A is for Anti-Hero

Hello, and welcome to the April A-Z Blogging Challenge! Over the first 26 days of April, we will explore aspects of writing and marketing books – authors, feel free to weigh in, and readers, feel free to observe and ask questions!

-M

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Anti-Heroes are all the rage these days, which is generally pretty great. I mean, let’s face it: we identify with villains sometimes. Someone who’s selfish, spiteful, and cruel doesn’t sound great on paper, but we can find ourselves admiring their unapologetic pursuit of their goals, sympathizing with their search for revenge, and kind of wishing we got to say snarky one-liners (why do villains get the best lines? It’s just unfair). By contrast, a hero who’s too good and honorable is boring on the one hand, and an uncomfortable reminder of our flaws on the other. Anti-Heroes, with the protagonist’s role and a mix of hero and villain qualities, keep us guessing and have plenty to keep us interested.

So is an Anti-Hero right for your story? Spoiler alert: maybe not. Anti-Heroes, just like everything else in literature, are a Sometimes Device, and, as Captain America proves, traditional heroes don’t have to be boring. It’s all in the execution – grit for grit’s sake won’t get you very far. Please consider this handy FAQ as you choose between Hero and Anti-Hero!

What’s the difference between Hero and Anti-Hero? A Hero is your standard fairy-tale protagonist: honorable, kind, deserving. They’d never stab someone in the back, and though they might be something society doesn’t value (poor, ugly, uneducated), their heart of gold will win the day. An Anti-Hero, on the other hand, has a mix of good and bad qualities. Bad qualities doesn’t mean, “not an Olympic athlete” or “can’t play the ukelele,” but instead something like engaging in vigilante justice or, say, selling meth. Just like a traditional hero, the Anti-Hero’s qualities will make them the perfect person to effect change in your story-world, but your reader will feel a mix of admiration and discomfort watching things unfold.

Do you have any examples? I sure do, internet questioner who is also me! Great examples of Anti-Heroes include Hannibal Lecter, Scarlett O’Hara, Walter White, and Han Solo. Examples of more traditional heroes might be Maximus (from Gladiator), Luke Skywalker, Jane Eyre, or Anna (from Frozen). Please note at this juncture that the heroes are not flaw-free. However, their flaws tend to be honorable in nature: Luke doesn’t finish his Jedi training because he’s just too impatient to save his friends; Anna goes rushing off impulsively to save Elsa, Jane’s fieriness and self-reliance may leave her almost dead on the moor, but can hardly be considered a flaw at all; and Maximus goes around killing lots of people, sure, but their all Bad Guys who support the Crazy Incestuous Usurper.

If I want my main character to be realistic, what should I do? Your main character should always be realistic. The idea is to create someone your readers can identify with, who not only overcomes external problems but also internal ones in order to solve the main problem of the story. However, as you’ll notice, that leaves a whole lot of room for interpretation. If you aren’t sure what kind of hero you want to have, look at your plot: your hero should be someone who is both uniquely suited to resolving the main conflict of the story, and also uniquely challenged by it. For instance, in Jane Eyre, Jane is kind-hearted and loving, able to open her heart to the one she loves. However, she is also fiercely proud, and that pride first drives her away from her love – before becoming the catalyst that brings her back again. Jane is in no way a boring or unrealistic character, but think how differently the story would have gone if we had Walter White in her place. Walter White was not the hero Jane Eyre needed. Likewise, if we had Jane in, say, Gotham City, she probably wouldn’t be the best person to solve the crime problem. Both heroes and anti-heroes can be realistic, but one will be better suited to your plot.

I want to be edgy! Edgy is great! Art does, and should, push boundaries and make people uncomfortable. One of the great aspects of storytelling is its ability to transport people into other situations, lives, and bodies, giving people a window into the parallel worlds that humans inhabit. Storytelling can turn “I would never…” into “I never realized…” And edginess is a part of that, speaking to the dark moments and selfish, unkind places all of us have in our souls. However, I caution you against traveling through the darkness simply for the sake of darkness and edginess. Game of Thrones, Batman, and Breaking Bad are so successful not because they are dark and edgy, but because they give their antiheroes something worth fighting for. There’s a purpose to every dark storyline: pride, when pride is all the character has left; revenge for the lost and the desire to keep any more innocents from harm; the incandescent rage we all feel when we have paid our dues and world still screws us over. And then there’s Star Wars, and Captain America, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – lacking anti-heroes, but not darkness.

I have a question you haven’t addressed. Ask away in the comments, and I will answer!

-M

 

On Quality

Every once in a while, quietly, an author wonders why some other book, some book that is not nearly as good as their book, is doing so much better than their book is doing. Why do readers pore over the pages of that book, the author wonders. Why are there so many fans on facebook, why do readers line up thousands-strong for book signings or – envy of envies – movies?

This is normal, this desire to measure ourselves against our peers. Humans do this constantly. It may not always be healthy, but it’s certainly normal. Healthy, well-rounded adults experience these feelings from time to time. And it may really trouble them. All normal, all within the bounds of healthy behavior.

What is not normal or productive is when these musings spill out into the public sphere as fully-formed thoughts, as musings we have turned back on everyone else. Readers only like crap these days. Or: Everyone’s looking for an easy read. Or: No one gets my book. Or: Publishers aren’t willing to take a risk. You want more? I have more. I’ve heard a lot. Heck, I’ve thought some of it.

And you know where this leads? It leads to one of the single most unproductive discussions that any set of artists has ever had about the state of art in the world, namely: why are such awful works getting all the attention?

On the face of it, it makes sense. Author A has only one work, and that work is riddled with typos and poor characterization, and Author A is now a millionaire and you are working at Starbucks even though you have a book that is properly-formatted, (almost entirely) typo-free, with a stunning plot and characterization, just the right amount of quirk. All in all, your work is a masterpiece. You think it makes sense to ask if perhaps you should turn out typo-ridden crap so that you can at least have a shot at proving that money can’t buy happiness.

Here’s where I must ask you, and ask you honestly, three questions:

  1. Where, exactly, does this bitter wondering get you?
  2. Can you think of any better, surer way to get success as an author than to keep producing really good books?
  3. Why do we entertain the notion that readers don’t have a grasp on what makes a good book?

On point the first, I will say only this: spending time wondering why a “bad” book is doing better than yours is about as productive as spending your workout time not working out, but instead wondering how Jim seems to subsist on french fries and still maintain his svelte figure. That is to say, it is not as productive at all. Go write a good book. Or write a book of typo-riddled crap. Pick one, be honest with yourself about your goals, and shoot for the moon.

On the second point, throw everything you want at me about clever marketing and million-dollar advertising budgets, I have yet to see a single more effective and successful path to success than continuing to show up with good books for people to read. Provide me statistics that contradict this and I will (a) believe you; and (b) be really goddamned impressed.

Lastly, there is this thought, which is (again) very natural to have within the confines of one’s skull, which is that no one “gets” your work. Someone called your book “a good read” and you wanted it to tear them open emotionally. This has happened to me. And I love you all, and I feel your pain, but please listen to me when I say this: your readers are not wrong. Think, think, of the books you have loved and raved about to your family and friends, only to have them say, “eh.” Think of all the books they have told you will turn your world inside out, only for you to think, “eh.” Think of it! You will get readers who have read your genre inside and out, you will get readers who have never cracked open a book of its type before. Every single one of them will see the book a little bit differently, and they. Are. Not. Wrong.* Your book was not finished the moment you wrote it – it is finished when someone reads it and thinks about it, and I am sorry to say that at least some people will hate it. This is unavoidable. It is also natural and even healthy to feel crushed when someone reads your work and doesn’t like it (although I recommend finding some way not to be crushed, because that gets exhausting). What is wrong is to take this (very natural) thought and, instead of dismissing it, actually say out loud that your readers don’t know what they’re talking about.

What I’m getting around to is this: make your books the best they can be. No book can please everyone, but every book has the potential to be its best self. It’s really useless to sit around wondering why other authors have so many more sales than you do, when you could be editing your manuscript or writing a new one. Solicit feedback. Take feedback. Edit ruthlessly and often. Listen to your readers and write better books in the future. Write because the stories are all bottled up inside you and you can’t stand another minute with them not on paper. Write because you love to write, and edit because you want your readers to have just as moving an experience as you did, and the truth is that the words don’t always come out right the first time.

Also, it’s no fun being cynical all the time. I was a teenager once, I’ve tried that.

Go write.

-M

* Please note that there is a way for readers to be wrong, which is to review the wrong book, a la, “this book is about the life and death of the Mongolian water beetle” when it is in fact a cozy murder mystery. This sort of wrong is extremely rare. Also, please note that, “this book is crap” does not constitute slander. An example of slander is, “this author punts baby hamsters in her spare time and is an illegal arms dealer.”

 

Novum Flash Fiction

I debated whether or not to show this story to the world. Sandoval became a figure far beyond my expectations, in the way characters often do, and as an almost mythical character, his voice had no place in Crucible itself – he existed best through others’ eyes.

When I stumbled across my concept notebook, however, this piece hit me afresh. This is Sandoval’s story.

******

“It was a mercy.” The words sounded very far away. “You could have killed far more.”

“That doesn’t make this a mercy!” His voice was tight with grief. “What, because we spared the children—so that tonight, their parents won’t come home to them? The earth is soaked with blood, how is this a mercy?”

“You think because lives were lost, this is monstrous?”

“You think that because it could have been worse, this was mercy?”

“Anyone else would have taken out the city!”

“That doesn’t make this—“

“Benito.” Alex put his hands on Sandoval’s shoulders. “They started it, they rebelled, and you crushed their army without killing civilians. Whether you want it or not, you’re going to be a hero.” He stooped to look into Sandoval’s eyes. “I think you are. I do—”

“No,” Sandoval said, but his friend did not stop.

“—Yes. And when you get back to Delphi, you’re going to have to take your damned medal and make a speech and shake hands. Yes, you are. This is going to be one for the history books.”

The tentative smile died when Sandoval hefted his pistol. He thought he was going to choke. He could see the parade in his mind’s eye, and the strong handshakes of the commanders past their prime, reduced to snatching glory from another man’s brutality. They’d praise him. Alex was right, and right now the only thing he could think now was to put a bullet in his brain—as if, knowing he’d done that while looking at the battlefield, they might see, somehow, a piece of the horror. As if they might ever see this differently.

Mercy. Oh, god, he was going to be sick. The gun was shaking in his hand, slick with sweat.

Forty years later, he would still sleep with the same pistol on his nightstand, and in the mornings he would hold it and consider—and know that the moment was past. He’d lost his chance.

*******

-M

Novum Release Week, Day 1!

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Hello, and welcome to release week for Crucible!

Over the course of this week, we will be releasing character artwork and short stories to set the scene for the world of Novum! Today, we’re launching into things with character artwork over at Joseph Lallo’s blog, and a short story here, exploring the origins of the colony at Guan-Yu.

Until Friday, you can tide yourself over with a free excerpt available on Amazon here!

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Seed Colony: noun; one of the “non-intervention” colonies prepared for under the Vargas Treaty of 3128, which laid out several programs intended to safeguard humanity from war, disease, or accident. Each colony consists of a fully terraformed planet devoid of non-human sentient life, stocked with a viable population of volunteers. Volunteers consent to have memories blocked at the beginning of the experiment, and will be unaware both of their coordinates and of their participation in the project. These colonies are under military protection until such time as they develop spacefaring capabilities, and the coordinates of all seed colonies are classified. Intervention in a seed colony is considered treason against human interests.

      Joceyln,

They told me they’re only sending one transmission home, so I’ve been saving this up. We’ll be heading home soon, so there’s no point in putting it off much longer. I’ll tell you how things end up when I get back, but not much is going to change from here on out. We’re already starting to pack up; the tent village looks deserted.

I miss you terribly, I’ve been gone so long, but to be honest I can’t imagine leaving this place. I looked back at my journals and I spent the first few weeks complaining about the heat, but it started to feel normal at some point, I guess. It gets into your blood. I don’t know if you remember Nana’s house, back when Keeling was still a new settlement. You went out and played in the dirt and Papa yelled at you and said you’d get some disease. It’s like that here—we’re supposed to be very careful about quarantine, but there’s only so much you can do (and anyway, the people are going to introduce all sorts of microbes, there’s no way to do a full wipe of their systems). So after a while we stopped worrying about shoes and masks and…well, I guess I’ve just gotten used to the feel of dirt between my toes. The sun bakes into the earth all day and then the heat radiates back into your feet all evening, even when the air is cold.

Water is precious here, in a way I didn’t understand before. In a station, it’s all rations, you know? Purification systems. Here, the water goes into the land. Sometimes when you walk near the river, you can see new plants poking out of the ground. The break up through the earth, little spindly stalks but it’s strong enough, and then they unfurl. There was a week when I would come back every day to check on one of the plants. The botanists said it was just a weed, but it looked so strong and delicate at the same time, unbelievably green in this land of sand and hot winds.

I go for walks by the river at night, the sound is very soothing. You can walk, and walk and walk. It is an incredible luxury to be able to walk without anywhere to go; I have to be careful now that they can’t see me from the settlement camps, but other than that, I can go anywhere. No hallways. I’m going to miss open sky. Sometimes I think about running away and living in the hills. I know I couldn’t do it… I’d never make it here, it’s too harsh.

I’m so afraid for the people we’re leaving. We’re supposed to accept everything that’s going to happen, you know? But I can’t. I think they knew that. They told us before we came here that leaving would be the most difficult part, and they were right. Last night we named the planet: Guan-Yu, after a Chinese general from Old Earth.

None of it seems real most of the time, and then other times it does seem real and like a terrible mistake. Only sometimes, when I’m not thinking about it, I get this rush of wonder—it’s such a strange feeling, to have seeded a planet, so full of power, creating life! I told Simon that I felt like a god, and he laughed at me. I do, though. It’s this terrible sense of responsibility, like I should make sure they’ll all be safe, and of course they won’t be if I do my job correctly. I have to make sure that they’ll be in enough danger, and that the conditions are adverse enough, that they will start to develop technology.

We picked where to leave them right away when we got here: a harsh patch of earth with the river running through. Nearby, across a narrow strait, is a land of incredible fertility. You would not believe your eyes to see it! It is more green than I have ever seen in my life. The air smells sweet with flowers, and we found fruit trees and cereal grains. There is something like a gazelle, and we had a close call with one of the dogs that stalks them! It’s beautiful, and I hope the settlers get there someday.

But they can’t start there, they’ll be starting out somewhere less welcoming. Warm, of course, and the mountains will keep out some of the worst weather. Remember Ewing’s Conjecture, that I kept talking about before I left? It’s the one that says a society will develop technology most quickly if forced by adverse stimuli, but I keep having these nightmares that we used it incorrectly. There was a failed colony on a planet called Treherne, very cold, that proved that there’s a limit to it. They didn’t make it two generations. No one talks about it, but we’ve all been thinking about that one. And a thousand other things could go wrong, meteor strikes or some disease or something, but it would be so much worse to know that all these people could die from something I did.  I don’t know how I could ever live with that.

And I’ll never know, anyway. That’s what gets to me. It will take thousands of years to know that for sure. What if we’d chosen the coasts? What if we’d dropped them off in the green lands? I’ll never know that, and I’ll never even know the results of the choices I did make, and the ones I didn’t. When they do come back, in a few years, they’ll just scan from space—and hundreds of lives will be passing underneath, so much more than just life forms on a scanner. So much more. To anyone else, it will just be numbers. It has become more, to me. To all of us.

Leaving will be a lonely business, like I’m leaving a part of my soul. The people we’ve dropped off don’t know our names anymore—of course, they don’t know their own, either—and I feel such mingled hope and sorrow to leave them here like this. They all agreed of course, just as you kept reminding me before we left. We made them sign three times, after all of the disclosures and telling them about the survival rates and everything, and we even asked again when we got here. They still said yes. I asked some of them why they were coming—strictly against regulations, but I know Simon did, too—so I know what some of them were running from. Harsh as it is, this land is kinder than some parts of occupied space. That’s all I’ll say.

Some of them wanted to come, they had everything and they gave it up. Those were the ones that touched me. A few just wanted adventure, but one of them said that this was the future of humanity. He was very calm about it, and he thanked me for my work. Right then I felt so young, like I didn’t know a thing about what I was doing, just throwing these people out into the world. Like there was no way to know what could come of it but I was doing something…big. I don’t know, I don’t have words for it. It felt like it mattered, so much, and I was walking blindly, changing the world in these vast ways and not even understanding it. I’ve had trouble sleeping since then. Sometimes I wake up from dreams of what will happen here, and I can never remember them…

Anyway, they all made their choice. And I have my journals to remind me why this is important, why we need to do this. Of the choices I made before I knew what it meant.

But there’s so much for them to learn, and now they seem so helpless! What if in a few years, they would regret it? I know what they’ll be facing: poisonous plants, predators, disease. Most of them won’t survive, and I keep thinking we just didn’t explain that well enough. They will try to cross the strait eventually, or venture up into the north, and they’ll lose so many when they do. I feel responsible, knowing that I have put them here. They are humans, and humans have unquenchable curiosity, an absolute desire to go searching, even into danger. I’m letting them go into danger.

But I feel so much hope, too—I really think they can flourish here. Who can say what technologies they’ll build, what they’ll discover that we could never have known? I have to keep thinking about that. Someday, far in the future, we might all be gone, destroyed by our wars, and these people might flourish far away from all of that. They’ll grow, not knowing anything about us, and venture out into the stars on their own…

It’s late, I should go to bed. I miss you, and I wish you could be here to see this. (You’d hate it here, I know.) I’ll be home soon—a few months in transit, but we leave the week after next. Nothing more to say, I guess. I hope you liked your birthday present.

Love, Eleni

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Gentle Readers –

I hope you enjoyed this first foray into the world of Novum! Stay tuned for more. For now, you can add Crucible on Goodreads here, and (if you have not already) sign up for the mailing list here.

-M

Updating-ness

writers are not normal

Hello, Gentle Readers, and welcome to a new week!

A few updates for you, and assorted coolness from around the web…

Comments, questions, concerns? Queries about Novum?

-M

NaNoWriMo

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I admit, I’m having an incredible amount of fun with NaNoWriMo. It was only two or three weeks ago that I was feeling very derisive and smug. Ha! I thought. NaNoWriMo. That’s every month for me! So, that’s a very short turnaround. But then, writers can be fickle.

Truth to tell, NaNoWriMo inspires a lot of strong emotions, and you may be hearing contradictory messages about whether it’s a good or bad thing. So I’m taking some time when I really should be finishing my manuscript (due for professional critique by December 20th) to tell you a bit about my experiences.

novum quote 1

As with any other writing tool, part of NaNoWriMo is about choosing what works for you–very rarely do all of the rules work for anyone. Rules I am breaking include: starting a new piece in November (I was many months of planning and a few thousand words in at the start of the month, so November is about me getting down a middle 50k of words), writing without editing, and probably others I have not read all the way through.

The ideal of the program is to get things down on paper (or word processor) without letting that little downer voice in your head, well…get you down. This is, on the one hand, a very fine plan. I have never seen a quote from a career novelist to the effect of, “I like my first drafts.” A first draft is the exhausting process of flailing around with words until you find one gem of a sentence, and then starting all over again. A lot of it will be crap. A great deal of it will seem almost right, and your inability to find the right words will drive you crazy. So “just write and write and write and write” is a very good starting point. You may (and in fact, probably will) stumble across some incredibly cool plot point or turn of phrase, but at the very least, you’ll learn things about writing that you can only learn from experience. This brings us to our first point: No time spent writing is wasted.

novum quote 2

However, the imperative to write must balance with good storytelling. Venturing forward with a gaping plot hole in my wake feels like walking on rotten floor boards: eventually, everything will come tumbling down. A poorly-written passage may nag at you. Do not honor the mandate of, “write in November, edit later” above the mandate of storytelling. If you want to edit something, go right ahead. Just avoid Perpetual Revision Land, where you obsess over the same five passages, continue to hate them, and get nothing else done. It’s bleak in Perpetual Revision Land. No one likes it there. The problem is, it’s surprisingly difficult to extricate yourself once you get there. Remind yourself frequently that when the first draft is completely finished, you may have new ideas about how to edit these pieces. So point the second: Edit, but don’t obsess (yet).

An unexpectedly cool part of NaNoWriMo for me was the community aspect. Many writers, myself included, can be solitary people by nature. NaNoWriMo gives you a group of people cheering you on, offering advice and encouragement when you get stuck, and in general, being passionate about writing. This can be very heartening. Point the third: A good writing community is gold.

The fourth point is so important that it comes at the start of the paragraph: Write. Write joyfully, write with meaning, write when you don’t want to write, carve out time to write.

So should you do NaNoWriMo? If it helps you write, sure. Just have fun with it.

-M

Welcome, Fussy Librarian Readers (and an update)!

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Welcome!

If you are here from the Fussy Librarian, thanks for stopping by, and take a look around!

For those of you who have not yet heard of the Fussy Librarian, it is a daily book email…with a twist! Not only do you tell them about the genres of books you enjoy, but also the levels of profanity, violence, and sex you are comfortable with. Also, that name is genius. You can sign up by going to www.thefussylibrarian.com

Now, an update: one of the best, but also most infuriating, talents for writers is the ability to know when the story is…lacking. After plotting out the Novum trilogy, I could not shake that feeling, and I have spent about a week at this point re-focusing each plot line, adding in or taking out elements until each one is not only super cool, but ends with a bang and not a whimper! I am extraordinarily pleased with the result, and I hope you will be, too, in a few months.

Shadow’s Reach is in its final stages! Look for an email sometime next week to tell you it’s been released!

I am working on the next Author Feature – if you have any requests, leave a comment below.

I hope fall (or spring, for readers in the southern hemisphere!) is going smashingly, gentle readers!

-M

The Author’s Pledge

The authors pledge

Motivated by a combination of Don Maass’s “Writing the Breakout Novel” (a million thanks to Tammy Salyer for recommending it), recent and well-publicized kerfluffles in the community, and some recent reading about personal accountability and perfection, I present you with The Author’s Pledge – just in time for NaNoWriMo!

The Author’s Pledge

I, [author name], pledge that I will support the writing and reading community, both by emphasizing quality in all aspects of my own work, and by supporting writers, readers, and industry professionals. This means that…

  • I will be vocal in my support of a reader’s right to dislike any book, in my support of authors whose books and personal characters have been unfairly targeted, and in my opposition to the concept of banning books
  • I will not leap to conclusions in internet kerfluffles. Instead I will weigh the evidence and if necessary make a carefully-worded statement
  • I will remember why I love books, and why books are important to society. Because of this, I will thank the authors whose work has challenged me, inspired me, and gotten me through really tough times in my life – and if I am lucky enough to have fans who tell me the same things about my books, I will make time to listen to them and thank them for reading
  • I will pay it forward by sharing my hard-won knowledge with other authors, without fear that their books will surpass my own
  • I will remember that authors are not in direct competition with each other, and I will promote deserving work without fear for my own sales
  • I will remember that we are all here because we love books, and I will therefore judge other authors and publishing professionals by the quality of their work, by their comportment as an individual, and by nothing else
  • I will remember that just because my name is on the cover, the book was not produced by me alone, because no book is. I will acknowledge and thank everyone whose work has gone into my books: my editors, copy-editors, formatters, cover artists, agents, publicists, lawyers, friends who got me coffee and listened while I sobbed about my work, fans, beta readers, book bloggers, and anyone else whose effort has contributed to the final product
  • I will understand that writing is an art I can always hone but never master, and I will strive to make my work better by writing, reading, and accepting criticism
  • Before I send a book to my editor, beta reader, or agent, I will not accept a single word, phrase, paragraph, or plot point that is “good enough.” So help me, I will beat my head against that piece until it as perfect as I can make it on my own
  • I will edit my work with increasing ruthlessness every book, and I will also admit that I alone cannot be responsible for editing my own work. Then I will seek editing help*
  • I will put my readers first by emphasizing quality in all things: writing, editing, cover art, formatting, and any other facet of book publishing that may exist in the future. If I cannot complete a task on my own, I will find someone who can, because that is what my readers deserve
  • I will take final responsibility for the work that comes out under my name

May your NaNoWriMo (or November, if every month is NaNoWriMo for you) be fruitful and illuminating!

-M

* Seriously, people, I cannot stress this enough. DO NOT make the mistakes I have made. Get editing help. This is a piece of hard-won knowledge that I hope you spread as much as possible.

 

What Lies Ahead

shadows reach second teaser

Hello, Gentle Readers!

The weather continues to yo-yo between a crisp autumn and a few last, raucous bursts of summer. I have been so focused on Shadow’s Reach and the SciFi piece that I have wished for a few more cold, fall-ish days so that I could snuggle up beside the fire – but I suppose I should savor the warmth while it’s here! Winter is coming, and all that.

  • As you can see above, the Shadow’s Reach cover is coming right along! I hope to be able to show it off soon, and not only because I am impatient by nature – the proofs are wonderful.
  • I have been dabbling in the worlds of Unbound and Kickstarter. That is all about that for now. (Although I encourage you to check out the projects that are currently listed. There are some pretty incredible ones out there! On Kickstarter, Acadia, in particular, looks quite excellent…although more than fully-funded already.)
  • I have started reading Wool, at long last. I’m captivated; I wish the story would linger a little sometimes, but I really am enjoying it. I can’t stand Bernard, though.
  • Speaking of Wool, any authors in the audience may be interested by the recent pieces about Hugh Howey and Michael Wallace.
  • The SciFi project is coming along, and I am so excited to share this new world with you! Stay tuned for updates!

-M

 

Update-like Items

moira writes

Dear Readers,

The internet is a pretty cool place to be this week, with all sorts of delightful things going on!

  • Zezhou is hard at work on the cover for Shadow’s Reach, and I am looking forward to doing a cover reveal! Mailing list subscribers will get the first peek, so if you haven’t signed up yet, I encourage you to do so! You can enter your email over on the sidebar!
  • The giveaway books will be winging their way off shortly – congratulations again to everyone who won, and I’d like to say yet another thank you for making Shadowborn #1!
  • The Light & Shadow short stories are in beta, some in the first round, some in the second. Thank you to Gayle, Erin, Claire, Lannie, and Carol for volunteering to be beta readers! (If would like to be considered for beta reading in the future, feel free to contact me!)
  • If you’re looking for book recommendations for your fall reading, I recommend checking out any of the options listed my my Where to Discover Books blog post. If you’re looking for personalized recommendations, and you have a bent towards YA, I heartily recommend Papercuts Blog. Rachel has an interview, a review, or a giveaway going on every day – I don’t know how she does it!
  • There’s an intriguing project going on over at this blog. Audiomachine, a trailer music group, has partnered with the author to provide a serialized story. The first post is here, and that’s not even all of the coolness! There’s also a flash fiction contest going on. Want to try your hand at a 150-word short story? Give it a go!
  • My writing projects right now include the short stories, the Mahalia sequel and prequel, a SciFi novella, an epic SciFi trilogy, and laying the groundwork for a cowriting piece about Joan of Arc! I am deeply, deeply excited about all of them, and am planning to consume large amounts of coffee to get them out to you in a reasonable amount of time.

How is your week going, readers?

-M