Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Tali Interviews: Alicia Nordwell, Author of Adverse Effects (and a Contest)

One thing I don't do enough of is interview interesting people. It's something I've done in the past on radio and TV and always have fun with it. So I've decided I will post interviews from time to time with people, not always authors, I find interesting. If I can get them to agree! 

First up is Alicia Nordwell. She has a book to promote (notice the stunning cover!) but I leapt at the chance to interview her because, quite frankly, she's a really interesting author of really interesting MM science fiction and fantasy books—and I wanted to find out more about her.

So read the interview and—because this post is part of her tour—enter the contest below for her latest release, Adverse Effects


I’ve noticed that your books and characters have a strong element of otherness, of being an outsider. Where does that come from? Do you feel like an outsider… or is there another reason you explore this concept?

Growing up the only redhead in a family of brunettes? Being a middle child who didn’t really hang out with the olders or youngers? Being bi in a small town where that would’ve been REALLY uncool had it been known? There were a lot of reasons I didn’t feel like the kids I knew growing up, and as most of my social circle are stay-at-home moms, I still don’t. But I’ve also learned to celebrate my differences and be happy with who *I* want to be. I guess I like it when my characters get to share that revelation, too.

Tell us more about Adverse Effects. I really enjoyed The Experiment, the first novel in the Saving Caeorleia series. More Ryker and Seral, I hope?

Thank you! I am so glad you enjoyed The Experiment. It was a real challenge to write, but the universe sucked me in. Ryker and Seral do appear in the Adverse Effects, but they’re not the main characters this go round. This time readers get to know another one of the experiments! All the (still living) characters from The Experiment pop up, but I introduce Larede, Yaseke, Chip… and more!

Gay Authors. So many wonderful authors have come to us through this site. Could you tell us more about Gay Authors: its origin, mission, and the kinds of stories readers will find there? Also, how did you get involved?

Well, our main focus is free fiction. It began in the dark ages of gay fiction on the internet when Myr wanted to gather his favorite authors. Over the years the staff involved grew, changed, funds were gathered, features planned, software rented and designed just for us… until you see the GA of today. All the staff are volunteers, though we do have owners among us, Myr still holds the reins. What we want? To nurture authors and provide a place for quality gay fiction to be featured for readers to enjoy—and then share their thoughts with authors.

I’m told all the time when publishing—don’t engage. But I got my start writing on GA after I joined in 2009 so I could harass some of the authors there to finish my favorite stories. Without that constant feedback and pool of like-minds that prompted me to explore (and re-learn English writing rules, holy crud my first ever story is scary in the editing department) I would never have had the privilege of publishing.

On GA we have (as of 3/13) 3,628 stories and over 103 million words. Romance is a big feature, and coming of age/coming out stories are popular. But we have a fully customizable search filter so if you want to find science fiction stories, or comedies, stories featuring brothers with no sexual content, or shifter stories with mature content… you can! And there’s just about every single kind of story you can imagine.

Have you ever wished you could add to or change something in a book or story you’ve published? If so, what?

Oh yes. Pricolici was my first published eBook, and I was very lucky to find success with it. But after a while, I realized the story hadn’t gone the way it had in my head. So when I received the rights back last September, I revised, added 20k in new scenes, designed a new cover, and then self-published it. The story is far closer to what I always wanted it to be now.

In addition to being an author, you’re also a highly-praised editor. Editing fascinates me because 1) I cannot place commas properly for the life of me, and 2) an editor looks at a book in very different ways from either an author or a reader. What do you find to be the most challenging part about working with an author to bring out the best in a book?

Thank you! Editing my own work is next to impossible, but I always try my best for others. I’ve come across authors who decide they don’t “like” the rules so they ignore what I try to teach them. That frustrates me to no end. Knowing the rules so an author can ignore the norm for creative license is far different from deciding that some dialogue punctuation looks weird so they just won’t use it.  My time is always at a premium, sometimes far too much, so I refuse to waste it on anyone who doesn’t value learning and growing as an author as much as I do.

 How important do you think social media is for connecting with readers? Is there a particular means of connecting with readers that has worked best for you?

I suck at social media. I think it’s far too much like schmoozing—something I really can’t do, especially in large groups.  In this day and age, a quick word is the name of the game, though. I’ve found Facebook to be the best way to connect with like-minded authors and readers, beyond email and PM (on GA). I’m always open to talking about my writing, eBooks I enjoy, others’ writing, publishing, etc… so I try to keep up with it all. Just don’t ask me what’s on my Pintrest page, lol.

Aside from Dumbledore, whose creator settled the matter, are there any fictional characters you think might be gay—it’s just that the book(s) never explored the character’s sexuality?

Not a lot of people realize that Anne McCaffrey wrote sexually fluid characters into her Pern series. Green dragons were female and still mated, even if they were infertile. As queen dragonriders and bronzes had mating flights drawing together the final pairing’s human riders, so did the greens. But the queen rider is the ONLY female dragonrider in the Weyr, so when green dragons flew with the other colors to mate, so did their male riders. I’ve always been amused by the fact that the period of hormone surges just before a green’s mating flight made the humans “proddy” too.

Part of that world were a series of Masterharper stories involving a secondary character named Piemur, who goes from young boy to young man. If she were to have written him into life in a Weyr and a romance, I could see him being a really bossy twinky bottom and a fierce top during a mating flight.

If I were to move to your region, what essential item of clothing would I need to have in my wardrobe?

Boots. There are soooo many great hiking trails and natural regions to explore in Washington state. Many folks might say a raincoat or umbrella, seeing as it rains here a bit *snorts*, but here we know people don’t melt if they get wet. The ground gets pretty slippery though. You’d be much better off with a really good pair of boots! 

Thanks for hosting me, Tali, and for the great interview! I usually do the interviews, so it was fun answering the questions as the interviewee for a change. 


Published by Dreamspinner Press

Buy Links:

Synopsis: Saving Caeorleia Book Two

Dade, human-Caeorleian hybrid and ex-military grunt, doesn’t fit in—not with humans, not with aliens, not anywhere. He’s always on the outskirts, angry, and people aren’t sure they can trust him. When he encounters a compatible tziu named Yaseke, secrets, misunderstandings, and attacks nearly prevent the two from making a connection Dade sorely needs. Even after they unite, Dade and Yaseke face challenges that two newly joined males should never have to endure.

From traitorous council members, to sadistic aliens who plan to sell them as slaves, to meeting a mysterious race of revered aliens called Collectors, Dade and Yaseke manage to stay together—and even rescue two youths related to Yaseke, who’ve lost their parents to the same betrayer.

Someone from Dade’s past is at the root of everything he’s suffered. No way can he let them get away with what they’re planning, but Dade isn’t sure he can stop them on his own. If he doesn’t let go of his isolation and risk the pain letting others in will bring, he’ll never save Caeorleia in time.

Excerpt: Chapter One

Sunlight glared off the silver surface of the lake, blinding me where I crouched away from everyone. The guard currently assigned to me stood at my back, making my skin crawl. I shivered, even though it was hot enough I was sweating. I never knew when one of them might try to touch me.

The water cooled my fingers when I dipped them in, making small swirling circles ripple around my hand. My hovering shadow, a guard assigned to follow me around, shouted over to the guards who were with the main group lounging together beside the lake. The sound startled me, and I jerked, splashing water over my robe. I glared at him from the corner of my eye, but my guard was talking to Fieo and not paying that much attention to me. Nicklaus was sitting in the shade of the weird brown trees by the water. He was busy talking to Ryker, the other human who’d set us free from the military scientists.

Over the last few days, things had settled down. Those Caeorleian Council guys were no longer trying to force us into matches with their own people. Ryker’s guy had really told them off, calling it the rape it would have been. The other two men might want one of these pale aliens touching them, but I didn’t. I wasn’t sure what would happen to us on their planet, but I didn’t need anyone pawing at me. I’d known I would need more information, so I pumped the only person I could. Ryker had spent a few afternoons telling us everything he’d learned living on Caeorleia, which was the name of their planet.

I’d tried to absorb everything about the Caeorleians, treating what he told me like a debriefing. Before Ryker and his isit had rescued us, the only term I’d heard the planet called was MC-214-XXV. It had been the subject of a lot of speculation among the rank and file since it’d been discovered. The rest of the time I stayed in my room, avoiding the guards. Especially the one always hovering over Nicklaus. It creeped me out to see the way he watched him every second—so possessive. Fieo never touched Nicklaus but focused on him with a single-minded intensity.

Ryker and his alien guy, Seral, were never far apart, either. Being part of that kind of constricting relationship would’ve driven me insane. A slave to a need not my own? No. Not on the agenda.

I sighed, dipping my other arm in the water up to my wrist. It was really too hot out in the sun, but the shade of those weird sampanga trees was filled with naked aliens. And as tempting as the water was, I didn’t want to go swimming. That would involve taking off my robe.

I was not comfortable with that, even if it seemed like almost everyone on this planet shunned clothing. I’d never seen so many cocks and balls, and I’d been in military school and then actually joined the Space Forces as a teenager. Close quarters with a lot of guys was nothing new, but I couldn’t believe the Caeorleians’ blasé attitude toward nudity. Ryker had told us about the confusion over the different concept of clothing he’d encountered when he first showed up. Ryker ran around in a pair of shorts and had given Nicklaus a few pairs. I was too big for his shorts, so I had to wear the aliens’ version of a skirt and robe.

It was awkward. I’d tried to wear my pants I’d been wearing when we fled the ship, but it was too hot. I was not going to go naked, though, not like these aliens.

A shadow fell over me. I dipped my shoulder and spun as I surged to my feet. The guard who had come up behind me seemed startled and looked at me uncertainly as I glared at him.

“Don’t touch me!” I snapped, clenching my hands into fists, barely resisting the urge to show him my fangs. “What do you want?”

He held up his hands and took a step back. “Sorry. Everyone is going inside; it’s too hot out here. Seral has invited you to eat with him, and the midday meal will be served soon.”

I grimaced. Being stuck in a crowd of people around a table was the last place I wanted to be, but I didn’t feel like I had much of a choice. I waited for the guard to move after he gestured at the path. The guard took another few steps away from me, but he didn’t start walking toward the building until I walked past him. Then he followed me. I ground my teeth, my shoulders hunching up.

I could have been safe the past five years, in a hovel back on my home planet, working in a factory as a drone assembler or something. I might have more freedom to move around on Caeorleia than I’d had on the ship Ryker and Seral rescued me from, but at this point I wasn’t sure how much better it was here.

Damn scientists.

Author Bio:
 Alicia Nordwell is one of those not so rare creatures, a reader turned writer. Striving to find an interesting story one day, she decided to write what she wanted instead. Then the voices started... Yep, not only does she talk about herself in the third person for bios, she has voices in her head constantly clamoring to get out.

Fortunately, with the encouragement of her family and friends, she decided for her own sanity to keep writing. Now you can find her stories both free and e-published. When she’s not on the computer typing away, she's a wife and a mom of two in the dreary, yet ideal for her redhead complexion, Pacific Northwest. Except for when she disappears into one of the many worlds in her head, of course!

She can also be found quite often at her blog, where she has a lot of free fiction for readers to enjoy or working hard, or maybe hardly working, as an admin on GayAuthors.org under her online nickname, Cia.


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  1. I love anything paranormal, mystery, action packed etc. Thank you for the chance for the ARe GC. Love your books. Have a great day/evening.


    1. Thanks Chelle! You're always so supportive, and I really appreciate that. :)

  2. Thank you so much for hosting me, Tali, and for the great interview!!

    1. You're very welcome! Thank you for being such a gracious and chatty guest! :)

    2. Well that hinge in the middle of my tongue might affect my fingers, too. ;)

  3. My favorite pairing so far has been Seral/Ryker. I'm a big fan of angsty with a happy ending and Ryker hit every one of my visceral buttons in The Experiment.

    1. Well I try to keep it from going overboard, but I will admit to being very prone to character torture. ;) Thanks for commenting, Al, and I'm so glad you enjoyed The Experiment!

  4. I'm not sure if the favorite male pairing is related to Cia's writings or genres in general. But if it's Cia's writings, it would be Davis and Ellis from Hypnotic.
    Congrats to Cia on her new release of Adverse Effects!

    1. I should've been clearer... I just wanted to know what type of character dynamic you like the most. Alpha/omega? Dom/sub? Equal partners? Bossy bottom/larger top? I'm always interested in hearing what preferences readers have toward the relationship dynamic between the main characters. :) Thanks so much for commenting and following my work, Jbst!

    2. I'm interested in this, too. I hope more people chime in!

  5. My favorite character dynamic is equal with the opportunity for kink. Like they are comfortable enough in their relationship that they can explore different sides whenever they are in the mood. Sweet!

    1. Well, in a long-term relationship you have to be willing to explore or it gets boring (and coming up on 18 years this year, so I actually speak from experience, lol). Thanks for commenting, Carrier Violet!

  6. I like a bottom who gives his indulgent top hell every so often.

  7. My favorite is probably equal partners that like to switch things up a bit.

    1. So versatile partners? I think most of my characters, even if they have a different dynamic, tend to switch off. I don't like people who are closed off from pleasure. After all, where's the fun in that, right?

  8. FYI: Adverse Effects has gone online to B&N, Amazon, etc... Here's the Amazon link: http://tinyurl.com/nvcaqqm

    1. Just updated the link in the post, so everyone can go click on it there. The one Alicia provided here didn't work for me, so I found the book on Amazon and copied over that link. :D

  9. I don't know as I really have a favorite type of pairing. I know what I don't like, someone who is only out to get what he can and has no consideration for his partner.

    Great interview and thanks for the giveaway. Sorry I can't get all the entries, but I REFUSE to twat. I have enough to keep up with with Facebook. LOL

  10. I like Versatile couples, it makes for more room to explore in the relationship.

  11. Tali, thank you very much for this post - i was running low on stuff to read, so the matter is settled now :)
    Alicia, I'll leave some comments for you around when I read some books of yours, sounds like it's gonna be plenty of fun!

    1. I highly recommend Alicia's books. And do check out Gay Authors for sampling some free stories. There are some real gems on the site!

  12. I like almost anything but I really enjoy top/bottom, specially when the top is very dominant but the bottom is the same too. ;)
    Love the cover, by the way! It's beautiful... I can't wait for the release date, thanks for this chance!