Interview with Deanna Fugett, Author of Ending Fear

 

This question will determine your future career as an author:

Yes or No: Pineapples on Pizza?

Yes. There is no other way.

 

So, Deanna, the title of your book, Ending Fear, it’s more than meets the eye, right? How did you come up with it?

The book is about a girl named Fear, and yes, she is afraid. It does have the double meaning of course, so I thought it was a bit clever. Probably not that clever. But I tried.

 

Since this name relates to a character, are you giving us a major spoiler right upfront?

Well, you will have to read the book to find that out because SPOILERS SUCK!

 

Lots of authors go through an agent, then the agent gets them a publisher. You seemed to skip right over that. How did you get so amazing?

No amazingness to behold. I did have two agents interested, but I got the publishing contract offered through a small publisher called Love2ReadLove2Write, so I took that rather than going through an agent. I figured, okay, one is going to take years possibly to get my book published and then they take some of my money, or I can get it published now and keep all my money. The decision was fairly simple. I get how rare my situation is. I can only point to the Big Man Upstairs on that one.

 

Revisions. Those must have happened, right? How different is the final product than the original?

Well, it’s the same story essentially. I haven’t had to do anything drastic like change the plot or alter the storyline. Nor did I have to get rid of any characters or anything like that. But the edits.

OH MAN, those edits. Lots and lots and lots of editing. So while the story has been added to, it’s essentially the same story, just much better fleshed out and worded much better. That took a lot of learning, researching, and effort.

I know you were able to see Ending Fear in its earlier stages as my FASTEST beta reader! (Thanks again for that, BTW) But I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with how it turned out in its polished, final stage. At least I hope you will.

 

Do you have a private office for writing with a bunch of bookshelves and a ladder on wheels? Or do you write somewhere not as cool?

Definitely not as cool. I write mainly at my kitchen table. Yeah. No massive bookshelves and definitely no ladders on wheels. Only in my dreams. Sigh. Now I need to go watch Beauty and the Beast.

 

How much input do you get for the front and back cover? Did you patrol the streets and find some random girl and say “Her, that’s Fear!” and corner her for a picture?

Ha! That’s awesome. Nope. I wish I could have found someone off the streets. Imagine the person’s surprise at being randomly offered the spot on front cover of a book!

My publisher and my cover artist Sara Helwe actually did most of it. But I did get to help with opinions. Mainly, “Yes,” “No,” or “I don’t know” type input.

There was one funny situation where I swear Fear had a little pimple on her face and I kept telling my publisher and cover designer and they couldn’t see it on their copies of the picture. But for some reason when the picture went through Facebook Messenger to me it messed up the pixels enough that there was one spot where she had a “blemish.” Luckily the zit didn’t end up on the front cover. J

 

Amazon’s page is teasing readers with “Book One of the Gliding Lands.” Does this mean Books 2 and 3 (Or 7 for Potter style) are already in the works? (Or have a draft or two done?)

I have the second book done but not polished. The next few months will be devoted to polishing it up. And then, book three will get drafted after (or possibly during) that. I honestly already have about 50 pages done of the third book as well. But the second book needs about 50 more pages, so maybe I should just shove all that third book stuff into the second? Huh? What do you think?

 

Does it feel nice to respond to skeptical Downers with “Yes, I write actual books” as your job?

Hehehe. I see what you did there.

Honestly haven’t run into many Downers who’ve said that to me. Probably because I was a SAHM for so long and didn’t have a job. So now, people are just like, “Oh, you’re writing? That’s so cute!” Yeah…maybe someday we writers will get someone to take us seriously.

 

When you aren’t writing, do you prefer reading books or doing Mensa Brainteasers?

*Looks up Mensa Brainteasers* Oh. Nope. No high-IQ over here.

Book reading is always pretty important to a writer, I’d say. But honestly I prefer having tea with chimps. It’s just more fun all around.

 

Do you regularly do work in an Adult Onesy?

All. The. Time. How did you know? *Checks for hidden cameras around the house.*

 

How does it feel to be doing what you love?

Amazing. Spectacular. Phenomenal. There’s really nothing better.

They say once you start getting paid for doing what you love it loses its magic. I just don’t see that happening with writing. It’s something once you start becomes a huge part of who you are. To stop now would be like ripping a giant piece out of my heart. And that would sting. Quite a bit.

 

Thanks for the interview, it was so awesome to be a part of your blog! Truly appreciate you giving me the opportunity.

Be sure to pick up your copy of Ending Fear on July 18th on Amazon! https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073G8Y5MZ/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

How a Business Book Applies to Writing

Recently, I read The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann. And even though it’s a tool hijacked by Amway recruiters,  it has some solid principles of good business strategies that I’ve always personally stood by. But what about the writing itself? Not so great. While it’s a world I don’t plan on entering, it got me to think about writing, and how if you want to use writing as a business (aka, make money with it) some of the ideas translate well to quality writing.

They have 5 laws of “Stratospheric Success”, which I’ll draw from to make “The Laws of Stratospheric Novel Writing”(No aliens required). To keep it simple, I’ll only use three. And like many laws, you break it, you buy it.

  1. Be authentic

As easy as this sounds, it’s one a lot of people have a hard time following. As a youngling, I was one of them. I remember writing stories growing up and being obsessed with the Flesch reading ease test and the grading level it gave in Word. But since this isn’t actual people, but a program (and an old one at the time), it’s not like it could actually read or interpret my words. So how do they do it? With MATH!

206.835 – (1.015 x Average words per sentence) – (84.6 x Average syllables per word) = Readability Ease

And for grade level,

0.39 x Average words per sentence +11.8 x Average syllables per word -15.59

So obvious, how could I miss it? 206.835, of course! Using MATH to figure out if words make sense! I wonder if the reverse is true…?

0x =   Sox Wow! It is!

And trying to adjust my writing to increase my grade level to make me feel smarter did no favors to the writing. Phrases like “As soon as he had a grand enough inferno initiated” for starting a campfire doesn’t do much good for he, the fire, or the reader.

This is often the case when authors try to write to please someone else. And whether that someone else is your friends, publishers, or an imaginary audience, changing to try to fit someone else’s ideals usually means lower quality for everyone. And if you don’t believe me, agent Chip MacGregor touched up on this in a recent blog post.

2. Take constructive criticism

This is mostly for trying to get your work published, since if you’re writing for fun or for yourself, who cares what anyone else says? Giant pizza-cats planning to turn the universe into a litter box from within the sun’s core? Sure.

But for query letters, competitions, and the like, if you want someone to look at it and they have an idea to improve it, it could be for the best. Of course, some people will find problems in everything, even Jack Black’s best song in the world. So when that happens, look back at number 1; are they trying to change the story to something that’s no longer yours? You might be better off ignoring it. But if they genuinely want to help you make your story better, keep the advice in mind.

3. Read!

While it’s true that a solid way to get better at your own writing is to read, there’s another reason for that. You want people to read your work, right? Other people want the same! Wow! What a coincidence!

Reading is in essence giving back to the community. Like taxes. Or something good that’s the same thing. Tom’s shoes maybe? No, more like stuffed gorillas.

Reading other authors helps in a lot of ways. It helps them feel valued. Or get a bigger paycheck. But it also helps you. You can get positive inspiration–things that you’ll want to add to your own writing–or negative inspiration–things you definitely don’t want in your own writing–that will improve your writing either way. Plus it can give your Netflix queue a break.

And always remember, vigilantes break the laws for the greater good!

Batmen Towing Logo

Unbeatable Towing You Need And Deserve

I came across this little gem at work. It’s a real site, but unfortunately, not so much creativity for the pages themselves. I could fix that for them. But if anyone needs towing in Riverside, CA, come here.

At Batmen Towing Inc, We’re Always Watching

Batmen Towing Protection

Whether it’s in the middle of the afternoon or Dark Knight, count on us to rescue your car. We glide over the competition with benefits such as:

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Cat got your vehicle?

If your car was impounded, we’ll keep it protected. We don’t believe in killing cars if you can’t pay, and we we won’t divulge your car’s identity without proper documentation.


Our conviction to service is an immovable object

Unlike some towing companies, we aren’t Two-Face. We’ll never decide your vehicle’s fate on the whims of a coin flip. And we won’t be Jokers when it comes to treating you and your car with respect. We’re careful not to add any Dents to your car and can take you to an honest, local mechanic so it doesn’t get a Deathstroke on the way to the repair shop.


Call the batmen first for towing services in Riverside CA

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Tom Loves to Ride

Tom and ________: A Ride to the Park

It was a pleasantly warm day. Sunny, but not hot. Tom loved these kinds of days the most, the kind of day that was too nice to stay indoors.

In fact, it was such a nice day that Tom thought he’d take a stroll to the park. The park! There were swing sets and slides and picnic tables and all kinds of fun. Tom had just made up his mind when he remembered what a drag it was to walk all the way to the park. If only he had a way to get there faster… Continue reading

Video Game Knowledge

Every Important Fact I Need I Learned From Video Games

Video Games can teach you a lot of things about life that you just can’t learn anywhere else. Here are 55 things they have taught me that will stick with me my entire life. Feel free to add anything!

1. If you have over 50% body fat, your lifespan actually increases. You can be sliced, stabbed, kicked, punched, shot, or even walk out of an explosion. Obesity saves lives.

2. If you get shot, simply hide behind a wall for about 10 seconds and you can go about your life as if nothing happened. Feel free to repeat as often as necessary.

3. If injured, merely touch the first aid kit and be healed! No procedure or contents required!

4. Your lifelong friends will betray you for money eventually. Just give it time.

5. Thugs paid to work for a villainous cause are undeterred. They will even chase after you if the building they are in is rigged to explode in seconds.

6. Only people on your side can ever change their mind about their beliefs. A little bit of cash can bring out the devil.

7. The 1998 Lions will beat the Broncos every time.

8. John Elway can repeatedly run 100 yards and make a touchdown.

9. Beware of the mastermind. They may look old and feeble, but sitting in their chair all day makes them more formidable hand to hand fighters than a black belt.

10. The more you hurt someone, the faster, stronger, and more versatile they become.

11. There is always room on your body to carry another gun.

12. The clone of you is always more powerful in every way.

13. If someone throws a red turtle shell at you, turn a corner immediately!

14. Eating food cures injuries. This includes bullet wounds, broken bones, and anything that doesn’t kill you.

15. Certain birds have feathers that can bring someone back to life.

16. There is, in fact, a mushroom that can make you triple in size immediately.

17. Magazines are negligible when loading guns. Only the amount of bullets matter.

18. Untrained tweens can destroy a tyrannical empire. They learn to fight along the way.

19. The military always screws over their best men to make them even tougher… And they always seek vengeance.

20. A one-winged airplane can be fixed midflight by touching a hologram.

21. If you jump off of certain objects just the right way and land at just the right place, they will bounce you a thousand feet in the air. You will land unharmed.

22. You can freeze time and assess the situation whenever it feels necessary.

23. There are ancient ruins in every forest.

24. Rattlesnakes love to hide in antiques.

25. It is possible to get a doctorate before becoming a teenager.

26. Children can run through hundreds of monsters and demons unscathed. Adults must fight them off. It sucks to grow up.

27. You can retry unwanted events to make them turn out better at will.

28. If you punch the ground hard enough, you can actually send out a shockwave that can kill everything.

29. Front flips and cartwheels make bullets pass right through you.

30. Ken Griffey Jr. can hit a home run every time as long as he has time to point to the fence.

31. If you hit a golf ball right in the sweet spot as hard as you can, it will start on fire.

32. Anyone who shows you a burn is a liar. Fire doesn’t leave any traces. But it still hurts.

33. 1 in 10 people look exactly the same. They even wear the same clothes.

34. Flight can be attained by attaching a raccoon tail to your butt and running fast, then jumping.

35. Bullets can be found frequently in the corners of warehouses or abandoned office buildings.

36. Wooden boxes always hold valuable objects.

37. You can run twice as fast as normal by stepping on certain floor panels.

39. The more attractive a person, the better they fight.

40. It is easy to sprint in heels and a dress.

41. Men in standard military uniforms are stupid and die from fender benders.

42. The color of a person’s clothes determines what weapon they will carry.

43. A Smith and Wesson Revolver does the equivalent damage of a tank shell.

44. You can tap someone on the shoulder and hide in a box and they’ll never know there was anyone there. Seriously.

45. Dead people’s bodies dissolve into ammunition.

46. A flipped over vehicle always explodes.

47. Gravity can be changed by pulling a lever.

48. All places that conduct research are fitted with a self-destruct module.

49. There is a substance that can heal someone in critical condition or even bring them back to life the moment it enters the bloodstream.

50. Millions of square miles of cities filled with mercenaries and fortresses filled with all manner of rooms can be built in minutes. Too bad roads don’t get repaired that fast.

51. Putting away library books always leads to something good.

52. Everyone speaks English. Even aliens, zombies, nazis, and animals.

53. People will wait an eternity for you to respond to a question without getting impatient.

54. You can keep a 5000-pound dragon in a 10cc red and white ball

55. NEVER attack a chicken

Tom and _________: Best Friends for Never

Tom loved his mama.

Being the only animal in the house, Tom savored every morsel of attention he could snatch. Tom and Mama spent lots of time together. She let him curl up with him at nights. She took him out walking and to the beach. She even let him lick right off of the spoon.

Tom Mama

“Nom nom!”

Tom loved his mama.

But one day, his mama got a call. Rinnnnng rinnnnng! Rinnnnng rinnnnng! Rinnnnng rinnnnng! Tom never did like the ringer. Mama would ignore him when she was on the ringer. She’d push him away when he wanted attention. But he got used to it.

This time was different.

This time, Mama put down the ringer and Tom dashed over and rubbed against her. Puurrrrrrrr! But Mama still ignored him. He tried again. She still didn’t move. Tom hated the ringer! Finally, Tom stood up and stretched his paws up as high as he could and looked at her.

Mama picked him up.

“Tom, Mama just got the call she’s been waiting for! Mama’s going to be a real-live author!” Tom purred proudly. Mama’s persistence paid off! He knew how much this meant for her.

But then Mama looked sad.

“Mama’s gonna have to go away for awhile.” Tom’s ears fell back. “But don’t worry! Mama will make sure someone will come by and keep you company. Mama will be back in no time! You’ll just love auntie!”

The next day, Mama left. “Don’t forget about me!” She called out. As soon as Mama got in that yellow beast, Auntie stepped in the house and closed the door behind her.

Tom didn’t know what to think about Auntie. But when she started making chocolate cake, Tom’s favorite, he thought it wouldn’t be so bad.

He was wrong.

“Oh no, Auntie don’t let no cats in the kitchen! Get!”

Auntie Kitchen

“I said GET!”

Tom was surprised. Mama always let him in the kitchen. That night, Tom slept in the cat bed for the first time in his life.

The next day, Tom thought he would give Auntie another chance. Until they showed up. Auntie had her own friends. And they decided this was their house.

These monsters chased him.

Tom Bites

“Can’t we be friends?”

They bullied him.

Tom Attacked

“That hurts!”

And they wouldn’t let him play.

Tom Tennis

“Wanna play a game?” “Not with YOU!”

Tom didn’t know what to do. This had always been his house, but then these bullies…! It wasn’t fair! Why did he have to be bullied? Why did he have to do whatever they said?

 

Tom Dressup

“Dance in your little costume, DANCE!”

How could they be so mean? Why did they have to be in charge? Tom didn’t know what to do. Mama was gone. He didn’t have any friends.

Tom was lonely.

 

Tom Lonely

“If I could only have some friends…”

The monsters, they liked being in charge. It was fun. Tom didn’t know what it felt like. Was it really as fun as they made it seem? If only he had someone to tease…

That’s when he finally saw a friend.

 

Jerry and Nibbles Milk

“TWO of them?!”

 

 

The only problem?

 

 

No one else could.

 

Jerry and Nibbles (Gone)

“Why hello there… FRIENDS!”

 

Tom and __________

Tom and ___________

Have you ever had an imaginary friend? No? What about someone you know? Probably. These friends are made for many reasons, but we often think of them as being a kid thing.

But what about animals?

Ever see your cat or dog stare at the wall when nothing’s there? Sure, it could be a ghost or a portal to an evil dimension. Or it could be something benign.

If animals are people too, it’s only right that they create these friends just like many of us. Drawing from Tom and Jerry and all their crazy antics I used the comics (yes they have comics too, but then again, what doesn’t?)

Ol’ Tom Cat got into a lot of trouble over the years, didn’t he? Chasing that little turd around trying to get him out of the house once and for. Or maybe, he was never chasing a mouse at all. Maybe, he was chasing something bigger. Maybe, he was chasing… Himself. (!)

Check back for updates! (Probably weekly)

Tom and __________

Aww, isn’t he precious?!

Book Review: The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland by Rebekah Crane (Kindle First November Option)

For those of you with Kindles looking for your freebie this month, I highly recommend The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland by Rebekah Crane. There’s a reason that all the reviews are 5 stars (as of now at least). This review is also posted at Amazon here.

I’ve been reading Kindle First Books since the program started. And poor sad, sad little me, most of the time I’ve been disappointed (Just look at some of my reviews). The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland is by far the best book I’ve read these last few years as a loyal First member. Even the title is a fantastic fit, as weird as it sounds at first glance. I mean, Grover Cleveland? Like the President? The only thing I know about the guy is that he was elected for two non-consecutive terms, and the only reason I know that is because my mom made me eat all my meals on a President placemat so I didn’t spill mac and cheese on her stained cedar. Oh, and he had a different color bow tie in the second picture, and as we all know, bow ties are cool.

The book is written in present tense, which isn’t my favorite, but I give it a pass since it’s in first person. This means tha we learn about what happens with our main character as she experiences it, which I think in this case, was a good choice.

The book takes place almost entirely at some sort of summer camp. But it’s not your run of the mill murder camp run by some guy called Jason, nor is it Space Camp where all those rich kids come back and brag about how they got to build mini rockets and ride that crazy spinning simulator, a marvel us plebians could never comprehend. Actually, they never really say what exactly Camp Padua is, but I’m assuming it’s for troubled teens and/or teens with behavior disorders to share the summer with kids like themselves. Basically, it’s a a story of how these teens go to summer camp and how it changes them; and how they change it in the process. Yet at the same time, it’s NOT basic; it’s both a simply-told story we’ve all heard yet a unique one at the same time. It’s hard to describe. Maybe it’s like the Breakfast Club? That comes up a few times in the book, but I’ve never seen it. Just read this book. Really.

In case you’re not convinced yet, the protagonist is at camp and doesn’t seem to happy about it. I’ll just call her “Main” or some variation. People that read reviews are smart; you’ll pick up on it. Anyway, we open up with Main Squeeze and she seems a bit… Constrained. Odd. When she gets in a bind (or just, exists, I guess) she likes to conjugate French verbs. She tries to keep to herself, stay stuck at nowhere, but come on, this is camp, no way that’s going to happen. Some of the things she dealt with hit close to home, like the apathy she has when she should be feeling SOMETHING when the people around her are, but doesn’t. I thought her journey dealing with that was remarkably accurate. Main Street quickly meets Grover Cleveland, who shares the height but not the girth of the former commander-in-chief. He’s a quirky, outgoing string bean who’s like C-3PO in the asteroid field, knowing the odds to all kinds of random things like being struck by lighting. His name, what he does, maybe it has something to do with the title…? *nudge nudge*

Along with these two, there’s also the tougher than hermetically-sealed glass Cassie, the Blue Christmas Dori who needs to find herself (ha!) and even the well-known star of a popular game show (Or is he?), who all work together to make the camp counselors earn their pay. Now, even though I’m describing them with these quick tidbits, what makes Crane’s writing work so well is that the characters of this book aren’t caricatures scanned from DSM-III, but are shown as actual living, breathing human beings. The dialogue is the best I’ve read in a long, long time. It’s witty at times, simple at others, revealing or concealing depending on the situation. And the conversations and word choice sound like things a reality-based homo sapien might utter periodically.

I think this is a major point Crane wanted to show her readers, that everyone has imperfections, and they manifest themselves in each of us in different ways. For some of us that could be being too cheap to shop at the mall, other times it’s one of these disorders like the kids in this book. And then there’s those of us that are just too gersh dern good at Mario Kart Wii. We all have our problems. That doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with us.

It just means we’re alive.

It’s a good message, but parents, don’t expect it to be told through rainbow puppies on unicorns. There’s some F-bombs, sex jokes, tough problems at home, “adult situations”, you know, Teenagers 101. It’s not sugar-coated, but it’s not intentionally dark where every kid is the next Charles Manson because they somehow each have the single worst American childhood ever of all time. And they don’t just get into crazy, stupid situations, although of course, it’s camp, so… Yeah. Still, I feel like this content was woven in for realism and used artfully instead of for shock value, and that makes a yuge difference.

Of course, as much as I enjoyed the book, there were some… Interesting choices, but it’s still an easy five stars. I didn’t particularly care for the ending, or at least, the very very ending, and there were some times where the Main Idea said or thought things that were sappier than a overflowing spigot on a maple tree, but the otherwise realistic dialogue and strong characters more than made up for these brief moments.

Overall, this is not only easily the best Kindle First book I’ve read, but one of the top ten books I’ve read, and I’ll definitely be looking into more of what Rebekah Crane has to offer.