Featured Author Friday – Derek Borne (and a chance to win being a character in his UA universe!)

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Today I am sitting down with Derek Borne! I met Derek at Foster an Author, an annual event taking place on social media. He and I began chatting back and forth about our books and oddly enough – food – we’ve been friends ever since. Derek is an interesting and friendly guy, this interview was tons of fun.

  1. Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

I’m a Canadian indie author (wearing my tuque right now, eh). My wife and I have a bearded dragon named Ziggy for a pet, who loves to shoot me glares as if I’m an idiot or did something wrong. As for true backgrounds, I’m a bit of a mutt with predominant European genetics, which allows me to have a taste for many foods. Especially pizza. *runs off and orders some*

  1. When did you first decide you wanted to be a writer?

When I was little, I used to tell stories into tape recorders (dating myself here). My imagination had no bounds. As I got older, I loved to sit down and let the stories flow onto paper. From there, things just more and more interesting. At least, I think so.

  1. Do you have any interesting writing quirks?

Pretty sure I make the faces I’m trying to describe when I write them. Maybe that’s why I get so many looks from my bearded dragon…

  1. Which writers inspire you?

As I got older, I got into Michael Crichton’s work. Man that guy could write science thrillers. A lot of what he wrote made me want to one day get to his level.

  1. What have you written and where can we buy or see them?

So far, my superhero/spy debut novel The Ultimate Agent is on Amazon Kindle and Paperback. Universal Buy Link: http://mybook.to/UADB

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  1. Give us an insight into your favorite main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

Don’t make me choose. Seriously. I love all of them for different reasons. I guess if I HAD to choose, it’d be Devon (I’m sure I’ll get some ribbing from the others later). The thing with him is, sure he’s got superpowers. But that’s not what makes him the hero. He’s got some demons from his past, as everyone does. But his ability to live with them or push them to the side in order to save the world, that’s a journey I love telling. And I hope that his example can inspire others.

  1. What are you working on at the minute?

Lately, I’ve been working on rewriting my sequel in the UA series. It’s been a fun time adding the real guts to the story, as I’d written it when I was 15. So now at my nearly 30-year-old eyes, my writing ability has changed so much. (At least I hope so!)

  1. What genre are your books and what draws you to that genre?

My books are of the superhero and spy variety. I’m a huge nerd, mostly Marvel (Sorry, DC). Writing about heroes and what makes a true hero has always been a big interest of mine.

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  1. Why do you write?

Mainly I love to write for the fun of it. Creating worlds, characters, twists, it’s something that’s good for the brain. 15-30 minutes a day of writing and being creative even relieves stress. And if someone loves the stories you tell, then that makes it all the more worthwhile.

  1. Do you work from an outline or do you prefer just to see where an idea takes you?

A general idea of where things will go is always in my mind. From there, I let my imagination do the rest. Why plan twists when you could surprise even yourself?

  1. What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?

My novels aren’t just centered around one main character. There are many characters on their own little journey. But once those characters come together as a team, it can be challenging working out the dialogue and choreography. But it’s also fun when you get the hang of it.

  1. When you aren’t writing, what are you doing?

I’m usually watching hockey, singing and playing my guitar, watching the latest superhero movie and spending time with my lovely wife.

  1. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

My advice is: If you don’t know something, don’t be afraid to ask someone who’s done it. The indie author community is all about helping each other out. You may be on your own path, but don’t be afraid to make friends along the way. And when writing, make sure you’re always hydrated. And the best writing fuel is pizza.

  1. Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?

There’s a review competition on my author page right now! You could win the chance to be a character in the UA universe, and an early ARC of UA2! http://bit.ly/2DNSF3d

Damsel

About The Ultimate Agent:

Book Blurb

WARNING: THIS MISSIVE CONTAINS CLASSIFIED INFORMATION

Your Mission:
Undertake an adventure of epic, global, and dire proportions.

Agent #524 – Devon Bertrand
Once a normal civilian, Agent Bertrand has been recruited by the Ultimate Agency—a secret organization of the world’s best spies. Now, after undergoing genetic upgrades, he has become a superhuman agent dedicated to fighting against all threats against the nation he now calls home.

Agent #146 – Brett Gallagher
A brilliant scientist, Dr. Gallagher invents and utilizes technologically advanced gadgets and weapons to fight against national security threats like a modern day superhero.

The Target – Maximus Romanov
Employed by a mysterious Russian terrorist group, Romanov is a superhuman operative wreaking havoc in the United States.

Mission Data – Confidential
Join Agent Devon Bertrand and Agent Brett Gallagher on a mission to stop Romanov from destroying the United States. As Bertrand and Gallagher work to discover why Maximus harbors a deep hatred toward America, they uncover a conspiracy brewing against the Ultimate Agency, and one man will make the ultimate sacrifice.

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Keep up with Derek on Social Media!

Social Media Links:
Amazon Page: http://amzn.to/2uz6cHl
GoodReads Page: http://bit.ly/2xsozxt
FB Page: http://bit.ly/2xzAmL6
FB Fan Club – The Ultimate Agency: http://bit.ly/2xjfgkp
Twitter: https://twitter.com/dbultimagent
IG: https://www.instagram.com/theultimateagent.novel

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bPCUbH

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Writers Monday: The Art of Junk Writing

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I’m often pressed for time writing-wise. I work full time outside of the home, and I’m a single parent of two. People ask me how I do it – the answer is, I have a schedule and I stick to it.

Writing time for me is between the hours of 7 pm and 9 pm on work nights and as much as I can on days off – sometimes if my mind is really spinning, I’ll write instead of brushing my hair for work (hello messy bun).

But so many of those work weeknights my mind is tired. I have the ideas, but I’m too exhausted for coming up with clever similes and metaphors. The words that come out onto my paper aren’t crisp, and they read juvenile. And I know I’m not alone here.

I hold myself accountable for writing a minimum of 1600 words a day. Which means, I’ve learned to embrace the junk writing. I have the base idea for a scene, or a conversation – I know it’s a good idea, but it all comes out like jumbled crap. WRITE THE JUMBLED CRAP.  Get the idea out of your head( see the picture above) It’s a first draft, a rough copy – whatever you want to call it. First drafts are never perfect. They are meant to be amended and edited.

The above picture is “junk writing”. I had just finished my final round of edits on The Space Between Us – but I had these scenes swirling around in my head. My brain was TIRED from the previous book – but this meet cute and intro scene were just too good. I would never publish that in a book, I would never send that to a beta reader – but the base idea for the scene was there, the core of it is something to go back and work with.

Here is the same text, after round one:

A woman can drive a sane man to do crazy things in the same way hunger, greed and lust can. A woman like this could cause me to go insane.

I could fire her. I should fire her. What I really should do is call Sean, the staff manager, and let him deal with her.

But one look inside those big green doe-shaped eyes, and I crumbled into specks of dust. And just one word falling from her bow-shaped lips, smooth and sweet like honey, tempted my ears in the hopes for more. I wondered what she sounded like when she was having sex. Did she moan? Whimper? Scream?

Christ, I needed to get laid. I blanked my face to hide any devious thought or emotion from showing.

Outside my office, the kitchen was picking up in speed. The closer it gets to dinner time, the wilder it gets back here. It’s a carefully calculated orchestra of skill and chaos. A faint perfume of butter and sautéed garlic wafted through the door, and my mouth watered much like it did when I saw her wandering around the market.

It’s my driving force in life. Food that is.

Again, still not perfect, but better. Round two, round three – you get the idea. It gets cleaner, tightens up and flows.

Next time you’re stuck, I challenge you to try it. Don’t worry about the words and flow. Don’t worry about dialogue tags and actions. Get your ideas out of your head and move on. Yes, you’ll be embarrassed if someone were to read over your shoulder. Yes, you’ll read it and think “this is a flaming pile of shit” – and it is – but you can fix it later. I’ve written entire chapters this way, thinking to myself – this is such crap, I’m going to have to delete this and start over – some of them wound up being my favorite chapters/scenes in my book.

Next week I’ll talk about my other trick I use for when I get stuck. I call it, the what if game.

So go on now. Write some junk and turn it into something glorious.

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Re-named WIP teaser | NaNo update

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I kind of knew in the back of my mind that Broken or Beautifully Broken was a placeholder name and that the title would come to me through my characters. The new working and final title for this story is: The Space Between Us. So, I’d like you to meet Dean King and his princess.

*note: I do not own these images they are merely for entertainment purposes*

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And, I kicked NaNoWriMo’s butt! Yesterday I hit just over 51,000 words. Just 29,000 shy of my overall 80,000 goal!

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Quick thank you to everyone who has been reading, purchasing and reviewing Rocking Autumn – it has been flirting with this rank for a few days and it’s so close to that top 100. It means the world to me!

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NaNoWriMo novel announcement!

I did NaNoWriMo for two years in a row (before my two year writing block took over) where I completed The Island and started another novel titled The Lost Boy. The Island got finished, The Lost Boy is something on the back burner for me as it doesn’t fit my genre-however, I will finish it one day.

I’ve decided to participate this year, to motivate me to write the novel I hope to publish around February! Without further ado-drumroll please:

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The Beautiful and The Broken.

I haven’t written a proper blurb for it yet. But it’s a classic opposites attract, with a little forbidden fruit of an ex-best friend’s little sister, and of course my own little twists. Dean is the boy from the wrong side of the tracks, Emma is the good girl who grew up sheltered on her family apple orchard. Dean strives to be a professional boxer, and does underground (ie illegal) fights to make enough money to support his ailing grandmother while all Emma wants to do is leave the ranch to get back to college and get her degree in fine arts so she can open a dance studio. Insert family drama, money woes and heart ache – not to mention some heat hot enough to start a fire between Emma and Dean.

So what are you writing for NaNo?

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Meet Autumn – Character Interview

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Name: Autumn Jane Brooks, or AJ as my friends call me

Place of birth: Hood River, Oregon

Parents: Steve and Cheryll Brooks

Siblings: I was an only child

Places lived: I lived in Hood River until I was eleven, then my family moved to Walla Walla. I took off at nineteen to live in LA, but I came back a couple of years later.

Favorite subject in school: Art. Always art!

Jobs: I run Brooks Books and Patisserie with the help of my bestie, Hadley

Do you like yourself: Yeah, I guess. I mean…sure. I like myself. I’m a nice person.

What, if anything, would you like to change in your life: Nothing really. I have a great job. Great friends and a cute little condo. Maybe a nicer car? The Subaru is kind of a soccer mom car.

How much self-control and self-discipline do you have: Usually a lot. Except when it comes to one person…

Best way to spend a weekend: Grabbing a cocktail with Hadley at PH 124, snuggling with Jasper my cat and binging on Netflix shows, doing some yoga and maybe going for a hike.

What do you carry in your pockets/purse/backpack, etc.?  Oh my gosh, what don’t I carry? Wallet, about six lipglosses, sunglasses, rosewater spray for my skin, lotion, tons of old receipts that need to be thrown out. It’s just a mess.

What emotion/feeling are you afraid to experience? Love….

Rocking Autumn is available now! https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075KPTYMG

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