Saturday, 31 August 2013

Summers End

There is a tree across the road from my house. It's always the first tree to morph from summer green to the reds and oranges of autumn. For me, this always signals that summer is nearing it's end, and autumn is arriving. Nights get colder and days get shorter in anticipation of winter.

I have very specific goals for autumn. I didn't have specific goals for summer and I didn't accomplish as much as I thought I would. So for the sake of accountability and productivity, I'm going to share my goals with you.

I want to finish the first draft of The Demon In Him in time to participate in NaNoWriMo again this year. This year, unlike the last, I am doing some pre-nano preparation. I have a great idea for a middle grade novel and while I'm known to to normally just fling myself into projects with wild abandon, I'm making myself wait. I want to hammer out details. I want to outline, and outline, and outline. I want to know what I'm going to write. I want to map out the scenes so when it comes time to write I can fling myself into my project properly, with direction and purpose.

Plus, I have a tendency to leave one project half finished before jumping into another, which I later leave half finished when I get a shiny new idea. Not this time. This time I want to finish my project before starting another. I want the satisfaction of doing one thing, doing it very well, and then moving on. If I don't get the first draft done by November, I may participate anyway, but know that I will have failed to meet my self imposed deadline.

If I finish The Demon in Him, and my Middle Grade Nano project, I will have written three books in one year. That in itself, will be a huge accomplishment. The fact that I've done more writing and more experimenting with my craft in the past twelve months alone than I have in most of my life is a huge accomplishment. I'm proud of how far I've come and the progress I've made.

I'll let you know on November 1st if I made my deadline. Wish me luck.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Calling All Paranormal Writers!

As Executive Editor of The Corner Club Press I am pleased to announce that while we put together issue 10, we are now open for submissions for a very special Paranormal themed issue that we will be putting out this fall.

We are looking for poetry, flash fiction and short stories. We would really prefer the short stories to be five thousand words or fewer. Please be sure to put 'Paranormal Submission' in the subject line of your email as all other submissions will be kept for issue 11.

Feel free to visit our website for more information on our submission guidelines.

Don't forget to share this on Facebook and Twitter for your other writer friends.

Good Luck.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

When Stars Die Cover Reveal!

I've had the distinct honor of being asked to participate in the cover reveal for Amber Forbes' debut novel, When Stars Die. When Stars Die is a Young Adult Paranormal Romance slated for release in October 2013 by AEC Stellar Publishing.

Before you can scroll down to see the lovely cover, I'd like to say that I've known Amber for a few years now. Though we will likely never meet in real life, she's been a great friend to me and I couldn't be more thrilled to be a part of her wonderful adventure into authorship. Congratulations, Amber. May fortune smile upon you.

So...without further adieu, here is the cover for her most excellent debut novel, When Stars Die. (Yes, it is excellent. I know because I've read it. Are you jealous yet?)

Cover by Viola Estrella of Estrella Cover Art

Synopsis: Amelia Gareth's brother is a witch and the only way to save her family from the taint in his blood is to become a professed nun at Cathedral Reims in the snowy city of Malva. However, in order to become professed, she must endure trials that all nuns must face.

Surviving these trials is not easy, especially for Amelia, who is being stalked by shadowy beings only she can see. They're searching for people they can physically touch, because only those they can touch can see them. Amelia soon learns why she is being stalked when she accidentally harms her best friend with fire during the third trial. Fire is a witch's signature. The shadows are after witches.

Now Amelia must decide what to do: should she continue on her path to profession knowing there is no redemption, or should she give up on her dream and turn away from Cathedral Reims in order to stop the shadows who plan to destroy everything she loves? 

Where Amber Can be Found:

Isn't that just the loveliest cover you've ever seen? Show Amber (and her awesome cover artist) some love in the comments below. 

Remember, this is set for release in October!

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Matter of Resistance

"… there was no choice but to attack Earth.”

Isaac might just be a kid, but he’s quickly finding out how he and his friends can make a difference for their settlement. After all, they’re the latest version of humans, evolving to adapt to life on Mars. But it’s easy to lose track of time, and the powers-that-be on Earth are relentless in their resolve.
Matter of Resistance is a light read and a great introduction to science fiction for young adults. The story follows Isaac and his rise to leadership in parallel to a handful of dedicated sympathizers on Earth who have troubles of their own to worry about.

Matter Of Resistance is a Young Adult Science fiction novel  written by AEC Stellar Publishing's own founder (and resident rocket scientist) Raymond Vogel.  It will be available in paperback on August 22nd 2013. If you're wanting the ebook, you'll have to wait until Christmas. However; if you're willing to do a review, contact Raymond Vogel and he will give you a free copy of the ebook. You can email him at

Brief Book Description:
The science fiction imagining of a former rocket scientist, Matter of Resistance pushes technology and human nature to the limits as it chronicles our Mars settlement's struggle for independence from Earth. Though it was written for young adults, it’s received high praise and recommendations from a retired NASA senior executive, a retired USAF Colonel, and the current Senior Staff scientist managing Materials and Processes for the NASA Orion Program. Matter of Resistance "examines space travel within the possibilities of today’s technology and in the context of natural human drives,” and delivers an experience that’s “captivating, suspense-filled reading, beginning to end.”



MARK CANTRELL, PhD, Materials and Processes, Senior Staff, NASA’s Orion Program:

“A really interesting story that examines space travel within the possibilities of today’s technology and in the context of natural human drives. A balance between technology, the drive for independence of a colony, the drive to make profit by a company, and the natural good found in people in both worlds. The story is interesting, fun to read and makes you think. I loved this story. I recommend it.”
COLONEL ROSS NUNN, USAF Retired; former Commander of the Air Force Astronautics Lab, and early proponent of antimatter and fusion-based propulsion research:
“Picked up the book to read the first chapter - didn't put it down until I finished the entire book. Captivating, suspense-filled reading, beginning to end. The interplay of human tendencies for domination coupled with the sense of caring for our fellow man was gripping.”
MICHAEL DAWSON, Retired NASA Senior Executive Service and Associate Director for the Stennis Space Center; Retired USAF Colonel and Mission Support Group Commander; General Manager at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility:
“Adding real science to its fiction, Matter of Resistance gives an eerily accurate portrayal of where we may find ourselves one day. With great character interactions and the use of believable technology advancements to solve intractable problems, it kept my attention until the last page.”
COLONEL GREGORY S. LAMB, USAF Retired, Former U-2 Pilot; Served in the Air Combat Command, NORAD, and the DIA; and author of The People In Between: A Cyprus Odyssey and the military thriller A Dangerous Element (coming soon):
“Masterfully written to entertain, Matter of Resistance is a light read that makes you think. It examines the potential outcomes of failed diplomacy in a conflict, and it should be required reading at the war college.”
OLIVER F. CHASE, former FBI Special Agent; U.S. Marine pilot, recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross; and author of the exciting new detective series Marsh Island and Blind Marsh:
Matter of Resistance is relevant, fresh, and engaging to adults and young readers alike as it tackles human’s ongoing quest to reach out and trust one another. Watch for spoilers, though, because I see them on the news every night.”
SORIN SUCIU, author of the laugh-out-loud contemporary fantasy, The Scriptlings(2013):
“This captivating story bears the unmistakable mark of an instant SciFi classic, in that the science (while as solid as you would expect from a friggin rocket scientist) is merely a backdrop for a fascinating introspection into the human nature.Matter of Resistance might not cure your Asimov or Clarke nostalgia, but it will certainly infect you with the Vogel virus. There, you have been warned.”
J.R. McLEMORE, multi-genre author of The Old Royal and An Adverse Anthology:
"With the recent announcement of the Mars One endeavor, Matter of Resistance is one step closer to becoming non-fiction. Mars One can probably borrow some pages from Raymond Vogel's playbook."
AINSLEY VOGEL, Raymond’s daughter; avid reader:
“I liked it because it was exciting.”

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

The Fine Art of Pantsing

I love M*A*S*H and couldn't resist posting this little gem.
On my last post I talked briefly about pantsing and why I won't do it anymore. But maybe I was a bit hasty. What I meant was, I will probably never pants my way through an entire novel again. I've done it before, and the results were rather messy, grotesque in fact.

However, I think that pantsing does have a place in a writer's skill set and should not be dismissed entirely. I use pantsing when I'm outlining, in fact. I find it to be a great brainstorming technique. So I write a ton of outlines and ideas that I don't use. No big deal. Better a few random ideas jotted down, than fifty thousand words worth of mediocre nonsensical drivel. Pantsing is also great for shorter fiction, such as short stories or even flash fiction. It's great fun to go along on the ride of a lifetime with one of your characters and see just what they're made of.

I never used to outline, but in the recent months since I've started, I've found myself to be far more productive. I know where things are going and I know where I want them to end up and an outline allows me to stay on course. I used to think that outlining was the death of creativity, but there is creativity in every stage of the process, whether it be first or final draft, there is always room to be free with your creativity.

Pantsing is fun, but I'll never pants a novel again.

Are you a planner? Or are you a pantser?

If you plan, how detailed are your outlines?

Sunday, 11 August 2013

On Writing

As I was sitting down yesterday to plow through some minor revisions in The Demon in Him, I realized just how far I've come. Only a year ago did I decide to get more serious about my writing. I decided to challenge myself, to force myself to try new things with my writing. In the past 12 months, I've learned many things about myself and my process.

I've learned that I can write a book. With a little help from NaNoWriMo, I learned that I am fully capable of sitting down and churning out some fiction. I also learned that while "pantsing" is fun, I am far more productive if I have an outline of some sort. It gives me direction and keeps me grounded. Outlining is not the death of spontaneity. I always thought it would be, but I was wrong. I learned that no matter what I write, there's going to be romance in it. Why? Because I love a good love story.

I don't wait for inspiration anymore. I write for inspiration. The more I write the more inspired I become. The more I write the more ideas I get; the clearer I see my story. Writing begets writing.

I learned that I don't want to be tied down to a specific genre for the rest of my writing career. Some people are happy only writing in one genre, but I highly doubt that will be me. I have a vast array of interests and ideas and I want to explore them all. I want to push my boundaries even further and see what I'm made of.

I learned that not everyone is going to care. It's sad, but it's true. Even some of  your loved ones won't care about your work the way you wish they would. They will never care about your writing like you will care about your writing, but that's not the end of the world. The most important thing is not if your family and friends embrace your writing, but that you embrace your writing. It's your passion, not theirs. Don't let their lack of enthusiasm ruin your special moments and your awesome achievements. They just don't get it.

I learned that it's awesome to have writer friends, and that writers envy isn't always a bad thing. If you have a writer friend that is achieving the things that you want to achieve, it's not always a bad thing to let yourself be envious of them. Feel jealous. Sit back and ask yourself the question "What are they doing, that I'm not?"

Try new things. Stretch your wings. I've done a fair amount of experimenting these past months, and sometimes the results have been less than ideal. I'm okay with that. I've learned more through experimenting than I have through any other means. Reading about writing is fine and all, but I have much more fun writing. Even if the end product ends up in the garbage, chances are I still had fun writing it. I've also learned to love revisions. Revisions are a whole new opportunity to write something even better. Embrace the process.

The most important thing I've learned is that no one is going to give me time. No one is going walk into my house and say "Here, I've got this. You can go write now." No. It's not going to happen. Writing time doesn't just magically fall from the sky when you have three kids to love and care for everyday. I have to make the time. I have to scrape it and wring it out of every single day. Time is the greatest gift, and I can give it to myself.

My advice to you is this. Push your boundaries. Break through your barriers. Write new things. Learn. Love. Explore. Make time for your passion. Embrace your quirks. Evolve. Grow. Nurture your talent. Live in the moment. Write in the moment. Let your writing be wild. Be free. Be everything you never thought you could be.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Drowning in TBR

I thought it would be fun to talk a bit about some of the books in my To Be Read pile. I'm an eclectic reader and there pretty much isn't a genre that I won't read. I used to run in the other direction anytime I saw a fantasy novel, but Terry Goodkind changed that for me. That, however, is a topic for a different post.

Below, you will find a list of books that I'm looking forward to reading, why they seem interesting and what first caught my eye. To keep this post to a manageable length, I will only talk about five books.  

The first book in my TBR pile is Heir of Novron by Michael J. Sullivan. This is actually book three in the Riyria Revelations series. It began with Theft of Swords, and I was instantly swept away by the engrossing story, the epic characters and the awesome sense of humor that Sullivan possess. I'm halfway through the second book, Rise of Empire, and it's actually even better than the first book.

I will admit, it was the cover art that first caught my attention, but these lines really sold the first book.


Empyreal Illusions by Jake Bonsignore was recommended to my by Amber Skye Forbes.  I don't always read books simply because they are recommended to me, but this book has captivated my interest simply because it is strikingly different from books that I normally read. Plus, the cover art is really really pretty. And as a bonus, if I like this, the second book, Awakening The Fire, will be out soon.

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch I was looking on one day, to try and find new titles and authors for my dad, who is an avid fantasy reader. I stumbled upon this book and by the time I was finished reading the synopsis, I knew I wanted to read the book. Plus, one reviewer described the book as "The Lies of Locke Lamora is a love child of Ocean's Eleven and The Godfather"

How could I possibly go wrong? Then my mom read it and said it was great, so now I have to read it. 

Fat Vampire by Johnny B. Truant
I don't usually read vampire books. I love a good vampire story, but I prefer to watch them on TV for some reason. However, everything about this book makes me want to read it. It just seems so different than the run of the mill vampire story. The cover art is hysterical. I have to read this book. I have to.

The View From a Rusty Train Car by DeeJay Arens See all the award stickers on this? That isn't the only reason I want to read this. I have purchased a copy, and I will get there eventually, but this is what caught my eye.

“No one talks about what happens when you fall in love with the boy next door -- not when you’re the boy living beside the boy next door.”

I have a feeling that this book will make me cry. I like books that make me cry.

So there you have it. Five sure to be great books straight from my TBR pile.

What's on your list?

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Writing is Rewriting

I wish I had known this ages ago, it would have saved me from hours of mental torture as I aspired toward absolute perfection.

Yes, writing is awesome. It takes you places you never thought you would go. But writing is also hard and there is one heck of a learning curve to it for some of us. I only started getting really serious about my writing a year ago. In the past year I've learned many lessons about my craft. I've learned about my process, what works for me, what doesn't work for me. Most of all, I have learned that this meme, which I stole from a post on Writers Write, is absolutely correct.

First drafts are awesome, after a couple of revisions. Revisions really are where the magic happens. The first draft lays the ground work for your story, or the 'bones' as I call it. The revisions are where I add the meat. The revisions delve deeper into the details. The revisions are where you get to breathe life into your story.

I used to be terrified of revisions. I thought that if I had to revise something it meant I did something wrong the first time. I couldn't have been further from the truth. I wish I had known the special kind of magic that happens with revisions. It's a very liberating feeling, to have this knowledge that there is no "wrong" in writing. If it's not quite what you want, you simply change it until it becomes what you envision.

Writing is awesome, but revisions are magical. Don't be afraid to revise. You did nothing wrong. Actually I find the opposite is true. If you are able to improve something you wrote in the revision process, you did something right.

Friday, 2 August 2013

A Sneak Peek of The Demon In Him

Sharing writing samples is fun, it's one of the more enjoyable parts of being a writer. Choosing a sample, on the other hand, is pure torture. I want to share something revealing, but not too revealing. I want something eye catching, but I don't want to give too much of the plot away. It's hard to select the perfect passage that will offer just enough of a taste to hopefully intrigue people and make them interested in my book.

It's especially hard because I've not yet finished the first draft. I've outlined about half the book, but I've written a quarter, so it is safe to say that there will be many changes happening yet. So how do I select a sample then? How do I select something vague, yet revealing? How do I select a passage that is sure to make it into the final drafts? 

I thought of sharing the opening paragraphs, but what I will share instead is a short scene between Harley and Stan. In this scene, Stan has just witnessed Harley and Tyler get engaged. Click here to read the synopsis.

I slipped away before he could protest. When I shot out the front doors of the restaurant, I gasped for air. My chest was heavy, my stomach had a knot the size of a bowling ball and my throat was sore from holding back the emotions that threatened to explode at any moment. 

I rubbed my arms. Though there was no snow, it was still December-not really ideal weather for wearing a cocktail dress and high heels out on the side walk at eight o’clock at night. Even the freezing cold was better company than the leeches inside.  

“Why, Harley?” Stan appeared out of nowhere. He looked as destroyed as I felt. His blonde hair fell, hiding his forehead. I led him away from the windows where we wouldn’t be seen. I brushed away the hair from his face before resting my hand upon his cheek. 

“I’m sorry, Stan.”

“Why? Why him, Harley?” I could read between the lines. What Stan really meant wasn’t why Tyler. He meant, why not him. Why couldn’t it be his ring on my finger? I knew because my heart wanted the same thing. 

He hushed the sob that squeaked out of me by pressing his mouth against mine. He wrapped his arms around me and pulled me into him. As our sorrow and lust crashed together the rest of the world faded away. In another universe, I imagined myself getting in the next available taxi with Stan and running away with him. We’d leave town, or maybe even the country. Maybe we’d go somewhere tropical and lay on the beach and drink mimosas all day. But in this universe, I was with Tyler, and he wasn’t ever going to let me go. He’d kill me first. I pulled away, breathless from the kiss we’d just shared.

I'm afraid that's all you're going to get for now. Please, if you'd like to leave your thoughts in the comments, feel free to do so.