Tuesday, January 29, 2013

HEIDI'S PICK SIX: Maria Hammarblad

HEIDI'S PICK SIX


Maria Hammarblad

1. Which of your characters is your favorite?
2. Tell me about your travels.

3. Coffee, tea, or milk?
Coffee, definitely. My motto is, "Caffeine is good for you." If I stopped drinking coffee I'd probably fall asleep and nap for a couple of days until I catch up.


4. What else can you do besides write?
I can play the bass and I used to play in a couple of rock bands when I lived in Sweden. It's a lot of fun. Playing with a band takes time though, so I haven't sought out any new "playmates" since I moved to Florida. The dogs listen patiently, so I have a little audience. LOL!


5. Who are you reading right now?
Right now I'm reading the World of Destiny series by Robert Landry. It's about a few survivors struggling to make a new life after the end of the world as we know it. I love discovering new writers!


6. Pop culture or academia?

7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?
It's a scene from my novel Undercover. This is a contemporary novel, not science fiction at all, and the hero is a Russian spy. He faces an impossible choice when he is on a mission together with an overzealous colleague who sets about killing their target's family. Our hero isn't able to save them, and it scars him profoundly. I was pretty happy with the scene once I was done with it, but my editor thought it was too gruesome and it didn't make it to the final version of the novel. She was probably right - if I had a hard time writing it people might not appreciate reading it... I've been thinking of putting it as an "extra" on my website, but I haven't gotten around to it.


8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?
Everywhere. The most mundane situations can trigger my mind to play the "What if" game. "What if a spaceship would land right here, right now. What would all these people do?" "What if the guy over there is really an undercover cop trying to infiltrate a gang?" "Ooooh, an airplane. What if it carries someone with a mysterious package, no wait, a bundle of documents, no... Let's make it secret drawings." "This coffee tastes strange. Hmm, what if it contains something that allows people to control other people's brains." You get the idea; my head is filled with stuff like that all the time.


9. Food you could eat everyday.
10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?
11. What kind of music speaks to you?
12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?

13. Celebrity crush.
Steve Bacic, definitely. He is very cute. ;-)


14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?
15. Do you still watch cartoons?

Originally born in Sweden, Maria Hammarblad moved to Florida late 2008, and today she lives in the Tampa Bay area with her husband Mike and their rescue dogs. Most known for writing science fiction romance, she also writes contemporary novels and award winning screenplays. Besides a number of self published books, she currently has two novels published through Desert Breeze Publishing and three more scheduled for 2013. Her biggest interest besides writing is playing bass.

Find Maria online at these links:

WEBSITE - http://www.hammarblad.com


- http://www.scifiromance.info


- https://www.facebook.com/mariahammarblad


- http://www.twitter.com/mariahammarblad

DESCRIPTION FOR Kidnapped:
It's a late winter night when Patricia Risden heads home in her car, on a road she's driven many times before. She doesn't have a care in the world, that is, until a man appears from nowhere, right in front of her.

The next thing she knows is being a prisoner of the unscrupulous Alliance Commander Travis 152; an intimidating man who demands information and complete cooperation. Travis soon realizes his mistake; Tricia doesn't know anything, and she is incapable of even getting a glass of water from the ship's computer.

Infamous for being a ruthless executioner, conditioned since childhood to feel nothing besides fear and pain, he still deems her harmless, and finds enough pity for the lost young woman to let her out of the cell; a decision that will change both their lives forever.

Buy Kidnapped:


- http://amzn.com/B00825645A

Friday, January 25, 2013

SFFS: Snippet #6 from Atomic Zion

IN HONOR OF MY DAD'S BIRTHDAY TODAY!

Atomic Zion

Delving further into chapter two of my SF Thriller, Atomic Zion, we continue with Marcos Skovasja in Prague.

DESCRIPTION:
Atomic Zion was influenced by my time as the Educational Marketing Director at Frank Lloyd Wright's House on Kentuck Knob and by reading stories from Michael Crichton, Robert Ludlum, James Rollins, and Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.

Back Cover Blurb...

On the night of his 92nd birthday, a former Wright Apprentice is thrown from the fifth floor of the Guggenheim Museum in New York. The only clue to clear his grandson of the murder is a note written in Navajo code which warns "The Bear has awakened."

These four words throw Nick Vanko into the middle of a decades old international cover-up where Wright Apprentices encoded WWII-era secrets about genetic experimentation into their blueprints. In order to stop a being who isn't quite human from unleashing a biological weapon upon the U.S., Nick must find Broadacre City, the fabled utopia designed by Wright, but supposedly never built. Searching by his side are an old Navajo CodeTalker, a woman who sees emotions as colors, and a Mossad agent who is really working for the Russian mafia. But can Vanko trust any of them?
--
SNIPPET #1
SNIPPET #2
SNIPPET #3
SNIPPET #4
SNIPPET #5
--
SNIPPET #6:
His eyes scanned the same fading graffiti it did everyday on the looming walls--messages of rebellion and dissatisfaction and stenciled images of Kafka signed with secret names only other vandals recognized.

The street took a bend to the right where stone and brick giants pressed toward one another, blocking out the sky as they watched Marcos pass. The lonesome brewery waited up ahead, crouched between an abandoned rectory and the end of the city.

Fermenting hops permeated the air the closer he drew.

Shadows, fragmented into every hue of grey, dappled the brewery door.

Operational for nearly one hundred fifty years, Plivek's Brewery showed an evolution of style evident among its hodgepodge pieces. Part of it pretended to be a castle with two asymmetrical rounded towers capped in terra cotta and eroding copper finials in the form of flying beasts. Marcos' boss told him this stuccoed addition came early during the present century, while the main section with its weathered wood rubbed black with preserving oil retained the long eaves and vertical lines of architecture dating well beyond the brewery's occupation.

Yet even in that small time, Plivek's, like Prague itself, had survived many occupiers, including the Soviets. Now if only he and other Czechs could survive the mafia and men like his boss, Dmitri Crenov, who were part of a new wave of Russian oppressors rising out of the rubble of Communism.

--
Find other wonderful snippets at Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

EVENT: Arznstigation Days (Heidi and Mike in Photos)

EVENTS and PHOTOS


I'm an Arnzstigator, an instigator inspired by author Michael A. Arznen and supporter of his kickstarter project--The Fridge of the Damned Poetry Magnets.

Mike's project has already been funded, but his supporters are trying to help him reach that stretch level of $2700 so everyone can have really cool Gorletized tins for those great magnets. We only have until Thursday, January 31, so to persuade you to participate, the pack at Raw Dog Screaming Press is posting things which inspire them about Mike and his work. I've decided to post every good photo I can find that Mike and I have taken together since I met him in January 2005 at Seton Hill University.

For other great Arnzstigations, check out the RDSP blog - http://raw-dog.livejournal.com/250353.html










Tuesday, January 22, 2013

COVER: A Miracle of Rare Design by Mike Resnick

COVERS


The best way to learn about an alien species is not only to live among them, but to become them in both physical form and function, but could a human really learn to think like an alien, and at what cost to his humanity?

A Miracle of Rare Design by Mike Resnick

Anthropological Science Fiction coming from Dog Star Books in Summer 2013

Cover Art by Bradley Sharp

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Meme: The 777 Meme - Atomic Zion

MEMES

I just got tagged in The 777 Meme, which is very much like the Lucky 7 meme from last year. Thanks to Querus Abuttu for tagging me.

THE RULES:
1. Go to page 77 of your current ms.
2. Go to sentence 7.
3. Copy and post the next 7 sentences as they’re written. No cheating.
4. Tag 7 other writers.


Here's an excerpt from ATOMIC ZION, the thriller I'm revising. In this scene, Evie has a synesthetic episode where she sees Nick's emotions as colors as he visits his dying mother.
--
Her knees buckled and she pitched forward.

Grabbing the door jamb for support, she lost all sense of time and place. A surprising calmness came over her as she concentrated on the beauty of the scene. If she thought she knew Nicholas Vanko from the bits of emotions she gathered from him over the past few months, this reminded her why she fell in love with him.

But this would be one moment she couldn't ever put down on paper. Just like the final moments with her grandmother, this scene between Nick and his mother didn't need to be sketched—it was now part of Evie.

She wiped away her tears and wanted nothing more than to wipe away Nick's too.
--
DESCRIPTION:
Atomic Zion was influenced by my time as the Educational Marketing Director at Frank Lloyd Wright's House on Kentuck Knob and by reading stories from Michael Crichton, Robert Ludlum, James Rollins, and Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.


Back Cover Blurb...

On the night of his 90th birthday, a former Wright Apprentice is thrown from the fifth floor of the Guggenheim Museum in New York. The only clue to clear his grandson of the murder is a note written in Navajo code which warns "The Bear has awakened."

These four words throw Nick Vanko into the middle of a decades old international cover-up where Wright Apprentices encoded WWII-era secrets about genetic experimentation into their blueprints. In order to stop a being who isn't quite human from unleashing a biological weapon upon the U.S., Nick must find Broadacre City, the fabled utopia designed by Wright, but supposedly never built. Searching by his side are an old Navajo CodeTalker, a woman who sees emotions as colors, and a Mossad agent who is really working for the Russian mafia. But can Vanko trust any of them?
--
TAGGING:
Jason Jack Miller
John Edward Lawson
T. K. Toppin
Deanna Lepsch
JC Cassels
Irene L. Pynn
Barbara Mountjoy

PATHS TO PUBLICATION: Jim Wallace

PATHS TO PUBLICATION

I have been a writer all of my professional life, but it took me many years to get a book I wrote published. For most of my career, I worked in radio news followed by a few years of newspaper reporting before going into public relations. I had many magazine articles published, I filed radio stories with networks in at least three countries, and I even edited a few books for other writers, but getting a book of my own published remained just a dream until a few years ago.

Initially, I wanted to write a novel set in a small town based on my Ohio hometown. That led me to investigate more of the town’s history. In 2007, a local history buff there came out with a book on the town’s history that was poorly written, poorly organized and riddled with errors. I decided I couldn’t let that stand as the definitive history of the community. So I proposed to another local history buff that we work together to write a better book. I would do the writing, and he would supply information from his research and many old photos he had gathered. We would figure out later how to get it published. Although self-publishing was an option, I was fortunate to have a friend tell me about The History Press, a firm based in South Carolina, that was interested in publishing books about local Ohio history. I pitched our book and received not only an enthusiastic response from the commissioning editor but also a contract with a deadline.

Several months later, in the summer of 2010, The Olmsted Story: A Brief History of Olmsted Falls and Olmsted Township, came out. It did well enough to place in Amazon’s top 100 books on Ohio history several times, once as high as #11. A year later, the commissioning editor contacted me again to see if I wanted to write a new book, perhaps something about history in West Virginia, my current home. I proposed the West Virginia Capitol as a subject and got a new contract with a new deadline. In the summer of 2012, A History of the West Virginia Capitol: The House of State came out, and I began a series of book-signing events around the state.

One of those events resulted in my meeting a literary agent. We had a nice chat during which I described a novel I had been writing on and off when writing local history books and life in general did not get in the way. She suggested I get that novel written and get back to her. Thus, years after putting a novel on hold to work on history books, I am working with more incentive than ever to get a different novel finished. I know I can write non-fiction books. I need to find out if I can write a novel.

The History Press has expressed interest in getting another book about local history out of me. But that will have to wait.

--Jim Wallace
January 2013

--

Jim Wallace is senior counsel for public relations at TSG Consulting in Charleston. He was the Charleston Daily Mail's statehouse reporter and news director of WV Public Radio. He was also news director of WWVA / WOVK radio and then public radio's Northern Panhandle Bureau chief.

A History of the West Virginia Capitol: The House of State
Even though the West Virginia Capitol deviated from the design of legendary architect Cass Gilbert, the iconic building is still considered a masterpiece. The full story of the Capitol is filled with twists and turns, from the fortunate fire that burned its predecessor to the tug of war between Wheeling and Charleston for the designation of state capital. Revisit the to-gild-or-not-to-gild debate that raged around the construction of the Capitol's signature crown, which once was in danger of collapsing on itself or toppling in heavy winds. Join Charleston author Jim Wallace for this captivating account of West Virginia's architectural jewel.

"A former statehouse reporter for The Charleston Daily Mail says he wants people to understand the full history of West Virginia's Capitol which was dedicated 80 years ago." --West Virginia Metronews Radio Network


- http://www.amazon.com/History-West-Virginia-Capitol-Landmarks/dp/1609496914

Friday, January 11, 2013

EVENT PHOTOS: Seton Hill WPF Residency January 2013

EVENTS and PHOTOS

Here are photos from the Seton Hill University Writing Popular Fiction (WPF) January 2013 Residency. The keynote speaker was Kevin Hearne, New York Times Bestselling author of the Iron Druid Chronicles.

Kevin Hearne and Heidi Ruby Miller

ORIENTATION

Jason Jack Miller and Timons Esaias (hiding)

Heidi Ruby Miller and Victoria Thompson - Scarf Twins!

WINE SOCIAL

Kate Martin, Sara Lyon, Troy Bucher, Tom Connair, and Danielle Hinesly

Heidi Ruby Miller and Jason Jack Miller

Charles Buechele, Anne Harris, Jeremy, and Penny Thomas

Jacki King and Heidi Ruby Miller

Heidi Ruby Miller signing The Writer for Penny Thomas

Lee Allen Howard and Jason Jack Miller

Jacki King and Heidi Ruby Miller - Boot Twins!

Anna La Voie, Jo Crow, Jason Krenkel, Catherine Oswald, Eric Seidl, Troy Bucher, Symantha Reagor

Jacki King and Lee Allen Howard

SPEAKER NIGHT

Kevin Hearne and Danielle Hinesly

W.D. Prescott and Stephanie Wytovich

Penny Thomas, Stephanie Wytovich, Lana Hechtman Ayers, and Heidi Ruby Miller

Heidi Ruby Miller and Albert Wendland

Friday, January 04, 2013

SFFS: Snippet #5 from Atomic Zion

Atomic Zion

Moving ahead in my SF Thriller, Atomic Zion, we begin chapter two in the present day, and the ticking clock starts. Marcos Skovasja, the main character in this scene, is the nephew of Jakub Skovajsa from chapter one.

DESCRIPTION:
Atomic Zion was influenced by my time as the Educational Marketing Director at Frank Lloyd Wright's House on Kentuck Knob and by reading stories from Michael Crichton, Robert Ludlum, James Rollins, and Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.

Back Cover Blurb...

On the night of his 90th birthday, a former Wright Apprentice is thrown from the fifth floor of the Guggenheim Museum in New York. The only clue to clear his grandson of the murder is a note written in Navajo code which warns "The Bear has awakened."

These four words throw Nick Vanko into the middle of a decades old international cover-up where Wright Apprentices encoded WWII-era secrets about genetic experimentation into their blueprints. In order to stop a being who isn't quite human from unleashing a biological weapon upon the U.S., Nick must find Broadacre City, the fabled utopia designed by Wright, but supposedly never built. Searching by his side are an old Navajo CodeTalker, a woman who sees emotions as colors, and a Mossad agent who is really working for the Russian mafia. But can Vanko trust any of them?
--
SNIPPET #1
SNIPPET #2
SNIPPET #3
SNIPPET #4
--
SNIPPET #5:

PRESENT
June 21
3:40 AM GMT
Prague, Czech Republic


Marcos Skovajsa threw his cigarette butt into the gutter, relishing the last tang of nicotine swirling around his mouth. The glowing remains bounced off a dead rat lodged between the wall and a drain pipe and landed on a sun-bleached candy wrapper. He looked down the sleeping street.

Overhanging electric lamps striped the macadam. One shone down on the stoop of his apartment building, almost directly, so even his small frame made no real shadow on the sidewalk. That's why his wife wanted to live here. Of all the crumbling, crime-infested buildings they could afford in the great city of Prague, she felt safest here because it was never dark, not during the day when the sun shone right through their threadbare curtains and interrupted his sleep and not—he glanced toward the heavens—under the murkiest night sky.

It was nearly a morning sky now. In a couple of hours the sun would burn through those clouds and waken the city. He pulled the pack of Petras from his jeans' pocket, but spying only two more cigarettes inside the plastic-covered cardboard, decided against another smoke.
--
Find other wonderful snippets at Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday!

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

THOUGHTS: Peter Jackson in 2013

THOUGHTS

Happy 2013!

I'm starting the new year off with a tradition that writer Michael Arnzen shared with several of us from Seton Hill going into 2012--focus words instead of resolutions. Pictureless Books also talks about bringing in the new year with focus words.

Last year I chose Write First and it worked better than I could have anticipated. You can read about my early thoughts concerning the Write First concept in a guest post I did at Lee Allen Howard's blog.

My focus words this year began as Next Level, which my writer husband, Jason Jack Miller, and I discussed at length. It was such a huge concept that we shared it with our friends John Edward Lawson and Jennifer Barnes of Raw Dog Screaming Press to use as a motto for the entire RDSP community.

That being a group focus, we needed a new set of words. Jason chose Health and Zen.

I chose...Peter Jackson.


My reawakening to Jackson and his work on the LotR films began as one would imagine...with a Hobbit that lived in a hole in the ground. It was as though I rediscovered a world I had loved when I first read The Hobbit to Jason on a trip to Dolly Sods Wilderness Area in West Virginia in 1995.

As we saw The Hobbit (twice) just before our holiday break, I spent the next week and a half watching all three LotR films (extended DVD versions) and the Appendices. Hearing the commentary and watching interviews from so many people involved with the films changed my perspective about my writing and my process, inspiring me and reassuring me that good stories take time--I'm as slow a writer as I am a reader. And it reinforced an idea I have known in my heart from the first day I attended grad school at Seton Hill--having a strong community supporting you makes all the difference.


One could make a case then that Peter Jackson is only a small part of my inspiration, and though he is an incredible visionary, one would be correct. But I chose his name as my focus words for 2013 because he represents the culmination of a creative idea which began before World War I when J. R. R. Tolkien wanted to create a mythology for his country.

Creating beauty, paying homage, and bringing together a community of artists are just some of the things that the words Peter Jackson mean to me.

I'm ready to create more beauty of my own starting today.