Uncategorized – Andy Peloquin

Andy Peloquin

I am an artist – words are my palette

Category: Uncategorized (Page 1 of 5)

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Different, Not Damaged is HERE!!

As some of you may know, I was diagnosed with (mild) Asperger’s Syndrome (one of the Autism Spectrum Disorders) a few years ago.

My Asperger’s manifests as:

  • Awkwardness in social situations
  • Not always knowing what to say or how to respond when someone talks to me
  • Missing social cues that are obvious to other folks, like body language or the expressions on people’s faces
  • Disliking change
  • Lack of eye contact or reciprocal conversation
  • Obsession with specific, often unusual, topics

The desire to understand my brain (atypical as it is) has driven me to research all sorts of neurological/psychological/mental/emotional disorders in order to understand what makes other people tick. I’ve found it to be such a fascinating well of knowledge, and it makes for some amazing characters.

This short story collection is a passion project for me. It gave me a chance to delve into what it means to live with autism, PTSD, fibromyalgia, and Alzheimer’s, putting these disorders and syndromes into a dark fantasy story to give more insight into what makes us different, but never damaged.

The stories are all set in Voramis, the city from The Last Bucelarii (Book 1): Blade of the Destroyer, and you’ll find a few familiar faces throughout.

Different, Not Damaged

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Strength from Weakness

Disability becomes Power

Coward. Penitent. Artist. Thief.

The world saw weakness.
Their true strength lay hidden.

Betrayed by mind and body, these people fight to survive in a grim world that takes no pity on the weak. Yet their burdens may prove the true measure of their character.

Their challenges were real.
The dangers were immense.

Will they triumph?

You’ll be hooked by this collection of fantasy stories that shatters the preconceptions of what is possible.

With each page you’ll be drawn in further and further. These stories may even change the way you see the world.

Get it now.

 

 

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Are Modern Mental Disorders Prehistoric?

Mental and neurological disorders seem like such a modern thing.

Think about it: The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders was only published in 1952, just over 65 years ago. According to Wikipedia, “the beginning of psychiatry as a medical specialty is dated to the middle of the nineteenth century.” Though ancient texts (dating back to the 3rd Century BCE) dealt with mental disorders, it’s only in the last few centuries that they have been seriously approached from a scientific standpoint.

However, research out of the National Institute of Mental Health may have traced mental disorders back to our prehistoric past. Specifically, the parts of our brains that often are affected by mental disorders may carry genetic traces of Neanderthal brains.

The parts of our brain responsible for visualization, object location, and the use of tools may be partyl derived from Neanderthal gene variants. We still have those same gene variants that our prehistoric ancestors did. According to new MRI scans, that genetic variation may play a role in mental disorders. By studying those parts of the brains, scientists may be able to better understand autism-related disorders and schizophrenia, among others.

According to the Science Daily article:

“It’s been proposed that Neanderthals depended on visual-spatial abilities and toolmaking, for survival, more so than on the social affiliation and group activities that typify the success of modern humans — and that Neanderthal brains evolved to preferentially support these visuospatial functions. Now we have direct neuroimaging evidence that such trade-offs may still be operative in our brains.”

The genes we share with ancient Neanderthals may impact the development of certain parts of our brains, including the parts that are affected by autism-related disorders, schizophrenia, and other mental disorders.

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Thief of the Night Guild is LIVE!

And it’s officially HERE!!!!

As usual, forgive the overuse of exclamation points, but I get excited on Book Launch Day.

This one is particularly special because this story deals with some pretty deep, delicate issues. If you read everything that happened to Ilanna in Child of the Night Guild (Queen of Thieves Book 1), you know that she suffered some pretty deep emotional, psychological, and physical wounds. Thief of the Night Guild showcases how she’s living with them, and what she does to heal from them one day at a time.

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“I am Ilanna, Journeyman of House Hawk. I do the impossible.”

A cunning thief of unrivaled ingenuity, Ilanna is determined to secure her freedom. Nothing will prevent her escape from the Night Guild’s callous cruelty, not even the most powerful man in Praamis, Duke Phonnis.

Commanding a crew of pickpockets, bounty hunters, poisoners, and assassins, Ilanna schemes to disgrace the Duke. She must survive blackmail, a bloodthirsty rival syndicate, and enemies within her own House to claim her spoils: vengeance for the deaths of her friends and gold to buy independence.

But all Ilanna’s skill may not suffice to protect the one person who matters most: her son.

Get it Now on Amazon

Action, adventure, betrayal, murder, loss, sorrow, death, intrigue, mystery, and more–this is the thrilling dark fantasy adventure you will not want to miss!

 

I’ll be doing a LIVE reading from Thief of the Night Guild at the Dominion Rising Launch Party.

I’ll also be talking about the book and its themes in tonight’s special episode of The Fantasy Fiends Podcast Ep 010: Toxic Relationships. We’ll also have a special 6-person reenactment of one of the best scenes from the book. Join in on the fun!

Guest Post: Planning for Pantsers

Today I’ve got a special guest post written on the HIGHLY controversial topic of planning vs. pantsing/gardening vs. architecture. Basically, some people (like me) tend to take a more structured, outlined approach to novels, while others prefer to sit down and let the story flow as they write.

Let’s be clear: it’s impossible to say which of the two is better. Some people insist that pantsing allows for more creativity, while others believe that planning leads to a more cohesive story. I’m firmly in the second camp but recognize that pantsing has its benefits.

But my guest author, Justine Alley Dowsett, found a way to put the two together in a way that seems to be highly effective for her story. Read about her method below:

Planning for Pantsers by Justine Alley Dowsett

I’m a pantser. What does that mean? It means that I’d rather ‘write by the seat of my pants’ than plan anything beforehand. However, with my latest book Uncharted, written with my co-writer Murandy Damodred, we did more planning than I’m used to and I think it helped us.

Making Notes:

Since Murandy and I co-write, we use Google Drive to keep everything straight. If you’re not familiar with Google Drive or Google Docs, it’s an open platform where you can share your documents and multiple accounts can work on the same document at the same time. It also serves as a cloud drive, so your work is saved and backed up automatically and anyone you give access to the files can open them up and work on them. This helped us with planning because while writing we always had access to our notes file, which became a living document, changing as the story expanded.

Setting and Worldbuilding:

Usually I do a lot of the world building in my own head, but since Uncharted is an adventure story that takes place in a variety of settings and cultures, I made a point of writing down a handful of things to keep in mind about the settings, so I would make sure to include them.

Characters:

This is where the planning really came in handy. Before we started writing, Murandy and I wrote out detailed backstories for each of our main characters and at least a sentence or two about our minor characters as we invented them. This helped to flesh everyone out and make sure we knew where they had come from and what was important to them because of that.

Plot:

This is where our best of intentions sort of fell apart, but in a good way. Before we started writing, we formed a point form list of plot points then we proceeded to ignore them. As we wrote, we went back and added new plot points to our list and kept adding to that list to stay a few steps ahead of the story, but ultimately this was a form of pantsing more than planning.

Editing:

Where the notes really came in handy was when I went to write the second draft. All throughout the first draft, instead of going back and fixing things that needed changing, I took notes instead. Then, when I went over the finished first draft, I applied the changes or checked for the problems I’d indicated. It saved me a ton of time and it also meant that Murandy and I could write quickly, without feeling like we were making a mess of things.
All in all, if you’re a pantser, like me, I suggest trying to apply some planning to your process just to see what you can learn. And if you’re a planner, take a risk and try a little pantsing!

 

Justine actually has a new book, released April 17th:

Uncharted

Fated to be a Priestess of Saegard, Meredith dreams of leading a normal life with a family and a home of her own, something she’ll never have if she swears her life to the Order.  A chance encounter with a stranger in the sacred Celestial Chamber sends her previously well-ordered life into a tailspin of adventure and mayhem as she is blamed for the theft of a legendary artifact.

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Now a fugitive, Meredith must join forces with Captain Reginald Lawrence, the son of the man who initially brought her to the Temple, and his enigmatic business partner, the charming yet at times infuriating, Grey Rhodes, to find the Celestial Bowl and clear her name. From the cosmopolitan capital of Saegard to the coast of Ismera and back again, Meredith’s journey will reveal the true nature of her past, present, and ultimately, her future.

Here’s a Taste:

The door to her ‘room’ on The Clover was just as she remembered it, although it seemed much smaller now that she was older. No larger than a water closet, the addition on the backside of the Captain’s Quarters that had been built for her was still there as though, after all this time, it was waiting for her return.

Reaching for the small brass ring that served as a handle, Meredith pulled the half-sized door open and was dismayed to find that there was no way she’d fit inside the small space. It was filled to the brim with all manner of junk. Tackle boxes, rope, a crate filled with empty bottles, and a pile of soiled linen; her ‘bedroom’ had been repurposed into the ship’s dumping ground.

This is my room. For no reason that she could fully articulate, Meredith felt indignant. Even if it’s been more than ten years, it was built for me and I’m taking it back! The irrational desire to re-stake her claim on something that hadn’t been hers for a decade took over and she grabbed the nearest thing to her and turned with purpose, ready to hoist a crate filled with empty liquor bottles over the railing and into the water below.

“Whoa, hold on just a minute!” Captain Laurent’s son grabbed hold of her arm before she could gain the height she needed to throw the crate overboard.

His noble friend, minus his navy suit jacket now, stood just behind him, almost as if staying out of her range. His white shirt was nearly clean, though she could see where brownish grey stew coloured the frills of his collar. Meredith felt only slightly guilty about her little ‘outburst’. He deserved it…he’s a jerk.

“No,” she stated, imploring him to listen, “you destroyed my room and I’m taking it back. It’s the only home I ever really had.”

“Your…room?” A light went on behind the young Captain’s eyes. “That’s why it had a bed in there…I always thought it was a dog house. Didn’t know why my dad would’ve wanted a dog aboard a ship, but he was always doing all sorts of foolish things.”

“Like taking in strays?” Meredith demanded, arching a brow disdainfully in his direction. “Is that what you’re implying?”

“Ah, no!” Reginald’s eyes went wide, his hands going up in a defensive fashion. “No, of course not! My dad was always winning strange sorts of stuff in poker tournaments. He was gambler.”

“Are you now implying that I was bought or won in a card game, like some sort of…child slave?”

His eyes bugged even further out of his head, if that was possible, and his cheeks flushed. “Ah…no…I mean…you weren’t, were you?”

“Of course not!”

“So now that we’ve established that you aren’t a stray dog or a child slave,” the noble interjected in a no-nonsense tone of voice, his grey eyes dark, “do you mind telling us who you are and what you’re doing here?”

Meredith fought the urge to laugh because the bit of mushy carrot in his hair was so at odds with his expression.

“I am here because I need passage out of Saegard. I fell in the water, got drenched, then walked here during the night. I was cold, wet, and badly bruised…from my fall. No one was around on deck, so I thought I would warm up inside. I took my clothes off to dry so I wouldn’t catch a cold and I used the silks because they were all I could find. That’s when I fell asleep. And I would have told you all of that, if you weren’t being such a jerk!”

About the Authors:

Justine Alley Dowsett

From obtaining her BA in Drama at the University of Windsor to becoming an entrepreneur in video game production and later, publishing, Justine Alley Dowsett’s unswerving ambition has always led her to pursue her dreams. She lives in Windsor, Ontario and dedicates her time to writing and publishing fiction novels. When not focusing on growing her business, she enjoys role-playing with friends and developing new ideas to write about.

Authors

Murandy Damodred

With a background in Drama and Communications from the University of Windsor, Murandy Damodred enjoys fantasy fiction with strong romantic subplots. She is an avid role-player and is happiest when living vicariously through her characters. Though she’d rather think of herself as the heroine of her next novel, in the real world she is an expert in sales and management living in Windsor, Ontario.

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Welcome B2BCyCon Blog Hoppers!

I’m glad you bounced your way over here!

Who am I?

I, Andy Peloquin, am, first and foremost, a storyteller and an artist–words are my palette. Fantasy is my genre of choice, and I love to explore the darker side of human nature through the filter of fantasy heroes, villains, and everything in between. I’m also a freelance writer, a book lover, and a guy who just loves to meet new people and spend hours talking about my fascination for the worlds I encounter in the pages of fantasy novels.

Fantasy provides us with an escape, a way to forget about our mundane problems and step into worlds where anything is possible. It transcends age, gender, religion, race, or lifestyle–it is our way of believing what cannot be, delving into the unknowable, and discovering hidden truths about ourselves and our world in a brand new way. Fiction at its very best!

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I write the darker themes, delving into the darker side of human nature and dealing with the monsters in our heads, rather than the ones under our beds. I get to write all the FUN stuff, too: murder, mayhem, violence, death, loss, sorrow, betrayal, intrigue, thieves, assassins…and demons!

Here are the books I write:

The Last Bucelarii (Book 1): Blade of the Destroyer

Bucelarii - CopyThe Hunter of Voramis is the perfect assassin: ruthless, unrelenting, immortal. Yet he is haunted by lost memories, bonded to a cursed dagger that feeds him power yet denies him peace of mind. Within him rages an unquenchable need for blood and death.

When he accepts a contract to avenge the stolen innocence of a girl, the Hunter becomes the prey. The death of a seemingly random target sends him hurtling toward destruction, yet could his path also lead to the truth of his buried past?

Find it on Amazon…

The Last Bucelarii (Book 2): Lament of the Fallen

Bucelarii 2 SmallThe Hunter of Voramis is no more.

Alone with the bloodthirsty voices in his head, fleeing the pain of loss, he has one objective: travel north to find Her, the mystery woman who plagues his dreams and haunts his memories.

When he stumbles upon a bandit attack, something within urges him to help. His actions set him at odds with the warrior priests commanded to hunt down the Bucelarii.

Left for dead, the Hunter must travel to Malandria to recover his stolen birthright. There, he is inexorably drawn into direct conflict with the Order of Midas, the faceless, nameless group of magicians that holds the city in a grip of terror. All while struggling to silence the ever-louder voice in his mind that drives him to kill.

From feared assassin to wretched outcast, the Hunter’s journey leads him to truths about his forgotten past and the Abiarazi he has pledged to hunt. His discoveries will shed light on who he really is…what he really is.

Fans of Joe Abercrombie and Brandon Sanderson will love the Hunter…

Find it on Amazon…

The Last Bucelarii (Book 3): Gateway to the Past

Bucelarii 3 SmallThe Hunter, legendary assassin of Voramis, has a purpose: protect Hailen, the boy he rescued from a demon in Malandria.

He joins a caravan in the hope of safe passage across the Advanat Desert. Yet he cannot outrun his enemies: the Illusionist Cleric on a holy mission to capture him, the bloodthirsty raiders out for blood and gold, and the Abiarazi, demons who masquerade as humans.

Every step north reveals who he was before becoming the Hunter, unlocking the truth about the woman who haunts his memories.

Find it on Amazon…

Child of the Night Guild (Queen of Thieves Book 1)

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00060]“They killed my parents. They took my name. They imprisoned me in darkness. I would not be broken.”

Viola, a child sold to pay her father’s debts, has lost everything: her mother, her home, and her identity. Thrown into a life among criminals, she has no time for grief as she endures the brutal training of an apprentice thief. The Night Guild molds an innocent waif into a cunning, agile outlaw skilled in the thieves’ trade. She has only one choice: steal enough to pay her debts.

The cutthroat streets of Praamis will test her mettle, and she must learn to dodge the City Guards or swing from a hangman’s rope. But a more dangerous foe lurks within the guild walls. A sadistic rival apprentice, threatened by her strength, is out for blood.

What hope does one girl have in a world of ruthless men?

Fans of Sarah J. Maas, Scott Lynch, and Brent Weeks will love Queen of Thieves…

10 Things You Need to Know About Me:

  1. Hot wings, ALWAYS!
  2. I never forget a face, but rarely remember a name.
  3. I’m a head taller than the average person (I’m 6′ 6″)
  4. Marvel > DC
  5. I was born in Japan, and lived there until the age of 14.
  6. Selena Gomez, Skrillex, Simon & Garfunkel, Celine Dion, and Five Finger Death Punch are all in my writing playlist.
  7. Aliens are real, but it’s self-centered of us to believe that they would come to visit Earth.
  8. Watching sports: suck. Playing sports: EPIC!
  9. I earned a purple belt in Karate/Hapkido/Taekwondo.
  10. I dislike most Christmas music, aside from Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Join My Newsletter List!

You will:

  1. Receive a free ebook–who doesn’t love FREE stuff?
  2. Receive updates of the latest book news, launches, reviews, and recommendations.
  3. Receive short stories that flesh out the world of Einan (for both The Last Bucelarii and Queen of Thieves)

(Your information is kept strictly private, and your email will NEVER be sent to anyone else!)

See where it all began on the B2BCyCon Blog Hop Page

Where to next? Pop on over to Angel M.’s website to keep the party going!

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Join in on Books to Brains Cyber Convention 2017

This year I’m fortunate enough to take part in the Brain to Books Cyber Convention—or B2BCyCon, as it’s affectionately called.

What is the Brain to Books Cyber Convention? Basically it’s a virtual version of a book or comic convention. There are all sorts of awesome activities (see below) for readers and authors to take part in—everything from a Blog Hop to LIVE events to  prizes and raffles. You’ll find it’s a whole lot of fun and a great way to discover awesome authors in every genre under the sun.

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Here are a few of the events I’ll be participating in:

Author Showcase: The Author Showcase features hundreds of sci-fi, fantasy, horror, paranormal, romance, thriller, mystery, and other genres. Here is my Author Showcase, and you can explore the various authors and their books by visiting the Showcase main page…

Giveaways: There are literally HUNDREDS of books being given away in the event. The Giveaway Page lists all the various prizes offered, divided according to genre. Blade of the Destroyer is in with the fantasy books to win by joining in on the fun!

Fantasy Book Showcase: If you’re a die-hard fantasy reader like me, you can explore the selection of fantasy novels available on the Book Showcase page. Some pretty epic titles in there, including both Queen of Thieves and The Last Bucelarii books!

 

See it All: On this page is a list of all the events that will be taking place next weekend. It’s going to be a whole lot of fun, and a way to discover more authors and their books.

Save the Date! If you click on this link and sign up to Save the Date of the event, you have a chance to win a $100 gift card.

 

 

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The Day Has Finally Arrived!!

I know some authors treat the launch day of their new book with solemnity and dignity. I am not one of those authors! I have a hard time containing my excitement when my latest “book baby” comes to life (is published). There’s just something magical about seeing all those hours of hard work, research, and editing come to fruition.

So I’m going to be a little excited and say THE LAST BUCELARII (BOOK 3): GATEWAY TO THE PAST IS LIVE! With this book, I’m halfway through the six-book series. I’m having way too much fun writing the bad-ass half-demon assassin known only as “the Hunter of Voramis” (spoiler: you find out his name at the end of Book 5). I present to you, the latest of my creations:

The Last Bucelarii (Book 3): Gateway to the Past

Bucelarii 3 SmallThe Hunter, legendary assassin of Voramis, has a purpose: protect Hailen, the boy he rescued from a demon in Malandria.

 

He joins a caravan in the hope of safe passage across the Advanat Desert. Yet he cannot outrun his enemies: the Illusionist Cleric on a holy mission to capture him, the bloodthirsty raiders out for blood and gold, and the Abiarazi, demons who masquerade as humans.

Every step north reveals who he was before becoming the Hunter, unlocking the truth about the woman who haunts his memories.

Fans of Joe Abercrombie, Brandon Sanderson, and Brent Weeks will love the Hunter…

Find it on Amazon

In Case You Missed It…

I posted the first chapter of the book yesterday—click here to read the action-packed, emotionally-charged Chapter 1

Stop By and Say Hello!

All this weekend, I’ll be hosting a Facebook Launch Party for the new book. I’ll be posting updates, doing a LIVE video (at a time TBD), and enjoying talking with people. I’ve invited about 40 of my good author friends to entertain with competitions, prizes, giveaways, new books, swag, puzzles, games, and so much more.

Stop in on the event: CLICK HERE

Don’t Miss It

If you haven’t read either The Last Bucelarii (Book 1): Blade of the Destroyer or (Book 2): Lament of the Fallen, don’t sweat it! Blade of the Destroyer will be FREE all weekend long (until April 2nd), and Lament of the Fallen is just $0.99 Friday and Saturday (March 31st and April 1st). Pick up all three books this weekend—but be warned: it’s a highly addictive read!

Blade of the Destroyer (FREE)

Lament of the Fallen ($0.99 Fri-Sat, $2.99 Sun)

 

May your Friday be as epic as mine!

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Guest Post: When Writing Erotica Gets… Weird

Let’s be clear: erotica is NOT my thing. Never written it well, and don’t know if I ever will. For some authors, it’s everything. One author friend, Jessica Collins, has an interesting perspective on writing erotica…

When Writing Erotica Gets… Weird

I’m known as the no-holds-barred, open to anything, if-you-ask-I’ve-probably-tried-it-once, family member. Sex is no big deal to me. I have it, I love it, I have fun with it. I even had a stint a few years back of working as a consultant for Pure Romance (I highly recommend their products by the way – any questions you’re embarrassed to ask, send them my way!).

My family is mostly the same. The women in my immediate family (including my sisters-in-law) read erotic romance. We share books, favorite authors; my mother and I even watched 50 Shades together. We’re that family. While it would seem (being as open as we are) it was easy to give them each a copy of my novel and tell them to “have at it”; it simply wasn’t the case.

My family all knew I had shifted from the “casual reader” of erotic romance into the “I have a great idea for a story and am going to try and write my own book” mindset about a year ago when I first started the novel. As the book progressed, they would ask how it was going, what my inspiration was, and of course, send the “I can’t believe you’re writing erotica” jokes my way. Throughout the process, they all completely supported me.

As the story progressed and I began writing steamier scenes, I had a moment of uncertainty about the idea of certain people reading my work. It strangely started with my husband. He would come into the office while I was typing away and I suddenly became so embarrassed of what I had written I shut the laptop. On my husband. Who I’ve actually preformed the acts I had written about on.

What the hell? 

Writing the erotic scenes suddenly became very personal. It was almost as if people I loved were judging me regarding sex; not just my husband, but my family and friends. Would it be good enough for them? Would they read it and find it arousing or boring? Would it be weird if they became aroused by what I wrote? I even found myself wondering if my mother-in-law would wonder how many of the scenes were “straight from real life”; and this is a woman who was there when I bought a sex-swing for her son and I.

Constantly being asked to read it, and knowing my novel was finished and on it’s way to publishing, I gave in and allowed one of my sisters-in-law to have a copy. It was incredibly difficult. I sent it in an email, pressed the send button, and had a moment of “oh my gosh, can I take it back” panic. Then something amazing happened. She texted me early the  next morning telling me how far she had gotten and had loved it.

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I was ecstatic. Not just because she loved it so far (that part was awesome), but because it suddenly wasn’t weird. It took her a week to read the book, and she would update me with thoughts, insights, and questions regarding what was going to happen. She let me know what she thought of different scenes in the “this is really realistic” or “I can’t believe he said that!” way. It was as if we were both reading the same book – from another author – and discussing it like we normally would.

It was then I realized while *I* wrote the book, and we all knew I wrote the book, it became just a book. It was the biggest hurdle I had to cross, allowing family to read what came from this imagination (and yes, some real-life inspiration), yet once I crossed the barrier I felt free.

I can’t lie and say I’ve given copies to each family member without any hint of resignation – and definitely can’t promise the idea of the men in the family reading what I wrote doesn’t still scare the crap out of me – yet it’s not as bad as it once was.

Hopefully, the more I write the less awkward it will be, yet I’m prepared for always having the small, lingering, feeling of embarrassment regarding certain people. From what I’ve heard from fellow authors, this feeling is normal. I remind myself I’m still the bad-ass, sex-loving chick I used to be; I just get a little red in the face sometimes now.

Who knows, maybe one day I’ll even let my husband read it.

About the Author:

Jessica Collins is a new contemporary erotic romance author currently living in New Jersey along with her incredibly supportive husband (let’s be honest, he enjoys the *ahem* research *ahem* he gets to assist with) and the love of their life – their pitbull, she. In her free time, she enjoys watching horror movies, taking baths, playing old-school Nintendo on her computer, and appreciating life.

Combining classic characters and erotica, Jessica has created a world the reader wishes they were a part of. Alpha males, confident heroines, amazing friendships, and fan-worthy sex combine with enough tension to keep you on the edge of your panty-soaked seat all night long in the new Fairy Tales After Dark series. Discover how each tale is rewritten into today’s world as the characters search for their happy ending – in more ways than one!

Author Links:

Facebook Profile https://www.facebook.com/jessica.collins.author.75054

Facebook Fan Page:  https://www.facebook.com/authorjessicacollins/

Facebook Group (Fairy Tales After Dark): https://www.facebook.com/groups/1393011250760671/

Twitter: @AuthJessCollins (https://twitter.com/AuthJessCollins)

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/cqDCP5

Website: www.jessicacollinsauthor.com

 

Jessica has a brand new “Fairy Tales After Dark” novel titled Stealing Beauty. If you’re an erotica fan and love the dark and paranormal, you’ll want to check it out:

Stealing Beauty (Fairy Tales After Dark Book 1)

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Book Review: FERTS by Grace Hudson

For today’s Book Review Wednesday, I’ve got a book I found myself enjoying a lot more than I expected! I found it a sort of cross between The Hunger Games, The Handmaid’s Tale, and Equilibrium. Dystopian fiction worth reading indeed.

FERTS

FERTScoverThe war is over. Resources are scarce. The population is dwindling in the Forkstream Territories.

Pinnacle Officer Wilcox has created FERTS amidst the chaos, a facility designed to protect the female population from raiding hordes.

Beth 259201, a newly-demoted Epsilon Internee, suspects that there is something more that lurks beneath the carefully constructed order of the facility.

 

She has a gift, one that could brand her a defective. A novice fighter, she must use her intellect to survive. Her own life, and the lives of many more may be at risk. Will she succumb to the plans in store for her or will she conceal her secret long enough to discover her own path?

My Review: 4 Stars

While it took me a chapter or two to get into the book, by page 30 I was fascinated. I found myself curious to find out more about these “Beths” (each with their own unique number) and the horrible “breeding world” in which they lived. I LOVED the way the girls were ranked according to the various factors (attractiveness, musculature, personality, etc.). It was a fascinating look at what would happen if modern society broke down “being a woman” into numbers and formulas.

The story overall was pretty good, though I found myself enjoying the first 2/3 more than the last part. The climax was good (satisfying ending), but there was quite a bit that felt dangerously close to Deus Ex Machina.

SPOILER: DO NOT READ IF YOU HATE SPOILERS!! The character develops a sort of telepathy or precognition, but I didn’t catch the explanation of how or why. Unique powers like that need explanation or a reason why. END SPOILERS

A lot of details were also left vague, unclear, or unexplained. While the initial world-building was excellent, too many questions were left unanswered. Not the least of which was what made the main Beth so different from all the other Beths around her.

But, all in all, a good book, and one I’d highly recommend to any dystopian fans!

Here’s a Taste:

Cerberus strode out through the rear of the observation tower, leaving Quinton to his track and surveillance duties. The console zoomed in through trees to show the clear, glowing bright red outline of a young Internee, bent at the waist, visibly panting. Her hand gripped the tree beside her as she crouched, other hand planted firmly on her right knee to steady herself. She had lasted all of two minutes, the Ward Beacon surely must be having some kind of effect on her Implant Marker by now. Quinton looked more closely through the cracked monitor, admiring the sharp outline of her jaw, the defiant spread of her shoulders, as she leaned back against the tree, resisting the call.

“Go back,” he whispered.

She raised her head, as if sensing something.

He checked her file in the logs, Epsilon Circuit, three years trained, two years fight duty. Beth 259251. They were all marked as Beth, only the numbers would change between Internees. She was assigned to Epsilon Circuit due to a hormonal imbalance at fourteen. She had contracted a common autoimmune disorder, causing her fertility rating to drop to a 5.6, but it was her muscle mass that relegated her to the betting Circuit of Epsilon. Her muscle mass was far above regulation and despite her condition she was physically strong, testing high on agility. Her fight record was exemplary, a formidable opponent for any challenger from the Epsilon Internee fight pool.

The endurance monitor blipped. Her heart had begun to stutter. She had five, maybe six minutes to get back within the ward zone before her time ran down.

“Back, come on,” he muttered.

It was none of his concern, certainly nothing he would voice in front of the other Operators for fear of derision. The Internees were plentiful, and the common Epsilon fellows were worth far less than the price of a basic ration.

The endurance monitor spiked, displaying elevated cortisol and increased respiration. She clung to the bark under her fingers, scrabbling for equilibrium. He had seen this routine so many times before and had grown tired of the spectacle. He could do without another demonstration tonight.

Before long, Beth 259251 stood to her full height, appearing to move towards the ward zone. Quinton exhaled, shifting back in his seat, ready to log her return. She hesitated, then turned to face the sparse plains of the suspension zone. Each small step was heavy, but she persevered, dragging her body further from the tower reach. The beacon’s steady hum permeated the forest. Her hands crept up to cover her ears, routinely dropping back down in futility. One minute and forty-five seconds later she dropped to her knees, heart rate spiking, shuddering. The endurance monitor blipped once last time as her form faded to a dull green on the console.

“Recovery detail, suspension zone border.” He called out the coordinates into his radio, ignoring the crackle, repeating the details to ensure they had been received.

“Confirmed, Quinton. Log response time at 18:16.”

“Proceed as logged,” Quinton replied. He hissed a breath out through his teeth. The Epsilon fellow was no longer his concern.

About the Author:

Grace Hudson lives in Melbourne, Australia, land of sun, surf and drop bears!

She spends a lot of time in her writing cave but can be tempted to come out to check social media from time to time.

Her debut dystopian novel, “FERTS” was released in June 2015. Open Doors, an Aussie urban fantasy was released in Feb 2016. The Rogue Thread (Book 2 of FERTS) and Alpha Field (Book 3 of FERTS) are the latest releases for 2017.

Find the book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/FERTS-Book-1-Grace-Hudson-ebook/dp/B010II21DW/

Read Grace’s thoughts on her website: http://www.gracehudson.net

Connect with her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GraceHudsonAuthor/

Tweet at her: https://twitter.com/GraceHudsonAU

 

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Guest Post: What We Learn When We Rewrite

Today, I’m fortunate enough to have a guest post written by an awesome editor and friend, the epic Michael Dellert. His post: the nitty gritty of re-writing!

What We Learn When We Rewrite

The only truly creative aspect of novel-writing is the first draft. That’s when the story comes straight from head and your heart, a direct tap into the subconscious. After that, the rest of it—the rewrite—is grunt work. But it’s grunt work that has to be done, and work from which we can learn.

When I first sat down in 2014 to write my first book (Heron’s Cry), I was essentially teaching myself to write all over again. I jokingly referred to the whole undertaking as, “the first thing I’ve written since my college Creative Writing workshop that’s more complicated than a grocery list.”

As the author of Fear of Flying so succinctly put it:

“I went for years not finishing anything. Because, of course, when you finish something you can be judged.” – Erica Jong

That was my experience as a writer for many years as well. I was so adamant about writing well (grammatically) that I never got to the end. I was “that guy,” the writer who keeps polishing the first three chapters—but doesn’t finish the work.

Then I heard the phrase, “Perfect is the enemy of done.” I realized I wasn’t helping myself as a writer by being such a perfectionist. And so I adopted a new approach to my work and started writing Heron’s Cry.

The Matter of Manred

Forward!

First, I gave myself a strict deadline: Thirteen weeks. And I put a hell of a consequence on that deadline. If I didn’t type, “The End” by 5pm on the 91st day of the project, I wouldn’t ever call myself a writer again. After 30 years of self-identifying that way, I didn’t know what else I would call myself, so it meant a lot to me to keep that goal.

By not backtracking each day, I was always moving forward, getting closer and closer to the last page where I could finally type, “The End.” By writing that first draft all the way through without looking back, I got my internal editor off my shoulder. The first draft was all creative stuff that just “came to me,” often as a surprise. Reading what I wrote afterward, I often mumbled, “Wow. I wrote that!” I let my stream of consciousness flow, and the words appeared on the monitor. And I was amazed at how damn good they were. Or at least, how damn good I thought they were.

Backward!

But not surprisingly, that first draft was a huge, unwieldy thing. I had aimed for just 65000 words, the minimum word-count for what I considered “a novel,” but I came in at more than 120k words.

And as amazingly good as I thought the words were, there was no doubt they needed major revisions before I could even think about publication.

But I wasn’t discouraged. Hell, I had just done what for thirty years had been impossible for me: I’d finished the first draft of a novel. A whole new world had opened up to me. I could finish a story. The world hadn’t ended. No nuns with wooden rulers came around to rap me on the knuckles. The sun still rose in the east every morning.

So since then, I’ve been editing Heron’s Cry. I’m not in a rush. I don’t have a deadline, I enjoy the process, and I’m a stubborn person. When many other writers might have shoved that manuscript under the bed or buried it deep within a desk drawer after the fifth or sixth edit, I continue to comb through it with renewed enthusiasm. My protagonist is becoming more proactive, the plot more tightly woven. I’m embedding subtle clues and red herrings through the narrative as I become more adept at plotting.

The Rewrite Process

So how do I do it?

My earliest edits in Heron’s Cry consisted of cutting, and this is a practice I’ve kept up through my subsequent works. I’ve learned to embrace that oft-repeated mantra that every scene must move the story forward or, at the very least, define character. If I can’t justify a scene, it’s gone. I got over the trauma of cutting—words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs, scenes, and even (yelp!) whole chapters. And I applied those lessons to my other books, creating lean but complicated fantasies.

Needless to say, this hasn’t been easy. But I discovered a way that made it less painful: I created a “Cuts” document. Everything I cut went into that separate file, “for posterity.” Nothing was ever truly gone. If I changed my mind, I could reinsert it with the click of a button. The “Cuts” document for Heron’s Cry is 190 double-spaced pages (about 47000 words).

Wedding-of-Eithne-MichaelEDellert-300x450

And what I found was that a lot of those cuts were backstory and exposition, not relevant to the story at hand. So I started book number two, Hedge King in Winter, as an excuse to tell that backstory and repurpose that exposition. And then I went on to book three, A Merchant’s Tale, and then my first published full-length novel, The Romance of Eowain, and now my forthcoming new novel, The Wedding of Eithne.

As I mature as a writer, the “Cuts” document for each book is shrinking because I’m learning to evaluate scenes before I write them. For The Wedding of Eithne, the “Cuts” file is just seven pages.

No Rest for the Wicked?

I’ve probably edited Heron’s Cry more than twenty times already. I can flip open the manuscript, glance at a line or two, and know exactly which scene I’m looking at. Around edit number ten of Heron’s Cry, I realized I needed to do a major story revamp, so I copied the entire manuscript into another document for safekeeping. This freed me to be as bold and daring as I liked. If I mess something up in the revision, I still have that earlier version to fall back on. This is a nice strategy for short stories, too.

But when will it be done? I’m not sure yet. Keeping in mind that perfect is the enemy of done, I’ve set deadlines on my other four books, and told the story that leads up to the events in Heron’s Cry. Now that those books are finished and almost all out of the nest, maybe 2017 is the year to bring Heron’s Cry to the world? Or maybe I’ll keep myself guessing.

mike5a

About the Author:

Michael E. Dellert is a writer, editor, publishing consultant, and writing coach with a publishing career spanning 20 years. His blog, Adventures in Indie Publishing, is a resource for creative writers of all kinds. He is the author of three books in the heroic fantasy Matter of Manred Saga, and his latest book in the series, The Wedding of Eithne, will publish on 28 March, 2017.

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