The Story Craft Cafe Podcast

Story Crafters talking about the magic of storytelling and giving you the tools to craft your story. We’re launching a new kind of online writing community. One where we can all find support, encouragement, ideas, and inspiration. A place where we can all write together. A place where we can celebrate failures and successes, find mentors, and work together to get published.

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Tuesday Aug 16, 2022

In the first of this 2 part episode we talk with Master of Fantasy Fiction R. A. Salvatore. From the creation of his iconic character Drizzt Do'Urden, taking readers on a journey of character development, what it means to work in an existing shared fantasy universe, and so much more. Join us tomorrow as we do a deep dive on world building. As one of the fantasy genre's most successful authors, R.A. Salvatore enjoys an ever-expanding and tremendously loyal following. His books regularly appear on The New York Times best-seller lists and have sold more than 30,000,000 copies. Salvatore’s most recent original hardcover, The Two Swords, Book III of The Hunter’s Blade Trilogy (October 2004) debuted at # 1 on The Wall Street Journal best-seller list and at # 4 on The New York Times best-seller list. His books have been translated into numerous foreign languages including German, Italian, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Turkish, Croatian, Bulgarian, Yiddish, Spanish, Russian, Polish, Czech, and French. Salvatore's first published novel, The Crystal Shard from TSR in 1988, became the first volume of the acclaimed Icewind Dale Trilogy and introduced an enormously popular character, the dark elf Drizzt Do'Urden. Since that time, Salvatore has published numerous novels for each of his signature multi-volume series including The Dark Elf Trilogy, Paths of Darkness, The Hunter's Blades Trilogy, and The Cleric Quintet. His love affair with fantasy, and with literature in general, began during his sophomore year of college when he was given a copy of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings as a Christmas gift. He promptly changed his major from computer science to journalism. He received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communications from Fitchburg State College in 1981, then returned for the degree he always cherished, the Bachelor of Arts in English. He began writing seriously in 1982, penning the manuscript that would become Echoes of the Fourth Magic. Salvatore held many jobs during those first years as a writer, finally settling in (much to our delight) to write full time in 1990. The R.A. Salvatore Collection has been established at his alma mater, Fitchburg State College in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, containing the writer's letters, manuscripts, and other professional papers. He is in good company, as The Salvatore Collection is situated alongside The Robert Cormier Library, which celebrates the writing career of the co-alum and esteemed author of young adult books. Salvatore is an active member of his community and is on the board of trustees at the local library in Leominster, Massachusetts. He has participated in several American Library Association regional conferences, giving talks on themes including "Adventure fantasy" and "Why young adults read fantasy." Salvatore himself enjoys a broad range of literary writers including James Joyce, Mark Twain, Geoffrey Chaucer, Shakespeare, Dante, and Sartre. He counts among his favorite genre literary influences Ian Fleming, Arthur Conan Doyle, Fritz Leiber, and of course, J.R.R. Tolkien. Born in 1959, Salvatore is a native of Massachusetts and resides there with his wife Diane, and their three children, Bryan, Geno, and Caitlin. The family pets include three Japanese Chins, Oliver, Artemis and Ivan, and four cats including Guenhwyvar. When he isn't writing, Salvatore chases after his three Japanese Chins, takes long walks, hits the gym, and coaches/plays on a fun-league softball team that includes most of his family. His gaming group still meets on Sundays to play.

Tuesday Aug 09, 2022

Nothing can be more daunting than taking the manuscript that you've worked on and poured your heart and soul into and handing that to someone to mark up all the errors. It can be reminiscent of 11th grade English. Or is it? Join me today as I welcome Lauren Moore to talk about how you can take your manuscript as far as possible and how to form a relationship with an editor that will make your manuscript the best it can be. Lauren Moore is a freelance editor and has helped make hundreds of books the best they could be. Join us as we talk about self editing and how to get the best out of your experience with an editor. Link mentioned in this episode:

Thursday Aug 04, 2022

Welcome to the Story Craft Café Podcast.  If you joined us yesterday then you know that we're talking with Michael La Ronn, author of more than 80 books. Today we go deep on character development. Michael talks about his focus on sci fi and fantasy, and his new focus on urban fantasy specifically. We talk about starting with characters and tropes that readers are familiar with, then adding a twist that will make people continue thinking about your book long after they close the back cover. What is the central conflict in all of Michael's stories? Find out in today's episode! Episode 36 With Michael La Ronn Part One  Michael's YouTube Channel

Wednesday Aug 03, 2022

Michael La Ronn is one of the most prolific authors I know. He is also one of the most giving authors I know. He not only works a full time job, enjoys family life with his wife and daughter, maintains a popular YouTube Channel, he also has written and published over 80 books of fiction and non-fiction alike.  In this first of two episodes with Michael, we talk about how a near death experience acted as a catalyst for him to pursue his dream of writing. We talked about the differences in the publishing landscape over the last decade and how he now views the idea of indie publishing as an empowering force for authors.  Join us tomorrow as we do a deep dive with Michael into character development, especially for sci fi and fantasy.  

Friday Jul 29, 2022

On today's episode of the Story Craft Café, we talk with Josh Hayes about how he found his niche where he could be successful in publishing. A retired police officer, Josh Hayes is the author of the upcoming Weaponized series, the Valor Trilogy, Stryker's War (Galaxy's Edge), the Terra Nova Chronicles w/ Richard Fox, the Tranquility series, and numerous short stories.His debut solo novel, Edge of Valor, was a finalist for the 2020 Dragon Award for Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel.He grew up a military brat, affording him the opportunity to meet several different types of people, in multiple states and foreign countries. After graduating high school, he joined the United States Air Force and served for six years, before leaving military life to work in law enforcement. During his time with the Wichita Police Department, Josh served as a patrol officer, bicycle officer, community policing officer, and was an assistant bomb technician on the Bomb Squad. His experiences in both his military life and police life have given him unique glimpses into the lives of people around him and it shows through in the characters he creates. Josh is also the creator and president of Keystroke Medium, a popular YouTube show and podcast focused on the craft of writing. Website: YouTube: Josh is a co-host of the Baen Free Radio Podcast, the official podcast of Baen Books. Website:   Novels: Weaponized (Aethon Books) Weaponized Fury, coming 2022 Weaponized Rage, coming 2022 Weaponized Wrath, coming 2022   Tranquility (Aethon Books) Blood and Steel, 2021 Battle Lines, 2021 War Fighter, coming 2022   The Valor Trilogy (Aethon Books) Edge of Valor, 2019 – 2020 Dragon Award Finalist – Best Military Science Fiction Novel Echoes of Valor, 2020 Edge of Valor, 2020   Order of the Centurion, Galaxy’s Edge w/ Jason Anspach and Nick Cole (Galaxy’s Edge Press) Stryker’s War, 2019   The Terra Nova Chronicles w/ Richard Fox (Triplane Press) Terra Nova, 2017 Blood Lines, 2018 Wings of Redemption, 2019 Hale’s War, 2019   Published Short Stories:   Blooded – A Grimm's War Story, 2022 – One Decisive Victory (Aethon Books) Open Ended Contract, 2022 – We Dare 4: Wanted, Dead or Alive (Theogeny Books) A Song of Mercy, 2022 – Talons and Talimans (New Mythology Press) Lunar Fury, 2020 – Battle Luna Anthology (Baen Books) Now You Don’t, 2019 – We Dare Anthology (Theogeny Books) The Wagner Method, 2019 — Hope is Not a Strategy Anthology (Seventh Seal Press) A Prelude to Valor, 2018 — Backblast Area Clear Anthology (JR Handley) Leverage, 2017 — For a Few Credits More Anthology (Seventh Seal Press) Salvation, 2017 — Question of the Day Anthology (Clayborn Press) Harbinger, 2017 — Explorations: First Contact (Woodbridge Press) The Path to War, 2017 — Explorations: War (Woodbridge Press) Hero Worship, 2017 — It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! Anthology (Steve Beaulieu) The Long Haul, 2016 — Mostly Murder: Till Death Anthology (Elemental Press) The Lost Colony, 2016 — Explorations: Through the Wormhole Anthology (Woodbridge Press)          

Monday Jul 25, 2022

John Searles is the best-selling author of the novels Her Last Affair, Help for the Haunted, Strange but True and Boy Still Missing.  Hailed as “riveting” by The New York Times and “hypnotic” by Entertainment Weekly, Boy Still Missing inspired Time magazine to name him a “Person to Watch,” and the New York Daily News to name him a “New Yorker to Watch.” His second novel, Strange but True was praised as “sinister and complex” by Janet Maslin of The New York Times, “extraordinary” by Publishers Weekly, and was named best novel of the year by Salon. Help for the Haunted was named a Boston Globe Best Crime Novel of the Year, an Entertainment Weekly Top 10 Must List, and won the American Library Association’s Alex Award. John's most recent novel, Her Last Affair, was named a Best New Book by People magazine and praised as "a tense, intricately woven tale of heartbreak, retribution and redemption" by Publishers Weekly and "a twisted thriller that explores despair and loneliness with cinematic flair" by Kirkus Reviews. In 2019, Strange But True was adapted for film by the producers of La La Land and released in theaters nationwide by Lionsgate. Now streaming on HBOMax and Amazon Prime, the film stars the award-winning ensemble cast of Amy Ryan, Greg Kinnear, Brian Cox, Blythe Danner, Nick Robinson and Margaret Qualley. The movie was praised as “suspenseful and haunting” by The Hollywood Reporter and “a twisty tale of tragic secrets” by the Los Angeles Times.  John has appeared regularly on morning programs like NBC’s Today Show, CBS This Morning, Live! With Regis & Kelly, NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross and CNN to discuss his books.  For 23 years, John was the books editor of Cosmopolitan, also serving as the magazine’s brand director, executive editor, and editor-at-large.  His personal and travel essays, book and restaurant reviews have been published in the New York Times, Washington Post and numerous other magazines, newspapers and websites. He has a master's degree in creative writing from New York University and lives in New York.

Friday Jul 22, 2022

Dan Kenney is one of the most prolific authors I know. He publishes middle grade books under the name Daniel Kenney, and he also writes cozy mysteries for adults under the name Daniel Carson. Daniel lives in Nebraska with his wife and their perfect adoring children who have never ever misbehaved. Not once. His days are a mixture of . . . teaching, cooking, driving, more cooking, lots more driving, cleaning and more driving. So much driving. When the children finally go to bed, Daniel writes stories. Five Star Praise For The Hope Walker Mysteries "-"I really think this series and each book has the perfect mix of humor, mystery, real life, and suspense."-"I love this series. Carson has me guessing the whole time!"-"This book is every bit as good as the first! I can't get enough of Hope and the rest of the gang. An engaging plot, and laugh out loud humor make it difficult to put this book down."-"I absolutely enjoyed reading this cozy mystery. It had everything I look forward to in a mystery and once started I couldn't put it down."The Hope Walker MysteriesSEASON ONE- Book One: A Hopeless Murder- Book Two: A Hopeless Heist- Book Three: A Hopeless Discovery- Book Four: A Hopeless Game- Book Five: A Hopeless ChristmasSEASON TWO- Book Six: A Hopeless Journey- Book Seven: A Hopeless Valentine- Book Eight: A Hopeless Queen- Book Nine: A Hopeless Sheriff- Book Ten: A Hopeless StormSEASON THREE- Book Eleven: A Hopeless Spring

Monday Jul 18, 2022

Joe Stillman co-wrote Shrek for Dreamworks which earned him an Academy Award® nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay and the Annie and BAFTA Awards.  Other produced features are Beavis & Butthead Do America, Shrek 2, Gulliver’s Travels, Planet 51 and Joseph King Of Dreams.In television, he was co-producer and writer on King of the Hill, for which he received two Emmy Award® nominations. He was a writer and story editor for Nickelodeon’s The Adventures of Pete and Pete and a writer on MTV’s Beavis and Butthead. More recently he worked on Nickelodeon’s Sanjay and Craig and Kirby Buckets for Disney. Other TV credits include Albert for Nickelodeon, The War Next Door for the USA Network, Clueless, Doug and Danger and Eggs for Amazon.He’s currently working on a Curious George feature for streaming on Peacock. The Man Who Came and Went, a novel of the new west, is a magically realistic story for the modern era that will tease your understanding and beliefs, and draw you into the mysteries of the universe, from the brilliant mind of Joe Stillman, acclaimed Academy Award nominated co-writer of “Shrek.” Fifteen-year-old Belutha Mariah, our storyteller, is the oldest of three kids from three different fathers. Her life’s goal is to keep her dysfunctional mom, Maybell, from procreating yet again and then to leave the coffin-sized town of Hadley, Arizona the second she graduates high school.Along comes the new grill cook at Maybell’s Diner, Bill Bill, a mysterious drifter with the ability to mind-read orders. As word spreads in Hadley and beyond, the curious and desperate pour into this small desert town to eat at Maybell's.Some believe Bill knows the secrets of the universe.Belutha figures he’s probably nuts. But his cooking starts to transform the lives of locals and visitors, and Belutha finds her angry heart opening, as Bill begins to show her the porous boundary between this life and what comes after.In a normal American town, something new and strange, and yet achingly familiar, begins to unfold.

Friday Jul 15, 2022

Lucy Score is a USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and #1 Amazon bestselling author. Small town contemporary rom-coms are her lady jam and she enjoys delivering the feels with a huge side of happily ever after. Her books have been translated into several languages, making readers around the world snort laugh, swoon, and sob. Lucy lives in Pennsylvania with the devastatingly handsome Mr. Lucy and their horrible cat. In her spare time she enjoys sleeping, eating, and reading romance novels other people wrote. Lucy Score grew up in rural Pennsylvania with a lot of time on her hands and a big imagination. She was the oldest of three in a literary household. Dinners were often spent in silence while family members had their noses buried in books. A passion for writing took hold at five when she taught her brother to write his name on the bathroom door. She started writing (on paper) in the second grade, first about pilgrims on the Mayflower and over the years graduated to essays, articles, blogs, and finally books. Before becoming a full-time writer, Lucy pretended to be a normal adult by holding down jobs that included event planner, bartender, newspaper lackey, and yoga instructor. Lucy and Mr. Lucy, enjoy spending time with their ten nieces and nephews and are determined to learn to sail so they can live on a sailboat in the Caribbean someday.

Monday Jul 11, 2022

Audiobooks are the fastest growth market in publishing. If you are not taking advantage of this market, you could be leaving readers unreached, and who wants that? Join me today as I welcome authors Jaime Castle and Rhett Bruno, as well as voice actor extraordinaire Roger Clark as they talk about the process of taking a story from the page to your earbuds.  In the West, there are worse things to fear than bandits and outlaws. Demons. Monsters. Witches. James Crowley’s sacred duty as a Black Badge is to hunt them down and send them packing, banish them from the mortal realm for good. He didn’t choose this life. No. He didn’t choose life at all. Shot dead in a gunfight many years ago, now he’s stuck in purgatory, serving the whims of the White Throne to avoid falling to Hell. Not quite undead, though not alive either, the best he can hope for is to work off his penance and fade away. This time, the White Throne has sent him to investigate a strange bank robbery in Lonely Hill. An outlaw with the ability to conjure ice has frozen and shattered open the bank vault and is now on a spree, robbing the region for all it’s worth. In his quest to track down the ice-wielder and suss out which demon is behind granting a mortal such power, Crowley finds himself face-to-face with hellish beasts, shapeshifters, and, worse…temptation. But the truth behind the attacks is worse than he ever imagined.… The Witcher meets The Dresden Files in this weird Western series by the Audible number one bestselling duo behind Dead Acre.


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