As promised yesterday, my Summer Lit Blitz guest author! My apologies for the nonsensical post. Hey, your brain would be mush after a four-hour meeting too! Don’t judge!
Anyway, My guest is none other than the fabulous Zanzibar Schwarznegger.
- Tell me a little about yourself.
I’m a Figment. This means I’m a character someone created, but I don’t have a book, so no one knows about me. I’m also in the Character Witness Protection Program, so I can’t tell you where I’m from, but I’m currently running around the Pacific Northwest because The Conductor isn’t very fond of rain.
- What is (are) your goal(s) for June? July? August? (whichever month you are being interviewed for)
Goals would be good. Mostly I just write.
Okay, very untrue. After a little time off for relocation (see Character Witness Protection deal), I am behind on my schedule, so I’m juggling three books in various stages and about to start outlining a fourth. Life is more fun with juggling. Circuses teach us that. Also, magic.
- What is your best time management tip?
Don’t stop writing. Ever.
Barring that, set goals, set deadlines, and use Pomodoro technique (xx minutes of intense, focused activity followed by a break).
- What is your best writing tip for newbies?
Finish something. Really, finish anything. I think it’s always better if you can start with short stories because those have the quickest turnaround and give the fastest opportunities for learning, but some writers are afraid of short stories. Even if you’re writing a novel, write the whole thing,then whine about it.
- Do you have a book coming out this summer?
I’ve had three books out so far this year (one under a pseudonym because it wasn’t at all funny), so I don’t have anything else coming out until October. A Figment needs to sleep. Okay, I don’t, but I like to pretend I’m real.
- What genre do you write?
Humor, first and foremost. Then you can shunt my stuff into fantasy, YA, romance, and mystery, depending on the book. Why do one genre when they’re all so much fun?
- Are you attending any author events over the summer?
I was supposed to, but I had to cancel. Protective custody isn’t very protective if everyone knows where to find you.
- Do you have a vacation planned for the summer? If so where? If not, when?
My life is always a vacation, but I am leaving the vicinity of the Pacific Northwest for a while and heading to… wait. Is this a trick question? Do you know The Conductor?
- What are your favorite summer foods? Activities?
I love to camp and hike. S’mores are a must, although I’m not greedy, so s’less works, too. Iced coffees and teas, chilled watermelon, and a nice slab o’ dead creature on the grill works, too. Could you excuse me? I’m hungry now….
- What quality do you most admire in a woman/man?
A sense of humor.
- What do you most value in a friend?
I can forgive almost anything outside of walking away from a friendship. That’s getting a little too serious for me.
- What is your favorite journey?
One I didn’t plan, even though I’m a planner. Total plotser with a hint of panting.
- Which book have you read the most in your lifetime?
That’s a tough call. I have multiples that I have read more than five times, so I’m not sure. There’s certain books that are like having a talk with a friend you haven’t seen in years. No matter how many times you come back, the conversation is always fresh and you leave feeling refreshed.
- If you could choose to be a character in a book, who would it be?
I am a Character, I just haven’t found my book yet. Why be someone else when I’m so very awesomesauce on my own?
- Will you share a picture of your writing space?
I’m really starting to think you have something going with The Conductor. No, I cannot share anything that might give away my location.
- Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
A parent shouldn’t have a favorite child and a reader shouldn’t have a favorite hero. That’s just mean to the other kids.
- What genre do you read most often?
I can honestly say that I read everything but erotica and horror (although I’ll dip my toes into horror until they get chopped off). Oh, and westerns. If I really want a description of a horse’s butt, I’ll go for a ride.
18. Who are your favorite authors?
The ones I’m currently reading. Outside that, I love humor, so Jasper Fforde, Terry Pratchett (RIP), Douglas Adams. Currently on a Jim Butcher kick because he reminds me of R.R. Virdi, who I also enjoy.
19. Do you use real people as your characters or do you completely make them up? Describe your process.
Absolutely no real people. I do not have an evil queen based on the asker of these questions. That would be absurd.
Process: find a real person and force them to give me permission to warp them into something they don’t recognize. So far, it’s gotten good results.
(Permission was granted for the characterization of evil queen and THIS asker totally approves. Well, until she thought I could be easily replaced by a successor. Excuse me while I exterminate the pretenders!)
20. Is there one book that you wish that you had written? (Not for the profits – but for the quality of the writing.)
I wish I had written The Eyre Affair because it’s brilliant, but I could do it with less language. I don’t really need curse words to be funny, so I generally skip them. Also, I wish I had created Anne McCaffrey’s Pern. I could play there forever. Dragons rule.
This has been great conversation, but our time is nearly over. Thank you for stopping in and sharing. Do you have a bit you could share from your books?
Writing a book may be the perfect solution to all of Christopher Cullum’s problems. He’s currently living at home (at age twenty-five), but his mom fears she’ll be doing his laundry forever. If he doesn’t accomplish something notable soon, she may invoke some tough love. He might even have to clean his room.
“Now, if you don’t mind, I’d like my crown back. In exchange, I’ll give you a free pass to your destination.”
“If you’re evil, why would you do that?” Elsa asked archly.
“Boredom, my dear.” [The evil queen] fingered the necklace around her pale white throat. “Besides, I like being the most evil being here. If he stays, who knows what kind of evil would show up?”
Eric looked at the crown in his hands, then at Elsa and Christopher. He sighed. “Just when I get something nice.” Dragging every step, he walked up to the throne and returned the crown.
“That’s better.” Ellie seated the crown on her head. Her elaborate hairdo immediately styled itself around the crown. “Time to die.”
“But you said…”.
“I’m sorry. Did you miss the part about being evil?” The queen clicked her tongue. “Honestly, I cannot understand why anyone trusts me. It’s like you’ve never read a book before.”
Christopher blushed. “I read books. Sometimes. I have to read for classes.”
The queen waved one hand airily. “Not my concern. Time to die. If you could scream a bit, I do like that part.”
Zanzibar 7. Schwarznegger is a fictional Figment-Writer who escaped through a plot hole into the real world. He resides somewhere on the west coast of the United States and moves frequently under the Character Witness Relocation Program. He has spawned a number of plot bunnies, tribbles and squirrels. His hobbies include oxymoron acrostics, weekend adverbial warfare, and braving the terrors of parody flux on a dare. He occasionally remembers to update his website at www.zanzibar7.com.
DJ needs beta readers. She finds another writer, Christopher, who needs readers as well and offers a trade. What’s the worst that can happen? His book is boring or he doesn’t finish hers. Except there are worse things than boring books in the world of Figments. DJ is sucked into Christopher’s book, playing a game with very real consequences and no do-overs. Bring on the coffee!
“I bet she talks to me first.”
“I bet she’s already talked to me before.”
“I bet she wants to talk to me first, but feels sorry for you.”
“I bet she feels sorrier for you, but still likes me better, so she talks to me first.”
DJ couldn’t figure out which one was talking when and was starting to feel like the net in a tennis match. “How do you tell yourselves apart? Are you twins?”
Again they scowled at each other. “We used to be different people.”
“I was me. He was him.”
“We were separate. It was better.”
“Then the merge.”
“Bit of a death accident.”
“I’ve forgotten exactly.”
DJ interrupted. “A train? You mean The Conductor got you, too?”
Again they looked at each other, this time without glaring. “We got her.” They smiled simultaneously and fist-bumped.
“But there was dying.”
“Then the train jumped out of the plot hole.”
“Now we’re a little of each other.”
“Less intimate than it sounds,” the dark-haired one assured her. “We don’t share anything.”
“Untrue,” the one on her left said. “We share things. We just don’t do it intentionally.”
“Mostly the same thing and less creepy than saying it the other way.” The one on the right checked his pocket watch. “Isn’t there supposed to be a case today?”
The Annals of Bobian
The Bobian is twelve and has one goal in life: get ice cream. Unfortunately, life seems to be conspiring against him. Birthday parties gone awry. School bullies teaching him a (temporary) lesson in humility. Bratty little sisters and next door neighbor kids stealing his rightful reward. What’s a kid to do? There’s only one solution: The Bobian will defeat them all… even the time-changing aliens who are determined to keep him from summer.
Today was a special test. Today had started with a turkey craft, as if The Queen Mother didn’t have enough copies of his hand as an ugly bird stashed around the house. He tried to throw them away, but she always asked about them. A few of them had bonus trash stains or extra wrinkles.
After crafts, they practiced music, which meant the girls screeched loudly while the boys tried to pretend to sing without really singing. It was a stupid song anyway. Even kindergartners didn’t think turkeys were friends right before they ate them.
Recess would have been better, except that it was raining and the teachers always thought rain would make them melt. Other than the one girl who was allergic to everything and a teacher he was pretty sure was related to the witch who got melted by Dorothy, The Bobian didn’t think water could really hurt you. Soap and water… that was a different story. Plain old rain was no reason to cancel recess. That was just mean.
The day continued to be bad after recess. It was the day for that talk. The girls went away, which was good, but the teacher who came in to give that talk was older than the fossil The Bobian had in his rock collection.
“Alright. Class.” He stopped and looked around, obviously trying to figure out where he was. “Class. Right. We’re here to talk about…”. He frowned, which was like all his wrinkles made more wrinkles for the other wrinkles to talk about. “Oh. Yes. We’re here to talk about bodies. Male bodies.” He pushed his glasses further up his nose and looked around the room. “There aren’t any girls in here, are there?”
He smelled like dust. Not dirt, which would have been kind of cool, but dust. That was just weird.
If you are in the mood for a few laughs or a lot of laughs, check out these books for your summer reads!
Write one my friends, write on!