Posts Tagged ‘fantasy’

Indie Author Interview – M.S. Fowle

December 18, 2013

Today marks a first for my blog. I’m not posting about my own books, or any of the ins-and-outs of indie publishing. Instead, I’m interviewing another indie author who was recently kind enough to tell all her own blog followers about my novel, REICHOLD STREET.

I think this is a wonderful opportunity to return the favor. So let me introduce M.S. Fowle, known to her friends as Mel, who has already written five books of fantasy.

MS Fowle
M.S. Fowle, Indie Author

Welcome to “Painting With Light,” Mel.
It’s such a pleasure, Ron! Thank you so much for having me! If there’s one thing I love about being an author, it’s meeting all these amazing people.

Even though we all have our own projects we’re working so hard on, we always find the time to help one another. Whether it’s offering advice in a short article on our blogs or hosting an author interview, it’s really a wonderful community of genuine people from various walks of life, all sharing a love of words.

We’d all like to know – where do your ideas come from?
For me, it’s usually some really strange dream I had. It’s probably only one little scene out of the whole story, but then that snowballs into this enormous thing. I’ve always had really weird dreams.

ms fowle books

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just to see where an idea takes you?
I always start with a basic outline, but I hardly ever write that out to the end of the story. Once I start really writing it, then I just see where it takes me.

When do you do most of your writing?
At this point, it’s whenever I can. But usually, it’s at night, after everyone else is asleep. I used to be such a night owl, but not so much these days.

Who (or what) inspires your writing?
People-watching is a great way to inspire characters and their back story. Or a minor character from a book I’ve read or a film I’ve watched. Then, I mold and shape them into what I want, adding or taking things away here and there. But it always seems to be the second my head hits my pillow at night when my brain starts to really work.

Do you have any funny or peculiar writing habits?
I’m not sure you’d call them “funny or peculiar” but I always start my stories in my notebook, usually as vague bits and pieces of the story lurking in my head. Then, I don’t do anything with it for a while, sometimes for months.

I sort of let it “ferment” in there, working out various details. And when I end up with writer’s block once I start the full-on writing process, I work on digital art inspired by my story. That usually motivates me.

What’s your favorite quote?
A quote that puts a smile on my face would be from Mark Twain: “Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company.”

But as far as inspiration and strength go, I believe Maya Angelou put it best: “I got my own back.” It’s a beautiful thing to have the love and support of others, but it can’t be the only thing holding us up. We need to be accountable for ourselves. Depending solely on others will only lead to our own downfall. I need to be able to stand on my own two feet.

If you could change something about yourself, what do you think it would it be?
Personality wise, I wish I could turn off my brain. I over-think the most mundane things, stuff no one can change at this point. I could turn-in for the night completely exhausted and still spend hours awake in bed just thinking. But in terms of writing, I wish I had flawless editing skills so I could save myself a lot of hassle.

What do you like to read in your free time?
In the off chance I actually get free time to read, I love just about any science fiction or fantasy. I love being swept away to some other world, either futuristic or magical or both.

It’s the ultimate escape for me. But even with that kind of favoritism, my favorite book of all time is “The Color Purple.” I can’t even count how many times I’ve read it and it still makes me ball my eyes out every single time.

What are your plans for future projects?
I have an urban fantasy series that I’m right in love with. I want nothing more than for that to be successful. I think it means so much to me because I based the main character on my lovely niece. I’m still debating whether to try and get it traditionally published or take the indie route, but I’ll need an editor either way. I just want readers to love it as much as I do.

What do you find to be the hardest thing about writing?
That’s easy – finishing my story! I don’t know what it is, but I feel like I’ve slammed face-first into a brick wall when it comes to bringing my books to an end.

Maybe I don’t want to say goodbye. Or maybe I’m just so worried about doing it “right” that I over-think it and get stuck. I can’t even count how many unfinished books I have still waiting for me to figure everything out.

OK – So what’s the easiest thing?
The opposite of the hardest thing, actually: starting my story. I love writing out that first chapter to get things rolling.

I know you design your own covers, and will do that for others. How do they contact you?
There are plenty of ways to find me! They can go directly through the website Melchelle Designs where they’ll find a contact form on almost every page.


Or they can email us at to talk about their needs. We’ve got plenty of premade covers to choose from, and I occasionally do custom artwork as well. One of the greatest compliments I get from authors is how easy I am to work with. I think it helps that I’m an author too, so I know what it’s like from their end of things.

And I love creating visual art just as much as we all love to write. That’s key – loving what you do.

Do you think the book cover plays an important part in the buying process?
Absolutely! And still, I wish it didn’t. There are plenty of amazing books out there that are ignored or take longer to get off the ground just because their cover art is “boring” or “hard to look at.”

That was one of the reasons why I started making and selling book covers. Every author deserves to have the right artwork to complement their hard work. They put their heart and soul into writing their stories – it’s only right that their book look its best when they send it out into the great, big world.

“First Night” by M.S. Fowle

Reviews for your book “The First Night” have been very positive. Most readers absolutely loved it, but I noticed one reader panned it. What’s your reaction to negative reviews?
I think my initial reaction is the same as anyone else’s: dread. But every author needs to remember that every book has bad reviews, even the best-sellers and classics.

The main thing is to make it a learning experience. Maybe that negative review points out some faults you could actually fix. Or maybe the reviewer is just trolling and trying to get a rise out of you. Don’t let it! Learn what you can from it and move on. Negativity just comes with the territory, no matter what profession you’re in.

Mel, thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to take part in this interview!
Thank you so much for having me, Ron!

Good luck and have a Happy Holiday!



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Dandelion Wine Redux

July 31, 2012

In the almost two months since Ray Bradbury died, a host of tributes have appeared, touching on almost every salient aspect of his long life and his exceptionally many-sided work.

I’ve read most of them and just came across another one online, written July 13, by John Wilson, editor-at-large for a magazine I might never have seen, if not looking for articles about Ray … Christianity Today.

I thought I would share the comments with you.

In his article, Wilson cites a June 7 Chicago Tribune feature celebrating Bradbury written by Julia Keller, which covered familiar territory, citing his many books and awards, his screenplays, etc.

Yet most of the top half of page three (I’m going to look for the issue, to see for myself) was given to a gossipy feature by Mark Jacob, headlined: “BRADBURY RODE WITH SLOW COMPANY.”

A large photo showed Bradbury on his bike, and the caption read: “Ray Bradbury didn’t drive a car, but he was often out and about in Los Angeles, browsing bookstores, his bicycle propped outside.”

A sidebar noted that while Ray Bradbury “had some amazing accomplishments … one nonaccomplishment is also noteworthy: He never got a driver’s license.”

Theories Anyone?
There were several theories proposed to explain this quirk in his personality. One even said Bradbury’s “abiding fear of automobiles” was probably attributable to the multiple-fatality accident he had witnessed shortly after moving to Los Angeles in 1934, at age 13.

The theory said, for Bradbury, “it remained a recurring nightmare.”

But I don’t buy it. Throughout his long and prolific career, Ray Bradbury, a master of the short story, also wrote novels and poetry, radio dramas and screenplays. He even served as a consultant to NASA. He was often seen in limos. If you were to ask me why Ray Bradbury, the long-time futurist and visionary didn’t drive, my answer would be simple.

Because he was Ray Bradbury.

AP Photo/Steve Castillo

Vintage Dandelion Wine

July 23, 2012

One of my favorite authors died last month. Ray Bradbury passed away on June 5, 2012, at the age of ninety-one.

His obituary was carried in most major papers. The New York Times said Bradbury was “the writer most responsible for bringing modern science fiction into the literary mainstream.”

The Los Angeles Times credited Bradbury with the ability “to write lyrically and evocatively of lands an imagination away, worlds he anchored in the here-and-now with a sense of visual clarity and small-town familiarity.”

The Washington Post mentioned several modern-day technologies that Bradbury had envisioned in his writing, such as the idea of banking ATMs and Bluetooth headsets from Fahrenheit 451, and the concepts of artificial intelligence within I Sing the Body Electric.

In reading about his life, I knew Bradbury, an avid reader, was a strong supporter of public libraries. In fact, he once told The Paris Review, “I don’t believe in colleges and universities. I believe in libraries.” Like so many others during the Depression, Bradbury had no money for such an extravagance. “I couldn’t go to college,” he said, “so I went to the library three days a week.”

Bradbury also said something else I agree with: “You can’t learn to write in college. It’s a very bad place for writers because the teachers always think they know more than you do … and they don’t.” Writers learn to write by writing.

And, although I’m not sure they play the same role they once did, I believe libraries still serve a purpose, if only for the computer access they can give to those without it; a place for young readers to learn the joys of good storytelling; and the quiet opportunity they provide for reading and study that is so often missing in our hectic and “connected” world.

Unfortunately, Bradbury also exhibited skepticism with regard to modern technology by resisting the conversion of his work into e-books. Fahrenheit 451 is the only one of his works Bradbury conceded to publish in an electronic form, when its copyright came up for renewal in 2011.

So, you won’t find Bradbury’s books as e-books for the Kindle on Amazon, or anywhere else. I strongly disagree with that. I think the current generation of readers need the opportunity to read Bradbury’s books, and without electronic access, many of them never will.

“Dandelion Wine” no longer a part of a young person’s literary life? I think that’s a shame.

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