Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Conversation 14: Jonathan Gould

Hi all! Welcome back, happy to have you visit!

My guest today is author Jonathan Gould.

Welcome, Jonathan! Please tell us a little about yourself.

In a few paragraphs, please describe who you are and what you do (short bio).

I’m an Australian-born, Melbourne-based writer. My imagination generally runs towards the odd and absurd, and this usually comes out in the stories I write. I’ve written stories to amuse kids and stories to amuse adults, but mostly I just write stories to amuse myself (and if I amuse anyone else, that’s a lucky fringe benefit).

When I’m not writing, I spend far too much time developing online education courses (I call it my paid hobby) and entertaining (irritating? annoying?) my family.

Q1: Have you ever taken a trip on the spur of the moment? Or do you like to plan everything out well in advance?

JG: I’m hopelessly anal when it comes to things like travelling. Every detail has to be mapped out. Everything I do and everything I see has to be planned down to the last second. If I was ever to take a trip on the spur of the moment, it would have to involve lots of preparation to ensure that when that spur of the moment is reached, I make an utterly well-considered spontaneous decision.

Q2: What is your favorite way to travel?

JG: I suspect the answer would just be “getting there”. I’d be dead happy when they finally invent those Star Trek “beam me up” machines. I really loath flying and don’t care at all for long drives. I used to have a bit of a soft spot for trains, but that was before I got a job that had me travelling inter-city almost every day.

Q3: Describe the fanciest meal you’ve ever had. Was it enough? Or did you want to, say, go out for burgers afterward?

JG: I am a man of simple tastes. I’m also really fussy. Between the two of them, gourmet food is kind of lost on me. I suspect the fanciest meal I’ve ever had was at some posh restaurant my family dragged me to, and which I’ve completely forgotten about afterwards. Give me a pizza or a curry (Thai or Indian, they’re both just as good) and I’ll be happy.

Q4: Do you think "true love" exists? Or do you believe it’s possible to find "true love" with more than one person in a lifetime?

JG: I definitely think love exists. And if it exists, then it must be true, so I suppose the answer is yes. And I definitely think you can find it with more than one person in a lifetime (though preferably not at the same time). I actually find the idea of “the one” to be a bit absurd. What if “the one” lives on the other side of the world, or died 200 years ago, or hasn’t even been born yet? Does that mean you’ll never achieve true happiness? I don’t think so.

Q5: *bonus question for everyone* Do you collect anything? If so, why?

JG: I used to be a dedicated collector of just about anything. Stamps, little figurines, football cards, Mad Magazines, records/CDs. You name it and I’d be collecting it. I don’t really collect anything anymore. I try to just live my life and enjoy experiences as they occur. Maybe it’s just my way of trying to rebel against my default anal nature.

I am totally with you on the transporters, Jonathan, I would be happier to have my molecules scrambled than to have to fly commercial!
Thank you so much for being my guest today!
You can find out more about Jonathan Gould and his writing by visiting his website: http://www.jonathangouldwriter.com

See you next time!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Conversation 13: Craig Hart

Hello everyone! Welcome back to Clockwork Conversations.

I'm your host, February Grace, and today it is my honor and privilege to have a great chat with a man I both respect and admire: Publisher/Author/Editor Craig Hart.

On a personal note: I will be eternally grateful to Mr. Hart, because he was the first editor/publisher to ever publish my work: in The Rusty Nail literary magazine's inaugural issue, March 2012.

TRN Issue #1 Cover design: Paul Brand

I was lucky enough to have additional prose and poetry (even a painting!) appear in the magazine in later issues as well...there is even an issue in which I was the featured author! I will never, ever forget that. Especially the cover...which just meant the world to me...

July 2012 Issue of TRN: Cover design: Paul Brand (A clockwork heart, in honor of GODSPEED...)

I will always remember and appreciate that it was Craig Hart who gave me my start as a published author, and was also such a huge support to me when I first indie published GODSPEED... and beyond. Without that encouragement I don't think I would be a published novelist today. So, thank you, Craig!

But enough about me, let's find out more about our guest!


Craig A. Hart is a writer, editor, father of twins (due in January), lover of the arts, only human. He lives in northern Illinois with his wife Kimberly in a house owned by their cats, Gracie and Bean.


Q1: Name something you have achieved of which you are especially proud.

CH: That would probably be The Rusty Nail literary magazine, just because we've managed to publish so many new authors. That has been the highlight of the experience.

Q2: What advice do you wish someone had given you when you were in your teens?

CH: I wish someone had said to me, "What you are told isn't necessarily so and what you know might be wrong. Always find different ways to look at life." And if they had said it, I wish I would have understood what they meant.

Q3: What would your dream home look like?

CH: I don't really have a vision for a dream home. What I would love to have is a little writing nook, like a studio apartment, in certain areas around the world that I could visit on a whim. Pipe dream, yes, but this is my answer!

Q4: You have what may be the world's most adorable cat (next to mine, of course). How did Bean come into your life? (bonus photo of Bean totally encouraged here and/or Bean related anecdotes LOL)


CH: We saw Bean when we took our older cat to the vet for her regular check-up. Bean was sitting in a cage in the waiting room, looking pitiful and asking to be adopted. So we did. Bean is still a kitten at heart and, as such, is into everything. His current annoying behavior is to try to drink out of water glasses. I recently had a glass of water sitting next to me on the floor and Bean ambled over for a drink. I told him no and pushed him away. He pretended as if he was going to walk away, then suddenly turned back, ran at the glass, stuck his paw into it, and then galloped off looking extremely pleased with himself.

Q5: *bonus question for everyone* Do you collect anything? If so, what/why?

CH: I collect various things, but more recently I've been collecting fedoras. I love the classic look and am of the opinion that too few people wear hats these days.


That is an opinion I whole-heartily share, my good man! I wear a hat every chance I get (see photo evidence above on my Blogger profile photo.) We need that bit of elegance and sophistication to return to the world! Let's start a hat wearing revolution! :~)

Thank you again, so much, for being my guest today.

You can all learn more about Craig Hart (and the many hats he wears, figuratively and literally) as well as all the info you need about how to find him on FB, Twitter, etc. by visiting his website: www.craighartonline.com

See you all next week!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Conversation 12: Michael G. Munz

Greetings, everyone! Welcome back, so happy to have you with me today, as I have a great chat with author Michael G. Munz! 

First, a little bit about Mr. Munz...


An award-winning writer of speculative fiction, Michael G. Munz is also fascinated with Greek mythology. Michael also possesses what most "normal" people would likely deem far too much familiarity with a wide range of geek culture, though he prefers the term geek-bard: a jack of all geek-trades, but master of none. Or mostly none. There are exceptions. He dwells in Seattle where he continues his quest to write the most entertaining novel known to humankind and find a really fantastic clam linguini.

Michael's latest book, the epic comedic fantasy Zeus Is Dead: A Monstrously Inconvenient Adventure, was published from Booktrope last July to excellent reviews.


Q1: Have you ever tried or would you ever want to try skydiving?

MGM: I grew up near Snohomish, Washington, which has both a small airport and a lot of farmland, leading it to be one of the more well-known skydiving venues in the area. I've often considered it, but I've yet to take the leap. I've often thought that, given the choice between skydiving and bungee-jumping, I'd choose skydiving in a heartbeat. It feels like skydiving would involve the ground being a more distant issue, so the terror-to-enjoyment ratio would be far more favorable.

Q2: You're at a party and no one is talking. Do you A) Make a remark about the weather to try to get people talking, B) Run for the refreshment table and hope people are talking there C) Send an emergency text to a friend/significant other in the room to come rescue you D) Slip out early and hope no one will notice? Why?
MGM: I'm the introverted type (INFJ, if the Myers-Briggs test I took a decade ago is still accurate), so I tend to shift into listening mode at a party. I'll admit that I have taken option D before - though in my defense it was a party at which I literally knew NO one, so I wasn't abandoning anybody. Otherwise I'd go with B. To paraphrase Kaylee from Firefly, "How will we KNOW it's the refreshment table...unless we question it?"

Q3: If you could never write another story or read another book, would you have another creative outlet? Art? Music?
...Okay, sorry. This is just a hypothetical, isn't it? Calm down, Michael. Breathe. Breathe... (Never write another story? What a cruel thing to say to a writer!) ;) I'm sure I'd have to create in some other fashion. I used to play trumpet in my teenage years, but my embouchure is shot and I've never felt the need to get it back. So art is my likely go-to. I do enjoy futzing around in Photoshop, and I've wondered how I might do if I had some actual artistic training. It would take a lot of practice, though. At the moment I can't even draw a blank. Still, both of my parents paint, so I think I've got the genes in there somewhere. Speaking of painting, can I give a plug to my dad's art site? (http://www.zhibit.org/michaelmunzfineart) We've got different middle names...

Q4: You have no choice but to spend an evening at one of the following events: A) The opera B) The Ballet C) An Andrew Lloyd Webber Musical. Which one, and why?
MGM: I'd go with C. I've seen opera (one, in college), ballet (The Nutcracker a couple of times as a child), but never anything by Andrew Lloyd Webber. I'm not a big musical fan, but I would like to see The Phantom of the Opera or Les Mis, if given the opportunity.

Q5: *bonus question for everyone* Do you collect anything? If so, why?
MGM: I used to collect the souls of lost children, but then a FOX Entertainment executive bought me out, so now I mostly just collect ideas.
Oh, and Infinity Stones. But I don't have any of those. Yet.
That was really fun! Thank you Michael for stopping by to talk with me.
You can learn more about Michael and his writing by visiting his website: http://michaelgmunz.com

See you all on Thursday, when my guest will be the one and only, multi-talented Publisher/Author/Editor Craig Hart!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Conversation 11: Sophie Weeks

Hi everyone! Welcome back to Clockwork Conversations.

I'm your host, February Grace, and you're in for a great read today, as I get to visit with author (and magic-maker behind the scenes at Booktrope) Sophie Weeks!

Sophie, welcome! Please tell us a little about yourself.

I'm a novelist and amateur philosopher who's lucky to have one of the best day jobs possible.  I work as a kind of training manager for the marketing professionals at Booktrope, an independent publisher, where I have the opportunity to meet so many amazing authors (like February!) and creative professionals.  For me, it's a job that's the best of both worlds--I have a PhD and taught college English for five years, so I love that my job lets me teach while participating in the different mode of creativity that business requires.

I'm also an avid hobbyist and self-improvement junkie.  If I don't have my nose in a novel (reading or writing), I'm devouring literature on how to improve my willpower, learn skills in 20 hours, or master lucid dreaming.  Right now I've got a passion for mapmaking, so the pages of my sketchbook are crammed with the cartography of imaginary lands.

Q1: You have a chance to travel through time and have a luxurious dinner with any three people, living or deceased. Name them, and why you'd like to talk with them.

SW: Cicero, Charles Lamb, and Jon Stewart.  I'd love to drink in Cicero's wise and thoughtful talk--he was someone who lived through a time of terrific upset (Julius Caesar dismantled the Roman Republic and was assassinated during Cicero's life as a public official, and Cicero was eventually killed because of his lengthy diatribes against Marc Antony, who joined forces with Augustus afterwards).  He was an amazing orator and statesman, a staunch supporter of the Republic against its enemies, and a kind and generous friend (insofar as letters may be judged to reveal personality). 

Charles Lamb, who is less known today than he ought to be, was an essayist and poet of the Romantic era.  I picked up a volume of his letters years ago and immediately I felt as though I knew this suffering spirit, but my first encounter with him was in college, when I read the footnote to Coleridge's beautiful "This Lime Tree Bower My Prison," which was dedicated to Lamb.  In the poem, Coleridge calls his dear friend "my gentle-hearted Charles," and Lamb replied thusly: "For God's sake (I never was more serious) don't make me ridiculous any more by terming me gentle-hearted in print ... substitute drunken dog, ragged head, seld-shaven, odd- eyed, stuttering, or any other epithet which truly and properly belongs to the gentleman in question."  He had my heart from that moment on, but I really latched on to him when I began to understand his great suffering--his sister, in a fit of insanity, killed their mother, and he cared for her with an absolutely devoted tenderness for the rest of his life, despite his own struggles with mental illness.  If Cicero is a wise mind, Lamb was a wise heart.
I'd then definitely need someone who could lighten up this grave gathering, and I can't think of anyone more fit for the task than Jon Stewart.  I'm a devoted fan of The Daily Show, and I admire the way his performances channel both compassion and righteous anger in a very cathartic way.  Though it's impossible to really "know" an entertainer from his on-screen performances, he comes across as a very decent and humane man, respectful to everyone he meets, yet still with that wonderfully versatile wit and humor. 

Q2: If you could travel anywhere in the world, what would be first stop on your itinerary?

SW: Hmm.  Assuming I don't have to take an airplane (I hate air travel--I'm not afraid, I just find it an absurdly uncomfortable and inconvenient mode of travel.  In the years since passenger airlines were developed, the experience only gets more awful and depressing), I'd like to go to St. Petersburg.  I'd like to learn Russian, take cooking lessons, go to the Mariinsky, and wander the Hermitage, probably with my mouth unbecomingly ajar.

Q3: Favorite place you've ever visited?
SW: I have a lot of favorite places, so I hope the others won't get jealous when I name Point Reyes National Seashore in California.  I spent a couple of days at a hostel in Point Reyes some years back.  There are no roads to the beach, so I hiked two miles to sit on the shore and soak in the salty air and the perfect privacy--for there was no one else in sight.  It's a truly magical place.

Q4: I'm fascinated by the idea of these Tiny Houses that people are building to live in, have you heard of them? Could you live in a Tiny House, and would you even want to try?
SW: I love the idea of Tiny Houses, and I'm fascinated especially by the innovative ways many Japanese architects in particular are able to turn a restriction of space into something truly beautiful and welcoming.  I know I'd have a hard time culling down all my stuff--the mess of letters and books and teacups that just seems to accrue to me.  What's funny is that tiny houses were standard for everyone but the wealthy until about a hundred years ago, mostly because heating large spaces was so cost prohibitive.  So I think it wouldn't do me any harm to shrink my space requirements to the size of my ancestors, but I'd have to live alone.  A tiny house with more than one person sounds like hell to me.

Q5: *bonus question for everyone* Do you collect anything? If so, why?

SW: I wouldn't say I exactly collect blankets, but I sort of hoard them.  I have a couple of lovely old blankets inherited from my great-grandmother, one woven for me by a talented aunt, a handmade quilt, and many more.  I love winter, when I can snuggle down to sleep in a big pile of blankets.  It's funny, as I become older, I become much more interested in comfort objects than I was as a child or a young person.  Maybe I'm aging backwards?


That was a really cool interview! Thank you so much Sophie for being my guest today.

Learn more about Sophie and her writing by visiting her website: http://sophieweeks.net

See you all next week, when I have the pleasure of interviewing two fascinating gentlemen. Don't touch that dial, you don't want to miss it!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Conversation 10: CS Kendall

Hi all, welcome back!

Today on the blog we're visiting with author CS Kendall! Let's dive right in.

CS Kendall spent her formative years growing up in the small town of McPherson, KS. As such, there was not much to do, so her imagination, which always lagged behind her age, had free reign. From playing dress up into her teens, recording radio shows with various voices and storylines with her friends, to dabbling with the art of crafting a novel, there were few dull moments for her.
Enter adulthood, a day job, and the backburner. But story came calling, and finally, her imagination woke up and answered. Though she loves and is fulfilled by her job as a social work therapist, she equally enjoys running away in her mind to imaginary lands with made up people.
She lives happily with her husband and their two amazing children in southwest Michigan. Her debut novel, The Killing Cure, comes out later this year.
Welcome, CS!

Q1: Tell us what your perfect (non-writing or reading) day would look like.

CSK: A perfect day for me cannot be had without my family. I'm a simple girl and it doesn't take much to make me happy. The perfect day would be in the summertime, probably on a sunny 80-degree day. I'd be with my family and some friends at the beach. We'd spend the whole day there with no particular agenda. We would intermittently play in the sand, walk the shoreline, and swim in the water. We'd build sandcastles and bury each other. We'd lay out and do nothing. No responsibilities would tug at us; no stressors would eat at us. We'd just be. At the end of it, we'd get cleaned up, grill out and enjoy some fantastic chow. We'd be so tired at the end of it all that we'd fall into bed, full and sun-kissed.

Q2: Where do you go/what do you do when you want to think something over?

CSK: I don't know if I have to go anywhere in particular, but there is a definite process. For me, I first have to mull things over in my mind until I'm to a place that I'm ready to talk it through with someone else. And then I absolutely need to do that. Whether it's my husband, one of my sisters, or a friend, I thrive on being able to say what I'm thinking to another person and soak up their feedback. This is always effective for me when I need to think about something, particularly the big somethings. 

Q3: Was there a favorite homemade meal you enjoyed as a child? Is it still a favorite food?

CSK: Hmmm....probably my mom's cheesy spaghetti casserole or her homemade Fettuccine Alfredo. And yes, I love them still and make them for my own family!

Q4: Did you have an active imagination when you were little? 

CSK: Did I ever, and it's not something I've grown out of! :) In elementary school, my third grade teacher encouraged us to create stories, complete with illustrations. I think I wrote 102 that year. And besides that, I was always pretending. I don't know if this is endearing or makes me a freak, but my friends and I "played pretend" into our early teens. We had a trove of Victorian gowns that were my younger sisters' dress up dresses. We would dress up in those and have candlelit dinner parties over subway and pudding improvising our made up life stories with speaking in accents. I think most of us let our imaginations grow cold far too early.

Q5: *bonus question for everyone* Do you collect anything? If so, why?

CSK: Toe nails. Just kidding, that's gross. As a child I collected unicorns, as an adolescent I collected cows and porcelain masks. In my adulthood, I don't know that I actually collect anything. I'm currently obsessed with chalk painting furniture and finding old pieces that are repurposed. I don't know if it's a collection per se, but I have quite a few pieces. 
That was fun! Thank you so much for visiting with us today, CS. 
You can learn more about the author by visiting her website: www.cskendall.net
See you all on Thursday, when my guest will be...well you'll have to tune in to find out, but I promise you, it's a great read! :~)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Conversation 9: Eleanor Parker

Hi friends! Welcome back to Clockwork Conversations. I'm February Grace, your host, and today my guest is author Eleanor Parker!

Welcome! Please tell us a little about yourself, Eleanor!

I'm a Puerto Rican-born, bilingual Army brat, and mother to three amazing young adult children. I was a social worker, counselor, and an exhibiting multi-media artist for twenty five years before discovering my passion for writing. 

write poetry, dabble in black and white photography, and 

love gardening.

My debut novel, A Decent Woman, set in turn of the century Puerto Rico, is coming out Autumn 2014 with Booktrope. I'm busy writing my second novel, Finding Gracia, about a woman's adventure on the medieval pilgrimage path of El Camino, also known as the Way of St. James, in Spain. I'm living my dream of writing full-time in 
wild and wonderful West Virginia. 

Q1: Would you ever want to learn how to fly a plane? (Or can you? LOL) Why or why not?

EP: Yes, but not because I think it would be cool or fun! You see, I have a great fear of flying (and heights) despite my love of travel and having lived in many countries. Maybe I would be less fearful if I could actually see what’s going on behind the closed cockpit door, and feel more in control. As it is now, I pray and have several glasses of red wine to get me through take-off and landing!

Q2: Would you ever (do you ever) sing Karaoke in public?

EP: I’ve sung Karaoke in public twice when my friends signed me up without my consent. I sang a so-so version of ‘Crazy’ by Patsy Cline, and people actually got up to slow dance which was crazy! It’s now my go-to Karaoke song because I have a low voice and I know the words. I’m learning more of Patsy’s songs because my friends are Karaoke nuts, and I know they will sign me up again!

Q3: What is your favorite place you've ever been?

EP: Tangiers, Morocco. I took a rusty ferry from Gibraltar to Tangiers and was blown away by the awesome beaches, the friendly people, and the amazing food. I loved shopping at the exotic bazaars, and ended up riding a camel which was easier said than done. When I dismounted, the camel spit at me – nice.

Q4: What is one of your biggest hopes for the future?

EP: Hands down, to spoil and rock my future grandbabies, and live close enough to my children to visit often. I keep nagging my three adult children to hurry up and give me what I want! Ha!

Q5: *bonus question for everyone* Do you collect anything? If so, why?

EP: I collect heart-shaped rocks, old tins, Steiff bears, and books. I love hunting for heart-shaped rocks and gift them to friends with quotes written on them. I don’t want plastic in my home, so I use the tins for storage and they’re beautiful. Steiff bears remind me of happy times with my children. I own and use a Kindle when I travel, but a book smells great and lasts forever. I’m pretty sure I have a book addiction.

Thanks, Bru! Great questions!


So glad you enjoyed them, Ellie, your answers were fantastic! Thank you so much for visiting with us today.

You can learn more about Eleanor Parker by visiting her at  http://www.elliesbookz.wordpress.com

See you next week!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Conversation 8: Hilary Grossman

Happy day, all! Welcome back to Clockwork Conversations.

I'm February Grace, your host, and today I will be chatting with author (and self-proclaimed seashore-loving denim addict) Hilary Grossman!

Welcome, Hilary! Please tell us a little about yourself!

HG: I dated a guy so commitment-phobic that I was able to write a book about our relationship. 

I have an unhealthy addiction to denim and shoes. 

I love to find humor in every day life. I liken life to a game of dodgeball - I try to keep many balls in the air before they smack me in the face. 

When I am not writing I am the CFO of a beverage alcohol importer. I live on Long Island.

Q1: Where do you go when you want to relax?

HG: Relax? What is that?  Just kidding….  Well, sort of. 

I am a total beach bum. I find nothing more relaxing than being by the beach. It doesn't matter if I am lounging in a chair reading my Kindle, strolling by the shoreline or just sitting on the sand staring at the beach - just being there completely calms me, regardless of the temperature or the season.  Nothing is more beautiful than a snow covered beach… Fortunately I live by the beach :)

Q2: Are you energized by being around people, or are you more of an introvert?

HG: I am a reformed introvert.  When I was young, I was very quiet and shy.  In my twenties that completely changed. I think waiting tables played a major role in the transformation. I had to be comfortable meeting and greeting new people. Now I love being around people, can talk to anyone about anything, and don't mind being the center of attention speaking in front of a large group.  However every once in a while that shy girl returns. I sometimes get a little intimidated and quiet in large groups if I don't know anyone.

Q3: Housework: tolerate it, hate it, or find it kind of enjoyable?

HG: I have a love / hate relationship with housework.  When I am super stressed or worried about something I turn into Ms. Clean attacking every possible particle of dirt and grime (real or imaginary) with zest.  But if all is okay in my little world I tolerate it.  Although no matter how hard I try I can't stand to dry dishes.  What is the point? If you leave them out they will dry on their own!

Q4: What is your favorite dish/dessert to cook at home?

HG: From my cleaning answer, can you tell I am an all or nothing kind of girl?  I love to go on a cooking frenzy, especially on a cold winters afternoon.  I start with making a HUGE pot of spicy tomato sauce.  While that is simmering I grate mozzarella cheese.  I cook a combination of sautéed shrimp, meatballs, fried chicken cutlets or sausage with a big pot of penne.  I then combine into separate trays making various types of baked ziti. We end up having one tray that night and then freeze for future dinners so we just have to pop in the oven. As for baking, I am big on the chocolate chip cookies. I always include Macadamia nuts in them. And Christmas time I always receive boxes of Godiva from a vendor that I work with.  If I have candy handy I chop it up and add it to the mix… 

Q5: *bonus question for everyone* Do you collect anything? If so, why?

HG: Do shoes and jeans count? I have an unhealthy addiction to denim, I think I have 70 pairs of jeans.  As for shoes, I can't pass a shoe store without a purchase.  As for how many pairs of shoes I have let's not even go there, okay?


Gotcha, not going there :~)

Thank you so much for visiting today!

You can learn more about Hilary, her love of the beach, and her novel by visiting her website: http://www.feelingbeachie.com

See you next time (which will be on Friday, this week only) when my guest will be author Eleanor Parker!


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Conversation 7: Shay West

Hi all, welcome back!

I'm your host, February Grace, and today we have the chance to chat with author and educator Dr. Shay West!

Welcome, Shay! Please, tell us a little about yourself.

SW: I'm a college professor and author. Teaching biology and anatomy courses had given me a lot of fodder for short stories and I've been able to use my biological knowledge in my various novels. One of these days I will try to invent a holodeck...

Q1: What is the best (non-writing) advice anyone has ever given you?

SW: To take care of myself first and to not feel guilty about doing so. It's enabled me to say "no" to people that ask things of me when I just don't have the time or energy to devote to another project.

Q2: Did you have a favorite teacher growing up? What made them special?

SW: I had several, actually. My fifth and sixth grade teachers saw my love of science and allowed me to do extra credit projects centered around biology. for one such project, I was able to care for a caterpillar (he was black with red spots) and document its cocoon and its emergence as a Mourning Cloak butterfly.

Q3: What do you like to do for fun when you're not reading or writing?

SW: I am really starting to get into photography and learning how to use my new camera. I love being in the outdoors and go camping every chance I get. Which usually means hundreds of pictures to sort through when I get home.

Q4: What helps calm you when you're stressed?

SW: Spending time with my cats, Buddy and Oreo. When they surround me and start purring, it puts me into such a relaxed state. I also watch movies or a favorite TV show and let my brain calm down.
Q5: *bonus question for everyone* Do you collect anything? If so, why?

SW: Movies and little plush microbes from GiantMicrobes.com. The last fits with my love of biology and my students really get a kick out of seeing giant versions of things like Syphilis or Salmonella. 


Thank you for stopping by to visit today! 

You can learn more about Dr. Shay West and her writing by visiting her website: http://shay-west.com/

See you all next time!


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Conversation 6: Michelle Gregory

Welcome back, everyone, to Clockwork Conversations!

I'm February Grace, your host, and today I am thrilled to have my good friend and indie author visiting the blog: the lovely and talented Michelle Gregory!

Michelle, please tell us a bit about yourself.

MG: I’m a 51-year-old wife, mom, and writer of fantasy. I wrote my first novel in 2005 as part of NanoWrimo, and self-published it in 2007 because I wanted to have one copy to remind myself of my accomplishment. For the last few years, I’ve been slowly writing a sequel, but I keep getting interrupted.

Besides writing, I love to read historical Christian romances, take pictures of nature, do paper crafts (when I have a place to do them), play with our cat Pepper (when he lets me), watch movies, and spend time with my family

Q1: How has motherhood shaped you as a person?

MG: 3 kids and 20 years after becoming a mom for the first time, it’s helped me become a less selfish person than I was before I had kids. It’s also taught me to laugh more at life and not take myself so seriously.

Q2: Country or city girl at heart? Or suburbanite? LOL

MG: I’ve lived in one city or another most of my life, but it wasn’t until I moved to Butte, Montana that I realized I’m really a country girl at heart. We live 20 minutes from Butte, but when I have to go into town, it seems too big, noisy, and crowded, and it has only 30,000 people. I like that I can come home and have space and quiet around me. The only thing I miss about living in the city is the convenience I had of getting what I needed at a moment’s notice, and all the choices we had for shopping and restaurants. That said, when we go to Phoenix to visit friends, I can hardly wait to come back to Butte.

Q3: Name one thing, person, or place that you would travel a great distance to see.

MG: I don’t really like traveling (there’s no bed like my own), especially internationally (the time change is hard on me), but I would put up with hotel beds and a ten-hour time difference to see Conwy Castle in Wales. The story behind that is (and forgive me, but this is writing related) that when I first started my novel, I needed a castle layout to help me map out certain scenes. I found one in a kids’ book on castles. Sometime in there, I discovered that the layout was of a real castle—Conwy.

Q4: Do you have a favorite Disney movie or character?

MG: My favorite Disney character is Belle from Beauty and the Beast (which is also my favorite Disney movie). I love how Belle’s love saves the Beast, and how both characters change from selfish to self-less.

Q5: *bonus question for everyone* Do you collect anything? If so, why?

MG: I collect sea shells (because I love the ocean), geodes (because I think it’s cool that something so plain on the outside can contain something so beautiful), and tiny jeweled boxes to remind me of beautiful things that have happened in my life.


Those beautiful things you collect remind me of your beautiful soul!

Thank you so much for visiting with us all today.

You can learn more about Michelle and her fantasy novel Eldala by visiting her website: http://www.michellegregory.blogspot.com

See you all on Thursday!