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Showing posts from 2015

Author Interveiw at However Improbable

  Hey, guess what? I got to do an interview on another writer’s blog. Many thanks to Jack at However Improbable for hosting me! Here’s the link. Check it out. http://www.jacklewisbaillot.com/2015/11/i-dont-trust-you-miss-ethel-dont-go-in.html

Interveiw With Valhalse Coharnah, antagonist of The Stardrift Trilogy

Sorry for the pause. That was for suspense, of course. Very calculated. Now, here's what you've been waiting for: an interview with the villain.   What is your goal as the ruler of Divizah?   My aspirations change with the wind. I’ve told some people I would resurrect theocracy—only partially in jest. I used to be such a romantic. I would do anything if I would be worshipped for it. But after a while I realized that gods are all too often manipulated by those who take a more underhanded approach. I don’t know what I want right now, besides possibly to shake off certain political shackles—alliances, that’s what they call them—that keep Divizah so pitifully domesticated.     How do you see yourself?   I…I’m not sure. It depends very much on perspective. Much of what I’ve been through has stayed with me. I see myself through the eyes of those around me sometimes. I used to try to see that way more often, but I grew to hate it. I hate what other people see

Interveiw with Dahskay Onlore, Main Character of The Stardrift Trilogy

Now things get fun. Today, I’m staging an interview with The Stardrift Trilogy’s main character, Dahskay Onlore. Dahskay Onlore is an apprenticed radio astronomer working as an intern at her father’s Observatory in the mountains on the planet of Finzar. In Earth-years, she would be about sixteen when the story starts. What are your favorite and least favorite things about your job at the observatory? For one thing, I love the setting. The Ematosk Mountains are beautiful, and the emotional climate at the observatory is so peaceful and contemplative most of the time. It’s kind of a vacation setting. Then there’s the whole astronomy aspect. I love our subject-matter. It’s all so huge and fantastical, and the fact that our sole purpose is to listen to what the heavenly bodies are saying…that’s cool. (Laughs.) If you can’t see how cool that is, I can’t help you.   Things that aren’t as cool would be the boring technical things and the computer work. I don’t like technology very m

The Publishing Story

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And what a long story it is. I started writing The Stardrift Trilogy way back in 2008. Back then, I wasn’t actually planning to publish. I didn’t expect anyone outside my family to read my story. I was fourteen then, so that seemed a little bit grandiose to me. But here’s how I started my publishing adventures. For anybody who doesn’t know, there are three ways you can get a book published these days. You can try to sell it to a traditional publisher (traditional publishing), you can do the entire thing yourself (self-publishing), or you can buy the services of a publisher and keep the rights (subsidy-publishing.)   I chose to subsidy publish a bit rashly, I suppose. I found a subsidy-publisher called Westbow Press that would produce my books and distribute them in four months—that was about two years ago. There were really two reasons I chose to subsidy-publish: it was faster than traditional, and I doubted that I could market my books successfully to a traditional press

IT'S AVAILIBLE!

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Well, The Stardrift Trilogy is now available to the public. Spread the news. You can buy the books on  Amazon Barnes &Noble , and on Abbott Press Bookstore . Read it, review it, enjoy it if you can! Seven years in the making, and it's finally here!!!

Snippet!

There was a worrisome fluttering and clanging and then silence. Presently, the seabird’s head appeared at the other end of the shelves. Without a thought, Dahskay sneaked up on it and caught it before it could fully emerge. She pulled it out gently despite its clawed feet clinging to unseen anchors behind the shelves. She tucked in the enormous wings and held it firmly against her side.   “You got it!” whispered Cahathel in amazement, rushing to open the door.   She glanced nervously down at the bird’s long, ponderously hooked bill as she carried it to the exit.   It didn’t threaten her with it. It just blinked and gazed steadily ahead.   Just outside the door, she crouched down and let go of it. It fussily rearranged its wings and turned walking into the wind a couple of steps. Before it took off, it looked back at Dahskay through clear gray eyes.   As the enormous spread of wings climbed away into the stormy sky, Zaarrveck muttered, “Strange, most of them have dark eyes

Learning from Novels: Agatha Christie's "The Seven Dials Mystery"

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There’s a reason Christie is such a big name in murder mysteries. I wouldn’t describe myself as a huge whodunit junkie, but her work stands out brilliantly from all that I’ve read. The Seven Dials Mystery follows the mysterious deaths of two young men on the grounds of Chimneys, a huge estate being rented out be the protagonist’s father. The clues are a missing alarm clock, an unfinished letter, and the last words of one of the victims as he dies.   Christie’s red-herrings are particularly good. She knows all about playing on a reader’s assumptions. The main character is engaging, and well-developed. I would never name a character “Bundle”, but, to each their own.   There are an awful lot of characters introduced in the first couple of chapters of the book. It’s a good thing when a mystery has a lot of suspects, but I would complain that they were dealt a little fast, and there are a few that blend together. Most of her characters, though not described extensively, were given

Snippet!

On the other side of the door, she stopped short and stared. The chamber’s ceiling was as high as that of the exterior hallways and it was punctuated by skylights shaped like elongated teardrops streaming from the highest point in the vaulting. Stormy blue-ish light flowed down from these windows and lit the soaring labyrinth of shelves and cabinets that kept the temple’s some twelve-million documents. The air was cool and felt like it somehow came from outside. There wasn’t a sound to be heard.

Avoiding Cliches: Don't Do The Prophesy

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And don’t take my titles too literally, either. The prophecy is a very standard device in sci-fi and fantasy, particularly. It’s really not a bad thing in itself, and I used it in the Stardrift Trilogy and am using it in The Art of Lightplay, the fantasy I’m currently writing. Like practically all clichés, the prophecy can go from a predictable bore to a satisfying thrill with a little twisting.   Authors have different ways of handling prophecies. Some write them, without context, in the beginning of their book, before chapter one. Some don’t bring them up until the plot is already moving. Some show the prophesy being told for the first time in the beginning of their story. The placement makes little difference. Do whatever you want.   People get particularly lazy when it comes to the actual writing of the thing. Here’s where things get really predictable if you’re not careful. Things to watch out for: ·          Make sure you use natural-sounding language that matches t

Snippet!

Dahskay slipped suddenly from the gentle hand of dreamless sleep. It was funny how every time she had awakened from any amount of sleep on this mission, she always expected to be in her room. What was even stranger was the fact that it wasn’t her room at the OAOF on Clilltar. Not even the girls’ dorm on Finzar, but her childhood home that she imagined she would see when she opened her eyes.

Creating Atmosphere

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One of the greatest absences I sense in modern novels, poems, and short-stories is atmosphere. When did we lose it? Where did it go? And… why??? I don’t know that I could answer any of these questions. All I know is it’s gone, and I want it back.     So, what exactly is this lost element, atmosphere? Atmosphere is the underlying mood or tone of a piece of art. It’s what flavors and colors a scene, or a moment, making it more than the sum of its parts. In film, the soundtrack, lighting, set, and movement of the characters are powerful contributors to atmosphere. In paintings, the composition, palette, and focus play parts. In music, the instruments, dynamics, articulation, and tempo make all the difference.   Atmosphere really exists independently of subject-matter. A good author can take a scene in which the same characters are present, doing the same things, but make the reader feel any number of ways about it. The magic is in well-chosen details .   The atmosphere of a

Snippet!

They only saw one planet on their way out of the ecliptic. Silita drifted far to the starboard side. Ahead, the stars stared blankly at them, saying quite clearly, “What are you doing here?”

Learning From Novels: Marie d'Agoult's Nelida

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Nelida is a romance novel, published in 1846. So why in the world would I be reading it? Therein lies a story. I’m not just a writer, but also a classical music geek. My official celebrity crush is Franz Liszt, a Hungarian pianist/composer. If you are well-read in music history, you know that Liszt was not just famous for being an unprecedented piano virtuoso, but also one of the most scandalous figures of his time as far as his love-life went.   This novel was written by his mistress of ten years, the mother of his three children, around the time they finally broke up. It was a bestseller in its day, but probably not because it was a great book.   So, first, I’ll discuss the novel’s problems. One of the most glaring problems is the main character. Not a good problem to have. Nelida, is impossible for me to connect with. I’ll give you a quick run-down of the plot so you know. Nelida is a ridiculously sweet, ridiculously innocent girl who befriends, in her childhood, a gypsy

Don't Do The Dress-Up Scene

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I might find this cliché less cliché, if I had at some point experienced something like it in real life. Maybe this actually happens among some people, but as far as I know, it mainly happens in dumb novels.   And even in some not-so-dumb novels. In fact, the example I’m thinking of is from none other than C.S. Lewis’s none other than Space Trilogy. In the third book, That Hideous Strength, there is a scene near the end where the ladies of the story are preparing for…a banquet, or something of the sort. (Frankly, That Hideous Plot really confused me.) They all are dressing up for the occasion in some fantastic clothes, which, though they would probably amaze me if I saw them, always fail to impress me when mentioned in this kind of context. There’s a lot of general oohing and ahhing—you know, like ladies do…about clothes.   Okay. So I’ve revealed that I’m not a girly girl. My point is, whether or not these things actually take place among more typical humans, how hard-hitting

Snippet!

Rising out of Divizah’s murky atmosphere, dim lights mounted on the wings of some eerie unseen vessel could be seen off the Astronomer ’s starboard wing. The ship swiftly veered as the Astronomer turned back up toward the ring system for cover. Suddenly, it sprung from the atmospheric haze and charged after them. It was enormous, but very maneuverable, and it swept forward in the Astronomer’s pursuit with the form of a headless bird.

Six Week Countdown!

From this point on, it’s only a six-week countdown until the Stardrift Trilogy will be available from Abbott Press’s website. That would date party time August 25. At last.   You know, I’ll probably post the whole story of my adventures in subsidy-publishing once they’re over. For now, I’ll just give you a teaser, saying, “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”   In the meanwhile, I’ve got one more thing. In these weeks counting down to printing and distribution, I’ll be posting snippets from the Trilogy here on As the Stars Drift interspersed along with my other posts. Stay tuned.

News!

Two things: First of all, I have made two new advances into the online world. I recently made an author's website that you should be certain to explore . I've never made a website before, but it was really surprisingly simple and I'm pleased with the results. The other slightly less impressive development is, I've joined Pinterest. I try to avoid these kinds of things because they can be such time-sinks, but I have to say, I enjoy it a little too much. Check it out .   The other announcement is even more exciting. As of a few minutes ago, I sent of my final manuscript with additional maps, a glossary, and some fourteen illustrations I made to improve it. Now, pretty much all I have to do is wait. As soon as I know an approximate release date, I'll post about it.        

Learning From Novels: Leah Good’s Counted Worthy

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  For the first of hopefully several novel discussion posts, I’ve chosen a novel I got for Christmas last year. Leah Good is a young, self-published, Christian novelist. This can be a good thing or a bad thing. I was convinced to put Counted Worthy on my Christmas list because there was some excitement over the book on The Rebelution.   First, before I go on, let me say that I am almost literally impossible to please when it comes to novels. (And I use ‘literally’ in the literal sense.) Modern novels have even less of a chance. I don’t like the typically scanty atmosphere they are barely able to muster. Nonetheless, I decided to try to stay positive, and read Counted Worthy.   There are a lot of different little things I could say about this book, but I’ve narrowed it down to a major good point, and a major bad point. Bad news first:   In a word, worldbuilding. The term “worldbuilding” is commonly thrown around in the realms of speculative fiction writers, but really, it

Don't Do The Mirror

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People really struggle with figuring out when and how to describe their characters’ physical appearances. Some people just throw it in there in the middle of the narrative as a rather long, off-subject aside. Others skip it altogether. But one of the most common and lazy ways to get the information out there is the mirror. So, you’re in the first scene of your novel. Your character is getting ready to go somewhere, or just waking up in the morning, or something convenient like that. So, of course, he or she looks in the mirror. How natural is that?   Well, here comes the unnatural part. For some reason, we readers are forced to look in the mirror too, and are subjected to a detailed report of what is reflected there. And (voila) we have our physical description of the main character.   Here’s what makes it awkward: when you look in the mirror, what do you see? Of course, you see a rather sickly-looking sandy-haired girl with long bangs, light freckles and denim-blue eyes

Don't Do The Mentor

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To start my off the series on clichés, I’m going to expose one of my favorite hackneyed characters: the mentor.   Mentors serve important roles in fiction. They play to part of an example, somebody who’s been there. The main character needs guidance. They want things explained to them. They want to ask questions of somebody who knows what it’s about. There’s nothing wrong with having a character like this.   The problem lies with portrayal. Something to always remember: no character is a role. Every character is a person. The difference between a person and a role is essential. When a character is simply a role, everything falls into place just a little too easily. Here are characteristics of a mentor role: ·          A mentor is older than those they are teaching ·          A mentor knows just what it’s like to be in the main character’s position ·          They’ve been there— and come away wiser. They’ve somehow managed to learn all the important lessons ·