New Releases: 9/26

Provenance

Ann Leckie

Provenance is the latest novel from Ann Leckie, author of the Hugo, Nebula, Arthur C. Clarke, and British Science Fiction Award-winning novel Ancillary Justice, and its Locus Award-winning sequel Ancillary Sword. Her new sci-fi novel is set in the same world as the Ancillary novels, but follows a new character; a powerful woman on a mission to regain the priceless artifacts of her people. Her first two books were bookseller favorites (including first-floor inventory manager Raul’s and our old kids’ event coordinator Demi’s!), and we can’t wait to dive into this new one! It’s on our to-read shelf, but what we’re really excited about is Ann Leckie here at BookPeople, Sunday, October 1st at 5PM! We know you won’t want to miss this event!

Five-Carat Soul

James McBride

The latest from highly celebrated author James McBride is a collection of stories entitled Five-Carat Soul. These…

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Guest Post: Today I’d like to talk about sports…& writing! @JasonJMcCuiston #SCIFI #amwriting

Today I’d like to talk about sports; specifically how they can make you a better writer of genre fiction. I think most of us (and I know this is a stereotype) who write sci-fi and fantasy are much more comfortable in a library than in a gym, or more at home at a tabletop playing an RPG than on a hardtop playing basketball. I speak from experience. No one will ever mistake me for an athlete, but that didn’t stop me from trying.

Let’s face it, in genre fiction, there are a lot of sports. As Grandpa says in The Princess Bride: “Are you kidding? Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles…” You get the picture. “So?” I hear you say, “How does that apply to me and my writing?” Well, I’m glad you asked. I’ll give you some examples from my life.

I played high school (American) football, so I know what it feels like to take a bone-jarring blow to the helmet. I know that smell of blood you get in the back of your sinuses when you get your bell rung. I know what it feels like to have the instep of your foot touch your inner shin (not good). I know what it’s like when opposing forces in pads (the modern equivalent of armor) crash together and try to break each other’s lines. I know how a field smells and feels different in the rain from one that is sun-scorched or nearly frozen with frost. And I know how it feels to see one of your closest friends carted off with a serious injury.

I played rugby in college, so I know what a femur sounds like when it snaps in half (a gunshot is a close approximation), and how the scream afterward is even worse. I know what it feels like to have your shoulder torn out of the socket. I know what my lungs and legs feel like when they’ve got nothing left to give, but somehow find a way to run one more sprint and pile into one more scrum. I know how thirty alpha-males act when they try to kill each other for an hour, and then party like brothers until the dawn (I will go to my grave believing that the spirit of the Viking raid lives on in modern times as a visiting rugby club).

I also took karate and kickboxing in college, and wrestled in high school, so I know what it’s like to grapple with another human being in close quarters, smelling their breath and their unfamiliar scent as they try to hurt or defeat you. I know what it feels like (because I didn’t make weight that week) to wrestle a giant. I know what it feels like to get hit so hard that you can’t breathe and your vision goes dark and hazy. I know how it feels to throw so many punches that you wonder who’s really taking the worst of the bout.

I am into target shooting, so I know that a real gunshot is RIDICULOUSLY louder than on TV and the movies. I know what burnt gunpowder smells like. I know that after a day at the range (or, one can imagine, a lengthy battle) your hands are black with burnt powder. I know that when an ejected brass casing hits your skin it feels like someone trying to put a cigarette out on you (or so I imagine – thankfully, that is one thing I have not experienced). I know how a gun can malfunction in different ways, and how to safely fix the problem. I know that real gun experts are never nonchalant with weapons, no matter how “cool” they might be.

So you see, sports can lend a level of verisimilitude to your writing that it might otherwise lack. Even if you just go for a walk or a hike until you can’t take one more step, that’s useful information you can draw on the next time you write about a long and arduous journey. Do as many pushups as you can until you want to puke, then you’ll get a sense of what your character is feeling when she is pushed to her physical limits. Run as fast as you can for as far as you can, and maybe you can use that when you write about your characters fleeing the alien invasion. And if you go out for a team, you might make it, and then you’ll learn about the camaraderie and fellowship of folks who push themselves and each other to be their best. That certainly can’t hurt, right?

So yeah, sports.

About our guest blogger…

Jason J. McCuiston was born in the wilds of southeast Tennessee, where he was raised on a healthy diet of old horror movies (both classic and of the B variety), westerns and war movies, comic books and old pulp magazines, sci-fi and fantasy novels, and, yes, Dungeons & Dragons. He attended the finest state school that would have him where he studied art before coming to grips with the hard truth that his heart just wasn’t in illustrating other folks’ stories. Following his matriculation, he embarked on a whirlwind tour of underpaid and uninspired career paths until finally realizing that all his forays into role-playing games, comic books, and creative design were merely the manifestation of his innate desire to be a storyteller.

So for the next twenty-odd years, he slogged his way through the jungles of terribly amateurish prose, waded the never-ending streams of form rejections, navigated through the cyclopean obelisks of scathing (yet often constructive) criticisms, and finally climbed the daunting peaks of Personal Growth, Craft, and Skill in search of his goal: the fabled Shangri La of becoming a published and prolific author of speculative adventures.

He can be found on the internet at:

His story, “The Wyvern” can be found in Pole to Pole Publishing’s new anthology, Dark Luminous Wings. It is a post-apocalyptic steampunk horror story set in the skies above a Mojave Desert filled with magic and dark memories.

His first published story, “The Last Red Lantern” can still be found in Parsec Ink’s Triangulation: Appetites anthology.

Get Divided Serenity #FREE on all Amazon stores! #SCIFI #FANTASY

AMAZON 5 Star Review

A fantastic world in which you are never quite sure who you should really be supporting.

A great story from G L Cromarty, set in a world of have’s and have not’s. The have’s are the Aterran colonists who on a planet called Serenity have nothing to fear, living in relative safety and comfort behind a huge protective barrier powered by ancient technologies that few now understand. The have not’s are a warrior class called the Shadowlanders who live outside the protection of the barrier and in perpetual war with the primitive warmongering natives called the Jaru. So when the protective barrier fails, what then?

G L Cromarty has created a fantastic world in which you are never quite sure who you should really be supporting. With some surprising plot twists, G L Cromarty cleverly takes the reader on a journey of treachery, deceit and all consuming hatred to weave a great story that surprises and delights.

The first two books in the trilogy are well written and easily consumed and I can’t wait for the climactic third book to arrive soon. Just be aware that the main character Tanis is certainly no angel and this is reflected in his colorful language.

About Book One – Divided Serenity

Long ago, when the ancients colonized the planet named Serenity, they displaced an indigenous population and constructed a dividing force-field wall. But when an earthquake destroys the power to the protective wall, only three people have the skills to repair it—until the first two disappear en route. Now Hannah, as the last expert, must go. Her journey will take her into a native land engulfed by war between ancient enemies. Along the way, her own perceptions will be changed and she will find herself playing a part in a new rivalry between powerful forces in Shadowland determined at bringing down Aterra and that threaten to rip Shadowland apart.

[Divided Serenity US]

[Divided Serenity UK]

[Divided Serenity DE]

[Divided Serenity AU]

[Divided Serenity CA]

[Or type “Divided Serenity” in your local Amazon store]

Read a book. Be Happy :) #Writing #amwriting #reading #books

I am going to confess something…I love reading as much as I love writing…and I love writing an awful lot.

So I thought I would share some excellent reasons / excuses to read a little more.

It makes us better writers.

When we read we consciously and subconsciously pick up all kinds of amazing tips whether it is impactful word placement, a descriptive style, or story flow, reading a good book will help it all.

Expands our vocabulary and intelligence.

When we read we expose ourselves to new words, new ideas, and new perspectives. Every time we read a book we have an opportunity to learn.

It fires up our imagination.

When we read we meet new characters and travel to amazing places that can fire up our imagination.

It reduces stress.

Reading is known as a flow activity. This means that when we read we let our worldly troubles go and submerge ourselves in another world. Time passes swiftly…it’s a great way to make things like a boring daily commute bearable.

It makes us happy.

I think this goes without saying, but if you have a book with you adventure is only a few pages away.

“A writer is a world trapped in a person.” #writing #amwriting #writerslife

There is no better curse than to be a writer.

Why constrain yourself to one world and one life, when you can build thousands for yourself?

With imagination you can climb impossible mountains, fly dragons, and win wars.

You can die, and be reborn.

You can solve great mysteries, or create them.

Make people, and then make them hate one another or fall in love.

Send them out on perilous quests that they might, at your whim, win or lose.

You can go with them, or decide to watch them from afar.

Yes, there really is no better curse than to be a writer.

Writing: The Fate of Unfinished Drafts #writing #amwriting

Every writer has a cupboard or computer full of unfinished drafts.

But what if something were to suddenly happen to us and those embarrassing or poorly thought out scribbles were let out into the world?

I’m not a famous writer, so I don’t need to worry just yet about my estate getting into a wrangling about selling on my work, nor with publishers creating thousands of knock off novels based around the characters I created, but for some writers this is the case.

For all of us, our drafts are precious potentials, but just that and nothing more. I expect we can all compare our draft to our finished work and see the vast gulf between those early scratchings and the polished product at the end.

Even finished drafts can been difficult to let out into the world where we prefer our trusted few to read them with an expectation that they are still rough work.

A part of me is horrified that Terry Pratchett chose to crush his unfinished work, and another part applauds him.

Worth a read if you haven’t seen it already No wonder Terry Pratchett wanted to avoid the Stieg Larsson treatment (Link)

Is your writing frivolous?

A good read 🙂

Write Now!

I am basically an angry person.

To be clear when I say ‘angry’ I mean the buttoned-up version that’s woven into the tweed fabric of an Englishman of my age. I’d never actually show my anger, I couldn’t punch a face, complain in a restaurant or even wag an accusatory finger…no, I’m angry in the way that means I smile as my blood pressure rises and my chance of a heart attack increases year on year.

Anything can set me off. The national shame that is Brexit, the international injustice of Yemen, cats looking at me in a funny way….pretty much anything can be a trigger.

This week it was a twitter conversation (is that what you call a string of tweets) with the author Mary Carter last week (@mjcarterauthor).

She was saying that she resented having her writing branded as a frivolous hobby…. that she had been told to get…

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Divided World Series #SCIFI #FANTASY

G.L. Cromarty

About Book One – Divided Serenity

Long ago, when the ancients colonized the planet named Serenity, they displaced an indigenous population and constructed a dividing force-field wall. But when an earthquake destroys the power to the protective wall, only three people have the skills to repair it—until the first two disappear en route. Now Hannah, as the last expert, must go.  Her journey will take her into a native land engulfed by war between ancient enemies. Along the way, her own perceptions will be changed and she will find herself playing a part in a new rivalry between powerful forces that threaten to rip the lands apart

[Divided Serenity US] [Divided Serenity UK] [Divided Serenity DE] [Divided Serenity AU] [ Divided Serenity CA] [Or type “Divided Serenity” in your local Amazon store]

About Book Two – Serenity Falling

With the power back and The Wall operational…

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How writing has changed through the ages

Writing in the modern era is very different to writing even fifty years ago. Technology, lifestyle, attitudes, and education have all played an important role.

Writing today ought to be easier, better and faster. But is this really so?

Research…

Enclycolpedia

Not so very long ago if you wanted to research something you…

a) Asked someone older and wiser (and trusted that they were not making the answer up)

b) Went to the library (assuming it was opening time)

c) Dragged out your Encyclopaedia Britannica (if you were lucky enough to have the set—or half the set…)

Research is infinitely easier in the modern world, all courtesy of the internet. For example, the other day I needed to find out how best and practically to carry an unconscious body on a horse—voila! Thus, providing a demonstration of why a writer’s internet history should never be used in a court of law.

Writing tools…

vintage typewriter

As a scrivener fan, I like to think I have embraced the benefits of modern day writing tools. Not so very long ago you were lucky if you had Microsoft Word. Not much help in structure or planning, but at least it can fix some of the typos and grammar, and for many writers it still holds pride of place. Prior to the introduction of computers, you probably used a typewriter! And before that pencil or quill and paper! And before that a hammer and chisel!

Distraction…

Procrastinating

The modern world contains a vast and ever emerging array of distractions. To compensate we deploy a vast and ever emerging array of distraction mitigating techniques! Sometimes our techniques work, and sometimes they don’t…I am pretty sure me writing this blog post is a distraction…and so is you reading it!

Education…

Education

Education is not such a clear cut conclusion for me. In some ways, the modern world with all its spell checkers and text talk jargon has depleted our basic writing skills. But, there is also an amazing array of blogs (except this one, which is in the above ‘distraction’ classification), free education, books, and other material available via the internet, and to a far wider portion of the population.

The time to write…

time to write

If you were a 15th century crofter, the chances are you probably couldn’t read and were far too busy tending to your turnips to dedicate time to writing. Even a hundred years ago the average person worked a 7 day week with little energy or enthusiasm for embracing their creative side. But, for many people in the modern world we have plenty of opportunity to write, although many of us who are not full time writers would definitely still like a lot more 🙂

Attitude…

writing caveman

Whatever the time or place, there have always been storytellers. They just did not necessarily write. I think the concept of the story and the storyteller has been part of human culture for as far back as we have considered ourselves to be human.

Our attitude to writing has changed over the ages though, and I believe we are far more prolific writers now than we have ever been, and that makes me wonder where we will go to next. Perhaps we will simply project our thoughts onto pages, or perhaps writing as we know it now will ultimately disappear.

 

Love Sci-fi and fantasy fiction?

Get Divided Serenity out now on all Amazon stores, and free with Kindle Unlimited.