INDY AUTHOR TALK WITH SM Gibson ~ Five Ways You Just Might Suck

SM
So…  I don’t know how many of you know how much of a giveaway geek I am.  I am soooooo addicted to entering giveaways it’s not even funny! Reason being is, I took a marketing class once (well quite a few since I majored in Business in College) and the teacher said that she entered giveaways just for fun!  LIKE IT WAS A SPORT!  She entered like 50 a day and for anything and everything and won tons.  I’ve won concert tickets, a year’s supply of tape, a year’s worth of Berger Cookies, and tons of books!  Anyway I tried to win Daughter of Vanth on Goodreads.com and was uber disappointed when I lost it so I contacted her.  I told her I was interested in her book and doing an Interview and here we are! 

And let me just say how thrilled I am that I did, I love her!  Just from her Indy Author Talk!  NO just from the subject of her talk!!!  Five Ways You Just Might Suck.  Bwahahhahahahahaha!!!  Let me also add that the topic is not a PUN either because her book is an interesting take on the vampire genre but because it’s list Five Ways You Just Might Suck! 

Now before I move forward, I do want to share with you, Daughter of Vanth’s book synopsis.  It is such an awesome sounding book!!  Squealllll!!!!  (I think I will have to gift it to someone they call #NerdGirlVamp for saaaaaayyyyyy her BIRTHDAY ~ I can never keep a secret)

Daughter Of Vanth by S. M. Gibson – When Sophie Klein, a nine-year-old girl in rural Ohio, slaughters thirteen vampires with only the power of her mind, lethal vampire warrior Gabriel Stragon decides she must die. She is a descendant of Vanth, a demon with an ancient grudge against bloodsuckers. But Gabriel’s father, the vampire overlord, refuses to execute the girl, and instead, he orders Gabriel to bring Sophie back to their home in Virginia. After twelve years with her adopted “family,” Sophie’s life changes forever when the Stragon Overlord decides she will wed Gabriel—the man who has sworn to kill her. Sophie’s not the only one furious at the announcement. Rival vampire clans have put a price on her head, their purpose to enslave or destroy the daughter of Vanth. But Gabriel is ordered to protect Sophie from all enemies, and his growing desire for her wars with duty as he knows her death is the only way to protect his family. And Sophie must also fight her attraction to Gabriel, as well as harness the power of her birthright in her fight for survival. Yet in finding that power, she risks being consumed by the demon within, and Vanth’s sole purpose is to destroy immortals—all of them.sm2

*****S.M. Gibson’s Indy Author Talk*****

First, let me start by saying how thrilled I am to have met Gladys and for the opportunity to blog and share details about Daughter of Vanth with NerdGirlOfficial fans. When I’m not writing, I work as a criminal defense attorney. More importantly, I work as a defense attorney for poor and homeless people and my organization does it free of charge. Needless to say…I spend a lot of time giving people advice. So when pondering a topic for my guest blog…I figured I’d stick with what I know and offering advice was the way to go.  It’s the lighthearted kind of advice where people hopefully don’t take it too seriously but gain some kernel of truth going forward otherwise it’s a waste of a read.

 

****Five Ways You Just Might Suck***

  1. If you have a WWJD bumper sticker on the back of your car….make sure you’re at least trying to drive like Jesus would….

Case in point…I was driving along in north St. Louis on a freeway going about 65 miles per hour. I generally don’t tailgate just because if I hit anything going 60-70 miles an hour the odds of being dead increase. The lady in front of me slams on the brakes of her Toyota Corolla. In my frantic burning of rubber to slow my car down (at which time my phone, my three empty diet Mt. Dew cans—I sort of have a problem with Diet Mt. Dew—and my Michael Jackson CD all fly past my head and into the floor board) I noticed the WWJD bumper sticker on the lady’s back bumper (all fine—I roll with any religion that promotes peace). THEN she throws it in reverse and starts backing up, apparently in order to get on the exit ramp she had missed fifty yards back. So cars are dodging us left and right as I get out of her way. Then I notice a row of stuffed animals on the back windshield—to this day I never trust anyone riding with a row of stuffed dogs, bears, or whatever in their back windshield. The lady gets to her exit and proceeds up the ramp leaving me to turn off the hazards and go on my way. WWJD?  I got news lady…Jesus would never slam on his brakes and REVERSE in the middle of oncoming traffic to get up an exit ramp. I’m thinking he would go to the next exit, stop and give out some Jesus love, loaves of bread, maybe some microwave fish sticks and then turn around and find his street like everyone else.

  1. Dealing with a newborn baby is tough…and it sucks…and if it doesn’t suck…you’re probably doing it wrong.

Why did this topic in particular need to be part of my “Five Ways You Just Might Suck”? Not because I’m a parenting expert by any means. Although I will say I’m completely proud of my two boys. Before I had kids,  I knew a lot of kids who were jerks—the kind of kid that walked up and bit you for no reason, or head butted you, or once I saw a kid use the bathroom in a driveway…like I said, jerks. Since I’m just a normal Joe Schmo I figured I would mess up and create little jerks as well. Happily that is not the case! I put it in here because so many of my friends with babies are conflicted. They don’t know that it’s okay to acknowledge that newborns sort of suck at first. They need a lot of help, a lot of attention, and a lot of patience. Resentment from having to turn your life upside down and then add a bunch of chores that aren’t pleasant (cleaning poop, getting no sleep, having a kid that won’t stop crying no matter what you do, having no social life—or at least a drastically different version of pre-baby social life, breastfeeding—having a child munching on your boob should be easy and natural—well guess what it hurts, especially if you don’t know how to do it right and don’t take a class). A friend of mine had tried to get pregnant for a few years and ended up doing IVF. (Three cheers to her, because that is not easy). When I saw her with her newborn adorable kid, I asked her how it was going. I knew by the look in her eyes that it was sucking—bad—and she didn’t want to say it—because then people judge you and think you’re a bad mom because you’re not singing like Julie Andrews from ‘Sound of Music’ when you’re changing diapers and dragging it out of bed at three in the morning. Well—you’re not a bad mom, you don’t suck, and that part of you that wishes for the day when you could sleep in, go hang out until 3am doing stupid things, and not be elbows deep in someone else’s bathroom issue—it’s par for the course, it goes away, and you can be irritated and still love that screaming, pooping baby with everything you are and everything you ever will be. It gets better and then you usually decide to do it again.

  1. If you cut in line—you suck—not even “probably suck”—you just suck

Picture it….You’re at the gas station (preferably a QuikTrip that we have here in Missouri) and you’re waiting behind four other people to pay for your Vitamin Water (because you need to be healthier) and your Twix Bar (because you’re not interested in being that healthy). When some guy comes up and makes his own line by the dual cash registers used to service the five people currently in line.

Dear Guy, your karmic debt just shot through the roof because the other four people in this line are wishing the grimy red brick floor would open up and swallow you whole since they’ve been waiting for ten minutes to check out.

You just suck….no redemption…unless you didn’t see the six people standing patiently waiting for service in front of you…but wait you did…and everyone knows it. Me personally, I’m the kind of person who will say “Hi Guy, I was here first, so go fuck yourself” and make a big deal out of it. However, if you don’t have one of us loudmouths in line…usually the cutter gets away with it. Moral of the story…don’t be that guy.

  1. Social media oversharers…you might suck…but sadly, so do I

First, I’m guilty of oversharing…but I try not to. When my kids got all A’s…it went on Facebook, when my husband cut his head open at work…the picture of him in his bandage turban definitely went on Facebook. When I thought I saw a box full of cheese-garlic biscuits from Red Lobster dumped on the side of the road on the drive to work…that went on Facebook. With the recent social upheaval in St. Louis due to the shooting of Mike Brown, an unarmed young black man…many, many posts went on Facebook—mainly because that’s what interests me—my family, cheese-garlic biscuits, and injustice.

But….the posts about your bathroom experience, your Farmville pics (no one cares about your virtual crops and if they’re experiencing drought), the weird chain letter pictures—“If you don’t share this picture of Jesus/money/cancer awareness—then Satan/poverty/cancer has already won and you’re a jerk.”  Another irritant is uber conservative or uber liberal talking point memes all day, every day (I’m particularly bad at this).  It’s exhausting. Especially since it’s guaranteed that all of your Facebook friends don’t share your opinion.

You folks that type in all caps with no punctuation ALL the time…NO ONE LIKES IT. I don’t know why…but overuse of the caps function is irritating. Conversely, you folks that like to correct everyone’s grammar…no one likes you either. Having said all that…it’s your Facebook page. If they don’t like it…there’s a delete function for a reason ;)

  1. If high school was the absolute best time you’ve ever had and ever will have…you might just suck…maybe

Nerds…what are they? Who are they? Well, we are the 95% who refuse to buy into the stereotypes that abound today. We refused to bow down to the ‘mean girls’ in high school. We quite literally carved our own path and our own likes and dislikes—and we paid for it too. Ridicule, insults, or maybe just the feeling that you weren’t ‘cool enough’ or ‘good enough’. If I could reach out to every kid in high school right now, I would tell them, “This isn’t what life is like. These people (unless they’re the good kind of people you take with you in life) will barely remember your name and you probably won’t remember theirs in ten years. None of this will matter except the good stuff that will stay with you forever.”

I remember thinking that if only “Janie” would be friends with me, then maybe “Matt” would go out with me. I also remember getting kneed in between the legs while wearing a skirt one day at my locker…by a guy named “Mike” who wanted to impress his friends. I had never once hurt that kid, or even talked to him really, in my whole life and he assaulted me only for the purpose of being “cool”.

Well guess what, bitches? Nerds get the last laugh. Every time. We learn a lot from bullies—mostly that they suck and have no respect for people…but bullies don’t learn anything…they don’t grow as people. On a whim, I did a creepy Facebook stalk of “Mike” a few years ago (don’t lie…you do it too occasionally). He works at a Shell gas station. He looks as shallow and uncaring as he did years ago. Meanwhile…I took Mike’s lesson with me in the 17 years since I’ve been in high school. I treat folks with respect and dignity (unless you’re reversing on the freeway with your stuffed animals—then I’m dropping some eff-bombs on you). Mike taught me that people can be cruel and that I have a right to stand up for myself and others. I have a ton of people who love and respect me for being exactly the way I am—goofy as hell. I left my hometown, served in the U.S. Navy for five years, fought in two combat operations, toured the world, graduated from college with a 4.0, put myself through law school, and now I defend homeless and mentally ill people while writing paranormal romance on my down time. I did it with a great family, wonderful kids, amazing friends and mentors. Mike’s lesson was that some people suck…but nerds win every time. So embrace your inner nerd—everything from LOTR to World of Warcraft, paranormal romance, Candy Crush, SpongeBob Square Pants, zombies, and weird Kevin Costner movies about people who live in burial mounds and run around being scary and eating people (I tried that last weekend—I wouldn’t recommend it). Do whatever it is that makes you—YOU—with no regrets and no apologies—because nerds rule  :-D 

*****S.M. Gibson’s Bio*****

S.M. Gibson is an avid reader and writer of romance—bring on the magic, ghosts, fairies, vampires, and anything supernatural. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, S.M. Gibson has traveled around the world while serving in the U.S. Navy. After living in Virginia Beach, Virginia for several years, S.M. Gibson and her family moved to St. Louis, Missouri where the author obtained a bachelor’s degree and eventually a law degree. As a criminal defense attorney, S.M. Gibson’s day job is hectic, but her nights are free to wander the realms of the paranormal, put pen to paper, and delve into the world of fantasy and romance.

 

*****Q&A*****

Q. When and why did you begin writing? What inspired you to write your first book?

Ever read a book that had a horrible ending? Or the girl chose the wrong guy? Or knuckled under when she should have kicked ass? I’ve been a huge reader all my life. I’ve read mostly romance novels but in the past few years I’ve branched out toward science fiction/fantasy. Eventually the romance novels started to have a pattern to them and at times were too predictable. About five or six years ago, a series that I absolutely loved took a turn for the worst and I was crushed. I decided I wanted to write a book, where the characters would do exactly what I wanted them to do…and always choose the “right” guy and kick ass when necessary.

My first book Wulfric’s Blade (hahaha) was a historical romance. Admittedly, it was horrible and amateurish. I didn’t plot anything and just wrote whatever popped into my head. However, I’ve improved since those dark days.

 Daughter of Vanth is my first published book. I plotted, edited, re-wrote, fell in love with my characters, and eventually my publisher at Amberquill Press read it and liked it too!

 Q. What book(s) / author(s) have influenced your life and writing?

Three books in particular stick out in my mind:

At age ten, I read Watership Down by Richard Adams and ultimately convinced myself that I could talk to rabbits. It never worked for obvious reasons, but it still makes me laugh when I remember trying to chase down rabbits in my Aunt’s garden and have a conversation with them.

At age seventeen, I read my first romance novel. I was out of books (we were poor and I usually ended up reading the same ones over and over). I came across Sweet, Savage, Love by Rosemary Rogers. I stayed up all night reading that book. I went to school the next day bleary-eyed and ready for more romance. It was a classic 1970’s era historical romance, but it was about love and adventure and from then on I was hooked.

At age twenty-five, I read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I loved Jane’s spirit, the fact that she was plain and poor and got the guy anyway, just by being herself. I’m also sort of in love with Edward Fairfax Rochester. If you haven’t seen Michael Fassbender play him in one of the newer film adaptations…you are missing out.

There were hundreds and hundreds of books in between those three but they are the ones that mark turning points in my reading and growth as an individual (or at least that’s probably what a shrink might say…if I had a shrink.)

Q. Tell us about your characters and how they came to be?  Have they been in your head for a long time?

My two main characters in Daughter of Vanth have been in my head forever. They probably mimic the qualities of my two favorite characters in Jane Eyre.

Gabriel Stragon was meant to be a Byronic hero—strong, moody, hates people and their inane issues, but deep down he’s struggling with who he is, whether he’s good or evil, and whether he deserves to love because he’s killed so many people. I enjoyed putting him in situations he hated—like pushing grocery carts, watching Golden Girls, or watching singing hamburger advertisements on television.

Sophie Klein starts out as a puppet or a doll. Her vampire family dressed her, taught her how to speak, how to act, and how to be an asset to them. They kept her alive because they knew she was the greatest threat to vampire-kind, and as such, the greatest weapon. However, their saving grace is they fell in love with her somewhere along the way. It doesn’t stop them from deciding she will marry their son at age 21. Her future is being decided by everyone except her. All she knows how to do is what she’s told. She’s at the epicenter of a struggle for power and losing herself in the process

Then she figures out she doesn’t have to be a victim anymore. She learns how to win, how to be strong, and eventually, how to sacrifice for those she loves. I love her spirit, and her strength. Eventually she figures out that vampires will never control her again…or they will die.

 Q. What motivates you to write?

Writing a book is every bit as thrilling to me as reading one. I get lost in the action, in the characters, and another world (sorry for the sappy cliché but it is what it is). The day to day worries I have slip away if I’m lost in someone else’s drama. I can sit on my laptop until 3am with my story and be just as excited as I am reading a favorite book in a favorite series.

Q. What is the hardest part of writing?

The hardest part of writing for me is knowing if what you’ve written is any good. I think it’s good and my mom thinks it’s good. Sadly, my mom is supposed to think what I do is good. So there goes that. A lot of people think they are fantastic singers but they’re not. No one has the heart to tell them otherwise. I think writing can be like that. You could just write a bad book and not know it because it’s yours and you love it. As a previously unpublished author, I submitted novels to various agents and publishers and received a lot of rejections until I found the right home for my book. Insecurity is not an easy thing to conquer.

Q. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I worked with my editor Catherine Snodgrass on pretty much every area of my book. My point-of-view narrative needed a lot of help. Apparently I just like to be the hovering omniscient figure in everyone’s head at once. This is a huge problem for editors. “Passive voice” writing was another huge problem. Catherine educated me as to what that actually was and then pointed out the 2.5 million times I had slipped into passive voice in the story. Luckily she had the patience to weed through all my corrections.

Q. Where do you get your ideas?

I get my ideas from being immersed in paranormal and fantasy reading and film. I love vampire books and vampire movies. The idea for Daughter of Vanth came when I decided I was tired of vampires winning all the time. They needed someone or something that could take them down—and not just “barely winning”—I mean a grand slam, home-run, ‘something to write home to Grandma about’ win.

 Q. What does your family think of your writing?

My family is very supportive. My husband doesn’t read romance novels but he read mine and liked it which gave me a little confidence that other people might like it too. My nine year old son told me he would be the first person to buy a copy of Daughter of Vanth. I thought it was so sweet. Then I secretly planned that he would never get a copy until after he was 18 years old since there are mature scenes in the book.

 Q. What is the best advice you would give to inspiring authors?

  1. Plot out your book and make sure you have a plan before you sit down to write. I hate doing it (maybe all artistic people do?) but it keeps you on track.
  2. Have some people in place to read the book and give you honest feedback. Not your mom.
  3. My writing mechanics pitfalls to share:
    1. Avoid passive voice—“I was walking over there” never sounds as good as “I walked over there”
    2. Avoid point of view errors (get in one person’s head and stay there)
    3. If your heroine’s head is buried in her hands, then she can’t see the vampire bats flying above her head about to claw her eyes out.
    4. Don’t make your heroine/hero too wimpy. Sophie cried a lot in the beginning. My editor decided she needed some beefing up.

 Q. What book are you reading now?

I started reading Divergent after watching the movie. I enjoyed the movie and of course the books are always better.

 

 

Buy the book—e-version at Amberquill Press:

http://www.amberquill.com/store/p/2005-Daughter-Of-Vanth.aspx

Buy the paperback at Amazon…check out the reviews too!

http://www.amazon.com/Daughter-Of-Vanth-S-Gibson/dp/1611248213#customerReviews

SM Gibson’s Facebook—like the page and get updates on SM Gibson’s new projects:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/SM-Gibson/619190204827251?fref=nf

SM Gibson’s Twitter—updates and info on indy authors:

https://twitter.com/gibson_sm

Daughter of Vanth on Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22857679-daughter-of-vanth

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The NerdGirl

Blogger, Reviewer, Promoter extraordinaire, I don’t think you will find ANYONE that loves books more than her. Gladys will read anything but prefers paranormal and fantasy. She likes historical and some contemporary ….. as long as its not predictable.
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