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.