My Works

Check out my new short story!

51wmn-ncklExciting news! A while back I wrote a short story for the Arcane Arts Anthology, and today it was officially published on Amazon! Woo! Click here to check it out.

I had the privilege of proofreading the collection, and I had a blast reading all the fantasy/sci-fi shorts. One of my particular favorites is The Dark Siren by Danielle E. Shipley and Tirzah Duncan, about a cigar-loving skeleton lady tele-marketer who gets dragged into saving the world.

My own contribution, Escape!, is about Rhapsody Swansong, a teenage bard-in-training who has to take her end-of-year exam at the Ascalon Academy of Arcane Arts and Adventuring in the form of an “escape room”. Unfortunately, her group members are an atheist cleric, a clumsy rogue, and a mage who can’t control her magic–and Rhapsody herself is a bard without an instrument. Battles are fought, friendships are formed, lessons are learned, and hilarity–of course!–ensues.

The anthologist, Kai Herbertz, is hard at work on the print version, as well as a German language edition.

Anyway, just thought I’d share the awesome news! If you’d care to grab yourself a copy, we would be eternally grateful for your support of the anthology. Or if you have a spare moment to share the anthology on your social media, that would be much appreciated as well.

Hope everyone’s having an excellent week! #SHWOOP

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New Year, New Cerulean Bound Update!

Happy 2017, everyone! As one of my New Year resolutions is to blog more often, here comes the first post (of many). And since most of you are here because you’re fans of writing and/or Imminent Danger, let’s kick this post off with an Cerulean Bound update:

I have officially written the epilogue!

Now, granted, I haven’t actually finished writing the book yet. But I’m getting there! After a very productive holiday spent back in Ontario with my brother and father, and several long walks in the woods working out plot details, I now know how the book will end. It’s going to be epic! All that remains is to get the words down on paper.

My current goal is to get the first draft written by the end of January. Yes, that gives me roughly two weeks to finish the book–which is approximately 75% written, with 50% of that needing a re-write to conform with the directional switch I made to the ending. But the re-writing shouldn’t be too extreme, and I do finally know how the last 25% will go, so I’m feeling hopeful I’ll make the deadline.

In other news, I’ve been toying around with the idea of finding an agent and trying to get Imminent Danger published by one of the big publishing houses. I gave it a shot back in … gosh, 2010, I think? … without success. But now I’ve got two books under my belt, and I think they’re pretty darn good, so hopefully it will work out.

On a related note, I had an “angel card reading” done yesterday (one of our B&B guests does it for a living and offered to do a reading for me) and apparently I just need to visualize the perfect agent, and write down what I’m looking for, and put my positive emotions out there, and success will come. I have a feeling sending out some query letters might help as well, but a little positive energy never hurt anyone, right?

So, that’s the update! Potential first draft done by the end of January, and the beginning of an agent hunt. If things go unbelievably well with Cerulean Bound I may be able to get it out by the summer, but considering the editing for book 2 took a full year, I’m thinking that might be an unrealistic goal. Nevertheless, fingers crossed, everyone!

 

Unrelated media of the day:

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Categories: My Works, Writing | 9 Comments

Awesome New Imminent Danger Fan Art!

The gorgeous and super-talented Celeste DeWolfe has once again put pen to paper and created Imminent Danger fan art! Check it:

varrin-rescues-eris-celeste-dewolfeThis is of course a depiction of Varrin’s second rescue of Eris and Miguri, post-Chakra Corp. My favorite parts include: Miguri just totally done with the entire situation, Eris literally glaring daggers at Varrin, and Varrin being perplexed as to how anyone could fail to love him without reservation.

SHWOOP!

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Cerulean Bound (Imminent Danger #3) Update!

Okay, before everyone gets crazy excited, no, I have not finished the first draft. That remains a work in progress. But I figured you guys deserved an update after many months of silence, so here it is:

Cerulean Bound has officially crested the 70k words mark!

Now, what does this mean for the book itself?

I am about halfway through the story at this point, which means the book is on track to be about 140k words long. That, of course, would be the word count for the first draft. After extensive editing and chopping and revising, that number will hopefully be down in the 90-100k words range. So there’s still a while to go before the book is ready for eyes other than mine to see it.

On the upside, 70k words in and going strong! B&B season is gradually coming to a close, and NaNoWriMo starts in a few days, so I’m hoping to bang out the rest of the first draft by early December. Then the editing begins.

My very tentative hope is to get the book out next year. I don’t think it’s realistic to expect it in the spring — probably more like the fall — but miracles can always happen, right?

So there’s the update! Happy Halloween to everyone, and if you’re going to attempt NaNo this year, happy writing!

Unrelated media of the day:

Categories: My Works, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , | 16 Comments

New Imminent Danger Fan Art!!!

In today’s offering from the beautiful and talented Celeste DeWolfe, we have some fan art from Imminent Danger featuring Eris, Miguri, and Alyra.

The scene (SPOILER ALERT) is after Eris and Miguri escape Chakra Corp with Alyra’s help, and Eris attempts to recite the “To be or not to be” speech from Hamlet, with amusing results.

fan art celeste dewolfe eris reciting hamlet

I think my favorite part of this drawing is Alyra, because it just boggles my mind how the artist manages to put so much expression on the face of an alien with no mouth and giant, wacky eyes. Thank you, Celeste, for the gorgeous new fan art!

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Imminent Danger series FREE this weekend!

In honor of my four-year blogging anniversary, both Imminent Danger And How to Fly Straight into It and its sequel, Chasing Nonconformity, are free to download today and tomorrow! Here’s the fun little promo banner I whipped up …

ID and CN FREE

If you have a spare second, please consider sharing the banner (and links) on the social media site of your choice. And, of course, download the books if you haven’t read them! I can’t promise they’ll change your world, but I can promise they’ll give you a few solid hours of entertainment — and what’s life without a little fun?

Here are the aforementioned links:

Imminent Danger
http://bookShow.me/B00S4B9U62

Chasing Nonconformity
http://bookShow.me/B016BZGR72

Note: For any authors wondering about those URLs, they’re from BookShow.me, which is a website that generates a universal link that will direct you to the Amazon site of your choice (so you don’t have to provide links for .com, .ca, .co.uk, etc.) Pretty cool, eh?

Anyway, read, enjoy, share if you feel so inclined, and above all, have a fantastic weekend and stay awesome!

Categories: My Works, Self Publishing | Tags: | 32 Comments

Throwback Friday: Imminent Danger Launch Party Recipes!

A good three or so years ago, the original version of Imminent Danger And How to Fly Straight into It was published one sunny January morning. And to celebrate the publication, I held a launch party!

The attendees were my friends and family (no one else knew about it back then), and we had a blast. We also consumed a number of truly ridiculous foodstuffs, all inspired by the Imminent Danger universe.

I pulled on a jacket yesterday, and discovered a sheet of Imminent Danger recipes in the pocket. Apparently I hadn’t worn it in three years. Whoops. But the blast from the past was very entertaining, and I thought I’d share the recipes here with you, in case you ever want to throw your own Imminent Danger party.

Note: Some of these recipes are good. Some are terrible. Use with caution.

20160519_215842Some of these were big hits — the mini Ssrisk ship blue rice krispie balls, for example, went over very well. The “Approach to Alpha Centauri” layered sandwich was delicious — I think we used about ten different kinds of meat in that thing, and at least five cheeses. The space jelly with cinnamon was apparently quite good, although I don’t eat jello so I can’t confirm or deny that.

The only one I think we didn’t end up making was the “Barlow Collegiate Institute Caesar Salad” — probably because I obviously only came up with that because I needed to serve something healthy, so I stuck a random place name at the front of “salad” to make it thematically appropriate. Sigh. My imagination giveth, and my imagination taketh away.

So, there you go! Recipes for all your Imminent Danger needs. Try them out and report back with your findings.

In other news, this week is my four year blogging anniversary! In honor of that, this weekend (May 21 and 22) I will be giving away on Amazon both Imminent Danger and Chasing Nonconformity for free!!! The ebook version, obviously, not the print version. So if you’ve always been meaning to read one/both of them, and haven’t had the chance yet, now’s the time! I’ll be posting about that again tomorrow to remind you.

Thanks for reading, have a great weekend, and stay awesome!

 

Unrelated media of the day:

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Take Bad Reviews with a Dash of Salt

A few weeks back, I mentioned something called the “Immerse or Die” report — which is basically where this guy gets on his treadmill and starts reading a book. If he finds three glaring errors that pull him out of the story, he stops reading and marks the book as failed. If he makes it all the way to the end of his 40 minute treadmill run, the book passes. Simple enough, right?

I was a bit hesitant about sending in Imminent Danger, since A) harsh criticism makes me sad, and B) the reader is a 50 year old man, and thus not exactly my target audience. But then I thought “what the hell” and sent it in anyway.

Which was an … interesting decision. Spoiler alert: Imminent Danger did not survive the Immerse or Die report. You can read the report for yourself here.

So here’s where we get to the “take bad reviews with a dash of salt” part. Obviously, I was bummed out. In an ideal world, everyone would love my book. Not going to happen, of course, but it’s a nice dream. So I was feeling pretty down on myself as I started to read his review.

Then I finished reading the review, and I wasn’t down on myself anymore. In his review, he pinpoints three details in the first chapter that made him stop reading the book. Damn, right? Those must have been some pretty massive, glaring flaws. Except they’re not. Here are the earth-shattering problems he found:

  • fellow high school classmates” is redundant (as in, classmates implies “fellow”, so both words weren’t necessary)
  • high schools start at 9am, not 8am
  • Eris is facing the trees, and then gets dragged in backward (did she turn around at some point? it’s not stated)

Points #1 and #3 are actually really helpful, because he’s absolutely right, and those two things (redundant language and keeping track of where my characters are) are things I will look out for in future books/editing. Point #2, however, is just plain wrong. According to the US National Center for Education Statistics, the average high school start time is 8am. Here’s the link if you don’t believe me. But I digress.

Basically, he stopped reading the book because of A) a wording choice, and B) a mix-up in which direction Eris was facing. Which is fine. I, personally, tend to stop reading books due to larger issues, like the plot not making sense, or glaring spelling issues, or an unlikable main character … but hey, different people are different!

So, all in all, I’m content with my decision to submit Imminent Danger to the Immerse or Die Report. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? Did his review frustrate me? Absolutely. Will I be reading his books, or visiting his site again? Definitely not. We obviously have completely opposite views on what makes a story good.

At the end of the day, the only thing you can really do when you get a bad review is read it thoroughly and:

  1. Pick out the legitimate criticisms and learn from them, and
  2. Ignore the rest

Now I just have to keep telling myself that!

 

Unrelated media of the day:

More excellent book dedications …

I Am, by Matthew Hubbard

The Land of Stories, by Chris Colfer

Categories: My Works, Self Publishing, Writing | Tags: , , , | 36 Comments

What’s the biggest thing you ever cut from a manuscript?

In honor of leap day, today’s theme is leaping. As in, leaping over awkward plot points to get to the heart of the story. During the editing process, writers cut all number of things: useless characters, random sub plots, flowery but unnecessary description, adverbs, etc. So, I put this question to you:

What’s the biggest thing you ever cut from a manuscript?

For Imminent Danger, the biggest thing I can remember is the “descent to Alpha Centauri Prime” scene. Originally, the galactic hub planet was surrounded by a minefield–the remnants of an old space battle. So ships had to line up to be guided through the mines. Varrin, being Varrin, decided to skip that whole tedious process and tackle the minefield himself, resulting in a 1000 word action sequence where Varrin pilots the Nonconformity down through the mines, and Eris and Miguri panic a lot.

When I sat down to chop 20k words off the story, that was one of the first scenes to go. It was fun, but ultimately didn’t need to be in there. Plus, as my brother pointed out, it kind of didn’t make sense that one of the biggest trade hubs in the galaxy was surrounded by mines that no one had bothered to clear out yet. So the action sequence was scrapped, and the descent to Alpha Centauri Prime was cut down to a paragraph.

For Chasing Nonconformity … hoo boy. With Imminent Danger, I did a lot of revising, but the basic structure of the book remained the same. But with the sequel, I pretty much re-wrote it from the ground up. So almost everything got cut and then rewritten–with the exception of Trystan, Sebara, and Fino’jin, who were in the story from day one.

So I can’t really pin down the biggest cut, but certainly one of the large ones was Bax. Bax was a shapeshifting bounty hunter who Fino’jin hired to help track down and capture Varrin. During the original climax of the book, Bax shapeshifted into a jsgarn (big angry monster) and nearly killed Sebara. She did eventually defeat him, although she then had to jump out of the low-flying spaceship they were in at the time (I don’t remember why) and then broke like half the bones in her body upon hitting the ground.

In the re-write, Eris and Varrin’s plotline completely changed, and Bax didn’t work with the new story so he was axed. I don’t regret that one at all–he was mildly interesting, but definitely not a stand-out character. I wrote him as sort of a “blank slate”, in that he didn’t exhibit much personality at all because he shifted forms so frequently that even he didn’t really know who he was. But there wasn’t enough room in the story to explore his character properly, so instead of trying to shoehorn him in, I just cut him.

So, all you writers out there, what’s the biggest cut you’ve ever made? Or the most memorable? Or the cut that absolutely destroyed you, because you loved that particular scene/character and hated yourself for having to leave them out?

Unrelated media of the day:

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More Imminent Danger Fan Art!

People are feeling super artsy/crafty this week, so we actually have a second fan art post! Here’s the first one if you missed it.

From my dear friend Denise Gow-Morse, we have delightful little cartoons of Eris and Varrin. These were taped to the sides of the carton of candy she gave me for my birthday. The drawings are adorable, and the candy was delicious. Thank you, Denise!

Happy Eris and super sassy Varrin. Artist: Denise Gow-Morse

Happy Eris and super sassy Varrin. Artist: Denise Gow-Morse

Next up, we have an offering from my very own mother, Linda Schneidereit! I sent her some Eris and Varrin chibi magnets for Christmas, and today she sent me this photo, along with the caption, “Eris and Varrin on Venesky”. For those of you who haven’t finished reading Chasing Nonconformity yet, Venesky is a jungle planet that our heroes visit on their journey.

eris and varrin venesky

Teehee.

So thank you Denise and Mom for the adorable fan art. And to everyone else, stay awesome, and have a fantastic weekend!

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