Interview with Guy Stewart

Interview with Guy Stewart
What genre do you write and why?
I write science fiction mostly, for both adults and kids. I’ve written science fiction – SF, not “scifi”! – since I was thirteen. The “why” is complicated but the root there is my relationship with my dad. See, I come from a family where sports were overwhelmingly important. Reading was there; the importance of education was there; but there weren’t that many other things we did together. When I was very young, my dad started watching Star Trek. I watched it with him. We didn’t share a lot, but the fact that he still reads SF – and I both read it and write it! – is still the thing we share.

Tell us about your latest book.
The book started years ago when I’d grown tired of reading stories with negative futures for young adults -- or a reliance on "magic" to get through life. I wanted strong young adults in a positive future relying on their abilities to solve difficult problems. HEIRS OF THE SHATTERED SPHERES melds my love of space, science fiction, and my quest in a package I loved writing and I hope others will love reading.

But I didn’t want to try to create “Robert A. Heinlein for the 21st Century”, either. The kids I work with as a teacher and counselor in middle school and high school face a whole world of problems even the brilliant Heinlein couldn’t have imagined. Autism, adolescent profound sports injuries – in boys and girls, cellphones, sexting, ipods, real data about the planets of the solar system and beyond, the “death” of higher education, the lack of trust in government of any kind, and the other challenges facing young people today will all make it into the series. The first book looks at autism, sports injuries in girls, and the “death” of higher education.

Oh – and there’s a mystery, too! (That’s a guilty pleasure I entertain occasionally. The BONES books of Kathy Reichs are ones I read whenever I want to relax and exercise my mind at the same time.)

What marketing methods are you using to promote your book?
First of all: Facebook, emails,, Goodreads, and the SFWA website. I’ll appear on a few more, as well as in my own blog and I’m working on a blog interview right now.

Secondly and perhaps most importantly, I’m “word-of-mouthing”. I’m a guidance counselor in a high school and I’ve been a science teacher for over thirty years. I know lots of young people – and most of them read. Word is already out through my connections – and as I’ve been a teacher for so many years and I’ve taught writing classes and summer school as well, I’m hoping that word will get around…

What formats is the book available in?
Only one format right now. It’s an ebook.

Who are your favourite authors?
Madeleine L’Engle, Julie Czerneda, Bruce Bethke, David Brin, Gordon Korman, Anne Leckie, Jack McDevitt, Michael Flynn, and a host of others too numerous to name.

What advice do you have for other writers?
“Never give up, never surrender!”  Jason Nesmit, Captain of the NSEA PROTECTOR, from the movie “Galaxy Quest”.

A bit more serious way to express this comes from Ernest Hemingway: “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”

What's your favourite quote about writing/for writers?
Hemingway’s is important to me, as is the quote from CS Lewis on my blogsite.

What's the best thing about being a writer?
Talking and writing about a place that's imaginary -- and then having other people UNDERSTAND what's in your heart!

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
My blog is the second-best place to find it all – the best place is to talk to me face-to-face. My blog is at:

Who is you favorite character in your book and why?
I love Emerald Marcillion – she’s brave, snarky, and willing to move forward rather than bury her head in the past.

Why do you think readers are going to enjoy your book?
It shows young people engaging in a future that isn’t confined to Earth, not only going along “for the ride” but being a part of what’s happening. Young people can do that here, too, and I know some who have done just that. It’s just that they don’t get a whole lot of press for making a positive difference on this planet.

Interview with Guy Stewart
How long did it take you to write your book?
Roughly ten years! I have, however written and re-written so many times that the stack of drafts (and this is ONLY the paper drafts!) is 8 inches high. Also, my kids have been listening to the story since they were old enough to understand what was going on...

Who designed the cover?
Charlotte Volnek at MuseItUp.

Did you learn anything from writing your book that was unexpected?
That Emerald was autistic – because that diagnosis explained her behaviors; and that a character who appears to be bad also has a good streak.

Where can a reader purchase your book?

What are you doing to market the book?
See the question above… 

Who inspires you?
 My wife, my kids, my “extended family”, the students at the schools I have worked and work at now, the staff of those same schools, and the many professional writers who took time to coach me along.

How do you research your books?
Oh, man! Initially, I have to look at what’s been done and how people did it. Then I start to play with the idea – for HEIRS, there are all kinds of stories that feature generation STARSHIPS. Right now, all we have is a small space station, a few landings on our moon, and the spectacularly completed flyby of all of the major planets and several minor ones. My question is how do we get from here to those interstellar “ark ships”. I think the answer is obvious – we do a dry run, say a decade or more, using an ark-sized ship to really explore all of the planets in the solar system and bring to bear the full weight of Human intellect on the anomalies we’re certain to find on those planets. So – there’s tons of research out there exploring the feasibility of long-term space exploration and I love research…so there you go. Websites, blogs, obscure novels and texts, oh – did I say I’ve taught science from Astronomy to Zoology over the past 31 years?

What is your work in progress? Tell us about it.
I’m writing a bunch of short stories that sort of…backed my head while I was writing and editing this one (and one other called VICTORY OF FISTS). One story involves the last Mayan aristocrat; another is about a humorous meeting between Humans and a high-gravity alien; a third will look at the daily use of antigravity in rebuilding Liberian schools (one of those exceptional young people I mentioned above started an organization to do this.) I’ve also started the next book in the HEIRS series, Zacharias of Venus.

What are your thoughts on self-publishing verses traditional publishing?
COOL! One word of caution, gleaned from reading several self-published novels: EDIT!!!!!

Who or what inspired you to become a writer?
John Christopher, whose TRIPODS trilogy I read when I was just thirteen were done and forced me to write my own stories to satisfy my questions. Ms. Barnes, my eighth grade English teacher who took my fiction writing so seriously that instead of just correcting the spelling and grammar errors in a story I gave to her, she made suggestions to tighten up the PLOT! I wish I could tell both of them how important they are to me!

Does your family support you in your writing career? How?
OH, YEAH! They put up with me and my wife teases me about being a Writing Widow, and the kids listene to my stories from the first draft through the last.

What are you currently reading?
Julie Czerneda’s TO REAP THE WILD WIND

What books or authors have most influenced your life?
See the answer above!

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
Reading, camping, biking, watching movies, eating out, playing cards with close friends, and celebrating events with my family!

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Writing Tips Picked Up On Twitter

Writing Tips Picked Up On Twitter, guest post by Dale Sitton Rogers

Even though I've studied writing in in school, at conferences, and in books, there are several tips I've only picked up on Twitter. These are from agents, other writers, etc, but all through Twitter.  I'd like to share some, just in case you have also been denied this knowledge.
 1. Adjectives and adverbs are considered deadly.
I'd always thought of these as friends--something to help get my description or expression across, but some agents and editors feel this is the kiss of death. Avoid them like the plague. There's still a place for them, of course, but they shouldn't be overused. It's also possible that some in the writing world have gone too far in the other direction--condemning adverbs and adjectives every time they rear their little heads--but there needs to be a balance. I'm still working on mine, so please don't point them out to me.
2. Filter words are the enemy.
In all the years I've studied writing, I only heard of these recently. What are filter words? They   are excess verbs which take the reader through character actions before what is going on at the moment is revealed.                                                                                                              
For example: She felt the cold penetrate her coat.                                                              
"Felt" is the filter word. You have to go through it to get to the cold penetrating her coat. It's better to simply state what is happening: The cold penetrated her coat.                                       
Another example is: Mindy realized he was the thief. Instead, write: He was the thief!
3. Don't use "it" so much.                                                                                                                                                                
 I believe most of us know "it" isn't exactly at the top of our word charts, but we need to strive to eliminate it when it's not necessary. (Yes, "it" was necessary in that sentence.) This might take some effort, but we can rearrange our phrases in order to avoid that detestable word.
Example: What if he doesn't make it? could be, What if he doesn't get there?
 4. Don't wonder, think, or realize.                                                                                                                                                                
Another revelation for me. I believed that by showing my main character's thoughts, I was helping the reader to get inside her head and live the story more as it happened. Not so. It's more acceptable to state the protagonist's thoughts and feelings by writing, What if he didn't care? rather than, What if he doesn't care? she thought.                                                                                                                                                              
5. Never express anyone's feelings except those of the POV character.                                                     
I'd always known better than to show the thoughts of a character unless the story is told from his/her point of view, but I didn't realize until recently that I'm not allowed to express how a group or an individual might feel. This is "head-hopping" to some, and I've had to make changes in some of my manuscripts.
Like some of the others, this one took a little more practice on my part, but I "think" I'm getting the hang of "it."                                                                                                   
Writing Tips Picked Up On Twitter, guest post by Dale Sitton Rogers
Dale writes articles, poetry, and fiction for all ages. She lives with her husband, Rick, and two Siamese cats, Mocha and Choco.

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Book Spotlight : The Inheritance by Marianne Perry

Book Details:

Book TitleThe Inheritance 
Author: Marianne Perry
Category:  Adult Fiction, 280 pages
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher:  iUniverse
Published: November 2012
Content Rating:  G

Book Spotlight : The Inheritance by Marianne Perry

Book Description:

The Inheritance tells the story of a family disintegrating from conflicting loyalties in Calabria, Italy. Set during the period 1897 to 1913, the region was subject to earthquakes and tsunamis; the land harsh and poverty the norm. Superstition clashed with religion and a class system ruled the people. Calabria is the perfect backdrop for the tragedy that unfolds in The Inheritance.

Caterina is an atypical woman, and The Inheritance chronicles her life from birth to young womanhood. Born with an inheritance of loss into a society that has predetermined what she can and cannot do, she vows to live a life of her choosing. Caterina refuses to allow the limits of her gender, the constraints of her class and the demands imposed by those in power to stand in her way. Caterina remains steadfast in her commitment to become the woman she imagines. Her decisions ignite conflicts and fuel a chain of events that result in dire consequences for all whose path she crosses.

Meet the author:   

Family dynamics, genealogical research to solve ancestral mysteries and international travel are Marianne Perry’s priorities. A second-generation Canadian-Italian, she is the author of The Inheritance, a historical fiction set in Calabria, Italy from 1897 to 1913 inspired by her grandmother’s early life in Calabria. With a thirty-year career in education and communications, Marianne holds a Master of Education Degree from The University of Western Ontario (Canada). 

A past member of the Board of Trustees, the Canadian National Arts Centre Corporation, she has also published non-fiction genealogical articles throughout North America. As a girl, Marianne fell in love with The National Geographic Magazine and dreamt of exploring the world. With her recent visit to Antarctica, she achieved her goal of stepping foot on every continent. The mother of two grown children, Marianne and her husband live on the shores of the St. Mary’s River, which drains Lake Superior on the outskirts of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada. She continues to research family history and write non-fiction genealogical articles. In addition, she is working on her second novel and planning further adventures.

Marianne blogs about genealogy, travel, family and writing on her website. Visit her at You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Goodreads. 


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Book Review: Inspector Dewey by Kristen Heimerl

Title: Inspector Dewey
Author: Kristen Heimerl 

Reviewed by Jo Linsdell

I was recently sent a review copy of Inspector Dewey by author Kristen Heimerl as part of her virtual book tour with i read books tours.

This book is super cute. My rating is 4 stars. 

The book starts out with you beginning introduced to the various family members, and then goes on to tell the tale of how a bad guy came and Inspector Dewey saved the day. All accompanied by delightful illustrations.

Watch the full review here:

Grab your copy here:

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Tips for New Authors from Mystery Writer Elaine Viets

Elaine Viets is the author of 28 mysteries and is the author of the Dead-End Jobs series and Shop Till You Drop series.

Here are a few tips she offered for new authors:
  • Get a good agent. "A good agent is worth every penny and earns every bit of his 15 percent.  I would not make a living as a writer without an agent. I'm not good at asking for money. Most writers are not. A writer needs an agent or lawyer any time there is a contract."  
  • Make sure the agent is reputable. It is harder today many times to get a good agent than it is to get a publisher. You have to do your research. There's a website called the Association of Authors' Representatives (AAR). I would really recommend that you get an AAR agent. AAR agents follow a code of ethics. There are a lot of crooks out there in the agent world and some of them are people who pose as an agent. They'll send you a note telling you how much they love your manuscript and they will be happy to represent you once you get it copy edited. 'Here's the name of a good copy editor' they say, who charges, generally, about a thousand dollars, then the crooked agent and the copy editor split the fee. If you get a really professional copy editor, its going to cost you about $5,000. People really want to do the right thing and they think this is the right thing. They wind up losing a lot of money and they wind up not getting a good agent."
  • Beware of an agent who wants to charge you a fee. "Beware also of an agent who wants to charge you postage. That's not the kind of agent you want. Go to the AAR website, where you'll see which not only reputable agents, but agents who are taking new clients and the type of new clients they're taking. Whatever you're writing, whether it's historical fiction, women's fiction, cozy mysteries, or thrillers, you want an agent who represents that. They're going to know the editors who are buying your kind of fiction. Most of the big agents are in either New York or California. You want an agent who has connections to New York and who knows the industry."
  • Attend conferences, seminars and workshops. "It's extremely important to network with writers an others in the publishing industry, even if you haven't been published yet. Smart writers will go to conferences one or two years before their book comes out. They get to meet people, introduce themselves to the booksellers and get plenty of tips from agents, publishers and speakers.  You can make appointments there to meet with agents. It's a good way to try your work out on them and to see if you can get represented by them and to pitch your book to an editor. Publishing is all about networking.Start networking early. The problem is that there are so many conferences you can become a "conference queen" by going from one conference to the next, so choose your conferences wisely. I go to Malice Domestic because I write traditional mysteries, Bouchercon, which is the World Mystery Conference, and Sleuthfest, which is the Mystery Writers of America chapter conference in Ft. Lauderdale. I recommend Sleuthfest for beginning writers because you can make appointments there to meet with agents. It's a good way to try your work out on them, to see if you can get represented by an agent, and to pitch your book to an editor."
  • Practice your pitch. "Try to get it down to one or two sentences. It's called an 'elevator pitch.' The theory behind it is, you have trapped an agent in an elevator and between floors, you're going to tell about your book. Write it down if you have to, practice with your friends, practice with your family, but get it down. You've got to tell your story in two sentences. You don't have time to say,'Well, I'm not very good at this' or 'this is my first time.' Practice. You should be pitching a completed manuscript, not an idea or a book you've not finished."
  • Your manuscript should have a reasonable word count. "My contract calls for about 75,000 words. Don't get hung up on the exact number. A little over or under is okay. I've had people say to me, 'I have a novel and it's really good, but it's 150,000 words.' I say to them, 'That's not a novel, that's two novels. Start cutting.'"
  • Be disciplined as a writer. "For me, it's a job, not a hobby. I try to write three chapters, between 1500 and 2000 words each, a week."
  • Support bookstores. "You sell books by word of mouth and by establishing a following. It's done through your bookstores. You have to get to know your booksellers. I don't care what your Amazon ranking is, if you're going to hold book signings, you need to reach your readers in person. Having a bookseller get behind your book is very important. Go into a bookstore and get to know the booksellers, then buy something. It doesn't need to be a book. It can be a postcard. Just let them know you support them and they'll likely support you and recommend your book."
  • Get a website. "Have bio information, your books, contact information, and other important categories. You can get ideas by looking at other authors' websites."
  • Use a professional photographer. "It's important to have a professional photo to use. Don't use a photo taken by your cousin with a cell phone. Get your makeup done by a professional before you have them done. Someone who does bridal makeup would do a good job if you don't know anyone else." 

Find out more about Elaine Viets and her books by visiting

Elaine Viets

Contributed by Deborah Marshall. Writer and journalist Deborah Marshall is a Past President of the Missouri Writers' Guild and Founder of the Warriors Arts Alliance. Her work-in-progress is the first in her Yesterday's Ladies historical novel series. 
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