Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Being an Author: 2013 in review

With writerly goods, bads, and weirds: 2013.

The Good

I can't really say anything without mentioning that this year Nocturnal Press Publications picked up my debut novel. Yes, that novel I was talking about finishing in last years review will be on the shelves before Christmas. Yep. In the next few days.


With the help of Eden Royce, the completed manuscript was refined and made ready for those who will, to see, and then taken by NPP. Refined further by Eden, who was then working on behalf of the publishing house, it is here. Ready.


Saber Core Art Studio created the perfect cover.

What more can I say?

And then, in the closing few weeks of the year, Redemption, a tale with a long story was taken by Black Bed Sheet Books. Another publication? Wow.



When I started working with author Charles Day, three years ago, we were both wet behind the ears. We wanted, but didn't know how to achieve. We wrote two novellas based on Charles' idea of a young girl who wanted to help wildlife and was taken from the world early. Revenge. Redemption.

Three years. Three years. 

Development takes time. It's a novel now. And it'll be in the stores next year.

Did I mention The Devil's Hand?



Book 1: Crossing Guard and Book 2: Conviction, are both available to buy at Amazon. 2013, the year of self publishing. I'm proud of what I've done, and proud of the people that have worked with me.


The Bad

Okay, I can't not mention this, but I'll take the higher ground.

The Human Condition 2: Human Behavior has been put on hold. I shelved it. With the contractual problems I have experienced with The Human Condition I've sort of lost momentum for it. It's a shame I was half way through writing it.

Small Cuts is still coming though, but in a different form to that I planned.

The Weird

I said last year my writing had changed. That it has. And so it continues to do so. I write different things now, in different ways.

I'm still changing.

I've written dystopian sci-fi,  erotica, horror, bizarro. I've had success.

Me?

My bacon, I mentioned her last year, is more bacon than I can describe. The feelings run deep. All is good. I have a new house, a good job, and a future.

And the writing works. It's working for me, and with me.

I found the secret of loving my characters, rather than hurting them.

The Future

Who knows. Tomorrow never comes. But if next year is as good as this, well...

... it sounds good to me.

Next up is The Devil's Hand book 3: Celestials, and my next novel: Vampire Blue. I'm going to concentrate on the later, I think. (Until next week, when I change my mind)

And I was struggling with grammar - particularly commas - last year. I still am. But I think I'm getting better. Only the Boss will know. First line. Eh?

Friday, 13 December 2013

Interview: Shane S Almond

Today we welcome Shane S Almond, author of The Last Child of Asgard; Delta.


FW: Firstly, could you tell a little about yourself?

SA: Ok, my name is Shane S. Almond, my middle name is Stephen, only people who know me, know that. I am an author of YA Fantasy/Mythology and I am also the Founder and Owner of a publishing house called Nocturnal Press Publications. 

FW: Tell us about The Last Child of Asgard; Delta.

SA: It’s been quoted as being “Harry Potter meets Percy Jackson” and that has stuck really. It’s about a boy called Maximus Turner and he discovers that he is a two-tone god, but he also discovers that because of this, he has a lot of enemies and Delta really, is a way of Max honing his skill and finding his feet, because let’s face it, the hard work is yet come.  

FW: What’s it like running a press and being an author? 

SA: It’s hectic to say the least, but I love every second of it and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

FW: What tips can you give new writers?

SA: Never give up! In life if you want something enough then you will make it happen, but you need to make it happen! Also no matter how long it takes, keep at it. Delta in total has taken me 11 years to get right. *laughs, so if it takes a couple of weeks or a couple of years it really doesn’t matter. 

FW: Where do you see yourself going, writing, or publishing?

SA: There are two more books in The Last Child of Asgard series, then I am looking into doing a few Olympus Origins books and as a publisher, I plan on continuing to make this fantastic company with all the amazing people in it, grow and evolve.  

FW: Who is your biggest influence, and why? 

SA: As a writer, I would have to start with the author that got me reading in the first place, J.R. Tolkien.
I also come from a music loving background so I draw a lot of inspiration to a lot of artists such as Michael Jackson, Eminem etc...  

FW: What new works do you have on the go? 

SA: I am halfway through book two in The Last Child of Asgard trilogy called Loki and I am looking to release that next August.  

FW: Anything else you’d like to add? 

SA: You can find me and Nocturnal Press at www.npuniverse.com
http://www.npuniverse.com/authors/shane-s-almond/
http://www.npuniverse.com/books/the-last-child-of-asgard-delta/
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Shane-S-Almond-OFFICIAL/256346651082304 https://www.facebook.com/NocturnalPressPublicationsLtd
and twitter @nocturnalpress

FW: Thanks for coming in.

About the Author

Shane S. Almond was born at Whipps Cross Hospital, London on Saturday 26th July 1986.

Shane is a young inspiring fantasy novelist who started writing at the tender age of thirteen. At fifteen he started to consider himself as an author and strived to develop his writing skills. Shane has always had a passion for Mythology, he spent his childhood years reading the legends of Hercules, Perseus and Jason and the Argonauts, and always wanted to create his own legends and that was when Maximus Turner was born.

Then he researched other mythologies and started to incorporate the Norse legends into his novel.

On May 8th 2012, his debut novel was completed, but it had to be called back for a re-edit.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Interview: Louisa Mullerworth

Today we have Louisa Mullerworth in the interview seat, author of the forth coming novel Dying to Help.



FW: Firstly, could you tell a little about yourself? 

LM: Well, where to start? I am a published author, and Marketing Advisor. I am very much a family oriented person and love my work because it gives me the freedom to work from home; giving me a perfect Work/Life balance. I always knew this was what I was going to do, don’t ask me why, it was just always on the cards. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write and I spent most of my childhood surrounded by the ‘Sales world’ for better or worse.

FW: Tell us about 'Mistol; A New Beginning'. 

LM: Ahh yes, Mistol was written in 2010 and published in 2011 for a family who tragically lost their daughter (Bannesa Rose Ayers) only days before she turned eighteen. Bannesa had written the original script and her mother had approached me asking if I would re-write and edit it getting a few copies done for the family. I self edited and got a package from a ‘publishing house’ which I don’t think did it justice looking back so in the near future ‘Mistol; A New Beginning’ will be re-released with Nocturnal Press along with the two follow on books which are yet to be written. It is a story about a young girl and her friend who find out about a world that exists within our own. It is filled with mystical and wonderful beings but it is in trouble. And it is down to the young girl and her friend to help bring the world back from destruction. It is Lion, the Witch, And the Wardrobe meets Harry Potter. I loved writing it but it was very difficult as I was working on someone else story.

FW: And what about the forth coming, ‘Dying To Help’? 

LM: Another interesting story behind the story, I started this when I was fifteen... A decade ago now (wow I managed to make myself feel old!) I started the first draft when I was in college hand written and was rarely found without it. The story got its name through a quote from the original draft. In an altercation with ‘The Host’ (the leading opposition) my lead is asked “Oh you are just dying to help aren’t you?” From that point on it stuck. What tips can you give new writers? Never stop honing your talent, and never stop believing you
can do it! There are so many people out there willing to tell you it is a ‘pipe dream’. Well you may not get famous, but that isn’t the true goal; if you work hard enough and long enough it is possible to get published by a legit publisher and get your book out there!

FW: When writing, music or silence? 

LM: Music all the way, when you watch a film it will rarely have the same depth and intrigue without music (one exception that springs to mind is ‘Clover Field’. For me I find I write with more detail and depth when there is music in the room. But it has to be the right music.

FW: At home, or in a coffee shop? 

LM: At home, far less distracting and in a coffee shop I feel like I am on display, what am I trying to prove? For me personally I feel as though writing in a coffee shop (unless I have nowhere else to write) feels like I am trying to prove I am working... An accountant doesn’t sit in a coffee shop and ‘crunch numbers’. It could just be me.

FW: Who is your biggest influence, and why? 

LM: Matthew Riley, Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper. I grew up on Matthew Riley’s book ‘Contest’, I still own a very battered, very dog-eared copy of it. I adore it! Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper where two of the lead writers on StarGate Universe; a superb Sci-Fi program that some love, and others hate. (The best kind by any standard!)

FW: What is in the future for you?

LM: A wonderful life as a working wife; a thriving career as an Author and Marketing Advisor for Authors, as well as lots of good health and very happy and healthy marriage. This is all I want from life.

FW: Anything else you’d like to add?

LM: To get in touch you can find me at the following;

Facebook; www.facebook.com/AuthorLouisaMullerworth
Twitter; @babymull
Blog; http://babymull.wordpress.com/
Nocturnal Press (Marketing Advisor); http://www.npuniverse.com/publishing-services/our-marketing-advisor-louisa-mullerworth/
Nocturnal Press (Author); http://www.npuniverse.com/authors/louisa-mullerworth/
Website; http://lmullerworth.wix.com/louisamullerworth
Email; l.mullerworth@gmail.com

FW: Thanks for coming in.

About the Author



Louisa Mullerworth is an author of Science Fiction/Fantasy. Look out for her Nocturnal Press debut: Dying To Help, which Light Shifts into bookstores worldwide June 2014.
Louisa Mullerworth has been a writer for as long as she can remember; from writing poetry as a young girl to short stories as a teenager. Through college she was rarely found without a folder containing a story she was working on and in 2010 she published for the first time with Mistol; A New Beginning.
It was something Louisa knew from a young age she would be doing and with one book under her belt Louisa wants nothing more than to go onwards and upwards with a second one due to be complete in 2014, a new series of books in her favourite genre ‘Sci Fi’.
But right now she is enjoying this new step in her career; finding a publisher that fitted her, and enjoying life as it comes as well as working on the first in the new series.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Guest Post: Penny Estelle


I can’t tell you how excited I am that my very first ever Christmas story is being released today.  The Unwanted Christmas Guest is a story about Elizabeth McMurphy, an up and coming high powered attorney, who is after vengeance.  Her sights are set on one of the richest and most powerful families in Colorado. Steve York is an obnoxious reporter that thinks the ice queen has gone too far and does all he can to get under her skin.



When one of the worst blizzards in history, hits Colorado and leaves a hurt Steve York, stranded with Elizabeth in a mountain cabin, she must decide to either take care of him, or throw him out to fend for himself.

Excerpt

“What’s going on here? Where the hell are my pants?”

Elizabeth practically jumped out of her skin. Steve stood in the bedroom doorway, wearing only some tight fitting pink sweats.

“I found you after your car went nose to nose with a tree.” She crossed her arms. “The question is, what were you doing up here in a snowstorm? Were you coming up here to spy on me?”

“Jesus, my head hurts.” Steve groaned and sat at the kitchen table. “And don’t flatter yourself.” He brought up his hands to rub his eyes and push on his temples. He started to say something when a giggle and a round of undistinguishable sounds caught his attention. Steve stared at the little girl, a whisper of a smile on his pale face. “You have a daughter?”

She chose to ignore the question. “Again, Mr. York, you were headed…where?”

“I was going to see some friends in Granby, then on to Steamboat to spend the holidays with my family.”

“You figured on taking a short cut on Badger Springs Road?”

“Basically,” he muttered. “I had a phone in my pants pocket…” Steve looked down at the pink sweats. “Yours, I presume?” At her nod, he asked with a smirk, “And you’re the one that took my clothes off?”

“Junior, my neighbor.”

“If you’ll allow me to use your phone, I’ll call Triple A and get myself and my car out of your life.” He reached over to Katy and she latched onto his finger, the brightest smile ever illuminating her sweet face.

Elizabeth quickly picked her up, as if he would contaminate her by his touch.  “Phones are out.”

“Internet?”

“Nope.”

“How the hell do you live here?” he asked irritably.

* * *

Please find The Unwanted Christmas Guest and my other stories with MuseItUp publishing @


Feel free to stop by and check out my other stories and/or leave me a message.  I love visitors!



www.pennyestelle.blogspot.com
https://twitter.com/Pennystales
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5820078.Penny_Estelle
http://www.facebook.com/pennystales

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Contracts

So you're an author. You've written a novel, a short story, an anthology of your own work, heck, even a piece of flash, and you want to sell it. You want to be published. You're going down the route of selling the story yourself. You're agent-less. That extra % is going in your pocket.

THE FAME. GLORY. ALL HAIL THE HYPNO-TOAD.

You've got to sign a contract.

Gotta be done.

Okay... but do you know what you are really getting into?

For those of you that know me and the blog, you'll know I've fallen foul of the signed contract. The Human Condition was signed under a small press. Editing: done, cover art: done, Blurbs (really, really, awesome blurbs at that): done. Then the press falls foul of something that I (the author) have nothing to do with nor know much about, and functionally falls off the face of the planet.

Taking my book with them.

So I look at the contract. There's no get out clause aside from the one in mine that says (and I paraphrase) "we have 5 years to publish this".

Where does that leave me? It's two years later. No book. No contact.

So, I'm not a legal boffin, but here's my advice for what it's worth:

Remember: This is Business.

And by that, I mean you have your reasons to want to be published, and the publisher has theirs. Theirs will be gain. They will publish your book to make money, build a business, gain recognition. Whatever it is, they will not be publishing it because you are friends, nor that they think it should be "out there". It is a business transaction, and no one does business to lose.

What does that mean you ask? If it's not written down, it doesn't exist. I know it sounds callous, but trust no one.

Have someone non-bias to look over the contract.

Ideally someone who is a legal boffin. But I know the financial restrictions of that, so someone you trust who knows something about something. Another writer perhaps? Someone at work?

Make sure you understand it.

"I didn't know" does not stand up.

Don't sign contracts for work that mean something to you with a publisher with little or no track record.

I know, everyone has to start somewhere, but new starters are sometimes non-starters. Look for a track record. Someone that's "going places" may never get there, but someone that's "halfway there" is a better bet.

Not everyone is out to get you and you can ignore this advice most of the time.

Most people have their heart in the right place and will either publish your work or release you from the contract. It's sort of an unwritten agreement between civil human beings. In which case, if the worst happens just ask them to release you from contract. Most people will give you the nod (in writing, of course) and you are free to tout your wares.

And me?

Well, it was hard work, and many people have sweated buckets on it, but those that wished to publish the Human Condition have ignored me and my requests to be released from contract (It has been edited by two professional editors (who did it as a favor to me), I have a string of blurbs from established authors who I'm sure have better things to do than to read my book just to give a one line sales pitch to me, and the cover art work is my desktop background and not much else.)

I'm seeking legal advice now.

*On a side note my debut novel Shutter Speed is coming out at the end of this month and Redemption a novel I co-wrote with author Charles Day is coming out next year.

When it all goes wrong, keep at it.

And worst case scenario? 2016 isn't that far away....



Sunday, 1 December 2013

Interview: Hayley Barlow

Today, Filingwords is happy to have with us Hayley Barlow, author of Lust or Love.



FW: Firstly, could you tell a little about yourself?

I would like to introduce myself to you all; I am a thirty-two year old and mum to a wonderful eight year old girl. I am a massive bookworm; I love to read anything so long as it has a gripping plot. Although new to the writing scene I also run my own small business in massage and holistic therapies which I started in April of 2013.

FW: Tell us about your forthcoming novel, Lust or Love.

Lust or Love is for 18’s and over only due to some swearing and sexual content. It isn’t your typical ‘happily ever after’ story; no rock stars, cowboys or rich guys sweeping you off your feet... This is an everyman romance.
What do you do when the one who completely wrong for you keeps coming back into your life? Single mother Heather is turning thirty and can’t help but evaluate her life. The book is set in a small town in Yorkshire, England in 2011. You will look back into Heathers past and follow her into the present.
For six years Heather has been torn between her feelings for the destructive Kian and the harsh truth that they probably won’t ever be together. For more than six years life has taken them in different directions; however Heather can never seem to get Kian out of her mind, and at the most unexpected points in her life Kian has a habit of reappearing. If it isn’t really love than is the lust worth the pain? Or can Heather let Kian go for good?

FW: What was it like to complete your first novel?

It was very surreal to be honest; I don’t think it has sunk in yet that I have actually written a novel. Also really scary because now it is getting closer to the publishing date I am worried people aren’t going to like it, or no one will buy it. On the other hand it is exciting because it is a huge achievement so a real mix of emotions I feel constantly.

FW: What tips can you give new writers?

Please do not give up on your dreams, don’t ever doubt yourself or let someone tell you, you can’t do it. Also there are lots of book chat groups on Facebook which are a great way to find like-minded people; it is also a great way to advertise your work. Create a blog and author page; let people follow you on your journey. The support you can receive is amazing and it is another great way to build interest in your writing.

FW: Who is your biggest influence, and why?

I don’t just have one; so many authors have inspired me; if I have to choose just one I think it would be E. L. James. I have seen lots of interviews she did and she seems so real and honest. I bet she never thought Fifty Shades Of Grey would ever get as big as it has done. I was truly inspired by the fact that she is just a normal housewife who followed through with an idea and kept going with her dreams.

FW: What do you think of self-publishing, as opposed to traditional publishing?

I was all set to self-publish as it did seem like the best route; it is hard work though with editing and formatting especially if you have never done it before. But you certainly can’t knock it; there has been so many to do it and be very successful at it. Before I was picked up by Nocturnal Press it seemed like the best way for me to get my work out there and seen. However there has been a spike in bad press about self-publishing of late. Authors having their work taking off sites and a lot of talk of taking down self-publishing programs which must be heart-breaking for those who had put all that hard work, time, passion and money into something to have it simply disappear! I was uncertain what to do as I thought you had to give publishing companies a lot of money before they would publish you, and it seemed almost pointless with the amount of rejections authors seem to go through. I didn’t think I would be able to handle that. I have been very lucky to find and be signed by Nocturnal Press Publications; so I am very excited that my work will soon be published. And I was wrong about all publishers; not all of them want money off you up front, thank goodness! But I will say like anything there are good and bad points to either route of publishing.

FW: What new works do you have on the go?

I have got a few ideas for my next novel; however I haven’t decided which I will be writing just yet. For now I am focussed on getting Lust or Love out and getting Christmas out of the way. By new year I should be starting my next book.

FW: Anything else you’d like to add?

Lust or Love is due out on the 15th of January 2014; for more information I have a few ways you can find me or get in touch, either through Facebook or my blog. Also there are some links for Nocturnal Press should anyone want to find out about the other authors or get in touch with NPP.



FW: Thanks for coming in.


Thursday, 28 November 2013

Interview: Keirsten Beining.

Today we have with us Keirsten Beining, author of The Changing Faces of Destiny.


FW: Welcome to FilingWords. Please, tell us a little about yourself.

KB: I began writing The Changing Faces of Destiny when I was in 11th at Governor Mifflin High School. I am an art therapy major at Carlow University. I am 21 years old, and am excited for what the future holds.

FW: Where did you get the idea for The Changing Faces of Destiny?

KB: High school was rough for me. Writing was an outlet; it took me into another world. None of the events in this book actually happened to me, but it is on a very intense subject. It all started with a painting I did in my art class. It was of a woman standing at the edge of a cliff, wanting to jump, and being saved by a close friend. In this painting, the sky is dark and a black cloud engulfs the woman. This cloud is her depression not letting her go, but the man is there to try and save her. This painting is the beginning scene of The Changing Faces of Destiny.

FW: What made you want to become a writer?

KB: Throughout my childhood I was always writing little stories about dogs and cats becoming friends and such. I guess I’ve always just had it in me. I didn’t take it seriously until high school though.

FW: Do you have any unusual writing processes?

KB: Not really unusual. I have to be listening to music and in a room with the door shut.

FW: What inspires you to write?

KB: Life experiences, my mood, etc. Sometimes I’ll have a bad day and I’ll just go home and write, whether it is the sequel or just in my journal.

FW: Who is your favourite author, and why?

KB: My favourite author is Richelle Mead, the author of the Vampire Academy series. She has a way of keeping my attention and pulling out so many emotions. I’ve caught myself crying quite a few times while reading her work. She is extremely talented.

FW: Where do you see yourself going as a writer?

KB: I hope to become a well known author someday. I will continue to write no matter what though.

FW: What’s next for you?

KB: I am currently working on a sequel to The Changing Faces of Destiny. It is called The Changing Faces of Destiny: Reborn and it will be released on September 24, 2014.

FW: Thanks for coming in.

The Changing Faces of Destiny is available on ebook from Amazon and from Nocturnal Press Publications on paperback, here. 

"When seventeen year old Destiny Zorock lost her mother to cancer, she fell into a deep depression and when everyone else turned their backs on her, one stuck by her; Alec.

With the help of Alec, she finally manages to break free from her abusive father but Jake refuses to let go without a fight!

The two friends grow closer as they are forced to go on the run, but is Destiny on the run from something else as well, something a lot closer to home? As the pages turn of her dramatic life story, revelations await, unlikely friends are found and her father will continue to hunt her until she is dead! One thing's for certain, Whatever happen, it's not fate, it is Destiny!"
  
About the Author

Keirsten Cheryl Beining, born on October 22, 1992, resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where she attends Carlow University as an Art Major.

She aspires to become an elementary school art teacher. She dabbles in drawing, painting, portraits and of course writing. Keirsten began writing “The Changing Faces of Destiny” when she was only in the eleventh grade and enrolled in the Governor Mifflin High School in Reading, Pennsylvania.

Writing has always been a passion for Keirsten and she is very proud of her work. She is also working on a sequel for this series. She feels very strongly about stopping abuse and having a happier world.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Guest Post: Penny Estelle

I want to thank Mark Taylor for allowing me to barge in on his blog and visit with him and his readers. 

My name is Penny Estelle and I write for the young and the “young at heart”! I have been lucky in my writing career to have several of my stories picked up by different publishing houses. The books I have written for the middle grade kiddos range from ages 10 – 14. I even have a series out about kids doing some time travel, meeting up with some historical heroes, The Wickware Sagas.

I have four stories out the adult crowd….family drama, sweet romances, and even a paranormal story out! My first Christmas romance comes out December 6 – The Unwanted Christmas Guest.

But what I am really thrilled about is my first, “early reader” picture book, coming out in May of 2014. When Nocturnal Press offered me a contract on this book I was ecstatic! I worked as an elementary school secretary for twenty-one years and I saw first hand how excited these little ones are when they find a book that sparks their imagination and I can hardly wait to have my book in some of their little hands!

My story, Have You Seen My Tail?, is a story for the beginning readers, 4-8 years of age.Little Sammy Bear has been told, by his older brother, he has lost his tail and he better find it before their mother finds out. Sammy asks a few of the forest animals if they have seen his tail, but the only help they can offer are snacks, which Sammy gladly accepts. It seems everything they offer is his absolute favorite!

Will Sammy find his tail? More importantly, will Sammy get home in time for dinner?

At the end of the story are four “bug” recipes that kids can make and eat themselves. 

More about my books can be found at the following locations. 


My email address is pennyestelle@yahoo.com. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me if you have any questions or just want to say “Hi!”

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Erotica: Out of context.

Out of context, unabridged, lines from real erotic fiction:

“Are you a virgin or not? Don’t drag this out, I only have three cookies.” (Mmm, cookies...)

“The next time something shitty happens, I’m going to think of you reading Sleeping
Beauty is Hung—” 
“Or Demon Sex Doll: Part Three.”

He had a tree out in the lounge. (Don't we all?)

He really, really hoped that his intruder—if he even had one—would be so terrified by a
naked, flogger-wielding guy with a semi that they’d just run screaming into the night. (I would...)

I didn’t bother mentioning that he was the cause of those putrid smells.

Heading to the spot, I clutched the stained covering with one hand while slowly backing
away.

Poking and prodding its surface and checking for critter infestation revealed that it was a
perfect spot to spend the night in reading and sleeping as it was uninhabited.

I cringed at the telephone call to my family and them having to identify my weirdly mutilated body.

Suddenly, my trousers fell down. (Said every 14 year old...ever)

What a sight we must have made bare breasts and cocks flopping about as we took our turns
around the piano.

Helping me sit up he motioned for Mr. Winchester to sit down on the sofa, and lifting me up
he sat me back down upon him. (Up, down, up down...)

I laughed at myself, but couldn’t shake the idea, so I decided to humor me.



So yeah...

Heh.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

The Controversial First Person

I used to write a lot for anthologies, and most of them would suggest against writing in the first person.

But I have found myself a) liking reading in the first person b) liking writing in the first person.

So what's the problem?

It's quite simple really. It's hard to get right.

Knowledge is Power

When writing first person you, the reader, can only know what the protagonist knows. This poses extreme problems in fiction writing. It changes the tone of things dramatically, and also the flow of the story.

And don't get me started on exposition.

Firstly: tone.

A typical set up: Boy is held hostage by generic bad guys, girl is racing to the scene, bazooka in hand.

Within the third person, generally we will see both these points of view, we'll sit on the shoulder of the boy (he's terrified, they're going to kill him) and then in another scene, the girl (shes arming up, jumps into the ferrari and races to the scene).

Our excitement comes from "Will she or won't she reach him in time". A fairly standard Hollywood race against time.

Now, first person.

I'm held hostage by bad guys. I have no hope. I can't escape. They're going to kill me.

Downer isn't it?

The change of perspective has altered "action" to "horror".

Just this scene along can brutalize a manuscript. And without generating a false tone and playing the hostage situation lightly (which is hard in itself, but also extremely distracting), it cannot be avoided.

Flow

You can't write boring scenes into a manuscript. Well, you can, but that would be an unpublishable manuscript. No one wants to read boring.

So if you find your protagonist with nothing to do for a period, what do you do? Skip it?

Gareth opened the door and shot a glance back at me. "You wait here," he said, "and I'll go and try to scrounge together the ransom."
I nodded silently as he left. Sighing, I went into the kitchen and filled the kettle with water and made coffee. Gareth would be gone for at least a day. I put the TV on and started flicking through channels...

This scene, taken as waiting will fill several thousand words.

No, of course, you skip it.

Which has to be handled with care.

Time passing has to be addressed. The character may be aware that time has passed, but the reader has to be told.

Gareth opened the door and shot a glance back at me. "You wait here," he said, "and I'll go and try to scrounge together the ransom."
I nodded silently as he left. 
When Gareth got back he opened the door and had a huge sack of money.

Wait, what?

A good way of doing this is to just place a couple of lines to explain.

After Gareth had gone I sat a watched TV until my eyes became heavy, and then I headed to bed, wondering how he was doing.

When I awoke, the sun was already streaming through the windows. I looked at the time and was startled to find I had slept through the night unbroken and until nearly lunch time. Gareth would surely be home soon.

Which leads into: Exposition.

What the Hell has Gareth been doing for the last few hours. Well? Ask him then.

"What happened?" I asked, "How much did you get?"

And then there is the answer. 

In real life the answer would be between 5 and 30 minutes of conversation.


 At, say 130 words per minute spoken, that's (counts on fingers) 4000 words.

The following conversation is a chapter long.

No.

Cut that shit down to the needed information. I don't care where Gareth slept or ate in that period unless he can tell me in one really small sentence, or I need to know for plot's sake.

Hold on.

That's it.

The answer should include information for the plot.

Remember: all the words should move the story forward.

And maybe next time, I'll blurb about dialogue.



Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Editing: 3 tips on throat slitting depression.

I thought as most of you were probably doing Nina Kajagoogoo or whatever that thing's called that happens in November every year, I'd talk about something completely different.

Editing.

Yes, for those of you dancing to Kajagoogoo this month, you get to edit in December.

Worse. Re-writes. Throat slitting depression as you realize how much work is still to be done. Most of us (whether you Nano-Nano or not) know this well. It's called finishing something.

A short story, novel, poem... they all need it.

I find it incredibly hard. In fact the more drafts something goes through the harder it becomes.

The more depressing.

The more anxiety.

The hatred for the piece grows.

Then the denial.

Rejection.

Burn the manuscript! Burn it!

Then acceptance.

Then more hatred.

I also find myself holding my breath sometimes while I'm doing it. To the point of nearly passing out.

I have come to the conclusion that I concentrate so hard on it, that I forget to continue to sustain life. My life. And that's really, really, important to me. It's like, the reason I get up in the morning.

So anyway, enough rant. Something meaningful:

1) Don't destroy your original manuscript when editing.

Back that shit up. I've said it before and I'll say it again. If you're dumping a scene/doing massive re-writes don't just delete it. Keep a backup of each major draft and re-write. You'll never know when you'll suddenly remember that thing you did in that novel that wasn't right there so you deleted it but it's perfect now. Crap.

2) Slow and steady gets you there, hopefully with your sanity in tact.

Dear God don't sit down and re-write your first draft in one sitting. A little by a little. Keep some time each day to edit, and some to write. (Even if it is inane blog posts about editing) If you run at it head first you'll end up with a headache and a manuscript you hate...really hate.

3) Don't give up when you really  hate your manuscript.

Take a break. Eat a snickers. Whatever. If it takes a couple of days so be it. You liked it enough to write it, therefore it doesn't suck. Well, it won't after you've finished editing it.

So, follow these tips three and a happy editor you will be.

Or not.

What do I care, I've got to go back to editing now...

Friday, 8 November 2013

Review: Coyote: The Outlander

Well, I didn't expect this...






Normally I'd start with the genre, something like, "Chantal Noordeloos brings us a 'insert genre here' tale". I will attempt to define this books genre:

Western Sci-punk?

I don't know, I could be wrong entirely.

Noordeloos has created an interesting world for Coyote, a bounty hunter in a steampunk/sci-fi/western. In places reading like a traditional western, others taking a fall into something nearer Trip-out City.

But at the heart of it lies a fun romp.

The book takes place in an alternate world, where a young woman loses her father, takes the name Coyote and travels the wild west with her partner Caesar. Together they hunt Outlanders: Aliens who have come to earth through rips.

It's written for a broad audience, containing no copious amounts of bad language, OTT violence, or gratuitous sexuality.

I would say it is a YA novel (it is fast paced, age suitable, and not the size of a doorstop) but that would do it an injustice. It is very well written. It's smooth.

I had already all but convinced myself that I was going to by the second book when it is released, and then the plot twist sealed it.
It also comes with a novel idea (geddit?), the 'second screen'. Thoughout the book you are given codes to unlock safes, and the safes are found on the Coyote website. Each safe is stuffed with treasure including further short stories within the world.

I have previously read some of Noordeloos's horror work. It seriously impressed me and one of my next reads is her anthology: Deeply Twisted. I wasn't sure if I was going to like that jump from that to this, or that Noordeloos would make such a genre jump.

She did. She did with grace.

I can't wait for the next one.

You can buy The Outlander at Amazon US, Amazon UK, or Smashwords, and visit the official site of the books here.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Hate, anguish, and shuddering despair (Or: Being a writer.)

What about that plot thread?
What about it?
It'll unravel the whole novel.
Shut up. I'm trying to sleep.
Hm. Zombies would be good.
Shut up. It's 3AM.
Did you pay the gas bill?
AAAHHHH.

I've said many times how cool it is to be a writer. But it's not all good. There are the bad things to go with the good things...

My brain is working against me.

I used to think that I was an insomniac. Maybe I was? But now it's something else. It's my brain. You see whenever it senses something boring or mundane, it decides to just leap on in and start working the plot again. That used to be fine.

But these days its idea of mundane and mine are different.

Last week I was walking out of a finance meeting and one of my colleagues asked me what I thought about the first quarter fiscal projections for next year. He got a dribbling nonsensical response. In part due to the fact that when the meeting moved into the first quarter fiscal projections my brain went on vacation and started thinking about a novella series, and also because when I was asked said question my brain re-packed and left.

I forgot how to walk yesterday and fell down the last three stairs. It wouldn't have been so bad but I was carrying a box of shredded paper to the bins. I looked like a drunk yeti in a suit.

It also decides on a regular basis that when I'm not thinking about anything perhaps it should jump in and fill the void.

Like when I'm trying to sleep.

Scumbag brain.

I am constantly self doubting.

All writers doubt somethings occasionally. Will this story be good enough? Is it scary enough?

These days I'm all out of hand. Especially when I'm laying in bed at stupid-o-clock. It starts with something small.

I wonder if this project will be finished by the end of the week?
I wonder if it'll be good enough?
I wonder if I'll sell it?
I wonder why people read my work?
Oh, yes, my work sucks.
Maybe I should quit writing?
What the fuck was that noise?
I wonder if I'll live until the alarm goes off?

Who cares. You weren't sleeping anyway.

Scumbag brain.

I spend my life waiting.

At first it was exciting. Send off a submission and then check email every 15 minutes for the next four to twelve weeks waiting for the life changing reply.

Not so much now. Submit and forget.

But it's still waiting.

I concluded that writer's don't write because they want to. They do in that very first instance, but after that? We write as a form of procrastination against waiting.

Until 3AM

Hey, check your email.
I'm trying to sleep.
But you're awake now. It won't wait until morning.
I'm not burning my retinas out to check my email. I need more sleep.
You should write a blog post about this.

And I did. In my head between 3 and 5 this morning. Then I got up and have been taking intravenous coffee since.

Scumbag brain.

Monday, 30 September 2013

When Art Defines Thought

Deep, huh?

I've been traveling transcontinentally this year. It's the first time. I've visited America more than once.

And it's a revelation.

You see, I'm a film fan. A big one too. And you know what?

I haven't been shot at.

Yet.

According to all things I have witnessed on the internet, movies, books, and TV (the list goes on), I should have:

a) seen a shooting
b) been in a liquor store when it was turned over
c) seen a car chase and for bonus points a car exploding
d) been called 'Buddy', preferably by a cop, preferably by a cop who is 'on the edge'
e) all of the above.

Other peoples art is defining my beliefs and skewing my expectations on reality. And I know it's not just me. My friends kind of expected me to get shot by a gun toting 'Murican. Mind you, they have met me. I am also surprised no one has tried to shoot me.

Yet.

Anyway. I've been looking at things with a slightly different slant. I see stereotypes everywhere. And I have begun to question many things. I've also started to talk to other people in other cultures that I cannot experience myself.

Everything is wrong. Art has betrayed me.

And it is time that it should stop.

So talk to people in other countries, find out what is real and what is hear say.

And I'll stop expecting to get shot in America...if you stop expecting me to be wearing a bowler hat.

'Til next time...

PS I do want a bowler hat. Donations welcome.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Cover Reveal: Shutter Speed.

My debut novel, Shutter Speed, has been picked up by Nocturnal Press Publications and is hitting the bookshelves on 19th December.

Synopsis: 

Jimmy Tasker is an ordinary child. He loves to take pictures: has an eye for it. When some common bullies take things too far, Jimmy ends up burned… and different. It started when his father was killed in a mysterious house fire. Him and his mother moved away… changed names… disappeared.


Some years later a group of friends are finding it tough. They are unemployed, short of cash, and one of them comes up with a great idea. A robbery. But they are a rag-tag bunch, and Steve declines, leaving the other three, a misogynist, an addict, and poor, easily led Peter, to pull off the ‘robbery of the century’.

But Jimmy is still in there, somewhere…

… and he’s killing for fun. 

And here it is:


Ain't it sweet?
 

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Containment: A Review.

With a sweeping post apocalyptic background, Containment gives you monsters, demons and devils.



“Life is different among the dead.” 

They are kept in chambers, their energy used to feed the City’s voracious appetite for fuel now that traditional sources are long gone. These grisly fuel cells are kept watch over by Feast, a devil-human hybrid whose recent run-ins with the City leave him questioning its authority. 

When he is needed to bring in one of the most dangerous creatures for containment, Feast is faced with a decision that may make him the next power source.

Containment is different. You would expect me, reading devils, demons and monsters, to say this is a cracking horror. Nope. 

It can be creepy, yes, but this is no horror. Containment is a fantasy, set in a world with an over-powering government and power sourced from the dead. Yes, the dead. 

Eden Royce has a wonderful way with words, warm and charming, yet the sadistic overtones of a broken down society creep through in a chilling way. 

The story is of Feast, I won't go into who he is - that would spoil the fun - who works at the Containment Division, his friend and co-worker, a new addition to the 'farm' and a line up of unforgettable characters. 

The future is a scary place.

For me, the draw to Containment is the characters. It is a true character piece where everybody holds a dark secret.

If you like awesomely written dystopian fiction with a chill then go and grab this with both hands.

Containment is available at Amazon US Here and Amazon UK here.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Review Week - The Fruit of Thy Womb by Lori R Lopez

Lori R.Lopez writes differently. With a social message not so subtly hidden in the background, and flies with teeth, the light-yet-dark tale of THE FRUIT OF THY WOMB will without doubt keep you reading...



One of the themes of this story is to not wait for the world to be ending to start living. It's hot, and it's going to get a lot hotter when humans mutate into cannibalistic corpses. But that's not all; bugs are everywhere. In fact, bugs could be to blame in this worst-case scenario that may seem a bit close for comfort! Strap on your gas-mask while the pesticide flows. They're coming. Watch your back . . . and your front. Watch everything! 

Never have I been so torn by genre. So with the zombies and such, is it horror? Well, yes. But it's more than that. The beginning of the short gives us a confused protagonist, in a (not too distant) future.

It's hot.

It's clear that we have screwed up the environment. And the social commentary begins there. There are insects. Life is not pleasant as we know it. (The cover may have given away the zombie thing.)

The thing is, at no point does it feel like a horror story, and yet when ever you stop reading the horror sinks in. Perhaps I was more afraid of this future, than what Lopez puts in it.

Or maybe that was the point.

You should read this. It worthy of your investment to enjoy the read, but perhaps once you have read it, you might want to talk about it. It's implications.

And it's free. So go. Try. Enjoy. And let the fear of the future sink in....

It's here: Smashwords

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Review Week - More Than a Shadow by Toni Rakestraw

Warm, heart felt, tear-jerking. Wow.


Carrie Mitchell is the perfect size zero. Her life should be perfect, right? Not quite. Carrie has problems accepting her looks like so many others. Will she figure out a way to come out of the shadows and accept herself?

Firstly, I will just say from a personal note, that this is not my usual 'bag'. But I will never regret reading this. And I don't care who you are. Go and read it. Think about it. Think about you.

I don't usually read things that mean something. This does. It reads like a true story. It feels like a true story. It is quiet, and well paced. Written in the first person, it felt like the protagonist was sitting there, reading it to me. Telling me what happened. I felt like Carrie was telling me this over a coffee. It's well written. Warm.

I could relate to Carrie. Not me with my hairy, beery, beardness, of course, but I know someone it reminded me of.

I think we would all know someone.

And that makes it a good story. No scratch that.

It's a great story.

Rakestraw is clearly a talented and experienced writer--she shows pedigree in the work--it's hard to explain. Perhaps the word I should use is smooth. She writes smoothly. The words fall like caramel from a spoon. Don't be fooled, there are no peaks and troughs in this tale. It isn't full of surprises, and it doesn't have a sting in the tail. It is what it is. It is a haunting, slightly awesome, piece of literature.

It's here: Amazon US.

I recommend you check it out.


Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Review Week - The Face in the Mirror by Donald White

In a bold move, Donald White, a relatively new author on the scene, opens THE FACE IN THE MIRROR with a purposefully badly written scene. The work is about a writer, and the opening paragraph is a poorly written piece by that author. Does it pay off?



A short story of a ghostly seduction which drives a man to madness. David is a struggling writer, struggling to write erotica. But in the darkness of his room one night, a vision of beauty appears behind him in the mirror. Her name is Melanie and with her appearance comes a series of changes in David's life. But who is she? And why can she only be seen in the mirror? Is she a lover, or a dangerous apparition? Stare into the glass, and you will see the truth standing right behind you.

The immediate issue that can be gleaned by having such a first paragraph is that a potential reader may open Amazon's 'Look Inside' feature, read the first few lines and dismiss the story without realizing the intent of the opening. It's a brave move.

So, obviously I got through that, so what of it?

With it beginning with a writer struggling, I related. This writer is troubled whilst writing erotica. (Although I did think the inclusion of him going to watch a porn movie as a little strange. I don't think that's where erotica writers get their ideas from, and may not be impressed to think that others do. But I digress.) The frustration he feels is very real to me, as a writer. It is a well written frustration.

Once the 'mirror apparition' appears the story becomes a supernatural...well, story. It's listed under horror and ghosts. Ghosts it is, horror, not so much. It is however interesting, if not too short. 

It is unexplored. 

Whilst it holds together as a short, the roller-coaster ride the protagonist goes on could be longer, perhaps should be longer. I was left with questions that were not left plot threads, mind, but wonders about the world I was reading in. White as always closes the plot nicely. 

It is not a bad follow up to White's 'Lady Killer', but I feel that is a stronger story - and a better demonstration of what he can do.

You can find Face in the Mirror at Amazon US, or perhaps Lady Killer, if you haven't read it...


Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Review Week - Only Forgotten by Chantal Noordeloos

Jinkies...

I feel as fair warning that I should say that this tale tells of things that even the hardest of horror fanatic may shy away from...

..and it does it deliciously.


Zakerny was a bad man. As in truly, maliciously evil. Zakerny went to hell, obviously. But hell may not be what Zakerny thought all along. This is his tale...

I took a stab and guessed that this was going to be a horror. I was right. Very right.

Chantal Noordeloos is a relatively new author to me. I admit that this is the first story of hers I have reviewed. I didn't know she is a female freakin' Clive Barker.

I like horror (d'oh!) and ONLY FORGOTTEN is awesome. This is the writing that nightmares are bound with...Maybe even the nightmares of cenobites.

Taking us through a twisted flavor of Hell, introducing us to Lucifer, Noordeloos made my flesh crawl in the right places, made me want to smile in the wrong places, and the sheer style of the work made me hate myself for doing it.

This work should be read. It should be shared. But heed my words. It's not for children.

This work is new. It's fresh. Noordeloos shows here her amazing knack of making the reader relate to the wrong people. It made me uncomfortable in my chair. It's unusual.

It's creepy.

And it's free.

Get it at Smashwords. Get it now....

...And don't blame me for the nightmares...


Monday, 15 July 2013

Review Week - Ruination by Michael S. Gardner

I've read and reviewed Michael S. Gardner's work before. In Death in the Times of Madness I said that he had managed to create characters that you care about.

Well, he's done it again.


Everything is not what it seems, especially when the dead rise and stalk the living. 

When a depressed and lonely survivor stumbles across a desperate man in need of saving, he finds out that he is in for more than he expected. Sometimes life throws a curveball, and sometimes it's actually for the better.

But nothing lasts forever. 

What once was will never be again, and it all begins with a knock on the door.

Ruination is a short story set after the zombies walk, but in typical Gardner fashion you get the twists and the turns that you expect (or don't) and a brief, but very tangible, look into the lives of the people the story revolves around.

As always I will remain spoiler free, but be aware that this is not your usual zombie apocalypse. This one is in fact quite different.

The first thing that you'll notice about RUINATION is that - even in the first paragraph or two - the story is going to be heart breaking. You have Gardner to thank for that. He's always good at tugging the heart strings. And the second?

It's not going to be a pleasant ride.

Gardner is always good at that, too. 

In his own fantastic style, Michael S. Gardner has made RUINATION one of the most unique and well told zombie shorts you can get today. It delves into the dark sides of humanity. It will make you look at the person next to you with suspicion.

Go here: Amazon US

And buy now.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Available Now: CROSSING GUARD

Yep. It's here.

You'll weep. You'll laugh. You'll gasp in excitement.

Book 1 of The Devil's Hand is now available. Want to know more...?


 
Angela works at restoring the latest acquisition to the library.  The piece will no doubt garnish some interest from local dealers, and of course, turn a huge profit. She iss very good at her job, and she knows it. It is just a shame that her personal life was still such a shambles.
But the entrance of Mr. Marcel Petiot - a man who not only wants to help her make a profit, but also sweep her off her feet - changes everything. Permanently. 

Neither of them saw Darin in the shadows.

Angela certainly never saw Hell coming to earth.

When Marcel and Darin clash, Angela is dragged through the sulfur stench of Hades, has to fight for her life, and drinks wine. Lots of wine.




The Devil's Hand series is made of five short novella's, each telling it's own story, with a arcing story in the background. One that could end the world...

Available as an e-book from Amazon and Smashwords, CROSSING GUARD span dimensions and genre, taking you to Hell and back, with Dark Fantasy, Humor, and even a little romance.

And it's only 99c! Not even the cost of a cup of coffee!!

Buy now! From Smashwords, Amazon US, or Amazon UK!