Thursday, July 23, 2015

Ask An Editor--An Interview with Cheryl Yeko



Ever wonder what an editor thinks? Or how a writer can connect with one? Today, you'll have a chance to find out. It's my privilege to welcome Cheryl Yeko. She is an acquiring editor for Soul Mate Publishing and an author of romantic suspense.


Her debut novel, Protecting Rose, won the 2012 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence in the Romantic Suspense category.

As an Editor, Cheryl welcomes Romantic Suspense, Paranormal, Sci-Fi, Contemporary, and Erotica.
You can contact Cheryl atÿCheryl@SoulMatePublishing.com, but before you do, you may want to discover what Cheryl likes and what she's looking for. I interviewed her and here are thirteen of her insightful answers.

Header by Samulli
1. What length synopsis do you prefer to see with a partial?  Single spaced or double? I prefer double spaced and anywhere up to 5 pages, as long as I get the gist of the story from beginning/middle/end
2. For you, in general, which elements in a fiction submission are terminal problems that would garner automatic rejections and which are tempting and fixable meriting a look at a revision if a talented author is willing to accept your advice? For me, and this is just me, other Soul Mate editors may have a different take...but I prefer the sex to be confined to only the Hero and the Heroine...with no threesomes or sharing of any kind. I prefer my Hero's to be Alpha, and they would never share their women. I wouldn't necessary reject these stories outright, if they are well-written...but, I would offer them to one of the other Soul Mate editors to take a look at.
3. Do you look at sample pages without fail or only if the query is strong? I always look at the sample pages.
4. Cheryl has several reasons she might reject a story. Here's another one. I will reject outright a story that has been written with headhopping, and yes, I know Nora does it, but not everyone is Nora Roberts. Generally, the readers do not easily accept headhopping. I don't enjoy reading headhopping stories, and since, as the editor, I will be reading this novel 3 to 5 times, on average, I only edit or sign books I'd enjoy spending time with.
5. Another reason she rejects manuscripts is this. If I see a ton of grammar issues, passive writing, formatting, or other issues, but the story is good, I will ask the author to edit the manuscript and resubmit to me. Then if I see that the author is capable of making the requested changes...and I see good improvements, I'll offer a contract.
6. What are the most compelling elements you feel are necessary for a good read?   What particularly grabs your attention? I like to see the Hero/Heroine on the pages for the majority of the story, although I'm okay with side plots with romance as well. And in my novel Abducting Casey, I had three different romances going on. It was a lot a fun.
7. Is there a better or worse time of year to query? No. Anytime is fine.
8. Do you have any pet peeves? Yes...if I see a gratuitous scene, the harming of the heroine for example, that is used just for `shock' value and adds nothing to the story, I reject the novel or strike the scene before offering a contract. I have nothing against violence in my novels, and actually enjoy a well-written, dark and violent story...Black Dagger Brotherhood being my favorite J.R. Ward series... But, the violence must be an integral part of the story, and not just a scene thrown out to titillate the readers.  Oh, yeah...and I really hate it when they kill off the family pet.
9. Regarding submissions, what are you sick to death of and what would you like to see more of? I don't think there is a story that I'm `sick to death of'...as long as it's a well-written story, I'm happy to review it.
10. What does `just not right mean for me' mean to you? It means I didn't enjoy the story, and therefore don't want to commit months out of my life working with it.
11. Do you accept unagented and/or email queries? Yes, absolutely.
12. Which categories do you currently acquire?  Which category is your favorite? As an Editor, I welcome Romantic Suspense, Paranormal, Sci-Fi, Contemporary, and Erotica. And, since I write Romantic Suspense, that is my favorite, with paranormal running a close second.
13. What do you love most about your job? I love helping the authors make their stories shine.

One of the factors that contributes to Cheryl being an excellent editor is that she's also a talented storyteller. This blog wouldn't be complete without mentioning Cheryl's latest release, a co-written novella with another Soul Mate Publishing acquiring editor, and also her BFF, Char Chaffin.


RODEO KING, Book 1 in The Dustin Lovers Series, is a contemporary western, and were both thrilled that it's been hanging out in the top 100, on and off, since its release in mid-June.

Here's the blurb:
Caleb Johnson, 'King of the Rodeo,' is on his way to becoming Wyoming's National Champion. Until an ornery bull sidelines him with a potentially career-ending injury. Returning home to recuperate puts him in the path of Rosemary Carmichael, the girl he deserted to become a rodeo star.

Now he's got to figure out what he really wants: returning to the rodeo circuit and going for that big, National prize, or convincing the woman he loves that he wants a life with her . . . and the son he never knew he had.

If you'd like to learn more about Cheryl and her novels, you can find her at the following places:
Where Love Always Wins: http://www.cherylyeko.com/
Soul Mate Publishing: http://tinyurl.com/lav53p3
Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/lb5xxlq
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ProtectingRose
Twitter: https://twitter.com/cherylyeko
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/cyeko/boards/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5406425.Cheryl_Yeko
Google: https://plus.google.com/+CherylYeko



Thursday, July 9, 2015

How Many Books Does the Average Person Read Per Year? And other interesting facts about readers.



Recently I stood in line for a sale at a local bookstore. The first hundred people in the door received a book bag with swag including a five dollar gift card.  I’m always excited about free books, and I was right in the middle of the queue.  We had about 20 minutes to wait before the doors opened, so we started talking. The guy behind me was surprised he had so much company. He’d read an article that said the average American only read one book a year.

That didn’t seem right. All of us in the immediate conversation had read more, but then we were standing outside a bookstore waiting for it to open—maybe we were the exceptions to this one-book-a-year phenomenon.

But the one-book-a-year concept bothered me. After I came home with new books in hand, I opened Google, researched readers and soon found the one-book-one year notion. It turns out it’s not the whole story. Here are thirteen statistics I found.

Header from samulli



1. According to the Pew Research Center 2013 Reading Snapshot, the typical American read five books during the year.
2. Although a whopping 23% of those surveyed reported that they hadn’t read even one book during the same period.
3. I’m not sure I know many of those non-book consumers. Most of my friends are responsible for skewing the average for books read in 2013 to twelve books, about one a month. I know this because my friends and I discuss what we’re read and we will be talking readers in general in the future.
4. It turns out 82 percent of those who responded that they’d read at least one book in 2013 were women
5. while only 69 percent of men surveyed reported they had read one or more books.
6. Eighty-nine percent of those who told the Pew Researcher they’d read a book reported that it was a print book.
7. That said, the population of e-book readers is growing. In the 2013 Pew survey, the number of those who read e-books increased from 16% of all Americans (ages 16 and older) to 23%.
8. At the end of 2012, 19% of Americans (ages 16 and older) owned Kindles, Nooks or other e-book reading devices.
9. Again, referring to the Pew survey, the most likely e-book reader was a college graduate,
10. who lived in a household earning more than $75,000.
11. And that reader’s age was between 30 and 49.
12. The readers didn’t come from a single environment. Seventy-seven percent of those in an urban community completed one or more books a year, compared 76 percent of people in a rural community and
13. seventy-five percent of those in suburban areas.

All these statistics got me thinking about my own reading habits. I don’t keep track of how many books I go through, but I’d guess it’s about 1-3 a week. Most years have 52 weeks, so again I’m guessing, but I probably read between 53 and 159 books a year. Sigh, it’s clear I’m addicted to stories. Yet, there’s another factor in my book-devouring habit and that is I have a long commute, so I listen to audio books.

How about you? Where do you fit in these statistics? How many books do you think you read? Please share.

Sources
http://www.pewinternet.org/2014/01/16/a-snapshot-of-reading-in-america-in-2013/
http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/01/the-decline-of-the-american-book-lover/283222/
http://www.quora.com/How-many-books-does-an-average-person-read-in-a-yearhttp://gawker.com/5971571/are-you-an-above-average-book-readerhttp://www.pewinternet.org/2014/01/16/a-snapshot-of-reading-in-america-in-2013/

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Wait, There's More! Magic Marketing Words For You!


By Elizabeth MS Flynn w/a Eilis Flynn
I am the worst when it comes to marketing myself. This, despite being married to an old marketing guy, who’s worked on the advertising and promotion for classic items like: the US Army! DeBeers Diamonds! Consolidated Edison! DC Comics! Seagrams! Precious metals! There’s more, but you get the idea. Despite a lot of marketing knowledge that I’ve learned (from many hours of discussing marketing strategy and comic books), I’m crappy at it. All that knowledge and it’s all going to waste. Yes, sad.

So when I got a chance to use some of that knowledge by helping other authors, I decided to take it. I figured I might as well step back and see what I haven’t done for my own work and hope that others might be able learn something from my ineptitude. Can’t do, might as well teach.

Anyone who’s paid attention to advertising and marketing can tell you that there are magic phrases and words that get a reaction from consumers. And that definitely goes for the marketing of your books. What are those magic words? Beats me what they are for you—this is one of those things that you have to figure out uniquely for you—but I can give you some ideas of how marketing words work and what they may trigger for you and consumers in general. And from that, you should be able to figure out how those magic marketing words work for you.

Check out how your blurbs and your keywords and your marketing can get a second look from your prospective readers. Take a look at what kinds of words and phrases make people sit up and take notice and maybe, even, buy your book or story. In my workshop about key marketing phrases for you! And you! And especially you! I look at what classic marketing words work and don’t work, how you can scare away your potential consumer, what’s the deal with marketing your brand, the magic of WIIFM, and how to watch your words in a very particular way.

If you’re curious about when and how to deal with those magic marketing phrases, check out my online workshop for the San Diego romance writers chapter (www.rwasd.com/training/index_flynn3.html) in September and join in the discussion! (But watch out for those exclamation points. No more than one!!!!!)

Elizabeth MS Flynn has written fiction in the form of comic book stories, romantic fantasies, urban fantasies, historical fantasies and short stories, a young adult novel, and a graphic novella (most published under the name of Eilis Flynn). She’s also a professional editor and has been for more than 35 years, working with academia, technology, and finance nonfiction, and romance fiction. If you’re looking for an editor, she can be found editing at emsflynn.com and reached at emsflynn@aol.com. If you’re curious about her books, check out eilisflynn.com. In any case, she can be reached at eilisflynn@aol.com.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Hooray for Summer! Thirteen Quotes to Celebrate the Season

Header from samulli



June twenty-first was the longest day of 2015 and the first official day of summer. To celebrate, here are thirteen quotes about my favorite season.
1. Ah, summer - that long anticipated stretch of lazy, lingering days, free of responsibility and rife with possibility. It's a time to hunt for insects, master handstands, practice swimming strokes, conquer trees, explore nooks and crannies, and make new friends. ~ Darrell Hammond
2. One must maintain a little bit of summer, even in the middle of winter. ~ Henry David Thoreau
3. Summer: Hair gets lighter. Skin gets darker. Water gets warmer. Drinks get colder. Music gets louder. Nights get longer. Life gets better.~ Unknown
4. Summer is the annual permission slip to be lazy. To do nothing and have it count for something. To lie in the grass and count the stars. To sit on a branch and study the clouds. ~ Regina Brett
5. Some of the best memories are made in flip flops. ~ Kellie Elmore
6. Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it. ~ Russel Baker
7. Summer afternoon-- summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language. ~ Henry James
8. It's a smile, it's a kiss, it's a sip of wine ... it's summertime! ~ Kenny Chesney
9. If you are not barefoot, you’re overdressed. ~ Unknown
10. Sun is shining. Weather is sweet. Make you wanna move your dancing feet. ~ Bob Marley
11. A girl in a bikini is like having a loaded pistol on your coffee table — there’s nothing wrong with them, but it’s hard to stop thinking about it. ~ Garrison Keillor
12. One benefit of summer was that each day we had more light to read by. ~ Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle
13. I love how summer just wraps its arms around you like a warm blanket. ~ Kellie Elmore




What is your favorite season? Do you know a quote concerning it? Please share.

Sources
http://www.quotegarden.com/summer.html
http://www.ibtimes.com/summer-solstice-quotes-2015-18-sayings-share-facebook-instagram-twitter-1975172
http://quotelicious.com/quotes/summer-quotes/


Friday, June 12, 2015

Geeks and Gamers' Guide to World-Building


By Eilis Flynn
The problem with staring at the computer screen for hours on end is what you end up thinking about. Not necessarily the project at hand; instead, it’s quite possible you end up musing about totally unrelated things.

Like world-building. When you write fiction, you always build new worlds. No matter if you’re writing fantasy or you’re writing contemporary, you have to craft an existence other than the one you’re living in. Sometimes the existence you’re describing looks like the one you’re in but with some notable differences, and sometimes the one you’re describing looks nothing like yours, but whatever the situation, you have to make it interesting enough for the reader to want to stay in it for a while.

Welcome to world-building 101, the geeks and gamers edition. What’s the deal with world-building? Too much detail and nobody wants to hear about it; too little and your audience turns away, saying that they can’t “see” the world. What’s a good balance? What makes one created world memorable and another so very forgettable?

Could it be the type of world—you know, historical versus futuristic versus fantasy? What about the contemporary world? What about in comic books and video games and board games, for that matter? What makes each of them memorable or forgettable?

The specific genre or medium doesn’t really matter. Each has specific strengths and weaknesses, and it’s our job to identify, locate, and implement those strengths and overcome those weaknesses. Sometimes, when we are lucky, we can even identify and implement those strengths, and if we’re very, very lucky, we can even implement a strength from one genre or medium and make it work in another. But we have to identify them first.

No matter what you’re writing, the truth is that you have to establish and make your readers believe the world you’re writing about. Comic books and video games (and games in general, for that matter) have been particularly successful in doing this. After all that musing and staring at the computer screen, my friend Jacquie and I decided to examine the worlds and universes that comics and games have built, try to figure out why they work so well (sometimes even across media to film), and how we can use those concepts in our own writing, and we put it all into a workshop for the San Diego romance writers.

We’ll be taking a look at the worlds and universes of comic books and world-building from the viewpoint of games and video games. Is there some carryover? Of course there is. We’ll examine that too. Check out http://rwasd.com/training/index_flynn2.html and sign up. It starts July 6!

Elizabeth Flynn/Eilis Flynn has written fiction in the form of comic book stories, romantic fantasies, urban fantasies, historical fantasies and short stories, a young adult, and a graphic novella (most published under the name of Eilis Flynn). She’s also a professional editor and has been for almost 40 years, working with academia, technology, finance, and science fiction, fantasy, and romance fiction. If you’re looking for an editor, she can be reached at emsflynn.com. If you’re curious about her books, check out eilisflynn.com. In any case, she can be reached at eilisflynn@aol.com.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

#PitMad-Prize Picks from the Twitter Pitch Party


Ever wonder what happens at a Twitter hash tag party? Or if you should enter one?

I’d say, “Go for it.”

Last week on June 4th, I participated in Brenda Drake’s Pitch Madness at # PitMad and I wasn’t alone. SC_Author posted this tweet. “There are 31.4k tweets on #PitMad. Basically, if you don't get requests, remember there are 31.4k tweets. 31.4k.”

What’s a request, you ask. It’s when a connected professional in the book-writing business asks an author to send his or her manuscript to them.

 #PitMad, which is short for Pitch Madness is a hashtag event on Twitter where authors post a 140 character pitch or summary of their story. Then they hope agents or editors will favor their pitches, so they can send their manuscript to that agent or editor. Sometimes an agent reads the manuscript and offers to represent the lucky author.  That happened at this #PitMad! Jessie Sima left this post.

"Kelp always thought he was a narwhal. Turns out he was wrong. He's a unicorn. KELP, THE NOT-QUITE NARWHAL "


Thao Le, an agent, favorited the post, Jessie sent her manuscript and, long-story-short, a little while later, Thao tweeted this,"Big thanks to #pitmad & @brendadrake for bringing me and @JessieSima together! We just signed! Give her some love! <3 p="">
That’s the hookup most #PitMad participants are striving for, but it’s also affirming to be noticed. In that spirit, here are thirteen pitches I liked.




1. ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD meets INFERNAL DEVICES. Adele wakes in 1882 with no memory & is hunted by the undead she was born to erase #PitMad #YA
2. Witch survival 101: Don't trust seductive Mr. Hyde alter-ego of cute French boys. Damn. #PitMad #NA #SFF
3. During an OBE, she sees her HS janitor move a dead body; now she must prove he's a killer or be next to die #pitmad #YA IfIStay/RearWindow
4. Colonial America. The fate of his tribe rests in his hands. So does the safety of 1 woman. Trying to ensure both he, may lose all.#PitMad #HF#R
5. Two women research the history behind an abandoned mansion & find mental illness, secrets & isolation mirroring their own. #PitMad #A
6. A haunted CEO is forced to defend her sanity in France. Will premonitions and ghosts lead her to a deadly secret buried long ago? #PitMad #A
7. #pitmad She just turned 16 and already she's the target of a ruthless mob boss & a corporation with business offices in the afterlife. #YA
8. RED QUEEN meets the family feud of ROMEO & JULEIT when 2 teens are forced to battle to settle their families' vicious feud. #PitMad #SFF #YA
9. #PitMad Adelaide must reclaim her memory as a ghost hunter to survive the ghouls out for her blood and the brothers out for her heart #YA
10. 10-year-old Willa teams up with a witch, a purring coffee table, and an insecure shrub to foil her parents' plans for divorce. #MG #PitMad
11. Liam solves the biggest case of his detective career while flunking Bio, having Bday and spraying the suspect with air freshener #MG #PitMad
12. #PitMad US Marshal meets lovely witness. Fleeing for their lives, they fall in love. How will they ever part for the trial? #R
13. Outlaw Ava must choose: run forever, or fight the dragons hunting her—risking her best friend’s life. SERAPHINAxANGELFALL #PitMad #SFF #YA

What do you think? Do any of these pique your interest? I hope so.
I’m still wishing good things for #PitMad participants and still checking the hashtag for comments like Melissa Armstrong’s,"I just scored another #PitMad fave! There's still hope, people!"

Have you ever entered a Twitter event? Or thought about entering one? Please share.

Also, I'd like to give a big thank-you-shout-out to Brenda Drake for putting together contests like #PitMad. She's the author of LIBRARY JUMPERS.




Monday, June 1, 2015

Creating Super-Heroines


By Eilis Flynn

Why is building a super-heroine so different from building a super-hero?

Before I answer that, when you’re about to start writing a new story, how do you create a hero and heroine? Do you start with your hero, or do you start with your heroine? Depends on any number of factors, doesn’t it? Depends on the story you want to tell, right? Same thing with super-heroines and super-heroes.

First of all, you have to understand that they’re not the same. One isn’t better than the other; one isn’t more important than the other; one isn’t preferable to the other. Heroes and heroines are just different. And that is the case with super-heroes and super-heroines.

How are super-heroines created? To get some idea, let’s look at some Qs and their As about some super-heroines in pop culture!

Q: Who was the first super-heroine of the 20th century? (See, I have to be specific about the century, but I’ll get into that later.)
A. Wonder Woman
B. Miss Fury
C. Edith Cavell
D. Sonya

The answer is (B). Believe it or not, it wasn’t Wonder Woman. Journalist Tarpe Mills came out with Miss Fury almost a year before psychiatrist Charles Moulton Marston, the developer of the X-ray machine, introduced Wonder Woman. And Mills came out with her character on her own, as opposed to Marston, who spearheaded a committee to come up with Wondie. Wonder Woman is notable because she battled evil through the 1940s and the 1950s and went on from there, never really going away to this day, while Miss Fury fought crime in one incarnation or another before she went off into the sunset in 1953. (Wonder Woman, of course, continues to live, no matter how many versions of male creators try to kill her off.)

Edith Cavell was a real-life hero of World War I, a nurse who worked on the front. Amazing woman! But not our topic today.

Of course, Robert E. Howard, creator of Conan the Barbarian, also introduced a woman warrior in a short story. It wasn’t a very big intro in 1934, and only diehard fans remembered her, but decades later, in 1973, Marvel Comics came up with Red Sonja, based on Howard’s character. There were big differences between Howard’s Sonya and Marvel Comics’ Red Sonja. Howard’s feisty character, who showed up in just one short story, was based in modern times, while Marvel’s Sonja was a contemporary of Conan the Barbarian and also held her own in a fight. Also interesting, but also not our topic today.

Q: Who’s the comic chick who went from girl to woman to girl?
A: Wonder Woman
B: Hawkgirl
C: Supergirl
D: Disco Dazzler

Sorry for the broad hint! Ahem. The answer, of course, is (B). Before super-heroines were big—and super-heroes had barely come on the scene themselves—there was Shiera Sanders, introduced in 1940, just a while after Superman and Batman. But she wasn’t super yet; she was super-hero Hawkman’s girlfriend. By 1941 she had gained super-powers and she fought alongside Hawkman as Hawkgirl. She faded after World War II, but a new version was introduced in 1963, by then Hawkman’s wife—but she was still Hawkgirl. Twenty years later, Hawkgirl became Hawkwoman, but she wasn’t any stronger and she was still very much a sidekick. Another twenty years later, she was Hawkgirl again—but there wasn’t a Hawkman in sight. She was also more likely than not to relax by starting a brawl than taking a bubble bath. (Her secret identity moniker went between Shiera and Shayera, but again, not the point.) The latest version of Hawkgirl will be part of the TV series Legends of Tomorrow, debuting in 2016. She’s as persistent as Wonder Woman herself!

Wonder Woman, of course, was always Wonder Woman (A). There were Wonder Girl and Wonder Tot too, but they were different characters.

Supergirl was always Supergirl (C). There has been a “Superwoman” from time to time, but only for a single story line, and never for long. And of course, she’s got a TV series of her own, starting in a few months on CBS!

Disco Dazzler (D)…oh, that’s a topic for a whole ‘nother workshop!

Q: For those of you who’ve seen the Marvelverse movies, what about the character that Scarlett Johansson portrays? Codenamed Black Widow, Natasha Romanova (1964) was:
A: A Russian spy
B: A ballerina
C: An actual widow
D: All of the above, depending on whom you ask

Natasha has been a complex and many-lived character (D). That black catsuit she often sports? Not original to her. That costume she’s become best known for only began to be her usual outfit in 1970. No, Emma Peel (1965) of the British TV adventure series The Avengers(!) wore the sleek black catsuit before the Black Widow. Natasha started off as a Russian spy who later defected, becoming at one point a freelance agent of the government agency SHIELD. At one point she was implanted with false memories of having been a ballerina; at another point it was revealed she was married, but her husband faked his death before he ultimately died; and she dated Daredevil, Hawkeye, and others. Busy, but when you’re one of a relatively small pool of super-heroines in a mostly male genre, you probably have your pick.

Q: Why was 1976 a notable year for heroines of all stripes?
A: Miss Piggy was introduced
B: The original Charlie’s Angels debuted
C: Phoenix of the X-Men was revealed
D: Apple Computer was formed by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak

Kidding! A, B, C, and D all happened. (For those of you who are curious, Jean Grey of the X-Men was first known as Marvel Girl, then became known as Phoenix or Dark Phoenix in the “new” X-Men depending on whether she was threatening to destroy all of humanity, but mostly as Jean Grey. Also popping up in the Marvelverse are Miss Marvel, Ms. Marvel, and Captain Marvel, all female. There was a male Captain Marvel, but he was killed off. Also not to be confused with DC Comics’ Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel—male—both of whom must be the topic of yet another workshop, and that Captain Marvel was recently renamed Shazam. So if you’re a longtime Marvel Comics fan, their favorite phrase “Make Mine Marvel” has many layers.)

Q: Why do we remember Supergirl (1959) and Batgirl (1967)?
A: One is Superman’s cousin and the other is not related to Batman at all
B: From their movies. Oops, sorry, Batgirl never had her own movie, and the Supergirl movie is not spoken of in polite company. Alicia Silverstone as “Batgirl” in the Clooney version of Batman isn’t spoken of, either
C: No idea
D: The possibilities are endless!

It’s (D)! Remember when I mentioned that “Superwoman” as a character has popped up from time to time, but never for long? Supergirl has been the cousin since her introduction in the late 1950s, and she’s stayed that way. (She does have a doppelganger of sorts in the form of Power Girl, the slightly older and definitely more zaftig clone/parallel dimension version, who has gone through a number of different changes.) The same isn’t true for Batgirl. Since the version you’re probably most familiar with is Barbara Gordon (Commissioner Gordon’s daughter or niece, depending on the writer), it may come as a surprise to you that before a series of recent company-wide resets of the DC universe, Barbara fought crime as wheelchair-bound Oracle, leaving the titles of “Batgirl” and “Batwoman” to others. For the moment, anyway.

Q: Not precisely a super-heroine, but she’s pretty darn super nonetheless: How many incarnations has the declared dead ex-junkie turned deadly assassin Nikita had since she was first introduced in 1990?
A: One
B: Two
C: Three
D: Four

Oh, this one’s a gimme (D). La Femme Nikita was the original French film, which came out in 1990 (with Annie Parillaud); Americans were so intrigued by it that they came up with their own version under the title Point of No Return in 1993 (with Bridget Fonda as the lead character, renamed Nina); TV got interested in the character and came up with Peta Wilson (1997–2001); and the latest one on TV just ended with Maggie Q as Nikita (2010–13). It’s had four incarnations in 20 years. Why is this character so popular? We’ll discuss it in my workshop for the Carolina Romance Writers, “Building a Super-Heroine,” on right now!

Over the years, Eilis Flynn has written fiction in the form of comic book stories, romantic fantasies, urban fantasies, a young adult, a graphic novella, and self-published historical fantasies and short stories (most published under the name of Eilis Flynn). Check out eilisflynn.com if you’re curious about them. As Elizabeth Flynn, she’s also a professional editor and has been for more than 35 years, working with academia, technology, finance, romance fiction, and comic books. She can be reached at emsflynn.com. Most days, she hangs out at Facebook at eilis.flynn. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Thirteen Zinger Questions

A while ago, we talked about conversation starters. Well, yesterday while I was proctoring a test, I found this fabulous list of questions and I knew I had to share with you.

1. If you had an endless supply of any food, what would you get? I think my answer would change depending on the time, but today I’m going to say ice cream-- all different flavors. The kind of ice cream you can get when you drive up to a custard stand.
2. If you are an animal what would you be and why? I’d be a raccoon. I like how they’re smart and they can pretty much get into anyplace they want to get into. When I was a camp counselor, the raccoons were able to turn the knob on the unit house store door and then open the refrigerator and helped their selves to all of our food.
3. When you were little who is your superhero and why? Robin. My brother was Batman and I wanted to play with him, so I always chose Robin.
4. Are you a morning or a night person? Morning.
5. What’s your favorite thing to do in the summer? Be outside. I like to hike, garden, picnic and just enjoy the sunshine and the nature around me.
Tulips from my garden

6. What’s the weirdest thing you ever ate? Deep-fried grasshoppers.
7. What are your favorite hobbies? Reading. Writing. Photography. And people watching.
8. What’s the ideal dream job for you? Easy. It’s the teaching job I have now.
9. If someone made a movie of your life would it be a drama, a comedy, a romantic comedy, an action film, or a science fiction? Hard question. I’d like it to be a romantic comedy. That said it’s still unfolding, so I have to let you know at the end.
10. Tell us about a unique or quickie habit of yours. I write fiction, which means I often talk to myself imagining what my characters are saying to each other. Sometimes people catch me doing it.
11. If you are an ice cream flavor, which one would you be and why? I’d be vanilla because it goes with everything, but I’d keep changing my toppings.
12. If you could describe yourself in three words what would they be? Creative. Energetic. Kind.
13. If you could visit a place in the world, where would you choose to go and why? I couldn’t just pick one place. There’s so many wonderful spots of the world that I haven’t seen—I’d like to visit every country at least once.

I think you’ll agree these questions are really interesting. You’ve probably learned a lot about me in this reading, and I’d like to learn about you. If you’re up for it, I’d like you to pick one question and answer it in the comments. Thank you.

 
ja