Today I have Steve Mitchell, writing as S.C. Mitchell. Steve’s ninth book, “Hearts in Orbit, Volume 2: Pirates of the Dark Nebula” was released on July 1, 2015. It’s a science fiction romance set in the far-flung space traveling future, continuing the series’ course across a galaxy filled with love and adventure.
Steve grew up an avid reader of comic books, science fiction and fantasy literature. He’s been writing stories for over thirty years. In 2010 he left his job as a computer desktop support specialist to pursue his passion for writing full time. He is a member of the Romance Writers of America as well as the Wisconsin chapter.
As a writer of paranormal and sci-fi romance, fantasy, and science fiction, Steve crafts unique and wondrous worlds where his characters explore, romp, and fall in love. Whether traveling through dark, demon filled dimensions, the edge of wild space, or ancient mythological heavens, his heroes and heroines, guided by their adventurous hearts, discover hidden strengths on their pathway to enduring love.
Steve and I received our first contracts with Soul Mate Publishing at the same time. His first book with them, “Son of Thunder” was released in February 20, 2013, while mine, “Riding for Love” was released on April 30, 2013. Steve’s short story, “Valentine’s Day Canceled,” and mine, “The Valentine’s Day Proposal,” were both included in Soul Mate’s Valentine’s Anthology, “My Sexy Valentine,” this past February.
I thoroughly enjoyed Steve’s story, which prompted me to purchase and read “Son of Thunder,” also an excellent story. Since we are both members of the Wisconsin Chapter of the Romance Writers of America, we get to visit at least once a year. This past February Steve and his wife traveled to my neck of the woods and participated in my Romance Author’s Valentine’s Day event. I hope he can join us again next year.
Welcome to my blog, Steve. I’m sure my readers will enjoy getting to know you today.
Thank you, Tina.
Who or what inspired you to write? I’ve always been a storyteller, but have atrocious handwriting. A typewriter, and lately a computer, offer me a way to write and actually read what I write. My early influences are J.R.R. Tolkein and Anne McCaffrey. I spent many summers reading and re-reading “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings.”How long have you been writing? Did you stop and start, or write continuously during this time? About 35 years ago, after finishing Tolkien’s Lord of the Ring I was inspired to write an epic fantasy. I dusted off my old manual typewriter and dug in, finishing a completely wretched novel in about five years. Over the next few decades I continued to work on it and started numerous other literary efforts. Real life, of course, intruded and I gave up and restarted multiple times. Then five years ago I decided it was time to get serious about this “writing thing.” I quit my job and started writing seriously. I started out self-publishing four novellas. When I finished my first true novel, Son of Thunder, I submitted it to a number of publishing houses. In 2011 I received an offer from soul Mate Publishing. I’ve been with them ever since, and have published two additional novels and contributed to a short story collection.
How do you handle rejections? Horribly at first. In my early floundering years I received rejections from some of the best publishers in the world. But I’ve developed a thicker skin. You have to in this industry. Rejection is just part of the journey. I remember having a student at a talk I was giving how I handle rejections. I actually had my rejection folder with me (before the days of e-mail rejections). I showed the class the folder and told them I was proud of each and every one. They showed I was writing and working at my craft. This always surprises people.
What do you do to keep yourself from giving up? This is not a problem I experience. The stories keep bubbling up in my head and I have to get them down or I lose them. I think I would keep writing even if I never published another story.
How did you choose the genre you write? I came into romance writing from a love of comic books/science fiction/fantasy. It’s where I started out writing, so staying within that genre is easier and more fun. I’ve played around with some contemporary erotic romance as well under a pen name and self-published a few short stories, but it’s the strange and fantastic that seems to pull me most.
Are there any genres you wouldn’t write in? I have a great love of and respect for historical romance writers, but I don’t think I would ever venture into that genre. There’s just too much research needed to stay in whatever century the story is set. Finding out when the zipper was invented or how to phrase things within the vernacular of the era would drive me nuts. I prefer to just make things up. I’m not sure how you can make up all those worlds and make them seem real. A true talent.
Do you enter contests? Do you find them helpful? Have you won any? I enter a few, but not many. Son of Thunder did come in 2nd in the WisRWA Write Touch Contest, and I’ve entered Pirates of the Dark Nebula in some currently running contests. I think wins help authors a bit and are definitely encouraging. Especially if the judges give advice.
Do you have a critique partner or group? Are they helpful? How? I have worked with a number of wonderful critique partners over the years. It’s always valuable to get someone else’s view of my work before I present it to the public (or even my editor). I’m currently working with two wonderful critique partners, Helen Johannes and Sarah Hegger, both amazing authors in their own right and not shy about telling me that what I’ve written is pure crap. We all need those kind of people in our lives.
Do you have a day job? I used to work as a computer desktop support specialist. Five years ago it became financially viable for me to give it up to pursue a writing career. Money gets a bit tight sometimes, but I’ve never regretted the decision. I have a two-year technical degree in electronics that I have never used.
Tell me about your family and friends reactions to writing romance. I have a wonderfully supportive family. Thank goodness. I dabbled in erotica for a bit under a pen name and kept it secret for a while, but I’m not very good at keeping a secret. Most of my family and friends know. As a guy I get a real range of reactions, most of them disbelief when people find out I write romance.
Does your family read your love scenes? My wife admits to skipping through some of the love scenes, though she does that in most romances. I know other family members have read my books, but the love scenes have never come up in our discussions of the book with the exception of cautioning others listening that they have to read it and not think about who wrote it.
What happens when you get a story idea? It really depends on where I am in my current work-in-progress. I like to at least get something down so I don’t lose the idea and can come back to it. My computer file system is full of half-baked ideas. Have you ever had a “plot bunny” where you get an idea and you can’t stop thinking about it until you write it out? Far too often an idea will hijack me from my current work-in-progress. It’s frustrating sometimes, but I hate to let them go. I have a zombie romance pulling at me right now. I wouldn’t even know where to begin writing one of those.
Who are your favorite authors? What do you like to read? My earliest influences would have to be Anne McCaffrey, J.R.R. Tolkien, and R. A. Salvatore. Sherrilyn Kenyon and Nora Roberts were my introduction to romance. Current favorites include Sarah Hegger, Collette Cameron, Amy Sandas, and (of course) Tina Susedik. Aww, you’re so sweet!
What is your Work In Progress? I’m currently working on the long-put-off sequel to Son of Thunder entitled Daughter of Darkness. I’m happy to be back in the world of my Norse gods and hope to have the novel out before the end of the year. I have to say that science fiction is not on the top of my list to read, but since reading you books, I’ve changed my mind. I’d be in line to read that one.
I was happy to have you here today.
You can find Steve at:
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007D0Z1MW
“Protecting the most dangerous secret in the galaxy means taking it, and the woman who holds it, into the deadliest cesspit in the galaxy’s outer rim.”
Blurb: It can’t fall into the wrong hands.
Luna Callista holds the key to a galaxy changing new technology. Captured by a ruthless band of deep-space pirates, she’s rescued by a man filled with dark secrets of his own. Who is Rik Mazar?
Galactic protector or rogue pirate?
After three years undercover among the Brotherhood of the Dark Nebula, Rik Mazar isn’t sure what side of the law he’s walking. In a world of murder and betrayal, his life goes on the line every day. But, protecting Luna Callista means putting his heart in as much danger as his hide.
A rusting service droid, a Ferang fortuneteller, and a ship full of back-water refugees are their only allies, as two hearts go into orbit to save a galaxy in peril.
“Harvey, run a check of all ship’s systems. We’re moving in the wrong frackin’ direction.” What the hell is going on?
The droid shuffled toward the maintenance control, his metal feet clanking on the titanium deck. Humanoid in design, her mechanical companion was more than just a computerized machine, programmed to serve. Harvey was her friend. Could his memory banks even register how much he meant to her?
While Harvey checked out the ship’s systems, Luna scanned the area around the ship, looking for anything that could be causing the issue. This deep space sector, a warp hub, should be empty. It charted between systems.
There’s nothing here.
She’d come out of warp and was lining up her next hyper-jump when the problems started. If she couldn’t get to that next jump point, she couldn’t safely leave the sector. A warp starting at the wrong point could thrust her ship through a star or space debris. Dangerous at the least, and probably suicidal.
She pushed once again on the thruster control, but it wouldn’t budge. It was already maxed.
Behind her ship, sensors picked up an anomaly. Polar fluctuations without a gravitational field.
What the hell?
She threw the rear visual up on monitor. There was something wrong . . . different in the space behind her ship. Like a shimmering deeper ebony against the blackness of space.
Her heart skipped a beat as a Vega class starship appeared out of the nothingness. No warp signature. No jump claxon. As if the ship had been there all along, but she just hadn’t been able to see it.
Cloaking shields? Tractor beams? This was science fiction stuff.
Gooseflesh crawled up the back of her neck.