Local Author Showcase at Barnes & Noble

On Thursday, May 7th I will be at the Barnes & Noble in Dewitt, NY from 6:00 to 7:30 PM for their Local Author Showcase! I was hoping to have The Prophecy published in time for the event, and although it doesn’t look like that will be happening, stop on by for a chat and to check out The Sentient as well as books from other authors in the area. Local bookworms, unite!

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Puppies and Good Causes

First order of business –  revision is coming along on The Prophecy, and I’ve been devoting more time to it lately. I have finished with the video games (at least until the next episodes come out in another 6 weeks or so), although I am still dealing with this adorable time-suck:

Someone's got her big girl ears!
Someone’s got her big girl ears!

I’m learning that training a German Shepherd Dog requires a ton of commitment and work, but can be incredibly rewarding.

Secondly, science fiction and fantasy indie author Intisar Khanani is having a really special sale going on right now. Through April 7th you can download her eBook Thorn, a fun fairytale retelling, for $0.99 from amazon. All proceeds from the sale will go to helping a friend of the author’s adopt young brothers with special needs. Check out more at Khanani’s website: http://booksbyintisar.com/thorn-flash-sale/

ThornWhat’s not to love?!

Beautiful Distractions

A series of retweeting brought this little gem from author Joel Ross to my attention the other day: “Recently learned that the collective noun for a group of writers is a ‘procrastination'”.

I really, really keep meaning to work on revising my draft of The Prophecy! I have to admit, though, that I’ve only gotten through the first three chapters so far. In part due to the normal constraints of a full time job and two young children, but also in large part due to this:

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I have never in my life had a dog before now, so this is a huge learning process for everybody involved. I knew puppies were a lot of work, but I didn’t quite realize just how overwhelming they can be. Oh, how I look forward to the time when cleaning poop no longer takes up a significant chunk of my day! Even when I might once have had time to work on my book, I literally cannot risk taking my eyes off this little cutie, for fear of something wholly undesirable happening in and/or to my house.

(Deep breath) This, too, shall pass…

And okay, okay, I may have gotten sucked into more video games, too. I have always loved adventure games for the PC. There is no longer much demand for this type of game in the US. A lot of them are produced in Eastern Europe these days, and many of those depend on crowdfunding to raise the necessary money to develop them. Even then, the games tend to be released in separate “episodes” rather than all at once. Certainly not ideal, but beggars in the world of PC adventure gaming can’t be choosers, and they are still a good deal of fun.

As of right now, these are the two episodic games I have been playing:

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Dreamfall Chapters

 

 

 

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Life is Strange

 

 

 

 

 

Dreamfall Chapters follows Zoe Castillo, a young woman in futuristic “Europolis,” who finds she is the key to stopping the Undreaming, which threatens both our science-based world and the magical realm of Arcadia. This story began in The Longest Journey, followed by Dreamfall, and should be concluded with the last episode of Dreamfall Chapters.

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Chapter One begins just how the last game ended: with Zoe in a coma. Here we see Dreaming Zoe and Past Zoe, all in Coma Zoe’s head

In Life is Strange, you play as Max, a girl who has recently joined a prestigious private academy for high school seniors. Blackwell Academy has an acclaimed photography program, which is what drew Max there despite the fact that she had to move away from home and attend school with strangers, many of whom are snobs and/or bullies. In the course of the first chapter, Max learns that she can rewind time; very useful when your chosen course of action may have sub-optimal consequences.

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Handy thing, turning back time

Both of these titles present you with choices throughout gameplay, and what you choose to do affects the path the story takes and its outcome. They’re like interactive choose-your-own-adventure stories! So much fun. Both games have a neat feature at the end of each episode, where you can see what percentage of other players made the same choices as you.

On top of all this, there is my TV show obsession, The Originals, and of course I still try to make time to read for fun everyday as well.

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If you think you have family troubles, imagine if you were all the world’s very first vampires with one thousand years worth of drama

But fear not! I promise you the day will soon come when I give myself a swift kick in the rear and get some serious work done on The Prophecy! I do tend go through periods of procrastination followed by intense writing sessions. If other people could just cut it out with all the brilliant storytelling they do in their own medium, I wouldn’t get distracted and could get to work on my own stuff! (Seriously, though, please don’t stop. There’s some wonderful stuff being made out there, keep up the good work everyone, you’re all amazing.)

The Prophecy Front Cover

 

News in Twos

First and foremost, I would like to share with you all that the first draft of The Prophecy is finished! Of course there’s still plenty to be done, but it’s an exciting milestone nevertheless. Things are moving along!

In other news, I just received a folder full of old stories I wrote when I was around 12 or 13 years old. A friend of mine and I would create our own little books, magazines, newspapers, etc, then send them to each other by way of our fathers, who worked together. This friend’s mother was just going through old stuff, getting their house ready to be put on the market. When she found all of the stories I had sent her daughter near on two decades ago, she saved them for me. It’s a fun little trip down memory lane, but I also have to say, having illustrated my own works, I am rather impressed with my drawing skills at that age!

Here are pictures from a few of my favorites (not the best quality photos)

 

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Faries vs. Minator. The difference between a minator and a minotaur? Apparently, my version had fangs as well as horns. Not sure about the faries.

 

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Hooking the readers for the next book!

 

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Would you just look at the majesty of the dragon? Doesn’t seem so white, but no matter, the majesty!

 

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They fairy king and queen. I am particularly proud of this picture, never mind that I have no recollection of drawing it

 

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Dude, I don’t even think I could draw a hand like that NOW

 

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Clearly, someone was going questing. Bedroll, canteen, rations – check!

 

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The skirt only adds to his ferocity

 

 

Much Rejoicing!

My anthropologist, nerd, and bibliophile sides are all very happy tonight. The first category is the only one I have a degree in, but I think my love of books should be pretty obvious, and, well, you’ll just have to trust me on the nerd thing.

These were just delivered to me:

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Monique and the Mango Rains is a memoir about the friendship between a Peace Corps volunteer and a midwife in West Africa. I obtained my bachelor’s degree in anthropology before going to nursing school with the idea of working in labor and delivery, and played with the idea of going for a master’s degree in midwifery. For now I am very happy with my role as an RN in a NICU, and trying my hand at writing novels on the side – but this book touches on many subjects I still find fascinating.

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And then there’s Bill Nye the Science Guy! Creator and host of the educational television show for youngsters, and all-around kind-of-amazing dude. His book is entitled Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation. I am a firm believer in evolution, and wish very much that more people understood it better. I am an atheist myself, but support the idea that everyone has the right to believe what they choose, and practice what they will as long as doing so causes no harm to others. As Voltaire is credited with saying, “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it”. That being said, I do cringe at the idea of blind belief that runs contrary to proven scientific fact. When I discovered that Nye had written a book with the intent of spreading awareness of what evolution really is in response to a controversial debate about creationism, I was excited to get my hands on it.

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(As a side note, I have even more respect for Mr. Nye after learning more about him from the inside flap of the book.  For instance, in turns out he studied under Carl Sagan at Cornell University. Having just recently finished reading The Martian, Andy Weir’s book about an astronaut stranded on Mars, this fact of course reminds me of the fantastic humor in the impressive novel’s narration: “By my reckoning, I’m about 100 kilometers from Pathfinder. Technically it’s “Carl Sagan Memorial Station.” But with all due respect to Carl, I can call it whatever I want. I’m the King of Mars.”

 

wewereliars

We Were Liars and Red Rising were two of my absolute favorite reads of 2014. When Golden Son, sequel to Red Rising and second installment in Pierce Brown’s science fiction/fantasy trilogy, was released just earlier this month, I knew I had to get my hands on it – literally. The other two novels I only owned in eBook format, but decided that these were books I very much wanted physical copies of.

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Plus, my Golden Son came with this:

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Totally worth it 🙂

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go do a happy dance.

Back in the Saddle

I confess I didn’t do much writing in the last couple of months. I’ve been trying to split my time, fitting in reading for pleasure, betareading another author’s work, and playing video games.

The video games shouldn’t distract me any longer – it’s just that new installments of two series that I really enjoy were released recently. But I have finished Dragon Age: Inquisition, and only the first episodic “book” of Dreamfall: Chapters (which fans having been waiting TEN YEARS for!) is available at this time. I played through that and am eagerly awaiting the next piece, which currently has an expected release date of “Soon.”

But fear not, the dry spell seems to have come to an end! These last few days I have been writing more and more. The first draft of The Prophecy is now weighing in at 67,000 words, and is probably about 85% done. I hope to have it completed within the next few weeks.

Of course then there will be revision, followed by some more revision, and maybe throw in another round of revision for good measure. I’m not sure I’ll quite make my anticipated release period of Spring 2015, but at the rate I’ve been working these last several days, I don’t think I’ll miss it by much. Maybe I’ll even surprise myself and get it out there sooner than I think.

In other words, Book II of The Sentient Prophecy has an expected publication of “Soon-ish”!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I left Anna and some friends boiling over with righteous indignation, and someone Sentient is going to have to pay…

Get your YA paranormal romance fix for free

My colleague and mentor, indie author M. R. Pritchard, will have each of her books (eBook format) on sale one at a time throughout the month of January. From now until the 11th you can download Saratoga for the low price of FREE.

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Saratoga is a young adult paranormal romance that draws on Greek mythology. It has a lot of unique elements to it, and is a lot of fun! Get it while it’s hot at http://www.amazon.com/Saratoga-M-R-Pritchard-ebook/dp/B00H2P7W0W/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Indie Idols

I’d like to tell you about two indie authors who have consistently blown me away with their work. Not only are their books amazing fun, but their writing shares a few other admirable attributes. Let me explain.

Andrea K. Host (who has come up on this blog previously) and Intisar Khanani both write a lot of fantasy, but each manages to break the mold of what we have come to expect of the worlds inside the pages of today’s usual fantasy fare. The stories both authors write are incredibly engaging. More than that, though, they both bring a lot of originality to their work, finding fresh and new ways to spin the compelling tales they have to tell. Host and Khanani avoid many of the tropes we see in other fantasy books. They are talented writers who tell wonderful stories in an utterly REFRESHING manner!

For instance, who says all fantasy has to be set in a world mirroring Medieval Europe? Why do the creatures and villains of the land all have to be from the same standard set we see elsewhere? Does a young adult have to be an orphan or otherwise severed of all family ties before he or she can have adventures of their own? In these books, you will usually find well-defined female protagonists of various ethnicities, each with their own unique strong sense of agency. (I struggled with how to word that last sentence. Does it sound like a single character varies her ethnicity throughout a book? That’s not what I meant…although, that might be cool to read about, too…)

One of my favorite facets appearing in these books has to do with romance. I admit, I really enjoy a good romance in my books. Much of what floods the indie market these days has the unfortunate tendency to display cases of “instalove.” Two characters falls for each other as soon as they meet, for no good reason the reader can see other than that they are physically attracted to one another. It’s hard to buy it when they are professing their undying love 50 pages in.

Host and Khanani write romances (or, in some cases, just the potential for romance in future installments) that are unique, believable, and totally swoon-worthy. These are more of a slow-burn kind of thing, which ends up making them incredibly hot!

(I just had to rewrite the last few paragraphs, as this diabolical machine of mine ate the original version and refused to spit it back out. I feel like the writing was more eloquent the first time around, but now I am frustrated and grumpy and am going to just focus on wrapping up this post so that I can then go comfort myself with chocolate and coffee.)

Needless to say, I highly recommend reading the works of these two authors. I think you might just love them!

 

Sunbolt

 

 I just finished reading Sunbolt (Book One of the Sunbolt Chronicles) last night. This is actually a novella, and Khanani says there are six planned altogether.  The second installment is slated to come out sometime in 2015. And I NEED IT! Keep an eye out for its release on the author’s website at http://booksbyintisar.com/

Thorn

Thorn was the first book I read by this author. She plans a companion trilogy set in the same world, but featuring a different protagonist – one who is introduced in her short story, The Bone Knife, which is available to download for free through Amazon.com.

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I know I’ve already sung the praises of Host’s Touchstone Trilogy before, but just know that I still love the heck out of it and think you should read it, too. Like, now. There is also the Gratuitous Epilogue, which I believe is free to download through the author’s website at http://www.andreakhost.com/

Medair

I also just recently read her Medair duology and super duper loved it. A lot. Now I have three more of Host’s novels downloaded, just waiting for me…calling to me…summoning me…

Gotta go! Happy reading!