Monday, October 28, 2013

Mini-Me and Movie Madness

My 6 year old is very much like me, a bit of sci-fi/fantasy nerd. A bit. *cheesy grin* Lately, he is very much into anything that has to do with the undead: ghosts, zombies, vampires, witches, necromancers. Our latest conversation centered around the last. He wanted to know what the difference between a necromancer's magic and a witch's magic. As with any conversation with this beautiful child, it became a snowball of: "What if this?" and "What if that?" questions.

And soon I had the beginning kernels of a book idea.

I have to say, some of the most entertaining and thought provoking conversations I've experienced in my life have been with this child of mine. I know one day soon, he'll grow up and begin to pull away to do his own thing. He'll go through the 'my parent's are so uncool' stage. It makes me sad when I think about it. Until that happens, I'm determined to bask in being his favorite person and I continue encouraging every unique question he throws at me.

Here we are dressed for a Mummy and Son Dance we attended a few nights ago. He has taken to calling me 'My Lady' recently and so chose that we should go to the costume party as a handsome knight and his Queen. I did say he is a SFF fan like me, didn't I?

The Fall is my favorite time and not just because of the holidays. I'm sure by now that my fellow SFF fans have noticed all the amazing movies set to come out over the next 2 months. Ender's Game, Thor: The Dark World, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. I think I'm most excited about the first, though a bit apprehensive at the same time. Will it be as good as the book? I really hope so.

Anyone else have a child that inspires story ideas with their questions? What is your costume for this Halloween? Been to any fun parties? Which movies are you most looking forward to?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Doctor Who? Doctor Who!

My earliest memories of my love for the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre are of sitting down with my mom to enjoy Star Trek: The Next Generation. They're followed by the endless run of seriously odd stuff shown on the Sci/Fi Channel over the years, countless movie motion pictures, and books. Lots and lots of books. Despite this upbringing, I never once heard of/watched/discovered the world of Doctor Who.

A tragedy, I now know.

For the last 5 years or so, I've had friends and acquaintances express shock at this void in my sci-fi/fantasy experience. "How can you call yourself a real fan of the genre?" has been asked of me, over and over and over. I always rolled my eyes and laughed them off. I prefer books anyway and simply don't watch much TV, so its been easy to continue missing out in blissful ignorance.

Earlier today, avoiding the current writing project because of yet another plot snag, I was playing on Facebook and an ad for a Doctor Who fan group popped up on my page. Curious and bored, I finally decided to go check out what so many of my fellow sci/fi friends were going on about.

I decided to start with the 2010 debut of the 11th Doctor Who, The Eleventh Hour...

And. I'm. Hooked.

How did I go all of my childhood without seeing one episode? What could I do, but call my mom and ask why she never watched it or allowed me to. Her answer? "Oh, I liked it. It just always came on after I put you kids to bed."

So there you have it, folks. A cruel placement of time and a responsible parent are to blame. I'm going to try to get caught up before Season 8 airs, but the truth is, I don't watch much TV. I just like books better. Thank goodness for the ability to watch each episode when I want on the internet.

Have you checked out the Shine Universe yet? I'll be one of the authors contributing to this world.  A new one will release each month and mine will come out sometime in 2014. Go here for Shine 1.

I chose to start with the reveal of the 11th Doctor because I like Matt Smith. Who is your favorite Doctor? Do you remember how you first became introduced to the longest running science fiction series? Have you read Shine 1?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Get your SHINE on FREE the next 5 Days!!!

It's FREE!!!

SHINE 1: Childhoods End is available HERE for the next 5 days at NO cost to you!! Please check it out and if you like what you read, I hope you'll leave a review. It's a novella, so quick to read. The next 4 installments, also written by SHINE universe creator William Bernhardt, will come out each consecutive month for only $0.99 each.

This is a ongoing serialized novel in which multiple authors will write. Bill honored me, by asking me to be one of the writers creating stories in this universe and as soon as I know when my SHINE story comes out, I'll be sure to let you all know.

Did you watch the trailer I posted earlier this week? Have you read SHINE 1: Childhood's End? Did you leave a review? Feel free to tell me what you think on here as well. Thanks for reaching out and supporting this fun new project I am so excited to be part of, blog friends!

Monday, October 7, 2013

SHINE!! So exciting!

I mentioned a while back that I was excited to be asked to write in a fun new project and I'm super excited to finally be able to share the details!!! The photo above is the cover for the first installment of a fun new serialized ongoing novel that will release one installment a month. The first 5 installments were written by the SHINE Universe creator and bestselling author, William Bernhardt. He invited several other writers, including yours truly, to also write in the fabulous SHINE Universe, which will come out sometime after the first 5 installments. 

SEE! I told you, exciting!

Even better, this first installment to release THIS Thursday, is absolutely FREE for the 1st 5 days!!

After Monday, each one will be only $0.99!

There is also a really cool trailer for it. It isn't a comic book or graphic novel, but fully prose, each at novella length. Bill just really likes comic books and so the trailer was made in that fashion. If you'd like to check out the trailer, go here!

The cover and trailer not enough? Here's a little more about followed by a little Q&A with the SHINE Universe creator himself.

In the near future, a few young women manifest extraordinary abilities called "Shine."  Each girl's ability is different.  Some develop extraordinary mental abilities. Some become physically strong. Others have powers that defy description.  But the world does not embrace these Shines. It fears them.

Aura was only trying to use her healing powers to help a small child.  But when she Shined, something went horribly wrong--and all of Seattle was destroyed.  In the aftermath of this disaster, the government institutionalizes Shines in "rehabilitative treatment centers." Aura is sent to the Transforming Your Light island rehab--but to her it seems more like a prison.  The other Shines hate her.  The people running the place are out to get her.  And she feels certain more is going on here than "group grope" and twelve-step programs.  But when she tumbles onto the horrible secret beneath the rehab--she realizes just how great the danger to her and all the other Shines really is. 

Aura resolves to escape before it's too late.  But she can only do that if she organizes the Shines, persuades them to work together, and overcomes the deadly opposition she only barely understands.

Here's the Q&A that appears at the end of the first installment:

Q&A with the Author

1) Where did you get this crazy idea of breaking the story up into serialized segments?

From Charles Dickens.  I got my Masters in Victorian Literature and studied Dickens extensively.  He serialized most of his novels in magazines called Household Words and All the Year Round before he published them in book form.  Dickens was the most successful writer of his day—and self-published.  He owned,edited, and wrote most of the magazines, often using pseudonyms to disguise the fact that he wrote most of it himself. Occasionally he would let another writer contribute a story, and in this way, he launched many writing careers, although he introduced a new Dickens novel regularly to maintain reader interest.  I think Dickens would've loved the Internet and the eBook revolution and the opportunity it gives writers to reach their readers without being dependent upon publishers (or giving away most of the profits).

2) Why are you making this saga so inexpensive?

Again, Dickens.  He wrote for the people, not the snobs and the critics, and yet his works are still admired and studied a hundred and fifty years after his death. He always made sure his work was available in affordable editions and library editions so that anyone who wanted to read them could do so.  I’ll do the same thing.

3) How long will this story go?

The first main story arc is about a hundred thousand words long.  After that, I've invited some writer-friends to create Shine novellas, and those will appear while I write the next big story arc.  We’re working in close collaboration, though, so don’t think these novellas will be side shows unrelated to the primary story line.  They will be closely intertwined and the novellas will provide many clues for the attentive reader about what is to come. They will also introduce characters that will become important later in the main arc. And don’t make the mistake of assuming the stories not written by me won’t be as good.  I've only invited top-flight writers to participate.  I maybe sorry I did. Some of their novellas may blow my stories right out of the water.

4) If these are prose novels and stories, why are the covers and the trailer done in comic-book style?

This simplest answer is: Because I love comics, always have, always will. I've also read Shakespeare, Joyce, Dickens, Woolf, Faulkner, etc.  I’m not a snob.  I like good stories regardless of how they are told.  But I've always wanted to do a comic-style story, so this is my chance to play in that sandbox, in prose form.  Here’s the sad truth about modern comics.  Some of them are excellent, but they cost $2.99 or $3.99 each and you can read them in about five minutes.  Sure, you get terrific art (sometimes), but not that much entertainment value, time-wise, for your money.  With the Shine series, you’ll get a terrific bargain, at least a night's worth of entertainment, for an extremely small amount of money.

5) Will these stories ever appear in print editions?

At some point, yes, but for now, I’m focused on eBooks.  I think that’s the wave of the future, and as long as I keep the price low, anyone can enjoy them and no one need be tempted to search for illegal downloads. This is a more than fair price, so I hope you will give it willingly and enjoy what you get in return.

6) Does this mean you won’t write your Ben Kincaid series any more?

No. I always prefer to do another book or three between Ben books.

7) Will there ever be a sequel to The Black Sentry?

Yes.  But don’t ask me when.

8) Will you do any more books on writing?

Yes. I've done three books in the RedSneaker Writers series and I’ll release three more in 2014.

9) How long do you plan to do these Shine stories?


So there it is! Did you catch that reference to 'top-flight writers' in question #3? *wiggles eyebrows*

Seriously though, I'm extremely honored that Bill asked me to write in this amazing world and I'll hope that you'll tune back in Thursday to check out the FREE first installment. I know you'll fall in love with the SHINE world just like I did. 

What do you think about the cover for installment 1? Did you go over to Bill's Facebook via the link I shared and check out the trailer? Does the blurb above have you intrigued? I hope so.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Using a Nonfiction Theme to Pitch Your Fiction

Pitch your nonfiction theme. Every work of fiction has one.

This little nugget of wisdom came from author, David Morrell, creator of the original Rambo character that inspired the Sylvester Stallone movies at a local conference I attended this weekend.

I love conferences. I always learn something that helps me grow as a writer. This one was no exception.

Like most writers, I struggle with pitching my book. I can talk about it at great length to anyone who'll listen, but put a restraint on me and my brain wants to freeze up. It's so frustrating. How do I put a 127,000 word epic fantasy into one minute? The closer I came to being ready to submit, the harder I found this question to answer. How could I know my story so well, yet be completely at a loss when it comes time to pitch? How do I condense it down and still keep it interesting?

Mr. Morrell suggests pitching on the nonfiction topic. Human's gravitate toward that which they identify. Every writer has a reason they are writing, some truth they are seeking to share under the guise of entertainment. Pitch that truth and you have instant interest.

It makes sense when you think about it. You have the nonfiction issue of race and morality in the famous Huckleberry Finn, greed and decayed social and moral values in The Great Gatsby, and death as well as friendship in Harry Potter. 

I've since studied by own nonfiction topic. Talk about self-psychoanalysis.

After thinking about it, I realized one of my nonfiction topics is blind faith. I know many people who struggle or have given up on believing in a god they can't see. This topic fascinates me. So I wrote a book with a protagonist who must learn to believe in a god he was taught didn't exist in order to save his dying world and those he loves who live in it. I want my readers to think about what they'd do in my MC's place. Would they be able to overcome the abuse, the sadness, the pure evil they see everyday and believe in a loving god of goodness for whom they sees no evidence? It's subtle, after all, I am writing fantasy, not Christian fiction, but then, that's the point. I don't went to pound a belief into anyone.

What nonfiction themes do you gravitate toward in your fiction? If you write, what is the nonfiction theme you're currently using? Been to/or plan to attend any good conferences?