In some ways it's my fault, 
But mostly it's not. 
Mostly to blame is 
The place I grew up. 

The people around me 
All had their own plans 
Of ambitious, intelligent 
Goals to demand. 

Their agendas were based on 
Best interests of course, 
And they'd never imagine 
My deeds were all forced. 

But they wouldn't accept 
The ways I liked to think, 
And when I tried to explain it, 
Their smiles would sink. 

Because who wants a daughter 
With no career map? 
With nothing but fanciful dreams to unwrap? 
A girl whose big goal is to lay on a boat 
And wander through ghost towns in places remote? 
This starry-eyed wanderer will fall off track 
And lose the potential that others have lacked. 
So don't let distractions veer her away 
From the future we know she deserves to display. 

So I stood in line 
And followed their minds, 
Resisted in ways that I could all the time, 
But the days were so few 
When I felt like me, 
And I had to give up on poetry. 

I hope you can forgive me, 
I found it again, 
After decades of starving myself from the pen. 
My case is hopeless. 
I'll never be cured 
From the sordid temptation of toying with words. 

But it won't disappoint you 
That I'm a lost cause, 
That I couldn't stick to societal laws, 
For now I'm worth seeing, 
Now I can feel 
My spirit untethered, untamed and unreal, 
And I'm here to show you, 
I'm here to be 
A screaming example of one who broke free.

Interview with Author C.T. Phipps

C.T. Phipps is a lifelong student of horror, science fiction, and fantasy. An avid tabletop gamer, he discovered this passion led him to write and turned him into a lifelong geek.

How has your writing process evolved over the years?

It has benefited tremendously from practice, practice, practice. I have learned to recognize a lot of my weaknesses and work to compensate for them. I also have managed to really make a bunch of little 'rules' for myself that help me understand what I want from chapters, book size, and plotting. I've also become much better at self-editing.

Really, though, the fundamentals of telling the stories I want to write have remained. At the end of the day, while your craft improves, the heart of an author is that they have a story they want to tell. There's still many stories I want to tell about my casts of characters and I probably could spend the rest of my life writing books about the ones I've created so far alone.

You have a lot of series under your belt. How do you decide what to write next?

My secret is that I follow my inspiration. The best advice I can give an author is that they should write what they feel like writing and worry about what will sell or finishing their existing projects later. Mind you, that resulted in me starting perhaps more series than is healthy to create. However, it has made the process a lot easier than if I was trying to force it. I write what I would like to read myself.

My most recent release is a bit of a cheat in its the collected omnibus edition of my AGENT G novels with an additional short story.

The Agent G series is about the titular character who is an assassin working for the International Refugee Society (which doesn't do anything for refugees). His memory was wiped and he was cybernetically enhanced by his employers but G supposedly will regain his past if he serves them for ten years. Our (anti)hero doesn't believe they'll honor this deal, though. It follows his attempts to get out from under their thumb as well as how the world changes from one similar to ours to a cyberpunk dystopia. Really, I think the trilogy of novels (Infiltrator, Saboteur, and Assassin) work better as one big novel than three individual short ones.

What does a typical work day look like for you?

Eat. Sleep. Play with Dogs. Write. Repeat. Haha. No, that's not entirely accurate. My work day is nothing special, though. I just sit down at my desk and try to write what I can. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. The success is not important, though, so much as making time. As long as you have a quiet space to work out your thoughts then you have a chance to get at least a little out onto the screen. One of the handiest tools I got during my early writing days was Nanowrite that explained, roughly, you didn't have to write a lot. You just had to write consistently and I think that's a basic habit every writer should pick up.

Tell me about one or two of your favorite characters you created.

I'm a huge fan of Agent G and he's one of my characters that has undergone the biggest arcs from where he originally began. The character began as a cold, almost psychotic assassin who was quite content with his life of murder as well as riches. Watching him deal with developing empathy for his targets as well as discovering his origins was an interesting trip. It's not so much that G becomes a better person, though he does (a little), but that the rest of the world becomes so much worse and our protagonist has a few lines he won't cross.

Another character I'm very fond of from the same series is Marissa Sanchez. I don't want to spoil much of her but G's hacker friend is ten different layers of secrets.

For a first-time reader interested in your books, where would you recommend they start and why?

I'm currently having a sale on the first novel, Infiltrator.

If you're not sure about the AGENT G omnibus, certainly you can try the first book out for yourself. I also think the audiobook version, as narrated by Jeffrey Kafer, is extremely good.

If you have interests other than sci-fi and enjoy a good laugh, I also recommend my Supervillainy Saga series that opens with the Rules of Supervillainy (also on sale).

That follows Gary Karkofsky a.k.a Merciless: The Supervillain without MercyTM. A ordinary guy who finds a magic cloak in a superhero filled world and decides that it means great power as well as great irresponsibility. But is he evil enough to be a true villain?

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Author Page

Interview with Author Alexzander Christion

Crafted and trained in South Florida, Alexzander grew up in sunshine, nice weather, and bad schools. Son of a professional kickboxer and a church choir director, Alexzander had a happy eclectic childhood. A student and lover of music, art, and all things martial, he is a military veteran and an avid anime, comic book, movie, TV, and video game nerd. He received his degree in Film & Video Production, as well as Communications in Frederick, Maryland, where he lives with his wife and three children.

What inspired your world building process? 
I think the trope of making magic ancient, secretive, and rare is outdated. I think anything that exists will eventually find its way to the black market and then the public at large. In my world, magic is as prevalent as electronic technology is in the real world. Just like there is a difference between what the rich and the poor have, the governments and civilians- spells are segregated in my world and ruthlessly enforced. Once I made this decision everything else was just finding the thousands of ways average people would use a levitate spell.  

Who are you writing for and why? 
This is actually the dedication in my book! I write for every nerd like me who repeatedly left the bookstore empty handed. I write books for people who don’t like books. My stories read more like oral campfire tales or action movies. I figure if I’m searching and not finding there has to be others and hopefully enough of us to make a living. 

What do you do to recharge your creative energy? 
I walk away from words. Movies, TV, plays, and video games keep my creativity fueled without feeling like work. Sometimes I find things that never would have crossed my mind but most often I look at what was done and how I would have done it differently and then I’m ready to write again. 

What reactions do you hope to inspire in others? 
I hope to give others the mind altering wanderlust that R.A.Salvatore, Patrick Rothfuss, and Michael J. Sullivan gave me. I remember putting those books down and staring at the wall thinking: I didn’t know books could do that!! I try to subvert tropes, bring a touch of realistic reaction to the fantastic and put something on paper never before seen. Do I always succeed? No lol. But aiming at that goal keeps it as fun for me as the reader. 

Where is your writing taking you? 
I have no idea how to answer this. I’d love to go full time, maybe get to meet some of my heroes but for now my focus is getting in the chair and putting words on the page.  

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