Meet the Author: D. Wallace Peach

I’m over at Jonny Pongratz’s blog today, Jaunts & Haunts. We’re chatting about super powers, blogging, writing, and books. If you have a minute, stop by and say hello. While you’re visiting, be sure to check out Jonny’s wonderful blog and sci-fi books.

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Good morning world!

Today I’m stopping by with the first author interview of 2021, and I’m having it with D. Wallace Peach, fantasy author.

I got to know her through other WordPress author friends late last year as well as GoodReads. She is currently celebrating the latest release in her trilogy Unraveling the Veil.

Welcome, Diana!

D. Wallace Peach

Bio:

D. Wallace Peach started writing later in life after the kids were grown and a move left her with hours to fill. Years of working in business surrendered to a full-time indulgence in the imaginative world of books, and when she started writing, she was instantly hooked. Diana lives in a log cabin amongst the tall evergreens and emerald moss of Oregon’s rainforest with her husband, two owls, a horde of bats, and the occasional family of coyotes.

The Interview

Hi Diana, thanks so much for stopping by. To keep things interesting, I like to ask my interviewees a random question to get the blood flowing. Here’s yours!
A spaceship comes crashing out of the sky into your backyard. As a last act of kindness, the alien is willing to bestow upon you any power you choose. What is your decision?

Diana: Hi, Jonny. Thanks for having me over at Jaunts and Haunts, and for the great questions. As I read through your options, I came to the conclusion that I’m a total scaredy cat! Lol. No chance that I’m going to time travel, walk through mysterious portals, battle zombies, or spend a lifetime fleeing demons. So, I went with the softball question above.

I’d request the power to heal through a mere touch. That would be most satisfying. I’d start with children’s hospitals and go from there. I’d be invading everyone’s personal space right and left. Strangers would be mortified at my touchy-feely friendliness, and I’d probably be told off a few times, but I wouldn’t care. And I’d keep my power a complete secret, so I wouldn’t have to run from nefarious characters and secret government agencies who’d want to capture me and control my talent.

Jonny: Thanks, and welcome! Haha, no worries about going the more peaceful route. Many of the potential situations I came up with are kinda scary. 

I love your choice of power. That’s very selfless of you, and I think this world could use the healing now more than ever, even if you’re knocking down doors saying “Hey, I’ve got a bone to pick with your medical condition. Let me in!” Good choice to lay low. Superheroes may sound great on paper, but I think people would covet that ability of yours and things may take a turn for the worse. 

Today I’m gonna go escapist and wish for multiplicity. I’d multiply myself several times over to do things like work and run errands, while the true me would just sit back and relax. Of course, I’d take turns to ensure the other me’s are content, but life would be such a breeze! 

Diana and the Writing Process

(Continue reading at Jaunts & Haunts)

I closed comments here (late – oops). 😀 See you at Jonny’s.

Goodbye Traditional, Hello Indie (Part I)

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A few blog friends and authors have asked about my decision in 2015 to switch from traditional to indie publishing. I thought it might be interesting to share a trio of posts about the factors that informed my decision. These posts are five years old, but my opinion remains the same. If this post, Part I, captures your attention, you can follow the link below to the 2nd and 3rd in the series.

Part I: Pros of traditional publishing

Part II: Cons of traditional publishing (and how they compare to indie publishing).

Part III: Results

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In 2016, I begun the process of reclaiming my traditionally published books and republishing them myself. I thought it might be useful to document my reasons, particularly for those writers dawdling at this fork in the publishing road, trying to decide which way to go.

I originally published through a small press, and I don’t want to give the impression that this was a bad deal or that the publisher did anything wrong. It was, in fact, a valuable learning experience, especially for a new author and one as clueless as I. A small press may be the perfect publishing solution for many authors, especially if the words “traditionally published” carry personal weight.

Before I dig in, it’s important to state that – with a few exceptions – this was my experience. It reflects my personality, expectations, and quirks. What worked for me might not work for you and visa-versa. In addition, each publishing house is a unique entity represented by unique individuals. It’s reasonable to assume that my comments don’t apply to every small press!

So, what was great about my small press experience?

Hands-on relationships

I wrote a book without a blog and all the valuable online information available to authors. I did zero research on publishing, knew no published authors. Basically, I knew zip. Typical for me.

I can’t speak for mega-presses, but with my publisher, I received generous personal attention. I had tons of questions, sent daily emails, and received prompt replies. The process was laid out for me, contracts thorough and easily understood, my expectations set. It was comforting to know that my endless dumb questions and new-author anxiety were treated with respect and patience.

No Upfront Cost

When working with a traditional publisher, the professional services needed to bring a book to market come at no charge. This includes all facets of editing, proofing, cover design, formatting, obtaining ISBNs, and anything else you can think of. The publisher recoups the costs when the book goes for sale and they contractually take a portion of the revenue.  For a writer with few financial resources, upfront costs may be a factor. Besides not having any idea what I was doing, I also had a pitiful bank account. This way, all I had to do was write.

Professional Editing

When I “finished” my first book, I was part of a writer’s critique group. I applied all the suggestions of my cohorts, and my writing improved to the point that a publisher was interested. Yay for writers’ groups! Little did I know how much I still didn’t know.

The editing process commenced. The editor and I went back and forth for an entire year and made hundreds and hundreds of changes – literally. Working with a professional, I received invaluable lessons on the craft of writing. The process improved my book and armed me with a battery of tips to employ on future projects.

This process was highly collaborative, and I was grateful to be able to argue my case when I felt strongly about a point. I understand from a few colleagues that some publishers are less collaborative and some will exercise a contractual right to make the final call on changes.

Covers

As a clueless person, I had no resources for cover design. The publisher worked on the concept and sent me multiple drafts for comment. My contract allowed 3 changes at no charge though we made many small tweaks. I have heard that some publishing houses don’t request input on design and don’t allow changes. I know of one author who wrote a book about “coyotes” and the publisher put “wolves” on the cover. The author was stuck with the wolves.

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Contract Length

My contracts were for one year from the published date. This is a relatively short period when compared to contracts that span 3-5 years. The shorter contract is a boon in the event the relationship isn’t working, or the author or publisher wishes to terminate. My termination required a 90-day notice and there was no cost associated with ending the agreement.

My contracts were on a per-book basis with no commitment tying up future books. This is particularly important when writing a series or serial where a contract may commit future books to that publisher for the agreement’s term. An author may end up making do with the publisher or leaving books unpublished until the contract can be terminated. Contracts are important, and they aren’t all the same.

Paper Book Quality

Publishing houses will likely use printing services of a high quality. Personally, I’m satisfied with Amazon and the quality of their paperback books. However, printing houses will often have more size, style, and color options as well as better quality paper and bindings. Many professional print houses are not “print on demand” so there will be a sizable minimum order or set-up fee that may exceed what the author wants to invest. This was a significant challenge in my case.

So, Why Go Indie?

For someone who knew squat, my experience with a small press was highly instructive. The editing process improved my writing. The service was professional and respectful, the contracts fair.

Yet, publishing through a small press has significant pitfalls. As my knowledge and experience grew, it became evident to me that the challenges outpaced the advantages. Would I accept a contract with a big publishing house with a huge marketing department and a tasty advance? Um…yeah! But in the meantime, I’m going indie.

In Part II, I’ll explain why. Check it out HERE.

“Dead of Winter” is here!

Amazon Global Link

Teagan Geneviene has a new book, well… a serial of monthly novelettes that will tell one epic story. And the first “journey” is now available on Amazon. I read it in one sitting and reviewed it below. But first, I had a few questions for Teagan. We didn’t spoil the read, I promise.

Dead of Winter Interview

Dead of Winter has been in the works for over a decade. Why did you wait so long to release it, and why are you publishing this story in monthly novelettes?

I had been researching and then writing Dead of Winter for a couple of years.  Then Game of Thrones premiered on HBO and used a tag-line that I had woven throughout my novel — Winter is coming!  (I talk about that nightmare in a blog post.)  That coincidence caused me to shelve my huge novel.  However, the characters and world stayed with me.  Over the next decade, I considered dividing it into a trilogy, or making it into a blog serial.  I even fantasized about it becoming an anime series.  Still, I couldn’t escape the fact that George R. R. Martin had used the phrase that was core to my story.

After his television show ended, I decided I had let that hold me back long enough.  If my phrase wasn’t new, then I would present the novel in a new way — by publishing a monthly series of novelettes, or journeys (the characters journey through their complex world).  The original manuscript is longer than 800 pages, so I think it will run for at least a year.

Abraham Pether, Wikipedia

The first novelette introduces the reader to Emlyn, her restrictive culture, her teacher, and her world. What aspects of the world were the most interesting for you to craft?

Emlyn’s world in Dead of Winter is not a historic fantasy.  Although it looks and sounds similar to pre-industrial Great Britain and Europe.  I also researched all the names of the many characters and places so they would be reminiscent of those places.  I’m a research geek, so I loved creating that part.  More than 200 places and characters are mentioned in the overall story.

Many of your books are fun and whimsical in nature. This one feels more serious and dangerous. Was that a deliberate decision?

There are two parts to that answer — yes and no.  The difference in style was an evolution, rather than a decision. Before I started publishing and blogging, I wrote “high fantasy” stories.  I wrote this novel back then.  During the years since, my style has progressed to the lighter things you’re used to seeing from me.  When I started writing blog serials, those brought out a strong sense of whimsy.  The whimsy was always there, but in the past, it was expressed in a more serious way.

Also, I started writing Dead of Winter in the winter of 2009 – 2010.  I had recently relocated to a place where both the climate and the culture were much colder than I had ever experienced.  A historically harsh winter, and a personal injury set the tone of Dead of Winter.

Emlyn has paranormal abilities that set her apart. Tell us a little about the magic in this world.

The “dead” are a fundamental part of Dead of Winter, but the story is more about Emlyn and her world than it is about ghosts.  How to say it?  It’s more of a story with ghosts than an actual ghost story — if that makes any sense.

As a reader who studies the work of successful mainstream authors, I learned the value of making gradual increases in magic and/or violence.  Emlyn’s ability to communicate with spirits is the main “magic” of this story, but the tale grows into other forms of magic as well.  There are also supernatural creatures and there is some “earth magic.”

Do you have a favorite character and why?

This story was in my head for years.  Many of the characters became real to me.  One favorite is Tajín, a companion for Zasha.  I definitely had a crush on Tajín.  You won’t meet him until Journey 2.  I love his personality.  His home, Bandihar, is inspired by ancient civilizations in Mexico.  I enjoyed shaping his culture and letting it help develop his personality, even his weapon.

Review of Dead of Winter, Journey One

This story will unfold in monthly installments (Journeys), and in this first novelette, the author introduces the reader to the fantasy world, to the main protagonist, Emlyn, and to a few secondary characters who impact her life. I read this Journey in about an hour.

Emlyn lives with her father and sister in a rural village where the culture is patriarchal and restrictive, with women bearing the brunt of the harsh control. This doesn’t bode well for Emlyn who has the ability to see ghosts. Osabide, Emlyn’s elderly teacher and a wise woman reminds her not to share knowledge of her gifts with anyone, because her strange skill could cost her everything, including her life.

The story is told from Emlyn’s point of view, and the reader gets glimpses of her encounters with ghosts as well as a mysterious white wolf. The novelette raises questions, and there are teasers galore, including an underlying sense of danger. An excellent start to an epic tale, recommended to readers who enjoy fantasies and want to try a different sort of reading experience. I’m looking forward to the next Journey.

Teagan’s Links

Dead of Winter Global Link

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Teagan-Riordain-Geneviene/e/B00HHDXHVM
Twitter: https://twitter.com/teagangeneviene
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TeagansBooks
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/teagangeneviene/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoM-z7_iH5t2_7aNpy3vG-Q
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/teagangeneviene/

Happy Reading!

New Year, New Book, and New Review

A Journey Through Time…and Time Again

I’m taking a break from my break to bring you a highly recommended series and new release from blogger and writer, Kennedy J. Quinn (aka Sheri). I’ve read the first two books in The Unwitting Journeys of the Witty Miss Livingstone series and bugged Kennedy for a year regarding the third. Finally it’s out. My review is below, but before going there, I was curious:

My Question for Kennedy: One thing that I noticed (and loved) in the very first book, as well as in subsequent reads, is Miss Livingstone’s distinctive voice. I’d swear a proper and very witty young lady was whispering her thoughts and dialog into your ear. Where did this voice come from and why does it feel so authentic? Are you secretly Miss Livingstone?

Kennedy’s Answer: This question (or questions) made me laugh. I’m delighted Miss Livingstone comes through to you with the unique verve I feel from her as I write. I confess most of my characters live vibrantly for me. They appear to me fully formed with vivid personalities, and I usually know their names without hesitation.

But Miss Livingstone is special. In a sense she does whisper to me, because if I struggle to write her lines here and there, she instantly demands correction when I stray – as forcefully as her in-story character demands everything else. She abides no weakness, though she gives room for innate faults and quirks with no need for apology. Her wit surprises me – perhaps as much as it surprises you – jumping out from all directions as I’m writing (or you’re reading) along. She doesn’t miss much and, again, demands I add in her brilliance.

Where her voice comes from, you may think you know at this point… sheer lunacy on the part of the writer, perhaps? But no, I think I’m as sane as any other fiction writer who ‘hears’ their characters. That leaves plenty of room for speculation on where any story originates in human psyche.

But a bit of insight on my background: My Canadian mum raised my brother and I with proper manners infused into daily living. My household was atypically quiet, and we did a lot of reading, art projects and other creative things – so imagination always loomed large and clear for me. Conservative values fused with dry or absurd humor. My well-read family thrived on astute observations and witty turns of phrase. I came to love British literature, music, drama and humor. I read mostly classics as a child and often still choose them for ‘light reading.’ So older style English and grammar come naturally. Though I purposely fuse simpler, more direct phrasing into the Miss Liv Adventures series while working to maintain a classic-nostalgic feel to the style.

So am I secretly Miss Livingstone? Her respect for proper behavior, yet inability to fully abide within it, lives in me. And I’d like to think I carry her boldness of spirit lit with a genuine heart. But I wouldn’t do some of the things she does… What fun to imagine I could! This boisterous, impetuous Miss Caprice Livingstone has a life of her own that bursts from the page and keeps me wanting to turn the next one. I’m thrilled to present Book III: Dreams Key. And I can’t wait until she tells us all more!

Thanks for asking, Diana! I’m pleased you enjoy the books, and it’s my pleasure to be spotlighted on your blog. Much appreciated!

Diana’s Review:

Miss Livingstone’s steampunk world includes time travel as well as dimensional travel, and the butterfly-effect gets everything incredibly tangled. Hold on to your petticoats! Lizzie’s access to magical gemstones and keys drops her into her past and future as well as into other versions of her life. Imagine her shock at suddenly finding herself in Scotland, about to give birth.

Several things stood out for me with this read. One is the complex plot created by the time/dimensional travel. Miss Livingstone might be witty, but she also has to use her wits to avoid causing a mess. She’s not the only one traveling which adds layers to the mysteries and shenanigans.

As in all the books, the characterization is fun and beautifully authentic. I enjoy Miss Livingstone’s personality which is genteel while it pushes at the boundaries of propriety with her sneakiness, guffaws, and occasional snorts. In voice, language, and good manners she is straight out of 1910. The same authenticity applies to the secondary characters though she is the most entertaining as she barges full steam ahead into any and every situation.

Book 3 picks up at the moment Book 2 ends, and Quinn doesn’t waste any pages catching the reader up. I’d recommend reading the books without too much time between them in order to avoid confusion. Recommended to readers who enjoy steampunk and fantasy with a turn-of-the-century flair.

Sheri’s Links:

Amazon Author page for Kennedy J Quinn: https://www.amazon.com/Kennedy-J-Quinn/e/B01M7TO14L

Miss Liv Adventures website: https://misslivadventures.com/

Kennedy J Quinn Twitter: https://twitter.com/KennedyJQuinn

Kennedy J Quinn Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KennedyJQuinn

FreeValley Publishing / FVP Books website: https://freevalleypublishing.com/

The Unwitting Journeys of Miss Livingstone Global Links:

Book OneBook TwoBook Three!

Happy Reading!