Monday, October 31, 2011

Kat Heckenbach: Author, Mom, Educator, Artist (not necessarily in that order)

One of my favorite people in speculative fiction circles is author Kat Heckenbach. I got to know Kat a little better while we were both contributors over at The New Authors Fellowship, from which we have both recently graduated due to our publication contracts. Kat has always been a huge supporter of my writing and art, so I wanted to take some time to introduce her to you, the CotC community. I hope you enjoy her little visit with us, and if you do, be sure to check out her debut novel: Finding Angel.

So relax and enjoy this little interview with Kat...

Me:  To break the ice a little here, why don’t you introduce yourself? I’m sure readers would be interested to hear what you consider significant enough about yourself to mention after the words, “Hi, I’m Kat Heckenbach and…” (Just imagine we’re all sitting around someone’s living room at the beginning of meeting with a brand new small group or something.)

Kat: Hi, I’m Kat Heckenbach and I really stink at introducing myself :P. Okay, okay. I’m a homeschooling mom (2 kids), artist (mostly pencil drawing), writer (weird stuff), fantasy and sci-fi lover (just look at my bookshelf and DVD case), Harry Potter obsessed (yes, I have a wand), Trekkie (my dog is named Dax), and Dr. Whovian (yes, I own a sonic screwdriver).

Me: So, writing and homeschooling…how is that treating you?

Kat: I honestly have no idea how I could write if I wasn’t homeschooling. Seems like homeschooling would leave me less time to write—with all that preparation and such—but I truly need the flexibility. And a benefit I didn’t see coming is how it cements in my kids’ heads that writing means something to me. They see me working at it. It’s part of our day, and they get just as excited about my writing as I do.

Me:    Your portfolio of artwork seems to favor insects. Beetles mostly. What can you tell us about the source of your interest in the six legged creatures of the world?

Kat: I have no idea why I am so fascinated with beetles. They just seem to always draw my attention when I am at museums. The incredible variety, the iridescent colors. Some of them look like they are made out of metal! I’ve only recently gotten into drawing them, though. I guess the variety of species, shapes, patterns, etc., lends itself to creativity.

Me:  If you had the power to will one change on the publishing world, what would it be?

Kat: Oh, wow. Good question! And if you had asked me a couple of years ago I probably would have griped about trying to get someone to read my actual manuscript without it being rejected based on a query letter. Now, though, I’ve got some experience working with a small press and have seen more from the “other side.” I think at this point it would be to make bookstores more open to putting books from small presses on the shelves.

Me: What have some of the highlights been of having Finding Angel on the market and available to readers?

Kat: Getting reviews from people who are reading it as an actual book, not a manuscript in progress. That’s been cool. It really is different when someone I don’t know personally loves what I’m writing. And having friends and family see that what I’m doing is “real.” Not just a dream, but an actual accomplishment.

Me:     Being a published author, a mom, a full-time educator (and whatever other super identities I don’t even know you have) must force you to leave some things undone. If you have to let something slide to the bottom of the to-do list, what is most likely to end up there and why?

Kat: Cooking. Always cooking. I’d never cook if it was up to me!

Me: Who is your greatest supporter as you pursue the life of an author?

Kat: That’s actually a hard one. I have a very supportive family. My mom, my dad, my husband, my kids, my brother, my in-laws—they are all supportive. I think I am most grateful, though, of my husband’s support. He watches the kids so I can go to writers meetings and such. And even though he’s not much of a fiction reader, so he really doesn’t quite “get” why I’m doing all this, he’s backed me 100%.

Me: Tell us about your relationship with your publisher Splashdown. Any surprises as you’ve worked with them?

Kat: The whole experience has been one surprise after another! I had no idea what to expect from working with a small publisher. But it’s been awesome. Grace Bridges is wonderful, and the whole group of authors work really well together as a team. We brainstorm back cover blurbs and such for each other, and everyone is respectful of each other’s suggestions. I will admit, I love the creative pow-wows Grace and I have when it comes to cover art. We seem to totally connect most of the time and it’s ridiculously fun. Those moments of, “What if we….?” followed by, “Oh, yes, that’s brilliant!” happen a lot—in both directions. There have been far too many for me to doubt I’m in the right place.

Me: What other projects do you have in the works right now, whether in an active phase or on the back burner?

Kat: I’m working on three projects right now. A novella—ghost story—that will be part of a multi-author anthology, a paranormal thriller with a (gasp!) romance-ish angle, and of course the sequel to Finding Angel. The ghost story has a deadline (that is creeping up far too quickly), but bets are on as to which of the other two I finish first…

Me: Where can we read stuff you’ve written? How about see stuff you’ve drawn?

Kat: The easiest place to find all the links to my short stories is my website, There are links to online stories, as well as links to Amazon for the print anthologies that contain my stories.

My artwork is kind of spread out. I’ve got drawings on the covers of several Splashdown books, including Finding Angel J. The others are Caprice Hokstad’s The Duke’s Handmaid (the key) and Nor Iron Bars a Cage (the shackles), and the upcoming covers of Fred Warren’s The Muse and The Seer (the sword on both). For my beetle art, the best place is my Zazzle store at Other work can be found posted on my website, or in the photos section of my Facebook author page at

Thanks a million for sharing your world with us, Kat! I pray the Lord will bless your work and use it to form great relationships with people you never imagined you'd touch. And thanks to you, readers, for visiting. If you or someone you know is looking for a great read for a younger reader (or a young-at-heart reader) don't miss Finding Angel.

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Thanks to Kat Heckenbach and a Promotion

An Interview with a Fellow Author

In case you don't spend time around my facebook page, here is a link to my latest author interview. I wanted to specifically thank Kat Heckenbach, author of Finding Angel, for her great questions and willingness to host me. I hope you enjoy the interview, and that you'll stop back this coming Sunday for an interview I did with Kat.

Thanks for all your support in this first week of The Windrider's availability to the public.

Also, comment if you're interested: I am willing to create three original sketches of Vinyanel or scenes from Divine Summons for three lucky people who contact me and post an Amazon review of the book. The first three I hear from are the lucky bunch. :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My First Interview

Interview with Bryan Thomas Schmidt

As a part of the book release extravaganza, Diminsihed Media author Bryan Thomas Schmidt was kind enough to offer me an interview and post it today. I hope you'll drop in, comment, and ask questions if Bryan didn't ask something you want to know!

Thanks for your continued encouragement.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Link List

Huzzah! What a surprise that my first publication went "live" on B&N and Amazon a day early. How often does that happen?

Well, if you are in the mood just to smile with me and see the book actually for sale on the internet (or maybe you even want to pull out a dollar and get a copy of your own) you can do so here:

The Windrider 1, Divine Summons for Kindle

Get it here on Nook!

Thanks, all of you, who have been such a great support...and thanks in advance to all of you who purchase a copy and support small publishing!


Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Unveiling

With the release of my debut ebook, The Windrider: Book 1, Divine Summons looming on the horizon, it is with great pleasure I unveil to you, my most stalwart friends, the cover art for first of an intended series.

Illustrator Christina Hess created the illustration for this cover, and I could not be more thrilled with her execution of the concept. I am deeply thankful for her willingness to help me establish a top-notch brand for my fantasy writing.

There's not much else to say, since I think the image speaks for itself. If you want to take a look at some of Christina's other beautiful artwork, visit her site at

And just as a reminder, the tale of Captain Vinyanel Ecleriast's exploits will be available for Kindle, Nook, and at Smashwords this coming Tuesday, October 25th. The book will start out at the bargain price of just  99 cents, but that price won't last forever. Links forthcoming...

 Your support of independent artists and small publishing is invaluable!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Unicorn drawing for "Wish Wary"  
Attention fantasy and science fiction fans. Good news! Digital Dragon Magazine is now back up and kickin' after a little hiatus this summer. As the story goes, apparently there were some technical implosions assaulting the powers that be over there, but now those are rectified, and the magazine is live once more.

Of course, the timing is especially advantageous to me, since I have a story and an interview in this new issue, mostly owing to DDM's parent company (Diminished Media Group's) intent to release the first of two ebook compilations of my Windrider serial fiction in just 10 short days!

This image you see here is the artwork I provided to DDM "in the raw," before they added the finishing touches in order to use it as the issue's cover. I think it turned out pretty snazzy, if I may say so myself.

So, if you have a chance, please stop by Digital Dragon and show your appreciation for the work they are doing over there. The more folks support their endeavors, the better a foothold they can get in the market, and the more authors like me will have a chance at their work seeing publication. Sounds good to me. :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Confessions of a Blog Slacker

Yes, I have to admit...I have been sorely neglectful of this blog space. My number of posts as of late ( plus my statistics) bear testimony to that fact. As much as I wish I could say that's because I've been lounging under an umbrella somewhere sunny while I gorged myself on bon bons, that's not the case. It has more to do with the collision of my new job, the beginning of the school year, the push to finish the second Windrider book, and all those other "life things" that come up. Thankfully, I can say that all of the above appear to be going or have gone quite well.

The reality of just how close my work "going public" is has suddenly become more sobering today, as I got my edited version of The Windrider, Divine Summons, back from the realm of edits today. The heat is on for me to check it over for any last jots or tittles out of place before it gets formatted for Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords. While I'm excited about the release that's looming, there's also that whispering sense of. "Oh, shoot. Now people have plenty of opportunity to say my stuff stinks!"

But that's what I signed up for with this author gig, right? After all, there are people out there who say Hemingway, Tolstoy, and Dickens stink. If I could even stink as much as Dan Brown, I think I'd have no room for complaint. ;)

I just ask you bear with me for another couple of weeks while I'm still an active member over at New Author's Fellowship. After that, this will be my main arena for touching base with those faithful who drop by, so you'll see the activity pick up here again. Dare I promise? I probably should, since the very act will pressure me into keeping my word.

In the meantime, keep your eyes open for more specifics (like links) about where you'll be able to get your own e-copy of the Windrider Saga. I'm looking forward to seeing how it all comes together, and saying a little prayer nobody tears it apart if it doesn't deserve it.  (And by the way, if you want to provide an objective review, let me know. I need some advance readers to have comments ready as close to the release date as possible!)