Interview with Gary J. Davies

What are you working on next?
When I joined Smashwords I had four novels essentially completed and more than two dozen short stories. Nothing was published. I first published many of my short stories under the cover "There Goes The Neighborhood; Earthly Fantasy/Science Fiction Short Stories." Next I published "Blue Dawn Jay of Aves". It is essentially a conventional Science Fiction novel that bird lovers will hopefully appreciate. The key characters are a giant blue jay and a human female scientist. "The Shrinking Nuts Case" novel, which has probably been the most fun to write, came next. The story is told by its inept hero Jake Simon, a private detective who finds himself involved with magical beings from another universe and with the mob. I then published "Mysteries of Goth Mountain," which involves multiple parallel universes and mythical beings. I then published "Government Men" as a sequel to "Secrets of Goth Mountain." It has everything, including nasty aliens, unicorns, dragons and a kitchen sink that was added in simply for the sake of completeness. It also includes an unlikely incarnation of the author as well as the book itself. Yes the author and the book appear within the book! How the hells do I manage that? Read it and see! Of the novels, "The Shrinking Nuts Case" and "Government Men" show the most humor; the others are slightly more serious in tone. I also published a short work on my philosophical world view and the science of my sci-fi. I most recently (July 2016) published "White Dragon's Chosen", a novel about two teenagers chosen to bond with dragons and their struggle to save the world. Next? I am half way through writing a ten-release series titled " Global Warming Fun", which follows an apparently immortal man and others who experience Earthly apocalyptic misadventures. So far I have finished five volumes of the series: two short stories, two novellas, and one full novel. Next is a "Global Warming Fun" novella that takes place in New York City 75 years from now. Ancient stone creatures and sentient ants are featured. Then there are potential sequels and sequels to sequels. Far too many story ideas; so little time. I'll do the best I can but I type using only two slow fingers and an even slower brain.
What do your fans mean to you?
Validation. I enjoy writing as an activity, but I write what I would like to read. Without someone else bothering to read it (and better yet, actually LIKING it) I haven't a clue that I have written something that makes any sense. I would like to think that I am not writing only for myself.
Who are your favorite authors?
James P. Blaylock is my favorite since the late 1970's. He wrote several humorous early novels that are enchanting. I enjoy numerous authors including Tami Hoag and Tanya Huff. I like Dean Koontz but am turned off by his anti-science intelligent design views. Ray Bradbury is peerless.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Since retiring I don't. On a good day I stay in bed as long as I want, and work there on my stories until hunger drives me to the kitchen.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I work on the house; trying to get it ready to sell. I go on country walks with my wife. I cut the damn grass. I play and compose flute music (hear me play for FREE on the website). I read fiction and non-fiction, and TRY to avoid politics. I visit my wonderful daughters. We visit gardens and forests and mountains and oceans. It's a good, full life and I'm happy to be here. I suspect that being here is far better than not being anywhere. As I type this a mother cat and three kittens are climbing all over me. But I miss the dogs and the cats and people that I have known and loved but have died. Life is ephemeral and bitter-sweet. Live it while you can.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I have only recently discovered e-books. There are far more available at smashwords than I'll ever get to. Exciting.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
My novel 'Government Men' is my first story. I was working as a DOD weapons systems engineer in 1992 when it was announced that our facility would soon be closed. I imagined DOD being disbanded and then being desperately needed due to nasty space aliens (not to mention dragons and a host of others). I started writing and never stopped.
What is your writing process?
Some mornings my waking thoughts gel into creative ideas for on-going or new stories. I try to get this 'inspiration' outlined over the morning hours, then in the evening supply the 'perspiration' to complete its instantiation into story form. 'Editing' is the worse part. I am so lousy at it.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
See Dick. See Jane run. Etc. The first stories I read were probably comic books - including early MARVEL comics. The impact was to inspire more escapist reading. Lots of Tarzan.
How do you approach cover design?
For thumb-nail sized images symbolic simplicity and high contrast is called for. This is very different from print-book covers. Too many covers I see on-line are too dark and complex, as if designed for print books. I guess people expect to see that but my approach is more utilitarian. The cover art and title must evoke the 'spirit' of the book as a whole. Given a likely lack of return on investment I do my own covers, with some help from my artist brother, who did the first cover. While at first I feared making covers by now it has become an enjoyable creative activity to the point that I am further ahead on my covers than I am on my writing. Maybe not the best covers in the world but they'll do for now.
What do you read for pleasure?
Science fiction and fantasy, mystery and suspense. Also science, including Scientific American.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My mini-PC is used for everything. I am usually a decade or two behind technology. Despite being an engineer I am not a high-tech fan...humans have been around for 200,000 years and are still more complex than any tech. But some of the tablets look great, and definitely EBooks are the up and coming book media. Recently got a 'smart phone' but it's no big deal ... I envisioned smart phones twenty years ago and put them in my writings.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
TBD. I told my dentist about my EBooks and suspect that it resulted in a download or two, but hey, I'm running out of teeth, so that is probably not the best marketing technique. The problem is, there are many thousands of works out there, good ones. I don't expect to get rich by writing and publishing here. I do hope to provide some reader enjoyment. I am hoping that my simple, high contrast covers will help, and I am trying to hide smiley faces in my covers in the hopes of a subliminal $$$ response. I suspect that providing free books may be most effective marketing technique, but thus far thousands of downloads of my free books has not translated to many $$$ sales. People LOVE free stuff (Whoda thunk it?) so I'll probably continue putting out some free stuff but people should understand that WRITING IS VERY HARD WORK, at least for this physics-trained ex-engineer. Each novel has required over six man-months of work, and life is short. It would be nice to make just a little $$$ back from it. My modest but perhaps unobtainable goal is to make enough $$$ to buy my next laptop. Wish me luck but also please send $$$.
Describe your desk
My desk is piled high with books, I do most of my work reclining in bed or in the living room.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Erie PA, USA. As a result an occasional Western-PA idiom may slip into my writing, though I was mostly educated by TV. I drink pop, fish in the crick, and get scratched by jaggers. Some years ago I tried to find out exactly where between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh that 'soda' became 'pop'. Driving on Rt 30 I stopped at a little country store in Jennerstown, handed a can of the stuff to the kid behind the counter, and asked him what they called it in that part of the country. The kid looked at it, looked confused, then replied authoritatively: "around here we call it Coke." Good enough for me. The pop/soda transition point is Jennerstown PA. So ended my research on idioms.
When did you first start writing?
I first started writing in 1992 and found that I enjoyed it.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I looked for someplace to publish that made sense to me. I hadn't looked into e-book publishing for several years. Traditional publishing is totally publisher centric, demeaning to writers and too slow. A few writer super-stars emerge, the hard work of everyone else is dies in slush piles. I was excited to discover in smashwords exactly the business plan and publishing strategy I was looking for. After already working for many years on my writings, I wanted to avoid jumping though hoops to get my work out to the public.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
It has at least provided a means of getting my writings out to readers that is free and relatively painless. I'm very happy about that. Smashwords rocks big-time, in my book. Thank you thank you thank you Smashwords. OK, so its an electronic slush pile where authors struggle to shift their works towards the top of the heap. Maybe the heap doesn't amount to much more than a hill of beans to the publishing world at-large, but some of those beans are mine, and maybe some of the beans are magic beans that will sprout and grow towards the light, or at least provide fodder for enlightenment and a smile or two. Stuff happens. Besides, now I can be found using Google. Fame at last!
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I enjoy putting a story together: making it flow, from scene to scene, in a sensible, believable way, to a conclusion. I love to see my works completed, up-loaded, and published. My greatest joy so far was a good (first five star!) review of my short stories on the Barns and Noble nook-site. Every 5-star review is fantastic! Four is also good. Less is admittedly painful.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest novel is "White Dragon's Chosen". I wanted to do a teen-oriented story and I really like dragons (which is why they appear in about half of my books).The story starts with George going to live with his great-great-uncle, who turns out to be an aging super-hero with elven magic powers. Gigantic dragons and a life devouring witch soon attack and things get very nasty very quickly.
What story characteristics do you like to have in your stories? What do you avoid?
My stories are written primarily to support escapism. I like stories that are plausible/'make sense'. Fantasy is great, but purely random destruction is annoying. For example the whole zombie apocalypse business is as nonsensical, from a science viewpoint, as tornados full of man-eating sharks. Such silly concepts are fun enough for a short story or two perhaps, but too nonsensical to sustain for a novel - at least if the story is supposed to happen someplace similar to this world. I like to write about people with psychic powers, dragons and other 'magic' powered folks, and I like to include strong female heroines. I tend to avoid vampires and zombies, but not 100%. I throw a bit of science into stories when I can. I avoid political stories. Many of my stories happen on contemporary Earth, but many do not. Many of my stories tend to become complicated and most seem to require a third-person omnipotent voice, but I will use first person when possible, for its intimacy. I also like stories with endings - happy ones if possible, with some humor along the way. I don't want to have to read three volumes or ten volumes to come to a pretty solid ending. A series is a good thing, but each element in a series needs to stand on its own and resolve the major conflicts in play for that element. Hints at future adventures is OK, but I don't like to get to the end of a novel with major conflicts that arise in the story unresolved, or I feel I've been ripped-off. I generally want to feel better at the end of a story, not ripped-off and trying to decide if more investment in time and cash is worth it to get to the REAL end of a story. I don't like to put explicit sex into stories. I'm all for sex, but sex has been all figured out for billions of years and I'd rather focus on character and plot - especially plot. Graphic violence bothers me too. That being said, considerable sex and violence happens in some of my stories as it can't be avoided, but they aren't things that I focus on. Finally, I intend to mostly publish works that are at least 80,000 words - i.e. novel length items. That's what I expect to see for a novel. When I published most of my short stories, it was in the form of book-long collection. Generally I won't waste the time and money of readers by publishing anything less than 80,000 words, though I am currently working on a series that includes short stories and novellas. Someday I hope to fuse the series into a single mega-novel.
Published 2016-08-30.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Global Warming Fun 7: Space Rendezvous
Series: Global Warming Fun. Price: Free! Words: 53,290. Language: English. Published: August 8, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary
(5.00 from 1 review)
When twenty-fourth century astringed Mohawk tribe zombie Martin Tall Bear traded his Earthly prison cell for assignment in Earth’s Space Directorate, he didn’t expect a near century-long suicide mission with a formerly human woman rock-creature to beyond the outer fringes of the solar system in a robot ship, or that they would soon be trying to prevent the annihilation of all life on Earth.
Price: Free! Words: 11,960. Language: English. Published: September 10, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories, Fiction » Science fiction » General
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
The five house cats that Harold inherited from his sister are driving him crazy. The good news is that he also inherited a magic lamp with a genie from her, so he can make a wish to ensure that his life becomes a happy one! The bad news is that the genie’s wishes don’t always work out as expected. Enjoy this short story!
Apprentice Wizards of Hope
Price: Free! Words: 102,540. Language: English. Published: August 4, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Science fiction » General
An Evil Demon murdered Ben King’s parents in the town of Hope when Ben was a small boy. Helped by a mischievous sprite and a kind old elf, Ben survived. Now eight years later his werewolf and vampire foster parents have returned Ben to Hope for him to become an Apprentice Wizard. Though he has forgotten how to use his powers, Ben and his friends will soon face apocalyptic Demons and Evil.
Global Warming Fun 6: Ice Giants Make Manhattan
Series: Global Warming Fun. Price: Free! Words: 60,040. Language: English. Published: January 27, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary
(5.00 from 1 review)
Kidnapped! In 77 years the daughter and great-great granddaughter of ageless Mohawk Chief Ed Rumsfeld have been kidnapped in Brooklyn by an unknown assailant that also tore to pieces a two-ton ice giant. While thousands of ice giants begin to remake New York City, a zombie police detective and a Stone-Coat replicate of Ed’s long dead first wife set off with Ed to find and rescue the girls.
White Dragon's Chosen
Price: Free! Words: 111,720. Language: English. Published: July 14, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary, Fiction » Science fiction » General
(4.00 from 1 review)
When teenager George Lock went to live with quirky Great Uncle Harry after both his parents died, he discovered that Harry's house was a fantastic treasure-trove of elf magic, and that a really cute girl lived next-door. Unfortunately there were also Evil dragons and a witch with a taste for humans, and according to the elves it was up to a White Dragon and his Chosen to stop them.
Global Warming Fun 5: It’s a Dry Heat
Series: Global Warming Fun. Price: Free! Words: 115,920. Language: English. Published: May 3, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary
In fifty years California suffers from ongoing climate change. Though it’s not the perfect time to vacation there, Ed’s aging wife Mary insists on visiting the big trees and the Pacific coastline. Given Ed’s telepathic abilities and his alliances with rock creatures and with intelligent ants that may be set on taking over the Earth, what could possibly go wrong? Full length novel!
Global Warming Fun 4: They Taste Like Chicken
Series: Global Warming Fun. Price: Free! Words: 53,300. Language: English. Published: June 9, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Fantasy » General
Thousands of invading man-eating giant flies present but one of the issues faced by immortal telepath Ed Rumsfeld, acting Chief of the Giants' Rest Mountain Mohawks of New York. He must also decide if young Mark Dawn Owl will accomplish his spirit quest across dangerous climate change ice-sheets alone or with his companion Stone-Coat Ice Giant. Part 4 of an emerging sci-fi/fantasy series.
Global Warming Fun 3: A Tick In Time
Series: Global Warming Fun. Price: Free! Words: 12,590. Language: English. Published: February 17, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
George Kelso expected to die from cancer and exposure on a cold fall night in Central Park in New York City. Instead, he woke in the morning experiencing the telepathic thoughts of intelligent ants! This short story is the third item of an emerging sci-fi/fantasy series of short stories and novellas that chronicle an increasingly unstable world due to climate change.
Global Warming Fun 2: Ice Giants Wake!
Series: Global Warming Fun. Price: Free! Words: 59,600. Language: English. Published: January 23, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary
When climate change brings year-long snow to the Adirondack Mountains, the long dormant Stone-Coats/Ice Giants of ancient Mohawk legends threaten to awaken. The reclusive Mohawk tribe that guards against their emergence enlists the aid of Ed Rumsfeld, a middle-school history teacher with recently gained telepathic abilities. This novella is part of an emerging fantasy/sci-fi series.
NOW and the Weltanschauung of Government Men
Price: Free! Words: 26,640. Language: English. Published: October 3, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Science & Nature » Philosophy of Science, Nonfiction » Philosophy » Contemporary philosophy
In this short work the world view (Weltanschauung) of this sci-fi/fantasy author is outlined, including the concept of Now One World (NOW): the continuing big-bang event of our one universe. Focus is on physics quantum mechanics interpretation and multiverse concepts. This is contrasted with the fanciful world view of the novels Government Men and its prequel Secrets of Goth Mountain.
Global Warming Fun 1: Saved by Right-Handed Grass
Series: Global Warming Fun, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 17,480. Language: English. Published: September 30, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
(2.00 from 1 review)
Fun? Maybe not so much! In this sci-fi/fantasy short story, hapless home-owner Ed Rumsfeld is attacked by mutant man-eating insects. Thus begins a FREE series that will chronicle an increasingly unstable world in which nasty natural, technological and mythical forces are unleashed in response to climate change and other human induced problems.
Government Men
Price: Free! Words: 215,070. Language: English. Published: March 21, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
(3.83 from 6 reviews)
.In this epic length whimsical sequel to Secrets of Goth Mountain, an inept DOD scientist leads efforts to save Earth from an impending apocalypse set in motion by man-eating space aliens. The slightly askew Earthly setting includes mythical, supernatural, and alien players, as well as an unlikely reincarnation of the author and the book Government Men itself. Edited March 2015 re-release.
Secrets of Goth Mountain
Price: Free! Words: 113,270. Language: English. Published: January 4, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
(4.00 from 2 reviews)
This full-length action packed fantasy/science fiction novel reveals secrets long kept hidden by the Goth family and a reclusive Native American tribe. Psychic powered Johnny Goth returns to Goth Mountain in the Pacific North-West to oppose a ruthless land grabbing tycoon that seeks to log the sacred forest and a demon that threatens to consume Goth Mountain secrets. Prequel to Government Men.
The Shrinking Nuts Case
Price: Free! Words: 92,950. Language: English. Published: January 4, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Hard-Boiled
(5.00 from 1 review)
In this full length spoofy novel Jake Simon, a crude old-school private-eye that usually does divorce or lost dog work, describes a weird case. He doesn't believe in trolls, elves, magic or marriage, but that begins to change when he wakes up two-foot-six and not six-foot-two. He has a smart sexy partner and a super-rich client, but the client is missing and Jake is the number-one suspect.
Blue Dawn Jay of Aves
Price: Free! Words: 109,090. Language: English. Published: November 22, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Fantasy » General
Bird and sci-fi fans! On planet Aves young Blue Dawn Jay knows nothing of the humans that are colonizing his world, a world inhabited by giant birds. Blue quests to find his missing mentor Song Flame the cardinal. Meanwhile human biologist Kate Deborg has been tasked to investigate problems on Aves. Neither is aware that the survival of both birds and humans on Aves will soon depend on them.
There Goes the Neighborhood; Earthly Fantasy/Science Fiction Short Stories
Price: Free! Words: 107,450. Language: English. Published: October 3, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories, Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
(4.86 from 7 reviews)
The twenty original fantasy and science fiction Twilight Zone-like short stories of this diverse collection mostly take place on contemporary Earth or some slightly futuristic or altered Earth, where a technology, ghost, dragon, demon, curse, or space-alien intrudes. Some of the stories relate to subsequent e-book novels soon to be released.