Posted by Barb on 18/01/2016
And it’s another guest! A very sweet lady I found on Goodreads… who was kind enough to interview me on her blog! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Coreena Mc Burnie!
Where do you live and write from?
I live in British Columbia, Canada.
Why do you write?
I write because I love it. I love the connections I make when writing and the tingly feeling I get when I write a good scene. It also feels good to create stories that entertain people and take them somewhere else for awhile.
When did you start writing?
I’ve written poetry off and on throughout my life, but I took the plunge into novel writing around 7 years ago when I discovered National Novel Writing Month (challenge to write 50,000 words in November).
What genre(s) do you write?
I write a variety of things, but mostly mythological retellings. My current project is a young adult series retelling of the ancient Greek myths of Oedipus and his daughter Antigone.
What does your writing routine consist of?
I would love to be one of those people who treat writing like a job and work all day taking coffee breaks, but I’m not. I’m very sporadic. I have three kids and a recently diagnosed mental health illness. I write copious amounts during Novembers (Nanowrimo), then I take some time off and look at a different project and edit it as needed. I usually have a couple of projects on the go at any one time and go back and forth as the mood takes me. I do try and do something towards my writing every day, even if it consists of baby steps. They all add up and keep me in the flow.
What do you feel are your strengths as a writer? How have you developed these qualities?
I feel my strengths are my ability to see baby steps as steps in the right direction. Even if I don’t spend hours a day writing, I still do something and don’t give myself a bad time for not doing more. I’m better off doing half an hour a day rather than giving up and doing nothing, right?
Also, I love writing and my stories have moments of complete synchronicity which are wonderful and exhilarating. I look for and appreciate those moments, even if I have to slog through pages of terrible things first.
Where do you find your inspiration? Do you put yourself in your stories?
For a long time I didn’t write because I was afraid and wasn’t sure what to write. Finally I thought about what I love, which is ancient myths and culture, especially Greek, so I went there. I looked to the myths and what I like to read — I absolutely love a strong heroine — and combined them. I tell these ancient stories from the female protagonist’s point of view.
And yes, I think I do put myself in these stories. Sometimes as I am, sometimes as I would like to be. In one way or another, much of what the characters are is a reaction to my experiences.
Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?
I am essentially an improviser — I love giving my characters freedom to explore. However, one of the advantages of using established myths is that there are certain plot points to follow. How I get there is always an adventure, though.
I tend to write rather fast, but edit very, very slow. I’m working on this.
Tell us about your latest book.
My latest book is called Prophecy, and is Book 1 in the Antigone: The True Story series. It is based on the ancient Greek play called Oedipus Rex by Sophocles, where King Oedipus discovers that he’s killed his father and marries his mother, all without knowing it. Antigone is his daughter. She is a strong young woman, conflicted by her duties to her family, the gods, and to herself. It turns out that she can speak to snakes and that the gods have an interest in her, but her family is cursed. Antigone has to re-evaluate who she is and what her values are in order to decide which path to follow.
Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?
I decided to go the indie route. After doing a lot of research, it seemed like the best option for me. I like the flexibility of it and how it can connect authors and readers in a direct way. I also enjoy having control over my books and my publishing rights.
Any other projects in the pipeline?
I am working on Book 2 of the Antigone: The True Story series called Fate and also an adult novel that is the mythological retelling of Clyemnestra, who’s husband, Agamemnon, fought in the Trojan War.
What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?
My goal is to write books that I would enjoy reading, and, hopefully while doing that, I can entertain a few others as well. To achieve this, I am learning more about writing and publishing all the time and continuing to write books that speak to me.
What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?
Just write. Turn off your inner editor when you are writing your rough copy. Bad rough copies are better than no rough copies because then you have something to edit. Also, take baby steps, if necessary. Even half an hour of writing every day adds up to something.
Also, if you are interested, here are my bio and author links.
I write mythological fiction — my passion for ancient cultures started many years ago and, after studying Classics in university and earning my Master’s degree, I am channeling this love into my writing. Prophecy, book 1 in Antigone, The True Story series, is my first published novel. I do most of my writing in Novembers during Nanowrimo and spend the rest of the year editing and reading. I live in BC, Canada with my husband, three kids, and our cat
Posted by Barb on 17/01/2016
A little late, but then, it’s a random post, so… my tribute to David Bowie.
I did these drawings back in the 1980s to illustrate my first sci-fi “trilogy” (I wrote very short books back then, if I ever get to redrafting it, it will be just one book, not a trilogy) where he was one of the bad guys. In my old virtual casts he was often the bad guy… much like Jaredh in my favorite movie! :)
He was never a main muse, but well… he made it to the 21st century. He was Kol-ian’s father, Emperor Seti-luc, and then Bran, the celtic vampire that turns Rajveer. I wish he were immortal like Bran, but unfortunately he was just human. Or maybe not. This is one of the best pics/tributes I found on Facebook:
So long, David… I’m still here as the world falls down…
And in the meantime there was another big loss – Alan Rickman. I loved him in Galaxy Quest, Dogma, Robin Hood Prince of Thieves and any other thing I managed to see him in (no, no Harry Potter movies). Not too many, he was never much of a muse for my writing, but I will miss him too.
“I have lost control of SETH World,” the voice of Alex’s father announced gloomily. “I’m afraid that this space station is doomed. It has become the Death Star…”
Izzy-lee knew only vaguely what he was talking about. Alex had told her that in his youth his father had seen a movie where there was a space station shaped and sized like an artificial moon, which had made him exclaim, “Another galaxy, another era! We’re entering Star Wars!” upon seeing SETH World for the first time, ten years earlier.
“This is not a Gaian sci-fi movie, Dr. Da Vinci,” Izzy-lee snapped. “The best Humanoid scientists of the galaxy work here! Tell us what we can do!”
“Get away from here, kids.”
“I’m not leaving you, Dad,” Alex replied. “What can we do to reverse the process?”
“Nothing, I’m afraid… Oh, boy, I sound like Alan Rickman when he voiced Marvin the depressed robot of the Hitchhiker’s Guide…”
“Cut the shit, Dad, no time for jokes!” Alex snapped. “You didn’t come here all the way from Earth to be destroyed by a system malfunction! There’s no X-wing ship trying to destroy us!”
“Alex, I’m so proud of you.” The disembodied voice sighed. “Izzy-lee, take him away now. He can’t transform into a megarobot and save this artificial world.”
Posted by Barb on 15/01/2016
Hello beautiful people who keep showing up. This is a writer’s blog and this is a writing post! ;)
Yesterday I was checking through an old story to see if I had a description of a town I’m reusing in a story – my series is based on the world of Silvery Earth throughout its history, hence the need to reference to places I have already used in other stories – and noticed a “shocking” thing: I ended a chapter on a cliffhanger!
So it wasn’t all crap after all! I don’t do this anymore because it irritates me, but obviously I used to do it. Which tells me that maybe I could redraft some of those old stories after all. They need a lot of meat to meet the new standards, but they’re not totally hopeless! :)
So eventually I’ll get down to rewrite the stories of the Moren Empire, adapting it to Silvery Earth. Originally it was classical high fantasy with elves and dwarves, but turning it into a Silvery Earth “cycle” might be a good thing. When I’m done with the Tales of the Northern Kingdoms that spawned after the death of the last Moren Emperor, that is! ;)
Currently rewriting and expanding an old graphic novel that was also a fairy tale revisited (without the m/m aspect of the latest works) and adding more to Colors, the Snow White-slashed story I started in December. Having heard from the betas, I came up with a different ending, which is not at all unusual for me. That’s how Beautiful went from short story to short novel! :D
And how Rajveer was rewritten as well… but that’s why I love my beta-readers. Their comments help to make my stories better. They force me to think about what I’ve poured out and make sense of it! A very special thanks (in totally random order) to B-Abby, Lissa, Linda, Camila, Tori, Joleene, Nikalee, Jeff, Shafali and whoever else happened to read a story of mine before publication and comment on it! :)
A random selection of links for other writers who happen to stop by:
Penguin Random House and Author Solutions (Davig Gaughran) i.e. writer beware, beware and beware some more.
Starting Late (Dean Wesley Smith) which goes well with this guest post by CD Reiss. Starting late or 20 (like her) or 40 (like me) years ago doesn’t change a thing – as long as you don’t quit. Quitting is the only thing that can stop you from achieving success.
Have a great week! :)
Posted by Barb on 13/01/2016
Posted by Barb on 11/01/2016
I’m going to copy Shafali and mention a few random searches on this blog:
shahid kapoor pencil sketch yes, that you can find. I did only one because I don’t like his new look, haha! I might do another sometime in the future.
coloured pencil and pen sketching of salman khan nope, not even if you pay me… Sorry, I know how much you guys love him but I really can’t stand him. He’s Bollywood’s Tom Cruise for me and I’d rather avoid him at all costs.
You can find the other Khan, though, the King (vs the Emperor, mwhahahaha). I even re-watched Happy New Year on New Year’s Eve…
As for the spam comments, here’s the first of the new year:
on the wrong post anyway – with all the Rajveer-related posts, this person picked the wrong one! ;) Besides, methinks that vampire and human don’t go together. I mean, one is either one or the other, not both! :D What does my esteemed colleague Joleene Naylor think about this? ;)
Ending with movies: Dear Offline Beta lent me Before Midnight, so I spent Christmas, Boxing Day and Sunday rewatching the whole trilogy. Nice closure! I also got myself the DVD of the Invisible Boy and watched it (and re-read the graphic novel that goes with it). Now I only need to read the related novel. And wait for a sequel, if there ever will be one (although it’s hinted in one of the graphic novel panels, not to mention the open ending…)! ;)
Have a great weekend! :D
Posted by Barb on 08/01/2016
New year, new header, new me? Not really. Does it at least look like it’s a professional writer’s blog? Yes, no? Ah, well. I’m still going to be me this year. Probably focusing more on writing projects on Wednesdays, random stuff (art or readings or publishing related) on Fridays and mostly interviews on Sundays.
Basically: being the writer that I am, not the writer other people want me to be. Not that my fans are very vocal yet (are you there?), but one must be prepared. This career is not yet a career, since I’m only 5 years in and to make a career you need at least 10, but whatever.
So for the Upcoming Year I also want to concentrate more on writing, but not just that. It will be the the Year of the Writer but also the year of more Learning. I intend to take at least two more workshops – either one craft and one business, or two craft in specific areas. Still digesting last year’s learning, though, so not right now.
I want to be more productive and reach that 500K words of fiction and intend to send more short stories out to traditional magazines. Unless I write only novellas, for which there are less markets. Sigh. In the first six months I’ll also issue 11 POD + the new titles that I plan on writing.
Like I mentioned in previous posts, I’m never sure how long a story will be, but I’ve planned at least two novels and a number of shorter works. Tales of the Northern Kingdoms of Silvery Earth, a few more Star Minds Interregnum stories, a present-day story (if I manage to nail it), a possible sequel of an old title, more vampire historicals and some.
Samantha the Witch and the Desi Vampire – the comic is in the coloring process, then will need to be lettered, then I’ll decide what to do with it, along with the strip of Me and Da Muses. I might experiment with KDP Select with one title or two – or not. Haven’t decided yet.
Currently turning an old graphic novel that badly needed either rewriting or redrawing (I opted for the less hard for me, rewriting and turning into prose, rather than starting on another 150pages comic book) into a novella or short novel, then I’ll do the same with another and next month I’ll get to the new stuff.
I also hope to finish Chandaka and Daya’s story this month. And then I’ll start thinking about Kaylyn’s novel. Two out of four betas loved the new ending of Rajveer the Vampire (haven’t heard from the other two yet), but it’s not the end of the story, so stay tuned! ;)
Now I better go back to writing… got a weekly wordcount to meet! ;) Have a great week!
Posted by Barb on 06/01/2016
Posted by Barb on 04/01/2016
Let’s start with nuggets of writerly wisdom for a productive writing year… Double ration, shorter and sweeter! Happy New Year!!
Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on
– Louis L’Amour
When I sit down at my writing desk, time seems to vanish. I think it’s a wonderful way to spend one’s life.
– Erica Jong
Get it down. Take chances, It may be bad, but the the only way you can do anything really good.
– William Faulkner
Don’t be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly in whatever is in hand.
– Henry Miller
Most people go through life using up half their energy trying to protect a dignity they never had
― Raymond Chandler
There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never quite know where they’ll take you.
– Beatrix Potter
Go to the edge of the cliff and jump off. Build your wings on the way down.
– Ray Bradbury
You want to be a writer? A writer is someone who writes every day – so start writing.
– Shonda Rhimes
Write what you know. Write what you want to know more about. Write what you’re afraid to write about.
– Cec Murphy
You don’t have to be great to get started, but you have to get started to be great.
– Les Brown
You don’t find time to write. You make time.
– Nora Roberts
Posted by Barb on 03/01/2016