Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Michael Offutt - Speculative Fiction Writer

Today I'm thrilled to introduce this week's Speculative Fiction Writer, Michael Offutt. I'm a huge fan. If you haven't read Slipstream or Oculus (Books one and two from his A Crisis of Two Worlds Series) you must. Over to Michael...

The stories we tell shine like stars in the sky 

First off, I want to say thank you to author Ellie Garratt, not only because her awesome book is coming out on March 11th and I was one of the privileged few that got to do a cover reveal, but because she’s back to blogging again after a huge hiatus and I missed her!


I think that sometimes you meet a person and you just click—you’re comfortable with them, and you don’t have to pretend to be anyone or anything. 

I also think that good writing starts this way. You pick up a pen (or in the modern age you sit down at a word processor) and if you have the correct character for you in your head, the rest is easy. A bond forms between a writer and their protagonist and there are no pretensions…only story.

I call this the magic of make believe. 

I (just like you) am a writer of stories. Everyone has one inside them. The ones that I create are 100% fiction despite the fact that some readers will inevitably pull little tidbits of this or that from what I might write or my characters might do. But I can’t deny that when you pick up one of my stories for the first time, what I really want you to hear is a single sentence said in your own voice.

“Oh darling, let’s be adventurers for a while.” 

Speculative fiction has so much to offer, and so many bold horizons. If you are feeling jaded by life, I urge you to pick up a book…any book…and go exploring. It does the mind good to dream, and I’m thankful every day for all the speculative fiction authors out there who’ve created worlds and continue to forge universes in so many varieties that they are impossible to quantify.

The stories told by all of us shine like the stars, and they will be there long after we are gone.

If in the slim chance you choose to pick up one of my stories, know that I have a list of things I want:
  1.  That we make a nice pear. :)


Thanks for having me on your blog, Ellie. Cheers everyone

Visit me at my blog here.

Thank you, Micheal. It was an honour to reveal Passing Time's cover on your blog, and I certainly missed you and all my other blogging friends during my hiatus. I agree - stories really do shine like the stars.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Tea With Mistress Snark & Guest Post Guidelines

I'm having tea with the incorrigible Mistress Snark today. Please pop over and share a brew with us; I'm sure it will be quite an experience. There may even be cake on offer.

Changing the subject, I've decided to introduce a word-length guideline for the weekly Speculative Fiction Writer guest posts. I don't normally have any specific guidelines for guest posts but, given how short of time most blog readers are, I'm introducing a 750 word maximum. Five hundred words or less is ideal, but 750 is acceptable at a push. If you've already written and sent your post to me, and it's over 750 words, don't worry - I will still use it.

Do you set word limits for guest posts? Do you apply them to your own posts as well?

Don't forget to call back Wednesday, when this week's Speculative Fiction Writer will be Michael Offutt.

Friday, 25 January 2013

New Release Date for Passing Time

Due to ill health within my family I have made the decision to push back the release date of Passing Time to March 11th, four weeks later than planned. It was a hard decision to make but one I decided was necessary. Thankfully, everyone involved in its release and the blog tour have also been able to move back one month. A huge thank you to all my blogging and writing friends for being so supportive.

The blog tour details are listed on a page above, if you want to take a peek. Don't forget I'm also on Twitter and, if you have a Facebook account, my author page is here. If you have an author page, and I don't know about it, put a link in the comments below.

One final note, a massive thank you to my cover designer Ida Jansson for making my blog tour button, and for making my blog and Facebook headers look more professional. I can't wait to reveal the banner she has made for Passing Time.

Happy writing.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

L Blankenship - Speculative Fiction Writer

Today I'm especially happy to be introducing L. Blankenship as this week's Speculative Fiction Writer. She's treating us to a character interview today.

Interview with Disciple's narrator, Kate

So how is it you're so immune to Anders' charms? (his interview here)

(she spreads her hands) Immune? He says foolish things and I answer. How does that make me immune to him? So many seem to think I dislike him -- I don't. He's witty, and kind, and he's been honorable.

But you haven't kissed him.

And why would I? Must I kiss every knight I meet? My saint means for me to  be a physician of --

You kissed the prince.

(she blushes bright red)

Well, he did it first. But you kissed him back.

(still red) Yes. I know it's foolish.

He's cute and smart.

(fading to pink) And he reads. And he's been so kind...

Maybe not so foolish?

(she looks at her folded hands) Prince Kiefan is promised to marry, to seal our alliance. We need our allies' aid, when the war comes.

So perhaps it's better to focus on your studies. You were graduated to full physician for this mission; I know you were very anxious about that.

True, I was. And my master was right, I did learn a great deal more on the mission than in the two years before. Perhaps it was foolish to think that would earn me any esteem from the other physicians -- I am still a peasant girl, in their eyes.

Are you still a peasant girl?

(she thinks about that) I will always be myself, won't I? Always be a peasant girl, at heart?

One who loves a prince? (That makes her blush again, but she smiles.)

Back cover blurb for Disciple, Part I

The saints favor her, else-wise a peasant girl like Kate Carpenter would never be apprenticed to the kingdom’s master healer. But her patron saint also marks her ready for the duty of tending to a mission that must cross the ice-bound mountains. Their little kingdom faces invasion by a vast empire and desperately needs allies; across the snow-filled pass, through the deathly thin air, is a country that’s held off the empire and may be willing to lend an army.

Kate knows about frostbite and the everyday injuries of wilderness travel. She can heal those.

She’s not ready for the attentions of a ne’er-do-well knight and the kingdom’s only prince, though. 

And she isn’t ready for the monsters that harry them night and day, picking off their archers first, wearing the party to exhaustion, pushing Kate beyond the limits her healing abilities. 

She must keep them alive, or her blood will be on the snow too.
Read a sample of Part I, Chapter 1 • Read a sample of Part II
Cover and blurb for Part I or Part II

Disciple, Part I is available at all major online retailers Disciple, Part II on sale April 1st!
Pre-order Part II, or pick up a bundle of both parts, NOW at Kickstarter! Click on the widget to see the book trailer and the pledging options.

Disciple, Part I on GoodreadsPart II on Goodreads

Thank you, L. Character interviews are a particular favourite of mine, and Kate's interview certainly has me intrigued. I'm looking forward to reading her story. Good luck with your Kickstarter appeal.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Polar Night Cover Reveal & Star Cover Revealers (Part Two)

Today I'm thrilled to be taking part in the cover reveal for Julie Flander's Polar Night. Stunning, isn't it?

Book Blurb 

When Detective Danny Fitzpatrick leaves his hometown of Chicago and moves to Fairbanks, Alaska he wants nothing more than to escape the violence and heartbreak that left his life in pieces. Numbed by alcohol and the frozen temperatures of an Alaskan winter, Danny is content with a dead-end job investigating Fairbanks' cold cases. That all changes when a pretty blond woman goes missing on the winter solstice, and Danny stumbles upon some surprising connections between her disappearance and that of another Fairbanks woman three years earlier. Forced out of his lethargy, Danny sets out to both find the missing woman and solve his own cold case.

The investigation points Danny towards Aleksei Nechayev, the handsome and charming proprietor of an old asylum turned haunted tourist attraction in the Arctic town of Coldfoot. As he tries to find a link between Nechayev and his case, Danny's instinct tells him that Nechayev is much more than what he seems.

Danny has no idea that Nechayev is hiding a secret that is much more horrifying than anything he could ever have imagined. As his obsession with finding the missing women grows, Danny finds his own life in danger. And when the truth is finally revealed, the world as he knows it will never be the same.

Author Bio

Julie Flanders is a librarian and a freelance writer who has written for both online and print publications. She is an avid animal lover and shares her home in Cincinnati, Ohio with her dog and cat. Polar Night, a suspense thriller with a supernatural twist, is her first novel. It will be published by Ink Smith Publishing on February 7, 2013. Find Julie online at her blog, on Twitter, and on Facebook

Congratulations, Julie. I adore the eeriness of this cover.

Last week I thanked half of the awesome bloggers who helped me reveal the cover for my first eBook short story collection, Passing Time. Today I'd like to highlight the other half - each one a shining star of the blogging world.

In no particular order:

I've known Pete (or as he's better known, Snafu) over at Incultus since the beginning of my blogging adventures, and I think he may be my geek double - we have so many similar interests. He also takes stunning photographs. 

Everyone knows Stephen Tremp, author of the Chase Manhatten trilogy. If you don't, why not? If you want to be both entertained and educated, visit his science based blog. It really is fascinating, and so are his books.

David Powers King hangs out at The Cosmic Laire of Science Fiction and Fantasy, and writes MG and YA science fiction and fantasy. He loves Zombies, which is a winner for me. He also has an unbelievable weekly blog schedule. I'm hoping he'll share his secret with me at some point.

Fantasy and paranormal romance author, Laura Eno, is one of those writers I aspire to be more like. Her books are stunning, and I love her passion and positivity for both writing and blogging. 

Summer Ross over at My Inner Fairy is another blogger I seem to have known forever. She's not only a writer but also an editor for WiDo Publishing. She also loves fairies, which you can probably tell from her blog name. 

Botanist over at Views from the Bald Patch is probably one of the most supportive bloggers I know, and I only hope I can be even half as supportive back. I can't wait for the day when I can read some of his science fiction. 

What can I say about Simon Kewin over at Spellmaking? If I could clone some of his dedication and passion for writing, I would be a much happier and more productive writer. If you've not read any of his stories, there are plenty to choose from and well worth reading. His first novel,  Hedge Witch will be released later this year.

Misha Gericke at My First Book has finished her first fantasy novel Doorways and is blogging about her journey to find an agent, which I'm sure will happen sooner rather than later. She really is an inspiration to me and I'm always eager to read the next instalment in her journey. 

And finally, there is Ida Jansson, the amazing person behind my stunning cover. Ida, what would I have done without you? Please take the time to visit Amygdala Design and look at her stunning book covers. She also does banners, other promotional material, and book trailers.
All there is left for me to do is to thank each and every one of them. You all rock. 

Don't forget to call back Wednesday, when this week's Speculative Fiction Writer, L Blankenship, will be interviewing one of her characters.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Shevi Arnold - Speculative Fiction Writer

I'm thrilled to introduce this week's Speculative Fiction Writer, Shevi Arnold. She's discussing something that maybe we all need a little more of in our fiction and daily lives - comedy.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future

By Shevi Arnold

All science fiction starts by asking two words within the realm of the scientifically possible: “What if?”

It’s kind of like a fictional mathematical proof. It says that if this is scientifically possible, and this other thing is scientifically possible, then sometime in the future or on another planet it’s scientifically possible that . . .

For example, it’s scientifically possible for intelligent life to develop on a planet like ours, and there are many other planets in the universe that are like ours, so it’s scientifically possible that intelligent life has developed on those planets. Presto, you have E.T..

And it’s scientifically possible for wars to exist between countries, so if we believe it’s possible that intelligent life exists on those planets, it’s scientifically possible that beings from other planets may be at war with one another. Presto, you have Star Wars.

We also know it’s scientifically possible for guys on our planet to find girls in gold bikinis hot, and it’s possible that there are guy aliens on those other planets, so . . 

Yeah, that’s the best explanation I have for why Jabba the Hutt would make Princess Leia wear a gold bikini. I mean, you’d think a guy who looks like something Clifford the Big Red Dog left on the living-room carpet wouldn’t give a fig about what a human girl is wearing, so what other explanation could there possibly be?

But I digress. 

I love science fiction intellectually. I love thinking about “What if?”

But my heart belongs to comedy. It’s my favorite genre.

In a way, comedy also asks, “What if?” In a way, every form of fiction does. But the way each genre asks it is different. Science Fiction asks, “What if?” in the realm of the scientifically possible. Comedy asks, “What if?” by first looking at the likely or expected and then giving us something unlikely and unexpected: a surprise.

Comedy goes great with other genres—all genres, not just science fiction. That’s because most genres have clichés, and those clichés can get pretty boring after a while. Comedy, though, adds an element of surprise, which shakes things up. It keeps the audience on their toes. Nothing can be taken for granted. Nothing is what you expect. That’s kind of the beauty of comedy.

Joss Whedon, the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the director of The Avengers, once said, ““Make it dark, make it grim, make it tough, but then, for the love of God, tell a joke.”

I know many writers who would like to add funny scenes to their writing, but they don’t know how. They sometimes sound like Edmund Kean who is quoted as saying, “Dying is easy; comedy is hard.”

But comedy really isn’t that hard.

All you have to do is find a cliché in your chosen genre and then go in a different direction, a surprising direction. Take anything that’s been done a million times one way, and do it a different way. It’s as simple as that.

For example, if people think that vampire slayers should be big tough guys with names like Van Helsing, you make a vampire slayer who is a teenage cheerleader named Buffy. Only don’t do that, because Joss Whedon already has. A joke is only funny the first time a person hears it. That’s because once you’ve heard it, the surprise is gone. So you’re going to have to come up with something people haven’t heard before.

My upcoming novel, Why My Love Life Sucks, book one in The Legend of Gilbert the Fixer, tries to do just that. 

It’s a funny, YA science fantasy. It starts with a “What if?” and continues with a surprise. What if vampires existed, and what if a vampire girl turned some guy into a vampire? You probably already have certain expectations. You know the clichés. The girl must be in love with the guy, and he must be hot. You’d be wrong on both accounts. Surprise! She wants to be his platonic best friend forever, and she informs him pretty quickly that he isn’t her type at all.

You might have also guessed that getting turned into an irresistible chick magnet is a dream come true for our hero, but surprise again! It’s not. Our hero is a super geek, and girls and relationships terrify him. Girls throwing themselves at him is pretty much his worst nightmare.

Okay, so you might get that this is funny, but you might be wondering why I call this science-fantasy. I mean, hello, vampires are paranormal or urban fantasy, there’s nothing scientific about them, right?

That’s the thing: there are clichés that fit science fiction, and vampires aren’t among them. That means sticking vampires into a science fiction story can be pretty funny. But it also still has to make sense. After all, it’s not really science fiction if there isn’t a certain degree of scientific logic.

And Why My Love Life Sucks is, in many ways, a science-fiction story. Gilbert Garfinkle has more in common with Doctor Frankenstein—the main character of the first science fiction novel ever written—and Arthur Dent from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy than he does with Dracula. Like Doctor Frankenstein, Gilbert is a scientist. He invents things. He’s even working on artificial intelligence, which is sort of like a modern version of trying to create life. He fixes things, and he dreams of someday inventing something that will fix the world. Like Arthur Dent, the universe seems to be conspiring to make things as difficult for him as possible. 

As a scientist, Gilbert has a hard time accepting the possible existence of vampires, and a big part of the book involves Gilbert trying to make sense of things that don’t make sense: vampires, how strange his undead life has become, and this crazy little thing called love.  

Like any good science-fiction story, Why My Love Life Sucks starts with “What if?” What if vampires really did exist? How could that be scientifically possible? Like any good comedy, it continues with a surprise. What if a teenage super geek was turned into one? And then it and continues with life’s ultimate question: Why Me?

Shevi Arnold is many things–a writer, cartoonist, humor expert, and geek goddess–but above all, she is a storyteller. She has indie published three books: Dan Quixote Boy of Nuevo Jersey is a humorous middle-grade novel about individuality and friendship overcoming bullying; Toren the Teller’s Tale is a YA fantasy about the magic of storytelling, and one young woman’s struggle to accept that magic in herself; and Ride of Your Life is a romantic YA ghost story about a 17-year-old girl who meets the love of her life 30 years after her own death. They are available in paperback, on Kindle and Nook, and from the Apple iBookstore. The YA comedy science-fantasy novel, Why My Love Life Sucks, book one in The Legend of Gilbert the Fixer is set to be released in the beginning of 2013. You can find Shevi on, Facebook and Twitter, and you can follow her blog at

Thank you, Shevi. I love the Joss Whedon quote; you've reminded me as to why I enjoyed Buffy the Vampire Slayer so much - the humour. And I'm intrigued by the way you've broken those tired and over-used science fiction cliches. I can't wait to read Why My Love Life Sucks.

Monday, 14 January 2013

My Passing Time Star Cover Revealers (Part One)

A week ago 18 shining stars of the blogging world helped me reveal the cover of my first eBook short story collection. I was humbled and honoured by their willingness to help me promote Passing Time.

This post is a tribute to them all. Well, half of them. Eighteen is to big a number to cover in one blog post (part two will be next Monday). So, sit back and take a short trip around the blogging universe with me.

In no particular order:

I only met Alexandra Lanc over at Words of the Worlds a few months ago, but already I am in awe of her dedication, work-ethic, and willingness to offer support to her fellow writers. Not only does she write fiction and non-fiction, but she's also an artist, creating all of her stunning covers.

Everyone knows the mighty Ninja Alex J. Cavanaugh. When he's not writing and releasing his stunning CassaStar novels, he dedicates himself to helping and promoting his fellow authors. Without him, the blogging world would be a lonely and desolate place.

The stars really are the beginning with Mary Pax, over at Wistful Nebula. Mary is the indie science fiction and fantasy author of The Backworlds and Hetty Locklear series. She's also has one of the coolest summer jobs I know - a star guide at the Pine Mountain Observatory.

On Michael Offutt's blog, he says, 'I'm a guy, and I write stories.' Whilst his statement his true, speculative fiction author Michael is so much more. You only need to visit his blog to get an idea of how passionate he is about writing. He is also an artist, regularly drawing characters and scenes from his A Crisis of Two Worlds series.

Nicole Zoltack is a writer who doesn't want to be boxed in by genre. She writes fantasy, paranormal, horror, romance, historical, and contemporary fiction. A quick visit to her blog or website is like a tonic of inspiration for any writer.

YA author and middle school English teacher, Medeia Sharif, is a first-class example of how it's not who you know or how well you are connected to land an agent and publishing contract. It's about writing well, doing your market research, and persisting despite the rejections. Her debut novel Bestest. Ramadan. Ever. was published in 2011.

Julie Flanders at Where Else Is Possible? has my idea of a fulfilling life - she's a librarian by day and writer by night. She's also incredibly supportive towards her fellow writers, tirelessly promoting the work of others. Her debut novel Polar Night will be published in 2013.

What can I say about New Adult writer E.J. Wesley over at The Open Vein? I'm love with his books and their stunning covers. His writing gives me something to aspire to. His artwork makes me wish I could draw. If you haven't read or seen his Moonsongs novelettes, please visit his blog. You won't be disappointed.

Finally, Donna Hosie over at Musing of a Penniless Writer has long been a source of inspiration for me. Anyone who describes themselves as both a writer and full-time geek gets a thumbs up from me. I also love the way she has taken the Arthurian legends and given them a twist, in Searching For Arthur and The Fire Of Merlin.

All that is left for me to say is a massive thank you to all those listed above. To everyone else, warp on over to their blogs and give them a Trekkie salute from me. Don't forget to call back Wednesday, when this week's Speculative Fiction Writer, Shevi Arnold, will be discussing the use of comedy in science fiction.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Interview with my cover designer, Ida Jansson

Today I'm delighted to be interviewing Ida Jansson of Amygdala Design, creator of the stunning cover for my dark fiction short story collection, Passing Time.

Hello Ida. Please tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from, and what do you do when you're not designing covers or creating digital art?

Hi! I am 27 years old, and from Norway. I currently live in Oslo with my boyfriend of 10 years and our wonderful dog. I run the company Amygdala Design, which I started in October 2012. Amygdala Design specializes in Book Cover design and other related services. I am educated as a Graphic Designer, but I also have a bachelor degree in Biomedical Science. Right now I work full time as a Digital Artist and Graphic Designer in my own company.

In my spare time, I love to read (and I read a lot!). I also enjoy cross country skiing and long walks with my dog.

You have a selection of stunning artwork on your website, Amygdala Design. What inspires your creativity?

Thank you! I am very inspired by music, especially soundtracks from different movies, and also game music. I always listen to music when I design book covers. Also, reading books inspires me a lot. I am so impressed by all the amazing authors out there, and I want to support new authors in every way that I can. 

What started your passion for book cover design?

My passion for book cover design started with my passion for reading! I thought it would be perfect to combine my love for books with my passion for digital art. It is an amazing feeling to hold a book in my hands and know that I have designed the cover.

Actually, it all started with a request from you to design your book cover for “Passing Time”. I really enjoyed the process, and it made me think that this was actually something I could do for a living. After that, the requests have just kept coming, and I feel very lucky to have gotten such a great start. So thank you Ellie! 

You offer both pre-made and custom-made covers. Can you talk us through the process of creating a custom-made cover for an author?

The custom-made covers are made in close cooperation with the author. I often ask for a short synopsis of the story before I start working on ideas for the cover. It is important that the covers reflect the main components of the story, but in a simple way. A cover should not have too many components, as the potential reader should be able to see what kind of book this is just by a simple glance.

Some customers know exactly what they want, down to the smallest detail. Others just give me a basic idea of the story, and leave it to me to come up with ideas. Then I make a first version, a draft that I send to the author. From there, we decide if anything needs to be changed before the final version.

On your blog you mention getting the right book cover is important. Why?

Unfortunately, a lot of great books get too little attention because the cover is too anonymous or doesn’t tell the potential reader anything about the book. An eye-catching book cover is so important do draw the attention that you need to sell your book. I know that when I browse Amazon for books to download on my Kindle, I always stop by the books with the best covers. The first impression is so important, especially when you are a new author. With the amount of self-published books growing rapidly, the competition to get noticed is very tough, and the right book cover can be crucial.

What other services do you offer authors?

In addition to book covers, I also offer the following services:

-         Book Trailers
-         Promotional Artworks
-         Facebook Banner

I saw a book trailer you recently made and was blown away by the quality. Was this your first trailer and how difficult was it to make?

Thank you! Yes, it actually was my first book trailer. Since then, I have made another trailer which was luckily also well received. I really enjoy making them, combining my passion for books, art, and music. Technically, it was not very difficult to make because I have made similar products through my education. But it was certainly challenging to decide what elements to include in the trailer, as the book opened up so many possibilities.

Do you plan to offer any other book-related services during 2013?

Right now I have my hands full with book covers, trailers, promo-art and banners. Recently, I made a logo for a customer, and I really enjoyed the process. So I am open for designing more logos if I get the opportunity. I am always open to help authors with any design services they might need, even if it is not currently one of my official services.

Now for the compulsory random question: if you could design a cover for an author, who would it be and why?

Maybe not the most original answer, but I would have to answer J.K. Rowling. She is simply a genius, and I LOVE Harry Potter!

Win a book trailer by Ida! Visit her Facebook page to find out more.

Amygdala Design

Thank you, Ida. I feel honoured to have been part of the reason you decided to start designing book covers. I am sure that during 2013 Amygdala Design will continue to grow and flourish with your obvious passion and creativity behind it.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Write 1 Sub 1 - Speculative Fiction Writer

I am delighted to be again hosting Speculative Fiction Writer, Milo James Fowler. He is a co-founder of Write 1 Sub 1, which entered it's third year in 2013. Over to you, Milo.

Writing in Ray Bradbury's Shadow

By Milo James Fowler

What makes someone a literary legend? Does he have to live long enough to see his work become popular? Outlive his critics? For many writers in the past, a true fan base only developed posthumously. 

Not so with Ray Bradbury. Novels, short stories, poetry, plays—his body of work is loved the world over. But once upon a time, he was just a struggling young writer in love with the craft. He wrote a short story every week, polished it up, and submitted it to a magazine. Rejection letters flooded in, mainly due to his prolific submissions. But there were also acceptances along the way, and they inspired Bradbury to keep doing what he loved: telling stories as only he could.

Seeing him at the Escondido library in the fall of 2009 was a surreal experience I’ll never forget. He spoke about being a “lover of life,” and that, for him, writing was always a labor of love. He told us that night, “If you can write one short story a week—doesn’t matter what the quality is to start, but at least you’re practicing. At the end of the year, you have 52 short stories, and I defy you to write 52 bad ones. Can’t be done.” 

A year later, a reader commented on my blog that I seemed to be announcing a short story publication every month. I responded by saying that compared to Bradbury, I was nowhere near as prolific, but that someday I hoped to follow in his footsteps.

“Someday” turned out to be 2011. 

It was time to take the proverbial bull by the horns and see if I could do it: write and submit a new story every week. And since misery and joy both love company, I decided to invite fellow writers Simon Kewin and Stephen V. Ramey along for the ride. Thus, Write1Sub1 was born.

Now in our 3rd year with over 300 participants, we’re still going strong, and I can honestly say I’ve grown as a writer because of this challenge. W1S1 has forced me to take my writing seriously and carve out a chunk of time for it every day. It’s also taught me how to deal with a deadline—how to write fast and revise slow, and to get my work off the hard drive and into an editor’s inbox. Along the way, I’ve created some of my best work, stories that wouldn’t exist without this challenge and our supportive community of writers. 

It's never too late to join, so stop by Write1Sub1 today and sign up for either our weekly or monthly participation level. You'll be glad you did!

Thank you, Mr. Bradbury, for inspiring us. You said it could be done, and you were right.


Thank you for sharing your journey to W1S1, Milo. Ray Bradbury is an inspiration for all writers, whatever their chosen genre. I am of course insanely jealous that you got to meet him.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Passing Time Cover Reveal!

I am thrilled to reveal the cover for my first eBook short story collection.

The blurb:

Nine dark fiction stories that may just give you nightmares.

A man lives to regret Passing Time. A father will do anything to save his son in Expiration Date. An author finds out her worst nightmare is back in The Devil’s Song. A woman gets more than the claim fee when she takes out vampire insurance in Luna Black.

In Dining in Hell, the Death Valley Diner becomes the wrong place to stop.

A serial killer wants to add another file to his collection in The Vegas Screamer. In Eating Mr. Bone, an undertaker could meet an unfortunate end. A con man meets his first ghost in Land of the Free. And will truth be set free in The Letter?

Publication date: February 11th, 2013

A massive thank you to all the bloggers taking part in my cover reveal, and especially to my cover designer, Ida Jansson - I couldn't do this without all of your help. Please call back on Wednesday, when Write 1 Sub 1 co-founder Milo James Fowler will be my Speculative Fiction Writer guest. Then on Friday, I will be interviewing the super-talented Ida. 

Friday, 4 January 2013

T-minus Four Days

Next Monday is my cover reveal for Passing Time. Where did the last few weeks go? It's as if I announced my first short story collection and then warped forward to the weekend before the cover reveal date. Perhaps I really do live in a Star Trek universe?

Please call back on Monday, so you can take a peek at my cover. I'm not at all nervous. Honest.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Makayla Yokley - Speculative Fiction Writer

I am thrilled to be starting 2013 with Speculative Fiction Writer, Makayla Yokley. Over to you, Makayla.

The Road

Hello everyone! Welcome to my post on the fabulous Ellie Garratt’s blog! Several months ago, a friend of mine who was a guest on Ellie’s blog in November and did her post on NanoWriMo (Samantha LaFantasie) showed me the blog, I had to say I was really excited to contact Ellie and see if I couldn’t get a spot for myself. Now that I’m here, I’m really happy to be! Ellie’s blog is great, and I’m happy to be here! 

“The Ruby Curse” was definitely a labor of love. No, it was more than that.  It was a labor of compulsion, of desire, and of obedience. I had to travel so far out of my comfort zone to write this that I was basically chopping down tree limbs and hoping the dirt road took me where I needed to be. I tried to enjoy the scenery, but I was so often scratched by low hanging branches that there were times when I wished I could’ve just been done already. I didn’t have an iota of an idea of what I was doing when I started. I mean, I knew how to write. I knew how to string words together in a way that might’ve been okay in the first draft but there was so much room for improvement.

The problem was that I was either lazy or so submerged in self-doubt that I didn’t believe I could do better. My money is on the former, though. Laziness and I go together like ice cream and that brand of magic syrup that hardens after its put on the ice cream. But with “The Ruby Curse” that wasn’t an option. Something was definitely not working and the minute I decided that I would overcome the laziness that so hindered me, I could tell how much difference there was in not only the way I felt about my work but the overall quality of it. Something had improved, and when I can say that about my own work you know it’s true. 

When I was writing the first draft it took two years to finish because I had a bad habit of quitting and going to work on something else when things weren’t going as I planned. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing to do— it’s by no means a good thing, but sometimes it’s nice to have something else to occupy your mind when you’re having trouble. I read in an article once that the brain is always searching for ways to solve problems even when you’re not actively thinking about it, and I feel having a side project really helps this— but it’s definitely not good when you’re doing the first draft. The first draft is going to suck. There’s no way around that. It’s only meant to get your ideas down on paper as they come to you; to capture the moment and put in a box for further examination once the hunt is concluded. After that you can start being anal. After that you can start hating what you wrote because you think it’s terrible, even when it’s not. Just don’t waste too much time hating something that is supposed to be lacking in quality. Show me a novel that was written perfectly in one draft and I’ll show you how to produce gold out of thin air.

Over the course of writing “The Ruby Curse”, after deciding once and for all that I would stop hating the first draft as much and just get it done so I could start on the subsequent drafts, improving on it and making it shine, the story grew and changed in ways I would never have imagined back when I penned those first few words onto the first chapter for the first time. 

If there’s one piece of advice I could offer to new writers looking for a nugget of wisdom, I would say not to overlook the editing process like I did. It doesn’t matter how much you think you might love the first draft, it’s always got room for improvement. That’s one of the things I like best about being a writer: you don’t have to get it right the first time. You’ve always got another chance to find just the right word, the right direction to move a scene, the right adjustment to a character so that your work of pure love can truly shine through. 

Thank you for your wise words, Makayla. As I always say, first drafts are pants. It's what a writer makes of them in the second, third, and subsequent drafts that matters. As the great Stephen King says, 'Write with the door closed. Re-write with the door open.' The first draft is for the writer. All other drafts are aiming for the reader.