Friday, December 16, 2011

Annetta Ribken has Mad Ninja (& Writing) Skillz

Today I welcome an extraordinarily talented author with whom I share a lot of common interests. Annetta Ribken is a fellow 12 Days of Creepfest hopper, so make sure to visit her blog for interviews, excerpts, and oodles of creepy wonderful goodies!! Don't forget to visit the other awesome blogs also offered by the 12 Days of Creepfest and Holiday Hop. Click the pictures below to venture forth.

But FIRST, let's all welcome Annetta and give her a mighty droogie cheer.

Thanks, buddies. We needed that. On to Annetta's awesomeness...

How much personal experience did you put into developing Pallas from "Athena's Promise"?

My favorite quote of all time is by Stephen King: "Fiction is the truth inside the lie." To me, that's the literary equivalent of a Mobius strip. Of course, a lot of my personal experience ends up in most of my fiction, and I suspect the same is true of many writers. I actually worked and lived in a hotel for three years, so in "Athena's Promise" I draw on a lot of those experiences. That doesn't mean everything in the novel is true to life, of course, but a great deal of that particular time did influence my depiction of Pallas.

I love that Stephen King quote as well!! What famous literary character would be Pallas's best friend?

Unfortunately, Pallas is in the position where having a best friend would be more a liability than anything else. However, if she were to have a best friend it would probably be Jane Eyre. Pallas would appreciate her sarcastic wit, her strength of character, and her moral fiber. Plus, I think a modern Jane would probably have a stabilizing influence on Pallas.

Very intriguing! What do you love most about being a writer?

For me, it's about the story and having an effect on readers. While I do love the perks of being freelance, I love creating a world, a character, a situation to which people respond. I have been an avid reader since I was a tiny girl, and there have been many books which have impacted my life by sparking a different way of thinking or an emotional response. Books with characters who became my best friends in many ways; books that helped me through some difficult periods. I hope someday my work has that effect on people, and that's what I love most about being a writer.

That's exactly the way I feel. It's amazing to hear how much your audience adores AND abhors characters you've created out of thin air. Do you read the same genres as you write?

Actually, I read all kind of genres, but my favorite is speculative fiction. Even that covers a wide variety of sub-genres. I don't want to be pigeon-holed into a specific genre when reading or writing, but I will say I spec-fic has always been my favorite to read and write.

Yet another thing in common!! Speculative Fiction is my toast and jam!! What kind of scene (or character) is the most fun for you to write?

A scene where everything possible that could go wrong goes wrong and the character has to think or wriggle their way out. A character who kicks ass and sometimes screws it up. The most fun is when I have my hands on a character even snarkier than I am. Cracks me up.

Me too. I love putting my characters through the wringer just to see how they'll deal with it. What was your favorite book as a child? What is your favorite as an adult?

As a child I loved Little Women. It's probably the book I've read the most. As an adult, it's really hard to choose because my favorite will change with what's going on in my life. For comfort, it has to be Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey and for escapism, the Dark Tower books by Stephen King.

A fantastic group of books, if I must say! So, if you had to be stuck on an island for a year with three literary characters, who would they be?

Jack Sawyer from The Talisman and Black House; Roland Deschain from the Dark Tower series, and Ruth, the white dragon from Dragonriders of Pern.

Oh, Roland, how we loooooove you. :) A freak accident gave you super writing powers. Describe the accident.

I was battling Enormous Mutant Hamsters (cousins to the Rodents of Unusual Size) with my Mad Ninja Skillz (and winning!) when one of them sneaked up behind me with a pen. I thought it was mutant because of its size, but it actually had opposable thumbs, which made really difficult to deal with. It stabbed my brain with the pen, and I guess the ink leaked in while I was busy beating the shit out of the EMH. I haven't been the same since.

And we're so happy you haven't been the same since!! To find out more about Annetta and her work, visit her blog. Through the 12 Days of Creepfest, you can win an e-copy of "Athena's Promise", or visit her giveaway on GoodReads for an autographed print copy. "Athena's Promise" can be found at Amazon and Smashwords as well. Check out the awesome synopsis below:


"No matter what it takes."

As the front desk manager of a hotel on the edge of Zombietown, Pallas is used to dealing with angry centaurs, surly trolls, and zombie housekeepers. The trouble really starts when one of her guests ends up dead. But that's not her only problem.

A cop with an attitude – can he be trusted to be more than just a pain in her ass or does he have a more sinister agenda?

A new Guest Services Manager, out for her job and ready to sacrifice anyone in his way – what does he really want?

The attractive maintenance guy, endangering the promise she made out of necessity to the Goddess Athena – does he know more than he's telling?

A mermaid diva, whose show at the Sparkling Butterfly must go on – or else.

Pallas needs to find the killer, and fast, or she'll lose her job, her home, and the ragtag family she's adopted out of her crew of "critters".

In the course of the investigation Pallas uncovers connections to a nasty Oddities dealer deep in the heart of Zombietown, forcing her to expose a trauma from her past which could threaten her future. With everyone and everything she loves in danger, the promise made to the Goddess Athena may well damn her if she breaks it, but she is bound and determined to save her friends, her home, and everything she's built.

No matter what it takes.

Annetta has been writing since words were carved on stone tablets with chisels. Not only does she write her own words, Annetta is also an accomplished editor. She lives just outside of St. Louis with her evil feline overlord, a rescued shelter cat named Athena.

Stalk Annetta here:

It was super rad having Annetta as a guest on No Vacation from Speculation. Make sure to leave her some feedback. If you do, you'll be in the running to win a signed hardcover copy of "Danny Marble & the Application for Non-Scary Things". The winner of that prize will then be entered into a contest to win a Kindle Fire. So comment, comment, comment! Have a rockin' day, everyone!!


  1. This was a BLAST. Thanks so much for having me, Jess!

  2. And I commented.... :) TY for such great post Jess and Netta!


  3. One of my favorite authors, editors and people... trust me, when the zombie apocalypse happens, you want Netta on your team... :)

  4. Great post! I love Little Women too. So good! Your book sounds great! Thanks for sharing! Merry Christmas!