Republished from Louise Wise's Blog, published January 2011, but updated here.
Az Publishing Services, LLC
If you want swooning heroines fainting at the first sign of trouble and a man swinging in, Tarzan style, to rescue her then PJ Hultstrand’s time-travel romance series is probably not for you. If, however, you like strong Lara Croft type women getting her man, then this book IS for you. Read on:
Tamea scanned for the presence and instinctively knew it was stalking them. The dagger hilt rested in her left palm, ready if it was needed. Her intentions included getting him into the room and making love to him for the rest of the night. She did not appreciate whoever was interrupting her plan. She continued to glance behind them after they got off the bike and Parker retrieved his saddlebags.
Patti Hultstrand is not only the author of "Battle for Time", "Rescue in Time", and "Time Conquers All", she runs the successful AZ Publishing Services.
Patti's thirst for the creative word began in 7th grade, and from then she has wrote in college papers, literary magazines, public relations articles, business procedure manuals and having even gone as far as having published her own magazine on Arizona Graphics and Marketing. Science-fiction became her first love when she was introduced to the works of Ray Bradbury and fandom bit her when she actually met him in 1987 at a special engagement speech in Phoenix, Arizona. Patti has his writing tips and life examples and applied them to her own writing: "Never stop to edit, just keep writing until you're done, then go back and edit, and edit, and edit again until you're satisfied."
She's here to talk about her books, the writing process and everything else in-between - otherwise known as life.
What inspired you to write your book?
“Battle for Time” is book 3 of my Chasing Time series. I have plans for about 14 books in this series. I started my first story back about 17 years ago on a dot matrix printed copy of the beginnings of what turned out to be an epic romantic time-travel adventure. Back then, the story was a simple historical romance about a warrior princess who must protect a king from a neighboring country who doesn’t believe in her abilities to do the protecting. I had a palace schematic drawn out which had become a yellowed reminder years later of that story that had been stuck inside me all those years.
It was a near death experience that made me pick the story up again, change the heroine, the location in history, the time period (somewhat), and added the premise of time-travel because over those last years I have evolved and had become very interested in the possibilities of time-travel. The story has become so much more than that simple story.
I had studied some romance stories series and found that many offer multiple male characters which are introduced in the first book, as minor characters, and then they get their own story in books later in the series. I have done this with the Chasing Time series. Walker and Brandt have their own stories coming up. The only man I don’t have a story for yet is Terrance, Tamea’s best friend, who is now the Captain of the Palace Guard. I say “yet” because he just hasn’t told me his story yet.
What is it about?
I think one of the hardest thing for me to decide on was what classification or genre to fit my epic story into. While I tag it as a Time-travel Romance, it resonates very well with science-fiction/fantasy enthusiasts because my time-travel is based on plausible theories I have contemplated over years. I sell more of my books with this group of book lovers, over romance readers. But, then again, I hang with that group at conventions.
You write what you love to read or write what you want to read, but haven’t found yet. That is what I have done here.
Is there a snippet you can share?
Here is a short excerpt for "Battle for Time": Book 3 in the Chasing Time Series.
Warning: Some references of drug use and products.
Reed popped in his favorite scratchy 8-track of Jimi and his screaming guitar. He grinned at Lynch, who was quite a bit older than him, but knew he also had a love for Hendrix. They were very different in appearance, even though they shared the same affinity of getting into trouble and seeming on the edge of being crazy.
Captain Charles Reed would be eighteen before this Christmas, where Marco Lynch was now forty-eight and had been a lieutenant in Altare before he chucked the military life for the freelance life in the sales of paraphernalia. He and Went Worth were making good money selling Altare grown marijuana and other unusual products. They had just made Strand their temporary home in Laie a month before Terance and Tamea had dropped in and changed their current choice of lifestyles. "How the hell did I get talked into running with you, I'll never know, Reed!" yelled Lynch to the young man over the jacked up music.
"Hey man, I'm your best customer, so better be nice to me," yelled Reed.
Lynch smiled cordially, especially when he knew money would come from it. "You know it, my man," he slapped Reed on the shoulder good-naturedly.
The two of them could see the Bengal army coming up on the horizon and turned toward the masses. The camp was set-up not far from where they had left them after Tamea's rescue. "Maybe they are still in shock from the loss of some of their officers or from our unprecedented appearance," Reed stated with a satisfied grin on his face. "Of course, I left a lasting impression in their minds."
Lynch laughed as he said, "I bet you did!" He moved back to the levers rigged to drop the rockets onto the oncoming cannons and waited for Reed's mark.
The enemy army, however, had seen the chopper coming now and knew about their high-powered guns, so they had gone into immediate action with the only thing closely resembling Altare's weaponry. They loaded the cannons in haste and were ready to fire when Reed came upon them.
The chopper captain swerved easily out of the way of the first cannon's range and yelled at Lynch to use the machine guns on the cannon operators. Lynch snagged a few on their next pass, but on their third the cannon had been fired before Lynch had nailed the other operators. The chopper caught some powder as it went through the front windshield--barely missing Reed--through the back hull, and some caught the engine as they passed underneath the cannon fire.
Something in the engine started to smoke and the chopper lurched downward. Reed was holding its nose up, as he yelled at Lynch to prepare to drop a rocket on the next pass. He came back around and pulled up after signaling Lynch to let the rocket go.
The rocket hit one cannon dead on, as remnants blew apart in all directions.
"What about the other one?" yelled Reed to Lynch as he went around again. They were fighting for altitude, as they could see the other cannon pointed in their direction.
"You sure we shouldn't get the hell out of here?" asked Lynch when he saw the cannon's mouth, as they were getting closer.
"Lynch, we will blow up if we crash with that rocket still attached. I'd rather go down with less chances of blowing ourselves up, don't you?"
Lynch could see his point--they were already flying a highly volatile piece of machinery. If they crashed with the rocket still attached, they would be set ablaze like fireworks on the Fourth-of-July. He nodded, showing he understood their chances, and was ready to drop the rocket.
The enemy shot the cannon at them before they got close enough to drop the rocket and Reed had to swerve sharply to avoid being hit again. Unfortunately, the powder hit the cable of the rocket and it fell short of its intended target, taking out a water supply wagon instead.
Lynch swore and got back into the seat next to Reed, as the teen was having some problems keeping the chopper in a straight path back to Walker Town. The smoke was now billowing out behind them for another twenty minutes, while the young captain struggled to keep the nose in the air. There was a sudden loud sputter and he lost the race with how long he could keep them going, and yelled at Lynch to prepare to crash.
Lynch's last thought before they hit the ground was 'How did one prepare to crash?'
Was there a character you struggled with?
I struggle between Parker and his brother Walker sometimes because I want to make sure readers connect to Parker, but then Walker is written stronger in the first books so I think some women like him better. Then again, I don’t like sharing my men, even ones I make up in my mind, so I may not be doing them justice by making them interesting enough for women readers to love them too. Probably explains why most of my fans are men who love Tamea, my heroine.
How many unpublished books do you have lurking under your bed?
Oh geez! I have 2 more completely written in the Chasing Time series and a third about half done, and another 3 started. Outside of that series, I am working on the following with plans to publish 2011:
- Resurrection at Salvation Springs - Paranormal Western Serial - Coming in June and July 2011
- Friday Fright Lover - Literary Suspense - Coming December 2011
- 2012: The Calm Before the Storm – writing with my partner, Donald Jacques
- Mahal – Historical Romance
- Center of Time Bar: Time travel stories centered around this bar I created. My world and other authors have been invited to write a story in this world.
- The Bad Easter Bunny – YA Fantasy (although I may be changing the title)
- Cultured Cockroach - Collaborating urban stories that are a sign of our time of people struggling.
- There is a steampunk story my partner and I have storyboarded, but no title yet
How did you find your publisher? How do they treat you? Would you recommend them?
I am my own publisher and am the publisher for 26+ other authors with 36 books on our bookshelf now since May 2009. I use my series as a test in marketing conditions before I push anyone else into doing any form of marketing. This has been good and bad for me personally as an author. I have taken away the stigma for my other authors by adding Az Publishing Services, LLC as the Print/Distribution Publisher, while I don’t have the layer between myself as an author and as the publisher.
Would I recommend Az Publishing to others? Answer: Only if you are prepared to do a lot of work in helping market your book. We can’t do it by ourselves! But you also can’t expect the publisher to do it all anymore either.
We are still a struggling company and last year, I almost completely lost the company. It was a very tough year, in 2010 for all of us! We moved forward into 2011 with a brighter outlook. We have some kick-butt books coming off this coming year.
Tell us a little about Az Publishing.
Az Publishing Services was designed to assist new or struggling authors in marketing, cover design, editing and formatting plus much more, and has the cohesion of a writing community who has been bullied, lied to, and who have had some of their dreams taken from them by unscrupulous companies who seem to be prey on unsavvy writers. It has grown to a company who has published 36 books since May 2009.
Are you accepting submittals right now?
Yes, but I will no longer read submissions. Don Jacques, president of Az Publishing, will be reading through future submittals. We are making major changes to website which will not be in place until late January. I suggest that any author should be prepared before sending him their submittals with a synopsis, first chapter already edited, an idea of where your target market is, and your contact information. Wait until February to send anything, so the website will be ready to accept the submission. We accept any great fiction story and any non-fiction work that has a book proposal added to the submission. It is no longer just important to know your subject matter, but to have a fresh angle and marketing plan or your book will probably fail in this saturated book marketplace.
This is a toughie, but I'm going to ask it anyway. If you had to choose, which would it be an author or a publisher?
That is a hard question, because I love the feeling I get when a new author holds their book I delivered to them for the first time. I think this is the same feeling that a doctor feels when he/she hands the baby over to the new parents and that child is perfect.
But, first and foremost, I am an author/writer. If I was not a writer, I would not bother to be a publisher. I could not love the process unless I was in the process myself. There are too many people who want to write, but do not have the discipline to follow the rules and go through the process. This is what separates a writer from being an author, and keeps an author from consistently producing and selling their books.
Now that's what I call a good answer! OK, so in your opinion what's the best and worst part of being a writer?
Best part is when the book comes off the press for the first time. You check that all the fingers and toes are there first, and then just bask in that feeling on completion.
Worst part – Is when you aren’t making time to write regularly so start writing very long emails. The creative stuff seeps out somehow.
Also hate making edits form the printed manuscript to the computer version because it takes so much time. Understand that I do this several times before I even give the manuscript to the editor. If I have to read chapter 1 one more time for “Time Conquers All” I think I will learn to hate that story!
What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?
Mornings for articles and marketing pieces. After 10pm for fiction books. Yes, it does matter. Articles take clarity of thought that you get early in the morning. Where books, especially fiction which takes long stretches of creative flow, which mainly happens for me after 10pm.
Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?
All on the computer. I have been a graphic designer for about 20 years so the computer is a natural extension of my creativity. I may write notes, research ideas, or even write out the occasional scene on paper, but only if I can’t get to a computer. It just comes out of me easier that way and then I don’t have to take the time to type it later.
What/who do you draw inspiration from?
Lately the inspiration has been coming from my writing partner, Donald Jacques, who either offers a kernel of an idea or I come up with the kernel and then we are off into a brainstorming session that lasts hours. We both thrive on these sessions for books we are working on together and those we are writing for ourselves, but the combined creative energy helps us move the story forward or make it into much more than it started.
Earlier you mentioned a near death experience. Can you talk about that? How did that inspire you to write?
It was in 2003, when I went to get a simple operation and came home with a surgical infection that after several hospital visits, continued to grow and nearly took my life four months later. I was in the hospital 4 times that year for what should have been a fairly routine operation. When I came out of this alive and without any further major setbacks, I came across that story I had started over a decade earlier. It was time to write that story!
After any near death experience, your life never stays the same. I sat down and wrote for six months, that 296,000 words that have become “Time Conquers All”, “Rescue In Time” and “Battle for Time”. Then, I planned out a 14-book synopsis write up. I know where the series is going and who is telling what story.
Along with this revelation that I needed to tell these stories and many more to come, I also knew my husband at the time, was not up for the future I knew I needed to explore, so my marriage ended as well. Near death experiences drive home messages that you would not have listened to otherwise. I had gotten a message, that it was not my time to go, but that I had not fulfilled my destiny or mission in life. This mission has included writing and mentoring others with everything I have learned over these many years.
Do you set yourself goals when you sit down to write such as word count?
My only goal is which story I will work on. I have tried NaNoWriMo in their 50,000 words in the month of November. Out of three different years I tried it, I only made it in the first year. With the first draft of “Time Conquers All” I sat down and wrote 296,000 words in six months, but even that doesn’t quite make that 50,000 words per month. Now, those 296,000 words have been cut into 3 books right now and I will probably be cutting some of book 3 just to get it into a smaller book. Being the publisher, I know how much these books cost. The larger the book in page count, the more it cost and you could charge more, but there is only so much a reader will pay for a book from a relatively new author. There has to be a return on your investment for the author and the book can’t cost more than the market will bear.
What are you working on now that you can talk about?
In my writing, I just published Book 3, “Battle for Time” for the Chasing Time series and my editor is working on book 4, "Spirited Away from Time". Also have Book 5 and 6 I'm writing; another new western paranormal serial called, "Resurrection at Salvation Springs"; and other short fiction collaborations.
To see what I have planned for the Chasing Time Series, please visit my website:
The hardest part of being an author and a publisher is how much time I work with other authors on their projects compared to working on my own projects. It is a balancing act that I still don’t have control over yet.
How do/did you deal with rejection letters?
I am probably lucky in a way because most of the rejection letters I received were personally, handwritten notes rather than the standard rejection letter. Those are no help at all because they don’t allow you to understand why they rejected the manuscript. However, I do have one tip to impart to others, watch where the agent or editor left your story. Did they make notes or check marks on any sections or leave the manuscript turned to a particular page. Look for these clues and you may find where your story was either strong or weak.
So, how I dealt with rejection is that I tried to learn something from it instead of fretting too long on the rejection itself. Authors don’t handle rejection well mainly because to us the creation means so much to us. With fiction writers, even more so, because we put pieces of ourselves into the story or the characters.
Do you have a critique partner?
I used to have a critique group which I highly suggest for any writer, but now have Don, my writing muse and my editor, Linda Blazier, who takes a much deeper interest in the stories than most editors.
I do suggest at least one, but preferably several FIRST READERS, when your manuscript is raw, who helps you hammer out plot issues. A critique group could do this for you, but be prepared to do the same for everyone else in your group. It is a collaborative effort to be in a critique group.