In my seventh micro interview, I was lucky enough to snag the talented and super awesome Gini Koch, author of the Alien/Katherine “Kitty” Katt series for DAW Books. If you haven't checked out her ALIEN series, definitely do that. It's a wild, fun, exhilarating and epic sci-fi series!
So without any more delay, let's get this ball rolling.
Q1. How many books did it take until you felt like you came into your own
as a writer?
GINI: Oh, gosh, there’s two answers, really. I wrote at least a dozen novels and such (that are unlikely to see the light of day unless or until I revise them dramatically) until things finally clicked and I became good enough to land a good agent and sell.
In terms of published books, I’m proud of every single thing that’s been published, be it a novel, novella, novelette, or short story. However, I’m most proud of Book 10 in my series, Universal Alien, because of how hard it was to write and, modestly spoken, how easy I made it look to have written.
Q2. Can you share with us a few lines or a catchy phrase from a WIP or a
GINI: Sure. This is my main character, Kitty Katt-Martini, during a major meeting of State, addressing the White House Head Usher.
“Learn this now — I may have been forced to be the American Centaurion Ambassador, but don’t for one moment think that I enjoyed the job. I get far better results by living by the cat motto of asking for exactly what I want. And that includes being the FLOTUS. By the way, FLOTUS really makes me feel like I’m costarring in a Finding Nemo spin-off as the chipper strip of seaweed that helps the gang save the day.”
Q3. What's a writing tip you'd give an aspiring writer that you had to
learn on your own the hard way that nobody had told you about early on but
you wish they would have?
GINI: Oh, there are so many. But the one that I really and truly wish someone had shared with me was this: If any published author helps you – whether via encouragement, good advice, good information via conventions or their website or in person, basically support in any way – you need to buy at least one of their books. That’s how you show those authors that YOU are supporting THEM – you put in a small investment into their livelihood, which can reap untold benefits for you.
**THANK YOU GINI!***
Be sure to check out her bio below for all the up to date infor. Also, you can find her website at: www.ginikoch.com
Gini Koch writes the fast, fresh and funny Alien/Katherine “Kitty” Katt series for DAW Books, the Necropolis Enforcement Files, and the Martian Alliance Chronicles series, as well as many other novels, novellas, and short stories. As G.J. Koch she writes the Alexander Outland series and she’s made the most of multiple personality disorder by writing under a variety of other pen names as well, including Anita Ensal, Jemma Chase, A.E. Stanton, and J.C. Koch. She has stories featured in a variety of excellent anthologies, available now and upcoming, writing as Gini Koch, Anita Ensal, and J.C. Koch.
Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/GiniKochAuthor/
Official Fan Site: http://thealiencollectivevirtualhq.blogspot.com/
Want in on Gini’s free newsletter? Send her an email with “Hook Me Up!” in the subject line and you’ll be in with the in-crowd!
If you'd like to read any of my previous interviews, you can find them by following the links after the jump. Happy reading!
Micro Interview #1
Micro Interview #2
Micro Interview #3
Micro Interview #4
Curtis M. Lawson
Micro Interview #5
Micro Interview #6
This is the new cover to BITTEN 3: Kingdom of the Living Dead.
I had to commission a new cover as the old one had a combo of characters that don't actually meet until BITTEN 4. Due to the revised timeline, the old cover just didn't make any sense. Hence a spiffy new cover!
The manuscript has been delayed a year. But the good news is it is headed to the editor as I type and should be available next month in eBook with the print edition makings its way to us in November.
In 2012 I wrote a short story called Tokyo's Lost Souls: The Girl on the Train.
I then simplified the title to The Girl and the Train. But then I never got around to publishing it. So, obviously, I had to change the title back to the original title because of its similarities to Paula Hawkins hit novel The Girl on the Train.
Now we're back to the original title! Yay!
This romance novella should be out in the first week of August (hopefully sooner) 2016. It marks my first foray into adult romance fiction.
When I was a teenager I was an obstinate, stubborn-headed, selfish punk kid. I back-talked all the time, didn't focus in my classes, and would pick on my younger brother more than I should have. There was a point where I was out of control and was on the verge of going down a bad path.
Then I saw a movie that changed my life, because it changed my perspective on how life should be lived. It was the movie Harvey starring Jimmy Steward based off the Pulitzer prize winning play by Mary Chase.
This is the scene that impacted me so much that I watched the movie 52 times and studied the play extensively -- thanks to my brother for finding me a vintage copy of the play in an antique store.
Harvey has remained my all time favorite film since I first saw it back in the mid 90s on VHS. I've recently re-watched it on Bluray and still am extremely fond of this film. The movie is charming through and through, and the jokes are so subtle that you often only catch them on a second and third viewing.
It says something about the human condition and about mental illness and about how we perceive ourselves as well as others -- and the moral being it's always better to be pleasant than smart.
Mastema is a graphic novel with a script by Curtis M. Lawson and art by Nico Leon (art / design), Alex Chong (art / letters), and Angela Aviles (colors). If you're a fan of fantasy, then there is a lot to like about Mastema, a simple sword and sorcery tale with the potential of being an epic in the making. There are two self-contained stories, Sins of the Mother, with art chores by Nico Leon, and The Devil's Mercy with art chores by Alex Chong.
Sins of the Mother is the main story and The Devil's Mercy is a back-up story which acts as a kind of coda explaining more of Mastema's years as a kind of ronin (to borrow a term), an immortal knight roaming the land, taking odd jobs like an ordinary mercenary just to survive. In this short tale he must rescue a peasant girl from a terrible fate.
My review will be of Sins of the Mother, since that is the main story here.
SINS OF THE MOTHER
We open in medias res where a powerful sorceress, known only as Lady Luedke, is being attacked by knights of the realm. Taking a handsome knight named Mastema as her spoils of war, she siphons the power from the demon wolf creature known simply as Fenris, and imbues Mastema with immortality and inhuman strength.
Flash forward years later, and someone has released the demon Fenris from his prison and Fenris wants what is his. Luedke summons Mastema, whose been her prisoner all these years, and has nothing but contempt for the witch. Unwilling to aid her in her fight against Fenris, Luedke barely convinces Mastema that he must help her defeat Fenris, who is after them both.
Of course, they decide to take the fight to Fenris, but then things suddenly take a turn for the worst. Finding themselves on the losing end of the battle, all seems lost when, out of the blue, a mysterious masked warrior shows up and gives them aid in their fight against Fenris.
I won't spoil what happens, but it's worth a read.
I enjoyed the story for its simplicity. There really isn't too much going on in Mastema's world except for a giant evil monster trying to kill him and a sexy sorceress who desperately needs his approval even though she full well knows he's not capable of overcoming his hatred toward her to love her in the same way she has fallen in love with him.
Even though the one-sided love story isn't the main focus of the story, it was a nice little addition that helped flesh out the characters and helped make their motivations all the more clearer. Luedke loves Mastema and doesn't want him to die, even though he's grown apathetic about his existence, considering his powers a terrible curse, which he blames Luedke for.
Mastema's reluctance to fight, and Luedke's desperate plea for him to do so, makes for an interesting conflict. That fact that she has feelings for him that he won't reciprocate creates a constant tension between the two where they are constantly bickering. This allows Curtis M. Lawson to write some snappy dialog and, at the same time, allows the reader some additional insight into the minds of the two lead characters.
There are a handful of other minor characters that play a role in the story too, such as Luedke's apprentice Nafreen and a religious zealot and assassin.
As for the art, I found it decent but somewhat uneven. Nico Leon is obviously a very talented artist. But some of his perspective shots seemed forced. But his design sense is amazing and he's not afraid to try dynamic perspective shots. It's my guess that he'll go far in the industry and will be a name to watch out for.
Alex Chongs art is infused with lots of energy and reminded me of some early Humberto Ramos art.
If I have one criticism to offer, it's of the coloring. I enjoyed the color pallet and the mystic effects were all done really well. But the colors are often so dark, and muted, that they flatten the art and make it hard to see what's happening on the panel. So much so that I suffered some eye strain trying to distinguish the line art from the background.
Although Aviles is a fully capable colorist, I'd like to see more contrast with the background and foreground images as well as some specific lighting sources. It seemed to me that the lighting was haphazard and it often interrupted the flow because there wasn't must consistency in how anything was being lit. For example, Avils leaves all the blacks solid black regardless of whether is foreground or background, and this flattens the art so much that you lose all sense of depth. Many silhouettes and background shadows blend together with no distinction, and for me this was distracting as it pulled me out of the story.
All considered though, this is a quality book with a fun engaging story, snappy dialog, and solid art. I would definitely recommend it for fans of sword and sorcery and the fantasy genre.
I received an ARC of the book for a fair review.
The revised edition of Seasons of Freethought: The Collected Works of G.W. Foote is now available in print. Get it early here: https://www.createspace.com/4170086
Seasons of Freethought: The Collected Work of G.W. Foote is the first publication of mine I ever handled 100% on my own. Everything from formatting to cover design.
That said, the book is important for me for a couple of reasons. First, bringing back G.W. Foote's freethought works into print was of vital importance to me. Second, it marks my first attempt at becoming a micro-publisher above and beyond just self publishing.
This book provided excellent practice for me as I ventured into the world of Indie publishing. But it was my first attempt, after all, and there just were things about it that I knew I could have done better. Flash forward three years later, and I have come back to this volume to give it a complete overhaul.
I have reformatted the text to fit a less bulky volume. The first book was 746 pages of large print. I've streamlined things to get it down to 624 pages.
Additionally, the first and second volumes had different covers, because I was still an amateur cover designer. Now that I've had 3 years of practice designing covers and have picked it up as a full time hobby, I have redesigned the cover for this 3rd edition of Seasons of Freethought to be both extra eye catching and more elegant. I hope you like it as much as I do.
By day I am an educator and a cultural ambassador. By night I entertain notions of being a literary master. In reality I am just a family man and ordinary guy who works hard and loves writing just about as much as I love my family. Just about.