Virtual Panels – Andy Peloquin

Andy Peloquin

I am an artist – words are my palette

Category: Virtual Panels (Page 1 of 2)

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Using Disabilities in Fiction

People with disabilities and the differently abled have become more and more common in modern fantasy and sci-fi. And not just as the “burden” for the protagonist to take care of or the weakness the villain uses against him or her. The differently-abled have become true heroes and villains in their own right.

One classic example of this is in Joe Abercrombie’s Shattered Sea series. His main character, Prince Yarvi, has a club hand, but it doesn’t stop the prince from going on to do great things. Or Gregg Zimmerman’s Queen of Bones. I loved this book, because the author found a way to turn a handicap (severely disabling rheumatoid arthritis) into an ability that saved the main character’s life.

I’ve used disabilities in my own writing. Those of you on my newsletter list will have read the short story “Paint a Black Picture” where the main character has both Autism Spectrum Disorder and Sensory Processing Disorder.

(Note: If you haven’t read the story, drop a comment below with your email address so I can send it to you.)

I sat down with a few of my fellow author friends to discuss how to creatively use disabilities to write better, more realistic, and more inclusive fiction:

Resources on Understanding the Differently Abled:

Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder: Understanding and Helping Your Partner

The Bipolar Handbook for Children, Teens, and Families

Asperger’s Answer Book: Professional Answers to 300 of the Top Questions Parents Ask

Autism in Your Classroom: A General Educator’s Guide to Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

The Panelists

EM Whittaker

E.M. began writing when she turned 13, starting with fanfiction stories on RPGamer, Forfeit Island, Fanfiction.net and Lufia.net. After growing her fanbase through these mediums, E.M. considered fictional writing after creating original characters and backstories within fandom universes. After extensive encouragement, E.M. plunged into original writing in 2012, specializing in paranormal mystery, urban fantasy and psychological thrillers.

She is the author of Turbulence, the first book in The Renegades Saga, and expects to release her second book Drift by mid-spring, 2017.

Website: http://www.emwhittaker.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EMWhittaker2
Twitter: @EMWhittaker2 (just starting)

My interview with her: http://andypeloquin.com/interview-with-e-m-whittaker/

Matt Posner

Matt Posner is a writer and teacher from Queens, New York. He is the author of the multi-volume School of the Ages series, about America’s greatest magic school; of How to Write Dialogue, a manual for writers; and the co-author of advice manual Teen Guide to Sex and Relationships. Matt’s new novel is Squared Circle Blues, about the rough and rugged lives of professional wrestlers in the 1980s.

Website: http://schooloftheages.webs.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/schooloftheages , http://www.facebook.com/squaredcircleblues

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/schooloftheages, http://www.twitter.com/SquaredCircleB

Spencer Pierson

I love to tell stories, and in turn see how people react to those stories. It helps to have a large amount of ideas and a really crazy imagination. I’ve also wanted to write for decades, but being a single, full-time father made risky choices difficult, at best. Now, however, I’ve taken that risk and couldn’t have been happier. Just “completing” a goal for myself has helped me in so many ways.

Amazon Author Page – https://www.amazon.com/Spen…/e/B01HCIE04O/ref=sr_tc_2_0…

Join my NEWSLETTER for future updates at http://spencerpierson.us12.list-manage2.com/subscribe…

Blog – http://spencerpiersonbooks.blogspot.com/

Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/SpencerPiersonBooks/

Kelly Erickson

Kelly Erickson has worked as a professional reader since she was 15, reading to students and professors who are blind or visually impaired. She also volunteered in the disabled adults classes working with people who have developmental disabilities. She studied psychology and social anthropology before switching to a math major in her senior year of college. She worked for the county social services department with foster kids, homeless people and people with disabilities. Her biggest advice: don’t write about disabled people. Write about people who have a disability. The person is always first.
Kelly writes whatever the voices in her head tell her to. Her book of short stories is mild horror written for teens. She has a vampire romance steampunk novel coming soon.
You can find Kelly here:
http://Facebook.com/KellyTheRed
http://facebook.com/OceanSkyBooks

Mary Crawford

Mary Crawford has been lucky enough to live her own version of a romance novel. She married the guy who kissed her at summer camp. He told her on the night they met that he was going to marry her and be the father of their children. Eventually she stopped giggling when he said it, and they just celebrated their 28th wedding anniversary. They have two children. The oldest is in medical school, where he recently found and married the love of his life, and the youngest has started middle school.
Ms. Crawford writes full time now. She has written and published over a dozen books and has several more underway. She volunteers her time to a variety of causes and has worked as a Civil Rights Attorney and diversity advocate. Ms. Crawford spent many years working for various social service agencies before becoming an attorney. In her spare time, she loved to cook, decorate cakes and of course, obsessively, compulsively read.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/authormarycrawford
Email: Mary@MaryCrawfordAuthor.com
Website: MaryCrawfordAuthor.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/MaryCrawfordAut
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8294383.Mary_Crawford

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Using History to Write Fantasy

I’ve LOVED history since I was very young. Among the first books I ever devoured were the Complete Encyclopedia Britannica, and I lost myself for hours in page after page of wonders and marvels of the ancient and modern world. From the Library at Alexandria to the reign of Genghis Khan to Custer’s Last Stand to the Charge of the Light Brigade, history provides so many fascinating stories.

Is it any wonder that so many fantasy authors (myself included) use history to write amazing novels? There is so much inspiration in history—everything from politics to religion to cultures to great heroes to epic battles. History not only gives fantasy stories context, but it provides both valuable lessons (of what not to do) and a look at a simpler time.

I sat down with a few of my author friends and talked about how to use history to write amazing fantasy stories. I found it a fascinating topic, and I believe you will, too!

Panelists:

Michelle Irwin has been many things: a hobbit taking a precious item to a fiery mountain; a young child stepping through the back of a wardrobe into another land; the last human stranded not-quite-alone in space three million years in the future; and a time-travelling madman in a box. All of these feats and many more were achieved through her voracious reading. Eventually, the cast inside her mind took over and spilled onto the page.

Michelle lives in sunny Queensland in the land down under. A lover of love and overcoming the odds, she primarily writes paranormal and fantasy romance.

Social Links:
Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/MichelleIrwinAuthor
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/michelleirwin
Website: www.michelle-irwin.com

Angie Grigaliunas (grig-ah-LOO-nahs) is a fantasy writer and blogger. She’s a country girl at heart, in the sense that she wants to be in nature and away from civilization. She loves Jesus, the woods, and the stars, and has always wanted to be a superhero with a secret identity. Seriously.

She has completed three books: one about elves that needs a massive revision before it ever sees the light of day, one that is part of her current story but also needs a massive revision to fit a new storyline, and the actual first book (Sowing) in her dystopian/medieval/grimdark/semi-romance series (The Purification Era). When she’s not writing, she’s usually Facebooking – ack! – or thinking about story stuff. Despite several of her writing friends claiming she’s Canadian, she is not; she lives in Ohio with her dear husband and their crazy cats.

www.facebook.com/angiegrigaliunaszewriter

www.angiegrigaliunas.blogspot.com

www.twitter.com/Angie_ZeWriter

www.instagram.com/angiegrigaliunas

http://amzn.to/2ck9So6

Caterina Pryde, sometimes writer, editor at Worlds of Wonder

http://www.worldsofwondermagazine.com/

Michael R. Baker is twenty-six years old and lives in the United Kingdom. An avid fan of history and fantasy, he graduated from the University of Sunderland with a Bachelor’s Degree in History and Politics, and he has always found the history of world culture’s fascinating.
Writing however has always been an interest to him, especially fantasy. He has been building his own fantasy world of Rengar for most of his life. The first novel in his Counterbalance trilogy will be released this year.

Website:
Blog: https://thousandscarsblog.wordpress.com/ I discuss games and writing, but it’s mainly my video game blog, if you like it, check it out, will cover lots of other stuff!
Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/thousandscar/?ref=bookmarks
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/anduril38

A.A. Jankiewicz (known to most as Agnes) hails from the city of Pickering, Ontario. Her debut novel ‘Q-16 and the Eye to All Worlds’ was published as part of her thesis project at Durham College as part of the Contemporary Media Design Program. Prior to that, she graduated from York University with a BFA in Film Theory, Historiography and Criticism. When she’s not busy plotting the next great adventure, writing, doodling, tinkering in the Adobe suite programs or mellowing out with her friends, she enjoys walks with her four-legged companion Meesha. She is currently working on the next instalment in the Q-16 series.

Website: www.aajankiewicz.com

 

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A Way with Words: Pain

Pain is a very common element of the stories I write. The Hunter is a half-demon assassin, so OF COURSE he is going to end up fighting (wounds are painful!). Ilanna from Queen of Thieves is a thief, a profession which carries its own share of pain.

Some pains are easy to write. Most of us can wax poetic about a severe wound, burns, or other common pains. Some pains are harder to write: internal pains, emotional pains, mental pains, and “magical” pains. These take more effort to get right, and it can be difficult to know how to write them.

Which is why I gathered a few of my author friends and had a good chat on the ways to write pain effectively. In the video below, you’ll find a lot of useful information on how to write pain:

Resources:

How to Describe Pain

A Scientific Look at Pain

The Panelists:

Heidi Angell:

Heidi Angell is a bibliophile, lexicomaniac and wordsmith. She is the author of The Hunters Series, The Clear Angel Chronicles, and The Hell School Series. She also created Royal Prince Vince, and Creative Exercises to Inspire. When she is not reading and writing, she can be found spending quality time with her lovely family camping, hiking, swimming, or watching movies.

Website:  www.heidiangell.com

Lily Luchesi:

Lily Luchesi is the author of the bestselling and award-winning Paranormal Detectives Series, published by Vamptasy Publishing, as well as various short stories in the horror, paranormal, and erotica genres.

She’s an active and out member of the LGBT+ community, a self-professed nerd, music-lover, and just a little obsessed with vampires. When not writing or reading, she can be found drinking copious amounts of coffee, getting tattooed, going to concerts, or watching too much of the CW.

She was born and raised in Chicago, but now resides in Los Angeles.

http://lilyluchesibooks.wix.com/lilyluchesi

http://facebook.com/lilyluchesi

http://twitter.com/LilyLuchesi

http://amazon.com/author/lilyluchesi

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How Dark Should Your Stories Go?

Dark fantasy is, by definition, a pretty “dark” genre. The stories tend to be grimmer, grittier, and more maudlin than heroic or epic fantasy. Instead of the “white vs. black” or “heroes vs. villains”, dark fantasy involves varying shades of grey, with anti-heroes and “bad vs. worse” throughout. Why else do you think so many people love the genre?

But is there such a thing as “too dark”? Can the stories ever get too grim and morose for the reader to enjoy? If so, how can we avoid going too dark? To better understand the genre, I sat down with a few fellow dark fantasy authors to talk about the craft of the darker side of fantasy—and fiction as a whole:

Resources Mentioned:

The Writer’s Guide to Character Traits: https://www.amazon.com/Writers-Guide-Character-Traits-Edelstein/dp/1582973903

The Panelists

EM Whittaker

E.M. began writing when she turned 13, starting with fanfiction stories on RPGamer, Forfeit Island, Fanfiction.net and Lufia.net. After growing her fanbase through these mediums, E.M. considered fictional writing after creating original characters and backstories within fandom universes. After extensive encouragement, E.M. plunged into original writing in 2012, specializing in paranormal mystery, urban fantasy and psychological thrillers.

She is the author of Turbulence, the first book in The Renegades Saga, and expects to release her second book Drift by mid-spring, 2017.

Website: http://www.emwhittaker.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EMWhittaker2
Twitter: @EMWhittaker2 (just starting)

My interview with her: http://andypeloquin.com/interview-with-e-m-whittaker/

Raven Oak

Bestselling science fiction & fantasy author Raven Oak is best known for Amaskan’s Blood (Epic Awards 2016 Finalist), Class-M Exile, and the collection Joy to the Worlds: Mysterious Speculative Fiction for the Holidays (Foreword Reviews 2016 Book of the Year Finalist). She also has several published short stories in anthologies such as Untethered: A Magic iPhone Anthology and Magic Unveiled. Raven spent most of her K-12 education doodling stories and 500 page monstrosities that are forever locked away in a filing cabinet.

When she’s not writing, she’s getting her game on with tabletop games, indulging in cartography, or staring at the ocean. She lives in the Seattle area with her husband, and their three kitties who enjoy lounging across the keyboard when writing deadlines approach.

LINKS:
http://www.ravenoak.net
https://twitter.com/raven_oak
http://facebook.com/authorroak
https://www.goodreads.com/raven_oak
https://www.amazon.com/Raven-Oak/e/B00P5PT4AM

Matt Posner

Matt Posner is a writer and teacher from Queens, New York. He is the author of the multi-volume School of the Ages series, about America’s greatest magic school; of How to Write Dialogue, a manual for writers; and the co-author of advice manual Teen Guide to Sex and Relationships. Matt’s new novel is Squared Circle Blues, about the rough and rugged lives of professional wrestlers in the 1980s.

Website: http://schooloftheages.webs.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/schooloftheages , http://www.facebook.com/squaredcircleblues

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/schooloftheages, http://www.twitter.com/SquaredCircleB

 

Doing Romance in Fantasy Right

As you all know very well, I am NOT a romance writer. I’ve never had the desire to write romance-heavy novels, but I prefer to use romance as an element in my books rather than their driving force.

However, the truth is that a well-written romance can make any story more well-rounded, deeper, and more engaging. After all, we all love to picture that “perfect love” or “happy ending” in our minds. Romance can bring you closer to the characters, give real depth to both antagonist and protagonist, and even provide the motivation for the characters to do what they do.

So as I sat down to write Thief of the Night Guild (Book 2 of Queen of Thieves), I knew I wanted a hint of romance in there. I turned to a few experts on the topic to find out how to write romance in fantasy the right way. The video below is the result of that conversation:

The Panelists

Susan Tizdale

USA Today Bestselling Author, storyteller and cheeky wench, SUZAN TISDALE lives in the Midwest with her verra handsome carpenter husband. Her children have all left the nest. Her pets consist of dust bunnies and a dozen poodle-sized, backyard-dwelling groundhogs – all of which run as free and unrestrained as the voices in her head.

Suzan published her first novel, a 14th century Scottish Historical Romance titled Laiden’s Daughter, in December, 2011. To date, she has written and published more than 15 books. More than 300,000 copies of her books have been sold around the world.

You will find her books at Nook, iBooks, Kobo, Kindle, Audible, and iTunes. Paperback and hardcover versions at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Suzan’s Website: www.suzantisdale.com

Connect with her on Facebook: suzantisdaleromance

Tweet at her: @suzantisdale

Get text messages on new releases! Text: CheekyWenchUS to 24587

Kathryn LeVeque

KATHRYN LE VEQUE is a USA TODAY Bestselling author, an Amazon All-Star author, and a #1 bestselling, award-winning, multi-published author in Medieval Historical Romance and Historical Fiction. She has been featured in the NEW YORK TIMES and on USA TODAY’s HEA blog. In March 2015, Kathryn was the featured cover story for the March issue of InD’Tale Magazine, the premier Indie author magazine. She is also a quadruple nominee (a record!) for the prestigious RONE awards for 2015. Her bestselling novel, THE WOLFE, is also a semi finalist for the 2015 Kindle Book Reviews award for Best Romance.

Her website: www.kathrynleveque.com

Micheal Foster

Michael Wayne Foster is an American actor and producer.  Born in Monroe, Michigan to Rowland Foster (Educator) and Emilie Foster (R.N.).  Michael excelled in sports his 12th grade year and chose to pursue that path to Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio.  He spent two years on the baseball and basketball teams before focusing on a career in education.  As a high school English teacher for 9 years, Michael sharpened his improv skills, which were called upon in 2005 when he first appeared on national television.  “A chance to get out and work in New York learning of the opportunities the entertainment industry provides was overwhelming.  It (Hollywood) had my attention and I wanted to see what possibilities I could explore.”   With a M.A. in education and a B.A. in English, Michael set his sights on a newfound passion: Show Business.  In less than a year he resigned from education and moved to Los Angeles. “Teaching was an incredible journey and I am so lucky to have been a part of so many great kid’s lives.  However; every journey has to end when another begins,” he reflected.

His website: http://www.michaelwaynefoster.com/

Sean Hampton

Sean Hampton is the more handsome half of Cover 2 Cover Book Reviews, the only male model romance book review website in the world.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cover2coverreviews/
Instagram: SeanHamptonForever
SnapChat: ElSeanHampton

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A Way With Words: Emotions and Feelings

As a writer, I always have a hard time trying to put the emotions of my characters into words on a page. I can feel what the characters do, but it can be difficult to communicate that clearly to the reader. It’s probably the hardest part of the writing process for me. The fact that those feelings and emotions are so important for character growth and depth just makes it all the more challenging.

Thankfully, I have a few writer friends in my circles who happen to be AWESOME at writing emotions and feelings. In the first video of my new series “A Way With Words”, I get some valuable advice on how best to infuse my stories with emotions and feelings:

The Panelists

Angela Ackerman

Angela Ackerman is a writing coach, international speaker, and co-author of five bestselling writing books, including The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression. She is passionate about helping writers succeed. Her site, One Stop For Writers is a powerhouse online library like no other, filled with description, story structure, and brainstorming tools to help writers elevate their storytelling. You can also find her on Twitter, Facebook and at her blog, Writers Helping Writers.

Her websites: https://www.onestopforwriters.com/ and http://writershelpingwriters.net/

Connect on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAngelaAckerman

Tweet at her: https://twitter.com/Angela Ackerman

Rachel Marks

Rachel A. Marks is an award-winning author and professional artist, a SoCal girl, cancer survivor, a surfer and dirt-bike rider, chocolate lover and keeper of faerie secrets. She was voted: Most Likely to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse, but hopes she’ll never have to test the theory. Her debut series The Dark Cycle, described as Dickens’ “Oliver Twist” meets TV’s “Supernatural”, begins with the Amazon Bestseller, DARKNESS BRUTAL.

Her website: http://www.rachelannemarks.com/

See her work on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00S6Z3S82/

Angie Grigaliunas

Angie Grigaliunas (grig-ah-LOO-nahs) is a fantasy writer and blogger. She’s a country girl at heart, in the sense that she wants to be in nature and away from civilization. She loves Jesus, the woods, and the stars, and has always wanted to be a superhero with a secret identity. Seriously.

She has completed three books: one about elves that needs a massive revision before it ever sees the light of day, one that is part of her current story but also needs a massive revision to fit a new storyline, and the actual first book (Sowing) in her dystopian/medieval/grimdark/semi-romance series (The Purification Era). When she’s not writing, she’s usually Facebooking – ack! – or thinking about story stuff. Despite several of her writing friends claiming she’s Canadian, she is not; she lives in Ohio with her dear husband and their crazy cats.

Connect on Facebook www.facebook.com/angiegrigaliunaszewriter

Her website: www.angiegrigaliunas.blogspot.com

Tweet at her: www.twitter.com/Angie_ZeWriter

See her work on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2ck9So6

Sarah Buhrman

Sarah has been writing for more than 20 years. She lives in the middle of nowhere with two monsters (the kids), an ogre (the hubby), and whatever drama-llama is coming to visit this week. Sarah is the author of Too Wyrd and the Life 101 series. She has short stories in several anthologies, including Visions IV: Between the Stars, and The Pop Culture Grimoire: 2.0.

Her website: http://www.authorgoddess.com/
Connect on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorSarahB/
Tweet at her: https://twitter.com/AuthorGoddess
See her work on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Too-Wyrd-Runespell-Book-1/dp/1612967523/

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How to Write Awesome Action Scenes

Action plays a very important role in every one of my books. Hard to avoid it, given that my main character is a half-demon assassin, right?

I love a good action scene. There’s nothing that gets the blood pumping like a duel—sword, magic, gun, or spaceship—and it can be a lot of fun to read. But a lot of hard work goes into making that action scene work.

There are so many components to action scenes:

  • The actual movements and action
  • The tightness of the sentences to keep the action moving
  • The important details of the surroundings and environment
  • The characters’ reactions, emotions, and thoughts

Writing a good action scene is actually a lot harder than you’d think!

Thankfully, I had a chance to talk with some fellow authors about how they put together awesome action scenes. I was also fortunate enough to sit down with a real-life professional long swordsman and get some behind-the-scenes details on how to do sword fights (I write fantasy, remember?) the right way.

Check out the AMAZING video below, and hold onto your sword belts for a whole lot of fascinating information on writing quality action scenes:

Some Resources Mentioned:

www.wiktenauer.com  — great place to find historical information on swordplay

Holmgang YouTube Channel — crazy German warriors

The Panelists

Nathan Grepares

Nathan Grepares is quite probably the feistiest longsword fencer from Texas! Since 2010, he has competed professionally against some of the top European and American fencers. He is an instructor for a Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) club. On a weekly basis, he leads students through training exercises and fitness routines to help empower them and instill confidence, as well as engender a knowledge and appreciation for history and martial culture.

His experience frequently causes him to be invited to events across the globe to share his knowledge and skills with other practitioners.

Watch him fight (guy on the left): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1-f53EMlF0

For more information: http://mindhost.tumblr.com/post/143575963597/nathan-grepares-quite-probably-the-feistiest

Agnes Jankiewicz

A.A. Jankiewicz (known to most as Agnes) hails from the city of Pickering, Ontario. Her debut novel ‘Q-16 and the Eye to All Worlds’ was published as part of her thesis project at Durham College as part of the Contemporary Media Design Program. Prior to that, she graduated from York University with a BFA in Film Theory, Historiography and Criticism. When she’s not busy plotting the next great adventure, writing, doodling, tinkering in the Adobe suite programs or mellowing out with her friends, she enjoys walks with her four-legged companion Meesha. She is currently working on the next instalment in the Q-16 series.

Website: www.aajankiewicz.com

Matt Posner

Matt Posner is a writer and teacher from Queens, New York. He is the author of the multi-volume School of the Ages series, about America’s greatest magic school; of How to Write Dialogue, a manual for writers; and the co-author of advice manual Teen Guide to Sex and Relationships. Matt’s new novel is Squared Circle Blues, about the rough and rugged lives of professional wrestlers in the 1980s.

Website: http://schooloftheages.webs.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/schooloftheages , http://www.facebook.com/squaredcircleblues

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/schooloftheages, http://www.twitter.com/SquaredCircleB

 

 

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How to Write a Good Book Review

Book reviews are an author’s lifeblood! They tell people what to expect when reading your book, and gives them an idea of just how much/little other readers enjoyed the story. They may not “make or break” your success, but they certainly play a vital role in it.

Which means people who write reviews have a lot more “power” than they’d expect. Your feedback could enhance the author’s sales, warn potential readers to stay away from a bad product, or share something in the book that spoke to you. If you’re going to write a review, write it right!

I sat down with a couple of my fellow authors and book reviewers to discuss the art of writing a good book review. I asked questions like:

  • What do you include in a good book review?
  • How much detail is too much?
  • How can you give enough detail while avoiding spoilers?
  • Can you review as JUST a reader, or does your author side come out?

Here is what we discovered:

The Panelists

Arial Burnz – Arial Burnz is the USA Today bestselling author of HOT Scottish Vampires. She has been both traditionally and self-published, a cover designer and an editor, so she’s a real geek about the publishing industry! As an avid reader herself, she has left many reviews of the books she’s read over the last 40 years.

To join Arial VIP Club and get weekly book-related freebies, visit http://arialburnz.com/vipclub.

Wendy Van Camp — Wendy Van Camp is the author and poet behind No Wasted Ink (http://nowastedink.com), a blog about the craft of writing that features author interviews, sci-fi and fantasy book reviews and scifaiku poetry. Wendy’s short stories and poems have appeared in literary and science fiction magazines such as “Shadows Express”, “Luna Station Quarterly”, “Altered Reality Magazine”, and “Far Horizons”. Her first Amazon ebook is a regency romance entitled, “The Curate’s Brother: A Jane Austen Variation of Persuasion”. (https://www.amazon.com/author/wendyvancamp)

Blog: http://nowastedink.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/wvancamp
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/indigoskye
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/nowastedink
Google+: google.com/+WendyVanCamp
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/wendyvancamp

 

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Politics in Speculative Fiction: How to Make it Work

It’s amazing how much of a role politics plays in our lives! Everything we do is affected by politics—local, state, federal, or international—to a certain degree. It makes sense that our fictional characters should be equally affected.

When it comes to politics, I’m not ashamed to admit my lack of expertise. However, when I realized that politics play a large role in not just modern fiction, but fantasy and sci-fi as well, I knew I had to get a better understanding of it. I sat down with a few of my more politically-savvy friends to talk about politics in speculative fiction and how to make it work.

P.S.: Check out this awesome article on Fantasy Faction about different types of governments to use in speculative fiction.

About the Panelists:

Alycia Christine Sears

Alycia Christine is an award-winning artist and author of six books. Her fiction has received wide praise for its unique characters and vivid storytelling. Her award-winning art photography has been featured in Times Square. Whether writing speculative fiction, poignant nonfiction, or shooting vivid photography, her goal is to share the dramatic beauty and blessing found in every aspect of life—even the painful parts. When she isn’t writing or shooting photos, Alycia enjoys long walks with her husband, drinking copious amounts of tea, and coaxing her skittish cat out from under the living room furniture. Don’t miss her latest book DREAMDRIFTER, the captivating sequel to SKINSHIFTER.

Find her at http://alyciachristine.com/.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Alycia-Christine-102673903123325/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AlyciaCZS

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/alyciaczs/

Michael Baker

A few things about me. My name is Michael and I’m 25 years old, live in the United Kingdom, and basically just a friendly guy (just ask my parole officer), who loves gaming and writing, and talking about random stuff in general. I’ll be posting loads of stuff about games I love, books I like, films I like, some news updates which I feel matter to me too.

Blog: https://thousandscarsblog.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Thethousandscar

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thousandscar/

Aaron Smith

Aaron Smith is an author and attorney living in San Diego, CA with his lovely wife and two pitbulls. He’s decided to put the voices in his head to work. His fiction has been featured at LibertyIsland.com, Microhorror.com and he has provided social and media analysis for PJLifestyles.com. Aaron is currently working on an urban fantasy novel, Identity, and a horror/adventure graphic novel, Inner Demons.

Twitter: @AaronCSmith1

Facebook: @aaronsmithauthor

Amanda Langlinais Pepper

Award-winning screenwriter, produced playwright, and author. Her latest novel CHANGERS: MANIFESTING DESTINY, first in a new YA fantasy trilogy, is now available from Evernight Teen.

M holds a Master of Arts in Writing, Literature and Publishing and a Bachelor of Science in Radio-Television-Film. She has a love of Shakespeare, having both performed and taught his work, and has also interned on Hollywood film sets. M worked for Houghton Mifflin and Pearson before deciding to devote her full time to writing (and occasionally parenting). She lives in Livermore, California with her family, cat, and hamster.

Find out more about her and her books at http://PepperWords.com.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mpepperlanglinais

Twitter: http://twitter.com/sh8kspeare

Josh Rutherford

Joshua Rutherford is a Fantasy and Sci-Fi writer who resides in San Diego, CA. His debut novel, the epic fantasy tale SONS OF CHENIA, came out in December 2014. His second novel, MIDNIGHT, a feminist fantasy project, will be released in early 2017.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SonsofChenia/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0692346163

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorJKR

 

book-1760998_1280

What Publishers Look for in a Good Book

What’s your #1 worry when planning to submit your book to a publisher? I’m going to go out on a limb and guess it’s: “What if this book isn’t good enough?”

Writing a book that’s “good enough” is definitely the first step toward getting that publishing deal, but it’s not the ONLY thing to think about. There are many more things that can affect your chances of a deal, including:

  • Plot, characters, and setting
  • Correct grammar and punctuation
  • Coherence, adherence to structure
  • YOU, the author
  • and so much more…

It’s tough to know what a publisher is thinking when they read over your work. I know I’ve anguished for weeks and months as my work was in the hands of an acquisition editor.

Thankfully, I got a chance to sit down with a few publishers and ask them the question: What do you look for in a good book?

The Cliff Notes

What do you look for in a good book?

  1. An idea that is a twist or unique to something that exists.
  2. Quality, coherent writing that’s well-organized.
  3. Solid plot line—in terms of character development, not just stories.
  4. Can we work with the author? Are they polite, friendly, and easy to work with?
  5. Draws them in, brings out some emotion or resonates with you.
  6. Unique, well-developed characters that readers can identify with.
  7. Author personality. What are they like on social media/in public?
  8. Hook us quickly! Three chapters to hook us, or no thank you.
  9. Follow the rules of submission!
  10. Ending done right. Good pacing, solid story.
  11. Does the book have series potential? Closure of the story, but threads to lead into the next one. It should be complete and close the circle.
  12. Can we build a relationship with that author? For future books—publishers see authors as an investment.

What makes you turn down a book?

  • Poorly written.
  • Lack of basic editing.
  • Didn’t follow submission guidelines.
  • Lack of beta-reading: too many plot holes and mistakes.
  • Too many mistakes!
  • Unclear or lack of character/setting/plot development.
  • A book that isn’t engaging enough.

Marketing ability vs. writing/story quality: story quality is more important—you can learn to market anything if the story is good enough!

How important is an author’s platform? Story matters more than platform. A great story can build a platform, but a large platform may not be enough to sell a crappy story. ALWAYS look at the book first, then platform second.

The Panelists

Joshua Robertson for Crimson Edge: We are a small press specializing in Fantasy, Dystopian Fiction, and Historical Fiction. Please note that we are not a vanity press or a self-publishing company.

At Crimson Edge, our mission is to publish quality, progressive fiction to meet the literary needs of readers. The market for reading books has changed drastically and the competition in the publishing world cannot be ignored. As an author, you will find a familial group of writers with an appreciation for creative collaboration. And, readers will discover books that are written with prestige that contends with your favorite bestsellers.

www.crimsonedgepress.com

Edd Sowder for Burning Willow Press: BWC is an independent publisher of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror. We are here to tantalize your thoughts, spark your imagination, and tap into your most primal fears.

We pride ourselves in being a home to authors of other worlds. We saw an industry that grossly profited off of the creativity of others. We wanted to do something different. By cultivating and caring for our authors in a way no other publishing company does, we hope to produce a better quality story for our loyal customers.

www.burningwillowpressllc.com

Nikki Yager for Dragon’s Rocketship Publishing

TDR Pubishing is an indie publishing company run by sister-in-laws out of Florida and Texas. The company started in February 2016, and publishes fantasy, science fiction, horror, thriller, and paranormal.

www.tdrpublishing.com/

Monique Lewis Happy for Winlock Press:

In just a few years, Winlock Press has introduced over a dozen new writers and debuted even more stories and series, professionally edited and beautifully made. We are at the leading edge of multi-format, independent publishing.

Think you’ve read the best of Zombie, Vampire, and Post-Apocalypse fiction? Winlock believes there are an infinite number of amazing new stories waiting to be told in these solid and popular genres, and we’ve recruited great writers, both new and well-seasoned — to bring their unique perspectives to the horror we love.

Winlock Press: www.winlockpress.com

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