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Friday, February 26, 2010

PHANTASM FRIDAY

Please help me welcome T.M. Hunter into the moonlight today! Mr. Hunter is the author of the Aston West series, and Aston just happens to be a space pirate! To learn more about Aston West, visit Mr. Hunter’s website here: http://astonwest.com/

~~~~~

GM: Do you have any Valentine’s Day traditions like watching a Lifetime Channel movie marathon, spending the day with your significant other, writing, etc.? Do you have a favorite movie that you love to watch or a book you like to read on Valentine’s Day? Is there any movie or book that you’ve saved for this time of year? If so, what’s the title?

TMH: Generally, I take my wife out to dinner (and sometimes a movie) for Valentine’s Day. Her birthday’s around that same time, so usually a gift as well. She usually reminisces about the Valentine’s Day when we were first dating and I took her out while suffering from pneumonia. Good times!


GM: Many of us feel that Valentine’s Day is just one more day that has been overly commercialized and isn’t something that should only be celebrated once a year, but at least once a day. What was the most romantic gift you’ve ever received, when did you receive it and who was it from?

TMH: Being a guy, I’m not sure there have been too many romantic gifts given to me personally, and never on Valentine’s Day itself. Technically, I do get really excited when handling the power tools I’ve received from my wife on various other holidays, and my mouth can’t stop drooling over steaks (which sometimes comes into play for the Valentine’s dinner, though I normally pay for those myself). Do those count?


GM: Since this is the time of year when many people (teens included) feel the need to find a significant other, what suggestion(s) do you have for our readers as to what trait(s) should be added to their list?

TMH: Try to find someone who has similar traits and tastes as you do, in terms of personality, likes and dislikes, education, income potential, etc. Though it may seem dull and boring not to introduce natural conflict into a relationship (and the spice it brings), it’s going to be a more pleasant experience in the long run.


GM: There are many relationship superstitions out there such as, “rain on your wedding day is bad luck,” are you superstitious when it comes to love or relationships? Why or why not? If so, what superstitions do you believe have merit?

TMH: I don’t generally hold superstitions of any type in much regard (a side-effect of the logical engineer mindset I have). That being said, I do subscribe to the notion that a couple will always migrate to the “lowest common denominator.” For example, if two people have completely different financial outlooks (one being a tightwad and the other a spender) the relationship’s financial behaviors will gradually migrate toward the LCD (or the spender, in this case).


GM: Do you believe in ghosts? Do you believe in the power of love? If so, do you think that love can exist beyond this life and carry over into the next or has the power to keep a soul attached to the mortal coil never to cross over? Do you believe that ghosts have the ability to effect humans in a sexual manner?

TMH: I don’t believe in ghosts, but I do believe in an afterlife where love exists. If ghosts really do exist and can influence humans sexually, then I really want to know what’s holding them up...


GM: Please tell us, if you have any, 3 funny, strange or silly things that happened to you, or someone you know, on past Valentine’s Days. Any rendezvous fiascos that you now find humorous to tell? Have they ever been inspiration for some hi-jinks in your stories? Which ones? (Sharing may help others not feel so bad if it happened to them, as the saying goes, “misery loves company”)

TMH: As I mentioned, went out sick as a dog for Valentine’s Day when my wife and I were first dating. In fact, I could barely eat any of my dinner and am pretty sure what little I did eat (Mediterranean) was the main reason I puked when I got home. Even through all of that, my wife still ended up marrying me.

Though not Valentine’s-related, it was pretty comical when my wife and I first met. Though all the rage today, we actually first met on the internet. While I was off work (due to the workplace being flooded out for a week), we decided to meet at a local mall. She decided upon meeting me that I was too young for us to date, but we could be friends. A year-and-a-half later, we were married. Go figure.

And since I have no other Valentine stories, I’ll continue this tale by mentioning that meeting strangers off the internet is a scary situation. My wife’s sister arranged to call her during our meeting, to make sure I wasn’t an axe murderer. When she called, my wife accidentally hit the wrong button and shut off the phone. Hilarity ensued.

Did I mention we were married a year-and-a-half later?


GM: For years, romance readers have experienced flack from non-romance readers saying or implying, “that’s just porn for women.” What can you say that might help non-romance readers understand the current essence of the romance genre?

TMH: Porn is porn and romance is romance, and if you (as a reader) can’t discern the difference between the two, then you really need to get out more. Use visual aids. Really. Multiple times, if necessary.


GM: Now, let’s get to your writing, Mr. Hunter…What genre is your work considered to be? Why this genre? What was the draw for you?

TMH: I write mostly in science fiction, technically in the sub-genre of space opera (or as I like to refer to it, science fiction for the rest of us). I enjoy the freedom that comes with the creation of new worlds and new beings, and there’s nothing finer than men and women with ray guns in too much leather. I like space opera over hard (not to be confused with erotic) sci-fi because it’s more character and plot-driven, and not so focused on the technical side of things.


GM: If you could describe your writing with a word or phrase, what would it be? Please be creative and delve into the core of your writing to tell us what word or phrase you want readers to take with them when they've finished reading your story.

TMH: In a phrase, chock full of sarcastic brilliance. Or if that seems a bit too egotistical, fun romps through the depths of space.


GM: Do you prefer romantic gifts (flowers, chocolate, jewelry, etc.) or romantic acts (massages, dinners, fun night out, etc.)? Does that show through in your writing? If so, how?

TMH: Romantic acts. That wouldn’t show through my writing because I’m sure that would confuse those non-romance readers who confuse porn with romance.


GM: What school of thought are you when it comes to romance, love at first sight or that love takes time? Does this show through in your writing? If so, how?

TMH: I think we’re destined for lust at first sight, but true love takes time and patience. I imagine it probably does show in my writing. One of my major characters, a space pirate named Aston West, is always lusting after some random woman he’s just met. But his true escapades into love will come from a long-term relationship which develops over time.


GM: When reading stories, many of us find secondary characters to be as interesting as or more interesting than the main characters. Are there any secondary characters that you plan on giving their own story? Or any that readers have requested have their own story? Are any of them your favorites? Why?

TMH: Indeed, secondary characters are great fodder for stories, and in fact I’ve already created stories which feature them. Aston West is my major character, and appears in most of my stories. However, I’ve had one story published which is completely from the point of his (feminine) ship’s computer. Three others are in the process of submission which focus on one of the women who won’t be getting any Valentine’s Day cards from Aston any time in the future (she did try to arrest him in one of my stories, after all). And I have several stories in the queue which focus on various characters from Aston’s travels.


GM: Of all of your heroes, who would you say is the most romantic and why?

TMH: I’d say Aston West, my major character. He’s the man my female readers (and heck, most of my readers) love the most, because he’s just so good at being so bad. At least until he has no choice but to be good, that is.


GM: Of all of your heroes, who would you say is the least romantic and why?

TMH: Since there aren’t that many heroes I have to choose from, I’d likely choose the female character I mentioned in the question just above. Trying not to give anything…including her name…away (and if you want to avoid the spoiler, head on over to http://astonwest.com/ right now and check out my short story “Entrapment”), she’s manipulative, abusive and downright despicable at times. But she does put Aston in handcuffs the first time they meet, so maybe she does have a romantic streak in her after all...



BLURB:

Aston West was condemned to life on the prison planet Lycus IV for spitting in a man’s face. Being forced to reside with the likes of murderers and thieves, he owes his freedom to Lars and Elijah Cassus, who orchestrated an escape. Now the twin brothers call in the favor and force his return to Lycus IV with their team to rescue crewmate Leah Jordan.


EXCERPT:

Even in the depth of my nightmares, Lycus IV was a formidable hell. The scenery misled one to think of mighty grandeur. Lush green trees lined the banks. Sporadic cloud cover offered broken views of a pale blue mountain range.

This prison planet’s terror was not found in its natural surroundings, but from its unwilling inhabitants.

A wide, slow-moving river flowed in front of me over a deep bed of rocks. My filthy clothing was ripped and shredded, and exposed bloody skin. I gazed back across the clear, inviting water.

A bellow filled the air and I turned. A pale, naked giant rumbled through the brush, still yelling at the top of his lungs. High above his head, he gripped his makeshift mallet, a boulder strapped into the fork of a tree branch. I jumped aside as the weapon crashed down.

He stared with one wide eye and the other glazed over. Saliva dribbled from his lips.

“I am King of the wooded realm! You dare invade my territory?”

This wasn’t a fight I planned to stick around for. Psychotics were the worst type of violent.

He hoisted his club and swung it at me. I stumbled back and it came so close I felt the breeze. I turned toward the opposite bank and sprinted across the riverbed.

“Your punishment is death! Vengeance is demanded!”

I high-stepped through calf-deep water while the beast screamed bloody murder. I dared not look back, because there was no doubt he gained on me with every step.

My foot caught a cluster of rocks under the surface and I splashed down, drenched by the cool, clear water. I flipped over and faced my attacker as he left me in a cold, dark shadow. Milky-white foam oozed over his lower lip.

“Prepare to meet your maker!”

He raised the mallet high above his head. At least death would be quick, but I couldn’t say much for painless. I closed my eyes and waited for the crushing blow.

A whistle filled the air and the giant beast gasped and choked. My eyes flashed open as the beast dropped his weapon into the river behind him.

Only one object stood between me and oblivion, a homemade arrow buried in his neck. He couldn’t pull it from the front, so reached back. His mind gave up hope as soon as his fingers probed the stone tip. The monster’s eyes rolled up out of the way, then his body fell backward.

The corpse splashed down and huge waves rolled past me. I scrambled around and gazed at the opposite bank. There, a bow in his left hand and more arrows strapped to his back, stood the man who’d just saved my life.

Elijah Cassus.

22 Moonbeams (comments):

AstonWest said...

Greetings and good morning, everyone! I'll be heading off to work in a few, but please leave questions, comments and anything else you'd like to say here. I'll be sure to get back to them later this afternoon.

And as an extra special incentive, I'll be giving away a pair of free print copies of my latest book, FRIENDS IN DEED, to two lucky commenters. The first will be completely random, chosen from all comments posted. The second will be chosen by me, based on my favorite comment, whether it be a question or otherwise.

So, glad you stopped by and make sure to comment to enter the contest!

MetaLeath said...

Did someone say free print copy?

Interview was awesome and lovely!
Aston must be real hero then? :D
*joins the contest*

victoria roder said...

You said, true love takes time and patience...you are a romantic! I enjoyed your interview.

Nan D Arnold said...

Loved the interview, it's great to get a guy's perspective on V-Day. Book sounds great.
Best
Nan

AstonWest said...

Thanks everyone! You're all entered to win! Glad you enjoyed the interview!

Angie said...

Loved the interview. I laughed at the Valentines story and how you met your wife. Though I already own an e-book of Friends in Deed, I'm secretly hoping to win a print copy too. :)

AstonWest said...

Consider yourself entered! A print copy is always good (and also comes signed, which is hard to do with an e-book... ;-P ).

Good luck!

clairewhill said...

Loved the interview, it's great to find out a bit more information about such a great author :-) Keep well, see you on Twitter.

AstonWest said...

You're entered!

If you enjoy interviews, I've done several. Most of which can be found over at my blog, in those bookbuzzr widgets at the top (that take a rather long time to load, unfortunately).

clairewhill said...

Thanks hon, I'll take a wander over and read them.

AstonWest said...

Glad to hear it...and now, I must take off for dinner, but I shall return later this evening to catch up on all of the entries.

Jason Grantz said...

Great Job! Good excert can't wait to read the whole thing. Maybe I'll win a copy?

AstonWest said...

Quite possible...you're entered now. ;-)

Good luck!

Gracen Miller said...

Thanks so much for joining us today! It was a joy to see romance through a man's eyes. It gave me some insight into how my husband might think. lol

Loved how you described your writing by the way. I didn't find anything egotistical about it and thought it was a fantastic description!

Best of luck with your books. I'm intrigued and I love characters that are so good at being bad. They're so much fun!

~huggles~
Gracen

AstonWest said...

Glad you enjoyed it! I was hoping a few more folks would show up, but that's okay. In about 15 minutes, I'll be picking the winner. Stay tuned!

Which brings about an interesting sidebar...does the interviewer get entered into the contest? Hmmm... :-)

Gracen Miller said...

LOL No, the interviewer does not get entered into the contest. That so wouldn't be fair to the readers that show up. =)

AstonWest said...

Well, that's a bummer!

And by my computer's clock, it's now currently 12:00AM, which means that the contest is now officially over.

Now, anyone who has followed me for very long knows how I normally run contests when I have only a few entries. And those who haven't followed me long enough are about to get surprised.

I changed my mind on giving out two copies.

Instead, all of the commenters here in the thread are going to receive their very own print copy of FRIENDS IN DEED.

I really hate leaving anyone out unless I really and truly have to.

So, if all of you commenters would please send me someplace to send the book to, to engrboy (@) msn (.) com, I can get your free copy in the mail (Jason, if you'd rather pick it up in person, let me know...).

Congratulations, everyone!

And for those who missed this opportunity by not commenting, neener neener neener... :-P

AstonWest said...

Oh, and to avoid the possibility of getting trapped in a spam deletion, make sure to include an appropriate subject line ("FID Contest Winner" would work)...

Gracen Miller said...

Congrats to everyone!!!

I'm headed off to bed, but in the morning, I'll post the winners under the "Contest Winners" section just in case anyone didn't click the button to receive follow up e-mails.

Again, it was a joy to have you with us! Best of luck with your books and I look forward to reading them.

~huggles~
Gracen

Tami said...

I guess that's what I get for being late on reading things....JK!

Thanks tons for opening up for us in the interview - you are a hoot - but I knew that already didn't I?

T

AstonWest said...

I have my moments, Tami...from time to time. ;-)

Angelica Hart and Zi said...

We're late...we're late...but we just had to read your interview, and we certainly weren't disappointed. We totally enjoyed it. Our fav response was "In a phrase, chock full of sarcastic brilliance. Or if that seems a bit too egotistical, fun romps through the depths of space." Perfectly said!