Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Early IWSG Post, A to Z, A Change of Mind and Other Stories: Cover Reveal, and Review: The Eighth Day!

Need A Little Support?Going to change things up a little since the A to Z Challenge begins next week--early IWSG post!

Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writer's Support Group gives bloggers a monthly chance to express their concerns, worries, and insecurities without fear of reprisal. It's a seriously big group with well over 300 participants, it shows no signs of slowing down! I'd like to thank Alex for keeping this group going for so long, as it has proved wonderful in the supporting of fellow authors and the revealing of needed and sound advice.

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The A to Z is soon upon us. Thankfully I have half my posts ready, and hopefully all ready before April. Then I can sit back and visit the participants (you know there's over 1,000 entries now? This must be a new record!). I said last week that my theme is Woven, and there will be character sketches for all the characters from A to Z. I'm very excited to show you guys. My guest artist is doing an amazing job.

My insecurity this month? I admit I've been a bit down. No particular reason. Another general low that goes with the general highs. The trick is finding ways to stay on top of this. Not easy to do when you're considering a new day job. That's right. Among all the other crazy things going on in my current situation, I'm job hunting.

Wish me luck on this endeavor. The starship needs a new bumper.

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Review: The Eighth Day
by Dianne K. Salerni

Wouldn’t it be nice to have an extra day of the week that is just ours? That dream becomes a reality for Jax in The Eighth Day, and those who can make the “transition.” I was easily grabbed by the first chapter. Action, adventure, and great characters abound in this thrilling page-turner. This new and literal dimension into the Arthurian legend is a refreshing read for all ages. Now I need the next one!

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And now, a special message from a great blogging buddy of mine, and the reveal of his new cover! The helm is yours, Nick!

Title: A Change of Mind and Other Stories
Author: Nick Wilford
Genre: Contemporary speculative fiction
Cover Design: Rebekah Romani 
Release Date: May 25th 2015 

A Change of Mind and Other Stories consists of a novella, four short stories and one flash fiction piece. This collection puts the extremes of human behaviour under the microscope with the help of lashings of dark humour, and includes four previously published pieces in Writer’s Muse magazine.

In A Change of Mind, Reuben is an office worker so meek and mild he puts up with daily bullying from his boorish male colleagues as if it’s just a normal part of his day. But when a stranger points him in the direction of a surgeon offering a revolutionary new procedure, he can’t pass up the chance to turn his life around.

But this isn’t your average surgeon. For a start, he operates alone in a small room above a mechanic’s. And he promises to alter his patients’ personality so they can be anything they want to be…

In Marissa, a man who is determined to find evidence of his girlfriend’s infidelity ends up wondering if he should have left well alone.

The Dog God finds a chink in the armour of a man with a megalomaniacal desire to take over the world.

In The Insomniac, a man who leads an obsessively regimented lifestyle on one hour’s sleep a night finds a disruption to his routine doesn’t work for him.

Hole In One sees a dedicated golfer achieving a lifelong ambition.

The Loner ends the collection on a note of hope as two family members try to rebuild their lives after they are torn apart by jealousy.

About the Author:

Nick Wilford is a writer and stay-at-home dad. Once a journalist, he now makes use of those rare times when the house is quiet to explore the realms of fiction, with a little freelance editing and formatting thrown in. When not working, he can usually be found spending time with his family or cleaning something. Nick is also the editor of Overcoming Adversity: An Anthology for Andrew. You can find him hanging out on his blog, Goodreads, or Twitter.

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Thanks, Nick! This sounds excellent. Now back to editing ...

This is my last regular post for the next month. Check back for all the character sketches from Woven. You won't want to miss a day!

Any tips you'd like to share with a job hunter? Wouldn't you like an extra day that is just yours? Who's ready for Nick's book?

I'm David, and I just booked tickets for Medieval Times!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Guest Post on Adam Gaylord Writes, A to Z Theme Announcement, and Review: This War Of Mine!

Welcome back, guys! Yesterday I was featured on Adam Gaylord's Writing Tip Tuesday with a guest post about writing collaboratively. Adam is making the jump back into the blogging world, and it was an honor to be his first guest on this new feature. Go check it out!

We are two weeks away from a new and exciting year of the April A to Z Challenge. This year's challenge is dedicated to Tina Downey, a great blogger and friend who left us last year. For my theme, I have teamed up with an artist who is creating portraits of the characters in my debut novel, WOVEN, and I will provide their background info.

The fun begins on April 1st. If you want to join the challenge, click here for information and to sign up!

Review: This War Of Mine

I scrolled through Steam one night and found what looked like a survival strategy game mixed with The Sims. Then I learned the game is based on the Siege of Sarajevo, the longest siege of a capitol city in modern war. So I played it, and I have to applaud the developers for creating a game that made me feel like a civilian in a war torn city. Every choice matters, and any evening of scavenging for supplies could be your last. In war, civilians suffer the most, so good on 11 Bit Studios for shining a light on a demographic that usually gets little to no attention. I haven't finished this yet due to ongoing edits, but I like it enough to recommend.

Back to the editing cave. My what a quest this has become!

What do you think of Adam's updated place? Are you doing the A to Z Challenge this year? What are your thoughts on war games?

I'm David, and in war, not everyone is a soldier ...

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Guest Post: Novel vs. Series with L. Blankenship!

Hey guys! I'm still chest-deep in editing mode and taking a break at today at Sia Mckye Over Coffee, so I'm going to step off the bridge for a week and hand the controls over to L. Blankenship (to your left), author of the Disciple series. Her 6th and final installment is now available (see the links below to learn more about this fantasy series). L. will navigate the difference between a standalone novel and a series for us, and she's promised not to steer us into any quasars. Our insurance doesn't cover quasars. Don't get me started on my deductible for black holes ... Why am I still talking?

Until next time, the bridge is yours, L. Blankenship! Take it away.

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Novel vs. Series

PlotDiagram.pngWe’ve all seen plot diagrams like this one in basic writing classes. This is how novels are generally structured -- there’s plenty of flexibility, of course, to customize this to your individual story. 

I recently published the last of my six-part gritty fantasy romance series, Disciple, and you can find this structure in each of the six volumes.  But since the series is a larger story overall, you can also see this structure spread over the six parts.

A series of novels tends to follow one of two patterns:

  • Individual adventures. Each novel is a self-contained story. Maybe there are some two-volume stories within the series, maybe there are multiple writers involved, maybe the cast of characters changes… but each novel is independent and contains its own plot structure. Examples of this include the Dragonriders of Pern series and Conan the Barbarian.
  • One over-arching story. This is a common form in the fantasy genre -- Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, GRRM’s ASOIAF, etc. The series of novels is, itself, one massive story into which the plot structures of the individual novels are integrated. While each volume contains plot points, a climax, and resolution, these fit into the rising tension of the entire series.

What does that look like?
Using the chart above, something like this. My series Disciple has six parts, so I marked its progress in green.

Each part has its own rising action, climax, and resolution, but also contributes to the rising action of the entire series.

How much work is this?
Well, a series is a lot of work any way you cut it. I am mostly a plotter (as opposed to a pantser) so I had an idea of what the end of the story would be when I started writing Part I… but not as much as you might think.

The ending changed in the process of writing Disciple. I checked on it several times along the way to make sure it was still logical, attainable (with difficulty), and most importantly an exciting, fun, and generally awesome sequence worthy of all the work I’d put into getting there. Even so, there were major questions still in the air when I finished Disciple, Part V and started planning the big finale.

It’s not something I would undertake lightly or with no clue where the story was going. The roots of the ending stretch all the way back to the beginning. You can fix anything in revision -- and I fixed a lot in revising Disciple, believe me -- but its easier to not paint yourself into a corner if you have some sort of plan.

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War is coming. Kate Carpenter is only a peasant girl, but she’s determined to help defend the kingdom and its bound saints against the invading empire. Her healing magic earned her a coveted apprenticeship with the master healer; now she must prove herself ready to stand in the front lines and save lives. 

She’s not ready for the attentions of a ne’er-do-well knight and the kingdom’s only prince, though. This is no time to be distracted by romance — the empire’s monstrous army will tear through anyone standing between them and the kingdom’s magical founts. All disciples must put aside their tangled feelings and stand in the homeland’s defense.
The six-part gritty fantasy romance series is now complete!

Disciple, Part VI on sale at AmazonB&NMore retailers


Download Disciple, Part I for free!

Email me if you can’t get it for free: blankenship.louise at gmail

Disciple Omnibus
on sale March 15, 2015!

Get a reminder by joining L’s mailing list

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

IWSG: Full Editing Mode and A New Submission!

Need A Little Support?Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writer's Support Group gives bloggers a monthly chance to express their concerns, worries, and insecurities without fear of reprisal. It's a seriously big group now, and with well over 300 participants, it shows no signs of slowing down! I'd like to thank Alex for keeping this group going for so long, as it has proved wonderful in the supporting of fellow authors and the revealing of needed and sound advice.

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My apologies if you've already visited and saw my unfinished post. I usually sent my post up early and finish them the night before they go live. Alas, I was struck by a fever late afternoon yesterday and crashed super early. Fevers tend to make me forget stuff ... 

I'm not much better this morning, so I'll keep it super short.

Aside from my health today, I have little to be insecure about. Or is this true? I've been in full-editing mode for a while now, and I love it! It's given me a taste of what being a full-time writer feels like. Been polishing first 100 pages of a new WOVEN book with awesomeness. I'm basically double employed right now, and it's only a matter of time to see if these late nights will pay off. So, getting to the heart of the post, my zombie novel I've told you about is on submission!

This is my first time submitting a solo project with an agent. And it's a different experience going about the process without a co-author, so there is that lingering insecurity that publishers won't bite. The zombie market is saturated at the moment, so let's hope that the angle I applied is unique enough to generate some interest.

At the same time, I'm a little too feverish to be fully insecure, let alone aware of my surroundings, so I'm going to go take it easy.

Until next time, keep the sick bay fully stocked!

How do you juggle life and full-editing mode? How do you keep calm when your work goes on submission? Is that a pink elephant?

I'm David, and yeah, no, can't think of anything witty today...