THE WORD ON THE .NET

Writer T. James' Exploration of Words, on the Internet.

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Featured Book Giveaway: “Girls & Monsters” by Anne Michaud

Anne Michaud girls and monsters

Girls & Monsters

by Anne Michaud

Release date: Apr 30, 2013

Win a free trade paperback copy of Anne Michaud’s Girls & Monsters a month before it’s released!

THERE’S ONLY ONE WEEK TO GO BEFORE THE GIVEAWAY CLOSES…

***CLICK HERE TO ENTER***

 

This dark but uplifting collection of five Young Adult novellas includes:

Death Song: Liz is in love with Joe, but the monster of the lake has other plans for them.

Black Dog: Scarlet is engaged in a struggle for her sanity, but according to the voice in her head, she may be too late.

A Blue Story: When Katherine’s beloved dog goes missing, she fears her strange new neighbor might be involved.

Dust Bunnies: Christiane faces her childhood arachnophobia and ends up confronting even greater fears in this test of sisterhood.

We Left at Night: Brooke and her family must abandon their home and their lives to make it out of a disease-plagued town overrun by zombies.

 

Girls & Monsters is for everyone who has ever been brave enough to confront their childhood fears…and lived to tell about it.

 

About Anne Michaud

“Anne Michaud is an author of many talents, especially getting distracted by depressing music and dark things. She likes to write and read everyday, and speak of herself in the third person.

Since her Master’s degree in Screenwriting from the University of London, England, Anne has written, directed and produced three short films,  distributed by Ouat! Media in Toronto, Canada. The lyric documentary Worth a Thousand Words (2006) can be seen here.

And then, after hundreds of hours spent on studying and making films, she changed her mind and started writing short stories, novelettes and novels. Some have been published, others will be soon enough.

Keep your eyes open, she’s behind you.”

More information can be found about this monochrome yet colourful French-Canadian and her writing on her blog and her Facebook page. She has also been known to Tweet.

Mind the Mundane: A Guest Post by Steve McHugh

This week I am handing my blog over to the talented and debonair Steve McHugh: writer of paranormal fantasy and breaker of hearts across the internet. Below are his very own words. (You may stroke your screen if that helps you feel closer to him, but salivating over your electronic web device may result in an electric shock that has nothing to do with Steve’s charged personality.) Continue reading

With Enemies Like These, Who Needs Friends? A Science Fiction Short Story.

This week I promised to put a sample of my science fiction writing online, but things haven’t gone according to plan. Yesterday a WordPress update totaled this blog and it took an afternoon to resurrect it in the form you see here. (Some features are still not functioning properly. My apologies if things aren’t working as they should.) On top of that my son and I now both have stomach flu, which isn’t pretty, but we’ll live.

What won’t happen is me being able to post as much of the SF story as I intended, fit it into the Elite mythos as thoroughly as I wanted to, or edit it as much as I’d like. So, there you go. It’s still in draft stage, and I only have part I even remotely close to completion. Hopefully it will give you some idea about my writing style and what you can expect from Out of the Darkness.

What it is not is an extract from Out of the Darkness. I may rework the scenes/characters below into that story, but I suspect there isn’t enough here to fill a much longer work. Please also note that this work has not been seen or endorsed in any way by Frontier Developments, and Out of the Darkness may be different in style depending on FD’s eventual writing guidelines (which I know nothing of at this time).

With all that said, I hope you enjoy it and would think about contributing to the Out of the Darkness Kickstarter project so I can write a much longer Elite story for you. (Part II of the story below will follow as soon as I can get it done).

I’m Kickstarting Out of the Darkness, an Elite bookhere:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tjameswriter/an-elite-dangerous-book-out-of-the-darkness

Thank you for your support.

With Enemies Like These, Who Needs Friends? Part I.

KerriK stretched, trying to ease the eternal cramp in his muscles. The nyrolon fibres of his flight suit creaked—the inbuilt decontamination enzyme-sheaths too long overworked. The dried sweat had left salts and proteins crystallised in a cocoon-like coating on his skin that cracked whenever he moved. His eye muscles pulled against the encrusted gunk gluing his eyelids together, but nothing happened—he hadn’t been able to sleep for… how long? He pawed at the sticky mess with a stubby gloved finger. The crust came away, tearing several eyelashes with it.

“—.” He tried to swear but the curse stuck in the thickness in his throat. At least he could see again, even if it was only in blurred smudges of colour. Muscles vibrated like torsion cables as he stretched out a trembling hand toward where he remembered the provisions dispenser to be. He stabbed at the phosphorescent green blur and missed. Frakin’ Macruin tub. How am I supposed to fly something built by eight foot squid? Ah! Somewhere inside his sponge-filled skull a neurone fired. He felt down the outside of his left thigh, and found the bottle carefully wedged between two of the pads of the anti-G harness. Come to Daddy! He wrapped the bottle in his gloved fist and, as lovingly as a father holding his newborn for the first time, lifted it to his mouth. The cork had a reassuringly moist, woody smell—there was still some left. He pulled it out with his teeth and let it fall into his lap. The stinging smell of the liquor ploughed furrows up his nostrils and set a neon light show off inside his brain. So much better than that fermented urine from Earth. He tipped the bottle up, and like a babe nursing at a teat, took the tiniest drop onto his tongue. Nothing. His breath caught, heart accelerating until he thought it would jump through his ribcage. Mustn’t panic, there’s still some left. KerriK knew the effects. Complete lucidity, connection to self and everything around you, and no need to sleep. It was incredibly expensive and illegal in every civilised star system. But its unique effect on human brain physiology was the only reason he was still sane—alone in this wreck of a ship.  But to stay sane you needed more… and then still more. He wondered if he could ever be normal again. He’d been on the stuff for three months.

The liquor began to wind tendrils through his thoughts, seeking them out and pulling them into sharper, painful, focus. This was the worst part, but he’d already pushed through it more times than he could count. He had to be quick, before he lost the ability to function. He scrabbled at the cork, catching it in the bulky gloves on the fifth try. He twisted his head sideways, shoved the cork between his teeth and screwed the bottle up onto the cork with both hands. He recognised his  own desperate need to protect the precious contents of the bottle. I’m probably addicted was the last thought he would be able to control for some time.

***

Hunched over the table, the warm numbness filling his head was pleasant; the beginning waves of nausea were not. KerriK had been drinking through the night and now he had no more money for beer to fend off the incoming hangover. This was not going to be a good day.

“KerriK, you pile of shit. I knew I’d find you here.” Like balls of lead being forced through his ears, the words squeezed into his head, crushing it from the inside.

“Whaddya wan’, Shane?” He didn’t open his eyes, even the subdued lighting was enough to drill spikes through the back of his retinas.

Officer Shane to you.” Through the fug of alcohol he was dimly aware of Shane’s fingers weaving between his dreadlocks.

“Piss off. I’m restin’ me head. Stop feelin’ me up, you queer.” His head was yanked up and back. KerriK felt lancing hot pain as several dreads parted from his scalp.

“Frak it! Gerroff!”

“I said Officer Shane.” Shane pushed down, hard, and KerriK saw the table top coming up to meet him. His nose exploded wetly across his face. He screamed and bucked but Shane still held him by whatever was left of his hair. The wild swing he made at Shane’s stomach was batted aside like a child’s. Shane dragged him off the seat, out of the booth, and forced him to kneel. KerriK felt the hardness of a gun barrel pressed against his temple.

“Say it.”

“Say, wha’? Wha’ do yer wan’ me t’ say?” Kerrik’s thoughts circled tighter as panic gripped him. He couldn’t focus.

“Say it.”

“Don’t kill me!” I’ll say anythin’, anythin’.” He could barely make out his own words through the sobs, and the blood which filled his mouth.

“You’re a dumb fuck. ‘I’m sorry Officer Shane.’ Say it.”

“I’m s-s-sorry, Officer Shane. Really sorry.”

“Better. Now listen. The Bureau’s called time on your loan, KerriK. Today you’re going to pay them back. Now move.”

***

So Where’s Part II? Reality and My Writing Process

I started writing on Tuesday evening, full of hope, excitement and a plot. This will be easy, I thought: plotted, written and edited in a few days. Easy.

By Wednesday I’d realised that the story wasn’t going to be as short as I’d thought. In fact I was now estimating it was going to be about double the length I’d originally envisaged. (The new estimate: 3000 words.) OK, a bit tougher, but still do-able, I thought. So on Wednesday I posted part I above. I now had hope, more nervous excitement, and a longer plot.

On Thursday I caught stomach flu, from my son who was now off school with, what else, stomach flu. Writing completed on Thursday: next to nothing. I still had some hope, more nervousness, the excitement, and the longer plot unwritten. I would catch up on Friday. Yes.

Friday came, and my boy was better. Hooray! Writing? No. School rules say it’s forty eight hours after the last episode of vomiting before he can go back. So, there’s an active small boy at home who needs looking after. I still have stomach flu. My wife goes out to a party in the evening. My son is in bed. At last I can write! I thought. But I still have stomach flu. My brain feels like dead-lead in a steel box with rocks in it. I wrestle with my plot, thick-headed as I am, and guess what? My ending is rubbish. Deus ex machina is writing jargon for the struggles a character faces being solved by a contrived, heavy-handed intervention from the writer. That’s what I’d done. More thinking, another possible ending. Hope was now fading; the nervousness was increasing; the excitement was still there and the plot was getting longer. Saturday was coming…

It’s Saturday as I write this and I am feeling much better. Hooray! My boy is at home, as is my wife. For reasons best known to them, they like to spend time with me. I can still get some writing done, I think to myself. They go out. I start to think about the story. My second ending is also rubbish. It works, but will actually be pretty dull to read. I think of another ending. This one is better! Yes! It has more drama, a twist, and even some action. I like it. I have a story I can write. I start to write the story. I realise that this more involved ending is going to require a much more substantial back story to support it. I’ve just doubled the length of the story. Again.

So, it’s now Saturday morning and I’m looking at a weekend with the family, which is lovely, but not too great for productivity. I also now need to outline (I do that sometimes now :-) ), write, re-write, and edit a six thousand word (or so) story in less than a week. In all honesty, to polish this so it’s going to be worth reading is going to take longer—this story is unlikely to be finished any time soon. Hope gone, nervousness gone. The excitement is back now I have a decent, longer, plot.

Where does that leave things? It’s a story I intend to finish, and I’ll post it when I think it’s ready. I don’t like to do less than my best. It almost certainly won’t be finished before my Kickstarter project deadline ends on the 23rd of December. So, I’m doing what any decent Kickstarter organiser should do: I’m being honest and up front with my (potential) backers. If, for whatever reason, I can’t deliver I’ll let you know, and give you reasons why. And if my stories get delayed, they do so so I can get them right. It’s up to you if you want to back someone like me, because that’s the way I work: right on time? Not if there’s not enough time to get it right.

If you want to see some finished short fiction follow the link below:

http://thewordonthe.net/category/fiction-2/flash-fiction-fiction-2/

My finished full-length works (both completed in twelve months) are here:

http://writerandauthor.com (“Faye Ling” is me too!)

And if, after all the melodrama you are still interested in funding my project, it’s here:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tjameswriter/an-elite-dangerous-book-out-of-the-darkness

 

These are the joys and the realities of the writing life, but I am sorry if any one feels I have let them down.

An “Elite: Dangerous” Book – “Out of the Darkness” (Kickstarter Project Launch)

And so it begins…

Anyone who has been attempting to email me, Tweet me or generally contact me in any way what-so-ever this week will have noticed how anti-social I’ve been. (I’m sure you’re all big enough not to take it personally.) I’ve been consumed, gripped, and generally possessed by a sudden impulse to try my hand at a Kickstarter project: to raise money to purchase the rights to set a science fiction book in the Elite universe.

Writers are always being told they need to find their audience and write about something they are passionate about.  I’ve found both. There’s a community of dedicated fellow fans of Elite and I’ve loved the games for years. It’s a no-brainer for me to have a go at writing a story in the setting but, as usual, there’s a catch: I need to buy the rights to the franchise…

So, if you’re a fan of science-fiction books or an avid gamer, why not come over to Kickstarter and take a look—I tell you a lot more there. There are some rewards on offer too if you want to give me a “kick” by pledging.

Thanks for your support, but the clock is ticking… there is less than two weeks left.

KICKSTARTER LINK: An Elite:Dangerous Book – Out of the Darkness

The money raised also funds the development of the game, so everyone is a winner!

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

I was asked by talented writer of thrillers and paranormal tales, Sandy Coelho, to take part in this blog hop, which started on the She Writes website.

(If you’re an author I tagged for this blog hop, your instructions are at the end of this post.)

Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing:

1. What is the working title of your book?

This blog hop caught me at the beginning of the project, so I only have a working title: The Making.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

The original idea came from a rough short story I wrote over a year ago, as background and a prequel to the novel I was working on at the time (now on hold, as it needs a full re-write and major fixing). I don’t want to give too much away at this stage, but the central plot arc is based loosely on a story from Greek mythology.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Although inspiration came from the Classics the setting is high fantasy, although elves and dwarves are notable by their absence. (At least at the moment—I’m still planning, so anything could happen.)

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? Continue reading

Get Your Facts Straight: An Interview On Research For Writers With Rich Weatherly

Today I would like to introduce a longtime online friend of mine, Rich Weatherly, a writer who specialises in poetry and short stories with a modern-day or near-historical setting. He may single-handedly be pioneering the literary thriller as a genre. As well as being an all-round “good egg” as we British like to say—because all non-British know we learn English from Mary Poppins-like matriarchs—Rich is also methodical and thorough. So when it comes to meticulous research, Rich can definitely “bring it”—who says I don’t cater for a broad cultural audience? Anyhow, he seemed like the ideal person to answer a few questions on research and its importance in the writing process, so without further ado… Continue reading

Day Of Demons: A Book Review

This week I’ve got a guest post over at the Gothicked Blog. I review the Day of Demons short story anthology, and I thought it was well worth checking out—I gave it 4 out of 5 stars. 

If you’d like to read the review in full, just click the picture below.

(Please note: comments seem to be disabled on the Gothicked blog  , and have been since the post was put up on Saturday. If you have anything you’d like to say about the review or Day of Demons you can pop back here and leave a comment below). 

How To Cope With The Harsh Realities Of Being A Writer: Guest Post By Author, Faye Ling.

This week I am hosting fellow writer, Faye Ling, who is new to the online world, and blogging in particular. Blackmail is such a dirty word, so let’s just say I owed her a few favours that she recently called in, and so today I ‘ve been forced to offer her this opportunity to try her hand at blogging. She is outspoken, often controversial, and takes no prisoners. Before I nervously hand over to my first guest blogger, I feel the need to issue a disclaimer:

 

EDITORIAL NOTE FROM T. JAMES: The views expressed in the following guest post are entirely those of its author, Miss Faye Ling. I have given editorial control to Faye for the purposes of this post. Except for her use of expletives, which I have edited, I take no responsibility for the opinions she expresses, or the way in which she chooses to express them. The words are entirely hers and in no way reflect my own beliefs or opinions. After some negotiation, I also managed to get Faye to agree to issue the following statement (although she has paraphrased my original wording):

“T. James has insisted that I say up front that I had no one in particular in mind when I wrote this post. I mean, I can think of several people this post applies to, but for some reason T. James has refused to introduce me to anyone he knows online, so obviously I’m not thinking of any of you. But because the hard-of-thinking assume that any negative generalisation somehow applies to them as an individual, any offense taken is completely the fault of the idiot choosing to be offended. Go and get some therapy for your low self-esteem. If you have low self-esteem and you aren’t prepared to embrace the darkside, do not read this post. If you’ve had a sense-of-humour bypass in the last twelve months, do not read this post. In fact, it is probably just better for you if you do not read this post.” Continue reading

On Steve McHugh: The Man, The Myth, The Legend, & His New Novel, “Crimes Against Magic”.

Over the past few weeks I have been following Steve McHugh’s blog posts of the first chapters of his soon-to-be-released novel, Crimes Against Magic. (Prologue, Chapter 1, Chapter 2) I’ve been enjoying the writing—it’s clean, dynamic and engaging, and it has a plot and characters with enough depth to keep readers hooked until the end. Here is Steve’s summary:

It’s been almost ten years since Nathan Garrett woke on a cold warehouse floor with nothing but a gun, a sword, and no idea of who he was or how he got there. His only clue … a piece of paper with his name on it. Since then, he’s discovered he’s a powerful sorcerer and has used his abilities to work as a thief for hire. But he’s never stopped hunting for his true identity, but those who erased his memory have never stopped hunting for him. When the barrier holding his past captive begins to crumble, Nathan swears to protect a young girl who is key to his enemy’s plans. But with his enemies closing in, and everyone he cares about becoming a target for their wrath, Nathan is forced to choose between the life he’s built for himself and the one buried deep inside him.

Crimes Against Magic is an Urban Fantasy set in modern day London with Historical flashbacks to early fifteenth century France. It’s the first in a series of books called the Hellequin Chronicles, which shows the life of Nathan (Nate) Garrett, a sixteen-hundred year old sorcerer.” Continue reading

Getting Your Book Out There, the Saga Continues – Website Design

With the release of My Mirror Self And I last week I have begun to explore the dark and murky world of marketing and publishing. It turns out that I should have done both whilst actually writing the book, instead of leaving it until after its release…

However, before getting in too deep with either, I felt I should have a reasonable website to direct people to, and that’s what I’ve spent the last few days working on. This is where I need your help. I’d love to know what you think of the website, whether it would encourage, or put you off buying the book. If you have any ideas for extra content, they would also be welcome. Continue reading

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