Not Your Traditional Book Club

Guest post by David Lowry



Have you ever been so busy that you don’t have time to attend every book club function you want? Do you love to read but haven’t in a while and don’t even know where to begin when looking for a new book? Do you like fantasy, science fiction, paranormal, erotica or anything in between? Do you want to find others that like the same types of books you do or discover new authors?

If so then Club Fantasci is the book club for you.  A little different from your average meet once a month at the coffee shop book club, Club Fantasci meets once a month on Google+ and we talk about the Book of the Month, Wine of the Month and the music that each host feels best relates to the book we are reviewing that month.


In Club Fantasci we will discuss speculative fiction and it literary merits. The marketing of it, its effectiveness, and whether or not it shifts to much from it expected outcome from it genre. We wants to bring our members a deeper understanding of not just story telling, but what goes into the book itself on every level.

Our first Google+ hangout is August 31st at 7:00 pm CST. You can interact with us on our individual twitter accounts @lowryagency, @ciaraballintyne, @dionnelister and @ShannonMillion to discuss your views on the book or just to have fun with us live. The video feed will be live on the Club Fantasci website.

More about the club:

Club Fantasci is a book club taking the stigma out of speculative fiction. We want to expose you to the full gamut of the speculative fiction genre, including science fiction, hard SF, militaristic SF, high/epic fantasy, dark fantasy, dystopian, cyberpunk, steampunk, space opera, paranormal, urban fantasy, SFF romance and erotica, and everything in between.

We want to educate readers on good writing in speculative fiction, entertain with witty banter, and above all have a fantastic time. Fiction need not be literary to be well-written, and good writing need not be boring or mundane! We promise you we’ll do our best to bring you a good book every month, and if not, we’ll tell you why it’s not! For a bit of light fun, we’ll also be featuring a wine of the month and picking a song that best fits the book. So bring your book, keep that wineglass topped up, and don’t forget your i-pod!

Your hosts are David Lowry, Dionne Lister (author of Shadows of the Realm), entertainment personality and model Shannon Million, and Ciara Ballintyne – your resident fantasy writer/lawyer extraordinaire combo!

Club Fantasci is also featuring a ‘Wine of the Month’ – August’s pick is a 2011 ‘Suited Muscat’ from Sort This Out Cellars Winery in Solvang, CA. Club members are entitled to a discount – check out the club website for more information.

You can learn more about us by:

Joining our group on Goo dreads

Liking our Page on Facebook

Checking out our Website


***Thanks so much to David for allowing me to help spread the word!*** 


Meet Mariam!

About a year a ago I met an absolutely wonderful woman and fellow writer on Twitter. Her name? Mariam Kobras. At the time we were both working hard at achieving that dream of seeing our names on the cover of a book. As I got to know Mariam I found a true friend. She is truly inspiring and I’m proud to say she has had the opportunity to see that dream fulfilled.

And now, it is my extreme pleasure to introduce you all to her…

Mariam Kobras

Author of The Distant Shore

Mariam Kobras


Please tell us a little about yourself.

There’s precious little to tell. I’m a housewife and soccer mom. I’ve been married for 32 years (to the same guy). A long time ago, I studied American Literature. I have two (grown) sons and two cats. We live in Hamburg, Germany. It’s a nice place with a lot of water and not too far from the North Sea either!

You are without a doubt a fantastic writer. What prompted you to start putting words on paper? What inspires you?    

 I don’t know about the fantastic writer. A good writer, I hope.

Honestly, I can’t tell you what inspired me, or prompted me to start writing. In hindsight, I’d say it was always there, like.another limb, or a dormant organ. One that remained unused for most of my life and then, when the time was right, started its work. Now it’s pumping away healthily. It’s young and strong, and will keep me going for a long time I think.

Your characters, are they based on people in your life or do you think them up as you write?

There is something of me in Jon, and in Naomi. The others are all made up.

You see, Jon has this enormous drive to be creative. He works hard at his composing; he is a slave to it. He also has the need to tell the world about it, to take his music to the people. At one point he says that his songs would be useless if there was no audience. I have that drive too, and I believe every creative person knows what I mean. Getting the feedback of an audience, whether listeners or readers, is like getting vindication for your work.

Naomi, on the other hand, drops her writing on paper as if it means nothing, it comes to her easily. She does not value her gift. She is uncertain about it, and thinks it’s nothing special, while everyone else raves about it. She has a very hard time accepting herself as an author.

I’m both! There’s an enormous drive to be successful, to be a bestselling author, and yet, at the same time, I find it hard to believe anyone would want to read my book.

Do you ever find yourself falling into each role as your story progresses? How do you personally handle the life challenges they go through, i.e. births, deaths, marriages…etc?

I’ll tell you a little secret: I write best when I’m in a REALLY good mood. When I’m exuberant. That’s when I wrote the saddest scenes in my book. I wrote them and hummed along as the blood flowed over the pavement. I don’t fall into the roles. It’s more like sitting on the character’s shoulders, watching them very, very closely. I’m really good at observing and analyzing, I think.

Endings tend to be difficult. How do you decide when to pull the curtain, so to speak?

The Distant Shore

I don’t. The story does. It’s something like coming full circle, ending where you started, only with everything changed. I have no idea. It’s instinct. The story ends when it feels right.

Once your novel was complete how important were Beta readers to you? Did you have an editing partner? Are you a part of a critique group?

There are a few friends on twitter who read my books as I write them. But generally, I’m a lonely writer. Writing The Distant Shore was pretty much a guilty secret. I didn’t tell anyone until it was almost finished. No critique group, no readers, no editing partner.

Now, of course, everything is different. I’ve found the best editing partner I can imagine at my publisher’s. She’s MaryChris Bradley. I’m sometimes tempted to not even read through her editing because she “gets” me so well, I can hardly see where my writing ends and her editing starts. It’s miraculous. And it makes me feel very comfortable with my publisher.

You’ve found yourself in the very position every writer dreams of; aspiring writer to published author. If you wouldn’t mind, please tell us about your journey and what’s in store for you and your fans next.

First of all, I really hate that word “aspiring”. If you write, you’re a writer. End of story. You may not be an AUTHOR yet, because for that you have to be published, but you are definitely a writer. So please, everyone, kick that “aspiring”.

My story is pretty simple, and told in a few words: I wrote The Distant Shore during the long, boring hours I spent supervising the detention room at the high school where I was working. I’d met my publisher, Buddhapuss Ink, on twitter a while earlier, and when I posted page 99 of my book on my blog they requested a full manuscript. A few months later they signed me.

The Distant Shore was published in the US on January 17th. A week before that, Buddhapuss offered me a new two-book deal for book 2 and book 3 of the trilogy, which I signed, of course.

My next book, Under the Same Sun, has been announced for September. I’m hoping the third book, Song of the Storm, will release in Spring 2013.

Aside from your career as an author, being a mother and a wife, what is one thing you would like the public to know about you?

Ha, I don’t know. Maybe that I hate housecleaning? That I like to sleep, and usually sleep ten hours every night?

Oh, here’s one thing: I can’t wait to go on my next book tour! I ADORE doing book tours! Love talking to my readers, love meeting them! It’s fun!

Any advice for aspiring writers? 

ARGH!!! Again that “aspiring”!

My publisher has some good advice for writers: “Butt in chair. Write!”

And they are right, it’s really the only advice needed. Don’t talk about your writing, don’t spend too much time on drafting and plotting, WRITE. Like they say, “Just do it!”

This was the eighth stop on Mariam’s “Love is in the Air” Blog Hop & Giveaway. We hope you enjoyed this interview and will join us tomorrow on Like a Bump on a Blog for a review of The Distant Shore.

Buddhapuss Ink is giving away copies of Mariam’s book, along with some pretty terrific (and very romantic) gifts, as we count down to that most romantic day of the year—Valentine’s!

Want to enter the giveaway?

Leave a comment for this post for one entry. We also encourage you to “Like” this blog and follow it! Tweet a link to this blog including the hashtag #TDSBlogHop for another chance to win.

Want more chances to win? CLICK HERE for all the info!