Selkies' Skins

Selkies' Skins
Current book in series Temple and Skinquest. Enjoy Castle and Well from Amazon, B&N and Smashwords while waiting for that and the prequel's audiobook "Pearls of Sea and Stone: Book of Seals".

Monday, August 26, 2013

Author Spotlight: John Krauss (Grease Coakes)

Author Interview

Today I’d like for the blog visitors to meet one of the wonderful authors that are published or otherwise assisted by THG StarDragon Publishing. Each of those authors has come to me with their own story and in their own ways, and it has been a pleasure working with them. For this post I’d like to introduce John Krauss, AKA Grease Coakes from Second Life. John is the author of the Ginny Griffin series, currently consisting of "Ginny's First Day of School" and "Ginny and Her Friends."

Sorry that I didn't conduct this in SL, Grease. That would have been fun, but I wanted to give you some time to mull over your answers if you needed to...instead of staring at you through dragon eyes and with sharp horns. My main avatar for some reason seems to scare off and/or unnerve people. I guess even an anthropomorphic Japanese dragon in miko's garb does not always translate as "just another being on the shrine personnel roles." Pictures like you did for the Tarot interview and the Divine Inspirations writing party would have been a cool thing, in hindsight.
  • What got you started in writing?

    I don’t know. When I was a kid I wrote a story based off the NES game Dragon Warrior where the hero actually entered the mouth of a living dragon. I wrote some in high school,but I recently picked it back up.
  • How did you find THG StarDragon Publishing?

    I met the Second Life avatar of Teresa Garcia,  who is Amehana Ishtari, and peeked at her profile. Lo and behold, she offered Tarot card readings so I asked her about that and she was glad to give me a reading.

  • What is your favorite subject to write about?

    Fantasy, and the universe of Ginny Griffin,  which I try to write as an alternate real world except instead of humans everyone is a furry.

    Teresa: For those that do not know what a furry is, those are people that are fans of anthropomorphic characters, such as kitsune, dragon shifters, anime characters with animal features, and even fans of the Bearenstein bears can be classed as furry fans. A lot goes into the furry community, despite some of its less savory reputations. More accurately though this can also a subculture, not just a fandom. If one were to go to a furry convention you might be able to see people in fursuits. I've never gone to one, but I'd like to some day.

    The furry subculture does have some crossover with the otherkin subculture, but the otherkin subculture focuses more on spirituality that can be applied and a feeling of being more animal-like than human. I suggest looking into Lupa's writings on Otherkin and therioshamanism if you are looking for reliable information, or the Otherkin News group on LiveJournal.

  • Other than writing, what sort of things do you like to do?

    I like meditation, role-playing, and playing video games. I also enjoy watching reruns of Star Trek the Next Generation. The series debuted when I was 10. I came late to dinner once when the episode was still running. (No! I have to keep watching to see what happens!)

  • Do you have any favorite books or authors?

    When I was growing up I liked reading Piers Anthony, and Robert Jordan’s Wheel of time series was amazing to read. I picked up the "Black Gryphon" by Mercedes Lackey and that was a good read. Just recently I read the Dark Griffin series by KJ Taylor, that was a good read for three books.

  • What do you feel are your influences?

    Reading lots of fantasy books and I remember Richard scary books with the animal characters. I thought that was neat, animals with a human personalty and intelligence. Also The Black Gryphon where the griffins had a sentience along with human or higher intelligence. Could you imagine if that was part of our day to day activities where you could interact and speak with animals of any species?

    Teresa: That would be awesome. I have had several cats that could say some "words" in context, only using them when getting the attention of certain people (as in seeming to label them with the sound). My daughter's service cat Lightning would certainly be having even more adventures (and probably telling embarrassing stories when fetching help). Ever seen an actual cat try to feed his sick person soup while Mom's out of the room for a second? With the way science progresses, maybe we just might get flying cars and talking animal-people.

  • What is the most important message that you want readers to find in your books?

    The stories I write for "tail sales" are there for entertainment. But I guess the children’s story I wrote, "Ginny Griffin’s First Day of School" is also how Ginny has to keep fighting and how she’s able to do that with her new friends.

    Teresa: I thought there were a few other lessons in your story when I read it. I think that you did a good job of conveying this lesson you've told us of in the book. My daughter could have used that story several years ago.

  • Do you prefer to write on paper, or do you prefer to type on the computer?

    Computer. I make lots of mistakes, and I’m not blond... I don’t put white out on my screen. lol

    Teresa: I'm glad that you don't. Can you imagine how hard that would have made it for the proofreaders if you'd done that? I'd have smacked you if you'd sent me back a copy that hadn't been fixed when I was helping with that. I'm sure I've got a smacker somewhere in my SL inventory since I've got a kiss/hug tool. x.x If I don't I should remedy that just for laughs. (Publisher note: THG StarDragon recognizes very well the dangers of stereotypes, Teresa having grown up under some. In all actuality, one of our authors is blond, in addition to at least one person who has submitted to "The Dragons' Beads Anthology.")

  • Do you do anything special to get in the writing mood?

    I pop my second life avatar at a human club and turn on the music stream, or listen to one of my CD/s or music mixes and start writing.

    Teresa: Ha! So that's what you do. One of these days we ought to set up a writer's party at the Arashiryuu Yashiro Kami-ya. Maybe you could DJ us a stream of your favorite writing tunes, and I can pop that stream addy into the music slot for during that time. Ame-no-Uzume is the patron kami of dancers and entertainment, and writing falls under that heading. We could call it the Divine Inspiration Party, and those so minded can think of it as an offering to Okamisama, while those that are just there for music and to write could do so. I'll have to talk to you about this later.

  • What is your favorite place in the whole world?

    Ohio and Kentucky, but Illinois I will avoid at all costs.

  • Which of your books was your favorite to write? Is there any special story about writing the book, or an experience, that you’d like to share?

    I just wrote the one children’s book, so far I hope to write a sequel in the near future. I liked writing that pirate story. That was a fun adventure I wrote for Tonve as he bought my writing services. It was a good balance of romance and adventure. And one of the main characters got justice served in a good way to her.

  • Is there anything else you’d like to tell us while we’re visiting with you?

    Keep writing about whatever subject you like,  even if it’s bizarre. Even if you write for yourself and the heart and make sure your story is grammatically correct—no typos. etc.—someone may like your idea.
    Oh and if you’re in a RP sim called Cadair in Second Life don’t follow the Minotaur she had Mad Cow disease.

    Teresa: o.O Yipe! Had or has? I will remember this sage advice next time I have the time and energy to explore around SL. I should set aside some time to do so before the next semester of university takes away the time.

  • Do you mind if the publisher shares a short excerpt of one of your books to introduce the visitors here to your writing style? 

    Yes, from my children’s book.

    Ginny Griffin's First Day of School
    Chapter One

      Ginny and her parents just moved from Randyville to the new town of Spoonville because Phil Griffin, her father, was an aeronautics engineer. This allowed the Griffin family to buy a new house and move to a new neighborhood. Phil Griffin is a jet black griffin with brown eyes. Even among griffins Phil was large, he towered over his wife and his daughter which made him scary looking. However Phil was easy going and not one to start any fights or violence.

      The front half of the body is that of an eagle while the lower half is a lion.

      Glenda Griffin was shorter, yet compared to other adult animals she was still tall and a darker shade of pink than her daughter, Ginny. Ginny had taken some tests the day before at the new elementary school, called Spoonville Elementary and Middle school. Like her parents she was very intelligent, so they allowed her to skip a grade from second to the third grade. It was the Sunday before Ginny's first Monday of school in early September.

      Ginny exclaimed, “But Dad I'm scared to go to school. I won't know any of the kids there! They will probably ignore me! Or worse, they will make fun of me!”

      “Nonsense!” began Glenda Griffin, "It’s true there are not many griffins in the world, however those who treasure uniqueness, and a good lady as yourself, will find a new friend, perhaps a few new friends.”

    “You're a smart girl Ginny.” added her father. “Even if there are animal people who do not treat you kindly, there will always be cubs there to treasure you as a friend and stand up for you.” 

      Ginny felt a little better but not very sure about the new school day tomorrow. She ran to hug her Glenda as pink hugged pink. Ginny was bright sure, but she could be shy at times and not exactly brave; despite griffins being brave like the stories humankind wrote about them.

      Ginny released herself from her mother's hug as her beak went up in a sudden thought. “I know Mommy, I could bring my Movie Star “Diva Vixen doll."

      Phil closed his eyes in a frown. “You know Ginny, maybe you could go to school without your doll for once. You're turning into a big girl now; you're probably taller than a lot of children there.”

      Ginny herself was 5'5 as she just turned seven on July 11th. She was slender and not very physically strong, but still probably bigger than foxes, hyenas and the like. Only horses and dragons would outsize her.

      Glenda Griffin disagreed. “You know, Phil maybe she could stop bringing her doll later on. But for tomorrow I think her Movie Star Diva Vixen doll would keep her safe.” Glenda winked in Ginny's direction while speaking. “Ginny is going to a brand new school and she needs all the support she can get.” Glenda looked at Phil with a gentle but victorious stare at the end of her sentence. Ginny loved both her parents but her mother even more since she always sided with her. She wondered why her mother always won... Not that she complained.

      Phil sighed and closed his eyes “OK, OK... Ginny can go to school with her Diva Vixen doll with her tomorrow, but! You do realize you can't go around with that doll all your life Ginny. One of these days you won't need it as much or at all.”

      Ginny's eyes brightened in glee. “Thank you mommy!” She ran to kiss her mommy with an eagle peck on the cheek then she ran to her red and pink room and found her Movie Star Diva Vixen star doll, complete with “Diva Vixen backpack.”

      After dinner, Ginny finished packing notebooks and pencils into her Diva Vixen backpack. She watched the TV show Fatal Clues with her family. Each episode the heroine Dana Dog narrowly escapes death while solving the crime and foiling the criminals. All three of the griffins took guesses at who the killer was. Glenda was right as it happened to be the owner of the car-dealership.

      “I wish I was brave as Dana Dog” said Ginny “She always confronts the criminals even when she could get killed.” 

      “You know this is just a television show,” spoke Phil. “TV is just there to entertain us. It's not real. You don't have to be brave as her; you can still be a brave woman when you grow up in different ways.”

    Glenda said, “That's right honey we’d be scared silly if you decided to chase down killers after school. TV is just fantasy made up stuff... it's there to watch sometimes but not all the time for entertainment.”

      At 9 PM after the show, Ginny began to feel tired and her parents said it was time for bed. Ginny was still anxious about school the next day said, "No." Her parents were firm and said it was bedtime anyway; Phil said he needed sleep for his first day at work, and Glenda wanted to look for a part or maybe full time job. All the Griffins would be busy the next day.

      “How about this?” suggested Glenda. “I doubt I will find a new job right away, so tomorrow after school I could take you shopping for a new kite.” 

      “Really?” squealed Ginny. Her old pink kite with red hearts she had since she was six was tattered with holes and faded from use.  

      Glenda nodded. “Yes, but only if you go to bed.”

      “Okay Mommy, I'll go to bed." Said Ginny as she rolled her eyes like a seven year old would. Ginny got the hint and indeed went to bed, but did not go to sleep. She changed into her light purple pajamas with flowers. 

      Sitting Indian style on her small bed, she began to play "Monster Mayhem" on her Game Pal. She had heard other kids say that there was over 350 monsters to get on the game and she had all of 40 monsters. Her monsters were not that great; like Rotted plant and Musketeer Fox. Her favorite monster of all 3 in her team was the Tan griffin (well of course, as she was a griffin herself!) which wasn't a bad monster to have mid-way through the game. After playing for an hour she began to drift to sleep. She saved her progress in the game and went to bed.

Thanks for this visit and telling us about you and your books. After what we've talked about in other conversations I hope that you get around to another Ginny Griffin story soon.

To find this author’s works:

The Lulu paperback is available at:

The ebook version is available at:

You can also follow his adventures as Grease Coakes by watching for his reports at the Second Life Newser.

No comments: