Monday, September 30, 2013

Burst the Bubble

Recently, I've been thinking about what I could do to help me keep things fresh. To burst that bubble of rigidity that threatens to encompass us all, so I could keep myself stimulated enough to constantly visualize new ideas.

Then I had an idea!
There are a lot of science fiction/fantasy magazines on the market nowadays. They cater to all sorts of tastes and niche markets.
Why not take a look at some of the more upbeat, quality examples, (Strange Horizons, Clarkesworld, Kasma, Analogue, Daily Science Fiction, Space & Time, Not One of name a few), to see what they are focusing on at the moment?
As you might imagine, the diversity is enormous.
But I spotted something interesting.
Quite a number of them incorporate short stories, flash fiction, and poetry into their respective formulas.
So it got me thinking.
When we write novels, we have a great deal of 'space' in which to incorporate our theme. In some ways, we can liken our endeavours to a meal. A starter or beginning. The main course in the middle. And a dessert at the end.
With a short story, poetry - and all the more so with flash fiction, you have to compress those elements into smaller portions.

Like a mezze!
It really stimulates the thinking process. Especially when you add the 'speculative' element that everyone is so keen on.
What do I mean by speculative?
Well, it's a story that contains elements that aren't restricted solely to 'plain old sci-fi'.
Think of stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, think Twilight Zone, and you'll be on the right track.
Perhaps the easiest way to describe speculative fiction is...
Have you ever read a story that was weird, amazing, twisted or fantastical?
...but it wasn't classed as science fiction or fantasy or even horror?
THAT's speculative fiction.
So, lately, I've been giving these elements a go. In short stories, with poetry, by snaps of flash fiction. It's made me better appreciate the crucial ingredients we need to consider when we prepare 'meals' for our audience to digest.
I really recommend you try it for yourself.
You'll be amazed at the results
And in my case?
I'll let you know how my dabbling's turn out soon :)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Have You Seen This?

Like many people, I'm having a busy time at the moment. Writing, editing, trying to keep up with blogs and so forth.
Although I've not been able to do a very good job of keeping up with things, I have managed to keep abreast of some of the latest developments going on around us. As many of you know, I love science, and astronomy in particular.
My sidebar - Breaking News - tab has an article on it stating that Voyager has left the solar system.
But - How do scientists actually know that? 
Aha- Follow this link to find out...
It's quite revealing :)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Coming Soon

Guardians - Book 2 of the Guardian Series
October sees the release of Guardians - Book 2 of the Guardian Series.
In celebration of that fact, please don't forget the Guardian/Fire Asylum prize pack that's available for one lucky reader
If you want to enter. Just click one of the Rafflecopter options. Message me on Facebook, or leave a message on the Blog.  The winner will be announced in October.
Good Luck :)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Heart of the Storm Giveaway



Well, the day has arrived to announce our winners!
Rafflecopter selected our second prize winner of a copy of the story itself as:
Entrant #14 - Sharon D
Well done Sharon. Thank you for entering the competition.
I will be contacting you today
The 1st place winner of both the story AND this fine Viking Nordic Trefot Pendant is:

Entrant #13 - Denise Z
Again - Congratulations Denise, and thank you so much for entering.
If you missed out this time, don't worry. Not only do I hold regular Giveaway competitions, but soon, Ishtar Press will be announcing details of a Grand Giveaway, regarding all of the stories to appear in For the Love of the Gods anthology. So - keep your eyes peeled for that :)
For now - take care - And Denise, Sharon, you'll probably see your emails before you see this!
Have a great day now.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Learning Curve.

Hi everyone.
This time around, I thought I’d share some of my experiences regarding the learning curve I continue to navigate as a new author.
I say continue, because I’m always finding new areas I need to look at or improve on. Take my personal experience as an example.

Like many new/aspiring authors, as I wrote my first ever novel, I began approaching literary agents. Many well established agencies simply won’t consider new writers...Unless you have a friend in the know. Of course, this means you can’t get a look-in at the larger publishing houses, who won’t view you as a viable prospect without the mandatory agent behind you.
Catch twenty-two? Well, not if you try hard, direct your focus and concentrate on the up and coming smaller publishing houses who are concentrating on gathering a quality author base. That’s what I managed to do when I discovered Pagan Writers Press.

But, managing to secure a contract and getting a book published is only part of the hurdle you need to overcome. Remember, other new writers will have managed to follow the course you did, and will also be publishing their books. This means thousands of new books–yes, literally thousands–will be hitting the shelves at the same time as yours. And you won’t have the backup provider by those larger – traditional – agencies.
We’re talking about marketing, promotions, connectivity, review and distribution, etc. Things I’m still trying to get to grips with. Like many of you, I still work. Time is limited. I have a family, a new novel to write, other commitments. The list can be endless. So what can you do?
Well, it was only recently I started to sit back a little and decide not to panic. I am limited in the amount of experience I have in these areas. But others aren’t. It’s their business to establish connectivity with the market for you.
So I thought...why don’t I research a few of them and give them a go. What can they do for me as a new author? How can they maximise the potential of my books and raise their profile? How can they direct someone who is searching for a good read to my little work of art above all the others out there?
We shall see...
I’ll keep you posted as to what the company I selected actually does, and if their strategies are effective.
While I was looking into publicists, I had another idea. What can I do to make my name stand out more? The answer was obvious. Diversify? Show an interest in other things that do a lot of the work for you.
As some of you know, I love astronomy and have qualifications in that discipline. So I thought, why not do something in that area that, 1. Not only helps others, but, 2. Puts my name out there through an additional medium. So I did.
I’ve discovered that additional traffic comes my way as an author because of the work I do through this other–related–outlet. Fantastic!
Another thing I realized is that it’s good to be friendly. What I mean is, we lesser known authors have to do a great deal of self publicity. It’s unavoidable. Hopefully, my new experiment will free me from this a little and help me to make a presence among my genre groups. (In my case, Sci-Fi – Fantasy – Paranormal).
I’ve got to say, it’s great fun joining in with other like-minded enthusiasts and just waiting for the penny to drop that I am, in fact, a contracted author. The interest it generates is amazing, and leads to a natural domino effect.
Finally, I remembered another avenue I enjoy that might also help me establish a presence. Poetry.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t stagger round mooning at flowers and clouds all day dreaming up intricate sonnets that wax lyrical...(I’m doing it now aren’t I?)...about the virtues of painted prose. I just happen to love poetry, and have a knack for getting ideas down on paper.

So, over the last six months, I’ve been putting a few things together, and trying my hand at this wonderfully expressive form of writing.
I’ll let you know how that goes too.
I think, what I’m trying to say is...
Think about what you CAN do, not what you can’t. Maximise the efficiency of what you have, and put it to the best use. I’m starting to try that now. And although it’s hard not to worry, I’m enjoying myself more, and feeling less stressed.
And that can’t be bad.

The Cambion Journals - Rage of Augustus


See what all the fuss is about: