Interview with Aimee Meester [writer and producer of the Bright Eyes Podcast]

It’s Monday, kids, and that means good times all around here on Penprints.

Last month, the first episode of the Bright Eyes podcast was released, and I was quickly, irrevocably hooked. It’s a science fiction podcast following the adventures of Trish Odessa, the pilot-turned-captain of the Ender in the wake of her untimely, unexplained promotion. Much mystery, suspense, and space ensue.

And Aimee Meester, the writer and producer of the podcast, has graciously agreed to do an interview!

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Rosalie: Hey, Aimee! Welcome to Penprints! :D I’m so jazzed to have you “here” to tell us about your podcast, Bright Eyes. To start with, can you share a little bit about yourself for those who don’t know of you?

aimee meester.jpgAimee: Thanks so much for having me! I’m Aimee, obviously — I’m a writer and storyteller and lover of all things sci-fi, including podcasts, obviously. My favorite genre is anything weird and right now I’m probably at home with my cat because that’s how I roll.

R: Cats = aw, yesssssss. SO, why sci-fi and anything weird? What has drawn you to those genres?

A: I grew up on Star Wars and Star Trek, so it just kind of grew on me as I grew up. Then I discovered the world of weird genres beyond that, and I was totally lost. (I’ll be in love with steampunk forever.) I adore spaceships, and the future, and the wild creativity and imagination you have in these genres.

R: Wow, so cool. So with your love for and background in sci-fi, what was your inspiration for Bright Eyes?

A: So it was actually… Star Trek: Beyond. :P I came out of the theater pumped up and excited about bright colors and spaceships and sci-fi that’s not so much dark and gritty (though I love that) as it is neon and fast-paced. Novels are standard for me, so that’s how it started…but as I started to discover fiction podcasts I realized this could be the perfect format for something that wasn’t working as a straight up novel.

whyR: Ohhhh, I love Star Trek: Beyond! You touched on it a little bit already, but can you explain a little more as to why you wanted to put out a story via podcast instead of more “traditional” avenues?

A: Honestly I just thought it would be cool! I’m a fan of finding different and creative formats for storytelling, and discovering podcasts blew my mind. The challenge and newness of it appealed to me, and it was awesome when I finally had an idea that fit with that format.

R: And after the initial decision to produce a podcast, what steps did you take to create it, and what have been some of your favorite/most challenging parts of the whole process?

A: I really just started out with no plan. I didn’t know how I was going to voice characters (I thought it might be me for a little bit!), I didn’t know how I would get it out there, I had zero equipment, no experience. I didn’t even actively start looking for people to help. I started writing episodes anyway, just cranking them out, getting out all my ideas and putting together my ideal episodes. I really don’t know where I would be if I had tried to get everything together before I started writing. It helped HUGELY to start with what I could do and go from there. Then Sydney and Cyrus, my crew, found me on Twitter through a series of happy accidents, and we got to work on the actual music and voice work.

My favorite part of this whole process is the collaboration. It’s fun to create a story by yourself, but it’s something totally different to create a story and characters with other people. I’m lucky to work with two people who really understand the project and have so many things to add in ways that I lack, which is nice. We fill in each other’s blank spots in that way. I write all the words and the story, yeah, but then it goes through Sydney, and her tone and voicework and the way she expresses and emphasizes things adds a whole new layer, and then Cyrus adds music and sound effects that add another layer. By the time it’s finished and out there it’s something none of us could have created on our own and I love that so much. It’s always a joy listening to the final episode and hearing what it’s become.

ai motto 2My least favorite part is adjusting to the fact that I’m writing for audio, and I’m writing for someone else’s voice. Obviously I have control over the words I write, but writing novels (which is the thing I’m used to doing) is hugely different from writing something that’s made only for audio. I have to constantly remind myself that this can’t sound pretty, there can’t be descriptions, it has to sound like someone talking. I also have to keep in mind Sydney’s voice and how she says things. Which sounds weird, but there are some phrases that she’s going to do awkwardly and some that work much better for her and how she voices the character, and the more I hear of her voice in this project the more I have to adjust myself to write accordingly. It turns out great, but it’s a bit of a pain when you’re not used to it.

R: Wow, that is so interesting! Thank you for sharing! Now, I’ve seen Bright Eyes spark a ton of interest in creating fiction podcasts. So, for any of the aspiring writers and podcasters (let’s just say that’s a word), what would be three pieces of advice you would give them as they set out to produce a podcast?

A: 0. “podcaster” is totally a word.

As for real, actual advice…

  1. Just start writing it. I don’t care if you don’t have anything lined up, if you don’t know what you’re going to do with it. Don’t wait. If you have an idea, and you want to make it happen, just start writing it. Nothing is going to happen until you have something on the page, I can promise you that.
  2. Listen to other podcasts! I’m begging you, listen to other fiction podcasts. Just like you read lots of books if you want to write books, you have to consume lots of what you’re trying to create. Podcasts don’t follow the rules of books. You have to train your brain to approach writing them in a totally different way. They’re written differently, in different ways, with different focuses, and you should probably be familiar with that before you try anything. Some great examples and places to start are Welcome to Night Vale (urban fantasy), Within the Wires (sci-fi), Sayer (hard sci-fi), Limetown (paranormal/horror), Wooden Overcoats (humor, soap-opera-y)…
  3. Don’t do it on your own. You’ll go insane.

R: Wow, thank you so much for all the fantastic insights, Aimee. And thank you for taking the time to share a little about your journey with Bright Eyes. I can’t wait for the next episode!


You can find Aimee on her website, her blog, Instagram, and Twitter.

You can listen to episodes one, two, and three of Bright Eyes, and episode four releases on August 21.

And the hashtag to use is: #wheresmilo.

Have you heard of Bright Eyes? Are you thinking of writing a fiction podcast? Are you a sci-fi fan?

With love,

Rosalie

The Blood Race [exclusive excerpt]

Happy Monday, my lovelies!

Today, I’m participating in the blog tour celebrating the release of The Blood Race by K. A. Emmons! And, to spread the news, I’m giving you guys a special excerpt of one of my favorite scenes in the novel.

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But first…

The Blurb.

He’s spent his life running from who he is. She’s been trying to escape her past for 100 years…

Born with unexplainable abilities he struggles to control, college student Ion tries desperately to integrate into his new school and finally put his dark past behind him. But after making a serious enemy, which leads to an accidental rendezvous with the mysterious old man next door— and his hauntingly beautiful but troubled young protégée Hawk, Ion realizes his life will never be normal again.

Late one evening, Hawk drags him by the hand into a closet-turned-rabbit-hole to an extra dimension, and Ion finds himself stumbling involuntarily into a secret society of training for “anomalies,” teenagers with a special set of abilities. Just like him.

As they train to become Protectors of future Earth, battling each other as well as their own demons, both Ion and Hawk begin to realize that they are far more alike than they realized. Unsettlingly so.

When the Dimension is shaken by an unthinkable betrayal, will an ancient prophecy bring Hawk and Ion together—or will a deadly threat hidden in plain sight cost them both their powers… and their lives?


And now…

The Excerpt:

“Does he teach at a school close by or something?” I asked. “He wasn’t exactly clear.”

“Clarity isn’t his forte,” she replied, setting a plate down in front of me. “I hope you like eggs.”

I didn’t particularly, but I wasn’t about to be that guy.

“Thanks.”

She sat down across from me, that same scrutinizing look in her greenish brown eyes. I wasn’t sure which was more distracting—that or the music.

“Am I ever going to know your name?” I asked after what felt like an awkward amount of time had passed.

“You have a thing about names, don’t you?”

“Most people like to know someone’s name.”

She pondered this, resting her elbows on the table. “I’ll give you a name, then.”

I could tell by the way she said it that whatever followed would be anything but her real name.

“Hawk.”

“Hawk is your name?” I started poking at the eggs with my fork. “Like the bird?”

“Sure.”

There was something incredibly irritating about her. I couldn’t put my finger on what it was. The music was still throwing me off.

“You’re making this up,” I told her finally. “I can tell by how you’re acting.”

For the first time her expression seemed vaguely amused. “You don’t know me, so you have no basis for what my norm is,” she said. “There’s no way for you to know whether I’m lying or telling you the truth.”

“It doesn’t matter.” I took a bite of food. “I only cared because flirting is easier when you know someone’s name.”

“Is it really.” She didn’t say it like a question, and I could tell it wasn’t one.

“Could you possibly turn that down?” I asked, glancing in the direction of the radio.

She raised an eyebrow. “Why, so you can flirt with me?”

“No, it’s just a little too loud,” I said. “But I could make the flirting thing happen too.”

“You don’t like this music?”

“Not particularly,” I said, swallowing another bite. “It’s a little annoying.”

“Why do you think it’s annoying?”

“I don’t know,” I said, my voice trailing off, and she put up a hand for me to stop. There was a thin circular tattoo wrapping her ring finger.

“Shh.”

“What?”

She motioned with her hand again. “Listen. Listen to it.”

For a moment I did, without even asking why. I set the fork down on the plate and pushed it away quietly. Her eyes met mine from across the table.

“Describe what it is you don’t like, exactly.”

I thought about her strange question.

I didn’t like the music, I didn’t like the beat, and I didn’t like the sound of his voice or the lyrics. There was, in fact, nothing about the song that I liked, but her question still brought my attention to every detail. I was starting to become aware that this was dangerous ground.

“The lyrics.”

“What about them?”

“Nothing particularly,” I said. “I just don’t like them.”

“Does it sound louder to you now than it did before?” Hawk asked, still not breaking eye contact. “Did you hear the volume change at all?”

I opened my mouth to reply but closed it again before any words could come out, listening.

The volume had changed. It was louder now.

“It sounds the same,” I lied, trying to ignore the intensity of her gaze.

“Are you sure about that?”

I nodded vigorously.

“What about—”

I cut her off before she could say anything else. I had no idea how she had found out about me, but I knew where she was taking this.

“Just stop, okay?” My voice rose as my hands went unconsciously up over my ears. “Don’t make me focus on it—I don’t want to think about it.”

I felt my heartbeat starting to pick up. When my hands fell away, the room was completely silent.

“That was strange, wasn’t it?” she asked slowly. “It suddenly stopped.”

“You turned it off,” I corrected.

“No.” She shook her head slowly. “I didn’t.”

I pulled in a sharp breath. “Look, I have to go.”

“Why?” she asked, folding her hands on the table in front of her. “Are you scared?”

“Of course not.” I tried to level out my voice. “What are you talking about?”

She looked at me hard for a moment before saying anything. “I think you know.”

I shook my head, but she persisted.

“Come back tonight, Ion.”

I stared at her for a moment. “Why?”

“Don’t ask why,” she said, rising. “Either come or don’t.”


The Author:

profile-imgWhen she’s not hermiting away in her colorfully-painted home office writing her next science fiction, passionate story-teller and adventurer Kate Emmons is probably on the road for a surf or hiking trip, listening to vinyls, or going for a power run.

 

Emmons lives in the often-snowy hills of rugged Vermont with her husband and dog named Rocket.

You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and her website.

 

 


Other Important Stuff:

TBR GRAPHIC 3.pngTHE ALL-IMPORTANT BUY-LINK.

Totally Graced kicked off the blog tour with this post. Abbie told us five reasons to read The Blood Race in this post. And here’s an interview with the author along with a mini-review.  And also a CHARACTER interview (lots o’ fun) here.


And that’s all for today, kids!

Have you heard of The Blood Race? What do you think of it from what you’ve heard? (OR, for those of you who have read it, what secrets can you share???????)

With love,

Rosalie <3

P.S. – *insert cryptic-ness that makes next week’s post sound irresistibly enticing* ;)

I’m a cat, but no one believes me [a guest post by my golden retriever]

Rosalie’s been unable to think of a blog post, so she’s recruited me to write one for her instead. I would be honored if I actually thought that anyone was reading this piece of crud blog, but no one wants to read the ramblings of a eighteen-going-on-nineteen angsty writer. I know this to be true since she inflicts her angst in soliloquy form on me at least daily.

 

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My name is Levi.

The truth is, I’m a cat, and no one believes me.

By birth, I’m a full-blooded golden retriever, and everyone expects me to be happy and gushy and drooly and lovey just like all the other idiot dogs. But I’m a cat. I don’t do happy. I don’t do gushy. I only sometimes do drooly. And without a doubt, I don’t love anyone.

(Except Mom. Sometimes I love Mom. And my rubber duckie. My rubber duckie’s pretty amazing, as far as that sort of thing goes.)

My fellow inmates—the German shepherds—wake at 4:00 every morning with their stupid bat ears up and rotating like they think they have some sort of sonar while they prance and dance. Indie’s not so bad. I would murder Bear, if I could.

The family makes me go outside when they first wake me up at 8:00 and then again sometime in the afternoon and then again before bed, even in the winter. I don’t know why they don’t just get me a litter box so that I never have to set paw outside again in my life. The German shepherds, of course, are fanatics about the out of doors and insist on being let out at least five times a day. If I lay still enough, I can pretend to still be asleep or blend in with the floor to avoid being made to go outside. The family sometimes makes me go outside anyway; they don’t love me.

The family itself is a trial.

They talk to me as if I would actually care to listen in that witless baby voice. They only feed me twice a day and inflict a wild-caught salmon food on me because they’re certain I have skin allergies that make all my hair fall out if I eat anything else. At first, I thought a simple hunger strike would break them of this foolish thinking, but after four days of refusing to eat, I nearly lost my sanity and realized that the bipeds are stupid or heartless or both.

As mentioned before, they force me outside when I don’t want to go outside. My ideal time for going out of doors is between In Your Dreams and Never. I have communicated this time and time again by employing the I-Hate-You Glare whenever they speak of the out of doors. Yet they make me go outside anyway.

When I’ve shoved a toy somewhere I can’t reach, I’m forced to bark for sometimes up to three minutes before one of the bipeds will haul their carcass over to fetch me my toy. And then they have the gall—THE GALL—to ask me to sit and take the toy gently.

And if I want to lick all the fur off my front legs, I sure as a rubber duckie better be allowed to lick myself bald.

My primary modes of expressing my displeasure to the family are: the Glare, the Side-long Glare, the I-Hate-You Glare, the I-Hate-You-ALL Glare, the Stupid Bipeds Glare, and the I-Refuse-To-Even-Look-At-You-Right-Now Glare.

The only blip of light in this wasteland is the other cat, the Grahamling, who I can occasionally interact with. However, the Grahamling is a barn cat, and thus, I must venture out of doors if I wish to see him.

Life as a cat trapped in the body of a golden retriever is difficult. I “fake it” for the visitors that come to the house because I hope they will rescue me from this intolerable existence, but, alas, they do not. I hope to one day soon escape and find a home where I will be treated like the cat I am.

If there is anyone reading this piece of crud blog, hear my plea.

With extreme moodiness,

Levi, the-golden-retriever-but-actually-I’m-a-cat


Well.

So that was Levi.  Thank you, Levi….?

Do you have any pets? Do they have any funky quirks?

With love,

Rosalie

P.S. – who here wants to bet that I couldn’t figure out what to blog about yesterday?

P.P.S. – I promise “serious” posts will return to Penprints sometime in the future. Or maybe they won’t, I just can’t say.

32 Things that Inspire Me [as a storyteller]

As I’ve been working through this latest draft of my novel, I’ve been hard pressed to stay filled up creatively and mine all avenues of inspiration. So, for this post, I wanted to share some of the things/people/sayings that inspire me as a storyteller (in no particular order).

So let’s get started.

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  1. Pretty books. As in, books that are just visually appealing.
  2. Fire. Give me all the candles. And also the matches. And also an adorable little oil lamp.
  3. Lovely words. I.E. – words that just sound or look lovely. Esperance. Immure. Anathema. Temerity. Duende. Equipoise. Tyro. Aeonian. Chimerical. Those are all English words, and they. are. beautiful.
  4. Isaiah 35. This chapter. Oh, goodness. I want to tell of these streams in the desert and waters in the wasteland and the God who put them there.
  5. Wonder Woman. That’s right. The movie Wonder Woman inspires me so much as a storyteller. Don’t even get me started.
  6. Basically any song by The Gray Havens.
  7. “We write down made-up stories to tell the truths we wish we could say out loud.” – Unknown.
  8. My brother, Caleb.
  9. Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw. *whispers* It’s just. so. good.
  10. Christopher Nolan. Caleb (the aforementioned brother who inspires me as a storyteller and also just as a person) pointed out to me that Christopher Nolan has directed a superhero trilogy, a movie on interstellar travel, and is now coming out with a World War II movie. And he’s done it all so well. I want tell stories like him.
  11. “You must write every single day of your life. You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads. May you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake the world.” – Ray Bradbury.
  12. The Lord of the Rings. It’s a morally beautiful story, it’s a masterfully built storyworld, and it’s timeless.
  13. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Now I need to go watch this movie again because it’s been a couple months.
  14. The Gospels. This is the story I want to tell over and over and over again, and I want a piece of it reflected in some way in all the stories I write.
  15. C.S. Lewis.
  16. Anything written by C.S. Lewis.
  17. The ocean. I’ve only seen the ocean once, but when I did, just sitting out by it at sunrise was incredible.
  18. Limitless (the tv show). Heroes who are good are not out of style.
  19. Ecclesiastes 9:10.
  20. Empty notebooks. I just want to smell their pages and fill them all.
  21. “You can make anything by writing.” – C.S. Lewis
  22. Nadine Brandes.
  23. Havah by Tosca Lee. The richness of this book, the poetry of the prose, the thought in the story. Agh. So good.
  24. Thunderstorms. Lightning is literally exploding through the air, and water is falling from the sky. People, this is inspiring.
  25. The Dark Knight Trilogy.
  26. The Out of Time Series by Nadine Brandes. Are any of us surprised?
  27. Mary Weber. The pieces of her heart I’ve seen through her writing are a-mazing.
  28. Arrival. So, this was kind of weird and not the best movie I’ve seen, but they tried to do something different and tell a story in a way that stretches the mind. Oh, and it’s all about the power of a language.
  29. Steve Laube. I had the pleasure of having an appointment with him at Realm Makers 2015, and then I got to sit in on one of his sessions. Oh. Goodness. He knows the power of stories and the responsibility of storytellers who are Christians.
  30. The Lion King. Don’t even get me started, kids.
  31. Isaiah 6:1-7. I will retell this in any way I can.
  32. My dad.

So that’s it, kids! Those are 32 things that inspire me as a storyteller!

What about you? What makes your passion come alive? What ideas and attitudes and examples do you strive for?

With love,

Rosalie <3

P.S. – there is no post script to this post…. or is there? All our minds = blown.

Children of the Forgotten Cover Reveal

*cue theme song*

It’s not a Monday *theme song playing* and I just posted yesterday *theme song continues* but I’ve got book news to share with all you lovely people.

*theme song ends*

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SO, my faithful followers (and all the rest of you who haven’t figured out how to unsubscribe yet), I’m here in your inbox on a Tuesday.

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Oops, er, uh, wrong gif.

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(though I think we all wish I had gotten us all popcorn)

Charles Franklin, a friend of mine, will be releasing his debut novel–Children of the Forgotten: Anistemi Book I–in August! And today, I have the pleasure of sharing the fantastic cover and blurb with you!


The Blurb:

In a post-apocalyptic world, most people by age thirty have succumbed to The Sickness, a mysterious deadly illness. But the Sickness is not the only enemy for Collin Mann’s city. Hordes of deranged killers live in the hills around it. With few trained protectors, the future of the little city looks bleak.

Collin, fifteen years old, buries those the Sickness consumes. Slight and awkward, he shuns warrior training, avoiding the example of his big brother and guardian.

When killers attack at the watering hole, he’s called to step forward and defend. Instead, he freezes.

He’s ashamed. His people need him to fight. Can he do it? Or would a clumsy person like himself make any difference in the battle for existence?


The Cover:

cotf cover.jpg


The Author:

charles-franklin headshot.jpgCharles was born and raised in Texas. From there, he joined the United States Army and has traveled the world. Along the way, he saw the most beautiful set of eyes he had ever seen. They belonged to a girl … and he married her right away. Twenty years later, they have three children and are finally headed back home to Texas for good.

Upon retiring from the Army after 23 years, Charles will continue to serve others as a teacher in the town he grew up in. When he’s not in the classroom, or spending time with his family, Charles writes stories about faith, love, hope, and adventure.

His debut novel, Children of the Forgotten: The Anistemi Book I, will release in August and he has already begun work on the second book in the trilogy. Charles is also writing an action thriller, and has begun outlining another series set in the Anistemi world.

You can find him on his website, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.


AND, I have it on good authority that if you sign up for Charles’ newsletter, you’ll get a prequel story for Children of the Forgotten for freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! So go check that out on his website.

Well, that’s all I got for today, kids!

What do you think of that swanky cover?? Do you read post-apocalyptic fiction? If not, do you think you might start?

With love,

Rosalie

P.S. – I also kind of will be receiving AN ARC FOR CHILDREN OF THE FORGOTTEN, so that means I’ll get to read it very, very, very soon. My little gremlin eyes are trained on my inbox, angsting for the ARC’s arrival.