January 2, 2013

Paranormal: Snowflake Girl Squad V #rlfblog

John Steiner, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Let's talk about your book, Snowflake Girl: book two of the Squad V series.
Genre: Paranormal, vampire, action, horror, intrigue, romance
Publisher: Mélange Books
Cover artist: Mae Powers
Length: 114,000
Heat rating: 3
Blurb: Life is tough for a single woman in a new city. Find an apartment, pay bills, hunt for a job and dodge paramilitary vampire hunters. Cecilia Freeland didn't ask for vampirism. All she did was fight to survive. But her life is forever changed. Alienated from society and the law Cecilia has to stay ahead of Squad Five.
What are your main characters' names, ages, and occupations?
Cecilia Freeland: 29 years old, exotic dancer/modern dance.
Lawrence Duran: 29 years old, Squad V combat operator, former U.S. Marine.
Tafua Kalfaolu: 41 years old (est.), Squad V combat operator, former U.S. Army Delta Force
Bertrand Wolfgang Heydrick (Squad V designate, Victor Four, Niner, Seven, Two): 530 years old (est.), Knight, Teutonic Order, Jeweler, White Smith
Russell Stearns: age subject to reader interpretation, Gym Club employee, former history and archeology grad student and collegiate weight lifting team.
Reverend Graves: 90 years old (minimum), Christian minister (indeterminate sect.)
Reverend Wescott: 70 years old (minimum), Christian minister (indeterminate sect.)
Reverend Newman: 50 years old (minimum), Christian minister (indeterminate sect.)
Buy links:
Lulu PDF ebook purchase link: https://www.payloadz.com/cart/default.asp


Tell us about your latest book, including its genre. Does it cross over to other genres? If so, what are they?
I wanted the main character, Cecilia Freeland to be defined as herself first and foremost, rather than half of a relationship. Her story effectively is a true one save for the exaggeration of vampires and related themes. That she was the victim of a physically penetrating attack and that body fluids are involved is intended to capture real life traumas as horrific as any mythical monster might inflict.
While watching the news it occurred to me that certain rape victims were treated accordingly, and others handled as if they were the criminals. Often this came down to the victim’s personal history, income level and, often ethnicity. It struck me that many of these survivors are attacked for having come through alive much less willing to demand justice be done against the assailant. This novel is dedicated to them, who suffer in silence and are told to be quiet when speaking out.
The Squad V series crisscrosses several genres, including vampire, science fiction, military action, paranormal. Snowflake Girl includes a side plot of romance, though its main theme is surviving assault and coping with re-victimization by society and the law.
How do you come up with ideas?
News stories or general social trends triggered much of what happens in the Squad V series. Also, I like to employ real scientific concepts that I find interesting, even amazing. There’s also the guilty pleasure of posing tough questions and challenging assumptions.
What is the single most important part of writing for you?
To see the scene or whole story in my head, and bring to readers what I think might be missing from a particular genre.
What is the most important thing you do for your career?
I let my mind wander and frequently.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
Much of my work includes thought experiments and the fusion of many ideas, including concepts people don’t normally associate with each other.
What do you enjoy most about life?
Just seeing how things in the world turn out, and absorbing the bigger picture played out.
Where do you start when writing? Research, plotting, outline, or...?
My research ranges from the scientific basics, cultures, myths, vernaculars, career paths, government or military procedures and real world social consequences. To lay out a plot I often have snapshots of the story, and gauge from there how much transition is needed between them. Sometimes I don’t have a planned ending until I get there in the written work.
What did you learn from writing your first book?
Never restrict your writing to a preconceived and rigid frame of what the story is. I often think of Schmendrick, the Magician in The Last Unicorn. He is best described by his one line for casting spells which is, “Magic, magic, do as you will.”
I can’t force the story out, and so I’m subject to its timing, as if I’m just the universe’s stenographer.
Would you consider self publishing?
That struck me has being much more work than going through a publishing house. You are doing the jobs of a whole crew, including tasks that seemed to me requiring a lot of specialization. Marketing, editing, software management, distributor, etc. It’s a daunting list of job descriptions that make me appreciate what my publisher and her staff do.
How many hours a day to you spend writing?
It could be all day, or not for weeks on end. I’ve found that trying to stick to a fixed minimum of writing creates unsatisfying results and often comes out all wrong with heaping servings of frustration.
If you could give the younger version of yourself advice what would it be?
When I look back, I’m always glad not to be in my past. That’s because I see the personal evolutions that led me to being who I am, and some of the things I went through are best not repeated. I could never guarantee the same outcome from those trying experiences.
Is your muse demanding?
If she’s there the muse becomes the monkey on my back, sometimes thrusting a story onto me in a dream as I sleep. If I stopped writing today I know that more stories would come through my dreams and demand to be read by others.
Are your stories driven by plot or character?
I try to do both and more. Circumstances drive my characters until some take control of their situation. To me separating plot from character is as inconceivable as cause from effect, and it’s hard to say which is which.
John Steiner
How do you balance a life outside of writing with deadlines and writing muses?
Like a boxing match. Everyone’s got a plan until they’ve been hit. I’ve felt enough shots to the ribs from life’s sucker punches that I pretty much expect something to come at me sideways when I’m least prepared… often in combination. So I have to knock problems down one at a time.
What is the craziest thing you did as a kid, and would it ever end up in a book?
In my neighborhood breaking from the accepted social and religious mode to discover who you are was crazy. I think surviving everything and developing a sense of stoicism without discarding passionate feelings about life’s injustices could drive one crazy if not properly balanced. Bits and pieces of that are in every one of my books.
Crazy is my Tuesday morning.
What are some jobs you've done that would end up in a book?
The U.S. Army, Retail and my current job as a college tutor, albeit with a few tweaks to suit the characters I construct.
If I was a first time reader of your books, which one would you recommend I start with and why?
Tampered Tales best represents the spectrum of genres I enjoy most. Thirteen tales of science fiction, fantasy, horror, comedy and one true life adventure.
What do you hope readers take with them after reading your work?
I want them to be disturbed by realism, but also to see the world with new eyes. I feel that if I haven’t challenged a reader’s assumption or offend somebody then I haven’t done my job.
List two authors we would find you reading when taking a break from your own writing.
Michael Crichton and Jared Diamond. Michael Crichton researched his material so well a reader slips over from real history and proven science into fiction before they realize it. Jared Diamond laid out the strongest case for the determining factors in a society’s successes and failures.
What do you most crave would come to fruition from fiction to reality?
I have a serious jones for spaceflight. I’m not seeing enough of it in fiction or the news. The Curiosity Rover landing on Mars did it for a day or two. But in my mind I was screaming, “Hey man! That should be us up there, not some toaster! Reach for the stars, NASA, and teach us to dream again!”
A biography has been written about you. What do you think the title would be in six words or less?
All That and He’s Not Insane?
If money were not an object, where would you most like to live?
Sh’yeah! Let the other shoe drop and say there are no limits to our technology. I want my hot rod of the gods and travel to other worlds!
What song would best describe your life?
There’s more than one, but they’re all by the same artist. Bruce Hornsby’s music did more to influence the person I am today than just about any single experience I can imagine.
If you were a tool, what would people use you to do?
Exceed the speed of light.
Picture yourself as a store. Considering your personality and lifestyle, what type of products would be sold there?
A whole department would be dedicated to holding scientific instruments and books. Several isles would hold traditional martial arts equipment. Next in line would be more isles to carry props and books of mythology and philosophy. At least one or two isles for military surplus. There’s always the need for a dressing room of self-discovery and contemplation that is clearly visible but sound proof once inside. And, of course, the play area.
As a child, what was your favorite thing about school?
Teachers who, often outside their curriculum, made me think and see things in news ways.
Do you play any online, board, or role-playing games? Which ones?
Starcraft II, Diablo III and, on rare occasions, Warcraft III. However, I don’t often use their online playing options, because a lot of those people are way too uptight and some are downright nasty to new people.
If you came with a warning label, what would it say?
The subjects herein may offend some viewers. Contents include understanding the process of ancient and modern myth-making, scientific principles and the methods by which they are discovered as well as an attention to detail which immunizes one against political weasel-speak. Exhibits class beta wolf pack properties. Do not victimize children, the elderly, sick or the weak within sight or earshot of this item. Language is R-rated in homage to George Carlin, the Patron Saint of the Seven Deadly Words You Can’t Say on Television. Manufacturers of this product are not responsible for intellectual and philosophical impact on those exposed to said product.
However… do break glass in case of emergencies.

Please Fill in the Blanks

I love pizza with at least three meat toppings… it’s a wolf thing.
I'm always ready for whaddya got, to borrow from Marlon Brando.
When I'm alone, I wander the universe in my head.
You'd never be able to tell, but I’m romantic in my own way.
If I had a halo it would be crooked, but stable in its place.
If I could go anywhere I'd travel in person to the worlds my dreams flew me to.
I can never go back to being religious because I’ve seen the matrix code that produced them from the minds of man.

Previous Books

John Steiner
Squad V, Snowflake Girl, Tampered Tales

Books Coming Soon

Barer of the Ghost Nation, Fire Alive!, The Locust Effect, Bridging the Lotus, Flipspace short story series.

Find Me Here


  1. Welcome, John. Glad to have you on the blog today!

  2. Wow, loved the excerpt.
    And wonderful interview you two.

  3. Writing this story, I actually had a hard time working out the actions and motivations of Cecilia Freeland. I'm six foot, two and so I think nothing of walking into an unlit parking lot. At that point in the story I reminded myself of that fact and had to work out a whole new way of seeing and thinking.

    I had an easier time drafting alien civilizations and their backgrounds than I did writing a realistic woman. However, devising a behavioral archetype allowed me to flush out Cecilia's personal and motivations. While feelings from trauma are similar to something I could relate to, I otherwise based her on a female leopard. Because of the other species of African wildlife, that gave me a solid framework from which I could figure out how Cecilia would handle a number of situations.

    1. I wondered about that, John. You don't look like a short guy -- and yet you were writing a female character who seemed quite realistic. Thanks for sharing this.

  4. Replies
    1. I'm starting an entirely different vampire story off the Carpathian model called "Dead Run" that is horror. Think of amped up zombies.

  5. You've always been fun to interview! This one is no exception :)

    Speaking of computer games, have you tried The Elder Scrolls Series? I just got the fifth one, Skyrim, and am so hooked! Though, it probably is more for the fantasy-minded... :)

  6. The last time I played Elder Scrolls it was the 1990's. I've seen where they've gone, and it's good. Just I'm a big fan of monks fighting bare-handed as well as other professions are with their weapons, and Elder Scrolls doesn't do that. However, it's cool you can have yourself turned into things.

    I always thought a werewolf monk would be a sight to see!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.