Friday, February 27, 2015

Soul Storm mix tape

I am thrilled to have Ann Gimple back on the blog today; this time she's sharing a folk- inflected mixtape for Soul Storm, her series of three apocalyptic novels. Psychologist Dr. Lara McInnis has an uncanny ability to read the future. Trevor Denoble is the drop-dead gorgeous Brit (with powers of his own) who loves her. With the world as they know it on the brink of anarchy, they'll need all of their power, and the trust of each other, to stay alive.

Ann explains:
My taste in music is eclectic, but I’m an old folkie at heart. Love the old rock and roll too, like the Rolling Stones and The Band and Jerry Garcia. I picked the above songs for two reasons: Lara and Trevor’s love is a lynchpin for the series, and the series takes place in a precarious pre-apocalyptic world that’s rapidly sliding into anarchy.
I just knew all those old protest songs would come in handy someday, and here we are!
Indeed! It's a great mix of songs--go on and give it a listen!

You can hang with Ann on The Internets over at her website, blog, and on Facebook.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Author Interview: R.S. Mellette (Billy Bobble Makes a Magic Wand)

Billy Bobble Makes a Magic Wand is an enchanting upper middle grade novel that will make you believe in the power of magic. 

Here’s the official blurb:

"E = mc2 is no longer the most powerful force in the universe. Your wand is." Twelve-year-old Billy and his best friend Suzy Quinofski didn't mean to change the universe. Billy, a quantum physics prodigy, just wanted to find a way to help his hoarding, schizophrenic mother – and maybe impress a coven of older girls in high school. Suzy, his intellectual equal, wanted to help her friend and cling to her last remnant of childhood, a belief in magic. Together they made Billy a real, working, magic wand, and opened a door to the Quantum World where thoughts create reality, and all things – good and bad – are possible.

Author R.S. Mellette’s career trajectory spans film, television and theater, in addition to fiction writing.  He worked on Xena! Let me repeat that: HE WORKED ON XENA! 

I am thrilled he agreed to join us today to introduce us to the smartest kid in the universe!

(By the way, there's a Rafflecopter giveaway at the end of this post. Xena fans for sure will want to check it out.)

Tell me about Billy Bobble Makes a Magic Wand.

This book is the story of a 12-year-old kid, Billy, who is into quantum physics, and his best friend, Suzy Quinofski, who is into microbiology.  Together they make a real, working, magic wand… but have no idea how to use it.

I've tried to make this a science-fiction book for the whole family.  I can't wait to find out from readers if they feel that I've succeeded.

What inspired you to tell Billy’s story?

There were a lot of little things that inspired Billy's story, which is to say, if fans read or hear different stories, don't fret.  They are all true.  One of the things that got me started was spending time in the Science-Fiction section of bookstores.  They are packed with vampires, werewolves, witches and wizards.  Don't get me wrong, I love those stories, but they aren't sci-fi. 

My inner 12-year-old got into a huff about it, so I started thinking, "if you want witches and wizards in the Sci-Fi section, then have them come from a scientific source."

About that time, the movie The Craft reran on TV.  It's a great movie to watch on a rainy day, or a late night.  This time, my inner 12-year-old asked me why I didn't hang out with girls like that coven when I was their age.  I laughed.  "Yeah, like those girls would give you (me), a kid totally into science, the time of day."

The idea of a science nerd like me having a crush on a coven of witches joined with my desire to see more Science in the Science-Fiction section got the creative juices flowing.

Can you bring us into your world a little bit? Billy and his best friend “made” a magic wand. How does the real world change for them? 

For one thing, they get two new friends from the Quantum World.  It turns out that Billy knows a ton about quantum physics, but it's aware that beings live in that reality.  Where we are mostly mass, with a tiny bit of energy, they are mostly energy with a tiny bit of mass.

It turns out that Billy's wand opens a connection between these two worlds, which have had a symbiotic relationship as long as life as existed.

When Billy first uses the wand all he wants to do is escape the ridicule and bullying from the entire school, so he disappears.  For real, totally, disappears from the universe.  That scares him so badly that he and Suzy use the wand sparingly from then on.  They only have a vague idea how it works, and are a little freaked out by the power of what they have made.

In writing this book, I think I've spent more time asking myself, "How would our world change if we could make real magic?"  It then gets more complicated when that power is in the hands of kids.  Still, I approach the question from an adult perspective.  This isn't a "silly" book.  I hope it will make the reader think as much as I have had to.

How did they pull off creating this wand? What was the “science” behind it?

That's the question of the first half of the book.  Let's see if I can explain it without giving away too many secrets.

Einstein tells us that Space and Time are connected, and that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light.  But… paired quantum particles – which, when you change the spin of one, the other one changes its spin instantly – change their spin faster than a single could move from one particle to the other.  So, something is able to break the universe's speed limit.  That's all real science.

Billy puts all of that together, to figure out that there are multiple timelines, so many that pretty much anything you can think of exists somewhere in an alternate time/space connection.  He thinks that something locks us in our linear time, and if he can break that link, he can create magic, which he defines as "seemingly unrelated cause and effect."

Suzy figures out what the key is that locks us in our timeline.  Billy then figures out how to use that to create magic.

Billy’s mom is mentally ill (specifically schizophrenic). How does this effect Billy’s world outlook?  

Billy wishes more than anything that his mother would be "normal."  It is a big driving force in what makes him want to create magic.  Later, he learns that her paranoid belief that the neighbor's yard gnomes are spying the family is actually true and that the universe is a much more complex place than he ever imagined.

You’ve worked a great deal in film/television/theater. How different is the experience of writing a novel from these other mediums? 

The biggest thing about writing a novel is that there's no crew.  I have to make all of the decisions about clothes, hair, makeup, props, sets, etc.  I don't want to do all of that.  I just want to say, "Int. Billy Bobble's Room – Day" and get on with the story. 

Plays, for either stage or screen, are like an orchestra score.  It's not the finished product, the performance is.  Novels are the final version, so they require as much energy as making a movie or staging a show – not just writing the script.

What skills from TV/film writing did you use while writing Billy Bobble? Anything you had to completely throw away? 

What I had to throw away?  The word "suddenly."  That's used in screenplays all the time, but in a book if you say, "suddenly" such-&-such happens, then it's no longer sudden.  When I cut the word, the reader gets the shock value that I'm looking for.

Of course, the basics of storytelling doesn't change – and that's a major part of all writing.  I would have to say that my acting training comes in handy with dialogue.  Having performed words by Neil Simon, David Mamet, Shakespeare, etc., and having written plays for stage and screen, where dialogue is the major way of getting the story out, it helps a lot when writing novels.  I know dialogue is a difficult thing for a lot of novelists, so they try to avoid it.  I revel in dialogue.  I hope my readers do, too.

Do you have any writing rituals?

For the longest time, I was a catch-as-catch-can writer, stealing time whenever and wherever I could.  Often during my day jobs.  I used to love showing up to a temp job with a notebook and hear, "oh good, you brought something to do."

Now, I write more at home.  When I need to build up the energy to write, I'll watch something I like on TV, like Dr. Who or anything by Aaron Sorkin.  Good writing gets me excited to do my own.

Where is your favorite place to write?

My office at home.

What inspires you to write? 

Mostly boredom.  If my mind isn't entertained, then it starts to entertain itself – which I then write down.  I know that's counter to my good writing comment above, but that's life.  It's complicated.

What 5 books are on your bookshelf right now?

This sounds like a shameful plug for my publisher, but it's the truth, anything from Elephant's Bookshelf Press.  I just finished Battery Brothers, which I recommend to anyone, but especially writers.  The first chapter of that book should go into a how-to textbook.  It's brilliant.

Cat Woods just edited a collection of short stories for EBP called Tales from the Bully Box, and I can't wait to dig into that.  I'm also looking forward to her novel in 2015.

I've also gone through the first two books of the Maze Runner series, a few Artemis Fowl books, a couple of Percy Jacksons, etc.

I'm also reading a lot of biographies of artist from the 16th century for another project.  So I go from kid-lit to stories about Popes and their courtesans, it's a bit of a mind trip.

What do you recommend people see/read/hear?

Whatever they enjoy. Become an unabashed fan of whatever makes you happy.  When you've learned everything about it, you can make something like it that makes you just as happy – and that will make other people who like what you like happy, too.  That might lead you to making a living at something you love – and that can make for a great life.

You can find  R.S. Mellette on Goodreads, Twitter and Facebook

Here's the giveaway details:
1st Prize- *signed* copy of Billy Bobble Makes a Magic Wand
2nd Prize- Season two of Xena: Warrior Princess
Open to US only; Ends 2/25/15

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Monday, February 9, 2015

Death Rejoices Mix Tape

You guys remember by love for Touched by AJ Aalto? Well, there’s a new book in the Marnie Baranuik Files out: Death Rejoices. Not only death rejoice, but readers too! (Oh, Karen, want some chicken to go with your corn?

Here’s the official blurb: 
Marnie Baranuik is back, and this time, the Great White Shark of psychic investigations has “people skills” and a new assistant who seems to harbor an unhealthy curiosity about Harry, her revenant companion. Together, they’ve got a whole lot of questions that need answering. Is an ancient vampire hunting in Denver? Who is stalking Lord Dreppenstedt? How do you cure a slipper-humping bat, ditch an ogre, or give a demon king the slip? And what the hell was she thinking, swearing off cookies?
Teaming up with her sexual nemesis, Special Agent Mark Batten, and their long-suffering supervisor, Gary Chapel, Marnie discovers that vampire hunters aren’t easy to rescue, secrets don’t stay buried, and zombies sure are a pain in the ass to kill.

I asked AJ to share a Death Rejoices mix tape with us, and it’s a wild one! Where else can Rob Zombie play footsie with Kool & the Gang but in Marnie’s wonderfully warped mind?

(Note from AJ: Yes, this book had a strange blend of music genres. But Marnie Baranuik is a strange gal. She makes no apologies. WAY HEY AND UP SHE RISES!)

AJ, one never needs apologize for Irish sea shanties!

Head over to AJ’s website, or find her on Goodreads. Join me in stalking her on Facebook and Twitter too!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Author Interview: Rebecca Chastain (A Fist Full of Evil)

If you scan the suggested books on the Hell's Belle Amazon page,  Rebecca Chastain's A Fist Full of Evil pops up. Mixing humor with urban fantasy, her heroine Madison Fox is coping with her supernatural ability: seeing souls gives her the ability to fight evil.

Here's the official synopsis:

Madison Fox just learned that her ability to see souls is more than a sight: It’s a weapon for fighting evil. The only problem is she doesn’t have a clue what she’s doing.
On the positive side, her money problems are over, she’s possibly discovered her purpose in life, and her coworker is smoking hot. On the negative side, evil creatures now actively hunt her, and deadly experiences are becoming the norm.
When she thinks it couldn’t get worse, a powerful evil sets up shop at a local hotel’s video game convention, and it’s got its eye on more than the gaming geeks: it is hungry for Madison’s soul. Madison needs to become an expert illuminant enforcer overnight to save her job, her region . . . and her life. 

 I am thrilled that Rebecca is hanging out with us today to tell us more!  

Tell me about the world you have created in A Fistful of Evil.

Set in my backyard (Roseville, California), A Fistful of Evil is a lighthearted coming-into-power story of Madison Fox, a twenty-something everywoman tasked with protecting all the people in her region from evil creatures visible only to people like her—illuminant enforcers. Evil creatures come in all shapes and sizes, from adorable chinchilla-like imps to freakish spiky, scorpion-tailed vervet. But those are just your everyday evil creatures. Something much larger and more powerful has moved into Madison’s region, and her world is about to be thrown into chaos.  

We both write about supernatural creatures living amongst “normal” people. What draws you to that idea?

It’s a hobby, really. I’ve been playing this imaginary game with myself for so long, I don’t remember when I started. When I’m out in public, I make up stories for the people I see—why that woman is in such a hurry, why that man has a limp, what has upset the child who was perfectly fine two seconds ago. The stories usually involve some supernatural reasons, the more bizarre the better. A Fistful of Evil took those musings further, building an entire sub-world only the lucky (or unlucky) are privy to.     

Humor in writing is huge for me, and for you too! What draws you to humor in your reading and your writing? 

My writing aspirations have always been simple: I want to write books that leave people in a better place. Well, now that I said that, it sounds like a very complex goal! More plainly, I want to put a smile on readers’ faces, or better yet, get genuine laughs. I have certain authors I turn to when I’m in a rough emotional place or want a book that leaves me energized (Janet Evanovich and Katie MacAlister are great for this). I want to be that kind of author, the one readers grab when they want a pick-me-up read or a book they know will be fun.

Where do you find your story ideas and inspiration?

Usually in my toothbrush, sometimes on my elliptical machine, and occasionally from the absurd stories I cobble together in an attempt to mimic a dream and convince my body to fall to sleep faster.

Do you have any writing rituals?

I have routines, such as setting word-count goals for each session and turning on music, but I’m not sure if these qualify as rituals. My obsession with outlining might be evolving into a ritual. A single novel’s outline can be upwards of 40 pages long, include all subplots, main plots, motivations, arcs, timelines, and hooks, and then before I write each scene, I break it down into a smaller, more detailed outline. Since this greatly improves my daily word count, it’s become a compulsory.

Where is your favorite place to write?
My desk, without a doubt. It’s ergonomically set up, has all my notes, scrap paper, pens, places for my two drinks (I don’t know why, but I usually end up with two by the end of th day), and my vetted music (songs that won’t interrupt the creative flow). Within two steps is a blanket for when I’m too cold and my elliptical machine, which is a lifesaver when I’m stuck and need to move a bit to get ideas flowing again.

What inspires you to write? 


No, that’s a lie. I wrote for twenty years before seeing a penny. Money is just such a nice, believable reason.

The truth is far more sinister. I’m less inspired than I am addicted. Compelled. I don’t feel right when I go too long without writing. It’s desperation not inspiration. Once an idea takes root, it’s like a song stuck in my head: I have to get it out or it just repeats on a loop. 

What 5 books are on your bookshelf right now?

From my TBR bookshelf (which has only 18 books on it, so it obviously needs feeding):

Forgotten Truth by Dawn Cook (aka Kim Harrison)
The Gaslight Dogs by Karin Lowachee
Killbox by Ann Aguirre
Marked by Sarah Fine
The Adamantine Palace by Stephen Deas

Any recommendations of which I should read first?

What do you recommend people see/read/hear?

Read: Sunshine by Robin McKinley
Hear: Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog by Lisa Scottoline (the audio version is read by the author)

Want more Rebecca? Find her online at her website or Goodreads. And you can Facebook friend her or Tweet at her.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Author Interview: Clarissa Johal (STRUCK)

We are at the one year release anniversary of Clarissa Johal’s spectacularly creepy novel STRUCK.  She’s hanging out with us today to talk about her writing inspiration, her love of thunderstorms, and how doing a few plies keeps her writing mind nimble! 

But first, here’s the synopsis:
After a painful breakup, Gwynneth Reese moves in with her best friend and takes a job at a retirement home. She grows especially close to one resident, who dies alone the night of a terrific storm. On the way home from paying her last respects, Gwynneth is caught in another storm and is struck by lightning. She wakes in the hospital with a vague memory of being rescued by a mysterious stranger. Following her release from the hospital, the stranger visits her at will and offers Gwynneth a gift--one that will stay the hands of death. Gwynneth is uncertain whether Julian is a savior or something more sinister... for as he shares more and more of this gift, his price becomes more and more deadly.
And now to the interview! (Honestly, I found my self nodding and yes-ing so much of through this interview, it's like Clarissa is my spirit guide. But not in a stalker-y way. I swear I am not that creepy.) 

Tell us a bit about STRUCK.

STRUCK is my second paranormal novel through Musa Publishing. I was inspired to write STRUCK during a terrific thunderstorm several years ago. I was out running and wondered what it would be like to be struck by lightning in the paranormal sense. I went to bed that night with the idea kicking around and ended up having a nightmare. When I woke, the whole of the book was in my head. I started doing research and interviewed several lightning strike survivors. The aftermath of a lightning strike can be pretty devastating. 

And God this book sounds creepy! I love the idea of Julian sort of straddling good and evil. Where did you come up with the idea for him?

Thank you! I aim for creepy. Julian came to me as most of my characters come to me—completely formed. He had his own ideas about what he would and wouldn’t do in my story. My characters always seem to have their own agendas, I just write it down.

What supernatural entity is he, or would that be a spoiler?

Julian has been claimed by dark entities that live within the “particular” energy manifesting as a lightning strike. He isn’t a demon but more of a dark soul. Telling you more than that would be a spoiler, but I will say this—the cycle has been going on for quite some time.

Can you tell us why was Gwynneth chosen by Julian?

There’s a part of Julian that feels a kinship with Gwynneth; she’s an artist and he was an artist. But initially, Gwynneth was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s only as the story progresses that Julian struggles with his initial intent.

You have some wonderful side characters. What do you love about writing sidekicks?

Thank you! I love to make them as interesting as the main character. My side characters have lives and back stories of their own. I always try and write with the idea that, if I wanted to, I could turn them into main characters and write another book just as interesting. 

Weather clearly plays a huge part in this story. Do you have a favorite weather event? I love anything with howling wind. (Except sleet, because that’s when I want precipitation to make up its damn mind!) 

I LOVE thunderstorms. Love them. Howling wind is always a plus, but if you’ve got lots of thunder and lightning going on, I’m usually outside playing in it. 

How old were you when you saw your first horror movie? What was it?

My parents were pretty strict about the television and movies I watched. I was a pretty sensitive kid, so that was probably a good thing. It wasn’t a horror movie, but I remember watching the 1971 version of Omega Man with Charlton Heston. I would have been about seven years old. I have no idea why my parents thought it was okay for me to watch, other than it was billed as science fiction. The afflicted albino mutants scared the crap out of me. I had nightmares for weeks! I’m good with most horror movies but once you start messing with the eyes, I’m done. The eyes are the windows to the soul. 

What drew you to gothic horror?

I started out writing fantasy. I was working on a trilogy when I was hit with the characters of Cronan and Lucas from BETWEEN. They wouldn’t leave me alone. I would wake with their back story in my head, I would get flashes of their homeland and people they knew—I felt like I knew their lives inside and out. It was weird. It took me about a month to write the rough draft, which never happens, it usually takes me much longer. I joke I was pulled into the Otherworld with BETWEEN because it changed my life. I’ve been writing paranormal and gothic horror ever since. 

Do you have a favorite gothic horror novel?

I really enjoyed Brom’s Krampus: The Yule Lord. He was able to portray Krampus as a sympathetic antagonist, which is always a plus. I just read An Inquiry into Love and Death by Simone St. James and enjoyed it. Anything by Neil Gaiman is instantly on my “to read” list. I have a bit of a writerly crush on him. 

What are you working on now? Any new books on the horizon?

Yes! I have a paranormal psychological horror VOICES coming out May 19, 2015 through Permuted Press. I’m also working on THE ISLAND which should be ready to submit to my publisher by January.

Do you have any writing rituals?

No secrets here, I’m OCD when it comes to my writing day. First, I’ll start with coffee. Coffee is a must. Two cups of Gevalia French roast in the morning. Then, I get my daughters off to school. From there, I hit the gym, come home, have breakfast and do some ballet (I’ve been dancing for about 20 years). After I get my body in gear, I write. By noon, I’m slumping so I have to eat almonds because I’m addicted to them. Blue Diamond Honey Roasted almonds, to be exact. Then, I write some more until it’s time to pick up my daughters from school. My day in a nutshell, haha. 

Where is your favorite place to write?

I have a chair in the living room that reclines. It’s my favorite chair because it’s beside the fireplace and I can look out the window. If I’m feeling restless, I’ll write upstairs in my dance studio so I can plié between scenes. I can’t write when other people are home, though. It messes up the energy. 

What inspires you to write? 

Art inspires me. I’ll see a painting or some relic an anthropologist has found and stories will come to me in a rush. It’s almost painful not to write them down. A lot of times, characters speak to me and tell me their stories. I just write them down. That sounds weird but writers are a weird bunch. 

What 5 books are on your bookshelf right now?

Hmm, I just bought The Boy Who Drew Monsters by Keith Donohue. I’m excited to read that. I’m also reading Doctor Sleep by Stephen King and Last Stand of Dead Men (Book #8 in the Skullduggery Pleasant Series) by Derek Landy. I generally can’t read “for fun” when I’m writing because it has tendency to change my writing style. Right now I’m reading (for research): Darkness Walks: The Shadow People Among Us by Jason Offutt and The Banshee: The Irish Death Messenger by Patricia Lysaght. 

What do you recommend people see/read/hear?

To see (out and about): My recommendation is to go to an art museum. Look at pretty things. Take a friend or take your child, but just go. There’s something special about art. 
To see (at home): I rarely watch television, but I’m really into American Horror Story: Freakshow right now. There’s some great writing going on with that series. I would love to collaborate with those writers. 
To read: I think any of the books I’ve mentioned are worth a read but people have different tastes. 
To hear: Corvus Corax is a great band but not to everyone’s tastes. If you like bagpipes and neo-medieval type music, give them a listen. 

If you want to stalk Clarissa along with me online you visit her website, or hook up with her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Book Review: Henge

I know, I know, I am not a fan of reviewing but here I am with my second review this week! But I'm letting my kid take this post, since is a YA fantasy. 

But first, a bit about the book. Henge, by Realm Lovejoy. is the first book in the LeFay series. The book not only retells the King Arthur myth through the eyes of Morgan LeFay but it also sets it in modern day. Very cool stuff. Here's what my daughter thought:
Morgan wants to become Maven (a protector) to Prince Arthur. She enters the “Arthur’s Round,” a competition to become the Maven. She runs into a series of magical problems at the camp, while making friends (and enemies).  
Morgan is magical—she can conjure fire in her hand and use it to do all different things. 
Her mom got executed for using magic when she accidentally killed someone, but Morgan saw it and knew that her mom was protecting herself.  
I am a fan of the King Arthur story, and I loved that the book told it from Morgan’s point of view. I thought it was a neat twist to set the story in the present time with cell phones and cars and other modern things. But they still have Knights, and I am glad that they are in there.
I loved that there was a lot of action and the book kept my attention. I definitely want to read the next book in the series.  
You can find Realm Lovejoy online at her website or blog, or hang out with her on Facebook or Twitter.

Enter the giveaway for one signed paperback copy with swag, four paperbacks and four eBooks.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Book Review: A Heart for Copper

I am not a fan of reviewing other authors. Writing is tough enough without the criticism, and, like all art, book appreciation is rather subjective. But SilkWords Publishing is building their reputation as the go-to publisher for a “chose your own adventure” style novellas (aka “branched fiction” or "pick your path"), and I could not resist checking out their latest release, A Heart for Copper.  

SilkWords is doing the 21st Century version of the old “hypertext” books. Hypertext cropped up at the very early stages of the internet as we know it. But they did not live online—they were purchased on CD and then read on your computer. It was cumbersome. If you are the type that likes to unwind on the couch or in bed with a book, hypertext was impossible unless you had a laptop. But it was created for a niche (and academic) market, and there it remained. 

Fast forward 20 years. The new sophistication of eReaders make the promise of choosing your own adventure a reality for millions who use Kindle and Nook (devices or apps). SilkWords is driving this new way of reading.   

Sharon Lynn Fisher's A Heart for Copper is a steampunk romance about Copper, an automaton created by a young inventor. When he implants a heart into Copper, she comes to life. But whoever holds the heart’s key decides Copper’s fate. Will she become human or will she remain a automaton? Will she find true love with her creator, or will she strike out on her own to find more like her?

Here the reader decides.

I took several paths, curious to see the story play out differently as many times as I could. It was a fascinating way to read, although I missed the author’s guidance. She knows her characters better than I do. Most authors, myself included, have backstories for their main characters — and mine can get very specific. So it felt strange to make Copper’s decision for her. I kept wondering who the author would have wanted to take the key. But I had to chose—did I want a love story, or one of empowerment? I chose the road I assumed would be less taken.  

This direction I took introduced me to a magical world filled with other automatons as she searched for the alchemist that created the heart that brought her to life. It was a world I wanted to spend more time in and get to know better. Depending on the road you take, you may not spend much time here. But even with taking the path that explored this world more, it felt like I was leaving too soon. I wanted more time there. 

The writing itself was beautiful, with lush descriptions that helped create this fantastical steampunk world. In a way, that felt like the antithesis of the reading medium. I was so engrossed in the world, and the characters that Sharon Fisher created, that I wanted her to guide me through the story she wanted to tell. 

That said, I think “branched fiction” is something to keep an eye on. Culturally, the signs are pointing towards audiences that want to be more involved in the art they are consuming—the rise of interactive theater, the appeal of “virtual reality” gaming (once again, Oculus took CES by storm), audiences want to experience their chosen art and entertainment in a very personal, individual way. 

Check out SilkWords' website for more offerings, where they offer loads more branched fiction stories as well as "reader vote" stories, where readers decide where the book goes next. A Heart for Copper is definitely Rated PG, but their other stories are very much for the over 18 set, many are downright steamy. 

For more on SilkWoods their work in branched fiction, check out Jill Archer's terrific interview with Sharon. There's some great info in there about the future of their company and upcoming website changes (including heart shaped "game currency") to boost reader interaction even more.