Saturday, May 1, 2010

Az Publishing Author Feature #5

Michael D'Ambrosio

Michael was born and raised in the Philadelphia area.
A graduate of Delaware County Community College (A.A.S. Electronics) and Widener University (B.S. Technical and Industrial Administration), Michael served in the Pa. Air National Guard as a weapons crew chief for 22 years participating in several Middle East tours before retiring.

Michael enjoys science fiction and old-time horror films.
When not working as a controls technician at a nearby power plant, he enjoys writing his screenplays and novels, while listening to various types of music.
Halloween is his favorite holiday and the fall is his favorite time of the year.

When did you first realize you wanted to write?
It goes way back to first grade in Catholic school. I had a nun who kept giving out writing assignments and challenged us to come up with interesting topics. Mine always tended to revolve around outer space and prehistoric monsters. I always wrote well but I got away from it in fourth grade. Much of my writing after that was technical due to the nature of my career. Then, while on a tour of duty in the Middle East, I was critiquing some books that a friend had. He suggested rather cynically that I should write my own story and see how well I do. Something about the darkness in the desert at night rekindled that fear of the unknown. That led me to write my first novel, Fractured Time.
                                                                                                                     ISBN# 978-1-936037-46-9
                                                                                                                                                Adult Horror

What would you say is your interesting writing habit?
I seem to find interesting female characters for my stories. In Dark Horizon, Billy Brock becomes involved with a Goth type chic with an attitude. In The Eye of Icarus, Shanna is a sassy vixen who excels in throwing knives and making love. In Night Creeps, there’s Suzie, a hybrid mutant who seduces a variety of characters from hookers to federal agents. She creates her own inner circle of power from this pool of characters while she connives a plan to take over the world beginning with her own little town.  

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in writing your book(s)?
While doing an interview with Mona Miller on her radio show in LA, she pointed out to me that The Eye of Icarus from my Space Frontiers series really touches on morality and teens in a very effective manner. She felt it was the type of story that effectively brings awareness of consequences to teens in believable and compelling situations. I didn’t realize I went down that road when I wrote this (Space Frontiers) series. The lead characters, Will and Shanna who are 18 and 16, develop a hot romance that results in Shanna’s becoming pregnant. For two teens who are into wild adventures while racing about the universe, this presents quite a complication for them. The two are forced to mature much faster than they’d like as their responsibilities increase with each exciting mission.
What do you think makes a compelling story?
You need an interesting plot and characters that the readers can relate to. People read fiction for escapism and it’s up to us as readers to give them a ride they won’t forget. I want readers to love and hate my characters as well as to need to find out what happens to them. In The Eye of Icarus, Shanna is the young vixen that every guy dreams about. Will on the other hand, knows how to make things exciting. They have an inspiring and entertaining effect on their older friends.
Where did you get the idea for your Night Creeps story?
Oh, this was an interesting one. It actually came about as I spoke with friends and fans at the bars over several conventions. I always hear stories about how exes hate their formers and how rotten they are. One day, while speaking to an elderly man in Chicago, I heard the words that made the story click. “When I married my wife, she was an angel. Somewhere along the line she became a monster.” That set the wheels in motion for a bizarre story about disgruntled women and neglectful men. The story isn’t based toward either sex so anyone can get a thrill out of the characters.
What is the hardest part of writing?
I find that if I want to write effectively, I have to clear my mind of distractions and get into that “zone”. There’s no sense in writing if I’m not there because it’ll wind up getting erased. Once I get into that zone, I can go on forever. Everything flows naturally at that point.
If you could have one wish, what would it be?
I would want to be either Billy Brock in the Fractured Time Trilogy or Will Saris in Space Frontiers. These two characters go through heaven and hell and they thrive on it.
What are you working on next?
I’m actively working on a revision to the Night Creeps screenplay which I’m excited about. I’m also outlining a potential sequel to the Night Creeps novel as well.

What author(s) have had an impact on your writing?
Laurel K. Hamilton and her Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series.
Storm Constantine and her Wraetthu series.
Ms. Hamilton really knows how to give a character “arc”. After reading several of the books in her series, I really understood what it meant for a character to “develop” in a story.
Storm Constantine has a deep dark imagination for her characters and she’s very good at injecting any emotion into her characters at any time.

What other projects do you have going on?
The Devil’s Playground, book three of the Space Frontiers series comes out in early summer. I’ve done some work on the fourth and final book in the series, Galaxy of the Damned. I am looking ahead to possibly doing a sequel to Night Creeps or a Christmas adventure from another script I wrote. I have to change gears for my projects quite often as things come up.
ISBN #978-1-936037-49-0

What is the hardest obstacle you face as a writer today?
I find that it’s very difficult to build a fan base without spending lots of money on a good publicist. Even with a big publisher, it’s hard for a new writer to attract readers. I’ve been very effective to a point by attending conventions and I have developed a good fan base but it’s nowhere near what I want it to be. 

What is the toughest thing that you’ve ever been told about your books?
Oddly enough, “I thought this book was great!” Just about everyone who reads my books swears by them. If I could bottle up that feeling and advertise it to other readers, I’d be the number one selling author in the world.

Do you write screenplays for all your books?
Thus far, I have. The Fractured Time Trilogy is my most interesting project for screenplays. There is a screenplay and a thirteen episode TV series for books one and two and a wild finally of a script for book three. 

I think The Eye of Icarus is a great Star Trek type script but it would require a significant budget to make.

Night Creeps is the most promising because it can be done on a small budget. Perhaps that will open the door for the others.


Az Publishing Services, LLC said...

Ok -- Say "Hello" Michael. Have fun and I will be checking on you. I will be promoting your interview throughout the day.


Mike D said...

Hi, Patti;
Thanks for having me on the site. I'm thrilled to have an opportunity to share my thoughts with everyone today.

Mike D.

Johnny V in Mesa said...

Yo' bro'. Remember me from DarkCon? You're looking like your ready for the big time in that picture. I loved Night Creeps. That Suzie is sooooo hot! When you coming back to visit us here in the great southwest?

Mike D said...

Hey, Johnny;
I see I'm not the only loonie who stays up all night. Look for me at CopperCon in September. I think Suzie is too much for you unless your into some real kinky stuff. Besides, she's a bit two-faced if you know what I mean. LOL

JC said...

Hey, I've been up all night, too. I saw your blog spot on your website and thought I'd say hello. I'd love to meet Suzie at FroliCon next year. She and I could share some interesting ideas!!!


Mike D said...

JayCee, I'm surprised at you. You should be reading the other series, not Night Creeps. I think you'll like Tera in Dark Horizon. She's more your type. You have to get through Fractured Time and Twisted Fate first. Bear with Penny. She gets hers in the end. Now find someone warm to cuddle up with and get some sleep.

JayCee said...

Your friend Alex Del Monaco has quite a track record in films. She'd play a great Suzie. Think she could handle it or them?

Mike D said...

I've already discussed it with her and she's reading the novel. I don't think she'll have a problem with it. Unfortunately the screenplay isn't as perverse as the book. I wish I could make the script true to the book but the powers that be say 'no'. Alex just did a couple of horror films which she did well in. I think she'd be awesome as Suzie. And no, I won't introduce you to her. Good night, JayCee.

Sara L. said...

Well, Michael, I'm tired of hearing about potential movies. I want to see Fractured Time as a movie! Who do I have to call to get some satisfaction over this? I'd love to see the spider scenes in a movie. That was so keystone kops!

Sara in LA

Mike D. said...

That's easy. Bob Miller at Gypsy Films. Maybe one day I'll make my own damn movie! Lloyd Kaufman would be proud of me.

Sandra Murphy said...

Hi, Mike. It's Sandy from Melbourne. I'm disappointed that you aren't coming for WorldCon this year. I loved reading The Eye of Icarus and Dangerous Liaisons. When is the next book coming out? I took your advice about just writing the darn story first and I'm getting close to the end of my first draft. You have a woay of making your female characters subtly seductive. Even the co-pilot Celine with her relationship with Bastille. You rock! When are you coming to Australia? I owe you a good seafood dinner for inspiring me.

Megan from Chicago (WindyCon) said...

Hello, Michael. I was wondering about Suzie in Night Creeps. Is sshe supposed to be me by chance? I can't help it if my jackass ex-husband turned me into a nutcase. I think you need to change the scene where Suzie's husband kills himself. Let her do it to him - slowly! Nice job on the book. I did thorough;y enjoy it. I could definitely relate to ruling the world. What I wouldn't do to men! Stay in touch.


Bud & Ginger said...

Hey, Mike;
We loved the Fractured Time Trilogy. That was quite an adventure and I can't say that I've read anything like it. Even Ginger enjoyed it. We're going to check out your other books, too. Are you coming back to FroliCon next year?


Mike D. said...

Hi, Sandra;
Thanks for the compliment. The Devil's Playground is due out in a few months. I don't have an exzact date yet. Australia and New Zealand are still on my radar for the next few years. Watch my website for more details.

Mike D said...

Hey, Megan;
How have you been? There's a little of you in Suzie but she's a piece of many unhappy women. Are you sure you really want to rule the world. There'd be no time to get made at anyone.LOL

Mike D said...

Hi, Bud and Ginger;
I'm glad you enjoyed the trilogy. Yes, I'll be back for FroliCon next year. This year was truly an eye-opening experience at FroliCon. I learned a lot about real people. Maybe our politicians in Washington should get out more and see what everyday Americans are all about. Stay in touch.

Mike D.

Az Publishing Services, LLC said...

Ok -- Now I understand why other authors have been getting hits on the blog, but no comments. And you already have 16 comments and the day is only half over. Other authors don't have the same fan base that you do. Your fans come from the fan conventions. These are die hard fans that would follow you anywhere. I have a few in this category, so I'm beginning to understand the difference. Besides, I have been on the fan side of this equation - a true die-hard fan of certain authors I have met through the 20 years of conventions I have frequented.

Renee C said...

Hi, Mike;
I haven't seen you at RavenCon or BaltiCon in a few years. I just saw your facebook page and was impressed. When will you be coming around again?

Mike D said...

Hello, Renee;
It's good to hear from you again. Next year, I'll be returning to BaltiCon and RavenCon. I've been working different parts of the country the last few years. I almost made it to RavenCon this year but I couldn't get a dealers' table until the week before.

Mike D said...

Yes, Patti;
The Con fans are truly the die hards. They have more of an appreciation for what we as writers go through to be successful. That's why my goal is to be successful enough that I can travel around the world doing conventions all the time. It's a great feeling having friends in every city.

Rachel Morris said...

Hey, stranger;
I'd love to be your publicist if you like. I think you've got a lot of good stuff going on. I really like the new website. Good idea linking this event to it. Maybe I'll see you in KC.

All the best,

Rachel M

Vlad Kimberton said...

It's Vlad from Fright Night. How have you been? Night Creeps was one creepy, crawly story. That scene with the hookers was wild. Is there going to be a sequel? See you in Louisville.

Vlad the Impaler

Mike D said...

Hi, Rach;
I haven't forgotten you. Things are pretty hectic right now with The Devil's Playground coming out soon, writing The Galaxy of the Damned and revising the Night Creeps script. After tonight, I'll be back to a 'normal' work schedule and I'll have toime to make some decisions.

Mike D said...

It's good to hear from you, Vlad. How are your two vamps? It seemed that they kept you pretty occupied most of the convention last year. That Gothic look is perfect for them. I haven't decided on a sequel yet for Night Creeps. There is the potential and I have compiled ideas for some devious plots and characters.

Lisa V said...

Hi, Mike;
I like the new website. Things sound really promising for you. Thanks for all the advice you gave me at CapriCon. It was really helpful. I read The Eye of Icarus and thought it was really cool. I think it's better than Star Trek because you exploited the lack of government or military control in space.

The Gifted Kid said...

I'm terribly disappointed in you, Michael. I read your Space Frontiers books and I was terribly hurt that your characters don't have universal healthcare and they carry weapons. In my utopia, we all just get along and share the love.

The Gifted Kid

Mike D said...

Sorry Gifted One. Perhaps the Weevil tried to implement your ideologies and that led to the chaos on Earth. Maybe the Weevil are the government. Hmm. That's food for thought. Imagine Nancy Pelosi as one of the Nephi. Maybe she is one of them already. Holy Cow! Get the crew of the Leviathan down here fast.

Mike D said...

Hi, Lisa;
I'm glad you enjoyed the books. It's such a good feeling for a writer to hear that he/she made a difference in someone's day. Space is a good way to escape the mess we're in.

Michelle G said...

Hi, Mike;
I've been reading your books that I got from my sister. It's quite a journey for your characters and they oppose some really interesting creatures. Will you be coming out to Seattle any time soon. I'd love to talk about The Eye of Icarus with you. The shape-shifters are really cool.


Mike D said...

Each story I write is a bigger challenge. I don't like to repeat things and I like to take my readers to new spheres of action. I'm hoping to make it out to one of their conventions. Keep an eye on my website for the list of upcoming conventions I'm appearing at.

Mike D said...

Since it's getting close to the witching hour for the east coasters, I'd like to thank everyone for participating. Now that you've made such a good impression on my publisher, it has to translate to book sales so please support a starving writer and his hard-working publisher. Buy books! They're cheaper than a vacation weekend and you can read them again and again. I'll be checking later for the late west coasters who want to blog with me.

The Army Brat said...

Hi, Michael;
I really enjoyed your panels in Atlanta over Easter weekend. You have a really good view of how things should be. perhaps you should talk to some of our politicians. They could learn a thing or two from you.

The Army Brat

Captain Jack from High Point said...

Hi, Mike;
It's me, Jack, from ConCarolinas. Don't pay any attention to the gifted kid. He's living better since he got laid off from his job last year. He's never going back to the work force. I hear you're coming down for the Con in June. Yo-ho-ho. Time for some rum.

John McPhee said...

Hey, Mike;
Who's this Fiona Ingram? She looks like a hottie? My wife looked like her 60 years ago. By the way, I love the Fractured Time trilogy. Great stuff.

John McPhee

Mike D said...

John, she was last weeks feature guest. Besides, your grandkids are older than her. Behave yourself.

John V in Mesa said...

Don't you ever sleep? You've been on the blog a long time.

Johnny V

Mike D said...

I work a rotating twelve hour shift at a power plant. Right now, I'm working nights. It sounds like a lot but the days off are great.

JC said...

Hi, Mike. It's JayCee again. Wouldn't it be nice if you stayed home and wrote all the time?

Mike D said...

If I could stay home and write full-time, I wouldn't. I would be so distracted or bored that I'd never get around to it. By competing for time to write, I fell that I "want to" write. If I had all the time in the world to do it, I'd lose my motivation.

Thanks to you and everyone else who participated or just followed the conversation. Hopefully, I'll see all of you in the near future.

Best Wishes,

Mike D.