"No matter how terrified you may be, own your fear and take that leap anyway because whether you land on your feet or on your butt, the journey is well worth it."
-- Laurie Laliberte
"If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough."
-- Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."
-- Anais Nin

Sunday, August 17, 2014

He's at It Again!

As my most prolific client (and very dear friend) Tony Healey releases the latest installment of his Far From Home series, he is also working on the next step in his newer series The Fallen Crown, among other things. Therefore, I've invited him back to talk a bit about writing in installments and his current projects.

He's also got a giveaway brewing, so read down for information on that.

I've had phenomenal success with my sci-fi adventure series, Far From Home. I always envisioned it spanning three series, told through a mixture of serial-style episodes and short novels. And thrilling as it was to start plotting the third series out, I realised I would now have time (and energy!) to write the fantasy series I'd daydreamed about for over ten years.

My first attempt at the opening chapter fell flat and I deleted it. I started again. And again. And again. It took many attempts to get the voice right, to find my rhythm. But once it was there, boy was the book a blast to write. I took my time, enjoyed the process, and by all accounts had a real hoot writing The Bloody North. I truly believed it was my best work, and I sent it off to Laurie with my fingers crossed. Was I just deluding myself? Would the manuscript come back to me criss-crossed with furious red pen?


Laurie loved it and proclaimed it the best thing I'd ever written. I have some other projects to do before I can get on to the second book, The Rising Fire. But the story is right there, at the back of my mind, bugging me. I can't wait until I can sit down and continue the story I've started, widen our view of the world in which The Fallen Crown series takes place. Introduce and explore more and more characters.

From the get-go I didn't want to be writing massive tomes, dealing with multiple characters. I wanted to tell the story in shorter chunks of 200-250 pages, each one dealing with either one main character or perhaps two to three at the same time. What I've wanted to write about for over a decade cannot be told in a simple trilogy. It will take many books, spanning many years in our characters' lives, before there's anything close to an ending. Eventually, I will be finished writing the final fifteen installments of Far From Home. The Fallen Crown will then get my full, undivided attention, and I foresee readers getting a new book every two months. But until then, I really want The Bloody North to reach as wide an audience as possible, which is why I'm asking for your assistance. In return, you could win signed goodies. All you have to do is visit my site, www.tonyhealey.com – everything you need to know is right there.

Don't get me wrong, The Bloody North is doing REALLY well, both in terms of sales and reviews. 90% of feedback is extremely positive. The Rising Fire will come out at the end of this year, and readers who have enjoyed The Bloody North will be thrilled with what's in store. Of course it will feature the same gritty action as Book 1 (that goes without saying!) and tease more of what is to come whilst, at the same time, being its own self-contained story.

I'm hijacking Laurie's blog today, to get you interested in The Bloody North because I truly believe in it. It really is my very best work so far, and I want you to read it. I want you to get a chance at owning a sexy signed paperback edition (and a chapbook of a free short story, "A Man With Purpose," that acts as a prequel). I think it's rocky ground for a writer to shout from the rooftops about his own work.

But, damn it, this one deserves the added attention.

The Bloody North is also available on Amazon

I second that. Thank you, Tony.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Blast from the Past, Dreams of the Future

Three years ago this week, Bernard Schaffer and I came together to begin the Kindle All Stars. Hand in hand, we produced an anthology (Resistance Front) with the intent of paving the way for new, independent authors to find a place to showcase their work. Some have continued to write and enjoy much success; others have chosen to take different paths.

Many of us who continue to work in publishing, be it as writers, editors, or small scale publishers, also continue to keep in touch via social media. One of those writers, possibly the most impressive, is Natasha Whearity.

When I read Natasha's submission to the Resistance Front* project, I demanded that Bernard find a way to use her short story. She was a seventeen-year-old high school student from the UK whose talent, in my opinion, surpassed every other writer whose work I'd seen. There were other brilliant, creative minds who also became part of the group and have thrived, but Natasha stood out as the youngest.

So how could I not invite her to talk to you about Amazon and its affect on her as a young writer as well as her own anthology compiled for charity? This is how the Kindle All-Stars pay it forward.

We Are Such Stuff . . . is available on Amazon

You hear a lot of negative things about independent publishing platforms such as Amazon. A lot of people believe that it is ruining the publishing industry because anyone can publish anything they want to. But for me, Kindle Direct Publishing is a fantastic platform for writers, especially emerging ones, such as myself. What is great about Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing is that it gives aspiring writers and editors the opportunity to say that they have been published.

I’m not saying that publishing houses aren’t fantastic at what they do, because they are brilliant. But there is nothing wrong with Amazon allowing writers the freedom to publish their own work themselves – which is something they might not be able to do through a publishing house if their work is tossed onto a pile of no’s.

If it weren't for Amazon, I would never have had my first short story, "Endgame" published in the Kindle All Stars anthology: Resistance Front, which raised money for a charity supporting missing and exploited children. If it weren't for Amazon and that opportunity, I would never have been able to publish We Are Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made On, which is the anthology of work I have just published.

Through publishing We Are Such Stuff, I have had the opportunity of not only raising money for a charity extremely close to my heart (all the proceeds made from the anthology are going to the charity Epilepsy Action UK) but I have been able to use Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing as a platform for my writing, editing, formatting and publishing skills.

If it weren't for Amazon and the opportunity I was given by Bernard, Laurie, and the Kindle All-Stars, I would never have been able to publish work, not only by myself, but by some really fantastic and innovative writers. I have learned so much from publishing this anthology, not just about how important it is to support emerging writers, but how much I love creating and making books. I hope that this project is the first of many.

You can buy a copy of We Are Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made On for only £1.53 (or $2.57) and all of the proceeds go to Epilepsy Action. Not only will you support an amazing charity, but the work of some brilliant and blossoming writers.

*Resistance Front and its successor, Carnival of Cryptids, are both still available on Amazon. All proceeds benefit the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Catfight and Hell Kitten . . . Really? Really!

Hey y'all! I'm beginning to think there may be a lot of writers in my life (and I will confess that sometimes it seems as though there are too many, but I love them all). I'm fortunate enough to call many of them my friends. I'm also fortunate that when I don't have time to put together a quality blog post for you all to read, they seem to have projects they want to talk about.

So, cutting to the chase, Joshua Unruh has an amazing new project in the works that I will be editing, but he's asking for help from readers of all ages, shapes, sizes, and any other distinction you can imagine. I'll let him tell you the rest while I go work on that project that's been back burnered for far too long.

Oh, and while you're here, check out the artwork he sent me to show off a couple of new characters. Also, stay tuned to the end of this post for last-minute info Josh gave me regarding a contest!

Meet Catfight.
So here’s the deal: I love superheroes and have for most of my life. I will not apologize for this. I know that some of you are wondering why I’d have to apologize. If that’s you wondering, it’s probably because you are very young.

I mean, sure, these days superheroes are making bajillions of dollars on screens across America every summer. But back in the day, I got ridiculed when I had them folded in half and stuffed in my back pocket.

Right now you don’t believe me. And you shouldn’t because that statement was a lie.

Because I would NEVER fold a comic and put it in my back pocket! You keep those damn things in Mylar bags with cardboard backs so they don’t get wrinkled and tell yourself they’re going to finance your college education one day.

Anyway, I love superheroes. But they haven’t stayed as lovable as I’d like. I once read a quote on the internet that went something like, “comics used to be for above average kids, but now they’re for below average adults.”

That statement isn’t entirely true, but it hits close enough to sting. It’s not that there’s too much sex, it’s that there’s too much sexism. And it’s not that there’s too much violence, it’s that the tearing off of arms is celebrated. And it isn’t that all the characters are white…well, actually, it is that all the characters are white. Or all the ones you can name, anyway.

So I’ve decided to do something about it. Now, I can’t draw for crap, but I can write my ass off. So my plan is to serialize prose superhero stories, one a month just like comic books. These stories will star heroes who are women and maybe even (gasp) not white. The stories will be appropriate for all-ages, which is totally different than “for kids.” And if you can’t tell the difference, then you’re the one with the problem.

Most of all these stories will be about heroes.

Somewhere along the line, it became cool to be cynical. Like cynicism is the most reality based way to see the world. Like how you’re na├»ve or simple or childish if you see the good in people.

Well screw that. Cynicism is the easy way out. Looking for the good in people? Seeing the hopeful possibilities for the future? That is HARD. Damned hard. And we need more examples of it, even fictional ones. So I’m going to write some. And every kid who needs reminded of how worthwhile selflessness and optimism are should see somebody who looks like them making it so.

Say hi to Hell Kitten.
So that’s my grandiose plan. But I’m a working writer. I have to eat. So to make this plan work, I’m using Patreon. Patreon is like an ongoing Kickstarter. You pledge a certain amount of money, and you get dinged for it whenever I publish a story. You can set a limit, though, if I start getting too prolific.

And then, you know the best part? I release that story into the wild for anyone to read for free whether they were a patron or not. Why? Two reasons. First, because I’ve already been paid. Second, because I want people who need to see heroes that look like they do to read my stories. Giving the stories away seems a good way to make that happen.

If you think that sounds worthwhile, then please visit me at www.patreon.com/pulpdictionpress. There are goals to add new things into every story, which are like rewards for my readers. And there are rewards for those who patronize as well.

Superheroes are ordinary people who use their gifts to do the extraordinary. You can be that for me with a click of the pledge button. The cape and tights are optional.

Here's that last-minute contest information I promised you: Josh has a few copies of his already released teen female superhero book, TEEN Agents in the Plundered Parent Protocol, that he has pledged to sign. So here's what you do . . .

If you choose to pledge to Josh's Patreon project, simply return here and leave a comment saying you did so. Your name will be entered into a drawing to win a paperback of the TEEN AGENTS book in addition to receiving the new comics as they are released. He doesn't have a ton to go around for this blog tour, so your chances of winning are obviously based on how many participants there are.

Thank you, Josh, and Happy Reading everyone!