Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Quotes of the Week

If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.
—Orson Welles

No one who loves life can ignore literature, and no one who loves literature can ignore life.
—Laura Esquivel

An idea, like a ghost, must be spoken to a little before it will explain itself.
—Charles Dickens

Happiness is pursuing work that sustains the spirit.
—Walt Disney

I have rewritten, often several times, every word I have ever published. My pencils outlast their erasers.
—Vladimir Nabokov

A writer is a world trapped in a person.
—Victor Hugo

Those who never make mistakes lose a great many chances to learn something.
—Mary Pickford

If you can amuse yourself for the length of time it takes to write a book, publishers and readers can and will come later.
—Patricia Highsmith

Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don't try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It's the one and only thing you have to offer.
—Barbara Kingsolver


Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Quotes of the Week

Boys think girls are like books, if the cover doesn't catch their eye they won't bother to read what's inside.
—Marilyn Monroe

Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another's skin, another's voice, another's soul.
—Joyce Carol Oates

Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another's skin, another's voice, another's soul.
—Joyce Carol Oates

Write one good clean sentence and put a period at the end of it. Then write another one.
—M.F.K. Fisher

Follow your inner moonlight; don't hide the madness.
—Allen Ginsberg

It doesn't have to be the truth, just your vision of it, written down.
—Virginia Woolf

Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too.
—Isabell Allende

The best stories don’t come from good vs. bad but from good vs. good.
—Leo Tolstoy

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Quotes of the Week

I rewrote the ending of Farewell to Arms, the last page of it, 39 times before I was satisfied ...
—Ernest Hemingway

If you do not breathe through #writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don't write.
—Ana├»s Nin

I made mistakes in drama. I thought drama was when actors cried. But drama is when the audience cries.
—Frank Capra

There is only one way to work—Like Hell.
—Bette Davis

Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.
—Orson Welles

Writing a book is like telling a joke and having to wait two years to know whether or not it was funny.
—Alain de Botton

You fail only if you stop writing.
—Ray Bradbury

Once a story has been written, one has to cross out the beginning and the end.
—Anton Chekhov

I write to find what I have to say. I edit to figure out how to say it right.
—Cheryl Strayed

The best work that anybody ever writes is the work that is on the verge of embarrassing him, always.
—Arthur Miller



Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Quotes of the Week

If you're not willing to take a risk, you might as well be dead.
—Humphrey Bogart

The difference between coffee and your opinion is
I asked for coffee...
--Anonymous

One of the pleasant things those of us who write or paint do is to have the daily miracle. It does come.
—Gertrude Stein

There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never quite know where they'll take you.
—Beatrix Potter

Philosophy for a Happy Life—
Someone to love, something to look forward to,
and something to do
—Elvis Presley


Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Tuesday Tips: Drafts

Hammer through the first draft without looking back!


Monday, November 19, 2018

Why Science Fiction?

Originally published in the Italian Science Fiction magazine: https://www.altrimondi.org/perche-fantascienza/

One of the most common questions I receive from readers via email or at literary conferences is, “Why do you write science fiction?” or “How do you come up with these stories?”.

For me the answer is easy. I write the kind of stories I enjoy reading.

I have always been an avid reader. I was born in 1959 and during the 60’s and 70’s my parents were all about reading. Our house had the biggest library of anyone I knew. As a kid, I only got toys on my birthday and Christmas, but I could have books when ever I wanted. My mother took us to the library every week. There I discovered Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Philip Dick, Arthur Clark, J.R.R Tolkein, Ray Bradbury, H.G. Wells, Mary Shelly, Bram Stoker, Larry Niven and so many more. In school we studied Jules Vern and George Orwell.

It was also an exciting time for Science. Man was on the moon. Computers were becoming common place. The pace that the world and my imagination were changing was astounding. In the late 70’s while my friends were buying Penthouse and Nation Lampoon, I was addicted to OMNI Magazine.

I am a firm believer if you want to be a writer, follow this advice. Stephen King said, “‎If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot…reading is the creative center of a writer’s life…you cannot hope to sweep someone else away by the force of your writing until it has been done to you.” I was already doing the reading side of that equation by the time I got serious about writing at 54 years old.  I read about a hundred books a year. Most of them are science fiction. I will never in my lifetime be able to read all the books I want to read, so priorities are essential.

“But why science fiction. Specifically?” They ask.

There are several reasons. Good science fiction has excellent character development, great plots, and exciting settings, just like any genre. But it also allows incredibility creative world building.  A simple romance story can be made far more interesting by adding this additional dimension. The romance could be set in the far future, or involve time travel, or after a dystopian apocalypse. Adding the science fiction aspect allows the writer, and reader, to stretch their imagination even further. The classic story, “Boy-meets-Girl, Boy-Loses-Girl, Boy-Wins-Girl” becomes, “Man from the future has to decide between Love and Time itself.”!
Let That Be Your Last Battlefield

There is another aspect to science fiction that is often forgotten. It is easy to make a subtle social commentary using science fiction. If an author isn’t careful, social commentary can be too much if it drowns a story in it. Subtle themes are my rule.  I can remember watching the original Star Trek on TV as a kid. I remember vividly an episode titled, “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield” staring Frank Gorshin and Lou Antonio in the winter of 1969. In the episode, the Enterprise picks up the last two survivors of a ruined planet, who are still trying to kill each other aboard the ship. These were men that were black on one side and white on the other.  Mirror opposite of each other. I was nine years old. That story, while full of space ships, aliens and action-adventure taught me about the futility of bigotry using Scifi. I remember, when it was over my father simply saying, “Wow.”

Martin Luther King Jr. had been murdered less than a year before. As a kid I didn’t understand the irrational hate of his assassination until I watched that episode of a Scifi TV show.

Over the following 50 years and thousands of books later, science fiction is more relevant than ever in books, movies and television.

As I look down at my smart phone and ask Siri a question it strikes me that I live in the future! My phone understands me as well as the computer on Star Trek. The information within is as immense as the ones on the show.

--Why Science Fiction? Because I love Science Fiction.

Friday, November 16, 2018

The Fast Friday Interviews: Claire Buss

Tell me about yourself, Clair?

Clair Buss

I have far too much imagination to watch horror movies and I think I'm always subconsciously daydreaming. I adore writing books and get overly excited when someone I don't know likes my stories. I am hopelessly addicted to cake and keep saying I'll go on a diet but we all know that will never happen. I'm a mum to two little monkeys (not literally!), happily married and would spend all my free time reading if I could get away with it.

Tell me about your current Book:


The Gaia Project, The Gaia Collection Book 2

When Corporation tightens their grip on City 42, Kira, Jed and their friend's mu, t find another safe place to live, or else they'll lose their children.

While Martha Hamble gets to grips with being Governor of City 42, Kira and Jed Jenkins travel to City 15 but they are not prepared for what they find. Corporation are tightening their grip on those who don't conform, threatening to split families and reassign the natural born children. With Gaia weakened, the group of friends must try to find a safe place to live and help the spirit of the Earth recover but everything stands against them. Will Corporation succeed in their tougher regime or can Kira and her friends find a new home?

What are you working on now?


I'm currently editing The Interspecies Poker Tournament, Roshaven Case File No 27 which is a novella based in the world of my humorous fantasy The Rose Thief and I hope to have it released by the end of November.

I'm also taking part in NaNoWriMo this year and writing book three in The Gaia Collection. I'm a smidge behind on my word count but I'll get there.

Tell us something that people don't generally know about you:


I have my grade two roller skating qualification.

What is a favorite lesson you have learned about the business of writing?


To not be afraid to put my stories out in the universe.

What is the best piece of writing advice you give to new authors?


Read your work aloud, if you stumble over it so will your readers and it's a great way of checking whether your dialogue is fresh and believable.

Links:


Website: https://www.cbvision.weebly.com
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/c93M2L
Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Claire-Buss/e/B01MSZY649/
Blog: https://www.butidontlikesalad.blogspot.co.uk
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/busswriter
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/grasshopper2407



Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Quotes of the Week

Write the ideas down. If they are going to be stories, try and tell the stories you would like to read. Finish the things you start to write. Do it a lot and you will be a writer. The only way to do it is to do it.
--Neil Gaiman

Someone to love, something to look forward to, and something to do.
—Elvis Presley

The first draft of anything is shit.
—Ernest Hemingway

An idea, like a ghost, must be spoken to a little before it will explain itself.
—Charles Dickens

I want to write, but more than that, I want to bring out all kinds of things that lie buried deep in my heart.
—Anne Frank

Write every day. Regaining momentum takes three times as much energy as sustaining momentum.
—Daniel H. Pink

Don't plan the ending. It has to be earned by all that will go before it.
—Rose Tremain

Screenwriting is like ironing. You move forward a little bit and go back and smooth things out.
—P.T. Anderson



Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Hard-Cover Editions

I am pleased to announce that all my books are now available in Hard-Cover editions.

   Amazon Author Page!

Novels:

  • STILL FALLING
  • THE BROKEN CAGE
  • BLOOD OF THE SCARECROW
  • VIRTUES OF THE VICIOUS

Anthologies:

  • WHISPERS OF THE APOC 
  • SILENCE OF THE APOC
  • THE WITNESS PARADOX
  • A HAUNTINGLY ROMANTIC WINTER

Coming soon in Hard-Cover:

  • FANTASTIC DEFENDERS
  • RELIQUARY
  • TRANQUILITY AND OTHER MYTHS


Monday, November 12, 2018

Reading: HUMAN ELEMENT

This week I read HUMAN ELEMENT by AJ Powers.

Here is the description from Amazon:

Aaran has legitimate reason to believe he is the last free-thinking human alive. 

It's been months since he met someone who wasn't trying to kill or convert him, and the growing angst of nomadic isolation is taking a toll on his already weary state of mind. 

Aimlessly wandering around the suburbs of Cincinnati, Aaran's days all look the same: find food, evade capture, and search for a dry, offline place to rest his head each night.

Rinse and repeat.

However, after a close call with a Sentinel--an AI-controlled soldier--Aaran unexpectedly finds himself in the company of Hadas, a beautiful, yet dangerous woman. A shaky alliance is formed between the two, and together, they search for reasons greater than "just surviving" to keep them going in such a godforsaken world.

--Good stuff. Recommended.


Sunday, November 11, 2018

Local Author: Kerry Molina

Today my friend Amanda and I went to see a local art exhibit at the Haymarket Museum.

The artist/autho/illistrator is Kerry Molina of Yellow Brick Road Studio. She was just named BEST Local Artist in Lifestyle Magazine!

Her solo exhibit will be will be open through November 29th. Check it out!

https://www.kerrymolina.com/

Here are some of her works!

--ENJOY!




Turkey or Pie?


Saturday, November 10, 2018

Friday, November 9, 2018

Fast Friday Interview: M. L. Humphrey

Tell me about yourself, Mo.


M. L. Humphrey
I’m a retired IBM applications engineer having started back in 1965 with an Associates degree in Electrical Technology from VTC. While working for IBM I acquired my B.S. in Mathematics degree from Trinity College. In later years I was a presenter at, and one-time chairman of, the memory test group at TUG conventions held yearly throughout the country.

After 37 years with big blue, I was retired and started working for an Air Force Colonel (Ret.). He hired me as a part-time printer repairman. To qualify I had to disassemble and reassemble an HP 1100 LaserJet printer. He didn’t ask me to fix it, just take it apart and put it back together, which I did. He told me that every certification I earned would affect my paycheck. He later regretted it.

During the next several years I augmented my education learning many types of printers, telephone systems, and network skills. After several years that type of work dried up and I was back working part-time. When I was laid off this time I decided I needed employment that was both interesting and rewarding; and that I couldn’t get laid off from. So, I kept my best customers and continued working from home a few more years fixing printers. That’s when I started my first novel titled ‘For Lorne’. At present, I’ve published 9 books in print and a couple of dozen eBooks.

Hobbies and other interests:


I have been a musician since I was a teenager in high school. Learned violin in grade school but my interest led elsewhere. As the ‘60’s came along I took up the 5-string banjo and guitar. During college, I played lead guitar in a rock and roll group. Later on, while in the Navy stationed in Alaska, I played 5-string banjo in a folk group on a little island called Adak. After the Navy, I was hired by my cousin as a rhythm player which quickly turned into being the bass player. Picked up mandolin along the way.

Tell me about your current book:


I have several projects in progress as my mind is continually coming up with new ideas. The recent ones are short stories bordering on Novelettes in size. One is a little horror piece about a man, his doctor and a dead man who thinks he’s still alive. Another is about a man who has been impressed with several sets of memories. The latest is about a dying man and a girl he meets in a graveyard.

What are you working on now?


Other than short stories I have two novels in progress. The first is sort of a sequel to my Cornish Talisman Series called ‘My Grandfather’s Spaceship’. Oddly I started this project several years ago and couldn’t seem to get it going. Instead, I came up with the idea to write a story about how the grandfather came to have a spaceship in the first place. That turned into ‘The Orphan from Space’ which, in turn, spawned four more books in the series. To me, at that time, it was a massive undertaking and I enjoyed it immensely.

I had a new idea for MGS and all of the material I had previously written was relegated to another new storyline called ‘Time Fog’ where it now resides. Someday I’ll get back to that one. My motto is ‘don’t throw anything away’. MGS takes place about 40-50 years after book 5 of the Cornish Talisman Series and features some of those characters. I think the story needs a little more excitement so I’ve set it aside for the time being.

The other novel has been a lengthy undertaking. It is essentially a prequel to my first novel and contains a small part of it as well. The title is ‘Battle for Lurandor’ and the setting is sort of ‘long ago and far away’.

It has not been easy combining a piece from the first novel about the starship ‘For Lorne’, a sequel I had written but never finished called ‘Colony’, and a novella that I published under the title of “Beneath the Double Suns’, but I think it is necessary. I have taken these three pieces and glued them together with a new beginning and ending. The story arc spans over two generations. Considering the different POV’s and tenses involved the editing has been exceedingly difficult.

I also have plans for at least one anthology to showcase some of my short stories and novellas. Other than music and writing stories, I also belong to a writing group called Critters.org.

But science fiction is not the only thing I’ve published. A few years back I wrote two stage plays including songs and fake advertisements. Both have been performed live by a group we belong too.

Other than Fiction, I have also written a couple of history articles about the town we live in for the local newspaper and have been asked to write a piece for the history space section of the nearby city newspaper as well. That is still a Work In Progress.

Where is your favorite place to be when you write?


The best place is at the computer in the den. When traveling I would bring a notebook and write notes on current projects as well as any new ideas that come along. Appropriate titles are sometimes the hardest thing to come up with. On the sequel to my first novel, I explained the story to my 10-year-old grand-daughter and she came up with the perfect title, ‘The 5th Agent’.

What is your favorite lesson you have learned about the business of writing?


I think it’s more about the important things I’ve learned. Not only about how to write but how to deal with the finicky publishing industry as well. Probably the most important thing I’ve learned is to do it my way. Some of my critiques have contained useful points about grammar and punctuation, and for that I’m grateful. But, I draw the line when they start to say I should have done this, or that, another way. Sure, I could have had the hero jump back in time to save the girl, but that wasn’t the plan. Yes, I was tempted, but no. Then there are times where I can plan the whole storyline from just a few scenes and tell myself that it is going to do this and that and ending up this way. Hah! As Terry Pratchett once wrote, “The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.” And it often disagrees with the ‘plan’. Sure, scenes can be wonderful to work with but most often they just don’t go anywhere without inspiration and a goal at ‘the end’.

For inspiration, I draw on many of the old masters that I enjoyed when I first started reading. Now I go back and look at what they have written and wonder if they would even survive the way things are now. Even so, that’s the type of writing I emulate. Nowadays it’s called ‘Young Adult’.

The use of foul language may seem to draw some readers just like nudity in movies. And, in some cases, it may well be realistic for a given situation. But a good story doesn’t need it. Hey, I was in the regular Navy and yes, sailors do swear. But the ones that were really vulgar didn’t.

What is your favorite Website?


I don’t really have one although I use a lot of them while doing research.

Links:


Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/M.L.-Humphrey/e/B00XNEUAU0/
Email: mjhump@accessvt.com
Blog: http://TheCornishTalisman.blogspot.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheCornishTalisman/
Smashwordshttps://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/MLHumphrey

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Quotes of the Week

The first draft of anything is shit.
—Ernest Hemingway

Tell a story! Don’t try to impress your reader with style or vocabulary or neatly turned phrases. Tell the story first.
—Anne McCaffrey

It doesn't matter how many great book ideas you have in your head if you can't finish writing one.
—Joe Bunting

I write only when inspirations strikes. Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o'clock sharp.
—W. Somerset Maugham

I'm not a very good writer, but I'm an excellent rewriter.
—James Michener

You can't blame a writer for what the characters say.
—Truman Capote

Commit yourself to the process, NOT the project. Don’t be afraid to write badly, everyone does. Invest yourself in the lifestyle ... NOT in the particular piece of work.
—Frank Conroy

Thoughts fly and words go on foot. Therein lies all the drama of a writer.
—Julien Green



Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Election Day

 I'm heading out to vote soon.

I encourage you to do the same.

As an author, it is an interesting day to watch people. The way people react. The emotions people invest in their guy.

I will be very happy when the TV ads are well over. I am not looking forward to the whining that will happen on FB.

--Be kind. It's the real vote you have.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Reading: Consider Phlebas

Last week I read CONSIDER PHLEBAS by Iain Banks.

Here is the description from AMAZON:

The war raged across the galaxy. Billions had died, billions more were doomed. Moons, planets, the very stars themselves, faced destruction, cold-blooded, brutal, and worse, random. The Idirans fought for their Faith; the Culture for its moral right to exist. Principles were at stake. There could be no surrender. 

Within the cosmic conflict, an individual crusade. Deep within a fabled labyrinth on a barren world, a Planet of the Dead proscribed to mortals, lay a fugitive Mind. Both the Culture and the Idirans sought it. It was the fate of Horza, the Changer, and his motley crew of unpredictable mercenaries, human and machine, actually to find it, and with it their own destruction.

--Great world building.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Now Available: The Witness Paradox



 --The Witness Paradox, On Amazon Now!

Quotes of the Week

Talent is extremely common. What is rare is the willingness to endure the life of the writer.
—Kurt Vonnegut

So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters; and whether it matters for ages or only for hours, nobody can say.
—Virginia Woolf

Sing your song. Dance your dance. Tell your tale. Inspire them.
—Frank McCourt

Boys think girls are like books, if the cover doesn't catch their eye they won't bother to read what's inside.
—Marilyn Monroe

An artist's only concern is to shoot for some kind of perfection, and on his own terms, not anyone else's.
—J.D. Salinger

What people are ashamed of usually makes a good story.
——F. Scott Fitzgerald

My own experience is that once a story has been written, one has to cross out the beginning and the end. It is there that we authors do most of our lying.
—Anton Chekhov

Words are a lens to focus one’s mind.
—Ayn Rand

Become emotionally involved. If you don't care about your characters, your readers won't either.
—Judy Blume

Monday, October 22, 2018

Reading: RITE OF PASSAGE

This week I read RITE OF PASSAGE by Alexei Panshin.

Here is the description from Amazon:

In 2198, one hundred and fifty years after the desperate wars that destroyed an overpopulated Earth, Man lives precariously on a hundred hastily-established colony worlds and in the seven giant Ships that once ferried men to the stars. Mia Havero's Ship is a small closed society. It tests its children by casting them out to live or die in a month of Trial in the hostile wilds of a colony world. Mia Havero's Trial is fast approaching and in the meantime she must learn not only the skills that will keep her alive but the deeper courage to face herself and her world. Published originally in 1968, Alexei Panshin's Nebula Award-winning classic has lost none of its relevance, with its keen exploration of societal stagnation and the resilience of youth.

--Good stuff. 



Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Quotes of the Week

First requirement of the writer is the ability to concentrate for long periods of time. Second...the wish to do so.
—Joyce Carol Oates

I can fix a bad page. I can’t fix a blank page.
—Nora Roberts

Every first draft is perfect because all the first draft has to do is exist.
—Jane Smiley

The difficulty of literature is not to write, but to write what you mean.
—Robert Louis Stevenson

Be grateful for every word you can cut.
—William Zinsser

Talent is helpful in writing, but guts are absolutely essential.
—Jessamyn West

Good books don't give up all their secrets at once.
—Stephen King

All great literature is one of two stories; a man goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town.
—Leo Tolstoy

Be ambitious for the work and not for the reward.
—Jeanette Winterson

And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good.
—John Steinbeck

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Book Fair!

On October 28th to 31st I will be included in the GRIM REAPING READS online book fair!

Where RIP means Read in Peace.

Watch this space for additional info on free stuff, prizes and books on deep discount!

--More Info Coming Soon!



Another Story Published

This week lots of good stuff is happening.

My short story THE WINTER ARCHER was published in the Hauntingly Romantic Winter anthology!

The description from Amazon:

Dark. Romantic. Frigidly beautiful. Not all fairy tales are meant for children.

A Hauntingly Romantic Winter is a collection of new, previously unpublished fairy tales. This winter, curl up under the blankets, drink some hot cocoa, and let The Otherworld’s writers immerse you into a brand new world. 

Magic, love, and mystery abound in this adult-themed fairy tale book. Let the freezing cold, the glittering frost, and the howling wind be softened by a layer of dreamlike stories. Inside this collection, you will find warmth and shelter from the outside world, while entering magic lands filled with faeries, cryptic women lurking in forests, magical mirrors, archers and hunters on a quest for glory and more.

Drift into this story collection and be ready to shiver with delight.

--Fairy Tales... Not for kids...

Monday, October 15, 2018

The Witness Paradox

NEW from Tannhauser Press:

     THE WITNESS PARADOX
    A Time Traveler Anthology

Short stories from the minds of:

  • Ricardo Garcia
  • Al Carroll
  • Scott A. Ceier
  • Jeffrey C. Jacobs
  • Cameron E. A. Smith
  • Vincent Scarsella
  • TR Dillon
  • Terrence E. Zavecz
  • Martin Wilsey

--Now available on Amazon!  Dead tree edition coming soon!

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Signing Books Today

Today I will be signing books and talking with people from 3pm to 5pm.

Come and see me at the Patrick Henry Library at 101 Maple Ave. East, Vienna, VA 22180.

Fun thing to do on a cool Autumn Day!

--Another chance to point and laugh!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Quotes of the Week

A good writer is basically a story teller, not a scholar or a redeemer of mankind.
—Isaac B. Singer

Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can write anything good.
—William Faulkner

All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.
―Ernest Hemingway

One must be drenched in words, literally soaked in them, to have the right ones form themselves into the proper pattern at the right moment.
—Hart Crane

Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.
—Cyril Connolly

It is impossible to discourage real writers—they don't give a damn what you say, they're going to write.
—Sinclair Lewis

I write to find what I have to say. I edit to figure out how to say it right.
—Cheryl Strayed

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

On Sale!

The SOLSTICE 31 SAGA is now on sale on Audible! This includes all three novels in one audio edition that is over 36 hours long.

Are you planning a big road trip?

Do you spend a lot of time commuting?

Do you just love Audio Books?

You can get this collection for ONE Audible credit of the low price of $21!

Narrated by Andrew Tell!

--Available on Audible and iTunes.