Friday, November 16, 2012

Author Interview--Ethan Nahte

Good Friday,

Welcome to another start to the weekend and another author interview. This week Ethan Nahté is in the hot seat. So without further ado, here he is.

-About you?

My first published fiction stories appeared in junior high and high school literary magazines. Once I graduated high school I had a poem published in an anthology of poetry before putting fiction on the back burner for another twenty years or so.

After many years as a professional journalist and working in the TV/Video/Film industry I realized I had a lot of stories in my head and wanted to get back in to writing. Over the past three to four years I have had eight short stories published.

-What book and/or experience made you want to be a writer?

I’m not sure if there was any particular book that made me want to be an author. I remember one of my first attempts at a book was when I was probably five-years-old and my family was camping. I sat in the camper and wrote a story about my adventures. In reality it was probably just a short story but at that age it seemed like a lot of writing.

-What genre(s) do you write?

I primarily write speculative fiction and I like to include historical fiction in with my stories. Although I do enjoy reading and writing science fiction and fantasy I tend to write more horror. I also have a tall tale novel in the works and a couple of other novels and non-fiction pieces outlined. Some of my material can get a little bizarre or bloody. I just have a twisted dark side that occasionally creeps out into the sunlight to play then retreats back into the shadows.

-Publication history?

Yard Dog Press (YDP) was the first to publish my fiction. The story is “Bubbas, Barbarians and Yumbies, Oh My!” for the shared world anthology A Bubba in Time Saves None. It has a bit of historical influence involving Robert E. Howard, creator of Conan, Kull, Solomon Kane and some other great characters. YDP also published “There’s No Place Like…Aaaahh Shit!” in I Didn’t Quite Make it to Oz.

Twit Publishing has published three of my stories for three of their Twit Publishing Presents PULP! series: “Ripping Jack” is a historical fiction piece on why no one ever heard from Jack the Ripper again, “Devil’s Den” is a piece with a bit of historical fiction that includes a bogeyman and how a state park in Arkansas got its name, “Darmok and the Mermaids of the Sea” is a sword and sorcery tale. I loved the character and world so much that I have decided to write a full-length novel about Darmok’s adventures.

Hall Brothers Entertainment published my crime noir/fantasy in Villainy and they published my sci-fi story “Darwin Was Right” in Undiscovered: Tales of Exploration, Adventure and Excitement.

4 Star also published my moral fantasy “Forest of the Golden Acorn.” They are a free e-zine. I sort of shocked many people who know me with the fact that I wrote something that didn’t end up bloody or killing a character.

-Upcoming publication(s) or works in progress?

I Didn’t Quite Make it to Oz was originally an e-book and a companion book to I Should Have Stayed in Oz. The e-book has done so well that YDP is putting it out as a softcover sometime in spring 2013 to coincide with the new movie Oz: The Great and Powerful.

In addition to the stories mentioned above there are a few others being shopped around as well as a couple of screenplays.


I figure I have inundated you with enough without throwing in a spoiler.

-For other aspiring writers, any tips?

I attend a lot of conventions and I hear a lot of people say, “I wish I could write.” Guess what? You can. Just put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, or voice to your speech recognition program and begin. Will you get it one hundred percent right the first time? No. Neither does any author you read. We all make revisions to our stories and even after it is published I am willing to bet ninety-nine percent of us still have changes we would like to make.

-What’s your favorite book/genre to read?

I love all sorts of genres and books. Peter Pan is one of my all-time favorites as well as Shadow Castle (Marion Cockrell). I love almost anything by Robert E. Howard, Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Louis Stevenson, J.M. Barrie, Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Alexandre Dumas, Washington Irving, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, or Jack London.

Out of the modern writers I am a huge fan of Terry Pratchett, Christopher Moore, P.N. Elrod, Michael Crichton, Charlaine Harris, Cara Lockhart, and most of the YDP authors. I don’t just say that because they are one of my publishers. They really have a fantastic group of authors writing a variety of speculative fiction as well as humor that I just enjoy. I won’t pick any particular one out though or someone might get a big head, then we’d have to shoot them.

-What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever written?

As a musician and as an author, my favorite thing always tends to be whatever I am currently working on…until about the third or fourth revision/edit. Then I just hate it and want it finished. I have a novel started with a friend that has been a lot of fun so we’ll see where that one goes.

I would say that the most fun of my solo work has been my tall tale in-the-works novel Buckeye Morris of Timber Ridge. I just simply need to get the time and into the right frame of mind to finish writing it. If I could purchase free time I would. There just never seems to be enough hours in the day.

Want more from Ethan? Says he…

I haven’t been as aggressive with my promotion as I should be. I have had a media website for my company LIVE ‘N’ LOUD for several years, encompassing some of my work as well as many other people in the entertainment industry. I am currently working on building a site solely for my work as an author.

I can be found on Facebook. I have not created an author page but people can find me on there as well as LinkedIn.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Writing Blind

Hey folks,

Before I begin today’s post, semi-final voting for the Goodreads Choice Awards has begun. Go vote for your favorite authors. It’s important.

Okay, this week I’m going to talk about “writing blind.” As a legally blind writer, I’ve discovered a couple of “tricks” that I’d like to share. I put “tricks” in quotation marks because, to me, they are just how I work. To the sighted writer, they may be “tricks.”

Anyway, what do I mean by “writing blind?” A week or so ago I was talking to a writer friend of mine. We were complaining about (that all-time favorite activity) revising. Writer friend said “It’s so hard not to edit as I write. When I see the little lines pop up under stuff on Microsoft Word, I want to go back and fix it.”

Normally, this is a very good quality in a writer—feeling compelled to fix errors. But what about when you just want to write. No stops. No editing. Just getting the words down. I’ve heard it said, and I’ve experienced it. Turning off the inner editor is difficult. One of my first Writer’s Wednesday posts focused on editing and how to approach it. Now, I’m telling you to avoid it.

K, “avoid” isn’t the right word. I have a potential solution to the “little red and green lines in Microsoft Word” problem is more accurate.

A few years ago, a blind friend of mine had a Mac. I’ve never been much for Macs, but Apple computers do have one very neat feature that I, so far, have not seen on Windows. They come with the ability to turn the screen completely off. Yes, the computer’s on, but there’s nothing on the screen. (If there’s a way to do this with Windows, feel free to share.)

Why is this helpful? Well, if you can’t see the little lines in Microsoft Word, they can’t bother you, right?

I know what you’re thinking. “I can’t turn off my computer screen. I won’t be able to see to turn it back on.”

This is true, but never fear. Covering your PC’s screen with a piece of paper or cardboard or, heck, a shirt achieves the same thing. If you want to get really creative, you can use your favorite shirt and punish yourself. “Every time I peek under the shirt, that’s another week I can’t wear the shirt.” All right, that might be a little extreme, but you’re laughing now instead of being terrified about the prospect of using the computer without a monitor.

Not laughing and still panicking about the idea of not using a monitor? Just try it. (You can use the paper. The shirt is not mandatory.) Seriously, what harm can it do? It might even help. Worst case scenario, you end up with completely useless material (which may have happened anyway).

While I’m here, another idea to try. Since the summer before my junior year of college, I’ve used a screen reader called JAWS (Job Access With Speech). Before JAWS I used a program called ZoomText, which involved a lot of squinting and headache-getting on my part. Needless to say, I like JAWS a lot better.

What’s a screen reader? Exactly what it sounds like. It reads what’s on the screen.

How is this helpful? They say to read your work aloud to get a sense of how it, well, sounds. While this does help, reading your own work does have its pitfalls. You still may read it as how you want it to read rather than what’s on the page and not notice things like missing words.

Find someone to read it to you? Not always an option.

Have your computer read it to you. If you don’t mind that there won’t be much in the way of inflection, this could be a viable alternative/additional proofreading tool. In fact, I recommend it as an addition and not a replacement for standard “reading” of work. I miss homonyms quite a bit. “Passed and past” kill me because I can’t see which is in the sentence, and they sound the same. But I find myself leaving out fewer words than most people because it makes a real impression when I hear something like “I need to shopping.”

As with my suggestion above, toss apprehensions aside. Just try it. Again, what is there to lose? If it’s obviously not working after fifteen minutes, dump the idea and move on.

Where can I get a screen reader? You could get JAWS, but it’s going to run you about a grand.

Shaking your head? I thought so.

Mac users—your computer comes with a program called “Voice Over.” It’s a built-in screen reader. Turn it on and have fun.

PC users—your computer also comes with a screen reader, Narrator. It’s not as good as Voice Over. I’ve fiddled with it. I don’t like it, and that’s not just because I’ve got a pumped up, thousand dollar version. It’s not great.

Alternative, download NVDA (Non Visual Desktop Access). It’s a free, open source screen reader. Not as good as JAWS, but you’re not using it for your entire computing experience (like me). It’ll get the job done.

Wednesday Word Tally

The urban fantasy has gone from 30 to 29 chapters but has, oddly enough, gained words.

Word count at start of week: 97,060
Current word count: 97,833

I’ve revised up to and through Chapter 24. Only 5 more to go!


As I suspected, I’m behind. Lol. What did I expect from a project entitled “Miscellaneous Short Stories and Other Projects?” I just passed 15k. Conceivably, I could still catch up. We’ll see, but I kind of doubt it. I did my Nano last month with the urban fantasy, really.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Veteran's Day

Good Monday,

Today’s going to be a short post that will, in fact, not analyze media.

It is Veteran’s Day Weekend.

Thank you to all veterans. There aren’t words strong enough to convey my gratitude for what you’ve fought for.

I was going to say more, but, as I have learned, sometimes a simple thank you says more than a thousand words.

And so, again, thank you.

And that, as they say, is that for today. Join me on Wednesday for our regularly scheduled program.