Violet Sky #writephoto

Sue Vincent #writephoto

Sue Vincent #writephoto

Violet Sky

We gathered at the border of the road, called out of our misery by one of the children. The dawn bled, a bruised and bloody wound. How fitting for the sixth extinction.

Yet, it was a dawning.

I had thought, long before the die-off, that we might poison the planet and arise one morning in disbelief that we couldn’t survive on an obliterated world. Or perhaps disease would usher mankind to the pyres, our super-viruses ravaging our weak and chemical-laden bodies. Of course, mutual annihilation was a possibility, the promise of our youth and sum of our talent and treasure dedicated to war. The end always made for entertaining speculation.

Who would have believed the culprit was time, all spiraling down with the slow ticking of the clock, the December of the human race.

I peered at the upturned faces of our isolated band as the heavens thrust spears of light through the clouds’ closing gash. My companions’ bodies appeared to glow in the rare sunlight, their radiant souls shining through, reclaiming lost beauty. In their smiles, I witnessed the dawning of hope and hadn’t the heart to tell them we were ghosts.

**

Thanks to Sue Vincent of The Daily Echo for another enticing photo prompt. She tosses these out to us on Thursdays and reblogs our submissions. It’s great fun. Head over and give it a try!

Striking the Motherlode

flightfoxcom

image from flightfox.com

Well, I have a gift for you today. NO, it’s not a book. Phew!

A friend of mine shared a link with me, and when I opened it, I gasped. My knees turned to syrup, and I wiped tears of delight from my eyes. I’d struck writing gold.

Brandon Sanderson, the highly successful author of Mistborn and The Way of Kings fame, teaches a master’s level class at BYU for fantasy and science-fiction writers. The class is so popular that only a small number of interested students actually get to enroll. In response to the flood of despair, the entire series of winter lectures were videotaped and are available on YouTube at zero cost.

image from thebooksmuggler.com

image from thebooksmuggler.com

You don’t write sci-fi or fantasy, you say.

I will assert, while skipping in circles with excitement, that the ideas he presents are 99% applicable to all fiction writing. He covers a broad range of choices and approaches, and rarely lays down any hard fast rules. Writers will fill up their brains with ideas while being told to discover what works for them.

(Just to warn you, he does hate passive sentences and has an odd aversion to the word “replied”).

Now, this is a ton of material that includes not only invaluable lessons on writing, but also on how to pitch, sell, and market a book. He’s tidily listed the lessons by content so it’s possible to pick and choose what you’re interested in learning about. The complete listing, with links to each lecture is here: Brandon Sanderson Writing Seminar.

Enjoy!

Pondering Time Zones

image from faradayschools.com

image from faradayschools.com

No stranger to discussions on the fluidity of perception, I’m often pondering the different ways of interpreting events, places, and people. I include myself in the mix. Who I am is entirely based on a host of perspectives, mine and others. It changes minute by minute influenced by a stirred up stew of subtle and not so subtle emotions.

image from popsci.com

image from popsci.com

Even the date of my birth is subject to interpretation depending where I and you live in relation to the International Date Line. Time is real, I suppose, but it’s also invented. When my brother used to fly back from Guam, he would arrive in Seattle an hour before he left Guam. Weird, huh?

When I started blogging, I became more aware of the play of time zones. I’m closer to the time-flip than quite a few readers so while I’m posting over a coffee and buttered bagel, some of you are slipping into your pajamas after a long day. If I post in the afternoon, you’re snoozing or rushing off to work.

image from pixshark.com

image from pixshark.com

WordPress occasionally confuses me. My stats show views on Tuesday and here it’s still Monday. My posts are time traveling into the future!

 

Then it only gets more complicated…

According to Kiss Metrics timing is everything and knowing when to post is mandatory for any successful blogger.

  • The highest percentage of users read blogs in the morning. Therefore, I should post occasionally at night?
  • A higher percentage of men read blogs in the evening and at night. Oh, so perhaps I should post in the morning…
  • The average blog gets the most traffic on Monday.  So, now and then I should post on Sunday which is Monday in half the world.
image from beforeitsnews.com

image from beforeitsnews.com

To be fair, these recommendations are based on Eastern Standard Time, so it shouldn’t be all that muddling to me. Yet I care about my readers across the oceans and continents, and I think about them and where they are in their “times,” so near and yet thousands of miles away.

To finish off the stats here are the rest (based on EST):

  • The average blog gets the most traffic around 11am.
  • The average blog gets the most comments on Saturday.
  • The average blog gets the most inbound links on Monday and Thursday.
  • The average blog gets the most inbound links at 7am.

According to that round up, the best time for me to post is just before 4 AM on Saturday morning. Not gonna happen.

I’d love to hear about your slice of agreed upon time. It’s 4 AM out here when it’s 7 AM in New York (EST). What day and time is it for you?

 

Five Elements Anthology Supports Children’s Literacy

Children have a natural love of books. I remember reading to my daughter as an infant and toddler. Her first words weren’t mama and dada. In her little, raspy, Yoda voice, she uttered, “Reeead booook.”

We cuddled as we read the same books over and over and over and over and over again until we’d both memorized the words. We made weekly trips to the library and carted armfuls of books back and forth to our little home. She still loves to read.

DSC00609

The Overlord, age 1

Now I’m repeating history with the overlord, already book-obsessed at the age of two. Here he is reading one of my books. He just got to the good part!

 

WWLogo-1in300When my writers group and I pulled together a little sci-fi/fantasy anthology, not one of us volunteered to take the role of accountant. To make things easy, we elected to donate 100% of the profits to support a literacy program for children run by Willamette Writers, the largest writers organization in the Pacific Northwest.

BooksForKids2The program, Books for Kids, collects and distributes books to underprivileged youth in over 75 agencies and organizations. These new and used books land in the hands of children and teens that might not otherwise have them.

For $.99 you can download a kindle copy of the Five Elements Anthology and get seven short stories, knowing that all the profit (about $0.30 per book) will benefit Books for Kids. If interested, here’s the Amazon link: Five Elements Anthology

Five Elements Cover From May 7 – May 11, Five Elements Anthology will be Free on Kindle. In order to preserve our commitment to children’s literacy, I will make a direct donation of $0.30 to benefit Books for Kids for every free download up to $100.00 (and will post the receipt).

Of course, direct tax-deductible donations to Books from Kids are more than welcome and can be made on their website. The link is here: Books for Kids

Thank you for everything you do in your own way to support future readers.

Interview: Sheron McCartha, Sci-fi Author and Book Reviewer

book+picture1Sheron Wood McCartha is the author of the Alysian Universe Series that now totals seven books. Sheron also hosts the Sci-fi Book Review, offering weekly book recommendations and articles about writing and the publishing industry.

 DWP: Welcome Sheron. Thanks for joining me today. I’d like to kick off this interview with the old stand by…what inspired you to pick up a pen and start writing?

41vXdaY81RLSWM: Science fiction has been one of my passions for a long time thanks to my father. There were times my mother would go hunting for him only to find him hiding out in the bathroom, avidly reading some science fiction book as if it were a forbidden treat. I now understand this behavior. Sometimes I read in out-of-the-way places too, feeling as if I’m partaking of some guilty pleasure. He always talked about how he planned to write the great science fiction novel. Later, he stated that he’d write it after he retired. Then he retired and started on his novel. One day he came to me and shook his head. “I love to read it,” he said, “but I can’t write it.” When he threw up his hands in defeat, I saw the torch arcing my way and caught it.

91CAFU9EHLL._SL1500_DWP: I’m sorry he didn’t reach his goal, but what a gift he gave to you. You clearly ran with it.

SWM: I was determined to accomplish his dream, but it didn’t happen for many years. Then, one night, during a long, boring drive home with my husband from a vacation weekend, we passed a billboard with the name Penryn on it. That one brief glance sparked my imagination. A whole world and generations of exotic characters, places, and events came into being, giving me years of writing. No wonder I focus on time and its effect in my books.

41kRHSE61vLDWP: The Alysian Universe Series has time travel as a major element. Tell us about that.

SWM: When I started writing, a book on time travel appealed to me. I began to explore the many ways time might be manipulated, first by traveling into the past…then into the future. In my first book Caught in Time, Rowyna Grae travels back into a medieval past. In subsequent books, Arwoyn Telluria (and then his clone Kayse) travels into the future and has to adapt to an advanced society.

More ideas popped into my mind. What if one of my characters could stop time? Rewind time? Jump from one timeline to another? My mind began to whirl with the possibilities, and I realized that I needed a genetic line of time manipulators. So I created the Telluran line that carries a time Talent gene, and I had fun with it.

81y2ok-1dALDWP: Caught in Time kicks off the series. Would you tell us a bit more about it?

SWM: Caught In Time is a time travel, science fiction adventure and romance that takes place on Alysia, an alien planet. It’s the story of Rowyna Grae who always thought she was human until the day that Arwoyn Telluria, the last dying time traveler, tells her that she was created using bits of his DNA…specifically the gene for time travel. It doesn’t take long for things to go awry. Arwoyn dies and the new regime wants to send her back to medieval times to assassinate a king. The inexperienced lab assistant, Richard Steele, frantically sends her to the wrong place and loses her.

The reader is plunged into a world of the past with a heroine who struggles to survive and deal with a self-absorbed king that she finds herself falling in love with against all better judgment. The dialog is fun and the action continuous. As she meets new situations, she creates havoc in the past that changes the future. Poor Richard Steele has to deal with the consequences…and most often, they are not the pleasant kind. He is thrown into various timelines because of her actions. He finds himself on the whip end of events and he becomes desperate to get her back…if he can locate her, if the time machine is still working, and if she even wants to come back at all.

81W+wJ8I3sL._SL1500_DWP: Sounds like a fun read. How do you come up with your story ideas?

SWM: At one point, years ago, I questioned whether there weren’t better things to occupy my busy life than writing about time traveling, world saving, and wise-cracking characters that seemed to decide what they were going to do in my books regardless of my wishes. I thought I was done with them…

BUT, they would sneak into my head while I was trying to get to sleep and suggest that it would be fun to have Hieronymous’ mother be a time traveling clone. Okay I can do that book. Then an alien probe crash-lands on Alysia and what are we going to do about it? Next book guys. How about we build a space ship and check out its origins? Now we’re at three, or is it four?

Then, when Arwoyn was experimenting with cloning Rowena, his first two attempts produced male clones. Whatever happened to them? What if one didn’t know that he was a clone or that he could time travel, but others knew? And tried to kill him? Yipes! I really wanted to get my beauty rest, but these questions kept me awake. So I finished his book. Done.

Then I found out that I liked to get even, and I put my characters in impossible situations to see how they would wriggle out. How about their two moons colliding? How about an alien invasion with a twist. Meeting aliens in space? What would they look like? What would they do? How about…

91WHkfkGfrL._SL1500_DWP: Wow…that’s an imagination on the loose! So much for the beauty rest. Tell me, what will readers like the most about your books?

SWM: My readers will like the fun of the read. There is no deep message, no critical information that will change your life, or show you how to lose weight, or make more money. It’s like a bar of good chocolate that you savor, but lasts longer. It costs less than a cup of coffee but has the same stimulating effect.

DWP: In addition to writing books, you host a weekly Scifi Book Review blog. What can someone expect to find there?

SWM: My weekly blog, wwwscifibookreview.com discusses a variety of things pertaining to the realm of science fiction or fantasy. I always share at least one book that I think my readers would enjoy. It’s not an in-depth review, but a suggestion on a book I find worth mentioning. Word-of-mouth in a blog, so to speak.

I sprinkle in my experiences as a self-published author, and recently I’ve discussed what works and doesn’t work in the realm of marketing my books. This is currently a hot topic and it’s evolving. I don’t tell anyone how to write as I’m perfecting that skill myself. From time to time, I include a startling new science discovery or celestial happening. I’m open to ideas on what my readers want to hear about.

81RUV76sgIL._SL1500_DWP: What do you think the future holds for you?

SWM: This is a watershed time for publishing and writing. Everything is changing. And fast. People are scrambling. The traditional publishers are in trouble. No longer are they the gatekeepers of what gets published; anyone can publish. It’s up to readers to decide what they want to read. The problem for the writer is connecting with readers. The creative writer has to do it all and become a businessperson.

My next book, number eight, is coming out in the Fall of 2015. It still only has a working title. Check out my Author’s Page on Amazon. My goal for the next six months is to get the writing in this next book polished and submitted without losing my mind. I am an edit fanatic and can’t leave well enough alone. I’m excited and challenged and I love what I do. I encourage my husband to go ahead and travel in his job, or play golf when he wants to, because I am fine, and busy and happy. I’m getting published, and my father is in heaven hiding out, reading it all.

DWP: And I’m sure he’s loving every word.

>><<

Sheron McCartha’s books are available in paperback and ebook. Find her on Amazon by clicking Here! 

Her Books (in chronological order):

Caught in Time

A Dangerous Talent for Time

Cosmic Entanglement

Past the Event Horizon

Space Song

Touching Crystal

Someone’s Clone

For more in-depth information about her books and writing, visit the Alysian Universe.

Check out her Sci-fi Book Reviews at by clicking  Here! 

Follow her on Facebook or Twitter @Sheronwriting.

The Bone Wall: gritty fantasy #Free with #Kindle Today, Sat, and Sun

Bone Wall CoverAnother new adventure in writing presents itself. I’m learning…figuring out how to promote and publicize, how to use Facebook for something besides sharing pictures of my cat.

I’m still getting twitter sorted out in my pea brain, learning what the heck those hashtags are and what they do. To be honest…it’s been a blast.

Free on Amazon Kindle 

Grim Gritty Fantasy 

Friday April 3 – Sunday April 5

Click Here to Order

Blue light ripples and crackles as the shield walls fracture. The remnants of a doomed civilization stand vigil outside, intent on plunder and slaves, desirous of untainted blood to strengthen their broken lives. With the poisons, came deformities and powers, enhanced senses and the ability to manipulate waves of energy—lightbenders and fire-wielders.

For those who thrived for generations within the walls, the broken world looms, strange and deadly, slowly dying. While the righteous pray for salvation, Rimma prepares for battle, fueled by rage and blinded by vengeance. Her twin, Angel, bound to her by unbreakable magic, seeks light in the darkness, hope in the future, and love in a broken world.

thank you

Pearseus Trilogy: Epic Adventure with Great Action

I finished two reads yesterday. One was the IRS Instruction Manual for Personal Income Tax Form 1040. The other was the Pearseus trilogy by Nicholas Rossis.

The tome was dull, convoluted, and hard to understand. I found it extremely difficult to follow as if the author actually intended it to be confusing. There were whole sections that I merely skimmed. The IRS clearly needs beta readers and a paid editor!

81N9Ac-uLgL._SL1200_Now…on to Pearseus! A thoroughly entertaining read!

(Sorry, Nicholas, if my intro gave you a coronary).

The Pearseus trilogy is an epic adventure that chronicles the feats of four protagonists that become embroiled in the complex political and philosophical factions of a multi-dimensional world. Ultimately, they play key roles in saving the planet’s inhabitants from annihilation.

This is one of those tales that balances nicely between science fiction and fantasy. Though many of the beings and events have a fantastical feel to them, they have alien versus magical origins. Earth technology still exists, but is limited and barely understood. I enjoyed the occasional resurfacing of Earth artifacts, wisdom, and colloquialisms.

The overall feel of the trilogy reminded me of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series. The sweep of the story is epic in nature and new people, beings, information, technology, and weapons routinely come into play, modifying the scope of the protagonists’ goals and challenges, and upping both the dangers and the means to overcome them.

61K71C0IBpL._UX250_One of Rossis’s strengths is his meticulous world-building. Pearseus is a planet claimed by three different sets of inhabitants. Refugees from the Earth spaceship, Pearseus, seized the world from the First, who previously usurped it from the native creatures and terraformed it to their liking. This layered history of conquest serves as a major source of contention in the plot. At the same time, Rossis gives the globe’s current nations distinct political and cultural identities with a realistic smattering of political maneuverings, back-door alliances, and betrayals.

The trilogy has quite a bit of philosophical discussion as the varied cultures play against each other. These unhurried moments are interspersed between great action scenes, and they lessen as the plot picks up speed and zooms toward its conclusion. Action descriptions are skillfully done, effortless to follow, and frequently bloody. The main characters and supporting cast are well-rounded, believable, and easy for the reader to identify with. Teo, a despicable power-monger, is particularly engaging and I looked forward to his scenes.

All in all, a great choice for epic fantasy and science fiction readers.

Order from Amazon here: Pearseus Bundle   or   Book I: Rise of the Prince.