Libby Doyle is here with some fantastic writer’s life photos — one of a martial arts tournament in Japan; one of her cats, Mao and Neko; and a beautiful picture of the Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho.
But before we get to Libby’s photos, a quick note about my recent guest post for Natasha Lane. She invites authors to share writing tips and I picked How to Write a Terrific Book Blurb. Writing book blurbs (or back cover copy) is hard, so it’s hubris on my part to think I’ve mastered it. But I had to pick something! Writing the post got me thinking about best practices for blurb writing, which isn’t a bad thing. If you are a writer currently struggling with your WIP’s blurb, check out the post and vent your frustrations in the comments. 😀
And now… Welcome, Libby!
Something unique about me
I have a black belt in Shorinji Kempo. Here I am at a tournament in Japan. I was a brown belt at the time. Learning martial arts in Japan was a fantastic experience. One thing is certain. I will never, ever forget the Japanese word for pain: itai. We used it as the signal when our sparring partner had effectively applied a technique, which usually meant we were face down on the mat.
Shorinji Kempo is great for dealing with attackers who are bigger and stronger than you because it uses joint reverses, pressure points, and escapes, techniques based more on physics than strength.
Unfortunately, I’ve let my skills fade. You need to train all the time to be good. It really is a way of life. I’ve may have retained a bit of the attitude, though. 😉 Also, the knowledge helps with my action-packed books. My training helps me write vivid fight scenes.
Something that represents where I live
Philadelphia City Hall, from the courtyard. One day my husband posted a meme on Facebook that said: “People in Philly whisper ‘What the—?’ to themselves twenty times a day.” I laughed, because it’s true.
I set my books in Philadelphia because I know it so well, but also because it has a rich history and the kind of character that comes with age, diversity, and a powerful (and infamous) ornery streak. Plus, its people have a truly world-class sense of humor. For example, one morning while I’m riding my bike to work, a gang of us are stopped at a red light. When it changes, some random portly guy with a mustache yells, “And they’re off! Cabbage Cabbage takes the lead on the inside!”
Something I Care For
Our cats, Mao (foreground) and Neko. Mao is the Chinese word for cat. Neko is the Japanese word for cat. We got them because we had mice, and boy, have they been effective. If it’s small and moves in our house they will catch it. Of course, at this point it hardly matters. We’ve fallen in love with their fuzzy cuteness and hilarious antics. Most excellent cats.
Something that really frustrates me
My day job. This is the view from my office. Yes, a nice view, but I’m so busy I can hardly look up from the computer screen. And the hours! I want more time to write, dammit!
Something that brings me joy (besides writing)
I love mountains. I took this photo while hiking in the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho, a range that inspired a character. The heroine of the Covalent Series, Zan O’Gara, hails from the Sawtooths. She has the toughness and self-sufficiency that comes from growing up poor in a harsh climate, and the reverence for Nature that comes from waking up every day soaked in that beauty.
What’s the elevator pitch for your latest published novel?
My latest is The Pain Season: Book II of the Covalent Series. I like to describe the series as Highlander meets Paradise Lost meets The English Patient. It’s an epic love story between an emotionally damaged FBI agent and a superhuman alien warrior from another dimension.
What are you working on next?
The Vengeance Season: Book III of the Covalent Series, to be released this winter. Like all my books, this one is shaping up to be a real ripsnorter. Over the first two installments of the series, Barakiel (Bah-rack-ee-el), my hero, dealt with his father’s attempts to either kill or enslave him. His father is Lucifer, a mighty Covalent warrior who rebelled against the rulers of their world and was driven from their city. He fled to the Destructive Realm, where he learned to harness its power. The only thing that holds Lucifer’s attention as much as his desire to destroy everything is his dangerous obsession with his son.
Barakiel has also fallen in love with Zan O’Gara, my heroine. Their devotion makes them both stronger, but they’re put to the test when Barakiel’s love turns Zan into a target. At times this is a dark story, filled with political intrigue, violence, tragedy and war. But my heroes are equal to their challenges. And, I should mention, this story is high heat. Scorching hot.
What are you currently reading?
Feast of Fates by Christian A. Brown, Book One of the Four Feasts Till Darkness Series, a superior epic fantasy. Brown has created a rich world, so real I can taste and smell it. I’m in love with his characters.
What are you currently watching (TV shows)?
The Deuce on HBO
Outlander on Starz
Fear the Walking Dead on FX
Jill: How excited are you for Outlander S3, E6? I heard we have to wait until 10/22. NOOOOOO!!!
Favorite fantasy creature, villain, or weapon not from your own work?
Hands down, the dragons from Game of Thrones.
Biggest challenge facing writers today?
Getting your books noticed in the sea of offerings, many of them excellent.
I’m also concerned about Amazon’s power in the market. The company can do anything it likes to independent authors. We are completely at its mercy. I think it’s a shame when books become more about the delivery system than the stories.
Jill: I don’t think a reader buys a story because of its delivery system, but delivery systems that are too complicated or burdensome can have a dampening effect on sales.
How can we meet that challenge?
I have no idea. I’m not in KDP Select. I chose wide distribution, but I do sell the great majority of my books on Amazon. Sigh. I would love suggestions, about getting noticed and about handling Amazon.
Jill: I’m not in KDP Select either, although I don’t rule it out for future books. (It didn’t make sense for the book I self-published, which was a follow-up to three trad published books.) For each book, an author should carefully consider all their distribution options. Having an income stream from multiple sources for at least some products is a wise choice for any seller.
Thanks for sharing your pictures and thoughts!