Site Moved!

January 2, 2016 at 2:23 pm (Uncategorized)

This blog has relocated to my own site at http://mirintala.com

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The Faces of the Crying Girl: Fiction (With a piece by yours truly)

April 20, 2015 at 6:15 pm (Book Review, Promo, writing) (, , , )

Back in February, Alex Nader posted about submissions for an anthology he was putting together, with proceeds going to a literary charity. The word limits? Anywhere from 500 to 5000. I figured it was worth a try. I finished my super short piece over a couple days, and sent it in. It grew over the course of edits, and the day has come for the anthology to be released!

Goodreads info: The Faces of the Crying Girl

The Faces of the Crying Girl

You can buy the ebook here at Amazon and the proceeds are going to Worldreader. I’m excited to be a part of this!

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Creating a Synopsis (Guest Post by Harry Connolly)

February 11, 2015 at 8:26 pm (writing) (, )

Everyone Hates Writing A Synopsis

And rightfully so. They are the least fun part of writing. I’d rather stand over my printer, begging it to do the one job I bought it for, than write a synopsis.

But they’re required, so I’ve done it. I have a little method, too.

Nowadays, when I write a synopsis, it’s for my agent to share with editors (or if we’re not at the submission stage, to read over while she slowly inhales through her clenched teeth). But a few years ago, when I was searching for agents, I looked at all their different guidelines with dismay. Some wanted a ten-page synopsis. Some wanted five. Some two. A custom synopsis wasn’t something I could just type up. It needed care and time, and I didn’t think I could do artisinal book summaries.

So I decided that I was going to flout the guidelines and create a single synopsis for everyone.

I didn’t make that decision lightly. One of the simplest ways to get rejected is to act like guidelines don’t matter. The agent asks for a query only, no sample pages? Send some anyway! The agent wants the first ten pages of the story? Send the whole book! The agent wants the first three chapters? Send a link to the website where the book has been posted in green text on a black background!

But for those who wanted a synopsis of some kind, I figured there would be flexibility in the length, and I was right. I decided I was only going to write two pages, on the assumption that the more I left out, the fewer reasons people would have to say no. Also, this method isn’t just for authors looking for representation. I still use it to create selling documents for my agent to send to publishers.

Note: this method is designed to work for books with a single protagonist. Using it for multiple protagonists will require some adaptation. I’ll get into more detail at the end.

There are only four steps, and they’re not particularly difficult although they do take a little time. Before I begin, I want to briefly establish what the synopsis is actually for.

Imagine someone sends you a story about a quirky family living in an old house in a charming little town. They’re doing their best to preserve the legacy that the house and the land represents, and there’s a large cast of unique characters, including a Hunky New Arrival who’s making eyes at the eldest daughter.

Then, after two hundred and fifty pages, aliens invade. Can the family (and Hunky) save their home from marauding space robots?

Basically, the synopsis is there to make sure the story doesn’t go off the rails and waste everyone’s time.

So: four steps for a solid single-protagonist synopsis, according to me:

1) Write down three sentences about your protagonist. First, what they’re like when the story starts. Second, what they’re like at the very end. Third, an important midpoint transformation.

The first sentence goes in the middle of page one. (Since it’s a synopsis, the top half of the first page will be taken up by the title, your name, and lots of white space—this two-pager is really only a page and a half.) The second sentence goes at the bottom of page two, the end of the synopsis. The third sentence should appear somewhere near the top of page two.

That establishes the protagonist’s arc and acts as a framework for synopsis as a whole.

2) Write out the events of the book, briefly, to join together those three sentences, but describe everything in terms of how the protagonist feels about them. Rather than write “Bob asks Susan for a divorce.” you’d write “Susan is overjoyed when Bob asks for a divorce.” Describe everything in terms of how they affect the protagonist.

3) Cut back. It really is best to make it short and sweet, if you can. Authors are very close to their work and often think individual plot points have to be included in detail rather than just summarized. After all, that thing with Gandalf and the balrog is crucial, right? Crucial.

The best way to trim back a synopsis is not to look for what’s necessary, it’s to figure out what isn’t. Find the one thing that is least important, and cut that one thing. Don’t look at it holistically, and don’t try to prioritize everything. Just find one thing you feel you should cut, then find one more, then one more.

I do this all the time for myself and my son. If I can’t make a decision between five or six choices, it’s usually easier to pick the least essential than the most.

4) Avoid “icebergs.” An iceberg shows a little of itself above the surface, but suggests something really huge underneath that you can’t see. Also, it can wreck you.

Say there’s a place in your synopsis that reads something like: “Then Colette transformed herself into radio waves to plead for assistance from the EM Parliament of Spongiform Vampires” the reader is going to stop right there and think where the hell did that come from? It’s just a few words on the page, but beneath that sentence is a whole lot of plot, world-building, and exposition that the reader is going to need.

And it’s not just sffnal story elements that will bump a reader; any line that encapsulates large amounts of detail without a setup can do it. The choice becomes a question of whether to cut it (do we really need to know that the protagonist has an uncle who’s a cop?) or set it up elegantly in a previous paragraph (which makes the synopsis longer). I usually find the former is a better choice.

That’s it. Four things.

The last thing to remember is this: there’s a difference between a synopsis you use to sell a book to a publishing professional and one you create for readers. The pros want to be spoiled because of potential alien invasions, so you absolutely should include the ending. Readers want to be intrigued without having the whole book spoiled, so you should only include the setup and the kickoff to the story, with a suggestion of the final stakes.

Taking this advice won’t make writing a synopsis easy, but it does provide concrete steps beyond “describe the book.” As for adapting it to a multi-protagonist story, there are several options: You could put the focus on one character (“The story follows several characters, but the main one is a Mr. Frodo Baggins, a hobbit* from the Shire”). Alternately, you can hang that three sentence structure on something that isn’t a single character: a nation, a war, a heist, whatever.

*Iceberg!

Curious to see an example of a synopsis that’s aimed at the reader, rather than a publisher? Well just slide your eyes over the image below…

The Way Into Chaos Cover

What a gorgeous cover!

And click on this link to see the synopsis for the first book in my new trilogy along with other pertinent information. Kat Richardson called it “Epic Fantasy that reads like a Thriller” and Publishers Weekly gave it a starred review. You can read the sample chapters I’ve posted on my blog.

I’m curious to see how many people read that link and then go on to buy the book.

Good luck with your synopses.

BIO: Harry Connolly’s debut novel, Child Of Fire, was named to Publishers Weekly’s Best 100 Novels of 2009. For his epic fantasy series The Great Way, he turned to Kickstarter; at the time this was written, it’s the ninth-most-funded Fiction campaign ever. Book one of The Great Way, The Way Into Chaos was published in December, 2014. Book two, The Way Into Magic, was published in January, 2015. The third and final book, The Way Into Darkness, was released on February 3rd, 2015. Harry lives in Seattle with his beloved wife, beloved son, and beloved library system.

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Book Release Promo: Blaze Tuesday and the Case of the Knight Surgeon by Kai Kiriyama

August 5, 2014 at 1:00 pm (Promo) (, , , )

This book is out NOW. Skip the pre-orders, skip the terrible waiting. Just go buy it now. Here’s a link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/456440 (Smashwords offers a variety of format options, is DRM free, and accepts PayPal.) If Smashwords isn’t your provider of choice, there are more links further down this post.

If you want to know more about it first, then read on. Read the rest of this entry »

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Book Release: Next Year, Things Will Be Different

June 30, 2014 at 5:28 pm (Uncategorized)

Next Year, Things Will Be Different

Lemorn Literary Works is proud to announce the release on June 30th 2014 of our first young adult collection. The book contains stories by three writers, two who are giving us the privilege of releasing their first work for publication. (Both have written for many years but haven’t taken this exciting step.) http://www.lemorn.com/books.php#NYTWBD2

You can pick up the book at Smashwords and it’ll push to other eVendors shortly. https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/453519

Book bloggers interested in a complimentary copy to review can contact asylos@lemorn.com

Next Year by Tyramir Ross (Words: 7,087)
Walker may not have finished high school yet, but he and his team are certainly finishing off every one of the G’laek they can. Now they face one of the oldest and most powerful of the ancient demons they have encountered. Can Walker use the power granted to him in Quellios of the Rising Waves, the great staff that conjures fire, as well as his own brains to save himself and his friends?

Illusion of Choice by John Biscarner (Words: 5,342)
When given the chance to have everything your heart desires, what would you ask for? Many of us have thought of what we would ask for, but have we ever really thought about the consequences of said wishes? Darren, a young teen, has been asked a simple question: “What do you want from life?”

The Garbage Man’s Boy by J.C. Sayer (Words: 5,733)
In the 1950s, the small northern Ontario town of Mallieu was terrorised by a serial killer named the Ferry Man. Ron, the Garbage Man’s Boy, navigates small town politics in the wake of these murders, finding hidden truths he probably shouldn’t have found, while trying to protect the ones he loves from a terrible fate.

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Guest Post: Tee Morris (Dawn’s Early Light and When a Gamer becomes a Player)

March 17, 2014 at 11:20 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

Today we have a guest post by Tee Morris, co-writer of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences novels. The latest book, Dawn’s Early Light, is out March 25th, and I have been eagerly awaiting it! Check after the post for a giveaway from the Ministry team!

When I was asked what type of guest post I wanted for my part of this blog tour, my first thought was about the Fate game, Ministry Protocol, that they kickstarted last year. (I backed, of course.) I am very much looking forward to running this game for my group.

Undiscovered Country: When a Gamer becomes a Player

by Tee Morris

It’s one thing when you yourself are a gamer, but when you are on the verge of becoming a player in the gaming industry, that’s a whole different world. Pun intended.

Illustration_KurtKomoda

I will be the first to admit that I am not a hardcore gamer. Why not? Maybe I just have bad luck. I had enjoyed a few Dungeons and Dragons campaigns in high school and was about to embark on a GRUPS Heroes campaign in college, but rounding up a group of friends to focus on role-playing apparently was a lot harder than it should have been. I stepped away from gaming until this new card game called Magic: The Gathering popped up in my social circles. I admit to be quite taken by the artwork; but even with mixing elements, concentrating on one element, building multiple decks, I was usually out within the first hour. Years later, I heard people talking up the various Munchkin games, so imagine my excitement what I finally sat down to play one of these highly-praised games—Munchkin Cthulhu.

And imagine my disappointment when I was taken out by a “killer card” in the first round. The. First. Round.

I’ve continued to find time to game, either with the occasional card, board, or video variety, despite my fear and frustration established by previous experiences. But I was became the hardcore gamer. That’s why I was a little stunned when Pip and I were approached by Galileo Games to take The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences into the RPG arena.

Oh. Crap.

Gamers are a tough crowd to please. I have seen them tear apart a title for a variety of reasons. Sketchy rules. Flawed settings. Rough artwork. If there was a problem, gamers would not only question the creative people behind the title but question any property with those creatives tacked on it, and here I was about to be one of those players. Whatever we would offer the gaming community, I wanted to make sure that the experience would be a positive one.

We sat down with J.R. Blackwell who was just coming off a very successful game, (also with Galileo Games) Shelter in Place. The zombie apocalypse RPG had just won the 2012 ENnie Award at GenCon. I had always admired J.R.’s creativity. Writing. Photography. Podcasting. It was a real joy having someone of her caliber on board as Game Designer. (She was also one of the two people that got me into steampunk, so there was that as well.) Then came PJ Schnyder, our Game Writer; we knew from her writing for the Ministry in the second season of Tales from the Archives. She is also an award-winning writer herself, so between PJ and J.R. (I know, it’s like swimming in alphabet soup…) we knew we were in good hands.

Then came the planning session between us and the Galileo team. Pip (who is no slouch when it comes to gaming as she’s a veteran of Shadowrun, WarHammer, and D&D to name a few) and I were told about a system we didn’t know—FATE Core. We got a look at FATE dice, or what some people still call Fudge dice. The idea was that you have characters that possess aspects, and the FATE dice will determine what aspects are activated in certain scenes. Additionally, the characters will also have gadgets from Research & Design, and these various steampunk weapons or tools of the espionage trade also possess aspects. So in this game, christened The Ministry Initiative, gamers assume the role of Ministry agents, armed with gizmos and gadgets of steampunk lore.  “Essentially, J.R. told us, “we wanted to find a system that was like your novels. Character-driven.

We were hooked.

Since the successful Kickstarter, we have commissioned steampunk FATE dice, seen amazing illustrations from Kurt Komoda, Jenna Fowler, and Jared Axelrod, and are closing in on seeing the final draft (pending our approval, of course) of The Ministry Initiative. The release of the game could be happening very close to the release of Dawn’s Early Light, and perhaps that is adding to my anxiousness. This marks the third release in the Ministry series, but The Ministry Initiative is a debut with a new audience: gamers. Much like Dawn’s Early Light, I want The Ministry Initiative to be the game people talk about, the game people can’t wait to play. A lot is riding on this FATE Core RPG, and this new realm is one I never expected to find myself in. I have no idea what lies ahead.

photo 3

I do know what I hope for our game: When people walk away from it, they say: “When can we play that again?”

Like our books, games are portals to other worlds. The Ministry Initiative joins other games like Dixit, Ticket to Ride, Shelter in Place, and Bulldogs, where after a week of social networking, project updates, and days at the office, gamers dive in and unplug from the digital world to connect with each other, allowing time to relax and to indulge in some therapeutic imagination.

It’s not a bad thing, taking a time out to enjoy a night off the grid and getting social around a game. Does gaming solve world problems? No. Gaming does, however, reminder you of what truly matters. So game on, everybody, and join Pip and myself in a wonderful world of spies, secrets, and steampunk.

We’ll bring the Initiative and dice. You bring the chips and soda.

———————-

Tee Morris has been writing adventures in far-off lands and far-off worlds since elementary school. Inspired by numerous Choose Your Own Adventure titles and Terry Brooks’ Shannara series, he wrote not-so-short short stories of his own, unaware that working on a typewriter when sick-from-school and, later, on a computer (which was a lot quieter…that meant more time to write at night…) would pave a way for his writings.

Tee has now returned to writing fiction with The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series, written with his wife, Pip Ballantine. Their first title in the series, Phoenix Rising, won the 2011 Airship Award for Best in Steampunk Literature, while both Phoenix Rising and The Janus Affair were finalists in Goodreads Best in Science Fiction of 2011 and 2012. In 2013 Tee and Pip released Ministry Protocol, an original anthology of short stories set in the Ministry universe. Now in 2014, following a Parsec win for their companion podcast, Tales from the Archives, Tee and Pip celebrate the arrival of their third book, Dawn’s Early Light. When Tee is not creating something on his Macintosh, he enjoys a good run, a good swim, and putting together new playlists to write by. His other hobbies include cigars and scotch, which he regards the same way as anime and graphic novels: “I don’t know everything about them, but I know what I like.” (And he likes Avo and Arturo Fuente for his smoke, Highland Park for his scotch!) He enjoys life in Virginia alongside Pip, his daughter, and three cats.

———————-

Dawn’s Early Light

As I said, the book is out March 25th, and I can’t wait! The previous book is the first eBook I’ve ever bought on release, and the last book I’ve stayed up late reading.

Dawn's Early Light

Dawn’s Early Light cover

Where to Find:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17572901-dawn-s-early-light
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Dawns-Early-Ministry-Peculiar-Occurrences/dp/0425267318/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1394038040&sr=8-1&keywords=dawn%27s+early+light+pip+ballantine
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dawns-early-light-pip-ballantine/1114829772?ean=9780425267318
And hopefully iTunes as well!
Pip_Tee_byJRB

Photo by J. R. Blackwell, used with permission.

About Tee and Pip

New Zealand born fantasy writer and podcaster Philippa (Pip) Ballantine is the author of the Books of the Order and the Shifted World series. She is also the co-author, with her husband Tee Morris, of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences novels. Her awards include an Airship, a Parsec, and a Sir Julius Vogel. Morris is the author of Morevi: The Chronicles of Rafe and Askana and the co-author of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences novels. In addition to his work as a fantasist, he is also a social media pioneer and the author of Podcasting for Dummies and All a Twitter.

Pip’s website: www.pjballantine.com
Pip’s Twitter: philippajane

Tee’s website: http://teemorris.com/

Tee’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/TeeMonster

The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheMinistryOfPeculiarOccurrences

—–

Giveaway info

These giveaways are open to both U.S. and Canadian readers. (Yay! Canada too!) At the end of the tour, there will be three winners chosen from this one Rafflecopter. (Click the link below to enter)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
PRIZE ONE
Three paperback set (signed) of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences
Signed Abney Park Poster
Signed Abney Park CD Ancient World
Signed coverflats of Phoenix Rising and the Janus Affair
PRIZE TWO
Three paperback set (signed) of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences
The Extraordinary Contraptions CD
Signed cover flat of Phoenix Rising

PRIZE THREE

Three paperback set (signed) of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences
All images in this post provided by Foreward Literary for this blog tour.

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I Used to Write

February 6, 2014 at 6:42 am (writing)

I used to write. I’m writing now even, if this counts, while sitting on a bus, hoping to regain some of the heat lost to treacherous cold.

I used to write a lot, and I used to write often. That doesn’t happen anymore. There are a lot of reasons for this. I used to be a student, living at home, only working in the summers. If I wasn’t with my friends (though sometimes even then we were writing, stories or D&D sessions), then we were on the computer, playing MUDs or writing posts for a plethora of RPGs we belong to. Star Wars, the Wheel of Time, ones in worlds of my own creation (with far more world building than we ever needed). There were not a lot of things to get in the way. Now?

Responsibilities (and weather/stress induced headaches that result in my bus trip writing time turning into nap time, but that’s another story). For me, writing has always been a leisure activity and my brain is wired in such a way that I feel bad doing a leisure activity when I can think of any responsibilities I should be fulfilling.

I know I could never be a full time writer. As an emotive writer (a term I’ve heard Tee Morris use that I like much better than “pantser” because why would pants be involved in writing when we strive so much to be without them!) I rarely know where I’m headed in a story or how I’m getting there. There are dozens of unfinished stories laying around because my idea ran out of substance. Outlines are beyond me, at least at this point. I’ve tried and failed, but will try again. Someday.

Being an emotive writer means things take longer, at least from my view. (YMMV, as they say.) There’s a lot of fiddling around trying to find a path in the dark. Days go by without any new words because I haven’t discovered the right footing. Since I don’t know what lies ahead, I can’t skip and do a later scene then come back. This stretched timing was especially evident to me during a recent project for Lemorn Literary Works. I was to write a story to be included in the upcoming anthology (titled Next Year, Things Will Be Different), but I’m also in charge of editing the rest of the stories in that book. Things came to a head when my partner asked how editing was coming along and I said I could edit or write, I can’t do both in the same block of time. I suggested dropping my story so I could get the other work done. She agreed.

Part of me was upset at this and I haven’t written any more on that story, or any other since, even though my partner said we would include it in the next collection. My brain is still hurt by that rejection and there’s so much other stuff I should be doing that it has again decided writing is for personal enjoyment and therefore not priority.

I’ve been following some RPers on tumblr lately, and it has brought back memories of my own days at that game. I miss it. But how could I keep up with these students who are online the entirety of their day? In my time, we often waited weeks for the other person to reply, but now? People start commenting quite quickly about the frustration of waiting for their partner to respond. And again, this would be another activity that eats into the limited time of the day. (My day job coworker from a sister location promised me he would make sure I got 27 hour days, but he’s still working on it apparently.)

Sorry, had to switch buses. I’m not sure if this one even has heat. Distractions abound. There’s something else. The majority of my writing/editing time is on my bus ride to and from work. With editing, the fact that I’m taking two buses isn’t a big issue. With writing however, it provides a frustrating interruption at times. The noise and movement isn’t an issue (I need noise to focus well), it’s the getting up, walking and waiting. It breaks any flow.

So these are the challenges I need to overcome: mental blocks regarding what I “should” be doing, maintaining focus with frequent interruptions, writing a bloody outline. Maybe this can be the year I achieve it. Maybe there will be a finished something this year. Wish me luck?

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Its 2014! And still January!

January 31, 2014 at 7:07 am (Uncategorized)

It’s January 31st, so if I post this today there’s still the potential of making a post a month over the year!

Currently , I’m working on a last round of edits on three short stories for a young adult book Lemorn will be releasing in February. The book is called Next Year, Things Will Be Different. I’ll be doing a cover post soon. This book has J.C. Sayer returning and introduces two authors for their first publication. (I was going to have something in it as well but writing a story and editing three others just wasn’t working in the scheduling machine. Saving that story to finish later.)

I’m also waiting for edits back on something I submitted to a gaming book. That has me very excited. I love the game and love the topic of my submission.

I’m hoping to read more this year. Last year I spent a lot if my reading time on editing. Right now I’ve got two anthologies I’m reading: Don’t Read This Book and The Ministry Protocol. The latter was part of a game related Kickstarter my group backed and I need to absorb the universe in preparation of running the game once we get it. The former is a book from Evil Hat based in the world of my first Evil Hat game, Don’t Rest Your Head. That game is still my go-to for running at conventions. No prep needed besides my carbonless copy character sheets!

Last year was a tough one. There were a lot of projects that will not see the light of day, and I lost a lot of trust in writers. I’ve learnt from the experience though, and there were some good things. I won’t dwell on the bad.

One thing I love about editing for the same author multiple times is seeing them grow. I worked with an author who hadn’t a clue how to deal with formatting dialogue. By the third book they sent me, they were doing a great job with it. I like seeing my comments turn into scenes. I love seeing the author’s work come to life.

I think in the end I edited 3 books from early draft, one nearing completion and many more shorts. It was a good year in terms of editing done. Writing on the other hand, not so much. A few things started, nothing finished. Working on my poetry collection again though.

Hoping for a better year.

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Crooked by Richard Pett

August 13, 2013 at 11:12 am (Book Review) (, )

Spoiler free!

Broken Eye Books have not replied to my pleas for a sequel to this book to show up in my inbox. I imagine them sitting back, the maniacal sneer of a dealer eyeing their junkie of a client upon their faces.

20130813-111119.jpg

This is a gruesome book; both the city and its residents, and the things they do to each other. But there is a glimmer of a hope, a worm that wiggles free each time you clutch at the dirt, just out of reach. You know it’s there, but damned if you can hold on to it. And yet, the lead characters in this book never give up. There is so much strength in them: strength of spirit, of mind, of determination. Several times I stopped to check my progress, thinking surely this must end soon, what more can these people survive? And each time they dug deeper and struggled on. And I loved them all the more. There is love in this book as well, but it is love lost, and mature love. No fawning teenagers here, but adults finding each other amongst the terrible world they live in, a world where death is not necessarily the end.

There is so much character and world building in this book, in the first chapter even, but not once did it feel like exposition, or that the character was stopping to explain anything to the reader. It flowed naturally, and it took very little time to come to know Brine and the nature of the city.

The book is broken into three sections, and each of these starts with, quite literally, a bird’s eye view. Then you’re deep into the action, adventure, and mystery of the story. Jared is the first character we are introduced to, but the story is not limited to his events. Klesh, his good (but dead) friend, is soon introduced, and the author shows us much of what is happening elsewhere in the foul city.

The concept of the Between, another world (full of nightmares) that can be connected to the world of Brine through reflections, is one that fascinates me. I hope there will be more exploration of it in future books. I could go on for hours about the interesting world, but it is far better you experience it for yourself.

There is a kickstarter ( http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1557256029/crooked-and-other-oddities-from-broken-eye-books ) right now that ends September 5th 2013 to fund the release of Crooked and a pile of other awesome literature, including an expanded The Hole Behind Midnight (which I reviewed here with much love: https://asylos.wordpress.com/2013/06/18/the-hole-behind-midnight-by-clinton-boomer/ ).

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Guest Post: Shen Hart, Writer and Marketing Consultant

August 6, 2013 at 10:38 am (Uncategorized) (, , )

Hello one and all!

I’m Shen Hart and Chris was kind enough allow me a slot on her blog. Today I’m going to touch on what I am and what I do before diving into my passion for writing.

I’m an indie marketing consultant. I jokingly say that I’m saving the world, one indie at a time. This means that I do marketing consultations with indies (and related professions) to help them form a good marketing campaign and get their work into the hands of their readers. Marketing is something which the vast majority of indies I’ve spoken to say that they hate doing and they don’t understand. So, given that I love marketing, I stepped up to try and save them. I do charge though, a girl’s gotta eat ya know.

Now that that’s out of the way we can go into the good stuff, writing! I am a writer and I adore the written word. Semantics is a real love of mine, the way in which one single word can change the entire meaning of a sentence and how the slight switch in tone can give away so much. I’m also fascinated with body-language and as I was a dog trainer for many, many years I’m pretty well versed in it. I got a touch side-tracked there, as I was saying! Writing is this fantastic art form which I enjoy partaking in. I write both fiction and non-fiction, depending on my mood.

My fiction writing started out in a very artistic manner, not to say that it was highbrow and intellectual, not at all! Instead, I wrote scenes. Just a single paragraph which described a visual scene in intense, beautiful detail. I still return to this when I’m stressed or just really want to share something with someone. At the time, I couldn’t go any further because my ADD meant that I couldn’t focus enough to see the characters and form the plot. There were shinier things and I was off chasing them.

Over time I got my ADD under better control and one day, I sat down and wrote a novel. It was quite out of the blue but that’s a bit what I’m like! I was absolutely hooked from there on in, it was as though someone had opened a gateway to this wonderful new world which I refused to let go of. Now, I still write fiction and it is still very image heavy. I’m a very visual person, I ‘see’ the world and my mind works in this rich and vivid manner. My main genre is contemporary dark urban fantasy (try saying that quickly 5 times!) which I fell into because of my love of psychology and the darkness.

I find that urban fantasy in particular gives me the freedom to play with familiar, realistic situations and push the boundaries without going too far into horror. I do write horror shorts but I couldn’t produce a novel length piece, my interest and focus isn’t on scaring the reader. I prefer to have the reader confront the darkness, that which hides in both the shadows and the human psyche. I will be self-publishing my novels, once I have a bit more time between the marketing!

On the non-fiction side of things, I have written quite a bit on positive reinforcement. I usually apply it to dogs and horses as that’s where my years of experience lie, but I have applied it to people as well. I’m also currently writing a book on marketing for indies, which I hope will help a lot of authors out there who can’t afford consultation fees.

So all in all, I have a fascination and real love of psychology which expresses itself in a few different ways. I’m also incredibly visual, quite spontaneous, and a bit mad. I’d be an awful writer if I were sane though, right?

Thanks to Chris for having me and thank you all for taking the time to read this.

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