Lasers, Dragons, and Keyboards Podcast

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

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Episodes 29 & 30 – Patrick Carr

On this episode we spoke with Patrick Carr, author of the Staff and Sword Series, about his venture into the Darkwater Saga and the Shock of Night.

A trilogy of trilogies awaits!

In these episodes, Patrick keeps us laughing. Also, you’ll never believe how accident prone Patrick is!a1lciw73q9l-_ux250_

All of us wax nostalgic at some point…you’d think we’re old or something!

In Episode 29

  • Odd character traits with Patrick’s main character. (How does sleep walking and murders correlate?)
  • Writing with an unreliable protagonist.
  • Hating your writing while you’re writing.
  • Juggling. Emergency room visits! We manage to gross Aaron out. How Patrick uses his own accidents to inform his books.
  • How to recast your books from one setting to another when your editor and agent tell you to.
  • Fencing stories! Some engineering talk, which is totally fascinating.
  • Googling has some interesting answers…including how dogs see.
  • We get off into old time radio and radio broadcasts in general because of Patrick’s answer to the superhero question.
  • You will NEVER guess Patrick’s answer to his Captain. Never, never, never!
  • Patrick’s looking forward to teaching a class at Realm Makers!

51kwf1dzaql-_sx322_bo1204203200_In Episode 30

  • Character-driven fantasy, and how he accomplishes this in his plotting process.
  • Patrick and his disagreeable muse.
  • Planning for a series long-term + happy circumstance
  • Re-doing books from scratch…under deadline
  • Carrying around your books and your characters in your head all the time.
  • Patrick’s advice: be a merciless critic where your writing is concerned.
  • Patrick’s methods for attacking writer’s block
  • Candy bar in a cup drinks at Starbucks at Christmas
  • Patrick shares some of his techniques for making perfect fudge (yes, seriously)
  • Patrick and Liberty discuss rigor mortis…and gross Aaron out
  • Traditional marketing advice from Patrick’s agent, Steve Laube. The phrase “literary Amway guy” comes into play.
  • Patrick’s funny experiences of being an author

Links:

Patrick Carr
The Darkwater Saga
The Shock of Night
Home Improvement
Steve Laube (Patrick’s agent!)
David Eddings (The Belgariad)
Steven R. Donaldson (The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant)
Robert Ludlum
Brandon Sanderson
C. S. Lewis (Screwtape Letters; The Space Trilogy)
Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series
The Magician by Raymond Feist

 

Episode 27 & 28 – Mike Duran

Mike Duran, author of The Ghost Box and Saint Death, novels in the Reagan Moon para-noir series, joins us in Episodes 27 & 28 this week. We had a blast talking to him. Sometimes funny, sometimes very serious, Mike is a former pastor and he definitely keeps us on our toes throughout both episodes.

As Christian writers…hope has to be a pretty big factor in our writing. ~Mike Duran

In Episode 27:

Mike shares about his unlikely background, which includes 5190nmiuc1l-_ux250_going from dabbling in the occult to being a pastor. We’re pretty sure it informs Reagan Moon’s stories, which are definitely fun reads, but they may not be for all our listeners. Mike describes Reagan in a bit of a…colorful…manner. 😉

We discuss paranormal stuff…and Mike suggests that a lot of that may exist more than people realize. You may or may not agree, but it’s still a fascinating discussion.

So, what you’re saying is that life is a little more like Hot Topic than we want to admit? ~Aaron DeMott

Why Los Angeles needed to be the setting for the Reagan Moon books…I think when you hear his reasoning, it’ll make perfect sense.

The background for Saint Death is really a fascinating discussion, and some of it has been in the news in the last few months (I vaguely remember hearing about it.) Mike describes a research trip he and his wife did in the process of writing this book. It’s interesting, to say the least.

610a62u5jdl-_sx322_bo1204203200_Mike’s answer to our superhero question raises a few eyebrows. But given his background, it makes perfect sense.

Gremlins! (And not the movie!) The true origins of ghost boxes (who knew?)! Some moderately gross stuff (that may make some of our listeners squeamish!)

Mike’s “what’s up next” is definitely something to look forward to if you’re a writer interested in horror and/or writing from a faith perspective and what the parameters are for that.

In Episode 28, Stand On Your Head:

Our Plotting vs Pantsing question sends us down a hilarious rabbit trail, before Mike helps us get back on track. Then he talks about his own paranoia as a writer. Mike shares how he figures out what book to write next.

We discuss the learning curve of Scrivener, but also the benefits, too. (Hint: we all use Scrivener and LOVE it.)

Mike compares the editing process to a visit to a dentist, and while it’s a gross comparison in a way, it has a lot of merit. Had us in stitches! 🙂51hd5bw5rbl-_sx322_bo1204203200_

Writer’s block, or the lack thereof. Mike’s solutions for feeling inspirationally dry are tremendously helpful (and is a technique I’ve used myself!) Mike starts waxing philosophical about writer’s inspirational…and it gets deep (in a good way.)

Mike recommends not eating or drinking during writing, and also uses a standing desk. He believes he writes better when he’s standing.

What characteristic does Mike share with his son? (Hint: it kind of grosses Aaron out!) And yeah, we went there. Mike compares his marketing practices to corpses about to be autopsied. (He’s kidding.)

Through giggles, we manage to get in some deep theological discussion. Which, if you’ve read Mike’s blog, shouldn’t surprise you at all. When we start discussing theology in tandem with physics and the reality of time, it gets deep. Truly a fascinating discussion.

Listen to Episode 27
Listen to Episode 28

Links:

Mike Duran
The Ghost Box
Saint Death
Peace Like a River (Leif Enger)
Moby Dick
Dante
Twilight Zone
Dean Koontz’s Odd Thomas Series
Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein
Tosca Lee’s Demon
Realm Makers
Ex Machina (motion picture)
Drawing On the Right Side of Your Brain
Eternity in Their Heart
The Creator and the Cosmos

Episode 26 – The Writing Life

Due to some last minute circumstances, we had our guest for our normal recording session reschedule on us, so what’s a podcast to do? Well, we filled it with discussing some aspects of the writing life! Sorry to our reader-only listeners, this one is mostly focused on writing. But we do take a few bunny trails that our readers may enjoy!

13263826_733599883443787_7589090540668477462_nAaron & Josh have some helpful marriage advice for all the guys out there, some of it coming from The Red Green Show.

Then we get into the meat of the podcast. All three of us share what our “normal” lives look like, and then how we balance in our writing time.

We were taking listener questions during this episode, and someone asked us how long it takes for us to WRITE our first drafts. I (Liberty) kind of took over the show at that point for a while before giving the guys a chance to share.

First draft: Say it.
Second draft: Say what you mean.
Third draft: Say it well.
~Sean Platt

We do talk editing at length (and I think we need to do an editing episode–any freelance editors want to come on and talk editing exclusively?) And we also talk about goals with our careers.

Some of our favorite resources come up (see our short links list below!) Fight scenes are a lengthy part of the discussion.

And we cover some of the quirky questions we ask our guests. 🙂 Aaron and Liberty disagree about the quality of Star Trek: Voyager (which we’re pretty sure is going to be a topic that comes up again…and again…and again…) Discussion about the merit of time-travel episodes may or may not happen.

Tune in to hear which books we think should be turned into movies and/or TV shows.

Listen Now

Links

Writing Fight Scenes by Rayne Hall
Anne McCafferey’s Pern Series
Codex Alera by Jim Butcher
Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
Dresden Files (TV series)
Wheel of Time
J.D. Robb’s In Death series
Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey
The Martian by Andy Weir (book)
The Martian (movie)

Episode 24 & 25 – Tosca Lee!

We had the pleasure of having Tosca join us on this episode of LD&K. In between ramblings by the hosts we got to hear how much Tosca loves car chases. And fashion. A donkey race may have been spoken of as well. Believe it or not, that all ties in to her latest book Progeny, due to drop in stores on May 24th!

Stick through the whole thing to hear Tosca’s views on naming favorite authors – and to get some good Audible recommendations! (Pssst! Go to the bottom of the page for an awesome giveaway of a SIGNED copy of The Progeny!)1540340_10152630653828118_4301051613352698061_o

In Episode 24:

We discuss Tosca’s hidden love of fashion, her past as a gamer, and how Biblical fiction doesn’t have car chases.

There is some ‘fun’ discussion about Count & Countess Bathoroy and their torture techniques.

81vihvl5nilLiberty and Tosca come to an agreement on who the best Star Trek Captain is.

 

In Episode 25 :

  • Plotsing, and how Tosca handles plotting. Hint: she references looking at her plot from 30,000 feet is way different than when you’re “boots on the ground”.
  • Panera Mac & Cheese
  • Tosca discusses techniques to overcome writer’s block, even though she doesn’t get it very often.
  • Tosca imparts a ton of wisdom.

Links!
Tosca Lee
MYST
Call of Duty
Shazam/Isis Power Hour
Thundarr the Barbarian
Marion Zimmer Bradley
Thomas Locke
Ronie Kendig
Ted Dekker
Frank Peretti
Ben Wolf
Robert Lipaluro
The 5th Wave
Six of Crows
Red Rising
Legend
Big Magic
Jim Gaffigan

This is the giveaway you’re looking for! –> a Rafflecopter giveaway

LD&K Episode 22 & 23 – Amy McNew

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

13181221_10207427554019964_1659790184_n

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.
51pznq2bwwwl-_sx331_bo1204203200_

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.

Links!

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

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

Links:
Morgan Busse
Tainted
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:
Kindle
Kobo

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.
  • AMA-ZOMBIES!
  • 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

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