Conversations Between Writers – Chadwick Ginther


Chadwick Ginther

Chadwick Ginther is the author of the Thunder Road trilogy which concludes with Too Far Gone this week! (Linkies: Thunder Road, Tombstone Blues, Too Far Gone) For more about him check out or follow him on Twitter.

Minerva Zimmerman: Hey! How’s it going? Happy first day of Fall

Chadwick Ginther: Hey Minerva.
Things are going well. Done building my fence, day job is cooling down, and book launch stuff is heating up.  And I love fall. Definitely my favourite season.

MZ: I am drastically behind on all my yard tasks.

CG: I hear that.

Didn’t even plant a vegetable garden this year and I’ve barely kept up.

MZ: I planted tomatoes and artichokes, but the artichokes have to grow a few years

CG: Normally I grow all of the ingredients for making tomato sauce.

This year, I only had to worry about picking the raspberries.

MZ: I keep missing the raspberries, but we have blackberries all over.

I never pick even 10% of them. We made some pies, and started a big thing of blackberry infused whiskey for winter.

CG: OOOH! I love blackberries.

I might plant some bushes next summer.

Blackberries and whiskey, eh? I like the way you garden.

MZ: We have a mild climate, so they just turn into giant hedges everywhere you don’t mow.

CG: Growing season is pretty short in my parts. But I do enjoy having the homegrown stuff come winter.

MZ: We have to finish picking all the apples and get those processed into juice and sauce now.

CG: We made some applesauce from my wife’s grandfather’s tree.

I really shouldn’t use “we” there. My wife made the applesauce. I think I, uh, carried the apples to the car and into the house.

MZ: That counts 🙂

Apples are heavy!

CG: Success!

MZ: I suppose we should probably talk about books

CG: Sure, why not?

I do like books.

MZ: I think we both have books coming out the first week in October.

CG: Yes. Congratulations to you!

MZ: Congratulations to you! This is book 3 for you

CG: It is. Finishing off an urban fantasy trilogy.

Is this your first novel?

MZ: This is my first novel, the first in a trilogy too, but we’re doing a rapid release so book 2 will release in December and then 3 in February. I can’t figure out if this is smart or incredibly insane.

I’ve had a couple novellas out before this, but yes first novel.

CG: My bookseller experience has shown that it *can* work very well, so I’m definitely wishing you luck.

Novellas are a sweet form. I haven’t published one yet, but I enjoyed writing the first one I experimented with.

MZ: I have a weird question for you. It’s about Loki.

CG: Shoot.

Loki lends himself to weird questions.

MZ: So, I’ve also written Loki… so I have to ask you– When did Loki come into your life, and do you think he’s going to leave you alone now that you’ve finished this trilogy?

CG: Serious answer: Loki came into my life the moment I discovered Norse Mythology (thank you, D’Aulaires’ Book of Norse Myths!). I used to identify a lot more with Thor. I grew up small and bookish in a hockey town, so the idea of the giant slayer was definitely appealing, But in growing up I came to identify with the trickster a lot more.

Tricksters drive stories, and pretty much everything interesting in the Norse stories happens because of Loki, so I don’t think being done with the trilogy means I’m necessarily done with Loki.

I sure hope he’s not done with me.

On the less serious side: I have a number of friends that I’m pretty sure are trickster figures that haven’t quite undergone their apotheosis, so even if Loki does find someone else to keep him amused, they’d keep me on my toes.

MZ: There’s a bumpersticker I want to find. It says, “Loki Loves Me – Oh Shit.”

CG: That is a great bumpersticker. I’ve used Loki’s Favour as an advantage/disadvantage in roleplaying games before. You can ask him for help, but you probably don’t want to…

MZ: Why don’t you give a short pitch for the Thunder Road Trilogy so that everyone has a better idea of why I’m asking you this

CG: Sure.

In the Thunder Road Trilogy after being witness to the fire giant Surtur exploding out of his work site, a now unemployed oil worker name Ted Callan gets tattooed with various powers of the Norse gods by a trio of dwarves.

MZ: Tattooed with his permission?

CG: Oh no. He was ambushed by the dwarves shortly after meeting Loki.

MZ: I hate it when I get ambush tattooed

CG: It wasn’t fun for Ted, but I really enjoyed writing the scene.

He’s fun to torture.

Or I’m just a bastard.

MZ: I think that’s an important quality in a character and a writer respectively 🙂

CG: They do go well together.

MZ: it’s not very compelling to read about what a great vacation some great person had

CG: No. I think of how much work I have to do and want to hurl their perfect life through a window.

MZ: So this is book 3, the end of the road so to speak

CG: Yeah. It was a real learning experience having to finish off the story. Give an ending that worked for the character, and hopefully the reader.

First time I’ve had to do it. Until I hit send, wasn’t sure I’d actually get it done.

MZ: I’m finishing up the last bits of Book 3 right now so I feel you. I feel you so much.

there’s a lot of praying.

CG: And swearing.

MZ: and gnashing of teeth, rending of clothes

CG: Yup, all of those things.

MZ: I wish I could drink and write. 🙂 I get too sleepy though.

CG: I’ve tried, and I’m not sure whether it went better or worse than the times I’ve tried drinking and D&D.

I also tend to write best in the mornings, so the optics would be bad.

MZ: I think I’ll stick to my steady intake of watering down the blood in my caffeine system

I am finding that I do some things better in the morning, and some at night. Which is really annoying when I’m coming to crunch time.

CG: I hear you. I need so much tea to wake myself up to write, but that creates its own complications.

I definitely edit better at night. I’m more critical after several hours of having to put up with humanity.

MZ: I find that I’m better at author tasks– like blogs, promotion, email, etc. in the morning, and cleaning up writing I couldn’t get to work in the past.

CG: Crunch time always makes me think of that picture of the creative process. The one that is primarily “Fuck off” and then “All the work while crying” just before the deadline.

MZ: I think my internal monologue just becomes a constant stream of “fuckfuckfuckfuck”

CG: I mostly try to fit the promotion and social media and blogging in on my coffee and lunch breaks, or it eats up too much of my writing time.

Although I’ve definitely felt some social media time bloat into my writing time.

MZ: Trying to balance promotion and writing is even harder than I thought it would be, and I didn’t think it would be easy

CG: Yeah. It still doesn’t feel natural to me. I think it’s the years of bookselling. I love promoting other authors, and giving shoutouts to their work, but have a hard time doing so with mine.

MZ: What are you most going to miss about writing this trilogy and its world?

CG: The hero of the trilogy has a voice that I love to write, and one that I can slide into easily. I’ll definitely miss him. I’ve loved Norse mythology for so long, that it’s going to be weird to step away from it for a while.

MZ: I wonder if it ever feels natural to promote yourself? It doesn’t seem like anyone is really comfortable with it.

CG: I think the folks who feel too natural with promotion are the ones I end up unfollowing on Twitter.

MZ: That is a very accurate statement for me too.

CG: One of the early panels I attended had entirely too many panelists, and only one of them was able to talk about the topic without mentioning what he’d done in his work. He just had interesting things to say. That’s what I’ve tried to emulate whenever I’m at a con.

But I think I’m more used to doing the promo thing, than having it feel natural.

MZ: Yeah, that’s part of why I wanted to do Conversations Between Writers. Cause I’ve always enjoyed talking with other writers when I’m at cons or workshops or retreats.

And writers always talk about the most interesting things… and only some of them have to do with writing.

CG: Yeah, this is a really neat feature you do. I like it.

MZ: I should be better at promoting it 🙂

CG: Ha!

When did you start the Conversations with Authors?

MZ: Uhm… I’d have to look it up, a year or two ago?

About a year I think

CG: So around when we met on Twitter…

MZ: Maybe!

CG: I think we started chatting around 2013?

MZ: Something like that, it had been awhile before World Horror, which was 2014

CG: It was after Jennifer Brozek bought one of my stories.

MZ: Ah ha! That makes sense.

Which anthology was that?

CG: Beast Within 4: Gears & Growls.

MZ: Steampunk weres!

CG: It was cool to meet you at World Horror. One of my favourite things is meeting folks I only know online.

MZ: I was in Oceans Unleashed which was the Aquatic weres for the same publisher

CG: Yeah! I never would’ve written that story if I hadn’t lucked onto her asking for folks to ping her if they were interested.

MZ: I am still sort of amazed she bought mine… I wrote about a were-penguin and were-otter mostly to see if I could

CG: That’s amazing.

I’ve become moderately addicted to otter GIFs.

MZ: Have you seen all the ones that compare pictures of otters to Benedict Cumberbatch?

CG: I went with steampunk werewolves. Which I thought would get me bounced, but my werebat story didn’t pan out.

I have! They’re great! Probably what put otters on my radar as an amazing animal.

That’s kind of sad.

MZ: They are really stinky though.

I was sad I didn’t get to use that fact in my story much.

CG: I hadn’t heard that fact.

So much for my pet otter.

MZ: they are Mustelinae like mink and stuff, they have oily scent glands

Apparently it is really horrible if they take up house under your house.

CG: And with those hands they could get into anything.

They’re the raccoons of the sea.

MZ: they eat a lot of fish, and keep toilet near where they sleep

and rivers! Well, we’re heading toward the end of our appointed time frame. Is there anything you want to make sure we talk about? I mean we can always throw other sea mammals or something on here.

CG: Ha!

We’ve already discussed how we both feel awkward with self promotion, so I’ll dodge that again.

But thanks so much for hosting this. I had fun. Good luck with your book launch!

MZ: Thank you! I hope that you sell tons of the whole trilogy, because people snatch it all up now that it’s completed

CG: Hey, me too! I can spend that money on another trip to the Pacific Northwest!

MZ: Excellent. Maybe we can lure you out here for Norwescon or Orycon.

CG: I’d love to give them a try. I also want to get back for the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival.

MZ: Oh yes, and check out the Portland whiskey festival maybe /steeples fingers

CG: OOH! When is that?

MZ: May!

CG: Sweet.

That might even be doable.

MZ: Excellent

I wish you a great rest of your evening and a happy book launch season 😀

CG: Thanks! Same to you!

Care and Feeding of the Deadline Writer

I’m currently in Deadline Hell and wrote this handy little list of things to keep in mind when you (read: Future Me who is looking in the blog archives for this) need it.

  • Hydrate – I have a glass bottle I know I need to drink two of a day to stay hydrated. Today I’ve only drank 1.5 of them. (Drinks more water)
  • Eat Protein and Complex Carbs – The days of being able to subsist on junk food alone are long behind me. To keep my energy up and my mental focus, I need to eat good lean proteins. Some foods that work for me are: nut butter on whole wheat waffle with fresh berries, laughing cow cheese and triscuits, lowfat cottage cheese and fruit with honey, yogurt and granola, those pre-packaged snack things with nuts dried fruit and cheese or bits of meat, chia pudding parfaits, hummus and a veggie patty in a tortilla.
  • Stretch – This is a big one. Be sure to stretch out your back, hands, shoulders, and neck. To quote Margaret Atwood: Back pain is distracting.
  • Comfortable Clothes – It is hard to stay focused when your pants are trying to kill you. I hated skirts as a kid, but now as I’m pushing four decades on earth I’ve found that you can wear shorts or leggings underneath them for comfort and warmth and it pretty much the most comfortable thing ever. I’m still not sure they have a high enough armor class for all of my adventuring needs… maybe I should get a leather armor skirt. Hmm. Maybe with little chainmail accents…
  • Sleep Enough – I can’t pull all nighters and function like a reasonable human being anymore. I absolutely can’t do it two nights in a row. If you can, super. Just know your limits. I find 16 hours a day of writing stuff is about all my brain will do no matter how long I stay up. I’m much better off if I start that as early as humanly possible and then go to bed by around midnight to repeat it the next day than to try and push for an extra hour or two of half-ass productivity when I can sleep 8 hours and do 16 again the next day. If I DO push for that extra hour or two I will lose twice as much time the next day. It just isn’t worth it.
  • Medications – I have asthma and arthritis in my hands and back. I’m currently in depression remission. I have a pretty good handle on my various health problems, but I know I need to be extremely proactive to keep them this way when I’m under stress and deadline. I need to take all of my preventative medications and treat any symptoms immediately rather than wait for them to get “bad enough”.
  • Calendar – speaking of medical things. If you have hormone fluctuations either due to biology or treatments—Track your productivity and general well-being against your cycles/levels. I know for me, I found that there are about 4-5 days I am useless for fiction composition due to hormonal brain fog (also where I have the worst arthritis and depression symptoms). I absolutely need to take that into consideration when I’m looking at deadlines and project work-rates.
  • Shower – There is a tendency to put off showering when you know you won’t be leaving the house or seeing anyone outside your nearest and dearest. It seems like you are saving time, but you aren’t. Shower. You will feel better and you will get that time back in higher productivity because you don’t feel as gross. Seriously, I’m an adult; you’d think I’d remember that showers feel awesome especially when I’m stressed by now.
  • Smells – I like to use scents to help put me in a mind frame for different stories. It’s just a little extra trick to help me get my focus. Sometimes it is very specific to the story (I use cherry-scented ink when I write Hannah’s chapters for example). Other times I just want to fill my space with a scent I don’t smell when I’m not writing. It’s just an environmental cue to remind my brain that I’m focusing.
  • Sounds – I used to work for a .com that data entered and digitized information and track samples for online CD retailers back before retailers sold digital content. One of the perks of that job was that we had access to pretty much every music CD that existed in the world and we could check them out and listen to them whenever we wanted. And believe me when you’re data entering all the performers for each track of the third copy of Der Ring des Nibelungen of the week, you want to be listening to anything BUT Wagner. So it turns out because that job happened at a very formative time in my working career I have a super hard time focusing if there’s no sound around me. Sometimes I need white noise, other times music, sometimes I make whole soundtracks for particular projects. This particular deadline has had a soundtrack of Chillstep mixes from YouTube.
  • Morning Pep-Talk – This is a new thing. I’ve started writing myself a pep-talk every morning when I sit down to work. Basically I write out how I am feeling and the things I am worried about and all the things I know I’m capable of and how I imagine the day’s work going well. I… I started this out of frustration of not being able to focus, so I wrote myself a note about how I couldn’t focus but I really needed to and wanted to and how much I could get done if I could just focus… and it was freaking magical, so I’ve kept doing it. I dunno. Don’t ask me. I’m just rolling with it.
  • Scene Outline – I also pick the next scene or two I know I need to write and I just write a list of the things that need to be conveyed to the reader in those scenes to connect scenes or move the plot along. This is super easy and I really doubt I’ve spent more than 2 or 3 min per scene doing this, but it really helps because then I have a record of what I knew needed to happen going into the scene when I am actually knee-deep in it and can’t remember where I was going next.
  • Love and Support – I don’t think anyone can ever get through a major deadline without some form of love and support from others. It doesn’t matter if that’s online, on the phone, seeing people for a quick lunch, or loving partners who help carry the weight of other tasks. No writer is an island. Don’t try to do it all yourself. It’s OK to take time to get that love and support when you need it. It’s also super helpful to have the kind of friends who understand that a quick lunch and a squishy hug will help you refill the energies you need without trying to push you for more. Or understand when you cancel lunch because you finally figured out Chapter 12 and need that time to write.


(cleaning out my email version)

Why ancient armor had great abs

Saying Goodbye to a secret bookstore

4 bodies identified at Jamestown, Another article about the same

Moon Mission Travel Expense Report

Only Woman to Receive Medal of Honor

Gut Microbes and your Mind

Anthropologist Analyzes NYC garbage

Greek burials with evidence of precautions against the undead

Evolution of corn

Cave thought to hold the key to human origins 

Bogue’s alternate plan for Seattle

Inner thoughts of a soon to be debut writer

I’m having a hard time concentrating on my work on RDAD (The Shattered Ones: Book 3). I originally wrote the three books as one overly long book, but there was a time jump from 1986 to 1990 before the third act, so when we split out the story into three shorter books there’s only a second half of a book for book 3. So I’m writing at least 25k of connecting material that kind of shows what the new normal in 1990 is before setting all the machines in motion toward the final act (at least for these three books).

The world of The Shattered Ones is extremely big in my head. I not only have all the characters that appear on these pages but the history and future events of this world and far more inhabitants that don’t have page time in these books. This works for me and against me. I have a great deal to draw upon to make the world feel real and big and drop hints for other things… but I also have to make sure I don’t screw up my ability to tell other stories in this world later on. I also have to make sure that I don’t have feature creep so to speak with these details because I need to tell the story of Alex and Hannah first and foremost and adding any details that undermine this is not helpful.

There’s also the mental dance of knowing that I feel really good about Book 1, and reasonably good about Book 2 (because it is in final pre-copyedit edits), but know that Book 3 is nowhere near done. Logically I know it is publishing in February and I have time to make it sing. Emotionally I feel like I’m letting everyone down by not having it to that point already. This is ridiculous. I absolutely understand that. I need to put one word in front of the other and do my edit passes one at a time. I can’t jump to finishing polish when I’m doing a zero draft. That way lies madness. I just can’t seem to quiet the impulse to feel like I should. I’m hoping that admitting this publicly will quiet it more than trying to go round and round inside my own head about it is.

My zero drafts are done with a pen on paper. I do my first edit pass as I type up my words. I find I do a lot of “oh, I meant this” edits and “ugh that sounds awful let me make it better” tweaks. I’m arguing with myself if I want to do absolutely everything on paper first and then type it up, or if I should start typing up a bit every day after I find myself tapped out for new words. I’ve been sticking with paper up to this point, but I think that typing after I’m tapped out will make me feel a bit more of control of things.

I’m also lucky enough to have my brother Chris living with us over the summer. Chris is my alpha reader so he basically sees or hears stuff before anyone else. The reason he has that position is that he does not critique, he only asks questions for clarification. Basically I can work out plot and character stuff by reading him new material out of my notebook and he can let me know what’s on the page and what isn’t. I’m sure there are people who don’t need this step, but I need to think stuff on the outside of my skull when I’m having problems and the only way that seems to work is if I have someone I can talk it out with. Chris reacts to the story, not to the writing and that’s super helpful to me in telling how things are going.

I thought I’d hit a really bad snag the last couple days and I spent 20 min reading the two scenes in question out loud to Chris as he ate his lunch… and found that both scenes just need to end slightly sooner so there aren’t dangling details. I’d been stuck trying to move each scene forward and now I know that I just need to end them a little sooner. Never underestimate how much help reading something out loud can be. I also know from Chris’ response that the scenes work really well, so that makes me feel a lot better too.


Starting to get a lot of replies back to queries for guest blog posts and it’s making me a little anxious. On the one hand it is exciting and cause for celebration, but it’s also putting things on to my To Do list with every response and that’s feeling a little overwhelming. I’m having to compartmentalize the promotion stuff mentally. I look at the emails as they come in, and know that they’ve been logged into the beautiful spreadsheet my lovely publisher has made for me. This is for my information and I will deal with it when I decide to, because nothing is currently hanging fire with that. I’m just being kept in the loop so that I can properly schedule my time. *deep breath* Everything is Awesome and I’m part of a team. (ha now that’s stuck in your head too!)

Any questions, comments? Words of encouragement? Things you’d like to see me blog about in the run up to publication?

Conversation Between Writers


Jeremy Zimmerman

Today on Conversations Between Writers I talk to Jeremy Zimmerman [website, Twitter] (no relation, though we joke) about the second book in his YA superhero series Kensei: For The Love Of Danger that he’s currently Kickstartering part of the cost of publishing. Jeremy along with his lovely wife Dawn Vogel are also the evil geniuses behind Mad Scientist Journal. I was lucky enough to get to Beta-read this ambitious novel (Kensei takes place in the shared superhero world of Cobalt City and I have a Cobalt City character who happens to be Kensei’s roller derby coach. Jeremy always checks with me to make sure he’s treating my character with respect.) and I really enjoyed it. It’s a super fun read with a lot going on. I hope you’ll consider backing it.

Minerva Zimmerman: So you’re heading back onto the streets of Cobalt City once again with Kensei: For The Love Of Danger. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about that?

Jeremy Zimmerman: I’ve been working on my sequel to my first book, Kensei, and have a Kickstarter going to pay for some of the production costs. The sequel brings back the titular Kensei, who finds herself having to deal with a lot of legacies. Not only do her grandparents learn about her crimefighting and have something to say about it, but there’s also a World War Two supervillain who has come back from the dead in order to kill Kensei.

MZ: Yikes! So what challenges did you have in writing about a teenage superhero whose crime-fighting isn’t a secret from her family and in fact is complicated by her family?

JZ: Some of it was just fitting it with what had already been established. When I first created the character, she had no idea that her family also had a history with superheroes. It’s been a careful line to walk in order to make it plausible that it was kept from Jamie. Plus Jamie is half Japanese and have African American. Treating her family’s dual backgrounds with respect required a lot of research.

MZ: Do you have a favorite part of doing the research for this book?

JZ: Do I have to choose just one?

MZ: No! I’m just curious where your research took you and even some of the things you couldn’t use

JZ: Starting with Jamie’s family, one of my favorite parts was researching for her father’s parents. When I was working on the first book, I learned about differences between Japanese Americans who had lived in the continental United States and those that had lived in Hawaii. Living in Seattle, which has a notable Japanese American population, you learn a lot about the Japanese American experience. This is especially true when it comes to learning about how they were treated during World War Two. But in Hawaii, the experience was very different.

My other favorite research was for the villain, Imperial Dynamo. I collaborated with an Italian-born friend of mine who is also a history buff. She introduced me to the Italian Futurist art movement, which later fed into the Fascist Party in Italy. It added a really interesting dimension to the villain.

MZ: Wow it seems like you’ve got a lot of threads running through this book. What do you want people to know about that might pique their interest?

JZ: The core idea I’m playing with in the book is that of family expectations. Both Kensei and her friends have families and legacies that are pushing them in different directions. Aside from the more physical conflicts, a lot of Kensei’s emotional conflict is trying to cope with what her family wants while remaining true to herself.

MZ: I think that’s something we all can relate to.

So you’re Kickstartering some of the costs of publishing this book. Can you talk a little about the decision to go that route? I know I’m always interested in hearing why people choose one option over others.

JZ: I had debated for a while about whether or not to do a Kickstarter for this. Early on I thought I might focus my crowdfunding efforts through Patreon. But it seems like Patreon seems to work best only if you already have a sizable fan base. It also doesn’t work as well if you are mostly doing large projects. And the money it brings in mostly supports my other baby, Mad Scientist Journal.

Kickstarter has the advantage of helping make the project more visible to people. It also gives me the chance to offer some fun things to backers that I don’t have much excuse to on other occasions. So I’ve gotten to commission stickers and patches for backers. If it does really well, then it gives me the opportunity to create something a bit more robust. One of my current stretch goals is a limited hardcover edition of the book, which I would have trouble justifying under normal circumstances.

MZ: The stickers are ADORABLE!

JZ: Thank you! We are really happy with the artist we found. She’s been great to work with.

MZ: I am a sticker hoarder so stickers are always an amazing perk for me. 🙂 I recently bought an RV I’m using as a writing office, and I’m pondering what stickers to stick on it right now.

JZ: Good to know. When we came up with some of this, there’s always the worry that what sounds awesome to us might not sound awesome to other people. I’m glad the stickers are a winning point.

MZ: I hope the KS goes bananas and maybe next book you’ll have a Cleopatra Thunder sticker 😀

JZ: One of the stretch goals is to have more characters for the stickers. We could see about working in Cleopatra Thunder.

MZ: *giggles evilly* So what else are you working on these days? I know this book and getting the KS set up have eaten up a lot of your time, but you’re a person of many hats and many projects.

JZ: We’ve been working on the anthology we Kickstarted earlier this year, Selfies from the End of the World. I just sent out the ebook proofs to the contributors to have some extra eyes on it. I’ve been doing a lot of research for an overly ambitious series of YA books I want to do beyond Kensei. Mad Scientist Journal is always on my plate. And I’m getting ready to run some games later this year at a local convention.

MZ: Oh cool, what convention?

JZ: AmberCon Northwest, down in Troutdale, Oregon. Four days of roleplaying games in the middle of a winery/brewery/distillery/resort/spa.

MZ: Oh wow. I always thought that was somewhere in Washington for some reason. That sounds fabulous.

JZ: It is. I’ve been going every year since 1999. It’s a small and intimate convention, and just a ton of fun.

MZ: Are you going to make it to WorldCon or is your schedule just too full up?

JZ: Our schedule is sadly too full up and our vacation time is spread too thin.

MZ: Yeah, it’s always a balancing act. I had to cut out a bunch of other cons this year to go. Is there anything we didn’t touch on that you’d like to talk about?

JZ: Well, I could babble forever about things I learned during my research. But in terms of things people would be interested in, I’m offering the ebook for my first book for free through the Kickstarter. There’s a link [edit: THIS LINK] where you can download the files right there. You don’t have to pledge a token amount or use a coupon code or anything. I feel really passionate about the work I’ve done developing Kensei, and this is a low commitment chance to see if you like her story before committing money to the cause.

MZ: That’s really smart. I somehow missed that reading over the KS. Well, I should probably run and get something to eat. But it was great talking to you and break a leg (preferably someone villainous) on the Kickstarter!

JZ: Likewise, and thank you for taking the time to talk!


takeonemecover Hello Internet. It is 62 days until my novel, TAKE ON ME is published. (that’s its cover up there! I just realized I failed to do a cover reveal blog or even link to the cover reveal on the Fireside page… oh hey you can pre-order it too!) The rapid release schedule for all 3 books means that I just turned in my final changes to Book 2: CRUEL SUMMER. I’m also working on Book 3: RUNNING DOWN A DREAM, so it’s been a little hard to focus. I’m super glad to have an amazing publisher who can send me messages reminding me of the promotional things I have upcoming and take care of sending out advance copies and all of those things. There is absolutely no way I’d be half as successful at this on my own.

The rapid release schedule also means that I’m kind of flying in the dark. I’m finishing Book 3 and very few people have read book 1, so the level of doubt and fear about people hating the whole series is VERY HIGH. My response to this impending publication anxiety has so far to be very very quiet. I was thinking about that response and how very little good that does for anyone, it just isolates me, and perpetuates… I don’t know the false hope that publication changes everything and makes it easier? The more I talk to authors I consider ahead of me on their career journey the more I realize I’m doing OK and no one really has it all figured out.

In a perfect world I’d have a whole trunk full of short stories I would be submitting like mad right now to get a few acceptances and publications roughly around the time TAKE ON ME comes out. But, I don’t have short stories ready to submit and only a few I should be looking for reprint markets for. I don’t have a lot of time or energy to do that AND work on novel stuff.

It’s weird, but sometimes impending publication panic just comes out of nowhere and I find my heart racing and thinking out worst case scenarios. Logically I know that some people will love the book (hopefully a lot of people, but I realize my work is not for everyone) and that some will bounce off of it (hopefully less people), and some might flat out hate it. That’s totally normal and I have really no control over any of that. All I can do is try to reach as many people as possible who MIGHT want to check it out. I’m going to try and be more communicative about how this whole process goes over the next 60 days or so and what the soon to be debut author mind is like (well… sort of. I am going to censor myself. Some days it is just panicked flailing and a non-stop internal monologue of swearing, and you can imagine that part for yourself). So if you have any questions or conversations you’d like to have, let me know. I’m going to go ahead and turn comments on for this post and we’ll see how that goes. What questions do you have for me about TAKE ON ME, writing novels, impending publication, working on a series, rapid release, working with small press publisher, etc?

Too Many Links From Today

Dyes, Diets and Deodorants: Venetian Beauty Secrets Revealed – Researcher mixes up a bunch of 16th century deodorants from a beauty manual and tries them on friends.

Glossary of Medical Terms used in 18th and 19th Centuries – I know this is TREMENDOUSLY helpful for me. Hey you know how they say you should never work with animals and children? I’d like to add that you should never plot a book around vampires either. Terribly messy. So very very messy.

Shipwreck found off of North Carolina 

3D Printed Cap tells you when your milk expired – GENIUS!!

CBD promotes enhanced healing of broken rat femurs – Huh. That’s actually interesting though I’m curious how the experiment was set up (that doesn’t seem to be in the article) and if that was the goal or an unexpected result.

…and yes, cars can be hacked.  (This is a more in-depth article about what was done, by who, and for what purposes. Not a OMG YOU”RE ALL GOING TO DIEEEEEEEEE articles that are also all over today, though that’s still implied if car manufacturers don’t do anything)