Flake-out Friday–February First

That’s one heck of an alliteration in the title there, eh? I couldn’t resist.

Anyway, I’m commenting on it being February solely because I can’t believe how fast January has gone by. I mean, seriously, wasn’t it just Christmas, like, five minutes ago? (Yes, I said that in a Valley Girl voice.)

At the beginning of the month, all the insulation in the attic had been removed (it was vermiculite–a substance often contaminated with asbestos) and I was freezing. Let me say that again. FREEZING.

Four weeks later, the entire house is fully insulated (walls and attic), and now I’m sweltering. YES. SWELTERING.

LOL!

Construction continues as a crew works to re-side the house. It’s hard to see maybe in these pics, but here’s the work in progress:

house holes

The circular holes are where the insulation was blown in.

This area has been fully sided.

siding in progress 2

I had the choice of like 30 siding colors. Because the house is Greek Revival, I fully intended on keeping the white. When I informed the fella directing the project of my plan, he was like, “Well, keep the samples, think about it for a few days. You could have different colors for the soffets, corners, molding…it’s all up to you. There’s lots to choose from.”

I chose white. For everything. (The shutters, when fixed, will still be black.)

siding in progressWhat I like most is how the siding really keeps to the style of the house.

Although, I’ll prolly have to replace all the windows next. They look kind of…old, LOL!

* * * * * * * * * *

As for writing, I’m editing my short story, TSAVO PRIDE. I have a trailer and a cover–WOOT!–so hopefully things will be in line for an early spring release. I hope you guys like it. It’s horror, which is different from NEW PRIDE and SHIFTING PRIDE, but it’s based on some folklore in SHIFTING PRIDE. 😉

I’m also slowly drafting the sequel, FRACTURED PRIDE. It’s gonna be good, folks, I pwommiss.

How was January for youse guys? What’re your plans for February? Whose gonna see WARM BODIES? And what about BEAUTIFUL CREATURES??? 😉

Flake-out Friday–Interview with Colin F. Barnes, Owner of Anachron Press

Hey gang!

On Tuesday, I got to share some fun info on Colin’s cyberpunk/horror/exorcistesque novel, THE TECHXORCIST. Today, Colin himself is here to answer questions on how he took the plunge into publishing.

HE STARTED HIS OWN PUBLISHING COMPANY, FOLKS! I’m incredibly impressed with Colin, his drive, and his work.

Let’s give him a warm welcome!

Hi Colin!

I’ve been so impressed by how you’ve put together your publishing business. How did Anachron Press come to be?

Thank you for the kind words, Laura. Anachron Press come about as a means to publish an anthology of stories known as ‘City of Hell Chronicles’. It was a combined project between me and 7 of my writer friends. As it came together it made sense to create a publishing name to put it out, and then I got the bug and carried on with other titles.

How did you come to be involved in publishing?

I’ve been a writer for about 15 years on and off, and between those times I’ve had a number of businesses and took a number of publishing courses, and with publishing City of Hell Chronicles it seemed like something I’d enjoy doing.

What made you choose to open your own press?

Probably a bit of ego and a sense of adventure. I’ve got nothing against traditional publishing houses or other small presses and I still submit my work to them, but there’s a different range of skills needed for publishing, and I wanted to make my work and bring great fiction to the world.

I can’t imagine the learning curve necessary to develop all the skills required to run a press—taking submissions, developing ideas, editing, developing cover art, formatting, marketing, etc. What’s been the most challenging part?

Apart from scheduling and organising the work, I think the hardest part is marketing. Getting noticed amongst the thousands of other small presses (and larger presses) is very difficult without spending a lot of money. So at the moment it’s a case of taking baby steps and slowly increasing my catalogue and hopefully fan-base.

I was first introduced to your work when City of Hell came out. I particularly love how all the stories in that anthology follow the same theme. Each writer brings their own flare and each story builds on the central idea. It was really fascinating seeing how all the pieces went together. Where did the idea come from?

I’ve always been off H.P Lovecraft and his Cthulhu mythos. I love how it’s grown in size as other authors have written in that world, adding to it their stories, and I wanted to do something similar. I wanted to have my own pantheon of gods and myths to feature in stories. I have many more plans for the City of Hell Chronicles world and will hopefully be seeing more titles in that universe in 2013.

Your cover art is FAB! I know you work with an artist—how does the creative process go for you guys?

It’s true I have a couple of artists I work with. In the main I do the covers myself, but some of them are collaborative. I studied Graphic Design at college so this is an area I really enjoy working in. If I’m not doing the cover myself, then the process is I usually come up with the layout, the typography and the art-style, then I’ll go to one of my artists to create an image for the illustration if I can’t find something suitable from a stock photo library.

You are developing a new Pulp Line of fiction. What do you like about Pulp Fiction? How can people get involved?

Pulp fiction is all about fun. It’s that simple. It’s silly over-the-top stories with larger-than-life characters going on adventures or investigating dangerous criminals. It’s the stuff I read as a kid and still love today, and that’s what I’m doing it now; I want to bring it back and give pulp stories a new platform so that readers new to it can discover it and have as much fun as I’ve had reading it. People can get involved in two ways:

1. Buy the books! 🙂

2. Submit a story. Full details are here: http://www.anachronpress.com/open-submissions-for-pulp-line/

You’ve done some excellent work, Colin. I’m a forever fan, always looking forward to the next piece of work you pub. Thanks for stopping by!

Thank you Laura, your support is much appreciated, and I hope to continue publishing stories that you enjoy reading. And thanks for having me on your blog again.

Remember to check out Colin’s newest work, The Techxorcist. I know I am! Click here to go to Anachron Press!

Guest Post Michael Offutt, Author of SLIPSTREAM

Please welcome Michael Offutt, author of SLIPSTREAM, to my blog. He’s a gentleman and a scholar and I’m honored to host him today.

Since I’m guest posting on a blog run by a Psychiatrist, I thought I’d talk about mental illness.  What I say isn’t medical. It’s personal. It’s the relationship between my mother and me.

Recently I made the decision to put my mother in a care facility (this was really hard).  At the time I’m writing this post, my small family believes that it should be an assisted living complex and not necessarily a nursing home. But I don’t know if that will work. My mom has pretty severe schizophrenia. She constantly speaks to people who aren’t there, she refuses to take meds, and becomes enraged to the point of racing around the house all night looking for things and calling people horrible names.  My dad can’t sleep (he says she’s killing him slowly through exhaustion).  She also accuses people of stealing jewelry and possessions. When she’s calmer, she laughs with these invisible people and serves them tea.  She’ll have all these cups out filled with tea and is the only one drinking.

In my last visit, she was walking around the house with a butcher knife.  I asked her calmly, “What are you doing with that?” She was very upset, shaking. She said she was going next door to the neighbor to kill a panther that had swallowed the dog. They needed a knife to cut the dog out of the panther’s belly.  She got the idea of the panther implanted in her head because we had just watched a Geico commercial that had a black panther in it.  Somehow…the image stuck and became a permanent memory. But there’s no way I was going to allow her to walk next door and pound on it with a butcher knife in her hand.  The neighbors are terrified of her.

In my book SLIPSTREAM I have a villain who is the product of an all-powerful mind that has gone insane.  He isn’t evil per se. Rather, he’s terrified of his own death. So much so, that he’s dreamt up all of the ways in which someone or something could harm him and (in protecting himself from that harm) has brought the world to the brink of destruction.

His insanity cannot be reasoned with, it cannot be assuaged, and there is no logic to it.

It’s exactly the same kind of thing I encounter when talking with my mother. When she is terrified there is no reasoning with her.  She has no logic to any of her actions.  In my view, she has completely lost her mind.  The difference between her and the villain in my book is that my villain has god-like power. I have read that no villain is truly evil. Well for me that’s definitely true and hope that you find it intriguing enough to warrant a closer look at some point.

Do any of you have personal experiences you would like to share that relate to mental illness?

I have a contest for the release of my book.  I will pick one random person who comments on this post to win a $5 Amazon Gift Card and a SLIPSTREAM jeweled spider (the same person wins both prizes). The jeweled spider really sparkles in the sunlight. I hope whoever wins it really likes it. Also, please make sure that your email is linked to your signature in some way. And yes, the crystal spiders play an important role in my book.

Rules:

1)     Mark my book “To Read” on Goodreads.

2)     Comment on this post.

3)     Tweet this post if you have twitter. You don’t have to sign-up for twitter. It’s the “honor” system.

That’s it. I will choose a winner on Saturday, May 19th.  And thank you, Laura, for having me on your fine blog.

http://www.amazon.com/Slipstream-ebook/dp/B007R5DN8W/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1333585536&sr=1-1-catcorr

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1109954378?ean=9781554049493

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13003318-slipstream

Thanks again, Michael. I really appreciate what you shared about your mom. *hugs*

I wish you the best of successes with SLIPSTREAM!

Guest Post–DIES IRAE Author Christine Fonseca on Novella vs Novel Writing

Hi Christine!!!! I’m super stoked about the launch of your REQUIEM series with DIES IRAE (novella) and LACRIMOSA (novel). CONGRATS!!!!!!!!!!

Ok, take it away, Christine.

The Differences Between Writing a Novella and Writing a Novel

Thanks, Laura, for having me today. Laura asked me to talk a little about the process of writing a novella vs a novel—the differences, similarities, and my thoughts on both mediums. My first thought on her request—“um, yea, I’m not sure I can adequately write about this.” My next thought—“Duh, you just did this. Of course you can talk about this.”

So, here you go—my opinions about writing these two different types of stories.

When I first decided to write DIES IRAE as a novella, it was because I wasn’t certain there was a full novel-length story in the prequel. My publisher and I also wanted to be able to offer DIES IRAE at an incredible price. As the story was drafted, I realized that while it could absolutely be a novel, the novella format could meet my needs with a few tweeks.

What did I mean by this? To answer that I must first explain what the novella actually is. Strictly speaking, a novella is longer than a novelette and shorter than a novel. It averages 15-40K in length. The storyline is far more complex than a short story, but far less complex than a novel. There are typically less plotlines and less conflict than in a novel, and the story typically ends at the brink of change. Most of the “novels” we were required to read in school—titles like Animal Farm, Of Mice and Men, and The War of the Worlds—are actually novellas. The same is true of some other novels we have come to love—Coraline, A Christmas Carole, and The Metamorphosis.

Now that we have a definition of a novella, how did I go about writing DIES IRAE. Honestly, exactly the same way I write a novel. I stewed on the storyline I wanted to tell, planned out the beats, and started to write. I originally planned on staying with one central plot—the romance between two of the characters. But I failed. Miserably. So, I added back my secondary plot thread as it was THE motivation behind one of the central character’s actions.

As much as the process of drafting and editing a novella was essentially similar to that of a novel, there were some differences that made me work—hard! For one, there was the whole world building, character building piece. There is no room for excess of each, leaving my early drafts a combination of too wordy in some places, and too vague in others. I’m certain it drove my poor beta readers crazy. My edits consisted of pouring over the language over and over and over again, carefully choosing each and every word, each and every scene, each and every cadence. Much like writing poetry, there was no room for lazy language or lazy story telling.

And in truth—there is no room for lazy language or lazy storytelling in ANY form of literature.

All in all, I have discovered a love of both forms of storytelling. And I have no doubt you will be seeing more novelettes, novellas, and novels with this series.

AWESOME!!! I can’t wait to see how the series develops! Thanks so much, Christine, for sharing your thoughts on writing novellas and novels.

Here’s some more information from Christine:

FAQ Sheet about the Requiem Series

About Christine Fonseca

School psychologist by day, critically acclaimed YA and nonfiction author by night, Christine Fonseca believes that writing is a great way to explore humanity. Her debut YA Gothic series, The Requiem Series, including DIES IRAE and LACRIMOSA, examines the role of redemption, sacrifice and love. When she’s not writing or spending time with her family, she can be sipping too many skinny vanilla lattes at her favorite coffee house or playing around on Facebook and Twitter. Catch her daily thoughts about writing and life on her blog.

Short Blurb for DIES IRAE

Some sacrifices should never be made—even for love.

Mikayel lives by one rule—obey the orders of the angelic Council at all costs. But when he and his friends, Azza and Demi, are sent to Earth as teenagers, following the rules is more difficult than they expected.

Being human isn’t the only problem facing the three angels. Unbeknownst to the Council, demonic activity is on the rise, threatening to break a tenuous peace that has existed for a millennia.

Caught in a struggle for power with unseen demonic forces, and fighting against his rising emotional, Mikayel must now decide how many rules he is willing to break to save his friends, a decision that could reignite an ancient war and will threaten the only thing that matters to the angels, the survival of humanity.

Author Endorcement(s):

“Dies Irae is the perfect introduction to Christine Fonseca’s Requiem series. The beauty of the words will tempt you, the tragedy of the story will break you, and the love, woven throughout like music through the trees, will haunt you for days afterward. Dies Irae promises a tale unlike any you’ve read before.”

~Ali Cross, Author of BECOME

Availability:

Publisher: COMPASS PRESS

ISBN:

Format: Digital format only – from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other retailers. Links not available at present.

Short Blurb for LACRIMOSA

As if casting out demons isn’t hard enough, five-hundred-year-old Nesy has to masquerade as a teenage girl to do it. Nesy is the best of the warrior angels called Sentinals. She never makes mistakes, never hesitates, never gets emotionally involved. Until she meets Aydan.

He is evil incarnate; a fallen angel that feeds off the souls of others. Everything Nesy is supposed to hate. But she can’t, because he’s also the love of her former life as a human girl—a life that ended too soon, tying her to emotions she was never supposed to feel.

Now Nesy must choose between doing her duty—damning Aydan to the fiery depths of hell—or saving him, and condemning herself.

Author Endorcement(s):

“LACRIMOSA reaches out, grabs readers by the heart, and takes them on an emotional journey from the first page to the last. The last novel you’ll need to read to understand true sacrifice.”

~Elana Johnson, Author of POSSESSION

Availability:

Publisher: COMPASS PRESS

ISBN: 0984786368 (ISBN 13: 9780984786367)

Hardback and Digital formats from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and fine retailers. Links not currently available.

Additional Titles in the series include LIBERA ME (Nov 2012) and REQUIEM (March 2013). The book trailer can be seen by linking to YouTube – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwTQoOFKEZg

For more information about Christine Fonseca or the series, visit her website – http://christinefonseca.com or her blog http://christinefonseca.blogspot.com.