce Springsteen with “Born in the USA”, U2’s “With or Without You” that blared out in 1987 and marked it as my all time fave band. 1988 saw me screeching with Guns and Roses “Sweet Child O Mine” and I discovered metal that morphed into alternative/grunge like Nirvana’s “Never Mind” album that blew my mind with the new sound and style. The 1990s saw me listening to The Flaming Lips, Green Day, Hootie and the Blowfish, Countin’ Crows, The Black Crowes, rock operas like Meatloaf’s “Bat Out Hell” album, and so many more. The new millennia saw New bands emerge and with new edgier sounds, and I have to mention Jet and their “Get Born” album because they are simply awesome. My current favourites, Train, Neon Trees, Pink, Matchbox 20… Well, I can go on and on and on.
Lately, when I write, I stick to instrumentals since they aren’t as distracting and sort of set the mood. My go-to selection for that is Two Steps From Hell. Their music, found in a number of blockbuster movie soundtracks, just has the right sort of tone to write to. Just like there’s questing-music for adventuring, there’s can be called writing-music.
Could you share the best advice you’ve received as an author?  What advice would you share?
Listen, learn, read, re-read, re-read some more, listen, listen, learn. And develop thick skin. Be polite. Be courteous. Be respectful.
Tell us about your latest release!
Released April 18th, #6 in the To Catch A Marlin short story series. Titled The Edge of the Blade, this short continues to follow the lives of my super-sexy vigilante, Jax Marlin and the dogged Inspector Pedroni who pursues her. This short was actually supposed to be #7, but it just didn’t feel quite right to be put so far in the line up. So I bumped it up and made it #6, so that the current #7 which I’m working on fits it better.
Talk about one specific theme in your latest book.
Good versus Evil. Right versus Wrong. All those vibrant gray areas in between.
Can you share a passage?  Of course…here goes:
A year and a half, Jax Marlin was missing. Seventeen months, twenty-three days, to be exact. Christmas 2400 was a mere month away. It was the new century, where many made resolutions or scratched their slate clean to start anew. But like rollover credits on his relay, he’d been chasing Jax for nearly three years and was still no closer to capturing her than he was when the case first landed on his lap. Seven more days and it would be an even eighteen months…

He wasn’t counting, but he wasn’t forgetting either. 

Was that too short? Oops. Sorry. :P
What else can you do besides write?
I’m an artist. My day job is as a graphic designer. But I’m also a fine artist. I draw, paint, do calligraphy. I suppose writing was the ‘next step’ or ‘next phase’ in my creative outlet.  
FAST FIVE QUIZ (in no particular order, meaning, or sense!)
1)      What side of a tree does moss grow on?  North.

2)      If you could, what holiday would you invent? International Procrastination Day. Has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

3)      Do you know another word for thesaurus? Yeah, idiot. Kidding…a synonym. Try saying that when you’re drunk. Sounds like cinnamon. I’m not drunk right now. J

4)      What would you do if you were allergic to Kleenex? Use my sleeve. Or someone else’s. Yerk, I know. But you asked. (Okay, but you and Pippa Jay both gave almost the same answer. Remind not to stand next to you when you sneeze!)

5)      Have you ever wondered what happened to the #1 pencil? It got promoted to the ballpoint pen? You know what, I’ve no idea.

And there you have it! The questions, the answers, and the intrigue! Thanks for playing, T.K. and
the only question from the Fast Five you got right was International Procrastination Day - I've
seen the greeting cards. I'll send you one...tomorrow.

Find out more about T.K. Toppin with the links below and don't forget to check out her latest
release -                  .

Her Blog:
Facebook:  Written by T.K. Toppin      The Lancaster Trilogy
Twitter:  TKToppin
Amazon:  Author Page


Friday, April 18, 2014

Stein #16 - Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday

Wow, I blinked and like three weeks went by.  I’ve missed out on the last few Saturdays but here I am just in time to offer up my own Sci-fi Fantasy Easter Eggs in time for the pending holiday.  Make sure you take a moment and check out all the goodies in the reading basket.  Always brimming with excellent writing snippets!  This week, I’m back with STEIN, one of my current WIP’s.  Chased by hungry zombies, Annie is saved by a mysterious stranger, who seems to have more than a few secrets of his own.  On their way back to Annie’s friends, holed up in a garage nearby, STEIN is mistakenly gunned down by one of Annie’s fellow survivors.  And…we pick up from there.  Enjoy!
          Annie leaned in closer to the large hole in her new friend’s chest.
          “There’s hardly any blood and he shot you right below your heart.”
          Stein pulled the rags wrapped around his chest tighter to cover his wound and pulled himself up to his knees.
          “I’ve shed my share of blood.”  He looked up at Annie’s friend and asked, “Care to point that somewhere else?”
          Brody jerked the barrel of his rifle away and reached down to help his accidental victim up from the pavement.
          “Man, I am so sorry but I thought you were part of the meat patrol the way you’re dressed and…well, look.”
          “I get that a lot.”  Stein looked at Annie and asked, “Are we still going to your base?”
          “You’re bringing him back to the garage?”  Brody grabbed Annie by the shoulder.
          Annie reached down and took Stein by the hand, leading him across the street.
          “He saved my life, okay, so I told him he could come back with us.”
          Brody slung his rifle over his shoulder.  “Oh yeah, he should fit right in.”
Wondering how Stein fits into a group atmosphere?  Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking too.  Thanks for reading and please drop a comment or two in the hat before you go.  They’re always appreciated.  Have a great Easter and see you in seven!!

Monday, April 14, 2014

To Reboot or not to Reboot - it's really no question!

Today, I have the honor and pleasure of having author Pippa Jay sharing some insight, wisdom, and general literary mischief on my site. Sit back, relax, and be entertained. 
Pippa, welcome to my blog and I want to hear all about it:

Who are you and what brings you by today? Hi, I'm Pippa Jay, a girl who writes SciFi and the supernatural. Whovian, Scaper, and Sith-in-training. Come to share my new release with you, I have, hmmm. :P
What drives you to write the kinds of books that you do? Insanity? Lol. I generally blame my muse. She won't shut up once she has an idea, not until I've written it all down.
How would you describe your writing style? Lyrical. I have a tendency to lean toward the poetic, though my editor ensures I don't stray too far into purple prose.
What are your influences?  Favorite books? Mostly a diet of SciFi and fantasy books, films and TV shows since the age of three. These days I generally read and watch SF, usually read SciFi and SciFi romance by my peers, or straight SciFi from authors like Neal Asher and Jaine Fenn.
What songs would be included in the soundtrack of your life? What I've Done (Linkin Park), Sail Away (The Rasmus), Wither (Dream Theater), Don't Stay (Linkin Park), Walking In Circles (Dead By Sunrise), It's Your Night (The Rasmus)
Could you share the best advice you’ve received as an author?  What advice would you share? Actually, the best advice came from one of my favourite films - Commander Quincy Taggart in Galaxy Quest. "Never give up - never surrender!" And that's always the one thing I would tell another author. Also read, write, and research.
Can you talk a little about your writing process? Chaotic is the best description. I don't plot and I don't write linearly. Usually I start with one or more scenes in my head (not even necessarily the opening scene) and get them down. Then I go back and start filling the gaps. Not something that would work for most people but it does for me.
Tell us about your latest release! Reboot is a dystopian cyberpunk short story, although it appears utopian at the start. It's a little like Logan's Run (for those old enough to remember that) crossed with The Matrix. Here's the blurb:

Welcome to immortality in utopia! 
From the moment Damien signed up for a perfect life with ReGen Inc., he didn’t ask any questions. He didn’t want or need to know. But after he's rebooted this time, there are gaps in his memory he can’t ignore, and people he no longer recognizes are accusing him of betrayal. When someone dies, he’s determined to go looking for answers…but sometimes it really is better to forget.
You can find out more at my website here:!reboot/c20an
Talk about one specific theme in your latest book. The idea that something too good to be true will come at a price, and a higher one than most. There is no such thing as a free lunch.
Can you share a passage?
 “Blinds.” The automatics obeyed, drawing gray bar blinds across the windows, but leaving the slots open. He lay on the bed, closed his eyes and went into cybermode. The Wi-Fi connection in his head instantly linked him to the internet, and he accessed Help. Options flickered past him. He selected Tools and went into Diagnostics.

“Can I help you?” The question overlaid the Tools screen, an unexpected popup.

“Er, yes. I rebooted yesterday and everything seems fine, but I’m worried one of my memory files got missed in the process.”

“That’s not possible. Instantaneous memory backup is active 24/7 and saved in three isolated locations to ensure a full copy. All are merged before reload.”

“Well, maybe it got corrupted? Maybe after upload?”

“No. But you can run a full body and memory diagnostic to check. It’ll take half an hour downtime. Is that acceptable?”


“All right. Do you want entertainment while the diagnostics run?”

“Yes, please. Music.”

“Any particular artist or playlist?”

“Cruize, on audio only.”

“Diagnostics running. Enjoy your music.”

Tell us about your book’s cover! The cover was created by Misa Buckley at Scorched Flower from a rough draft I came up with. I had a very strong idea of what I wanted right from the start and went looking for some images. I really liked the intensity of the guy's expression, and I went for the double image because he's a clone. The background Misa chose is spot on - I sent her a few examples of what I had in mind but was open to alternatives.
What else can you do besides write? I can sew, dance, play guitar very badly (that's a real talent, I promise you), sing (also badly according to my family), and look after chickens.
After the last page, what do you want the reader to leave with? A sense of utter futility for our future, bwahahaaa! I have a rather bleak outlook on humanity's future myself. I guess I'd like readers to think about the way our society might be heading and what they could do about it so the future in Reboot isn't one of the possibilities.
What’s next? Well, I signed a contract for two novellas just last month - a scifi romance with cloned succubi-like assassins and a YA paranormal set in Louisiana with teen zombies. I also have a paranormal romance short story coming out in October. For some reason muse went all supernatural toward the end of last year! I also have a decopunk superhero story out on submission, and a super secret project I'm working on to self publish. This year's going to be very busy!
Where do you see the publishing industry heading in the next five years? I see a lot of changes coming fast. I think sales on eBooks have peaked now. I don't think print will die out completely. I could see the Big Five shrinking to Two or Three. The bigger publishers may buy out some of the smaller digital first presses in the hope of continuing their existence. Literary agents will dwindle, but many may adapt by changing what they do.
FAST FIVE QUIZ (in no particular order, meaning, or sense!)

1)      What movie could you watch no matter how many times it’s on? Warm Bodies

2)      What side of a tree does moss grow on? The other side.

3)      What would you do if you were allergic to Kleenex? Use my sleeve, since that's what my kids often do. O.o

4)      Have you ever wondered what happened to the #1 pencil? No.

5)     Can you really read a picture book? You can picture words...

And there you have it! By the way, you got all five of the last questions completely wrong, Pippa! All kidding aside, make sure you check out this fantastic author and ALL of her literary catalogue, to include her newest addition - Reboot! Follow the link at the bottom to find out more:

Pippa Jay - Adventures in Scifi
SciFi and the supernatural with a romantic soul. Double SFR Galaxy Award Winner. Readers Favorite Contest and GCC RWA Silken Sands Star Awards finalist.The Kindle Book Review’s 2013 Best Indie Book Awards semi-finalist.