Friday, November 30, 2012

AfroSF Available Worldwide! Read Awesome African-written SF!

AfroSF: Science Fiction by African Writers is AVAILABLE! RIGHT NOW! :) If you can get onto Amazon, you'll find it there - everywhere, worldwide! :-)


If you'd like country-specific links, here we go: US, UK, France, Italy, Austria, Japan, er, Japan again... ;-) Spain, Germany.

Would love to hear what you think of this ground-breaking anthology - and please pot your reviews everywhere, Amazon, Goodreads, LibraryThing, blogs, everywhere! :-)

If you'd like eARC's to review, please let me or Ivor Hartmann know - check out his blog here. :)

Be EPIC!

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Next Big Thing: I was tagged!

Huge thanks to Joan De La Haye for tagging me! :-) Joan is a great writer whom I've had the pleasure of meeting a couple of times, and I really enjoyed her novel, Shadows (check out my review here)! Joan writes Horror, be it novels, short stories, novella's or horror-themed blog posts, and I highly recommend her work. :-)

Well, here's my mini-interview for The Next Big Thing:

***
What is the working title of your book?

The title I chose is BETRAYAL'S SHADOW - I was struggling to come up with a title for the novel after I finished writing the first draft, so I tried to focus on what the novel was about, and since most of the characters in Betrayal's Shadow betray something (an ideal or oath, for example) or someone, I thought Betrayal had to be included in the title. The 'Shadow' came from the effects these betrayals have, the consequences of the character's betrayals, how each betrayal touches all the characters.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

It began with vague ideas, at first - a general leading his troops into a final, suicidal battle against an enemy that had ravaged the land he lived in; brothers journeying to their uncle's fortress in the hopes of stopping a rebellion against their father, the King; a non-human child kidnapped from his village and chosen to be the vessel for a spirit. I ended up writing chapters exploring each of these ideas, which led to the birth of the main characters - Brice, Asher, Del'Ahrid, Khyber. Seiria (my main female character) appeared later. I then sat and wrote plot descriptions, played with different ideas, and kept right on 'playing' until I took part in the Random House Struik / Get Smarter Writing Course, and a year and two months later I finished writing the first draft. So, I guess this book was born from a couple of ideas that seemed to resonate with each other - none of the ideas made it into the first draft, though! ;-)

What genre does your book fall under?

Definitely Epic Fantasy - although *definitely* not yet as epic as the Jordans, Eriksons and Martins of the world... ;-)

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Wow, I haven't even come close to thinking about this yet! O.o Well, let's see:

Del'Ahrid is an older man, dignified, a life-long politician who actually doesn't like being the man in the spotlight, just trying to do the best for his Emperor and the citizens of the Empire - for some reason I'm seeing the excellent actor who portrayed Maester Luwin, Donald Sumpter.

Emperor Jarlath looks like a man in his mid-thirties, well-built, with a slight arrogance to his smile but eyes that are haunted by past pain, suffered and caused; I think that the best fit for him would be Michael Fassbender.

Seiria is basically a whore, though she's plagued with nightmares and her love for Jarlath; she has massive inner strength, though she doesn't see it, and despite her beauty she's able to slip into commoner-garb and walk the markets of the Empire's capital without being recognized. I watched 'The Ward' this past weekend and I think that Amber Heard would be excellent as Seiria.

Khyber isn't human, though he is anthropomorphically shaped - he's thin, lanky, large-eyed, very expressive (both facially and with his voice and hands); so he'd be 'acted' the way Golum was, CGI'd up the wazoo, but I'm thinking presence and voice here, so I guess it would have to be Andrew Garfield.

Alun Dronald is a bit of a whiner, though he's competent and is itching for a command-role in the Blade Knight squad is which he serves (under Brice Serholm); he was a bit of a hell-raiser when he was younger, so he's picked up his share of scars, though he's still handsome enough to be quite the womaniser. My pick is Paul Rudd.

Brice and Asher are brothers, though Asher is younger by around three years; Brice is stronger, a bit taller and broad-shouldered, whereas Asher is slimmer and quicker; Brice is the warrior, the leader, he's charismatic without really trying to be (or is even aware of it), and Asher is curious and very intelligent. My pick for Brice is Guy Pearce and my pick for Asher is Taylor Kitch.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Betrayal depends on perspective, and perspective dulls any victory.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Well, publication is a long way down the road yet! Barbara Friend Ish (author of The Shadow of the Sun and publisher / editor at Mercury Retrograde Press) is interested in the novel and is helping me shape and revise it. She's been absolutely incredible, really understanding the characters and the story I want to tell, and although it's a long process, I'm incredibly thankful for all her help. :-) I wouldn't mind at all if Betrayal's Shadow hit the shelves courtesy of Mercury Retrograde Press someday. :-)

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

As we say here in South Africa, 'eish'! I'd like to think that Betrayal's Shadow is a novel that fans of Martin, Erikson, Kearney and even Peter V Brett might enjoy (like I said previously, this isn't *epic* like Martin- or Erikson-epic, but I've tried to incorporate elements of what makes their work so damned good, such as compelling characters and a gripping, evolving plot) but I'll leave that up to my publishers to decide. :-) Thinking about that kind of stuff would just get in the way of the writing! :-)

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Well, I guess this answer has two parts: 1) Every book I've ever read has, in some way, left a seed of inspiration; it's only lately that I've begun to try and switch my focus from being a writer to being a story teller, and that's what draws me to writing - telling stories. 2) While I was taking part in the Random House Struik Creative Writing Course I began to see a whole other side to the publishing industry, a side much more focused on the writer - editing, proof reading, etc. And when I saw that I wasn't alone in the struggle (to write and get published and tell stories that people would want to read), I seriously thought for the first time that this is what I want to do. :-)

What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?

Hoo boy, another difficult question to answer. I tried really hard not to make Betrayal's Shadow a formulaic or by-the-numbers of predictable novel; I want to tell a story that will not only entertain but surprise readers, including myself; I don't want anyone to think 'Eddings' or 'Weeks' or 'Rothfuss' or 'Erikson' - I don't want Betrayal's Shadow to be quite like anything you've read before. How to go about doing that is the problem, or should I say, the challenge. ;-) I guess the short answer is that I try to take the story in directions you wouldn't think of, I try to put my characters into situations that might make you flinch or gasp or whatever, and I'm also trying to break some 'rules'. Whether I succeed at any of this is something for my readers to (one day) decide. :-)
***

There we go! That was damned fun - kudos to whoever it was that kicked this awesome writing-meme off! :-)

I've tagged some great writers who I feel should get way more attention - writers that are doing awesome things in the genres they tell stories within. :-)

Tade Thompson - a fellow contributor to AfroSF,

Craig Smith - fellow South African writer, author of The Red Stone and Zoolin Vale and the Chalice of Ringtar,

Edward Morris - fellow writer, author of There Was A Crooked Man.

Barbara Friend Ish - author, publisher at Mercury Retrograde Press.

Angela Meadon - fellow South African writer, author of A Taste of You (1 December 2012), and my editor at eFantasy.

:-)

Until next time,
Be EPIC!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

TORN, the sequel to Twisted, Published!

That's right, folks! TORN, the sequel to TWISTED, is officially available in the latest issue of eFantasy! :-D


TORN is featured in eFantasy's November issue, so if you want to know what happens after TWISTED, please head over to eFantasy's Store and get your copy, available for all eReader formats. :-) 

You'll also be able to read these great stories, included in the Issue:


Ebony and Fear by William Conway

Simian’s Lair: A Tale From the Land of Verne by David H. Burton

The Living Mirror and the Dragon Woman by Simon R. Augustus

When the Gods Break the Chains by Leonard Varasano
 
For Extraordinary Reasons by Erin Cole


And it doesn't end there - Margarita Zarmaos reviews Paul Freeman's Tribesman, plus there's an interview with Paul. :-)

Plenty to keep you busy!

I sincerely hope you all enjoy TORN, I had a helluva fun time writing it, and I'm busy writing the third tale, which I hope you'll be able to read soon, too. :-)

Until my next update,

Be EPIC!

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Quick Hello

It's been a while since I last posted anything so I thought I'd let you all know that I'm still alive and kicking and writing. :-)

The next of my stories to be published will be 'Torn', the sequel to 'Twisted', and as soon as it's available I'll let you know, with the links and stuff, too. :-)

Other that 'Torn', 'Angel Song' will be out early in December in the AfroSF Anthology, but I've been working on some other stories, too.

I've written another Horror, which I titled 'Exertion', and I submitted it for a brand new anthology, so I'm hoping for good news regarding 'Exertion'. :-)

I also wrote my first-ever Fantasy short story, titled 'The Bell', which takes place in the aftermath of the Big Badass' defeat, when the Good Guys' armies are all over his holdings, etc. I had a lot of fun writing it and it's still First Draft, so I'll revisit it a couple of times before I submit it somewhere. :-)

Other than the short stories I've been letting Barbara's thoughts on Betrayal's Shadow stew and roil in my subconscious, and I think it might be a couple of months yet before I return to it, but return I will. :-)

So, anyway, hope you're all well and kicking ass!

Be EPIC!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Buy eFantasy and read Twisted!

So, the day has finally arrived - my first-ever short story, published! :-)


This is the awesome cover of eFantasy's October Issue - the Dark Fiction Special which features my story, Twisted - the first in a series. :-)

But that's not the only cool thing about the Dark Fiction Special - you can also read 5 other short stories:

The Seven by Benjamin Wertz
The Call of Leviathan by Christopher Hivner
Eye of Crow, Mouth of Crom by Alison Carter
The Sisters of the Serpent Christ by Daniel Gonzales
Suicide Station by Jude Lovell

and some poetry, Birth Pangs by W.C. Morrow,

as well as a review (by Angela Meadon, Managing Editor of eFantasy) of Tim Lebbon's Echo City - a book I'm looking forward to myself. :-) Angela also interviews Tim in this issue!

Please, please, please go buy you copies of this Dark Fantasy Special over at the eFantasy Store! I'm really looking forward to share Twisted with the world again, and I'd love to hear your opinions of it because I had so much fun writing it that I'll be writing more stories (a series, if all goes well) that explores the characters and the world more deeply. :-)

I have to thank four people for today - not only have to, but want to, because without these people Twisted would never have appeared, and in one case, wouldn't even have been written.

The first person is Michael Daniel Venter - Michael and I worked together at Exclusive Books a couple of years ago and one particular day he asked me to write a story about twisted fairy tales - he wanted to have a twisted-fairy-tales-themed party and thought having something for the guests to read that tied into the party would be cool. So he asked me to write a story - and Twisted was born. :-)

The next person that deserves my thanks and your support (in terms of readership) is Edward Morris - awesome guy, brilliant writer, and editor of Gorgon Press' Phantasmagorium - he gave Twisted a chance and put it up on the Weekly Offerings page, which led to one of my favourite writers, J. Robert King, reading Twisted and digging it. :-)

Stephen Zimmer also rocks, because not only is he an excellent example of a human being but he's also a great writer and champion of SFF, and I might never have heard of Angela or eFantasy if it wasn't for his introduction, so thank you, Stephen, you rock!

And last but not least, thank you to Angela Meadon herself - without her you wouldn't have the opportunity to read Twisted now. :-) And, perhaps-maybe-I-hope-it'll-be-accepted, the next part in the tale, Torn. ;-)

So, thank you! You guys all rock! :-) This is a day that I'll never forget - my career as an author has officially begun! :-)

Here's the link to purchase eFantasy's Dark Fiction Special again in case you missed it - well, of course you didn't, but maybe you want to click it again anyway to -you know- buy another copy, and then more, for your friends? ;-)


Be EPIC and Happy Reading! :-)


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Flash Fiction: The Reason

This is the only piece of Flash Fiction I've ever written. :-) It was born from a challenge, you could say - I was given the beginning of a sentence and told, "Write a one-page story." and this is what appeared on the page over the course of around half an hour.

It's similar to my short stories in that it wasn't planned - short stories usually pop into my head as a fully-formed first draft, title and all (weird, I know), and I actually never found out what this piece's title was, until tonight, when I was getting it ready for this post. It is, without a doubt, one of the strangest stories I've ever written, but I'm oddly proud of it, odd little thing that it is.

Hope you enjoy it. :-)

***


Claire was looking for clues that would tell her who had killed her.

The murder scene was an abandoned parking lot. She couldn’t remember ever being here, and that was strange.

The open space, lit fitfully by standing lamps, was about thirty feet by forty feet, and dust covered every surface, lying in a sixty-year old layer on the four remaining automobiles. There had been fourteen once, a couple of decades ago, but the most interesting models had been disassembled and removed for study.

Water dripped from cracks in the ceiling in such profusion that it seemed it was raining, and Claire, 3-hours alive, felt as if she should be thankful to someone. She was experiencing rain when no-one on the surface had felt it or seen it of smelled it for sixty years.

“But I’m not the only one, aren’t I?” she asked, and the emptiness tumbled her words back at her.

Two hours later, Claire relaxed into the warm water and laid her head back against the bath-tub’s curved rim. Her skin, now only 5 hours old, tingled exquisitely.

Taking up the bar of rose-scented soap, she wondered when the voice would speak to her again. It had been there as her senses kicked into life, in the White Room. The agony of sound had made her pass out, but when she awoke, ten minutes later, it had been more bearable. “You were murdered,” it said. Its voice was calm, without inflection or emotion. “You must find the killer. If you cannot, you will not rejoin society.”

And then nothing, not even after Claire’s repeated attempts at getting it to respond. She had screamed her voice raw, and had spent another hour crying because of the pain. It didn’t take long to find the strength to stagger, and then walk, and then run. The voice helped her, told her where she was –the island of Manhattan- what she could eat, where clothes were and water. And then the lights had gone out, everywhere, and when they came on again, she was in the parking lot.

“This is where you were killed.”

Claire returned to the parking lot –she did not know how, only that she thought of it, and was then there- and saw the person lying on the dust-covered, muddy-in-places floor. It was a girl, and as Claire walked up to her, the girl’s eyes opened.

“Who are you?” the girl whispered.

“I am Claire. Who are you?”

Confusion, and then the light of understanding lit. “I am Claire.”

Claire took a step backwards, frowning. “But you – “

“– are me!” finished the girl.

“We have to die.” Claire realized this, knew it to be true. “One of us, at any rate.”

“Why?” asked the girl, eyes wide and tearful. “I’ve just woken up!”

“Because,” answered Claire, drawing out the revolver she had found, had been given, “one must die, and the other must know why.”

She pointed the gun at herself and pulled the trigger.

***

Weird, huh? :-) I welcome your thoughts!

Be EPIC!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Announcing AfroSF: Science Fiction by African Writers (Anthology)

Very proud and deliriously happy to be sharing this news with you - 'Angel Song', my Military-SF short story, is officially one of the stories that has been included in this ground-breaking anthology! :-) So that makes 'Angel Song' the second short story I've sold - and I couldn't be more happy or proud. :-)

AfroSF is the brainchild of Ivor W Hartmann, writer and editor, who's work you may have come across in publications such as The Apex Book of World SF 2, Saraba, Something Wicked and African Roar.




AfroSF is the first-ever anthology featuring Science Fiction writers of African descent, both on the continent and abroad, and I'm incredibly honoured to have one of my stories included in this anthology! Definitely a dream come true! :-)

Here's the final Table of Contents, which Ivor released along with the cover, on Friday just past:


‘Moom!’ Nnedi Okorafor
‘Five Sets of Hands’ Cristy Zinn
‘Home Affairs’ Sarah Lotz

‘New Mzansi’ Ashley Jacobs
'Azania’ Nick Wood

‘Notes from Gethsemane’ Tade Thompson

‘Planet X’ Sally Partridge

‘The Gift of Touch’ Chinelo Onwualu

‘The Foreigner’ Uko Bendi Udo

‘Angel Song’ Dave-Brendon de Burgh

‘The Rare Earth’ Biram Mboob

‘Terms & Conditions Apply’ Sally-Ann Murray

‘Heresy’ Mandisi Nkomo

‘Closing Time’ Liam Kruger

‘Masquerade Stories’ Chiagozie Fred Nwonwu

‘The Trial’ Joan De La Haye


‘Brandy City’ Mia Arderne 
‘Ofe!’ Rafeeat Aliyu

‘Claws and Savages’ Martin Stokes

‘To Gaze at the Sun’ Clifton Gachagua

‘Proposition 23’ (Novelette) Efe Okogu



AfroSF will be published in December 2012 in eBook format, and will follow at a later date in a print-version. :-)  I'm so, so proud to be a part of this! This is definitely an event and anthology that does and will rock and I'm sure I speak for all of us when I say that we absolutely cannot wait to share our tales with you. :-)

Should any reviewers out there want an eARC once they're made available, please don't hesitate to get in contact with either Ivor or us and I'm sure we'll be able to organize a copy for you - for a review, of course. ;-)


I will, of course, keep you updated - exact release date, e-Formats, sites where you will be able to purchase AfroSF, and whatever else is linked to this very exciting anthology. :-) I am absolutely looking forward to reading my fellow-contributors' stories, and I'm pretty sure I'll enjoy them as much as you will, come Pub-Day. :-)

Until next time,
Be EPIC!


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Twisted Officially SOLD to eFantasy eZine!

Very, very pleased and proud to share this news with you - Angela Meadon has chosen to include 'Twisted' in eFantasy's Dark Fantasy Month! :-D That means that Twisted is officially the *first* short story I've SOLD! :-) Over-the-bloody-MOON, skipping and jumping and twitching like a little boy, I can tell you! (and there are witnesses who can confirm this...) :-)


eFantasy will be publishing the Dark Fantasy Special to coincide with Halloween and all stories must be submitted before the 5th of October to be considered. You can get all the submissions-information you need at the eFantasy Submissions Page; and eFantasy is also on Facebook, which means regular-as-clockwork updates. :-)

Very, VERY proud to be associated with these guys - the second issue of eFantasy will be out soon, so make sure you head over and subscribe, and join up for the newsletter, too. :-)

Here's the awesome cover for the September issue:


Oh, and if all goes well (meaning I keep up the quality that got 'Twisted' published), I'll have good news about 'Torn' sometime, too. :-)

Right, after work I'm celebrating. And sending out a massive CHEERS to everyone who had a hand in helping me reach this milestone - you know who you are and you all rock. :-)

Be EPIC!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Twisted and Torn

So, Twisted was (according to everyone who got in touch to let me know) a hit. :-)

Back when I wrote it (and believe it or not, Twisted was a one-sitting, one-draft story) I had no idea it would ever see more readers than my friends and work collegues, but to have two authors like it enough to let me know (and a third author who writes excellent SF, no less!)... Well, that's just beyond what I expected. I'm honoured and pleased and, to put it lightly, absolutely terrified!

For the past couple of weeks I've really been struggling to write - had a chat about this with my therapist (yep, I see one and she rocks) and we came to the understanding that I'm scared I won't be able to get results (not even the same results - I mean any result) from either Twisted's sequel or from Angel Song... I know it must be a constant writer-fear and damn, is it irritating!

Well, hopefully I've knocked that fear to the mat this time round - I finished Torn this afternoon and I have to say that I'm very happy with the tale - it's got a different feel to Torn, a different atmosphere that -I guess- is there because of the new characters I introduce, but I had so much fun writing it, and I've got some kickass and concrete ideas for the third tale, which I'm hoping to get started on this coming weekend.

But I guess the only thing for sure is this - the readers who read and liked Twisted want more, so I guess I gotta give 'em what they want, huh? ;-) Jokes aside, I want to give those readers more, and step by step, story by story, that's what's going to happen. :-)

I'm waiting on an official submission-success message which will see Twisted back out there around November, so as soon as I get that you'll all know. :-) I'll give Torn another pass or two before I submit it to the awesome Edward Morris at Phantasmagorium, and I'm hoping he'll dig it enough to give me another week on the Weekly Offering. :-)

Regarding Angel Song, I'm waiting on the contract. :-)

And regarding Betrayal's Shadow - this weekend will see me getting back to it. This story above all the others is one I want to be able to share with readers, and the only way that'll happen is if I knuckle down and get-it-the-fuck done. :-)

So, until my next update, I hope you've all been awesomely kickass!

Be EPIC!

Monday, August 20, 2012

J. Robert King & Devlin Chase Comment on Twisted!

Twisted has been live on Phantasmagorium's Weekly Offering-page for three days now and I've had some great comments on the story, most from friends, some from family, and some from fellow writers still writing and un-published. The response so far has been overwhelmingly positive and I couldn't be more pleased -

- but -

Two opinions have done enough to send me through the stratosphere - above and beyond the comments that Edward Morris had about Twisted. :-)

One of the comments on the story came from J. Robert King, author of over twenty novels including the two awesome titles from Angry Robot Books, Angel of Death and Death's Disciples. Rob is an amazing writer and storyteller and I was so surprised that he took the time to read Twisted - after all, it's not often that published writers read the work of unpublished writers! And to say I'm honoured by what Rob had to say about Twisted is an understatement!

"Great story! Terrific writing! I love the twisting of fairy tale tropes, the connections between these various stories, and this revenge plot emerging at the end. Well done, Dave!"

Rob wasn't the only author who commented on Twisted, though; Devlin Chase, arguably South Africa's only Paranormal Romance writer (with her The Vengeful Elements series), as well as a friend and fellow Bookseller, blew me away with what she had to say. :-)

"Nice one, Dave. Very atmospheric. Thoroughly enjoyed it."

I couldn't be more pleased - two published authors commenting on my first-ever publicly available story. :-) But I would love even more opinions on the piece, so please head over to Phantasmagorium's Weekly Offering-page and give yourself ten minutes to read my twisted little tale. :-) It'll go off the site sometime on Thursday the 30th of August, so there's still time to read it. :-)

I've got more incoming - after all, the tale only begins with Twisted... ;-)

Be EPIC! 



Friday, August 17, 2012

If You Go Into My Forest Today....


If you head on over to Phantasmagorium’s Story of the Week Page, you can read my Fragmented Fairy Tale, Twisted – it’s live on the site now and will be available for a week. :-)

Please head over and give it a read – it’s a short, vicious little thing that will hopefully raise your eyebrows and shake your head, and I want to thank Michael Venter, without whom this tale would never have existed. :-) Thanks, Michael! :-) 

Hope you all enjoy Twisted – if you do, I’ve got a couple of more similar tales brewing… ;-)
 
Be EPIC!

P.S. Thanks musty go and are given whole-heartedly to Edward Morris - thank you, Sir, for taking a chance on a South African writer, You rock, Sir!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Ready to get Twisted?

I'm proud (very, ecstatic, in fact!) to announce that my Fragmented Fairy Tale, Twisted, will be appearing as a Story of the Week over at Phantasmagorium in just over two weeks. :-)

Twisted for born when an ex-colleague of mine asked me to write a short story to the 'Twisted Fairy Tales' theme - he wanted to print it out and give it to friends to read at his Birthday Party. I ended up writing the story the day before the party (or two days, it was two years ago so the details are a bit fuzzy) and he was very impressed with it. So was I, to be honest - I had never tried something like it before, I hadn't planned anything plot- or character-wise, though the opening scene drew it all out of me. Since then I've had ideas for sequel-stories, so I guess you should prepare yourselves for some seriously weird, freaky, horrific and fucked up re-imagined fairy tales. :-)

I've got ideas for Jack and Jill, The Emperor (and his Clothes), and a couple of others, so hopefully Twisted will be well-received and I'll be able to bring you those tales, too.

Right now, over at Phantasmagorioum, you can read TJ McIntyre's Castaway- I'm going to read it now, and judging by some of the comments I've read Castaway seems to be an awesome tale. :-)

A massive and heartfelt thanks to Edward Morris for this opportunity! I'm very pleased and damned proud, and I hope you'll all enjoy the twisted little tale. :-) I'll definitely post links and what-not on the day it goes live at Phantasmagorium. :-)

Until next time,

Be EPIC!






Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Conflicts of Meaning


So, took me a couple of days but I finally finished Chapter Four and titled it Conflicts of Meaning.

I decided (when I began with the re-write of Betrayal’s Shadow) that I would give the chapters their own titles because I figured that it would help me to –at a glance- remember the themes of the chapters so that I could remain aware of the themes in the novel as I write it, and so far it’s been a good decision. I think I spent about five minutes wondering about Chapter Four’s title, instead of the almost three years I worried about the title for the novel. :-)

And why Conflicts of Meaning? Well, this turned out to be quite a profound chapter for me and for one of my main protagonists - I was writing a piece of dialogue when it hit me, and as it hit me, it hit him. Left me a bit stunned afterward, I can tell you. But it served to practically crystalize what the chapter –and, indeed, the entire novel- is also about. I’m rather pleased with myself at the moment but only time will tell if it survives further drafts and edits. ;-)

Now, though, my writing-pace should pick up – the next chapter kicks off the build-up to one of the all-out-action scenes in the novel, and is also a turning point for one of my other protagonists, so that’ll be fun. J
As always, I’ll keep the updates coming. As it stands now, Betrayal’s Shadow is just over the 25k mark and I’ll give myself a couple of days’ break and move onto my second editing-pass on the short story I submitted for the AfroSF anthology (edited by Ivor Hartmann); I’m just about done with it but there are some things I need to finalize and change, which I want to be done with before Friday – then I’ll send it off, and hopefully get a favourable reaction. :-)

Until then,
 
Be EPIC!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Back From the Dead

So, it’s been a helluva long time since my last post, and a shitload had happened since then, some good, some bad, some unhappy stuff. With everything that’s happened, though, I’m just about beginning to get things organized and back on track again. Betrayal’s Shadow’s re-write was going very well at a stage; I was hitting 1- to 2K a day and I was pleased with what was happening in the novel, character- and plot-wise. Then I hit a chapter where I was trying to write a very political scene involving characters that I, truth-admittance time here, hardly knew at all. You see, in the novel’s previous draft they were there for a scene to set other things in motion and then they left the stage. Now when I got to their part of the re-write I struggled my ass off to get them fleshed out and properly motivated. Being the dumbass all us newbies are it took me a while to realize that if characters are just filling a space / scene once and then moving off-stage for the rest of the novel, then they shouldn’t be in the novel. So I cut the 2.7K I’d written and began re-writing the scene. And then there were some things, family-things, which began happening, leaving me in a complete and utter flat spin. Right in the middle of it all, my biological father passed away. When things started becoming intense I was already unable to focus – not only wasn’t I writing, but I was also busy reading something like 8 or 9 different books because I just couldn’t focus. I realized I really needed a serious time-out, so I took that time out to try and get my thoughts in order with my therapist and with the help of friends. And things are much, much better. Through the help of family and friends I’ve been able to gain some much needed perspective and I’m feeling more myself. :-) So, this coming week I’ll be diving back into Betrayal’s Shadow and finishing the chapter that I’ve been stuck on for so long. Also, I hope to hear from an editor regarding edits for a short story that has been provisionally accepted for a ground-breaking and, I’m sure, path-forging anthology - I hope to make an official announcement and have more details soon. :-) I’ve also prepared one of my other short stories –The Orphan- for submission, and I’m re-writing Birthday to get it ready, too. (Oh, finished an absolutely sick short-story titled ‘The Sick-Note’ and working on a new one tentatively titled Lollypop-Girl) So things are much better than they’ve been for a while, and I’m beginning to hit my stride again. I’ll try and keep my updates more regularly, :-) Though I won’t promise. ;-)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Why I need an Editor

It's been an awesome couple of weeks - in fact, 'awesome' seems like too small a word to encompass what's been happening. :-) So I guess I'll start that the beginning: Constant readers of this blog will know that I've been busy with the 3rd draft of Betrayal's Shadow for a while now - I've basically been adding plenty, re-writing what I've already written, and trying to edit as I've gone. The result was that the story seemed to be working much better than it did - the characters had better motivations, their arcs made more sense (isn't retrospect an awesome yet -at the same time- insanely irritating thing?), and the world in which Betrayal's Shadow takes place became fuller and more 'real' if you know what I mean. During all of this writing I'd submitted the manuscript to Barbara Friend Ish at Mercury Retrograde Press, this made possible by Edward Morris, one of the authors published by MRP. The manuscript had been with Barbara for a while and as I patiently (and I'm not just saying that, Barbara will back me up) waited for Barbara's response I though I'd push on with the 3rd draft - after all, writing is not something that ever stops: it's something that sinks in deeper than marrow. :-) I got an email from Barbara that really gave me a boost - she liked what I had written and saw the promise in the novel, and left the decision up to me as to whether I would want her input and advice on the manuscript. Which, of course, I did! So for the past three or four weeks (maybe less) I've been re-writing Betrayal's Shadow - Barbara had some very helpful thoughts regarding characters and plot arcs that I either just didn't think about or thought that I had dealt with properly. The thing is, the novel has taken over completely now - it's not just a case of me writing to complete a manuscript that I can be proud of (and I was always proud of it, I just never thought that said-pride could grow), it's now a case of writing something that encompasses as much as a proper novel should - character motivations and plot arcs, world building, etc. I thought that I had a pretty good novel, and after Barbara's comments on the manuscript I've realized that the novel has way more potential than even I realized! So far I'm one prologue and two chapters into the re-write, and as I'm writing I'm trying to keep in mind what Barbara brought up - I really need to raise my game to get this novel to the level that she may want to publish, and since I want to be published and since I'm also proud of this tale and want to share it with as many people as possible, that 'raising of the game' is not only difficult, a challenge like no other, but exhilarating and satisfying, too. Looking back, I almost can't believe that I wrote this novel without the input of an editor - there's so much editors see that the writers just don't or -because they are too close to the tale- can't. So, yep, I have an editor, and I'm working hard on making this novel better than it was - to play in the big sandbox that is published genre fiction I really need to learn as much as I can, and I'm so proud that Barbara saw enough in the manuscript to choose to be the one to teach me. :-) So, thank you, Barbara, for everything. You rock! :-) (Apologies for the one-paragraph post - I tried to get the paragraphs separated but Blogger didn't seem to want to work with me...)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Research is never just research

Let’s give you a catch-up, shall I? I’ve finally had my appendix removed – on Thursday morning I had abdominal pains, went to work (almost collapsed a couple of times on the way), and after about half an hour was dropped off at the hospital. After almost a full day of tests I was booked in, and on Friday my appendix was removed. Consequently I’ve been booked off until the 7th of March, so I’ve got a lot of time on my hands – enough to hopefully recuperate and get plenty of writing done. :-)

As it stands I’m hovering at the 50k mark of the 3rd draft of Betrayal’s Shadow – it’s been slow going the last couple of weeks, due mainly to me being damned tired and concentrating on relaxing as much as possible, but also because of some of the changes I brought into the novel. I’ve introduced some new characters, given others a fuller role, and even changed some completely, so I’ve had to rewrite plenty of scenes so that they fit properly into the new narrative. I think it’s working, though – the novel definitely seems much more complex and there are plot threads that have returned after being excised more than 8 years ago in previous attempts at writing the novel. There’s much more I need to keep track of, but I’m enjoying the challenge – now, instead of two main plot-threads there are four, which will (hopefully) interweave and set up the two other books of the trilogy. I’ve also got some ideas for a second trilogy, but that’s for much, much later. :-)

Anyway, while I’ve been relaxing I’ve been reading more non-fiction. I’ve been reading Christopher Kelly’s The End of Empire, which focuses on Attila the Hun and the offensives that led to the dissolution of the Western Roman Empire. The book has not only been interesting, in terms of reading up on Attila, how he rose to power, how he skillfully and brilliantly played the Romans and Goths for utter fools, and so on, but also because I never realized that so little is known about him and his people. I mean, the only reason we know that Attila ever lived is basically due to the effect his existence had on the Roman world – there isn’t much physical evidence of his existence, or of the Huns. Even the last great battle that Attila fought before he died cannot be fixed to a certain location. And here I thought that there was plenty of evidence and information about him and the Huns!

What I also discovered were some very cool and interesting historical figures that are echoed in characters in some of the Epic Fantasy I’ve read. For example, there was a certain eunuch, Chrysaphius, who schemed to assassinate Attila – he makes me think of Varys, the Spider (from A Song of Ice and Fire). :-) And there was also mention of a Goth that made me think of Coltaine (from Steven Erikson’s Deadhouse Gates). These stood out for me because it made something clear – history is amazing and beautiful and unendingly interesting and can also be read for enjoyment, not just research. I don’t know whether anything I’ve read in The End of Empire will be useful but it’s damned interesting, nonetheless. :-) My next non-fiction read will be God’s Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570-1215.

So, read some non-fiction, even though it might not have any bearing on what you’re writing at the moment – you never know when a seed may be planted. :-)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The 3rd Draft

So, I'm busy with the 3rd draft of Betrayal's Shadow - and I've decided that I'm not going to *ever* say again that I'll be posting regularly (or more regularly), since every time I do something happens to get in the way. ;-)

Anyway, the 3rd draft is roaring along - passed the 40k mark a week ago and I'm really enjoying this because not only have I now got the opportunity to refine what I've already written but also to add what I think the story needs - extra characters, as well as giving already-present characters more of a role, and more plot-threads (mainly to provide some foundations for events in books 2 and 3, but also to add more to the story as a whole). The result is that the story has grown and I think the added depth works really well. I guess the proof will be in the submission, huh? ;-)

Anyway, just wanted to let you all know that I'm still alive and kicking and writing. :-)

Until next time,
Be EPIC!