*This interview was supposed to post on Friday as a part of BC’s blog tour, but evidently I don’t understand this software enough to set that up correctly and it didn’t go up on time. I apologize for that error, but I strongly encourage you guys to check out Unspoken Stories. I love his writing voice and think almost everyone would agree.
Ok, now onto our interview, already in progress:
Today I have the pleasure to do my Interview and An Excerpt feature with BC Young as part of his blog tour for Unspoken Stories – Volume 1, a collection of short stories. I met BC on Twitter in the #pubwrite hashtag. I’ve found him to be a gracious and warm person so I was thrilled to be included in his promotional efforts. This interview was done earlier this summer.
Remember how I told you that BC was an awesomely nice guy? He’s giving away a free copy of his book to a lucky reader. Leave a comment on this post saying whatever you want and I’ll enter you to win the copy of his book that I’ll give away next Monday October 3rd when I get back from Disney World. The giveaway is via Smashwords. It doesn’t get any easier than that.
1.) How long have you been an indie author?
I have been an indie author since May 3, 2010 when I published my first eBook, Sunrise.
2.) How many books have you self published?
Currently, all of my books are eBooks. Five of them are novelettes in the Miscorrection series, and four are short stories. I like to think of them as perfect reads for people on the go who use their iPod, iPhone, Droid, or similar device to read books.
3.) Are you a pantser or a plotter?
A little bit of both. I like to figure out the plot and characters before I write, but I also like to improvise as I’m writing. I’ve written stories that I knew the whole way through. Then I have others where I figure it out as I’m doing it. This happened with my short story The Present. I knew the story, but didn’t know how I was going to end it. About halfway through writing the story, I thought of the perfect ending.
4.) Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process? Feel free to be as detailed as you like, this stuff is fascinating.
My writing process starts in my mind. Something triggers a story idea―a person I meet, something I see on TV, a random thought, and so on. That gives me the idea. Then I figure out a way to turn it into a story with interesting characters. When I have what I need, I start writing. I recently started using a new method to writing that I really enjoy. When I start writing, I just write. My spell and grammar checking filter is turned off on my computer and I do not go back and edit or proofread until I am done with a section of the story or completely done writing it. I found this allows my story to flow better. Then I’ll go back and edit/proofread before having another person read it for errors.
5.) What is the best writing advice you’ve ever come across?
Just keep writing. As indie authors we can easily get caught up in the marketing process because we want our stuff to sell. We want people to know about it. But if you market too much and it gets in the way of doing more writing, then you’re hurting your reputation. I think the best form of marketing is more available works. Plus, as a person continues to write they become better and better. So don’t stop. Just keep writing.
6.) If you were going to mentor a new writer through the publishing process, what pitfalls would you warn them against?
I’d warn them about a lot of things. For a new writer though, I feel you need to be ready for criticism. I don’t care who you are, somebody won’t like what you write and frankly, the first stuff you write may be bad. But don’t get discouraged. No one learned to ride a bike the first time they hopped on it. We all fall down and probably bruise up our knees or arms. But as we keep trying, we eventually have no problems riding a bike. The same is true with writing, you’ll improve with time.
7.) Are you currently earning a living with your writing?
Nowhere near it. Of course, I’d love to earn a living. But right now, I’m focused on honing my craft, improving, and continuing to self-publish. My goal is to one day say I am earning a living as a writer.
8.) What are your writing must haves? Music? A quiet table at a coffee shop?
My computer, my mind, and quiet. That’s how I typically write.
9.) What tools or software do you use to write?
I write everything in Microsoft Word and use that file to submit to Smashwords, and I convert to HTML for B&N and Amazon. For my covers, I design them myself in Adobe InDesign.
10.) What kind of promotion have you tried? What do you find to be the most effective?
I’ve issued press releases using PRLog.com, used my blog, Facebook, Twitter. I also do a live video blog called The Taco Broadcast. And recently I even said I’d eat a taco for every sale one of my books got in its first week of release. They’ve all met to very minor success. But I know I got brand awareness―whether it’s my book or myself―out there. I found that most of my sales happen well after I tried any marketing, which ties back up to the point before. If you just keep writing, that’s the best form of marketing.
11.) About how long from start to finish did it take you to finish your book(s)? About how many hours a day do you spend writing/editing?
The Miscorrection novelettes take the longest. I’m going to say about 20 hours for each. For my short stories, they’ve ranged from six to ten hours. This includes writing, editing, cover design, and submission. I try to spend around an hour a day writing, and this is usually in the morning around five to six. That doesn’t always work out, but I’ve kept my schedule regular at least.
12.) How much of the process did you do yourself and what did you pay someone else to do?
I do everything myself, aside from having friends, family, or fellow indie authors do a final proofreading on my story.
13.) Can you tell us a little bit about your book(s)?
Most of my eBooks are science fiction and they range from 3,000 to 17,000 words. The Miscorrection series of eBooks are novelettes. Each story is written to stand on it’s own, but also raise questions that get answered in future stories. Think of Lost but in a book form. That’s kind of the basis I used for my approach to telling the stories.
My short stories range from humor, time travel, destroyed planets, and more. I have a lot of fun writing them, because I can take a simple idea and write a fun story about it.
14.) Do you mind sharing a little bit about what you’re working on right now?
Right now I’m working on releasing another two short stories over the summer. They’re in the thinking process right now that I mentioned above. I’ve pretty much ironed out everything in those stories, so you can expect to see them in July and August. I also plan to have the sixth Miscorrection novelette ready by some time in September. This story will complete the stories that make up Book 1 of the series.
You can find BC online here:
You can buy Unspoken Stories at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords
Please enjoy this excerpt from Unspoken Stories:
JOSIE DORRI AND THE COFFEE BAN
Josie Dorri had a simple, normal routine: Wake up, make coffee, eat breakfast, get her son ready for school, go to work, come home, go to sleep, and do it all over again the next day until the weekend arrived.
Now a new law forced her routine to change. It now went beyond her control, and she had a choice to make. Most times it’s an easy one. But today Josie has a governmental law hanging over her head. Most times, she wouldn’t give the decision a second thought, because for her it’s the correct the decision—it’s a good decision.
After Josie’s alarm clock buzzed at 7:15 a.m., she jumped out of bed. Still waking, she groggily went downstairs, walked passed her son’s bedroom, and went into the kitchen. Her normal routine told her to put water in the coffee maker, which she did. Then she went to the freezer to pull out the coffee bag and opened it. It had a intoxicating and wonderful aroma. She couldn’t wait to have her morning pick-me-up.
She went over to silverware drawer and pulled out her coffee scooper. She had used the scooper for three years, and she wouldn’t make coffee without it because any other scooper didn’t make the coffee as she liked it. A scoop for every cup she always said and it made the coffee strong, but not too strong; bitter but not too bitter; perfect and you can never have too perfect.
As she put the scooper into the coffee bag, she stopped when she saw the headline on the kitchen monitor screen. It read, in big bold type:
COFFEE PROHIBITION STARTS TODAY
Consumption Prohibited, Possession Prohibition Pending
She contemplated what she should do next. She needed her morning coffee. The government’s decision to put a ban on coffee only forty-eight hours earlier gave her no time to prepare for the change. The reasons seemed valid at the time but more unjustified now.
What do I do?” Josie asked aloud.
She pulled a scoop of coffee grounds from the bag and looked at it. Having her coffee was important and it warmed her soul. It would be just what she needed to have a successful day. But the government had made a new law—anyone caught drinking coffee or under its influence would be sent to jail. She’ll go to jail, probably lose her job, and lose Tommy. She couldn’t let that happen. After a considerable amount of time, she came to a decision, but she couldn’t figure out if it was good or bad—she had to go with the choice that left Tommy with a mom and her not going to jail.
She didn’t want to do it, but she took the coffee scoop full of the dark grounds and put it back over the opened bag. Slowly, as if time at almost stopped, she watched as the grounds dumped back into the bag. She found it difficult to do, but she knew it was the only choice she had, and the only choice must be the good choice.
That’s when she came up with another brilliant idea, although it pained her to do it. She decided to throw the entire bag in the trash. She closed her eyes for this one. Her hands reached out and grabbed the bag. Then, she walked the bag over to the trash can and signaled her hands to release the bag.
It all happened as she planned in her mind, now she needed to execute it physically. That part was a chore, and she moved much slower than the routine she practiced in her head. But through forced movements, she did it. She successfully threw the entire bag of coffee in the trash can. For a second, she thought a tear formed in her right eye. But that would be nonsense.
Mom, you never woke me up!” Tommy yelled from the atop the stairs.
Josie did a quick look at the clock and saw it was almost 8 o’clock
Sorry, Tommy,” she yelled up to him. “Hurry and get your clothes on. You’re gonna miss the bus.”
Why didn’t you wake me up?” Tommy yelled down to her. He slammed the door, sending a vibration through the ceiling to the kitchen below.
Lately, he’d been very demanding. Josie let it slide, because she knew it had been rough on him the past couple months. A child can’t easily deal with his parents’ divorce. Now, he saw his dad every other weekend and on Wednesday evenings. Josie and her husband, Mark, tried to make the divorce as easy as possible on Tommy, but they couldn’t stop its effects. Tommy coped with the situation by being difficult, harsh, and overly critical. He was only ten years old. She didn’t hold it against him, and she hoped he’d grow out of it eventually.
How long was I deciding to have coffee or not?” Josie asked aloud.
I can’t find anything,” Tommy yelled from his room.
Just check your middle drawer. You should have clothes there.”
Josie listened for a moment. Tommy made a lot of noise as he threw stuff and got frustrated. She ran upstairs to help him find clothes.
I said to check the middle drawer,” she told Tommy after opening the door and going into his bedroom.
Mom!” Tommy yelled back covering himself with the clothes he had in his hands. “I only have my underwear on.”
Oh, please,” Josie said. She rummaged through his middle drawer and pulled out a blue pair of shorts and a green t-shirt that said “TL;DR” on it. Josie didn’t even know what that meant.
It’s Pajama Day, Mom. Don’t you know that?” Tommy said.
Pajama Day? I thought that was next week.”
Tommy rolled his eyes.
It’s next week.”
No, it’s today.”
Josie thought real hard. She remembered the school lunch calendar on the refrigerator. It said Pajama Day was next Wednesday. If the menu hadn’t fallen off the refrigerator into a puddle of grape juice Tommy spilled, ruining it, she’d still be able to check it. She didn’t understand why school’s had the stupid themed dressing days anyway. Why can’t the kids just where clothes? Why’s it always gotta be something entertaining?
Tommy, I swear. It’s next week,” she insisted.
No it’s not,” he said. He crossed his arms and stood there defiantly and made it clear he would not wear the clothes.
Tommy, you’re gonna miss your bus. Put these on.”
The kid wouldn’t budge. Not only was he demanding, but he was stubborn, too, just like his father. If Mark hadn’t been so stupid so many times, Josie knew she wouldn’t be the only who had to deal with this kid. In fact, Tommy might be more cooperative if Mark was still around.
Then a thought occurred to Josie. If Tommy wanted to be so stubborn and insist today was Pajama Day, she’d let him wear pajamas. Yeah, that makes sense. That’ll teach him a lesson. Maybe knock his attitude down a notch so he listens to me more. Yeah. It’s a good idea.
“Fine,” Josie said. “Wear pajamas.”
I told you I couldn’t find any.”
Now Josie had an even better idea.
Just wear the ones you have on.”
Tommy looked down at his pajamas. Josie thought he would complain, but he didn’t. He looked back up with a big smile. Josie didn’t care for the smile because it gave her the sense he thought he’d won. But she knew in the end, she’d be the one who had the last laugh.
Awesome. Wait’ll kids hear I’m wearing the same clothes I slept in.”
Yeah. They’ll think you’re so cool. Now get downstairs and I’ll get you breakfast.”
Josie looked at the clock in Tommy’s room and saw they had three minutes until the bus came. She’d make him toast waffles. That should be quick enough. She hurried down the stairs to the kitchen, and Tommy followed slowly behind her.
Once she got into the kitchen, she popped the waffles into the toaster. That’s when a dreadful sound entered the house. It’s the sound that signals everything is about to go wrong in your day. The sound that tells you that you should have made some better choices in the morning, and now that sound will make you pay for it.
It was the sound of the bus pulling up to the stop. Josie ran to the living room and looked out the window. Sure enough the bus was already at the stop and she saw Josh, a neighbor kid from down the street, get on the bus. Of all days for the bus to be early, it picked this one.
Tommy, let’s go. The bus is here!” she yelled.
But I didn’t have breakfast.”
Josie wanted to scream. Why must that kid be such a pain? She ran to the kitchen, forced up the waffles from the toaster, and grabbed them.
Here.” She handed them to Tommy.
They’re cold,” he complained.
Just shut up and eat it. Get your shoes on. I’ll run out and see if I can stop the bus.” He couldn’t miss the bus. If he missed it, she’d have to drive him to school. If she had to drive him to school, she’d be late for work. If she was late for work, her manager, Brad, would pitch a fit and be on her case all day.
Josie ran from the house, still in pajamas, as the bus pulled away from the stop. She flailed her arms at the back end of the bus.
Wait,” she yelled. “Stop!”
But the bus moved and picked up speed. Finally, it was gone, leaving Josie outside in pajamas looking foolish. If she had a cup of coffee in her hand, she wouldn’t look so stupid. Josie turned around and ran back into the house.
When she got back into the house, Tommy didn’t even have his shoes on, he’d taken two bites of his waffle, and he played with his remote control car.
Tommy. I gotta drive you to school. Get your shoes on. I’ll be ready in a minute.”
Okay,” Tommy said, but he kept playing with the car.
Tommy looked surprised. She usually didn’t speak that loud and stern unless she was really upset. He stopped playing with the car, and went to the front door to get his shoes.
Josie ran upstairs into her bedroom and opened the closet. She didn’t have time to figure out what she’d wear so she pulled out the first thing she saw—a light gray pant-suit outfit with a white collared shirt. She changed quickly, then went into the bathroom to fix up her hair. Normally, she’d take a shower first, but she decided she didn’t have time for it. She’d also put on make-up, but today she figured she’d go without.
After she finished and felt satisfied with her appearance, she ran down the stairs, grabbed Tommy’s arm, to which he cried out, “Hey!”, and dragged him to the car. They got in, she started it up, and drove Tommy to school faster than she had ever done before.
When they pulled up to the school, class was about ready to begin. Josie’s foot slammed on the breaks, and the car screeched to a halt. She normally didn’t drive the car that way, but she thought it was the only good way to do it since she ran late.
Tommy didn’t say a word. With wide opened eyes, he stared straight ahead. He held onto the seat belt’s shoulder harness, gripping it so tight the his knuckles turned white.
Hey, Tommy. We’re here,” Josie said when he still didn’t move after ten seconds. She nudged his left shoulder.
Huh?” he said, speechless.
We’re here. At school. Get out. I need to get to work.” She didn’t have time to play games.
Tommy reached for the buckle latch slowly and unbuckled himself from the seat. Then, he looked at Josie, leaned over, and kissed her on the cheek.
I love you, Mom.”
For a second, Josie didn’t know what to do. She didn’t expect Tommy’s behavior. She didn’t know what she did to deserve that.
Love you, too, honey. Now get going, or you’ll be late.”
Tommy exited the car, closed the door behind him, and started to walk towards the school entrance. Some kids ran up next to him and walked with him. They laughed, too. Tommy pushed one kid away from him in frustration.
Josie realized what they found humorous. They wore normal clothes—shorts and a t-shirt. Josie was right. She had her victory, and hoped it taught Tommy a lesson. Not only did he wear pajamas to school on the wrong day, he had messy hair also. He looked like he just got out of bed, and that’s because he did. Suddenly, her victory didn’t seem that great. She wished she had insisted Tommy wear the clothes. Why’d she let him get his way?
She expected Tommy to turn around, come back to the car, and ask to go home to get good clothes. She knew she wouldn’t. She already would be late for work. Any later and Brad would have a field day rubbing it in her face. But Tommy didn’t turn around, he didn’t come back to the car, and he didn’t ask to go home. He jwalked into the school, he looked at the ground, and he ignored the kids as they mocked him.
Josie watched him until he disappeared into the school. He should have listened to her. Before she could think about it any further, a gentle throbbing pulsated in her temple. Not only that, she had no energy, and she knew exactly why.
I really need a coffee,” she said aloud.
Then she remembered the news report the night before. Some people protested the coffee ban because of the short notice of the new law. No one understood why the government decided so quickly to outlaw the drinking of coffee. In its citizens’ interests, they still allowed possession of it for the time being. This made even less sense. If you possessed, you’d drink it. What’s to stop you? But it did stop Josie from drinking it.
A news anchor interviewed the manager of the WaWa convenient store near Josie’s work. She remembered pretty well what the manager, Winky Smith, said in regards to the ban.
I don’t care what the government says. If we have coffee in stock, we’re sellin’ it. You need it on Coffee Ban Day, we’ll have it.” Winky said with a rough voice.
Josie decided to stop at the WaWa and get a coffee. She already ran five minutes late, another five to get a coffee wouldn’t hurt anyone—except Brad. It’d feel good to hurt him a little. Make him sweat. Make him wonder who’s gonna type up reports and organize them.
She thought about going to jail. Would she mind the cold gray walls of a prison cell? Would she regret the choice? She decided she’d take the chance. She wondered why it was such a big deal earlier in the morning. Maybe her headache had something do with it.
After fifteen minutes, she pulled into the WaWa parking lot as best as she could. The store had a mob of people pouring from the inside to the outside. She tripled parked next to a pickup truck and shut off the car’s engine. As she exited her vehicle, the mob made a lot of noise. Most the people’s faces looked angry and upset.
Josie walked up to the back of the line to get into the store. She stood behind a tall man wearing a cowboy hat, a brown leather vest, blue jeans, and boots. Not exactly who she normally saw around here.
What’s the hold up?” she said to the man.
What’dya think? Everyone saw that news report. All’s trying get them some coffee.” He had a deep, raspy voice when he spoke. “Wish I’d just made some at home before I left. Just didn’t think it was a good idea though.”
Yeah, me too.” Josie wondered if she made the best decision to stop and get the coffee. Based on the line, she might stand in line for a couple hours.
Stupid law don’t make no sense, you ask me,” the cowboy said. “Just go and make a law and get it workin’ in forty-eight hours. Don’t make no sense.”
Yeah, well, I thought the same thing. But I guess, once they realized the coffee manufacturers changed the bean to make it more addictive than heroine, they had to stop the problem somehow.” Josie said. When they first announced the ban and why it would happen, she understood it. It was a good decision. The coffee manufacturers purposely tried to make people dependent on coffee so they wouldn’t stop drinking it. That’s not right. But now, after her first morning without coffee, the decision felt a little extreme. “I’m surprised there aren’t any police here making sure no one consumes the coffee.”
What you talkin’ about lady? The police were here. How you expect them to patrol during the night. They need coffee. They think this thing is as ridiculous as me and you.”
What do you mean?” a man yelled from within the entrance door. “This is crazy. They’d said they sell the coffee.”
The crowd inside the WaWa pushed its way out the front door. Everyone looked angry and yelled. Finally the manager, Winky, came outside.
All a ya, get back. I’m not sellin’ anymore coffee. I started thinkin’ about it and the government laid down the law. It’s not right for me to try and break it or help you do the same. Now get outta here. No coffee for sale!” he yelled.
This made Josie furious. She stopped to get coffee because the man said he’d sell it despite the ban. Now, she would be even later to work, Brad would get on her case, and the day would be miserable.
Give us the coffee!” she yelled back at Winky. She surprised herself by speaking up, but she knew Winky should stick to his word.
The crowd agreed with Josie, and yelled at Winky to sell the coffee to them. Winky backed up into the store and locked the doors before anyone got back inside. Josie saw a woman ten feet away pick up a rock and throw it at the front windows of the building, causing it to crack. Other people followed suit and pelted the windows with rocks.
Need a rock lady?” the cowboy asked as he joined in with the crowd.
Josie, wanted to join in on the riot. She had every right to. Winky lied. It was the only good thing to do. But she knew if she got involved in the riot, which every bone in her body wanted to do, she’d be really late for work. Or worse, she’d never get there at all. She fought her instinct to join in on the mayhem.
No. I gotta go,” she said.
Suit yourself.” The cowboy took the rock he had and threw it at the already cracked front window. It hit at just the right spot and with just the right force, causing the window to shatter into a thousand pieces.
Josie thought the crowd’s response made complete sense. Winky said the coffee would be there. They had a right to react in the way they did, and she completely agreed with the response that transpired. But she had to leave.
She hopped into the car and looked in the rear-view mirror as she left the parking lot. The scene had gotten wilder, and the mob rushed the store after breaking the windows. While she wanted to stay she reasoned leaving probably prevented her from getting hurt and being late to work.
As Josie drove to the office, she decided to turn on the radio. The pounding headache bothered her, and she thought the sound of music would distract her from it. Plus, as drowsy as she felt, listening to music might wake her up. But instead of the great rock/pop music she loved on her favorite station, BenFM 95.7-2, a news anchor spoke. She almost changed the station, when the report caught her interest.
…northeast has seen an effect too. In the public schools, teachers never showed up for work, causing some students to leave early. Angry drivers are running people off the road, and riots are happening all over the city. Reports are in that this isn’t just in our area. Similar things are happening in other parts of the country…”
That’s odd. Why would all of this be happening? Is it all because of the coffee ban.
…Some report it is the result of the coffee ban. Because of its highly addictive quality, even one day is causing a nationwide withdrawal. Many question why the president and congress enacted the ban so quickly…”
Wow,” Josie said aloud. “Crazy.”
She checked the time on the car’s dash and saw she ran fifteen minutes late. That meant she would be docked fifteen minutes of pay already, which she didn’t like. A few mintues longer, and Brad would probably dock the next fifteen minutes, too, just to teach her a lesson. She didn’t want that, so she slammed her foot on the gas to get to the office as quick as possible. As she drove, the next traffic light she approached turned yellow. She still had two hundred feet until she made it to the light. She contemplated if she should stop or hit the gas harder to make it. The traffic light at the intersection had five points, and if she stopped when it turned red, she’d wait two or three minutes easy before it turned green again. That would definitely put her at a half-hour of docked pay. The only choice she had, the good choice, was to floor it and try to make the light.
Fifty feet before the intersection, the light turned red. But Josie didn’t care. She crossed the intersection two seconds later going sixty milers per hour. A vehicle in the cross traffic moved out into the intersection as its light turned green. Josie didn’t understand why they wouldn’t wait for her. The car challenged her to make it through the intersection without hitting it. She wasn’t going to let off the gas, so she punched it harder, swerved left to avoid the car with a death-wish and made it safely through the intersection. Of course, the person in the car honked the horn obnoxiously, and Josie imagined she might have received an obscene gesture, but she didn’t see the big deal. After all, nobody got hurt.
She pulled into the parking lot of her work twenty-two minutes late. She hoped Brad wouldn’t dock her the full half-hour, but she knew that was wishful thinking. The car skidded into the parking spot, she shut off the engine, and ran into the office.