Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Update- 2/2/2016

I haven't posted an update in a while so I figured it was about time.

Lots of new stuff coming soon with the closure on some old stuff. Narrow Path is finished. It was due to be completed back in February of last year (so freaking sorry about that...), but with some stuff happening in my personal life along with extensive rewrites to the ending caused me to push back that deadline. I wanted to make sure that the edits could be completed before the final installment went live. So, those of you waiting... It'll be finalized with edits within the next couple of weeks. The end of the Narrow Path is near.

For those of you keeping up with me on social media (thank you), you are aware that I launched a YouTube Channel and my flagship series, #TalkingBooks, is going amazingly. I've had a blast recording and posting these videos and I'm coming up on the final episode of my first season, but I'm going to need your help with it.

The last episode is going to coincide with the release of the final version of To Tread the Narrow Path, and is going to be a Q&A/AMA style version of #TalkingBooks. What I need from you readers and viewers is to submit questions you want to ask me about the novella, my writing style, or anything about me you are curious about. What I will do is take those questions and do a Q&A in the style of my other videos. If you don't understand what I'm talking about, check out my current videos in season one to get a feel for the series (go ahead, I promise I'll wait)-

Now that you have an idea of what I'm looking for, I want you to give me questions to ask myself. You can submit through my contact page, Facebook, Twitter, or on the discussion section on my YouTube channel. If I use your question, I'll give a shout out to you in the video (with your permission, of course).

So, yeah, this.

Once season one of #TalkingBooks is wrapped up, I'm going to be sourcing books for season two and I'm going to be starting a new series as well- "What If? Movie Reviews." I'm just going to leave you with the title for now and let you figure out what the show is going to be about...

As far as my writing goes (never fear, I'm not leaving that behind), once Narrow Path is released upon the world in its full glory, I'll begin focusing my attention on Lighthouse on the Edge of Forever. That is the big work in progress coming next from me.

Stay tuned, drop me a question and if appropriate I'll use it in an upcoming video.

As always, if you think of a book you'd like to see on an upcoming episode let me know, and I'll try to get around to it.

Thanks and I'll leave you with the recent bonus video from my channel where I debut my new writing coach-



Tuesday, September 22, 2015

J is for Just Write It

J is for Just Write It

Welcome back for another installment of my A-Z blogging. Today I am continuing my pseudo tirade against indie writers (not really- please don't hate me).

For so long in my life (all 34 years of it), I told myself that although I wanted to be an author, I needed to wait. That's not to say that I didn't write, I just never finished anything or polished anything. I showed my stuff to a select few. Submitted a short story to my high school lit mag. But all-in-all, I never intended to truly pursue publication.

Why not, you ask?

I told myself I wasn't ready.
My skills weren’t good enough.
I needed to become a better writer.
No one would buy my stuff.
I didn't have the time to finish what I started.

The excuses went on and on, until finally about two years ago I had an event that shattered my world. I lost my job and my security and safety assumed in the traditional workforce shattered. As I found myself looking for work, my mind kept going back to my writing and I realized, I had been putting off my dreams of becoming an author for nothing. My precepts realigned; I had a paradigm shift in my thinking.

I saw my writing in a new light. I had so much I wanted to share, but I had believed that it needed to take a back seat to life. Now I see it as a natural element and extension of myself. I still have a day job to pay the bills, but my writing is more than a passing hobby now it is a genuine piece of my life.

I've talked before about how Entertaining Angels was a "testing the waters" moment for me. That one act emboldened me to continue down this path. To Tread the Narrow Path's serialization was my next step. In between, I've submitted to an anthology, and gotten involved with upcoming publications. My next move is to finish work on Lighthouse and pursue publication on that.

Two years ago, I started moving in the right direction. As an indie writer, I know the pitfalls that pop up in your head. Internally, you have to fight against all the doubts and fears. You can overcome your own insecurities by making yourself better. Read books on writing. Find some quality friends to read over your work, and listen to their advice. Find a good editor that will tear your work up and down, and listen to their critique. Better yourself as a writer and just keep writing.

This should be your mantra

Externally, being an indie writer/author is distracting. I've mentioned before how beneficial online writing groups are, but they can be dangerous as well. A problem that I've seen some groups fall into is the members end up talking about writing more than they actually write or hone their craft. I've seen people stress and sweat over the name of a character instead of getting words on the page. If you are going to become a member of an online community, be sure they build and strengthen your writing and it's not just a bunch of writers standing around patting each other on the back.

So, I guess, my advice is that if you are sitting around with your dream of writing resting on the back burner, do something about it. To co-opt Nike's slogan, "Just Write It." Get off your rear and finish your story, let people read it, find a good editor, and get it out into the world. Just write it.

#writermeme #justwriteit

Ok, as kind of a post script, this goes for any dream you may be putting off until tomorrow. I'm not saying that you need to act recklessly with your life/job/family, but following your dreams may not be as hard as you think. Just do it and see what happens.

Thanks, and as always, if you enjoyed what you've read, be sure to like, share, +1, etc…


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

I is for Insight

Continuing with my A-Z blogging challenge, I bring you I for Insight (as in Facebook Page insights)

They are pretty confusing

So, I might step on some toes or maybe even lose some readers with this post, but it's something that's been weighing on me for awhile.

When I first created my Facebook Page, I was in a rather large Facebook group dedicated to writers of fantasy. Even though I am no longer a member of that group (I've moved on to others that fit my needs better), the experience was mostly a great one. I connected with amazing writers and found books that I have enjoyed immensely (like this guy, this book, oh this one, and this one- to name a few). I would not have connected with these amazing writers otherwise.

When I was first in this group one of the biggest group endeavors was the one day a week that everyone would share their social media links to get others in the group to like their stuff. This is how I got the first hundred plus "likes" on my page. At first it felt great. Over one hundred people were my "fans" so to speak, and I was ecstatic about having that many people that cared what I had to say.

After a while though, I began to look at the people that liked my page and began to wonder what was it we were really doing. The only followers I had on my fan page were other indie writers like myself. I liked their pages, they liked mine, and we were all happy. But what was I really accomplishing? Who was I connecting with? Were these the people that were going to read my stuff? Were they going to engage with me on my page?

I felt like a bunch of us were just sitting around liking stuff on each other's pages but not really producing any significant groundswell of fans or support. Don't get me wrong. I love my writer friends that like my page and engage with me on it, but that shouldn't be my goal. I should strive for my page and my content to engage those that I want to see as fans.

I started promoting myself less and less to my fellow writers. I started to reconsider what I posted here on my blog, on my page, and really on social media in general. I started to think of my public persona as a brand and I had to consider what kind of brand I wanted to be perceived as.

Did I want to be a shameless self promoter- every other post on my page a spam post shouting, pleading to the interwebs,"Buy my stuff! Love me!" 

Or did I want to have fun with it and craft an online public persona that would attract fans, not from my writing circles, personal friends, and family, but true fans. Those that liked the page because of what they saw, not because I had spammed a Facebook group weekly for a year with a plea to like me.

So, I began to craft my brand. I started sharing on social media the things that I cared about. Which means, a lot of comic book stuff, some science fiction, geek culture, etc... I made my page an extension of what I liked and wanted to share with everyone. And you know what happened?

I started to see likes come in that had nothing to do with the writer circles that I was running in. I had people clicking my "Shop Now" button on my page. I had people that were following my page because they were interested in what I had to say, not because I begged them to like it.

The last two hundred or so likes on my page have been like this, and I have loved to see the shift in the insight metrics on my page. My reach has gone from 10-50 impressions per post to 100-300 impressions. My shop now link is active on my page as well, and I don't even have to plug my book with every post.

I'm having fun with the page, I'm sharing what I like, and it's not really that much effort. 

I guess I'm saying this to all my fellow independent writers out there- you don't have to shamelessly promote yourself. Find your niche, your brand, and craft a public persona that will draw people to your organically. You will see the reach of your page or blog or twitter expand in a natural way from the ground up and not artificially inflated.

That being said, all of my writer friends that like my Facebook page, please don't go and unlike me now... We have so much fun on there together.

Want to expand your reach? Just be yourself and share what makes you happy.

So, now that we've gotten that out of the way, do you want to buy my stuff?

Thanks for reading. I hope you've enjoyed. As always if you enjoyed it, please be sure to like, share, subscribe, plus 1, send by carrier pigeon, etc...


Monday, August 24, 2015

Writing Prompt- 8/24/2015

I participated in a writing prompt for a writers' group I am a member of on Facebook (found on FB and the web), and wanted to share with everyone.

The prompt was to design a secret lair. I decided to have a little fun with it and pull in some of my new hire orientation training experience from a previous job. So, here's my little bit of fun for the night. I hope you enjoy-

This seems about right

Welcome to the Habitat licensed by Farr Industries Inc. I am HR Bot designate 42. You have been designated henchperson number 2211. Please, remain on the moving sidewalk for the tour during your orientation. I am a responsive A.I. and can converse with you, but request that you hold questions until the end of the tour.

You have passed through a rigorous screening process and psych evaluation, and Mr. Farr has determined that you would be an excellent addition to our arching team.

As we pass into the atrium, please take note of the arboreal theme. This will make a relaxing spot to take your mandated breaks during your hunching shifts, and it will be a nice place to rest during your down time. You will notice that although we are underground, the ceiling is modified to replicate external conditions so you may have a happy and natural experience during your employment with Farr Industries Inc.

To your left you will see the entrance to the barracks. State of the art weaponry is stocked for any incursion that may be required of our organization, but do not worry- you will not be expected to go on any missions until you have completed orientation and your OSHA mandated safety training. "Safety First."

To your right is the cafeteria. All food here is processed in our yeast vats. Using flavors and coloring, we can make the grown yeast to look like any meal you would desire, but provide an optimal intake of nutrients to keep you in the best shape. If you are hungry, we can stop now and you can partake of today's special, steak and potatoes. Yum. Would you care to partake? No, then let us proceed.
Here is the garage and hanger for all of our vehicles. Utilizing tunnels and shafts we can disperse crews miles away from the heart of the compound. We also have satellite compounds, but we here at the home office are the hub of operations for Mr Farr's global endeavors.

If you will direct your attention to the spire in the center of the hanger, you will see Mr Farr's office at the top. From there he directs all of the actions of his henchpeople and organizes both sides of the Farr Industries Inc. business. Maybe one day you will get to meet him.

Oh look at the time… Your introduction is complete and we have arrived at your superior's station. I will pass you off to your commanding henchperson for you to receive the remainder of your training today. Please report to the atrium tomorrow at 0600 for your mandatory OSHA safety training and new hire class with the other recent henchpeople hired.

Thank you for your time. Good luck with your new job here at Farr Industries Inc.


Hope you enjoyed. If you liked it be sure to comment here or on social media letting me know.

What would your secret lair be like? Would you be a hero, a villain, or the leader of an international spy organization?

Comment and let me know.

If you have any questions about copyright information or reproduction of this excerpt please check out the  copyright page.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Update - 6.3.2015

Exactly one year ago I started on this endeavor of blogging weekly. My goas was, as I put it, to "keep up with the cool kids" (looking at you Eric and Angie). For the most part, I've kept up with my promise. Only a few hiccups here and there. Recently, I've been absent for quite awhile based on some changes in my life. I went through a job change at my day job. Still working for the same company but essentially took a promotion. The new job and learning curve has not given me a lot of free mental energy to write, but I am slowly getting back into the groove.
This interruption in my writing habits also pushed back the final two chapters of the serial. I should have my final rewrites finished shortly now that I am back into writing regularly. So sorry to those of you waiting on the last two entries in my novella. My goal was to have them finished, edited, and published by Feb (the one year mark since the initial installment), but as you can see... life kind of got in the way.
I am thankful for those of you who are sticking with me. The serial has been a blast to write and publish, but I am ready for my next project. You should not have to wait much longer to find out the fate of Riean and his friends. The narrow path draws close. If you have not grabbed a copy of the book on Amazon, now is your chance before the price increases.

Only $0.99
On the subject of projects, I am happy that I had the opportunity to be a part of a published anthology. If you follow me on social media, you have no doubt seen post about the Den of Thieves Anthology featuring my short story, The Loneliest Highway. The anthology, published by WolfSinger Publications, features stories revolving around thievery in some fashion. It has been a wonderful experience and if you have not checked the book out, please do. All proceeds go to the World Literacy Foundation.
Den of Thieves - Good stuff
So, the future is looking bright for me at the moment. I am settling into the new day job, my writing is resuming, soon to have the novella finished and in print, published in an anthology, and soon to be published in a paid anthology as well. Good stuff happening. Cannot wait to share it with everyone. Stay tuned to the blog and my social media channels for updates.

Thanks so much for reading, and especially thanks to those that send notes telling me how much you like the stories I have written. That is the best.
Until next time-

Monday, May 11, 2015

H is for History

Getting back into the groove of posting weekly, I'm resuming the A-Z Blogging (previous entries can be found here). As this is the eighth in the series, we now come to the letter H.

I considered talking about hubris (pride) as a literary device, because I love seeing hubris used well as a driving force for change in the protagonist. As I thought about it, I started feeling called to do something different; something more in tune with my current projects.

That brings us to the title of today's post: H is for History. I wanted to take a moment and talk about the history of the setting in To Tread the Narrow Path. I've shared a timeline of the novella and its parts before, when I talked about Continuity, but today I'd like to share with you my process for crafting the back story of the novella. My reason for this is to talk about the concept of worldbuilding in general. How I came to craft this narrative and my methodology for discovering the history of my stories.

If you haven't bought the novella yet (why not?), you can always read the excerpts I've posted on this site. You can find them here, here, and here (in that order, mind you).

I've mentioned before that To Tread the Narrow Path is derived from a historical fiction short story I wrote about ten years ago. The basis of the story is set during the fall of the Japanese Imperium to the forces of the Shogunate. My main character was a loyal assassin seeking to restore the honor of his name and avenge his fallen master. When the story ended, I felt it calling out to me to continue the narrative, but I couldn't see where to take it because the events of history bound the characters and structure of the short.

Two years ago, I began a complete rewrite of the story and moved it to an other world setting. The narrative still held its ties and influences from Japanese culture and history, but took on a life of its own. I am very much a gardener type writer as opposed to the architect (although I have made some changes in my style). If you've never heard that phrase before, basically, I mean that I write as the story comes to me, I build the world as I see it. An architect, on the other hand, plans and plots. I tend to fall on the gardener side of the fence, but try to plan as much as my brain allows. This style has allowed me to discover the world of the novella through the eyes of my characters. After the events of the first section of the story, as Riean explored and grew into his own, I learned about the world. I discovered the history.

As the story grew beyond the short 7000 word seed, the history and world expanded as well. Some writers I've encountered believe that worldbuilding means that you have to plot and pinpoint every iota of detail of the history of your story. While that is great, (I'm actually using a similar style for Lighthouse on the Edge of Forever) and it works for some writers (GRRM for example), I'm trying to say that you don't have to do it for everything you write.

Sometimes worldbuilding feels overwhelming.
Sometimes, it's just nice to let the world grow as you are putting words on the page. I'm trying to let you know that it is perfectly okay to learn about your world while you are writing. You do not have to account for every speck of dust. It is perfectly okay to do that, but you do not have to. So many writers I meet feel trapped and enclosed by methods they learned. They feel that they have to be the architect or the gardener, but never both.

Well, I am here to tell you that you can have it both ways. On To Tread the Narrow Path, I have written it purely on "gardening." Letting the story unfold in my mind and letting the characters and world grow as I write. On the other hand, I have already plotted and outlined the first two book of my Lighthouse trilogy.

You can be both. You do not have to pick. Just write. However you choose to do it, just write.

#Justwriteit #writermeme

Once again, if you have enjoyed, please be sure to like, share, subscribe, +1, etc...

Thanks for reading.


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Author Spotlight - Tyler Omichinski

For a few months now, I've been promising to do some spotlights on fellow writers and authors.
Today I have the opportunity to share not only a Q and A with the talented author, Tyler Omichinski, but also the cover reveal of his upcoming novel, From the Desk of Elizabeth Cooper.

I first met Tyler in the online writing community Den of Quills, and have enjoyed connecting with him. Tyler will be on a blog tour in the upcoming days and weeks leading up to the release of his book, and we are kicking it off today.

So, without further preamble, here is the short description and advanced cover to From the Desk of Elizabeth Cooper:
"The world is fully of labyrinths and mysteries. When your world is made up of corporations and contracts like Elizabeth Cooper's, it is easy to stumble into a maze of transactions and purchases, each bringing her closer to realizing that one of her biggest clients is doing more than they say."
From the Desk of Elizabeth Cooper by Tyler Omichinski

Now that you've gotten a look at the cover, take a look at the Q and A to get to know Tyler a little better.

1. How and when did you discover you wanted to write fiction?

I don't think there was ever a time I didn't want to; I had some things published in High School, I had a short lived webcomic in like 2008, and I just sort of wrote alongside whatever else was in my life for a long time. It sort of hit me recently that I'm pretty sure I can actually do this for a living and make money at it, and that's what I'm shooting for right now.

2. What genre do you enjoy writing? Reading?

Just about everything honestly, which is such a non-answer. At the moment I'm reading Fall on Your Knees which is Canadian literature, Legacy of Ashes which is nonfiction about the CIA, and the collected works of Ian Fleming for a secret project.

3. Your writing style- is it more gardener or architect?

Haha; I've always heard this as plotter versus pantser. It definitely depends on the piece. I've written tons of short stories, most of them were by the seat of my pants. Lately I've been writing a lot for game companies and stuff and they demand a pitch and a plot/outline. The result is that I've been making the transition. For writing a novel or novella length creature, I think that its basically a requirement if you want to save your sanity and work on editing later on.

4.  Of your created characters, who is your favorite?

Right now its Eugene. He's in the novel I've been working on and I have a total crush on him. He's just super sad and dealing with not only his own demons, but then his external situation is just terrible. Alternatively, Caroline, from The Banks Job which is going to be published in an Anthology later this year. She's wonderfully sassy and fun, but I don't know if I'll get to come back to her anytime soon.

5. Talk through your writing process. On average, hour long does it take you to write a novel?

Wow. What a question. Lots. On good days I can tear through 3000+ words because I'm weird, but I have to spend so much time on other small projects to keep me in the black while the novel gets slowly chipped away at. By the math I just said, I could, in theory, get through one in about 50 days? That seems crazy. Most days I'm lucky to get 500-1000 on the novel and then the rest goes elsewhere.

6. Where do you find your inspiration?

Here's how I explained it to my fiance recently; I feel like in the back of my head, hiding in my subconscious and behind some memories from high school, there's this crab thing. It is slowly trying to build pearls in the shadowy recesses of my mind, inside of its stomach. Every once in awhile, I come across an interesting fact, or a quote, or an idea, and the crab thing skitters out of the darkness and grabs the thought, beats it into submission, then drags it back into the darkness to consume the pieces of it that it wants. Then, when I sit down to write, the crab comes back out and vomits everywhere. Sometimes it vomits terrible garbage, other times I get those pearls that it has been working on. Most of the time it is somewhere in the middle.

7. What do you think makes a good story?

There actually being a story and narrative instead of just a lot of scenes back to back. That's one of the things about a lot of movies and games is that they often seem to be just a series of things that happens with not much holding them together at all. That being said, it also needs a lot of things. You should have good characters doing interesting things

8. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write. Learn about the business. Write. Create a strategy for yourself. Write. Read and read and read and read. Also, don't forget to write.

9. What occupies your time when you are not writing?

At the moment, writing and building a writing career is the only thing I have going. I recently quit my day job and all I'm doing for the next little bit is writing and doing freelance work. Just this.

10. Fantasy cast your book- who would you like to see direct and act in an adaption?

Ooo. Let's go with the next one for publication; From the Desk of Elizabeth Cooper. There's only a small handful of characters in it, but I'm thinking Bob Odenkirk would make an amazing casting choice for the villain, Tatiana Maslany would be a great Elizabeth Cooper I think (she's so damn talented), and I think Ryan Michelle Bathe would be a very good choice for Shawna.

11. What did you leave on the cutting floor with your final draft? Was it difficult to cut?

So, my next publication is a novella that is almost Lovecraftian, sort of. I joked with someone else that it was "corporate horror," whatever that means. This one is a bit weird in that not much has been cut in the terms of scenes.

12. Do you write yourself into your stories?

In the sense that every one of my characters has a little bit of me in them. But they usually have bits of other people in them too. Elizabeth Cooper, for example, is made of little bits of me, then also some aspects of quite a few different friends of mine. I haven't yet written myself into a story. That being said, in my big file of "ideas" there is totally a short story idea that is based on me and my dog and the long meandering walks we go on through a nearby neighbourhood that is way too nice for us.

13. Outside of writing, what other passions do you have?

I paint to an acceptable degree. I love gardening and have this weird penchant for homesteading/survivalism. I'm also an avid gamer; I would love to be able to write for someone like Ubisoft some day. That would be awesome. Also trivia; I'm actually putting together a new trivia team to try to take over the Toronto Trivia scene. I tend to aim high.

14. You run/own Bushmead. Talk a bit about that endeavor and your goals.

Actually; my fiance does. Her dream is to work with or managing a publishing house. She has a rough time seeing works like 50 Shades make it as really successful novels when there are so many amazing writers out there who are writing intelligent, passionate, and great books. She wants to support more writers who are politically-aware, and writing about big issues. Like a lot of science fiction and other writers seem to used to. I help out on the business side of things because I can do "law magic" in that I understand contracts, and some other aspects of the business side of things.

15. How can readers connect with you? Social media, web, profiles...

I'm @Tyler_Roi on twitter, I write for Roleplayerschronicle.com AND ComixIRead.com, on Facebook, and then I have www.omichinski.com for my personal website and stuff. Then I'm really active on Goodreads.


I really appreciate Tyler taking the time to share his cover here and answer some questions. Please take some time to visit his links and share some of the love on his profiles. If you are a writer come on over and join us at the Den of Quills and connect with writers like Tyler and myself.

If you want to read more from Tyler you can also check out his guest posts over on the DoQ website.

As always, thanks for reading. Please share, like, +1, etc…