Onward and Upward

Essential Writing Support

It’s a sunny day here in Luxembourg. The heatwave has eased, the rain has stopped, and it’s perfect weather for sitting out on the patio and pouring thoughts and words into my laptop.

I started looking through my Scrivener folder of “Unfinished Works“. More accurately, it should be called, “Started and Stalled“.

Some authors struggle to find ideas. I’m of the other type: story ideas constantly tumble through my mind, especially when I’m in the middle of redrafting a story. (I HATE redrafting.) So I type out a few notes in my “Unfinished Works” folder and get back to the task in hand.

(It also happens when I’m swimming, which is a terrible time to get an idea as my iPhone is not waterproof!)

Every now and again, I look through my Unfinisheds to see if there’s anything worth developing. It’s usually an unfulfilling task. I find sketches, first lines or paragraphs, or even whole chapters that lead nowhere I can follow – yet. Worse, I find the plots of movies and novels released AFTER I noted down the original idea. I really wish I had one of those author mind-reading gadgets!

But sometimes I strike gold! Today, I managed to fill out and reach a (to me) satisfying conclusion for two short stories. (Now I have to do the redrafting…) Major sci-fi authors have advice…

  • Golden era writer Isaac Asimov’s advice was to finish what you write, submit it, write another. He also advocated writing every day, whether you feel like it or not.
  • Ray Bradbury wrote a story every week on the basis that you can’t write fifty-two bad stories in a year. (Hmmm… not too sure about that applying to everyone!)
  • Stephen King promotes writing for four hours every day and reading for the same amount of time. (Not easy if you’re holding down a job with a commute…)

As for the authors without storyline-polluted brains, I do sympathize.

In FaceBook’s many writing-related groups, I often see posts from would-be authors asking for plot ideas or even character names. Without an overview of the story, this is impossible to provide as a character’s name should fit the:-

  1. historical period (and social class)
  2. culture (and age of the character in that culture as popularity changes)
  3. geographical location
  4. gender (usually)
  5. etc…

And (of course) it should match the tone of the story and hint at the character’s personality. Ariel “BuzzBrain” Starfighter is a different starship captain than Kurt Stone and in a different type of story.

Picasso said, “Good artists borrow. Great artists steal.” So steal an idea from a successful novel/movie/TV series and write it your own way. After all, the “Shades of Grey” series began as “Twilight” fan fiction, and “Fifty SHEDS of Grey” was a modestly-successful parody.

Anyways…

Back to redrafting… YAY!

Hmm… or maybe I’ll take my own advice for once? I’ll rework in my own way those stories copied in advance by other famous writers! Onward and upward!

Meanwhile, whatever you’re reading right now – ENJOY!

 

April & May

 

BSFA Ytterbium

Chocaholics and parents might have noticed it was Easter again last month. To me, that meant eating chocolate at the British Science Fiction Association‘s Annual Convention!

Code-named Ytterbium, it was held this year at London Heathrow’s Park Inn.

As always, I rolled up ready to meet old friends, make new ones, and learn about current trends in Science Fiction. And I did all three!

I was really pleased to meet Geoffrey Carr of the Economist and chat about a zillion things, including his first venture into Sci-Fi, Genesis.

Sadly, our intense chatter left little chance for anyone else to get a word in.

Happy, too, for my good friend David M. Allan, who just signed up for a sequel to his novel The Empty Throne.

Happy Returns

I returned home to a garden badly in need of attention. We sanded-down and re-stained the shed, which had badly deteriorated in the past 4 years of weather despite the 7 years’ guarantee of the original coating manufacturer. (Huh!) Of course, the work was disrupted by blazing sunshine, rainstorms, hailstorms, and even a fluttering of snow.

(Happy Spring, everyone in the northern hemisphere!)

The Luxembourg ban on using power tools on Sundays and public holidays didn’t help. (FYI, there are three midweek public holidays here in May.) But I do appreciate the quiet Sundays when I don’t need to get out and make noise.

Writing Progress

As usual, life intrudes on art. I am way behind on my online critique group contributions but managed to complete two short stories in time to submit to anthologies just before their deadlines. I also had to make serious changes to my upcoming classic noir novel, Private Vices, but that should be off to my trusted advisor this month for a final overview before I send it out to Advance Readers.

RIGHT! Back to work.

 

Winter Is Coming

No, not another “Game of Thrones” review.

It’s snowing in Luxembourg, Halloween is here and there’s only 55 days left to Christmas at time of writing. (To keep track of how time’s running out for your gift shopping, click here.)

And it’s been another month of ups and downs in a writer’s life…

A Short Story Published

“Your Secret Library” Online Magazine – Halloween edition!

Here’s your free read of seasonal horror stories
It includes my short story “Let The Children Sleep

Newsletters and Amazon

Like many other authors, I’ve had to change my newsletter mailing company as they weren’t delivering on the promised delivery. There’s so much admin involved: migrating my mailing lists, setting up new signup forms and “thank you” mails, creating newsletter templates, changing the links to my signup form in all the books and everywhere else I published it.

Amazon continues to have problems retaining valid book reviews. So far (touch wood) I’ve not lost any more, but other writers are again seeing theirs erased. I’m watching and waiting…

The Writing Part

And so to the stuff I am supposed to be doing – writing!

My classic noir is in final revision with a target publication date of January 1st. A dozen of my short stories are with various online critique groups.

The new covers for my sci-fi trilogy seem to be doing the job, as my sales are climbing. (Someday soon, I have to write the sequel.)

So…

I’ll get back to making imaginary things happen to people who don’t exist.

Happy Halloween!

The Writing Game


This writing game is a bit of a strange adventure.

Telling Lies

A fiction writer tells lies in a vacuum. S/he tells lies about things that didn’t happen to people who don’t exist. And there might be no one listening… Continue reading

Guilty As Charged

 


In my previous post, I dangled some “click bait” about how I was over-committed, then offered only a cliffhanger. My bad.

Seriously, I found myself in a time bind over the last few months… Continue reading

PARADISI CHRONICLES & NEWS


NEW MUST-HAVE PARADISI CHRONICLES RELEASES (details below)

As my regular readers know, my JANUS PARADISI series takes place in an open-source sci-fi universe. A what?

Essentially, a group of authors agreed on the backstory and main features of a time and place where all action will occur, then write their own stories within those parameters.

These stories can be from any sub genre (hard sci-fi, space opera, fantasy, romance, whatever), as long as they stick to the overall parameters, such as planet names and environments, technology, history, and so on. They can use other writers’ characters (with permission), usually giving them walk-on parts, or referring to great events in other writer’s stories. Continue reading

Paradisi Chronicles Anthology

The latest in a long line of Chronicle Worlds Anthology best sellers just hit the Amazon electronic shelves!

paradisiAnother world. Another chance…

In the last decades of the twenty-first century, seeking to escape a devastated Earth, ten families focus on constructing spaceships to colonize the world they call New Eden, in the Paradisi System. But the world they claim for their own is already inhabited, and the Ddaerans, although human in appearance, possess abilities that the Founders and their descendants do not…

In this latest title in the acclaimed ‘Future Chronicles’ series of speculative fiction anthologies, twelve authors take us on that incredible journey with adventurers, scientists and colonists, as they push the boundaries against the unknown, against alien civilization, and themselves.

Discover Chronicle Worlds. Discover Paradisi.

Discover Paradisi here.

Contributing Authors: Samuel Peralta, Cheri Lasota, Louisa Locke, Ashley Angelly, Claire Davon, Lindsay Edmunds, SJ Mayeski, Andy McKell, Bill Patterson, Joseph Robert Lewis

Continue reading

A Beginner’s Tale #3

Large FoJIt has been a long journey, but here I stand on the verge of publishing my first novel.

I always wanted to write, but my first High School English teacher convinced me I was barely literate. I think he resented me being taller than him, as a later (taller) teacher promoted me from bottom of the class to (almost) pole position.

Too late!

It was my final year of school and my small fantasies had been strangled. Hurrah for education! Continue reading

Thanksgiving

Being British, I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, but I have a few things to be thankful for at this time and I’m gonna brag about it! Two short stories published earlier in 2015 and more have already been “snapped up” by publishers for anthologies to be published in 2016… Continue reading

Press Release: The Future Is Short Vol 2

A new anthology that contains two of my own stories…

THE FUTURE IS SHORT: SCIENCE FICTION IN A FLASH, Volume 2 Now Published
ISBN: 9 781514 151518 (trade paperback) Published June 3, 2015
E-book published June 11, 2015

TFIS 2 - 100x150Thirty-six authors took a leap of faith in January 2015 to contribute their stories to The Future Is Short: Science Fiction in a Flash, Volume 2. Twenty-two of them, published in the inaugural volume in June 2014, returned to present new ideas, tales and imaginative spins on specific topics in this latest edition; over a dozen of Volume 2’s contributors are new writers, many being published for the first time in this anthology. The Future Is Short: Science Fiction in a Flash, Volume 2 includes seventy-six glimpses at what the future might hold, arranged under 14 themes: among these are Apocalypse, It’s a Wonderful Life, Distance, First Contact, Unwanted Gift, Adolescence and Espionage. Continue reading