Nerdist Contest Week One

Hello all!

We are one week into the Nerdist Science Fiction contest, and Mutants: Uprising (billed as X-Men meets Call of Cthulhu) is holding steady in 2nd place. This is awesome, but other entrants are right on our heels, looking to dethrone us! Order counts are low all around right now, and YOUR preorder could make a huge difference in this contest. There are just a few more weeks in the contest.

So, what is “second person”? Usually books are written in first person (I went to the store and dropped my groceries in the parking lot) or third person (She went to the store and dropped her groceries in the parking lot). Second person puts YOU right into the action (You went to the store and dropped your groceries in the parking lot). Mutants: Uprising is written in second person present tense, immersing you in the world and giving the narrative an immediacy that you’re not going to find in another book.

I wrote up a new synopsis for the story:

Mutants: Uprising is a second person POV novel about humans with super-human abilities trying to overcome the shadowy organizations that want to control them. The story centers on Jane “Zombie” Meyers, a relatively new leader of an underground cell of the League of Mutants, a terrorist organization, who is trying to make a name for herself while rising above her enforcer roots. Along the way she uncovers a plot against the pregnant founder of a second-chance shelter for homeless mutant teens, and has to work hard to save her from harm, figure out what the ulterior motives of her enemies are, all while earning the other woman’s trust. Oh, and there are horrors from other dimensions trying to break into ours, and state governments who want to register all mutated humans “for the greater good.” All in a day’s work.

See Jane. See Jane Save the Day.

>>Preorder here!<<

Thank you for your time! Have a great day!

What’s that? Another contest? Ok!

Inkshares has partnered with Nerdist for another sci-fi book contest. It’s a short one, just two months this time, and the top three books will get the full publishing treatment from Inkshares!

I have a science fiction story already in first draft form, so I decided to enter the contest! I have nothing to lose, and who knows, Nerdist has been known to pick their book from below the top three.

At the moment, I am in first place! Please check out

Mutants-Uprising-Update-Banner

and follow it, read some, and think about preordering! As always, if the campaign is unsuccessful all preorders will be refunded. Unlike Fae Child, I won’t be lengthening the campaign to reach funding on my own after the contest. SO – this is it. Two months to get as many Readers as we can! (Proof that I’m insane, too, maybe!)

on characters

Some might say that a good plot is the most important thing in a book. And don’t get me wrong, the plot is important. In a mystery, or a crime novel, you have to be able to construct a good central ‘case’ for your characters to navigate, one that makes sense, and the conclusion can’t have your Reader throwing the book across the room. Or, it can, I suppose it depends on what sort of reaction you really want to create.

All books have a plot of some kind, if it’s a case to solve, or a hero’s journey to save the kingdom, but in order to tell the story of the Quest, you need a Character to take it on. Your book is going to live or die according to how well you can create a character. Your plot could be flawless, but if you populate your book with two dimensional people you’re not going to have much at the end of the day.

So, let’s talk about characters. Your character should have the strengths that she needs to get through the book, without swinging too far into “Mary Sue/Author Insert” fantasy fulfillment territory. If your main character, or any character, has no flaws, then they’re not a realistic person. Everyone has regrets, weaknesses, and personality flaws/quirks. I’m not talking about a YA heroine who “doesn’t know how pretty she is, and is oh so clumsy and awkward yet somehow also graceful” – I’m talking about a character who feels real.

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Not on MY watch…

Once upon a time there was a friend. This friend asked me to join a contest, and I didn’t think about it too much and just did it. First mistake: had I known what I was getting into, I would never have pulled the trigger on Inkshares in August ’16 and started the journey that culminated in a publication deal in March ’17.

Second mistake: She asked me to join another contest, this one a flash fiction writing contest from Sci-Fi-London (the 48hr Flash Fiction Challenge), and I did that too. On April 8th I opened the site to view my story requirements. A title, a line of dialogue, and an optional bit of science. The maximum word count was 2,000 words, and I had just two days to write it in.

Except I worked all day on Sunday, so I really had just one day. And then I knew that in all honesty I probably just had Saturday morning to write it. The good news was I already had a pretty good idea what I wanted to put to paper. I popped open Scrivener (worth it’s weight in gold), wrote out descriptions for about seven story points, and then just…

…wrote.

I finished up a little over 2k words before noon, trimmed it down, sent it to some friends to read, edited the mistakes, and then sent it off. I’m not sure how I got that word count done so fast, but my brain was sizzling with ideas and I just let it get on with it.

Title NOT ON MY WATCH
Dialogue When the clouds are this low it can be a nightmare to get a clean signal
Science (optional) Augmented reality becomes so good we neglect reality, when the system to fails, the decay is revealed.

And now YOU can read it! I published the short story through Pronoun, making it available for free on all major ebook retailers’ sites, and you can access it here: NOT ON MY WATCH.  If you download it, please rate and review it! It’s only 8 pages, so it shouldn’t take you long at all. Every review or rating helps boost it’s status among other ebooks, and in return gives my author page more recognition, and all of this will help me when Fae Child comes out.

I don’t know if I’ll win the Sci-Fi-London contest, but hey, stranger things have happened? And those things I listed as mistakes at the beginning of the post? Actually they were probably the best decisions I could have made, regarding my writing. Thank you Jenny!

Meanwhile, on Coruscant [pt 3]

[written in 2012, “Meanwhile, on Coruscant” is a collection of short vingettes that take place on Coruscant during the timeline of the Star Wars movies, and beyond. They do not hold to existing Star Wars canon past the first trilogy, but I found it a very interesting exercise to explore things from the perspective of the common man. This is Part Three.]

4 ABY

The employment line was out the door again. Dana wanted to turn around and head back home, but she’d already arranged for the girls to be watched by their neighbor for the day and they needed the money. As she settled in at the end of the line she leaned against the brick facade of the building and let the gossip flow around her.

“Didn’t you hear? The Emperor is dead.”

“No, no. No way! Iz impozzible! Zere waz none announcement.”

“Yeah, ’cause that’s something they’ll be telling us right away. ‘Oh yes, the symbol of our Imperial might, Emperor Decrepit-ness himself was killed by the Rebels! Everyone go about your business!'”

“Well, zey would not be zaying it like zat. But ztill, it iz true? He iz dead?”

“Overnight. The Empire was rebuilding the Death Star – the space station that was supposed to bring peace in our time, remember?”

“How could I forget zis? Not zo peazeful for Alderaan I am thinking. But go on.”

“Yeah, same old bullshit, right? Something so terrible that no one will dare rebel anymore, blah blah blah, but they still are rebelling, and they damn well blew the fuckin’ thing – sorry, my language -”

“It’z okay.”

“- blew it sky high. Or whatever they call it in space. Endor system, I think that’s where they were constructing it.”

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Meanwhile, on Coruscant [pt 2]

[written in 2012, “Meanwhile, on Coruscant” is a collection of short vingettes that take place on Coruscant during the timeline of the Star Wars movies, and beyond. They do not hold to existing Star Wars canon past the first trilogy, but I found it a very interesting exercise to explore things from the perspective of the common man. This is Part Two.]

3 ABY

“Get yoor hands offa me,” Zizzy hissed, lekku twitching out an obscene exclamation mark to her words. “I am naught yer plaything.” She slapped away the offending hands, the Human snatching them back with a curse.

“Get back to Invisec where you belong,” he said with a sneer. “We don’t like your kind around here.”

“Yoo liked me plenty good when yoo thaught yoo could feel me up,” the sixteen year old retorted. She pressed the recall button for the turbolift again, and then again, as other people were starting to take notice of the scrum. Zizzy thought about the vibroblade tucked away behind her back on her belt and was just about to reach for it when someone grabbed her shoulder. She jerked away roughly, and then punched the offender in the gut.

“Gah! Zizz… it’s just me.” Silus Ordona wheezed, practically doubled over from her fist. “Aahhh, what have you done to me?”

The ‘lift doors opened and she took his elbow and towed him inside with her, mashing the ‘close doors’ icon until they did. “Oh my gods, I am sorry Silus. I thaught yoo were -,” she blushed purple, and tried to help him stand up straight. He waved her off weakly. “Just, sorry.”

“It’s okay,” he said after a moment, testing a more upright position. Silus rested his hands on his knees and took a deep breath before straightening completely. “I saw that creep, I just wanted to help you out.”

“Ha,” she replied, “Yes, I think yoo did help. No one messes with the crazy Twi’leki bitch tooday, look what she did too her friend!” Zizzy patted Silus lightly on the stomach. “I am sorry. But also glad I didn’t have my blade in my hand.”

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Meanwhile, on Coruscant [pt 1]

[written in 2012, “Meanwhile, on Coruscant” is a collection of short vingettes that take place on Coruscant during the timeline of the Star Wars movies, and beyond. They do not hold to existing Star Wars canon past the first trilogy, but I found it a very interesting exercise to explore things from the perspective of the common man. This is Part One.]

0 ABY

Zizzy Starseed was shoplifting again. Dana Stryder cast the teenager a sideways look, the blue skinned Twi’leki lurking by the candy aisle wearing a canvas jacket three sizes too big for her skinny frame. Their eyes met briefly, and the thirteen year old alien girl quickly averted her gaze and walked briskly out of the store.

Dana rubbed a hand gently over her bulging stomach, shuffling forward in line as the checker seemed to have fallen asleep while counting up change at the register. The shopping basket on her arm was beginning to drag her down toward the ground and she looked up with relief as it was lifted from her arm. “Oh, thahnk you Corrahn.”

Her husband leaned over and gave her a kiss on the cheek. “Anything for the mother of my child,” he teased, sorting through the contents of the basket before adding in a pack of stims.

Dana frowned. “You sahd you were going to quit. The smoke…” She tapped her pregnant belly and added, “I know, you’re going to smoke outside.”

“Yeah, yeah, I’m going to,” Corran agreed, as they finally got to the checkstand. He started unloading the items onto the conveyer belt as the check-droid scanned and put them into bags. “And then I’m going to quit. I promise. Before our baby comes.” He kissed her on the tip of her nose and gathered up the bags as she fumbled with a credit chit. The droid waited patiently for her to program the correct amount onto the chit, and then accepted it from her, pressing it into a slot on it’s barrel-like body.

“Have a good day, gentle beings,” it said haltingly, and then turned to the next customer.

Dana hurried out into the afternoon twilight of Coco district, the manufacturing zone where she and Corran both worked. He was waiting outside, a stim already between his lips. She felt like scolding him, but sighed instead and took one of the thin plastic bags from him. “C’mon, let’s go home.”

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Here be Dragyns

Dragons can take many forms. For me, personally, they take the shape of Anxiety and Self-Doubt. They sit on my shoulders and whisper into my ear that I’m not good enough. They reach down and pull from their hoard of memories just exactly the worst one for me to think about, and shove it inside my head.

If the movie Inside Out were real, Fear is sitting at the emotion console, trying to press the buttons.

Anxiety makes me worry about things I can’t do anything about. It squeezes my chest and makes it hard to breathe sometimes. To get rid of it, I try to ignore my fears – but when they come back they remind me that I was purposefully setting them aside, and that nothing has changed in my circumstances. Money is tight. Raising three kids is difficult. My relationships grow more strained, or distant.

Self-Doubt tells me that I’m just not good enough to overcome whatever it is that’s making me anxious. And the dragons circle around me like vultures, waiting to feast as I crawl into bed and pull the covers over my head.

So hear this, Dragons. I’m going to keep moving forward, even when you grab my ankles and try to slow me down. I may fall short of my goals, but at least I am moving toward them.

In the “Creativity Zone”

When I’m in the Zone, it’s great. My brain feels like it’s fizzing with creative energy, the words come down easily to the page, and new projects start to form along the edges of my consciousness.

I’m not quite ‘in the fizz’ of the Creativity Zone right now, but it’s close. I have writing projects (Mutants:Uprising’s loyal readers are patiently waiting for their next update, while Fae Child’s first draft still demands most of my attention), and a sewing project…

I like to sew, though the muse for that sort of creativity comes and goes. My plan is to sew a dress for Rose City Comic Con (it’s on Saturday!) and hand out bookmarks for Fae Child which is taking preorders on Inkshares. So I have the fabric and the pattern…just need to cut it out and sew it, no big deal. D:

There are things that threaten the Zone. School has started for my kids, and as I homeschool them, that’s the whole morning gone. A worthwhile use of my time, of course, but still a drain on my time. Then there’s work – a part-time job eats up my evenings.

Crowdfunding, or whatever my flailing attempts at it could be called, takes up a good chunk as well. When I’m not tweeting, or facebooking, or emailing possible supporters for Fae Child, I’m trying to be active in the community on Inkshares. There are so many wonderful authors and projects that I would love to support, but budget restrictions mean I can only support most of them with reviews or recommendations. So I do my best!

I hope to be fully in the Creativity Zone, feeling the ‘fizz’ as it were, but until I’m there again, with quiet time to write, I’ll be flailing away as best I can. 😀