Tuesday, July 5, 2016

SOMETIMES I GET ASKED STUFF... #37!


We’re back for a 37th installment of Sometimes I Get Asked Stuff… another jam-packed edition. In addition to questions from fans and readers, I've also pulled questions from writing groups/blogs/facebook as well to round things out. Thanks for all of the amazing questions. Please, keep ‘em coming. I absolutely love answering them. Yes, even the silly ones from time to time.

I hope everyone had a nice and safe 4th of July. It was quite noisy here as the neighbors set off enough fireworks that it sounded like a small war playing outside my window.

You can check out all of the past installments of Sometimes I Get Asked Stuff... here.


Q: Who's your most favorite Lois Lane of all?

Noel Neill, who we sadly lost this week, was my favorite for a long time. In recent years, Erica Durance has become my favorite live action Lois Lane. Dana Delaney from the animated series is a close second.

Q: What's your favorite comic book movie? Why?

Captain America: Winter Soldier tops my list. This movie simply works on all levels for me. Not only is the acting top notch, but at their core, these feel like the characters I've known all these years of reading them in the comics. The story is well told and the action really delivers. It quickly moved to the top of my list and remains there.


Q: Out of curiosity, do you do your reading on a Kindle or do you prefer a printed book?

I can do both, but prefer printed. I already stare at a computer all day. Paper is a nice change for reading. When I read on a tablet, my brain thinks I should be working and starts editing.

Q: What are your favorite places for settings, and why?

I set a lot of my stories in Atlanta, since that’s home and I know the locations. Other than that, I have a file of interesting places where a story could be set. Some are cities, others just interesting locations I’ve run across in my travels.

Q: Do your characters swear? Should fictional characters swear?

Some of my characters do indeed swear while others do not. It all comes down to the character. Using foul language is a character trait so it fits for some more so than others. For those characters that don't, on the rare occurrence he or she does, it makes for a powerful moment.

Q: Recently it was suggested that I've likely been placing far to much emphasis on developing the perfect concept to write within.
That's where all of my energy is going, leaving little to none left to actually write the story. Does this happen to you at all? Whether it does or doesn't - I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject...

I'm more a dive right in kind of writer so I can't spend that much time just developing the concept. I need to move. Once I have a concept I like, I dive in, developing and building on the concept as I go. This is a method that has, so far, worked for me.

Q: On average, how many books do you write in a year?

It varies, but I usually have between 10 - 15 finished stories a year. That includes novels, short stories, and comic book scripts.

Q: Have you ever completely altered the location or dialog, or shifted the focus of a scene in a work in progress just to see what might happen? Did it work?

Yep. He must be a writer.  :)
Yes. I've changed locations to see if the action taking place worked better at one or the other. 

In my first novel, Evil Ways, I originally used a real city for the story, but then I wanted things that weren't there so I invented my own town, which opened up several storytelling possibilities.

Q: Why did/do you want to be an author?

I do it for the money.
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Okay, you got me. I love telling stories. That's how it started and that simple truth continues today. If I was only doing it for the money, I would have given up years ago.

Q: On Friday I let loose and write with abandon! No plans, no deadlines, no projects... just beautiful, crazy words. Do you have a day when you let your muse run amuck?

Not any regularly scheduled day, but I do, from time to time, just sit down and write whatever pops into my brain. It helps clean out the cobwebs so to speak.

Writing outside...
Q: What do you do to keep your writing experience fresh and alive? Take reading or movie break? Shift gears to research or travel? Take a dance break? Listen to different music while writing? What keeps your muse hopping?

Writing in a different location helps me a lot. I take the laptop out onto the back porch or to a bookstore or restaurant, sometimes I go to the library to write. Music also helps.

Q: We all get better over time. Do you sometime find yourself going back to old manuscripts in hopes of revising and making them better? Have you every had one of those old revised mms published?

I try not to go back because I will always find something, but once a book is published, that ship has sailed. I've mentioned that EVIL WAYS was my first published novel, but it was not the first one I wrote. I wrote EARTHSTRIKE AGENDA,  a sci fi thriller first. It was okay and needed a lot of work, but I finished it and it clocked in more the size of a novella than a novel. Eventually, I pulled it out, gave it a full rewrite, and found a home for it. It was even nominated for a 2013 Pulp Ark Award for Best Novel. It didn't win, but the nomination was an unexpected surprise.

Q: Do you contribute short stories to anthology collections?

Let's roll, Kato!
Yes. Frequently. Anthologies are a great way to work in genres that you want to experiment writing in, to write characters you might not otherwise have the opportunity to write (as I did with Green Hornet), or just to test yourself. Writing a western novel wasn't in the cards for me, for example, but I had a grand ol' time writing a western short story. Anthologies often allow me to scratch a creative itch.

Q: What are you working on now?

As I type this, I'm currently working on a Lance Star: Sky Ranger pulp novel while prepping another pulp novel featuring The Avenger. Then comes Ghost Gal book 2. I'm also working on a comic pitch as well that I can't talk about yet. Plus a few other odds and ends, edits, proofs, research, and the like.

My wallpaper
Q: We all know about the days when we can't stop writing ... today, let's talk about the days when we just can't seem to get started.

Oh, there are definitely days when I would rather do anything else. On those days, it's hard to get started and easy to become distracted once you do. The only solution is to sit down and soldier through it if you're on a deadline because blowing deadlines is a big NO-NO! If not, take the day off and start fresh tomorrow.

Q: What do you love most about your current work in progress? What drives you to keep writing it?

I love the characters. Lance Star and his friend/one time enemy, Niles Isburgh (Ice) are great fun to write, especially when they team up against a common foe. Through previous stories we've seen their friendship grow organically from antagonistic (Ice punched Lance when we first see them meet in Lance star: Sky Ranger vol. 1) to Lance risking his life to rescue Ice from enemy clutches behind enemy lines (in the novel I'm working on now). Watching these two play off one another is a blast for me.

Q: How often do the things around you ... food, weather, personalities, news events ... slip into your writing?

It happens. When I was writing Evil Ways, it was raining a lot. The rain made its way into the novel and it seemed to rain for most of it. Evil Intent adds a political element to the thriller series. Both Deadly Games! and Evil Intent (coming soon) also look at the media's role in world events, playing with certain character types.

Q: How much to you think about the finished product while you're writing the book? Are you thinking about cover art? Marketing? Audience?

I try not to spend too much time thinking about those things while writing, usually before and after. Then again, ideas hit you at those moments so you start making notes so you don't lose those ideas. I already know what Evil Intent's cover will look like and the novel is not quite finished yet.

Q: How much time do you spend on research? What are your favorite resources? And how much research is going in to your current WIP?

It varies. For the Lance Star: Sky Ranger novel I'm working on now, COLD SNAP!, I had to research WWII facts, planes, history, etc. I also have an aircraft carrier play a role in the novel so I visited the USS Yorktown in Charleston, SC and took the tour, making notes of things and imagining the characters standing on the deck, on the bridge, in the pilot's briefing room, etc. Many of those notes have made it into the novel.

Q: When you wrote your first book, how did you overcome the curiosity of where and how to start? Did you reach out to other writers? Take a leap of faith and just start writing? Or read as many book about how to write a book as you could find?

I did ask questions of other published writers as I was getting started, although that turned out to be a mostly negative experience, with a few exceptions. After that, I just dove in head first and did it. I did take a night class on creative writing, where we shared our writing aloud for instant feedback from the group. I learned a great deal from that experience.

Q: What three pieces of writing advice would you give an individual graduating from high school?

Write what you want. Don’t try to write to trends. That never works out well.

If you start it, finish it.

Oh, and have fun with whatever it is you decide to do with your life.

Q: What makes a story? What are the most basic, stripped down components that when combined make up a story?

A story is the sum of its parts. That includes character, plot, setting, with a beginning, middle, and end. There are multiple ways to tell a story, but they all should have these basic elements.

Q: What are the bare bones of what a reader considers a complete story?

I'd like to think it's the same thing as my above answer, but as a reader, sometimes I follow characters and authors from one novel to the next without worrying about the other aspects and assuming they'll be there when I read the story.

Q: What do you do when don't feel like writing? How do you make yourself write?

If I'm on a deadline, which is most of the time, and work has to happen, I sit down and just plow through. If not, then I take the day, or maybe a few hours off, go outside, see a movie, whatever. Eventually, the urge returns.

Q: Would you break the law to save a loved one?

It would depend on what they needed saved from, I suppose, but I guess so. It's hard to say unless you're in that position. It is a nice germ of an idea that could blossom into a great story though.

Q: What is the difference between being alive and truly living?

Just being alive is existing. Simply existing is not enough. Living means experiencing the wonder that is our world, getting out there and meeting new people, trying new things, exploring new experiences. Sadly, we all spend so much of our life existing that we forget to live. I am just as guilty of that as anyone. In fact, I'm kind of going through that now and have been feeling like I'm not embracing life to its fullest, but I'm working on that.

Q: What motivates you to write?

I get asked this a lot and my go to answer is "deadlines."
While this is a very true answer, I find that it is not always a well-received answer, especially by those who don't live their lives under one deadline or another the way I do. So, I decided to come up with a secondary, though no less true, answer. 

Finishing the story motivates me to write. Just like when I read a book or watch a movie, I am excited to reach the conclusion and see how all of the pieces fit together. Writing is a lot like that for me. I want to see how the pieces that are bouncing around in my brain fit together once I get them typed and in some semblance of order. Considering the sometimes chaotic nature with which my creative side concocts these stories, I'm amazed that so many of them turn out as well as they do.

Oh, yeah. And deadlines.

Q: What was the biggest challenge in creating your books?

Getting them finished in a timely manner. I am a master of wasting time, prone to distraction easily. Finding myself in the zone where I write for hours uninterrupted is a rare gift, but one I wish I received more often.

Q: What is the most important thing you have learned in life so far? 

I am a firm believer in "The Golden Rule." Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you. I try to treat everyone fairly and I give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Experience has given me trust issues, but I want to believe that people are telling me the truth. Unfortunately, such is not always the case, but you learn how to ween those individuals out. When I've shuffled off this mortal coil in a hundred years or so (hey, I'm an optimist), I want to be remembered as the kind of person you could trust.

Q: How do you come up with the titles for your novels?


Titles come in all sorts of ways. I've told the story before about how Evil Ways came about because I needed 3 classic rock songs to be mentioned in the story so I turned on the radio and used the next 3 to play. One of those was Evil Ways and I thought it was a great title so I used it as a placeholder. It stuck. Deadly Games! was originally called Games. I had planned a second book, which would be called Deadly Games. Yeah, I liked to think ahead. The story is about a villainous man who uses games against his enemies so the title seemed like a no-brainer. I shopped it to a publisher who told me that Games was too weak of a title so I added the "Deadly" to it and the "!", which the publisher was not a fan of either, although I kind of liked it. It added that action/adventure touch I was looking for in the title. As you may have noticed, the publisher and I did not come to an agreement, but by that time, I was used to the book being called Deadly Games! and decided to keep it. The sequel, once I write the darn thing, will be called Deadly Deals! and carry on the title branding much like Evil Intent follows Evil Ways. EarthstrikeAgenda just came to me. It sounded cool and fit the story.

Q: How do you handle personal criticism?

You take criticism with a grain of salt and a thick skin. You feel bad when it happens, maybe cry or rage in private (never publicly). Never argue with the critics, especially in a professional setting. As an author, sometimes things are said in reviews that are flat wrong. It happens. One reviewer once said that something in one of my short stories was improbable so gave it a low score. What the reviewer didn't know was that I had thoroughly researched said event (being vague here on purpose, by the way) and not only was it plausible, but scientifically sound. Did I reply to the review with this information? Absolutely not. First off, no good would have come from it. Secondly, I would have looked like a jerk (just look at stories about other writers who have argued with their reviewers) and maybe lost readers. Third, the reviewers opinion, whether I think it's wrong or not, doesn't matter. Someone read the book and wrote down their thoughts. Good or bad review, withstanding. If someone takes the time to leave a review, you say thank you and move on. Reviews are like gold. Cherish the ones you get.

Q: Why should people read your book? 

Because it's cool and I like to pay my bills. Ha! Ha! Okay, in all honesty, I want people to read my work and enjoy themselves. That's it. Now, if they enjoy one story enough to buy another, or all of them, well, that's a cool bonus I'll accept all day long.

Q: Why is there something rather than nothing?

There is because there is not.

Q: We all love the times when words and plot flow like Nigara Falls ... but how do you deal with the times when it feels like pulling teeth just to get a few paragraphs on in a work in progress?

You just soldier through and keep moving forward.

Q: When you want to write something new and different, what is your go-to for information and ideas? Movies? Other books? Real life news? Real history? Your personal life?

All of the above. I'll take ideas, information, and inspiration wherever I can get it.

Q: When is it done? When are you sure that a book is complete and ready to query or publish? When do you feel positive you can move on to the next book?

It's a gut feeling. You just know that's it. Of course, after it's sent off, you'll think of something else to change, but you just have to know when to say when and know it's too late to change anything and move onto the next project. Otherwise, you'll never finish. If you wait until it's perfect before sending it off to a publisher or agent, you'll never send it.

Q: I'd like to hear your strongest personal philosophy about writing
... to just get the story down ... to research well ... to go with the flow ... to think about the publisher (or agent) you might want to pitch ... think about the genre ... think about the reader ... the word count ... the current trends ... use great editors ... etc. What is your philosophy?

I don't know if I've ever thought about a philosophy behind my writing. I guess I'm not that deep. Writing is what I do. It's who I am. If I'm not writing, not creating, then I'm thinking about creating, or I'm doing writing-related work. Writing isn't just a job for me, but an extension of who I am. I like to tell stories. I like to entertain. I like to create new worlds and characters that will hopefully strike a chord with readers. I may not always succeed, especially on the business side of things, but I'm in this for the long haul and I hope the desire to create never abandons me. Not sure if you can call that my philosophy or not, but it is who I am in a nutshell. 

Q: How do you entertain your muse when life requires time away from the keyboard?

When I can't be in front of the laptop, I constantly run scenes through my head, over and over again at times until they are just right.

Q: I've got a question for you. Many authors think that how they're published determines how they should market. Do you believe that author marketing is easier, harder, more effective, impossible ... basically different.. if you're self published, with a small or mid sized publisher, or with a major publisher?

There are certain tenants of marketing that I do no matter what publisher publishes my book. Getting the word out is key and I have cultivated an email mailing list, social media contacts, and the like. I make sure that those recipients are updated. Where I notice the difference is not in the marketing I initiate, but in the marketing the publisher does. Some publishers will set up interview opportunities or signing options as part of their ongoing company-wide marketing plan. That will help me reach an audience I might not have had access to before. Working in concert with the publisher's marketing plans, I can better plan my own marketing.

Q: Writing can be transcendent for the writer, and transcendent for the reader. However, have you ever written a passage that deeply inspired you but somehow didn't resonate with your readers?

I'm really not sure. I don't recall any instances of a reader bringing anything like that to my attention, although I wouldn't be surprised if it happened. We all bring our own "baggage", for lack of a better term to what we read and/or write. My baggage is probably not the same as your baggage. Also, my reading/TV/movies experience is probably different that my reader's experience. With my interest in space exploration, I may mention something along those lines or reference President Kennedy's famous speech. To readers in their teens or 20's, that may not hold the same emotional presence as it does for me.

Q: What is your writing Achilles Heel? Punctuation? Editing? Story or plot? Dialog? Time or interruptions? Other? What is your weakness as a writer?

Interruptions and distractions. I need to become better at time management. I spend too much time on social media. I need to get better and limiting the time to small chunks of time instead of just being on it until I'm ready to stop. Those darn commas are a problem too sometimes. I get so into what I'm writing that it jumbles out of me. Thank God for good editors who help me catch those.

Q: Last night I had the best time seeing Stephen King speak here in Pittsburgh! Today's question ... how many and which bestselling/famous authors have you had the opportunity to see speak live?

I have had the pleasure of seeing many great creative talents talk at conventions and conferences over the years. I love talking the craft of writing with writers and listening to the process discussion. I don’t get to talk writing as much as I’d like.

Q: What do you hate about marketing your books? What irritates you the most? Go on, get it all out, you'll feel so much better.

I hate that the marketing I do isn't reaching the right people. I am not reaching enough potential readers with my current marketing efforts.

Q: What idea, character, scene, or plot twist that came out of left field and totally surprised you? I'd love to know how your muse plays with you.

My muse is a foul trickster. I think his name might be Loki: god of chaos.

I wrote a story for the ebook/audiobook NIGHTBEAT: NIGHT STORIES, new stories based on the old time radio series, Nightbeat. The story I pitched was pretty straightforward. I knew who the villain of the piece was, so did Randy Stone, the protagonist, a newspaper reporter who gets between a former girlfriend of his and her husband, a mobster that she has run away from with their child. As I near the end of the story, Stone and the mobster face off and words are exchanged. Stone lays it out there that he knows what this guy has done. Then I typed the reply and the words that came out of my fingers was "I have no idea what you're talking about." 

Suddenly, as if a light bulb had gone off above my head, I knew who the true villain of the story was and it was a better ending than my original plan. So, once I finished, I went back over the story to add in the clues that will make the reveal make sense. Imagine my surprise when those clues were already there. It had simply taken me a while to put the pieces together just as it did for Randy Stone. It's still one of my favorites. 

You can judge for yourself here.

Q: When do you break out and number your chapters? When the book is being written, or when the book is finished? Are you looking for page number balance for each chapter? Or are you going with the flow?

I number chapters as I go, but they do often get renumbered as I go along and add or combine chapters. It just feels off for me not to put a number there when I start a new chapter.

Q: Who sees your finished manuscript first? Which reader do you trust most to help tighten a plot or polish a story? Friend? Beta reader? Professional editor? Who gets the first look?

It varies. Because I seem to be down to the wire so often lately on deadlines, I don't really utilize beta readers as much as I used to when I was starting out. In many cases, the first to see it after I'm done is the editor.

Oh, captain... my captains...
Q: Rank the Star Trek TV series.

Star Trek Deep Space Nine
Star Trek The Next Generation
Star Trek The Original Series
Star Trek Voyager
Star Trek Enterprise

The top spot on this one was an easy pick. I love DS9 from start to finish and it is my overall favorite Star Trek series. TNG's seasons 3 - 5 are great, which is why it nudged ahead of TOS. Voyager and Enterprise, while often enjoyable, never quite reached the same re-watchability for me as the other series did.

Q: Rank the Star Trek captains.

Sisko
Picard 
Kirk
Janeway
Archer

This one was a bit more difficult. I chose partly by who I felt might get me home alive if I served under them. It wasn’t until after I composed the list that I realized the captains ranked the same as their respective series. 

Coincidence? Who knows?

Q: When developing characters, do you start from scratch or use models (like real people or movie stars) to build from?

I usually start from scratch with a character's story before I worry about his or her looks. There are exceptions to this, of course. It's not a hard and fast rule. I rarely use celebrities to establish a character's look. Usually, I'll base the look and voice on someone I either know or have met so I can hear that voice when the character speaks. It helps make the character real and once I get to know the characters, I can follow them into situations and see how they react.

What review stars mean...
Q: As a writer, are you satisfied with the number of reviews your books receive?

I don't think any writer is ever satisfied with the number of reviews they get. I would love to get more reviews. That said, I am extremely grateful for the reviews I have received because someone took time out of their busy day to write a few words about my work is an amazing thing. Reviews are always appreciated. Yes, even the bad ones.

Atlanta, Georgia. USA
Q: What are your favorite countries for settings and why?

I go wherever the story takes me. As I am from and live in the United States, I know this area better than others, but when stories call for my characters to travel the world, I go into research mode. One of the perks of writing adventure fiction, genre fiction, pulp, or whatever we're calling it these days is that it often involves discoveries and travel. I consider it a gift to see the world through the character's eyes.

Q: Can you write from any location? Does changing your setting, time or place, spur new ideas?

Sure. I often grab the laptop and head to a restaurant, the back porch, the library, or to just another room in the house to write. Sometimes that change of scenery acts like a fresh start and keeps me working.

Q: Do your characters have favorite cocktails and meals for the summer?

Not really. At least not until the plot requires them to have one. Some of my characters have been spotted drinking a beer or two.

Q: Do you have a nickname?

Oh, boy. Yes. Yes, I do. Several in fact. It's a good bet that if you meet my Dad, you too will walk away with a nickname. Here are a few of mine. B.J. - this one is the one I've had the longest and the easiest. I'm Bobby Jr. so B.J. was an obvious choice. Some friends of mine over the years have called me Super B or Boobs (yeah, yeah, quit yer snickerin', kids), but the one that still stymies me to
this day was the one my grandfather called me. He called me Whompas (Whomp + pass). I never understood why or what it meant, but he called me that until the day he died. He was the only one who called me that nickname died with him. 

Q: Looking to compile a list of the best Written TV shows- what should be on there?

Deadwood, Justified, Person of Interest, The Newsroom, Twilight Zone, Firefly, Titus, Longmire, The Shield, and Star Trek (each show had some great episodes) would top my list.

Q: For those of you who write action scenes, is there a method to your madness? A length to your action scenes? A clear choreography? How far do you make sure go to get it right?

Action scenes are fun to write. I generally use smaller sentences in
action scenes, no big paragraphs, and short, sometimes choppy dialogue so that action scenes are read faster, thereby giving the reader a feeling of things speeding up. Choreography is great when you can do it and I try to get the action as accurate as possible, but sometimes you have to fudge things a bit for the sake of story just like TV shows and movies sometimes do.

Q: How do you prepare for the quiet scenes, the pivotal scenes that drive a story home softly?

There is a way to slow down the reader with longer paragraphs and fewer breaks to start the next sentence or line. There is also more room
for longer conversations between characters and moments of introspection that will allow the slower scenes to work, drop the information they need to drop for the story, and still remain entertaining.

Q: Do you attend writing conferences or events?

Oh, yes. I love them and do them whenever I can. At the writers conferences I've been part of, as well as  at some conventions, I do a workshop on creating graphic novels from pitch to completion. I love learning new things and there are always interesting topics at writers conferences. The forensics workshops I've sat in were very valuable. I also learn new ways to handle marketing and promotion, which is always valuable. The social aspect is also great. I've met some very interesting people at conferences and conventions, some of whom have gone on to become close, personal friends.

I love cons. Want me to come to your local convention or conference? Ask them to invite me. All it takes is an email to bobby@bobbynash.com to get the ball rolling.

Q: How do you invent or create your characters?

Continuing from the question above about creating character...
For me, character starts with a defining trait, that one thing I can build off of as I flesh out the character. It can be a small thing like he collects stamps or is afraid of heights to more in depth like the character is a family man with three kids to after being shot, Abraham Snow realizes he's been avoiding actually living his life. 

From that beginning, I start adding pieces to the puzzle, finding a voice and a look for the character, sometimes changing things as we go. Abraham Snow, for example, went through several name changes until I settled on the one that stuck. With each name change, some things changed with the character until he became the guy that readers fell in love with in Snow Falls. 

Once I get to know the character I can follow them into situations and see how they respond to them.

And then there are those rare instances where a character comes to me fully formed at the jump. It's great when it happens, but I'm usually a little leery of them because I could be subconsciously remembering another character that already exists. For that reason, I always discard character names that come to me too easily.

Q: Who's your favorite Mentor character and why? What about that character makes them your favorite?

By mentor character, I'm assuming a character in books or movies who takes on the mentoring role of another character. Here are three of my favorites. I could probably rattle off a dozen or so.

There have been some really cool mentor characters over the years. The first that springs to mind is Yoda from Empire Strikes Back as he mentors Luke Skywalker in the ways of the Force on Dagobah. Of course, Obi Wan Kenobi served a similar role in the original
trilogy, but Yoda really grabbed us with his pearls of wisdom like "Do or do not, there is no try."

Benjamin Sisko and Miles O'Brien were both mentors to Nog on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. One of the characters with the most growth from the pilot to the final episode is Nog, who was just a petty thief when we first meet him to being a war hero for the Federation and promoted to an officer rank by the end of the series. 

Not bad for a character who was only a guest star on the show. While it was Nog's unlikely friendship with Jake Sisko that brought Nog into their lives, both Sisko, and later O'Brien, took the young Ferengi under their wing, helping him not only become the first of his race to join Starfleet, but to also become one of the stations brightest officers. Because of Nog's personality, race, and upbringing, many officers would have dismissed him out of hand, as Sisko almost did at first. Nog ended up teaching Sisko a few lessons about prejudices the captain didn't even realize he had and work through them.

As Captain America, Steve Rogers has mentored many heroes and villains over the years in the comic books. Over the years, Cap has mentored or partnered with characters like The Falcon, Bucky, and Rick Jones, but he has also teamed up with and helped rehabilitate villains into heroes like Nomad, Diamondback, Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye, Quicksilver, D-Man, and Namor. Captain America has been the living embodiment of The American Dream and he treats those who work with him with a respect that makes them want to earn it. I also see a good deal of that coming through in Chris Evans' portrayal of the character in the movies.

Q: What's your favorite marketing tactic? Which one makes you feel like you're making headway with new book buyers? What do you find yourself doing most often?

I think my best tactic is when I can interact with readers. Conventions, appearances, podcasts, or on-line Q & A sessions like this one are all great for creating a dialogue with my audience. Those work much better than me constantly trying to pitch that my book is for sale. I could post a hundred "Buy My Book" posts on social media, but all that does is make potential readers ignore me.

Q: Last week I saw Stephen King speak live here in Pittsburgh. He was asked if he ever wished he could take back an already published book. Except for one (about a young man doing a shooting at a school which he did have pulled from publication) he's never felt he wanted to take a book back for any reason. They
were finished and like children, off to college. Today's question ... Do you have a problem letting a book go out into to world for any reason? Because you feel it could be better? Because you feel it could have been edited better? Because you worry about the plot or characters not being as good as you wish? Because  you always want to change something about a story?

There comes a point where you just have to cut the cord and let the story make its way into the world. Do I get great ideas that might make it better after it's published? All the time, but once a book is out of my hands, it's out of my hands and I move on to something else. There are exceptions. When Evil Ways was re-released a few years back at a new publisher, I went in and fixed some errors. I didn't change the story though.

Q: What are your top Five Essential John Byrne comic book runs?

Fantastic Four, Superman/Action Comics, Incredible Hulk, She-Hulk, and Namor: The Submariner. I enjoy re-reading these stories often.

Q: Is it hard to keep your writing on track with summertime distractions? Kids at home, tourists, sunny weather, looming vacations? Do you write super early or super late in the day to keep the flow going? Or do you have a system of locking the world out so you can write?

I work around the day job and family commitments. Mostly, that means nights and weekends or whenever I can squeeze in time.

Q: Do you keep timelines for your works in progress? Do you have readers
that keep an eye out for events out of sequence or inconsistent? How do you keep time straight?

On my first draft, I will put the day and location at the beginning of the chapter. That helps me keep time straight in case I get the urge to move chapters around.

Q: In WRITING 21st CENTURY FICTION, author and literary agent Donald Maass suggests that you, the author, be somewhere in every book you write as an observing or active character. Are you in any of your books?

There's a little bit of me in all my books, but as for certain characters, not really. Harold Palmer from Evil Ways is probably closest to me in terms of personality as IO based his on mine and his brother's personality on my brother. Other than that, there's parts of me in everything.

And I think that is a good place to stop for this round of Sometimes I Get Asked Stuff… Do you have any questions you’d like me to answer? Post them here as a comment or send them along to 
bobby@bobbynash.com and I’ll answer them in a future installment of Sometimes I Get Asked Stuff...

Also, please sign up for my mailing list. Drop me an email at bobby@bobbynash.com and I'll happily add you to the list. If you’d like to check out my work, you can find my books at AmazonBarnes and NobleGoodreadsSmashwords, and more. To all those who have picked up books and/or left reviews, a big THANK YOU! You are all wonderful and I appreciate each and
every review posted. Thanks for reading the book and for taking the time to write.

The... (what's my line?)
Thanks for listening to me ramble.

Let’s do it again soon.

Bobby

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