Samstag, 16. Mai 2015

Interview with Darren Deegan, author of "The Knight Series"

My review of the book "Knight's Judgement", volume I of "The Knight Series":
Cover of "The Knight Series"
volume I: Knight's judgement
'Knight's Judgement' is a really interesting story and the first volume of "The Knight series" about the Bounty Hunter Rebecca Knight. She is a strong female lead.
The story is filled with a lot of suspense, a dense atmosphere and crime. As the story continues, you get to know more about Rebecca, you learn her past and how she became what she is now. To tell the truth, her past is kinda saddening, she lost both her parents and her childhood was ... sad (in lack of a better word).
Most of the series takes place in San Fransisco, California.
Since I am no native speaker, I can't tell you much about how good or bad Darren's writing style and grammar is, all I can say is, that this story takes you in, is easy to read and to understand, also for non-natives.
So if you are interested in detective and crime stories, this series is perfect for you!

I give 4 out of 5 stars. This is a great story!
(this review was also posted on Amazon.com and GoodReads)


I also had a nice talk with Darren Deegan, author of "The Knight Series". He is a really nice and kind guy! 
The series can be bought on Amazon.
Here's the link to Volume I - Knight's Judgement and the link to Volume II - Knight's Salvation
Both are available as eBook and paperback! Support Darren and buy this great crime series!

Visit Darren Deegan on Facebook, follow him on Twitter and check out his website ^_~


And now, enjoy the interview ^_^ 
Darren Deegan, author of "The Knight Series"


What's your name? Do you write under your real name or do you use a pen name?
Darren Deegan. I write under my real name as I haven't felt the need yet to use a pseudonym.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. How old are you? Where do you live?
I've just turned thirty and already feel older and far wiser! I was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland. I've lived in other places over the years, but Dublin is where I belong and I can't imagine living anywhere else for any considerable amount of time. I'd love to say I have very exciting interests such as knife throwing, fire juggling or deep sea diving, but sadly my interests are far more normal than that. Reading, writing, or enjoying fine Irish Whiskey in good company brings me great pleasure.

How did you come to be a writer? Was it always your dream?
I've wanted to be a writer for a long time, but couldn't even begin to tell you the moment I said "I'm going to be a writer!" There was a point last year though, when I decided it was time to begin this journey. I quit my day job and decided I needed to put the hours in and make a career out of writing. So far so good, and hopefully I’ll be able to continue this dream for a long time to come.

When did you start writing?
I was quite young when I started writing creatively, maybe eight years old. My grandfather was a writer. I'd spend every Sunday at my grandparent's house, and over the years my grandfather started to involve me in his writing. He would sit in his favourite chair, take out a notepad and being writing opinion pieces on whatever topics had interested him that week. Out of love or a need to silence me while he wrote, he would give me an old notepad that had a few pages left in it and tell me to write.

You are a Selfpublishing author - what made you choose this path?
I had done a lot of research over the year leading up to me finishing my first novel. Trade publishing was all I knew about for a long time and I thought that that was the way to go, but then I discovered the world of indie authors and how self-publishing had evolved in recent years. Having control over my work, how and when it was published, and the freedom to write whatever I wanted, was what excited me about being an indie author. It's hard work, long hours and will take awhile to establish myself, but I'm loving every minute of it.

What is your favorite quote?
“We Irish prefer embroideries to plain cloth. To us Irish, memory is a canvas--stretched, primed, and ready for painting on. We love the "story" part of the word "history," and we love it trimmed out with color and drama, ribbons and bows. Listen to our tunes, observe a Celtic scroll: we always decorate our essence.” - Frank Delaney

Who and what is inspiring to you?
I try to draw inspiration from different parts of my life. Friends, family, past experiences, they all come into play when I’m writing. When I’m feeling uninspired; I like to read great books or watch movies, as I always feel inspired by their stories. Authors such as Dan Brown, Michael Connelly or Trudy Canavan are wonderful storytellers and always help bring out my creativity. I’m also considering hiring a full time muse, as I hear they’re great. Applications welcome. ;)

What inspired you to write your novel series "The Knight Series"?
I woke one day about 5am from having a very vivid dream about this bounty hunter chasing down criminals. I lay there for a moment and thought about it. It didn’t take long for me to realize it would make a great story, so I quickly jumped out of bed, went to my desk and wrote what became the first chapter.

Tell us about the story, what is this series about? What genre is it?
The series follows Rebecca Knight, a bounty hunter based in California, and most of the series takes place in San Francisco.
The first installment of the series is called “Knight’s Judgment” and opens with Rebecca being wounded, while in pursuit of a target. The opening scene shows the reader just how strong and determined Rebecca can be and gives them a taste of her skill in her chosen profession. As the story progresses over the series, we get to see a lot more about Rebecca’s past, her violent childhood and time as a Marine which haunts her to this day.

Tell us about the main character of "Knight's Judgment", the Bounty Hunter Rebecca Knight.
Rebecca is a strong, powerful and determined person. She takes great pride in her work and will stop at nothing to complete her assignments. She lost both of her parents as a child and was raised by her grandfather; whose parenting skills left a lot to be desired. Between the “tough-love” attitude of her grandfather and the ruthless people of her neighborhood, she quickly learned the world was out to get her and that she would need to become something else to survive it.
Her emotional scars have left her personal life in disrepair, and any friendships she still maintains are strained at best. Although she has had many relationships with women over the course of her life, she has yet to make any of them last for a significant amount of time, and so finds solace in the simple things in life, like riding her motorcycle or enjoying some Irish whiskey.

How many volumes do you plan to write for this series?
I have no number in mind just yet, however I have written three books at the moment, with two of them currently published. Look for the third book in a few months.

Is this your first novel?
Knight’s Judgment is the first novel I published, but not the first I’ve written. I have another series that I’ve yet to publish, the first serious novel I wrote is part of that series which I will hopefully begin releasing closer to the end of the year.

Do you have plans for other novels yet? If so, tell us a little about it.
As above, I do have another crime series for publishing later in the year. That series is set in 1940’s New York and is more of a traditional crime noir story. I’m also working on a fantasy Serial that I hope to begin publishing in June.

Darren, thank you very much for your time and the insights!
We wish you all the best for the future!


Samstag, 9. Mai 2015

How to write a synopsis

Okay, I have been asked this a few times now, even though there are lots of information about that on the internet, as well as HOW-TOs.
I hate to write synopses. It is my least favorite thing to write when I am done with a novel. I always get the feeling it makes my story less interesting for the one who has to read it and decide if it is worth publishing, because there is so much that falls by the wayside.
Enough nagging XD'''
Oh, and yes, surely you have read that a synopsis normally is written before you write the novel, but in my case this doesn't work (I change a lot while I write a story so I decided to always write it in the end when I am done).

This is how I write a synopsis:

Working title (working title, because the title might change)
Genre
Target audience
Length (word count)
Quote (one sentence that sticks out and speaks for the idea of the story) <-- difficult one, and not really necessary
Short summary (describe the story in a few sentences, similar to a blurb on the back cover)
Content (this will be a summary of the whole story, it should be around one Word page, but not more than two! You need to write down the central theme, the most important stuff and no side story information) <-- this is why it sucks!
Biography of the characters (main characters and a few minor characters - describe their appearance, race, special abilities if they have any, age if known, characteristics, who is the protagonist and who is the antagonist, short summary of their relevance to the story)
Background information (if there is any, for example a special belief, why is something the way it is in your story, a relevant myth the story is build on)
Motivation (why did you write that story?)

I hope that helps ^_^
If you have any more questions, feel free to contact me.

Donnerstag, 30. April 2015

'The tears of the unicorns' and CreateSpace

The time has finally come to tell you about this: The tears of the unicorns is now published in English! The first volume (of three) so far.
It is available as eBook for Kindle (FREE for Kindle Unlimited!) and trade paperback.

And before you ask: The English version is self-published, yes. 
Why, you ask? Well, I will not say much, only this: This time I can be my own master, do my own layout, my own cover. This way there is no one to interfere in what I believe is right >_<
I know, there are a few downsides to self-publishing, but the same counts for working with a publisher, so nothing to lose here XD

About the book:
When I first held the paperback in my hands I was like "wow, it is so thin! Why is it so thin?"
210 pages is not that short (about 50k words) I believe and I checked with other, mostly older books I own. All of them are way thicker, even though their page count is not that much more.
Than I remembered something I read quite some time ago.
Publishers often use thicker paper for their books to make them look like "more". The quality of that paper is also different, because the paper of self-published books often is copy paper, which is not bad! On the contrary, it is high-grade paper and technically better than that of a "normal" publisher's book. But who cares anyways XD'''

I published the paperback with CreateSpace (an Amazon company). It is quite easy to use and I really enjoyed using the Interior Reviewer, which is something I have not seen on other self-publisher sites. You upload your file and order a proof, and only when that proof reaches you, you see what it looks like.
The Interior Reviewer shows you your book file as a book, that is really cool and gives you a feeling of how it will look in the end. I find that much better, because you do not have to wait for the proof to arrive to see what your text will look like in the book.

Here´s a screenshot of the Interior Reviewer. It looks nice, does it not? X3
It is perfect to see if your text looks good as a book.



This does not mean you should not order a proof before publishing it! Always do so! There are many things that could go wrong if you do not, so spare yourself the embarrassment >__<

I also tried Lulu (tried that one first), but I was not satisfied so I tried another self-publisher before I decide which one I am going to use.
There are a few things why I went with CreateSpace.
One is, of course, is because of their Interior Reviewer. It allowed me to change some stuff because I realised it does not look good in the book (but it did in my file). Another point is, that the CreateSpace team checks your uploaded files before you can order a proof and tell you if there is something wrong. What I also liked are the different cover versions, you can choose between glossy and matte.

I chose matte, because it looks much better in my opinion!
Here's the printed book, front and back. I looks nice, doesn't it? ^_^



Freitag, 17. April 2015

Star Wars: Das Erwachen der Macht

Nachdem ich den zweiten Teaser-Trailer nun gesehen habe, muss ich jetzt auch mal meinen Senf dazu geben >_<

Ich hab mir viele Gedanken drum gemacht, aber bisher konnte ich mich noch nicht so wirklich damit anfreunden ... um nicht zu sagen gar nicht.
Etwas stört mich ...
Vielleicht liegt es daran, dass ich gehofft hatte, dass man eins (bzw. mehrere) der Bücher für den neuen Film/die neuen Filme hernimmt ... Ich hab das Gefühl, dass es jetzt nur noch den Namen "Star Wars" trägt, aber nicht wirklich etwas mit dem Original zu tun hat, ja eher eine Art Ableger ist wie bei manchen TV-Serien. 
Die Trailer haben mich nicht überzeugt und da bezüglich der Story überhaupt nichts bekannt ist, schreckt es mich eher ab. Gut, aus Neugierde werde ich mir den Film bestimmt angucken, aber ich werde das Gefühl nicht los, dass es eine Enttäuschung werden wird.
Ja, ich weiß, ich sollte dem Film eine Chance geben, aber es fällt mir so unendlich schwer. J.J. Abrams ist jedenfalls ein toller Regisseur X3 (die Star Trek Filme haben mich total begeistert, auch wenn sie einige Logik-Fehler beinhalteten -> Blog-Eintrag von August 2014)

Ich bin ein riesiger Star Wars-Fan und habe bestimmt an die 100 der Bücher gelesen. Es gibt viele Bücher, die wirklich toll sind und sich hervorragend für Filme geeignet hätten - warum musste man hier etwas komplett neues machen? In der Hinsicht bin ich sehr enttäuscht ... vielleicht erklärt das meine Antipathie?
Etwas verwirrt mich, im zweiten Trailer wird Darth Vaders zerstörte Maske gezeigt und der Sprecher sagt, dass die Macht in seiner Familie stark ist, dass er sie besitzt, sein Vater und seine Schwester. Soll das nun eine Anspielung auf die Skywalker-Familie sein?
Es gibt so viele Gerüchte ... welche sind wahr? Q_Q
Ich würde schon ganz gerne wissen, was die Story nun wirklich beinhaltet, denn wenn ich eine eigene Theorie aufstelle und versuche eine logische Erklärung zu finden um mir nen Reim auf die spärlichen Infos aus den Trailern zu machen, werde ich nachher sicherlich noch enttäuschter sein, weil es wahrscheinlich überhaupt keine logischer Erklärung geben wird *auf die neuen Star Trek-Filme deut*. Gnaaaa, J.J. Abrams, warum quälst du uns so, sag uns endlich was du planst Q_Q

Ich weiß auch nicht, die Synchro schreckt mich auch irgendwie ab. Irgendwas klingt da komisch, zumindest was den Sprecher angeht ... oder bin ich mittlerweile so sehr die englische Sprache bei Filmen gewohnt, dass ich die deutschen Versionen als seltsam empfinde?

Hier sind die Trailer, damit ihr wisst, wovon ich rede XD

Teaser-Trailer I

Teaser-Trailer II





Donnerstag, 16. April 2015

How to sort the chaos of your ideas - my writing process

Another blog entry I have written in German quite some time ago and forgot to translate (here is the German version).

-----------------------------
Because I have been asked many times  for advice by now, I thought it would be best to just write a blog post about how I write. This way it is available for everyone and I do not have to type it again and again (yes, I am lazy ^_~) - still, feel free to message me any time if there are still questions you would like to ask me. I will always answer ^_^

Well, what does my writing process look like?

Part of my messy notes for "The tears of the unicorns" XD
First, I collect notes to an idea weeks, sometimes even years, in advance (In case I have some new ideas while still working on something else - happens quite often and I do not want get confused or forget something) - with what is it combinable (which often brings new ideas with it) or I just do some research about places, creatures or certain objects I might want to use in my story. As an example (because I have researched these objects) I will now name the Holy Grail, Pandora's Box, aso.
Research is especially important if your story plays in a country that really exists, because the customs there are normally different from that of your own! (school, behaviour, aso.)
Before I go to the step of creating a character, I decide the central theme of the story, no details yet, just the framework what this story should be about.
In hindsight, everything will change again anyway, at least it is like that with me. I commit to something, but the further the story and new ideas go, the more it changes and deviates from the original idea. Do not let yourself be discouraged by that.
Some say you need to stay with your central theme, but I am of the opinion why should you not change it, if that modification makes the story even more interesting? The central theme is only a guideline, something that can change, nothing conclusive. In my case, through this, my story has become much more complex and marvellous. I am much happier with that outcome ^_~
Because of that, I write the synopsis only when the story is finished (but maybe that is just because I hate to write these synopsis things >__<'''). I always get the feeling through this "only to summarize the most importan things" that the story itself gets a raw deal and everytime when I lay my hands on a synopsis I ask myself how much of the story fell by the wayside ...

Tutorials about how to write a synopsis are to be found on the internet in great numbers ^_~

At the beginning, I also make some notes for the characters, about his/her nature, positive and negative characteristics, maybe even some ideas about the character's past - these ideas often come to me in the progression of the story.
It is said that the author is the God of this world he/she creates. He/She has control over the characters.
I have never really felt that "being a God", because my characters consistently begin to have a life of their own and do things that are characteristic and okay for them to do, but not on my project - freewill that is ^_~

All in all: A good story needs lots of time! It will not be written overnight (the idea to it might ^_^).
People who think they have to write 100 A4 Word pages in 2 or 3 weeks and call that story complete and done, ready to be published without any corrections, are wrong. (It might be possible that there are one or two exceptions, but I have not come across one so far)
You will never be able to eleminate all typos, but it is essential to work through your work multiple times. Now and then an logical error slips in and that way you are able to filter them out and correct (hoping that the continuing story does not need to be changed due to that - yes, I also had that problem, but luckily the changes only covered a few pages because I consistently start to read from the beginning and luckily noticed that mistake in time)
Eventually I stopped counting how many times I worked through my story from its beginning (correcting typos, changing sentences because they sounded weird), but it has been many, many times XD


This is only an insight how I approach things. Everyone needs to - it is the same with drawing - find their own way to get to the wished outcome ^_^

Samstag, 11. April 2015

Some thoughts 'Game of Thrones' rose ...

Somehow, it seems to me stories with lots of blood and death and entrails are mostly loved by readers nowadays, oh and not to forget lots of sex and rape - why is that?

These thoughts rose in my mind when I started to watch 'Game of Thrones' recently (I am through the first two seasons).
I was curious about the story that seemed interesting from its plot, not least because I saw a somewhat white (or at least almost white) haired girl in the previews ;)
I still think it is, but not that extensive bloodshed and explicit sex scenes. It is way too much ... Yes, sure, it is a different world, but still - is it really necessary to show that much killings and entrails and beheadings? I don't think it is. In my opinion 'Game of Thrones' can be summarized in: Lots of bloodshed, intestines, beheadings, sex, rape and the fight over the reign of the Seven Kingdoms - if you like these themes, this series is perfect for you.
I had a peek at the books, but didn't like it because of what I wrote above.

I might continue to watch the series because I want the question answered: Who will sit on the Iron Throne in the end? I might, not sure yet ... or I will just google it someday :D

Buuuut, I think the author's attention is too much placed on violence.
I have noticed, stories with lots of violence and extensive bloodshed are more loved by readers and watchers than those with a somewhat "normal" amount of violence.
Lots of books and TV shows these days make good use of that craving and the trends and it works perfectly!

But what does that mean? That people long for war and blood?
I don't know, but I find that somewhat precarious ...

What do you think?


The times change, I know that and everyone wants to go with the trend to maximize their profit. 
First it was sparkling vampires - and suddenly vamipre stories sprung up like mushrooms, then zombies rose  - and suddenly lots of stories about killing the undead came up and other themes with lots of killings and bloodshed and so on.
I miss the old times when quality and variety still meant something ... When I have a look at the current TV series running, it all seems to be the same. Vampire stories, zombie stories, detective stories, investigation stories - tons of them!


Sonntag, 5. April 2015

My version of the Thorin Cocktail

Okay, here comes my version of the Thorin Cocktail ^_^
After so long I was unable to find a recipe and eventually decided to create one on my own.
Yes, I am crazy, but when I saw that interview with Richard Armitage talking about a Thorin Cocktail, I was wondering what it would be/taste like X3
The specifications were "heady and intoxicating" and "it bites you on the back of the throat" - quite a challange - but then I remembered something really mean in our cupboard that sounded perfect XD

These are the ingredients:
add
1 cl Lockstedter
2 cl Branca Menta
2 cl Fernet-Branca
If it is too strong for you add 2 cl of water

The Lockstedter really bites you, so be careful not to overdo it with that one (it is a really mean schnaps) and I also do not recommend to drink that one pure (go on, try it, but don't say I didn't warn you XD).

Why did I use these ingredients?
Well, the Lockstedter was used to meet the "it bites you on the back of the throat" comment of Richard. It is a mean schnaps that also fits Thorin's mean character traits.
The Branca Menta represents Thorin's gentle side and levels the intense taste of the Lockstedter. It is also quite refreshing because of the mint. I really enjoy drinking that one (mint is an awesome herb X3). The Fernet-Branca is to complete it ^_^
It can be enjoyed pure or with ice. I prefer the pure version as a shot.

Cheers, enjoy ^__^