An Interview on Smashwords with Andrew Joyce

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Interview with Andrew Joyce

What motivated you to start writing?
One morning, about five years ago, I went crazy. I got out of bed, went downstairs, and threw my TV out the window. Then I sat down at the computer and wrote my first short story. I threw it up on the Internet just for the hell of it, and a few months later I was notified that it was to be included in an anthology of the best short stories of 2011. I even got paid for it! I’ve been writing ever since.
Since your latest novel is a historical adventure featuring some infamous literary characters, have you always had an interest in history and/or classic American literature?
Yes, I have always loved to read about history, and I think I’ve read most of the classics—American and otherwise.
How many hours of research were involved in the writing of “Resolution: Huck Finn’s Greatest Adventure”.
I don’t measure research in hours. Depending on the book, it could be months or years. The book I am currently working on took about a year of research. Resolution took about three months.
I have not yet had the opportunity to read your novel, but from the description I see it is based in Canada’s Yukon Territory during the time of the gold rush. Yet… when reading some reviews of the novel many reviewers mention Alaska. Are they incorrect? Does this annoy you?
The novel starts off in Colorado, progresses to Alaska, then to the Yukon, and then back to Alaska. It ends up in Montana. But to answer your question: If someone is kind enough to buy the result of my labors and then take the time to leave a review, anything they say is fine with me.
Do you always have a full story mapped out from beginning to end before you start writing?
I usually sit down to write a book with no idea where my characters will lead me. I start out with (I hope) a killer first sentence and the last paragraph of the book. Then I set out to fill the in-between space with 100,000 words. I find that the easy part. Sometimes I will bring my characters to a certain place, only to have them rebel when we get there. They tell me they want to go somewhere else and take off on their own. I have no choice but to follow.
Writers are also avid readers. What type of book do you like to read for pleasure?
I love to read Steinbeck, Jack London, or Beryl Markham when I want to experience beautiful writing. When I just want to sit down with a book and read it in one sitting then Lee Child or Baldacci will do (I can’t put their stuff down).
Do you want your novels to simply entertain readers, or are they meant to didactic in nature?
My mission, first and foremost, is to entertain. I tend to be a bit didactic on occasion, but the message is always embedded between the lines. Some people pick up on it, some don’t. But my job is to keep people turning pages.
Have you got any advice for those budding writers out there?
Read, read . . . and then read some more. Read everything you can get your hands on! Reading to a writer is as medical school is to a doctor, as physical training is to an athlete, as breathing is to life.

Published 2016-07-02.

Note: These questions were originally asked by Lynne over at https://fictionophile.wordpress.com/2016/07/02/guest-post-interview-with-novelist-andrew-joyce/

Check her out. Her blog is sensational.

Resolution: Huck Finn’s Greatest Adventure

Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 95,900. Language: English. Published: April 13, 2016. Categories:Fiction » Adventure » Action, Fiction » Historical » Canada
They had come to that neck of the woods seeking adventure. Someone should have warned them, “Be careful what you wish for.” When disaster strikes, Huck and Molly volunteer to save the day by making an arduous six hundred mile journey by dog sled in the depths of a Yukon winter. They cannot stop. They cannot turn back. They can only go on. Lives hang in the balance—including theirs.

Heteronyms & Homographs

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Emailed from a friend. (And don’t be so surprised. I got a few. Well . . . at least one.)

Homographs are words of like spelling but with more than one meaning. A homograph that is also pronounced differently is a heteronym.

Some Examples:

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.

2) The farm was used to produce produce.

3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

4) We must polish the Polish furniture.

5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.

6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.

8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.

9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

10) I did not object to the object.

11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.

13) They were too close to the door to close it.

14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.

15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.

16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.

17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.

19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

Editorial: Self-publishing > Traditional Publishing

Bubble Cow

This article is reprinted with permission from Fred Johnson of BubbleCow.com

Hi everyone.

The school holidays are almost upon us, and I wish those of you with kids good luck. May your family holidays avoid disaster and may you never hear the dreaded “I’m bored!” It might be a good time to lock yourself away and work on that novel.

And when you finish it, go ahead and self-publish. That’s right, I’m not even beating around the bush any more. Self-publishing is the way forward, and big publishers know it. They’re scared. They’re trying to shut us down, man.

Okay, so they’re not actually trying to shut us down, but they are panicking over things like digital rights acquisitions and trying to keep the prices of eBooks up. Self-publishing is becoming more and more prominent each year. Self-published writers are starting to worm their way into the limelight and into the critical establishment. The time of reckoning is nigh.

And yet there’s still a residual shame surrounding self-publishing. It’s still seen as second best, as a sign of implicit failure. It’s vain and narcissistic. It’s something your dad shakes his head at. Get a real job son.

No matter that self-published writers can earn far more than most publishers will offer writers in their book deals – what’s 15% royalties against 70%? No matter that when you traditionally publish you can kiss goodbye to distribution rights as well as potentially to a whole load of other rights too – one contract some poor Redditor signed forbade him from blogging for two years. I suppose it also makes no difference that traditional publishers will stop marketing your book after a month if it’s not instantly a bestseller. I hope that advance was worth it.
Then again, if traditional publishing is so bad, why has literally every great work of literature ever gone through it? Where’s Jane Austen’s self-published collection? Where’s Don DeLillo’s Amazon profile? Why wasn’t War and Peace a poorly formatted eBook before it was a mighty hardback?

Self-publishing is new. People don’t trust it. They visit Amazon’s Kindle marketplace and they see an ocean of erotic fan fiction and some eye-meltingly offensive cover designs. They dig through Game of Thrones knock-offs and veritable acres of romantic Vampire fiction and then they leave, crossing themselves and muttering about the rapture.

It doesn’t have to be like this. Writers know that, economically speaking, self-publishing is a sensible option. They know that it offers them total control and total freedom. They know that for the vast majority of writers who snag a book deal with a major publisher, only the tiny minority will see major returns with a runaway bestseller. Fewer still will be lifted into the hallowed halls of the literary elite. What are the chances that you’re one of those lucky few? Statistically speaking, minuscule. It’s like the literature lottery – sure, you can’t win if you don’t play, but hey – you’re still not going to win.

And yet – what if you really are that special writer whose stars have aligned just right? What if your book doesget picked up by Penguin or Faber and you get a chunky advance with several zeroes? What if your book reallydoes sell millions of copies? Maybe Michiko Kakutani will call your novel “the greatest book ever” in her review for The New York Times. Maybe Thomas Pynchon will send you a picture of his face in the mail. You always knew you were special, that you were destined for greatness. Behind you, your literary agent adjusts his glasses and looks at you. He nods and smiles, unexplained sunlight sparkling from his silver beard. I’m proud of you, he mouths. In the crowd, the critics – hard-eyed, bastard critics, people who’ve made a career out of being spiteful – they’re weeping. Their pads and laptops lie forgotten on the ground. Academics have gathered like birds outside to peck at the crumbs you toss their way. Schoolchildren will be reading you for decades to come. You’ve done it.

Pull the plug. I’m sorry, I was getting carried away there. If you found your eyes misting over a little, chances are you want what most of us want: recognition. Writers aren’t typically people overly concerned with making a lot of money. After all, there are far more lucrative avenues to walk if that’s your objective. What writers want is recognition – someone to say, hey, I see what you’ve done here. This is good. I want to read this – more than that, I want to tell my friends about this. I want to shout from the rooftops about how much I love this book.
This kind of affirmation is what writers live for. They need the reinforcement, the encouragement – the yes, this is good, keep at it. What you’re doing has worth – people need to read this. It will bring them something that money cannot. Writers need to keep hearing this, and this is what keeps traditional publishing in the ring. Maybe you started off writing in school when a teacher liked your short stories. They told you that you had some talent for it – it felt good. The literary agent is much the same: an approving expert. If this guy likes it, it must be good! And then, when the publishing house agrees a modest advance and a three-book deal, holy cow, now this is validation.

This is the kind of validation that not even big sales as a self-published writer can grant. Big deal, I sold ten-thousand books. What do people know? To quote Peep Show‘s Super Hans: “People like Coldplay and voted for the Nazis, you can’t trust people.” There’s something about having that select coterie of wise old literati and cold-blooded critics approve of you and your work. You’re one of them now.

This, I believe, is the thing that’s keeping writers pursuing the traditional publishing route. It’s this support framework that self-publishing lacks – you have to do it alone. There will be no agent to encourage you when you hit a wall, and no editorial team reinforcing your status. But you know what? Times are changing. Self-published writers are winning awards. They’re having well-respected movies made from their books – seen The Martian? That’s a Spielberg film based on a self-published novel by Andy Weir. As hard as it can be to believe, beneath the Kindle marketplace’s masses of housewife porn lurk some seriously good books by talented writers.

Of course, these truths are easy to know – they’re much harder to internalise. I know that eating meat is bad for the planet and is cruelty on an industrial scale, but damn it if that truth isn’t hard to internalise and apply. Writers know that self-publishing is the logical choice. They know it’s only getting bigger and they know that critics are starting to pay attention. They know they’ll have more freedom, that they’ll keep the rights, and that they’ll probably see more money in the long term. But they’d still sign a book deal quicker than I could blink if given half a chance.

Resist this urge. Self-publishing is no longer a failure, no longer a second-best avenue for mediocre writers. Self-publishing is the only option that makes sense – it is a victory. Don’t listen when people assume you couldn’t get a book deal. Choose self-publishing. Champion it. Reap the rewards.

Go forth and conquer.

Fred Johnson, Editor

Danny’s Road Trip

Danny’s Road Trip

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Hey guys, it’s me, Danny—your favorite dog. I’m hangin’ out just listenin’ to Kris sing a little Willie Nelson song. My human, Andrew, doesn’t get it. He doesn’t know that Kris and Willie are speaking for God. Have you ever listened to Sunday Morning Coming Down?

Andrew is off the boat . . . gettin’ into trouble no doubt. Me, I’m listenin’ to Kris / Willie Nelson.

Kris Willie

I love to ride in cars, don’t you? Sticking my head out the window, barking at any dogs I see along the way. I can even put up with Andrew when I’m riding in the car.

So this is what I wanted to tell ya. Two days ago, Andrew took me out to his car, opened the door and told me to get inside. Normally I wouldn’t do what he wanted. But a ride in the car? So I jumped in. I didn’t know where we were going; however, as long as I could stick my head out the window, I didn’t care.

It was a Sunday morning, the roads were empty, which was a good thing because Andrew was a little the worse for wear. He had had a rough Saturday night and he was still a little tipsy. And just like in the song, we stopped by a church and we listened to the choir. It was then that I knew what Kris meant when he wrote, “There’s something in a Sunday makes a body feel alone.” Because I saw it in Andrew’s eyes that Sunday morning. It was indeed a Sunday morning coming down.

Andrew

I didn’t know it at the time, but Andrew was looking for something. He had a hurt in his head, he had an emptiness in his soul. We never go for rides to nowhere, but I guess he felt he was already nowhere on that Sunday morning.

He turned to me and said, “I need a beer.”

You need more than a beer, pal . . . you need help.

We were still by the church and Andrew was wishing he was stoned.

I knew that the only thing Andrew cared about more than getting high was me. So before he could start the car and go looking for booze on that Sunday morning, I jumped out the window and took off, knowing that he would chase after me. As long as he was focused on me, he would not dwell on his Sunday morning coming down.

I’m sorry to say that he caught up with me right away. Then we went and bought a six-pack.

It was indeed a Sunday Morning coming down . . . and it came down—right SMACK on the head of my human

Danny

P.S. Now, before everyone gets all concerned for poor Andrew, I wrote this a couple of years ago. I didn’t write a new story this month because I’m on vacation. Anyway, it was me to the rescue (as usual) because after that infamous Sunday, I told Andrew to throw the TV out the window and sit down at the computer and write something about his misbegotten youth. It would be a whole lot better than bingeing on the Kardashians, which would drive anyone to drink!

Well, one thing led to another, and now with 140 short stories and four novels under his belt—almost half a million words—he doesn’t have time to get into trouble.

Nowadays on Sunday morning we go down to the local bar and sit outside where dogs are allowed and have a nice healthy breakfast with an occasional Bloody Mary thrown in. No more six-packs.

Andrew Joyce Three 3D Books

Amazon:

USAUKCanadaAustralia

andrewjoyce.com

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NOTE:

You can catch up with any Danny the Dog Posts you may have missed, by any of the following three means:

Clicking on the Danny the Dog Tales tag at the bottom of his posts

The Categories Cloud in the right column and clicking on Danny the Dog Tales

Typing Danny into the Search box top right of blog and Enter or Return

Foraging

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Once upon a time—in my far distant youth—I travelled the rails. I rode boxcars. Always by myself, but once I met up with a man named Jake and he tried to teach me the ways of the professional hobo.

One night after hitting a small town in Texas, he took me out foraging for food.

To be concise and succinct about it, the foraging took the form of going to the back doors of houses and asking for a hand out. I had done the same thing on occasion, but my modus operandi consisted of going to a restaurant’s back door.

Anyway, Jake told the eighteen-year-old boy that I was at the time, “The best pickings are in the poor sections of town. You never get turned down. Next are middle class neighborhoods. You stand a fifty-fifty chance in that neck of the woods. Then last are the rich neighborhoods. Unless the cook answers the door you might as well forget about getting anything outta that house. Ain’t it funny that the people with nothing are willing to share what little they have while those with everything are afraid to part with even the slightest bit of what they have?”

ANTAGONISTS

There are many antagonists in Resolution. Here are three of the more prominent: 1) Murderers, 2) Wolves, and 3) the most dangerous—the extreme Yukon cold when it’s seventy degrees below zero.

Jim Bridger

Murderers:

Huck, tiring of the conversation, picked up the bottle and filled his and Molly’s glasses. Jass’ was still full. “Alright, Mister Knight, how do you plan on doing it? Take us out back and shoot us?

“I must say you are taking this like a gentleman. No crying or begging for mercy?”

“Would I get any?”

“Any what?”

“Mercy.”

“Most likely not.”

Huck looked at Molly and nodded.

She stood with such force that she knocked her chair backwards and it started to fall. She had her gun out and in her hand before the chair hit the floor. The scraping noise of the chair as Molly stood turned the men’s attention from the gold to the table. It was the last act of their lives. Molly had a bullet into each one of them before they knew they were dead.

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Wolves:

The two-legs are just ahead. The three females fan out to attack on the left—to drive the two-legs to the rear, where the males await. The pup, in happy anticipation, watches and learns the way of the hunter.

* * * * *

“Here, Molly, take the pistol! Jass! Get back-to-back with Molly and get ready with one of your crutches. You may have to use it as a club.”

Bright was itching to fly into the grayness and have at the interlopers, but Huck ordered him to stay put. So far, the dog had done as he had been told. Just then, a wolf shot out of the fog and snapped its jaws an inch from Huck’s arm. Bright did not wait for permission. He was off the mark and had his jaws clamped on the wolf’s neck before Huck could react. The wolf was bigger and stronger than Bright and easily shook him off. Then it started to melt back into the icy mist, but before it was completely swallowed up by the frozen vapor, another wolf attacked. It snarled and snapped at Molly, but did not go in for the kill.

Molly couldn’t get off a shot because she was afraid of hitting Huck or Bright. Huck went to her side, handed her the rifle, and took the Colt. But before he could use it, the wolves were gone.

“Why didn’t they finish us off?” stammered Molly.

“They’re trying to drive us back a ways. The rest of the pack must be back there. But we’re gonna fool ’em. We ain’t movin’,” answered Huck.

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The Cold:

Huck was quite a sight. Black scabs from frostbite dotted his face. And in other places, the flesh was purple where the skin was just beginning to die. His brows and beard were covered in a fine white frost.

He had no idea how many miles he had covered since leaving Molly and Jass. But he did know that he wasn’t going to cover many more. He wasn’t even sure how many days he’d been gone from them. He was as played out as a man could be and still be alive. He was starved, frozen, and so tired that it took all his will not to lie down in the snow and just give up.

On his next step, he stumbled and fell headlong into the waiting and beguiling arms of The White Death.

On Amazon:  Resolution: Huck Finn’s Greatest Adventure

RESOLUTION: Huck Finn’s Greatest Adventure

Resolution-800 Cover reveal and Promotional

It is 1896 in the Yukon Territory, Canada. The largest gold strike in the annals of human history has just been made; however, word of the discovery will not reach the outside world for another year.

By happenstance, a fifty-nine-year-old Huck Finn and his lady friend, Molly Lee, are on hand, but they are not interested in gold. They have come to that neck of the woods seeking adventure.

Someone should have told them, “Be careful what you wish for.”

When disaster strikes, they volunteer to save the day by making an arduous six hundred mile journey by dog sled in the depths of a Yukon winter. They race against time, nature, and man. With the temperature hovering around seventy degrees below zero, they must fight every day if they are to live to see the next.

On the frozen trail, they are put upon by murderers, hungry wolves, and hostile Indians, but those adversaries have nothing over the weather. At seventy below, your spit freezes a foot from your face. Your cheeks burn, your skin turns purple and black as it dies from the cold. You are in constant danger of losing fingers and toes to frostbite.

It is into this world that Huck and Molly race.

They cannot stop. They cannot turn back. They can only go on. Lives hang in the balance—including theirs.

A Work in Progress (The Wolf Man)

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The Wolf Man

Flying through the desert, the air is warm, the stars are bright, and I’m as high as a kite.

Caught me a long ride outta Mesa, New Mexico heading for the Promised Land of L.A., California. The year: 1968.

It’s early morning. I mean it’s really early . . . like 1:00 a.m. early.

We blow through four counties, we’re movin’ fast. My life is waiting for me on the West Coast. Ain’t got no time to mess around in this bohunk desert. Ain’t got no time for this bullshit.

Then he spoke to me. He came from the stars. His voice dove into my being, and I’ve never been the same since. The Wolf Man had my soul. The Wolf Man showed me the way. The Wolf Man was the way!

To be continued . . .