Guest Post: “How to Write a Book a Year, and Work Full Time” by William C. Dietz

dietzwc-authorpicI had always wanted to write a novel, and with luck, publish it. And for some reason I chose age 40 as my deadline. But the years passed and, on the day when I turned 39, I hadn’t written a single page. There were numerous reasons for that not the least of which was the fact that I had a demanding job, a wife, and two children.

What to do? Should I slip the deadline to 50? Give up? Or make the book happen somehow. I chose option three. All you have to do is write one page a day, I reasoned (about 300 words), and you’ll have a rough draft 365 days later! (300 words a day x 365 = 109,500 words.) And guess what? It worked. The book (Galactic Bounty) sold right away. Continue reading

Upcoming: THE BOY ON THE BRIDGE by M.R. Carey (Orbit)

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Above is the cover for M.R. Carey‘s The Boy on the Bridge, the highly anticipated sequel to The Girl With All the Gifts (easily one of my favourite reads of 2013). Cover design by Duncan Spilling, photography by Stephen Mulcahey of Arcangel Images.

Here’s the novel’s brief synopsis:

Once upon a time, in a land blighted by terror, there was a very clever boy.

The people thought the boy could save them, so they opened their gates and sent him out into the world.

To where the monsters lived.

The Girl With All the Gifts was a word-of-mouth bestseller, and has been adapted into a film starring Sennia Nanua, Glenn Close, Gemma Arterton and Paddy Considine.

The Boy on The Bridge (one of my most-anticipated novels of the year) is published by Orbit in the UK and US, on May 4th, 2017.

Also on CR: Guest Post on “Writing Strong Women”; Review of The Girl With All the Gifts

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

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Guest Post: “Living Larger with Animism” by Arianne “Tex” Thompson

ThompsonAT-AuthorPicYou know, one of the coolest things about SFF is how it invites us to mothball our skepticism and explore just about any metaphysical concept. Avatar Aang lives in a world where reincarnation is inarguably real. So does Rand Al-Thor. Just so, Narnia is a world with a concrete moral order, and the Marvel universe is absolutely lousy with gods. Fate, karma, magic, ghosts – you name it; we’ve got a franchise for it.

But here’s one big idea that I’d like to see getting more air-time: animism. It’s one of the oldest belief systems in the world, and put simply, it’s the idea that non-human creatures and things have souls, and therefore should be treated with awareness. In sci-fi and fantasy, animism usually comes to the fore whenever a creator wants to craft a culture that’s all about living in harmony with nature – your wood-elves, blue cat-people, et al. The problem is usually that they are so dang harmonious that they would never be worth writing about if they didn’t get bulldozed by the plot. (Literally, if we’re talking Ferngully and its like.) Continue reading

Guest Post: “So You Want To Write Military Science Fiction” by William C. Dietz

dietzwc-authorpicSo you’d like to write a military science fiction series. Good. You came to the right place. I’ve written some, and would be happy to share my secrets, the first of which is to understand the true nature of business that you hope to be part of. No, it isn’t the book business. What you’re planning to do is join the entertainment industry.

In addition to books you’re going to compete with movies, TV, and social media for eyeballs and dollars. Oh, and while you do that, pirates will steal your stuff, fans will give you one-star reviews because “the book costs too much,” and Amazon will offer cheap used copies right next to the new ones. And guess what? You won’t make a cent off them. Continue reading

Mini-Review: THE BURNING LIGHT by Bradley Beaulieu & Rob Ziegler (Tor.com)

BeaulieuZiegler-BurningLightAn interesting post-apocalyptic sci-fi story

Disgraced government operative Colonel Chu is exiled to the flooded relic of New York City. Something called the Light has hit the streets like an epidemic, leavings its users strung out and disconnected from the mind-network humanity relies on. Chu has lost everything she cares about to the Light. She’ll end the threat or die trying.

A former corporate pilot who controlled a thousand ships with her mind, Zola looks like just another Light-junkie living hand to mouth on the edge of society. She’s special though. As much as she needs the Light, the Light needs her too. But, Chu is getting close and Zola can’t hide forever.

This was a pretty interesting novella. Set in a dilapidated New York City. There were a few moments when the story’s momentum dipped, but it was for the main a pretty well-paced, engaging story. This is an interesting sci-fi/dystopian story. Continue reading

Upcoming: M.R. Carey Returning to the World of THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS!

CareyMR-GirlWithAllTheGiftsM.R. Carey’s next novel will be The Boy on the Bridge — a prequel of sorts to the story in his best-selling and critically-acclaimed The Girl With All the Gifts (which was also a CR favourite in 2013).

Here’s what the author has to say about the new novel:

“Returning to the world of The Girl With All the Gifts felt like coming home in a weird way. And every time I visit I find something I didn’t know was there. The Boy on the Bridge is very much its own thing, not a continuation of Melanie’s story but a new journey with a new cast of characters. But it answers a lot of questions that The Girl With All the Gifts implicitly asked.”

Carey’s The Girl With All the Gifts is published by Orbit Books in the UK and US. His latest novel, Fellside, is also published by Orbit Books in both the UK and US. I highly recommend them both. Carey is also the writer of the original, superb Lucifer comic series, which spun out of Neil Gaiman’s groundbreaking Sandman series.

You can watch a video of Mike discussing the new book on his Facebook page, here.

Also on CR: Review of The Girl With All the Gifts

Guest Post: “Why Not Zombies…?” by K.S. Merbeth

MerbethKS-AuthorPicMy debut novel, Bite, recently hit the shelves. When I give people a run-down of the book, as soon as they hear “post-apocalyptic,” the first question is always an inevitable: “So, are there zombies?” After saying, “nope, only cannibals” at least a dozen times, I started to wonder – why didn’t I include zombies? Because honestly, the thought had never crossed my mind until people began to ask.

Don’t get me wrong, zombies are awesome. I’ve happily watched every gore-filled “X of the Dead” Romero film to date, mowed down the shambling hordes in the Left 4 Dead games, and studied up on the Zombie Survival Guide. I’ve spent family dinners discussing our zombie-slaying weapons of choice, and which pets we’d eat first in the event of an outbreak. Continue reading

Review: THE LAST ONE by Alexandra Oliva (Ballantine/Penguin)

OlivaA-TheLastOneUSReality TV collides with catastrophic reality…

She wanted an adventure. She never imagined it would go this far.

It begins with a reality TV show. Twelve contestants are sent into the woods to face challenges that will test the limits of their endurance. While they are out there, something terrible happens — but how widespread is the destruction, and has it occurred naturally or is it man-made? Cut off from society, the contestants know nothing of it. When one of them — a young woman the show’s producers call Zoo — stumbles across the devastation, she can imagine only that it is part of the game.

Alone and disoriented, Zoo is heavy with doubt regarding the life — and husband — she left behind, but she refuses to quit. Staggering countless miles across unfamiliar territory, Zoo must summon all her survival skills — and learn new ones as she goes.

But as her emotional and physical reserves dwindle, she grasps that the real world might have been altered in terrifying ways — and her ability to parse the charade will be either her triumph or her undoing.

This novel has a very interesting concept: what happens when the filming of a Survivor-type reality show coincides with an actual apocalypse? In The Last One, we follow a contestant for an expansive reality TV series as she navigates a post-apocalyptic American wilderness. Only, she thinks it’s all part of the game… Continue reading

Review: GOOD MORNING, MIDNIGHT by Lily Brooks-Dalton (Random House/W&N)

BrooksDaltonL-GoodMorningMidnightUSAn interesting, introspective post-apocalypse novel

The story of two outsiders — a lonely scientist in the Arctic and an astronaut trying to return to Earth — as they grapple with love, regret, and survival in a world transformed.

Augustine, a brilliant, aging astronomer, is consumed by the stars. For years he has lived in remote outposts, studying the sky for evidence of how the universe began. At his latest posting, in a research center in the Arctic, news of a catastrophic event arrives. The scientists are forced to evacuate, but Augustine stubbornly refuses to abandon his work. Shortly after the others have gone, Augustine discovers a mysterious child, Iris, and realizes that the airwaves have gone silent. They are alone.

At the same time, Mission Specialist Sullivan is aboard the Aether on its return flight from Jupiter. The astronauts are the first human beings to delve this deep into space, and Sully has made peace with the sacrifices required of her: a daughter left behind, a marriage ended. So far the journey has been a success. But when Mission Control falls inexplicably silent, Sully and her crewmates are forced to wonder if they will ever get home.

As Augustine and Sully each face an uncertain future against forbidding yet beautiful landscapes, their stories gradually intertwine in a profound and unexpected conclusion. In crystalline prose, Good Morning, Midnight poses the most important questions: What endures at the end of the world? How do we make sense of our lives? Lily Brooks-Dalton’s captivating debut is a meditation on the power of love and the bravery of the human heart.

This was an interesting novel. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, but it has been receiving some good pre-publication buzz. So, I went into it with pretty high hopes. Good Morning, Midnight is a beautifully written, introspective novel. It is not perfect, but if you are most interested in language and description, this should definitely appeal. Continue reading

Interview with BRYONY PEARCE

PearceB-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Bryony Pearce?

Bryony Pearce lives in the Forest of Dean and is a full time mum to her two children, husband and cat. She is vegetarian and loves chocolate, wine and writing. People are often surprised at how dark her writing is, as she is generally pretty nice.

When the children let her off taxi duty, she enjoys doing school visits, festivals and events. ‪

Your new novel, Phoenix Burning, is published by Stripes. How would you introduce the series to a potential reader?

The Phoenix series is set in a post-apocalyptic world, that is much changed from our own, the now poisonous seas are full of junk and our hero, Toby, lives on a pirate ship that is searching for an semi-mythical island where the crew can be safe from the governments that hunt them. Continue reading