Tag Archive: humor


I recently reviewed Tony Bertauski’s “Annihilation of Foreverland” and “Foreverland is Dead”.  Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with him online and this is the result of that interview.

Ten Questions: An Interview with Tony Bertauski

Does the hidden pinky finger have an R on it?
(If you don’t understand this reference, please see Tony Bertauski’s Facebook Author Page)

I’ll be there in 5 minutes.
I don’t remember if I put an R on that finger or not.
(Is that my first question?)

Nope.  Just a freebie.

What is self-publishing like?

…and don’t worry, you have as much time as you have…

Oops. Let me find my glasses. At 46, my eyes went bad.
 

Oh, please.

Self-pubbing. I’m lucky I got into writing when I did. Traditional publishing is a tough market to crack. I’ve never aspired, and still don’t, to be a full time writer. I have stories to tell. And the more I write, the more stories I find.

I love to have complete control of the story, interacting with fans and being involved with the cover. Once I put it all together, I upload to various outlets (Amazon, BN, etc) and announce through various outlets. I’ve also learned how to market it so that more people will see it. It’s a wonderful “hobby” that works like a side job. A side job I love.

By the way, an interesting blog post is making the rounds titled “Why indie writers suck“. So there’s some debate.

 

People who think Indie writers suck are generally unsuccessful Indie writers…(And that [blog] is from a pretentious snob hiding behind a nazi monocle, I mean, moniker who, has his/her/its own blog (a common form of indie writing))

 

How old were you when you wrote your first ‘thing’ and what was it?

Mmm…good question.

I didn’t write much of anything when I was young. I read a lot of sci-fi but never thought about writing. However, back in the day we passed notes in school (smart phones were still futuristic thoughts) and I had a friend that wrote concise notes that were hilarious. I remember wanting to write like that.

I attempted to write a couple books/stories when I was in my early 20s but, like most starts, they barely got started before I quit. I completed two novel-length stories when I was in my early 30s. They’ll never see the light of day. The story that got me hooked was The Discovery of Socket Greeny. I started writing it for my son when he was little, something he would read. It didn’t work. I think I rewrote that story a dozen times before it was good enough to get out.

I’ve gotten better since then.

And my son still hates to read.

 

What book has inspired you most in your writing?

Dune. I was captivated by a universe that existed in Frank Herbert’s mind that contained philosophy, politics and relationships that didn’t really exist. I wanted to create my own worlds, and I wanted to share them with others, wanted to connect with people the way I did with Herbert. Now, although I’m not a horror buff, Stephen King has been a large influence. I don’t like his endings (I’m a big ending guy, want the twist) but his style is so fluid, so visceral and comical. I rarely read his stuff without feeling like I’m in that room with that character. That, I believe, has been very inspiring.

 

What one work/series would you most like to see made into a movie? (and just to sneak another freebie in: who would you want to see play the major roles?)

Damn good question. A second to gather my thoughts.
 

…no worries…

The Discovery of Socket Greeny would be the first one because that character is so close to my heart. Socket played by…drawing a blank. I’ll come back to that before we’re done. The Foreverland series would be second with Jeff Bridges playing the Director. Claus would be third with Jeff Daniels as Nicholas Santa and Jim Carrey (so cliche but have to) as Jack.
 

Ok, throw Socket Greeny in there when you have an answer…

 

Do you write by hand, or straight to “screen”?

I write rough outlines by hand on a legal pad. It’s basically sitting on the couch with a cup of coffee and letting the story unfold. That might be half an hour to hour. Then I prop the pad up and type, sometimes not even looking at it once I’ve got it. However, even if I have to rewrite a scene I’ll go to the legal pad.

 

Aahhh. so there’s no Royal or Remington lurking in your past? (another freebie)

I learned on one and glad they’re dead.
 

I shouldn’t laugh, so did I…

 

What is the most important element of writing a story (as opposed to the craft of writing)?

I’m not a great writer. By that I mean I don’t know the rules of grammar and I don’t care. I’m interested in the story. For me, the most important element is the twist. As a reader, I become engaged when I don’t exactly know what’s coming. It doesn’t have to be a big bang surprise, but keep it from being predictable. Keep it original. And if I read that last page with a WHOA!–well, then…we have a winner.

 

When developing characters, how do you know when you have the “right name”?

I spend a lot of time on the names. There are times I’ll look up the origin of the word to match the personality. For instance, Cyn in Foreverland is Dead is short for Cindy. However, it sounds like “Sin”. That’s not an accident. So much of the time the names have hidden meanings. Socket was a fluke. I wrote that for my son so it was a fun name but then it became integral to the story. Broak was a name that had great significance in the Socket story. There have also been times where I finish the rough draft and do a find and replace because the name isn’t feeling right.

 

How much time do you spend writing on a daily basis? If you don’t write every day, what is your regular writing schedule like? (more freebies)

Socket Greeny character would be someone like Josh Harnett or Liam Hemsworth, but since they were both in Hunger Games it seems too cliche now so I’ll go with the kid in The Walking Dead, Chandler Riggs.
 

Nice.

My day job is an educator and all the ancillary things that go with it. I’m also a father and a husband. I was just chatting with an author friend about this. Writing is solitary endeavor much of the time and can isolate my wife. (My kids are older so they’re not around as much.) I’m careful about when I get focused because I always remember something from Stephen King’s autobiography. He used to write at a giant oak desk in the middle of the room. Now it’s smaller and in the corner so there’s room for life. I write mostly on weekends and in the mornings. If I’m on break between semesters, I’ll put in a lot of time. If my wife is gone for the weekend, I’ll probably put in six hours daily. I don’t think I’d enjoy it as much if I was a full time writer. It’d be a job. Right now it’s an escape.

 

What has been your most memorable encounter with a reader(s)?

There have been many but the most recent was a review of Socket Greeny from a mother that bought the books for her reluctantly reading son. Her gratitude was moving. I try to write from a place that has meaning and when it connects with a reader I am grateful.. There are elements of Zen (a practice I’ve been involved with for the last 20 some years) that underlies my stories. Even now, I’m working on a romance novel but wasn’t satisfied with the outline until the characters where sufficiently suffering and find ways to transform. That plus sex.
 

That’s funny: sufficiently suffering.. plus sex.

 

Last question: Who is your favorite cartoon superhero? (villain?)

It would have to be Frank Miller’s Batman. He was very human. However, I find great affinity for a despicable villain you can’t quite hate. For instance, Heath Ledger’s Joker was masterful. I loved him and hated him. I strive for that element in my villains. At the very end of Socket Greeny, Pike’s role as super evil, super villain is questioned…just what side is he on?

 

See, that was easy…

Painless.
And fun.
Thanks for chat.
 

Thank you for letting me pester yo
*you

I like yo better.

Advertisements

He had me at “like a gang of schoolyard bullies…”

Artie

“Let me tell you a little story…we’re all going to die.”

Finally, we have an author with enough imagination to label his victims something other than “zombies” and to create a virus with a full spectrum of symptoms.  Not only has Artie Cabrera envisioned a world where Deviants roam the borough of Queens, he has the audacity to provide an intriguing and plausible origin for our post-apocalyptic future.

The Journals of Charles Dudley and Side Effects chronicle the aftermath of the release of a mysterious virus.  At least that’s what Charles Dudley can determine as he wanders through the wreckage of his old neighborhood.

Artie1We start with Charlie burying the remains of his best friend in a guitar case, and hosing the rest of him into the sewer.  He can’t believe he could ever do something so revulsive, and yet every day brings some new debasement, some new degradation that must be faced unflinchingly.  And yet, every day Charlie does what’s necessary to survive then berates himself for becoming a monster.  He learns he must assess his life in terms of today and tomorrow; yesterday has nothing to do with it.

Cabrera is slick, creating a narrative that exists solely in the mind of our hero.  Charlie’s journal comes complete with snarky side comments, and the wishful elaboration of details.  He tells two tales:  the nasty, ugly, gory struggle to survive the day, and the nasty, ugly, gory struggle to survive childhood.

As Charlie comes to terms with his surroundings, he begins to reflect on life before.  Life is shitty, and Charlie is brutally honest about the details.  His story is both stark and vivid, a man as broken as the world outside.  His life has been defined by his father and as he contemplates his upbringing, he begins to realize how angry his father was, how angry he is.  The question:  does he know how much like his father he has become?

Cabrera captures the internal voice. You know that voice in your head every morning, grumbling on the way to work.  This is not the voice of the objective observer. It is a running commentary on everything you see, everything you hear, taste, touch and smell.  It is a tangle between the calm recitation of fact and the strangled half-finished thought. Cabrera’s writing is taut, funny and sarcastic. He makes Dudley’s observations into shards of glass reflecting the decay around him.

I’m not sure why Side Effects was published after I’m Not Dead.  Its random back references to events in I’m Not Dead would be the perfect lead in to Charles Dudley’s journals.  Side Effects will suck the reader in, offering one last gasp before descending into chaos.

An Extra Goody

I am overwhelmed with gratitude. Over the weekend, I received over $600 in donations for the Tough Mudder’s Fight Against Blindness. I want to share the names of my new friends, who have so generously given.

As time is winding down more and more people are coming forward to support my cause, and I want to thank you all, right now, before I go and bonk my head and forget my own name. As kick off gets closer I am getting increasingly stoked to go play in the mud.  Of course, more and more people are encouraging me to get psychiatric help… but I think it’s too late to sign up for that.

To my friends who have been so generous to me:

  • Rebecca Vanslyke
  • Dusan Lazarov
  • Deirdre Whann
  • Lara Gund
  • Christine McManus
  • Jeremiah Shaw
  • Scott LeBlanc (and the Scabannah band!)
  • Jonathan Roberge

THANK YOU!!!

(PS: I know this is short, but it’s definitely sweet for me to say thank you again to everyone supporting me, praying for me, and laughing yourselves silly with me.  It’s almost time to get on the plane.)