Archive for September, 2018



Blogger’s Note: I know I promised the second entry about things I learned about putting together an anthology, but the bug we’ve been fighting turned into bronchitis, possibly bordering on pneumonia.  So we’re both on heavy antibiotics which does not make for very sensible thinking or analyzing, much less writing.  So please bear with us and hope you enjoy this latest book review.  We hope to be back in the saddle very soon.  Thank you.

 

raising steam

 

This particular offering by the late-great Mr. Pratchett was a wonderful read, in my opinion. I’ve seen other reviews where people lamented that his declining health was clearly showing in this book saying things like “it wasn’t as funny…” or “…it felt like this was his farewell to the fans…” etc. A lot of this is understandable considering the rare form of alzheimer’s he is fighting. But for me, this book felt more like a wonderfully wild ride that took us to various parts of the Discworld, just as the invention of the first train in Ankh-Morpork intended.

Pratchett uses the invention of the first steam engine to take us all over and reintroduce us to a number of old and familiar faces and places. We go back to Uberwald to visit Lady Margolotta, The Low King of the Dwarves, Bonk, the goblins, Harry King “King of the Golden River” (a river you would not want to swim in by the way folks), Commander Vimes and the Watch, Death, Lord Vetinari, and of course the incorrigible scoundrel of the piece Moist Von Lipwig.

We get to see some of these wonderful characters interacting with each other in various ways, some for the first time like Lipwig (the “reformed” con-man) working with Stoneface Vimes. Mr. Pratchett has been modernizing his world little by little throughout the series introducing the “Clacks” for communicating quickly over great distances, the first newspapers (spreading information to not just the gentry, but the common man), a new monetary system that is not based on the gold, so the addition of the steam engine seemed quite appropriate. With each book he brings his scattered characters closer to one another, while still providing a fun-filled thrilling ride along the way.

In “Raising Steam” he delivers that same fun but in a big fast noisy way. Well worth the read.

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Fall Colors


A Fabulous Autumn poem by Aurora Jean Alexander

Writer's Treasure Chest

I wake up one day the world’s still bright
but the sun’s got weak when it shines its light.
I want to feel the warmth, but still it seems
there is that milky veil around the beams
**
I go outside, I see the pearls of dew
on flowers, grass, even on the bird that flew
just up while quavering its beguiling song,
His wings are brown as he flies along.
**
When I get up the streets are still
cloaked by fog, the air is chill.
Humidity turns streets all black
when will their light gray be back?
**
The leaves are turning red and brown
some yellow ones look like a crown.
It’s colorful, with ‘rust’ and ‘sunshine’,
with ‘umbra’, ‘burgundy’ and ‘red wine’.
**
Beige and chocolate, light charcoal
bushes, hedges, trees change whole.
Orange, teal and pumpkin pie
are the warm new colors under sky.
**

View original post 60 more words


*Blogger’s Note: I know I promised to continue about our experiences with creating our first anthology, but massive colds have been kicking us around.  Hope to get back to that subject next week.  Until then, here’s another book review.  Enjoy*

Grandma's Trunk

This was my first venture into the writing of Miss Grogg and I have to say I was quite pleased. This tale took me down the winding passages of my own childhood memories involving friends, relatives, and grandparents (who I sorely miss).

The story begins with Brandon having to move into his little brother’s room, because his elderly great-grandmother is coming to live with his family. Brandon is not happy about this and even resentful. But we quickly see the conflicting emotions within him early on when he first meets his great-grandmother who is full of spunk and not one to be pushed around in spite of her advanced age. But in addition to that fiery spirit she brings an old fashioned trunk that captivates not only Brandon’s imagination but those of his little brother Melvin and their cousin Alisa.

Soon the trio find that there may be more to great-grandma than meets the eye, making Brandon’s feelings towards her more complicated. Eventually we learn that he’s afraid of growing too fond of her because she is so old. He has already lost his other grandparents who were not nearly as old as her, and he still misses them terribly.

Miss Grogg fleshes out her characters extremely well and makes the reader dwell upon family and friendships, as well as the realization that even though we may one day have to say goodbye, there is so much to be enjoyed in the here and now.

AMAZON:


Last night Helen and I finished the final story for our upcoming anthology!

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Thank you!  Thank you!  You’re all being too kind.  But today’s post is not to talk about the anthology itself, as much as what went into making it.  How did it differ from writing full-length novels?  Was it easier?  Was it harder? What was the process like?  Where did we get all the stories for it, etc.?

Well, for starters, coming up with a decent number of stories was and wasn’t hard really.  Helen had been writing stories long before e-books and well before I tried my hand at penning a tale.  I can easily say I learned so much from her earlier attempts at getting published, and let me tell you she got damn close to seeing some of her work in print.  But, that’s a tale for another entry.

What I want to say is that I learned a lot about what to expect when I decided to try  going the traditional published route.  Although in my case, I started shortly after the birth of e-publishing and after 2-3 years of trying to get an agent to represent and hearing over and over again “You’ve got something here, but you crossed several genres and I wouldn’t know what publishing house to try and sell it to.”

You see, at that time (and this still seems to hold true today) publishers don’t like to take risks on unknown authors or mixed genres. They want a straight up “Mystery”, “Thriller”, “Horror”, “Science Fiction”, etc.  They’re not keen on trying to sell a book that crosses multiple genres like the Para-Earth Series which we classify as “Paranormal/Sci-Fi”.

Nope

Now some of you may be pointing out that they do it more often these days, but most of those authors are well-known like Stephen King, Dean Koontz, J. K. Rowling, etc. who all have proven sales track records.

Anyway, getting back to how our upcoming anthology came to be a reality.

During that 2-3 years I tried to get published the traditional way, more stories were taking shape.  New characters and ideas were forming.  One of them was vampire I called Nathan Eoghan (pronounced Ewan) Steward.  I swore I’d never do a vampire character, unless I could introduce new angle or angles to the character.  Yet I still wanted to keep a lot of the traditional trademark strengths and weaknesses people have come and know and recognize.

By this time, I had already been blogging for several years and had learned from other writers the concept of giving sneak peeks into upcoming works, and even sharing short stories.  This is done to introduce characters and concepts to prospective readers and build a demand for them.  So, after creating a vampire character that would fit nicely into our paranormal/sci-fi concept, I began doing short stories with Nathan over on a new blog called “The Vampyre Blogs – Private Edition”.    Over the course of 3 years we had a number of tales about Nathan and introduced a number of his friends who appeared with him in “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home”.  And we’re still making new stories.  And that presented a problem, how many people want to wade through 4-5 years of blog posts to read all those stories?  Furthermore, most of those tales are rough 1st drafts and it shows.

During this time, I noticed some of my fellow authors who had created short stories on their blogs were bundling them into anthologies and that got us thinking.  With all the stories we’d already created, why couldn’t we create an anthology centered around all those stories on the blog?  While it sounded nice and easy, it also didn’t feel completely right to me.  While having all those earlier stories put into a more convenient format, shouldn’t we give the readers more?  Shouldn’t there be new never before seen stories in the collection?  Furthermore, should the stories not be just about Nathan but his friends, and even characters from our first two novels “The Bridge” and “The Ship”?

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This led to Helen coming up with the idea of recycling some of her earlier works which were firmly established in the realm of the macabre.  With a little reworking and adding scenes, she felt a number of those pieces could easily fit in with our Para-Earth Series, while also giving those unread tales a chance to finally see the light of day.

*Now I want to pause and say one thing.  Remember how I told you all, many posts ago, never to toss out your unfinished works, or fragments because you never knew when they might fit into some new idea/concept?  This is a perfect example of why you do that.  You just never know when that day might come.*

So right there, we had some brand new stories to slip into the anthology.  But we didn’t stop there, we went ahead and created several more brand new stories just for the collection itself.  The result?  One third of the tales appearing in this anthology are completely brand new.

Plus, we also added an afterthought following each story, sharing some of the who, what, where, and how each tale came into existence.  We thought it only right to share some of what the writing process can be like and hopefully inspire others to take that next step in whatever creative endeavors they are involved in.

Now, seeing how long this entry is getting and knowing there’s still a lot more to share, I’m going to end this one here.  I know I covered a lot of background areas today and haven’t really gotten to more of the technical and details of actually what went into the building of the anthology.  But rest assured that will be covered in the next installment.

Until then take care and keep writing everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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