Online fiction authors and multimedia producers Birdy and Mike Diamond follow a concept they call “Fiction Isn’t,” which they discovered whilst exploring psychic channeling. It’s the idea that, when authors say that their characters suddenly started telling their own stories, that’s what’s really happening: the author has made a mental link to actual people in realms elsewhere from ours. Instead of creating stories, authors are writing the biographies of these people.
Birdy and Mike are making early ventures in getting paid to play under their brand, JourneyBirds’ Wonderland. They’ve created a Patreon page to support their works, which include Arrows in Flight, an Arrow-inspired vigilante story; Church of the Guardian Angel, where two unlikely servants of a cat goddess quietly work to keep the world sane; and Crosswell’s Flying Circus, an unusual airshow company dragged into a dark conspiracy (all of which feature readings by yours truly)! They’ve also developed some tools to help writers find inspiration and crank their daily word count out!
I chat with Birdy and Mike about getting serious about writing whilst being trapped in a hospital bed, psychic hyperlinks, the struggle to be open about yourself in a society that frowns on the unusual, warbird outfits, winning NaNoWriMo, minimum viable perfection and how fiction facilitates the conversations we need to have about the issues that truly matter.
Hybrid paranormal romance author Lauren Dawes writes the Half Blood series, four novels of the Helheim Wolf Pack, and the Dark trilogy, tales of ancient Norse gods living and battling amongst humanity. The Dark series are published by Pan MacMillan, while Lauren self-publishes the Half Blood series.
Lauren was born in South Africa to English parents who then raised her and her brother in Sydney. She loves reading, naturally, but also travelling and, perhaps unsurprisingly given the action-packed nature of her novels, muay thai kick boxing. Her love of urban fantasy and paranormal romance sprang from reading authors like Laurell K. Hamilton, J.R. Ward and Charlaine Harris.
Lauren and I have a great chat about what Stephenie Meyer did to the vampire genre, the author’s burden of the rejection slip, juggling writing with raising a youngster while the armed forces make off with your husband, the work of world building, going from writing a novel in private to speaking at panels in conventions.
Television host and actor Steven O’Donnell is better known to gamers across Australia as Bajo, one of the four hosts of the ABC television show Good Game. Bajo’s prestige amongst the Australian geek community has made him a go-to guest and MC for pop culture conventions.
Bajo has acted in close to 40 short films and 6 independent features and is part of a team developing a new children’s TV show for the ABC, which has just been green-lit after four years of development. If that’s not enough, Bajo and fellow Good Game host Hex have written a children’s book series called Pixel Raiders for Scholastic.
Bajo and I have a great chat about night-long Counter-Strike marathons four days a week, making children cry at Warner Bros. Movie World, the sheer amount of work involved in making multiple television shows each week, seeking out challenges that make you feel uncomfortable and how community is at the heart of any passion!
Self-published author of urban and erotic fantasy Kimberley Clark is determined to make sure that every item on herbucket list is crossed off. One of those items was to write a novel – yet after completing that project, Kimberley discovered that rather than moving on to the next thing, she had to keep going as a writer.
Kimberley is now the self-published author of a trilogy of erotic urban fantasy novels, the Battles in the Dark series, which are on sale on Amazon. We had a great chat about pursuing your dreams, the struggle in finding a good editor and the choice between self-publishing and seeking out a traditional publisher.
Listen to the end of the chat for a special offer on John Williams’ Find Your Money-Maker course!
John Williams has done all sorts of things. Though he’s a writer, blogger and coach at the moment, he’s programmed special effects software for movies and TV, done work for the BBC, and even been a stand-up comedian. The one through-line of his recent efforts is his choice to not work to anyone else’s job description or schedule for a living.
John has taken his experiences in getting out of the rat race and turned them into a blog called “Screw Work Let’s Play” which has since become a book (with a second one due in July 2016). The blog and book feed into the coaching courses he offers to help others find their own thing (or selection of things) in life. Naturally, I had to get him on the show!
John and I have a great chat about what the process of ditching the nine to five is really like, the conflict between experimenting with work for low pay and not settling for less than pro rates and how the current education system still moulds people for factory-era work.
If Joanna Penn wasn’t an entrepreneur when the novelist bug bit, she was certainly on her way there, with a web log and podcast about self-publishing and a regular speaking gig. Then a chance encounter with NaNoWriMo, an annual writing challenge, resulted in over fifty thousand words of her first novel, the occult action thriller Pentecost.
Joanna levered her existing knowledge of the publishing industry to make Pentecost (now known as Stone of Fire), its sequels in the Arkane series and her second book series, London Psychic, into independent publishing success stories. After having listened to her podacst for years, it was a privilege to chat with Joanna about how she makes sure to keep her noveling, blogging, podcasting and speaking plates all spinning, how Australia helped her discover the Amazon Kindle and just what it means to keep showing up for your dream every day, even when you’re already what most would consider a success.
But again, there is that story of having one of the best explanations for not following your passion in the world and still not letting that stop you. Talitha Kalago battles a potentially fatal disease known as Stevens-Johnson syndrome. It’s a fight which could almost be a full-time occupation itself.
But while most of us only talk about getting a book published, Talitha has carved out the time to not only write but find an agent and get her work on the shelves. When I interviewed her, Talitha had just received her first royalty cheque!
This podcast, thankfully, is more about that journey to publishing that all authors face and how you can get your career as a writer started. Listen and enjoy!
Mur Lafferty is one of the first podcasters I ever listened to. When I decided to take a crack at writing again, I stumbled across Mur’s podcast I Should Be Writing and downloaded as much of it as I could – which is a lot of episodes. Just recently, Mur recorded her 250th episode – and that’s not counting all the extra episodes she’s done.
I Should Be Writing is for people who want to be authors what I hope my podcast is for people who want to follow their passions. Though she has a strong genre focus, Mur interviews authors who have secured themselves publishing deals for any works, asking them about how they write and how they got published. Not only that, Mur gives all us wannabes a little moral support by talking about her own progress to published authordom.
That’s right; Mur Lafferty is also an author, with two novels (one published and one self-published), a series of novellas and a raft of short stories – not to mention another novel coming out next year via publisher Orbit Books!
But not only is Mur a podcaster, she’s a podcasting professional. On top of I Should Be Writing, Mur is the senior editor of the science fiction short story podcast, Escape Pod (for which she also writes and narrates) and host of the official podcast of UK publisher Angry Robot Books.
So I just had to interview her about how she gets it all done!
I’m sad to say that some connectivity issues prevented this interview with bestselling romantic fantasy author Elizabeth Vaughan being as good as it deserved to be. The podcast you’ll hear is actually our the second attempt at this interview after my call recorder butchered the first take a week before.
This time I made sure to run two recordings simultaneously. While the second one was largely intact, editing it took longer than otherwise, and some of the times I’m speaking you’ll hear some hiss in the background.
But you know you have a quality guest when, after you discover that your recording is stuffed, your guest agrees to come back a week later and do it all again! I must thank Elizabeth for giving of her precious writing time twice over to chat with me.
In this interview, we talk about how Elizabeth was dared to start writing seriously by a friend and how that dare became seven novels (two of which made it into the USA Today bestseller lists) with at least three more on the way. We also discuss Beth’s influences, friends, mentors and motivators, as well as science fiction and fantasy conventions and her love of Dungeons & Dragons.
After interviewing my web host, I realised that it was both pretty scary and heaps of fun – so naturally, I wanted to do it again! This episode, therefore, is the first of the newly-rechristened Paid to Play Podcast, where I talk with folks who are making money out of having fun.
I’m quite proud to have as my first guest someone who’s getting paid to play the way I want to be – by writing superhero action novels. Raymond Masters has already completed and self-published Forging Truth (you can buy it both in paperback and as a Kindle e-book on Amazon) and is currently touring blogs across the globe to spread the word about both it and his next novel, Corrupting Truth. He has a Kickstarter campaign underway to fund his promotion of both books.
In this podcast, we get to to have a good geek-out, talking comic books, science fiction and TV in between finding out just how Ray gets paid to play.