Lasers, Dragons, and Keyboards Podcast

Sci-fi, fantasy, and writing–who could ask for more?

Category: Uncategorized (Page 3 of 4)

LD&K Episode 22 & 23 – Amy McNew

Supernatural gifts, demons, and martial arts – oh my!


Amy Brock McNew

In our two segments with Amy Brock McNew, Aaron manages to break Amy before we barely even get started. Which is totally epic.

Amy, for those of you not in the know, is the author of REBIRTH, which debuts May 24th. She is an interesting character (and one you may be hearing more from in the near future!)

In Episode 22:

  • Why Amy wrote REBIRTH, which sounds a lot like many other authors’ reasons for writing their books.
  • The cathartic background of REBIRTH for Amy.
  • Amy teases the sequel, RECONCILIATION, in her description of her favorite character in the book. (There’s popcorn involved!) And it makes all of us want to read Rebirth.
  • Crazy looks from the neighbors (this story is totally worth the entire interview)
  • Some of the freaky things that Amy ran across in the course of research, and how off so much of it was.

Isn’t this an amazing book cover?

In Episode 23:

  • We are Josh-less in this part!
  • The myriad of places that Amy’s notes end up during her plotsing process.
  • Her unbelievable production rate during NaNoWriMo
  • Her crazy Scrivener/note card hybrid organizing process.
  • Paydays, yellow Starbursts, Jelly Bellies, and all the other goodies in Amy’s desk.
  • Vampiric blood (you have to listen to hear how this figures in).
  • How Pinterest figures in to her relating to her readers.
  • How her background in journalism led to her being surprised by the author culture.
  • Where her heart is and what she wants to do in the future where that is concerned.


Amy Brock McNew
Rebirth (on preorder until May 24, 2016)
Tosca Lee (Demon)
Ronie Kendig.
Michele Israel Harper
J.R.R. Tolkien
Gilbert Morris HOUSE OF WINSLOW series
The Rigs

Listen to Episode 22
Listen to Episode 23

Episodes 20 & 21 – Kat Heckenbach

We were delighted to have Kat Heckenbach on the podcast this week! Kat is the author of head2bshot2btrim2b2Finding Angel & Seeking Unseen, both entries in the Toch Island Chronicles. With origins in biology, math, and art, her journey to become an author took a bit of circuitous route.

We had a bit of technical difficulties with this podcast, so we apologize for a few blips here and there. I think Aaron suggests juggling a couple rabbits and/or tin foil for the next time. 😉

Happenings In Part 1:

angel2bcover2bnookWith Kat’s background in biology, she shares how that informs the Toch Island Chronicles. The flora and fauna are very important details in her books! The Lord of the Rings is also discussed and how it figures into Kat’s favorite character in her books. There’s magically-powered electric guitars involved! (This, I gotta see!) With the biology background, it really feeds into how adamant Kat is about the setting of her books. I can’t recall if we’ve seen any of our guests so far be so firm about a story location! Reasons for writing fantasy abound, and there be sheep involved! And as we get into Kat’s answer to our superhero question, Aaron brings up some trivia about the making of The Avengers.

Goings On In Part 2:

22-seeking-250As we shift into writing mode, we of course ask our plotting versus pantsing question. Kat’s answer involves a lot of notecards. Can you guess her answer? Because Aaron has an irreverent solution to her notecard “problem.” About that point in the show, we start plotting against Aaron’s neighbor’s tree….which continues to cause connectivity issues for the podcast. Getting back on track (is this a possibility with this bunch?), we talk about a lack of snacks and drinks with Kat and why that is.

We hates research, Precious! That is why we writes fantasy!

Every writer’s favorite part of the episode: Kat offers some of her favorite tips for marketing, and some are pretty off beat options, but definitely viable for most every author.

Even though Kat’s is a well-known Harry Potter fan, her answer to our new fandom question may surprise you. But her favorite book is the Harry Potter series. Can you guess which one? And as we wrap things up with Kat for this time, her most surprising thing about being a writer may just surprise you as well.

This and a whole lot more—with lots of laughing!—in this week’s episode.


Links to topics we discussed:
Kat Heckenbach
Finding Angel
Seeking Unseen
J.K. Rowling
Brandon Sanderson (Y.A. stuff)
Brandon Mull (Fable Haven series)
Cornelia Funke
Sage Blackwood


Listen to Episode 20
Listen to Episode 21

Episode 19 with Cindy Koepp

T51uuvdypjkl-_uy200_his week with Cindy Koepp…

Hi ho, Silver, away! We learn about the strange inspiration for “Like Herding the Wind”… Also, this book was apparently set in every location known to man (and some that weren’t) before the final draft.
We also learn that Cindy loves to write fight scenes… hmm….

What does a 1925 Ford have to do with Like Herding the Wind? You’ll have to listen to find out. Also, we get a new answer to “What’s your favorite superhero?”!!51nwjccmb5l-_sx322_bo1204203200_

Part 2:

Some people make it up as they go, some people take a few notes along the way, then there’s Cindy… take a listen to learn about her… detailed… process.

Cindy also talks about too many subplots, and what to do with those little rascals, and a lot more.

Things we talked about:

Episode 19 Audio

Episode 17 & 18 with Morgan Busse

morgan-busse-nlr-5Dead bodies – and their viewing – were liberally sprinkled through our time with Morgan Busse. Morgan is a writer of epic fantasy. She’s recently branched out into Steampunk with the soon-to-be-released Tainted. The idea for Tainted? A discussion on necromancy!

When we weren’t discussing the history behind morgues and what rain did to Victorian-era graveyards (you won’t want to miss the answer!), we had fun talking about tea. Though Morgan did admit that she’d like nothing more than to enjoy a Raktijino.

Her path to becoming an author is actually a bit unique, and Morgan didn’t always want to be a writer. You’ll have to tune in to find out how she came to be an author!

Her odd Google searches are truly odd, even for this crowd. You’ll want to tune in for that.51jd7b0r9xl-_sx322_bo1204203200_

How Morgan writes with four kids and as a pastor’s wife. If you have a crazy house, you’ll want to hear how she deals with writing in that environment.

And her marketing practices are very helpful…but you’ll  have to listen to hear what those consist of. One tip she has is that she sees an uptick in her sales when she finishes writing a series. (So maybe that’s a hint to all of us authors to produce more books more quickly!)

Enter to win TAINTED through a Rafflecopter giveaway

Morgan Busse
Enclave Publishing
Star Trek: DS9
Captain America
Enclave Publishing 
Evangeline Denmark
Terry Brooks (Shannara series & Sometimes the Magic Works)

Listen to Episode 17
Listen to Episode 18

Giveaway Winner!

41jp2lwgyel-_uy250_Congratulations to Bokerah B. who is the lucky winner of Jeff Gerke’s The Irresistible Novel! If you didn’t win this signed copy, you can bounce over and purchase your own copy at the links below.

Bokerah B., look for an e-mail from Aaron in the next few days so he can get your address and get your book out to you. If you need to contact us, please do so at: LasersDragonsKeyboards [at] gmail [dot] com .

Purchase The Irresistible Novel at:

Episodes 15 & 16 – Becky Minor

61zknlefpwl-_ux250_As the founder of the first–and only, to the best of our knowledge–conference for writers of faith with a sci-fi and fantasy bent, one may think Rebecca “Becky” Minor might be a bit too busy to sit down with us lowly podcasters. However, Becky is a wonderful person to chat with, and we’re delighted that she took time out of her schedule to have a lively discussion with us this week!

Writing as Rebecca P. Minor, Becky authors the Windrider Saga (the only one out right now is Divine Summons), which I am definitely going to have to put on my TBR pileerr, mountain…err, okay, well it’s a library at this stage. The description of her protagonist alone is enough to make someone say, “Uh, yeah, I need to read that!”

In Episode 15, you’ll learn the following:

  • How Becky’s interesting history informs her writing.51nbukvohbl-_sx332_bo1204203200_
  • What drives Becky crazy in other author’s books?
  • Some of her favorite authors–there’s a few names on the list who are familiar, and some others who may not be.
  • How her art–and she is an amazing artist!–informs her writing.
  • Plus a lot more, including her plans to do something special with her existing books…

Episode 16 features more discussion on her writing, as well as Realm Makers, the world’s most AWESOME writing conference for nerds and geeks of faith!

  •  Becky’s writing process, since she’s a full-on pantser. We have a lengthy discussion about how Scrivener can be used by the pantser…even though Becky isn’t an adopter.
  • Becky’s odd item that she’s Googled is quite unusual.
  • We discuss Becky’s favorite book (you probably won’t be surprised) and the version she has on her bookshelves.
  • Costco is one of our famous bunny-trails…and you’ll find the diversion quite hilarious. (One word: Pickles.)
  • Realm Makers! What is it, how did it get started, and what’s coming up for it in 2016! (Awesome writer’s conference for us geeks–you really should come!)
  • And much, much more!

Links to Things and People we discussed:

Episode 15 Audio Link
Episode 16 Audio Link

Episode 14 – Robert Treskillard

Also known as the one with the Tartan!

61fr9mpxykl-_ux250_This week we had Robert Treskillard as our guest. He’s a swordsmithing writer of Merlinean and Arthurian fantasy. His latest book is Merlin’s Nightmare.

When we weren’t fighting with squeals, snarls, and bad connections we discussed how to give characters authentic names. The mythology of Merlin was discussed and theories about Stonehenge flew! (And on the bad connections issue, you will not notice it as our guest graciously re-recorded all of our bad patches–and trust me, if you’d heard the raw file, it was BAD. We wouldn’t have been comfortable putting that out for public consumption, so thank you so much, Robert!)

512b2bpbls59l-_sx331_bo1204203200_Robert’s answer to our superhero question broke a trend, and drew some oohs and aahs from your dedicated hosts.

Due to the above mentioned snarls, we were only able to record one half of our normal podcast. We hope to catch up with Robert again in the near future to discuss his writing process. So stay tuned for that!


Robert Treskillard
Merlin’s Nightmare
Stephen Lawhead
Andrew Peterson
L.B. Graham
Douglass Bond
Starship Troopers

Episode 14 Audio

Episodes 12 & 13 – Grace Bridges

2014-05-30 19.05.41This week we interview the Space Kiwi, Grace Bridges. (10 nerd points for everyone who knows why she has that nickname!)

We start off with Aaron knowing who he is for once… sort of…

The Week Of Firsts continues, as we don’t emediently imediently imediantly right away start off down a rabbit trail! (I know, I can’t believe it either! – Aaron)
Ah, that’s better, a side discussion on philosophy. Much better…

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for: The question “Is there an author who’s favorite superhero ISN’T Batman?” has been answered! (You’ll have to listen to the podcast to find out who…)

We talk about favorite movies, and Aaron brings up Earth Star Voyager… and no one else has ever heard of it. Sigh. Grace’s favorite captain is no surprise to any of us. Aaron opines about Voyager, but does state that Season 3, Episode 7, “Sacred Ground” is one of the best hours of sci-fi ever, except for one tiny flaw…

In part two, we start things off right. That’s right, we’re immediately sidetracked talking about tea. (And Aaron manages to insult Liberty’s favorite–Earl Grey–while she’s drinking it.)

Grace next mentions here favorite book, and we follow that up with a discussion of the metric system. (No, the two are not related… at all…)

We manage to ask a few relevant questions, before we get sidetracked by cats (which Liberty may or may not have edited out.) Then we talk about marketing, which Grace does know something about. You’ll have to listen to figure out how to get more people to open your e-mails…

Links to Things of No Interest That We May Have Blathered On About For A Bit:



Episodes 10 & 11 with Ben Wolf

This week we interview Ben Wolf (who is, sadly, not an actual wolf). Ben doesn’t know81omtdtpkul-_ux250_ what he wants to be when he grows up, as he has authored vampire novels, children’s novels, and, of course, westerns. He’s also a flash-fiction magazine publisher, and a freelance editor.

Listen to Episode 10 here:

We got off on a rabbit trail faster then ever before (but hey, you interview a Wolf, you gotta expect them to chase rabbits.)

After that, we did eventually get around to discussing I’d Punch a Lion in His Eye for You (or, for short, IPAL (not to be confused with an Apple product.)) We also discuss his Christian Horror book, Blood for Blood. This naturally lead to a discussion of the differences between writing children books and novels.grow old

We also learn that Ben is terrified of sharks (makes sense, Wolves are land animals, and sharks live in the water…) and how that ties into IPAL (see pages 17 and 18.)

At some point here, Ben calls Aaron fabulously immature. (What? So I like kids books…) … and then you’ll never guess who Ben’s favorite superhero is…

Speaking of immature, who might wear a tutu??

Listen to episode 11 here:

In the second part, we have a rare moment of lucidity and discuss the differences between plotters and pantsers, and why all four of us are hybrid writers. Ben then gave some details 51dc9udyjbl-_sx318_bo1204203200_on his unique outlining/writing method.

Thankfully, the lucid moment passed, and we got kinda off-track again when talking about snacks, and why Ben is now sadly caffeine-free 🙁  (on that note, I’ve just run out of Skittles while typing these notes – Aaron) We then shift into familiar rabbit trial territory and Ben talks about making bets with his future fiancee (Aaron, Josh, and Liberty are all married, and caution Ben never to mention this in public… oops…)

Next, we, ah, well, it’s probably a good thing Ben’s not on with us on every episode, or we’d never make any sense…

Ben talks about his experiences using Kickstarter to fund IPAL, and what he’s learned from that. And, to wrap things up, we talk about why authors should never do their own book covers. (Well, unless you’re a graphic designer or something…)

Things we talked about:

Ben Wolf
I’d Punch a Lion In the Eye For You
Blood For Blood
ACFW Conferences
Ben Powell (author and illustrator for Ben’s children’s book)
Frank Peretti (The Oath)
Robert Liparulo
Tosca Lee
Ted Dekker
Randy Ingermanson (Writing Fiction for Dummies)
Chris Morris, CPA.

Episodes 8 & 9 with Jeff Gerke

This week we welcome novelist, publisher, and editor; the one and only Jeff Gerke.a1kntcyxqrl-_ux250_

In part one, we make a LOT of Star Wars references (is Jeff or Aaron the bigger fan?) We also come really close to getting Liberty to enter a giggle feedback loop. (Remember: breath in, giggle out. Without this advice, Liberty might have passed out!)

We even discuss some matters of actual importance, such as the frustrating and contradictory “Rules of Writing”, and more importantly, how, when, and why to ignore them. There’s even neuroscience behind it, not kidding! Yes, you too can use this technique to make your books as addictive as crack for the low monthly price of… free?? Yes, FREE! Check out the giveaway farther down on this post…

And Jeff continues our trend for authors who love Batman as their favorite superhero. Will we find someone who prefers another hero? You’ll have to come back for future episodes to find out…

41jp2lwgyel-_uy250_In part the second, Jeff talks about writers that are either plot first (typically plotting writers) and character first (pantser writers.)

We also talk more about freeing yourself from the rules of fiction (Aaron does interrupt with a rule that can’t be broken…) Jeff talks about his writing process, how it has evolved over the past 20 years, and how he keeps his writing flow going.

And, to the surprise of absolutely no one, we get off track and talk about Star Wars again! (and Lord of the Rings, and a few others…) But, to the surprise of all of us, there is a point to it! (Really, not kidding!) These stories, and chances are, a lot of other ones you love, all use the Hero’s Journey. Don’t know what that is? Want to know how it influenced Jeff as a writer? Listen to the podcast…

Still confused, want more? Don’t worry,  Jeff is available as a freelance editor and typesetter. Check out his website for details and pricing… do it… you know you want to…

Wait, you’re wanting the giveaway, right? Well click this handy-dandy link and all of the ways to enter will be displayed for you! Enter early, enter often, and share with your friends. 🙂

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Links to things we discussed:
Jeff Gerke
The Irresistible Novel
Plot Vs. Character
The Art & Craft of Writing Christian Fiction
Jung’s Archetypes
Joseph Campbell’s Hero With a Thousand Faces
Aristotle’s Rhetoric
Raymond Feist’s The Magician
Bernard Cornwell (Arthur Trilogy)
Nadine Brandes
Kerry Nietz
Jill Williamson
Mark Schooly
Sharon Hinck
Morgan Busse
John Otte
Steve Raza
Just B. Jordan


Links to the show:

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