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

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Excerpt: WITHIN THE SANCTUARY OF WINGS by Marie Brennan (Tor)

To celebrate the recent release of Marie Brennan‘s Within the Sanctuary of Wings, Tor Books has sent me this excerpt to share. The final novel in the author’s Memoirs of Lady Trent fantasy series, first here’s the synopsis:

After nearly five decades (and, indeed, the same number of volumes), one might think they were well-acquainted with the Lady Isabella Trent — dragon naturalist, scandalous explorer, and perhaps as infamous for her company and feats of daring as she is famous for her discoveries and additions to the scientific field.

And yet — after her initial adventure in the mountains of Vystrana, and her exploits in the depths of war-torn Eriga, to the high seas aboard The Basilisk, and then to the inhospitable deserts of Akhia–the Lady Trent has captivated hearts along with fierce minds. This concluding volume will finally reveal the truths behind her most notorious adventure — scaling the tallest peak in the world, buried behind the territory of Scirland’s enemies — and what she discovered there, within the Sanctuary of Wings.

Now. On with chapter one…

Continue reading

Review: IF WE WERE VILLAINS by M.L. Rio (Flatiron/Titan)

An excellent literary thriller

Oliver Marks has just served ten years in jail – for a murder he may or may not have committed. On the day he’s released, he’s greeted by the man who put him in prison. Detective Colborne is retiring, but before he does, he wants to know what really happened a decade ago.

As one of seven young actors studying Shakespeare at an elite arts college, Oliver and his friends play the same roles onstage and off: hero, villain, tyrant, temptress, ingénue, extra. But when the casting changes, and the secondary characters usurp the stars, the plays spill dangerously over into life, and one of them is found dead. The rest face their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, and themselves, that they are blameless.

M.L. Rio’s debut novel turned out to be a very pleasant surprise. The writing is excellent, the story is gripping, and the characters are varied, realistic and engaging. An easy, early contender for best novel lists. I very much enjoyed this. 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

Guest Post: “On Worldbuilding” by Rhonda Mason

masonr-authorpicIn the beginning, there was the protagonist, and the author saw that it was good.

My worldbuilding process starts after the creation of the protagonist, never before. I write novels to tell the story of a person, not the story of a world, and all of my novels have sprung from a first impression of the main character. For The Empress Game trilogy it was an image of Kayla holding a kris dagger in each hand, fighting another woman in a pit while criminals cheered her on.

Once I have that first impression of a character, the worldbuilding begins. Who is she? (The exiled princess from a rival planet) Where is she? (Hidden on the slum side of her hated enemy’s border planet) Why is she there? (Trying to raise credits to buy passage back to her homeworld) And, most importantly, why is she special? Why are we telling her story, and not someone else’s? Continue reading

Guest Post: “New Voices” by Mark Morris

morrism-authorpicThe horror genre is in fine fettle at the moment. In fact, I can’t remember a time when the work being produced has been more wide-ranging, inventive and exciting. This is not only due to the fact that established names like Stephen King, Ramsey Campbell, Tim Lebbon, Joe R. Lansdale, Adam Nevill and Stephen Volk are continuing to produce excellent work, but is also because a huge influx of new writers has ensured that if the genre was a bar or a club, then it would be the coolest, most vibrant place in town in which to hang out.

Some of the genre’s newer writers seem to have become instantly successful, and it’s wonderful to see the likes of Josh Malerman’s BirdBox, Andrew Michael Hurley’s The Loney, Catriona Ward’s Rawblood, Nick Cutter’s The Troop and The Deep, and Sarah Lotz’s The Three and Day Four on sale in supermarkets and piled up on promotional display tables in Waterstones.

What’s also heartening is that writers who have been around for a while, their work illuminating the small presses and gaining praise, honours and fans along the way, now seem to be breaking through into the mainstream too. Continue reading

Excerpt: THE VANISHING YEAR by Kate Moretti (Titan)

morettik-vanishingyearAs part of the blog tour celebrating the release of Kate Moretti‘s The Vanishing Year, Titan Books has given us a short excerpt from the new thriller. First, though, here’s the synopsis:

Zoe Whittaker appears to have a charmed life. Newly married to a rich and attentive man, she has the best of everything.

But five years ago, Zoe’s life was in danger. Because back then, Zoe wasn’t Zoe at all.

When an attempt is made on her life, Zoe fears that her past has caught up with her. But who can she ask for help when even her own husband doesn’t know her real name?

Zoe must decide who she can trust before she — whoever she is — vanishes completely…

And now, on to the excerpt… Continue reading