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Monthly Archives: January 2015

New Release: Andrew P. Weston’s “The IX”

Happy New Release to Andrew P. Weston
and his new military fantasy, The IX!

IXcoverlarge-25percent

 

The ultimatum: Fight or die.

Roman legionnaires, far from home, lost in the mists of Caledonia; a US cavalry company on a special mission for Presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln; and a Special Forces unit from the 21st century, desperate to prevent nuclear catastrophe:

Snatched away from Earth at the moment of death to a failing planet far away, these misfit soldiers must unite against a relentless foe, where the cost of victory may be more than they’re willing to pay.

How far will they go to stay alive?

______

From Perseid Press.

 

BUY The IX on Kindle (with print to come in February 2015):

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/IX-Andrew-P-Weston-ebook/dp/B00RM54QBA

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/IX-Andrew-P-Weston-ebook/dp/B00RM54QBA

Amazon CAN: http://www.amazon.ca/IX-Andrew-P-Weston-ebook/dp/B00RM54QBA

 

 

More about The IX:

Arden, home to a culture that has existed for thousands of years and which spans dozens of worlds. Regardless, their sophistication cannot prevent calamity at the hands of an unstoppable nemesis. Known only as the Horde, this enemy has proven relentless. They have not only stripped the outer colonies bare, but now threaten the existence of the entire Ardenese way of life.

Realizing there is nothing they can do to prevent the inevitable march toward extinction, the Ardenese governing body come to a drastic decision. They gather together at their capital city, Rhomane, and submit their remaining genetic heritage into a vast underground ark, to be left in the care of an incredibly advanced AI construct called, the Architect.

It’s mission? To use the Rhomane’s dwindling reserves and safeguard their race by reaching out across time and space toward those who might be in a position to help reseed a devastated world at some time in the future.

Imagine the scenario, then, when soldiers from varying eras and vastly different backgrounds are snatched away from Earth at the moment of their passing, and transported to the far side of the galaxy. Thinking they have been granted a reprieve, their relief turns to horror when they discover they face a stark ultimatum:

Fight or die.

Despite overwhelming odds, this group of misfits manages to turn the tide against a relentless foe, only to discover the true cost of victory might exact a price they are unwilling to pay.

If you like your science fiction to include fast paced, gritty, realistic action and dark humor in the face of overwhelming odds, then The IX is definitely a saga for you.

Fans of Julian May’s “Saga of the Pliocene Exiles,” Robert Heinlein’s “Have Space Suit, Will Travel”, and Jerry Pournelle’s “Janissaries Series” will love this tale. It combines elements of the past, present, and future, and blends them together into a slick and stylish package that will leave you breathless and hungry for more.

The Must Read Science Fiction Adventure of 2015.

 

Read a couple of excerpts from The IX, available to read for free at Amazing Stories!

Excerpt #1: http://amazingstoriesmag.com/2015/01/excerpt-ix-andrew-paul-weston/

Excerpt #2: http://amazingstoriesmag.com/2015/01/excerpt-ix-andrew-p-weston-part-2/

 

 

Interviews:
Interview with Andrew P. Weston:
https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/2015/01/10/new-release-the-ix-by-andrew-p-weston-fantasymilitaryhistorical/

Character Interview with Alan McDonald from The IX:
https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/2015/01/12/character-interview-number-twenty-four-alan-mcdonald-fantasymilitary/

 

 •••

Take part in the Thunderclap campaign for The IX. The Thunderclap goes off on February 3rd!

https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/20969-the-ix-fight-or-die

 •••

About the author:

Andrew P. Weston is a Royal Marine and Police veteran from the UK who now lives on the beautiful Greek island of Kos with his wife, Annette, and their growing family of rescue cats.

An astronomy and law graduate, he is a contracted writer of fiction and poetry, creator of both the “Guardians” and “Cambion Journals” series, and has the privilege of being a member of the British Science Fiction Association, and British Fantasy Society.

When not writing, Andrew devotes some of his spare time to assisting NASA in one of their remote research projects, and writes educational articles for Astronaut.com and Amazing Stories.

 

The IX on FB: www.facebook.com/TheIXbyAndrewPWeston

Andrew’s blog: http://andrewpweston.blogspot.gr/

Andrew on Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Andrew-P-Weston-Author/102335216581151?ref=hl

Andrew’s Author Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Andrew-P-Weston-Author/102335216581151?ref=hl

Andrew on Twitter: https://twitter.com/WestonAndrew

The Guardians Blog: http://theworldoftheguardians.blogspot.gr/

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Andrew-P-Weston/e/B00F3BL6GS/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

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Submission Call: Flash Fiction @ PWP

Submission Call

Flash fiction stories for anthologies!
ENDS March 1, 2015

To submit:
https://paganwriters.submittable.com/submit/30234

 

Pagan Writers Press and Ishtar Press (the romance/erotica imprint) are currently seeking flash (short) fiction stories of 1,000 to 2,500 words for inclusion in five separate promotional eBooks for the press. The purpose of these books is to introduce new readers to PWP and display the vast talent of our authors to grow their individual followings.

Themes for these eBooks include:

  • Paranormal Romance: These stories focus on relationships, but have a supernatural twist. Characters can be shifters, witches, ghosts, vampires, or a host of other creatures (or be the humans that interact with them). They can be on the darker side, but the focus must be on the relationships.
  • Erotica: While the romance has a relationship focus, here we are looking for stories centered on the physical acts of pleasure of one or more parties. All manner of couples and light BDSM welcome.
  • Halloween / Samhain: Celebrate the magic and mystique of this solemn (and fun) holiday with stories that occur on this day or the days leading up to it. All non-erotic genres welcome.

One submission per author per collection is allowed (i.e. you can submit two different stories to two of the anthologies, but not more than one story for each).

Please review our standard guidelines before submitting your work. Failure to follow them will result in the rejection of your work.

All settings/eras/time periods welcome unless designated in the comments above.

All manner of relationships (straight, GBLT, or polyamorous) are welcome. Graphic lovemaking should be restricted to the Erotic submissions only. Submissions featuring pedophilia, bestiality, necrophilia, rape as titillation, etc. will be rejected.

Royalties from the sale of the individual anthologies will be split between the company and contributors, paid out on a quarterly basis.  Each contributor will also receive an author’s copy of the complete anthology, which will exist in electronic format only.

Submit your work for the anthologies through this submission system.

All work submitted must be your own, and you shall retain copyright.  We allow reprints, but the work must not have been published within 90 days of submission.

Please direct any questions you may have to angie@paganwriterspress.com.

Deadline for Submissions – March 1, 2015

Announcing the Mystical Bites Anthology

MYSTICAL BITES antho

 

Coming in 2015…

Mystical Bites

 

Bite size stories bursting with imagination. Faeries, witches, wizards, dragons, mystical realms, and more! Another amazing anthology from Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing, featuring short stories and poems boasting mystical beings and places.

 

Edited by Nicole L. Daffurn.

 

Featured works include: Andrea L. Staum’s Birth of the Guardians, Nicole L. Daffurn’s Changeling, Lexi Ostrow’s Devious Magic, Demetria Motsinger’s Dream, Jordanne Fuller’s Dusk, Parvarti K. Tyler’s El Naddaha, Penelope Anne Bartotto’s Original Bite, Jess Watkins’ Renee and the Wolf,  Jessica Slater’s Salem Town, Stacey Jaine McIntosh’s Shadows of Annwn, Cathrina Constantine’s Solenger and the Breath of Fire, Gina A. Watson’s The Black Rose, Roxanne Milson’s The Evil Eye, Joe Dicicco’s The Last Druid, and C.L. McCollum’s Will Blessings Be… and many more. It’s jam-packed with stories. No, really.

 

More to come about this anthology. Cover reveal, release date, more about the authors over the next couple months!

What It Means To Me : Intro

“Now the problem with all of this material, a daily deluge, is finding a way to make sense of it, and more importantly, to find a way to share it with others.”

Here’s a good post to read from Jeffrey Goff about the journey he’s setting off on his blog: “What It Means To Me”, not limited to reviewing work but going into what he’s reading and finding that personal connection. It’s that kind of thing all authors seek to inspire in readers, but there’s just not enough talk about it, which is terribly unfortunate. His first installment, available at this post here, https://schmefflandbyjdgoff.wordpress.com/2015/01/18/what-it-means-to-me-john-winter/, is a fantastic story of connecting the writer self to another writer through the means of Twitter – but not just on the following side of things, but an actual connection from living, breathing soul to living, breathing soul.

Looking forward to reading more of this journey and seeing where it goes. I’m sharing this in hopes it might inspired some other authors and/or readers. I know it’s inspiring me, making me think that I’d like to do a similar sort of thing and try to bring in that personal connection.

All the best with it, Jeffrey!
– RAB

JeffreyGoff

 What It Means To Me

Intro

 “Now, just what is this?” you may ask. “More self-serving internet trash?”

Well, no, not exactly. Though anything with a personal pronoun in it is more than likely self-serving in some form. However, writing as a whole may be considered the egocentric shouts for attention from someone whose internal words are louder and more persistent than his/hers external voice. Not always, and blanket generalizations, though convenient and in vogue, are things I tried to avoid. Writers write for many reasons, and writers write about many diverse and wonderful places, people, scenarios, feelings, events. And the beauty of all these thoughts put to page is that, in this beautiful era of instant connections, I get to read them.

I am a writer who writes for reasons I don’t fully understand, and I don’t try to make sense of them. I just write and I…

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This is Not a New Year’s Resolution… Okay, so I’m a Terrible Liar

More aptly, this post should be entitled: “How a Writer Spends Their Vacation” or “A Sketch of 2015”. But I’ll go the resolution route because I haven’t made a New Year’s resolution for something like 20 years. I just don’t. We did them as kids, but along the way I decided it just wasn’t me. I tend to jump into the new year and see where I end up. I keep several To Do lists and they roll from month to month, regardless of the year.

This year’s going to roll a little differently. Call it a job hazard. Call it evolving. Kind of like my winter holiday. I ended up doing work through most of it. But not writing. Well, maybe some ideas came to the surface. No, most of this work was the other stuff; the stuff authors are expected to do in 21st century to get noticed and interact with the rest of society.

 

La Vacation

We packed up and were out the door on December 19. The train ride was relatively non-productive with a budding headache and a glitchy internet connection. As with most visits to my family, I didn’t quite know what my time away would look like. And, considering my partner was with me this time round, the chances of getting work done was not very likely. Still, I brought everything I could think of that would be useful: the laptop, updated files I had synched from our PC, all the accounts I’d need, and naturally, pens and paper. So if there was a chance to get work done, I’d be on it.

The first few days: not about anything creative. Then I must’ve gotten bitten by something because a flood gate opened and wouldn’t stop. The week before, I’d been writing notes for a romance project, and had to put it aside. But one night, I was all by my lonesome and listening to my father’s Spotify account play through.

Then I heard it. That one-thing-leads-to-another song that drove me nuts for the rest of the whole vacation: Eklipse‘s cover of “Wonderful Life“. I loved it. So I tracked down Hurts’ original. THEN I couldn’t stop listening. I watched the video several times. Then it drew me back to the romance story and became the sort of anthem.

But it doesn’t end there. No. I started to poke around stock photo sites. In fact, I started to binge on stock photo sites. Because while I had a romance in mind, I’ve also been worrying about Ascension (what else is new?) The fact is I’ve been agonizing a bit over potential covers and what they might look like. I wanted to find that *perfect* photo to best suit the main character and make an elegant, epic fantasy cover that could draw attention and still represent the darkness and mystery inside.

It’s never that easy.

For months, I’ve been having a terrible time. Mostly it’s been a nightmare in the hair department. Really. Is it so difficult for there to be more photos of longer haired guys? Le sigh. In any event, I came across a photo set that had a couple potentials. But I wanted more. And heck, I felt I needed more if I want to get a decent website built for Blood & Heritage. I adore Sherrilyn Kenyon‘s website. It’s an experience. So completely immersed in her world. Visual. Interesting. Educational. An awesome site for fans of her series. I aspire to have something like that, especially since I’m sitting on all of this extra information, kind of like Tolkien… just without going as far as Tolkien.

Enter how I spent the majority of my Christmas: on my laptop, running the battery and processor to an inch of their existence, sifting through stock photo after stock photo. I couldn’t stop myself. I’d think of some new search term and off I went. My laptop started conspiring against me. Pretty sure it wanted me dead.

On the upside… after going through thousands of photos and really justifying having a cooling pad for the laptop, I came home with a wealth of resources and new ideas to play with. The *perfect* character profile photos for some of the main characters, a host of other choices for the other characters, the most awesome photos for the romance story I’d originally been working on, and some other goodies!

Not a lick of anything got written.

That’s the funny part, I’ve come to realize. That whole “author” (or “writer”) thing? It’s a loaded word. Writing is just one part of the battle; my preferred part. But it isn’t the whole. Now we’re expected to reach far beyond ourselves if we want to get somewhere. Branch out into all the other facets of what makes the literary world happen. If we aren’t our own agents, we’re still our own publicists, techies and website builders, often visual artists, and salesmen. In some ways, it’s exhilarating. Especially when we have the power to share more about our worlds (says a world-building nerd) using social media and websites, instead of merely locking our inside notes away. But sometimes it’s just downright exhausting.

Though during my work-cation, I scribbled down plenty of new ideas that I intend to enact this year, as described in the next section. Thank God it’s only January.

Also awesome: I came home with new pretties. When it comes to gift-giving, people cannot go wrong in giving me books. And that’s been the truth for as long as I remember. It started a long time ago, before my childhood bedroom became a mini-library with a bed and clothes inside. I had books in the closet, in the drawers, on the desks. My armoire was 3/4 clothes and 1/4 book. It’s no better now that I’m in my own apartment. If I could build shelves all over this place, I would. Why is there NEVER enough space?!

The 2014 literary haul looked something like this, PLUS 3 Terry Brooks books I’ve already put on the dedicated Terry Brooks shelf:

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To which my brother added (roughly paraphrasing here): “I want you to read that [N.K. Jemisin book] in 2 days and give me a report.”

YEAH. If I was Spencer Reid, maybe. I love bricks and I speed read. Not THAT fast.

Time to get busy.

 

That Aforementioned Sketch of 2015…

With that bit of last year officially finished, it’s time to look forward to the new, this 16 days in. I guess you could say I have 5 very clear resolutions that I’m (not) making, the overall “promote and write more” notwithstanding.

 

Resolution #1: Blog Series: Finish the Old

I started the Inspiring the Author Within blog series in 2014, then fell off the wagon partway in. Got so caught up in writing scenes that the blog didn’t happen. Best intentions, right? I figure I should really finish that this year. So I’ll dig deep and pull out the rest of the articles I meant to write. Tie up a few loose ends.

 

Resolution #2: New Blog Series: “Breathing Life Into an Epic Fantasy”

Once the old is finished, it’s time to bring in the new. I’ve spent years working on Ascension and Blood & Heritage. I’d like to delve more into the creative journey – the process – and share things I’ve learned along the way. From characters and plot to world-building and technology.

 

Resolution #3: Terry Brooks Reviews

Something that’s been on the way for a long time: I need to work my way through ALL of Terry’s Shannara series, from chronological start (ahem, “Running With the Demon”) to finish. With only 2 more books left in the series (!!), it’s an opportune time to hop to it. But I’d like to do more than just read them. I’ve not been as involved in reviews as I feel I should be. I’ve always been a hungry reader, but fiddling with reviews just got in the way of enjoying more books, so I didn’t do them. Although now I’m starting to think I ought to, even if I’m not terribly good at them. I can certainly see the value they have for authors, especially considering the rise of Indie authors.

So here we go. I’ve got it down. Me and my Terry Brooks collection need to have some snuggle up time. All reviews will be published on this blog and on my Goodreads account.

 

Resolution #4: Website for Blood & Heritage

I’m happy to say this one’s been started!

I want to have a virtual home for this series, a place where its secrets and truths can be gathered and explored further than just the pages of a paperback or eBook. A place where more of their world can be revealed – the stuff that didn’t make it into the book because it was too much (or relatively irrelevant) and would’ve resulted in nasty info dumps. A place where the bits spread across the books are gathered into smaller, definitive spaces. So far, I’ve been pulling out my notes for character profiles, although there will be more about the nations.

But shh, it’s in hiding for now. Reveal will come later in 2015.

 

Resolution #5: Rewrite Descent

This is a must. Descent currently sits in 1st draft edits and desperately needs love. I have a very large pile of notes to be applied to the manuscript, and it’s growing almost daily. So much garbage to be removed. So much rewriting to be done. By the end of the year, it needs to be in its 2nd draft. No ifs, ands, or buts. -_-

 

So there. I’ve done it. Publicly locked myself into a serious To Do list.  Come December I’ll either be pleasantly surprised or hitting my head on the desk.

And to all of you with similar lists: I wish you luck and a right good time in making them come to fruition. Let’s make 2015 awesome!

Spreading awareness through writing: Trigeminal neuralgia in fiction

One of the things I love most about fiction: as authors, we can educate others about the things they may have never heard of before. This is one such case.
Trigeminal neuralgia: ever heard of it? I haven’t, but it’s a good time to learn about it!

“Trigeminal neuralgia is a disorder of the fifth cranial nerve which causes horrendous pain attacks in the face.”

Find out more how Rosa Sophia has worked her own experience into one of her characters in her upcoming romance, MEET ME IN THE GARDEN.
– RAB

Rosa Sophia

Originally, I’d written that my main character in Meet Me In the Garden, Amalie, suffered from vertigo. But after my diagnosis of TN, and after discovering I have had this disorder my entire life without knowing it, I changed it to trigeminal neuralgia. Remember, they say you should write what you know. Trigeminal neuralgia is a disorder of the fifth cranial nerve which causes horrendous pain attacks in the face.

I now use my writing to spread awareness of TN; I am hoping anyone who reads Meet Me In the Garden, which will be released by Limitless Publishing on January 20, will learn something about this horrible disorder. Many others struggle with trigeminal neuralgia, and there are still many doctors who know nothing of the disorder. TN patients deserve the proper help. Spreading awareness is the first step in finding a cure to any illness.

For now, here’s…

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7 Things 2014 Taught Me About Being A Writer

While we’re ushering in the new year, 2014 is reminding me of that sock that gets stuck in the drier, left behind then forgotten entirely, stuck in the dark void that’s occasionally illuminated with blips of light. The one we will often mutter about: “Where’s that damn sock gone?”

To honour that lost sock of a year, I’ve compiled a list of things. (YAY LISTS!) Because to be honest, it wasn’t a year to forget. As a writer, there were many valuable lessons to be soaked up, not just about the act of writing but all facets of what it involves to be a writer at this time in history.

So here we go, 3 short of a Top 10: 7 Things 2014 Taught Me About Being A Writer

 

1) Online Book Launch Parties

It’s been a reminder that in some ways, I’m still old school, which is a kinder way of saying I’m terribly behind in the industry. Social media came around when I was in the early days of my degree, and I wasn’t having any of it. The only reason why I signed up for Facebook was because everyone else in the science club I helped run was doing it. In order to keep up with certain activities, I had to be there. It was still a time when only students/schools were involved and nothing like the Facebook we have now. Begrudgingly I signed up and didn’t do too much with it.

And then it exploded.

While it’s still not totally my thing, I’ve come around to embracing social media, seeing merit in what it provides to someone like an author. Not just to express ideas, but connect with readers, authors, industry professionals, getting a glimpse into the real lives behind the font. This includes being able to host virtual parties and saying, “Hey world! Come on in. Wipe the feet. Grab a drink. Let’s celebrate the birth of [enter book here].”

And that’s pretty cool.

No longer do we have to rely solely (read: solely, not never) on forking out a ton of $$$ to rent a space, fret over refreshments, or run circles around ourselves at an in-person launch event. We can open up a virtual room and invite the world in, hosting in our PJs from the safety of whatever room we decide is best.

WOW. And I mean that in the most genuine way.

As a classic (and shy) introvert, this makes celebrating work MUCH more bearable. Sure, it can be difficult to keep up with who’s posting what where and when, but the nervous giggles don’t come through. And it’s global, not localized. Not confined to a town/city or whoever can (and is willing) to make it, especially if it involves slugging through a snow blizzard on the backed-up highway. No, party big, author. Celebrate with folks on the other side of the world and get your work out there.

Of course, “online” does not necessarily mean “easier”. It still helps to have a plan like any event. And stuff. I’ve noticed giveaways are the big #1 item (either small prizes along the way and/or the one huge one), but so are games — little things like “caption this”, or answer a question, or something. Although my favourite bit is when the author shares things about the work and/or themselves. I checked out the launch party for Falling Star from Laura DeLuca and it was fantastic. She shared info about the inspiration for the novel, which involved a lot of personal connections and stories. That’s the bit that really breathes life into the work. She’s from Jersey writing about Jersey girls. It makes total sense to share those things that fall into the “write what you know” category. Both as a reader and author, I love that stuff. Or maybe I’m just nosy.

 

2) Tweetdeck makes me cry less and added bonus: I get to keep my hair.

Still on the social media theme… let’s talk Tweetdeck for a couple secs. Running multiple Twitter accounts is not simple. At least not around here. And I love the option of scheduling tweets. But I don’t have money to pay for the useful version of the shiny Hootsuite or other comparable application.

Enter that old acquaintance.

A couple years back, I encountered Tweetdeck. But I drifted away from using it, ignoring the updated versions. But now with three author accounts, I found myself crawling back and begging for its simplicity. My favourite features: I can tweet to any one of my accounts from a single screen without logging out of one to access the other. Just have to click which one (or more) I want and send the tweet. The other feature is the chance to schedule A LOT of tweets, across all the accounts, and walk away. Don’t have to have the application running, don’t have to pay to make it happen; just load it up and carry on.

This, this I can do. I tend to skip out on tweets, run out of time, or whatever, especially on my slow connection. But scheduling helps, especially if I have an avalanche of tweets come to mind — scheduling allows for a nicer pace.

On the other hand, it’s also a huge help in terms of timing. Although in EST, I (tend to) keep the schedule of a vampire. Roll into bed at dawn; get up late afternoon/early evening. Not so helpful when the most of our society functions on 8AM – 6PM schedule.

So thank you, Tweetdeck. You allow me to tweet in my sleep.

 

3) Blogging: you need to actually blog to really make it go anywhere.

Okay, so this one’s pretty “duh” but still valid. Having started my blogs in April 2014, I’m still a newb and getting the hang of things. And by “getting the hang”, I mean integrating it into my routine in a less neglectful manner. I’ve been lax here, too, and I know it. So a part of my marketing plans for this year include the blogging component because posting more = more exposure = increased audience = happier author. I’ve seen the results for myself. Must. Do.

Did I mention marketing isn’t my strong suit?

 

4) Twitter Poetry

OMG, it’s a thing. I didn’t know it until I came across someone’s Twitter account and saw the #HeartSoup tag used by @HeartSoupPoems. Then I found more about “micro poetry”.

Well, I’ll be.

This is fantastic. In fact, it’s one of my absolute favourite things about Twitter. Not only are they great little reads, but they’re challenging. Inspiring. They’re nuggets of images floating in the sea of “BUY MY BOOK!” tweets. More than once I’ve churned something out and it hasn’t taken too long, but it has rekindled my love for writing poetry and it’s challenged me to be succinct. It’s also been a great way to feel like I’ve done something creative and artistic while working with social media. It’s easy to be caught up in everyone else’s words, but sometimes you just need to write a few good, creative lines to break it up.

I heartily encourage everyone to give it a go. It challenges a writer to edit, edit, edit. Be specific. Cut out the crap. Grab that one image or emotion and get to the heart of it without adding fluff. Then put it out into the world and let people share it, or at least like it.

 

5) That amazeballs idea you had? Put up your hand, wave goodbye, and attack the next one like Monty Python’s rabbit.

During 2014, I wrote a few short stories and submitted to anthologies. One of the anthos I came across was for Dark Light 4, offered by Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing. It sounded so awesome, and completely up my alley, I just had to write something for it. So I wrote Awake & Dreaming, a short about one of my assassin characters from Ascension. His story is dark, more than a little frightening, and deliciously him. I’ve been wanting to write it for a long while so I seized the chance.

By the time I finished, I looked at it, looked at CHBB’s brand, looked at the anthologies in the rest of the Dark Light series and thought: NOPE.

But what to do? Deadline was approaching. I had other projects on the go. For a few moments, I was floundering.

Then inspiration hit. And then again. Then again. Felt like my brain was going 10 rounds on itself, taking a note from Fight Club or something. I wrote things down on paper. Wrote on Post-its when I was supposed to be asleep. In a matter of days, almost the entire story of What Must Be Done was sketched out, mostly on miniature paper in teensy scribbles. Sat down at the computer and the story flowed, so smooth, so surprisingly. Wasn’t very long before it was finished. Edited it, sent it, waited, thought it was a bit of a risk.

Then it got picked up.

The moral of the story didn’t escape me. Maybe A&D loosened up the brain cells. Maybe it just needed to get out. In the end, there’s a good lesson: sometimes the first idea isn’t always the one. Sometimes you need to explore one idea before finding the one that works, and don’t get down about having to put the idea aside. Every story has its time and place … just not necessarily when you want it. It’s not personal. It’s not bad or horrible. That’s just art, baby.

 

6) 365 days worth of editing? “Don’t make me laugh,” says the manuscript.

Many of the writers I know are quite aware of this thing we go through, which is we can’t edit enough. I’m one of those, too. Perfectionist. Type A personality. All of that. So it’s no surprise that Ascension‘s gone through SO many edits. I estimate it’s at least 365 days worth of time spent on the manuscript, especially since I’m (re-)learning bits of grammar to better polish my work.

I felt really awesome about the manuscript in November and submitted it to my publisher. Polished it to within an inch of its existence. Since then, I’ve revisited the manuscript.

Oh, Gods, I’m mortified. I feel so sorry for the editor. I’m up to about 130 mistakes that need to be fixed, some of them really obvious, glaring ones. And while my father suggested I was suffering from “analysis paralysis“, I have to say that it’s not all in my head. I mean, it’s difficult to ignore that certain words are missing kind of crucial letters, or a whole word is missing in a sentence…

I suppose there are 3 lessons here.

One: no matter how much time you put in, it will (more than likely) never, ever be good enough and things will always slide in/out under the radar.

Two: we authors need more sets of eyes than just our own. Our brain fills in things it wants to see. No matter how perfect we think the manuscript is, things slip in/our under the radar.

Three: analysis paralysis is also a thing.

 

7) Never, ever, ever underestimate transferable skills and experiences.

I’m a big fan of transferable skills. Having learned about the concept during my degree when I was searching for jobs, I’ve always supported the idea that skills acquired from one experience can be applied to another. I also know that a lot of people have trouble seeing them, or rather seeing what they’ve done as transferable to other situations. It takes some out-of-the-box thinking.

In my case, a lot of it has been like any other student: how does what we learn in school apply to the “real world”? How can what we do in class, personal life, or elsewhere be of any use in our profession? And worse: how can what we’ve learned for one profession/direction be applied to a completely different profession/direction?

This is where I find myself more these days. Went to university for Zoology, taking classes in biology, ecology, and other sciences. Then I took classes for NGO work. Worked security, at a couple of summer camps, and in a large corporate office with their tech people. Volunteered for a women-in-science club and other causes. It was on a relatively specific trajectory.

So when you’re a fiction writer – especially fantasy and speculative fiction – where does all of that go? Do you trash it? Ignore it? Lament?

Forget that. Write what you know. Even more than that, use it in new, creative ways!

For myself, this has manifested in a few forms:

– All that time I’ve spent tinkering around with website design and graphics for personal use and school … applied directly to promotional material and marketing for published works.

– All that time I spent researching for papers and work, learning how to research better and communicate what I learned … incredibly useful for writing believable, real characters and situations.

– That marketing and public relations for NGOs class I took … totally useful in understanding marketing, planning, strategy, branding, and everything else a writer needs to know to promote their work.

– The science and psychology classes … great for better understanding the how and why of people. And it supports the bits that venture into science fiction territory. (Just don’t ask me about chemistry or high level physics!)

– Summer camp jobs … I spent a lot of time with kids and young adults, teaching and learning how they learn. And patience. And creativity. And flexibility. All useful when writing characters of younger ages.

– Volunteering … other than understanding the causes and feeling for them, it’s a great way to get into the head of characters, especially those who have altruistic tendencies. Why does character X helps others? What do they get out of it? Or, in the case of political causes: why does political figure A do this rather than that? Why aren’t parties M, N, and O listening to the individual’s demands? What can the individual do to best acquire (and keep) their attention?

There is loads more I could spout about transferable skill and seeing the potential and opportunity in everything, but maybe that’s a different post. I will say that as writers, we’re in a unique and interesting position. We can come from any background and make it work. Sometimes it’s not obvious. Sometimes it requires a little journey and some colouring outside the lines. So grab a 64 pack of colouring pencils and off you go.

 

That’s all for this list, some of which I kind of already knew … just needed the reminder!

But now, in true curious style, I’m throwing it out to you. Things you’ve learned in 2014. Annnnnnd go —

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