Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Snarkology presents BLOCKED!

In August, The Snarkology presents a blog series on the maddening, frustrating condition known as writer's block. Please drop by and read as guest authors discuss how being BLOCKED! has affected their writing process and lives!

The schedule of guest authors is as follows:

Aug. 5   Kristy Tate
Aug. 6   Derek Odom
Aug. 7   Chris Eboch
Aug. 12  Melissa Snark
Aug. 13  Caroline Clemmons
Aug. 14  Kayden Claremont
Aug. 15  Tricia Schneider
Aug. 20  Sydney St. Claire
Aug. 21  Mia Downing
Aug. 22  Rebecca Grace

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Delilah Devlin's ONCE IN A BLUE MOON #Giveaway




ONCE IN A BLUE MOON
Beaux RĂªve Coven, Book 1
Publisher:  Samhain Publishing
eISBN: 978-1-61921-769-0
Format: Ebook
On Sale: July 15, 2014

When testing an enemy for weaknesses, prepare for things to get hard.
Bryn Cavanaugh and her coven like that the community they live in is isolated thanks to a storm that destroyed the bridge between them and the outside world. Now the state wants the bridge rebuilt. When the construction crew checks into the inn, Bryn begins to suspect something about the crew’s boss isn’t quite…human.
Bridges are Ethan Thorne’s thing—after all, he’s a troll—so building a simple span over a remote canal in backwater Louisiana shouldn’t be this much of a problem. When he follows the pretty little innkeeper to a midnight rendezvous, he discovers why his crew keeps running in to trouble. Bryn and her coven are casting spells in the moonlight.
As a troll, Ethan feels the sting of his low place in demon hierarchy. But finding an unprotected coven of witches in the middle of the bayou could lead to all sorts of adventure. And it’s better to keep your enemies close…
Warning: Contains a handsome troll (Hey, it can happen!) who’s skilled at building sexual tension with his hands—and several other body parts, as well—and a witch who’s determined to protect her home, but forgets to shield her heart.

AVAILABLE NOW:
B&N 

TOUR GIVEAWAY DETAILS:
GRAND PRIZE:  Blue Moon bracelet and earring set made by Delilah and a $25 Amazon gift card
RUNNER-UP:   signed copies of Shattered Souls and Lost Souls.


 
 
About Delilah Devlin:
Until recently, award-winning romance author Delilah Devlin lived in South Texas at the intersection of two dry creeks, surrounded by sexy cowboys in Wranglers. These days, she’s missing the wide-open skies and starry nights but loving her dark forest in Central Arkansas, with its eccentric characters and isolation—the better to feed her hungry muse!

For Delilah, the greatest sin is driving between the lines, because it’s comfortable and safe. Her personal journey has taken her through one war and many countries, cultures, jobs, and relationships to bring her to the place where she is now—writing sexy adventures that hold more than a kernel of autobiography and often share a common thread of self-discovery and transformation.

Delilah Devlin is a prolific and award-winning author of erotica and erotic romance with a rapidly expanding reputation for writing deliciously edgy stories with complex characters. Whether creating dark, erotically-charged paranormal worlds or richly descriptive historical stories that ring with authenticity, Delilah Devlin “pens in uncharted territory that will leave the readers breathless and hungering for more…” (Paranormal Reviews) Ms. Devlin has published over 100 erotic stories in multiple genres and lengths.
She is published by  Atria/Strebor, Avon, Berkley, Black Lace, Cleis Press, Ellora’s Cave, Harlequin Spice, Kensington, Running Press, and Samhain Publishing.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

What would I tell a new author? by Christopher A. Gray || DARK NIGHTS



In the last few years it has become quite easy to publish your own work. Most new authors publish an eBook first, and then if it is successful, a print version follows. The ease of self-publishing is a double-edged sword. The temptation is to release the work as soon as possible, which is understandable. It is very exciting to publish your own work, but don’t forget that “publishing” is releasing to the public. If you don’t do a good job, you will most certainly be called out on it, usually by bad reviews.

The most common mistake is to skimp on editing. Good editing takes time and money. You need to find an editor that is not only competent, but also understands you, your work, and the intended audience. An editor provides a second pair of eyes, to look for errors and let you know when you’re straying off course.

The worst thing you can do is self-edit. This is when you alone edit your manuscript. You are probably not aware of your own bad habits. Do you make certain grammatical mistakes, over and over? Are you spending too much time in exposition, or not enough? Is there a plot hole that needs to be fixed?
Unfortunately, you can’t answer these questions accurately.

Only slightly better than self-editing is asking a friend or an acquaintance who has little experience to edit your work. They may not be objective, and may not wish to tell you when they think you’re wrong. Or, they simply might not be competent at the job.

Besides editing, other important stages in book creation include font choices, and for print books, margins, headers, footers, line spacing, and more. It pays to hire someone with experience. Or, if you feel you can do this yourself, you can get an idea of what works by leafing through books at the bookstore.

Cover design is one of the last and most important steps. A good cover can draw the prospective buyer in for a closer look at your book. Choose a designer with a proven track record.

It’s true you will save a bundle of cash up front by doing everything yourself, but it will more than likely be a poor choice. Investing in the expertise of professionals can pay off later. By all means shop around and ask if their rates are negotiable, but the old saying of “you get what you pay for” is usually true.


The machine believed it knew best how to save humanity... even if doing so meant destroying half the population. 

Astrophysicist Doug Lockwood's unusual discovery during his observation of the sun kicks off a chain of events that nobody could have foreseen. The powerful political and military influences that compete to deal with his discovery set Lockwood on a course which will carry him across worlds, and into the grasp of a formidable new intelligence bent on accomplishing its goal at any cost. With Earth itself at stake and time running out, Lockwood and his team must find a way to counter this unprecedented threat before the powerful new enemy completes its plan. Two civilizations are pitted against each other in a desperate struggle for survival.

Available at Amazon or Barnes and Noble

EXCERPT:
“Increase buffer bandwidth to maximum,” Nick ordered his assistant, Anders.

“I already tried that, it makes no difference!” Anders replied, a trace of panic in his voice.

Nick turned to the astrophysicist that was monitoring the moon’s position.

“What will the orbit be if no action is taken?”

The astrophysicist looked at him, incredulous.

“I don’t need to tell you what the outcome will be.”

“Is there at least a chance it will settle into a stable orbit? The speed is right.”

“The angle is off by three degrees! If it isn’t corrected the moon will pass within seventy thousand kilometers of the Earth. That’s less than one-fifth of its normal distance!”

Nick stared blankly at his expert, not wishing to believe what he was being told. The astrophysicist shook his head.

“With the increased gravitational and tidal effect, there will be a massive world-wide earthquake, and that’s just the beginning. The orbit will be highly elliptical, and will degrade further. We’ll have bi-weekly earthquakes and tsunamis, much worse than we have ever experienced. There is an 80% chance that within four months the moon will collide with us!”

“We’ll all be dead long before the collision,” said Anders, his voice shaking. “We may not even survive when the moon makes its first pass, six days from now.”

Another assistant looked over at Nick.

“We’re getting the same report from our observatory in Arizona. They’ve noticed the angle and are asking questions. How do you want me to reply?”

Nick broke out into a cold sweat. He didn’t know what to do.
   $50 Amazon/BN GC

AUTHOR INFORMATION:

Christopher A. Gray is a professional freelance writer living in Toronto. He has been a sales agent, project manager, actor, filmmaker, comedy writer & performer and world traveler.




Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Balancing Fantasy and Reality By S.L. Dunn || ANTHEM'S FALL #SciFi


Balancing Fantasy and Reality

World creating is an all-encompassing and immersive task. A writer must sit down at his or her desk and give birth to entire realities, histories, ideologies, people and places. World creating isn’t an undertaking for the faint of heart, and it presents its own unique challenges on top of all the other myriad struggles involved in writing a novel. One of my favorite quotes on the subject is:

“Writing is like sausage making; you'll all be happier in the end if you just eat the final product without knowing what's gone into it.” –George R.R. Martin

 I think it’s especially telling that those words come from an undisputed legend in the field. World creating represents its own mountain to the mind of an author, but what happens when a writer has conceived of a story that blends a fantastical world with the real world? This story arc is more common than one might think, and it ranges across genres from Harry Potter and His Dark Materials to X men and Superman. It has a particular prevalence in science fiction, where a given story arc often imposes a new technology or phenomenon that acts to jettison a “real” world into the realm of genre.

These “hybrid” stories present their own unique dilemmas for a writer. On top of the world creation itself, there is now another variable in the equation: the collision of worlds within the story. That was the situation that faced myself when I sat down with the initial storyboards and notebook scratchings of my debut novel Anthem’s Fall.

To orient you to the task I faced, here is the pitch for Anthem’s Fall:

When the fallen emperor and a banished exile of the same herculean race ignite into battle over New York City’s rooftops, a brilliant young scientist discovers a technology that can defeat them both, yet might be more terrible than either. (*Disclaimer: getting it down to a one-sentence pitch was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do!)

As you can probably guess, my process involved world creation and the presentation of a familiar world. I simultaneously introduced modern New York City along with the brutal, futuristic world of Anthem. It took a long time and a lot of rewrites to get it right.

Here’s what I learned along the way:

 1) One world can strengthen the other

Introducing two distinct worlds and two separate narratives presented a unique opportunity to deliberately juxtapose and relate one seemingly dissimilar place to another. The fantasy of Anthem could strengthen and add implicit tension to the scenes in New York City. The stripped down realism of New York City’s streets could anchor the fantastical vision of Anthem. Combined, the two worlds could coalesce the familiar and the unfamiliar to form a more dramatic setting than either could have attained alone.

 2) Creating a world is hard, but it’s even harder when that fake world is held up against a real place. With such a novel, a writer’s fantasy must compete with reality on the believability scale.

As I developed the world of Anthem, I learned how many rules a made-up world requires. Amid the editing process, I found myself catching more glitches and flubs in my own constructed reality than the mistakes I made with the streets of New York. I never would have imagined how strict a writer’s own rules have to be in order to achieve believability in a made-up world. This is especially true when the made up world is constantly being interspersed with chapters that take place in modern New York City.

With Anthem I wanted to create a world that looked more like an ancient society than a world one might normally associate with science fiction. Anthem is futuristic, and home to advanced technology, but I wanted the world and its people to be more reminiscent of an ancient barbarian culture than an advanced dystopia. It’s a society controlled by a dynasty of brutal warriors, and despite the long history of Anthem, it’s clear to the reader that Anthem is more barbaric than New York City.

I wanted the connection there. I wanted the reader to flip from chapter to chapter and think about the similarities and differences between these two worlds. A reader knows that these worlds are eventually going to collide, so I wanted them thinking critically about each along the way.

What I found by the time I finished my final edit run was that my rules for Anthem had become more imperious and unflinching than the rules of writing about a modern New York City. If one fell out of equilibrium, they both would fail.

 3) Balance must be found

When simultaneously introducing two worlds chapter by chapter, a writer can play an extraordinary game of tug of war with the reader’s imagination—grounding it with normalcy on one page and then lifting it up to thundering heights when the time is right. However, when “world creating”, there are so many factors to consider. What is this world’s history? How do its people think, and what ideologies do they cling to? In order for the reader to care about Anthem’s fall (as in, Anthem’s Fall) he or she first has to care about Anthem.

Forming the back-story of a world and its people is an incredibly enjoyable experience, but one in which I had to be very careful. Long exposition spent describing Anthem’s history could kill the story flat. I learned that divulging the back-story of an entire world is an exercise in subtlety. Because you are writing a novel, not a history book, you have to allow the reader to connect the lines and draw their own inferences from hints and suggestions in the text.

Going in depth about the ancient history of Anthem would have been as extraneous as discussing ancient Rome while introducing New York. Incorporating the “real” world into a fantasy story forced me to strip down unnecessary details in Anthem and focus on simply letting the story roll.

Above a horrified New York City, genetics and ethics collide as the fallen emperor and a banished exile of the same herculean race ignite into battle over the city’s rooftops. In the streets below, a brilliant young scientist has discovered a technology that can defeat them both, yet might be more terrible than either.

Set both in modern New York City and in the technologically sophisticated yet politically savage world of Anthem, Anthem’s Fall unfurls into a plot where larger than life characters born with the prowess of gods are pitted against the shrewd brilliance of a familiar and unlikely heroine.

Available from:

Excerpt:

It had its certain comforts and learned familiarities, but New York had never felt like home. The initial novelty of Manhattan and all of its cultural and architectural grandeur had long waned, and what she once regarded with wonder, she now felt only a moldering cynicism. These days Kristen Jordan considered the soaring edifices and crowding streets to be the material shape, the substance, behind the insatiable and thoughtless ambition of the modern. Nudging her straw against the melting ice cubes at the bottom of an empty vodka tonic, Kristen looked about the shabbily decorated and dimly lit college bar. Glowing neon beer signs and television screens hung on walls that enclosed a dozen booths and tables. A distinct smell of stale beer and hot wings hung in the air, yet the nearby conversations of fellow academics, exultant and self-assured, ignored this atrophy.

Kristen studied genetics at Columbia, and her brilliance was unrivaled. Sitting quietly and gazing across the young faces of the bar, Kristen wondered if she stood out among her outwardly preoccupied and self-satisfied peers, or if they too were all carrying unspoken anchors of anxiety and doubt. On some level, though, she knew her general restlessness was an unfortunate byproduct of her intellect, and not an affliction shared by the masses.

From across the table her fellow graduate student Steve Armstrong had started rambling over the loud rock music, his hand clutching a perspiring glass of beer. “My point is that there’s a difference between intelligence, or even consciousness for that matter, and awareness. They’re two entirely different phenomena that are always lumped into the same category. Don’t you think?”

Kristen Jordan groaned and rolled her eyes, which elicited a laugh out of another graduate student sitting beside her, Cara Williams.

“I don’t care, Steve,” Kristen said, her voice distracted and leaden. “I hardly think it’s a topic worthy of lengthy discussion. There’s no way of knowing for certain because that kind of technology doesn’t exist.”

“Are you kidding me?” Steve gulped his beer and glared at her, his words faintly slurred. The alcohol added a note of indignation to his tone. “You’re saying we shouldn’t consider how a new technology will operate?”
 
AUTHOR INFORMATION:
S.L. Dunn is the debut author of Anthem’s Fall, a novel he wrote amid the wanderings of his mid twenties. He has written while living intermittently in St. John USVI, Boston, Maine and Seattle. Raised on big screen superheroes and pop science fiction, he sought to create a novel that bridged a near-sci-fi thriller with a grand new fantasy. He currently resides in Seattle with his girlfriend Liz and their dog Lucy, and is hard at work completing the next book of the Anthem’s Fall series. Get in touch at www.sldunn.com.