Happiness is…


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Sunday Surprise


d40388e226a77c7ce70c8ceee77644540f223979_resizeDid you support her Thunderclap? Yes? No? Well, she’s back anyway. She was already in Wyrd Worlds, but she’s also in Wyrd Worlds 2. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome back A.L. Butcher!

Where do you live and write from?

I live in Bristol, in the South West of the UK. It’s an historic city, John Cabot sailed from Bristol to America, Isambard Kingdom Brunel built bridges and railways here, and there has been a settlement in these parts since the Stone Age.  

When did you start writing?

At school, same as everyone else…. Seriously though I assume you mean storytelling? I was always an imaginative child, I was the one writing the poem/short story for the school display or off somewhere in my own head. I’ve written poetry for as long as I can remember and stories almost as long. OK, a fair few were best not mentioned, but a fair few were worthy of note, even at school. This progressed to writing fan fic for Phantom of the Opera and adventures for games.  Then onto novels and short stories.  I think either you are a story teller or you aren’t. Learning the technical ins and outs – now that is another matter. An author can always learn something new.
What genre(s) do you write?

Fantasy, fantasy romance and erotica. I’ve mentioned the poetry and I occasionally dip into horror.

LBTS Book IWhere do you find your inspiration? Do you put yourself in your stories?

Everywhere. Books I’ve read, films I’ve seen, nature, people, other stories I’ve written. I think every writer puts him or herself into his or her own books, certainly fiction writers do.  If you mean do I cast myself? Not on purpose.

Do you have a specific writing routine?

No. I have lots of folders of notes and half-ideas. I am far too chaotic for routine;)

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

See number 5. I have vague outlines but they are just that – vague. I’ve tried to plan but they end up changing so now I just have notes and ideas, which work, or don’t. I do have someone I discuss ideas with and she tells me if they are stupid.  I work full time so I only get to write in the evenings and weekends, assuming I am not too tired. If I am good and motivated I can usually write a short story in an afternoon but a novel – that is a totally different matter. It usually takes me about a year or more to write a novel. Is that  fast or slow?

Book 2 EbookTell us about your latest book

Wyrd Worlds II. It is an anthology produced by a collaboration of science fiction and fantasy authors from the Smashwords author group on Good Reads. As the name suggests it is the second we have done, and it is a lot of fun. It is free – which is a good way of spreading our names. Hopefully someone will read the book and decide to check out the authors’ other works. At least that is the plan.

What else? Now let me see. Also fairly recently Spectacular Tales with the Indie Collaboration – another free science fiction and fantasy collection offered for free.

Tales of Erana: Myths and Legends – audio book. – Tales of Erana is a collection of mythic style tales set in the world of my novels. The e-book was released a while ago but the audio book is new. It is great hearing such tales read like fireside wisdom and storytelling.

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

Indie. I like the freedom it brings. The deadlines and control of the book are mine. My books are generally a little outside mainstream as the novels contain a degree of erotica. Indie publishing allows for the more varied and outside mainstream books to be published.  Of course there are downsides.

a lady in a medieval gown sitting on a stone and reading a bookAny other projects in the pipeline?

Book III of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles is in progress, plus several short stories. There will be an erotica collection with a fellow author later in the year as well, we hope.

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?

Finishing my series, and hopefully publishing a few more novels. I’d like be able to live from the writing, but for indies that is rare. What am I doing? I keep writing, Book III will be out soonish and I am planning book IV.  I’d like to produce a roleplay game system for the world as well. That won’t be until most of the series is done, and I need to find an artist for that.  I try and promote regularly, but that too has its pitfalls. The line between promotion and over-promotion is a thin one indeed. Networking has provided some great contacts and opportunities so, with luck, that will reap rewards.

____________________________

The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles series – an adult fantasy/fantasy romance series, with a touch of erotica.

The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles – Book I

In a dark world where magic is illegal and elves are enslaved a young elven sorceress runs for her life from the house of her evil Keeper. Pursued by his men and the corrupt Order of Witch-Hunters she must find sanctuary. As the slavers roll across the lands stealing elves from what remains of their ancestral home the Witch-Hunters turn a blind eye to the tragedy and a story of power, love and a terrible revenge unfolds.

Available as an e-book in all the Amazon stores, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Sony and the Smashwords associate stores.

Also available as a paperback and Large Print on Createspace, Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

The Shining Citadel – The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles –Book II

Who rules in this game of intrigue where magic is forbidden and elves enslaved? Journey where beliefs shatter like glass, truth is unwelcome and monsters from ancient times abound: share the romance and revenge, magic and passion, and the wages of greed in a world of darkest fantasy.

Available as an e-book in all the Amazon Stores, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Sony and the Smashwords associate stores.

Available as a paperback on Amazon, Createspace and Barnes and Noble.

Tales of Erana: Myths and Legends

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00JCHQWJK

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JCHQWJK

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/tales-erana-myths-legends/id867836913?mt=11

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tales-of-erana-alexandra-butcher/1119319325?ean=2940045846837

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/tales-of-erana-myths-and-legends

Audio Book

http://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/Tales-of-Erana-Audiobook/B00LB8WH0G/

http://www.amazon.com/Tales-Erana-Myths-Legends/dp/B00LCEUJ5E

http://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/Tales-of-Erana-Audiobook/B00LB8Q4JG/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tales-Erana-Myths-Legends-Unabridged/dp/B00LBCTSA4

erana banner

Wyrd Worlds II

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/478114

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23253332-wyrd-worlds-ii

http://www.wyrdstar.co.uk/books/wyrdworlds.html

The Indie Collaboration Presents: Tales from Darker Places

http://www.amazon.com/Indie-Collaboration-Presents-Chilling-Anthology-ebook/dp/B00ODS3HQY

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Indie-Collaboration-Presents-Chilling-Anthology-ebook/dp/B00ODS3HQY

chronicles bannerAuthor Bio:

A. L. Butcher is the British author of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles series and several short stories in the fantasy and fantasy romance genre.  She is an avid reader and creator of worlds, a poet and a dreamer. When she is grounded in the real world she likes science, natural history, history and monkeys. Her work has been described as ‘dark and gritty’

Blog: http://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6430414.A_L_Butcher

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Alexandra-Butcher/e/B008BQFCC6/

Twitter:@libraryoferana

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DarkFantasyBeyondTheStorm

cebook.com/DarkFantasyBeyondTheStorm

Random Friday


This piece was submitted to an anthology of rejections and it was, well, rejected (with a very nice rejection letter). I thought I’d share the story with you anyway – just to fill in a random Friday! :)

A WRITER’S DREAM

by Barbara G.Tarn

This is an old story, mostly from last century. There was this Italian girl who was uprooted from French-speaking countries, where she was doing just fine, to go back to her hometown. From an international setting to Europe’s most provincial capital, Rome. She hated it. And locked in. And started writing stories, where she had boyfriends, plenty of friends and lots of adventures while in real life she was painfully shy and definitely an introvert.

She wrote and wrote, dozens of notebooks throughout high school and beyond. She even took a typing course, and started typing with ten fingers on electric typewriters. You guessed it – that was me. I wrote and dreamed to be published. I did a couple of contests, but either I didn’t win or it was vanity presses asking money to have you in the anthology. Glad I didn’t have any money and my mom was savvy enough not to give it to me! We even watched together a TV show that had a vanity publisher vs. a real publisher, and they said “A real publisher will not ask for money, he will pay you” – which was what I always thought.

The 1990s came (and the PC with a black&white screen, since I used it only as word processor) and I realized that if I wanted to be published, I needed to submit. Doh. I know, too locked in to realize the most obvious thing to do. No publisher could know I was writing hundreds of great stories if I didn’t query, right?

So I sent a manuscript to a medium publisher of genre fiction that screamed “amateurish” since I had put my cover on it. Yikes. I didn’t know the rules, so I broke them. I thought to impress them with my drawing skills, and probably failed completely. The manuscript was sent back to me with a short letter saying they didn’t accept unagented submissions. What? Agents?

It was the dawn of the internet, so with some research, I found a literary agent. They kindly replied that they didn’t take on new writers. What the…? Publishers didn’t want unagented submissions and agents didn’t take on new writers? I was bummed. But I kept writing.

I started writing gay fiction and submitted to a small GLBT publisher. I received a nice long rejection letter that basically said “Your characters have no past and no future. You’re not literary enough. Why don’t you try to write for TV?” I tried with another work, and the second rejection was blunter “We didn’t like your novel, thank you.” Oh, well.

But the lightbulb of an idea switched on at the mention of writing for TV. You see, I have a visual imagination. I write down the little movies playing in my head. My first stories were often episodic like TV shows. I stopped watching TV in the early 1990s, but I still watched and loved movies. Hollywood movies.

So I decided to start writing in English. It was the beginning of the new millennium, internet was available and finding screenplays and how to write them online not an impossible feat. Since the prose is simpler and English is a second (or third) language for me, I decided to start from there.

In the meantime, I attended book fairs and comicons in Italy and France, talking to publishers both of books and comics, trying to find the perfect match. Before submitting, I always made sure to buy at least one book from the publisher to see what kind of stories they liked – which means I read a lot of crap, mostly from new authors. I didn’t find anything worthy, but discovered a couple more vanity publishers in the process… and I turned down their offer.

A few more rejections and fruitless trips to LA later, I was thinking of querying traditional publishers again. My English had improved, I had an English-speaking writers group and felt confident enough to go back to my first love, prose. Writing screenplays wasn’t as satisfying, since there were too many rules and it was almost impossible for a foreigner to break into Hollywood. Which, by the way, would mean spending my life rewriting other people screenplays, not writing my own stuff. Not exactly what I had in mind.

I translated a fantasy novel into English. I checked guidelines and wordcounts, and started rewriting. I was stuck in rewriting hell, though, and I never reached the “minimum wordcount” required in traditional publishing. But I did write one query letter for DAW books.

I never sent it. E-books and the indie publishing revolution happened. I’ve published my first e-books in 2011, including that novel. I stopped trying to fit into a mold. I’ve published almost seventy titles, in two languages, long or short, drawn or written. I was always prolific – another no-no for traditional publishers – and even if I’m using a couple more pseudonyms, I have one main pen name.

I might never reach 100,000 words for a novel, but I write what I want to read and have fun doing it. I have my own voice, untouched by years of no feedback except a couple of friends who helped me tame my fantasies and checked for plot holes. Eventually, I did go to creative writing courses and learned about points of view and other “rules”, but I basically stick to what I know.

I sometimes get discouraged by the time wasted in the publishing stuff – formatting, mostly – since I’d rather be off writing. But now I can draw my own covers (and got better at it) or hire an artist and nobody will care. I am in control of my writing and my career.

Because I’ve heard that publishing a short story in a magazine might be “free marketing”, I submitted a couple of shorts to SFF mags who accepted e-mail submissions. I collected a couple of rejections and went on to publish the shorts in my anthology (they were related to my science fantasy series). I might try to send more in the future, just in case. I can wait the time it takes those editors to accept or reject my stories before I publish them myself.

I have now published two million words of fiction, and I’m not counting the blog posts, or the comics and graphic novels. I enjoy being part of the indie revolution. I know my readers will find me in the sea of new books. It’s a slow climb, but I won’t have to deal with rejections from the gatekeepers anymore!

Writer Wednesday


My name is Brenda de Zorig and I’m a journalist for the Konigtown Gazette. I’ve been on the road for years as an actress in an itinerant company, but eventually decided to go back to my hometown to start living of the thing I like the most – writing. So while I write my Masterpiece, I took this job at the Gazette and they send me on various assignments… I thought I might as well starting interviewing random people. Since I intend to write fiction, but truth is always stranger than fiction, I’m eager to hear about people out there – on my world or beyond.

EarthCoverSo, erm… hello. Tell me a little about yourself.

I’m Samantha and I come from another world. We can all do some kind of magic, and we usually are born twins. My twin’s name is Sonia, and we’re twenty-three. Of course we’ve been twenty-three forever, and we’re not really looking for our Prince Charming. I mean, not even my friend Jessica, who doesn’t have a twin, or my elder sisters Veruska and Vanessa who are twenty-five…

Whoa, slow down! Lots of names that make no sense here! Describe your appearance in ten words or less.

*glares for the interruption* A brunette with blue eyes, what else? Don’t you have eyes?

*rolls eyes* Do you have an enemy or nemesis? If so, who are they and how did they become an enemy?

No, I don’t, or I wouldn’t be bored and spend my time watching other worlds such as yours!

Would you kill for those you love? And would you die for them?

Honey, we don’t die on Silvery Earth. So your question makes no sense whatsoever.

Wait, my world is called Silvery Earth and we’re not immortals!

That’s because you were created by that silly Italian writer. That’s the NEW Silvery Earth. I’m from the original Silvery Earth. It might have been created by a child with a wild imagination and an overdramatic story sense, but it’s not just for kids anymore.

Are you involved in a relationship? If so, with who and what is it about them that you find appealing?

No, I told you, I don’t believe in Prince Charming. Although if I ever find a Desi vampire… I might think about it! But only if he looks like… well, I’m not saying. Just in case. Careful what you wish for, it might happen and you might not like it! Ask Marian, if you don’t believe me!

Who’s Marian? *shrugs* Never mind… What is the biggest challenge you face in the story?

I don’t have challenges. I’m the deus ex machina! I’m the one who switches bodies at will, so it’s my “victims” who have challenges to overcome! So ask that to Johnny&Marian, Ciaran&Harith or Pat&Babs!

*sighs* This is getting worse every minute… Please give me an interesting and unusual fact about yourself.

Mmm… never been in love and probably never will. All powerful in my world and all the others… why am I still talking to you anyway? You’re boring. You fell in love with a portrait!

*glares* I didn’t!

You did! Yes, Kevan de Sire is gorgeous, but he’ll never look at you!

PODAnd I don’t expect him to! Damn! Are you a witch of what?

A witch, a fortune teller, a faery in human form… that’s how they’ve called me so far.

So you read the future?

Unfortunately, no. That would be fun.

*snorts* Trying to change it, mostly?

*grins* That would be really fun… but not going to happen, unfortunately. Are we done yet? I’ve got things to do!

Like what, switching bodies?

Nah, I promised three would be enough. So I’ll have to find another pastime. Maybe I’ll go looking for that Desi vampire after all. On Earth. Ever heard of Earth? No? Thought so…

______________________________________________________

Brenda de Zorig is one of the protagonists of Books of the Immortals – Earth. Samantha the Witch is the one to blame for the three body switches – Johnny&Marian, Ciaran&Harith and Pat&Babs. And she might eventually meet a Desi vampire.

Happiness is…


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Wyrd Worlds Interview Series – Barbara Tran


Originally posted on ztyoauthor:

d40388e226a77c7ce70c8ceee77644540f223979_resize

The idea behind any anthology is two fold. As an author you get the chance to bring your work to many that may have never been exposed to your work. As a reader you get the, free, opportunity to discover new authors thus extending your to-be-read list. In an effort to help you learn a little more about the authors of Wyrd Worlds II, I bring you the “Wyrd Worlds II interview series”. Each week I’m going to, attempt depending on their schedules, bring you an interview from a different author.

This week’s interview is coming from Barbara Tarn. Barbara’s contributed Guisarme, a fantasy adventure following the title character. Guisarme is a female assassin in a guild on a mission to discover what happened to her friend, and mentor.

Where do you live and write from?

I was born in Rome, but having spent 8 wonderful years abroad, I consider…

View original 825 more words

Sunday Surprise


d40388e226a77c7ce70c8ceee77644540f223979_resizeAnd it’s a fellow Wyrd Worlder who joined the gang for volume 2! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Michael Puttonen!

Where do you live and write from?

I live in rural northern Minnesota, about a hundred miles from the Canadian border. I do all my writing from my home, on a laptop in an upstairs room. Nearby lakes and woodlands provide surroundings soothing to both mind and spirit and helpful to my creativity. For a relaxing walk in the woods, I simply step out my front door. Over the years, I have heard the howls of wolves at night, and from my window witnessed the occasional black bear or moose passing through.

When did you start writing?

I had not entertained the notion of being a writer until 1980, when I not only became interested in writing, but also in possible publication. I took a course in children’s writing and discovered I enjoyed the process and the satisfaction that came from putting my creative thoughts to paper.

 What genre(s) do you write?

The main genre I write in is action/adventure with a fantasy element, though I began as a children’s writer. For my children’s stories, I would write the text, then make a picture book dummy to get a sense of how the artwork (which I had to imagine) might fit, and then send publishers the text-only manuscript in hopes they would show interest. Children’s picture books are difficult to write, especially for a non-artist, as the writer has to keep in mind how well his words translate into pictures. These books have a defined structure. Your story has to fit within page guidelines, while at the same time matching art to text in a seamless manner. Word choice is also a factor, as there are different reading levels that require age appropriate text. To my disappointment, my stories found little interest among traditional publishers. Still, I have managed to incorporate a few of my favorite stories into a self-published e-book called Seven and One Tales for Young Readers.

The genre for my Sanyel novels is adventure/fantasy, for lack of a better description. My main character is a teenage girl born into a tribal society, who at a young age has already begun to impact her male-dominated culture (and the world beyond) with her unusual skills, intelligence, and fearlessness. The pulp fantasy of Edgar Rice Burroughs has influenced my writing, and though our styles differ, I endeavor to write exciting adventure stories in a vein similar to his, but with a female protagonist rather than Burroughs’ traditional male hero. My books in this series carry a young adult label, though I have never been comfortable with that designation, as I feel these novels would appeal to a broad range of readers, as did those of Burroughs.

Where do you find your inspiration? Do you put yourself in your stories?

What prompts ideas to come into my head is often hard to pinpoint. I’m sure small or large incidents that left an impact on me, whether recent or from the past, inspire some stories, and others evolve from random thoughts that strike a chord, that seem interesting enough to write down and pursue. My story for Wyrd Worlds II came to me as the words “never was, never were.” I had nothing else, but felt compelled to write a story based on just that. I started writing, not knowing what I was going to end up with, which turned out to be a rather odd little tale.

I could not see myself as a character in my stories, but my thoughts on a variety of subjects find their way into my tales, mainly through those characters I force to express them. They have no choice.

Do you have a specific writing routine?

I write in the mornings, and I try to write something each day. That rarely works out. When not distracted by other things, I try to write as many words as the flow on that day allows. Sometimes I can manage only a few paragraphs, and on other days words stream across my computer screen, filling page after page. I let my writing come to me. If I’m not feeling it, I don’t try to force it. I might not write anything on a particular story for days, with the time away often serving as a refresher for ideas and direction. I come back to the keyboard and find I have acquired new inspiration. I don’t feel the anxiety of deadlines, so I am able to write at a pace comfortable to me.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

I never outline anything in any detail. I make a few plot notes on a story that I might want to incorporate into it at some point, but I let my stories take me in any direction they desire to go. I usually have a general sense where I am headed, but how I get there is the exciting part. As I proceed, characters pop up as necessary to advance the plot, and often offer opportunities to add extra elements I hadn’t considered. So many times these minor characters provide important links that bind the story into a coherent whole. At times I make wrong turns and have to backtrack, but I have never encountered serious problems in letting a story lead me.

In answer to the fast or slow question, I am a rather deliberate writer, so fast is not a word I recognize.

Tell us about your latest book (add link if published)

I am presently working on a book called Circles and Stones. It is the third novel in my Sanyel series, featuring a teenage female shaman who is a kick-ass force for change in a male-dominated world. Threads of continuing story lines run through all the Sanyel books, but each contains a separate main story that concludes within each novel. Circles and Stones returns to a story line introduced in the second book, one never followed through by our heroes, as another adventure took them on an unexpected detour. Now, Sanyel and her trusted friends will again try to fulfill the mission she promised to the priest, Borsar—to rescue his son from a scheming madwoman. As always happens with a Sanyel adventure, however, these things never go as planned and curious side attractions intrude. The title refers to formations of grass circles with a single stone at their edge that Sanyel first encountered in Disrupter. The purpose and origin of the circles figure into this story and provide another connection to ongoing revelations of an advanced culture long vanished from the planet.

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

If traditional publishers had shown any interest in me, I would have gone that route without hesitation. However, that did not happen with my children’s stories, as I spent many frustrating years attempting to attract notice. When I began writing novels, I again planned to try the traditional route, but the lure of self-publishing pushed me to abandon that long-odds approach and aim for a degree of certainty. The prospect of lengthy response times from publishers and rejection form letters made the decision a no-brainer, as I didn’t want to go through that process again. I am happy with the results, even if I have to control every aspect, such as marketing and promotion, areas in which I know I need to improve to find greater success.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

I am working on nothing other than Circles and Stones right now, which is halfway to completion as of this writing. I had thoughts of putting together another collection of my children’s stories, but that is on the back burner for now.

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?

My initial goal as a writer was simply to see my work in print, and to learn if anyone found my writing interesting. I have been encouraged by the response so far, but there is still much to accomplish. I will continue to write and hope to make inroads with readers by putting myself out there to a greater degree than I have in the past, so people can get to know me.

My website: www.michlputtonen.com

My author pages:

Amazon

Goodreads

Smashwords

My social site pages:

Facebook

Twitter

Random Friday


Sort of Art Friday. Sort of Bang Bang dare. Sort of. Anyway, I did my Bang Bang artwork – and here’s the WiP – even if I haven’t seen the movie yet. Next week. Which doesn’t mean I’m going to review it, since this isn’t a movies reviews blog, but when I come back I might have some vignette to comment on it like I did last November. And you can see it in the gallery on the official page as well.

Speaking of Da Muse #2, here’s a toonsie roll caricature of him done with a wonderful new app you should absolutely try! ;) And I’m having both Da Muses done in “chibi” version, but more on that if and when I get the actual drawing by very talented Mrs Waffle. The sketch is awesome, but needs a couple of changes…

Have a wonderful weekend!

Writer Wednesday


Starn Minds Next Generation is out to betas. I’m not uploading anything on NoiseTrade this month, since it doesn’t look like anyone is interested. I’ll probably keep the next short stories I’ll write to gift to newsletter subscribers (if I don’t submit them to trad mags), but I’ll let you know when I make up my mind. Giving a final pass to the Assassins’ Guild so I can send it to editor/proofreader before leaving for my much awaited vacation.

Lots of scheduled posts coming, but you won’t have time to miss me. This is the last batch of writerly links for a while, since I won’t be checking much in the following weeks, so another update by the end of the month.

Daving Gaughran on building a better industry. And guest on his blog is Johanna Penn on why authors should be entrepreneurs.

Dean Wesley Smith on daring to be bad - which came at the right time when I was thinking that the short story wasn’t good enough to submit to trad mags. Maybe I’ll submit it anyway, and if they reject it, I’ll keep it for newsletter subscribers! ;)

And that’s all for today… have a great week!

Happiness is…


120

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