Saturday, September 20, 2014

Great Writers on Great Writing


F. Scott Fitzgerald on the Secret of Great Writing
http://www.brainpickings.org/2013/01/08/f-scott-fitzgerld-on-writing/

Kurt Vonnegut’s 8 Tips on How to Write a Great Story
http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/04/03/kurt-vonnegut-on-writing-stories/

Henry Miller’s 11 Commandments of Writing and Daily Creative Routine
http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/02/22/henry-miller-on-writing/

Jack Kerouac’s List of 30 Beliefs and Techniques for Prose and Life
http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/03/22/jack-kerouac-belief-and-technique-for-modern-prose/

Neil Gaiman’s 8 Rules of Writing
http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/09/28/neil-gaiman-8-rules-of-writing/

Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing
http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2013/08/21/elmore-leonard-10-rules-of-writing/

Friday, September 19, 2014

Will you join the crusade?

Be a part of Comic & Cinematic History...


... as legendary comic creator Chuck Dixon, 300 and TMNT film producer Scott Mednick, and Framelight Productions come together to create Sword of Wood... an exciting new franchise!

Already being set up as a motion picture, we are looking for partners to finance the publication of a graphic novel based on an original story being written by Chuck Dixon with illustrations provided by Esteve Polls.

Visit for more info: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1852578469/sword-of-wood-by-chuck-dixon

Thursday, September 18, 2014

PARTNERS IN NEW PULP AND GENRE FICTION -- PRO SE PRODUCTIONS AND THE PULP PROJECT

Known as a cutting edge publisher of New Pulp and Genre Fiction, Pro Se Productions, continually looking to expand the variety of its catalog and bring the best packaging possible to the books it publishes, announces a new partnership with The Pulp Project.

The Pulp Project is a collaboration of Colorado’s most talented photographers, models, artists, and designers, coming together to create Pulp inspired photography in the studio and on location. Headed by Austin Welch, The Pulp Project has produced and plans to continue to create images definitely inspired by both the medium of Pulp Fiction as well as the style of Pulp, which long outlived the original magazine format.

The association of Pro Se and The Pulp Project means that Pro Se Productions will be utilizing images produced by The Pulp Project as covers for appropriate books and collections as well as Pro Se Single Shot digital singles and Single Shot Signature series. When a Pro Se work requires a cover and a Pulp Project image matches said story or book, then Pro Se will utilize the image as a cover. Also, plans are in the works for covers to be designed and created by The Pulp Project for specific Pro Se works. Thirdly, collections and/or complete novels will, in the future, be built around Pulp Project existing photographs.

“One of the best parts,” says Tommy Hancock, Pro Se Editor in Chief and Partner in the company, “of being a part of Pro Se Productions is when neat things like this happen. We’ve always known our interest in Pulp and Genre Fiction was shared by many, that others have the same passion we do. When we find those people, those groups who are expressing that in their own way, in a fashion that not only we can utilize, but where there can be mutual benefit, it’s almost an innate action to see how the two entities can work together. The Pulp Project is an exciting prospect, something that I wish we saw more of in this field. The bringing together of models/actors, photographers, cinematographers, and more to produce a singular image that is a story all by itself. To have the opportunity to put these works of modern Pulp art on Pro Se books, it’s really one of the reasons I enjoy doing what I do.”

The first image from The Pulp Project to be used for a Pro Se Productions title will act as the cover for author Sean Taylor’s upcoming Single Shot Signature Series Spy Candy. It will be featured on the digital singles as well as the print collection produced when the series ends.

For more information concerning this press release or interviews with those involved, contact Morgan McKay, Pro Se’s Director of Corporate Operations, at directorofcorporateoperations@prose-press.com.

To learn more about The Pulp Project, go to https://www.facebook.com/thepulpproject.

For more information on Pro Se Productions, go to www.prose-press.com. Like Pro Se on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ProSeProductions.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Enter the Imaginarium!

My updated panel schedule for Imaginarium:

Friday

7:00 PM
Gats, Gams, & Greenhorns
Everyone always remembers to build worlds, but do they always remember to build language? This panel covers the proper way to use slang, jargon, and other language mechanisms in genre fiction.
Moderator: Mandi Lynch
Panelists: L. Andrew Cooper, Addie J. King, Sean Taylor

Saturday

4:00 PM
The World of a Magazine Editor: Submissions, Deadlines, and Edits, oh my!
Sit down with editors as they share the inside scoop on editing for magazines. Learn why pieces are accepted, why they’re rejected, and what magazine editors expect of their authors.
Moderator: Sean Taylor
Panelists: Eric Beebe, Lori Michelle, Jason Sizemore, Benjamin Smith

6:00 PM
Comic Script Creation Part 1 – Hosted by Sean Taylor
Join comic book writer Sean Taylor (Gene Simmons Dominatrix, Bad Girls Club, The Invisible Man) for a two-day workshop to help you begin and complete a comic book script for a four-page anthology short. Super heroes, horror, drama, slice of life — all genres welcome.

Sunday

12:00 PM
Comic Script Creation Part 2 – Hosted by Sean Taylor
Join comic book writer Sean Taylor (Gene Simmons Dominatrix, Bad Girls Club, The Invisible Man) for a two-day workshop to help you begin and complete a comic book script for a four-page anthology short. Super heroes, horror, drama, slice of life — all genres welcome.

2:00 PM
Publishing Comics & Graphic Novels
Words and pictures…can’t be too hard, right? Think again. Our panelists discuss what goes into making a good comic series, from the idea’s inception all the way through final layout and printing. This is a must-see panel for anyone interested in breaking into the graphic literature world.
Moderator: Sean Taylor
Panelists: Matthew Barron, Dan Jolley

3:00 PM
How to Build a Better Bad Guy
Heroes are important, but having a strong villain can make or break a story. Learn how to make your bad guys the best they can possibly be.
Moderator: Sean Taylor
Panelists: Karen Block, K.S. Daniels, Dan Jolley, Tommy Smith, Michael West

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now #295 -- Biggest Personal Obstacle

What's your biggest personal obstacle to 
being the writer you wish you could be?

Plain and simple, I'm lazy. I am. I try my best to work around it, but I should have so much more published work behind me at this point, including a few novels. Too often, when I have the choice between watching TV and buckling down to write, I choose the lesser path.



Sunday, September 14, 2014

Alpha Omega Con Christian Comics & Pop Culture Convention Comes To Los Angeles


Los Angeles, CA – The Christian Comic Arts Society announced today the Alpha Omega Con; a family friendly, Christian Comics and Pop Culture Convention taking place in the Los Angeles area. With more than 50 special guests and industry professionals conducting panels and workshops, and an extensive exhibitor hall, Alpha Omega Con is a unique experience where the faith audience can explore positive forms of new entertainment.

Talking place on Saturday, September 20th, 2014, fans of comic books, movies, video games, and other media will gather from across Southern California to unite their passions for entertainment and Faith. Attendees have the opportunity to connect with industry pros, ministry leaders, vendors, and other likeminded fans during general sessions, workshops, and exhibits.

Featured industry professionals in the genres of comics, video games, film and faith include: Mike S. Miller (Justice League of America, Batman: Arkham), Flint Dille (Transformers, Teen Titans, Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu), Chris Yambar (The Simpsons, Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol), Kevin Grevioux (Underworld, Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.), Pastor Fred Price Jr. (Crenshaw Christian Center), Mike Kunkel (Herobear and the Kid), Dr. Thomas Parham (Asuza Pacific University), Eric Jansen (Christ of Prophecy, Paraman), Buzz Dixon (Serenity, G.I. Joe), Dr. Fred Sanders (Biola University), Clyde Taber (Visual Story Network), Bill Morrison (Bongo Comics, The Simpsons), and many more.

Pitch sessions for entertainment creators of all types will be conducted throughout the day for aspiring talent to present their work to industry professionals. Panels cover topics such as Pitfalls for Independent Artists, You Can’t Do That in Christian Media, Video Games: Controlled Conflict, Women In Media, 168 Film and DIY Film Making, Cosplay & Christians, Ministry + Artistry = Profitability?, Modern Media & Message, Breaking In Without Selling Out, Geeky Guys 4 God, and more.  

Exhibitors include leading comics distributors such as Kingstone Comics and LAMP PoST, along with Geekdom Wear, The Resurrection Project, Kids in the Spotlight, guest artists available for commissions, and many more.

Presented by The Christian Comic Arts Society, the event is sponsored by The Resurrection Project, Lightside Games, FrontGate Media, SocialZing, ChristianCinema.com, NewReleaseTuesday.com, Hollywood Jesus, Sonoma Christian Home, Faded Pictures, Kids In The Spotlight, Christian Film Database, Internet Podcast Database (IPDb), and Visual Story Network.  iTickets.com is the official ticketing partner for the event. 

The Christian Comics Art Society is hosting the Alpha Omega Con at Redeemer Church, 15151 Cordova Blvd. La Mirada, CA 90638 on September 20, 2014 from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM.   Advance tickets are available at the event web site and on iTickets.com for only $5.  Admission is $10 at the door.  Children 12 and under are free with an adult ticket.  For more information about programming, exhibitors, cosplay guidelines, and to register for the event, please visit http://www.AlphaOmegaCon.com or http://www.iTickets.com or call 800-965-9324.   

ABOUT CHRISTIAN COMIC ARTS SOCIETY

The Christian Comic Arts Society (CCAS) is a non-profit international organization that includes professionals, amateurs, and fans who enjoy comic books, science fiction, fantasy, gaming, cosplay, and other pop culture elements.  Founded in 1985 by Don Ensign, the CCAS has had a Christian presence for almost 20 years at comic conventions such as San Diego Comic Con, WonderCon, and Phoenix Comic Con.  CCAS has distributed tens of thousands of gospel tracts, Bibles, and free materials at conventions around the country, and serves as a vendor of quality Christian comics.  CCAS is governed by a volunteer board which includes Ralph Miley (New Creation), Holly Knevelbaard (Artist), Scott A. Shuford (FrontGate Media), Clint D. Johnson (Faith Walker/ M:2520 Media), and Luis Serrano (Samson the Nazirite, Rooted Chronicles) along with numerous volunteers from the comic industry and the Church. Free membership is available on our social community at www.ChristianComicArts.com, or you can follow us at www.Facebook.com/ChristianComicArts, or www.Twitter.com/ChristianComics.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

ONE-TWO, KILL A FEW DEBUTS FROM PRO SE PRODUCTIONS

A leading independent publisher of Genre Fiction, Pro Se Productions announces the release of the first in a previously self published series of mysteries by author John Achor. One-Two, Kill A Few: A Casey Fremont Mystery debuts the title character, a woman forced to take on the role of detective in order to unravel a web of danger around her and to save her own life.

“Everybody,” says Tommy Hancock, Editor in Chief of and Partner in Pro Se Productions, “loves a good mystery. Even more than that, the detective story is probably the most popular sub genre within Crime and Mystery. Although she’s not a policeman or a private eye, Casey Fremont definitely fits the ‘detective’ bill. John has crafted a character who, while definitely being someone you could know from high school or see shopping in a grocery store, also clearly has the skills, drive, and personality to wind her way through a deadly puzzle. Not only that, but Casey, as well as the other people John plants around her, are not caricatures, but instead are characters that readers can identify with and enjoy. You can’t beat a series that has both a believable cast and good solid mysteries in one package.”

Struggling to recover from a disastrous marriage and contentious divorce, Casey Fremont would prefer to make ends meet with her paycheck from a temp job; but now her goal of personal and mental renewal becomes one of staying alive as she solves a riddle of murder and mayhem.

Casey Fremont is on her way to interview for a temp job when a falling body nearly lands on her. Three days later, a second man, this one from her own office, dies in a similar manner and Casey is drawn into the intrigue. She confirms her suspicions, but one of her her friends ends up in the hands of kidnappers. Casey must solve the mystery before she becomes the third body to go over the railing.

Author John Achor introduces amateur sleuth Casey Fremont in a newly released edition of One-Two, Kill A Few: A Casey Fremont Mystery, the first in the Casey Fremont series from Pro Se Productions.

Featuring a fantastic cover and logo design by Jeffrey Hayes and print formatting by Percival Constantine, One-Two, Kill A Few: A Casey Fremont Mystery is available in print at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Pro Se’s own store at http://tinyurl.com/qeydwum for 15.00. The book is also available as an eBook, formatting and design by Russ Anderson, from Amazon for the Kindle and www.smashwords.com in various formats for only $2.99.

For more information on this title, interviews with the authors, or digital copies for review, contact Morgan McKay, Pro Se’s Director of Corporate Operations, at directorofcorporateoperations@prose-press.com.

For more information on Pro Se Productions, go to www.prose-press.com. Like Pro Se on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ProSeProductions.

Friday, September 12, 2014

[Link] Cut the Crap

by Andrea Judy

The process of editing.

The process of editing and rewriting.

Cutting words from your work can suck. It can, without a doubt, be one of the toughest parts of the writing process, especially when you either a) have to cut a lot of words/pages  b) have to add a lot of words/pages or c) to cut huge sections and redo them.

Figuring out what can stay and what can go is one of the challenges of making your story the strongest it can be. Here are a  few things that can help (and by the way, making gifs on Photoshop is a great way to waste time but an awful way to get editing done.) These are basically things that I do once I have a first draft of a story.

Continue reading: http://judyblackcloud.wordpress.com/2014/07/07/cut-the-crap/

Thursday, September 11, 2014

[Link] THE BIRTH OF PLOTTY PANTS!

When given the choice between
Plotty Pants or Skinny Jeans,
ALWAYS choose Plotty Pants.
By Bobby Nash

If you’re a writer then you’ve probably been asked this question at least once. “Are you a Plotter or a Pantser?” If you haven’t, just hang on because it’s coming. Personally, I’m not a big fan of hanging labels on people like this, but we should look at what they are first.

A Plotter is a writer who knows his or her story backward and forward before writing a single word on the manuscript. Often, Plotters create detailed outlines so there are no surprises as he or she writes the novel.

A Pantser is a writer who flies by the seat of his or her pants and starts writing and allows the story to flow organically and in the moment. Pantsers usually don’t know how the story is going to end when they start writing.

And then there are writers like me who fall somewhere in the middle. For the sake of this blog post, we’ll call us Plotty Pants, a name that I just coined and one that I am equally sure is going to come back and bite me in the ass eventually.

Continue reading at http://yiwashington.com/2014/08/19/guest-post-bobby-nash-2/

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Nuggets #18 -- Be an Evil Godling

When I write I become the evil godling of my own universe. 
I have to be. If I'm not mean enough to throw everything 
I can at my characters to stop them from pursuing their 
goals, then I'm going to fail as a storyteller.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Rick Ruby "A Tree Falls in a Forest" -- a teaser from the story

Want a peek from the upcoming Rick Ruby story? Okay, you twisted my arm...

Rick shared the laugh and checked his watch again. 6:58 PM. Time kept barreling on like a train. Clickety clack. Clickety clack. Whoo whoo. Too late to back out now. 

A few minutes later, a beautiful woman in an elegant but tasteful black dress that revealed her silky, stocking-clad legs entered the room. She walked resolutely to Rick, nodded at Edie, said thanks for letting her know about the funeral, then promptly kissed Rick full on the mouth. 

“Not the time, Claire,” Rick said.

“It seems it's rarely the time lately,” she said, but let's not get into that tonight, sweetheart."

The kiss was still oozing guilt all over his lips when the door opened again and Donna entered the bar. She wore a blue dress that hugged her in all the places a dress was supposed to, and she glared at Claire, then waved with a smile at Belle and Broomstick.

“Thanks for coming, Donna,” Edie said.

“Thanks for letting me know, kiddo. But if Eddie finds out, he's gonna have my hide.” She walked over to Rick and hugged him then let go. “Still, I couldn't not come. It wouldn't be right.”

“Well, that's one thing we can agree on,” Claire said, returning the glare. 

Donna cleared her throat and looked at Rick. “Well, more like two things, I'd think.”

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now #294 -- Re-Reading Your Own Work

How often do you go back and re-read your own work after it has been published?

Sometimes.

How's that for a vague answer?

But it's true. There are some stories that I'm just done with once I finish them because I was way too close to them during the telling, and they've begun to get in my head like that "Don't Worry, Be Happy" song did. You know... the kind of song you never, ever want to hear again.

Then there are others that I will go back to again and find that I enjoy very much. I learned this from doing public readings. It always surprised me that I often enjoyed the story more through the act of sharing it aloud with others. I think that may be one of the most amazing things a writer can do with his or her work.

However, I usually have to give myself a year of so between finishing the tale and then re-reading it. One does need a little distance, I've found.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Moonstone releases Of Monsters and Men!

NEW FROM MOONSTONE BOOKS!

INCLUDES "Sanctuary" by Sean Taylor -- featuring the Golden Amazon and Quasimodo!

Nine brand NEW tales of PULP HEROES vs MONSTERS!
The Green Lama, Richard Knight, Captain Future, Green Ghost, Moon Man, and more…
Battle demons and monstrosities from out of this world, by some of today's top talents!

In softcover AND hardcover, from Moonstone:

Softcover: http://moonstonebooks.com/shop/item.aspx?itemid=1066

Hardcover: http://moonstonebooks.com/shop/item.aspx?itemid=1067

BONUS: The special hardcover edition features all the stories in the Soft Cover as well as 100 extra pages that reprint the previously published “Domino Lady vs Mummy,” “Black Bat vs Dracula,” and “Phantom Detective vs Frankenstein.”

Friday, September 5, 2014

Visit me at Imaginarium in Louisville, KY!

It's going to a blast. Here's what my schedule of panels and workshops looks like:

Friday 7:00 PM Gats, Gams, & Greenhorns

Saturday 12:30 PM What Makes a Good Blog
Saturday 2:00 PM The Nuts & Bolts of Comic Scripts
Saturday 4:00 PM The World of a Magazine Editor (M)
Saturday 6:00 PM Comic Script Creation 1 (Workshop)

Sunday 12:00 PM Comic Script Creation 2 (Workshop)
Sunday 3:00 PM How to Build a Better Bad Guy (M)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

[Link] This is what happens in your brain when you’re writing

by Gabriella Munoz

A team of neuroscientists has scanned the brains of professional and novice writers when creating a work of fiction to get a glimpse of their creative process.

Researchers led by neuroscientist Martin Lotze from the University of Greifswald in Germany have used functional magnetic resonance (fMIR) scanners to get a sneak peek of what happens in the brains of professional and non-experienced writers when they are working on a story.

Continue reading: http://sciencealert.com.au/features/20141107-25864.html

Saturday, July 19, 2014

More Than 150 Pulps to be Auctioned at PulpFest 2014

PulpFest 2014 is very pleased to announce that it will be offering a substantial accumulation of pulp magazines at this year’s Saturday Night Auction, taking place on August 9 at 9:30 PM. Thanks to auctioneer Joseph F. Saine, who acquired this collection from the Boston area, over seventy lots of this year’s auction will be almost entirely devoted to pulp magazines.



Featuring over 150 pulps as well as a few digests and dime novels, the collection ranges from fair condition materials to collectibles in very good or better condition. A wide variety of titles will be offered: Argosy, All-Story Weekly, Amazing Stories, Bill Barnes, Dare-Devil Aces, Detective Fiction Weekly, Dime Mystery Magazine, Doc Savage, Frontier Stories, Galaxy Science Fiction, G-8 and His Battle Aces, Horror Stories, Ka-Zar, The Lone Eagle, Operator #5, Pete Rice Western, Pioneer Tales, The Shadow, Speed Adventure Stories, Spicy Adventure Stories, The Spider, Strange Stories, Terror Tales, and others.

For a look at the pulps that will be sold, please visit http://www.auctionzip.com/cgi-bin/photopanel.cgi?listingid=1962252&feed=129&gid=0&category=0&zip&kwd

So come to Columbus, Ohio from August 7 - 10 for "Summer's Great Pulp Con" and bid on this fine selection of magazines. As always, you'll find also find more details at www.pulpfest.com.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Nuggets #17 -- Hemingway's Wisdom

One thing I've learned is that the longer I write and the more I write, the better my early drafts become, but they're still pretty much exactly what Papa Hemingway called 'em. 


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Talking Byzantium with I.A. Watson

I.A. Watson's new eBook is releasing today. So we figured now was as good a time as any to talk to the prolific author about his new work (and some of his older stuff too). 

So, your new series for Pro Se’s Single Shot Signatures e-books range is out about now. What’s the pitch for your BYZANTIUM series?

Image an alternative history where Christianity never happened. Where Rome fell because of the rise of sorcerer-kings and ancient wyrms. Where mediaeval Europe is a ruin of scattered fiefdoms separated by ghost-haunted forests and bandit-plagued roads. Where the ancient city of Byzantium is the last refuge of civilisation.

Our first five-volume arc, starting with BYZANTIUM: DEAD MEN’S ROAD, tells the story of a caravan wagon train making its way to the big city across that wilderness desolation. Unfortunately they discover themselves in the middle of a civil war, stalked by raiders and a growing undead army, with terrible enemies behind them and traitors within.

And in the best tradition of “beleaguered traveller” stories, almost everyone on the road has a secret.

What made you want to tell a story like that?

Tommy [Hancock, Pro Se Editor in Chief] pointed out that I’d never really developed signature characters of my own as many writers do. I’ve written half a million words or more of Sherlock Holmes and Robin Hood, plus plenty of stories using other people’s pulp characters, either classics like Richard Knight and Armless O’Neil or new franchises like Blackthorn or Gideon Cain. I’ve never taken the time to develop an ongoing cast all of my own.

And Tommy, diabolic arch-salesman that he is, then suggested his new Single Shot imprint as being the ideal way to fix that.

I decided to look at a fantasy series because I’ve not published that much in the genre. I wanted the fun of imagining and building a world in an alternate history where some things were the same and some were very different from our own past. Dungeons and Dragons meets Wagon Train. Mystical medieval realpolitik interrupted by zombies. Thieves, warriors, princesses, and pagan priests facing a disaster movie. I wanted a disparate bunch of characters pushed together for an extended period of time so they could rub up to each other and secrets could come out.

Did you manage to get your new characters in there, then?

Our story starts as a swashbuckling interfering wanderer joins up with a long-distance caravan because he senses trouble – and fun. The train’s moving out across uncertain territory carrying an imperial army payroll. There’s a royal courier delivering urgent diplomatic messages. There’s a sleazy slaver dragging a bunch of captives to the Byzantium auction block. There’s a very large, very direct Viking security guard with a very large war-axe, and an eccentric humming trail-scout with a pet war-pig. Most significantly from our adventurer’s point of view,  there’s a dazzlingly beautiful lady mage of the Invisible College travelling alone on some mysterious errand pursued by terrible enemies.

You know how disaster movies establish a whole bunch of people of different kinds who then get pushed together when the crisis happens? That’s what I was going for here. The fun is seeing how they interact and who survives.

The main characters were designed to work at least two different ways. The challenge was to use archetypes of the genre – I could tell you the main cast’s Skyrim statistics and their approximate levels – and then make them proper rounded people suitable for a novel.

Is writing fantasy very different from historical adventure like your ROBIN HOOD trilogy, or from detective fiction like the SHERLOCK HOLMES: CONSULTING DETECTIVE books, or from high space opera SF like BLACKTHORN?

Each form has its own requirements but all have similar needs too. Every story has got to have a hook, compelling characters, an unfolding plot. They must all provide a satisfying reading experience. Of the examples you mention, the mystery stories are the ones that require the most unique approach. I plot those and structure them quite differently to the way I put together the adventure-based material. Sometimes there are diagrams.

I’ve done a bit of each kind of story recently. I’ve turned in my story for CONSULTING DETECTIVE volume 7, plus a different take on Holmes for a forthcoming anthology of Holmes stories without Watson for a different publisher. I’ve completed the most dense, complicated mystery I’ve ever written, “Murder at Barrowbrocks” for a forthcoming anthology of ‘cosy’ detective stories. Writing those is a bit like laying out a jigsaw puzzle. Nothing can be wasted in a fair-play mystery. Even the irrelevant is relevant as a way of obscuring the vital. Every story can be read twice for very different experiences, first time to solve the mystery, the second to see how the author slipped in the clues and to enjoy the characters struggling while we know the awful truth.

I’ve sent off the manuscript for the all-I.A. Watson anthology ROBIN HOOD: FORBIDDEN LEGEND. BLACKTHORN: SPIRES OF MARS is ready to go. Both of those required a sort of free-wheeling action vibe. The key elements were character, interacting with a distinctive environment, against a larger plot. A lot of heroic fiction depends on establishing a compelling narrative and threading the cast through it. There the writing starts with getting all the dominoes lined up, then knocking them down to thrill the reader.

Somewhere between the two extremes is a property like RICHARD KNIGHT: RACE WITH HELL, my forthcoming novella using Donald Keyhoe’s US agent airman detective. The blend there is between solving a mystery and surviving a peril. It’s James Bond with added whodunnit.

With BYZANTIUM, which is structured as stand-alone novellas within an initial five-volume story arc, the writing is most similar to Hood and Blackthorn. Adventure is adventure whether it’s in Sherwood Forest, dystopian future-Mars, or fantasy alternate-Europe. The other challenge was making sure that each book offered a stand-alone story with its own bang, so that folks go away satisfied (and hopefully come back again next time to be satisfied some more).

You intend to return to the Byzantium series, then?

As time allows, I probably will. We’ll see how the initial five novellas do as proof-of-concept. I enjoyed writing them, as evidenced by the fact that I started out expecting to produce a single novella, then proliferated to a trilogy, then ended up with five parts before I could reign myself in. And after all that we still only got the core cast to the city gates! Five volumes called Byzantium, and we’ve not even got inside the walls yet! More work is clearly indicated.

The five parts so far are: BYZANTIUM: DEAD MEN’S ROAD, BYZANTIUM: STONE AND FIRE, BYZANTIUM: REBEL’S RUN, BYZANTIUM: GHOST ARMIES, and BYZANTIUM: SHATTERED BONDS. It’s a bit early to say, but I think that might get followed by BYZANTIUM: FORTUNE’S FOOL.

Anything else on the writing desk?

My self-imposed task this summer is to get lots of finished things properly packaged and sent off to publication. Next up is SIR MUMPHREY WILTON AND THE LOST CITY OF MYSTERY, a World War II adventure in the Saturday-matinee tradition of Indiana Jones. A couple of other novels are in the queue after that when time allows.

Next time I sit down to do a long piece will be a full-length Sherlock Holmes novel that’s been commissioned. I need to get some of the clutter cleared so I can get a clear run at that.

Also due out sometime soon-ish is my first non-fiction book, the essay volume WHERE STORIES DWELL. I’m looking forward to that one, even though it did nearly kill the publisher.

I.A Watson’s publications are listed at http://www.chillwater.org.uk/writing/iawatsonhome.htm along with free stories and additional materials.

Nuggets #16 -- Coaxing Stories

Writing takes as long as it takes. Sometimes, stories spew out like a waterfall and I just hang on by my fingertips for the ride. Other times, they need to be coaxed and coddled and all but bribed or beaten out.