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…

Anthony.

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...


-Anthony

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-
Anthony.

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.
#writermeme
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.

-Anthony



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…

Anthony

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Excerpt- 2.17.2015

It's an excerpt week. If you'd like to see all the excerpts that I've posted you can click here.

A while back I said that I would share an excerpt of the comic book script that I've made. It is in script format. Not exactly what you would see for a traditional comic format because when I first wrote it back in 2000, I was working with an artist and was writing it to his preferences. That ended up not going anywhere beyond just the writing of the script, so I held onto to what I've finished. One day I hope to have it more polished and looking like an actual comic book script, but that'll have to wait until after I'm done with the serial and Lighthouse. Maybe one day, I'll be able to get this picked up at Marvel or DC (or more realistically not)...

The format of the narrative is a mini-series. It would end after six twenty-two page issues with the ability to expand into an ongoing story if the popularity was there.

I'm only posting a few pages from the script of issue one. Hope you enjoy. As this is a script, you will have to use your imagination to fill in the gaps, and I am starting the excerpt on page ten so you are missing a little bit of the plot, but I like this scene that I'm sharing because it captures the interactions between the main character Alex, called The Traveler, and his own personal demons. For reference, the book is set in the fictional mining town of Desolation, Nevada. I would described the genre of the story as gothic western.

Hope you enjoy-

Desolation
Issue #1
Chapter I: Retribution

Page Ten (three panels)
Panel 1 The McCannaugh house: about half a mile outside of the town. Small farm/ranch with a couple of small garden plots with a single well sitting about twenty feet in front of the house (outhouse is nearby, but not too close to the house itself). Inside it is a three-room building; two bedrooms and a main room that serves as a kitchen/living room.
Panel 2 The two men ride up, each on his own horse about dusk.
Panel 3 They dismount and walk inside, still not a word between the two of them.

Page Eleven (five panels)
Panel 1 Once inside Jonathan once again offers his own accommodations to the Traveler, “Sir, I’d feel a great deal better if’ you would take my room or the children’s. It’s tha’ least I could do.” The interior of the house is sparse, but comfortable in a quaint way. The interior is illuminated by the fire and one oil lamp.
Panel 2 While they are talking the two children are peaking out from their room. Daniel and his younger sister Maggie. Maggie is a small doll-like girl with hair like her brother’s.
Panel 3 The Traveler responds, “Naw, I’ll be pleased with sleeping outside tonight. Been doing that for many’a days. A few more won’t hurt me a bit."
Panel 4 Jonathan smiling as he sees the children peeking through their cracked door. He says, “Well come on out, you two. Danny, go ahead and put on dinner, Mag’s come on out and meet our visitor.”
Panel 5 Daniel, without looking at either man is at the fire prepping the pot for cooking. Maggie stands a few steps beyond the door now, her bangs coming down a little over her large doe eyes.
Caption over the Traveler: Oh God, just like my Emily.

Page Twelve (five panels)
Panel 1 She has stepped forward and is timidly holding out her hand. The Traveler, with a little emotion in his eyes, maybe have him take off his hat, reaches out and grasps her hand. A tear or two falls from his left eye and she says, “You scare me. Are you gonna hurt my daddy?”
Panel 2 Jonathan, shock should read on his face, says, “MAGGIE!”
Panel 3 The Traveler smiles and responds, “Little one, I promise to protect your father while I am here. I’ll do my best to keep him safe, ok?”
Panel 4 She nods, but looks reluctant to believe him. Jonathan is beside her shooing her to the table.
Panel 5 They sit for an uncomfortable dinner and Daniel asks for the Traveler to pray.

Page Thirteen (three panels)
Panel 1 He looks surprised, as does Jonathan. He prays, “Father, grant us the strength to do what needs to be done. Grant us the strength to vanquish our enemies. Grant us retribution. Amen.”
Panel 2 The rest of the meal is finished in uncomfortable silence.
Panel 3 With the meal finished the Traveler gets up and excuses himself from the table, “With your pardon, I need to walk out a bit and hold palaver with myself for a bit.”
Jonathan nods and waves him off, “Sure, go on, I’ll leave the latch off the door for you. We’ll be fast asleep soon.”

Page Fourteen (two panels)
Panel 1 He walks a ways away from the house and sits cross-legged about 60-70 feet away from the house.
Splash panel. The vast expanse of the Milky Way is panoramic around him, almost dizzying.
Caption 1: I hate hiding the truth from Jonathan like that, he seems like a nice enough man, but it’s better that he not know.
Caption 2: It’s not myself that I need to hold conference with, but my demons.
Panel 2 He has gathered small wood and kindling and is sparking a fire.

Page Fifteen (six panels)
Panel 1 About the time he gets it lit someone approaches from his left. The new arrival is circling the Traveler in a counter-clockwise motion, not quite able to be fully seen, just shade and shadows. He says, “Hallo, hale to the avenger! How fares the quest? Have you gotten that grail yet?
“No, but you are so close aren’t you?”
Panel 2 The Traveler visibly bristles at these words, but he says nothing, he sits there staring into the fire.
Panel 3 The new comer, fully visible now, dressed in gentleman's garb for the period, but all dark colors. He is also wearing small circular glasses that reflect light and obscure his eyes. The readers do not realize but he is a demon. He should look evil, but not over the top. Subtle. He continues, “Oh, Alexander, what would your dear Sarah think of you now, and that beautiful little girl… what was her name? Ah yes, Emily. I remember how beautiful her voice sounded as she screamed for you on that day…”
Panel 4 This last statement breaks him. He is standing facing the stranger, “Damn you, Bel!”
Panel 5 He has jumped up and thrown the other “man” down and is straddled over him choking him as he screams, “Damn you and all your other friends. You drove me to this… My quest is done here. After I take care of your human lackeys here, I am done with this. Done with the Matthew’s, done with vengeance, and done with you.”
Panel 6 Another voice this time from his right, “Ah, but don’t you understand, it won’t end with Desolation.” This is an angel, again he needs to appear good but not over the top, he needs to be dressed appropriate for the time period.

Page Sixteen (six panels) 
Panel 1 He continues, “This vengeance is a fire that has consumed you, it will continue to consume you and everything around you. If you're not careful, this town could suffer greatly because of you. Let it go, Alex.”
Panel 2 Bel, the demon, looks up at the intruder, “Well, Gabe, I was wondering when you were going to show up. Welcome, our friend and I were just having a little chat.”
The Traveler, now standing, brushing the dust from his clothing, and shaking his head. “It was only a matter of time before you two showed up…”
Panel 3 Bel: “Alex, I am sorely wounded by your harsh attitude. Come let’s sit and talk for a while longer. I am sure Gabriel is also, but I don’t mind what he thinks much." He squats down and is drawing in the dirt with his finger. He is looking up contemptuously at Gabriel while Gabriel is looking at Bel with pity and sorrow in his face.
Panel 4 Gabe: “Alex, I beg you to stop this. This isn’t the right way. Revenge isn’t your purpose. You had a purpose in Iowa. You shouldn’t have left.”Alex: “You think I could have stayed after what I did! You are no better than Bel. You both expect me to be a pawn in a cosmic chess game. Well, both of you listen now, I am stepping off the board. No more. I am tired of having my choices told to me. No longer.” He stares deep into the flames of the fire not looking at either of the angels.
Panel 5 Bel standing has grabbed a coal from the fire and is tossing it back and forth in his hands. He says, “Remember what they did to you, Alex. Remember all the pain that you have had to suffer because of them.”
Panel 6 He turns and walks in to the darkness beyond the light of the fire and once more whispers, “Remember and don’t let me down…”
Caption (Alex): His fading laughter chilled me to the bone.

Page Seventeen (five panels)
Panel 1 Gabe sits cross-legged next to the fire and looks at the Traveler mournfully. He says, “Why do you think he wants you to go after these men? What is in it for Bel to gain if you go after these humans?” The Traveler, stone still, unmoving as a brick wall, silently stares off into the distance.
Panel 2 Gabe continues, “He thinks you will fail. He thinks that you will die along with innocents trying to find retribution for what happened. Let it go, Alex. Let it go.” He is leaning over and placing a hand on the Traveler’s shoulder.
The Traveler looks like he is emotionally burdened and he grates out, “If I die in Desolation, it will be worth it. I will have died trying to rectify what happened in New Haven. I let that town down because at first I did nothing and then I even aided them. And look what happened!”
Panel 3 He has stoodd up and walked a little away from the fire with his back to Gabriel and says with his finger pointing upward, “I know Bel has his reasons for wanting me to pursue this, what are HIS reasons for wanting me to call it off?”
Gabriel, “Because we are afraid of what might happen to your spirit if you continue on this path. You are going to damage your heart even farther. Alex, trust me on this. Trust Him. Have faith.”
Panel 4 Gabe is standing now still looking at the Traveler’s back. Focus of the shot is on Alex's face with Gabe over his shoulder.
Alex: “I wish I could. I wish I had your faith, Gabe. I really do.” The Traveler looks almost sad and sincere about that statement.
Gabe: “You can. You did at one time, and you can again…”
Panel 5 Gabriel begins to walk away and looks back as he says, “You said you didn’t want to be a chess-piece. I can’t change the fact that you are, but I can tell you that you are not a pawn.” Gabe allows himself a half smile as he says, “You’re a knight. Think about it, Alex. Keep yourself out of trouble until next time.”

-End-

I'd love to see some feedback or critique in the comments or on the fan page. Again, sorry it's not a traditional graphic novel script. That is something I'll have to clean up for when I want to submit this to someone.

Hope you've enjoyed. Keep on the lookout for updates about the Den of Theives Anthology I'm participating in. I'll be sure to share links for the Den of Quills site across Facebook and Twitter (and even Google Plus).

Thanks so much for reading. If you've enjoyed, please share, like, +1, etc...

- Anthony


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

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

G is for God

Welcome back. This week, I am continuing on in the A-Z posts, and we are now at the letter G.

If you want to check out previous A-Z posts, click here.

When thinking on what to do for G, I kept coming back to God, and as much as I scribbled down different ideas and other concepts, it kept returning to the forefront of my mind. 

For the most part, this post is going to be directed to those of you that ascribe to Christianity, but I think what I talk about here can be applied to a broader spectrum of how our beliefs and thoughts about the world shape our creations.

I shared over on my other blog a sort of history of how I came my faith. You can read that here. If you don't have time, the basics are that I am a Christian, and I have been for the majority of my life. That aspect of myself reaches into and touches every aspect of my life.

Especially my writing.

I have had friends ask me why I don't write Christian fiction, and this is in part what I would like to address today.

What makes Christian fiction, Christian fiction? What makes Christian art, Christian art? Why, as believers, do we feel the need to ascribe this label to our creation and shoehorn it into a conceptual box?

Soon after I became a believer, I felt that my writing should be explicitly Christian. That each and every story should lay out the plan of salvation found in Christ. I stressed and forced myself to rewrite and shape my stories into a mold that they didn't fit in. Sometimes, that just doesn't work at all.

For example, my novella, To Tread the Narrow Path, originally started its life as a short story set during feudal Japan, before the introduction of Christianity to the island. It would not have made sense to incorporate overt references to my beliefs within the narrative.

As my faith grew and my writing matured, I understood that I needed to write what I needed to write. The pieces of myself that I wanted to share with the world would bleed into my words on the paper. My faith, my mores would be evident without my heavy hand forcing the reader to see the tenants of my faith.

So in a fantasy story from me (like the novella *hint hint*), instead of having a Christlike figure offer salvation, I may explore the themes of sacrifice and beliefs. Who I am as a person will be expressed in my writing without the need for heavy handed symbolism.

I have written, what I describe as a religious fiction short story, Entertaining Angels, but I do not call it a Christian story. The beauty of this story is that it wasn't forced. I just wrote what I wanted to write. I didn't have to make myself write a story that overtly dealt with the concepts of Christianity, it just happened.

I think that is why I do not label myself or my writing as Christian. I am a writer who happens to be Christian, and I will talk about it with anyone willing to listen, but I do not like that label in relation to art.

Years ago, I took a literary criticism class when I attended the University of Georgia. The professor made a statement about the subjectivity of art and stated that who you are and what you believe will shape how you perceive art. We then had to do a critical analysis of a work of fiction through the literary criticism lens of something not traditionally ascribed to that work. I personally chose to analyze The God Emperor of Dune with a critical eye focused on the tenants of communism. It was fun and enlightening.

That exercise taught me that whatever the art, we can perceive it with both the intentions of the artist and the precepts of the observer, and still both be right. 

#writermeme
     
I know the conversation kind of got into the realm of what the reader sees as opposed to what the writer writes, but I feel that it is a valid and important topic to discuss when it comes to my personal writing.

I promise to you that I will write whatever I feel like I should write. Pieces of myself, like my faith, will seep on to the page and will become part of the narrative, just as with any writer.

So am I a Christian writer? Do I write Christian fiction?

I'll answer that question with this:

I am a writer that is Christian, and my writing will be labeled with whatever genre it fits into.

Bringing it back to the title, I guess the question that I asked myself so long ago and only recently fully answered is this:

Where does God and my faith fit into my writing?

I hope the above provides some of the answer to that question. Stick around with me and I'll explore this more as I grow more in my faith and in my craft.

Thanks for reading. I hope you've enjoyed. Stay tuned to the blog and my social media for updates on upcoming projects and spotlights that I am going to be doing.

I'd appreciate it if you would like, share, +1, etc... this post.

Thanks again.


-Anthony

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Update- 2.4.2015

Welcome to another month.

As always I like to give an update/outlook post at the beginning of the month.

To begin, I want to let you know that you can expect another installment of To Tread the Narrow Path to go live by the end of the week. This month also marks the one year anniversary of when I started this journey of serialization. It has been some of the most fun and at the same time frustrating experiences of my life, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. It has been a blast and I am so thankful for those of you that have walked the narrow path with me along this journey. Only a little further to go.

I'd also like to announce that I decided to freelance my editing skills over on Fiverr. I figure I might as well use my knowledge aquired at college in pursuit of a creative writing degree. So if you are looking for someone to take a look at your words check me out. So far I've gotten 100% positive reviews.
It is proving to be a fun endevor. I've got a few repeat clients and others that are wrapping up their current projects for me to take a look at.

Another announcement I'd like to discuss is a small statement I made in January's update post. I mentioned doing an author spotlight/interview here on the blog. I'd like to start with local Maine indie writers/publishers/artist and eventually expand the spotlight outward to the crowd I've connected with online. I'm looking forward to shining some light on some of the amazing talent I've connected with and sharing them with you.

If you'd like to be interviewed/spotlighted here on my blog, let me know. You can reach me on the contact page, comments below, or through one of my social media outlets. I don't care if you are fiction, non-fiction, writers, artist, or whatever, I'd like to showcase you and what your are creating.

I'm not going to let this disrupt the normal schedule for the blog, but instead this will be a nice little additional post here and there.

Keep a look out on the blog for updates on when this will be happening. Connect with me on Facebook or Twitter for extra things I post there during the week.

Thanks for reading. If you'd like to show your support please like, share, tweet, +1, etc...

-Anthony

Thursday, January 29, 2015

F is for Fate

Continuing on in the A-Z Blogging Challenge, we now come to the letter F.

In this week's post, I will be talking about Fate. I'm not going to go broad and talk about the usage of fate and destiny in literature. I feel like I kind of covered that way back when I talked about time. This isn't going to be broad strokes like that post focused on. This week I want to talk about the usage of fate in my novella.

One of the questions I field about To Tread the Narrow Path is, "What is the narrow path, is it death?"

Today, I want to talk about the narrow path and what it is and is not without walking into spoiler territory.

If you are reading, one of the oft repeated phrases you may have noticed revolves around travelling the narrow path and where it leads. The narrow path in my novella can be summed up as the path of fate. Many times characters will refer to walking the narrow path as being close to death, but that is only part of it. The narrow path has many facets in the world of my novella. The final place for everyone, the end of the narrow path, is death, but everyone walks the narrow path.

One of the concepts I explore is the finality of fate. The inexorable march of time and how the characters struggle against their fates, their destinies. That is what the narrow path is. It is the march along the road of fate that we all make in life. We are perched perilously along the knife thin road of time, and the novella explores how characters react when confronted with the tide of time.

A lot of the concepts and themes of fate for my novella come from the concept of the gyre. You may recognize this from WB Yeats' poem "The Second Coming."

In the world of the novella, the gyre represents the passage of time.

In the diagram below you will see a simple representation of what I'm talking about. As time flows in this world, it follows the path of the gyre. Society and civilization follow this tide as well. Each gyre represents an age or epoch of time in this world. Each transition from one to the other is marked by violence and change. Depending on which side of the gyre, is where civilization stands.


A very simplified version of two gyres. The red arrows mark the transitions, or Ascension Points, between epochs


At the wider point of the gyre, people have scattered, and are unorganized. At this transition point a singular leader or group will begin the unification process and drawing the separate groups together to be united. This is referenced in my novella as when the House of the Four Dragons unified the clans and founded the Imperium.

The novella begins at the other side of the gyre, the smaller transition point. At this end of the epoch, society has become so focused and compressed that a revolution is eminent. The civil war that rages in the narrative is a direct result of the oppression of the people. They are ready to break the imperium and once again begin the outward spiral of the gyre.

This is the line of fate in my novella. The endless cycle. The Narrow Path. The novella explores the choices made to remain on the path of fate, and what are the consequences for taking a different path.

Can a different path be chosen? Or, do we all walk the narrow path?
If I've piqued your curiosity, I encourage you to catch up on the novella. You can find it on Amazon. Only two more installments left before the end. I've had a blast writing the serial and responding to every conspiracy theory and thought that has come across my email from those of you reading. My only advice is to stay calm. We are almost done.

We only have a little further to walk along the narrow path. The journey will be over soon.

We all walk the narrow path.



Thanks for reading. If you've enjoyed, please be sure to like, share, +1, etc...

-Anthony

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

E is for Encouragement

This week, I am getting back to the A-Z blogging thingy.

To see previous entries in my A-Z challenge, click here.

We've come to the letter E and initially, I had planned on talking about the literary use of the Everyman in a narrative, because that has always been one of my favorites, but I've instead decided to go in another direction. I want to talk about the support base that I've been able to surround myself with to support my writing habit. I want to discuss the encouragement that comes from various outlets. This weeks post is going to explore the
I've been writing since childhood, had aspirations to be published since high school, but I've only really pursued that dream within the last two years. I won't really get into the hows and whys of that, but I will say that, around two years ago I had an epiphany (discussed more in detail here). I came to the sudden realization that if I didn't quit delaying and just dabbling in my dream of getting published, it would never come to pass. My dream had always stayed on the back burner in my mind. Occasionally, I would work in my stories but never fully finishing anything.

As my realization washed over me, I decided to take an active role in my dream (so to speak). I finally edited, polished, and self published my short story Entertaining Angels. My Facebook Writer Page started shortly after that and I began to connect with readers, fans, and like minded writers (indie and established alike). It was then that I started to connect with writers online through social media outlets like Google + and Facebook. If it wasn't for connecting with these groups I would have missed out on reading some really great books. Three that I highly recommend from writers I've connected with online are- Whispers of War by Sean Rodden, A Healer's Tale trilogy by Eric E McClure, and Fifthwind by Ken Kiser. I have many more that I've placed on my to be read list because there is such a plethora of fiction out there in the indie scene. Seeing and reading the wealth of material that is out there helps to drive my passion, but beyond finding new reading material, connecting with other writers has been a boon to me creatively and at some times has spurred me out of the dregs of the dreaded writer's block.

Currently, I have the pleasure of being a part of a great writing community on Facebook dubbed, Den of Quills. If you are a creative writer type and want a good online home, head over there. We are "good people." Surrounding myself with like minded writers has helped me to keep writing. I've been able to keep the goals that I've set for myself because of the community that I am entrenching myself with.

These connections have also opened up avenues and opportunities for writing. I had the opportunity to be involved with two anthologies (but for my sanity, only choose one). Very soon, an anthology brought to you by the Den of Quills will be featuring yours truly, amongst other more talented writers. I am humbled and thankful to be a part of this project.

Outside of the social media connections and encouragement I get from other writers (i.e. crazy people), I would be remiss to leave out the best source of encouragement I have. My wife, is a godsend. Literally. She has saved whole short stories and chapters that I have almost deleted in their entirety. At my lowest moments as a writer, she has been by my side lifting me up. I can never thank her enough for helping me pursue my dream. She is a beta reader, my first critic, my biggest fan, and my greatest cheerleader. I could not do what I'm doing without her by my side.

All in all, I guess what I'm trying to tell you, is that if you are trying to write (or really pursue any dream), surround yourself with like minded people. Find a good support base, and not just those that are going to give you flowery praise. Find those that are going to push you to be better. Those that will both cheer you and give you the truth.

You don't have to chase your dreams alone.

Dedication page on To Tread the Narrow Path



Thanks so much for reading. I hope you've enjoyed. Stay tuned to the website and my social media for updates on the anthology. If you've enjoyed please be sure to Like, Share, +1, etc...

-Anthony