Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Welcome Author Jaleta Clegg
Jaleta Clegg is an author of science fiction adventure, comic fantasy, and silly horror. Her newest work Nexus Point, the Fall of the Altairan Empire Book 1 is available from Cyberwizard Productions.
How did you come up with your latest title?
Nexus Point is a starting point, a beginning. This book sets the stage for the rest of the series. The Fall of the Altairan Empire is space opera, a grand sweeping tale of galactic civilizations crumbling as told by those at the crux of the crisis. I wanted a title for the first book that hinted at where the series was headed.
What is Nexus Point about?
Nexus Point says it's book one, but don't let that fool you. The book is a complete story. It's told by Dace, the main character for the series. She's been out of the Patrol Academy for only a couple of months, following her dream of owning her own trading ship. But her crew betrays her, sabotaging her ship, and stranding her on a planet locked in a feudal level of technology. The natives of the planet want to kill her because she's a demon. Drug smugglers on the planet want her dead because they think she's working for the competition. The Patrol agent on the planet thinks she's working for the smugglers. Everywhere Dace turns, people want her dead. Ever hear the phrase, "Out of the frying pan, into the fire?" That's how Dace feels as she tries to find a way to get off the planet and back to real civilization. If you're looking for a fast-paced adventure story, Nexus Point never slows down.
What books have influenced your life most?
I read just about everything I can get my hands on. I've lost track of how many books I own. There are several authors that really stand out, though. Andre Norton will always be my favorite SF author. I discovered her books when I was still in grade school. Reading them again is like visiting with old friends. Other authors that have influenced me include Elizabeth Moon, Julie Czerneda, Madeline L'Engle, Isaac Asimov, and Larry Niven. There are many, many others I could list, but those are the ones that stick out. The Bible and The Book of Mormon are the only non-fiction books I'd list. I wouldn't be who I am without that influence.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I've had the privilege of meeting many SF/F authors through my work at conventions. Most of them are wonderful, caring people. They take time to en-courage new authors, giving a few words of advice when asked. I can't say any of them have been a mentor for me, not personally, but their example and especially their writing, have inspired me to tell my own tales.
What are your current projects?
I'm currently in edits for Priestess of the Eggstone, book 2 in my series. Lots of fun and excitement going on for Dace, who's in trouble again. I've got stories in three different anthologies. "Omega Museum", a hard SF story about the museum of the last, in The Last Man Anthology from Sword & Saga Press just released. "Always a Bridesmaid", a silly zombie story, in Rotting Tales: A Zombie Anthology from Pill Hill Press is scheduled to release any day. "The Effect of Degraded Food Supplies on Indigenous Populations", a classic vam-pire story, is in "Fangs, Vol. 1", an ebook anthology from L&L Dreamspell Press, which is due out soon. I've got more stories in the works in various an-thologies and magazines. The complete list, and links, are on my website. http://www.jaletac.com Keeping track of all of them is proving harder than I anticipated.
I'm also putting together an anthology for my publisher, Cyberwizard Pro-ductions. Titled "Wandering Weeds: Tales of Rabid Vegetation", my co-editor and I are looking for stories about vicious, nasty, evil tumbleweeds. Details are on the blog: http://wanderingweeds.blogspot.com/
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Where do I start? No, really, I struggle with beginnings. When I start a book, I have to get to know the characters, the setting, the plot, everything. It's a very stressful social situation. My characters are real. Sometimes I have to wander for several pages before the characters start talking to me. Then I have to weave it into the story. Knowing where to jump into the action is more difficult than it seems. This is why editing and rewriting are so important. I've got several trusted friends that have no trouble telling me when I miss. I want that opening to grab you and drag you into the story, plus it's got to make you care about the characters. It's a difficult dance.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Same as what I've heard from everyone else: Keep writing. Every day. Find something to write- a blog post, a poem, an essay, a chapter, a short descrip-tion, a story, whatever you can squeeze into every day. If you're too busy to write, you aren't a writer yet. I work a part-time job, run two businesses out of my home, sew costumes and quilts, and have eight kids of my own. I write as my escape. It keeps me sane to write my insane stories. Maybe that's why I do so many silly horror stories. And adventures. I crave the escape. If one thing isn't working, I've got a million other ideas to play with.
Second piece of advice: BACKUP! Save those files often. And back them up on a flash drive or somewhere else not on your computer at least once a week. Nothing is more frightening than realizing you've just lost months of work. Keep multiple backups of every piece you write. You won't regret it. You will regret NOT doing it.
Thanks for inviting me to your blog today. It was great visiting with you!
Nexus Point: The Fall of the Altairan Empire Book 1Purchase links all at http://www.nexuspoint.info
I clawed my way through thickets and brambles. I dodged past barely seen trees. I splashed through streams and tore my feet on rocks. I was lost in the woods with animals that wanted to eat me. I ran until my side ached and I couldn't breathe.
I stumbled to a stop. Grasses waved in a light breeze. Mist rose from a stream, thin streamers of white that faded only a few feet above the ground. I dropped to my knees, trembling from fear. My stomach heaved. I retched up nothing.
The grass in front of me slowly parted. I stared into a wide face of evil green eyes and huge fangs. The animal snarled, showing more teeth. I didn't have the breath to run any longer. I scrabbled through the grass until I found a big rock. I staggered to my feet, hefting the rock in shaky arms.
"Go away," I said, my voice squeaking with fear. "You aren't going to eat me." I lifted the rock to my shoulder. My muscles protested.
The creature shot a look over its shoulder, then bounded away into the night.
I let out a slow breath. Something had just scared the creature. That something would be bigger and meaner. Fear shivered along my spine. I held the rock higher, ready to throw it at the new threat.
He came out of the mist like a primeval god in a really bad romance vid–dark hair, darker eyes, and a face stolen from my most secret fantasies. He wore a leather vest with no shirt, tight pants, and tall boots. He stopped on the other side of the stream, muscles flexing as he folded his bare arms across his chest.
I swallowed hard, wondering if he was just a dream. I shifted my feet on the stream bank. "What do you want?"