Saturday, March 28, 2015

A to Z April Blogging Challenge Theme Reveal

With April on the horizon, it's high time to reveal this year's theme for the A to Z challenge. I've previously gone though the alphabet with my characters and, last year, reasons why I shouldn't be participating.

This year, we'll be writing a short story! Okay, not a whole short story, but the opening paragraphs of one each day, using the appropriately lettered comments from the day before. Then, in May (or possibly June depending on when my publisher requires my edits on A Broken Race be completed), during my short story writing month, I will attempt to finish as many of these stories as possible.

Which means I need your help. Drop by each day to throw out some words from the letter du jour. I'll pick a couple as inspiration hits and into the story they will go. Each story opening will be posted the next day.

We'll get started with participation today, because planning ahead isn't my thing when it comes to writing. I'm looking for suggestions on character names with a random genre that will then be applied to stories throughout the coming month.

Suggestions? Go.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Now in Print: Healer

I'm pleased to announce that Acidic Fiction's first anthology: Corrosive Chronicles is now out in print and ebook. This dark and creepy collection of contemporary speculative fiction, includes my short story, Healer. This is a great collection of stories, and I am happy to be included in such talented company.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

To be Published: A Broken Race

I'm pleased to announce that my previous not quite announcement post can now be followed with this official one.

A Broken Race will be published by Caffeinated Press and is due out this fall in both print and e-book. I'm very excited to work this this new press focused on Michigan authors and my local community as well as the other important sales avenues.

The contract has been signed and now I await feedback from the content editors. And while I'm waiting...a conversation with my daughter sparked a search through my back burner short story file, and now I'm working on a YA sci-fi novella that I set aside a few years ago. I should say, hoping to work on, because I still have to solve the plot problem of how the MC is going to overcome the antagonist - which is exactly why this story was set aside previously. I have no clue. I suppose that means reading it over from the beginning and then some plotting is in order. At least my daughter liked it so far so that gives me some motivation to figure this one out and finally write the end.

But back to beginnings: The April A to Z challenge is just around the corner. There's still plenty of time to sign up to join me in the blogging frenzy.

And still on topic: Ever wonder why authors began writing? This week on Author's Answer, we cover that very question.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A Moving Post

After much stress, long years of waiting, and an extremely long year of working my butt off (or at least several pounds of it), I'm able to write this post from my new writing room. We're not quite all moved in yet, but the majority of boxes are a cleared away and most of our things have found a new home.
Bobblehead Scorpius is happily posted at his new station and agreeing away as I type.
"Yes, yes, those are good words. Keep typing. Yes, there you go."

The desk that has been sitting unassembled in my garage for over a year now has finally been assembled and stained. Many of the posters I've been collecting for seven years have been framed and hung. All the little trinkets that used to be piled on or around my previous writing desk have found homes on my new bookshelves.

My TBR pile overflowed from the two stacks beside my bed to a short stack on my writing desk. I suppose that means I need to make more time for reading as well as writing because any further stacks will have to go on the floor down here.

I have a comfy chair for my desk, but not the lounging chair that I've been searching for that will eventually go in the corner. I seem to do better with marathon writing sessions when I can put my feet up and give my back a break.

All my hard cover books now reside on the big hallway bookshelf on the main level, but the paperbacks keep me company down here.

The silver cement floor I worked on late into one evening is nice and warm with our radiant heating. I had a rug down here for a day, but decided I liked the patterns on the floor better.

Now that I have my calming and quiet space all ready to go, it's time for some writing!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Actually End That Sucker

In preparing my responses for March on Author's Answer, we were given a question that I hadn't had much issue with lately: Have you ever wanted to rewrite the ending of another author's published book? I typed up my reply and sent it off thinking that I was quite glad of that particular fact. Then, given that the majority of the household has been unpacked to a functional degree, I decided that I deserved the long-awaited opportunity to attack a book from my towering TBR pile.

I sat down and read a book. It was amazing.

Not the book so much as allowing myself to sit down and just read, to get lost in the words and not worry about all the other things I could (possibly, should) be doing. It was relaxing. It's been a long time since I've done 'relaxing'. Even better, I was able to focus on the book for more than a page at a time and for more than five minutes at a time. I read several chapters in one sitting. This was all wonderful and good. I wasn't up to my usual book devouring read-it-in-a-day-or-two speed, but I did find the time, desire, and focus to sit down with it over the next several days.

Then, yesterday, I hit the end of the story. Hit. Like with a train. Just bam. The words ended.

Now, I thought to preserve my tenuous hold on sanity by picking up one of my favorite paranormal romance authors for this first foray into the return to reading for fun. I trusted this book to get me from point A to point B in an enjoyable fashion. Perhaps my downfall was choosing a book that included two stories, giving me no physical page gauge as to how far into the first story I was before the next one began. Thus, when I hit a page that ended halfway down in white space and the next one didn't contain the words Chapter Fourteen, I was inclined to throw the book at the wall.

I didn't. I was at a science tournament with my daughter and surrounded by students and that would have set a bad example. Had we been at an English tournament, I would have stood up and loudly exclaimed why. But alas, it was not appropriate at the time.

What was the problem? Well, this was a romance story, as I mentioned earlier. Generally they have fairly simple plots and the goal is for the two people (or whatever they happen to technically be) to acknowledge that they are happily in love. This was from an established series I've read much of. I know the world, the types of characters and pretty much what to expect, as these sort of books tend to get a little formulaic after awhile. But they're easy to get lost in, and so I enjoy them from time to time.

In this particular story, boy met girl. Boy is off conquering bad guys and girl joins him. Yay for strong female characters. Girl's siblings are involved in the fighting. There is a lot of focus on girl's siblings, their special linage, and how it may lead to conflict with boy's people. Girl has a job that puts her in danger and boy will have to come to grips with this even though it's against his nature. There is also a lot of build up regarding a conflict with meeting girl's parent's, particularly her mother who we're told will not like the boy at all and there will be major family tension. There is also the matter of the bad guys, one of whom will be after girl's brother with all sorts of promised evil intent until either the bother or the baddie are dead.

Where did we end? Boy and girl kill two of three bad guys, leaving the big bad to slink off and threaten them and girl's brother in perpetuity. The whole subplot regarding the special linage is left hanging. What will happen with her job, we never find out. Boy never meets the parents. All we get out of whole story is the couple in love. All the rest of what made the story interesting beyond the falling in love was left hanging. I could forgive the big bad slinking off knowing that he'll probably turn up later in the series, but the rest? No.

Which brings me to my point. If you're going to start subplots, finish them. Nothing leaves me more disappointed at the end of a book than it ending as if the author got tired of writing that particular story and just shipped it off to print as is.

Would I rewrite the ending of a published novel? Nah, I have my own novels to work on and endings to conquer. Hopefully they are more satisfying than the one I just read.

With that off my chest, check out this week's Author's Answer in which we delve into our writerly influences.