Dan and The Wolf of Descarta

As an Indie Author I have been able to meet some fantastic authors, editors and book bloggers. I’ve had some really great people help me promote my book so I wanted to find a way to give back. Thankfully, Author Kayleigh Ann Kavanagh created a Facebook page called The Buddy System. Each week authors are pared with each other. We get to know one another and each other’s books and help promote the other’s works.

This week I was partnered with Author Dan Pike. Dan’s first book, titled The Wolf of Descarta, is set to be released November 21st.  Since Dan lives in the far away land of Arizona I wasn’t able to actually sit down with him, but I was able to virtually ask him some questions! First, let’s get to know Dan a little more in his own words.

Daniel Pike has suffered the machinations of his muse since the 11th grade, when he originally embarked on his quest to write the great American novel and see his name in print before it dies. Repressed Memories (2000), which he wrote when he was 17 and high on anime, was the result of this early ambition.

“The Wolf of Descarta”, which is included in Zharmae’s RealLies Anthology (2013), is his first offering as an adult, which he describes as, “a love letter to all the noble knights of the digital age, in whatever shape they may assume.” It has recently been expanded into a three-book series entitled, The Dream Box, of which The Wolf of Descarta is also the title of the first novel.

A true believer in knowing his characters inside and out, Pike drafts the majority of his stories on a 2001 Sony Vaio desktop he christened “Victoria” after the AI from Descarta. He has also been known to don a full suit of armor when teaching Arthurian legends to his British literature classes and to refer to the 1,000+ hours he has logged on his PS3 as “research”. He is grateful his family and friends suffer his quixotic tomfoolery with smiles.

Prior to his stint in education, Pike worked as a staff writer, ghostwriter, and editor. When queried as to why he continues to write as opposed to settling into the lucrative career of a high school English teacher, his response was as follows:

“It’s not really a choice. Runners run. Politicians lie. Writers write. I suppose if I had to ‘squeeze the universe into a ball’ and provide just one sane answer, I would say that writing enables me to better understand myself as an individual. It’s cathartic. There’s also the impulse to play God and reshape the world through storytelling, and the same sense of escapism we hope our readers enjoy.”

His daring plan to one day escape the dehumanizing imposition of adhering to a schedule, which to him is akin to laboring in the salt mines of Carthage, was not directly stated. But in writing, inference is everything.

Here is a little Q&A with Dan!

AP: When did you realize you wanted to be an author?

DP: I can trace it back to the sixth grade when I decided to write a Fantasy adventure story inspired by the Lloyd Alexander books. I started writing fanfiction in high school after becoming obsessed with the Final Fantasy series, and I published a novel my senior year while high on anime and too young to know any better. My more refined works came after this wonderful thing called college, where I was fortunate enough to learn from a couple of professors with industry experience.

AP: What is your writing process? Such as, outlining, freehand, computer vs paper and pen?

DP: I either type up my chapters in separate files in a specific font in a specific antiquated version of Microsoft Word (these are trade secrets). Sometimes, I prefer to tool around with an old Royal typewriter that belonged to my late grandmother. I have a laptop, but as I associate it with my day job, working on it doesn’t make me feel particularly creative.

AP: Who are you writing inspirations, famous or not.

DP: I’m an English teacher as well as an author, so many of my inspirations are your literary types like Joseph Conrad, James Joyce, and Shakespeare. I put Chuck Palahniuk (perhaps prematurely) in that same category. I already brought up Lloyd Alexander. I also enjoyed reading Stephen King and Michael A. Stackpole in my youth. Famous game designers Tetsuya Nomura and Hideo Kojima played their parts as well. The list goes on.

Now that you’ve gotten to know Dan a little more feel free to keep in contact with him here:

FB Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/danielpikeknight

Blog: www.pikeknight.com

Twitter: @pikeknight

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Daniel-R.-Pike/e/B0075R5F9C

Book Cover of The Wolf of Descarta

Book Cover of The Wolf of Descarta

Jaren Reese is just another red collar trapped at the bottom of Descarta’s genetic caste system. But in the Dream Box, he has forged a new digital identity for himself: Balmus, the Wolf Knight.

Balmus has long since carried a torch for the Linker Petra, but he doesn’t know her, not really. Outside of the Dream Box she is just another one of his fantasies. But Brea Morgen is the real thing– a living, breathing person who desires Jaren for who he truly is, not merely what he pretends to be.

When the Dream Box crashes due to the evolution of a hostile A.I. life form, a secret military branch commissions a team of gamers and hackers to go back into the corrupted system to eliminate the threat. Jaren is given the chance of a lifetime in leading them, but he must decide how much he’s willing to lose because the looming war will be one on two fronts–the corporeal and the virtual–and the battlefield just might be his mind.

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I Survived My First Speaking Engagement!

I survived! The speaking engagement at Madison County High School that is. I have to say that it was one of the best experiences of my writing career so far. The book signings I’ve held have been fantastic because I get to meet new readers. However, this speaking engagement was thrilling because I was given the chance to tell my personal story and possibly inspire others! It would have been an amazing treat to have a local author come speaking to me when I was in high school.

Here I am speaking to a group of kids at MCHS.

Here I am speaking to a group of kids at MCHS.

 

The kids were fantastic, attentive and genuinely interested in what I had to say. I had several questions that I was prepared for and others were some I didn’t really think about, but found important to share with other students. Granted, at the beginning I did have to pry questions out of them. They were shy, but after a while they got a little braver and started asking questions on their own.

I needed that shelf to lean on! :)

I needed that shelf to lean on! 🙂

After speaking to the kids I was able to do a giveaway! I love doing giveaways. Each event I go to I make sure to bring something with me to raffle off. I’m not sure if other authors do this, but I think it’s helpful in many regards. For one, it gets your listeners excited about what you’ve written if they can possibly win a copy of your book. Secondly, once they get their hands on it, read it, enjoy it, then they can share it with others.

Winners of the giveaway!

Winners of the giveaway!

After the raffle I was able to walk around and talk to the kids. Many of them had more questions that I greatly enjoyed. One kid in particular was shy about asking me to come over so I could give him my autograph until his friends prodded him long enough. He was just adorable! Another boy and girl called me over to tell me how much they enjoyed reading and were looking forward to reading my book. That meant the world to me. So I went around signing bookmarks and slips of paper for whoever wanted it.

Signing bookmarks for the kids

Signing bookmarks for the kids

 

All in all, it was a great time where I got to meet some really cool kids and teachers. Thank you Madison County High School for letting me come and share my story. You are a huge inspiration!

Me and my book cover in the MCHS Library

Me and my book cover in the MCHS Library

 

Thanks!

A

 

 

My first speaking engagement! Exciting yet, terrifying?

I can see my breath in the air this morning. It is officially too cold to go outside! Ha! I’m such a sissy when it comes to cold weather. However, I must survive as today I have a speaking, about my book and writing process, to do at a local high school. I’ll be talking to a room full of very opinionated teenagers. This should be interesting. My track record with kids is pretty good if I do say so myself. I teach a Wednesday night class at church for 4th through 6th grade and I throughly enjoy it. Yet, I have never spoken to a group of teenagers before.

 

In fact, public speaking makes me nervous. Why do you think I like to write? It’s just you and your pen or computer. There are no judgmental eyes watching your every move. Every time I had to do a presentation at school or in college my stomach would be in knots. I managed through it, but it’s just not something I readily volunteer for. Knowing that I have to speak to teenagers, who have yet to find their filter, is enough to send me scurrying back into my office. My sister said, “They can smell fear.” so I guess I have to suck it up. Let’s hope I don’t let myself or them down.

I guess what I’m saying is that I hope that I can get on their level. I hope that I can connect with them so they don’t think I’m a nutcase! When I was a teenager there were just some adults who I thought “didn’t get it” so it was hard for me to connect with them much less communicate. I just want this experience to be educational and thought provoking for me and them. I want to challenge them to write and to read. I want to install in them a desire to learn more about the written word. If they take anything away with them after this I hope it’s a hunger to follow their dreams.

Wish me luck!

A

Why did I change my book title?

I have been terrible at keeping up with my blog. I apologize! I have no excuse. 🙂

A few days ago I made an announcement on my FB page about the new title for Book 2 of The Darkness Trilogy. The new title is The Forsaken. Why did I change the title you ask? Well, as I was finishing up the book I realized that Nightfall wasn’t the feeling I received. I felt, well, I felt sort of lonely. The characters from the first book have gone through a lot since we’ve last seen them. Their world has been turned on its head and they feel as though nobody understands. Rayna finds herself at odds with the people in her life that know about her Gift and especially with those who don’t. It is hard for her to communicate with her family and her friends. While there is a part of her that wants to share her secret with her mother, there is that feeling of obligation to protect her from it. In her mind, her friends, Leslie and Sara, would never understand. She also think that her brother, Austin, wouldn’t believe her. Without giving too much away, there comes a moment when Rayna feels utterly alone in this mission to save herself, Liam and the others from The Shadow.

So, that was my reasoning behind the name change. I don’t think I’ve written an overly depressing book, haha, but I have tried to put as a realistic take on something paranormal as I can.

What if there really was a young girl with supernatural gifts who was forced to keep it hidden from the rest of the world? What if the ones she thought would always have her back suddenly lost faith in her? What if she lost faith in herself?

I try to put myself in Rayna’s place as I write her story. There are many times that I have to sit and think a long time while I write a particular scene. There are “what ifs” and “how about this”, but at the end of the day I want to make her realistic. She’s strong and brave, but she is still a young girl. There are going to be times that she doesn’t make the right choice and there will be times that she may say the wrong things.

Rayna is just like you and me. She isn’t perfect, she is flawed and from time to time, needs a little guidance, but what do we do when the choices we’ve made pushes everyone out of our lives? What do we do when circumstances have taken others away? Do we keep fight or do we give up? Do we give in to the loneliness and despair or do we strive until we break free from the chains of darkness?

If you want to know that Rayna does then you’ll just have to read the book when it comes out. 🙂 The book is currently in round 2 of edits and I hope for it to be finished soon. I can’t wait to share the cover art with all of you! It’s amazing!

Peace, Love & God Bless,

A

Writing for Femnista: Literary Villains

A while back I was contacted by Charity, at Charityplace.com, Editor of Femnista, an online magazine that covers art, film, literature and much more, to see if I would like to contribute to her magazine. I jumped at the chance! I had read her other publications and knew that she took great care in her magazine and the pieces of work she reviews. For the October issue, Charity chose the topic of Literary Villains. Book readers know that there are plenty of villains to choose from, but I took on the task of writing about President Snow in The Hunger Games. It was a great experience digging into who President Snow was and what could have caused him to be the Literary Villain he is. With that being said, if you want to read my article and all the other great articles in the magazine, then follow this link:

http://issuu.com/femnista/docs/femnista_sept_oct_2013

Thanks y’all!

Amanda