Friday, March 29, 2013

I'm Gonna Write You A Love Song

(picture taken at Black River Plantation where Hell Swamp is set)

Easter is Sunday, a time to remember and be grateful for all of the blessings God has given us. Most of us can easily list plenty of them. They may be blessings of health, wealth, family, friends, or having married the love of our lives.

As I head out to my sun room to work on my next Logan Hunter Mystery, I find myself sipping coffee and thinking about all that my wonderful blessed life has given me: far above-average health for my age, a wealth of family (my two sons are magnificent!), true friends, and a husband who's loved me for over 45 years.

While I am writing mystery, I find that in this particular book (tentative title is Sticking Point) my two main characters keep wandering off in search of all the blessings and love that I have in my real life. And I want them to find it.

Isn't it amazing how our characters take us where they want to go? After all, I hold the keyboard in my hands, but they always win. Mind you, I'm not complaining. I love character-driven stories! Maybe this morning, two days from Easter Sunday, I can weave the mystery and love story together like a beautiful basket, and my characters will solve the crime and fall into each others' arms as I softly close this book.

Authors, what are your current struggles with writing? Do your characters rule?
Readers, what do you hope Logan will do next?

Please leave comments in the section below for a chance to win a free copy of one of my mysteries.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Multi-Genre Author Robert Collins

Robert Collins has had three science fiction novels published: Monitor, Lisa’s Way, and Expert Assistance. He’s had two fantasy novels published, Cassia and The Opposite of Absolute, as well as several short story collections. He’s also had a coming of age novel published called True Friends. He’s sold stories and articles to periodicals such as Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Fantasy Magazine; Tales of the Talisman; Sorcerous Signals; Wild West; and Model Railroader. He’s also published two biographies and several other nonfiction books about Kansas history.

Hey! I'm not the only multi-genre person after all. LOL. Welcome to the blog, Robert. Congratulations on all the writing success.
Thank you, Susan. 

Where do you live, and how has your environment affected your writing?

 I live near Wichita, Kansas. I suppose Kansas runs through my work, and not just my nonfiction. The home planet of Lisa Herbert (Lisa’s Way) looks like this part of Kansas. Part of Monitor is set in a fictional version of Wichita. The people around the state that I know and like have a spirit of community, and that infuses some of my main characters. Some events in the histories I’ve written have become plots for my fiction.

How many books have you written in all, Robert?

I have 14 SF/F books out, either novels or collections. I’ve had 14 nonfiction books published. I’ve sold about 90 short stories, and about 120 nonfiction articles.

 Wow! How prolific!
Give a short synop of your most recently published book.

 My latest book is another collection: The Frigate Victory Collection, Volume 2: Pirates & Diplomats. Here’s what it’s about:

Major Anita Duncan learns too late of the assassination of the President of Extra-Solar Alliance. She has to turn to Captain Jason Ayers of the Terran Federal Republic for help. Duncan and Ayers forge an alliance of humans and aliens to deal with the threat posed by the coup in the ESA.

What will this struggle mean for the future of the galaxy? Can Duncan, Ayers, and their new friends bring freedom and justice to the ESA?

This collection contains 9 new Frigate Victory science fiction short stories.

 What advice can you give new writers?

 Write every day, even if it’s only a page or two. Come up with plenty of ideas, so getting blocked on one project doesn’t keep you from writing. Be open to advice, but don’t be so open that you let others dictate your style. Don’t give up! You only fail to be a writer if you stop writing.

We all know how important promoting our work has become. How do you get the word out both off and online?

As far as promotion in the real world, I do book events. I do book talks and signings for my nonfiction. I do science fiction conventions to promote my fiction.

As to online, I don’t do too much. I’ll post in a handful of forums when I have something new out. I might post links on some Facebook promotion pages. I’ll post at my blog and at my Tumblr page. That’s about it.

It can be very easy to think you have to post everywhere and tell everyone about your book. When you do that, however, you end up looking like you have nothing to say except “Buy my book.” You really aren’t selling yourself or your book.

That’s especially true if you only have one book out. If you do reach any readers, and they like your book, they’ll want to read more of your work. But if all you have is just that one book, you have no follow-up sale. Maybe they’ll remember you when your next book comes out, but maybe not.

I think the best thing any author can do to promote their work is to keep writing and publishing. Have as much to choose from as you feel comfortable writing. Don’t worry about length or genre; write what you like and get it out. That might not be working for me right now, but it feels like the right way for me.

Can you tell us your future writing goals/projects?

 Through the rest of this year and next, I plan to do events to promote my nonfiction book Kansas County Seat Conflicts. At that point I intend to put my nonfiction writing on indefinite hold.

As far as fiction goes, I always have something I’m working on. I’ve been writing more Lisa Herbert and Blue Pistol novels. Right now I’m adding material to another Victory short story. I try to have plenty of projects to work on, but I tend not to make too many grand plans.

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?   

 I have a blog, One Kansas Author ( and a Facebook author page (

I’m also on Goodreads ( and Wattpad (

Are your books available in print and ebook formats?

Yes! The easiest ways to find where my works are on sale is to go to my blog (

I do have an Amazon Author Page (

You can also find me at Smashwords (

Thanks for taking the time to come over, Robert. Continued success.

It was my pleasure, Susan. Thanks again for inviting me.