Catherine Gracey

Archive for the ‘Editor’ Category

Interview: Princess Alethea Kontis

In American, Author, Editor on November 22, 2012 at 8:50 am

Princess Alethea Kontis is the type of author who makes little girls glow with excitement. She wears fairy dresses, has sparkly magic wands, and comes equipped to book signings with coloured pens that match the artwork. Her work extends beyond picture books, such as The Wonderland Alphabet, to novels, short stories, poems, and essays, and she also co-edited the Elemental anthology for a children’s benefit. She lives in Virginia with her Fairy Godfamily, and recently took the time to answer my questions.

1)   What is something you do in your professional or artistic life that you think is really cool, and why do you think that about it?

I get to tell kids all sorts of things they never knew about fairy tales. It’s so much fun to watch their faces as they discover new things about events and people they’ve been familiar with all their lives.

2)   How did you come to be in the career position you are currently in?

I started writing and acting when I was eight. As the acting thing didn’t pan out after high school and the Chemistry degree went nowhere, I just kept writing.

3)   What is something from your personal life that you are very proud of, and why are you proud?

I am very proud of my self-confidence. I had to go down a lot of horrible roads and be broken into many little pieces before I figured out how to fall in love with myself.

4)   What is a personality trait you possess that other people might not notice, and how would they miss it?

I see magic everywhere, in everything. Most other people are too wrapped up in messes to notice.

5)   If you could change just one thing about the world, what would it be and why would you change it?

I would give everyone on the planet an injection of self-confidence and a good night’s sleep. VOILA! Instant world peace.

6)   If you could give a young person one piece of advice, what would it be?

Never stop searching for unicorns.

7)   What is something that you would like to do in your life that you haven’t done yet, and why haven’t you done it?

I have never been up in a hot air balloon. The Fairy Godboyfriend is afraid of heights.

8)   What is something that you have sworn to never do again, and why won’t you repeat it?

My one rule of the internet: “Don’t Poke the Crazy.” Giving attention to social misfits never ends well.

9)   If you could break one personal habit, what would it be and why would you break it?

I bite the inside of my cheek. Nervous habit I’ve always had. You’d think I’d be smart enough to CUT IT OUT by now.

10)   If you could take up a new hobby or learn a new skill, what would it be and why?

I would love to learn German, so I could read the original Grimms’ tales.

11)   Is there anything from you that we should be looking out for in the future?

My creepy fairy tale story “Blood from Stone” will be released in December 2012 from Apex Magazine. In 2013, HERO (the sequel to ENCHANTED) will be released, as well as a novella called TRIXTER and my newest collaboration with illustrator Janet K. Lee: DIARY OF A MAD SCIENTIST GARDEN GNOME.

Thank you, Alethea, for taking the time to answer my questions. If you would like to know more about Alethea, you can follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Youtube, and you can visit her website.

Next Week: Eric Wilson

Interview: H. David Blalock

In American, Author, Editor, Uncategorized on November 15, 2012 at 9:00 am

H. David Blalock is an author and an editor from Tennessee who is counting down to the end of the world this year. I suspect it might be to avoid his annual publication target but, with a list of credits as impressive as his, he probably doesn’t have too much to worry about. He is currently embarking on his first blog tour to celebrate the release of his latest novel, Traitor Angel, which is the next installment of the Angelkiller Triad. David recently took the time to answer my questions. Bonus points if you catch his reference to someone else who has been interviewed on this site.

1)   What is something you do in your professional or artistic life that you think is really cool, and why do you think that about it?

I really enjoy writing, but it’s actually the storytelling that means so much to me. I get to express myself and connect with the reader, share in a moment when our minds look at the same idea and, hopefully, see it in the same light. When that works, there are no words for how satisfying that is to me.

2)   How did you come to be in the career position you are currently in?

I have always been a writer, but of course not always published, so I guess the question you’re asking would be how I came to be a published writer. I suppose it was because I wouldn’t give up on the possibility I could be published and could share my work with a larger audience than just friends and family. Perseverance and stubbornness.

3)   What is something from your personal life that you are very proud of, and why are you proud?

At the risk of sounding cliche, that would be my two daughters, Herika and Celina. They have, in spite of their handicap of having me as their father, grown into fine women with beautiful families. I can take some credit, however small, just to make myself feel good, but the majority of that has to go to them and their mother.

4)   What is a personality trait you possess that other people might not notice, and how would they miss it?

I have a very short temper but good control. If either one slipped, I’m sure that other people would notice. It has happened once or twice in the past (maybe three times). I do not enjoy the company of fools and, thank God, I am seldom if ever there.

5)   If you could change just one thing about the world, what would it be and why would you change it?

I would eliminate the root cause of all human problems: apathy. All our conflicts and troubles can be traced in one way or another to the apathy of a nation, a race, or a people. Once people become involved, things get done. Otherwise, nothing ever changes.

6)   If you could give a young person one piece of advice, what would it be?

Never stop learning. Just because you’re no longer in school or university does not mean you can stop learning. Investigate. Question everything. Trust nothing but your own understanding, no matter how hard that may sound. Only one person can ever truly know what you need from life: you. Find out what that is, and go for it with all your heart.

7)   What is something that you would like to do in your life that you haven’t done yet, and why haven’t you done it?

Wow. That is a very profound question. Especially the second part of it. Looking back on my life, I find it difficult to say there is anything I would rather have done, so I really can’t answer truthfully. So many people go through life trying to please everyone they end up with a thousand regrets. I may have regrets, but they are for things I have done, not for what I haven’t.

8)   What is something that you have sworn to never do again, and why won’t you repeat it?

Jump out of a perfectly good airplane. It took me just a fraction of a second to realize that really wasn’t for me, but by that time it was too late.

9)   If you could break one personal habit, what would it be and why would you break it?

Probably being overly critical of myself and others. It is the kind of thing that distracts you from really enjoying the world around you. It makes it more difficult to connect with others. I never voice my critique, but it resounds in my head and colors my reactions.

10)   If you could take up a new hobby or learn a new skill, what would it be and why?

Spelunking. Why? Because it would be something I know next to nothing about and want to learn.

11)   Is there anything from you that we should be looking out for in the future?

There are several short stories from multiple publishers and, of course, my new novel from Seventh Star Press, Traitor Angel. In the coming year I hope to have two more novels out as well as the possibility of five short stories. I invite your readers to follow my blog for updates.

Thank you, David, for taking the time to answer my questions. If you would like to know more about David, you can read his blog and visit his website.

Next Week: Alethea Kontis

Interview: Tania McCartney

In Australian, Author, Editor, Publisher on September 6, 2012 at 9:00 am

Tania McCartney is the perfect example of what happens when you give a determined woman too much coffee, because I can’t imagine how she could maintain her schedule without it and still look as full of life as she does. An author, editor, publisher and a book reviewer, this Australian is also an ACT Ambassador for the National Year of Reading. She is passionate about children’s literacy, which is why you might recognise her name in connection with Kids Book Review and the Riley series of books. Despite all of that going on, she also managed to release Beijing Tai Tai and Australian Story this year.  Tania recently took the time to answer my questions.

1)   What is something you do in your professional or artistic life that you think is really cool?

I get to ‘play’ with words and eventually have them touch people’s lives – especially children. Watching kids’ faces light up when reading my stories is surreal and utterly cool.

2)   How did you come to be in the career position you are currently in?

Hard work. Dedication. Tenacity. A deep love of writing and books.

3)   What is something from your personal life that you are very proud of?

I was absolutely thrilled to be asked to be an Ambassador for the National Year of Reading. I’m passionate about literacy, so to be recognised for this was a Life Moment. I’m proud of the way I manage to balance family with career. I don’t always succeed but I do make it a priority.

4)   What is a personality trait you possess that other people might not notice?

Self-awareness.

5)   If you could change just one thing about the world, what would it be?

That everyone should be more self-aware. If people could look openly and honestly at the impact they’re having on others and the world, we would be a much happier, healthier and more balanced race of people. I also think we need to laugh more. I know I do.

6)   If you could give a young person one piece of advice, what would it be?

Do what you love and never give up.

7)   What is something that you would like to do in your life that you haven’t done yet?

Spend three months of the year on a writing sabbatical – each time in a different part of the world. New York, the Amalfi Coast, Santorini and Norway would be a nice start.

8)   What is something that you have sworn to never do again?

Allow anyone to take advantage of my kindness.

9)   If you could break one personal habit, what would it be?

Sitting on my butt all day (writing).

10)   If you could take up a new hobby or learn a new skill, what would it be?

I’d love to learn to juggle and do backflips. I’d love to be fluent-multi-lingual – and skiing is something I absolutely know I would love.

11)   Is there anything from you that we should be looking out for in the future?

A totally new genre of books than I’m used to writing. I’m busting with new concepts.

Thank you, Tania, for taking the time to answer my questions.

If you would like to know more about Tania, you can visit her website, her Facebook page, or follow her on Twitter. Kids Book Review has enough resources to boggle the mind, so if you’re as passionate about literacy as Tania is, it’s worth a read.

Next Week: Angus Templeton

Interview: Herika R. Raymer

In American, Author, Editor on August 30, 2012 at 9:00 am

Herika R. Raymer is an American based in Tennessee. A freelance editor and speculative fiction writer, you might recognise her for her work with Cover of Darkness at Sam’s Dot Publishing or Imagyro Magazine, the official magazine of Imagicopter. I was told in no uncertain terms that I needed to track her down for this website. Fortunately for me she has been super easy to work with, and I don’t have to find out what would have happened if she had declined.

1)   What is something you do in your professional or artistic life that you think is really cool, and why do you think that about it?

I would have to say putting together my geekzine Imagyro Magazine. Why do I like it? Because it helps me draw attention to other people of talent, as I share interviews with them, their websites, and even their experiences at Conventions. I am also a part of Imagicopter – a voluntary co-op of artists and authors who try and promote one another through networking.

2)   How did you come to be in the career position you are currently in?

I am currently an Editor for Cover of Darkness from Sam’s Dot Publishing. I got the position by writing and having a few stories published. The publisher who saw it liked my writing, then talked with me and liked me, so he offered me a chance to read slush as Assistant Editor. The stories I selected impressed him, along with my reasons why, and he promoted me to Editor. It is great experience, and I believe has helped me with my own writing.

3)   What is something from your personal life that you are very proud of?

From my personal life I am proud of my two beautiful children who are intelligent, imaginative, and constantly impress me with their drawings, inventions, and stories. I love them very much!

4)   What is a personality trait you possess that other people might not notice?

That I do listen when people talk to me, and they would probably miss it because I look distracted a lot. I am listening to the person talking to me, but often look around to see what is going on. I am not trying to be rude, I just am interested in my surroundings.

5)   If you could change just one thing about the world, what would it be and why would you change it?

That people would take responsibility for their actions and decisions, and that includes me. Why? Without getting too deep, because I believe taking ownership of one’s actions and decisions would undoubtedly prompt necessary change overall. Of course, I could be wrong.

6)   If you could give a young person one piece of advice, what would it be?

Know that you are loved. Somewhere, someway, there is someone who loves you. I know a lot of people who need to hear that.

7)   What is something that you would like to do in your life that you haven’t done yet, and why haven’t you done it?

Make a living from writing! Which I most likely have not done yet because I have not found a product that breaches the small percentage of stories that are highly marketable. Yet I keep hoping to write it!

8)   What is something that you have sworn to never do again?

Never become part of management, in anything – jobs, committees, conventions, etc. Too much confrontation and stress. Not good for my health.

9)   If you could break one personal habit, what would it be and why would you break it?

Procrastination, and let me get back to you on that. (smile)

10)   If you could take up a new hobby or learn a new skill, what would it be?

Animation, have always loved drawing and would like to be able to draw an animation.

11)   Is there anything from you that we should be looking out for in the future?

Yes, ‘Charm of Dragonelles’ from Kerlak Publishing – a novel I am currently wrapping up. I sincerely hope people will enjoy it, as it is a fantasy story meant for all ages. I would go into more, but I would like to wait until it is published.

Thank you, Herika, for taking the time to answer my questions.

If you would like to know more about Herika, you can find her on Facebook or at her website. You can also find the latest addition of Imagyro on their website.

Next Week: Tania McCartney

Interview: Mandi M. Lynch

In American, Author, Editor, Graphic Designer, Photographer, Publisher on August 23, 2012 at 7:30 am

Mandi M. Lynch is an American who seems to be trying to personally modernize the glorious breadth of skill that came with the Renaissance. Based in Tennessee, she’s the creative head at Ink Monkey Press, which means she is an editor, a writer, a photographer, a graphic designer … phew! I’m tired just thinking about it. As if that isn’t enough, you might have also seen her publications with Clockwork Spells and Magical Bells, Pill Hill Press, and a range of online sources. She graciously took the time to answer my 11 questions.

1)   What is something you do in your professional or artistic life that you think is really cool?

I know I should talk about my writing here, but really, I have to say photography. There’s something about looking at an object that a thousand other people have seen and taking a photo that makes somebody look at it in a different way.

2)   How did you come to be in the career position you are currently in?

Dumb luck and good friends. And maybe a little skill on my part.

I remember sitting in a Starbucks (and I don’t even like coffee!) with my good friend Eric Wilson, making fun of my rejection letters. (The one with four point font and a dozen extra commas in was particularly funny.) By the time we were done, I decided that I could do that and put out a good product. Thus, Ink Monkey was born.

Life has thrown me some crap. Writing is my way of dealing with it and understanding it.

3)   What is something from your personal life that you are very proud of?

I’m a good person, damn it!

4)   What is a personality trait you possess that other people might not notice?

That I’m smart and I would do anything for anybody. I don’t often take a bunch of crap from people, though, and a lot of people can’t be bothered to look past that and see me for me. It’s their loss. I’m awesome.

5)   If you could change just one thing about the world, what would it be?

I’d teach everyone that people are people. Strip everything away, and we have the same needs and desires – to love and be loved (and that basic oxygen/food/lodging thing). Maybe if we could remember that, the world would be a better place.

6)   If you could give a young person one piece of advice, what would it be?

Love unconditionally and never be afraid to be yourself. I’ve spent too much time watching life happen because I was afraid of what would happen. And I’ve lost a lot because of it.

7)   What is something that you would like to do in your life that you haven’t done yet?

Get married. Have kids. Unfortunately, that requires a man first. Any takers out there? I’m looking for a left-handed redhead that doesn’t mind cleaning. S**t, no wonder I’m single.

8)   What is something that you have sworn to never do again?

Work at Panera. That was the worst job I ever had, and I will live homeless under a bridge and never write again before I go back to that.

9)   If you could break one personal habit, what would it be?

Self-depreciation. I’m really good at saying I suck. And thinking it.

10)   If you could take up a new hobby or learn a new skill, what would it be?

Tatting. Seriously. My great-grandmother tatted into her mid 90s. I’d like to just be able to make bookmarks. LOL!

I also wish I could sew.

11)   Is there anything from you that we should be looking out for in the future?

I’ve already been accepted for Pill Hill Press’s Daily Flash and Daily Horror anthos (should be published in Nov or Dec), and I have a dozen feelers out there. Really, I should submit more.

Thank you, Mandi, for answering my questions.

If you would like to know more about Mandi, you can check out her website. If you would like to know more about Ink Monkey Press, you can visit their website too.

Next Week: Herika R. Raymer.

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